On August 3 ("U.S. To Train 3,000 Offshore IT Workers"), InformationWeek.com's Paul McDougall reported that the U.S. Agency for International Development is operating at cross purposes with the Obama administration's stated goal to keep high-tech jobs in the U.S.
USAID has since attempted to do some backing and filling about the assistance it is providing in Sri Lanka, but its arguments may ring hollow, given McDougall's report two days later that the agency is also helping to fund IT outsourcing efforts in Armenia.
CNN's Joe Johns surprisingly highlighted Charles Sherrod's racially-charged comments about stopping "the white man and his Uncle Toms from stealing our elections" during a segment on Thursday's Anderson Cooper 360. Johns also reported on the questions being raised by conservatives about how his wife Shirley Sherrod received her former position at the U.S. Department of Agriculture [audio clip available here].
Anchor Anderson Cooper, after devoting some time to faulting himself for not pressing Mrs. Sherrod after she labeled conservative Andrew Breitbart a "vicious" racist during a July 22 interview, introduced the correspondent's report: "There's also a new aspect to the Shirley Sherrod story...Questions about her and her husband, Charles...keep bubbling up on some conservative blogs. The questions center around why and how Shirley Sherrod got appointed to her old job at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the first place, and whether her appointment was somehow connected to a settlement she received from the government in a race discrimination lawsuit."
Missed? Perhaps, but this story of complacency by President Barack Obama's administration has certainly been under-reported thus far.
On Fox News Channel's July 28 broadcast of "Studio B," the network's judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano discovered a potential lapse in responsibility by the Obama White House. For the broadcast of his July 31 Fox Business Network show "FreedomWatch," Napolitano interviewed Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.org, the so-called "whistleblower site" which released tens of thousands of classified files about the Afghanistan war. During the interview, Napolitano reported Assange revealed he offered the Obama White House the documents, but they were unresponsive. (h/t @CrabbyCon)
"STUDIO B" HOST SHEPARD SMITH: You just interviewed Julian Assange. Now Julian Assange is the man who is the founder of WikiLeaks - released these, or on his site was released the 92,000 pages of documents that lead to all this discussion about our complete failures in Afghanistan and thoughts that we need to get out of Afghanistan. He told you something that I considered to be a blockbuster bit of news. NAPOLITANO: And that is that WikiLeaks presented the documents - there were over 100,000 pages of them, to the White House. SMITH: When? NAPOLITANO: Weeks before they were released. He wouldn't give me an exact date.
On Monday, Andrew Breitbart, on his blog Big Government, revealed video of a Department of Agriculture official making racially charged comments at an NAACP meeting in March. While the media were quick to jump on the civil rights organization accusing the tea party of racism last week, they have failed to provide any coverage of this controversy.
The comments were made by the USDA's Georgia Director of Rural Development Shirley Sherrod at a NAACP Freedom Fund dinner in Georgia on March 27. As the video clearly shows, Sherrod's description of discriminating against white farmers was well received by the audience. The comments stirred so much controversy that Sherrod resigned Monday night and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was forced to issue a statement on the matter: "“There is zero tolerance for discrimination at USDA, and I strongly condemn any act of discrimination against any person.”
As NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard earlier reported, none of the network evening news broadcasts touched the story on Monday . On Tuesday, the CBS Early Show, NBC's Today, and ABC's Good Morning America were all silent on the controversy and resignation. However, all three morning shows did manage to focus on a recent verbal gaffe made by Sarah Palin.
The Associated Press is among many news organizations which have been ignoring the now-sworn testimony of J. Christian Adams, the whistleblowing lawyer who first asserted almost three weeks ago that there is "profound hostility by the Obama Civil Rights Division in the Justice Department towards a race-neutral enforcement of civil rights laws."
Adams resigned from the DOJ after the following sequence of events:
On Election Day 2008, armed men wearing the uniforms and jackboots of the New Black Panther Party were posted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the entrance to a polling site. They brandished a weapon and intimidated voters. After the election, the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice brought a voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party and these armed thugs. I, and other Justice lawyers, obtained an entry of default after the defendants ignored the case against them.
Before a final judgment could be entered, however, our superiors ordered dismissal of the claims.
A search on "Christian Adams" (not in quotes) at the AP's main site returns nothing relevant. Sadly, that alone is not exceptional.
Given the above background, what is shocking, even to those of us who think they've seen it all from the wire service, is AP reporter Meg Kinnard's coverage of a South Carolina murder and "group" that wants it declared a hate crime. Guess who (bolds are mine):
In a June 30 interview with "Talk to Al Jazeera," NASA administrator Charles Bolden revealed that President Obama had tasked him with "find[ing] a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering."
Among the media outlets that blacked out the controversy was the Washington Post, which didn't cover the Bolden controversy until today. Even then, the paper printed on page A13 a brief 8-paragraph item by the Reuters news wire:
Once again, it's clear that reading editorials and op-eds at publications like the Wall Street Journal and Investors Business Daily becomes a requirement to be truly informed when a Democratic administration in power.
On July 6, Peter Ferrara at IBD noted that the annual report from the trustees of the Social Security and Medicare system is long overdue, and wondered why:
Are Overdue Reports Concealing ObamaCare Impact On Medicare?
Every year, the Annual Report of the Social Security Board of Trustees comes out between mid-April and mid-May. Now it's July, and there's no sign of this year's report. What is the Obama administration hiding?
On Wednesday, the Congressional Budget Office released its Monthly Budget Review for June. It estimated that June's deficit was "only" $69 billion, down from $94 billion last year, and that the deficit through nine months of the current fiscal year is $1.005 trillion, down from last year's $1.087 trillion.
June's single-month improvement -- or more properly stated, its less disastrous result -- is probably legitimate, because collections have picked up a bit. But, as I noted in April (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), the reported year-over-year deficit reduction, such as it is, has nothing to do with anything resembling control of government spending.
What follows was my explanation at the time, which still holds, and which you will more than likely not see in any media coverage of the government's financial situation when the Treasury Department releases its official monthly statement next week (also see the chart below the jump which shows what the deficit really is after adjustment):
If you haven't heard the report of the remarks recently made by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden over what the role of his agency, it's a little troubling. And it hasn't gone unnoticed, at least not by syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer
Recently, Bolden, in an interview with Al Jazeera English, said that the "foremost" mission of NASA is to improve relations with the Muslim world. This drew the ire of Krauthammer on the July 5 broadcast of Fox News Channel's "Special Report with Bret Baier." (h/t Gateway Pundit)
"This is a new height in fatuousness," Krauthammer said. "NASA was established to get America into space and to keep is there. This idea to feel good about their past and to make achievements is the worst combination of group therapy, psychobabble, imperial condescension and adolescent diplomacy."
At the Associated Press, Kelli Kennedy's Thursday report on fraud and abuse in the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which is well done in several aspects, nonetheless significantly understated its losses.
The AP dispatch deals with a now-released Government Accountability Office report on the results of investigations in nine states.
Here are the first four paragraphs of Kennedy's report (HT David Freddoso at the Washington Examiner), including reference to a woman who is LIHEAP's version of a welfare queen:
A federal program designed to help impoverished families heat and cool their homes wasted more than $100 million paying the electric bills of thousands of applicants who were dead, in prison or living in million-dollar mansions, according to a government investigation.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is admonishing the leaders of other countries attending the G-20 summit in Toronto to keep spending like there's no tomorrow, because if they spend like there's no tomorrow, there will still be a tomorrow. But in the gospel according to Geithner, if they don't spend like there's no tomorrow, there really won't be a tomorrow.
With such blubbery logic, is it any wonder that America's stature with the rest of the world is plummeting?
Earlier this evening, Brent Baker at NewsBusters pointed to an ABC report warning that a second recession might be on the horizon if the G20 nations don't follow the spend-spend-spend recommendations of the Obama administration.
In his attempt to convince the rest of the world of the folly of being fiscally responsible, Geithner has invoked a supposed "lesson" from the 1930s. Back in mid-May, I happened to stumble on the fundamental untruth of his assertion, and will demonstrate it shortly.
The Associated Press's Jeannine Aversa let Geithner's contention pass without challenge in her Saturday report on the summit. Here are the three relevant paragraphs from her report:
Don't be surprised if you open up the June 24 USA Today and find pom poms in the ‘Money' section.
Reporters-turned-cheerleaders Paul Wiseman, Jayne O'Donnell and Christine Dugas wrote a glowing 38-paragraph story about the proposed Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP). The story even included a section called "keys to a new agency's success" with quotes from "experts" at a wide variety of government agencies from the Environmental Protection Agency to the Food and Drug Administration.
USA Today's story began by praising the creation of the EPA in 1970 and the way it hit the ground running by ordered city mayors to clean up their water. They included 10 "expert" voices in favor of government agencies (proposed or current) many of whom were former regulators, against only three voices of opposition - all politicians.
A Friday report by reporters Matthew Lee and Eileen Sullivan indicates that there is a serious shortage of critical thinking skills over at the Associated Press, or a serious desire to run interference for the Obama administration no matter how ignorant doing so makes the wire service's reporters appear.
Lee and Sullivan try to excuse the State Department's inaction on the vast majority of roughly 60 specific offers of assistance from over twenty nations, many of which go back to late April and early May (detailed in a 4-page State Dept. PDF here), because almost all of the offers are being made with an expectation that the costs of such assistance will be reimbursed. By my count:
15 of those assistance offers involve the provision of "containment boom" to protect beaches, shoreline, and other sensitive areas.
Roughly 10 of those 15 containment boom offers are over a month old, and a few were made on or before April 30, over fifty days ago.
Out of all 60 offers made involving all forms of goods and services, roughly a half-dozen have been accepted.
The reason Lee and Sullivan cast these offers as proof of a "double standard" is -- wait for it -- because the U.S. doesn't get reimbursed when it provides aid in natural disasters like earthquakes, and because many of the countries involved, several of which are dirt poor, receive American foreign aid.
There several annoying aspects of today's Associated Press report on the plight of newly-hired employees at U.S. auto plants represented by the United Auto Workers.
Mentioned by writers Dee-Ann Durbin and Tom Krisher, but not until their eleventh paragraph, is the fact that new workers, whose starting wage (mentioned in Paragraph 2) is "about half what veterans make under their current contract," have to "pay the same union dues as those who have been at the plant for years." But the AP pair didn't tell readers how much those dues payments are, and how harshly they affect entry-level workers. The web site ProCon.org estimates that it's in the neighborhood of $700 at Ford and Chrysler, and as much as $950 at Government/General Motors. When you're making $14 an hour, that's not chump change; it's about 34-46 cents per hour, or about 2.5% - 3.3% of base pay. A union official (not directly quoted) deadpans that "he understands their resentment." Sure.
As bad as that easily rectifiable AP oversight is, it's not the worst reporting error Durbin and Krisher committed. The following excerpted sentence is, in several ways:
On Friday, Investors Business Daily (IBD) reported on leaked government documents identifying what employer-provided health plans can and cannot do if they wish to retain their "grandfathered" status under the statist health care legislation commonly known as ObamaCare that became law on March 23. One of the items in the government document (83-page PDF) is the following table, which estimates the percentages of large and small employers who will choose to (or be financially forced to) "relinquish" (i.e., give up) their grandfathered status:
In ironic timing, Walecia Konrad at the New York Times, in a personal finance column that appeared in the paper's Saturday print edition and which was probably written shortly before IBD's report, inadvertently revealed that ObamaCare itself may be a reason why employer "relinquishments" over the next three years come in well above the mid-range estimates in the table:
Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds employed sarcastic irony this morning when he wrote that "Obama’s hate speech is promoting violence against BP." Well, it's at least clear that the blame game out of Washington isn't helping the situation.
Reynolds is referring to a report from TV station WREG in Memphis about an incident involving property damage at a local BP station, and other instances that have occurred in other parts of the country (video is at the link):
Bullets Shatter Glass at BP Gas Station
(Southaven, MS) -- Windows at the BP Gas Station on Highway 51 at Custer Drive were shot out overnight. Folks who work at the store believe the suspects were expressing anger over BP and how it's handling the oil spill.
"I believe that would be the reason," said Alex Saleh. "We don't have any enemies." He said nothing was taken from the store after the windows were destroyed.
Doesn't everyone remember in 2005 when George W. Bush's Press Secretary Scott McClellan (bless his back-stabbing heart) called reporters into the West Wing of the White House and scolded them for asking too many questions about Hurricane Katrina? That followed a similar admonishment earlier in the year about the press's obsession with anything and everything to do with the Iraq War.
You don't remember those things? That's because they didn't happen. Oh sure, someone will be able to find examples of McClellan, as well as successors Tony Snow (RIP) and Dana Perino occasionally expressing irritation with reporters for their silly and/or repeat questions on these and other subjects. But summoning them to the West Wing for a beatdown? Hardly.
That's what Obama administration Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is said to have done last Friday with White House reporters. Here's the full text of audio that can be heard at Breitbart; a somewhat expanded text report, along with a the continually updated original graphic screen-grabbed and incorporated into the image at the top right, are at Capitol News Connection:
Since Obama took office, there's been a leftward swing toward increased regulation. The news media have supported that tilt, generally failing to demand explanations for high profile failures of government regulators.
From the financial crisis to the Gulf oil spill, a recent string of problems exposed serious failures of government regulators that are supposed to protect the public. But broadcast news media rarely criticized the poor performance of government in such cases.
Take the worsening oil spill off the Gulf Coast that has been called an "environmental catastrophe." The network evening shows have aired a flood of news reports attacking British Petroleum, on the progress of the clean up and speculating about how much wildlife and economic damage could result.
But some of the blame appears to rest on the shoulders of the federal government - something the evening shows didn't acknowledge until more than three weeks after the drilling rig exploded on April 21. In fact, it wasn't until after Obama spoke out against the federal agency on May 14 that any of the evening shows criticized government regulators.
A few weeks ago (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), the Associated Press tried to pass off a poll it had conducted with its partner GfK Roper Public Affairs and Media (inexplicably held for 40 days) as showing that "Americans (are) shifting to US cars."
Actually looking at the poll's detailed results revealed that Americans are "shifting to US cars" made by Ford, and either shifting away or staying away from those made by the two wards of the state known as Government/General Motors and Chrysler.
They're still at it, just not quite as blatantly. A brief AP item yesterday reported that automotive residual data collector Automotive Lease Guide's Spring 2010 Perceived Quality Study (PDF here) had shown a significant decline for Toyota and significant improvements at Ford and Kia.
Guess who AP "forgot" to mention? When you see the graphic results, you will see who, and instinctively understand why.
It doesn't seem like this exercise should be that tough.
The government issues Daily Treasury Statements telling everybody what went in and out on a given business day. At the end of the month, the last Daily Treasury Statement has a record (admittedly jumbled and larded with lots of bureaucratic excess) of all receipts and disbursements for the month.
The folks at the Congressional Budget Office look over the final Daily Treasury Statement and estimate what the totals for receipts and disbursements (or "outlays") will be. The difference, obviously, is their estimate of the month's reported deficit. The only remaining items should be error corrections (if any), or accounting entries resulting from the government's ill-advised choice to account for "investments" in banks, car companies, and other entities on a "net present value" basis.
On the eighth business day of the following month, the Treasury Department releases its Monthly Treasury Statement.
On Friday, the CBO estimated that the April's deficit would be $85 billion. The press (as covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) virtually ignored its report. That's bad enough, but when reporters went out to economists for deficit estimates, their predictions were significantly lower. For starters, here's what the Associated Press carried this morning:
Well, it's not the same as saying "the company lied through its teeth and the government let them," but it's as close to that as you'll probably ever see in an establishment media outlet like the New York Times.
In a column that apparently appeared on the web on Friday while appearing Sunday's print edition, Gretchen Morgenson, assistant business and financial editor at the Times, ripped into Government/General Motors, GM Chairman Ed Whitacre, and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, while uncharacteristically throwing thanks to a Republican Senator for calling the company out.
The flim-flam has to be pretty bad in a Democratic administration for someone at the Times to even notice it, let alone criticize it. But Whitacre's whoppers were apparently too much for Morgenson to ignore:
... it’s becoming apparent that those seeking the whole truth are still outnumbered by those aiming to obscure it. This is the case not only on Wall Street but also in Washington.
... Truth seekers the nation over, therefore, are indebted to Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, who in recent days uncovered what he called a government-enabled “TARP money shuffle.” It relates to General Motors, which on April 21 paid the balance of its $6.7 billion loan under the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
The president is repeating a blatant falsehood about the Arizona law that has gained instant currency in the establishment press and leftist circles. It has no basis in fact, or in the legislation Grand Canyon State Governor Jan Brewer recently signed.
The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media, working for its project partner the Associated Press, conducted a poll from March 3-8 about Americans' car preferences and perceptions. The poll's results were released earlier this week, and the wire service's Dan Sewell reported on the results yesterday.
Why the 40-day delay? I'll suggest the possibility that the poll was timed in hopes that the detailed results would hurt and humiliate Toyota at the height of its safety recall problems. But just as the poll was completed, Toyota revealed that its sales had rebounded dramatically, while the evidence that the expense of a full recall was necessary had seriously weakened under closer examination (the degree of need is separate from the issue of whether the company notified the government of the possible problem, concerning which the company has apparently agreed to pay a stiff fine).
Further, the poll's detailed results contradict AP reporter Sewell's sunny-side up contention that American carmakers in general have improved their perceived quality. It's really only a certain American carmaker, as the graphic coming later will show.
But first, here are the opening paragraphs from Sewell's sterilized statements:
Although it was woefully short on actual ads, the advertising supplement featured thirteen columns that sponsored, championed, and moralized the environmental catastrophe sure to result if Americans - and sometimes others - don't dramatically overhaul the economy and lifestyles. It predictably featured loud calls for more and more government while consciously downplaying the costs to the American economy.
Sources for the special "Environmental Leadership" supplement include:
Sources for the special "Environmental Leadership" supplement include:
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg urging Congress to adopt the Green Taxis Act requiring all taxi owners to buy hybrids when retiring old vehicles.
Greensburg, Kansas Mayor Bob Dixson recommending every city emulate Greensburg's environmental standards for buildings.
On the surface, it's one of the Associated Press's better dispatches from the real world on the state of the economy as people are experiencing it.
Datelined in Twinsburg, Ohio, Megan Barr's Monday morning report, "Recession is ending? Some Americans don't buy it," does a good job of mixing macro and micro elements, painting a picture of a struggling town, a non-improving state economy (now eighth-worst, according to AP's "economic stress" measurement tool), a somewhat-improving national picture, and a pervasive belief on the part of most Americans that things aren't really getting better. I couldn't help but notice the irony that AP reporter Jeannine Aversa, who wrote that the top economic story of last year was the economy's "fall - and rebound," contributed to Barr's report.
But something was done to Twinsburg a year ago that goes a long way towards explaining why many people there are likely responding as one quoted resident did -- "Who are they trying to kid?" -- when asked for a reaction as to whether the economy is getting better. The AP didn't cover that story last year -- and should have -- so it didn't know that it should have referred it this year.
Watch the latest business video at &lt;a href=&quot;http://video.foxbusiness.com/&quot;&gt;video.foxbusiness.com&lt;/a&gt;Another devastating intended/unintended consequence of the Obama administration's major government expansion: charity organizations (already in deep struggle to weather current economic conditions) will likely experience additional major decline in contributions.
On the April 16 broadcast of Fox Business Network's "Varney & Co.," Rick Dunham, CEO of fundraising consultant Dunham & Company, weighed in on the new budget proposal that would scale back charitable deductions for families making over $250,000.
"Do you think you're going to take a really big hit in terms of lower donations to charities? How big a hit?" host Stuart Varney asked.
"Well the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University did a study last year to look at the impact of the rise in the marginal tax rate and the capping of charitable deductions at 28-percent and they believe that it'll be about almost a $4 billion hit based on 2006 dollars," Dunham said. "So we're probably looking at about a $5 billion hit."