Nothing in American politics is quite so intriguing as the Central Intelligence Agency. There is a certain mystique surrounding this agency, almost wholly because it has proven to be quite good at keeping secrets.
Thus, whenever the actions of the CIA are widely reported in the media, the story typically becomes a fixation for many news outlets - and any former agent who is able to shed light on these actions are usually well-received. But even here, the media has limits.
But while Scheuer is an equal-opportunity critic of missteps by Democratic and Republican administrations, the broadcast news media seem to draw the line at allowing him on air to find fault with President Obama.
Scheuer wrote a column in Sunday’s Washington Post, daring to claim that the president’s actions in publishing the so-called CIA torture memos were morally reprehensible:
Say you're the editor of a major U.S. city's newspaper and that sources in the national security community have informed your reporters that waterboarding was a crucial tactic in making a terrorist detainee spill his guts with information that, when followed up by authorities, thwarted a planned terrorist attack on same major U.S. city.
You would probably run the story on the front page with a banner headline to that effect, but at the very least you'd make sure that fact was reported in your paper's coverage.
That is, of course, unless you're the ideologically leftward, politically correct editors at the Los Angeles Times. Patterico has details in an April 27 post at his blog:
The swine flu story has captured the news cycle for three days and counting now and that's perpetuating the hysteria, according to Fox News Channel's Brit Hume.
Hume appeared on the FNC's "The Live Desk with Trace Gallagher" April 27 and blasted the media in general for hyping the swine flu story 24/7.
"I realize it's been a slow weekend in terms of news," Hume said. "The president went out and played golf on Sunday. The White House reporters don't have much to work with today, so they're trying to get a piece of this swine flu story, which you know, all the cable news channels are agog about, bug-eyed about. But so far, it doesn't amount to much in the United States of America."
The economy is already in rough shape, but some think we should let it go to pot - literally. Pro-legalization advocacy groups are promoting the possibility that legalizing marijuana could provide some economic relief, and the media has eagerly explored the idea.
On April 20, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) aired TV ads calling for marijuana legalization. They ran on CNN, Fox News Channel and were covered by CBS News.
"In the spot, Americans say of the drug, ‘you can tax it, you can regulate it, apply age restrictions...create millions of new jobs ... save our economy,'" Brian Montopoli wrote for CBSNews.com on April 20.
With chatter that this could be a campaign issue in 2010, the new Obama Administration's relaxed policies toward the drug and some people's desperate, try-anything approach to solving the government spending deficits and economic woes, the idea of marijuana legalization is gaining traction with the media.
The New York Times's "Visual op-ed" columnist Charles Blow issued his latest conservative-baiting column on Saturday, "The Enemies Within." Blow actually defended the infamous report from the Department of Homeland Security that vaguely tarred anyone active in conservative causes like abortion or immigration as potential extremists.
Blow focused on what the report said about U.S. veterans, who are apparently not smart enough to avoid getting involved in hate groups after returning home. The text box read: "Hate groups want our veterans." Blow's piece came with a helpful visual aid showing the number of "Veterans in White Supremacist Groups." The total confirmed or claimed over the last seven years? A less than overwhelming 203 out of a group numbering millions.
Back in the fall, you would have thought from the media coverage of the TARP debate and its eventual passage that some sort of crime had been committed when the House didn't pass it the first time around.
"CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric demanded to know from House Minority Leader John Boehner, "What in the world are you people doing?" on her Sept. 29 broadcast. However, there was a side to this that people never were allowed to realize behind closed doors during the debate, as Fox News host Glenn Beck explained.
The "Glenn Beck Show" host on his April 20 program told viewers he had inside knowledge of how the Bush administration strong-armed the banks into agreeing to the terms of the TARP bailout.
Recycling the mid-1990s liberal smear campaign against grassroots conservatism, CNN has posted an article on the new DHS threat report complete with a Getty Images photo (shown at right) of neo-Nazi and white supremacist flags.
If the report were about Nazi extremists, that picture would be warranted. However, the DHS report warns against an amorphous “right-wing extremism,” failing to mention by name any particular threatening group or intelligence of any planned attacks.
The DHS report did cite returning war veterans as at-risk for recruitment by right-wing extremist groups. It seems strange to think that those men and women who risked their lives to protect this country and their government could be or become Nazis, but that seems to be the implication.
Moreover, one wonders where exactly the CNN report on the other extremism report was.
A report from the Department of Homeland Security warning that the recession as well as the current political environment could lead to acts of violence from "domestic rightwing terrorists" became a hot topic Tuesday despite it being listed as "For Official Use Only."
The document, which specifically cited April 4's Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, cop killings as a "recent example of the potential violence associated with a rise in rightwing extremism," enraged conservatives questioning not only the timing of this report's release within days of liberal media representatives blaming the shootings on rightwing talkers, but also just before Wednesday's tax protesting Tea Parties.
As Reuters reported Tuesday, the DHS tried to quell such concerns by claiming this analysis was nothing out of the ordinary:
It's no secret the Bush administration used fear tactics to push the $700-billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) through Congress last fall. Both members of the House and the Senate have come out after the fact and disclosed the details.
However, the method the Treasury Department employed to get banks to go along with the TARP bailout breached legal boundaries to the point of "extortion," according to Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Andrew Napolitano, a former Superior Court Judge for the state of New Jersey.
Napolitano told viewers on FNC's April 1 "Studio B" that he had a conversation with a head of $250-billion bank that explained the federal government, under the threat of an audit, forced him to accept TARP funds.
Remember all those TV segments and magazine articles that had a list of 10 things you can do to save the planet from the perils of global warming? More likely than not, one of things you were urged to do was to switch all you incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs).
And, if you didn't heed their advice, the government's forcing you to through the legislative process. Congress banned the incandescent light bulbs in the energy bill signed into law by former President George W. Bush on Dec. 19, 2007. The bill increases efficiency standards and effectively bans traditional bulbs by 2014.
However, a segment by Washington, D.C. CBS affiliated WUSA on March 30 reported these CFLs were responsible for a fire at the home of Rick Jenkins, a resident of Cumberland, Md.
Fox News Channel host Glenn Beck has already shown he's a rating success and is leaving a mark in cable news. However, he may have pulled one of his most successful performances yet.
Beck interviewed Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal on his March 30 broadcast. But, the radio and TV host took the opportunity to tell Blumenthal what he thought of his investigation into the bonuses received by American International Group (AIG) executives - whose company received federal bailout money.
"Look, you know what you have done, know what you have done?" Beck said. "You have - you are an insult to George Washington, sir. George Washington made it very clear that we are a respecter of laws, not of men. For your own political gain, you have decided to go after these people at AIG because it is a popular thing."
Has the federal government exceeded, or is it on the verge of exceeding its constitutional authority with the recent series of events connected to rescuing an ailing banking system?
Although Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., was ridiculed for raising that question in a congressional hearing on March 24, conservative talk show host, constitutional lawyer and legal commentator Mark Levin, told Fox News Channel's "Your World with Neil Cavuto" on March 24 that government was indeed exceeding the constitution. According to Levin, there is nothing in the Constitution that would allow the Obama administration to expand the government's ability to seize non-banking financial institutions as Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has proposed.
"It's unbelievable," Levin said. "There is no constitutional authority for this. I thought the American people like capitalism. I mean look, we luxuriated in this society as a result of the market system."
Is President Barack Obama's administration showing hints it is losing confidence in Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner? CNBC's Larry Kudlow said the signs are suggesting as much.
The host of "The Kudlow Report" said in an appearance with CNBC On-Air Editor Charlie Gasparino on his March 17 broadcast that a statement put out earlier today by the administration, and placed at the top of the Drudge Report, hinted this was the beginning of the end for Geithner.
"You know, statements out of the blue - statements like this are what I call a real bad leading indicator that Geithner's time, days may be numbered," Kudlow said. "It may not happen in the next week, but it may happen."
The statement was made in relation to the Treasury Department's handling of the brouhaha surrounding the $165 million in bonuses paid out to American International Group (AIG) executives, even though they were recipients of bailout money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).
All the current outrage and attention to bonuses paid out to employees of institutions that received federal bailout money is misplaced, according to an analyst that appeared on CNBC Asia on March 16.
The media is making much of the news that American International Group (AIG) executives are receiving compensation in the form of bonuses. But Kirby Daley, senior strategist at the Newedge Group explained how the focus was in the wrong place. Although some say allowing Lehman Brothers to fail in September 2008 was a mistake, it prevented the problem of taxpayer money being used for executive compensation.
"I'm not so sure that was a mistake," Daley said. "And what I mean by that is, look I had dozens of friends there. It's very painful and to see an institution like that go down, one that I have followed for years - it hurts."
The lesson according to Daley - either allow the institutions to have the same fate as Lehman Brothers, or just outright nationalize them.
A Japanese energy commission released a report last month challenging the supposed international consensus that man is responsible for warming the planet while claiming that climate modeling -- the questionably accurate process of predicting the future so key to Nobel Laureate Al Gore's myth -- is immature and akin to ancient astrology.
The study also called the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's conclusion that global temperatures are likely to continue to rise "an unprovable hypothesis," while castigating "the paucity of the US ground temperature data set used to support the hypothesis."
The Japan Society of Energy and Resources was founded in 1980 to "promote the science and technology concerning energy and resources and thus to facilitate cooperation among industry academia and governmental sectors for coping with the problems in this field."
On Wednesday, the UK Register published a translation of the Society's January report which for some reason America's global warming-obsessed press chose to ignore:
It's Friday in the East Wing of the Obama White House, the realm of first lady Michelle Obama.
Many of the cream-colored walls are still bare. The Obama administration, after all, is just one month old.
But there is a growing photo collection in the hallways that charts the increasing activity of the first lady in the last two weeks as she settles in to her new role and starts expanding her portfolio of issues.
The newest item on her non-controversial agenda is healthy living. That's in addition to assisting military families, pushing work-family balance, national service, women's concerns and opening up the White House to the community.
Wow! Can you imagine one woman accomplishing so very much so quickly? But the fawning has just begun as Sweet moves on:
A New York Times editorial published this week has been excoriated by Walter Olson, proprietor of the popular "Overlawyered" blog and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and justly so. The subject is the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA), a law that went into effect earlier this month and which even now is causing libraries, thrift shops and used book stores to throw away large volumes of used children's clothes, toys and any children's books published before 1985. Don't take it from me:
If you browse through the racks of children's clothing at area Goodwill stores, you'll notice half the supply is gone - all because of a new law being implemented by the federal government Tuesday morning. -KPTM FOX 42 News, Omaha, 2/9/09 (Hat tip for the link: Ace of Spades.) ...our realistic choices are: 1. Shut down our children's section, or 2. Ban kids 12 and younger from the library.
The battle between New London, Connecticut and the residents of its Fort Trumbull neighborhood began in 1998 when the City decided that it would redevelop the area for ultimate ownership by others and, if necessary, take the residents' properties for that "public purpose" -- not for "public use" (i.e., roads, bridges, schools, etc.), as the Fifth Amendment clearly intended.
Susette Kelo and other Fort Trumbull residents pushed back and sued to try to stop the city's plans. Ultimately, the Supreme Court rendered its 5-4 decision in Kelo v. New London in June 2005, erroneously (as the Founders would almost certainly have seen it) siding with the city.
In July 2006, after intervention by Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell prevented the City from carrying out its declared intent to forcibly remove final holdouts Kelo and the Cristofaros if necessary, the city and the holdouts settled.
More than 2-1/2 years after the settlement, 3-1/2 years after the Supremes' decision, and 11 years after the city's initial plans, oh boy -- a new tenant has finally moved into the Fort Trumbull Neighborhood. It's a government tenant (link at New London Day will be available for about a week), and the move is into an existing building:
Appearing on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, Evening News anchor Katie Couric discussed her White House interview with President Obama regarding the withdrawal of recent cabinet nominees: "He is surprisingly relaxed...extremely comfortable, very focused. It’s very different than sort of the buttoned-up Bush White House...he said to every person who interviewed him...that he ‘screwed up,’ he ‘messed up.’ And I think he really is trying to be the anti-Bush because President Bush was so criticized for never saying, you know, ‘I made a mistake.’" On Tuesday’s Evening News, Couric portrayed Obama as a victim.
Early Show co-host Harry Smith agreed with Couric and pointed out another criticism of the Bush administration: "There was also criticism of too much loyalty." Like Couric, Smith then praised Obama for being the "anti-Bush" and throwing Health and Human Services secretary nominee Tom Daschle under the bus: "...and here was Tom Daschle, who had been his mentor all these-" Couric interjected: "And he's been working on health care, by the way...for many, many months...And really focused on it. You know, President Obama reiterated that he thought Tom Daschle was the right man for the job, it was an honest mistake."
Allison cited a "religious belief in affordable housing" that led the government to institute the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 (CRA) and later, during the Clinton years, to a huge expansion of Fannie and Freddie.
"In my opinion, I'm certain without Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae we could not have had the magnitude of misinvestment - we'd a had misinvestment but nothing like what we've had today," Allison said.
I'll betcha this won't get much notice in the Obamedia, so it needs some here.
Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe's Environment and Public Works Committee Press Blog released a statement last night reporting that Dr. John S. Theon, the former supervisor of over-the-top global warming alarmist James Hansen, has publicly rebuked his former employee's conduct, refuted Hansen's comedic claim that he was being muzzled, and has joined the ranks of AGW (anthropogenic global warming) skeptics.
Hansen's histrionics were last noted on January 18 (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) when the UK Guardian carried his dire warning that the about-to-be-inaugurated Barack Obama "Has Four Years to Save Earth" from the impact of global warming.
After nearly two years of favorable treatment from seemingly every corner of the media since he announced his candidacy for the presidency in 2006, Obama is still finding ways to delight his biggest fans.
On his first day on the job, Obama announced "a new standard of openness" at a swearing in ceremony for senior members of his administration. According to CNBC's Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, that was greeted with cheers from the CNBC studio.
"Not to belabor the whole point of the Freedom of Information Act, but politically brilliant in a way to immediately co-opt the press," Caruso-Cabrera said on CNBC's Jan. 21 "Power Lunch." "I mean a big cheer went up here - journalists of the world rejoice and automatically you have pleased a big part of the folks that are going to be covering you."
In the midst of economic troubles and much anticipation of a new administration about to enter the White House, the potential return of the Fairness Doctrine hasn't gotten much attention. But on the eve of President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration, Republican members of Congress haven't forgotten.
GOP Sens. Jim DeMint, S.C. and James Inhofe, Okla., along with two of their House colleagues, Reps. Mike Pence, Ind. and Greg Walden, Ore., introduced the Broadcaster Freedom Act at a press conference in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 7.
DeMint, who is named on the Senate of version of the bill, the DeMint-Thune Senate bill, S. 34., told a group of reporters that he would fight any effort by the federal government to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine.
A link to a story in the New London (CT) Day (story will be available for only a few days) arrived in my e-mail yesterday thanks to a Google alert:
Deed Gives NL Building A New Address Italian Dramatic Club outlived street it used to be on in fort area
The story stands as a bitter reminder of the blatant favoritism that took place during the sad saga of Susette Kelo and her neighbors in the Ft. Trumbull area of that Connecticut town.
Ms. Kelo and her neighbors had their homes condemned, and ultimately lost in appeals that went all the way to the Supreme Court, where in June 2005 that court's majority ruled that when our Founders wrote "public use" in the Constitution's 5th Amendment (i.e., building a bridge, or a road, or a school), they really meant "public purpose" (doing anything the government deems to be a worthy cause, including taking someone's property and conveying it to another for a worthy "development" cause).
As you can see from the following Google Earth map image that is probably about two years old, the Italian Dramatic Club (IDC) sits virtually alone at 79 Chelsea Street:
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith talked to Michael Crowley, editor of the liberal magazine The New Republic, about some of Obama’s recent appointments, including former Clinton chief of staff, Leon Panetta, for CIA director: "Dianne Feinstein, had her, you know, was -- her feathers were ruffled to say the least. Is this just the way of the Senate saying you've got to go through us first? Or is there real opposition to Leon Panetta?"
Crowley explained that their was some "real opposition" to Panetta: "Now, a little bit controversial here...some people are concerned that Panetta does not have an intelligence background. Has never worked at the agency, never had a national security-specific job." However, Crowley quickly added: "Other people say he is a competent, tough, good organizer, and someone Obama trusts. So, looks like he's going to have a smooth confirmation after a little bit of initial complaints." Smith agreed and remarked: "Somebody who can connect the dots, maybe. That's the most important thing."
"The government's billion-dollar program to help people prepare for the transition to digital television has run out of money, potentially leaving millions of viewers without coupons to buy converter boxes they need to keep their analog TV sets working after the switch."
Thus began Washington Post staffer Kim Hart's January 6 Business section front-pager, "TV Converter Program Runs Out of Funding." Hart promptly went into noting that "[m]embers of Congress are now scrambling to find ways to allocate more money to the program," yet took no effort in her 13-paragraph story to find critics of the program who could say, in effect, "See, I told you so."
"This is typical of a government that doesn’t measure real results to determine a project’s success," Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) Vice President David Williams told NewsBusters via e-mail:
Barack Obama nominates someone to head the CIA whose major qualification is his inexperience. Even Democrats are dismayed. John Travolta's son, sadly, died. So in its crucial first half-hour this morning, the Early Show naturally devotes almost five minutes to the Travolta story while ignoring the controversy surrounding Leon Panetta's appointment. Far from revealing that even senior Dems like Senators Feinstein and Rockefeller have signalled their displeasure over the naming of Panetta, CBS' Chip Reid painted the pick as a sign of how Obama is briskly taking charge. Here was the sum total of the Early Show's discussion of the matter:
CHIP REID: He may not be Commander-in-Chief just yet. But Mr. Obama is wasting no time, on Monday picking former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta to head the CIA, and retired Admiral Dennis Blair to be director of national intelligence.
It's special treatment for automakers, according to a former airline executive.
Gordon Bethune, the former CEO of Continental Airlines (NYSE:CAL), now a CNBC contributor, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Dec. 19 the political process is being substituted for what otherwise should be a bankruptcy judge in determining the fate of the big three automakers.
"Wow, what makes them exempt from reality? What are the bankruptcy laws invented for?" Bethune asked. "I mean - if it works in airlines, works in steel - what's the matter with these guys? Why not have a judge decide instead of the political process? And, you know - you get some fairness in the federal court, so there's no excuse for this whole debacle I don't think."
The broadcast examined the hardships public libraries are facing in the economic downturn - at a time when people are flocking to libraries instead of the local bookstore.
"These tough economic times, as we have been saying, have forced a lot of people to find new ways of doing things to save money," "Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams said. "And listen to this next one - with money so tight, the costs of books has people turning to a place where you can actually get books free, then return them for the next user. The library business, it seems, is booming. But now they could use some help in this economy."
NBC correspondent Chris Jansing interviewed a librarian that detected an uptick in "wild" behavior at one library - which Jansing deemed a result of the economic downturn.
Contessa Brewer has suggested that Pres. Bush should be ashamed of his administration's decision to exempt the chemical perchlorate from federal regulation. Speaking with a Republican guest this afternoon, the MNSBC host analogized the decision to Bill Clinton's scandalous last-minute pardons.
Did Brewer ever read the official EPA explanation of its ruling, or had she only looked at articles like this one, "subtly" featuring a huge photo of a baby drinking from its bottle?