January 29, 2010

AP Video Teases Give Away Attitude Toward Tony Blair’s UK Iraq War Inquiry Appearance

BlairAPvidIraqPromo2BlairAPvidIraqPromo1

Based on the two pictures seen at the right, it doesn’t exactly take Sherlock Holmes to figure out that the people at the Associated Press who decide on what pictures to use to tease the wire service’s assorted video clips are not all favorably inclined towards Tony Blair.

Rather than show a picture of the former UK Prime Minister, the AP chose pics of a demonstrator outside where the inquiry was held.

As of about 8 PM ET, the “Raw Video” feed was still in the rotation and easily accessible at many hosted.ap.org pages carrying an international story. An accessible link to that vid is here at YouTube.

The “Blair Unrepentant” story is no longer in the rotation, but can be found here.

Here is a transcript of that “Unrepentant” video:

AP Reporter Martin Benedict: This was billed as “Judgment Day” for Tony Blair, and protestors outside the hearing offered their judgment that Blair was a war criminal for invading Iraq on the false premise that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

But inside, the former Prime Minister was unrepentant, telling the inquiry panel he’d do it all again if he had to.

Blair: It’s really really important I think to understand this as far as understanding the decision I took, and frankly would take again. If there was any possibility that he could develop weapons of mass destruction we should stop him, that was my view. That was my view then that’s my view now.

Benedict: Outside the mood turned somber, as protestors including actor Samuel West held a naming of the dead ceremony.

Samuel West (speaking to AP): I find it extraordinary that a man who saw 1-1/2 million people march past his office go to war with no more justification than that he, he thought he was doing the right thing. Every war criminal in history has said the same thing.

Benedict: Blair’s successor Gordon Brown is due to give his evidence before the election which will be held by May.  Martin Benedict, the Associated Press.

Blair appears in all of 23 seconds of the 1:22 video. It’s enough to make one almost relieved that the AP has little direct presence (so far) in broadcast television.

As to Benedict’s breezy assertion about Saddam’s possession of weapons of mass destruction being a “false premise,” here the short version of the required routine debunking of the tired leftist claim, historically accurately phrased as “There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq” (with no qualification of any kind) any time yours truly sees it made:

  • April 2, 2007 — “Munitions Found (in Iraq) Last Year Were Officially WMDs.”
  • In a mid-August 2006 post called “The ‘No WMD’ Lie (With Linked Proof) — The Sequel,” I identified six establishment media press reports describing items found in Iraq after the invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein. The conclusions concerning these items were that 3 of them were “undisputable definites” as WMDs, that one related to raw materials definitely usable for creating WMDs, that one was inconclusive, and that a final item was not a WMD, but a clue to to the existence of hundreds of WMDs that were subsequently found.
  • And of course, there were the 550 tons of yellowcake uranium taken out of Iraq in the summer of 2008. Investors Business Daily deadpanned noted that its “the stuff that can be refined into nuclear weapons or nuclear fuel, at a facility in Tuwaitha outside of Baghdad,” and that “it was bought by a Canadian company for further processing into nuclear fuel — thus keeping it from potential use by terrorists or unsavory regimes in the region.”

Thus, the claim that there were no WMDs in Iraq is demonstrably and indisputably false. Martin Benedict or anyone else at the Associated Press are welcome to come by BizzyBlog or NewsBusters any time to show why my work based primarily on reports by others in their profession is wrong.

They won’t be able to. Thus, they must resort to showing immature caricatures and providing excessive face time and air time to the same people who have been wrong all along, both about the existence of WMDs and who was on the noble side in the military victory known as the Iraq War.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Paranoid Much? Robert Reich Imagines that Fox News Was Around in 1994

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:51 am

RobertReich2009Robert Reich must have nightmares about Fox News. Shoot, he must have triple locks on his doors and sleep under his bed out of fear that Roger Ailes will come and take him away.

In a Monday column at Salon.com (“Is the President Panicking?”), Reich excoriated President Obama’s proposed discretionary spending “freeze” — a “freeze” that NewsBuster Julie Seymour noted fails to offset the spending proposals Obama brought up in his State of the Union speech —  for “invok(ing) memories of (Bill) Clinton’s shift to the right in 1994,” especially because  ”it could doom the recovery.”

That was absurd enough, but in the process of recounting his fevered view of 1990s history, Bill Clinton’s former Secretary of Labor threw in this whopper, revealing that for Reich, as Buffalo Springfield told us so many years ago in their 1960s hit song “For What It’s Worth,” paranoia really does strike deep:

In December 1994, Bill Clinton proposed a so-called middle-class bill of rights including more tax credits for families with children, expanded retirement accounts, and tax-deductible college tuition. Clinton had lost his battle for healthcare reform. Even worse, by that time the Dems had lost the House and Senate. Washington was riding a huge anti-incumbent wave. Right-wing populists were the ascendancy, with Newt Gingrich and Fox News leading the charge. Bill Clinton thought it desperately important to assure Americans he was on their side.

There’s one “little” problem: Fox News Channel’s first day on the air was October 7, 1996.

Salon has since corrected Reich’s falsehood.

Evidence of Reich’s original statement is here, here, and here (see Reply 20). For posterity, I have saved a graphic of the aforementioned paragraph here.

Mary Katharine Ham at the Weekly Standard calls it one of the “Great moments in Salon corrections.”

Reich obviously doesn’t remember this moment from a Bill Clinton press conference in 1996, as recalled by Carl M. Cannon at Politics Daily:

Interestingly, although he had once lost his temper at Hume in a Rose Garden press conference, President Clinton made a point of saying he thought Hume’s coverage was, well, fair and balanced. This happened on Dec. 13, 1996 at Hume’s farewell White House news conference for ABC News (before moving to Fox — Ed.) when Clinton surprised us all by suddenly saying, “Brit, let me say before you leave, I know this is your last White House press conference … but over the last several years, I think all of us think you have done an extraordinary, professional job under Republican and Democratic administrations alike, and we will miss you. And we wish you well, and congratulations on your new position.”

My, how things have changed. Instead of having its job-changing correspondent praised for his coverage, Fox gets blamed for stuff it allegedly did when it wasn’t even around.

Bob Reich’s paranoia has a softer conservative counterpart: Many of us have occasional nightmares about Reich ever again gaining executive authority inside the government.

I daresay that if a conservative suffered from a similar paranoid memory lapse we’d be hearing a lot more about it.

Cross-posted at NewsBuster.org.

4Q09 GDP Post (012910): Advance Estimate Comes in at Annualized +5.7% (See Update 2: A ‘Windows 7 Recovery’?)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:29 am

Well, here comes the report that, if it comes in as predicted, will bring out Obamanomics’ defenders in droves.

An AP report I saw yesterday that I can’t find the link to immediately predicted that the government will report that economic growth during the fourth quarter of 2009 was an annualized 4.5%. This Reuters link has a consensus prediction of 4.6%.

We’ll see right here very shortly.

8:34 a.m. — Here we go:

Real gross domestic product — the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States — increased at an annual rate of 5.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009, (that is, from the third quarter to the fourth quarter), according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 2.2 percent.

Immediate reax: This administration has done what most would have seen as the impossible — creating an environment where the economy grows and jobs are still lost, i.e., not a jobless recovery, a “job-loss recovery.”

Second reax: That number is extremely likely to come down in subsequent revisions. There are so many tepid (or worse) reports coming from elsewhere, including the ones from Uncle Sam telling us that the money one would expect to be coming into the government as a result of strong growth isn’t coming in.

Third reax: As good as the 5.7% number is, it still trails Bush 43′s breakout quarter of 6.9% after the supply-side investment-related tax cuts that he wanted all along finally happened in 2003.

Fourth reax: As good as the number is, it only bring us just over halfway back (before considering population growth) to where we were before the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy kicked in (results are compounded and carried out to more decimal places than displayed):

GDPcontractionRecoveredThur4Q09

Since Pelosi, Obama, and Reid own the results of all six quarters (the POR Economy’s arrival came in the summer of 2008), this represents the full context of their awful stewardship.

More later.

UPDATE: There’s a big difference between what was produced and what was sold, as this paragraph from the government’s report shows:

Real final sales of domestic product — GDP less change in private inventories — increased 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of 1.5 percent in the third.

AP has picked up on that point with its current opening paragraph:

The economy grew faster than expected at the end of last year, though the engine of that growth – companies replenishing stockpiles – is likely to weaken as consumers keep a lid on spending.

The thing to really be concerned about is that companies might have overdone it on the replenishment.

UPDATE 2: The AP report also cites something I referred to several months ago (third item at link) as one of the economy’s best hopes for a legitimate, private industry-driven breakout:

Growth exceeded expectations mainly because business spending on equipment and software jumped 13.3 percent – much more than forecast. It’s the second quarter in a row that business spending has increased, after six quarters of decline.

From the government’s long-form report – “Information processing and software” was a 0.60% component (Table 2) of the 5.7% the reported GDP increase — a remarkable percentage of total growth (10.5%, or .6/5.7; also 27%, or .6/2.2, of the final sales growth rendition of GDP) considering that it’s about 4.4% of the economy (Table 3: $578 billion divided by $13.155 trillion).

Especially considering the potential productivity improvements throughout the economy of widespread Windows 7 adoption after 3 years of business misery with and avoidance of Vista (and assuming that Windows 7 is as good as reviewers have said it is), if the recovery ends up having longer-term legs, we may need to start calling it the “Windows 7 Recovery.”

Apple’s fourth quarter results earlier this week, which included a 33% increase in sales of Macs, indicate that it also has had a role in the sector’s outsized contribution to growth.

Should I mention that computers and software are among the few sectors the government hasn’t been particularly successful at heavily regulating–yet?

Lucid Links (012910, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 8:22 am

A John Kerry-like State of the Union moment — President Obama and his fellow Democrats were the architects of the 2009 budget Obama whined about inheriting in his State of the Union speech:

… the 2009 budget was almost exclusively approved by Democrats, with “Yeas” coming from current President then Sen. Obama, his current Vice President then Sen. Joe Biden, his current Chief of Staff then Rep. Rahm Emanuel, and his current Secretary of State then Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Beyond that, Noel Sheppard’s NewsBusters post points out that Obama himself praised that budget on March 14, 2008:

“The budget passed by the Senate tonight makes significant progress in getting our nation’s priorities back on track. After years of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, this year’s budget helps restore fiscal responsibility in Washington, and provides tax relief for the middle class and low-income families who need help most. It includes an expansion in the Child Tax Credit that I have fought for and makes marriage penalty relief permanent. And it rejects the President’s drastic cuts in important domestic programs.

“We need change in this country, and this budget is an important step in helping bring it about. I commend Chairman Conrad for his extraordinary leadership in moving this resolution forward and moving America’s fiscal policies in the right direction.”

In 2003, in connection with Senate votes involving funding the war in Iraq, Kerry said, “I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.” In 2008, Obama voted for the budget and praised it before he trashed it on Wednesday.
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Andrew Breitbart has come out swinging on James O’Keefe arrest — “For those in the mainstream media committed to report the false and libelous narrative of ‘Watergate Jr.,’ ‘wiretapping’ and ‘bugging,’ I predict much egg on your J-school grad faces.”

MSNBC so-called journalist David Shuster has already made a complete fool of himself in making stuff up. Breitbart and Lachian Mackley at NewsBusters have forced Shuster into a retraction and his MSNBC bosses into admitting that Shuster’s related pseudo-triumphant tweets “were inappropriate.”

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Running without shoes is supposed to be better for you (HT Instapundit). OK, but what about the occasional piece of broken glass or other sharp objects?

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Who says there’s no partisan cooperation? From the Politico:

A top House committee responded to the mounting voter backlash against backroom deals on health reform by seeking more information Wednesday about White House negotiations with industry groups.

Hours before President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union address, Republicans and Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee agreed to pursue a revised GOP request for additional documentation about the talks that led to a series of controversial administration agreements with doctors, hospitals and drug makers at the outset of the health care debate.

This is funny. Desperate Democrats feeling that they have to do something to distract their voters from their support of statist health care bills are saying, “See, see, I don’t like those backroom deals either, and so I supported an investigation.” Pathetic.

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AnObama Shocks the Elitesmoment via Bloomberg – “Stunned Wall Street Firms Don’t Want War With Obama.”

I wonder how many of them thought that making political contributions to the Democratic Party and its candidates would buy them peace?

Positivity: Glad to the bone

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Ukiah, California:

Cross-country walker raises awareness for bone marrow registry

Updated: 01/24/2010 12:00:28 AM PST

When Jeana Moore’s granddaughter Jada was born 2 1/2 years ago, her nurse noticed something that saved her life. “She saw some red dots on her skin. Jada had patechiae – red spots that indicated her blood was not clotting,” Moore explains.

In a month, Jada was diagnosed with leukemia, and by 5 months old, she had received four chemotherapy treatments. Jada’s survival was dependent upon finding a bone marrow donor.

“Once we knew Jada needed a transplant, everyone in the family was tested. No one matched,” says Moore. The National Bone Marrow Registry was contacted, and the wait for a suitable donor began.

There are 8 million Americans listed on the registry – a million more than last year. Even with that many registrants, Jada’s donor was not found in the U.S. “A 30-year-old man from Germany became her donor,” Moore explains. A volunteer from the registry flew to Germany to pick up his lifesaving cells and transport them to Seattle Children’s Hospital. Jada received her bone marrow transplant in November of 2007, and was in remission by March of 2008.

Following the family’s arduous ordeal, Moore felt she needed to help others suffering with leukemia. “I decided to help patients and families waiting for their donors. I looked at the Internet and other programs but realized I wanted to talk to people face-to-face about the National Bone Marrow Registry.”

Moore and her family created the Jada Bascom Foundation. As an adjunct activity, Moore stepped out – literally and figuratively – embarking from Seattle in October of 2009 on an 18-month-long trek across the United States to raise awareness about becoming a member of the National Bone Marrow Registry, and explain how simple it is to be a bone marrow donor.

Moore walked into Ukiah Tuesday, traveling with a 35-pound backpack. Her goal is simple: to encourage people to get on the registry.

“Jada found her donor in two months. We were very lucky,” says Moore. She recounts the story of another friend. “He’s been waiting for a match for four years and decided to recruit donors. He’s recruited over 8,000 people. Fifty have been matched with patients. He’s getting weaker and says if he dies, he knows he’s fulfilled his life’s purpose by helping to increase the number of people in the registry.”

Moore stresses becoming a registrant is easy and painless. “You simply request a kit from the National Bone Marrow Registry. You take a cheek swab of cells and mail the packet to the registry. No blood is drawn,” Moore explains. …

Go here for the rest of the story.