March 1, 2011

NYT’s Lipton Teed Up, Hit Out of Park by Powerline over Cooked AFP-Koch Quote

The Left has been making quite a bit of conspiratorial hay over the following paragraph Eric Lipton wrote at the New York Times on February 21 (“Billionaire Brothers’ Money Plays Role in Wisconsin Dispute”) about the alleged degree of involvement Koch family members have allegedly had in the Wisconsin public-sector union showdown:

Even before the new governor was sworn in last month, executives from the Koch-backed group had worked behind the scenes to try to encourage a union showdown, Mr. Phillips said in an interview on Monday.

Notice something missing? How about quotation marks? Their absence is not an accident.

“Mr. Phillips” is Tim Phillips, President of Americans For Prosperity. Tim Phillips claims never to have said what Eric Lipton claims he “said” or anything close to it. (At least one leftist outlet dutifully added quote marks around “had worked behind the scenes to try to encourage a union showdown” despite the original’s lack thereof.)

In response, John Hinderaker at Powerline e-mailed Mr. Lipton in search of a resolution. His e-mail read, in part:

I was struck by the fact that the most controversial statement you attributed to him was not a quote: “Even before the new governor was sworn in last month, executives from the Koch-backed group had worked behind the scenes to try to encourage a union showdown, Mr. Phillips said in an interview on Monday.”

As you probably are aware, Mr. Phillips denies making any such statement to you. Since you didn’t put the statement in quotes, it apparently was not exactly what Phillips said. So my question is, what record do you have of the interview with Mr. Phillips? Did you record it? Did you take notes? If so, would you be willing to share your notes or recording with me? As you may know, the statement you attributed to Mr. Phillips has attracted a good deal of attention, and it would be worthwhile, I think, to determine what record you have of what he actually said.

Four days later, Lipton responded to Hinderaker. Readers should go Hinderaker’s Monday post at Powerline to read Lipton’s entire pathetic response. To me, the most telling point about it is that the word “Koch” never appears therein.

Here is Lipton’s rancid wrap, as relayed by Hinderaker:

What I wrote about what Mr. Phillips accurately reflects our conversation. Moreover, these blog posts on the Americans For Prosperity in Wisconsin’s Web site, buttress the remarks he made to me.

I hope this answers your questions.

Hardly, Eric.

HInderaker’s assessment:

… while Lipton assures us that his characterization was accurate, he is able to quote in support only these statements from his notes:

“We encouraged this effort at pension reform. This is one critical budgetary way to do it,” Mr. Phillips said. “We thought it was important to do.”

We can assume that the words Lipton quoted are the best he has in his notes, the sentences that he relies on to justify his claim that AFP “worked behind the scenes to try to encourage a union showdown.” You be the judge: is “We encouraged this effort at pension reform. This is one critical budgetary way to do it. We thought it was important to do” the same as: AFP “worked behind the scenes to try to encourage a union showdown?” I don’t think so.

I think Lipton stands convicted of exactly the conduct Phillips suggested. He wanted to write a story about how an organization supported by the Koch brothers was secretly fomenting a “showdown” with Wisconsin’s unions. Phillips wouldn’t tell him that because it wasn’t true, but Lipton wrote the story that way anyway, because without it he had nothing newsworthy.

Eric Lipton and the New York Times owe Tim Phillips, Americans For Prosperity and Charles and David Koch an apology, and they owe their readers a correction.

Don’t expect either. Functioning as a leftist propagandist pretending to be an objective news reporters means never having to say you’re sorry. And there’s a mythical meme about a vast right-wing conspiracy that must be maintained at all costs.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Stern to WaPo: Labor Movement ‘Had Socialist and Communist Tendencies’; Change the Tense, Andy

Retired Service Employees International Union President Andy Stern was recently interviewed by Journolist organizer and Washington Post staff writer Ezra “the Constitution is confusing because it was written more than a hundred years ago” Klein.

In response to a question from Klein about “the animosity between unions and workplaces” (that is what Klein says he said), Stern made an interesting assertion that most readers probably took at face value:

We grew up in that culture. In the ’30s, people didn’t want us to exist. We had to do sit-down strikes . . . we had socialist and communist tendencies. We grew up, to speak in Marxist terms, in a world with a lot more class struggle. It’s not viewed through that light anymore.

Really? “Permit” me to disagree.

Stern’s statement about the U.S. labor movement’s relative lack of socialist and communist tendencies was arguably true until the mid-1990s. It was then that Lane Kirkland, famous for orchestrating aid for Poland’s Solidarity movement in the 1980s, stepped down as head of the AFL-CIO, after which the organization, according to an Arch Puddington column at Freedom House, deliberately disengaged from international involvement with worker organization efforts in totalitarian countries.

Since then, the leadership of the U.S. labor movement has lurched steadily leftward. That this directional shift has occurred as public-sector union representation has grown, while private-sector representation has declined, is hardly a coincidence.

So what other evidence is there that Big Labor in the U.S. and the world’s socialists have once again become quite cozy? On Friday, Meredith Jessup at The Blaze, Glenn Beck’s online journalism outlet, provided some (bolds are mine):

Last fall, leftist ideological groups of socialists and communists teamed up with American labor unions to march together for “One Nation.” Now, as labor leaders struggle to maintain a stranglehold on collective bargaining privileges in Wisconsin, the same groups are once again marching together under a banner claiming unions are the heart of the American dream.

… Here in Washington, D.C., leftist activists at MoveOn.org are co-hosting a rally Saturday with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). But behind the scenes, The Blaze has exclusively learned the rally has actually been organized by the International Socialist Organization.

… Despite MoveOn.org and SEIU taking a leading role — along with a number of other sponsors including the AFL-CIO, AFSCME, George Soros’ Media Matters, the Apollo Alliance and the Sierra Club — the National Park Service has confirmed that the Saturday rally’s permit was requested by and issued to the International Socialist Organization, a group committed to building a “future socialist society.”

Imagine that.

In case you’re wondering, here’s what the International Socialist Organization says it’s all about:

The International Socialist Organization (ISO) is committed to building an organization that participates in the struggles for justice and liberation today–and, ultimately, for a future socialist society.

… The ISO stands in the tradition of revolutionary socialists Karl Marx, V.I. Lenin and Leon Trotsky in the belief that workers themselves–the vast majority of the population–are the only force that can lead the fight to win a socialist society. Socialism can’t be brought about from above, but has to be won by workers themselves.

It’s fair to ask why we shouldn’t believe that leadership of the American labor movement isn’t also down with the Lenin-Trostky “struggles for justice and liberation today–and, ultimately, for a future socialist society.” Andy Stern’s deflective response to Ezra Klein was effectively a “no we’re not.” The clear high-level involvement of the International Socialist Organizations says “yes you are.”

In their Saturday evening coverage of a pro-union rally in DC earlier that day Frederick Kunkle and Spence S. Hsu only reported the following about who was behind the event:

The protests were part of a 50-state call to action by the liberal group MoveOn.org, as labor, environmentalist, anti-war and other allied organizations assailed a drive by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) and Republican state lawmakers to roll back collective bargaining rights.

Rally organizer Joe Cook, who retired as executive director of the Louisiana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said 45 groups sponsored the nationwide day of protest.

Don’t you love how the two WaPo writers lumped everyone else into “other allied organizations”? How convenient.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Latest Pajamas Media Column (‘Obama’s Job-Killing Economy: The Continuing Saga’) Is Up

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:46 am

It’s here.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Thursday (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.

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Related, via the Associated Press:

The labor market is improving slowly. On average, employers are expected to add 178,300 jobs per month this year. The economists predict that 210,000 jobs will be added to payrolls in each of the last three months of 2011.

Wow, I’m so impressed — not.

Under Ronald Reagan, the economy added 3.4 million jobs during quarters 7 through 10 after the 1980s recession. The Obama total, if it comes to pass, would be 2.14 million. So Obama’s post-recession performance would trail Reagan’s by about 5.7 million instead of the current 4.5 million (as of December), even before factoring in population differences.

If something isn’t done about the job-hostile factors described in the column, that 2.14 million target for this year, as unambitious as it is, still won’t be achieved.

Lucid Links (030111, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 9:04 am

Bombshell — First, recall this, from a December 2010 column by yours truly:

(In the summer of 2008) A weakened economy was no match for the amazingly timed perfect storm which followed shortly thereafter. It’s almost as if the Pelosi-Obama-Reid triumvirate knew that what they began in June would cause the serious problems in home lending and homebuilding to reach critical mass several months later. I suspect that someday someone with a conscience will let us know that what looks like an amazing set of coincidences was anything but that.

Well, there’s no direct evidence yet that they knew that the storm was coming, but Washington Times investigative reporter Bill Gertz has obtained evidence that the storm was not a natural occurrence:

Evidence outlined in a Pentagon contractor report suggests that financial subversion carried out by unknown parties, such as terrorists or hostile nations, contributed to the 2008 economic crash by covertly using vulnerabilities in the U.S. financial system.

The unclassified 2009 report “Economic Warfare: Risks and Responses” by financial analyst Kevin D. Freeman, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Times, states that “a three-phased attack was planned and is in the process against the United States economy.”

While economic analysts and a final report from the federal government’s Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission blame the crash on such economic factors as high-risk mortgage lending practices and poor federal regulation and supervision, the Pentagon contractor adds a new element: “outside forces,” a factor the commission did not examine.

“There is sufficient justification to question whether outside forces triggered, capitalized upon or magnified the economic difficulties of 2008,” the report says, explaining that those domestic economic factors would have caused a “normal downturn” but not the “near collapse” of the global economic system that took place.

Suspects include financial enemies in Middle Eastern states, Islamic terrorists, hostile members of the Chinese military, or government and organized crime groups in Russia, Venezuela or Iran. Chinese military officials publicly have suggested using economic warfare against the U.S.

“Only recently have defense and intelligence agencies begun to consider this very real possibility of what amounts to financial terrorism and-or economic warfare.”

Other than the Chinese (Update: and of course certain Middle Eastern states — Zheesh), I would question who among the rest would have the capital to pull off such a coordinated attack — unless the funding came from somewhere and/or someone else. (Update: Then you would have to ask who had the technical and knowledge-based expertise to pull it off.)

As to whether the architects of the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy knew what was coming when they began doing their part to weaken the economy in the summer of 2008, I’ll betcha they at least knew more about how weak we were than a lot of other people. Specifically, I’ll betcha they knew what Edward Pinto revealed in December 2009 (related BizzyBlog post) concerning the market -weakening — make that market-ruining — activities of Democratic Party crony companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac:

Edward Pinto, a former chief credit officer for Fannie Mae and a housing expert, has found that from the time Fannie and Freddie began buying risky loans as early as 1993, they routinely misrepresented the mortgages they were acquiring, reporting them as prime when they had characteristics that made them clearly subprime or Alt-A.

It’s not unreasonable to believe that the dollar volume of the campaign of deliberate deception went into the trillions.

I’d say we’re just waiting for someone with a conscience to come forward — and to name names.

I hope Mr. Freeman has solid personal protection.

Update: Patrick Poole at the PJ Tatler has a link to the full report.

Update 2: On September 18, 2008, Jim Cramer was sensing “financial terrorism.”

Update 3: On September 28, 2008, yours truly thought Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke might be blackmailing Congress.

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Free speech intimidation, courtesy of the proabort left:

Pro-life activist Alveda King on Friday called the removal of a pro-life billboard in Manhattan “an outrageous act of censorship.” The billboard showed a black girl along with the statement, “The most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb.”

… “The message of this billboard is totally accurate,” King said in a statement issued by Priests for Life where she is the director of African-American Outreach.

… She added: “And it should provoke outrage in the African-American community—not because it is racist, but because of the truth it reveals; the truth that is being kept from the African-American community.”

CNN reported on Friday that Lamar Advertising, which owns the billboard, decided to take down the message after people who opposed it threatened workers in the building located next to the billboard.

The Rev. Al Sharpton had reportedly planned a protest at the site of the billboard on Saturday and pro-abortions groups had also complained about the pro-life message.

The CNN report to which CNS New refers has a whitewashing headline (“Billboard focused on African-American abortions was taken down”), and tells us the following:

A New York billboard that focused exclusively on African-American abortion rates was taken down because of concerns for public safety, said Hal Kilshaw, spokesperson for Louisiana-based Lamar Advertising, on Thursday. The billboard was erected by group opposed to abortions.

The billboard was attached to a building that houses the restaurant Lupe’s Kitchen. Some of the wait staff, Kilshaw said, were being harassed by patrons who objected to the billboard. In addition, a scheduled protest Friday by people opposed to the billboard prompted public safety concerns, which led to the company’s decision.

Kilshaw said the controversy surrounding the billboard did not factor into the company’s decision to take it down.

“We accepted the copy in accordance with our policy,” Kilshaw said. “We believe in people’s right to advertise, [we] thought it [the copy] was OK, [and] we stand behind that decision,” Kilshaw said.

So basically the free speech rights of the billboard purchasers were curtailed by intimidation.

There are laws against making threats. Who will enforce them?

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Propaganda — The New York Times had to work really hard to get the White House State Dining Room’s painting of Abe Lincoln into the photo seen here of Dear Leader speaking to the National Governors Association.

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At the Daily Caller (HT Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters) — “Prostitute-patronizing Democratic Wisconsin state rep. to female GOP colleague: ‘You are f*cking dead’” (internal links are in original):

On Monday, Milwaukee AM 620 WTMJ radio host Charlie Sykes detailed an encounter between Democratic State Rep. Gordon Hintz, who had previously been busted in a prostitution sting, and Republican State Rep. Michelle Litjens, in which the rules of civility were completely ignored after a vote to “engross” a state budget repair bill.

“After the vote to engross, he turns to a female conservative Republican, who is also from the Oshkosh area, looks at her and says, ‘You are f—ing dead,’” Sykes said. “He didn’t say ‘f—ing,’ he said the whole thing. He says to a female colleague, ‘You are f—ing dead.’”

Here’s the Sykes audio:

Other legislators heard it.

Of course, if a Republican or conservative had said this in the current heated battle, it would be the first story on every evening news and cable newscast for the next three days.

Hintz’s prostitution bust only occurred a week ago. He doesn’t seem particularly, uh, chastened.

But then, patronizing prostitutes is apparently a Democratic Party tradition going back at least a half-century (HT Powerline; original Judicial Watch report):

KennedyBrothel1961

Positivity: Chile — Legalizing abortion does not reduce maternal mortality

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 5:57 am

From Chile, and New York City:

Feb 28, 2011 / 03:49 pm

Chile, a country that does not allow abortion, recently received the International Protect Life Award for being the country with the lowest maternal mortality rate in Latin America.

Nearly 30 representatives of pro-life organizations that work before the United Nations presented the award on Feb. 25 during the 2011 meeting of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women. The meeting is taking place Feb. 22 – March 4 in New York.

A spokesman for the pro-life leaders, Dan Ziedler spoke with CNA on Feb. 25, saying, “It should be noted abortion is not allowed in Chile under any circumstances. Chile respects the life of both the mother and the child, the two are equal under the law.”

“I think we should praise this judicial system and acknowledge that the claim by many abortion supporters – that the practice must be legalized in order for maternal mortality to decrease – is not true,” Ziedler said.

He also said a letter about the award sent by pro-life leaders to Chilean President Sebastian Pinera urged him to move forward with two important programs in defense of the lives of children and mothers.

The “Chile Grows With You” program is “a wonderful example of what a country and a government can do to promote the value of human life in its policies in a sensible and positive way,” Ziedler said. “It helps parents of children under the age of five, including the unborn, to understand that their children need a lot of attention and care both before and after they are born,” he added.

Ziedler noted that the program has been around for years. “It is interesting to note that the program isn’t associated with just one administration or one political ideology in Chile,” he said.

The “Committed to Life” program was established by President Sebastian Pinera and aims to help pregnant women in difficult situations.

The spokesman pointed out that Chile has expressed its pro-life stance on various occasions at the international level, such as in Brazil and Switzerland in 2010. “We must see this as positive, and many Chileans do not realize the great treasure they have.”

“Chile’s example for other countries at the international level is something we need to emphasize,” he added.

For her part, pro-life leader Julia Cardenal of El Salvador, a signatory of the letter sent to President Pinera, said, “Improving maternal health while respecting every human life is the key for every country that really wants to reduce maternal mortality in compliance with the Millennium Development Goals.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.