In case you didn't get the gist of President Obama's Thursday speech at National Defense University, the AP's Robert Burns boiled it down on Saturday, perhaps supportively: "OBAMA REFOCUSES TERROR THREAT TO PRE-9/11 LEVEL."
That leaves one annoying detail Burns and Obama ignore: The "pre-9/11 threat level" wasn't that much different from the threat level during the first few years after 9/11. But our response in going to a war footing and more conscientious coordination at home was. As a result, there were no more successful terrorist attacks until the Ft. Hood massacre (mislabeled "workplace violence by our hapless government) in November 2009. The World Trade Centers were bombed in 1993. After that, there were at least the following: Khobar Towers in 1996, the American embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, the USS Cole in 2000, and other incidents in the U.S. which may have been inspired by Islamist terrorists despite official conclusions to the contrary. The "pre-9/11 threat level" was actually higher, especially if one remembers, well, 9/11. But that's certainly not the message Obama, with Burns's help, is trying to convey. Instead, it's that the President "has all but declared" that global war on terror is over (bolds are mine):
A Google News search on "Sweden riots" done tonight at 10 PM ET (not in quotes, sorted by date, with duplicates) returned 314 items. Adding the word "Muslim" to the search reduced the number of results to nine. Fewer than a handful are from establishment press outlets, and one of those only appeared in the search results because a commenter and not the story's writer used the M-word.
That pretty much tells you all you need to know about the determined denial of reality in which the worldwide press is engaged in reporting riots in the suburbs of Stockholm, which have entered their fifth day. The Associated Press, as would be expected, is a willing participant in that exercise, as the following headline which could have been (any maybe was) written by an Occupy movement member and the accompanying excerpt from a Thursday afternoon story filed by the wire service's Malin Rising demonstrates (bolds are mine throughout this post):
This is one of those stories that have you asking yourself if you’re still on planet Earth. Emily Bazelone of Slate, a Washington Post affiliated site, wrote today that the case of Florida 18-year-old Kaitlyn Hunt’s sexual affair with a 14-year-old girl “is about gay rights. But it’s not about that.” This isn’t Bazelon’s first foray into trying to defend the indefensible. In the aftermath of the Boston Terrorist Attack, Bazelon had a rather extraneous piece about how Dzhokar Tsarnaev was a normal guy in his high school years.
So far, the “free Kate” campaign has animated the far-left of America. T-shirts, Facebook groups, and Twitter hashtags have all voiced their support for the alleged sex offender, with much of the push tied up in the narrative of victomology. Hunt is being prosecuted, they claim, only because she's a lesbian. Bazleon agrees, but to her credit, writes that perhaps this is more about a law that lacks clarity regarding teen sex:
One obvious question which occurred to me and I suspect others when I read Ann Marimow's first account at the Washington Post dated May 19 of the search warrant issued in 2009 for the personal emails of Fox News reporter James Rosen was: "Where has this thing been hiding?"
The "Affadavit for Search Warrant" is dated May 28, 2010. Why did it come out just this week? Marimow didn't say. More stories followed, still without explanation. It's not unreasonable to believe that the Post might have sat on knowledge of its existence, and that someone who works at the U.S. Court may have deliberately worked to keep it invisible for 18 months after it was supposed to have been unsealed in November 2011.
In real life it's near impossible to find anyone who pities the IRS. That's what the New York Times is for. In a Business Day section front-pager for Thursday's paper, the Times's Michael Shear lamented that the CEO of Apple received relatively kind treatment from a Senate panel this week while IRS officials have been grilled.
"One thing became clear this week on Capitol Hill: It is better to be a tax dodger than a tax collector," whined Shear in the opening paragraph of "Torches and Pitchforks for I.R.S. but Cheers for Apple." "Plenty of good will for iPhones but only disdain for the tax collector," lamented a pull quote on the jump page which appeared underneath a picture of Apple's chief Tim Cook. Apparently Shear, and his editors at the Times, are perplexed that congressmen hold a government agency that abused its power to target Americans for their political beliefs in lower regard than a company which employs thousands of Americans and produces products loved the world over, by people of every political stripe, including those lovable hippies of the Occupy Movement.
On the Wednesday, May 22, The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell show on MSNBC, host O'Donnell called for the defeat of a "vicious" Senate amendment pushed by Louisiana Republican Senator David Vitter which would bar people convicted of some violent crimes from receiving welfare benefits.
The MSNBC host complained that the children of a criminal would "pay for his crime by going hungry," and called for "human decency" to defeat the measure. O'Donnell began the short segment:
The Big Three networks coverage so far of the Justice Department's questionable investigation of Fox News' James Rosen has followed a similar pattern to that of their coverage of the Kermit Gosnell case. Jan Crawford's report on Thursday's CBS This Morning was the first full report on growing controversy on ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts. NBC briefly covered the investigation on Tuesday's Today, and ABC has yet to mention it.
Crawford pointed out how the DOJ's "unprecedented" surveillance of Rosen has "really just set off a firestorm of criticism from the left and right. For the first time ever, a presidential administration is treating news reporting like a crime, and a reporter like a criminal suspect." [audio available here; video below the jump]
When does a textbook example of a "local crime story" become worthy of 18-paragraphs of coverage in the national news pages of the New York Times? Well, it helps if it services a socially liberal narrative. Bonus points if that narrative involves persecution for the sake of sexual orientation in some shape or form.
When a major journalist breaks a gun law in the nation's capital on national TV in front of hundreds of thousands of viewers at home, you'd think it would be pretty much an open-and-shut case to prosecute. But when Meet the Press host David Gregory did just that last December -- displaying on-air an empty 30-round magazine during an interview segment with the NRA's Wayne LaPierre -- he got off scot-free when the District of Columbia failed to prosecute. The relevant law on the books in the nation's capital calls for a $1,000 fine and a year in prison for any civilian who possesses a ammunition magazine that can hold more than 10 rounds.
Two months later, annoyed with the District of Columbia for failing to answer her questions pertaining to the case, pro-gun rights opinion columnist Emily Miller of the Washington Times filed a freedom of information request. On Friday, Miller updated readers by noting how the District has been stringing her and other conservative bloggers along when it came to producing documents related to the Gregory investigation (emphasis mine):
You just knew this was bound to happen. Some on the left are trying to blame George W. Bush for Obama's IRS fiasco. Take for example Mediaite's resident Obama apologist Tommy Christopher, who wrote a much ado about nothing post on May 16 insinuating that this egregious abuse of government power stems from former Bush appointed IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman – and that credit for clearing this whole thing up will go to Obama.
Christopher penned this piece using Martin Bashir’s May 16 broadcast, which featured Joy Reid of the Grio and Republican strategist Ron Christie. During the exchange, Christie was forced to admit the Shulman was a Bush appointee, but so what? This scandal happened under Obama. The IRS executed this plan in 2010, and Shulman –and his successor Steve Miller– knew about it since the spring of 2012. There is no doubt the agency lied about their knowledge of their employees’ malfeasance, and it happened under the Obama administration. Nevertheless, Christopher dutifully wove his spin, concluding:
At Bloomberg Views, Al Hunt, formerly "the executive editor of Bloomberg News, directing coverage of the Washington bureau," referred to the controversies swirling around the White House as "faux scandals" and insisted that ... wait for it ... the Obama administration "is the most scandal-free administration in recent memory." No wonder Bloomberg News developed into such a hopelessly biased outfit while he was there. As much as I could stand to excerpt from Hunt's harangue follows the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
The IRS scandal is an absolute fiasco, and we're already witnessing the media doing their level best to downplay its significance. Unfortunately, part of that concerted effort will include the attempt to shoehorn racial, religious, and ethnic victimology narratives into the mix.
Submitted for your consideration is a May 15 post on CNN's Global Public Square (GPS) blog by Sahar Aziz headlined "Muslims to Tea Party: Welcome to our world":
Jeffrey Lord at the American Spectator has reviewed the White House logs looking for a relationship between meetings listed there and the timeline found in the Inspector General's report on the targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups issued last Tuesday. Lord's work represents yet another example of alternative media scooping a lazy or negligent establishment press.
What Lord has found (single-page print version) is that President Barack Obama met with the President of the National Treasury Employees Union Colleen Kelley, on March 31, 2010. The NTEU is "the 150,000 member union that represents IRS employees along with 30 other separate government agencies." The Inspector General's report, blandly titled "Inappropriate Criteria Were Used to Identify Tax-Exempt Applications for Review," indicates that the IRS, in Lord's words, "set to work in earnest targeting the Tea Party and conservative groups around America" the very next day. Lord's work is a mandatory read-the-whole-thing item. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
It has only been a week since the Associated Press learned that its reporters' privacy and the confidentiality of their relationships with sources were violated on a massive and unprecedented scale by Eric Holder's Justice Department in April and May of last year. DOJ has admitted that it secretly obtained the call records for 20 personal and business lines used by over 100 AP reporters and editors. Despite its insistence that they were looking for the person who leaked information about a foiled terrorist plot, there is reason to believe the DOJ's fishing expedition was a childish response to the wire service's refusal to let the government crow about the foiled operation before anyone reported on it.
In the wake of all of this, the AP, appears determined to soldier on as the wire service more appropriately described as the Administration's Press. That's about the only way one can view the Saturday afternoon dispatch from the AP's David Espo and its accompanying headline:
Clearly, the New York Times couldn't run with Jonathan Weisman's headline or opening sentence in the report he filed shortly after Friday's portion of Friday's testimony at a hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee in its Saturday print edition. And it didn't.
The original headline at Weisman's story, as seen here (HT Ann Althouse via Instapundit), was "Treasury Knew of I.R.S. Inquiry in 2012, Official Says." His opening sentence: "The Treasury Department’s inspector general told senior Treasury officials in June 2012 he was auditing the Internal Revenue Service’s screening of politically active organizations seeking tax exemptions, disclosing for the first time on Friday that Obama administration officials were aware of the matter during the presidential campaign year." Along came Jeremy Peters, who helped to "properly" frame these matters, turning it into yet another "Republicans attack our poor innocent administration" piece. That is what made it to today's paper -- on Page A12, naturally accompanied by a "better" headline. Meanwhile, except for excerpts captured at places like the indispensable FreeRepublic, Weisman's original has been flushed down the memory hole.
In a story appearing this morning at the Politico about the Department of Justice's broad and unannounced subpoenas of the April and May 2012 personal and business phone records of reporters and editors at the Associated Press involving 20 phone lines and involving over 100 reporters and editors, James Hohmann found several "veteran prosecutors" who aren't necessarily outraged by what most members of the press and several watchdog groups have declared a blatant overreach. Instead, Hohmann summarizes their "far more measured response" as: "It’s complicated."
Hohmann utterly ignored a May 15 Washington Post story which chronicled claimed discussions between AP and government officials. Ultimately, it appears that the Obama administration's Department of Justice under Eric Holder may have only gone after AP out of spite because the wire service refused to accommodate administration requests to allow it time to crow about foiling a terrorist plot before the story gained meaningful visibility, and not because the release of the story, especially after what appears to have been an appropriate and negotiated delay, represented a genuine security risk. One obvious unanswered question is why DOJ waited, according to the AP's Mark Sherman in his original story, until "earlier this year" to obtain the phone records if it was so darned important to find out who the alleged leaker was.
Brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who are accused of setting the bombs that exploded at the Boston Marathon, attended the University of Massachusetts. Maybe they hated our nation before college, but if you want lessons on hating America, college attendance might be a good start. Let's look at it.
"We need to think very, very clearly about who the enemy is. The enemy is the United States of America and everyone who supports it." That's taught to University of Hawaii students by Professor Haunani-Kay Trask. Richard Falk, professor emeritus at Princeton University and the U.N. Human Rights Council's Palestine monitor, explained the Boston bombings by saying, "The American global domination project is bound to generate all kinds of resistance in the post-colonial world." Professor Falk has also stated that President George W. Bush ordered the destruction of the twin towers.
It's just so unfortunate that such nice guys are going through such trying circumstances.
That's the impression one gets from graphic teases seen at about 9:30 this morning at the Washington Post, where the captions underneath the three left thumbnails read as follows: "President Obama’s disastrous political week"; "Jay Carney’s tough day"; and "Jay Carney’s day — in 7 faces." If you don't recall such an obvious outward show of sympathy during the final year of George W. Bush's presidency, you're not alone. A quick look at the underlying items follows the jump.
When I first heard of limp faux apology by the IRS's Lois Lerner on Friday for her tax-exempt division's harassment of Tea Party and conservative organizations, I thought she had done so on a conference call.
Well, she did have a conference call with reporters later that day -- the one where she said “I’m not good at math” -- but her original apology occurred at a conference of the Exempt Organizations Committee of the Tax Section of the American Bar Association in Washington (Lerner's relevant involvement is shown here). Why would such a mea culpa occur out of the blue at such a venue? The answer, per Kevin Williamson at National Review's The Corner blog, is that it wasn't out of the blue at all (bolds are mine throughout this post):
In a disptach early this evening, the Associated Press's Pete Yost, perhaps signaling his employer's intent to remain the journalistic lapdog known as the Administration's Press, accepted at face value Attorney General Eric Holder's claim, while defending his department's actions, to have played no role in its wide-ranging subpoena of two months of AP phone records involving 20 cellular, personal and business lines used by over 100 wire service reporters and editors. Yost also did not address whether DOJ received judicial approval for its fishing expedition, a question the AP's Mark Sherman identified last night as unresolved.
It apparently hasn't occurred to Yost that if an Attorney General is aware that his underlings are about to engage in blatant, First Amendment-chilling prosecutorial overreach and intimidation -- a characterization the reporter himself made clear is shared by critics of all political stripes -- merely removing oneself from the case is a completely insufficient reaction. Instead, the AG is duty-bound to order it not to happen, and to remove anyone who chooses to defy his order. If the AG supports what his people have done, then he's responsible for the results and fallout. That's how being the boss is supposed to work. Excerpts from Yost's report follow the jump (bolds are mine):
As she appeared as a guest on Monday's All In with Chris Hayes show, MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry described the conservative "red" parts of her home state of Lousiana as "not thinking about or caring about the 10-year-old children in my neighborhood who are shot while walking down the street" as she and host Chris Hayes discussed a recent mass shooting at a parade in New Orleans and advocated more gun control.
After Hayes described two distinct perspectives on guns as being the background of people grew up hunting and the point of view of people who have been shot, Harris-Perry added:
Former Gov. Tom Ridge (Pa.), a pro-choice Republican, was the key reason the horrors of Kermit Gosnell's Philadelphia abortion clinic went on undetected for so long, argued reporter J.D. Mullane in an interview with National Review's Kathryn Jean Lopez published Tuesday morning at the magazine's website. Mullane, you may recall, is the Bucks County (Pa.) Courier Times news writer/columnist who has covered the Gosnell infanticide trial from day one, and who tweeted the now famous photo of the near-empty benches in the courthouse allotted for media coverage of the trial. [see below the page break]
Responding to Lopez's question, "How did Pennsylvania ever let this happen?" Mullane replied that the Keystone State's former governor "Tom Ridge, is, to me, Gosnell's chief enabler" [emphasis mine]:
“Assault on Wall Street,” directed by Uwe Boll and starring Dominic Purcell, takes the liberal agenda to a whole new level. Every possible liberal ideal – anti-gun, anti-capitalism, the evils of health insurance companies, crazy gun supporters – is depicted in this 1 hour and 39 minute movie, which was released on May 10 in limited theaters and on Amazon instant video.
Within the first ten minutes, viewers were introduced to evil Wall Street executive Jeremy Stancroft (John Heard) saying, “Our responsibility begins and ends with our partners and shareholders and that is it.”
The New York Times unsurprisingly stuck by its biased language on the abortion issue as it broke the news that a jury had found Philadelphia abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell guilty of three counts of first-degree murder on Monday. Jon Hurdle labeled the convicted murderer's victims "fetuses" in the second sentence of his article. Hurdle would go on to use the slanted term five more times in his write-up.
The correspondent later acknowledged that the prosecution had referred to the murder victims as babies, but only after using his "fetuses" label.
If there is anything positive that can come out of the Gosnell trial, other than a guilty verdict, is that it seems to have changed the mind of at least one pro-choice reporter. As more of the gruesome details emerged from the trial, the journalist in question just couldn’t stomach that babies born alive were murdered in such a fashion.
J.D. Mullane of the Bucks County Courier, who was been present at the Gosnell trial from day one, said of himself, “there is one journalist sitting in that courtroom who writes for a local publication who has told me that he is very liberal, very pro-choice… but after sitting through the testimony in the Gosnell trial, he's reconsidered. He's changed his mind.” As Mullane aptly noted, “that’s the power of the Gosnell case.”
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd offensively roped Clarence Thomas into her column on the arrest on sexual battery charges of Jeffrey Krusinski, the Air Force officer in charge of sexual assault prevention programs for the branch: "There was a fox-in-the-henhouse echo of Clarence Thomas, who Anita Hill said sexually harassed her when he was the nation’s top enforcer of laws against workplace sexual harassment."
Every now and then, some celebrity gets caught breaking the law and counts on his or her fame in getting off the hook, no matter how lame an excuse that's given. That was the case with Grammy Award-winning hip hop singer Lauryn Hill, who in federal court on Monday compared her experience in the music business to the slavery her ancestors endured.
Nevertheless, U.S. Magistrate Madeline Cox Arleo sentenced the liberal performer -- who pleaded guilty to the tax evasion charge last year -- to three months in prison for not paying $1 million in taxes over the past decade, as well as a $60,000 fine.
The Washington Post and reporter Dan Zak returned to bowing before the radical-left “Prophets of Oak Ridge” as their trial began Tuesday. The protesters broke into a nuclear-weapons production facility last July and hammered a wall and vandalized it with human blood. The headline at the top of Wednesday’s Style section was “Protest and protocol vie in anti-nuclear activists’ Tenn. trial.”
Zak began by putting the leftists on the side of “morality and conscience” and the national-security apparatus on the side of “protocol and budgets.” That’s funny, we could have put our nation’s defenders on the side of “morality and conscience,” and these radicals on the side of “vandalism and political exhibitionism” (or just “breaking and entering”):
In the race to the bottom event known as South Carolina's First Congressional District special election, Mark Sanford has defeated Elizabeth Colbert Busch.
Not that the establishment press didn't try to help Ms. Busch, to whose background they gave little or no scrutiny. And when two forms of scrutiny did arrive from independent quarters, first of her actual beliefs expressed in tweets before she or someone associated with her deleted them, and then this weekend of her past jailing on contempt charges during a messy divorce, they chose to ignore it.