Defending the decision of the United States to drop nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WWII is not a comfortable thing to do when you're in Japan. But if you're President of the United States, you must do it. Diplomatically, yes. With sympathy for the civilian victims, yes. But you must do it.
But when it came time today for Barack Obama to fulfill that fundamental duty, he failed. The very first reporter [from Fuji TV] called on at the joint press conference with PBO and Japanese PM Hatoyama in Tokyo today put the question to Pres. Obama in blunt and explicit terms:
JAPANESE REPORTER: What is your understanding of the historical meaning of the A-bombing in Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Do you think it was the right decision?
Obama took a deep breath, paused . . . and punted.
Wanda Sykes debuted her new comedy show Saturday on Fox. That critics met the show with reviews of varying degrees of mediocrity is hardly surprising, as Sykes simply recycled years of Bush-bashing and Obamamania into her monologue, which set the mood for the show.
Sykes is well known in political circles for proclaiming "I hope his kidneys fail" in reference to Rush Limbaugh at this year's White House Correspondents' Dinner. She went on to make fun of Limbaugh's former drug addiction, liken him to terrorists, and call for him to be waterboarded.
So it came as little surprise that Sykes kicked off her new show with attacks on Ann Coulter, discussions of environmentally-friendly sex toys, accusations of racism leveled against Rush Limbuagh, and an anti-Bush, Obama-crazed diatribe (video and partial transcript below the fold).
Here's news you can virtually guarantee won't get noticed by what remains of the establishment media.
Whole Foods (WFMI) announced its financial results for the quarter ended September 30 yesterday. The quarter closed about 50 days after outraged leftists called for a boycott of the grocery chain to retaliate for a Wall Street Journal op-ed written by CEO John Mackey. In that column, Mackey identified "Eight things we can do to improve health care without adding to the deficit," asserting that:
The last thing our country needs is a massive new health care entitlement that will create hundreds of billions of dollars of new unfunded deficits and move us much closer to a government takeover of our health care system. Instead, we should be trying to achieve reforms by moving in the opposite direction — toward less government control and more individual empowerment.
Well, if there's so much support out there for statist health care, you would think that the Whole Foods boycott dedicated to punishing an opponent would have had a significant impact on the company's most recent quarterly results.
A new report on the state of the newspaper industry in Argentina has found that federal appropriations for newspapers have resulted in less coverage of government corruption. This study goes to the heart of the 'newspaper bailout' debate in this country, and demonstrates the danger of supporting the news media with government funds (h/t Mark Tapscott).
Many liberal media commentators have called for direct federal subsidies for ailing newspapers, arguing that federally-supported news media are essential to democracy. The most prominent group in this camp is Free Press, founded by liberal media guru--and avowed socialist--Robert McChesney (incidentally, McChesney has avidly defended Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's crackdown on opposition media outlets in the country).
A columnist for the UK Guardian wants to save the Earth by thinning the ranks of humans that are a cruel blight upon it. By his account, population control is the only viable solution to the destruction of the planet.
"The worst thing you or I can so for the planet is to have children" writes the Guardian's Alex Renton, who advocated in a Sunday column an ambiguous system of system of carrots and sticks to get the developed world to stop reproducing.
Renton cannot contain his loathing of the developed world. "One less British child would permit some 30 women in sub-Saharan Africa to have a baby and still leave the planet a cleaner place," he writes. Renton adds that "a cull of Australians or Americans would be at least 60 times as productive as one of Bangladeshis."
A lefty magazine editor has come up with a list of brilliant solutions to the planet's purported climate change problem: make the recession worse, make goods more expensive, and restrict all intercontinental travel to blimps.
So said Emily Douglas, web editor for The Nation, who, when asked Wednesday how we could "reverse our culture of consumerism," replied immediately "make the recession worse."
She later claimed that her response was a bit "tongue-in-cheek," according to CNS News, but admitted that her magazine "never shies away from doomsday scenarios."
Julia Seymour, Kyle Drennen, and several others at NewsBusters have done a great job (here and here, here, and here, just for starters) exposing the establishment media's rush to characterize the government's Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS) program, commonly known as "Cash for Clunkers" program, a success. This media meme has persisted despite processing snafus, slow payments to dealers, dealer opt-outs, market distortions, and less than perfect disclosure of sales and income tax consequences to buyers.
Of course, as far as the media's cheerleaders are concerned, the problems have made the program not a case study in bureaucratic weakness, but instead "a victim of its own success."
But Cash for Clunkers has indeed been an unqualified success in one important sense I don't expect the media will be too keen on reporting. The program's results have exposed just how weak the market positions of bailed-out General Motors and Chrysler really are.
I don't anticipate that those in the UK who are rushing to the defense of their precious National Health Service (NHS) will be bringing up the item that follows any time soon, nor do I expect the U.S. statist heath care cheerleaders to take note of it.
The UK Daily Mail tells us that NHS is importing general practitioners who commute from foreign countries. Wait until you see the reason why, and the effect it has had on patient care.
Here are key paragraphs from the report by Rebecca Cambers:
On Sunday evening, NewsBusters colleague Noel Sheppard highlighted a health care-related story from the Canadian Press (CP), which is that country's rough equivalent to the USA's Associated Press.
It appears that the CP is more open to reporting inconvenient news than is "our" AP, judging from a report earlier that day by the CP's Jennifer Graham. In an interview with Graham, the incoming president of the Canadian Medical Association said that the supposedly idyllic wonderland known as Canadian medical care is in deep trouble. Lo and behold, Graham actually reported it:
The incoming president of the Canadian Medical Association says this country's health-care system is sick and doctors need to develop a plan to cure it.
Dr. Anne Doig says patients are getting less than optimal care and she adds that physicians from across the country - who will gather in Saskatoon on Sunday for their annual meeting - recognize that changes must be made.
Over the last few weeks dozens of Iranians yearning for a more democratic government, striving to beat back the oppressive Mullahs, desperate to live free, have been killed in the streets of Iran during democratic protests. In China Uighurs and members of the religious sect Falun Gong are constantly attacked, imprisoned, tortured and killed for their ethnicity or beliefs by Chinese officials. Not long ago Buddhist Monks were killed by police for their protests in the streets of Myanmar. And on a nearly daily basis, members of the Taliban are killing villagers for not observing their oppressive rule in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
We live in times of violent protests tearing at some of the most oppressive governments in the world. And so, Australia's ABC fielded a report about one "violent" protest experienced by one of its own reporters. Was it murderous Islamists attacking villagers? How about Chinese thugs killing ethnics? Perhaps it was an Iranian Mullah ordered massacre of citizens wanting democracy that frightened her so much?
Leave it to the British press to once again do the job of real reporting that U.S. journalists apparently won't do.
This time, it's Tom Leonard at the UK Telegraph. From Flint, Michigan, he tells us of a "pioneering scheme" that involves tearing down entire neighborhoods and simply abandoning them -- oops, I'm sorry, I meant to say, "returning them to nature."
This is apparently what passes for sophisticated urban planning these days.
Here are key paragraphs from Leonard's story. Especially note the breathtaking anti-progress hostility of the idea's champion (bolds are mine; Getty picture at top right is from that story):
There is little argument that the British press is doing a better job than its U.S. counterparts covering the Obama administration's less than perfect performance.
If the reactions of Nile Gardiner and James Delingpole at the UK Telegraph to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs's blanket criticism of British journalism are any indication, UK reporters are also more willing to stand up for themselves instead of filing toothless complaints and letting veiled threats go by without blowback.
First, via Howard Kurtz, here's the fine whine from Associated Press reporter, President of the White House Correspondents' Association, and Democratic operative Jennifer Loven about the Obama administration's penchant for anonymous, "on background" briefings:
Those of us seeking truth in reporting, especially the inconvenient truths about a Democratic presidential administration, are re-learning the lessons of the Clinton Era:
First, that the "newspapers of record," the Associated Press, and the major TV networks (except Fox) are usually the last places you want to go to learn what's really going on, and the first place to visit if you want a rendition of the Democratic-left wing party line.
Second, that some of the best reporting and fact-checking can be found in editorials at the Wall Street Journal and Investors Business Daily.
Third, that the many of the British papers will dig up and expose administration-embarrassing news most of America's newsprint apparatchiks will bury if they find them, and ignore if they can.
In 2009, there is a fourth lesson, which is that much of the investigative reporting vacuum created by the establishment media is being filled by the center-right blogosphere.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is very upset that Lesson Three is again in force, and made his displeasure known (HT Politico) in reaction to a UK Telegraph report alleging that photos from the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq "include images of apparent rape and sexual abuse":
Here are the first two paragraphs of Toyota Motor Corporation's press release announcing its financial results for the year ended March 31, 2009 (most Japanese companies end their fiscal years on March 31; bolds are mine):
Tokyo - TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION (TMC) today announced operating results for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2009.
On a consolidated basis, net revenues for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2009 totaled 20.53 trillion yen, a decrease of 21.9 percent compared to the last fiscal year. Operating income decreased from 2.27 trillion yen to a loss of 461 billion yen, and income before income taxes, minority interest and equity in earnings of affiliated companies was a loss of 560.4 billion yen. Net income decreased from 1.72 trillion yen to a loss of 437 billion yen.
Across the board, the financial press reports I read translated the company's reported losses expressed in yen into dollars ($4.4 billion in $US for the year, and $7.7 billion in the fourth quarter), but not its revenues (about $207 billion and $35 billion, respectively).
One would think that The New York Times is purposefully putting American's in harm's way with its latest travel section vacation suggestion. If it isn't doing it on purpose, it certainly is acting almost criminally negligent over its reader's safety abroad. Back on March 22, the Times suggested that Americans vacation in Deptford, one of England's most dangerous, crime infested areas. And why would the Times want to send Americans into such a seedy and dangerous place? Because it's "hip," man. What else?
The suggestion by the NYTimes for American tourists to visit Deptford brought all manners of jaw-dropping, guffaws from the British press this week. The disbelief is thick over there because Deptford has some of the highest crimes stats in the country -- the tenth most violent according to Britain's Home Office -- and Britons simply cannot fathom why The New York Times would willingly send Americans unawares into the heart of such violence and crime.
Is there something in the tea over there, or do British movie critics imagine commentary on American politics is actually part of their job description?
Two years ago I noted how at least two British reviewers, James Christopher and Leo Lewis, panned "Spider-Man 3." Christopher lamented the "Sunday School morality" and "the inevitable flash of the American flag" while Lewis labeled as "disappointing... the inability of the director, Sam Raimi, to end the romp without a fleeting shot of the American flag."
Today, Times Online reviewer Debra Craine decided to timidly go where other hacks have gone before. From the penultimate paragraph from Craine's April 21 review of the upcoming "Star Trek" prequel (h/t separate e-mail tips from NB readers Jake Mathon and Charles Lovell):
Andrew Bolt has a fine takedown of The Age newspaper in Australia's Herald Sun today, April 17. It details quite nicely that not just the U.S. media is wallowing in leftwing "group think." His is headlined "Picture is kiss of death for George Bush prejudice" and lays out the complete lack of historical research of even recent events perpetrated by The Age newspaper in its unthinking assumptions of what President Bush did or didn't do over the last eight years re foreign policy. Naturally, The Age falls all over itself in support of the leftist messiah, Obama.
Bolt details the erroneous claims by The Age and refutes them with the facts. The Age claimed it was "unimaginable" that Bush could ever have "kissed" any Muslim foreign leaders, as Obama recently did to the Turkish leader, appearing to imagine that such an intimate gesture would have solved all the world's problems. Bolt points to the photo of Bush kissing the current King of Saudi Arabia to prove The Age wrong.
On Monday, the UK's Evening Standard, at its "This Is London" site, matter-of-factly noted the following in the final sentence of its report about President Obama's upcoming European trip (bold is mine):
Accompanying the party will be a total of 500 officials including kitchen staff, 35 vehicles in all, four speech writers and 12 teleprompters.
This more than vindicates yours truly's "President 'Prompter" appellation.
They could even tell good jokes and break news at the same time. As has so often been the case with Obama's gaffes and myriad foibles, the US media establishment has been nearly unanimous in ignoring the Standard's teleprompter tidbit.
There is plenty of evidence that many environmental activists are, at bottom, dangerous extremists who have deluded themselves into believing that the earth's population must be radically reduced if humanity is to survive. There is also growing evidence that this far-out viewpoint is more widely accepted among so-called mainstream environmentalists than the establishment media would have us believe.
Occasionally, these views surface. Ted Turner, father of five, infamously asserted the need to reduce the earth's population to 2 billion about a decade ago. He also expressed a stronger personal preference: "Personally, I think the population should be closer to when we had indigenous populations, back before the advent of farming. Fifteen thousand years ago, there was somewhere between 40 and 100 million people." In the early 1990s, the late Jacques Cousteau suggested that "World population must be stabilized and to do that we must eliminate 350,000 people per day." More recently, though less famously, at a Psychology Today blog, writer Stephen Kotter asserted "we need to lose 4.4 billion people and we need to lose them fast."
But I don't recall seeing an adviser to a government as prominent as the UK's Jonathon Porritt publicly utter such sentiments. But utter them he has. The UK Times Online took note on March 22:
The new policy, according to a senior State Department official, places elevated priority on standing up the Afghan government's fledgling civilian capabilities to deliver public services and establish its authority throughout the country.
Here's how award-winning British cartoonist Peter Brookes depicted this new strategy at the Times:
Keiser appeared on Al-Jazeera English's March 27 "Inside Story" to discuss the possibilities of a global currency. Host Darren Jordon asked Keiser about the pitfalls of converting to a global currency and Keiser used it as an opportunity to launch into an anti-American diatribe.
"Well, the pitfalls are for the U.S.," Keiser said. "The U.S. has what [former French President Charles] de Gaulle called an extraordinary privilege - they can write checks that they never have to cash. They just print new dollars. This has been going on since Bretton Woods at the end of World War II."
If the snub of British PM Gordon Brown at the hands of President Obama and his wife weren't enough, now British Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell is saying that Downing Street is finding it "unbelievably difficult" to get hold of officials from Obama's administration. British officials can't seem to ever get past the administration's answer machines as they call here to try and coordinate plans for the coming G20 summit.
In frustration O'Donnell said that that when he tries to get in touch with key members of Obama's Treasury Department "there is nobody there." The phones ring and nobody answers or they get messages and that is all. "You cannot believe how difficult it is," O'Donnell told participants at a civil service conference.
While the Obama Administration ducks the Brit's phone calls, the U.S. media also seems to be ignoring this story as they've widely ignored several of the stories that detail the new administration's offhanded treatment of our closest ally.
You would think that a proposal for the government to radically extend its involvement in health care would motivate reporters to investigate how it's working out in other countries. You would be wrong.
Mark Levin bought this matter up on his show Thursday. His web site's home page (near the bottom left) points to a post at Liberty-Page.com, where there are compilations of dozens of articles on how socialized medicine is not working out well in Britain, Canada, and elsewhere.
Though it's still early in year, the Liberty-Page site cites no reports from either country during 2009. This leads to the question of how difficult it would be to find more recent examples.
The answer is "very easy," despite the fact that British and Canadian news organizations have traditionally tended to treat their countries' socialized systems as sancrosanct.
Looking at just one country, here are just six relevant results from the past three weeks obtained from a Google News search on "NHS BBC" (not in quotes):
First, the bad news: James Hansen, head of NASA's the Goddard Institute of Space Studies is still bloviating about the catastrophes that await us because of what yours truly and others refer to as globaloney (the belief that the earth is dangerously warming, that human activity is the cause of the warming, and that radical steps that would cause huge reductions in standards of living around the world are required to save the planet from extinction). Reporter Robin McKie carries Hansen's latest "we'd better act or else" warning at the UK Guardian.
The hopefully good news is that Hansen's warning is thus far getting very light press coverage. A 9:45 a.m. Google News search done on "Hansen climate" (not in quotes) for January 16-18 came back with all of 24 items (the first page of results says there are 267, but there are really only 24.
Here are the first five paragraphs of McKie's article, if you can bear reading them (bolds after title are mine):
President 'has four years to save Earth' US must take the lead to avert eco-disaster
But will it survive being labeled a major source of CO2 "pollution"?
We may soon find out. As reported in the UK Times Online, a Harvard scientist claims to have estimated the so-called carbon footprint of Google searches -- and it's not small. During the course of their article, reporters Jonathan Leake and Richard Woods use language the press usually reserves for conservatives and "evil" businesspersons:
This post follows up on last night's NewsBusters post ("They Never Learn: CNN Withdraws Apparently Faked Video of CPR Attempt on 'Dead' Palestinian Child").
CNN has reposted a video it withdrew yesterday. That video purports to show the death and hasty burial of a cameraman's 12 year-old younger brother, one of two children allegedly killed on the roof of their home in rocket fire from an Israeli drone.
Correction (Feb. 10, 2009): Corrected from original reporting attributing AP and Getty with the photo editing. In fact it was ABCNews.com, not AP or Getty Images that overlaid the Bush photo on the Gaza rubble photo. AP and Getty Images supplied the respective photos. Thanks to the folks at StinkyJournalism.org for pointing out the error.
I guess, since flat-out fauxtography as practiced in 2006 in the Middle East has become so difficult, and has been shown as likely to be detected, that the press has decided to go with "creative" image placement to do the dirty work that must be done to create sympathy for Hamas and antipathy towards President Bush and the United States.
For "some reason," the editors at ABCNews.com placed President Bush's image at its bottom right. The photo compilation (shown above) accompanied a report by Miguel Marquez and Simon McGregor-Wood that appears to have also run on the network's "World News" program.
The wreckage in the photo purports to be "the destroyed house of Hamas leader of Nizar Rayan following an Israeli air strike the day before in Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip" (given the state of reporting out of the region, one never knows for sure).
There is no good reason for Mr. Bush's picture to be included, since:
The video purports to show the death and hasty burial of a cameraman's 12 year-old younger brother, one of two children allegedly killed on the roof of their home in rocket fire from an Israeli drone.
A seemingly pretty knowledgeable LGF commenter spotted what many inexpert readers who see the video will also catch (bolds are mine):
I’m no military expert, but I am a doctor, and this video is bullsh-t. The chest compressions that were being performed at the beginning of this video were absolutely, positively fake. The large man in the white coat was NOT performing CPR on that child. He was just sort of tapping on the child’s sternum a little bit with his fingers. You can’t make blood flow like that. Furthermore, there’s no point in doing chest compressions if you’re not also ventilating the patient somehow.
Earlier today, Christopher Booker at the UK Telegraph noted a "surreal scientific blunder," followed by an attempted cover-up, that should cause everyone to question the source's past and future credibility.
The source of the shoddy work is NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), the outfit run by world champion globalarmist James Hansen. Hansen has in the past stated that "heads of major fossil-fuel companies who spread disinformation about global warming should be 'tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.'"
What Booker reports causes one to wonder what the appropriate punishment should be for committing drop-dead obvious errors and integrity-lacking follow-up.
Part of the punishment is surely the Telegraph's delicious headline, followed by Booker's criticism (bolds are mine):