May 31, 2009

How Long Will It Take Media To Tag Tiller Murderer As Not Part of Prolife Movement?

TillerAbortionist0509Steven Ertelt at LifeNews.com is telling us more about the alleged murderer of Kansas abortionist George Tiller than establishment media news sources (bold is mine):

George Tiller Shooting Suspect Caught, No Connection With Pro-Life Groups

Authorities have apprehended a Kansas man suspected of killing late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller on Sunday morning at his church. Police have identified the man as 51-year-old Scott Roeder of Merriam, Kansas and he has been detained but has not yet been officially charged.

As has been the case with most previous incidents of abortion-related violence, Roeder appears to have an affiliation with extremist political groups but not with the mainstream pro-life movement.

Pro-life groups have quickly and genuinely condemned the Tiller shooting.

In 1996, officials in Kansas apparently stopped his vehicle for not having a valid license plate, which he removed as an act of anti-governmental protest. His license plate apparently had slogans such as “Private Property, Immunity Declared at Law, Non-Commercial American.”

According to the Kansas City Star, the FBI suspected Roeder of having ties with the Montana Freemen, a militia group, which had had standoffs with authorities.

At the link within the report, Ertelt recites the following organizations that quickly condemned Tiller’s murder: Operation Rescue, Kansans for Life, Priests for Life, “pro-life activist Rev. Patrick Mahoney, members of the youth pro-life group Bound for Life, and others.”

The New York Times has two reporters on the story, but has no information about Scott Roeder beyond his name, which the Times says the Associated Press has reported. An AP story on Tiller’s murder that mentions Roeder’s name is here.

Given how quick the establishment media and the government over the years have both been to assure us — sometimes with little or no evidence — that various murders and attacks committed by someone acting alone, or occasionally even a few people, have not been acts of terrorism committed by specific groups, it will be interesting to see how long it takes them to tell us, if it is indeed the case, that George Tiller’s murderer was not affiliated with the prolife movement — or if they will ever report it at all.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

UK Journalists Strike Back at WH Press Secretary’s ‘Sneering and Condescending Remarks’

Gibbs0509There is little argument that the British press is doing a better job than its U.S. counterparts covering the Obama administration’s less than perfect performance.

If the reactions of Nile Gardiner and James Delingpole at the UK Telegraph to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs’s blanket criticism of British journalism are any indication, UK reporters are also more willing to stand up for themselves instead of filing toothless complaints and letting veiled threats go by without blowback.

First, via Howard Kurtz, here’s the fine whine from Associated Press reporter, President of the White House Correspondents’ Association, and Democratic operative Jennifer Loven about the Obama administration’s penchant for anonymous, “on background” briefings:

“We protest in the strongest terms the Obama administration’s frequent use of briefings done on a background basis . . . especially when the same officials briefing often appear ubiquitously on television shows with similar information,” said Jennifer Loven of the Associated Press, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association. She said this was particularly true on a Supreme Court nomination, “when the issue does not involve sensitive material such as national security information.”

At US News, John Aloysius Farrell characterized Gibbs’s response to Loven, also at Kurtz’s report, as “Nice business you got here, little lady. It would be a shame if anything were to happen to it.”

If Loven or her bosses at AP have defended themselves, I haven’t seen it.

Gardiner’s and Delingpole’s defenses of their paper, on the other hand, are quite visible.

Getting back to the beginning — As noted in a previous post (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), Gibbs criticized all of British journalism in reaction to a single UK Telegraph report claiming that photos from the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq “include images of apparent rape and sexual abuse”:

“I want to speak generally about some of reports I’ve witnessed over the past few years in the British media and in some ways I’m surprised it filtered down,” Gibbs said.

“Let’s just say that if I wanted to look up, if I wanted to read a writeup today of how Manchester United fared last night in the Champions League Cup, I might open up a British newspaper,” he continued.

“If I was looking for something that bordered on truthful news, I’m not sure that would be the first stack of clips I picked up.”

Gardiner passed on the traditional British stiff upper lip and ripped into Gibbs and his boss:

Robert Gibbs should apologise to the British press for his sneering rant

I cannot recall an instance like this where the President’s official spokesman has blasted the press of a key ally – in this case America’s closest friend, Great Britain.

This kind of attack would normally be made against the likes of the North Korean or Iranian state media, but in the current climate of “engagement” with America’s enemies the White House is far more likely to attack its own allies. Gibbs’ remarks have echoes of a senior State Department official’s anti-British statements to The Sunday Telegraph after the appalling handling of the Prime Minister’s visit in March.

….. The British press, especially the Telegraph, has been singled out because they frequently publish articles critical of the Obama administration and are not afraid to take on the status quo in Washington. Increasingly, millions of Americans are turning to online UK news websites for cutting edge reports on American politics and U.S. foreign policy that the mainstream media refuses to cover in the States, especially if it is unflattering to the Obama White House.

Robert Gibbs’ completely unwarranted rant against the British press is an absolute disgrace, and the President should disown his views. An unreserved apology by Gibbs is also in order.

….. Congratulations Gibbs – you’ve just made an enemy out of the entire British media, quite an achievement for the man in charge of selling the President’s message.

Also, unlike Loven, Gardiner got delicious backup from the Telegraph’s Delingpole, who also properly impugned U.S. journalists for being lapdogs:

Memo to Obama attack dog Robert Gibbs: stop pooping on our lawn

1. Congratulations. Your presidential regime has managed to secure the most supine, slobbering, spineless, unquestioning media coverage since Enver Hoxha’s Albania.

….. 3. If you are going to make clever-sounding football references displaying your rich understanding of the British press, try to get your terminology right. We call it the “Champions League.” Not the “Champions League cup.”

….. 5. Insulting the British print media. Big mistake. We know we’re not angels. We know we can go over the top sometimes. But unfortunately that’s a much bigger problem for you than it is for us. You see, while a lot of your mainstream media will hold fire on stories which they think may reflect poorly on your wondrous Obamamessiah – what his half-brother has been up to, say – we have fewer qualms about telling it like it is.

….. 6. A lot of Americans know this. They appreciate our irreverence. They enjoy our frank criticisms of all the myriad areas where Obama is getting it so badly wrong – everything from his disastrous cap and trade measures, to his brutal treatment of Chrysler dealerships which didn’t support him, to his pork barrelling, to his failure to do anything that looks remotely like rescuing the US economy. That’s why they come to read us online: because they can and there’s nothing you can do to stop them.

Oh, to have a U.S. press corps with more Gardiners and Delingpoles.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

The Federal Deficit Gets Nearly Indecipherable

Note: This was originally posted at Pajamas Media on Thursday.
_____________________________________________

Treasury’s “investment” programs are making hash of what was once comprehensible.

_____________________________________________

Did you miss the “good news” on May 12?

The Treasury Department, led by Tax Cheat Tim Geithner, retroactively reduced the deficit through March 31, the first six months of Uncle Sam’s fiscal year, by over $175 billion.

Here’s the evidence. March’s Monthly Treasury Statement showed a year-to-date deficit of $956.8 billion — but (voila!) April’s statement showed that the deficit through March was only $781.4 billion (items in red and October-March total box added by me):

MTS0309

MTS0409

Wow. How did Treasury do that?

Before I provide the answer, let me first make clear that federal financial reporting has been much less than perfect for a long, long time. The problems started in the 1960s with President Lyndon Johnson’s “unified budget,” which combined the financial results of Social Security, the Post Office, and the rest of the federal government into one presentation.

On the surface, that may have seemed like a good idea. But, as I’ve explained previously, Johnson’s decision ultimately enabled congresses and presidents of both parties to use Social Security collections in excess of benefits paid to paper over much higher deficits occurring in the rest of the government:

MTS0409

The $2.3 trillion in Social Security cash surpluses shown above has been “borrowed” from the Social Security “Trust Fund” and spent. The “Trust Fund,” far from being a stash of cash for paying out future benefits, contains almost nothing besides IOUs from the rest of the government, which is itself over $11.3 trillion in debt, and counting. The “Trust Fund” can’t be paid without raising taxes, reducing benefits, or borrowing even more money. What’s more, the annual Social Security surpluses are disappearing, and its cash flow may go negative as soon as 2010 or 2011. Recent news that many more workers than expected are choosing to begin collecting reduced benefits at Age 62 is not helping matters in the short-term, though it could be perversely helpful in the long-term.

But let’s back to Treasury’s April “magic.”

To understand it, you have to understand what Treasury says the Monthly Statement is supposed to tell us (saved here in case it gets revised or moved):

(The Statement) Presents a summary of:
- Receipts and outlays
- Surplus or deficit
- Means of financing on a modified cash basis

According to a 1990 law, the “means of financing on a modified cash basis” element of the Statement requires certain government “investments” to be reported on a “net present value” (NPV) basis.

What’s that? Are you sure you want to know?

Well, okay. It’s the estimated value of appropriately discounted future cash flows.

Try to resist the MEGO (My Eyes Glaze Over) effect, because this will get very important pretty quickly.

Based on a discussion I had with a person in the Congressional Budget Office, the only major area where NPV accounting has been used is in the Education Department’s student loan programs.

Here is what Education does, either monthly or quarterly:

  • Loans disbursed are deducted from the cash deficit; remember, they’re considered “investments.”
  • Loan principal repayments are added to the deficit, because they reduce the amount “invested.”
  • The interest portion of loan repayments is treated as income, reducing the deficit.

Finally, and much less frequently (either quarterly or annually), the department adjusts the value of its “investments” based on changes in interest rates and judgments regarding the loans’ ultimate collectibility:

  • If rates have gone down, the loans’ “investment” value goes up, and Uncle Sam’s reported deficit goes down. If rates have gone up, the opposite occurs.
  • Improvements in collectibility prospects increase “investment” value, and decrease the reported deficit. Deteriorating collectibility prospects have the opposite effect.

Aren’t you glad you asked?

Fortunately, student loans, though a significant problem in their own right, are a relatively small part of the leviathan known as the federal government. Thus, the difference between true cash flow reporting and Uncle Sam’s “modified cash basis” has been unimportant, and the reported deficit, with the key exception of the Social Security problem previously discussed, has been a close-enough indicator of true cash flow.

That changed in October, thanks to the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP).

What Treasury did in April was to convert the TARP “investments” it began making in October in the country’s financial institutions, General Motors, Chrysler, and who knows what else to NPV accounting. That accounting change reduced the previously reported March deficit by $175 billion.

As you might have noticed, Barack Obama and Tim Geithner are not done “investing.” There are hundreds of billions of dollars in outlays yet to come that I anticipate Geithner will handle using NPV, including additional TARP “investments,” the toxic asset program, and perhaps the ever-expanding mortgage relief efforts. At some point, Geithner might even decide that the tens of billions disbursed to prop up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac thus far also have “investment” value.

Mixing hundreds of billions of dollars of NPV into what has essentially been a cash flow report turns the Monthly Treasury Statement, and deficit reporting in general, into an exercise that will become not only become ever more difficult to comprehend, but one that will also be routinely subject to political manipulation. Judgments as to what discount rate to use, how collectible loans are, and even what should and should not be considered an “investment,” will have multi-billion dollar impacts on the publicly reported deficit. NPV might even directly affect policy. Why should Geithner or Obama allow banks chomping at the bit to get out from under TARP to do so, when their repayments will only increase the reported deficit? Already, the administration, which has projected a fiscal 2009 deficit of over $1.8 trillion, has avoided the political embarrassment of estimating a shortfall that would round off to $2 trillion using true cash-flow reporting.

If Congress really cares about the euphemism known as transparency, it will pass legislation forcing Treasury to either change how it presents its Monthly Statement, or to issue a separate all-inclusive monthly cash-flow statement. Such a statement must lay out receipts and disbursements that have occurred the month, and nothing else. The difference must tie in to the net change in the national debt.

I somehow doubt that Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid have any interest in this.

Positivity: ‘(This) is just beyond modern medicine. There’s just no explanation for it.’

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:57 am

From Independence, Missouri:

Posted May 23, 2009 @ 01:17 AM

Woman’s strength of faith helps her survive lung cancer
Given six months to live, cancer disappeared

Most women don’t look forward to their 40th birthday.

Kiers Rowley, 39, from Independence can’t wait for hers.

“I’m happy to turn 40,” she said. “I’m happy to have gotten this far.”

That’s because she wasn’t supposed to live to see it.

Last June, Kiers began to feel a little ill.

“My kids had been sick, and I thought it was just something that was passed around,” she said.

She also thought it was because she’s so busy. She owns a business with her husband Steve called Heartland Solutions Inc., she has three children, Chandler, 10, Conrad, 8, and Ella, 3, and was giving voice lessons to about 25 students.

It wasn’t until at a Parent Teacher Fellowship luncheon at her children’s school, Lee’s Summit Community Christian, when she had trouble breathing that she knew she had to go to a doctor.
His diagnosis shocked her.

She had stage-four lung cancer. To almost 98 percent of people diagnosed, it is fatal.

“It’s a horrible experience; there’s nothing else like it. You’ve just been kicked in the gut,” she said. “It’s just an overwhelming sadness. My youngest daughter, who was 2 at the time, would never remember me,” she said. “All the pictures in the world would never relate how much I love her.”

The odds were clearly against her. She said at that point, the only thing she could do was turn to God.

“The nurse walked in with the paper with my cancer diagnosis on it. I took the same paper and tore it up into four pieces and wrote ‘I will praise you in the storm,’” she said. “I plastered it everywhere around my house because I knew that in that moment it wasn’t something I could fix. I’ve learned that nothing really is.”

Ninety percent of lung cancer is caused by smoking. Kiers was a healthy woman who didn’t do any of the typical things that cause lung cancer.

“I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life,” she said. “I’ve never been around smoking.”

In fact, she took pretty good care of herself. She exercised three days a week, and ate healthy.

There was no logical reason why she should’ve gotten cancer, especially fourth stage lung cancer. It literally came out of nowhere.

Lung cancer kills more Americans than any other cancer. It’s dangerous because it usually spreads to the bone or the brain, and unless periodically screened, patients aren’t diagnosed until the advanced stages.

“You don’t know you have it before it’s too late,” Kiers said.

The high probability of dying from lung cancer didn’t seem real to her until her doctor gave her a simple breath test to see how damaged her lungs were. She failed miserably.

“I thought I would easily pass it, and I didn’t. I thought for the first time, ‘I might not survive this,’” she said. “You have an intense desire to do anything necessary to live. There’s an incredibly stressful feeling ‘I got to do as much as I can with no guarantee it’s going to work.’”

She was rushed to the University of Chicago Medical Center to cut as much of the tumor out of her as possible. Doctors told her the cancer was too far along to be operated on. The tumor encompassed her entire left lung, and spread into her chest wall and lymph nodes. She also had cancerous fluid in the bottom of her lung. They gave her six months or less to live. She went to the Cancer Treatment Center of America in Tulsa, Okla., to see if there was anything they could do.

“I really didn’t give her much of a chance. I had hope inside, though,” said her doctor, Dr. Simone Jaggernauth. “It was a fight for her life, and it was an uphill battle.”

Radiation was out of the question because the cancer had spread too much. She only had one more option left, chemotherapy.

Jaggernauth was extremely aggressive. He knew Kiers was young and had a strong body, so he gave her the largest dose of chemo a body is physically capable of handling. She had six treatments and was on three different types of chemo drugs: Taxol, Carboplatin and Avastin. It was incredibly hard on her body and took over her whole life. She even spent her 39th birthday in chemo.

“During chemo, the worst part was my joints. It hurt so badly,” she said. “You get up in the morning and where you used to hop out of bed you hunch over. I thought to myself ‘I look like I’m 80 years old.’”

The cancer wasn’t only hard on her body, it was hard on her kids. She had to tell them that their mommy might not always be with them.

“It was the inevitable conversation you have with a child. You never think it will be when she’s 10,” she said. “When you have the conversation with your child, it’s like this is about devastating, but at the same time you have to make them aware that you’re doing all you can.”

It was also hard on her husband.

“My husband, like most men, is a fixer. We own our own business and in true fashion he wanted to find every possible way to fix it,” she said. “It was very hard on him because we didn’t know if it was something we could fix. We had to surrender that to God and say ‘we’re hands off now.’ That my husband would be alone to raise three small children, it’s the hard part.”

At the CTCA she learned different holistic ways to fight the lung cancer such as switching to an organic diet and meditating.

“It’s amazing how the mind can affect the body. I meditated with Scriptures, ‘I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me.’ That has been my meditative mantra,” she said. “You have to be positive. Some days you’ll spend more energy fighting off negative thoughts then fighting the cancer. Trying not to go into a downward spiral is alone as much work as chemo, but you have to do it.”

She learned not to ever let the low survival rate make her lose hope.

“Don’t think of yourself as a statistic; think of yourself as an individual,” she said. “You can’t let statistics get in the way of your recovery and progress.”

Kiers’ final chemo treatment was in December. When she went to her doctor for a checkup in January she received another shock. This time it was a good one.

Her cancer was completely gone.

“I said ‘praise God.’ That was the first thing that came out of my mouth,” she said. “I sunk into my chair and said a prayer of praise.”

She wasn’t the only one shocked.

“My doctor told me ‘When you came here I didn’t expect you to see Christmas,’” she said. “‘To have nothing is just beyond modern medicine. There’s just no explanation for it.’”

Jaggernauth also thinks chemo wasn’t the only thing that saved her life.

“There are many studies that prove that the mind of how a patient enters into treatment dramatically affects how they receive and respond to it,” he said. “Do I think it was all chemo? I don’t think so. I think her willingness to do everything possible was a significant factor in her recovery process.”

For all the trauma cancer has brought into her life, Kiers thinks there’s a silver lining.

“I think for my children it has brought a level of compassion that they wouldn’t have had at such an early age. It’s brought a level of ‘life is precious, don’t take it for granted,’” she said. “For my husband too. It’s brought a sense of faith in action. You have to put your faith into action.”

Her relationship with her family has irrevocably been changed, and so has her relationship with God. ….

Go here for the rest of the story.