ben smith

Ben Smith of Buzzfeed (formerly Politico)

Ben Smith is a truth-challenged internet reporter from Buzzfeed who previously worked at the Politico. See the posts below for several reasons why he isn't a credible source.

Twitter: @buzzfeedben, previously @benpolitico.

Last modified Jan 9, 2012
Discussed in (click each link for the full post):

Michael Savage calls for "nationalist party" with a "charismatic leader"; globalists respond - 01/06/13

Speaking on the Aaron Klein radio show earlier today, radio host Michael Savage said among other things this:

"We need a nationalist party in the United States of America... [the Tea Partiers] need to restructure their party. They need a charismatic leader, which they don’t have... When you say Tea Party no one knows who the leader is because there is no leader,” he said. “No man has stepped forward who can lead that party."

Some notes:

Ben Smith and Byron Tau can't tell the truth about Obama certificate ("Birthers", Politico) - 04/22/11

If you've seen the Ben Smith posts, you know he's repeatedly lied about the indisputable facts of the Obama citizenship issue. He continues lying today in "Birtherism: Where it all began" (link) which contains a series of false or misleading statements about the indisputable facts of this issue. This time around he's got some help from his Politico colleague Byron Tau.

1. They write "[The Obama campaign] posted Obama’s certificate of live birth on their “Fight the Smears” website and gave a copy to the liberal website Daily Kos." The picture in question is not a certificate; it says right at the top it's a "Certification of Live Birth" ("COLB"). Smith, as with Anderson Cooper, John King, and several others is intentionally trying to mislead. Instead of referring to the certification by that name, Smith is using "certificate" in order to confuse people into thinking it's the same as what most people think of when they hear the term "birth certificate".

2. They write:

FactCheck.org, the non-partisan website, was allowed to examine the physical copy of the birth certificate in August 2008, and concluded it was real, that it had a raised seal, a signature and met all the State Department criteria for proof of citizenship. Combined with the state’s recognition that the record was real - and contemporary newspaper announcements of Obama’s birth, submitted by the hospitals - they concluded that he was a natural born citizen... Hawaii has repeatedly confirmed the document’s authenticity

a) FactCheck is not a credible source; see the link. Their main article about this issue contains a big lie and they edited the pictures of the COLB after initially posting them without noting that they'd edited them.

b) Ben Smith's claim that the announcements were "submitted by the hospitals" has not been proven. No one has provided any evidence that the announcements in question would only indicate a Hawaiian birth and would only have come from a Hawaiian hospital where Obama was born. The closest Obama supporters have come is the imaginings of people (a newspaper editor and Janice Okubo) who weren't working at the newspaper or the Hawaii Department of Health respectively when the announcements appeared. If Ben Smith has any conclusive evidence - not just imaginings by those who weren't around then - that those announcements would only indicate a Hawaiian birth, he should post it. He won't because he has no such conclusive evidence.

c) The phrases "the state’s recognition that the record was real" and "Hawaii has repeatedly confirmed the document’s authenticity" are intentionally misleading. The state of Hawaii has never authenticated the pictures on Obama's site or on FactCheck. Chiyome Fukino did recently say that the picture matches what's on file, but I'm not predisposed to believe her considering her record and the sales job she attempted in the rest of the interview in question. The state of Hawaii did say around the time that FactCheck posted the pictures that "Obama’s original birth certificate [is] on record in accordance with state policies and procedures". However, as indicated above, they've never verified that what they have on file matches what's in the pictures on Obama's site or on FactCheck. Ben Smith is trying to make his readers think that the state of Hawaii verified the pictures on Obama's site or on FactCheck, when that never happened.

3. Ben Smith and Byron Tau write:

The website World Net Daily, for instance, has written that “Hawaii at the time of Obama’s birth allowed births that took place in foreign countries to be registered in Hawaii.” This is true, but such a birth certificate would show the actual foreign place of birth instead of listing – as Obama’s does - Honolulu.

How exactly do we know that? Once again: the state of Hawaii has not confirmed that the pictures on Obama's and FactCheck's sites matches what they have on file. It's very unlikely that Obama would have tampered with the picture on his site, but it can't be ruled out especially due to all the lies from reporters surrounding this issue, the smear campaign conducted against those who have questions, and the fact that Obama just isn't that credible (see Obama misleads). What the picture says can't be assumed to be the same as what if anything Hawaii has on file says. Ben Smith and Byron Tau are intentionally trying to mislead.

4. Smith and Tau also repeat the "time travel canard" as used by FactCheck, a sign that someone is trying to mislead. They also falsely pretend that Obama would somehow be prevented from releasing his long-form birth certificate if he wanted to.

I realize the above might be confusing to those who are casual observers of this issue, many of whom have been trained to dismiss any critical discussion as crazy. If you've been so trained, please start with one of the points above and then compare what Ben Smith says to the facts. If you approach that with an open mind, you'll see that he's lying or misleading.

And, of course, none of the above means that Obama was born outside Hawaii; I think it's highly likely he was born there. However, he hasn't proved it conclusively. And, hacks like Ben Smith and Byron Tau are liars. Please don't fall for their lies.

Ben Smith keeps lying about Obama certificate issue, two years later - 04/01/11

Over two years ago I posted Ben Smith /Politico keeps lying about Obama certificate issue. Now, over two years later, Smith is still lying about the basic, indisputable facts of the matter.

At [1] he says:

Obama has, as has been reported for years, released the document. Hawaii officials have verified it. The conspiracy theory is crazy. And, having been held at bay by the Republican Establishment for three years, it's now bleeding in.

That is factually incorrect: it's a lie and Ben Smith is trying to fool gullible people who won't take the time to do research. The facts of the matter are that Hawaii refuses to verify the COLB picture that Obama posted on his website.

One single Hawaiian official has said he was born there and she previously said she and another official had seen "Obama’s original birth certificate on record". Everything former Hawaii governor Linda Lingle has said was based on that (and she lied when reprising what others had said). Current governor Neil Abercrombie said he'd found a "recording of the birth" that was "written down" but then refused to produce anything.

At no time has a Hawaii official authenticated or "verified" the picture shown on Obama's site. Ben Smith is, as he's always done, lying to you.

[1] politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0411/Trumps_shadow.html

Ben Smith finally does real reporting on the Birth Certificate (Donald Trump's that is) - 03/28/11

Ben Smith of the Politico is finally doing real reporting on an issue about the Birth Certificate. No, not whatever Birth Certificate Barack Obama has: Ben Smith has a habit of lying about that.

Rather, Smith's real reporting involves looking into a certificate of some kind that Donald Trump posted after engaging in "Birther theorizing" (politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0311/
Trump_fails_to_produce_birth_certificate.html):

But after several New York City-based readers contacted POLITICO's Maggie Haberman, her call to city officials revealed that an actual birth certificate, which is issued by the Department of Health, would have the agency's seal and also a signature of the city registrar - neither of which the Trump document has. Officials said the city Health Department is the "sole issuing authority" of official birth certificates in New York, and that the document would clearly say so, and "city officials said it's not an official document."

Compare that to the link above as well as this other example of Ben Smith lying about the "Birther" issue.

It's only GOP and teaparty leader incompetence that keeps Smith employed.

Chris Christie supports immigration "reform" (aka amnesty) - 06/30/10

The latest GOP/conservative savior is New Jersey governor Chris Christie, despite the fact that what he supports would increase spending and reduce the GOP's power. In a recent interview [1], he implied opposition to the new immigration law in Arizona and came out in support of comprehensive immigration reform, aka amnesty. The latter would lead to millions new Democrats joining the voter rolls and would lead to even more illegal immigration and even more spending. From [1]:

On the hot-button topic of immigration reform, he said he has long declined to “demagogue” the issue as a former U.S. Attorney, because “I come from law enforcement and it’s not an easy issue.”

But he did intimate that he thinks stringent state-by-state laws – such as in Arizona – are the wrong approach, and added, “I think President Obama doesn’t do this at his own risk because it’s affecting the economy in the country…to me, I think the president’s really gotta show the leadership on this.”

“This is a federal problem, it’s gotta have a federal fix,” he said. “I’m not really comfortable with state law enforcement having a big role.”

He said that without border security, enforcement of existing laws and a “clear” path to legalization for immigrants, there would never be a fix.

The "clear" path is amnesty. See also Is U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie a corruption supporter? (downplays illegal immigration then "clarifies" remarks).

UPDATE: Ben Smith provides a longer excerpt at [2]:

"What I support is making sure that the federal government [plays] each and every one of its roles: Securing the border, enforcing immigration laws, and having an orderly process -- whatever that process is -- for people to gain citizenship."

He added: "It's a very easy issue to demagogue and I'm just not going to participate in that."

Christie said more resources -- specifically, "money" -- were needed to support federal law enforcement and border security, along with "having a clear understandable law that people can follow."

"Until you have both of those...you're not going to fix the problem," he said.

Christie also said he thinks state and local law enforcement don't have appropriate training to enforce immigration laws, and that it can distract from their overriding goal of keeping the public safe.

Obviously, there's much to quiz him on, just starting with his secure the border and safe legal orderly rhetoric. It's too bad there were no real reporters around to walk him through what he supports.

[1] politico.com/news/stories/0610/39208.html The "reporters" were Ben Smith and Maggie Haberman and, while we're informed what they and Christie had for breakfast, neither of them bothered to call Christie on the downsides of amnesty.
[2] politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0610/Christie_on_immigration.html

Dennis Welch, Kos, Amanda Terkel, Steve Benen, Ben Smith, Ben Frumin smear Jan Brewer over quote - 06/02/10

Arizona governor Jan Brewer is threatening to cost powerful people money and power through actions such as signing that state's new anti-illegal immigration law. Their lower-level hacks are currently swinging into action, deliberately misinterpreting a quote Brewer made in a disreputable attempt to claim that she inflated her father's war record [UPDATE: Statement from Brewer below]. Some are listed below, and if you find others please leave a comment.

During World War 2, Brewer's father worked at a Navy munitions depot in Nevada; he died in 1955 as a result of lung disease from that job. Brewer made the quote that's being misinterpreted in an interview with the Arizona Republic (link) where she spoke about the names she's been called:

"The Nazi comments . . . they are awful... Knowing that my father died fighting the Nazi regime in Germany, that I lost him when I was 11 because of that . . . and then to have them call me Hitler's daughter. It hurts. It's ugliness beyond anything I've ever experienced."

If Noam Chomsky were here, he might point out that there are various ways to interpret that quote, such as "died [as a later result of] fighting the Nazi regime in Germany", or "died fighting the Nazi regime [which was located] in Germany". In order to obtain the result that illegal immigration supporters want you to obtain, you're going to need to forget about very basic math: if she meant to say he died during World War 2, the youngest she could be is 76. No one in their right mind would think she's 76. If she were trying to lie, she would have adjusted her age downward in the quote to "when I was one years old". Further, in a speech a few months ago she described the backstory (link):

The governor's father did fight the Nazis and support the war effort, but he did it here at a munitions plant in the United States, not as a soldier in the European theater.

Brewer recounted the story of her father's war service during a March breakfast speech in the East Valley, saying that “Wilford Drinkwine believed his country needed him during World War II.”

In that speech, Brewer recalled how that belief prompted Drinkwine to move his family to the Nevada desert to take a job at the country's largest Navy munitions depot. She was born a year or two later; her father succumbed to lung disease before she was a teenager.

“Years of breathing poisonous fumes around harsh chemicals finally took his life,” Brewer said in that speech. “Wilford Drinkwine was my father. I was 11 years old.”

Those smearing Brewer include the following. None of the following attempt to explain how - if one is to buy their interpretation of her comments - Brewer would be claiming to be at least 76 years old. None except the first reference the fact that she's told the accurate story in past instances:

* Dennis Welch of the Arizona Guardian
arizonaguardian.com/azg/index.php?option=com_content&
view=article&id=2101:brewer&catid=937:campaigns-a-elections-fp
He appears to be the originator of the smear, and his article starts with: "Gov. Jan Brewer said in a recent interview that her father died fighting Nazis in Germany. In fact, the death of Wilford Drinkwine came 10 years after World War II had ended." That's then followed by:

"She wasn't embellishing the story at all," [Paul Senseman, the governor's spokesman] said Tuesday. "You're reading something into this that isn't there."

He added that the governor has been very clear in the past about how her father died. Drinkwine was on full medical disability at the time of his death, Senseman said.

In a 2008 interview with the Republic, Brewer said her family was forced to move to California shortly before his death because of his health problems.

Brewer, 65, recounts similar stories in other media interviews and recent speeches.

Dennis Welch knew about what she's said about her background in the past, but choose to deliberately misinterpret her quote instead.

* Kos of DailyKos
dailykos.com/storyonly/2010/6/2/872320/
-AZ-Gov.-Jan-Brewer-lies-...-about-her-fathers-death
He refers to the "Latino ethnic cleansing law" and says, "Ah yes, claiming her father died fighting Nazis in Germany should, in no way, be construed as implying that her father died fighting Nazis in Germany." Needless to say, he's deliberately misinterpreting her quote.

* Steve Benen of Washington Monthly
washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_06/024077.php
His post is entitled "WHEN REPUBLICANS LIE ABOUT RELATIVES' SERVICE RECORDS" and he references and parrots Kos: "I'm confused. When Brewer said her "father died fighting the Nazi regime in Germany," that wasn't intended to mean that her father was an American soldier in Germany during the Nazi regime?"
As with the others, what he claims she said is simply his misinterpretation.

* Amanda Terkel of ThinkProgress
thinkprogress.org/2010/06/02/brewer-nazis-father
She says:

While comparisons equating Brewer with Nazis are over the top and not constructive, Brewer’s anecdote doesn’t really stack up. The Arizona Guardian reports that in fact, “the death of Wilford Drinkwine came 10 years after World War II had ended. During the war, Drinkwine worked as a civilian supervisor for a naval munitions depot in Hawthorne, Nev. He died of lung disease in 1955 in California.” Brewer’s spokesman justified the governor’s statement, claiming Drinkwine “eventually died from the toxic fumes he inhaled” while working at the factory. (HT: Markos)

Of course, what doesn't "stack up" is Terkel's interpretation of Brewer's quote. The spokesman's comment isn't a "justification", it's an explanation.

* Ben Smith of the Politico
politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0610/Brewer_claim_on_fathers_death_draws_scrutiny.html
He links the AZ Republic interview and the Arizona Guardian story, but fails to do any more reporting than any of the others listed who are open about being partisans.

* Ben Frumin of TalkingPointsMemo
tpmlivewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/06/
az-gov-my-dad-died-fighting-the-nazis-in-germany-not-quite.php
His post, which isn't as bad as some others, does include this:

It seems entirely possible that Brewer simply meant that her father died of an illness that was a direct cause of his employment at a wartime munitions factor.

UPDATE: Brewer has released a statement (link):

"My father, Wilford Drinkwine, moved our family before I was born from Minnesota to Nevada to work at the Hawthorne Ammunition Depot in Western Nevada at the outset of World War II. He passed away when I was 11 years old. His death came after a long and painful battle with lung disease, contracted following years of exposure to hazardous chemicals and toxic fumes while working as a civil servant at the base.

"I loved my father and was proud to hear him tell me that he was doing his part to help fight the Nazis in Germany. It's a similar story that I have heard from countless people from my parent's generation -- from women who worked in the factories to other family friends I met growing up near the depot. My father and mother instilled in me an understanding that many of those defenders of freedom who lost their lives in World War II never set foot on the battlefield.

"Even in the end, when my dad struggled for breath, he never regretted serving his country, helping free Europe from Hitler's grip. I have proudly recounted his story in many places for many years. My father's patriotism and sacrifice needs no embellishment."

Claim: McCain called Republicans against massive immigration "a**holes" (McCain denies) - 01/11/10

This passage is from the new book Game Change by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. Bear in mind that a John McCain spokeswoman denies that McCain ever said such a thing, and Lindsey Graham didn't repond to Ben Smith's request for comment [1]:

[McCain aides John] Weaver and [Mark] Salter begged McCain to ease up. He was already the face of the Iraq surge. Now he was becoming the face of what opponents called “amnesty.” Just tone down the rhetoric, his advisers pleaded.

McCain refused. He was disgusted by republicans in Congress and talk radio gasbags such as rush Limbaugh who bashed immigrants. “They’re going to destroy the fucking party,” he would say.

As McCain’s town hall meetings devolved into shouting matches over immigration, the candidate let his frustration show through. He called Lindsey Graham in despair. Listen to these people, McCain said. Why would I want to be the leader of a party of such a**holes?

[1] politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0110/
McCain_aide_denies_party_of_aholes_line.html

Maybe John Richardson of Esquire should try some real reporting (Ben Smith, HotAir, Orly Taitz) - 08/12/09

The campaign by the Beltway establishment to discredit anyone who dares questions the official story of Barack Obama's past rolls on as John Richardson of Esquire offers "What Really Happens When You Demand the President Produce His Birth Certificate?" [1].

Sonia Sotomayor: affirmative action nominee for Supreme Court? Close to far-left Puerto Rico extremists? - 05/26/09

[SEE THE UPDATES]

Judge Sonia Sotomayor is Barack Obama's choice to replace David Souter on the US Supreme Court. Weak GOP talking points are here; Peter Baker and Jeff Zeleny (remember him?) have the New York Times' take here.

Was she selected only because of her outstanding grasp of legal issues? Or, was at least part of the selection due to the fact that she's a woman and a Hispanic? Were there more qualified possibilities who didn't happen to fit the politically-friendly uniform? If so, then she is indeed an affirmative action pick, despite the many attempts to claim otherwise we'll be treated to in the months to come. See the quotes at [1].

Expect the Democrats and their helpers to try to present any opposition to her as anti-Hispanic, just as they constantly played the race card before the election. Three examples at [2]. Note that many MSM reporters and politicians will, either through ignorance or simple dishonesty, fail to note that most Hispanics in the U.S. are Mexican-American, and pan-Hispanic ethnic nationalism will only go so far with most.

It will be interesting to see whether some interesting quotes will come to light; here's one:

Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, a possibility I abhor less or discount less than my colleague Judge Cedarbaum, our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging.

And, one thing the MSM won't look into - and the GOP won't discuss - is whether she's an extremist or not. To what extent does she agree with Luis Gutierrez and Nydia Velazquez, both of whom are former U.S. leaders of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party? Sotomayer is a former member of the far-left, illegal immigration-supporting PRLDEF; did she say or do anything interesting while a member? With Mexican-American leaders it's easy for me to tell their level of support for reconquista sentiments; I'm not familiar with Puerto Rican issues, and it's probably going to be difficult to find anyone to give the straight scoop on her position on issues like sovereignty.

UPDATE: Regarding that possible extremism, we're getting there. From this:

After launching a public campaign to force Princeton University to hire faculty and administrators of "Puerto Rican or Chicano heritage," Sotomayor finally got her way. But she wasn't finished complaining. Despite being appointed to a student advisory board that would counsel the University on the hiring of a "minority dean," Sotomayor was ultimately unsatisfied by the appointment of Luis Garcia as Associate Dean of Student Affairs in September 1974. Sotomayor had a litany of complaints ranging from the manner in which the advisory board was selected to the manner in which the candidate was selected.

See also this.

Meanwhile, this says:

her legal theses included Race in the American Classroom, and Undying Injustice: American "Exceptionalism" and Permanent Bigotry, and Deadly Obsession: American Gun Culture. In this text, the student Sotomayor explained that the Second Amendment to the Constitution did not actually afford individual citizens the right to bear arms, but only duly conferred organizations, like the military. Instead of making guns illegal, she argues that they have been illegal for individuals to own since the passing of the Bill of Rights.

However: that quote is supposedly from americannews.com, a site that appears to have only existed as a parked domain for several years. Consider the last quote a hoax or at least inflation of some kind until a source is provided. UPDATE: The last post has a "satire" tag; I don't think it was there when this was posted but my assumptions were correct. If you ever run across that site again, please ignore them.

UPDATE 2: Video of some of her questionable statements is here.

The pro-life side weighs in here; see also this petition. However, in at least this case she apparently ruled against the pro-choice side; if there are other cases please leave a comment.

For her position on the second amendment, someone please summarize this; there might be something interesting in that.

Back in 1978, she dropped out of the running for a law firm job and filed a complaint after being asked whether he heritage had "culturally deprived" her (link).

Per this, as a District judge she ordered a "$10,000 fine to someone who pleads guilty to a federal charge of sharing in more than $200,000 in kickbacks".

Back to extremism, Michael Fletcher says:

Latino legal activists applauded Sotomayor's appointment. "This is a historic moment," said Cesar Perales, executive director of LatinoJustice PRLDEF, a New York-based civil rights group, where Sotomayor once served as a board member. "This is the most important Hispanic appointment that has been made in this country's history. It is a recognition that we are coming of age, that we can be one of nine wise people on the Supreme Court, making decisions that affect everyone in this country." ...During her years on the organization's board during the 1980s, the organization, then known as the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, focused its efforts on the creation of majority-Hispanic voting districts and the defense of bilingual education programs.

There's more on the PRLDEF here, specifically relating to their campaign against Bush nominee Miguel Estrada.

UPDATE 3: From this: Three of the five majority opinions written by Judge Sotomayor for the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals and reviewed by the Supreme Court were reversed...

George Will offers "Identity Justice" (link) and the Wall Street Journal offers the editorial "The 'Empathy' Nominee/Is Sonia Sotomayor judically superior to 'a white male'?" (link).

UPDATE 4: At least as of 2000, Sotomayor was a member of the National Council of La Raza. See the link for much more on that far-left group that continually supports illegal activity.

Michael Steele: Obama wasn't vetted because of his race (Ali Frick /ThinkProgress, Ben Smith, Marc Ambinder) - 05/22/09

Guest hosting for Bill Bennett earlier today, Michael Steele said the following:

The problem that we have with this president is that we don’t know [Obama]. He was not vetted, folks. … He was not vetted, because the press fell in love with the black man running for the office. “Oh gee, wouldn’t it be neat to do that? Gee, wouldn’t it make all of our liberal guilt just go away? We can continue to ride around in our limousines and feel so lucky to live in an America with a black president.” Okay that’s wonderful, great scenario, nice backdrop. But what does he stand for? What does he believe? … So we don’t know. We just don’t know.

Apparently, we're supposed to be Shocked! and Outraged! by him stating something that is correct to a good extent. At least, that's what Ali Frick of ThinkProgress wants us to think (link). Except, as could be expected from that source, all he can do is engage in a logical fallacy by saying it's "striking" that Steele would say such a thing after some sources said that same thing about him. Frick fails to address Steele's argument by, for instance, providing examples of the mainstream media vetting Barack Obama. To deny that they gave Obama a pass with almost everything he said during the campaign is to deny reallity. Not all of that was due to his race; part was due to the fact that he was a Democrat. However, there were several people highlighting how electing a black president would per se be good thing for the U.S.

And, what starts at the leftwing, George Soros-funded ThinkProgress trickles down to lying hack Ben Smith at the Politico who links to their post at "Your Friday Steele" [1], saying:

What happens on Fridays: Michael Steele guest hosts Bill Bennett's radio show; young staffers at Media Matters and the Center for American Progress listen and compete for the most entertaining sound byte.

And, it's a regular hackfest as Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic raises issues with Steele's "civility" [2] then says:

I still know a few Clinton advisers who would, in their heart of hearts, agree with this.

In other words, he's more interested in being political correct and not telling the truth then looking into how and why the mainstream media completely failed to vet Obama.

[1] politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0509/Your_Friday_Steele.html
[2] politics.theatlantic.com/2009/05/a_lesson_in_civility_from_michael_steele.php

Marco Rubio: illegal immigration amnesty supporter, or not? - 05/13/09

Marco Rubio is the Republican former Speaker of the Florida Assembly who - together with fellow Republican Charlie Crist - will be running for Senate; Rubio is running as a conservative against the more RINO Crist. Rubio's immigration stance isn't entirely clear; some have claimed that he helped block some anti-illegal immigration bills in Florida.

Frank Luntz GOP strategy memo on healthcare ignores immigration angle - 05/06/09

What kind of 28-page strategy memo outlining how the GOP should handle healthcare would avoid mentioning the immigration angle? Why, none other than the one just released by Frank Luntz. You can download a copy of the PDF from politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0509/The_full_Luntz.html (the link at that page isn't marked as a PDF).

Obama's "Open for Questions": even MSM notices how bad it was - 03/26/09

Earlier today, Barack Obama conducted an online townhall meeting in which part of the time was spend answering questions that had been submitted to and voted up at whitehouse.gov/openforquestions. Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the New York Times has a run-down here. The problems with the system he used are covered in the popular voting systems summary, including a brief description of a better way to do things.

As predicted, the questions were weak. However, on the plus side the mainstream media or at least the online version of same appears to be catching on to the flaws in the voting system that was used, with John Ward Anderson of The Politico offering "Pot-related questions deluge W.H." (politico.com/news/stories/0309/20526.html). Likewise, Michael Scherer from Time Magazine offers this very good round-up of the "top" questions.

The wastoids from NORML can't figure out how to ask one good question and concentrate on pushing that to the top, but by making obvious to anyone how such systems can be abused they might lead us to using better voting systems for future efforts. (And, their incessant bombarding of such efforts and comments on MSM articles is sure to backfire.)

And, the uber-hack Ben Smith offers "Ensuring a friendly audience for online town hall" (politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0309/Ensuring_a_friendly_audience_for_online_town_hall.html):

...The event should not be mistaken, however, for a perfect reflection of the concerns of the American people, or even of American Internet users, for two reasons... One is perhaps unavoidable, and perfectly fair: Well organized groups, like advocates for the decriminalization of marijuana, can push their desired questions to the top. (Is the most important budget question really, "With over 1 out of 30 Americans controlled by the penal system, why not legalize, control, and tax marijuana to change the failed war on drugs into a money making, money saving boost to the economy? Do we really need that many victimless criminals?")... The second is deliberate: The Democratic National Committee blasted out the link to the Open for Questions website yesterday afternoon to Organizing for America's list, reportedly to include about 14 million people. It's reasonable to assume that those Obama supporters make up a high percentage of the participants.

Well, duh. See the link to the better way to do things above.

UPDATE: In retrospect, sending an email to NORML letting them know I discussed them was a bad idea. Apparently another symptom is tone-deafness. Also, there's a full transcript of the event here.

Ben Smith /Politico keeps lying about Obama certificate issue - 03/01/09

If you trust the reporting of Ben Smith of the Politico, I hope to change your mind. He offers "Culture of conspiracy: The Birthers" (link), which is just the latest in his attempt to smear those who have questions about where Barack Obama was born and whether he's eligible to be president. And, this excerpt contains a blatant lie:

A quick reality check, before we dive in: The challenges to Obama's eligibility have no grounding in evidence. Courts across the country have summarily rejected the movement's theory - that Obama can't be a citizen because his father wasn't - as a misreading of U.S. law; and Hawaii officials, along with contemporary birth announcements, affirm that Obama was in fact born in Honolulu in 1961.

The last bit is completely false:

1. Those "contemporary birth announcements" do not list where Obama was born or in which hospital (see the first item here). They only list the supposed address of his parents. No one has ever documented who placed the ads, and they aren't proof of anything.

2. Hawaii officials never "affirm[ed] that Obama was in fact born in Honolulu". Read their statement, which says nothing about where Obama was born. And, when I asked them to confirm Ben Smith's assumptions, they refused.

See the Obama citizenship summary for much more.

The bottom line is that Ben Smith of the Politico is a brazen liar.

3/16/09 UPDATE: Ben Smith lied again, saying (politico.com/news/stories/0309/20033.html):

Obama has actually produced a copy of his Hawaii birth certificate, and it has been certified by the state of Hawaii.

1. He only "produced" it to FactCheck, and the same page where they have pictures of the cert - pictures that they later compressed and removed EXIF data from - contains the blatant lie that Hawaii verified where Obama was born.

2. The state of Hawaii never "certified" that picture. They only said they have a cert on file. The picture and what they have on file may be different.

Ben Smith /Politico misleads about Obama birth certificate - 12/04/08

Ben Smith of the Politico offers the blog post "Thank you for your e-mails, cont'd" (link):

The baseless Obama citizenship rumor is back, based on an attempt by its purveyors request that the Supreme Court get to the bottom of the case.

The "rumor" isn't "baseless", despite what Ben Smith would have you believe: the fact remains that Obama simply has not proven where exactly he was born. In the paragraph above, Smith links to the October 31, 2008 article he wrote "Cover this! Inside the nastiest ’08 rumors" (link). In addition to mocking Obama's opponents, Smith says:

...there's lots of evidence that Obama was born in the United States, and none that he wasn't. The campaign handed over an official copy of his short-form birth certificate - the standard document produced by the Hawaii Department of Health - to Factcheck.org. And Poliltico has confirmed the authenticity of a contemporaneous announcement of his birth in the Honolulu Advertiser.

How do we know it was "official"? Are the Obama-friendly FactCheck document experts as well? And, the announcement only listed the address of Obama's parents and did not list where he was born.

Barack Obama lies about Rush Limbaugh in Spanish-language ads - 09/17/08

The Barack Obama campaign has a new Spanish-language ad that features racial demagoguery and a distortion of Rush Limbaugh quotes. You can see the ad here:
"They want us to forget the insults we've put up with, the intolerance," the television ad's announcer says in Spanish as a picture of Rush Limbaugh appears onscreen with quotes of him saying, "Mexicans are stupid and unqualified" and "Shut your mouth or get out."

"They made us feel marginalized in a country we love so much," the ad continues. "John McCain and his Republican friends have two faces. One that says lies just to get our vote and another, even worse, that continues the failed policies of George Bush that put special interests ahead of working families."

[The radio ad goes on:] "Don't forget that John McCain abandoned us rather than confront the leaders of the Republican Party. Many of us were born here, and others came to work and achieve a better life for their families -- not to commit crimes or drain the system like many of John McCain's friends claim. Let's not be fooled by political tricks from John McCain and the Republicans. Vote so they respect us. Vote for a change."
This isn't the first time that Obama smeared Limbaugh, and there's much to discuss about this ad. First let's deal with the misleading Rush quotes. The first quote is actually from 1993 (link):
"If you are unskilled and uneducated, your job is going south. Skilled workers, educated people are going to do fine 'cause those are the kinds of jobs NAFTA is going to create. If we are going to start rewarding no skills and stupid people, I'm serious, let the unskilled jobs that take absolutely no knowledge whatsoever to do -- let stupid and unskilled Mexicans do that work."
The Obama campaign misquoted Rush by omitting the context; the context certainly doesn't show Rush in a good light, but it's far different from what the Obama campaign is trying to do: pretend that Rush said that all Mexicans are "stupid and unqualified". The BHO campaign is lying.

The second quote is just as bad; it was actually from a satire in which Rush proposed a series of draconian immigration laws, only to reveal at the end that those were the actual laws of the Mexican government (link). "Shut your mouth or get out" was actually his distillation of one of Mexico's laws; see for instance this example of meddling foreigners being ejected from Mexico. For video of Rush's satire, see this.

And, the first quote referred to "Mexicans" in the sense of "Mexican citizens who live in Mexico". Democrats frequently have trouble understanding the fact that (according to our laws), Mexicans can't vote in U.S. elections. Only U.S. citizens can, including those of Mexican descent. Certainly, those U.S. citizens of Mexican descent will sympathize with actual Mexicans, but some in the former camp look down on, say, illegal aliens. Obviously, to the BHO campaign there's little difference between an actual Mexican and a U.S. citizen of Mexican descent.

And, of course, some segment of immigrants do come here to engage in criminal behavior, and all those in the U.S. receive a wide range of public benefits. Those who are low-wage workers - the great majority of illegal aliens from Mexico - do take more than they pay in. And, the crimes committed by immigrants would not occur if they weren't here in the first place. As is their habit, the BHO campaign is trying to shut down a discussion of vital matters rather than having an open debate.

As for who's helping Barack Obama spread his lies:

* The first link is to an Ed O'Keefe post at the Washington Post. Needless to say, he just passes the ad on without doing what I did: spend a few minutes searching. Please write the WaPo and ask them to stop helping BHO lie: ombudsman *at* washpost.com

* Ben Smith of the Politico likewise can't be bothered to do even basic research; he also refers to the largely non-existent "anti-Immigration wing of the Republican Party": politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0908/Obama_vs_Rush_en_Espanol.html

* Mark Silva of the Chicago Tribune (mdsilva *at* tribune.com) also can't be bothered to do simple searches: swamppolitics.com/news/politics/blog/2008/09/limbaugh_latinos_tv_ad_wars.html

* Eric Kleefeld is yet another searchophobe: tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/09/obama_spanishlanguage_ad_ties.php

UPDATE: Rush comments on this here; he also calls Obama a liar who took Rush's quotes out of context.

UPDATE 2: The end is nigh! Worthless hack Jake Tapper fact-checks the ad and the BHO campaign's response to his concerns, finishing by saying "the Obama campaign has crossed a line into misleading the viewers of its new TV ad" (blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/09/from-the-fact-1.html).

Meanwhile:
* Mori Dinauer passes along the lies (prospect.org/csnc/blogs/tapped_archive?month=09&year=2008&base_name=lightning_round_fiorina_gets_w)
* Jeralyn Merritt does the same, only worse (talkleft.com/story/2008/9/17/172619/529)
* Alex Koppelman comes close, but does including Rush's objections to the ad (letters.salon.com/politics/war_room/2008/09/17/obama_limbaugh/view).

UPDATE 3:
* Eunice Moscoso of the Austin American Statesman does provide the McCain camp response to the ad (defending their previous support of amnesty, a support that continues) but fails to note that the BHO campaign lied. A comment I left has not been approved (link)

* Nick Timiraos of the Wall Street Journal includes some of the response from Limbaugh here, but also downplays the extent to which the BHO campaign took the quotes out of context. A quote I left was deleted; I left it again and that might be deleted as well.

* Beltway lightweight Ana Marie Cox links to the Tapper piece, but fails to note that taking quotes out of context was involved, only saying "An ad attempts to tie McCain to some particularly unpleasant Republicanness [in this case, a closed borders approach to immigration], but it turns out McCain was not at all associated with that particular nastiness." (link)

* Kathleen Hennessey of the Associated Press discusses a BHO campaign stop and works this in as well: One [BHO] commercial airing in Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado links McCain to comments apparently hostile to immigrants made by conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh. (link)

UPDATE 4: Even a day after Jake Tapper called the ad misleading, others are valiantly struggling with the truth.

* Tim Gaynor of Reuters offers "Controversial Obama ad revives immigration issue". He includes the muted response from McCain and correctly points out that, at the end of day, BHO and McCain are basically on the same page on this issue. However, Gayner completely fails to point out the problems with the quotes. A comment I left was not approved. (link).

* "shovelhood" shows the level of thinking at DailyKos by noting that Rush says the quotes were taken out of context... then using other quotes in an attempt to show that Rush is a racist and without dealing with the quotes in the ad. Whether that's an intentional attempt at distraction or an issue with the thinking processes of "shovelhood" isn't clear. Some commenters don't care about the ad being misleading, but a couple do seem to expres qualms about the BHO campaign lying (dailykos.com/story/2008/9/18/154144/680/122/602969).

UPDATE 5: Ed O'Keefe at the Washington Post - the blogger who first started promoting BHO's lying ad - offers a bit of a non-correction correction in "McCain Camp Decries Obama Spanish Ads" (link), which links to both Rush's comments and those from Tapper. I suppose the latter were key; when another member of the "club" points out that you've promoted a lying ad you just have to admit defeat.

UPDATE 6: The end is nigher! In an editorial, the New York Times says "Mr. Obama's retaliatory ad, also in Spanish, was just as fraudulent. It slimed Mr. McCain as a friend and full-bore ally of restrictionists like Rush Limbaugh, even though Mr. Limbaugh has long attacked Mr. McCain's immigration moderation. It quotes Mr. Limbaugh as calling all Mexicans stupid and ordering them to "shut your mouth or get out," which he never did.".

UPDATE 7: Rush offers "Obama Is Stoking Racial Antagonism" here. This has provoked a new round of those willing to lie for Obama at any cost to whatever reputations they had.

* Digby (digbysblog.blogspot.com/2008/09/black-kettle-by-digby-limbaugh-is-so.html) offers "Black Kettle". It uses the "shovelhood" technique (see above) without even acknowledging the bit about the BHO campaign taking quotes out of context. The quote she provides as a distraction from the original lies is probably taken out of context as well.

* Jonathan Stein from MoJo links to the Rush piece, and continues to take his second quote out of context. (link) Unbelievable? No, just in line with his previous "thinking".

* Adam Serwer first admits that the quotes were taken out of context and that' was "stupid". Then, he launches into the "shovelhood" technique (link).

UPDATE 8: Joe Klein offers "Take It Down, Barack" (link). Klein is such an obsequious hack that even Jake Tapper calling BHO out wasn't enough. It took a far greater authority to spur him to action: "The New York Times editorial board--once again calling a lie a lie--slams both McCain and Obama for their Spanish-language ads about immigration policy. I've given up any hope of McCain running an honest campaign, but if Obama really wants to present an honorable alternative to McCain's non-stop sleaze, he should take down his immigration ad immediately."

UPDATE 9 (9/22/08): * Mark Silva of the Chicago Tribune (mdsilva *at* tribune.com) - even after all the above - continues trying to help BHO lie (swamppolitics.com/news/politics/blog/2008/09/john_mccain_immigration_reform.html) by saying "McCain's Democratic rival, Sen. Barack Obama, has been going after McCain lately on immigration -- attempting to tag the Republican with radio's Rush Limbaugh and intolerant words that the talk show host has had for immigrants in Spanish-language ads airing in hotly contested Western states."

CNN Democratic debate November 15, 2007 - 11/15/07

Just started watching, and so far both questions CNN has gone to the audience for had major issues.

First, the claim that the questioner was racially profiled is just that: a claim, not a fact.