June 20, 2009

Tone Deaf: Will Media Give Obamas’ Ice Cream Outing the ‘Bush Golf Treatment’? (Update: YouTube Of Dying Iranian Woman and Other Items)

Boy, the press can really do the nitty-gritty detail work (also saved here) when they set their minds to it (graphics at right via West Coast Outpost):

ObamasSnackWhileTehranBurns0609

As Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey’s Hot Air has pointed out at his running commentary, this fawning would be a bit more palatable if leftist commentators and comedians hadn’t gasped at and ridiculed George W. Bush hitting a golf shot after commenting about the Middle East and the War on Terror. Do you think Jon Stewart, who thought the golf shot vid was so funny, will find “humor” in the Obamas’ ice cream outing?

Meanwhile, Morrissey notes “The latest unverified/rumored death toll is 150. In other news, Obama ordered a small cup of vanilla” (Twitter death toll link corrected by me).

Patterico has compared the tweets from Tehran with those from CBS’s White House correspondent Mark Knoller, who was on Ice Cream Watch tonight.

Exit question: Who believes that the video of a dying woman Morrissey is carrying at Hot Air (WARNING: Very graphic; direct link here) will appear on an establishment media web site?

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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BizzyBlog Update: The YouTube of the dying Iranian woman is below the fold if you’re on the home page (WARNING: Very graphic; other updates, including vids, also follow) –
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Bloomberg’s Unchallenging Obama Interview: No Mention of Cratering Collections While Prez Touts ‘Robust’ Growth

ObamaBloombergPose0609Maybe reporters Brian Faler or Nicholas Johnston at Bloomberg asked Barack Obama some really challenging questions when they had a chance to interview the President at the White House. Maybe they even did some basic fact-checking. If so, there’s precious little evidence of either in their June 16 report.

They allowed the president to blame most of the current year’s deficit on George W. Bush. They let him speak of “robust” growth when the best guesstimates they quoted for the second half of this calendar year and all of next year are anemic — at least as the press benchmarked growth during the Bush 43 years.

The Bloomberg pair also ignored the alarming deterioration in federal receipts from economic activity that has continued into June, one of the four biggest collections months of the year.

Here are key paragraphs from Faler and Johnston’s failed filing (bolds are mine):

Obama Says ‘Robust’ Growth Will Prevent Tax Increases (Update1)

President Barack Obama said he is “confident” that he won’t have to raise taxes on most Americans to close the budget deficit as long as the economy picks up steam.

“One of the biggest variables in this whole thing is economic growth,” the president said in an interview with Bloomberg News at the White House. “If we are growing at a robust rate, then we can pay for the government that we need without having to raise taxes.”

Obama has repeatedly said he would keep his campaign pledge to cut taxes for 95 percent of working Americans while rolling back tax breaks for households making more than $250,000 a year.

“I’m confident that we don’t have to raise taxes on ordinary working families,” he said.

The U.S. economy shrank at a 5.7 percent annual pace in the first quarter, reflecting declines in housing, inventories and business investment. Growth is expected to turn positive in the second half of the year, accelerating 0.5 percent from July through September and 1.9 percent in the final three months of this year, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 62 economists. The median forecast for growth next year is 1.8 percent, according to the survey.

Obama warned that if economic growth remains “anemic” and Congress fails to adopt his plans to hold down the cost of health care, work on alternative energy sources and improve the U.S. education system, “then we’re going to continue to have problems.”

He also repeated his promise to cut the budget deficit, forecast to hit $1.8 trillion this year, in half by the end of his first term. The budget he submitted to Congress in February anticipates that the government will still run what would be, by historic standards, large deficits for the foreseeable future.

….. “If my proposals are adopted, then not only are we cutting the deficit in half compared to where it would be if we didn’t do anything, but we’re also going to be able to raise revenue on people making over $250,000 a year in a modest way,” he said. “That helps close the deficit.”

….. Obama said a large part of the current budget deficit was inherited from the administration of former President George W. Bush, his predecessor, and that extra spending was needed to address the worst global financial crisis since World War II.

First, here are direct responses to the bolded items:

  • If the President is looking for “robust” growth as the press defined it from 2001-2008, he’ll have to go to calendar year 2011 to find it, based on the economists Bloomberg surveyed. You can take it to the bank that no establishment media reporter would have let Bush or any of his economic advisers get away with characterizing 1.8% growth as “robust” (nor should they have), and no reporter would have used the word “accelerating” to describe 0.5% quarterly growth (nor should they have; not annualized, it’s only +0.0125%). Yet there’s no hint of a challenge from the duo, and Bloomberg’s editors — if they exist — let their adjective describing pathetic growth stand.
  • With tobacco tax increases of up to 2173% that went into effect in April, Obama has already broken his promise to cut taxes for 95% of “working Americans.” The Associated Press’s Calvin Woodward, who is one of the few reporters at the wire service successfully avoiding the Obama Kool-Aid machine, made that point when the increases took effect (“PROMISES, PROMISES: Obama tax pledge up in smoke”). Yet — no challenge.
  • The “large deficits” by “historic standards” were called “record deficits” during the Bush 43 years, when they were much lower, and were records by much smaller amounts. Yet — there’s the watered down language.
  • The “inherited” line would have some credibility if anyone could cite one meaningful instance where Obama opposed additional spending. The only one I can think of is that he may have voted against funding the war in Iraq. But he has long since signed on to continued spending there, proving that any anti-funding votes he may have made while he was an Illinois senator were postures without significance. More currently relevant, Obama actively supported the blackmail-driven bailout known as TARP, and the black-hole bailouts of General Motors (at least $70 billion and couting by itself) and Chrysler. Yet — no challenge.

Then there’s the matter of the possible need for tax increases, which depends more than a bit on how well tax collections are going.

Collections continue to be in the tank, based on comparing the Monthly Treasury Statement of June 18, 2009, to June 19, 2008 (both Thursdays):

USrecs0691809v061808

As was the case in April and May, June receipts from economic activity are down from the previous year by over 25%, and seem to be a cinch to trail June 2008 by over $60 billion at month-end. If Treasury is really doing its TARP accounting on a “Net Present Value” basis (discussed in detail at link), the much-heralded TARP loan repayments by major banks amounting to $68 billion, though they will reduce the national debt, will not be treated as receipts.

It will take more than the time-delayed, historically ineffective, mislabeled “stimulus” package that nobody read to restore robust growth such as the annualized 4.8% the Bush economy achieved in the second and third quarters of 2007. It will take something different that is the opposite of tax increases.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Positivity: Baby Survives Tumor

Filed under: Health Care,Positivity — Tom @ 8:53 am

From Atlanta (video is at link):

Updated: Saturday, 13 Jun 2009, 8:02 PM EDT
Published : Saturday, 13 Jun 2009, 8:02 PM EDT

Doctors discover a tumor and fluid around a baby heart while still in his mother’s womb. The unborn child was given little chance to live, but the faith of his mother and the delicate unique surgeries performed by doctors has made all the difference.

His tiny feet and hands — everything about this precious bundle is a miracle.

“I’ll never forget it. They did the ultrasound and everybody in the room got quiet. They got really, really quiet,” said expecting mother, Cristie Gibson.

The ultrasound detected a rare tumor on baby Shedrick’s heart and fluid in his lungs. Doctors gave Shedrick a low chance of survival.

“The fetus had actually developed a significant amount of fluid throughout the body and was in danger of dying in utero, dying before the baby was born,” said Cardiologist Dr. Thomas Chin.

If the baby survived to be born, the tumor could pose significant problems.

Pediatric Heart Institute Co-director Dr. Chris Knott-Craig said, “The lungs can’t develop, the heart can’t develop, (and) the organs can’t develop.”

Gibson said she turned to her faith and never gave up hope.

“I refuse to believe ya’ll cannot do anything for this baby,” said the mother.

An international team of doctors, all with various backgrounds in the medical field, pooled together their expertise and before the baby was born, they performed a unique, delicate procedure. …..

Go here for the rest of the story.

‘Apparent’ or ‘Clear’? AFP Waters Down Iranian Diplomat’s Statement On Nuke Weapon Intentions

AFPlogoQuestion: How do you water down the possible significance of a statement by an Iranian diplomat?

Answer: Wait for an AFP journalist to revise a previous raw report.

A short unbylined dispatch from the wire service reported that the diplomat “apparently misspoke” when he said that Iran has “the right to a nuclear weapon” not long after the incident occurred. (Dictionary.com tells us that “Used before a noun, apparent means ‘seeming.’”)

In a later full story (“Iran denies wants nuclear weapon as insurance”), AFP’s Simon Morgan reassured readers that the statement by Ali Asghar Soltanieh “was clearly a slip of the tongue.”

How can he be so certain?

Here is most of the brief early report after the incident (note that the headline, “Bombshell: Iran envoy in nuclear weapon slip-up,” already had the excuse down pat; bolds are mine):

Iran’s envoy to the UN atomic watchdog caused a buzz among journalists on Wednesday when he apparently misspoke and said his country had the right to a nuclear weapon.

After saying as usual that Iran was only pursuing nuclear energy for civilian purposes, Ali Asghar Soltanieh strayed alarmingly from the Islamic republic’s usual line.

“The whole Iranian nation are united… on (the) inalienable right of (having a) nuclear weapon,” the envoy to the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency said.

He later got back on track, concluding: “We will not deprive our great nation from benefitting from peaceful uses of nuclear energy.”

But in his later filing, Morgan communicated telepathic certainty that Soltanieh didnt’ mean it (bold is mine):

Tehran was simply seeking to have nuclear technology, “particularly enrichment for our peaceful purposes. That is our policy. This is the policy of Iran,” Soltanieh said.

Then, in what was clearly a slip of the tongue, Soltanieh said that “the whole Iranian nation are united … on (the) inalienable right of (having) nuclear weapon.”

Subsequently asked to clarify that remark, Soltanieh insisted that he had not meant to say “nuclear weapon.”

Gee, isn’t it at least slightly possible that Soltanieh’s “misstatement” was “a slip of the tongue” only in the sense that it revealed the nature of private discussions he has behind closed doors with his home country?

Michael Goldfarb at the Weekly Standard surely thinks so. At that publication’s blog, he brought forth a couple of historical reminders Morgan “somehow” forgot to consider that might have forced him to be just a bit less certain (links are in original):

Remember when the Iranians left blueprints for a nuclear warhead lying around, and then told the IAEA inspectors that the regime “received them inadvertently while purchasing its nuclear equipment on the black market decades ago”?

…. Relax, just because they have highly-enriched uranium, blueprints for a nuclear warhead, and an envoy declaring to international inspectors that the regime has an “inalienable right” to build a nuclear weapon, that doesn’t mean anything.

Of course not. Simon Morgan says so. (/sarc)

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.