politifact: Page 1
Angie Drobnic Holan of Politifact misleads about healthcare reform bill covering illegal aliens - 09/10/09
Angie Drobnic Holan of Politifact offers "Joe Wilson of South Carolina said Obama lied, but he didn't"  about Obama's claim that illegal aliens wouldn't get benefits under Obama healthcare. It follows the stock Politfact template: admit that Obama's opponents might have a point, but then punt and side with Obama. See this for links to why they're misleading, and see also this:
PolitiFact ignores the central argument made by Wilson's camp: that the House bill does not require that the legal status of people who receive "affordability credits" be verified. (Democrats in committee voted down an amendment to require verification.) Here's the entirety of PolitiFact's discussion of this issue, in a fairly long piece about Wilson vs. Obama: "The bill specifically says that people in the United States illegally are not eligible for tax credits, on page 132, section 242." So what? The law "says" that people aren't supposed to be here illegally in the first place, after all.
Alexander Lane and Amy Hollyfield of Politifact continue to show that that "fact checking" site might as well be working for the Barack Obama campaign by offering 'Obama would "experiment with socialism."/The McCain campaign experiments with dishonesty' (politifact.org/truth-o-meter/statements/826). It's another example of the MSM taking a statement that wasn't phrased in a painfully legalistic fashion, playing dumb, and then spinning things Obama's way.
In this case, they discuss the following Sarah Palin statement:
"Senator Obama says that he wants to spread the wealth, which means - you know what that means... It means that government takes your money, (handed) out however a politician sees fit. Barack Obama calls it spreading the wealth, and Joe Biden calls higher taxes patriotic. And yet to Joe the Plumber, he said it sounded like socialism. And now is not the time to experiment with socialism."
They then go on to point out correctly that progressive taxation is not socialism, and give her statement their ultra-classy 'Pants on Fire' animated GIF.
If she'd said that Obama's statements to Joe the Plumber were socialistic instead, one wonders how they would have spun it for the benefit of what's clearly their candidate, because what Obama stated was very clearly socialistic.
There's a huge difference between progressive taxation and just spreading the wealth around "because it's good for everybody". The first is to pay for things like roads. The second is a socialistic notion that attempts to normalize incomes. And, the second is what BHO supports. He didn't say the government should tax people just to pay for needed infrastructure. He specifically supported redistribution in and of itself. That doesn't mean he's a socialist, but he does have socialistic notions above and beyond progressive taxation.
the warm embrace Obama gave to Khalidi, and words like those at the professor's going-away party, have left some Palestinian American leaders believing that Obama is more receptive to their viewpoint than he is willing to say.You know what's coming. In May, BHO was asked about this by unnamed Jewish voters in Miami and played the usual "he's not an advisor" trick he's played with Ayers and others (link).
But, as it turns out, apparently the event described by Wallsten turned a bit interesting and not only that he has a video of the event.
But, Wallsten won't release a tape that would be damaging to Barack Obama. Gateway Pundit spoke with him (link):
Wallston said that the article was written after he watched video taken at the Khalidi going away party. When I asked him about the video he said that as far as he was concerned he was through with the story.Write readers.rep *at* latimes.com and suggest they stop covering for Barack Obama and release the video tape.
I asked him if he was planning on releasing this video of Obama toasting the radical Khalidi at this Jew-bash. He told me he was not releasing the video. He also would not comment on his source for the video. Wallston also said he did not know if Khalidi's good friend Bill Ayers was at the event or not.
UPDATE: In her own special way, back after the LAT article came out Debbie Schlussel said something I take to be that Wallsten basically based his article on something she'd written (link).
And, the Ayers' might have been at the dinner also, or they might have just contributed to a commemorative book compiled after the event; it isn't clear from the following:
In Chicago, the Khalidis founded the Arab American Action Network, and Mona Khalidi served as its president. A big farewell dinner was held in their honor by AAAN with a commemorative book filled with testimonials from their friends and political allies. These included the left wing anti-war group Not In My Name, the Electronic Intifada, and the ex-Weatherman domestic terrorists Bernadine Dohrn and Bill Ayers. (There were also testimonials from then-state Senator Barack Obama and the mayor of Chicago.)UPDATE 2: As could have been expected, one of the minor "fact check" sites says Khalidi's group isn't controversial: politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/402 (those involved: Robert Farley, Shirl Kennedy, Amy Hollyfield). Their entire contention is based on interviews with Rep. Robert Wexler (co-chair of Obama's Florida campaign); the AAAN's executive director; the president of the Woods Fund; and, Louise Cainkar from Marquette University. She used to be with the Great Cities Institute, which was at... University of Illinois-Chicago. Whether she's linked to Ayers/Obama isn't known, but she's definitely part of their circle, as are the others. So, basically, Politifact bases its reports on one side of the debate.
UPDATE 3: No tape is necessary, we have reported all there is to see! Move along now! An exchange with Jamie Gold, the Los Angeles Times' Reader's Representative, is here: littlegreenfootballs.com/article/31717_LA_Times_Responds_to_Readers-_Get_Lost
It sounds as if you don't find "mere reporting" to be enough, but The Times is not suppressing anything. Just the opposite — the L.A. Times brought the matter to light.UPDATE 4: The McCain campaign wants the tape released.
And, there's more on the controversy surrounding Khalidi himself in the April 2005 articles here and here.
Was Barack Obama born in Hawaii, or Kenya, or somewhere else? He claims to have been born in Hawaii, but no definitive proof has been provided. It is a false statement to definitively state that he was born in Hawaii, as some media sources have done. The most they should state is that there's a very strong possibility that he was born in Hawaii and he claims to have been born there, but some reporters and other sources cross the line into pretending that the matter has been settled.
The matter has not been settled, and in fact attorney Philip Berg is currently suing Obama and the DNC, trying to get them to release his records. It's also apparently possible for a Hawaii resident who was born out of state or out of the country to obtain a birth certificate (link). The copies of the Certification of Live Birth ("COLB") discussed below do list Honolulu as his place of birth, but that could have been the result of fraud or a mix-up of some kind.
The following have been offered as proof, even though they aren't:
1. An announcement that appeared in the Honolulu Advertiser on Sunday, Aug. 13, 1961, nine days after his birthdate (picture here). According to that link, those listings came directly from the hospitals. However, neither that nor the listing itself have been confirmed. And, the listing doesn't say where he was born, only providing the address of his parents. There's certainly the possibility that he was born elsewhere and the listing was somehow placed by, for instance, his grandparents. The usual argument against that mockingly asks whether his grandparents planted the announcement thinking that one day he would run for president (used by FactCheck, #3 below). However, there are other explanations. They could have wanted it to confer U.S. citizenship rather than the less valuable Kenyan (or other) citizenship. Or, they could have wanted it in the case of divorce and a resulting custody battle. The announcement alone is not proof.
2. Obama's own statements, such as those made at his site: fightthesmears.com/articles/5/birthcertificate. One would have to be quite gullible to take that page at face value, as all it contains is a picture of his COLB and two links. The first is to the FactCheck article (#3) below. The second is even worse: a link to what is actually merely the opinion of Eli Saslow of the Washington Post: "The truth: Sen. Barack Obama, born in Hawaii, is a Christian family man with a track record of public service." As pointed out in this post, it's false to definitively state that Obama was born in Hawaii, and that article - the one upon which the Obama campaign is relying - contains a series of other lies. The bottom line is that Obama's own statements are not proof. He could be lying. Or, he might not even know for sure, and could simply be relying on a falsified family history.
3. FactCheck was allowed to take photographs of the COLB (factcheck.org/elections-2008/born_in_the_usa.html), however, there are several problems that their supposed proof:
A. FactCheck doesn't indicate that they showed it to document experts.
B. They were able to contact representatives of the state of Hawaii about some related issues, but they weren't able to verify it with that state.
C. Their mocking tone - including the use of the phrase "tinfoil hat" - doesn't speak to their commitment to determine the truth.
D. Their photos show the certificate was issued on June 6, 2007. This may contradict a statement from Politfact (#4 below): "[Janice Okubo of HI's health department] said a copy of the birth certificate was requested in June 2008, but she wouldn't specify by whom." Were there two requests, is that a typo, did Okubo make a mistake, or what?
E. FactCheck is "funded primarily by the Annenberg Foundation" (factcheck.org/about), the same foundation that started the Chicago Annenberg Challenge which was headed up by Barack Obama.
F. While FactCheck for the most part gets things right, they've also gotten several things wrong (link, link) or shown bias (factcheck.org/elections-2008/wrong_paul.html).
G. The EXIF data shown in original photos had a date months before they were supposedly taken, and that EXIF data was removed when they recompressed the photos.
H. FactCheck hasn't exactly pursued this case to the ends of the Earth. For instance, it was a week after the posting of their "definitive" proof that they finally informed us that "[Obama] held both U.S. and Kenyan citizenship as a child, but lost his Kenyan citizenship automatically on his 21st birthday" (http://www.factcheck.org/askfactcheck/does_barack_obama_have_kenyan_citizenship.html).
Bottom line: what FactCheck says is not proof.
12/28/09 UPDATE: For a point of reference, see this post from celebrity gossip site TMZ about their attempts to authenticate a photo of JFK: peekURL.com/zvmdpck
TMZ brought in named document experts to examine the original; FactCheck just used their staffers. FactCheck can't even rise to the level of Harvey Levin. (And, as if to prove my point, it later turned out that the photo was a hoax and was actually from an old magazine having nothing to do with JFK: peekURL.com/ztuvznb Once again: FactCheck didn't even rise to the TMZ level.)
4. The Politfact article (politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2008/jun/27/obamas-birth-certificate-part-ii), which is even less reliable than the one from FactCheck. They attempted to obtain Obama's birth certificate without luck, but eventually they received a picture of the COLB from the Obama campaign (politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2008/jun/13/obamas-birth-certificate), which is presumably the same picture as at Obama's "Fight the Smears" site. However, because such information is only available to direct family members, they were unable to confirm the certificate with the state of Hawaii. The best they could do is interview a spokeswoman for the state of Hawaii's health department (Janice Okubo):
Okubo says she got a copy of her own birth certificate last year and it is identical to the Obama one we received.Then, after bringing in someone to discuss conspiracy theories, they punt. Their statement that Obama was born in Hawaii is completely based on the assumption that he couldn't have gotten as far as he has without providing proof to others, such as colleges. However, those colleges could have said the same thing and might not have seen his birth certificate or might have seen a forged document. An article based completely on such assumptions is not proof.
And about the copy we e-mailed her for verification? “When we looked at that image you guys sent us, our registrar, he thought he could see pieces of the embossed image through it."
Still, she acknowledges: 'I don’t know that it's possible for us to even say beyond a doubt what the image on the site represents."
5. Snopes says the claim that the COLB is a forgery is "false" (snopes.com/politics/obama/birthcertificate.asp). However, they add no new facts, but simply rely on claims from FactCheck and the suppositions of Politifact. They link to presumably the same JPEG of the COLB as FactCheck as well as the Honolulu Advertiser announcement mentioned in #1. They also say:
Aside from the inherent absurdity of such claims (i.e., that a major party presidential nominee would risk his entire candidacy on a fraud that could be uncovered simply by a check of state health records), the supposedly incriminating details don't pan out...The problem, of course, is that no such "check" is allowed; if it were, Obama's opponents would have already performed such a check and there would be no issue. As one could have assumed, Snopes cannot be trusted.
Until Obama releases an official copy of his birth certificate to some reliable authority - such as a respected judge - and that certificate is verified with the issuing agency there will always be doubts about his birthplace. Even showing some form of his birth certificate to a group of reporters will not be proof because reporters are not document experts and a very large number of reporters have shown themselves willing to lie on his behalf.
There's certainly the possibility that Obama is playing a game by not releasing documentation. He could be trying to give his opponents false hope that he'd be knocked out of the race at the last moment or even after being elected. Or, he could just be trying to distract his opponents from pursuing an unrelated line of attack that would actually work. Or, there could be something else in his records that he doesn't want his potential voters to see, such as the birth certificate showing some detail that would be damaging, or something similar in a college application.
I don't recommend being distracted by or counting on this issue. However, if anyone definitively says that Obama was born in Hawaii, please direct them to this page. It is false to definitively say that he was born in Hawaii.
UPDATE: I added the Snopes section. Also, shortly before the election, the state of Hawaii issued a statement concerning the issue. Despite what some - including the Associated Press have said, they did not confirm the COLB as pictured at FactCheck, nor did they confirm that he was born in Hawaii. All they confirmed is that he has a certificate on file. And, as discussed at the last link, those born in other states or foreign countries can obtain Hawaii birth certificates if their parents are residents of that state. Further, it would be illegal for those officials to have discussed any of the contents of the certificate without Obama's permission, something that he clearly has not given.
UPDATE 2: All of this information has been collated on this page. UPDATE 3: To be precise, it's a "Certification of Live Birth", not a "Certificate of Live Birth".
The answer to that is... it could happen. See this. One of the debunkings of that claim that I've seen is that the "fact checkers"  couldn't find a $1 million transfer from the Obama campaign to Odinga, and that there's no such thing as the "Friends of Senator B.O." However, the wording at the first link implies that it wasn't a transfer so much as Obama facilitating donations from others directly to Odinga.
However, before you get too excited, see this email supposedly from Obama:
"I will kindly wish that all our correspondence [be] handled by Mr Mark Lippert. I have already instructed him. This will be for my own security both for now and in future."
You probably had the same reaction as I did: that doesn't sound like the BHO we know. In fact, it sounds more like someone who sends you an email wanting to establish a "mutually beneficial business relationship" in order to retrieve Thirty Three Million American Dollars.
Despite that, there are definitely links between BHO and Odinga, and it's pretty clear that - while he did speak with Odinga's opposition - he was in Odinga's corner.
However, the claim that the pact between Odinga and Muslim leaders promised Sharia law appears to be falsified .
Scott Shane of the New York Times offers "Obama and '60s Bomber: A Look Into Crossed Paths" (originally titled "Obama Had Met Ayers, but the Two Are Not Close"). If you believe the NYT, then everything's fine and dandy, and Barack Obama and 60s radical Bill Ayers are not close. The fact that they aren't close and never were close and nothing funny went on and there's nothing to see here is especially important because Ayers is a former and allegedly unrepentant terrorist who's since been, in Shane's words, "rehabilitated".
On the other hand, if you actually want the truth, compare the second paragraph on page 2 ("In fact, according to several people involved...") to the email here. Why, it's almost like Shane is reading from a script provided by Ken Rolling, the former executive director of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge.
See also this from Steve Diamond:
an exchange of letters in late 1994, copies of which I obtained from Brown University, between Vartan Gregorian, then President of Brown and the individual responsible for assessing applications for grants from the national Annenberg Challenge, and Bill Ayers, the founder of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, demonstrates that Ayers played a direct role in "composing" the Challenge's board of directors... I was interviewed at length by the New York Times for today’s story. In fact, this was the third Times reporter to interview me about the Ayers/Obama relationship - and I provided the Times with the letters I discuss here. They are not mentioned in the story at all.
See also "Ayers Was on Woods Fund Board with Obama When He Stepped on Flag" (LGF, peekURL.com/zab252h). That links to this August 2001 Chicago Magazine article entitled "No Regrets"; it includes a picture of Bill Ayers stepping on a U.S. flag. It also links to 'Obama served on a board with former Weather Underground member William Ayers and "that relationship with Mr. Ayers on this board continued after 9/11"', a fact check of a Hillary Clinton statement about Obama's association with Ayers (link). They agree that her statement was truthful.
And, see this:
It turns out as these ten key points confirm what I have argued all along - that Bill Ayers was responsible for the elevation of Obama to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge board and the New York Times reporting on this story actually supports my conclusion, though inadvertently.
10/9/08: Obama lies again, with this being the latest explanation for his actions: "The gentleman in question, Bill Ayers, is a college professor, teaches education at the University of Illinois... That's how i met him -- working on a school reform project that was funded by an ambassador and very close friend of Ronald Reagan's" along with "a bunch of conservative businessmen and civic leaders... Ultimately, I ended up learning about the fact that he had engaged in this reprehensible act 40 years ago, but I was eight years old at the time and I assumed that he had been rehabilitated." (link) As indicated above, Obama continued working with him after 9/11/01, when even the most willingly blind person could see what Ayers was all about.
~ Who's helping the NYT spread their spin? ~
The people listed below all share one thing in common: they pretend that that NYT was actually trying to write an investigative report rather than a cover-up, and they all come to the conclusion that there's nothing there because the NYT says there's nothing there. Whether they actually believe that or whether they're just trying to sell the NYT's lies isn't clear.
* Steve Benen of Washington Monthly says the NYT "couldn't find any dirt", trying to make his readers think the NYT was looking for dirt rather than covering for BHO (washingtonmonthly. com/archives/individual/2008_10/015024.php). A comment I left was later deleted.
* Ben Smith from The Politico tries a similar technique: "though the Times has pinned down a couple of new details on the relationship, there's no real news, and the main new detail is exculpatory: A different Chicago figure picked Obama to chair an education fund. The conservative blog reaction to the story is outrage, as it has failed to turn up the secret Rosetta Stone that many seem to believe will reveal some deeper truth about Obama's politics." (politico.com/blogs/bensmith/1008/Republicans_again_reading_the_Times.html?showall)
* Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post (voices.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/10/04/palin_turns_to_nyt_citing_arti.html). She starts out with snark and a lie: "It turns out GOP vice presidential nominee does like the mainstream media after all -- at least, when it's publishing unflattering stories about Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama." The NYT article isn't "unflattering", it's an attempt at a cover-up.
She then spins the story the same way the BHO campaign does: "In fact, both a Washington Post article in April and today's New York Times piece revealed Obama and Ayers to have had only a casual association: the former radical hosted a coffee for Obama's first bid for state Senate, they served together on an educational charity board and both live in Chicago's Hyde Park."
The WaPo article she mentions is "Former '60s Radical Is Now Considered Mainstream in Chicago" by Peter Slevin (link). That WaPo article is even more of a cover-up than the one from the NYT; in fact, almost everything in there tries to portray Ayers as an upstanding member of his community, and the only link to Obama is this cozy scene: The two men served for three years on the board of the Woods Fund, an anti-poverty group. The board, which Obama has since left, was small and collegial, said chair Laura Washington, who served with them. It met four times a year for a half-day, mostly to approve grants, she said. The atmosphere was "friendly but businesslike." Needless to say, a real reporter would try to determine what Washington isn't saying, but that leaves Peter Slevin out.
* Michael Shaw of the Huffington Post - who concentrates on a lightweight interpretation of images - basically reads from the card he's been handed: "all kinds of long hashed-over and discredited innuendos... resuscitating feeble allegations -- all then discounted..." (huffingtonpost.com/michael-shaw/reading-the-pictures-emny_b_131855.html)
* Martina Stewart of CNN references the NYT article and then says: "Several other publications, including the Washington Post, Time magazine, the Chicago Sun-Times, The New Yorker and The New Republic, have debunked the idea that Obama and Ayers had a close relationship." (says) However, an earlier version of the article - the change not noted - had "The National Review" in place of "The New Republic". (link) Presumably that was just a mistake and not (like their other coverage) an attempt to deceive.
* Sockpuppets, various. BHO supporters are clogging up MSM comments boards with Winner-style attacks. See, for instance, the 04:15 PM comment from "John" and the 04:26 PM comment from "Larry" at latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2008/10/sarah-palinbill.html and the 8:06 PM comment from Luke2 and the 7:34 PM comment from seemstome at voices.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/10/04/palin_turns_to_nyt_citing_arti.html. If I didn't think they were just citizens voicing their opinions I'd think they were actually paid workers for the Obama campaign.
* Izvestia, aka CNN, offers a "Fact Check" that discusses Sarah Palin's comment that BHO is "palling around with terrorists" (link). Obviously, Palin should have put it in the correct legalistic format: "in the recent past, Barack Obama has worked with and associated with known and unrepentant terrorists". If she had, CNN wouldn't have been able to pretend that her non-legalistic formation was binding: 'Verdict: False. There is no indication that Ayers and Obama are now "palling around," or that they have had an ongoing relationship in the past three years. Also, there is nothing to suggest that Ayers is now involved in terrorist activity or that other Obama associates are.' No really: they actually try to pretend that her imprecise wording is more important than BHO's past collaboration with and association with a terrorist.
* Todd Beeton links to both CNN and the NYT and continues the trends discussed above: mydd.com/story/2008/10/5/164214/299
* Obsequious toady, repeat liar, and supporter of illegal activity Joe Klein offers "Embarracuda", an obvious attempt to deceive (time-blog.com/swampland/2008/10/embarracuda.html). Needless to say, he downplays the Obama-Ayers connection and even works in a BHO talking point about how BHO was just a child when the Weather Underground were terrorizing the U.S.: Over the weekend, [Sarah Palin] picked up on an article in The New York Times, which essentially says that Barack Obama and the former terrorist Bill Ayers have crossed paths in Chicago, served on a couple of charitable boards together, but aren't particularly close. To Palin--or her scriptwriters--this means that Obama has been "palling around" with terrorists. Now, I wish Ayers had done some serious jail time; he certainly needed to pay some penance for his youthful criminality--even if most people in Chicago, including the mayor, have decided that he has something of value to say about education. But I can also understand how Obama, who was a child when Ayers was cutting his idiot swath, would not quite understand the enormity of the professor's background...
* Scott Conroy of CBS News offers "Lagging In The Polls, Palin Shifts To Fear Tactics" (cbsnews.com/blogs/2008/10/06/politics/fromtheroad/entry4503812.shtml), which follows 10/4's equally biased "Palin Says She Wants To Talk About Issues, Adds That Obama Pals With A Terrorist" (cbsnews.com/blogs/2008/10/06/politics/fromtheroad/entry4503812.shtml). In the first article he says: '[Palin] said [Obama and Ayers] had a relationship akin to being "pals," even though the Associated Press and many other news outlets have concluded that Obama and Ayers' relationship added up to far less than a close friendship.' Needless to say, that's extremely disingenuous.
10/6/08 UPDATE: The latest lie from the BHO campaign is that BHO had little knowledge of the radical past of Ayers and the Weatherman group. This was presented by David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs (thepage.time.com/mccain-campaign-release-on-obama-and-ayers); see Joe Klein retailing their lie above.