Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Fox Anchor Comes Clean

Fox anchor Chris Wallace admits that Fox News' pretensions to being "fair and balanced" are a sham, and the network is, in fact, just an outlet for conservative propaganda:

"My feeling is that a lot of time 'fair and balanced' means giving the conservative point of view because that doesn't get reflected in the mainstream media."
What's particularly striking about this admission, is the notion that the "conservative point of view" is not presented in the mainstream media. When you consider that right-wing media personalities such as Pat Buchanan, Tucker Carlson, Glenn Beck, Joe Scarborough, & a host of others anchor shows on networks other than Fox, you're left with only one of three options: (a) Wallace is delusional, (b) Wallace is dishonest, or (c) Wallace is an idiot.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

McCain Foreign Policy Wonk...

GOP presidential nominee John McCain has made the point on several occasions that his area of expertise is foreign policy and also that Islamic terror is the greatest threat this nation faces. Just how much of an expert on these issues McCain really is, though is some question. Just recently, on his taxpayer funded campaign tour/fact finding mission to the Middle East, McCain showed that he is still confused about the whole Sunni/Shiite divide and which nation-state players in the region support which group. In the end, Joe Lieberman must pull McCain aside and explain his mistake:

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

More on Newsmax

The free-lance "reporter" Jim Davis who wrote the original article for Newsmax has been tracked down. Would you believe that he's a regular poster on the right-wing chat forum "free republic"? Of course you would... because Newsmax isn't a real news outlet and Jim Davis isn't a real reporter. These guys are just dishonest shock troops for the right-wing propaganda industry. At any rate, here are Davis' thoughts on the controversy:

My article was published in the first week of August. Everyone's memory was still fresh. I still had all of my notes. There hadn't been a lot of time to doctor or edit any videos or websites. But the Obama camp chose to remain silent at that time. I have repeatedly called the campaign and the church, asking for an interview and mentioning the July 22 date in the messages I've left.

If Obama wasn't there, they should have spoken up right away -- immediately after the article was published. I'd bring in my notes, they'd produce their videotape, and we would get everything cleared up right away. I stand behind my story, but if I was wrong, Newsmax would have published a retraction and that would have been the end of it.

Now, after everyone's memory has faded, my notes have been taken to some landfill and there has been plenty of time to doctor the videos and the websites, the Obama campaign tries to deny he was there? They could have nipped this little problem in the bud if Obama really was not there, and they had chosen to speak up.

I think they are relying on the fact that people have fading memories about who gave the sermon in the early morning and who gave it in the evening, on a Sunday eight months ago.

So Davis has no notes to back up his article and the website and video has since been doctored by Obama's cronies. A likely story. In a later post, Davis continues to insist that Obama attended the 7:30 am service, despite the fact that we've shown it would have been nearly impossible for him to do so. There is one circumstance that could save Davis, it must be noted. We might yet discover that Obama flew to Miami in an SR-71 spy plane.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Newsmax responds

Right-wing propaganda outlet Newsmax has responded to the controversy surrounding Bill Kristol's claim that Barack Obama attended services at Trinity on July 22nd by circling the wagons:

Clarification: The Obama campaign has told members of the press that Senator Obama was not in church on the day cited, July 22, because he had a speech he gave in Miami at 1:30 PM. Our writer, Jim Davis, says he attended several services at Senator Obama's church during the month of July, including July 22. The church holds services three times every Sunday at 7:30 and 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Central time. While both the early morning and evening service allowed Sen. Obama to attend the service and still give a speech in Miami, Mr. Davis stands by his story that during one of the services he attended during the month of July, Senator Obama was present and sat through the sermon given by Rev. Wright as described in the story. Mr. Davis said Secret Service were also present in the church during Senator Obama's attendance. Mr. Davis' story was first published on Newsmax on August 9, 2007. Shortly before publication, Mr. Davis contacted the press office of Sen. Obama several times for comment about the Senator's attendance and Rev. Wright's comments during his sermon. The Senator's office declined to comment.

A search at the Travelocity travel web site shows that it's a 3 hour flight from Chicago to Miami. Let us allow that Obama attended the 7:30 service at Trinity and stayed for an hour. OK, now it's 8:30. Now let's allow one half hour for travel time to the airport. It's 9:00. Suppose the plane leaves at exactly 9:00. Three hours later, when the plane arrives in Miami, it's 12:00... in Chicago... in Miami, however, it's 1:00. So Obama has 1/2 hour to get from the airport to the site of the 1:30 speech. How likely is it that a campaign staffer would schedule appeareances with such razor thing margins? Not very likely, I'd say.

So Obama almost certainly could not have both attended the 7:30 service and given a 1:30 speech in Miami, contrary to what Newsmax would have us believe. The 11:00am service is also clearly out. The 6:00 pm service in Chicago is a more likely scenario, but let's be serious here: Newsmax has already fudged the times and dates so much that you wonder if it's even worth it to speculate. And really, is their reporter truly so sloppy that he jots down the words spoken by Rev. Wright and makes a note of Senator Obama's nodding along with a specific passage, but fails to make a note of the date or the time this occurred? Once again... it strains credulity.

Obama 1, Kristol 0

William Kristol's column for the New York Times is now headed by the following disclaimer:

In this column, I cite a report that Sen. Obama had attended services at Trinity Church on July 22, 2007. The Obama camapaign has provided information showing that Senator Obama did not attend Trinity that day. I regret the error.
It must be embarrassing to have to admit that one piece of evidence you provide to make the case that the subject of your column is a dishonest individual turns out itself to have been a fabrication by a dishonest individual. Not to worry, though. I'm sure Kristol will take it in stride.

In closing, I do think it's worth noting that while Kristol apologized for his error, he did not think it necessary to apologize for calling Obama a liar. Curious, that...

The Kristol Embarrasment

When William Kristol, the notoriously dishonest neo-conservative editor of the Weekly Standard, was hired to write a column for the New York Times, the news was met with stunned disbelief by many an admirer of the nation's most respected news source. I myself wondered, facetiously, whether Kristol would manage to singlehandedly drag the paper's reputation into the mud. His first column, in which he cited approvingly a statement that he attributed to the notoriously unethical right-wing blogger Michelle Malkin (she has a habit of publicizing the phone numbers and addressses of activists of whom she disapproves to invite the harassment of her legion of sycophantic and slightly psychotic followers), was embarrassing enough as it was. Little did it ameliorate Kristol's reputation for inaccuracy when it was revealed that the neo-conservative editor had erred even in this attribution. Seems the guy whose every prediction about the Iraq war turned out to be false can't get it right, even when he's citing material with which he agrees.

And Kristol still hasn't gotten any better, or shown that he can grow into the job. Today's New York Times column is classically Kristol. For one thing, it is typically light on substance. There are no ruminations on policy questions or issues related to the economy or even national security. Kristol's thesis today is simply that Barack Obama cannot be trusted because he lied about having been in attendance at his church on the Sunday that his pastor preached a fiery invective against our government's propensity to respond to social ills by building more prisons and jailing more young black men. And how does Kristol know that Obama was there? Apparently he read it from "Ronald Kessler, a journalist who has written about Wright’s ministry." What Kristol does not say is that Kessler is less a "journalist" than he is a foot soldier for the right-wing propaganda outlet Newsmax. And unfortunately, Kessler doesn't seem to be much better at getting the facts right than Kristol. For as Marc Ambinder has shown, writing in The Atlantic Monthly, Obama was in fact in Miami on the day that Kessler claims to have witnessed seeing the Illinois senator nodding along with his pastor's speech.

a simple Google search suggests that Obama spent most of the day in Miami. But a simple e-mail or telephone call to Obama's campaign might have cleared things up.
Ambinder provides a link to a video clip which shows Obama addressing the Council of La Raza on July 22, the date in question. To ensure that there was little likelyhood that Obama attended church in the morning and then took a flight to Miami and addressed the group later that evening, I googled the conference schedule. Here's what it shows:

Sunday, July 22
11:00 a.m. LATINAS BRUNCH, Una Charla Con Hillary – Hall B
  • Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
  • Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
  • Interview led by Monica Lozano, Publisher and CEO, La OpiniĆ³n
1:30 p.m. SPECIAL FORUM: Foro Del Pueblo Con Sen. Obama – Room D128-129, (Open to the public)
Featured Speaker: Senator Barack Obama (D-IL)

It simply stretches the bounds of credulity to suggest that Obama could have attended church in Chicago, then given a speech at 1:30 pm that same day in Miami. So clearly, the story is in error and Kristol has, at the very least, served to propagate a calumnious falsehood. What is both sad and maddening is that the New York Times, through it's ill advised hiring of Kristol, has made itself complicit in this travesty.

So first with Michelle Malkin and now with Newsmax it appears that what the New York Times has done in hiring Kristol is to open up a little window, made a little space in its pages, for an alien world dishonest "reporting," where journalistic standards are completely subsumed to the larger goal of advancing a rabidly conservative political agenda.

Has WIlliam Kristol succeeded in dragging The New York Times into the mud all by himself? Not yet... but with the help of the right-wing blogosphere and mock-journalistic publications like Newsmax he may yet succeed.

Friday, March 14, 2008

John McCain Hates America

You know already that Michelle Obama hates America, because that's what your favorite Right-wing talk show host told you. But do you know that John McCain hates America even more? Don't believe me? This is what McCain wrote back in 1968 when he was a guest of the North Vietnamese Army in Hanoi:

"I am a black criminal and I have performed the deeds of an air pirate. I almost died, and the Vietnamese people saved my life, thanks to the doctors."

Hold on, you say... didn't McCain only sign that statement because he was tortured into submission and forced to do so?

Sure, but as our conservative friends have told us time and time again: torture works. It is a valuable method of gaining information that could not be gained by other means. So clearly, we would never have known John McCain's true feelings about his country and its mission in Vietnam had he not been forced to reveal them through torture.

(A hat tip to Wonkette commenter metropolitan, who first made this observation)

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Yes, we torture

President Bush vetoes a piece of legislation that would have prevented the CIA from torturing subjects of interrogation. This will doubtless be the man's lasting, hideous legacy. He'll be remembered as the president that made torture an American value.

It will be interesting to see how John McCain reacts to the veto. Has he so completely compromised his values that he'll approve of it? Hopefully he will be asked about it this Sunday on one of the political shows... that is, if he makes himself available.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Bush Endroses McCain

Bush endorses McCain and offers to stump for him. My favorite quote:

McCain said he looked forward to campaigning with Bush at his side and said the president could be helpful in states such as Texas.

The New York Times adds:

The senator emphasized that he would welcome Mr. Bush’s personal appearances by his side “in keeping with the president’s heavy schedule.”
Heh, heh...

More on the puppy

A Youtube member has uploaded a slow-motion version of the puppy killing. In it, you can clearly see the dog pulling its hind quarters in towards its stomach as the soldier prepares to throw it off the cliff. The video appears to be corrupt, and only plays for a few seconds before stopping, but in the segment that works you can clearly see the signs of life I have described. Thankfully we do not see the dog being hurled off the cliff on this one. Michelle Malkin meanwhile, has moved on, and is busying herself by hurling insults at Gloria Steinem.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Dead puppy?

Here is a screen capture of Michelle Malkin's "dead" puppy. Just to show how delusional she is:

America the beautiful

His name was Scott Thomas Beauchamp, AKA the Baghdad diarist. When he began writing his anonymous dispatches from Iraq for the New Republic, journal entires which detailed numerous accounts of every day cruelty on the part of U.S. soldiers fighting overseas, a firestorm erupted from the right. The tales he told of soldiers killing dogs for sport, and mocking disfigured women could not possibly be true, we were told, and so Beauchamp was clearly a liar. The right-wing blogosphere went into overdrive trying to prove their case. The idea that noble and gallant U.S. soldiers could engage in such infamy was not just untrue. It was pure calumny, aimed at undermining our purely altruistic military endeavors abroad.

One wonders, then, what the right-wing is going to make of the video clips that are now circulating which show American soldiers killing farm animals, torturing a dog that has been run over by a vehicle but is still alive, and perhaps most disgusting of all, holding up a live puppy for the camera and then tossing it to its death off a high cliff and delighting in its yelping as it tumbles a hundred or so feet to its death.

The videos, particularly that last one, are horrendous and disgusting. They can be found at the blog Valleywag, if you have the stomach for such things. Me, I'm still trembling as I write this, having just viewed them.

Actually, you don't have to wonder much what the right-wing thinks. You need only waltz over to Michelle Malkin's site and see for yourself. The answer is simple: denial. Malkin is sure that the puppy is dead before the soldier even throws it into the valley. How does she know? Why, because it isn't squirming around as the soldier holds it for the camera. Never mind that it's head is upright, and its hind legs are not drooping as would be the case for a dead animal. Never mind that he's holding the puppy by the scruff of the neck, the way its mother would hold it were she to carry it from one place to another. Never mind that we only see the puppy for a brief moment before it is hurled off the cliff. No, it must be dead already because American soldiers just wouldn't do that.

Well dream on Michelle. And wake up people. This is the new face of America to the world. This is what Bush and the Neocons have done to our image. We are a land of murderers of women and children and we kill defenseless puppies for amusement and sport.