For fans of the hit television series “24”, Monday night was an astounding event. Personally, I was left speechless for several minutes after the stunning conclusion, and had to watch the second hour again to convince myself that I had actually seen what I had seen (video available here courtesy of our friend at Ms Underestimated).
Yet, upon reflection, I wonder how many people in the media understand how possible what was depicted last evening is. As folks on the nation’s airwaves continue to downplay the seriousness of terrorism, and undermine virtually all of the current Administration’s efforts to thwart conscienceless aggression against Western civilization, have they really pondered the unthinkable? Or, have they all grown complacent as we move continually further and further away from that fateful day in September 2001?
As NewsBusters reported last Thursday, people are resigning from the Carter Center due to the former president’s controversial book about the Israeli-Palestinian issue. One such member was on “Hannity & Colmes” Monday, and he stated that Carter has “abandoned his traditional position of honest broker and mediator,” and “goes so far as to condone terrorism until such a time a Palestinian state is achieved” (video available here courtesy of our friend at Ms Underestimated).
Of course, much like the rest of his ilk in the fawning media, host Alan Colmes did everything possible to undermine the statements being made by guest Steve Berman. But, the former Carter Center board member was having none of it.
When Colmes began the interview asking “is Jimmy Carter anti-Semitic,” Berman coolly responded:
What's become of multiculturalism? Isn't it an entrenched tenet of liberal dogma that all cultures are to be "celebrated" as equally worthy? Yet in recent weeks I've noticed a countervaling trend in the liberal establishment. Western values are exalted, as here and here. Then, even Thomas Friedman, bien-pensant hero of the foreign policy establishment, indulged in some negative Arab stereotyping that would have had the PC police screaming had the author not been, well, Thomas Friedman.
Today comes another certified MSMer, Richard Cohen of the Washington Post, suggesting that Iraqis might be fundamentally different from Americans, so much so that what they require is a brutal dictator. Muses Cohen in his column of today, Our Tunnel Vision .
In an article (HT Instapundit) decrying the alleged environmental waste in the United Arab Emirates, Associated Press writer Jim Krane gave voice to the environmental strain of Bush Derangement Syndrome when he claimed:
But the oil-rich Emirates is considered a developing country, and even as a signatory to the United Nations Kyoto protocol on global warming, is not required to cut emissions. The United States is no longer bound by Kyoto, which the Bush administration rejected after taking office in 2001.
In a gratuitous insult to all intelligent Conservatives everywhere, Mr Kane has declared you all to be slobbering Neanderthals who would rather beat your enemy to death with a club than use diplomacy and that the law obviously means nothing to you.
Some speculate one reason "24" is such a favorite of the Bush crowd is that Bauer is presented as a guy with no qualms about torturing his prisoners in order to get information as quickly as possible. In light of criticism the Bush administration gets for its torture policies, it doesn't take a think-tank expert to see why some hail the show as a breath of clean air.
What's this, the Saddam News Service? The Washington Post published a story on the front page today thoroughly soaked in the perspective of Saddam Hussein's relatives and supporters that their "heroes" were insulted by hangings yesterday. The headline was "Iraqi Hangings Bring More Denunciations: Head of Hussein's Half-Brother Is Severed." Reporters Joshua Partlow and Muhanned Saif Aldin began with the "mourners" denouncing the botching hanging as a "calculated insult" by the Maliki government, as the front page carried this quote:
"We knew that he would be executed and would join a parade of heroes, but Maliki, why did you behead him?" asked Salam al-Tikriti, 41, a relative of Ibrahim [and probably a relative of Saddam]. "Why did you insult his body? Are you still afraid of him even after he is dead? We will cut your heads the same way that you are cutting the heads of the heroes of Iraq." Nowhere on the front page was any explanation of the crimes of the executed men.
Monday's CBS Evening News featured a recounting, by Lara Logan, of how over the weekend U.S. Army soldiers rescued an Iraqi surgeon and his family who were trapped for eight days on Baghdad's Haifa Street, suffering in dire conditions and in danger of getting killed in fighting between Sunni militias and the Iraqi army. After the rescue, Dr. Quraish Fajir al-Kasir proclaimed on camera: "These are days that I will never forget in my life. Thank you American military, thank you people!" The “Crazyhorse” troops of the 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry of the U.S. Army conducted the mission after the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq saw CBS's Friday story on the plight of Dr. al-Kasir, a very prominent Iraqi doctor who once attended a meeting at the White House.
As everyone knows and Andrea Mitchell has confirmed, Chris Matthews is no liberal. Don't let the fact that he describes the goal of the impending Iraq surge as "ethnic cleansing" fool you.
Matthews discussed the impending surge into Baghdad on this evening's Hardball with David Ignatius of the Washington Post and Gary Berntsen, the former CIA field commander for the agency's Jawbreaker team at Tora Bora.
Said Matthews, speaking of the role of US troops:
"If they are forced to do patrol duty in the streets of the Sunni areas where they are expected to basically be part of the ethnic cleansing because they will be shooting at Sunnis, they are going to get shot back at."
Monday’s Fox and Friends First stated the obvious: NBC is a liberal network. Fox News elaborated on the recent controversy, most notably between FNC’s Bill O’Reilly and several MSNBC commentators.
As some major figures at NBC denied there is any bias, co-host Brian Kilmeade asked the question "why don’t they just say they’re a liberal network?" Good question. Even far left MSNBC commentator Keith Olbermann denies he has a political agenda.
The co-hosts then played a clip of Chris Matthews stating Vice President Cheney "always wants to kill." At the end of the segment Kilmeade read one of Olbermann’s many inflammatory comments, without mentioning the MSNBC commentator’s name, that President Bush is taking the money "out of the pockets of dead soldiers in the battlefield."
The January 12 front-page story in the New York Times, "Duke Accuser Contradicts Herself," on the Duke lacrosse "rape" case, catches the case just as it's entering final meltdown phase.
NYT reporter Duff Wilson begins:
"In an interview last month with a district attorney’s investigator, the woman who has accused three Duke lacrosse players of sexual assault contradicted critical evidence and parts of her earlier accounts, dealing a new blow to a faltering case."
Decmber's rebound of the Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) Manufacturing Index (from contraction in November at 49.5 to expansion in December at 51.4; noted as part of this post; any reading over 50.0 is considered expansion) was unprecedented.
Every long period of manufacturing expansion in the past 60 years has been followed by at least seven months of contraction. But the most recently ended expansion was followed by only one month of contraction before manufacturing moved right back into expansion mode again, as you'll see.
The following is from ISM history going all the way back to 1948; parenthetical values are for the month following the end of each streak, the lowest value it went to during the subsequent contraction, and the number of months of sub-50 performance occurred before the Index went back to 50.0 or higher (previous info carried forward from this previous post):
More than a decade after publisher Steve Forbes’s flat-tax platform temporarily vaulted him to the top of the pack of GOP presidential candidates, another prospective Republican presidential candidate is making tax simplification a centerpiece of his 2008 campaign. In announcing his exploratory committee, Kansas Senator Sam Brownback argued “We need a flat tax instead of the dreadful, incomprehensible tax code we now have,” today’s Wichita Eagle reported.
But unlike back in 1996, the media are now confronted with the evidence that the flat tax help boost wealth-producing economic growth. This week’s "Time" reports on the economic boom in the former Soviet republic of Estonia, which like many Eastern European countries has seen its fortunes rise since dumping socialism and instituting a flat tax. “The economy is now one of Europe’s most dynamic, racing along at an 11.3% growth clip,” Peter Gumbel writes this week in his “Letter from Estonia.”
Nearly eleven years ago, "Time" took dead aim at Forbes’s flat tax in a January 29, 1996 cover package, “Does the Flat Tax Make Any Sense,” an issue which hit mailboxes right before the New Hampshire primary.
In retracing the early steps of the O'Reilly vs. Scarborough battle, it's funny to see that when O'Reilly attacked NBC and MSNBC on January 4, he probably hadn't left the parking lot at Fox when attack dog Joe Scarborough was already protesting his complaints on MSNBC, and running audio from O'Reilly's radio show earlier in the day. This exchange shows that Scarborough is either (a) making fun of himself, or (b) completely misleading his audience about his attention-grasping "Is Bush An Idiot?" segment last August:
O’Reilly, from his radio show: “Bush can't win. No matter what he does. NBC News, The New York Times, The Washington Post, they're going to say he's an idiot. There's no sense of balance or fairness in their reporting. That's activist journalism.”
Scarborough: “Bush an idiot? I've never said Bush is an idiot. Chris? If I ever said -- do you think Bush is an idiot?
"Do you owe the Iraqi people an apology for not doing a better job?"
This is one of the questions President Bush faced from "60 Minutes" correspondent Scott Pelley on Sunday’s program. Pelley also cited the same "Military Times" CBS’s Chief White House correspondent Jim Axelrod cited on the January 11 edition of the "Evening News," which shows more miltiary troops now disapprove of the President’s handling of the war in Iraq, and was highlighted by Brent Baker here on Newsbusters. However, when John Kerry and John Edwards and their wives were jointly interviewed on the program on July 11, 2004, correspondent Lesley Stahl did not mention a CBS poll that showed war veterans supporting President Bush for reelection by a large margin, and that poll was significant in that veterans were a group that Senator Kerry was actively courting.
Miami Herald TV critic Glenn Garvin is blogging from the annual Television Critics Association tour, and found some hot talk in recounting the Clintonista war against ABC's movie on 9/11.
Asked during his appearance on the TV critics' tour if he was embarrassed that the network had to "backpedal" on its Clinton-unfriendly movie The Path To 9/11, [ABC programming chief Stephen] McPherson took no prisoners -- particularly when it came to Clinton's national security adviser Sandy Berger, one of the film's chief critics. "We didn't backpedal," McPherson said. "We aired the movie. We didn't change anything for those guys. We aired it as planned on the dates that were planned. I mean, it's a little odd to have Sandy Berger telling you about what's truthful or not when he was indicted for stuffing documents into his pants on this very subject."
Let me guess: before making up your mind about Barbara Boxer's recent controversial remark to Condi Rice, you wanted to have the benefit of Joy Behar's expert analysis. Good news! Joy weighed in just a few minutes ago; her considered opinion is now available to an impatient public.
Rosie O'Donnell kicked off a segment of this morning's View by playing the video clip of Boxer's remark on Iraq, in which the senator from CA told the Secretary of State: "You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family."
Behar acknowledged that Boxer's comment was "a sabotage way to say it," but then added:
"Condi is part of an administration that did start an unjust war. So she deserved it, in my opinion."
When CBS launched their blog Public Eye in Sept. of 2005 they claimed it would give us "the journalists who make the important editorial decisions at CBS News and CBSNews.com" and that those journalists "will now be asked to explain and answer questions about those decisions in a public forum."
While the jury might be out on the success of their task, we can certainly wonder at their ability to step away from themselves to render balanced judgment. Especially in the case of their recent story, "Biased In Both Directions", where they declare that the MSM is reporting "in the middle" where it concerns stories about Iraq.
James Carroll, whose Boston Globe columns might be viewed less as reasoned discourse and more as auto-therapy for his famous rift with his father, predictably turns his MLK, Jr. Day piece into a condemnation of all things American.
Vietnam was at the root of his split with his father, as Carroll documented in God, My Father, and the War That Came Between Us. So Carroll naturally drags a Vietnam/Iraq analogy into his piece: "like Bush, Johnson was presiding over a lost war." Of course, if there was a lesson of Vietnam it's that we lost it because we lost the political will to win it.
In his Monday "Media Notes" column, Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz promotes the Bill O'Reilly vs. NBC/MSNBC feud as the media-bias equivalent of the Donald Trump vs. Rosie O'Donnell "smackdown." O'Reilly declined to comment, but Fox News spokeswoman Irena Briganti says he "has exposed media bias for the last 10 years. This is nothing new. We don't know why NBC finds the label 'liberal' so insulting."
The strongest voice in the Kurtz piece is, perhaps unsurprisingly, Joe Scarborough, once again proclaiming how he's more liberal (ahem, "independent") than any other supposedly conservative commentator on the tube:
Scarborough, a former Republican congressman who has been trying to demonstrate his independence from the GOP, says in an interview that O'Reilly "really does toe the party line more than I ever have."
Has Chris Matthews surged and accelerated his war against President Bush? Did the MSNBC host and analyst refer to the Commander-in-Chief as "evil"?
In the course of Matthews dialogue with Lester Holt, guest-hosting on this morning's "Today," Holt raised the possibility that President Bush might choose to expand the war into Iran:
Holt: "The president of course has stepped up language against Iran for its interference within Iraq. He sent a naval aircraft carrier group to the Persian Gulf. If he makes this now against Ahmadinejad, if Ahmadinejad becomes the 'poster thug' in this case, does that increase support for the war?"
Matthews: "Well, the president may well choose to widen the war for political reasons . He may do it for military reasons. We do have our troops under assault in Iraq and he has to protect the troops. And if there is Iraqi [sic, presumably Iranian] involvement in the other side he has to take steps. The danger is we might cross the border into Iraq [sic, again surely referring to Iran], therefore triggering a reaction from Iraq, from Iran rather, and then we go to war with Iran. And I think the President might well want to do that. Who knows what evil lurks? But the fact of the matter is that the American public may never get a say in this. The Congress may never get a say in it."
Those not fortunate enough to live in the San Francisco Bay Area might find it hard to believe that this liberal community sports an extremely conservative radio station. Conceivably less shocking is that in recent weeks, it has come under attack from liberal bloggers unhappy with its content.
For those unfamiliar, KSFO is a Northern California broadcaster of radio programs hosted by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Dr. Laura, and Mark Levin. In the Netroots’ crosshairs are local conservative personalities such as Melanie Morgan (who should be familiar to Fox News watchers), Lee Rodgers, and Tom Benner (AKA Officer Vic), all of the drive-time “Morning Show.” Also under attack is Brian Sussman, a former local weatherman turned radio host.
The troubles for KSFO began in 2006 when a fifth-tier liberal blogger from San Francisco, hiding behind the pseudonym “Spocko’s Brain,” started sending the station’s advertisers complaint letters. Such correspondence included cherry-picked audio clips and mini-transcripts from previous broadcasts. One such letter, as posted by Daily Kos contributor Mike Stark on January 3, began:
The front of Sunday's Style section in the Washington Post carried an article titled "Dead End," wishing for an end to capital punishment, or at least the odd pursuit of painless execution. Post staff writer Neely Tucker clearly implies America is barbaric for keeping it. No one in the piece really argues for it. Tucker even reports with dismay that 67 percent of Americans support capital punishment, "though their betters -- newspaper editorial writers, the French -- tell them they shouldn't."
Tucker's essay began by joking about killer Gary Gilmore, executed in Utah in 1977 for killing a motel manager the year before:
Gary Gilmore, patron saint of the modern American execution, hear our plea.
Economists are hastily upgrading their forecasts for the US economy after a series of surprisingly strong reports suggesting the so-called "soft landing" may be over and growth is accelerating.
Over the past week, surprises have come in stronger-than-expected reports on US job creation, the trade balance and retail sales -- all key contributors to economic activity.
Lehman Brothers chief US economist Ethan Harris on Friday boosted his forecast for fourth quarter 2006 growth to an annualized rate of 3.3 percent, a leap from the firm's prior call for just 2.0 percent growth.
"After slowing in November, the economy seems to have regained its stride," Harris said.
..... The latest data defy predictions that the slump in real estate would filter into other areas of the economy, notably consumer spending.
The latest data showed US employers added a healthy 167,000 new jobs in December (196,000 with revisions to prior months -- Ed.), with unemployment holding at a low 4.5 percent. Average wages were up 4.2 percent annually.
In this age of continual polling 24/7 about issues that largely support liberal positions advanced by a complicit media, I’d love to see someone ask the American people if they’re sick and tired of the constant carping and whining by the press concerning the absence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and the inability to capture Osama bin Laden.
Well, it seems that Fox News contributor Dennis Miller is similarly fed up with this amazing hypocrisy, and he let viewers know this in his hysterical “Real Free Speech” comment on Friday’s “Hannity & Colmes.” So, strap yourself into your favorite comfy chair, secure all beverages, flammables, and sharp objects, and join Dennis on a wild ride into post-9/11 sanity (video available here courtesy of our friend at Ms Underestimated):
Every now and then, a debate occurs on television that perfectly represents the differences between conservative and liberal ideologies in our nation. Such occurred on Friday’s “The O’Reilly Factor” when the host invited a Democratic strategist and a civil rights attorney to discuss Sen. Barbara Boxer’s (D-California) comments to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice last week (video available here courtesy of our friend at Ms Underestimated).
After he set up the segment, O’Reilly said to his first guest: “I didn't hear this kind of nonsense when Bill Clinton had military action in the Balkans or in Somalia. Why didn't I hear that?” Jane Fleming, executive director of the Young Democrats of America predictably responded:
It's not enough to embrace defeat in Iraq. The United States should preemptively capitulate to Iran too. That's not Noam Chomsky's latest fevered pronouncement, nor the impassioned plea of Cindy Sheehan at the gates of Gitmo. It is the opening paragraph of a column in this morning's Boston Globe by Robert Rotberg. And who is Rotberg? Former President of Lafayette College, former professor at MIT, now Director of Harvards's Kennedy School Program on Intrastate Conflict and Conflict Resolution.
"The only way to promote sustainable peace, stability, and order in Iraq is to forge an unholy alliance with Iran -- and accept Iran's dominant influence in the Middle East. Only by accepting Iranian hegemonic pretensions, odious as they are, can the United States extricate itself somewhat honorably from Iraq."
In case we missed the point, here's how Rotberg concludes his column:
"Churchill mobilized the English language and sent it into battle." - Edward R. Murrow
Give Frank Rich credit for this: he doesn't run from his theater-critic past. Like a mirror-image Churchill, the man now paid by the New York Times to think great thoughts rather than to laugh till he cries mobilizes theater metaphors in his pay-per-view, anti-war opus of this morning, He’s in the Bunker Now.
Rich begins by informing us that President Bush has morphed from Harold Hill in "The Music Man" into Willy Loman from "Death of a Salesman." And we all know what that means.
Cal Thomas had the line of the night on this evening's Fox News Watch. Here's how the conservative commentator explained Americans' dissatisfaction with progress in Iraq:
"Part of the problem here is we have Desert Storm with the 100-hour war. Everybody came home. There were victory marches, General Schwarzkopf leading. The press was full of stories: 'we finally got the Vietnam monkey off our back.' Now we're used to the very quick action. It's not going to happen, except thank goodness Jack Bauer is coming back to make it happen on '24' - that's what we're waiting for."
Lifesite had the report that early Thursday morning’s edition of NBC's "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" displayed a character called "the homophobic country western singer." Conan O’Brien introduced him: "Our last new character's heart is in the right place, even if he's a complete idiot. Please welcome the homophobic country western singer." The singer began to play a guitar and sing a song warning Jesus Christ not to make a gay pass at him:
Oh I love you Jesus But only as a friend. You touched my heart but I hope That's where the touchin' ends.
You're always lookin' over me When I need a higher power. But you better look at somethin' else When I'm in the shower.