November 12, 2009

October 2009 Monthly Treasury Statement Released

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:14 pm

Otherwise known as the latest installment of, “If We Keep Going Down This Road, We Are Soooo Bleeped”:

UStreasuryStatement1009

A look at the detail shows that corporate income taxes were negative for the month.

Receipts are falling through the floor, and Congress wants to blow untold trillions on statist health care.

Last year’s October disbursements were distorted by TARP. This year’s is apparently distorted by permanent ramp-up in spending.

Hopefully I’ll have more to say later.

In 1999, Dobbs Covered Los Alamos Chinese Espionage Story Better Than the ‘Nets

DobbsCloseupAs noted earlier today (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), yesterday’s resignation from CNN by Lou Dobbs was his second during a storied career there. The first was at least partially driven by clear tensions between Dobbs and CNN head Rick Kaplan, a longtime friend of former president Bill Clinton who arrived at the network in 1997.

That Kaplan was driven to protect Clinton, and to risk journalistic integrity while doing so, is virtually beyond dispute. In 1997, as the Wall Street Journal’s Dorothy Rabinowitz noted in a 1999 op-ed whose primary purpose was to comment on the significance of “the demolition of CNN and Time’s story charging that U.S. forces used the lethal gas sarin to attack American defectors in Laos,” U.S. News reported that Kaplan “issued a warning to CNN journalists to limit the use of words like ‘scandal’ in relation to stories on the president’s fund-raising ventures.”

So you can imagine how beside himself Kaplan must have been when Dobbs, then the host of a business and finance show, went after the Chinese nuclear espionage story in 1999 while his other CNN colleagues and the Big 3 networks were attempting to downplay and ignore it. Brent Baker’s CyberAlert from March 12 of that year has the details:

One network VP this week did make the Chinese espionage a big story on his show. As noted in the March 11 CyberAlert, CNN VP Lou Dobbs anchored Tuesday’s Moneyline NewsHour live from Los Alamos. Since the MRC does not normally tape or watch this 6:30pm ET CNN business news show we are indebted to CyberAlert reader Dev Anand of California for bringing it to our attention.

…. Dobbs devoted the first half of the show to five stories about the subject plus interviews with Energy Secretary Bill Richardson and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

Dobbs opened the show: “Good evening. This is the Los Alamos National Laboratory. It is also ground zero in what is arguably the most alarming nuclear espionage scandal in nearly 50 years, certainly since the Rosenbergs. What has been stolen is a sophisticated miniaturized warhead technology. And this is the building, this building behind me — the administration complex here at the national laboratory — where the Taiwanese-born Chinese-American worked, who has been fired under suspicion for years of passing on the design of that sophisticated technology. But the growing scandal involves more than one man suspected of betrayal and espionage.”

In the first story of the show Bill Dorman played a soundbite of Al Gore insisting the administration vigorously pursued the security problem, but countered: “But that pursuit was neither immediate nor vigorous. A report by the Government Accounting Office, obtained by CNNfn, laid out security questions surrounding national laboratories long before the Clinton administration took action last year. In September 1997, the GAO wrote in 61-page report, quote ‘The risk that classified or sensitive information may be compromised through foreign espionage is real and has been longstanding.’ The report goes on to say there have been espionage activities against Department of Energy labs in the 1980s and the 1990s. Details of the incidents remain classified. But even after learning of that history, the Clinton administration was not quick to act….”

Later in the program reporter Casey Wian examined the close relationship between lab officials and the Chinese government, revealing: “In fact, documents show Los Alamos officials took 11 trips to China in 1995 and 1996. Several took place during the time when then Energy Secretary Federico Pena assured Congress there were no ongoing discussions about nuclear weapons matters.”

Two months later, Dobbs and Kaplan had an infamous dust-up that spilled over to the airwaves over Kaplan’s insistence that a Colorado speech by Bill Clinton be covered as “breaking news.” In early June 1999, Dobbs resigned.

Meanwhile, as Baker reported throughout the next week, the Big 3 networks and CNN sought to minimize the story’s significance and to turn in into a “Republicans attack” story. An example:

“The charge that Mr. Clinton is soft on China is red meat for conservatives,” asserted (ABC’s) Linda Douglass.

Douglass, not surprisingly, is now an Obama apparatchik.

The press in 1999 also gave the la-la treatment to the possibility of any connection between the technology transfer and laundered political contributions that likely had Chinese origins, as Baker noted on March 19:

Are journalists skeptical and cynical? Supposedly so, but not so far on the China espionage scandal where the supposedly leery media in Washington are willing to give Clinton’s team the benefit of the doubt about the suggestion that campaign contributions from China may have impacted policy decisions.

…. MRC analyst Jessica Anderson caught this from Los Angeles Times Washington Bureau Chief Doyle McManus:

“At this point, no solid connection has been established between, between these events — this espionage investigation and either the campaign finance scandal of 1996 or President Clinton’s visit to China in 1998 or any of the policy events in between. What Republicans and the opponents of the Clinton Administration’s policy are using is, in effect, the coincidences of the calendar.”

I don’t recall this reticent approach during Iran-Contra. Reporters then didn’t assume that arms went one way and money another because of “the coincidences of the calendar.”

Dobbs at the time was clearly throwing sand in the propaganda wheels. No wonder he ended up leaving, and not returning in 2001 after Kaplan had himself departed.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

CNN-mity: Tensions With Dobbs Were Evident Many Years Ago

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 10:26 am

lou-dobbsLou Dobbs has resigned from CNN, and his final show aired last night. The departure is reportedly on amicable terms.

That said, this is a good time to recall that Dobbs and his employer were at very visible loggerheads a decade ago. In fact, yesterday’s move by Dobbs is not his first resignation from the network. Here is Brent Baker’s June 9, 1999 CyberAlert entry describing what happened in 1999:

Lou Dobbs gone from CNN. Forced out by CNN President Rick Kaplan, or just frustrated by him? In a surprise announcement at the end of Tuesday’s The World Today, anchor Jim Moret informed viewers:

“And finally tonight, farewell to a colleague. Lou Dobbs, President of CNNfn and anchor of Moneyline, is resigning to launch a new Internet venture. Dobbs said he is ‘grateful to Ted Turner and CNN News Group Chairman Tom Johnson for the opportunity to have helped build CNN and cnn.com into a first-class television news and interactive institution.’ Lou Dobbs had been with CNN since its inception 19 years ago. He will start up space.com, a Web site for news, entertainment and educational content about space.”

No mention of Kaplan and an on-air dispute the two had a couple of weeks ago about whether to carry live a Clinton speech may explain why. As Clay Waters of Bridge News first informed me, the May 25 Page Six column in the New York Post revealed:

(Begin Post excerpt; paragraph breaks added by me)

Dobbs’ on-air blast at CNN chief

The rivalry between CNN President Rick Kaplan and CNN.fn boss and Moneyline host Lou Dobbs reached critical mass last week, when Dobbs challenged Kaplan’s news savvy on the air during his top-rated business show.

The brouhaha erupted last Thursday, when a Dobbs producer was ordered by Kaplan to cut away from Moneyline for live coverage of President Clinton’s address at Columbine HS in Littleton, Co. Dobbs, who didn’t consider the staged event breaking news, “was absolutely livid,” says an insider. So livid, in fact, he ordered his producer to cut back to Moneyline.

Kaplan — a Clinton golf buddy — immediately countered with an order to go back to Colorado. The tug-of-war ended with a visibly peeved Dobbs telling his audience they were returning to Columbine because “CNN President Rick Kaplan wants us to.” Dobbs’ comments were edited out of CNN’s transcript of the show.

“It was a real blowout,” a source told PAGE SIX. “There was mayhem in the studio with all the back and forth.”

The struggle continued Friday, when the still-steamed Kaplan fired off a memo stating that, between 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. — the Moneyline time slot — Atlanta headquarters will have “the final call.” “Kaplan made it clear that he’s still calling the shots,” said our source. Dobbs, who is not a fan of the Clinton administration, is often at odds with Kaplan’s fawning, kid-gloved treatment of the White House.

(END Excerpt)

Indeed, Dobbs has been more interested in pursuing Chinese espionage than the other networks and CNN shows. When the story first broke in March he broadcast his show live from Los Alamos and several times since has run multiple stories on nights when The World Today ran just one story or none at all.

In response to personal lobbying by Ted Turner, Dobbs returned to CNN in 2001, after a person who has since become an outspoken Obama critic reacted to one of Turner’s trademark insults directed at those who don’t see the world as he does. Baker’s March 15, 2001 CyberAlert had the details:

Ted Turner’s “Jesus freaks” insult was the last straw for Stuart Varney, a 20-year plus CNN veteran who had been co-anchor of the Moneyline News Hour. AP and Reuters dispatches late Wednesday confirmed New York Daily News and New York Post stories that he resigned after hearing last week of Turner’s latest outburst.

The March 14 New York Daily News reported: “Last Thursday, after hearing that Turner called CNN employees who observed Ash Wednesday ‘Jesus freaks,’ Varney resigned in a huff, sources said, although his resignation was kept quiet.” The New York Post added: “Insiders say Varney believes the cable network has strayed from its middle-of-the road political coverage — and has slanted heavily towards Democratic party positions.”

Turner’s remark, at the February 28 retirement party for Bernard Shaw at CNN’s Washington bureau, first came to light via FNC’s Brit Hume on March 6 — as detailed in the March 7 CyberAlert. The March 8 New York Post plastered it on the front page under the headline: “Ted Makes an Ash of Himself.” Post reporter Andy Geller recounted the comments from the Vice Chairman of AOL Time Warner:

“About 300 people were present and three or four staffers had ashes on their foreheads to mark Ash Wednesday.

“Sources said Turner stared at one of the staffers and said, ‘I was looking at this woman and I was trying to figure out what was on her forehead. At first I thought you were in the earthquake’ in Seattle that day. As puzzled staffers furrowed their brows, the cable tycoon unleashed this zinger: ‘I realized you’re just Jesus freaks. Shouldn’t you guys be working for Fox?’

“Turner laughed, and there were a few titters in the audience, but most of the 300 people greeted the remarks with stony silence.”

A month later, Dobbs was back, as noted in this short April 23, 2001 Business Week blurb:

Lou Dobbs Is Back. Is CNNfn?

CNN is betting that Lou Dobbs will restore lost luster to its financial programming. The Atlanta-based cable news channel, a unit of recently merged AOL Time Warner, rehired Dobbs on Apr. 9 as anchor and managing editor of Moneyline News Hour. Dobbs quit two years ago after losing a power struggle with Richard Kaplan, then head of CNN’s domestic operations. Moneyline’s ratings tanked after Dobbs resigned, and CNN’s financial channel, CNNfn, fell further behind leader CNBC.

Kaplan’s departure from CNN in August helped set the stage for Dobbs’s return from Space.com, a news and entertainment Web site about outer space. Dobbs’s first priority at CNN: “Reestablishing myself with my old audience and building a new one.”

CNNfn was put out of its misery in 2004.

In historical context, that Lou Dobb’s and the network’s respective wells of patience may have run out would not surprise anyone.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Ft. Hood Part Deux…

Thought this was an excellent follow-up to the Alan Keyes post yesterday

From Iowa’s leading talkshow host Steve Deace:

Deace’s Daily Diary: November 10th & 11th, 2009

The more we learn about what Major Nidal Hasan did at Ft. Hood in Texas last week, and why he did it, the more I begin to wonder why the Islamo-fascists even bother to blow themselves up anymore.

Hasan’s treacherous act again demonstrates that through moral relativism, postmodern psychobabble, and pagan political correctness we’re doing such a good job of destroying the American way of life all on our own, who needs the jihadists?

I was on the air as the news media began covering the breaking news story last week. Not 10 minutes after news of Hasan’s murderous rampage broke, the military and the White House were already busy telling us this wasn’t a terrorist act, but rather a random act of violence. Then when news of the identity of the shooter broke, and his name sounded awfully Muslim, those same forces tried to calm our fears that this had nothing to do with Islam.

Of course, it couldn’t.

This is the religion of peace after all, and it’s not like it was founded by a man who couldn’t read or write and spent the last 20 years of his life fighting wars. No, that couldn’t possibly be true. Besides, as our “Christian” President George W. Bush told us, “We’re all sons of Abraham and worship the same God.”

It was obvious we were constructing the reality we wanted, whether it was really reality or not, and then viewing the actual events in a way that lined up with our desired outcome. In other words, this was a classic case of magical thinking.

The spell was broken when the news emerged of Hasan shouting “Allah is great” in Arabic as he opened fire on his fellow soldiers. We were again confronted with the inconvenient truth that just because we’ve sold out our religious traditions for a secular enlightenment here in the formerly Judeo-Christian West, doesn’t mean our adversaries in the Muslim world have sold out theirs.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, Hasan may have done America a favor if we heed the warnings after the fact that we ignored beforehand, which sadly cost 13 brave and loyal Americans at Ft. Hood their lives. If we stop lying to ourselves and accept the grave determination of the religious ideology that allegedly drove Hasan, then those 13 Americans didn’t perish in vain.

But if we continue to delude ourselves that the rest of the world is just as deluded as we are, or really wants to be if we give them “democracy” whether they want it or not, we will see even worse tragedies than the one last week at Ft. Hood.

The first duty of any government is to protect the innocent from evildoers. Every elected leader and soldier pledges to protect and defend us and our Constitution against all enemies both “foreign and domestic.” Yet I’m not sure there’s anything in the Founding Fathers’ playbook for how to combat the enemy when the enemy is our own stinking thinking, and the dangerous actions of political leaders and soldiers are simply a reflection of our own murky image.

We have seen the enemy, and he is us.

Read the whole thing here complete with video. You won’t regret it.

Did Gen. David Petreaus Utter the Forbidden Word?

180px-General_David_Petraeus_in_tes(The following is satire — I hope)

Forget Ford Hood and investigating the so-called “terror” connections of Nidal Hasan.

Yours truly has come across something the current crowd running our government might see as even more sinister. The Obama administration, the FBI, the Justice Department, and, most importantly, the White House’s speech police simply have to get on this right away.

You see, General David Petraeus visited the Air Force Academy last week and may have uttered a word once thought to have been stricken from all speeches and discussions relating to military matters.

The word is …. v-v-v-v-vi …. well, I’d better let Tom Roeder of the Colorado Springs Gazette take it from here (bold is mine) in his November 5 report on Petraeus’s appearance:

Petraeus tells cadets military will follow Obama’s commands

Army Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. Forces throughout the Middle East, said he’s continuing talks with the White House about strategy in Afghanistan, but in the end will do whatever he’s told.

Petraeus spoke to hundreds of cadets at the Air Force Academy on Thursday, telling them his secrets to leadership. He addressed Afghanistan when one cadet asked him how he would handle a disagreement with President Barack Obama on strategy there.

“We will support the decision that is made by the president,” said Petraeus, who heads U.S. Central Command.

The general signaled that any change is more about how troops are used rather than how many are sent to battle. He addressed his strategy in Iraq during the 2007 “surge” that sent troops into cities to enforce security, clearing out insurgents ahead of rebuilding work.

“The surge was more than 30,000 extra troops,” he said. “It was a surge of ideas.”

He cited the Iraq changes, including pushing soldiers into neighborhoods, as a key to victory in Iraq. That’s starting to happen in Afghanistan, as soldiers pull out of remote areas to concentrate on securing cities and towns.

I realize that the word “victory” in Roeder’s last excerpted paragraph is not in a direct quote. If it was, there would be no need for an investigation. Petraeus would be taken directly to the woodshed and told in no uncertain terms that no one in the government, civilian or military, can ever again utter that despicable seven-letter word in connection with military matters again.

But since that terrible word is not in quotes, the administration needs to find the transcript, seize all audio, video, and and other evidence, interrogate the general and Mr. Roeder, and get to the bottom of this right now.

If General Petraeus lapsed into pre-Obama language, he must be disciplined, and be told in no uncertain terms to improve on his own personal discipline. After all, the President visited the Faw Palace at Camp Victory in Iraq back on April 7. The transcript of that speech reveals that he was able to avoid uttering that awful word. We would expect no less from the general.

That same day, administration spokesman Robert Gibbs, at the end of the Press Gaggle at the Faw Palace, accidentally mentioned “Camp Victory.” His rear end is still red over that slip-up.

If the administration learns that Roeder used the term on his own, the matter will be turned over the American Society of Professional Journalists for further action relating to what would be self-evident Code of Ethics violations.

(end satire)

Victory Davis Hanson at FrontPage comments on the administration’s aversion to the word that describes what has really taken place in Iraq:

…. (This administration’s) moral equivalence is little concerned with any redress of pathologies that in fact led to 9/11: Western appeasement of, or indifference to, radical Islam, whose extremism was the natural dividend of a region torn by enormous oil wealth, and age old statism, tribalism, gender intolerance, and dictatorship. In the era of Obama, radical Islam and the West merely have different narratives, rather than a fascistic creed trying to destroy the notion of Western freedom and tolerance.

Abroad as both sides refocus on the Afghanistan theater, somehow Obama is more demoralized by our victory in Iraq than the Islamists are by their defeat; and we have forgotten in the Bush ‘reset’ button rhetoric that support for bin Laden and suicide bombing–given the terrible dividends they earned–had plummeted in polls in the Middle East. In addition, in the “Bush did it” Obama narrative there was no mention of the arrest of Dr. Khan, the Syrian exit from Lebanon, the surrender of the Libyan WMD stockpiles, or the absence of another 9/11.

The result is that many in the radical Islamic world–especially after Obama’s serial trashing of the Bush-era security protocols like retaps, intercepts, and Guantanamo– may well be emboldened to think that either America questions its successful efforts at thwarting another attack since 9/11, or in some strange way sympathizes with some of the writs against itself.

The Obama administration apparently doesn’t need to worry about whether its establishment media apparatchiks will slip and use the dreaded word — at least without qualifiers, sarcasm, or derision. In a Google News Archive search on [military "victory in Iraq"] (typed as indicated between brackets) returning 188 items, I didn’t see a single establishment media result that actually declared the situation in Iraq as what it is and has been for a year — a military victory.

Despite media avoidance and administration reluctance, to paraphrase Reagan before he and others toppled the Soviet Union: We won; they lost.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Positivity: RIP, Pete Shellem

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:58 am

From Harrisburg, PA:

I never met Pete Shellem. I hadn’t heard of him until reading his obituary last week through a link on the blog of New York criminal defense attorney Scott Greenfield. But I wish I’d had a drink with the guy.

In an age when journalism has been inflicted not only by ballyhooed budget woes and challenges from new media, but also a glut of dubious trend stories, horserace political coverage, and endless navel-gazing about the state of the profession, Shellem merely freed four wrongly convicted people from prison in a period of 10 years with his reporting. Oh, and in the 1990s he also brought down a Pennsylvania state attorney general in a mail fraud investigation. Today that fallen attorney general, Ernie Preate, Jr., has only praise for Shellem. Shellem died unexpectedly last week at age 49.

Described by a former colleague in a 2007 American Journalism Review profile as a “B-movie reporter—you know, a chain-smoking tough guy who meets his sources in bars and operates around the edges,” Shellem spent two decades covering the courts for the Harrisburg Patriot-News. In the accounts of his passing, he’s described by colleagues and friends as the sort of reporter who read court transcripts, trial briefs, and lab reports for fun, whose office was filled with phone numbers scrawled on bar napkins and letters from desperate convicts proclaiming their innocence. Between filing stories about murder trials and covering day-to-day court operations, Shellem developed and worked sources in Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system. He also developed an eye for spotting irregularities in police reports, crime lab reports, witness statements, and other court documents. That’s when he started helping innocent people get out of jail. ….

Go here for the rest of Randy Balko’s November 2 tribute at Reason.

Shellem’s Patriot-News obit is here.