January 9, 2009

CNN Doubles Down; Reposts Withdrawn Video of Apparently Faked CPR Attempt on ‘Dead’ Palestinian Child

CNNvidIntroFrame0109.jpgThis post follows up on last night’s NewsBusters post (mirrored here at BizzyBlog; “They Never Learn: CNN Withdraws Apparently Faked Video of CPR Attempt on ‘Dead’ Palestinian Child”).

CNN has reposted a video it withdrew yesterday. That video purports to show the death and hasty burial of a cameraman’s 12 year-old younger brother, one of two children allegedly killed on the roof of their home in rocket fire from an Israeli drone.

Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs, Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, Bob Owens of Confederate Yankee, and several NB commenters yesterday all questioned the credibility of the video. Johnson, Owens, and Morrissey still believe it was staged.

Here are some excerpts from CNN’s explanation for re-posting the video, and why it believes it to be genuine (the video itself is here):

There’s no truth to accusations by bloggers that a Palestinian camera crew staged a video showing the death of the videographer’s brother after an Israeli rocket attack, said the team’s employer.

“It’s absolute nonsense,” Paul Martin, co-owner of World News and Features, said of accusations leveled by bloggers at videographer Ashraf Mashharawi.

“He’s a man of enormous integrity and would never get involved with any sort of manipulation of images, let alone when the person dying is his own brother,” Martin said. “I know the whole family. I know them very well. … [Mashharawi] is upset and angry that anyone would think of him having done anything like this. … This is ridiculous. He’s independent.”

Raafat Hamdouna, administrative director at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, said Friday that “Mahmoud Khalil Mashharawi, a 12-year-old, was brought to the hospital, and he was breathing, but he was hit in the head and all over his body by shrapnel. He died later in the hospital. He was treated by the Norwegian team. When he was brought in, he was breathing. The team did their best to save him. I am not really sure if they even tried to rush him to the surgery room, because he was badly hurt.”

….. In a brief conversation with CNN, Mashharawi said that doctors tried everything they could to save his brother and that he rejected suggestions that any of his work was inauthentic.

Before bloggers made their accusations, Mashharawi told CNN, “I believed at that moment if I didn’t record that nobody will believe what’s happened to my brother. Because it is unbelievable. Until now, I can’t believe what’s happened.”

Johnson at LGF isn’t impressed:

If they really had “little hope” the patient could be saved, they’d be going all out with CPR, which means very vigorous chest compression (it’s not unusual to break ribs if it’s done right), and ventilation to oxygenate the blood—not delicately touching the boy’s abdomen with the tips of their fingers as we see in that video.

Morrissey isn’t either:

It’s not only a fake, it’s an absurd fake.  It’s not even done well, and Gilbert’s dramatic headshake at the end of the supposed CPR — in which Doctor #2’s hands keep coming off the body — is only the cheesy coup de grace.  Why did CNN republish this?

….. Maybe Martin can explain how a missile hits a roof and kills two boys but does no more damage to the roof than what a pickaxe could do in five minutes — and how the furniture didn’t get disturbed.

Here’s a bit from Owens’s post:

CNN has also yet to explain what kind of Israeli drone could have fired the purported missile, and what kind of missile would cause the minimal damage shown on the rooftop where it is claimed these boys are killed.

Me? I’m just cynical enough to believe that CNN spent the past 24 hours making sure that there was no one on the inside in Gaza who could directly refute a claim that the video was legitimate.

Also, note the non-denial denial in the text accompanying the video:

CNNpaliDeathHighlights0109.jpg

The cameraman isn’t accused of “manipulating images.” He and others are accused of staging the video.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Voinovich Update: PD Blog Reporting He’ll Have Sunday Night Donor Conference Call

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:22 pm

As noted in this BizzyBlog post Wednesday, the rumor is out there.

Now Stephen Koff at the PD’s Openers blog is fueling it:

Amid reports that he might not seek reelection, U.S. Sen. George Voinovich has set up a conference call with major donors on Sunday night. He told them in an a-mail that when they call in to the telephone conference, he will discuss his plans for 2009 and 2010. And if there is time, he said, he will take questions.

That does not mean he has made a decision.

Rumor has it that Ham Sandwich is looking forward to the results of that Sunday call with great relish.

AP/Getty Overlays Bush Picture Into One of Gaza Wreckage

GazaDestructionWithBushPic0109.jpgCorrection (Feb. 10, 2009): Corrected from original reporting attributing AP and Getty with the photo editing. In fact it was ABCNews.com, not AP or Getty Images that overlaid the Bush photo on the Gaza rubble photo. AP and Getty Images supplied the respective photos. 

Thanks to the folks at Stinky-Journalism-dot-org for pointing out the error — But no thanks for the failing to make the point that this is egregious media image manipulation nonetheless. Hence, no link.

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I guess, since flat-out fauxtography as practiced in 2006 in the Middle East has become so difficult, and has been shown as likely to be detected, that the press has decided to go with “creative” image placement to do the dirty work that must be done to create sympathy for Hamas and antipathy towards President Bush and the United States.

For “some reason,” the editors of the AP/Getty photo on the right placed President Bush’s image at its bottom right. ABC, in a report by Miguel Marquez and Simon McGregor-Wood that appears to have run on World News tonight, chose to use it.

The wreckage in the photo purports to be “the destroyed house of Hamas leader of Nizar Rayan following an Israeli air strike the day before in Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip” (given the state of reporting out of the region, one never knows for sure).

There is no good reason for Mr. Bush’s picture to be included, since:

  • He had nothing to do with the attack.
  • The United States had nothing to do with the attack.
  • Both he and the United States, as far as I know, have not anything specific to indicate that they were particularly supportive of this specific attack.

There are, however, really bad reasons for the photo placement or those who don’t read the accompanying article:

  • It associates Bush with the Gaza attack, perhaps even leading some to believe that he ordered it or was at least specifically supportive of it.
  • The caption under the picture makes it appear as if Bush is dismissive of attacks such as these, and that his statement about a “one-way ceasefire” is uninformed.

It’s enough to make you wonder how much influence the world press’s Arab-state paymasters still have.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Paul ‘It’s Never Enough’ Krugman Strikes Again: Stimulus Inadequate, Shouldn’t Have Tax Cuts

KrugmanFromNB0109Nobel laureate on arcane trade matters, former Enron adviser, and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is at it again.

In his latest Times column (“The Obama Gap”), he chides President-elect Barack Obama for not being ambitious enough in his stimulus plan, and, heaven forbid, for including tax cuts in the mix. He complains that Obama is only committing to much less than half of what’s necessary.

Brace yourself:

….. Mr. Obama’s prescription doesn’t live up to his diagnosis. The economic plan he’s offering isn’t as strong as his language about the economic threat. In fact, it falls well short of what’s needed.

Bear in mind just how big the U.S. economy is. Given sufficient demand for its output, America would produce more than $30 trillion worth of goods and services over the next two years. But with both consumer spending and business investment plunging, a huge gap is opening up between what the American economy can produce and what it’s able to sell.

And the Obama plan is nowhere near big enough to fill this “output gap.”

….. Even the C.B.O. (Congressional Budget Office) says, however, that “economic output over the next two years will average 6.8 percent below its potential.” This translates into $2.1 trillion of lost production. “Our economy could fall $1 trillion short of its full capacity,” declared Mr. Obama on Thursday. Well, he was actually understating things.

To close a gap of more than $2 trillion — possibly a lot more, if the budget office projections turn out to be too optimistic — Mr. Obama offers a $775 billion plan. And that’s not enough.

By advocating that the package consist only of government spending, Krugman is, in essence, advocating that the federal government take over about 7% of the economy by fiat.

Of course, Mr. State Knows Best is also upset that tax cuts are currently part of the Obama stimulus mix:

….. only about 60 percent of the Obama plan consists of public spending. The rest consists of tax cuts — and many economists are skeptical about how much these tax cuts, especially the tax breaks for business, will actually do to boost spending. (A number of Senate Democrats apparently share these doubts.) Howard Gleckman of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center summed it up in the title of a recent blog posting: “lots of buck, not much bang.”

The bottom line is that the Obama plan is unlikely to close more than half of the looming output gap, and could easily end up doing less than a third of the job.

Why isn’t Mr. Obama trying to do more?

Contrary to Krugman’s belief, Obama isn’t doing enough tax-cutting.

As usual, Krugman misses the crucial impact of tax cuts’ on investors’ and entrepreneurs’ decisions to take risks in general and to make investments in capital goods. Investments made in these areas in response to across-the-board or investment-targeted tax cuts have jump-started the economy faster than government “stimulus” ever has at least five times in the past 90 years: The Roaring 1920s, under Coolidge; the early 1960s, under Kennedy; the late-1980s and early 1990s, under Reagan and Bush 41; the late-1990s capital gains cut, under Clinton; and the 2001 and 2003 cuts, under Bush 43.

But all the historical examples in the world won’t move Paul Krugman and others from their government-knows-best New Deal Era mindset, never mind that government stimulus was tried, and failed to pull the country out of the Great Depression. World War II did that.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

NYT Ad Strategy: Leftward Ho! Media Strategy: Prop Obama Up

NYThistoryObama0109Well, this ad I just came across isn’t exactly subtle, is it?

The New York Times’s quest to become Manhattan’s leading quaint little alternative newspaper continues.

Do you think the Times is so obviously sucking up to to the president-elect so that it can position itself for a bailout?

More NYT sucking up, as noted by Tim Graham at NewsBusters: “N.Y. Times Styles Michelle Obama As ‘U.S. Fashion’s One-Woman Bailout’.”

Geez guys, can’t you make it just a little less obvious?

Related: Someone I know predicted that the media would try to turn Michelle into a darker-skinned Barbie doll. I didn’t believe it. It looks like I was wrong, though the plan seems closer to making her a Jackie O doll. I guess it’s “fame- and money-grubbing for me, but not for thee.”

Related: PBS’s Tavis Smiley, as noted by Mark Finkelstein at NewsBusters, gives the media its job description for the next four years  –

I want him to be a great president. I believe that he can be a great president. But only if we help make him a great president. It is not left to his own devices, it’s not going to happen. We have to help make him a great president. And that’s not casting aspersion on him. No president who was ever great wasn’t helped in that process. ….. But we have to help make this guy a great president.

Yeah, but the help is supposed to come from family, friends, and close advisers. Smiley seems to be admitting that Team Obama isn’t capable of success without lapdog media help.

What’s a Bailout Opponent To Do?

NoToGMandChrysler0109jpg

UPDATE, Jan. 13: Ed Morrissey at Hot Air points out that subsidizing the failures at GM and Chrysler put companies like Ford, which hasn’t taken bailout money (but to be “fair” and critical, can do so if it decides it needs it) at a competitive disadvantage. That’s why consumers with long-term concerns about their pocketbooks (and everyone else’s) should not buy GM or Chrysler vehicles.

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Note: This column originally went up at Pajamas Media on Wednesday under the less-than-perfect headline, “What’s a Auto Industry Bailout Opponent to Do? Boycott!” PJM’s subheadline is better (“If you don’t like GM and Chrysler taking taxpayer money, then don’t give them yours”). The column advocates not buying General Motors or Chrysler vehicles — not those of the entire (US-headquartered) auto industry — as long as those two companies are receiving government bailout money. This is the only viable outlet for those who oppose the entire bailout bonanza, auto and otherwise.

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What’s a Bailout Opponent To Do?
The author reaches a reluctant conclusion.

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There is little doubt that the majority of voters oppose the bailouts, and the seemingly endless cascade of calls for more, that have been raining down since early October. That’s when Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson panicked, and blackmailed Congress and the President into passing what I have been calling the Giant SUCKUP — the Seemingly Unlimited Cash Kitty Under Paulson.

Now, in a development that anyone with an IQ above room temperature could have predicted, the Paulson Gang “has now spent or committed more money than Congress has allocated to its financial rescue program, effectively making more promises than it can afford to keep. ….. Congress gave Treasury $350 billion; Treasury has allocated $354.4 billion.” The same guy who (figuratively) put a gun to the heads of bankers to force them to take Uncle Sam’s bailout money — whether they thought they needed it or not — is now putting a gun to the heads of taxpayers.

Most taxpayers probably believe that Congress has to proactively approve the release of the second half of last fall’s $700 billion bailout package. Wrong: “Once Treasury submits a formal request, the money will be allocated by default unless Congress votes to prevent it.”

Now that the spigots have been opened, the bailout requests just keep on coming.

After the banks came General Motors and Chrysler. California’s Governor Schwarzenegger, the Terminator turned Begginator, who years ago abandoned the heavy lifting involved in reforming his state’s dysfunctional political culture, “has ramped up his requests for a federal bailout.” I would suggest that California really owes the rest of us a bundle, not only because the formerly Golden State has been overspending on traditional welfare, i.e., direct aid to individuals and families, to the tune of over $2 billion a year during Schwarzenegger’s entire term in office, but because the state refuses to create oil-drilling and related jobs that could help turn its, and the nation’s, economy around.

Cities like Philadelphia, Detroit (it alone wants $10 billion), and Atlanta are lining up. Now we have a group of states, “led” by Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, asking for $1 trillion of their very own.

This only scratches the surface. I can’t pretend that the following is comprehensive, but others in the bailout line include auto-industry suppliers; General Motors Acceptance Corporation ($5 billion, separate from the bailout money granted to the auto company); retailers; commercial property developers; and two local newspapers in Connecticut.

How bad is it? It’s so bad that when blogger Warner Todd Huston invented a story about how a mythical accountants’ consortium named BANAL (the Bureau of Accountancy and the National Accountants League) had requested a government bailout, Business Week believed it.

But let’s get back to the serious matter at hand. What are those who oppose these bailouts to do?

No matter how hard I try, I can’t get around an inescapable conclusion.

I did consider other alternatives before reaching it.

Boycott the banks? Forget it. Paulson’s “Gun to the Head” Posse ensured that all the big players, and the vast majority of smaller ones, received bailout money (here is one notable exception). Maybe fear of consumer flight to banks not bailed out drove his decision.

Stop paying taxes? Not realistic.

Throw the bums out in Washington? Too late, and we can’t wait two years. By that time, the sheer number and volume of bailouts will have created a permanent culture of bailout dependency.

Though it’s an imperfect and in a sense unfairly targeted response, there really is only one action the average person has available that is practical, and will be quickly understood by the powers that be: Not buying GM or Chrysler vehicles.

It’s not like the two monumentally mismanaged companies and the thoroughly corrupt United Auto Workers union aren’t deserving of our scorn. What’s more, for those who insist on buying American, there still is a US-headquartered alternative. Ford has made a lot of mistakes, including losing about $1 billion in profit margins by failing to respond for two years to a damaging boycott by a social conservative group. Nonetheless, and to the surprise of many, the company isn’t circling the drain, and decided not to take Uncle Sam’s money. Perhaps if enough GM and Chrysler business heads their way, it never will.

Don’t be surprised if many Americans haven’t already reached the same conclusion I have. A Rasmussen poll showed that Americans opposed the GM-Chrysler bailout by a margin of 49%-38%. If even a third of those who opposed it swear off their cars, there will be no recovery at the two companies.

We’re not quite to the point where Hank Paulson can point a gun to our heads and force us to buy certain companies’ cars. If it becomes clear in Washington that consumers have shut their wallets on GM and Chrysler, that bailout effort will be forced to an ignominious end. It will send the two companies into bankruptcy, where they can figure out how to emerge as viable, baggage-free entities.

Most importantly, widespread refusal to buy GM and Chrysler vehicles will also send a clear message to other private entities considering whether or not to seek bailouts, and to politicians considering whether to approve them: Don’t.

The Employment Situation Report (010909): What the POR Economy Hath Wrought

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:27 am

APobamaWarningIfNoStimulus010808In his “do what I want or else” speech yesterday (transcript here; I’m not calling it that, the Associated Press effectively is, as you can see from the graphic on the right), Barack Obama, perhaps with some inside knowledge, called this morning’s yet-to-be-released Employment Situation report the worst in over 60 years:

And on Friday, we’re likely to learn that we lost more jobs last year than at any time since World War II. Just in the past year, another 2.8 million Americans who want and need full-time work have had to settle for part-time jobs.

Of course, the country’s workforce was less than one-third of what it is now after World War II, but he wouldn’t want to let little things like proportionality get in the way of a good scare.

FDR said the only thing we had to fear was fear itself. Obama’s saying “the only thing I have to get you to do what I want is fear.”

Oh, it will be ugly today, if the precursors are any indication:

What is of course not being reported is how seasonally adjusted job losses have accelerated since the inception of the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy back in June:

JobsLostIn2008thruNov

Speaking of fear, on a not seasonally adjusted basis, when comparing actual job changes in 2008 to those in 2007, the tie-in to Obama’s feared election, and then the result of that fear coming to pass, could not be more obvious:

JobsLostIn2008thruNovNotSeas

As you can see, the vast majority of the seasonally adjusted job losses this year occurred, and the month-to-month variances between 2007 and 2008 actuals widened, after POR Economy architects Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and Harry Reid declared their intentions to starve the economy of fossil fuels regardless of the consequences, and to radically increase Social Security and federal income taxes. Those two crystal clear messages, along with the serious housing and mortgage-lending industry problems brought about by decades of mismanagement at Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, which shoved lower credit-granting standards down the throats of lenders, essentially explain why we are today.

Sorry if the reality bites, libs, but it is what it is. All the bleating in the world about regulatory failures and related garbage won’t change it. Your guys’ irresponsibility created this mess.

The Report (BLS link)

Nonfarm payroll employment declined sharply in December, and the unemployment rate rose from 6.8 to 7.2 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today.  Payroll employment fell by 524,000 over the month and by 1.9 million over the last 4 months of 2008.  In December, job losses were large and widespread across most major industry sectors.

November’s and October’s seasonally adjusted job losses were increased by 51,000 (from 533K to 584K) and 103,000 (from 320K to 423K), respectively. This means that an estimated 678,000 fewer people were working in December than in November (524+51+103).

Here are revisions to the seasonally adjusted and not seasonally adjusted tables to reflect before and after the POR Economy and the prospect and then reality of one-party rule in Washington sunk in (the not seasonally adjusted totals are net changes from 2007):

BLSseasAdjThru1208

BLSnotSeasAdjThur1208

Almost 75% of 2008′s seasonally adjusted job losses occurred in the final four months of the year (1934/2589) as the POR Economy’s grip on us solidified.

Since Obama’s election in November, the economy has underperformed 2007 in job creation by almost 1.7 million jobs (-955-738).

But there couldn’t possibly be a correlation (/sarc).

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UPDATE, 2:40 p.m.: ADP’s data, which ONLY reflects the private sector, shows just a shade less than 2 million jobs lost in just the last five months of the POR Economy:

ADPprivateJobLossesJulyToDec08