April 2, 2008

Here We Kyoto Again: AP Lets False Claim That Bush ‘Pulled Out’ Stand

In a post earlier this evening, Lynn Davidson at NewsBusters chronicled the myriad errors in a March 31 Reuters “Factbox” relating to the Kyoto Protocol.

Among the errors Davidson noted was the wire service’s claim that “The United States ….. came out against the pact in 2001″ — implying, but not actually stating, that the US government was perfectly happy with Kyoto until mean old George W. Bush came along. This is, of course, patently untrue.

The error made by Erin Gartner of the Associated Press in covering Chelsea Clinton’s appearance at the University of North Carolina on behalf of her mother’s presidential bid was more obvious. It is just the latest in a long line of direct or attributed misstatements the AP has let stand about the treaty’s history in the US (HTs to Captain Ed at Hot Air and Instapundit):

Clinton told about 250 people at N.C. State that her mother, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, would work to repair the nation’s reputation abroad.

“I think the world will breathe a sigh of relief when this president is gone,” Clinton said, criticizing Bush for pulling out of various accordings, including the Kyoto Protocol on global warming.

(No, I don’t know what “accordings” are either. Gartner meant “accords,” but perhaps Chelsea Clinton actually said “accordings.”)

Sigh — as Instapundit says, it’s the “same old Kyoto revisionism.”

This is from the Wikipedia entry on Kyoto (bold is mine; footnotes not included):

On July 25, 1997, before the Kyoto Protocol was finalized (although it had been fully negotiated, and a penultimate draft was finished), the U.S. Senate unanimously passed by a 95–0 vote the Byrd-Hagel Resolution (S. Res. 98), which stated the sense of the Senate was that the United States should not be a signatory to any protocol that did not include binding targets and timetables for developing as well as industrialized nations or “would result in serious harm to the economy of the United States”. On November 12, 1998, Vice President Al Gore symbolically signed the protocol. Both Gore and Senator Joseph Lieberman indicated that the protocol would not be acted upon in the Senate until there was participation by the developing nations. The Clinton Administration never submitted the protocol to the Senate for ratification.

Memo to Ms. Gartner, and Ms. Clinton: Please note that George Bush was not in office when any of the above occurred.

The Bush Administration’s position on Kyoto has had nothing to do with “pulling out,” but instead has involved “never getting in,” and is best seen as continuing the actual policy of the previous administration — without the sympathetic posturing.

This grievous, obvious historical error about Bush and Kyoto has been committed by AP so many times, and the error pointed out so many times by so many people, including yours truly (Dec. 12, 2007 [NewsBusters; BizzyBlog]; Jan. 16, 2007 [NewsBusters; BizzyBlog]), that Captain Ed says:

At a certain point, it stops looking like errors and more like deliberate dissemination of political propaganda.

I’d say we’re past that point.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

What She Said: Maggie Thurber on Lucas County’s ‘Foreclosure Prevention’ Program

Filed under: Economy,Quotes, Etc. of the Day,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:48 pm

Maggie Thurber, on a Lucas County, Ohio plan to “save” 60 families from foreclosure:

Missed in all the hoopla over helping people is that the money isn’t even going to the families in such need. Nope – the money is going to pay for services and classes being put on by the contracted agencies. Eligible families will participate in counselling, budget classes and training on interest rates … a bit after the fact, if you ask me.

Perhaps the loss of a home would be a good enough lesson in those subjects. Don’t misunderstand me – I’m not being an evil, heartless conservative. I don’t want families to lose their homes.

I just believe that, often, the best-learned lessons are the hardest ones. Sometimes the only way people truly learn is when they are allowed to suffer the consequences of a bad decision.

….. If every Ohio county spends $400,000 on foreclosure programs (the total amount that our commissioners have set aside), the cost of such help adds up to $35.2 million. If every state copies this, that’s $1.76 billion – and now you’re getting into ‘real’ money. Money that has been taken from each taxpayer who would probably have a better use for it.

Read the whole thing.

The word, “evil,” “heartless,” and “conservative” — when properly understood — usually don’t belong together.

Uncle Sam Had a Decent Collections Month; Rest of Year Won’t Be So Good

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:36 am

Here’s preliminary info on Uncle Sam’s collections during March, based on the last Daily Treasury Statement of the month:

UStreasRecsPrelim0308

Withholdings came in okay. The lower corporate taxes probably reflect lower expected profits for 2008 by many companies. The not-withheld’s increase isn’t that big of a deal. The lower refunds partially offset February refunds that were much higher than February 2007.

I think total receipts on March’s Monthly Treasury Statement will come in at $175 billion, about 5% ahead of March 2007. The real question is whether spending, which in fiscal 2008 has been running a ridiculous, unsustainable 10% higher than fiscal 2007, will show any sign at all of mellowing. March 2007′s single-month deficit was $96 billion. It would be nice to think that the March 2008 deficit might be as low as $50 billion, but at the rate money has flown out the door during the current fiscal year, $100 billion wouldn’t surprise me.

Looking ahead to April, last year’s collections of $383.6 billion — a single-month record, and the ultimate vindication of the effectiveness of the Bush supply-side tax cuts — won’t be duplicated. I think we’ll be lucky if they top $325 billion. At April’s end, year-to-date collections for fiscal 2008 will actually trail fiscal 2007 — and this is before the economic-stimulus refund checks start going out in May.

Positivity: Benzion Dunner’s random acts of kindness

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:58 am

From London, England (HT, and thanks for the heads-up, to Jill at Writes Like She Talks)

Last Updated: 12:01am BST 01/04/2008

In life, Benzion Dunner was little known outside his community. It is only in death that the extraordinary philanthropic activities of the businessman known as “God’s postman” are being revealed, as thousands in Britain’s Orthodox Jewish community and beyond mourn his passing.

And what a bittersweet story is unfolding, proof that the good that men do is not always “interred with their bones”.

No one can presume to know Dunner’s state of mind before his death last month, but surely his devastated family can draw consolation from the fact that, in the hours leading up to it, the 45-year-old property tycoon was doing what he loved best – giving away his money.

While he supported educational, children’s and old people’s organisations here, in America and in Israel, it was charity delivered at his own kitchen table that he favoured.

Dunner once described himself as a “poor man with money”. It wasn’t his to put in a bank, he said: “[God] entrusts me to do with it what He would want me to do.”

It was a duty he took seriously, dealing with callers to his home seeking help with the cost of medical treatment, schooling or simply the essentials of day-to-day life.

One man, threatened with eviction from his home in Jerusalem, travelled to north London to appeal directly to Dunner and received the money he needed.

“No one was turned away,” his friend Chanoch Kesselman said. “Without exaggeration, he was one of the greatest contributors on the planet today. He was very warm, approachable; he didn’t stand on ceremony. He was not an acquaintance of anyone; he was their friend.”

Once a year, during the Festival of Purim that celebrates the delivery of Jews from bondage in Persia, hundreds of people with financial troubles would flock to Dunner’s home in Golders Green.

They queued patiently to see him and tell him their problems and, depending on his analysis of their needs, he would write them a cheque.

By 4.30am on March 21, he had dispensed £2 million in this way. Less than 24 hours later, he was dead at the wheel of his Bentley, following a collision near Bournemouth.

The cause of death is reported to have been a heart attack, rather than serious injury sustained in the accident. His passengers – two of his nine children and a 77-year-old woman – and the passengers in the other car suffered only minor injuries.

More than 3,000 people attended his funeral, which was held, according to Jewish custom, the following day.

Dunner was the grandson of Rabbi Josef Dunner, one of the last rabbis to be ordained in Nazi Germany and who escaped to Britain in 1939. …..

Go here for the rest of the story.