Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

It’s been awhile since I wrote about this, but World Net Daily’s Joseph Farah’s argument with RightWingWatch prompted me to revisit it, even though we’re still two years away from the Obamapocalypse.

First, there was on Thursday a column published by Joseph Farah, “Will Obama Leave Office in 2017?” It got 715 comments (so far). This was followed up on Friday by a published e-mail from a Frances Haase: “How Obama Could Stay in Office in 2017.” Just speculating about civil unrest and martial law and suspension of elections. It got one comment.

Then, in response later that day, Miranda Blue published on RightWingWatch: “Joseph Farah Is ‘Just Asking’: Will Obama Actually Leave Office in January 2017?” RWW noted this:

“[W]hy do we assume Obama will step aside willingly from the presidency following an election in 2016?” Farah asks in a column today. “I’m not saying he won’t. I’m just asking why.”

It’s a pathetic phrase that is often used by people who want to say something they know will be controversial and, for some reason or another (since Farah has said far more controversial things and been forthright about it), they don’t want it coming back on them, or they want an excuse to say, “Hey! I didn’t actually say that, I was just asking the question!”

Richard Hoagland does this a lot when claiming that every asteroid and comet is a space ship.

Despite RWW and WND going head-to-head for years, apparently it rubbed Joseph Farah the wrong way. He actually responded in a column on Sunday: “Who Would Oppose Obama 3rd Term?” Who indeed? He starts out his column as such:

In this space on Thursday, I raised a question that Americans had only been whispering about among trusted friends: Will Barack Obama leave office in 2017?”

People for the American Way’s “Right Wing Watch” didn’t like it.

I trust that means the group will use all of its influence and legal firepower to oppose any attempt by Obama to subvert the law – though there was no hint of that in its response.

Rush Limbaugh responded to the question Friday when a caller raised the possibility Obama might ignore the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution as he has ignored so many other laws since taking office.

[…] Limbaugh speculated that Obama might actually consider the possibility of a third term given the Democratic Party’s weak field of potential presidential candidates for 2016. He imagined Obama going on television and making a case to the American people that he is in the best position to stop a Republican from capturing the White House – “not after eight courageous years of transforming America!”

So, “Not only am I ‘just askin’,’ but so is Papa Rush!”

RightWingWatch responded today with a post by Peter Montgomery: “Birther Joseph Farah Wants PFAW Help To Block Third Obama Term. Let’s Make A Deal.” Here’s his proposal:

Farah was apparently bothered that Miranda’s RWW post did not include a pledge that People For the American Way would “use all of its influence and legal firepower” to stop Obama from chucking the Constitution in a White House power-grab. Of course we don’t take the possibility seriously, but since Farah seems to, let’s offer him a proposition: If President Obama refuses to allow a constitutional transfer of power to his successor, we will join you at the barricades. If the American republic miraculously survives, you will stop polluting the public discourse with toxic nonsense. Deal?

I think that’s fair.

I’m at the point that when I see Aaron Klein’s name in the byline of a WND story, I assume it’s fake. It may not be a completely accurate heuristic, but it’s developed over the lifetime of this blog. Let’s start this time with the debunking itself, and then get into Klein’s claims: “Right-Wing Smear Baselessly Links Obama Admin to Anti-Netanyahu Campaign” by Hannah Groch-Begley on Media Matters.

Hannah comes out swinging, debunking the claim – or at least mollifying it – in the first paragraph, by pointing out “American political consultants from both parties have been independently working in Israeli campaigns for decades — including former Obama aides who have worked for Netanyahu.” I actually recommend reading Hannah’s article in full because it points out the path of the “Chinese Whispers” that have been blown out of any proportion or context due to a desire to undermine President Obama for any reason – real or not. (And to be fair, I don’t think everything President Obama does is good or fair or reasonable, I’d just rather dislike his actions if they’re real, rather than dislike his actions that are shown to be fake.)

Here’s the basic idea, or claimed evidence: “[… A] former Obama campaign staffer went to Israel “to oust Netanyahu,” suggesting the former staffer would not do this work “if he thought Obama opposed it” and implying the administration was “actively working to defeat Netanyahu.””

Here’s the reality: “Two policy groups in Israel, OneVoice and Victory 15, are currently working together to promote platforms that reportedly “are not friendly” to Netanyahu ahead of the upcoming election. The groups have also partnered with American consulting group 270 Strategies, which is headed by Jeremy Bird, a former Obama campaign staffer. OneVoice began working with 270 Strategies in 2013, long before the Israeli elections were announced.”

But, as she stated at the beginning: “There is a long history of U.S. political consultants from both parties working for Israeli political campaigns.” She then lists ones from US presidential campaigns that have worked both for and against various parties in Israel. But, apparently, this one is somehow different. The rumor that it’s different is possibly in response to House Speaker John Boehner inviting Netanyahu to address Congress — a major faux pas in Washington because foreign dignitaries are supposed to be handled by the State Department, part of the Executive Branch. This was seen as a major snub to Obama both by the House for offering it and Netanyahu for accepting. And so, “Conservatives claim that 270 Strategies’ work with OneVoice proves Obama is either retaliating against Netanyahu or engaging in a similar effort to meddle in foreign politics; but again, 270’s work on the ground in Israel began long before this most recent disagreement, and it is typical for American political consultants to engage in Israeli politics.”

This was then hyped by the Drudge Report, by Sen. Ted Cruz on Brietbart, and even Megan Kelly on Fox “news” who suggested “that the administration sent an Obama “field general” to help Israel “elect Netanyahu’s opponent.””

This took another twist because of money: “Many of the media outlets took the smear further, by also claiming that tax-payer dollars were funding the campaign. OneVoice briefly received a one-time grant for about $200,000 from the State Department, which ended in November 2014. As State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki noted in a briefing, the grant “ended before there was a declaration of an Israeli election.””

So, because some organization got a grant at one time, that means everything they do in the future is linked to that funding source? Uh huh …

That’s the extent of that. So, now we have WND:

*Reposted under the headline, “FOR TRAINING ONLY – Netanyahu fires back at U.S. election meddling” on February 6, but the link on February 6 returns a 404 Error (file not found).

Really, you can read down those headlines and check off each conspiracy that I explained above. But, with very sensationalistic headlines. For example, with the “Cruz Grills Kerry” one, it’s not a grilling. It’s a letter that Sen. Cruz sent to Sec. of State Kerry asking to make sure that no US taxpayer funds are being used. That’s it. Oh, except that in the WND story, there are many quotes from anonymous internet commenters who are opposed to what they are being mislead to think is going on.

The only one not in there is the one about Netanyahu “firing back” at an “Obama Army.” To quote from WND: “During a press conference Sunday, the Likud Party officially accused V15 and other related nonprofits of being supported “through millions of dollars funneled from Europe, the U.S. and the New Israel Fund and international factors interested in bringing down Prime Minister Netanyahu” who think “that all means are appropriate.” The Likud further called for Israel’s Central Elections Committee to outlaw V15′s activities to “ensure the integrity of the election.””

It may be a tu quoque fallacy on my part, but I would like to point out that there is plenty of foreign money in US politics, too. Something that is generally advocated for by conservative groups by trying to remove caps on spending and general accountability, and/or lessening funding for groups meant to watch for potential campaign spending violations.

In the end, what makes more sense? Scenario 1 is a vast, nefarious plot of one world leader plotting against the leader of an ally state. Which takes pace in a scenario where the former world leader’s every move is being watched by an incredibly hostile group of lawmakers. Or, Scenario 2 which is where a political campaign team that has a proven track record is either hired by or volunteers to help the campaign of someone else. Just happens to be that the new campaign is in a different country.

One of the reasons that I consider myself part of the modern scientific skepticism movement is because of crap like this. You need to question things. You need to look into sources and look for the story behind what you’re being told. You need to look at the evidence and get beyond the hype. Otherwise, you’re just a drone. And WND commenters are mainly drones. They just get riled up because they’re supposed to by stories like this. As “Envoy Master” wrote, “A sitting US president actively trying to cause a regime change in an ALLIED country is arguably treasonous as such an act is likely to benefit our enemies.” Yup, WND has done its job.

Quite awhile ago, I said that the legal march in the US towards equality and non-discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation is continuing, perhaps accelerating, and fervently opposed by the über-conservatives which World Net Daily embodies. And because of that, I was getting somewhat annoyed with the broken-record that I was reporting on here. So this is just a summary of some of the news I flagged over the last two weeks (yay TAM break!).

First off, on July 6, we had Scott Lively write, “‘Gay’ Agenda? What ‘Gay’ Agenda?” Which under normal circumstances I would think is a skeptical look at the vast conspiracy thinking that holds that a massive number of gays and their supporters are trying to take over the world. But this is Scott Lively writing on WND:

Mentioning the “gay” agenda in the presence of an LGBT activist or any other cultural Marxist is like pulling the string on a Sheriff Woody doll. You hear precisely the same recording each time: “What gay agenda? There is no gay agenda.”

But, of course, the audacious lie that the now-global LGBT political movement has “no agenda” is as transparent as the emperor’s new clothes. Indeed, their agenda is not only undeniable, it has unfortunately become unavoidable.

The rest of the post is an attempt to support his concluding paragraph, which I summarized in one sentence above:

In summary, the “gay” agenda is to eliminate the existing Judeo-Christian model of civilization, grounded in marriage-based procreative sexuality, to make way for an irrational and impossible cultural Marxist model which imagines family-less, unlimited “sexual freedom” (anarchy), while somehow preserving orderliness in every other aspect of human society. It reflects an insane and Satanic delusion that breeds chaos, and can only be stopped by unceasing reaffirmation of biblical values and the natural family by the rest of us.

It’s difficult to try to make light, humorize, or parody this kind of thing because it is its own parody. “Insane and Satanic delusion”? Really?

Moving on, in the totally not-gay business of baking cakes and decorating them with colorful icing, Bob Unruh on July 7 informed us that Another Baker Ordered to Endorse Homosexuality.” In Northern Ireland. Grand! But there’s hope in the US, because Bob reported on July 17 that in Colorado, “Baker Appeals Government Re-Education Order.”

A Lakewood, Colorado, bakery owner has appealed to the Colorado Court of Appeals an order from the state’s Civil Rights Commission that he take his employees through a mandatory re-education process because of his religious objections to promoting same-sex marriage, which the state constitution does not recognize.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, who represents Masterpiece Cakeshop artist Jack Phillips, says the order by state bureaucrats requires Phillips to “re-educate” his employees so that they “endorse all views.” Phillips also must file quarterly reports for two years proving that the “re-education” has been implemented.

The title is a clear allusion to Communism and totalitarian societies.

Meanwhile, Selena Owens declared on July 8, “Marriage: Not an Experiment!” She’s correct, it’s not. It’s a social and religious contract that has been a tradition only in its coarsest of ideas for thousands of years, but the specifics have varied not only by society and country, but by almost decade after decade. It was when governments got involved and granted literally hundreds (and in the US, over 1000) legal rights to people who are married (such as hospital visitation, joint tax filing, can’t be compelled to testify against spouse, etc.) that those legal protections were wanted by same-sex couples who love each other just as much as opposite-sex couples who have >50% divorce rate in the US. (And let’s not forget Britney Spears’ 54-hour “just for fun” totally-not-an-experiment marriage from a decade ago.)

But no, totally not an experiment, totally set in stone and totally unchanging. But I digress, since her column is actually about a stupid new reality TV show:

“Married at First Sight” is a new “social experiment” show from A&E’s new FYI network, (based on a Danish version of the show) that pairs three couples who agree to marry upon their first initial meeting. That’s right; the very first date for these couples will be when they actually walk down the aisle to join together in matrimony. The show “will follow the classic lifestyle stories of newlyweds – from the honeymoon to early nesting to other relatable events of married life. After several weeks together, the couple must make a decision: Do they remain together or do they separate?”

But since I already wrote my rant, I’ll leave it in.

In the continued march towards state recognition of marriage equality, on July 9, “Judge Tosses Colorado ‘Gay’-Marriage Ban,” and on July 18, “Federal Court Rules for ‘Gay’ Marriage in Oklahoma.” But just like last time when there was a flurry of judicial rulings that pointed out the prohibited discriminatory nature of not letting same-sex couples wed, Bob Unruh charged in on July 19 to remind people, “Activist Judges Push ‘Gay Marriage.'”

The reason I’m not talking about the comments on these, like the 624 (so far) on Bob’s story, is that they are exactly what you would expect from WND, complaining about judicial activists or crying about Jesus being banned.

Speaking about Jesus being banned, Joseph Farah used his July 11 column to remind us, “Christians Are Not Hostile to ‘Gays.'” Nope, and the very fact you put scare-quotes around “gay” just proves how loving you are. (Remember: Farah is the founder and CEO of WND.) Farah takes the common BS reminder that Christians hate the sin, not the sinner:

The job of evangelicals is to evangelize.

You don’t evangelize non-sinners. The act of evangelizing is to confront sinners with their fallen state – their shortcomings, their appointment with death. It is that act that brings sinners to salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus. That’s why He died on the cross – to give sinners a chance for eternal life. He died for them, us, you and me. And He conquered death for them through this sacrificial act when He rose from the dead.

Neither Jesus nor any true evangelical would ever be “hostile” to sinners. In fact, it is an act of love to share the gospel with them. But sharing the gospel means confronting the reality of sin, not excusing it, condoning it, glorifying it or participating in it.

The problem with this is found in the Bible itself, in Matthew 7:16: “By their fruit you will recognize them.” (NIV) So you can preach whatever “love” you want, but when your actions are hostile, violent, and denying of basic human equality, they belie your tender words. But of course, Christians think that it’s them who are under attack: “Left Moves to Outlaw Christianity,” by Matt Barber, also on July 11.

But The Gay is permeating society, with beloved comic character Archie from the eponymous comic series sacrificing himself: “‘Archie’ Dies Saving ‘Gay’ Friend.” Sigh.

And while we’re talking about WND devolving into a tabloid, also on the LGBT “news” track is a story form July 15 by Joe Kovacs, who wrote “Ellen’s Wife ‘Secretly Filmed Abuse to Expose Her.'” And so far as I can tell, this is one source from one celebrity rumor site with no substantiation and no public confirmation by anyone. But as I have pointed out many times on this blog, Joe Kovacs, despite being “an award-winning journalist and, since 1999, executive news editor of WND,” tends to report rumors that are completely unsubstantiated that would make even most bloggers blush at trying to report as genuine.

Also on July 15, it was announced that the town of Salem, MA, is terminating (really, just not renewing) its contract with Gordon College because Gordon College discriminates against LGBT people (and it’s allowed because it’s private, and it does it because it’s Christian; don’t’cha feel the love?). In particular:

That changed last week when the president of the small Christian college on the North Shore, D. Michael Lindsay, joined a group of 14 religious leaders in asking President Obama for an exemption from a planned executive order banning discrimination in hiring on the basis of sexual orientation. Surprisingly, such discrimination is not explicitly banned now.

The group sent the president a letter in which they tried to frame their request for an exemption as a matter of religious freedom. They claimed that the proposed ban would “come at an unreasonable cost to the common good, national unity and religious freedom.”

So, what actually happened was: “Mayor Kim Driscoll sent a letter to President Lindsay this morning notifying him and his Board of Trustees of the City’s termination of their management contract of Old Town Hall due to the institution’s non-compliance with the City of Salem’s fully LGBT-inclusive Non-Discrimination Ordinance.”

What’s great about this – besides the obvious – is that Glen Beck decided to tell his massive audience about it, and the Salem Mayor’s office got a lot of angry phone calls. Why is that great? Because “Mayor Kimberly Driscoll pledged to donate five dollars to an LGBT youth charity for every angry phone call her office gets from conservatives bent on harassing city employees over the decision.” Ha!

But, on July 17, WND decided to try to remind people that they are being Oppressed by a tiny portion of society: “‘Gay’ Population Smaller than Thought.” This reports on a recently released poll:

Based on 2013 data collected by the government in The National Health Interview Survey, 1.6 percent of adults identify as gay or lesbian and 0.7 percent identify as bisexual. The numbers were lower than earlier approximations, which placed gay and lesbians at closer to 3 percent of the population. More than 96 percent identified as straight, and 1.1 percent did not provide an answer or said they were “something else,” or “I don’t know the answer.”

Personally, I think this under-estimates the population. That’s because there are many people who say they are straight but still “just have sex” with people of the same gender. I have a cousin who worked with an HIV clinic in outreach to that population of “men who have sex with men” but don’t consider themselves “gay.” Similarly, this was a survey conducted by the government. For a group that is actively marginalized and discriminated against, the idea that they are going to be 100% honest and tell the government if they’re gay is ridiculous. This may have been attempted to be corrected for (I haven’t read the analysis methods in detail), but it’s definitely something that must be considered.

For those reasons, at best, I would say this sets a minimum on the population. But let’s say that ~2-3% is accurate. So what? It’s okay to discriminate against 2-3% of the population but not 5%? Or 10%? Where’s the cut-off? Anything under 77% because it’s 77% that’s Christian? FYI, at that same link, only 1.7% of the population of the US is Jewish. Gays outnumber Jews. Hmmmmm…

Finally, today, Monday July 21, we finally have President Obama accomplishing via Executive Order what ENDA has been trying to do for decades but failing to get through Congress: A ban on LGBT discrimination in the federal workforce. As in, any government agency, and anyone who contracts with the government for that particular project, canNOT discriminate based on sexual orientation. AND, he did not include any exception for religion (which would have made it a toothless EO).

WND reported on this in a snippet from NBC News (“Obama Signs Ban on LGBT Discrimination”). People who are less familiar with how the US government works (such as those on WND) may wonder how he can do this. It’s because the Executive branch of government is the one that implements and enforces the laws. While the Legislative makes the laws, it’s the Executive who, well, executes them. While Congress designates what receives funding, the office of the President is the one who distributes them. And unless there is a law against it, he can choose how to do that within the scope of what Congress said. And since even the current Congress wouldn’t be stupid enough to explicitly say that LGBT persons must be discriminated against in the workplace, then Obama can emphasize the opposite.

It also has a huge amount of precedence. For example, this EO is just an amendment: “In the 1960s, President Lyndon Johnson signed an order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating “against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” Obama’s executive order added sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected categories.”

Or, in a completely different example, while Congress approves money for federal medical research, the Executive works within that to appropriate funds. And in 2001, President G.W. Bush issued an EO stating that NO federal money could be used for stem cell research other than already-existing lines.

So, this bit of good news – that is fully within the Executive branch’s power, is what I’ll wrap this particular update post up with.

The American electorate has a very short-term memory. It’s unfortunate that they tend to forget things in politics for the latest— OMG something shiny just went by!!!!

Okay, where was I? Ah, that’s right. Several news sites yesterday had headlines along the line of what WND posted from Washington Times today, “Poll: Obama Worst President Since WW II.”

And taken at its face, without any context or looking at any other polls or the history of said poll, this is true. But putting it in context – unlike the myriad of WND commenters – takes more work, but it is rewarding because it shows that most people think this about the sitting president.

Fortunately, the Washington Post‘s Philip Bump did that extra work so we don’t have to. The article has a lot more to it than I’m going to put in here, but really, this table tells it all (reproduced from the article):

July 2006 July 2014
  1. George W. Bush (34 percent)
  2. Richard Nixon (17 percent)
  3. Bill Clinton (16 percent)
  4. Jimmy Carter (13 percent)
  1. Barack Obama (33 percent)
  2. George W. Bush (28 percent)
  3. Richard Nixon (13 percent)
  4. Jimmy Carter (8 percent)


That’s right: This time back in GW Bush’s presidency, a statistically same number of respondents thought he was the worst president in history (and I would’ve been one of them). 16% said Clinton. I would expect that this time in the next president’s term, ~15-20% will say Obama, and this time in the next-next president’s term, he will be off the top four.

“Never let the truth stand in the way of a good story.” —Mark Twain

A normal person might have thought that the whole “birther” thing was dead a long time ago. After all, President Obama is serving his second and final term, the conspiracy folks really did lose in making this a big public issue to sway voters or politicians, and, well, it’s a fairly silly conspiracy (what’s the requirement? Someone thought over 40 years ago that this little baby may grow up to be the President of the US some day so we need to forge his birth certificate?). But that doesn’t stop some people.

Nay, the Birther-in-Chief, Jerome R. Corsi – whose latest book claims that Hitler was alive and well, living in Argentina – has posted a new column, “Sheriff Joe Closing in on Obama Forger.”

That would be Arizona’s Maricopa county Sheriff, Joe Arpaio, the same one who was sued by the Justice Department for racial profiling.

Far-right people who believe in the same fringe conspiracies often flock to each other for the echo chamber effect, and this column is no exception, for it is billed as “an exclusive interview with WND.” In it, he explained being re-elected as sheriff is just too important, especially with the illegal immigration crisis and certain, “sensitive investigations” still in play.”

What “sensitive investigations,” you may ask? Well:

Arpaio also told Rusty Humphries of the Washington Times recently one of those “sensitive” projects was his continued investigation into Barack Obama’s allegedly forged birth certificate.

“If I was the governor, which I turned down a couple of weeks ago because I would have to resign, I’m not going to leave this office to somebody coming in when I have sensitive investigations going, including the president’s birth certificate,” Arpaio said. “I haven’t finished that yet.

“I don’t care where [Obama] was born. That has nothing to do with it,” he continued. “I’m concerned about a forged, fraudulent government document. From Day 1 I’ve been investigating that, now we have to find out who’s behind that. I’m getting close.”

Unsurprisingly, the echo chamber is strong with WND, and the column, published a week ago today, has 1481 comments. And, as usual, comments questioning the conspiracy were deleted by moderators. Echo chambers work better when someone doesn’t poke holes in them.

This came out only five days ago (June 18 — I’m almost caught up!! (but I took Sunday off)): “Judicial Appointments of Homosexuals Surge.” It was written by Leo Hohmann, a freelance journalist.

I think before I delve into this, some numbers are important. If all courts are filled (and they rarely are because the Senate these days takes forever to confirm), there are 874 Federal judgeships in the US. That’s a lot. Looking through the list of who has appointed how many, each president since Roosevelt has appointed an average of 206 jurists, the fewest being Ford at 65, the most Reagan at 384. Obama has done 218, over 100 fewer than his two predecessors, but more than Bush I (who only served 1 term).

For those whose eyes glaze over at math, that’s a lot of judges. And it seems like we get complete turn-over once every maybe 20-30 years. Estimates are that the world population is very very very roughly 5% homosexual. With that in mind, one would expect – all things being equal – that about 44 of the Federal judges are homosexual. One would expect each president, on average, to appoint 10.

And yet: “Obama even boasted at a fundraiser this week for homosexual issues, “Before I took office, only one openly gay judge had been confirmed in history. We have 10 more.””

Seems to me that’s a good thing, he’s just following the average trend. A “surge” from zero (or one), meaning we’ve gone from discrimination to average representation, does not seem to be particularly egregious. President Obama may be emphasizing his numbers to try to score political points that he’s being fair rather than a bigot, but 10 hardly is over-the-top.

Somehow, though, that escapes any mention in this article by Leo Hohmann. Or by the 217 comments (so far). I don’t think it’s worth getting into the comments on this one, I’m pretty sure you can guess what they say.

Sigh. One of my many, many issues with Americans in general – regardless of their political ideology – is their short memory and their penchant for blaming current problems on the current people in charge, regardless of who initiated something or who is responsible for its execution. In this case, the dried up anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly (I recently learned one of her sons is Andrew Schlafly, the guy behind Conservapedia), wrote “Growing Rejection of Common Core” for WND, which published it on June 9, 2014.

Here is her second paragraph:

Common Core is the title of a new set of standards the Obama administration has been trying to force the states to use. Even before the standards were written, 45 states and the District of Columbia signed on, encouraged by inducements of federal funds. The principal outliers are Texas, Alaska, Nebraska and Virginia.

The problem is, the first sentence is wrong. Oh, and apparently, Schlafly doesn’t like Indiana, the other of the five states that never agreed to it. Anyway, just doing a tiny bit of reading on that college freshmans’ website of choice, Wikipedia, we find that Common Core was thunked up throughout the 1990s, and 2000s, and that it was the National Governors’ Association (NGA) in association with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) that were the ones to develop this. They announced it on June 1, 2009. Both the NGA and CCSSO hold the copyrights to Common Core.

Doesn’t seem to me like President Obama or any part of his administration had much of anything to do with this.

Now, it is possible that this was helped by the 2008 election, wherein 29 governor houses went to Democrats, 21 to Republicans (though really that’s only 1 seat change). And now, in 2014 based on the 2010 and 2012 elections, Republicans have 29 and Democrats have 21 seats. Kinda flipped there.

And, it is true that the Obama administration has encouraged states to adopt them:

Standards were released for mathematics and English language arts on June 2, 2010, with a majority of states adopting the standards in the subsequent months. States were given an incentive to adopt the Common Core Standards through the possibility of competitive federal Race to the Top grants. U.S. President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the Race to the Top competitive grants on July 24, 2009, as a motivator for education reform. To be eligible, states had to adopt “internationally benchmarked standards and assessments that prepare students for success in college and the work place.” Though states could adopt other college- and career-ready standards and still be eligible, they were awarded extra points in their Race to the Top applications if they adopted the Common Core standards by August 2, 2010.

Personally, I think the backlash is because there has not really been much education reform in the US in decades, and people who study best education practices have learned a lot since the 1960s. That means teachers implementing Common Core may not do it very well at first. That means that parents who see their children’s lessons and homework may not understand it because, dag nabbit, that’s not how they were taught!

Oh, and because it encourages abortion and gays and feminists and atheism and it’s government take-over of everything. And making everything the same (since parents are holding protest signs saying, “My child is not common”).

As with anything massive, there are bound to be problems. As with any reform worked on for a broken system, it’s going to take time to get the kinks worked out. But the current knee-jerk reactions by the über-conservatives do nothing to help the conversation.

In an unattributed article published on April 3, 2014, WND stated, “Support ‘Gays in Ranks or Quit, Chiefs Told.” It has the sub-title, “Coast Guard commandant describes Obama’s pressure on repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.'” For readers who don’t remember, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was a President Clinton -era law that stated that people in the military could not ask a soldier’s sexual orientation, but if their orientation was discovered to not be heterosexual, they could be discharged. While the number peaked in the later Clinton and early Bush years, a total of 13,650 soldiers were discharged under DADT.

On a related note, recall that enshrined in the US Constitution, the President of the United States is the Commander-in-Chief (CiC), meaning that he or she has full powers over the military (though Congress balances that through its power to declare war and its power to control funding). This means that if the President sets a policy, if the President orders something with respect to the military, you have to follow it. Or get out.

That was kinda left out of this WND article, that people in the military don’t really have the option of saying “no” to the CiC. Instead, it tries to imply that President Obama set rules and he – surprisingly – expected them to be carried out, otherwise – gasp! – you should resign:

“We were called into the Oval Office and President Obama looked all five service chiefs in the eye and said, ‘This is what I want to do,’” Papp said.

Papp, who will retire in May, said he could not divulge everything Obama said in the 2010 meeting because it was in private communications within the Oval Office.

“But if we didn’t agree with it – if any of us didn’t agree with it – we all had the opportunity to resign our commissions and go do other things,” he said.

The issue was Obama’s abandonment of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that allowed homosexuals to serve in the military as long as they kept their proclivities to themselves. Now the military promotes open homosexuality in the ranks.

Hmm. Heaven forbid not following what the CiC says and expecting to remain in the military. And as an added bonus, we get WND “reminding” us that the military now actually “promotes open homosexuality.” Yup, upon joining, you’re given a rainbow flag, a triangle pin, and your first homework assignment is to kiss a member of the same gender. Right?

Or maybe that’s a bit of hyperbole?

I had not opened this article until I saw that Right Wing Watch had published their own commentary on it, “Birther Leader Joseph Farah: I Am Not A Birther!” So of course, I felt the need to take a peek at his column from January 29, 2014, “Why Obama’s Eligibility Is Still Important.” The sub-title is, “Exclusive: Joseph Farah counters claims he’s a ‘hypocrite’ when it comes to Ted Cruz.”

Farah starts by defending his position that Senator Ted Cruz (a Tea Party darling) should be the next US President. Despite the fact that Ted Cruz is a Canadian citizen by birth and so he cannot legally run for President because the US Constitution forbids it. Farah laments: “Now I have seen dozens of blog postings and “news stories” about my commentary, and they all pretty much say the same thing – suggesting or outright stating that I peddled a theory that Obama was born abroad. This is patently untrue. In the hundreds of thousands of words I have written and spoken on this subject, I have never theorized Obama was born abroad.”

Looking through this blog’s archive, I can’t find a good example of this from Farah himself, but I’m selective in my entries and I’ve only been writing it for a few months. WND has published several by other authors that I have commented on. Fortunately RWW links to several examples. The second link is to a November 21, 2008, article where Farah talks about how he’s “dispatched senior staff reporter Jerome Corsi” to Hawai’i and Kenya to investigate, and hired a bunch of PIs, and started a petition.”

The first they link to is from November 26, 2008, soon after the election. It was entitled, “Where Was Obama Born?” Here’s a paragraph from it:

If, as some evidence strongly suggests, including the testimony of two Obama relatives to WND senior staff writer Jerome Corsi who say they were present when he was born in Mombasa, Kenya, in 1961, he was born abroad and merely registered in Hawaii, that would slam-dunk disqualify him from serving – unless, like John McCain, both his parents were U.S. citizens. Since Obama’s autobiography also states that his mother was a minor and his father a citizen of Kenya, only the production of actual hospital records on a long-form birth certificate can provide the necessary information.

Or there’s “The ABCs of Eligibility,” from 2009, where Farah explicitly states:

Question: What are the most compelling facts that make you skeptical of Obama’s birth story?

Answer: The only living person who claims publicly to have been present at Obama’s birth is his paternal grandmother, Sarah Obama, who says the birth took place in Mombasa, Kenya. Obama’s unwillingness to show the long-form birth certificate after all this time, dozens of lawsuits, a great deal of expense and a growing controversy, strongly suggests he is hiding something. The hysteria emanating from Obama’s acolytes strongly suggests this issue has hit a raw nerve. Why won’t a birth hospital in Hawaii come forward to verify the historic event – the birth of the baby who would become the first black president? Why the secrecy even after Obama wrote a public letter to the hospital claiming to have been born there?

And yet, Farah has the gall to claim in his latest: “In the hundreds of thousands of words I have written and spoken on this subject, I have never theorized Obama was born abroad.” I call bull.

Now fast-forward and go back to January 15, 2014, and Farah’s commentary entitled, “Meet ‘The New Birthers.’” In it, Farah explicitly states that he doesn’t care about Cruz’s eligibility:

So if anyone has the right and the duty to weigh in on Ted Cruz’s eligibility, it’s me – even though no one is asking.

My answer is, “I don’t care.”

I don’t care because the Constitution was not written and ratified to be applied to some and not others. If no one cared about Obama’s questionable eligibility, despite his shocking lack of transparency and thin paper trail, then they have no business questioning Ted Cruz – who has released his birth certificate, renounced his Canadian citizenship and upheld every provision of the Constitution to the best of his ability throughout his life.

I suppose you, the reader, should make up your own mind. So long as it’s informed with all the facts and all the relevant statements. I, personally, think that calling Joseph Farah a “hypocrite” over this issue is putting it kindly, but it’s still more than sufficient to explain things, and his defense against the term is laughable and hollow.

If there’s something (two things) that one can say typifies many conservatives, it’s that the government should be shrunk and the military should be strengthened. Yes, that is a VERY reduced version of the argument, but I don’t think I’ve misrepresented its principle (please correct me if I’m wrong). In that sense, I find the positions a tad dissonant since government funds the military.

That’s the purpose of this column by E. Michael Maloof, taking a break from warning us we’re all DOOOOOOMED by an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack and taking the time to explain, “Obama ‘Gutting Military’ by Purging Generals.”

President Obama has fired “nine generals and flag officers, on top of at least four similar dismissals during his first term.” WND wrote: “Retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely, an outspoken critic of the Obama administration, claims it is part of Obama’s strategy to reduce U.S. standing worldwide. “Obama is intentionally weakening and gutting our military, Pentagon and reducing us as a superpower, and anyone in the ranks who disagrees or speaks out is being purged,” he charged.”

This of course plays into the conspiracy that President Obama is trying to weaken the United States for a takeover by [insert boogyman of the week, such as the UN, China, Russia, Muslims, etc.]. This is also bad because, apparently: “The military is looked upon as one of the last bastions of conservative ideas, even though under the Obama administration, it, too, has become a testing ground for social experimentation. The efforts include openly homosexual behavior and women in combat.”

The article was VERY widely read by WND fans, garnering 1,869 ratings as of today with an average of 4.81 out of 5 stars. It also has a whopping 1404 comments. The article was published around 10 days ago, and it’s still garnering comments. The comments are what one would expect for WND, Obama = evil = Hitler and various other comparisons and complaints.

What they ignore is that this has been talked about for several years as a way to reduce the deficit; or, at least to reduce some spending. It’s something that I remembered because of the name: Star Creep. There are numerous articles about it, but here’s one from 2012. The idea is that generals keep getting promoted and then sit at the Pentagon not doing much but get paid to sit there. And when they retire, they somehow make even more money.

I’m not saying that this is the reason that President Obama is removing these generals because of this issue — I did minimal (as in, no) work with respect to investigating this, since the point of this blog is more to point out what WND is thinking rather than be an excellent example of investigative journalism.