Witch hunt: Wash. Times publishes falsehood-filled op-ed attacking Obama appointees as "radical rulers"
Continuing its campaign to paint members of the Obama administration as radicals, The Washington Times published an op-ed attacking eight Obama administration officials. The attacks are suffused with falsehoods that do not stand up to minimal scrutiny.
Wash. Times piece falsely suggests Becker "pledged to force 'card check' " on workplaces
Wash. Times op-ed falsely claimed that NLRB recess appointee Craig Becker "pledged to force 'card check' " on employees. From an April 6 Washington Times op-ed by author and Washington, D.C., correspondent for Coral Ridge Ministries Robert Knight headlined "Radicals to rule us all":
What do Craig Becker, Chai R. Feldblum and Jacqueline A. Berrien have in common?
They're the latest left-wing activists to gain public office in President Obama's gallery of radical rulers, courtesy of recess appointments on March 27.
Mr. Becker is a labor lawyer who has pledged to force "card check" on the nation's workplaces, which would end the right to work without being a union member. Instead of secret-ballot elections determining whether a workplace would be unionized, which preserves the employees' freedom to disagree, card check would automatically unionize a workplace if a majority of employees signed a form or card. That would be done under the watchful eye of union goons, of course. No pressure there.
In fact, Becker testified that only Congress, not the NLRB, can change employers' right to secret-ballot election. During his Senate testimony, Becker testified: "Section 9 of the [Employee Free Choice] Act, in two distinct ways, makes clear that Congress has intended that a secret ballot election be precondition for certification of the union as a representative of the unit of employees." He later added: "So the law is clear that the decision as to whether a alternative route to certification should be created rests with Congress, not with the [National Labor Relations B]oard." From Becker's February 2 congressional testimony (around 46:55):
SEN. TOM HARKIN (D-IA): Some of your critics have suggested that you are coming to the board with an agenda and that you intend to implement card check -- administratively requiring the board to certify a union as employees select a bargaining representative on the basis of signed authorization cards rather than a secret-ballot election.
Now, I have noted that, in your responses to written questions for the record, from my Republican colleagues that you have refuted this claim multiple times, explaining that the card check process proposed in the Employee Free Choice Act would require an act of Congress. Can you provide more detail on how the National Labor Relations Act constrains the board's ability to implement the card check certification process administratively?
BECKER: Thank you for the opportunity to address that question, Senator Harkin. The reason the Employee Free Choice Act has been introduced in Congress and the reason that question is before the Congress and not the board is that the current Act clearly precludes certification in the absence of a secret-ballot election.
Section 9 of the Act in two distinct ways makes clear that Congress has intended that a secret ballot election be preconditioned for certification of the union as a representative of the unit of employees. But first, it so provides explicitly -- that is, it provides that the board shall certify the results of a secret ballot election. Moreover, it provides that employers, should they be confronted with a demand for recognition, based on evidence of majority support, for example, by signed authorization cards, may petition for a secret ballot election.
So, the law is clear that the decision as to whether a alternative route to certification should be created rests with Congress, not with the board.
Wash. Times piece distorts Employment Non-Discrimination Act to attack Feldblum
Wash. Times op-ed calls Employment Non-Discrimination Act a "nuclear gift to the radical left," but it has widespread support. Knight attacked Chai Feldblum -- whom Obama has recess-appointed to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission -- as "an author of the proposed federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), another of Massachusetts Democrat Rep. Barney Frank's nuclear gifts to the radical left." Contrary to Knight's characterization, ENDA, which would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, has the support of numerous large and small businesses as well as Republican members of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
ENDA would not "put a gun to the head" of employers to force them to "promote the gay-rights agenda"; it prohibits them from engaging in employment discrimination. Knight claimed: "By elevating 'sexual orientation' and 'gender identity' into federally advantaged 'rights' categories, ENDA would put a gun to the head of any employer failing to promote the gay rights agenda in the workplace." In fact, the legislation prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Attacks on Feldblum suffused with anti-gay smears. Knight identified Feldblum as a "lesbian activist." Conservative media have often highlighted Feldblum's sexual orientation or used anti-gay rhetoric to attack Feldblum, including WorldNetDaily editor and CEO Joseph Farah, who wrote that the "database Obama uses to locate people like" Feldblum has "got to be Perverts.gov."
Wash. Times piece attacks Berrien for opposing sex discrimination at VMI -- but Supreme Court struck down VMI's policy
Wash. Times op-ed attacks EEOC commissioner Berrien for opposing VMI admissions policies. Knight wrote: "Joining Ms. Feldblum as chairman of the EEOC is Ms. Berrien, most recently of the NAACP's Legal Defense and Education Fund. Her resume is a litany of racial and feminist entitlement claims, and she filed a brief arguing that Virginia Military Institute (VMI) should be forced to admit women. Did I mention that she was a staff attorney for the ACLU?"
Supreme Court struck down VMI's admissions policy by 7-1 vote. In United States v. Virginia, seven members of the Supreme Court stated that Virginia's policies regarding VMI -- an all male state school -- constituted sex discrimination. One justice -- Clarence Thomas -- recused himself from the case, and one justice -- Antonin Scalia -- dissented.
Wash. Times piece rehashes falsehoods about administration officials it labels "czars"
Wash. Times op-ed falsely suggests that former "green jobs czar" Van Jones is a communist. Knight wrote: "These latest appointees fit right in with the 40 or so 'czars' Mr. Obama has appointed to high places in federal agencies. Since 'green jobs czar' Van Jones resigned on Sept. 6 after being outed as a self-described communist, Mr. Obama has been a bit more careful to appoint people who are merely radical leftists, not necessarily communists." PolitiFact examined the question of whether Jones is currently a communist and found that the article Jones detractors such as Glenn Beck have cited to call Jones a communist -- a November 2, 2005, East Bay Express profile of Jones -- also makes it clear that he no longer holds those views.
Even before [STORM, a "socialist collective" Jones helped form] disbanded in 2002, the Express article says, "Jones began transforming his politics and work..."
According to the article, "He took an objective look at the movement's effectiveness and decided that the changes he was seeking were actually getting farther away. Not only did the left need to be more unified, he decided, it might also benefit from a fundamental shift in tactics. 'I realized that there are a lot of people who are capitalists - shudder, shudder - who are really committed to fairly significant change in the economy, and were having bigger impacts than me and a lot of my friends with our protest signs,' he said."
In recent years, Jones established himself as a leading, charismatic cheerleader for transitioning the American economy to green jobs.
The PolitiFact article went on to quote from Jones' book, The Green Collar Economy, and stated that it "doesn't sound Marxist to us." PolitiFact concluded:
Beck would have been on solid ground if he said Jones used to be a communist. Jones has been up front about that.
But Beck has repeatedly said Jones is a communist. Present tense. Although we could not find a comment in which Jones explicitly said why he is no longer one, we found ample evidence that he now believes capitalism is the best force for the social change he is seeking. So there's truth to Beck's claim in that Jones was a communist, but it's apparent he isn't any longer, as Beck suggests. So we find the claim Barely True.
Wash. Times op-ed falsely claims that "energy czarina" Carol Browner is "an outright socialist." Knight wrote that Obama "has an outright socialist as 'energy czarina' in Carol M. Browner, who is charged with making the case for the 'cap-and-trade' bill, which would cripple industry, impose the biggest energy tax in history and turn Al Gore into a multibillionaire. Ms. Browner, who was at the far-left Center for American Progress, was on the Commission for a Sustainable World Society, an elite arm of Socialist International. She also is a former board director of APX Inc., which facilitates -- surprise! -- trading in carbon offsets." In fact, Socialists International is an international federation of progressive parties that includes the British and Israeli Labor parties as constituent members.
Wash. Times op-ed takes "science czar" John Holdren's statements about mandatory birth control and abortions out of context. Knight wrote: "Mr. Holdren has the president's ear about how to spend our money on science. During the 1970s, he co-wrote a book with the overpopulation panic couple Paul R. and Anne Ehrlich in which they floated the idea of putting birth-control agents in public drinking water and made the case that mandatory abortions could be justified under the U.S. Constitution." PolitiFact has concluded that " a thorough reading shows that these were ideas presented as approaches that had been discussed. They were not posed as suggestions or proposals. In fact, the authors make clear that they did not support coercive means of population control. Certainly, nowhere in the book do the authors advocate for forced abortions." PolitiFact nominated the smear as one of its "Lies of the Year."
Wash. Times op-ed twists "foreign law czar" Koh's views into an attack on Mother's Day. Knight wrote that State Department lawyer Harold Koh "thinks the days of the United States as an exceptional nation are over and that our laws and court decisions should reflect international legal opinion." He later added: "He has testified in support of crackpot U.N. power grabs, including the United Nations' Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Among its activities, the CEDAW committee has attacked conscientious objections against abortion by doctors in Italy and the observance of Mother's Day in Belarus and has promoted legalization of prostitution." In fact, Koh has debunked the claim that a CEDAW Committee opposes Mother's Day. In a 2002 Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law law review article (retrieved via Nexis), Koh wrote:
One such preposterous claim, for example, is that U.S. ratification of the CEDAW would somehow require the United States to abolish Mother's Day. This claim twists a statement in the CEDAW Committee's report on Belarus, which spoke negatively about a Belarusian holiday that discouraged women from working in the marketplace, by celebrating and encouraging only those mothers who work in the home. Rather than denigrating motherhood, the CEDAW's central aim is to support motherhood, by promoting women's freedom to make choices on an equal basis with men. Nothing in that goal conflicts with the American tradition of celebrating both Mother's Day and Father's Day, as expressions of this country's commitment to full gender equality, consistent with the nondiscrimination goals of the CEDAW.
Op-ed continues Wash. Times' pattern of labeling Obama administration officials radicals
Washington Times editorials have labeled judicial nominees Sonia Sotomayor, Edward Chen, David Hamilton, Louis Butler and Goodwin Liu radicals. The Times has also affixed the "radical" label to positions taken by Education Department official Kevin Jennings, nominee for Assistant Attorney General Dawn Johnsen, and adviser to the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Rosa Brooks. In addition, on October 13, the Times published an editorial headlined, "An administration of radicals," which it billed as a "dishonor roll" of administration officials. The editorial named Jennings, Jones, Sotomayor, Butler, Holdren, White House adviser Tom Daschle, Koh, White House adviser Ezekiel Emanuel, and National Intelligence Council nominee Charles W. Freeman Jr.