Pot, Meet Kettle

At NewsReal, Kathy Shaidle has an early contender for Most Ironic Story of the Year: “Michael Moore says Fox News edited clips to make President look bad. (No, really.)


Mexican President Slanders AZ; Republicans React Pretty Much How You’d Expect

Here is Republican Senator Orrin Hatch’s response to Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s condemnation of Arizona’s new immigration law:

The state of Arizona is stepping in where the federal government has failed. It is trying to stop waves of illegal immigrants, many of whom are dangerous gang members and drug and human traffickers, from crossing into its communities. It’s inappropriate for a head of state to question our laws, especially when the state of Arizona only acted in the best interest of its citizens and with the support of seventy percent of its people.

Boy, don’t strain yourself, Senator.

Hatch could have mentioned that Calderon’s characterization of the law as “introduc[ing] racial profiling as a basis for law enforcement” and a “human rights” violation which “opens the door to intolerance, hate, discrimination and abuse in law enforcement” is, as Byron York’s reporting on the law reveals, so dishonest as to border on slander.  For instance:

Obama ignored the law’s specific stipulation that any check on a person’s immigration status can only come after a “lawful stop, detention or arrest” when a person is suspected of breaking some law — that is, as Arizona lawmakers explained in a footnote to the bill, it must come “during the enforcement of any other law or ordinance of a county, city or town or this state.”

And even after meeting that standard, the law directs that police meet a “reasonable suspicion” standard before “a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person…” The phrase “reasonable suspicion” means that there must be a number of specific factors that an officer can cite before taking action, and the law specifically says that prosecutors “shall not investigate complaints that are based solely on race, color or national origin.”

And even with those safeguards, the law specifies that if the person involved produces a valid Arizona driver’s license, or other forms of identification specified in the law, then that person is immediately presumed to be in the country legally. In other words, the whole question of legal or not legal becomes moot once the person produces a driver’s license — a common experience for nearly every American, regardless of his or her race or ethnicity.

He could also have mentioned that, not only is Calderon partially responsible for the hardships Arizona is trying to address, but that Mexico’s own immigration laws are far more draconian and “intolerant”:

– The Mexican government will bar foreigners if they upset “the equilibrium of the national demographics.” How’s that for racial and ethnic profiling?

– If outsiders do not enhance the country’s “economic or national interests” or are “not found to be physically or mentally healthy,” they are not welcome. Neither are those who show “contempt against national sovereignty or security.” They must not be economic burdens on society and must have clean criminal histories. Those seeking to obtain Mexican citizenship must show a birth certificate, provide a bank statement proving economic independence, pass an exam and prove they can provide their own health care.

– Illegal entry into the country is equivalent to a felony punishable by two years’ imprisonment. Document fraud is subject to fine and imprisonment; so is alien marriage fraud. Evading deportation is a serious crime; illegal re-entry after deportation is punishable by ten years’ imprisonment. Foreigners may be kicked out of the country without due process and the endless bites at the litigation apple that illegal aliens are afforded in our country (see, for example, President Obama’s illegal alien aunt — a fugitive from deportation for eight years who is awaiting a second decision on her previously rejected asylum claim).

– Law enforcement officials at all levels — by national mandate — must cooperate to enforce immigration laws, including illegal alien arrests and deportations. The Mexican military is also required to assist in immigration enforcement operations. Native-born Mexicans are empowered to make citizens’ arrests of illegal aliens and turn them in to authorities.

– Ready to show your papers? Mexico’s National Catalog of Foreigners tracks all outside tourists and foreign nationals. A National Population Registry tracks and verifies the identity of every member of the population, who must carry a citizens’ identity card. Visitors who do not possess proper documents and identification are subject to arrest as illegal aliens.

A foreign head of state hypocritically slanders American citizens before our own legislature – to the applause of one of America’s two major political parties – and the best the other party can muster is “inappropriate” (maybe an “unfortunate” if we’re lucky).  As usual.  Looks like the GOP’s not about to kick its habit of pulling defeat from the jaws of victory any time soon.

Journalism Is Dead in America, Exhibit #8,739 (Updated w/ Video)

Glenn Beck just had a stunning segment (Update: Ol’ Broad has the video) on the following story:

By now, you’ve probably seen the mob-scene that developed on the front lawn of the private residence of Greg Baer, deputy general counsel for corporate law at Bank of America.  This was planned for some time by the SEIU as part of a larger national event, their Showdown on K Street, which was shared with National People’s Action and thousands of other activists from MoveOn.org and other left-wing groups.

Prior to the main event on K Street in Washington DC, SEIU and company made a little pit stop.  According to Fortune magazine Washington editor Nina Easton, 14 busloads of riled up protesters unloaded on Baer’s private property and stormed up to his doorstep, while his teenage son was home alone.  Easton is a neighbor of Baer’s and had called to check on her neighbor’s son when she heard and saw all the commotion outside. Easton writes,

“Waving signs denouncing bank “greed,” hordes of invaders poured out of 14 school buses, up Baer’s steps, and onto his front porch. As bullhorns rattled with stories of debtor calls and foreclosed homes, Baer’s teenage son Jack — alone in the house — locked himself in the bathroom. “When are they going to leave?” Jack pleaded when I called to check on him.

Baer, on his way home from a Little League game, parked his car around the corner, called the police, and made a quick calculation to leave his younger son behind while he tried to rescue his increasingly distressed teen. He made his way through a din of barked demands and insults from the activists who proudly “outed” him, and slipped through his front door.

A blatant display of unhinged, left-wing mob extremism, and where is the media?  Last time I checked, angry, ideologically-driven mobs were supposedly really, really bad.

Boy, sure would be nice if an elected official or two were interested in pointing this sort of thing out once in a while……

The Paul File Continued (Updated)

The following is an addendum to my recent NewsReal posts about Ron & Rand Paul’s disgusting relationship with radicalism and their dangerous misrepresentation of facts on all things national-security and foreign-policy related:

During the 2008 Republican National Convention, Ron Paul held a counter-event, & the campaign invited crackpot Jesse Ventura to speak there. Ventura’s tirade about what “really happened” on 9/11 was met with wild applause by Paul’s audience.

On 9/11 Truther Alex Jones’ show in 2007, Paul claimed, “if you have a 9/11 incident or something like that, they use that to do the things that they had planned all along.”

In January 2008, Paul’s Midland County, MI, campaign coordinator was one Randy Gray, who happened to moonlight as “a longstanding active and vocal organizer for the Knight’s Party faction of the Ku Klux Klan.”  The campaign did not comment on the controversy, but did scrub all traces of Gray from their websites. Continue reading

Science: Krugman Full of It

From all the Left’s caterwauling about climate science, I gather that this “peer-review” thing is pretty darn important.  That’s good to know – otherwise, I might not have known what to make of a recent study from the peer-reviewed Econ Journal Watch, which “examined statements from 17 economists from 1981 through 2009, and gauged the consistency of their stances on deficit spending and reduction during Republican and Democratic administrations.”

Shockingly, they found that our good buddy Paul Krugman was the only economist to “significantly” change his tune depending on which party was in power.  Well, sounds to me like the science is settled…

He’s Back…

Insufferable gasbag “Marcus Brutus” is once again plaguing NewsReal with his presence.  Just like before, he’s whining about “slander” against the object of his most-unhealthy affection, Ron & Rand Paul, and just like before, his hubris is making him look like the lying buffoon, not me.

Bias & Censorship at the Fond du Lac Reporter

Groups and websites like NewsReal and the Media Research Center do great work holding the big dogs of the mainstream media—the New York Times, CNN, the networks, NPR, etc.—accountable for lies and sleaze, but there is another manifestation of media bias that gets far too little attention: local media.  My mother, Peg Freiburger, recently wrote an editorial to our local paper, the Fond du Lac Reporter, about legislation giving Planned Parenthood greater influence in Wisconsin public schools.  The letter’s path to publication raises serious questions about the objectivity of America’s most influential newspapers.

It responds to a February 12 news report, yet wasn’t published until April 2.  That’s because Mom originally submitted it on Feb. 14 (the original version of the letter appears below the fold).  She waited until March 1 for it to be published or for reaction from the Reporter, which she never received, then emailed an inquiry about the letter’s status to Managing Editor Michael Mentzer.  No response.  She waited some more, then sent a second email to Mentzer on March 10.

Mentzer finally responded a couple days later via phone.  Incredibly, he claimed the editorial staff felt “uncomfortable” printing the allegations in her latest editorial, that she needed to provide more evidence, and that the line, “It is pathetic that in Fond du Lac we have a county health officer and a county board…” cut too close to slander and libel.

At Mentzer’s request, Mom resubmitted the letter on March 16, this time with a link for her every claim.  She did not hear back for the next several days, and resubmitted it on March 22.  On March 23, Mentzer responded, stating he hoped to run it in the next several days, though election letters had priority.  On April 2, it finally appeared—under the title, “Planned Parenthood makes money on birth control,” a name that conveniently downplays the letter’s main objections to Planned Parenthood, and the organization’s connection to Wisconsin public schools.

This is perhaps unsurprising, given that Mentzer has in the past advocated greater government power to punish those who “distort information” in public.  But since when do local newspapers in general, and the Fond du Lac Reporter in particular, vet or take responsibility for the content of independent opinions?

Answer: they don’t.  Personal attacks on private citizens, slanderous mischaracterizations of opponents’ beliefs and actions, and factual claims that range from demonstrably false to at least debatable have always run rampant in the Reporter.  This is to be expected—the very point of an opinion page is to represent all the points of view in a community, to let the readers duke it out amongst themselves.

Click here for many examples of what the Reporter has traditionally published; here are some of the most blatant rhetoric that goes far beyond the content of Mom’s letter, which the powers that be initially thought too objectionable to print:

Rea Dunca, 6/14/06“How are these people [opponents of same-sex marriage] different then from Muslims who blow up hundreds of people in the name of Allah?”

Leah Woodruff, 7/7/06“Just when it seems that Fond du Lac is accepting its growing diversity, people start writing racist letters directed toward hard-working, law-abiding citizens.” [In response to a 7/5/06 letter by Elizabeth Van Bommel, which argued not for racism, but against illegal immigration.]

Brent Schmitz, 8/8/06“Why then, does Mr. Fountain use the quote to try to force his religion on suffering and dying Americans who need the cures this research can provide?” [In response to Steve Fountain’s 8/4/06 letter, which argued against embryonic stem cell research using this quote, and making no reference to religion.]

Julie Labomascus, 9/10/06“I wish to thank the two ladies who wrote the letters about 1950s morals and the male/female union. Both of you probably intended these letters to be serious, but they were so full of inaccuracies that they were the funniest things I’ve read in a few weeks. Thank you again for the laughs.” [This is the letter in its entirety. The author makes no effort to demonstrate what inaccuracies she’s referring to.]

Peter Cloyes, 11/28/06“I have nothing but contempt for the parents who are trying to have the book [I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou] removed from the [Fond du Lac High School] curriculum. They are clearly moronic bigots.” [The parents objected to the book’s explicit rape scene, not its racial aspects.]

Call the opinions of local officials “pathetic,” and the editor gets cold feet.  But calling your fellow citizens bigots?  Accusing them of factual inaccuracies you don’t even list?  Comparing them to terrorists?  No problemo!

Mentzer’s “concerns” about this letter’s conduct seem like cheap excuses not to publish a strong conservative opinion about a serious local controversy, not a real, consistently-applied quality control policy.  Does he really mean to suggest that the Reporter fact-checks every single opinion piece it prints?  If this was the norm, very little would ever be published on newspaper opinion pages across the country!

It’s safe to say that many people who don’t read the New York Times, USA Today, or the Washington Post do read their local papers.  And who keeps an eye on them?  How often does bull like this go on nationwide?  If Mom hadn’t pestered Mentzer with follow-up emails, would her letter ever have seen the light of day?  How many conservative views are snuffed out because their authors are less persistent, or because newspaper editors are more bold in their censorship?

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”  Likewise, the apathy of the people is the Left’s best friend.  Media bias, educational indoctrination, corruption in local government, or leaders who disregard the interests and values of their community—it all happens and continues because inattentive, unconcerned populaces let the powerful get away with it.  And if all politics is local, then we can’t expect real, lasting change at the national level if we don’t open our eyes and demand standards in our own communities.

Continue reading