Amnesty UK’s duplicity, bias and false accusations against Israel

December 9, 2010 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comments Off 

The director of Amnesty International UK, Kate Allen, wrote a piece in Foreign Policy calling Israel’s easing of the Gaza closure a sham:

As a recent report from 26 humanitarian and human rights organizations shows, six months of a less-oppressive blockade regime has made only a minimal difference to the lives of Gaza’s 1.5 million inhabitants.

Isn’t it interesting that the major player behind that report was Amnesty International UK? The wording here implies that she is merely quoting a study to support her thesis – but she is the main force behind the study to begin with, hosted on Amnesty’s UK site!

We’ve already looked at that study and exposed how one-sided it was. It plays with numbers, minimizes Israel’s almost superhuman and certainly unprecedented allowance of aid to a hostile territory – even in the midst of a war! – and it does everything possible to pretend that Gaza’s residents’ lives have not improved at all since the summer, when in fact many correspondents have reported the opposite. Far worse is the fact that if Amnesty’s recommendations would be implemented, it would give Hamas unlimited access to weapons. Placing hundreds of thousands of Israelis in danger is a consequence of Amnesty’s demands that Amnesty considers inconsequential.

So right up front, we see that Kate Allen is being somewhat deceptive in her characterization of the study to support her thesis. There’s more, however.

For example, she refers to the flotilla incident – and links it to a FP article about it, written as it was happening, by anti-Israel writer Marc Lynch. Of the avalanche of articles about the flotilla and the IHH attack on IDF soldiers as they legally attempted to board it, it is telling that this is the one she chooses – one that refers to the incident as an “outrageously disproportionate military response.”

Worst of all, however, is Allen’s repetition of one of the biggest lies around about the closure of Gaza – one that Goldstone, HRW, Amnesty and the UN repeat ad nauseum yet one that has no basis in fact:

The blockade is a violation of international humanitarian law (Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention) in its collective punishment of an entire civilian population under military occupation and control.

First of all, as we have shown many times, Gaza is not under “occupation” by any definition of the term. Military occupation means the physical presence of an army on the territory, and the only definition is the one given in the Hague Conventions. Not only that, but Amnesty’s own definition of “occupation”  proves that Israel is not occupying Gaza.


Beyond that, the idea that a blockade is “collective punishment” is also a lie. The framers of Geneva, when they wrote Article 33, specifically were thinking about purely punitive measures against an innocent population – wanton punishment for no possible military purpose. Wikipedia accurately gives the background:

By collective punishment, the drafters of the Geneva Conventions had in mind the reprisal killings of World Wars I and World War II. In the First World War, Germans executed Belgian villagers in mass retribution for resistance activity. In World War II, Nazis carried out a form of collective punishment to suppress resistance. Entire villages or towns or districts were held responsible for any resistance activity that took place there. Additional concern also addressed the United States’ atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which, in turn, caused death and disease to millions of Japanese civilians as well as their decedents. The conventions, to counter this, reiterated the principle of individual responsibility.

These are active acts of punishment aimed directly at an innocent population.

Yet no one has starved in Gaza from this horrible “siege.” Thousands of trucks of aid are sent in weekly; the Rafah crossing is open for people with legal passports to leave Gaza, thousands more have gone to Israel and elsewhere for medical treatment.

As law professor Michael Krauss has written:

The bar on collective punishment forbids the imposition of criminal or military penalties (imprisonment, death, etc) on some people for crimes committed by other individuals. But ceasing trade with a country is not inflicting a criminal or military penalty against that country’s citizens, not least because those citizens have no entitlement to objects of trade that they have not yet purchased. If Canada tolerated and celebrated car-bombings of Buffalo from Fort Erie, Ontario, the United States could cease exporting cars to Canada – such cessation of trade was never contemplated as collective punishment, because it is not a military or a criminal sanction. The United States quite legally froze trade with Iran after that country committed an act of War against the USA following the 1979 Revolution.

Even prevention of access of goods coming from third parties is not collective punishment: the U.S. blockade of Cuba after they installed nuclear missiles directed at the United States was not a collective punishment of the Cuban people, it was a non-violent act of war in self-defense. In any case, Israel has made no effort to prevent Gaza from receiving electricity from Egypt; it has merely declined to furnish this assistance itself. Article 49 of the Geneva Conventions clearly does not outlaw such acts.

An article in the San Diego Law Journal from 2009 sheds more light on the distinction between collective punishment and what Israel does to Gaza:

Israel’s imposition of economic sanctions on the Gaza Strip, such as partially withholding fuel supplies and electricity, does not involve the use of military force and is therefore a perfectly legal means of responding to Palestinian attacks, despite the effects on innocent Palestinian civilians. The use of economic and other non-military sanctions as a means of disciplining other international actors for their misbehavior is a practice known as “retorsion.” [FN82] It is generally acknowledged that any country may engage in retorsion. [FN83] Indeed, it is acknowledged that states may even go beyond retorsion to carry out non-belligerent reprisals-non-military acts that would otherwise be illegal (such as suspending flight agreements) as counter-measures. [FN84] Since Israel is under no legal obligation to engage in trade of fuel (or anything else with the Gaza Strip) or to maintain open borders with the Gaza Strip, it may withhold commercial items and seal its borders at its discretion, even if intended as “punishment” for Palestinian terrorism.

While international law bars “collective punishment,” [FN85] none of Israel’s combat actions and retorsions may be considered collective punishment. The bar on collective punishment forbids the imposition of criminal-type penalties on individuals or groups on the basis of another’s guilt, or the commission of acts that would otherwise violate the rules of distinction and proportionality, or both. [FN86] None of Israel’s actions involve the imposition of criminal type penalties or the violation of the rules of distinction and proportionality. It is striking that there has never been a prosecution for the war crime of collective punishment on the basis of economic sanctions. Indeed, many of the critics calling Israel’s withdrawal of economic aid “ collective punishment” call, or have called, for the imposition of economic sanctions or the withdrawal of economic aid against Israel and other countries [FN87] or, at least, claim to have “no position on [the legality of] punitive economic sanctions and boycotts.” [FN88]

Examples of retorsions are legion in international affairs. The U.S., for example, froze trade with Iran after the 1979 Revolution [FN89] and with Uganda in 1978 following accusations of genocide. [FN90] In 2000, fourteen European states suspended various diplomatic relations with Austria in protest of the participation of Jorg Haider-believed to be a racist-in the government. [FN91] Numerous states suspended trade and diplomatic relations with South Africa as punishment for apartheid practices. [FN92] In none of these cases was the charge of “ collective punishment ” raised. “Punishing” a country with restrictions on international trade is not identical to carrying out “collective punishment” in the legal sense.

I found this description of retorsion in International Law in Theory and Practice by Oscar Shachter:

It might be worthwhile to go through Amnesty’s archives to see if it is consistent in its definition of closures and blockades as “collective punishment,” but NGO Monitor once did the same for Human Rights Watch and found that they were remarkably inconsistent – and only a single nation that deprives a territory of certain supplies was considered in violation of Geneva’s Article 33.

Using a Google search on HRW’s site as a heuristic, 55 percent of HRW’s content referring to blockades and collective punishment is related to Israel.15 (Note that this is 55% of all HRW material and not limited to the Middle East and North Africa section). However, Israel is the only case where HRW uses “collective punishment” to refer to a blockade and the potential impact on civilian life. In other cases, this term is used to describe beatings, murder and destruction of property as indiscriminant retaliation against a group of people for the acts of members of that group.

Other cases of blockades that are not termed “collective punishment,” include Azerbaijan’s blockade of Nagorno Karabakh and Armenia described in Human Rights Watch 1994 World Report:

“Electricity, gas, oil and grain-necessary for the basic human needs of civilians in Armenia-were in extremely short supply… … The lack of gas and electricity deprived Armenians of heat in the freezing winter… a rise in deaths among the newborn and the elderly was accompanied by a higher suicide rate and growing incidence of mental illness. The blockade had ruined Armenia’s industry…”

The report does not refer to this “blockade” as “collective punishment,”, and indeed recommends that “all but humanitarian aid should be withheld from Armenia because of Armenia’s financing of the war”. It is not clear why HRW promotes a policy of economic isolation for Armenia, but when Israel must respond to daily rocket attacks on civilian population centers, HRW condemns a similar policy as “collective punishment.”

Similarly, in a 1999 press release on Chechnya, “Russian Ultimatum to Grozny Condemned” (8 Dec, 1999) HRW described the humanitarian situation as

“rapidly deteriorating, with no functioning hospitals, electricity, running water, gas, or heating since the beginning of November, and dwindling food supplies”.

This is clearly a more urgt humanitarian situation than Gaza in 2007 (where humanitarian aid enters daily16), but HRW did not classify it as “collective punishment.” en

In 2007, the term “collective punishment” was used by HRW in 13 items not referring to Israel (see Table 1). These cases generally provide evidence of punitive intent against third parties either at the family or community level.

Table 1 Collective punishment in 2007 HRW publications

The items in Table 1 show HRW’s use of “collective punishment” in highlighting reprisal actions against third parties. For example, in 2007, testimony to a US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health, Sam Zarifi (HRW’s “Washington Advocate”)17 stated,

“in the Ogaden, we have documented massive crimes by the Ethiopian army, including… villages burned to the ground as part of a campaign of collective punishment”.

Another example is found in an August 2007 Guardian article, “Ethiopia’s dirty war” authored by HRW’s London Director, Tom Porteous18. He asserts that

“dozens of civilians have been killed in what appears to be a deliberate effort to mete out collective punishment against a civilian population suspected of sympathising with the rebels.”

These results show that HRW’s application of “collective punishment” is inconsistent and arbitrary. No other “blockade” is described in these terms, and other cases of “collective punishment” involve beatings, murder and destruction of property as indiscriminate retaliation against a group of people for the acts of members of that group.

Almost certainly, Amnesty is equally guilty of applying this standard to Israel, and Israel alone. (The quick search I did of their site indicates this, but I did not do an exhaustive search.)

Certainly Amnesty UK is less than objective when it comes to Israel.

(h/t Zach for original article and San Diego Law Journal text.)



Elder of Ziyon

Skip to main content CNN CNN US * EDITION: U.S. * INTERNATIONAL * MÉXICO Set edition preference * Sign up * Log in * Home * Video * NewsPulse * U.S. * World * Politics * Justice * Entertainment * Tech * Health * Living * Travel * Opinion * iReport * Money * Sports [Feedback] Feedback Share this on: Mixx Facebook Twitter Digg delicious reddit MySpace StumbleUpon LinkedIn Holder: ‘Significant’ actions taken in WikiLeaks investigation By the CNN Wire Staff December 6, 2010 11:40 a.m. EST STORY HIGHLIGHTS * U.S. attorney general calls posts of diplomatic cables “arrogant” and misguided” * Swiss bank ends business relationship with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange Washington (CNN) – Attorney General Eric Holder said Monday that he has authorized “significant” actions related to the criminal investigation of WikiLeaks as the website faces increasing pressure worldwide for publishing sensitive U.S. diplomatic cables. “National security of the United States has been put at risk,” Holder said. “The lives of people who work for the American people have been put at risk. The American people themselves have been put at risk by these actions that I believe are arrogant, misguided and ultimately not helpful in any way. We are doing everything that we can.” Holder, speaking at a news conference on financial fraud, declined to answer questions about the possibility of the U.S. government shutting WikiLeaks down, saying he does not want to talk about capabilities and techniques at the government’s disposal. His comments came as a Swiss bank announced that it had closed the account of Julian Assange, the website’s founder. “The decision comes after it was revealed that Assange provided false information regarding his place of residence when opening the account,” Swiss PostFinance said in a news release. (MORE) Share this on: Mixx Facebook Twitter Digg delicious reddit MySpace StumbleUpon LinkedIn We recommend You might like: * And the winner of ‘Dancing with the Stars’ is… The Marquee Blog * Obama in Afghanistan Afghanistan Crossroads * House, Senate Democrats: no tax cut extension over $250,000 CNN Politics * Clinton condemns leak as ‘attack on international community’ CNN US * Fighters scrambled as DC airspace rules violated CNN US From around the web Selected for you by our sponsor: * California man goes to court for modifying Xbox 360 Digital Trends * WikiLeaks: Vladimir Putin, He’s Just Like Us New York Magazine * WikiLeaks Worse for SEC Than Bank of America TheStreet * WikiLeaks’ Next Target Could Be U.S. Bank TheStreet * Citizen Journalists Offer Disturbing Video From Inside North Korea New York Magazine [what’s this] Loading comments… Problems loading Disqus? Log in or sign up to comment soundoff (0 Comments) Show: Newest | Oldest | Most liked Post a comment Log in or sign up to comment There are no comments on this story. Be the first! Thanks for posting. Would you like to edit your profile? NewsPulse Most popular stories right now WikiLeaks lists sites key to U.S. security Frum: Why obesity harms national security Officials: Bodies of U.S. balloonists found Mechanic convicted in deadly Concorde crash Australia: Assange allowed to return home Explore the news with NewsPulse » * Healthcare Jobs * Sales and Marketing Jobs * Finance Jobs Quick Job Search more options » 30° HI 38°LO 20° Welcome, NCWeather forecast Home | Video | NewsPulse | U.S. | World | Politics | Justice | Entertainment | Tech | Health | Living | Travel | Opinion | iReport | Money | Sports Tools & widgets | RSS | Podcasts | Blogs | CNN mobile | My profile | E-mail alerts | CNN shop | Site map CNN en ESPAÑOL | CNN Chile | CNN Expansion | | | | CNN TV | HLN | Transcripts © 2010 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms of service | Privacy guidelines | Advertising practices | Advertise with us | About us | Contact us | Work for us | Help

December 6, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

Washington (CNN) – Attorney General Eric Holder said Monday that he has authorized “significant” actions related to the criminal investigation of WikiLeaks as the website faces increasing pressure worldwide for publishing sensitive U.S. diplomatic cables.

“National security of the United States has been put at risk,” Holder said. “The lives of people who work for the American people have been put at risk. The American people themselves have been put at risk by these actions that I believe are arrogant, misguided and ultimately not helpful in any way. We are doing everything that we can.”
FULL STORY


CNN Political Ticker

Liberty and False Comparisons

November 22, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

I’ve been pretty consistent over the years in siding with liberty over authority in the fight against terrorism.  Whether the president has been a Republican or a Democrat, I’ve opposed the creation of a Department of Homeland Security, the federalization of airport security screenings, torture of accused terrorists, unlimited detention of prisoners, declaration of citizens as illegal enemy combatants and denying them habeus corpus rights, and even the use of language that suggested that people who disagree with my views on various issues are unpatriotic.

But one argument that I’m seeing a lot over the last couple of days strikes me as bizarre.

Adam Serwer:

The Transportation Security Agency’s new airport passenger-screening procedures, which force airline passengers to submit to a full-body scan or an invasive frisk, is turning Dick Cheney’s biggest fans into latter-day Ben Franklins.

The conservative, torture-friendlyWashington Times, declared that “a balance must be struck between reasonable security measures and the maintenance of a free society.” Abu Ghraib was a fraternity prank, but getting frisked at the airport is a sign of, to quote the Times, “Big Sister’s police state.”

Scott Lemieux:

So, of course, to wingers the necessity to violate people’s rights to confront allegedly existential threats becomes much less compelling when it’s their rights being violated. Hence, the inevitable calls from conservatives that the new TSA policies not be applied in a manner consistent with the equal protection of the laws.

Now, again, I opposed the maltreatments at Abu Ghraib, which were abuses of power carried out by criminals for their own amusement to the detriment of America’s goals in Iraq and the region.

But it’s certainly possible to construct an ethical, reasonable argument wherein those entrusted with defending our nation would be justified in using extraordinary measures against foreign nationals, particularly those captured in combat against American citizens, who are strongly suspected of being terrorists.   And it’s possible to hold that position and yet think it’s outrageous to subject grandma and 6-year-olds to invasions of their privacy as part of an absurd demonstration of security theater.

Similarly, one needn’t be a racist or a reactionary to think that different levels of scrutiny ought be applied to Muslim males between the ages of 25 and 35 than to Hispanic toddlers or Jewish grandmothers when screening for potential terrorists.   “Profiling” based on race, gender, or ethnicity alone, naturally, would be not only unlawful but stupid.   But it makes sense to limit one’s attention to those who are plausibly suspects.




Outside the Beltway

When The Government Is The False Advertiser

November 17, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

By Walter Olson

I had an op-ed in the Washington Times yesterday on government’s growing participation in public-health scare campaigns demonizing everyday foods that are fattening, salty, or thought to be bad for us in other ways. In particular, I singled out Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s New York City Department of Health, which has followed up one scientifically dubious ad campaign on sweetened soft drinks (“What can we get away with?” asked one official) with an even worse — in fact, grossly misleading and manipulative — attack on salt in processed foods:

It shows a can of soup bursting at the seams with table salt, whole mounds and piles of it. The city’s underlying point is not 100 percent off-base – healthful in most other ways, conventional canned soup is a relatively salty food – but the actual amount of salt in a can is more like 1 teaspoon, not the third of a cup or more depicted in the city’s ridiculously exaggerated photo. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the Bloomberg soup ad is built on a visual lie.

What would happen if a private advertiser tried to get away with imagery as misleading as this? Well, in 1970, in a case still taught in business schools, Campbell’s got caught manipulating the soup pictures in its ads; its photographers had put marbles at the bottom of the bowl so that the pleasing vegetables would be more visible on top. The Federal Trade Commission filed a deceptive-advertising complaint to make the company stop.

The FTC’s authority would not extend so far as to ordering New York City to cease its misrepresentations, and for various reasons (including the principle that states and localities ought largely to retain independence from federal dictation) we should be glad it doesn’t. But couldn’t we at least ask that the federal taxpayer not be made to subsidize the false advertising?

Last month, the federal Centers for Disease Control – headed by Bloomberg’s own [former health commissioner Dr. Thomas] Frieden – announced a $ 412,000 grant to assist the city in its anti-salt efforts.

The full piece is here. Incidentally, via the American Council on Science and Health comes word of a new Harvard study finding that Americans’ intake of salt is almost exactly the same as it was 50 years ago; it also seems that international studies find that people in other countries tend to pursue and attain very similar levels of salt intake. If accurate, that would cast doubt on two key themes of public health alarmism, namely that America is experiencing some sort of epidemic of exposure to salty processed foods, and that such an epidemic underlies rising hypertension rates (which, as the article explains, may owe more to obesity than to salt intake). I could not resist a chuckle at the name of the press outlet reporting the results of the new study: Bloomberg Business Week.

When The Government Is The False Advertiser is a post from Cato @ Liberty – Cato Institute Blog


Cato @ Liberty

Correction Request: Chris Hedges Maligns Tea Party with False Photo

November 12, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

As noted earlier from Big Journalism’s Ben Evans, AlterNet blogger Chris Hedges used a video still of a tea party crasher to prop up his narrative of fascism within the tea party.

The video still originated from a video shot by Adam Sharp, a well-known citizen journalist and videographer, during a spring tea party rally against the health control legislation pending in congress. Days earlier a school teacher created a tea party crasher website encouraging leftists to falsely represent themselves (or maybe not falsely) as racists, Nazis, et al. and infiltrate tea party events to get in media and make the tea party look bad. The stunt failed and the instigators were quickly identified at rallies across the country and driven out of the events.

Hedges uses a false image from one of the crashers to support his progressive narrative of tea party stereotype. He needs to correct this presentation and disclose that the individual in the video has been widely-known for some time to be a crasher.


Big Journalism

Deliberate Distortions Create False Sense of Urgency for Social Security Cuts

November 9, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

There is so much inaccurate information—much of it deliberately cultivated—about the solvency of Social Security, that it’ss leading policymakers, analysts and lawmakers to believe there is an urgent need to make major changes to Social Security.

Add to that a cadre of newly elected representatives and senators who back raising the retirement age, privatizing Social Security or making other cuts to the nation’s most successful social safety net program, and it becomes even more important to make sure the real picture of Social Security’s future is not distorted.

A new issue brief from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) calls attention to the fact that Social Security will be fully solvent for the next 27 years and any premature action to make changes to the program will have a severe impact on millions of near retirees. Says CEPR Co-Director Dean Baker:

Misinformation about Social Security has led many to believe that Social Security is in immediate danger of insolvency but the program will be fully solvent for almost three more decades. Furthermore, even if no changes are ever made, a child born in 2010 can expect to see a benefit that is more than 50 percent larger in real terms than what current retirees receive today.

The issue brief, “Action on Social Security: The Urgent Need for Delay,” argues that proponents of strengthening Social Security should fight to delay any action on changes because:

  • There is good reason for believing the public will be better informed about the financial state of Social Security in the future, in part because of the weakening of some of the main sources of misinformation.
  • Many more people will be directly dependent on Social Security in the near future. These people and their families will likely be strong defenders of the program.
  • The group of near-retirees, who may be the victims of early action, will desperately need their Social Security since they have seen much of their wealth eliminated with the collapse of the housing bubble.
  • The concern over “maintaining the confidence of financial markets” is an empty claim that can be used to justify almost any policy.

Click here for the full report. For more information, be sure to visit Our Fiscal Security here, Retirement USA here, Strengthen Social Security…Don’t Cut It here and the Alliance for Retired Americans here.

AFL-CIO NOW BLOG

A Tough Penalty for False Political Claims

November 5, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

This Associated Press item caught our interest, describing a tough penalty meted out to a British politician for false campaign advertising:

LONDON – A British court on Friday threw out the results of a parliamentary election after deciding that the victor had gone too far in distorting his opponent’s positions.

The judges …
FactCheck.org

British Election Overturned Because of “False Statements”

November 5, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The Independent reports that former British immigration minister Phil Woolas “lost his seat as an MP today after an election court ruled that he knowingly made false statements about an opponent in May’s general election.”

Bloomberg notes Woolas was guilty of “an illegal practice” by making statements “he had no reasonable grounds for believing were true and did not believe were true.”

“It is the first time in 99 years that an election has been overturned as a result of a candidate making false statements. Woolas told reporters he is applying for a judicial review of the decision.”
Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire

The New Blacklist: ABC News Makes Provably False Claim Breitbart ‘Exaggerated’ His Role

November 1, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

There’s been yet another troubling turn in the story of ABC News caving to left-wing Blacklisters since Andrew Breitbart published this article last night laying out the facts with respect to how the network offered him a gracious invitation to participate in tomorrow’s “online and network broadcast election night coverage” and then revoked at least part of that invitation after the left ginned up a coordinated Juan Williams-like astro-turf attack to silence him.

Via Yahoo!, this morning ABC News contradicted themselves further with this jaw-dropping accusation claiming that this is all Breitbart’s fault for exaggerating his role:

“Mr. Breitbart exaggerated the role he would play on his blog,” ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider told The Upshot on Monday. “We immediately made it clear that was never the role he was supposed to play. He had been invited to be part of our digital town hall, and that is still the role.”

Before we look at what “Mr. Breitbart” posted on “his blog,” let’s look at what ABC News told him. This is a direct quote from an an email to Breitbart from an ABC News producer…

This program will broadcast on the ABC Television Network.

And then there’s this from a statement by David Ford of ABC News…

He [Breitbart] will be one of many voices on our air[.]

How exactly does Big Journalism’s October 29th announcement qualify as an exaggeration when compared to what ABC News has said both privately via email and publicly via that statement?:

Bigs founder and head of the Breitbart empire Andrew Breitbart will be bringing analysis live from Arizona.

It doesn’t. There is no exaggeration. What would his role be if not real-time analysis? Reading the news? Doing interviews? And here’s the kicker, if ABC News was unhappy with the announcement why not ask for a clarification prior to launching these kinds of statements?

Furthermore, the same Jeffrey Schneider who at the top of that Yahoo! article accuses Breitbart of exaggerating is presumably the same Jeffrey Schneider at the bottom of the article who further contradicts himself by saying, in effect, that the idea always was to broadcast on ABC News “anything thoughtful or interesting” from the townhall Breitbart’s participating in:

Now, there’s technically a scenario in which Breitbart appears in some form on the network’s television broadcast but still isn’t called on as a political analyst for ABC’s election night coverage.

Here’s how: Schneider explained that portions of the digital town hall will be included in the ABC network broadcast. So, he said, “it’s entirely possible that anybody who says anything thoughtful or interesting during the streaming portion of it can be excerpted on the broadcast.”

So, I guess… Cue the Left-Wing Indignation Blacklisting Machine, Breitbart’s ideas might still air on ABC News!

But as Breitbart himself said in his article last night, this isn’t about him.

georgestephanopoulos

During the 1950s, Blacklisters like the George Soros-funded Media Matters, Keith Olbermann, the Huffington Post, Daily Kos, and Talking Points Memo would’ve screamed Commie! to silence, marginalize and Alinsky those they disagree with. Today, the new Commie is Intolerance, Racist, and any and all variations of the same. But the insidious goal of this tactic hasn’t changed one bit — to silence, toxify and effectively blacklist political opponents by falsely accusing them of the worst sins of the day.

The fact that these accusations against Breitbart are completely unfounded is proven by ABC News. If any of these left-wing smears were true, would ABC have invited Breitbart to be a part of their “online and network broadcast election night coverage” in the first place?

Of course not. So why then is ABC News trying to embarrass Andrew with claims that he exaggerated his role tomorrow night and surrounding those false claims with a flurry of conflicting statements to appease the Left?

We all know why.

Breitbart is not the first to face this new breed of Blacklisters and anyone to the right of Keith Olbermann should take note that he certainly won’t be the last. We have seen the Left’s Blacklisters unsuccessfully attempt to blacklist Eric Erickson off of CNN and we have seen these same Blacklisters successfully remove Juan Williams from the very same NPR willing to tolerate Nina — “Gee, I hope Jesse Helms or his grandkids gets AIDS” — Totenberg.

ABC News and NPR now have hold of a tiger by the tail; because once you give in to the Blacklisters, once they taste the blood of victory, they are only emboldened — and like all predators, they prey first on the weak.

You would think that of all people George Stephanopoulos would understand just how wicked this all is after feeling the full force of Leftist rage and JournoLista piling on after he dared ask then-candidate Obama a couple of tough questions during a 2008 primary debate.

George learned a lesson all right. Unfortunately, it looks as though it was the wrong one.


Big Journalism

Jimmy Carter: Fox News Implants ‘Completely False Images’ of President Obama

October 31, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Former President Jimmy Carter on Sunday claimed that Fox News implants "completely false images" of Barack Obama while also distorting the facts about legislation before Congress.

Speaking to Howard Kurtz on CNN's "Reliable Sources," Carter practically blamed all of the current president's problems in the polls on the cable news network (video follows with transcript and commentary):

read more

NewsBusters.org – Exposing Liberal Media Bias

Death of Anna Nicole Smith: Howard K. Stern & Dr. Khristine Eroshevich Found Guilty of Conspiring to Provide Drugs Using False Names … That’s It?

October 30, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

After all this time and litigation … boyfriend Howard K. Stern only found guilty of conspiring to provide drugs using false names. UNREAL!  Dr. Sandeep Kapoor was acquitted on all charges. Talk about a clueless jury. Shame on you all. How could any one knowingly acquit others who supplied a drug addict with massive quantities of drugs?

 

Because this is the type of individual who should be provided 1500 pills a month to kill the pain

Anna Nicole Smith’s boyfriend-lawyer Howard K. Stern and Dr. Khristine Eroshevich were found guilty Thursday on charges of conspiring to provide drugs using false names.

Another defendant in the case, Dr. Sandeep Kapoor, was acquitted on all counts against him.

Anna Nicole Smith died of an accidental drug overdose on February 8, 2007 when she was found unresponsive at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. However, is an overdose really ever accidental when one is enabled by others and when one is kept in a vegetative state in order to control them? Howard K. Stern was acquitted of seven other charges involving Smith and is free pending an appeal.

 

Accidental? How could one have so many drugs in their system and there not be negligence on some one’s part? There is nothing accidental about providing this many drugs to one person and circumventing the law to do so.

Ultimately her death was ruled an accidental drug overdose of the sedative chloral hydrate that became increasingly lethal when combined with other prescription drugs in her system, specifically 4 benzodiazepines: Klonopin (Clonazepam), Ativan (Lorazepam), Serax (Oxazepam), and Valium (Diazepam). Furthermore, she had taken Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) and Topamax (Topiramate), an anticonvulsant GABA agonist, which likely contributed to the sedative effect of chloral hydrate and the benzodiazepines.[83] Although the individual levels of any of the benzodiazepines in her system would not have been sufficient to cause death, their combination with a high dose of chloral hydrate led to her overdose.

Here is the reason why Stern, Eroshevich and Kapoor were acquitted as the judge provided a nonsensical and unheard of lack of common sense direction to the jury. How could any one in their right mind not think that a patient receiving 1500 pills in one month was not an addict, yet the judge warned the jury “that numbers of pills were not the measure of addiction.” OH REALLY, IS THE JUDGE AN EXPERT ON DRUG ADDITION!What else could receiving 1500 pills in a month be? Some one is supposed to take 50 pills a day and this is not supposed to be a problem and a doctor is not supposed to question?

Superior Court Judge Robert Perry told the jury of six women and six men that a doctor who has a good faith belief that a patient is in pain is not guilty of a crime for prescribing controlled substances to relieve suffering.

While presenting their case, prosecutors displayed multiple prescriptions to Smith for heavy painkillers such as Dilaudid, Demarol, Vicodin and Methadone, as well as anti-anxiety drugs and sedatives including Ambien, Xanax, Valium and Chloral Hydrate. In one month, they said, Smith received 1,500 pills.

The judge, however, warned that numbers of pills were not the measure of addiction.

“To violate (the law) a defendant must willfully and knowingly prescribe, administer or dispense a controlled substance to an addict for a non-therapeutic purpose,” Perry instructed the jury.

Who honestly thinks that 1500 pills are prescribed for therapeutic purposes, knowing who and what Anna Nicole Smith was like?

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Scared Monkeys

The Obama-ACORN connection, and Obama’s false statements about it

October 26, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

(Paul)

During the 2008 presidential election, Barack Obama, in response to allegations by John McCain that he had “long and deep” ties to ACORN, said the following to ABC News reporter:

My relationship with ACORN is pretty straight forward. It’s probably 13 years ago when I was practicing law, I represented ACORN. . .in having Illinois implement what was called the Motor Voter law. . . .That was my relationship, and is my relationship, to ACORN.

Later, in his third debate with McCain, Obama was even more categorical. He stated: “The only involvement I’ve ever had with ACORN was I represented them alongside the U.S. Justice Department in making Illinois implement a Motor Voter law that helped people get registered at DMVs.”

As Stanley Kurtz demonstrates in his terrific new book Radical-in-Chief, Obama’s statement to ABC and his statement to the nation during the debate are both false. In reality, Obama was involved with ACORN when he ran something called Project Vote in 1992. In fact, Obama himself has linked his work on Project Vote to ACORN. When he sought the endorsement of ACORN for his presidential bid, he said, “when I ran Project Vote, the voter registration drive in Illinois, ACORN was smack dab in the middle of it.” So much for Obama not having a relationship with ACORN until the subsequent Motor Voter litigation.

ACORN was “smack dab in the middle” of Project Vote because Obama placed it there. He and the other hard-core leftists in charge of Project Vote selected for its steering committee Madeleine Talbott of ACORN and Keith Kelleher of SEIU Local 880, ACORN’s hand-maiden. (Other steering committee members included Reverend Jeremiah Wright and Father Michael Pfleger).

ACORN’s presence on the steering committee was no mere honorary status. As Kelleher later wrote:

Local 880 and Illinois ACORN joined forces with a newly-invigorated voter registration group, Project Vote, run by former community organizer (and current Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Senator) Barack Obama to bring other community groups under the Project Vote umbrella and move a large-scale voter registration program for U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun.

Thus, ACORN was at the center of Project Vote when Obama ran it. Again, Obama’s claim to have been involved with ACORN only in subsequent litigation over the Motor Voter law is a fabrication.

The quote above from Kelleher makes another revealing point. Project Vote purported to be a non-partisan organization dedicated to encouraging voter participation by everyone, regardless of party affiliation. Indeed, as Kurtz notes, non-partisanship is a legal requirement for tax-exempt voter registration work. But Kelleher acknowledges that Project Vote was really a voter registration program for Democratic Senatorial candidate Moseley Braun.

Two years later, Obama did (as he says) represent ACORN in its suit against Illinois over Motor Voter issues. But this was the fruit of his relationship ACORN, not the first and only example of it. Obama had done ACORN a significant favor by making it a major player in Project Vote, and thus in the election of Moseley Braun, who proceeded to help ACORN with its core project of forcing banks to make loans to high risk applicants. It was only natural that ACORN subsequently would select him as its counsel.

As a result of Obama’s misrepresentation of his links with ACORN, the American people were denied relevant information about his past radical political associations. The electorate thought it was electing a mainstream liberal with bipartisan tendencies. It now suspects that it elected a left-wing ideologue. Kurtz’s book shows that these suspicions are correct, if perhaps understated.




Power Line

Retraction Request: Politico’s Jonathan Martin Smears Palin with False Facts

October 21, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

In his piece today entitled “Sarah Palin is wreaking havoc on the campaign trail, GOP sources say,” Politico’s Jonathan Martin (who was tasked with the Republican Party beat for the website for the 2008 elections) falsley claims Sarah Palin backed out of a scheduled interview with talk-radio host Mark Levin:

According to a source familiar with the situation, she backed out of planned interviews with conservative talk-show hosts Sean Hannity and Mark Levin the morning she was scheduled to talk to them.


Levin contested this claim on his facebook page, and has asked Politico to retract this statement:

This is a flat out lie. Sarah Palin never backed out of any interview with me. Period. And John Martin, the reporter, never contacted me to ask me directly. I insist on a retraction.

Red State seconded the request.  Allow us to be third.


Big Journalism

How about a moratorium on construction of false graves?

October 21, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

(Paul)

The following is one of those stories that, through its sheer strangeness, provides a better window into Israeli-Palestinian relations than 1,000 accounts you might read in the mainstream media. It seems that the Muslim Waqf (a religious endowment in Islamic law that oversees land for Muslim religious or charitable purposes) has asked a court to force the city of Jerusalem to stop removing false graves from an ancient Muslim cemetery near the center of the city.

What are the false graves doing in the cemetery? According to this report, the Waqf had them constructed because it wanted to add property to the cemetery.

The cemetery had been in a state of severe disrepair for more than a century despite being under the supervision of the Waqf. But recently trucks, tractors and other heavy machines were spotted dumping building materials at the site. Workers then shaped the materials into Muslim-style tombstones with no one buried beneath them. Approximately 300 such tombstones were created.

Later, it was reported that essentially the same thing was occurring in the area of the Eastern Wall in Jerusalem (adjacent to the Western Wall). In that case, the Arabs involved simply ignored a ruling that deems the area a national park. Apparently, the police are also ignoring that ruling and, indeed, preventing Jews from passing through the area.

After receiving reports about the construction at the cemetery near the center of the city, the Jerusalem Municipality and the Israel Lands Authority began removing the tombs. The Waqf sought legal redress. Argument was heard this week.

Absent evidence that anyone was buried in the graves at issue, the Waqf’s case seems like it should be dead on arrival. We’ll see.

How odd that Israel is expected not to build in settlements to accommdate live citizens, while Muslims build in Jerusalem on behalf of Arabs who never existed.




Power Line

The False Choice Between a VAT and Impossible Spending Cuts

October 21, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana has triggered a spat among policy wonks with his recent comments expressing sympathy for a value-added tax (VAT). Kevin Williamson of National Review is arguing that a VAT will probably be necessary because there is no hope of restraining spending. Ryan Ellis of Americans for Tax Reform jumped on Williamson for his “apostasy,” arguing that a VAT would be bad news for taxpayers. From a policy perspective, I’m very much against a VAT because it will finance bigger government, as explained in this video.

That being said, Kevin Williamson makes a good point when he says that some supply-siders have neglected the spending side of the fiscal ledger. And it certainly is true that Republicans don’t seem very interested in curtailing the growth of government. But does this mean, as Williamson argues, but that our choices are limited to 1) a 36 percent spending cut, 2) catastrophic deficits and debt, or 3) a European-style value-added tax.

I actually think it would be a great idea to reduce the budget by 36 percent. That would bring the burden of federal spending back down to where it was in 2003. Notwithstanding the screams from various interest groups that this would generate, nobody was starving in the streets when the budget was $ 2.3 trillion rather than today’s $ 3.5 trillion. But Kevin is unfortunately correct in noting that this type of fiscal reform won’t happen.

Kevin is wrong, however, in saying that we therefore have to choose between either Greek-style deficits or a VAT.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, tax revenues over the next 10 years will increase by an average of about 7.3 percent each year – and that’s assuming the tax cuts are made permanent and the AMT is adjusted for inflation. Reducing red ink simply requires that politicians exercise a tiny bit of restraint so that spending grows by a lesser amount. This video walks through the numbers and shows how quickly the budget could be balanced with varying levels of spending discipline.

By the way, it’s worth pointing out that the VAT has not prevented gigantic deficits in nations such as Greece, Japan, Ireland, Spain, England, etc, etc. Politicians in those nations implemented VATs, usually with promises that the money would be used to reduce other taxes and/or lower red ink, but all that happened was more spending and bigger government (this cartoon makes the point in a rather amusing fashion). In other words, Milton Friedman was right when he wrote that, ”In the long run government will spend whatever the tax system will raise, plus as much more as it can get away with.”


Big Government

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