Bad Deeds for 1-5-2009

Ann Coulter’s Latest Book Contains More Than a Dozen Lies – Conservative Ann Coulter lies on more than a dozen occasions in her new book, Guilty: Liberal “Victims” and Their Assault on America, according to Media Matters. Here are some examples:

* Liberals’ purported “praise[]” for hoaxers for staging hate crimes. Coulter claims that two black students who engaged in a hoax by hanging a black doll from a noose were “immediately praised” by “liberals,” but the sources she cites do not support this claim.

* On Page 15, Coulter writes, “Fox News has never been caught promoting a fraud — unlike CBS (Bush National Guard story), ABC (tobacco industry report), NBC (exploding GM trucks), CNN (Tailwind), and MSNBC (Keith Olbermann).” In fact, as Media Matters has documented, on several occasions since 2004, Fox News has issued a retraction and apology for airing a news report that repeated false information, one of which led Fox News’ Vice President for News John Moody to reportedly warn staff in January 2007 that “seeing an item on a website does not mean it is right. Nor does it mean it is ready for air on FNC.”

* Coulter advances several falsehoods about Kerry in defending the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, an organization which spread numerous falsehoods and smears regarding Kerry’s military record in the six months leading up to the 2004 presidential election.

* Coulter falsely claims that “the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth weren’t forced to retract any part of their story. [Page 100]” In fact, the organization altered its website’s account of the December 2, 1968, mission for which the U.S. Navy awarded Kerry his first Purple Heart three days after Media Matters noted that the account was inconsistent with that of the group’s star witness — retired Rear Admiral William L. Schachte Jr., who claims he was the commander on that mission.

* Coulter also suggests that the media ignored the allegations of the Swift Boat Veterans, writing, “The only way they could have gotten less attention would have been to be interviewed on Air America Radio.” By the time the Swift Boat story had played out, CNN, chasing after ratings leader Fox News, found time to mention the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth –hereafter, Swifties — in nearly 300 separate news segments, while more than 100 New York Times articles and columns made mention of the Swifties. And during one overheated 12-day span in late August, the Washington Post mentioned the Swifties in page 1 stories on Aug. 19, 20, 21 (two separate articles), 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, and 31.

* Coulter also falsely suggests that no witnesses supported Kerry’s account that his convoy came under enemy fire during the March 13, 1969, actions for which he was awarded the Bronze Star.

* Coulter writes that Kerry “carrie[d] a home-movie camera to war in order to reenact combat scenes and tape fake interviews with himself” during his tour in Vietnam [Page 100]. Coulter was repeating a discredited charge previously made by Internet gossip Matt Drudge and subsequently echoed by The New York Times and numerous cable and radio outlets during the 2004 presidential election.

* Coulter devotes four pages of Guilty [173-176] to discussing her false assertion that “Obama himself compared Palin to a pig and then denied doing so.” In fact, Obama’s September 9, 2008, statement, “you know, you can put lipstick on a pig; it’s still a pig,” did not refer to Palin, but rather to how a “list” of Sen. John McCain’s policies were, according to Obama, no different from President Bush’s. Obama did not mention Palin in at least the 65 words preceding his “lipstick on a pig” comment, as Media Matters noted. Moreover, the expression “lipstick on a pig” is common political rhetoric — Obama had reportedly used the expression in the past, and McCain used it in 2007 in reference to Sen. Hillary Clinton’s health-care proposal.


Politics Delayed Palin Figure’s Drug Case According to Trooper and Union – The December 18 arrest of Sherry Johnston, grandmother to Bristol Palin’s newborn son Tripp Johnston, was delayed until after the November election, according to Kyle Young, drug investigator for the Alaska State Troopers. The case “became anything but normal” once investigators knew Johnston’s connection to the Palin family, Young said in an e-mail, and the search warrant “WAS delayed because of the pending election,” adding that authorities were “not the ones calling the shots.”


US Blocks UN Security Council Action on Gaza – The United States late Saturday blocked approval of a U.N. Security Council statement calling for an immediate cease-fire in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel and expressing concern at the escalation of violence between Israel and Hamas.


Conservative Leaders Endorse Ken Blackwell for Republican National Committee Chair – Business leaders, political figures and self-appointed moral policemen are among those supporting Blackwell. Blackwell was a notable figure in the 2004 presidential elections, during which he was simultaneously the Chief Elections Official of Ohio and honorary co-chair of the “committee to re-elect George W. Bush.” He was sued by the Ohio Democratic Party, accused of disenfranchising minority voters in part by forcing some to cast provisional ballots which were at additional risk of being thrown out if cast at the wrong precinct.

Blackwell, then a stockholder in the company, also ordered Diebold touch-screen voting machines over protest from Ohio State Senator Jeff Jacobson in July 2003, despite the machines’ dubious accuracy and lack of paper trails. A fundraising letter sent to Ohio Republicans around the same time by former Diebold chairman Walden O’Dell sparked allegations of a conflict of interest with a statement that he was “committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president.”

The presidential votes for Ohio, one of the key states in deciding the 2004 results, were also rerouted through a Tennessee web hosting company known for its close ties to the Republican Party and its hosting of external Bush administration e-mail accounts.


Cheney: Bush’s Actions Were Legal if He’s Not Impeached – If you don’t get punished, you didn’t go anything wrong, right? That’s the message Vice President Dick Cheney gave in an interview with CBS’ Bob Schieffer on Sunday, suggesting that a president’s actions are legal if those actions didn’t result in his impeachment. Asked by Schieffer if he believed that anything the president does in time of war is legal, Cheney said there is “historic precedent of taking action that you wouldn’t take in peacetime.”


SEC Ignored Warnings About Madoff’s Ponzi Scheme, Pronounced Him Free of Fraud – Consider the strange story of Harry Markopolos. Mr. Markopolos is the former investment officer with Rampart Investment Management in Boston who, for nine years, tried to explain to the Securities and Exchange Commission that Bernard L. Madoff couldn’t be anything other than a fraud. Mr. Madoff’s investment performance, given his stated strategy, was not merely improbable but mathematically impossible. And so, Mr. Markopolos reasoned, Bernard Madoff must be doing something other than what he said he was doing.

In his devastatingly persuasive 17-page letter to the S.E.C., Mr. Markopolos saw two possible scenarios. In the “Unlikely” scenario: Mr. Madoff, who acted as a broker as well as an investor, was “front-running” his brokerage customers. A customer might submit an order to Madoff Securities to buy shares in I.B.M. at a certain price, for example, and Madoff Securities instantly would buy I.B.M. shares for its own portfolio ahead of the customer order. If I.B.M.’s shares rose, Mr. Madoff kept them; if they fell he fobbed them off onto the poor customer.

In the “Highly Likely” scenario, wrote Mr. Markopolos, “Madoff Securities is the world’s largest Ponzi Scheme.” Which, as we now know, it was.
Harry Markopolos sent his report to the S.E.C. on Nov. 7, 2005 — more than three years before Mr. Madoff was finally exposed — but he had been trying to explain the fraud to them since 1999. He had no direct financial interest in exposing Mr. Madoff — he wasn’t an unhappy investor or a disgruntled employee. There was no way to short shares in Madoff Securities, and so Mr. Markopolos could not have made money directly from Mr. Madoff’s failure. To judge from his letter, Harry Markopolos anticipated mainly downsides for himself: he declined to put his name on it for fear of what might happen to him and his family if anyone found out he had written it. And yet the S.E.C.’s cursory investigation of Mr. Madoff pronounced him free of fraud.





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About Jim Vogas

Texas A&M Aggie, Retired aerospace engineer, former union member, Vietnam vet, Demcratic Party organizer, husband and father.

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