Friday, July 30, 2010

Arizona versus White House - States Rights versus Big Government - You Decide!


It is a classic battle in the history of America and one that began with the debate over the original Constitution by our Founding Fathers. Do we want a centralized federal government or a government where state government is the primary instrument of the people with the federal government doing only what states could not do?

Time and again the argument has been settled by the people deciding that a centralized federal government was no what the people wanted as it would always be a threat to the Bill of Rights, the individual freedoms of the people and the system of capitalism that has made America great, and yes different, than the rest of the world.

After failing to push a centralized, socialist agenda in the 1700's the post depression period of the 1930's and Franklin Roosevelt's aggressive New Deal added fuel to the debate with a dramatic increase in power and control by the federal government. In time the state's rights advocates finally got a number of New Deal initiatives shot down by the courts and an uneasy balance between encroaching socialism and individualism was maintained.

Then came the 1960's period of social unrest fueled by the unpopular Viet Nam war and President Johnson and his Great Society again pushed the socialist, centralized agenda. Almost as soon as it was approved it started to lose the faith of the people and along came President Nixon and then President Reagan pushing New Federalism, a reversal of federal centralization and return to state's rights.

I was involved in both efforts and was a member of the New Federalism Task Force under Nixon that the New York Times called the most successful effort since Roosevelt's New Deal to reverse the balance of government power and return control to the states.

Now along comes President Obama and once again he is pushing the agenda of central government control and domination over all aspects of our lives, a thinly disguised effort to resurrect the socialism of the last century. Such a mindset centered upon the principle of redistribution of wealth along with the elimination of individual rights and initiative long ago proved to be ill-designed and unsuccessful over the long term as experiments in Europe, Russia and other parts of the world have proven.

Two recent actions by Obama have confirmed his commitment to the federal social management underlying his agenda of change for America. The Obama administration has blasted the state of Arizona for passing their own immigration bill to protect their own border and citizens and then went to federal court to deny Arizona their right to protect their people.

This action was taken by the administration in spite of the universal acknowledgment by everyone, friends and foes alike, that our federal immigration laws do not work. At least 13 million illegal immigrants are in our country using services and taking jobs meant for our own citizens. Arizona has suffered more than any other state because of this federal failure yet Obama challenges one of our own states.

Ironically, numerous other states have entered the case as a friend of Arizona while numerous other foreign countries have entered the case as a friend of the Obama administration. One wonders why only foreign governments agree with Obama while our states, and the general public according to all polls, agree with the state of Arizona.

The second case is the oil drilling moratorium Obama imposed on the Gulf, claiming it only impacted on the deep water drilling like the BP oil leak. Well he was wrong as the issuance of all oil drilling permits in the Gulf have been slowed down, including shallow water drilling permits, because the Obama administration is obsessed with proving a point and has focused all resources on stopping the exploration for oil.

As for the merits of the case, the action was thrown out by the federal courts as unjustified and a gross over-reaction by the Administration. Remember, it was the Obama administration that approved the permit and emergency plans for the BP well so who was really at fault for the disaster? After the court action Obama filed another moratorium to block the drilling and ignore the court action.

The state of Louisiana and other Gulf states say the drilling ban is unnecessary, is blocking legitimate shallow water drilling, and is causing the loss of thousands of jobs in the Gulf Coast for no reason. Well there is a reason, it is called ignoring the courts and congress and pushing a socialist centralized agenda.

So the administration has taken action to strip the states of their ability to protect the public safety and jobs as well as the future economic health and development of our states. More important, these actions have been taken in spite of the refusal of congress to agree and the actions of the courts to reject the actions of the administration.

In America we have three branches of the federal government with equal powers to act as a check and balance on each other. No more. In America the rights of the states have been protected by the congress and the courts for 234 years, but not any more.

Maybe the public needs to send another message to Washington. Maybe the White House does not understand that governors know a lot more about local problems than the federal government. Maybe the Administration needs to be reminded that creeping socialism is still socialism and long ago we made clear that America is the land of the free, not the home of those who reject individual and states rights in order to implement the new look of a socialist system where everone looks and acts the same.


Obama Presidential Spending Spree Continues - Despite Denials $4.45 million spent on polls


It is a time worn mantra of the White House regardless of who is sitting behind the Oval Office desk, that the president does not pay attention to polls but does what is right for the country. Do you buy that?

Both president Obama and press secretary Gibbs have consistently denigrated the media for having an obsession with political polls to measure the mood of the public. Their denials of being influenced by the polls makes for good political fodder but the truth tells an entirely different story.

Thanks to work by the Center for Responsive Politics the Obama White House has SHATTERED THE RECORD for presidential spending on polls, spending channeled through the Democratic National Committee that is the chief beneficiary of Obama fund raising efforts.

The Obama gang has spent an astounding $4.45 million on polls performed by seven different companies in just the first 18 months in office. During the same time period the Republican National Committee spent just $1 million on polls.

For comparison, during the first 18 months George Bush was president the RNC spent about $2.3 million, about half of the Obama expenditures. It is one thing to admit to spending the money, but the White House publicly scorns polls so there is no admission. Truth is a much harder pill to swallow.

Two White House aides, Rahm Emanuel, Chief of Staff, and David Axelrod, Political Director, are obsessed with polling and market research according to NBC White House reporter Chuck Todd but both have cleverly avoided making any statements about polls.

Of course there are no laws being broken since Obama attends $34,000 per ticket fund raisers for the DNC to pay the bills but isn't it about time they at least be honest with the people? Breaking spending records is a hallmark of the Obama administration while presiding over the worst economic crisis in our history ever since he spent nearly ONE BILLION DOLLARS to be elected president.

Rather than deny the polls are being ordered by and circulated throughout the White House, just admit it and then read them and perhaps they will finally understand the pulse of the general public who are mad, upset with the direction of the country, and feel alienated by the White House.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Obama's Disconnect with the American Public - Barack and Michelle continue spending spree


Though the White House is trying to say the president's appearance on the View, the ABC talk show blabber fest that airs in the afternoon, was good public relations, it was just one of many things the White House would just a soon we didn't talk about as the schedule of the president and first lady continue to baffle experts and agitate the public.

You see, hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent every time the Obama clan decide to indulge a little at the taxpayers' expense. After his love fest with the girls on the View which is supposed to make up for the fact he has refused to hold a real news conference for months, he quietly attended two quite private fundraisers in NYC where people paid over $34,000 each to meet the president. So he slams the Supreme Court for allowing campaign contributions then books fund raisers from coast to coast to take advantage of the campaign laws he claims to deplore.

First was a fundraiser at the top-dollar Four Seasons hotel. The second of the two events was at the Greenwich Village home of Anna Wintour, the celebrity editor-in-chief of the American Vogue magazine who was the inspiration for the imperious fashion editor of the movie “The Devil Wears Prada.”

Administration aides said each event drew about 50 people but they provided little other information, including the identities of the attendees, and reporters accompanying the president were not allowed inside because Mr. Obama was not making a speech. While Mr. Obama and his recent predecessors typically have allowed reporters inside fundraisers for a short time, usually when the president delivers remarks to the assembled contributors, the Obama camp has adopted a policy of excluding reporters when he merely mingles with the monied crowd.

According to the deputy press secretary, Bill Burton, he told reporters on Air Force One that Mr. Obama is simply doing “what a president traditionally does, which is helping to raise money for the campaign season.”

Asked about the contrast between Mr. Obama’s afternoon stop with small business owners at a well-known Edison, N.J., sandwich shop, the Tastee Sub Shop, and his Manhattan evening with the rich and famous, Mr. Burton said, “Today is one of those days where he’s wearing a couple of different hats.”

While Obama was hobnobbing with the NYC elite plans by his wife, Michelle, for yet another summer vacation were being disclosed. Now remember on the weekend of Aug. 14, the first family weekends on the Florida Gulf coast, part of an appeal by President Obama and the first lady to encourage gulf tourism in the wake of the BP oil spill. Between Aug. 19 and 29, the first family will vacation on Martha's Vineyard, where they spent part of last summer.

The summer started with a Memorial Day weekend trip to Chicago; the family went to the Camp David presidential retreat before July 4; they weekended in Maine, sightseeing in Acadia National Park, departing on July 16 and returning Sunday afternoon July 18. Mrs. Obama took her daughters and her mom, Marian Robinson, to Los Angeles in June. In March, over spring break, Mrs. Obama with her daughters, mom and some pals hit New York for a round of Broadway shows.

Not cognizant that the masses have already blacked her out of mind, Mrs. Barack Obama has put a media blackout on her latest holiday but word has leaked out that without the president she has still scheduled 40-room reservations for herself, daughter, friends and bodyguards at a five-star hotel in Benahavis, Spain. Most already realize that Michelle’s Girls Night Out holiday in Spain serves as resting up time for the 10-day holiday she will spend on Martha’s Vineyard next month.

It was not the White House but the Spanish press that revealed she will be going to the upscale southern Spanish resort city of Benahavis near Marbella. As for the 30-40 rooms for "friends and staff", the exclusive Spanish hotel room rates are $2,859 a night. Of course there are the Air force jets and Secret Service expenses plus her personal staff, limos and you know the rest that should pump a few hundred thousand dollars into the Spanish economy when our Gulf coast is going broke. But the Obama family will be spending a weekend in Florida.

The globe trotting, jet setting Obama's seem to think Broadway plays, concerts in the White House by famous artists, weeks in Cape Cod and lavish parties at taxpayer expense are part of the perks of office yet no previous president has made such an effort to get away from America and impress the world, especially in tough economic times. Even George Bush used to go to his ranch in Texas to get away.

His campaign demonstrated that Obama was the best candidate money could buy at a cost of nearly one billion dollars and his presidency is demonstrating that common sense and good judgment still seem to be lacking by these so called community organizers from Chicago.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

America is Alright - In Spite of the Political Follies


As we brace ourselves for the fall elections and the national referendum on the Obama, Pelosi and Reid agenda there seems to be a ray of light shining on the people of America. Make no mistake, there is a lot of pain and suffering amongst the citizens but once again America has survived the politicians and the news media and will be just fine thank you very much.

Long ago astute politicians learned that America is not reflected by what happens inside the nation's beltway but in the cities and towns far removed from the Washington hype and egos. What is happening in those towns and cities is a far cry from the doom and gloom out of Washington and reported by the so called news media of Washington and New York.

In state after state people are forcing local politicians to make the hard choices about spending and taxes that seem foreign to the Washington politicians. Cut spending, balance the budgets and stimulate jobs are the priorities of Main Street and while the Washington politicians give token mention to these issues their performance unveils the hypocrisy and deceit of politics in America.

Pelosi pledges to drain the swamp in Washington of corruption while protecting the biggest corrupter in modern history, Charles Rangel, who headed the powerful Ways and Means Committee under Pelosi while under investigation for dozens of tax fraud and corruption charges. Right now a deal is being made to sweep the Rangel mischief under the carpet in order to protect the Democratic leadership and candidates from being caught up in the wave of corruption dominating Washington.

Obama pledges to fix our economy while relentlessly pursuing a spending agenda that has already generated the greatest increase in national debt in our history. This week he told fellow liberals he is not satisfied with the progress to date on social issues and will intensity his efforts to secure a liberal agenda to change America forever.

Nor is he satisfied with expanding Big Brother to dominate every aspect of our national agenda though he has already forfeited the independence of banks, insurance companies, the financial community, the health care industry, the auto industry, the oil industry and others in pursuit of the socialist dream of the redistribution of wealth among the classes.

His agenda was modeled from social experiments of the past that have been proven failures and in spite of widespread public opposition to his social agenda and his commitment to centralized government and federal control of every aspect of our lives, he seems blinded to the reality and indifferent to the will of the public.

Well Mr. President, if we wanted to give up our rights and freedoms in order to redistribute wealth and pander to socialism we would have voted to change the Constitution but that did not happen. Americans like the America our forefathers gave us, not the machine made, pattern stamped, assembly line mindless society you want us to be.

Our freedom comes first. Every day our young men and women in uniform are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan to protect our way of life and you are not going to sacrifice their lives while sacrificing the American freedoms and Constitutional rights they are willing to die for to protect and the lives that many generations of Americans have already given so we might enjoy the fruits of individual freedom.

No, America has always survived the whims of the politicians and the efforts of the media to convince us there is a better way than what we have fought for and defended for over 234 years. We know the game you play and we know how to protect ourselves from falling into the traps you set. Come November 2 you will finally learn the truth. I hope you are ready for the message you will receive from Main Street via the most effective communication tool we have, the ballot of a free people.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Rays of Sunlight in the Dark Clouds of America's Future - Boy Scouts and Ford Motors Light the Way!


If you are like me you are desperately searching for ways to find glimmers of hope in the near future of our nation and the politicians and news media are not letting us do that but in spite of the nasty political climate and the partisanship and polarization used by the politicians and media to keep the spotlight on themselves for ratings and re-election purposes, there still may be hope.

You see, unbeknownst to those people inside the beltway in Washington, DC and the media hanging on their every word, there is a whole America outside the beltway that is too busy rebuilding our country to get caught up in the hysteria of politics. People have always been a lot smarter than the elitists in politics and the media.

There are still values and hopes that are maintained by the average American that are far stronger than our political leadership in Washington. There is still a force in the real heartland of America that says we will survive in spite of what the politicians and media tell us. Every day they go about the business of building up our nation rather than tearing it down.

For example, this week the Boy Scouts of America celebrate their 100th anniversary and 45,000 scouts will converge at their camp in Virginia for a week while 275,000 more people will come to the national celebration to enjoy the youth or our nation as they show off the citizenship, survival and physical attributes we will need in our future leaders.

Most baby boomers in America like myself were part of the Cub Scout and Boy Scout programs and have a lot of fond memories of what we learned and experienced. For instance in my case about a dozen fellow Scouts and I survived getting caught in a frigid blizzard in Iowa in below zero temperatures for the night. Without the survival training from scouts we would have been dead.

In high school the same group took it upon themselves to recruit friends and spend several years cleaning up an old abandoned lake making it into a beach, park and family campground area which to this day is a popular summer recreation area. We didn't need to be paid for doing this, nor did we expect someone else to do it for us. When we were through we turned it over to the town for all citizens to share. Those are the kind of citizenship lessons we learned from the Scouts.

Then there is the case of the most famous car maker in America and the world, Ford Motor Company. The oldest American car company to survive over a century Ford is 107years old this year and while still controlled by the Ford family it is run by CEO Alan Mulally, without a doubt one of the greatest business executives in American history.

In 2006, just before the worldwide economic meltdown, Mulally stunned the business world by leading Ford to mortgage most of their assets and raise over $24 billion in order to redesign the entire Ford business model and redesign the entire Ford fleet of autos and trucks for the future. As the world economy collapsed Ford was busy implementing a new business model and as major competitors like GM and Chrysler were falling into bankruptcy and had to be bailed out by Obama and the federal government Ford was the sole survivor to not ask for government help.

Today Ford stands alone in it's ability to compete with Japanese rivals like Honda and Toyota and is years ahead of GM and other competitors in modernizing the business, adopting to stricter environmental changes and offering new and redesigned cars and trucks for the future no thanks to the government.

As NBC market analyst Jim Cramer said in an article this morning:

"After looking at this Ford quarter--looking at the cash position, the capitalization structure--I can only marvel at witnessing the greatest single turnaround in American business history. What Alan Mulally has done is nothing short of miraculous.

While his two competitors, with the same cost burdens and the same unions, sputtered and died, Mulally turned his company into what will no doubt be the largest and most profitable auto company on earth. His "Profitable Growth for All" path, PGA for the cognoscenti, delivered $2.6 billion in profits, even as all we hear about is Great Recession, no employment growth, double-dip and uncertain times.

Who knows how much this man can make for shareholders if things get better? While the common is up nicely, the company's fixed-income securities are soaring because soon his financing arm will be minting money from low rates and big car sales.

Ford could have easily slipped under like the rest of them. But from the moment Mulally came on, after engineering the second-greatest turnaround at Boeing, he addressed the capital structure by raising money when it could be raised. He's brilliant about financing, too, as GM was so confident it didn't need to raise money. He saved the company."

Beyond saving Ford as the last independent car company in America Mulally is the premiere cheerleader for leading America out of the recession and back to the top as a world economic leader. If our politicians and news media would tell his story instead of feeding us a constant diet of doom and gloom it would be a much more hopeful and optimistic world.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Campaign 2010 - Partisanship, Polarization, Prejudice and Politics in the News Media


After the pathetic display of news media favoritism toward Barack Obama in our last election, what can we expect in the 2010 midterm election from the media? No doubt the four cardinal sins of the media will be prevalent, the partisanship, polarization, prejudice and politics we have come to expect from a media that can only see through rose colored glasses.

Expect more of the same except some of the liberal media will be inclined to attack the president and his cohorts in congress who got us into the morass we find ourselves as Obama completes his second year in office. As the public opinion of congress and Obama continue a freefall reaching levels never before seen as far as congress, with just 11% of the people having confidence in our elected officials, serious danger is on the horizon.

Encouraged by the ludicrous journalism from the mainstream and cable news media our politicians seem more than eager to jump into the mood set by the media where separating fact from fiction becomes more of a challenge every day. Rather than try to figure out who is telling the truth, the polls indicate the public thinks just about everyone in politics and the media lies, a sad commentary on two of our institutions, one elected to help people and the other that is supposed to be the watchdog for the people.

It's really no surprise this is happening, the White House set the tone early promising transparency, fairness and bi-partisanship but quickly forgetting the promise and returning to the politics of blaming Bush for all the problems, the Republicans for not agreeing with them on policy changes, and even the conservative media for questioning the big government, big spending and even bigger deficits that were a result of the Obama agenda.

In spite of the enormous majority the Democrats and Obama enjoyed, there were never quite enough votes to force his agenda down the throats of congress and he could not seem to get over being challenged every step of the way. But then what should a president expect from the minority party?

Just because his campaign was fortunate enough, thanks to the dominant media support, to hide his lack of experience as well as his choice of Washington insiders for staff though promising a new way of doing business, it was only a matter of time before the truth would become obvious.

So 18 months into his presidency Obama remains a partisan and polarizing force frustrated by lack of support and the inability to see his policies have much impact on the huge problems facing Americans. The two legislative initiatives, health care reform and financial regulation will have no impact on the nation before the election and probably minimal impact by the 2012 election as they are monster bills of over 2000 pages requiring years of drafting new regulations and neither will be fully implemented, if ever, until long after his presidency.

Thus the Democratic majority sense their own futures to be limited because of the struggling policies and agenda of the president. The success of the minority Republicans in blocking many of the priorities of the president and Democrats in the Senate in spite of their overwhelming majorities has led to bitterness and acrimony and heightened partisanship and polarization.

With the majority of the media solidly behind the president and the lingering effects of the economic and environmental disasters facing the nation, not to mention the inability to make headway in the twin wars, there is virtually no journalistic integrity leading into the elections.

Finally, the Supreme Court ruling striking down limits on campaign spending by special interests, and the huge campaign war chests already built up by the political parties and candidates, America will be drowning in a sea of negative advertising and distorted messages by the election in early November.

All signs point to huge GOP gains, perhaps even capturing control of the House and maybe even the Senate, which will lead to even more polarization after the election. This will not be a year the politicians can be proud of and may be one of the bitterest campaigns ever witnessed.

In most years the incumbents are relatively safe because of their far larger campaign funds but the Tea Party and the nasty mood of the public in not trusting politicians may alter the norm and bring about some major rebuilding of the House and Senate leadership, radical changes in committee chairmanships, and even some sweeping post election investigations should the Republicans gain control of either branch of the congress.

GOP women, thanks in some degree to Sarah Palin and the Tea Party, are poised for a historic election as there are 82 Republican women running for the House, 12 for the Senate and 10 for governorships. Look for the women to lead any Republican avalanche in the elections.

Adding to the GOP edge is the loss of independent support for the Democrats and the alienation of the Democratic base by the president meaning all the traditional special interests that support Democrats are frustrated by the lack of progress the president and congress have made on their behalf. Such a lukewarm attitude by the base means smaller Democratic turnouts on election day.

As for the public, they would be better off turning off the television, at least the network news and cable news programs, from September until after the election November 2. I cannot image finding much truth in the reporting nor much sanity in the campaign commercials. You might as well take the fall off from the Internet as well because the Internet search engines, social web sites and information sites will be inundated with campaign spam.

Whatever you do, do not take the media or politicians seriously as you will most likely be disappointed when their promises fail to materialize. That would be consistent with the election results in 2006 and 2008 so no sense getting all worked up for nothing.

Ignore the campaign shenanigans and enjoy the fall football because it might take your mind off the struggling economy. We do not need any more controversy in our lives, any more disappointment in our leaders, any more frustration in our stagnation and any more negativity in our heads.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Secret Liberal Media Site Coordinates Attacks on Conservatives, Fox News and Sarah Palin


Ever since the 2008 presidential campaign the Coltons Point Times has been pointing out the decided liberal, even left leaning liberal following favoring Barack Obama in the mainstream and cable news media. On numerous occasions we identified what appeared to be coordinated attacks by these media people on Sarah Palin, the Republicans and the conservative agenda.

More recently we have done a series of articles on the actions by MSNBC, the NBC news flagship, to demonize the Republicans and anyone who does not agree with their agenda. In particular Fox News and conservative commentators like Bill O'Rielly, Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh have been targets along with the rampant hatred against Sarah Palin.

Numerous times I wrote articles identifying distortion by the liberal media, and savage attacks far beyond what any good journalist would attempt. It always seemed there was a secret conspiracy among liberal members of the media to coordinate their reporting in order to manufacture the news.

Little did I know it was true. But a series of articles by Tucker Carlson, Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Caller, a conservative web site, has finally got to the bottom of the mystery. Somehow Tucker was able to find a secret web site in which 400 liberal media members shared information with each other on how to discredit the conservatives, Republicans and Sarah Palin in the mainstream and cable news.

The names of prominent news members from the news networks, MSNBC, CNN, National Public Radio and many other liberal establishments show up in the mountain of emails sent back and forth in a concerted and concentrated effort by these supposedly objective reporters for many of the nation's most prominent news organizations.

It will come as no surprise to those of you who follow politics but it is a tremendous disappointment to me who was always proud to be a member of the press and journalism corps and believed these media institutions should have maintained a higher standard.

The following is a story by Tucker Carlson and a previous story by Jonathan Strong exposing the secret liberal media site called "Journolist" that served as the meeting ground by those dedicated to using the news media to advance a very narrow liberal agenda and to distort the news to help Obama.

Daily Caller

Letter from Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson on The Daily Caller’s Journolist coverage

By Tucker Carlson - The Daily Caller | Published: 3:54 PM 07/22/2010 | Updated: 4:41 PM 07/22/2010

We began our series on Journolist earlier this week with the expectation that our stories would be met with a fury of criticism from the Left. A hurt dog barks, after all.

The response hasn’t been all that furious, actually, probably because there isn’t much for the exposed members of Journolist to say. We caught them. They’re ashamed. The wise ones are waiting for the tempest to pass.

There have, however, been two lines of argument that we probably ought to respond to, if only because they may harden into received wisdom if we don’t. The first is that our pieces have proved only that liberal journalists have liberal views, and that’s hardly news.

To be clear: We’re not contesting the right of anyone, journalist or not, to have political opinions. (I, for one, have made a pretty good living expressing mine.) What we object to is partisanship, which is by its nature dishonest, a species of intellectual corruption. Again and again, we discovered members of Journolist working to coordinate talking points on behalf of Democratic politicians, principally Barack Obama. That is not journalism, and those who engage in it are not journalists. They should stop pretending to be. The news organizations they work for should stop pretending, too.

The second line of attack we’ve encountered since we began the series is familiar to anyone who has ever published a piece whose subject didn’t like the finished product: “You quoted me out of context!”

The short answer is, no we didn’t. I edited the first four stories myself, and I can say that our reporter Jonathan Strong is as meticulous and fair as anyone I have worked with.

That assurance won’t stop the attacks, of course. So why don’t we publish whatever portions of the Journolist archive we have and end the debate? Because a lot of them have no obvious news value, for one thing. Gather 400 lefty reporters and academics on one listserv and it turns out you wind up with a strikingly high concentration of bitchiness. Shocking amounts, actually. So while it might be amusing to air threads theorizing about the personal and sexual shortcomings of various New Republic staffers, we’ve decided to pull back.

Plus, a lot of the material on Journolist is actually pretty banal. In addition to being partisan hacks, a lot of these guys turn out to be pedestrian thinkers. Disappointing.

We reserve the right to change our minds about this in the future, but for now there’s an easy solution to this question: Anyone on Journolist who claims we quoted him “out of context” can reveal the context himself. Every member of Journolist received new threads from the group every day, most of which are likely still sitting in Gmail accounts all over Washington and New York. So feel free to try to prove your allegations, or else stop making them.

One final note: Editing this series has been something of a depressing experience for me. I’ve been in journalism my entire adult life, and have often defended it against fellow conservatives who claim the news business is fundamentally corrupt. It’s harder to make that defense now. It will be easier when honest (and, yes, liberal) journalists denounce what happened on Journolist as wrong.

Documents show media plotting to kill stories about Rev. Jeremiah Wright
By Jonathan Strong - The Daily Caller | Published: 1:15 AM 07/20/2010 | Updated: 1:56 AM 07/21/2010

Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., pastor of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ and former pastor of Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., addresses a breakfast gathering at the National Press Club in Washington, Monday, April 28, 2008. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

It was the moment of greatest peril for then-Sen. Barack Obama’s political career. In the heat of the presidential campaign, videos surfaced of Obama’s pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, angrily denouncing whites, the U.S. government and America itself. Obama had once bragged of his closeness to Wright. Now the black nationalist preacher’s rhetoric was threatening to torpedo Obama’s campaign.

The crisis reached a howling pitch in mid-April, 2008, at an ABC News debate moderated by Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos. Gibson asked Obama why it had taken him so long – nearly a year since Wright’s remarks became public – to dissociate himself from them. Stephanopoulos asked, “Do you think Reverend Wright loves America as much as you do?”

Watching this all at home were members of Journolist, a listserv comprised of several hundred liberal journalists, as well as like-minded professors and activists. The tough questioning from the ABC anchors left many of them outraged. “George [Stephanopoulos],” fumed Richard Kim of the Nation, is “being a disgusting little rat snake.”

Others went further. According to records obtained by The Daily Caller, at several points during the 2008 presidential campaign a group of liberal journalists took radical steps to protect their favored candidate. Employees of news organizations including Time, Politico, the Huffington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Guardian, Salon and the New Republic participated in outpourings of anger over how Obama had been treated in the media, and in some cases plotted to fix the damage.

In one instance, Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independent urged his colleagues to deflect attention from Obama’s relationship with Wright by changing the subject. Pick one of Obama’s conservative critics, Ackerman wrote, “Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists.”

Michael Tomasky, a writer for the Guardian, also tried to rally his fellow members of Journolist: “Listen folks–in my opinion, we all have to do what we can to kill ABC and this idiocy in whatever venues we have. This isn’t about defending Obama. This is about how the [mainstream media] kills any chance of discourse that actually serves the people.”

“Richard Kim got this right above: ‘a horrible glimpse of general election press strategy.’ He’s dead on,” Tomasky continued. “We need to throw chairs now, try as hard as we can to get the call next time. Otherwise the questions in October will be exactly like this. This is just a disease.”

(In an interview Monday, Tomasky defended his position, calling the ABC debate an example of shoddy journalism.)

Thomas Schaller, a columnist for the Baltimore Sun as well as a political science professor, upped the ante from there. In a post with the subject header, “why don’t we use the power of this list to do something about the debate?” Schaller proposed coordinating a “smart statement expressing disgust” at the questions Gibson and Stephanopoulos had posed to Obama.

“It would create quite a stir, I bet, and be a warning against future behavior of the sort,” Schaller wrote.
Tomasky approved. “YES. A thousand times yes,” he exclaimed.

The members began collaborating on their open letter. Jonathan Stein of Mother Jones rejected an early draft, saying, “I’d say too short. In my opinion, it doesn’t go far enough in highlighting the inanity of some of [Gibson's] and [Stephanopoulos’s] questions. And it doesn’t point out their factual inaccuracies …Our friends at Media Matters probably have tons of experience with this sort of thing, if we want their input.”

Jared Bernstein, who would go on to be Vice President Joe Biden’s top economist when Obama took office, helped, too. The letter should be “Short, punchy and solely focused on vapidity of gotcha,” Bernstein wrote.

In the midst of this collaborative enterprise, Holly Yeager, now of the Columbia Journalism Review, dropped into the conversation to say “be sure to read” a column in that day’s Washington Post that attacked the debate.

Columnist Joe Conason weighed in with suggestions. So did Slate contributor David Greenberg, and David Roberts of the website Grist. Todd Gitlin, a professor of journalism at Columbia University, helped too.

Journolist members signed the statement and released it April 18, calling the debate “a revolting descent into tabloid journalism and a gross disservice to Americans concerned about the great issues facing the nation and the world.”

The letter caused a brief splash and won the attention of the New York Times. But only a week later, Obama – and the journalists who were helping him – were on the defensive once again.

Jeremiah Wright was back in the news after making a series of media appearances. At the National Press Club, Wright claimed Obama had only repudiated his beliefs for “political reasons.” Wright also reiterated his charge that the U.S. federal government had created AIDS as a means of committing genocide against African Americans.

It was another crisis, and members of Journolist again rose to help Obama.

Chris Hayes of the Nation posted on April 29, 2008, urging his colleagues to ignore Wright. Hayes directed his message to “particularly those in the ostensible mainstream media” who were members of the list.

The Wright controversy, Hayes argued, was not about Wright at all. Instead, “It has everything to do with the attempts of the right to maintain control of the country.”

Hayes castigated his fellow liberals for criticizing Wright. “All this hand wringing about just
how awful and odious Rev. Wright remarks are just keeps the hustle going.”

“Our country disappears people. It tortures people. It has the blood of as many as one million Iraqi civilians — men, women, children, the infirmed — on its hands. You’ll forgive me if I just can’t quite dredge up the requisite amount of outrage over Barack Obama’s pastor,” Hayes wrote.

Hayes urged his colleagues – especially the straight news reporters who were charged with covering the campaign in a neutral way – to bury the Wright scandal. “I’m not saying we should all rush en masse to defend Wright. If you don’t think he’s worthy of defense, don’t defend him! What I’m saying is that there is no earthly reason to use our various platforms to discuss what about Wright we find objectionable,” Hayes said.

(Reached by phone Monday, Hayes argued his words then fell on deaf ears. “I can say ‘hey I don’t think you guys should cover this,’ but no one listened to me.”)

Katha Pollitt – Hayes’s colleague at the Nation – didn’t disagree on principle, though she did sound weary of the propaganda. “I hear you. but I am really tired of defending the indefensible. The people who attacked Clinton on Monica were prissy and ridiculous, but let me tell you it was no fun, as a feminist and a woman, waving aside as politically irrelevant and part of the vast rightwing conspiracy Paula, Monica, Kathleen, Juanita,” Pollitt said.

“Part of me doesn’t like this shit either,” agreed Spencer Ackerman, then of the Washington Independent. “But what I like less is being governed by racists and warmongers and criminals.”

Ackerman went on:

I do not endorse a Popular Front, nor do I think you need to. It’s not necessary to jump to Wright-qua-Wright’s defense. What is necessary is to raise the cost on the right of going after the left. In other words, find a rightwinger’s [sic] and smash it through a plate-glass window. Take a snapshot of the bleeding mess and send it out in a Christmas card to let the right know that it needs to live in a state of constant fear. Obviously I mean this rhetorically.

And I think this threads the needle. If the right forces us all to either defend Wright or tear him down, no matter what we choose, we lose the game they’ve put upon us. Instead, take one of them — Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists. Ask: why do they have such a deep-seated problem with a black politician who unites the country? What lurks behind those problems? This makes *them* sputter with rage, which in turn leads to overreaction and self-destruction.

Ackerman did allow there were some Republicans who weren’t racists. “We’ll know who doesn’t deserve this treatment — Ross Douthat, for instance — but the others need to get it.” He also said he had begun to implement his plan. “I previewed it a bit on my blog last week after Commentary wildly distorted a comment Joe Cirincione made to make him appear like (what else) an antisemite. So I said: why is it that so many on the right have such a problem with the first viable prospective African-American president?”

Several members of the list disagreed with Ackerman – but only on strategic grounds.

“Spencer, you’re wrong,” wrote Mark Schmitt, now an editor at the American Prospect. “Calling Fred Barnes a racist doesn’t further the argument, and not just because Juan Williams is his new black friend, but because that makes it all about character. The goal is to get to the point where you can contrast some _thing_ — Obama’s substantive agenda — with this crap.”

(In an interview Monday, Schmitt declined to say whether he thought Ackerman’s plan was wrong. “That is not a question I’m going to answer,” he said.)

Kevin Drum, then of Washington Monthly, also disagreed with Ackerman’s strategy. “I think it’s worth keeping in mind that Obama is trying (or says he’s trying) to run a campaign that avoids precisely the kind of thing Spencer is talking about, and turning this into a gutter brawl would probably hurt the Obama brand pretty strongly. After all, why vote for him if it turns out he’s not going change the way politics works?”

But it was Ackerman who had the last word. “Kevin, I’m not saying OBAMA should do this. I’m saying WE should do this.”


White House and Ag Secretary apologize - Is Sherrod going to sue for a Retirement Fund?


It seems that the White House and Agriculture Department might have just handed Shirley Sherrod a retirement gift by apologizing for discriminatory actions by the Administration. Such an apology is an admission of guilt on the part of the White House of discrimination.

They just might have apologized to the wrong person as Shirley may have much more in mind than an apology. You see, Shirley was part of a group that sued the Ag Department years ago and in 1999 a group of 16,000 Black farmers received a nearly $1 billion settlement, meaning each received about $50,000. But Shirley and her husband received an extra award for pain and suffering of $150,000 each meaning an additional $300,000.

As part of a April 14, 1999 class action case settlement, commonly known as the Pigford case, U.S. taxpayers have already offered over $1 billion in cash, non-credit awards and debt relief to almost 16,000 black farmers who claimed that they were discriminated against by USDA officials as they “farmed or attempted to farm.” In addition, USDA’s Farm Service Agency spent over $166 million on salaries and expenses on this case from 1999-2009, according to agency records.

Settlement activities on thousands of discrimination suits against the Ag Department have been a priority of the Administration as about 80,000 cases for Black farmers, which were too late for the class action or thrown out for various grounds remain and Congress may soon be asked for an additional $1.5 billion to settle the remainder of the cases. As for Shirley, how much she really will receive would require an investigation of the "debt relief" and non-credit awards she received from the settlement.

Thus Shirley has previously sued Ag for discrimination and won a few hundred thousand dollars. Now she is handed on a silver platter a sure fire discrimination suit with the admission by the Administration of discrimination and a rush to judgment. How many more millions could she win by suing again, this time with provable grounds?

Perhaps this explains why she was reluctant to accept a new position with Obama when the apology was extended. Did her previous appointment by Obama to the Ag Department have anything to do with the earlier law suit settlement which remains to be paid? Did the Administration even know she had won a discrimination case against the government?

The Pigford case raises more questions than it answers. Settling the case has been a clear example of the waste and abuse by agencies if the cost of ligation to date, over $166 million, is the real cost. The fact less than half of the case is settled, so far 16,000 claims have been settled with 80,000 more to go, shows that such discrimination claims ran rampant in the government.

Are the settlements being negotiated to bury the claims so they cannot become political issues in the upcoming elections? There was a real rush to judgment but it may be repeated with the rush to apologize before the facts and background of the previous Ag Department discrimination suits are settled.

As for the conservative blog that exposed the tape in the first place, the liberal media and NAACP who first accused Shirley of racism and called for her resignation now say they were snookered by the conservative media. What idiots! Since when did the liberal media NOT have to fact check a story before throwing around condemnations? They claim the tape was edited. Nearly every day MSNBC commentators are throwing edited tapes on the air to prove the conservatives are the evil empire out to get the leftists. More often than not such tapes are taken way out of context, then repeated over and over on the various talking head shows of MSNBC by a series of daily Democrats from Congress smearing the conservatives or Tea Party for the out of context network claims.

Truth has never been a requirement of the left. Yet they suddenly found themselves caught in a quagmire of untruths and are still looking for a way to blame their irresponsible reporting on the Republicans and the Tea Party. People are fed up with the whimpering and whining of the liberal media and the wall of distortion that comes from the Washington news corps. Long ago Main Street learned this truth and media credibility ranks right down there with Nancy Pelosi and her agenda.

The following article today by Rosslyn Smith further explains the details still missing in the Shirley Sherrod episode which may be far from over.

Forty Acres & a Mule -- Sherrod Style?
Rosslyn Smith

Shirley Sherrod's quick dismissal from the Obama administration may have had less to do with her comments on race before the NAACP than her long involvement in the aptly named Pigford case, a class action against the US government on behalf of black farmers alleging that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) had discriminated against black farmers during the period from 1983 through 1997. According to Wikipedia:

The plaintiffs settled with the government in 1999. Under the consent decree, all African American farmers would be paid a "virtually automatic" US$50,000 plus granted certain loan forgiveness and tax offsets. This process was called "Track A".[2]

Alternatively, affected farmers could follow the "Track B" process, seeking a larger payment by presenting a greater amount of evidence - the legal standard in this case was to have a preponderance of evidence along with evidence of greater damages....

At the time the case was settled, it was estimated there would be in the area of 2,000 to 3,000 claims. As with most estimates involving government handouts that number was woefully short of the mark. Again, according to Wikipedia:

22,505 "Track A" applications were heard and decided upon, of which 13,348 (59%) were approved. US$995 million had been disbursed or credited to the "Track A" applicants as of January 2009, including US$760 million disbursed as US$50,000 cash awards. Fewer than 200 farmers opted for the "Track B" process.

Beyond those applications that were heard and decided upon, about 70,000 petitions were filed late and were not allowed to proceed. Some have argued that the notice program was defective, and others blamed the farmers' attorneys for "the inadequate notice and overall mismanagement of the settlement agreement." A provision in the 2008 farm bill essentially allowed a re-hearing in civil court for any claimant whose claim had been denied without a decision that had been based on its merits

In other words, according to the number of total claims filed not only exceeded the original estimate by almost 40 to 50 times, it is close to four times the USDA's estimate of 26,785 total black owned farms in 1977! One reason for this is that the settlement applied to farmers and those who "attempted to farm" and did not receive assistance from the USDA. Getting the latest round of Pigford cases from the 2008 farm bill settled is said to be a high priority for the Obama administration.

So where does Sherrod come into this picture? In a special to the Washington Examiner, Tom Blumer explains that Sherrod and the group she formed along with family members and others, New Communities. Inc. received the largest single settlement under Pigford.

... New Communities is due to receive approximately $13 million ($8,247,560 for loss of land and $4,241,602 for loss of income; plus $150,000 each to Shirley and Charles for pain and suffering). There may also be an unspecified amount in forgiveness of debt. This is the largest award so far in the minority farmers law suit (Pigford vs Vilsack).

What makes this even more interesting to me is that Charles appears to be Charles Sherrod, who was a big player in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the early 1960s. The SNCC was the political womb that nurtured the Black Power movement and the Black Panthers before it faded away.

Blumer has some questions about this settlement and about Sherrod's rapid departure from the USDA

Was Ms. Sherrod's USDA appointment an unspoken condition of her organization's settlement?

How much "debt forgiveness" is involved in USDA's settlement with New Communities?

Why were the Sherrods so deserving of a combined $300,000 in "pain and suffering" payments -- amounts that far exceed the average payout thus far to everyone else? ($1.15 billion divided by 16,000 is about $72,000)?

Given that New Communities wound down its operations so long ago (it appears that this occurred sometime during the late 1980s), what is really being done with that $13 million in settlement money?

Here are a few bigger-picture questions:

Did Shirley Sherrod resign so quickly because the circumstances of her hiring and the lawsuit settlement with her organization that preceded it might expose some unpleasant truths about her possible and possibly sanctioned conflicts of interest?

Is USDA worried about the exposure of possible waste, fraud, and abuse in its handling of Pigford?

Did USDA also dispatch Sherrod hastily because her continued presence, even for another day, might have gotten in the way of settling Pigford matters quickly?