Democrats Spin The Constitution

The latest attack on John McCain by the Democratic spin wizards is really an attack on the US Constitution.

In their desperation to try and remove McCain from the race, they are now claiming because he was born on a military base outside the US, he is disqualified from running for President of the United States. Their basis is that the Constitution requires a person to be a “natural-born citizen” to be eligible to be President of the United States.

Well his parents were US citizens, therefore regardless of where he was born he is a natural born citizen. A “un” natural born citizen is a person not born a US citizen by not having at least one parent who was a US Citizen (Natural or Naturalized). The key is Naturalization, the process one goes through to become a US Citizen when they are born a citizen of another country. In addition to that he was born on a US Military base, to a Father who was stationed there by our government.

The fact that they are bringing this up is quite disturbing on many levels. Their interpretation of our Constitution, the dishonor they place upon John and his fathers military service, the audacity they show by giving Terrorist (non citizens) elevated status of importance over our own citizens when it comes to Constitutional rights and their blatent disregard for the immigration issues we face and dare make John McCain look like an immigrant to further their cause.

WASHINGTON — The question has nagged at the parents of Americans born outside the continental United States for generations: Dare their children aspire to grow up and become president? In the case of Senator John McCain of Arizona, the issue is becoming more than a matter of parental daydreaming.

Mr. McCain’s likely nomination as the Republican candidate for president and the happenstance of his birth in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936 are reviving a musty debate that has surfaced periodically since the founders first set quill to parchment and declared that only a “natural-born citizen” can hold the nation’s highest office.

Almost since those words were written in 1787 with scant explanation, their precise meaning has been the stuff of confusion, law school review articles, whisper campaigns and civics class debates over whether only those delivered on American soil can be truly natural born. To date, no American to take the presidential oath has had an official birthplace outside the 50 states.

“There are powerful arguments that Senator McCain or anyone else in this position is constitutionally qualified, but there is certainly no precedent,” said Sarah H. Duggin, an associate professor of law at Catholic University who has studied the issue extensively. “It is not a slam-dunk situation.”

Mr. McCain was born on a military installation in the Canal Zone, where his mother and father, a Navy officer, were stationed. His campaign advisers say they are comfortable that Mr. McCain meets the requirement and note that the question was researched for his first presidential bid in 1999 and reviewed again this time around.

But given mounting interest, the campaign recently asked Theodore B. Olson, a former solicitor general now advising Mr. McCain, to prepare a detailed legal analysis. “I don’t have much doubt about it,” said Mr. Olson, who added, though, that he still needed to finish his research.

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and one of Mr. McCain’s closest allies, said it would be incomprehensible to him if the son of a military member born in a military station could not run for president.

“He was posted there on orders from the United States government,” Mr. Graham said of Mr. McCain’s father. “If that becomes a problem, we need to tell every military family that your kid can’t be president if they take an overseas assignment.”

The phrase “natural born” was in early drafts of the Constitution. Scholars say notes of the Constitutional Convention give away little of the intent of the framers. Its origin may be traced to a letter from John Jay to George Washington, with Jay suggesting that to prevent foreigners from becoming commander in chief, the Constitution needed to “declare expressly” that only a natural-born citizen could be president.

Ms. Duggin and others who have explored the arcane subject in depth say legal argument and basic fairness may indeed be on the side of Mr. McCain, a longtime member of Congress from Arizona. But multiple experts and scholarly reviews say the issue has never been definitively resolved by either Congress or the Supreme Court.

Ms. Duggin favors a constitutional amendment to settle the matter. Others have called on Congress to guarantee that Americans born outside the national boundaries can legitimately see themselves as potential contenders for the Oval Office.

“They ought to have the same rights,” said Don Nickles, a former Republican senator from Oklahoma who in 2004 introduced legislation that would have established that children born abroad to American citizens could harbor presidential ambitions without a legal cloud over their hopes. “There is some ambiguity because there has never been a court case on what ‘natural-born citizen’ means.”

Mr. McCain’s situation is different from those of the current governors of California and Michigan, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jennifer M. Granholm, who were born in other countries and were first citizens of those nations, rendering them naturalized Americans ineligible under current interpretations. The conflict that could conceivably ensnare Mr. McCain goes more to the interpretation of “natural born” when weighed against intent and decades of immigration law.

Mr. McCain is not the first person to find himself in these circumstances. The last Arizona Republican to be a presidential nominee, Barry Goldwater, faced the issue. He was born in the Arizona territory in 1909, three years before it became a state. But Goldwater did not win, and the view at the time was that since he was born in a continental territory that later became a state, he probably met the standard.

It also surfaced in the 1968 candidacy of George Romney, who was born in Mexico, but again was not tested. The former Connecticut politician Lowell P. Weicker Jr., born in Paris, sought a legal analysis when considering the presidency, an aide said, and was assured he was eligible. Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr. was once viewed as a potential successor to his father, but was seen by some as ineligible since he had been born on Campobello Island in Canada. The 21st president, Chester A. Arthur, whose birthplace is Vermont, was rumored to have actually been born in Canada, prompting some to question his eligibility.

Quickly recognizing confusion over the evolving nature of citizenship, the First Congress in 1790 passed a measure that did define children of citizens “born beyond the sea, or out of the limits of the United States to be natural born.” But that law is still seen as potentially unconstitutional and was overtaken by subsequent legislation that omitted the “natural-born” phrase.

Mr. McCain’s citizenship was established by statutes covering the offspring of Americans abroad and laws specific to the Canal Zone as Congress realized that Americans would be living and working in the area for extended periods. But whether he qualifies as natural-born has been a topic of Internet buzz for months, with some declaring him ineligible while others assert that he meets all the basic constitutional qualifications — a natural-born citizen at least 35 years of age with 14 years of residence.

“I don’t think he has any problem whatsoever,” said Mr. Nickles, a McCain supporter. “But I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if somebody is going to try to make an issue out of it. If it goes to court, I think he will win.”

Lawyers who have examined the topic say there is not just confusion about the provision itself, but uncertainty about who would have the legal standing to challenge a candidate on such grounds, what form a challenge could take and whether it would have to wait until after the election or could be made at any time.

In a paper written 20 years ago for the Yale Law Journal on the natural-born enigma, Jill Pryor, now a lawyer in Atlanta, said that any legal challenge to a presidential candidate born outside national boundaries would be “unpredictable and unsatisfactory.”

“If I were on the Supreme Court, I would decide for John McCain,” Ms. Pryor said in a recent interview. “But it is certainly not a frivolous issue.”

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Islamification of Doritos

Muslims in Britian are in an uproar over the recent revelation that Doritos and other chip products may contain trace amounts of alcohol… I understand the needs to keep Halal, just as Jewish people keep Kosher. The key is if the product does not claim to be Halal, then don’t eat it if you want to keep Halal or Kosher. Those that keep strict Jewish diets only each food that has been declared Kosher through a series of requirements and certifications.

If the food was marketed as being Halal or Kosher and then it turned out that it did not meet those requirements, then by all means be upset, but do not be upset because you want to eat something and it turns out the process to make it includes contents not to your liking. This has nothing to do with being sensitive of Muslims, but rather considerate of everyone that is not Muslim.

In addition Walkers publishes a list of products that are alcohol fee, and these products were not on it, so it is the store’s responsibility to know what they are buying and to make the logical link that if the product is not on the alcohol free list, then it is reasonable to assume that alcohol is contained in the product.

Another case of Political Correctness run awry. Bend over westerners and take it right up the tailpipe…

Furious Muslims have heavily criticised Walkers crisps after it emerged that certain varieties of the manufacturer’s products contain trace elements of alcohol.

Some crisp types use minute amounts of alcohol as a chemical agent to extract certain flavours.

The report in Asian newspaper Eastern Eye, highlights concerns raised by shopkeeper Besharat Rehman, who owns a halal supermarket in Bradford, West Yorkshire.

Mr Rehman told the paper: “A customer informed us that Sensations Thai Sweet Chilli and Doritos Chilli Heat Wave are not on Walkers’ alcohol-free list. Our suppliers were unaware of this.

“Even if it is a trace amount of alcohol, Walkers should make it clear on the packaging so that the customer can make an informed choice.

“I feel frustrated and angry. I have let my customers down simply because such a big company like Walkers is not sensitive to Muslim needs.

“Many of them were my daughter’s favourite crisps. As soon as I found out about the alcohol in them, I called home to ask my wife to throw out all the packets.”

Shuja Shafi, who chairs the food standards committee of the Muslim Council of Britain, said that he intended to investigate. “Certainly we would find it very offensive to have eaten food with alcohol.”

Masood Khawaja, of the Halal Food Authority, said that this was not the first time the issue had been raised with Walkers.

“They should have looked into the matter and solved it instead of hiding behind labelling regulations. It does not matter what percentage of alcohol is involved.

“Besides Muslims, there are a lot of teetotal people who would not like to consume alcohol in any form. As far as possible we try and lobby for halal symbols on popular products like Kellogg’s cereals.

“But we have always told Muslims to check the contents list even if a product is marked suitable for vegetarians. But to not mention it on the packaging is unfair.”

However, a spokesperson for Walkers said that trace amounts of alcohol in crisps or bread are believed to be permissible for Muslims.

“We do not add alcohol to our products. However, ethyl alcohol may be present in trace amounts in a very small number of our flavours.

“It is used as a carrying agent for flavourings, and is found in many common food and drink products.

“Foods like bread can also contain the same or higher trace amounts due to fermentation. “We are aware of the concerns from some Muslim consumers about the appropriateness of specific ingredients. We take the concerns of our consumers extremely seriously.

“In previous assessments by Muslim scholars, foods and drinks that contain trace amounts of ethyl alcohol have been confirmed as permissible for Muslim consumption because of both the fact that the ingredient does not bear its original qualities and does not change the taste, colour or smell of the product, and its very low level.”

Islamification of YouTube

The media has been blasted publishing cartoons of Mohammad, A teacher was arrested and almost faced death for her class naming a teddy bear Mohammad, Wikipedia has been lambasted for displaying art which depicts Mohammad and now the latest causualty of the Islamic war on Free Speech, YouTube…

Pakistan’s government has banned access to the video-sharing Web site YouTube because of anti-Islamic movies that users have posted on the site, an official said Sunday.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority told the country’s 70 Internet service providers Friday that the popular Web site would be blocked until further notice.

The authority did not specify what the offensive material was, but a PTA official said the ban concerned a movie trailer for an upcoming film by Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders, who has said he plans to release an anti-Koran movie portraying the religion as fascist and prone to inciting violence against women and homosexuals.

The PTA official, who asked not to be identified because he was not an official spokesman, said the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority also blocks Web sites that show controversial drawings of the Prophet Muhammad. The drawings were originally printed in European newspapers in 2006 and were reprinted by some papers last week.

The PTA urged Web users to write to YouTube and request the removal of the objectionable movies, saying authorities would stop blocking the site once that happened. /**/

Pakistan is not the only country to have blocked access to YouTube.

In January, a court in Turkey blocked the site because some video clips allegedly insulted the country’s founding father, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. It is illegal to insult Ataturk in Turkey.

Last spring the Thai government banned the site for about four months because of clips seen as offensive to Thailand’s revered monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Moroccans last year were unable to access YouTube after users posted videos critical of Morocco’s treatment of the people of Western Sahara, a territory Morocco took control of in 1975.

Turkey Invades Iraq

Turkish troops and Air Force have made an incursion into Iraq in pursuit the Kurdish PKK rebels. This is a major escalation of hostilities in the region.

ISTANBUL, Turkey —  Turkish troops have launched a ground incursion across the border into Iraq in pursuit of separatist Kurdish rebels, the military said Friday — an action that dramatically escalates Turkey’s conflict with the militants.

It is the first confirmed Turkish military ground operation in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003, and it raised concerns that it could trigger a wider conflict with the U.S.-backed Iraqi Kurds despite Turkish assurances that its only target was the PKK rebel group.

The PKK militants are fighting for autonomy in southeast Turkey and have carried out attacks on Turkish targets from bases in a semiautonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq.

Private NTV television said 10,000 troops were taking part in the offensive and had penetrated 10 kilometers (six miles) into Iraq. This could not be confirmed independently.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul spoke with his Iraqi counterpart Jalal Talabani late Thursday and gave him information about the goals of the operation, Gul’s office said. Gul also told Talabani about a National Security Council decision to “develop relations with Iraq in all fields,” and invited Talabani to visit Turkey. /**/

The ground operation started after Turkish warplanes and artillery bombed suspected rebel targets on Thursday, the military said on its Web site. The ground incursion was backed by the air force, the statement said.

Turkey has conducted air raids against the PKK guerrillas in northern Iraq since December, with the help of U.S. intelligence, and it has periodically carried out so-called “hot pursuits” in which small units sometimes spend only a few hours inside Iraq.

The announcement of a cross-border, ground incursion of a type that Turkey carried out before the 2003 invasion of Iraq was a major development in the conflict, which started in 1984 and has claimed as many as 40,000 lives.

“The Turkish Armed Forces, which values Iraq’s territorial integrity and its stability, will return as soon as planned goals are achieved,” the military said. “The executed operation will prevent the region from being a permanent and safe base for the terrorists and will contribute to Iraq’s stability and internal peace.”

The state-run Anatolia agency reported that warplanes were seen taking off from the air base in Diyarbakir in southeast Turkey. It said planes and helicopters were conducting reconnaissance flights over the border region, and that military units were deployed at the border to prevent rebel infiltration.

Dogan News Agency reported that the Habur border crossing, a major conduit for trade between Iraq and Turkey, was closed to vehicle traffic. CNN-Turk television, however, quoted Deputy Prime Minister Hayati Yazici as saying the border gate was not closed but that priority was being given to Turkish military vehicles. Trucks routinely ferry supplies bound for U.S. military bases in Iraq through the Habur crossing.

Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, a U.S. spokesman in Iraq, said the military had received assurances from its NATO ally Turkey that it would do everything possible to avoid “collateral damage” to innocent civilians or infrastructure.

“Multi-National Forces-Iraq is aware Turkish ground forces have entered into northern Iraq, for what we understand is an operation of limited duration to specifically target PKK terrorists in that region,” Smith said in an e-mailed statement.

“The United States continues to support Turkey’s right to defend itself from the terrorist activities of the PKK and has encouraged Turkey to use all available means, to include diplomacy and close coordination with the government of Iraq to ultimately resolve this issue,” he added.

The Turkish military said its target was the PKK and that it would take care not to harm civilians “and other local groups that do not act in enmity against the Turkish Armed Forces.”

Nihat Ali Ozcan, a terrorism expert with the research center TEPAV, said the operation was launched at this time to hit the group before any infiltration by rebels into Turkey in the spring, the traditional start of the fighting season.

“I think it is aimed to keep the PKK under pressure before the group starts entering Turkey,” he said on CNN-Turk television. “I don’t think the operation is a large-scale one.”

Iraqi border forces officer Col. Hussein Tamer said Turkish shelling on Thursday hit several Kurdish villages in the Sedafan area, some 32 kilometers (20 miles) from the border.

Jabbar Yawar, a spokesman for Iraqi Kurdish security forces, said sporadic bombing was taking place in the border areas, but no casualties were reported.

Fouad Hussein, a spokesman for the semiautonomous Kurdish government, said the Kurdish Peshmerga forces had been put on alert.

He said Iraqi Kurdish forces also had tightened security around bases housing Turkish military monitors operating in northern Iraq with permission from local authorities under a 1996 agreement.

“The government of Kurdistan ordered the Peshmerga forces to be on alert in fear of any Turkish incursion on Iraqi territory,” he said, claiming that Turkish military monitors had tried to leave their bases in violation of the terms of the 1996 agreement.

“Those troops tried to move out but the Peshmerga forces forced them to return to their camps within half an hour,” he said.

In Ankara on Thursday, Turkey’s civilian and military leaders issued a statement after a meeting on national security, saying cross-border attacks by the military would continue as long they were “deemed necessary.”

The NY Times Makes The News Instead Of Reporting The News – Updated

Another fourth column case of reckless news creation by the liberal NY Times, is nothing more than posturing to try and steer the upcoming 2008 election away from John McCain.

As in the past, the Times has decided to play politics and publish a story laced with their opinion masked behind supposed facts and unidentiable sources…

Unfortunately the uneducated and liberals in the country will take this article as gospel instead of researching its validity and questioning its motivation…

The Times is obviously fearful that McCain will give and Democrat a run for their money so they have to dig up the past and try to make people believe this is New News…

WASHINGTON — Early in Senator John McCain’s first run for the White House eight years ago, waves of anxiety swept through his small circle of advisers.

A female lobbyist had been turning up with him at fund-raisers, visiting his offices and accompanying him on a client’s corporate jet. Convinced the relationship had become romantic, some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself — instructing staff members to block the woman’s access, privately warning her away and repeatedly confronting him, several people involved in the campaign said on the condition of anonymity.

When news organizations reported that Mr. McCain had written letters to government regulators on behalf of the lobbyist’s client, the former campaign associates said, some aides feared for a time that attention would fall on her involvement.

Mr. McCain, 71, and the lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, 40, both say they never had a romantic relationship. But to his advisers, even the appearance of a close bond with a lobbyist whose clients often had business before the Senate committee Mr. McCain led threatened the story of redemption and rectitude that defined his political identity.

It had been just a decade since an official favor for a friend with regulatory problems had nearly ended Mr. McCain’s political career by ensnaring him in the Keating Five scandal. In the years that followed, he reinvented himself as the scourge of special interests, a crusader for stricter ethics and campaign finance rules, a man of honor chastened by a brush with shame.

But the concerns about Mr. McCain’s relationship with Ms. Iseman underscored an enduring paradox of his post-Keating career. Even as he has vowed to hold himself to the highest ethical standards, his confidence in his own integrity has sometimes seemed to blind him to potentially embarrassing conflicts of interest.

Mr. McCain promised, for example, never to fly directly from Washington to Phoenix, his hometown, to avoid the impression of self-interest because he sponsored a law that opened the route nearly a decade ago. But like other lawmakers, he often flew on the corporate jets of business executives seeking his support, including the media moguls Rupert Murdoch, Michael R. Bloomberg and Lowell W. Paxson, Ms. Iseman’s client. (Last year he voted to end the practice.)

Mr. McCain helped found a nonprofit group to promote his personal battle for tighter campaign finance rules. But he later resigned as its chairman after news reports disclosed that the group was tapping the same kinds of unlimited corporate contributions he opposed, including those from companies seeking his favor. He has criticized the cozy ties between lawmakers and lobbyists, but is relying on corporate lobbyists to donate their time running his presidential race and recently hired a lobbyist to run his Senate office.

“He is essentially an honorable person,” said William P. Cheshire, a friend of Mr. McCain who as editorial page editor of The Arizona Republic defended him during the Keating Five scandal. “But he can be imprudent.”

Mr. Cheshire added, “That imprudence or recklessness may be part of why he was not more astute about the risks he was running with this shady operator,” Charles Keating, whose ties to Mr. McCain and four other lawmakers tainted their reputations in the savings and loan debacle.

During his current campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, Mr. McCain has played down his attacks on the corrupting power of money in politics, aware that the stricter regulations he championed are unpopular in his party. When the Senate overhauled lobbying and ethics rules last year, Mr. McCain stayed in the background.

With his nomination this year all but certain, though, he is reminding voters again of his record of reform. His campaign has already begun comparing his credentials with those of Senator Barack Obama, a Democratic contender who has made lobbying and ethics rules a centerpiece of his own pitch to voters.

“I would very much like to think that I have never been a man whose favor can be bought,” Mr. McCain wrote about his Keating experience in his 2002 memoir, “Worth the Fighting For.” “From my earliest youth, I would have considered such a reputation to be the most shameful ignominy imaginable. Yet that is exactly how millions of Americans viewed me for a time, a time that I will forever consider one of the worst experiences of my life.”

A drive to expunge the stain on his reputation in time turned into a zeal to cleanse Washington as well. The episode taught him that “questions of honor are raised as much by appearances as by reality in politics,” he wrote, “and because they incite public distrust they need to be addressed no less directly than we would address evidence of expressly illegal corruption.”

Mr. McCain started his career like many other aspiring politicians, eagerly courting the wealthy and powerful. A Vietnam war hero and Senate liaison for the Navy, he arrived in Arizona in 1980 after his second marriage, to Cindy Hensley, the heiress to a beer fortune there. He quickly started looking for a Congressional district where he could run.

Mr. Keating, a Phoenix financier and real estate developer, became an early sponsor and, soon, a friend. He was a man of great confidence and daring, Mr. McCain recalled in his memoir. “People like that appeal to me,” he continued. “I have sometimes forgotten that wisdom and a strong sense of public responsibility are much more admirable qualities.”

During Mr. McCain’s four years in the House, Mr. Keating, his family and his business associates contributed heavily to his political campaigns. The banker gave Mr. McCain free rides on his private jet, a violation of Congressional ethics rules (he later said it was an oversight and paid for the trips). They vacationed together in the Bahamas. And in 1986, the year Mr. McCain was elected to the Senate, his wife joined Mr. Keating in investing in an Arizona shopping mall.

Mr. Keating had taken over the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association and used its federally insured deposits to gamble on risky real estate and other investments. He pressed Mr. McCain and other lawmakers to help hold back federal banking regulators.

For years, Mr. McCain complied. At Mr. Keating’s request, he wrote several letters to regulators, introduced legislation and helped secure the nomination of a Keating associate to a banking regulatory board.

By early 1987, though, the thrift was careering toward disaster. Mr. McCain agreed to join several senators, eventually known as the Keating Five, for two private meetings with regulators to urge them to ease up. “Why didn’t I fully grasp the unusual appearance of such a meeting?” Mr. McCain later lamented in his memoir.

When Lincoln went bankrupt in 1989 — one of the biggest collapses of the savings and loan crisis, costing taxpayers $3.4 billion — the Keating Five became infamous. The scandal sent Mr. Keating to prison and ended the careers of three senators, who were censured in 1991 for intervening. Mr. McCain, who had been a less aggressive advocate for Mr. Keating than the others, was reprimanded only for “poor judgment” and was re-elected the next year.

Some people involved think Mr. McCain got off too lightly. William Black, one of the banking regulators the senator met with, argued that Mrs. McCain’s investment with Mr. Keating created an obvious conflict of interest for her husband. (Mr. McCain had said a prenuptial agreement divided the couple’s assets.) He should not be able to “put this behind him,” Mr. Black said. “It sullied his integrity.”

Mr. McCain has since described the episode as a unique humiliation. “If I do not repress the memory, its recollection still provokes a vague but real feeling that I had lost something very important,” he wrote in his memoir. “I still wince thinking about it.”

A New Chosen Cause

After the Republican takeover of the Senate in 1994, Mr. McCain decided to try to put some of the lessons he had learned into law. He started by attacking earmarks, the pet projects that individual lawmakers could insert anonymously into the fine print of giant spending bills, a recipe for corruption. But he quickly moved on to other targets, most notably political fund-raising.

Mr. McCain earned the lasting animosity of many conservatives, who argue that his push for fund-raising restrictions trampled free speech, and of many of his Senate colleagues, who bristled that he was preaching to them so soon after his own repentance. In debates, his party’s leaders challenged him to name a single senator he considered corrupt (he refused).

“We used to joke that each of us was the only one eating alone in our caucus,” said Senator Russ Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin, who became Mr. McCain’s partner on campaign finance efforts.

Mr. McCain appeared motivated less by the usual ideas about good governance than by a more visceral disapproval of the gifts, meals and money that influence seekers shower on lawmakers, Mr. Feingold said. “It had to do with his sense of honor,” he said. “He saw this stuff as cheating.”

Mr. McCain made loosening the grip of special interests the central cause of his 2000 presidential campaign, inviting scrutiny of his own ethics. His Republican rival, George W. Bush, accused him of “double talk” for soliciting campaign contributions from companies with interests that came before the powerful Senate commerce committee, of which Mr. McCain was chairman. Mr. Bush’s allies called Mr. McCain “sanctimonious.”

At one point, his campaign invited scores of lobbyists to a fund-raiser at the Willard Hotel in Washington. While Bush supporters stood mocking outside, the McCain team tried to defend his integrity by handing the lobbyists buttons reading “McCain voted against my bill.” Mr. McCain himself skipped the event, an act he later called “cowardly.”

By 2002, he had succeeded in passing the McCain-Feingold Act, which transformed American politics by banning “soft money,” the unlimited donations from corporations, unions and the rich that were funneled through the two political parties to get around previous laws.

One of his efforts, though, seemed self-contradictory. In 2001, he helped found the nonprofit Reform Institute to promote his cause and, in the process, his career. It collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in unlimited donations from companies that lobbied the Senate commerce committee. Mr. McCain initially said he saw no problems with the financing, but he severed his ties to the institute in 2005, complaining of “bad publicity” after news reports of the arrangement.

Like other presidential candidates, he has relied on lobbyists to run his campaigns. Since a cash crunch last summer, several of them — including his campaign manager, Rick Davis, who represented companies before Mr. McCain’s Senate panel — have been working without pay, a gift that could be worth tens of thousands of dollars.

In recent weeks, Mr. McCain has hired another lobbyist, Mark Buse, to run his Senate office. In his case, it was a round trip through the revolving door: Mr. Buse had directed Mr. McCain’s committee staff for seven years before leaving in 2001 to lobby for telecommunications companies.

Mr. McCain’s friends dismiss questions about his ties to lobbyists, arguing that he has too much integrity to let such personal connections influence him.

“Unless he gives you special treatment or takes legislative action against his own views, I don’t think his personal and social relationships matter,” said Charles Black, a friend and campaign adviser who has previously lobbied the senator for aviation, broadcasting and tobacco concerns.

Concerns in a Campaign

Mr. McCain’s confidence in his ability to distinguish personal friendships from compromising connections was at the center of questions advisers raised about Ms. Iseman.

The lobbyist, a partner at the firm Alcalde & Fay, represented telecommunications companies for whom Mr. McCain’s commerce committee was pivotal. Her clients contributed tens of thousands of dollars to his campaigns.

Mr. Black said Mr. McCain and Ms. Iseman were friends and nothing more. But in 1999 she began showing up so frequently in his offices and at campaign events that staff members took notice. One recalled asking, “Why is she always around?”

That February, Mr. McCain and Ms. Iseman attended a small fund-raising dinner with several clients at the Miami-area home of a cruise-line executive and then flew back to Washington along with a campaign aide on the corporate jet of one of her clients, Paxson Communications. By then, according to two former McCain associates, some of the senator’s advisers had grown so concerned that the relationship had become romantic that they took steps to intervene.

A former campaign adviser described being instructed to keep Ms. Iseman away from the senator at public events, while a Senate aide recalled plans to limit Ms. Iseman’s access to his offices.

In interviews, the two former associates said they joined in a series of confrontations with Mr. McCain, warning him that he was risking his campaign and career. Both said Mr. McCain acknowledged behaving inappropriately and pledged to keep his distance from Ms. Iseman. The two associates, who said they had become disillusioned with the senator, spoke independently of each other and provided details that were corroborated by others.

Separately, a top McCain aide met with Ms. Iseman at Union Station in Washington to ask her to stay away from the senator. John Weaver, a former top strategist and now an informal campaign adviser, said in an e-mail message that he arranged the meeting after “a discussion among the campaign leadership” about her.

“Our political messaging during that time period centered around taking on the special interests and placing the nation’s interests before either personal or special interest,” Mr. Weaver continued. “Ms. Iseman’s involvement in the campaign, it was felt by us, could undermine that effort.”

Mr. Weaver added that the brief conversation was only about “her conduct and what she allegedly had told people, which made its way back to us.” He declined to elaborate.

It is not clear what effect the warnings had; the associates said their concerns receded in the heat of the campaign.

Ms. Iseman acknowledged meeting with Mr. Weaver, but disputed his account.

“I never discussed with him alleged things I had ‘told people,’ that had made their way ‘back to’ him,” she wrote in an e-mail message. She said she never received special treatment from Mr. McCain’s office.

Mr. McCain said that the relationship was not romantic and that he never showed favoritism to Ms. Iseman or her clients. “I have never betrayed the public trust by doing anything like that,” he said. He made the statements in a call to Bill Keller, the executive editor of The New York Times, to complain about the paper’s inquiries.

The senator declined repeated interview requests, beginning in December. He also would not comment about the assertions that he had been confronted about Ms. Iseman, Mr. Black said Wednesday.

Mr. Davis and Mark Salter, Mr. McCain’s top strategists in both of his presidential campaigns, disputed accounts from the former associates and aides and said they did not discuss Ms. Iseman with the senator or colleagues.

“I never had any good reason to think that the relationship was anything other than professional, a friendly professional relationship,” Mr. Salter said in an interview.

He and Mr. Davis also said Mr. McCain had frequently denied requests from Ms. Iseman and the companies she represented. In 2006, Mr. McCain sought to break up cable subscription packages, which some of her clients opposed. And his proposals for satellite distribution of local television programs fell short of her clients’ hopes.

The McCain aides said the senator sided with Ms. Iseman’s clients only when their positions hewed to his principles.

A champion of deregulation, Mr. McCain wrote letters in 1998 and 1999 to the Federal Communications Commission urging it to uphold marketing agreements allowing a television company to control two stations in the same city, a crucial issue for Glencairn Ltd., one of Ms. Iseman’s clients. He introduced a bill to create tax incentives for minority ownership of stations; Ms. Iseman represented several businesses seeking such a program. And he twice tried to advance legislation that would permit a company to control television stations in overlapping markets, an important issue for Paxson.

In late 1999, Ms. Iseman asked Mr. McCain’s staff to send a letter to the commission to help Paxson, now Ion Media Networks, on another matter. Mr. Paxson was impatient for F.C.C. approval of a television deal, and Ms. Iseman acknowledged in an e-mail message to The Times that she had sent to Mr. McCain’s staff information for drafting a letter urging a swift decision.

Mr. McCain complied. He sent two letters to the commission, drawing a rare rebuke for interference from its chairman. In an embarrassing turn for the campaign, news reports invoked the Keating scandal, once again raising questions about intervening for a patron.

Mr. McCain’s aides released all of his letters to the F.C.C. to dispel accusations of favoritism, and aides said the campaign had properly accounted for four trips on the Paxson plane. But the campaign did not report the flight with Ms. Iseman. Mr. McCain’s advisers say he was not required to disclose the flight, but ethics lawyers dispute that.

Recalling the Paxson episode in his memoir, Mr. McCain said he was merely trying to push along a slow-moving bureaucracy, but added that he was not surprised by the criticism given his history.

“Any hint that I might have acted to reward a supporter,” he wrote, “would be taken as an egregious act of hypocrisy.”

Statement by McCain

Mr. McCain’s presidential campaign issued the following statement Wednesday night:

“It is a shame that The New York Times has lowered its standards to engage in a hit-and-run smear campaign. John McCain has a 24-year record of serving our country with honor and integrity. He has never violated the public trust, never done favors for special interests or lobbyists, and he will not allow a smear campaign to distract from the issues at stake in this election.

“Americans are sick and tired of this kind of gutter politics, and there is nothing in this story to suggest that John McCain has ever violated the principles that have guided his career.”

But luckly The New Republic has exposed  the Times article and shown the Times to be what it really is.

Last night, around dinnertime, The New York Times posted on its website a 3,000-word investigation detailing Senator John McCain’s connections to a telecommunications lobbyist named Vicki Iseman. The controversial piece, written by Washington bureau reporters Jim Rutenberg, Marilyn Thompson, Stephen Labaton, and David Kirkpatrick, and published in this morning’s paper, explores the possibility that the Republican presidential candidate may have had an affair with the 40-year-old blond-haired lobbyist for the telecommunications industry while he chaired the Senate Commerce Committee in the late-1990s.

Beyond its revelations, however, what’s most remarkable about the article is that it appeared in the paper at all: The new information it reveals focuses on the private matters of the candidate, and relies entirely on the anecdotal evidence of McCain’s former staffers to justify the piece–both personal and anecdotal elements unusual in the Gray Lady. The story is filled with awkward journalistic moves–the piece contains a collection of decade-old stories about McCain and Iseman appearing at functions together and concerns voiced by McCain’s aides that the Senator shouldn’t be seen in public with Iseman–and departs from the Times’ usual authoritative voice. At one point, the piece suggestively states: “In 1999 she began showing up so frequently in his offices and at campaign events that staff members took notice. One recalled asking, ‘Why is she always around?'” In the absence of concrete, printable proof that McCain and Iseman were an item, the piece delicately steps around purported romance and instead reports on the debate within the McCain campaign about the alleged affair.

What happened? The publication of the article capped three months of intense internal deliberations at the Times over whether to publish the negative piece and its most explosive charge about the affair. It pitted the reporters investigating the story, who believed they had nailed it, against executive editor Bill Keller, who believed they hadn’t. It likely cost the paper one investigative reporter, who decided to leave in frustration. And the Times ended up publishing a piece in which the institutional tensions about just what the story should be are palpable. Click here to find out more!

The McCain investigation began in November, after Rutenberg, who covers the political media and advertising beat, got a tip. Within a few days, Washington bureau chief Dean Baquet assigned Thompson and Labaton to join the project and, later, conservative beat reporter David Kirkpatrick to chip in as well. Labaton brought his expertise with regulatory issues to the team, and Thompson had done investigative work: At The Washington Post in the 1990s she had edited Michael Isikoff’s reporting on the Paula Jones scandal, and in 2003 she broke the story that Strom Thurmond had secretly fathered a child with his family’s black maid. Having four reporters thrown on the story showed just what a potential blockbuster the paper believed it might have.

From the outset, the Times reporters encountered stiff resistance from the McCain camp. After working on the story for several weeks, Thompson learned that McCain had personally retained Bill Clinton’s former attorney Bob Bennett to defend himself against the Times’ questioning. At the same time, two McCain campaign advisers, Mark Salter and Charlie Black, vigorously pressed the Times reporters to drop the matter. And in early December, McCain himself called Keller to deny the allegations on the record.

In early December, according to sources with knowledge of the events, Thompson requested a meeting with Bennett to arrange access to the senator and to discuss why the Republican presidential candidate had sought out a criminal lawyer in the first place. Bennett agreed to meet, and on the afternoon of December 18, Labaton, Rutenberg, and Thompson arrived at his Washington office. During a one-hour meeting, according to sources, Bennett admonished the Times reporters to be fair to McCain, especially in light of the whisper campaign that had sundered his 2000 presidential bid in South Carolina. He told them that he would field any questions they had, and promised to provide answers to their queries. Of the reporters in the room, Bennett knew Labaton the best. In the 1990s, Labaton had covered the Whitewater investigation, and Bennett viewed him as a straight-shooting, accurate reporter who could be reasoned with. Rutenberg he knew less well, and Bennett was miffed that Rutenberg had been calling all over Washington asking probing questions about McCain and his dealings with Iseman. The rumors were bound to get out.

Two days after that meeting, on December 20, news of the Times‘ unpublished investigation burst into public view when Matt Drudge posted an anonymously sourced item on the Drudge Report. “MEDIA FIREWORKS: MCCAIN PLEADS WITH NY TIMES TO SPIKE STORY,” the headline proclaimed; the story hinted around the core of the allegations and focused on Keller’s decision to hold the piece. “Rutenberg had hoped to break the story before the Christmas holiday,” the item said, quoting unnamed sources, “but editor Keller expressed serious reservations about journalism ethics and issuing a damaging story so close to an election.”

Immediately, the media pounced on the budding scandal. “If John McCain has hired Bob Bennett as his lawyer,” one commentator said on Fox News, “that’s a big–you don’t hire Bob Bennett to knock down a press story. You hire Bob Bennett because you have serious legal issues somehow.” On MSNBC, Pat Buchanan speculated that the Times newsroom was the source of the leak. “They’ve been rebuffed and rebuffed on this story, and they say we’ve had it, and they go around then and Drudge pops it just like he popped the Monica Lewinsky story first.”

Initially, the McCain campaign refused to acknowledge the Drudge post. But by the afternoon of December 20, McCain denied the allegations at a press conference in Detroit, and his campaign released a statement deriding the Drudge item as “gutter politics.”

Rumors of the unpublished Times piece swirled through the Romney campaign, then still locked in a tight dogfight for the Republican nomination. After the Drudge item flashed, Romney’s traveling press secretary Eric Fehrnstrom went to the back of the campaign plane to ask New York Times reporter Michael Luo, who was covering Romney, if he had heard when the piece was running.

Inside the Times newsroom, the Drudge item sent the McCain piece into hiding, making it both tightly guarded and “a topic of conversation,” as one staffer put it. “The fact that it ended up on Drudge pushed it into secrecy,” added another staffer. “The paper gets constipated on these things,” a veteran former Times staffer said, describing the editors’ deliberations over whether to run the piece.

In late December, according to Times sources, Keller told the reporters and the story’s editor, Rebecca Corbett, that he was holding the piece in part because they could not secure documentary proof of the alleged affair beyond anecdotal evidence. Keller felt that given the on-the-record-denials by McCain and Iseman, the reporters needed more than the circumstantial evidence they had assembled to prove the case. The reporters felt they had the goods.

The Drudge item didn’t derail the investigation, however. By late December, the reporters had submitted several pages of written questions to Bennett for comment, and completed a draft of the piece before the New Year. But to their growing frustration, Keller ordered rounds of changes and additional reporting. According to Times sources, Baquet remained an advocate for his reporters and pushed the piece to be published, but sources say Keller wanted a more nuanced story looking less at personal matters and more at questions of Iseman’s lobbying and McCain’s legislative record. (The Washington-New York divide is an eternal rift at the Paper of Record: Baquet had successfully brought stability and investigative acumen to the Washington bureau; with the McCain piece, he was being sucked into his first major struggle with New York.)

In mid-January, Keller told the reporters to significantly recast the piece after several drafts had circulated among editors in Washington and New York. After three different versions, the piece ended up not as a stand-alone investigation but as an entry in the paper’s “The Long Run” series looking at presidential candidates’ career histories.

It was at about that time, amidst flurries of rumors swirling about the looming Times investigation, that the Times’ McCain beat reporter, Marc Santora, abruptly left the campaign trail after covering the senator for four and a half months, frustrated by the McCain rumors. A rising star at the paper, Santora had been working grueling hours, joining the 2008 election coverage straight from a reporting assignment in Baghdad. As the campaign headed to South Carolina, the site of McCain’s defeat in 2000, Santora emailed the Times‘ deputy Washington editor, Richard Stevenson, to vent about how the rumors were dogging him on the campaign trail, and left the McCain beat on January 10. “The last thing I wanted was to be a pawn in this thing,” Santora told me. “I was exhausted, there were a lot of rumors flying around. I thought the best thing for me to do was take a break.”

Santora wasn’t the last casualty of the process. Two weeks ago, in early February, Marilyn Thompson, one of the four reporters working on the McCain investigation quit the Times. Thompson had been a staffer at The Washington Post for 14 years, until 2004. She had spent just six months at the Times and recorded only four bylines before accepting an offer to return to her former employer as an editor overseeing the Post’s accountability coverage of money and politics. According to sources, Thompson became increasingly dispirited with the delays, and worked around the clock through the Christmas vacation on the piece, only to see the investigation sputter. Declining to comment on the investigation itself, Thompson told me her decision to return to the Post “was an opportunity to go back to the place that has been a home to me.” (Thompson celebrated her byline during her last week at the Times. Her final day at the paper is tomorrow.)

Some observers say that the piece, published today, was not ready to roll. On Wednesday evening, much of the cable news commentary focused on the Times’ heavy use of innuendo and circumstantial evidence. This morning, Time magazine managing editor Rick Stengel told MSNBC that he wouldn’t have published such a piece. Since the story broke, the McCain campaign has been doing its best to pin the story on the Times and make the media angle the focus.

Indeed, when TNR started reporting on the whereabouts of the story on February 4th, all parties seemed intent on denying its viability. “There’s absolutely no story there. And it’d be a mistake for you to write about a non-story that didn’t run,” McCain adviser Charlie Black told me last week. “Drudge shouldn’t have put that up. He didn’t know what the hell he was doing.”

McCain communications director Jill Hazelbaker told me last week the campaign had no further comment beyond the December 20 statement assailing the allegations. According to McCain advisers, the Times reporters hadn’t contacted the campaign about the investigation for several weeks before the piece ran, and only a few reporters from competing news organizations have put in calls on the matter. Two members of the McCain team had contacted TNR‘s editor to pressure him not to investigate the story.

Of course, each of these sources had reason to keep the story from breaking. But what actually pushed it into publication? The reporters working on the investigation declined to comment. In an email to me on February 19, Keller wrote: “This sounds like a pointless exercise to me–speculating about reporting that may or may not result in an article. But if that’s what Special Correspondents of The New Republic do, speculate away. When we have something to say, we’ll say it in the paper.”

Late in the day on February 19, Baquet sent a final draft of the Times piece to Keller and Times managing editor Jill Abramson in New York. After a series of discussions, the three editors decided to publish the investigation. “We published the story when it was ready which is what we always do,” Baquet told TNR this morning. He added: “Nothing forced our hand. Nothing pushed us to move faster other than our own natural desire that we wanted to get a story in the paper that met all of our standards.”

When the Times did finally publish the long-gestating investigation last night, the McCain camp immediately tried to train the glare back on the Gray Lady. In fact, McCain advisers stated that TNR‘s inquiries pressured the Times to publish its story before it was ready so this magazine wouldn’t scoop the Times’ piece. “They did this because The New Republic was going to run a story that looked back at the infighting there, the Judy Miller-type power struggles — they decided that they would rather smear McCain than suffer a story that made The New York Times newsroom look bad,” Salter told reporters last night in Toledo, Ohio.

This morning, after the piece ran, and as TNR‘s article was about to be posted, Keller finally responded to repeated requests for interviews. In an e-mail, he defended the substance, and the timing, of the story. “Our policy is, we publish stories when they are ready. ‘Ready’ means the facts have been nailed down to our satisfaction, the subjects have all been given a full and fair chance to respond, and the reporting has been written up with all the proper context and caveats.” Important as the story may indeed turn out to be, it may have provided the Times’ critics with a few caveats too many.


Gabriel Sherman is a Special Correspondent to
The New Republic.

The NY Time’s Public Editor has blasted the Times for it’s unsupported article and the implied accusations it made.

February 24, 2008
The Public Editor

What That McCain Article Didn’t Say

BILL KELLER, the executive editor of The Times, said the article about John McCain that appeared in Thursday’s paper was about a man nearly felled by scandal who rebuilt himself as a fighter against corruption but is still “careless about appearances, careless about his reputation, and that’s a pretty important thing to know about somebody who wants to be president of the United States.”

But judging by the explosive reaction to the 3,000-word article, most readers saw it as something else altogether. They saw it as a story about illicit sex. And most were furious at The Times.

Marilyn Monaco of Philadelphia, one of more than 2,400 readers to comment on The Times’s Web site, said the newspaper “has sunk below its standards and created a salacious distraction from an otherwise substantive campaign. And for the record, I am an Obama supporter.” Terry Bledsoe of Sun Lakes, Ariz., said, “I am most disappointed in The New York Times for engaging in this sort of trash-the-candidate journalism.” A minority of readers applauded the article. “Bravo to The Times for integrity and guts,” said Rick Gore of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The uproar was over an assertion in the second paragraph that during McCain’s first run for the White House eight years ago, some of his top advisers became “convinced” he was having a “romantic” relationship with a female lobbyist and intervened to protect the candidate from himself. McCain, 71, and the lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, 40, denied they had an affair, and at a press conference after the article was published, McCain denied that anyone ever confronted him about their relationship. He described her as a friend.

The article had repercussions for both McCain and The Times. He may benefit, at least in the short run, from a conservative backlash against the “liberal” New York Times. The newspaper found itself in the uncomfortable position of being the story as much as publishing the story, in large part because, although it raised one of the most toxic subjects in politics — sex — it offered readers no proof that McCain and Iseman had a romance.

In a follow-up article on Friday, the newspaper even seemed to play down its role in the sex angle. It described the previous day’s article as talking about McCain’s “ties” to Iseman and his “association” with her. The only mention of romance came in quoting a question to McCain at his press conference.

Boiled to the essentials, this is what The Times reported Thursday: In 1999, Iseman, a lobbyist for telecommunications companies with business before a Senate committee led by McCain, started turning up at his fund-raisers, visiting his offices and accompanying him on a corporate jet. “Convinced the relationship had become romantic” and was putting his campaign and career at risk, some top McCain advisers gave instructions to block her access, privately warned her away and repeatedly confronted him.

Two former McCain associates, who were quoted anonymously and described as “disillusioned” with the senator, said he “acknowledged behaving inappropriately and pledged to keep his distance from Ms. Iseman.” John Weaver, a former top strategist for McCain, told The Times he had arranged a meeting at Union Station in Washington in which Iseman was asked to stay away from the senator. Weaver said the message of McCain’s 2000 presidential campaign was “taking on the special interests” and Iseman’s presence could undermine that.

The article was notable for what it did not say: It did not say what convinced the advisers that there was a romance. It did not make clear what McCain was admitting when he acknowledged behaving inappropriately — an affair or just an association with a lobbyist that could look bad. And it did not say whether Weaver, the only on-the-record source, believed there was a romance. The Times did not offer independent proof, like the text messages between Detroit’s mayor and a female aide that The Detroit Free Press disclosed recently, or the photograph of Donna Rice sitting on Gary Hart’s lap.

It was not for want of trying. Four highly respected reporters in the Washington bureau worked for months on the story and were pressed repeatedly to get sources on the record and to find documentary evidence like e-mail. If McCain had been having an affair with a lobbyist seeking his help on public policy issues, and The Times had proved it, it would have been a story of unquestionable importance.

But in the absence of a smoking gun, I asked Keller why he decided to run what he had.

“If the point of the story was to allege that McCain had an affair with a lobbyist, we’d have owed readers more compelling evidence than the conviction of senior staff members,” he replied. “But that was not the point of the story. The point of the story was that he behaved in such a way that his close aides felt the relationship constituted reckless behavior and feared it would ruin his career.”

I think that ignores the scarlet elephant in the room. A newspaper cannot begin a story about the all-but-certain Republican presidential nominee with the suggestion of an extramarital affair with an attractive lobbyist 31 years his junior and expect readers to focus on anything other than what most of them did. And if a newspaper is going to suggest an improper sexual affair, whether editors think that is the central point or not, it owes readers more proof than The Times was able to provide.

The stakes are just too big. As the flamboyant Edwin Edwards of Louisiana once said, “The only way I can lose this election is if I’m caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy.”

The pity of it is that, without the sex, The Times was on to a good story. McCain, who was reprimanded by the Senate Ethics Committee in 1991 for exercising “poor judgment” by intervening with federal regulators on behalf of a corrupt savings and loan executive, recast himself as a crusader against special interests and the corrupting influence of money in politics. Yet he has continued to maintain complex relationships with lobbyists like Iseman, at whose request he wrote to the Federal Communications Commission to urge a speed-up on a decision affecting one of her clients.

Much of that story has been reported over the years, but it was still worth pulling together to help voters in 2008 better understand the John McCain who might be their next president.

I asked Jill Abramson, the managing editor for news, if The Times could have done the story and left out the allegation about an affair. “That would not have reflected the essential truth of why the aides were alarmed,” she said.

But what the aides believed might not have been the real truth. And if you cannot provide readers with some independent evidence, I think it is wrong to report the suppositions or concerns of anonymous aides about whether the boss is getting into the wrong bed.

The public editor serves as the readers’ representative. His opinions and conclusions are his own. His column appears at least twice monthly in this section.

Google Relists Articles From InnerCity Press – Who Is Really Behind The Censorship Though

Google has brought back news articles from Inner City Press after having “accidentally” removing them. Inner City is known for publishing news that is critical of the UN, so who was really behind it? I think any half way intelligent person can figure this out. With all of the problems the UN has created for itself, it really needs to just go away…

NEW YORK  —  Google News quietly reinstated Tuesday the articles of a news service that routinely exposes U.N. corruption, a day after FOXNews.com ran a story about the Internet giant’s decision to remove Inner City Press from its search engine.

Inner City Press returned to the Google News search late in the day, but much sooner than the “couple weeks” a Google representative had promised. The week of stories the news service ran since Google News dropped it on Feb. 13 were not restored.

The news outlet, run by journalist Matthew Lee, has been critical of the U.N. and internal corruption within the organization. Lee was informed that Google News would drop his organization in a Feb. 8 e-mail.

Click here to read more at Inner City Press.

Someone complained to Google early this month that Inner City Press was a one-man operation, violating the Google News ground rule that news organizations listed must have two or more employees, according to Gabriel Stricker, a Google spokesman.

Lee, who insists his organization has appropriate staff, believes someone within the U.N. pressured Google to drop him. The U.N. denies the charges.

Speaking at a press briefing Tuesday, Marie Okabe, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General said, “The Secretary-General has often spoken out in favor of press freedom and will continue to do so, but that insinuating that he, or his staff, is linked to the decision taken by Google News to de-list Inner City Press is blatantly false and misleading.”

Since 2005, Lee’s been focusing almost entirely on stories that deal with internal corruption inside the U.N., posting several stories online almost daily.

He’s been especially interested in the inner workings of what could be called the practical-applications arm of the international organization, the United Nations Development Programme.

Google said the “de-listing” was due to a misunderstanding and agreed to restore Inner City Press stories to the Google News service.

The reaction to the de-listing, however temporary, had been furious. The non-profit Government Accountability Project lambasted the company, calling Inner City Press “the most effective and important media organization for U.N. whistleblowers.”

Islamification Of Wikipedia

More Mohammad outrage… How dare Wikipedia display images of artwork that portrays the image of Mohammad… Screw them, Wikipedia keep the pictures up and let them cry. Do not pander to them.

And just for those those crybabies…

Maome.jpg

Online encyclopedia Wikipedia has again stirred up controversy — this time over a biographical entry on the prophet Muhammad.

Nearly 100,000 people worldwide have signed a Web-based petition asking Wikipedia to remove all depictions of the Prophet from its English-language entry, viewable here.

“I request all brothers and sisters to sign this petitions so we can tell Wikipedia to respect the religion and remove the illustrations,” the creator of the petition at The Petition Site asks.

• Click here for FOXNews.com’s Personal Technology Center.

Opposition among Muslims to images of Muhammad has its roots in the prohibition of “graven images” in the Ten Commandments, but has varied over time.

“Islamic teaching has traditionally discouraged representation of humans, particularly Muhammad, but that doesn’t mean it’s nonexistent,” Notre Dame history professor Paul M. Cobb told the New York Times. “Some of the most beautiful images in Islamic art are manuscript images of Muhammad.”

All four images on the English-language Wikipedia page are rather lovely Persian and Ottoman miniatures from the 14th through 16th centuries. The two later ones depict Muhammad’s face as covered by a white veil, but the earlier pair show his full face.

“Please take off those pictures or leave only the digitally blanked out faces please,” writes one anonymous petitioner from Belgium several times on the petition site. “Thanks for respecting Muslims beliefs. Peace and Light.”

Wikipedia has entries on Muhammad in several dozen languages. A quick survey found images of the Prophet on the Dutch, German, French, Spanish and Russian versions, but not on the Arabic, Turkish, Chinese, Albanian, Urdu or Bahasa Indonesia versions.

The Croatian edition depicted Muhammad, but the version written in the nearly identical Bosnian dialect did not, reflecting Bosnia’s Islamic identity.

Surprisingly, one version in a language spoken overwhelmingly by Muslims had several images of Muhammad, both veiled and unveiled — the Farsi edition, legible to Persian-speakers in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and in the Iranian and Afghan diasporas worldwide.

• Click here for the English-language Wikipedia entry, here for the Petition Site petition and here for the New York Times report on the issue.

Well hopefully Wikipedia will keep holding its ground and refuse to pander to these infidels...

Isabelle Duerme – AHN News Writer

New York (AHN) – The Internet encyclopedia database Wikipedia has announced its refusal to remove photos of the Muslim prophet Mohammed, defying the demands of more than 180,000 people who cry foul at any depiction of the prophet.

An online protest called for the website to take down images of relics from the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, all of which depicting the Islam prophet. The main argument was that the religion strictly and vehemently prohibits any depiction or representation of Mohammed.

Wikipedia replied to the cries by saying that the photos will not be taken down, and that those offended by their public display will merely have to adjust their computer settings to conceal the offending photographs.

A statement from the company was posted, saying that the religious observations are recognized by the company. However, the traditions are not universal among Islamic communities.

“Since Wikipedia is an encyclopedia with the goal of representing all topics from a neutral point of view, Wikipedia is not censored for the benefit of any particular group,” said the statement, as quoted by The Guardian.

It continued that content would only be taken down if they violated either the company’s existing policies, or the federal laws of Florida, where the company is based.

Wikipedia has for some time been the subject of debates on content accuracy, as some people have condemned the website an unreliable information source due to a feature that allows “anyone with an Internet connection” edit an entry’s content.

The Editors Weblog reported that several newspapers, such as the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal, have provided its journalists leniency when using Wikipedia as a reference source.

However, some papers, such as the Agence France Presse and the Philadelphia Inquirer have discouraged its writers from the use of content from the website, which they have deemed “false” and “unverifiable.”