heidi beirich: Page 1
Liza Mundy of the Washington Post offers "Burden of Proof on Obama's Origins" (link), a three-screen, mostly smear piece on Orly Taitz of the "Birthers" movement. Leaving aside Taitz' various claims, Mundy has a problem with the truth. (Note that she's also the author of a presumably sympathetic biography of Michelle Obama; she whines about the lack of cooperation from the Obama camp at slate.com/id/2202261).
Mundy quotes Taitz as saying of Obama's records "Nobody has seen proper documents. Period." and follows that with this:
Another breathtaking statement, or rather misstatement. After initially trying to ignore the controversy, Obama's staff has indeed provided an official record showing that the president was born in Hawaii. The document is a computer-generated official certification of live birth attesting to the fact that Barack Hussein Obama II was born on Aug. 4, 1961, in Honolulu. The director of Hawaii's Department of Health also has stated, rather wearily, that she has viewed the underlying vital records and that they are valid.
All Obama has provided is a picture of what looks to be an official document; he hasn't provided the document itself as Lisa Munday states. The picture has never been authenticated by any government agency, and thus there's no proof that anything on it is accurate. While Chiyome Fukino of the Hawaii Department of Health did say in 2008 "the Hawai'i State Department of Health has Sen. Obama’s original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures" and then in July she said that she's "seen the original vital records maintained on file by the Hawai'i State Department of Health verifying Barrack Hussein Obama was born in Hawaii and is a natural-born American citizen", she didn't say anything about the picture on Obama's site, as Mundy is implying.
Mundy also (of course) plays the race card and the extremist card:
At a minimum, organizations who monitor extremist groups say that the fantasy of Obama's ineligibility is now a central tenet. "The birther conspiracy itself is now totally widespread among military and paramilitary [militia] groups and new, what we would call quote-unquote 'patriot' groups, which are groups that are virulently anti-government," says Heidi Beirich, director of research at the Southern Poverty Law Center. Beirich says that a popular conspiracy theory among such groups is that the government is going to round up citizens and put them in camps operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The Southern Poverty Law Center publishes a list of "hate groups" which includes both true hate groups as well as those who simply disagree with the SPLC's support for illegal immigration and the like. That would be insignificant if it weren't for the fact that the mainstream media as well as even government agencies take them seriously.
Dennis Roddy of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette offers "Suspect in officers' shooting was into conspiracy theories" (link) about the recent shooting of three police officers in Pittsburgh by an obviously deranged 22-year-old. He takes advantage of that tragedy to smear his or his paper's opponents:
Mr. Poplawski's view of guns and personal freedom took a turn toward the fringes of American politics. With Mr. Perkovic, he appeared to share a belief that the government was controlled from unseen forces, that troops were being shipped home from the Mideast to police the citizenry here, and that Jews secretly ran the country.
...Believing most media were covering up important events, Mr. Poplawski turned to a far-right conspiracy Web site run by Alex Jones, a self-described documentarian with roots going back to the extremist militia movement of the early 1990s.
He was also a member of Stormfront. Ergo, in Roddy's mind, Alex Jones = Stormfront. And, whatever Jones' ideology, I don't think "far-right" is accurate. And, while Jones is "out there" a good part of the time, he's also had a couple scoops about things that sounded loony but which turned out later to be true.
Regarding the troops, see December's "20,000 U.S. military troops to help with "homeland security" in U.S. by 2011", which links to a Washington Post article about such a scheme. That was also discussed in September; the Army Times and the underlying documents included the possibility of using troops for crowd control.
One of the shooter's friends alludes to media bias regarding the MSM not covering states recently declaring sovereignty with the implication that there is no such bias. There's a round-up here from the Christian Science Monitor; Google News wasn't exactly filled with similar MSM articles. A smaller paper covered the movement in Pennsylvania here, a story that I couldn't locate at the Post-Gazette's site.
In case you think Roddy is just presenting facts without attempting to smear, he continues with this:
"For some time now there has been a pretty good connection between being sucked into this conspiracy world and propagating violence," said Heidi Beirich, director of research at the Southern Poverty Law Center and an expert on political extremists. She called Mr. Poplawski's act, "a classic example of what happens when you start buying all this conspiracy stuff."
Over to Ed Morrissey at the same site (hotair.com/archives/2009/04/05/kos-conservatives-like-to-shoot-cops):
Those who would use such horrifying tragedies to smear their political opponents are completely unworthy of engagement, and utterly despicable to boot, regardless of which side they’re on.
UPDATE: Also, as discussed at the last HotAir link, Kos said on twitter that "Conservatives, apparently, prefer to talk "revolution" and shoot cops." He may have just been "joking".
UPDATE 2: The Anti Defamation League has also gotten involved in the smear; that and the other issues above are answered in "Poplawski Smear Debunked: Cop Killer Held Opposing Views To Infowars" (link).
UPDATE 3: Both RawStory and a DailyKos blogger have retracted Alex Jones-related smears (link). However, Sean Hamill of the New York Times and Eric Boehlert of Media Matters for America continue the smear (link, link).
Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center offers "The Teflon Nativists/FAIR Marked by Ties to White Supremacy" (splcenter . org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=846) with the news that it's "official": the SPLC has declared the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) to be a "hate group". They mention how much press coverage FAIR has received, and they include a quote from Henry Fernandez of the Center for American Progress which helps show that their goal is to stifle FAIR:
"The sad fact is that attempts to reform our immigration system are being sabotaged by organizations fueled by hate... Many anti-immigrant leaders have backgrounds that should disqualify them from even participating in mainstream debate, yet the American press quotes them without ever noting their bizarre and often racist beliefs."
I'd imagine that the MSM will just eat this up without even looking into it, resulting in fewer press mentions and a reduced voice for those of us who support our laws. I'll let FAIR speak for themselves (if they deign to do so), but I'll point out a few things:
1. The SPLC is indirectly linked to the Mexican government (see their name's link above); I've never seen that mentioned in any of the "news" reports that take them as a semi-official source. Fernandez is also indirectly linked to that government (see his name's link).
2. Part of their designation rests on the fact that FAIR has received funding from an "infamous, racist eugenics foundation." That's a reference to the Pioneer Fund; in the same decade as they gave money to FAIR they also gave money to Stanford, the Tel Aviv University, the Sickle Cell Disease Foundation of Greater New York, and others.
3. Another part is because FAIR has supposedly put forth "racist conspiracy theories about Mexico's secret designs on the American Southwest". I don't know what FAIR has said, but the Mexican government has explicitly stated that they want to meddle in our internal politics and will be using non-profit organizations to do so. That translate to obtaining political power inside the U.S. and, should that process not be stopped, some form of de jure or de facto condominium.
4. Yet another part is because FAIR supposedly has an "alternative theory alleging secret plans to merge the United States, Mexico and Canada". I guess the SPLC missed Congressional testimony from an elite group advocating for that scheme, and all the other flashing neon signs pointing in that direction: North American Union.
UPDATE: FAIR responds with just some of the things the SPLC got wrong here. Note especially this:
In light of the fact that FAIR has requested the SPLC to correct these errors on at least three different occasions dating back to 2001, the publication of this erroneous information appears to be willful and malicious.
UPDATE 2: On a sidenote, the SPLC's Intelligence Report has won the 2007 "In-Depth/Investigative Reporting" award from the Utne Reader (utne.com/print-article.aspx?id=13124).