Friday, February 25, 2005

Russian reporters asking the tough questions of Bush that our own right wing corporate media should be asking. Bush must have been upset that the reporters were not screened for compliancy. No lobbing of softball questions here. Heh heh.

'"The regimes in place in Russia and the U.S. cannot be considered fully democratic, especially when compared to some other countries of Europe, for example — for example, the Netherlands," the Russian reporter said, his preamble taking so long that Bush pursed his lips in apparent impatience.

He then asked Bush how the "great powers that have been assumed by the security services" in the United States since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks square with democratic values.
"We could probably talk at length," the journalist said.

Bush clearly wasn't interested in that. He offered a brisk retort that democracy is doing just fine in America.'


Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The founder and editor of WorldNetDaily sounds off on the Guckert/Gannon scandal. This editorial sums it up perfectly. It's good to see that someone from the "right" can call a spade a spade and not make excuses. This further calls attention for something the White House MUST be held accountable for.

No Substitute for Real Journalism
By Joseph Farah

There are some lessons to be learned in the Jeff Gannon-Jim Guckert scandal – for the press and for the politicians.

Guckert is a right-wing political activist with a seriously compromised personal life. Somewhere along the line, he decided the best way he could make a name for himself or help spread his "conservative" political ideology was to pose as a journalist.

He got a boost from a conservative political organization that founded a faux news organization called GOP USA.

GOP USA arranged with Guckert to become its White House correspondent under a pseudonym, Jeff Gannon.

Once the organizers of GOP USA realized its very name betrayed its agenda, they hastily retooled a second sister outfit called Talon News. Guckert then apparently was able to continue seamlessly to get his daily White House press passes representing Talon News, despite using the phony name and despite the fact that he was leading a double life as a would-be purveyor of homosexual pornography and $1,200-per-weekend stud services on the Internet through now defunct websites such as Hotmilitarystuds.com, Militaryescorts.com and Meetlocalmen.com.

Maybe the reason the White House didn't mind looking the other way when it came to Gannon-Guckert was the fact that he was only too eager to lob softball questions at press conferences.
Who knows why this symbiotic relationship succeeded for as long as it did? Perhaps Gannon-Guckert knew something about people in the Bush administration. Or, perhaps some inside the Bush administration knew the truth about Gannon-Guckert. We may never know the full truth.
But the whole sordid affair illustrates just why a truly free and independent press is so vital to watchdogging government.

I have no doubts that the people who launched Gannon-Guckert in his ill-fated journalism career probably looked at the success of WorldNetDaily and said to themselves: "We can do this. Any one can start a website and claim to be a news operation, get access to government and use this platform to spread our ideology, befriend politicians we like and buy influence with politicians. It looks easy."

However, what the political activists pretending to be journalists never understood – and still do not understand to this day – is that you can't fool everyone.

WorldNetDaily has succeeded in reaching millions and influencing the rest of the media because it does not pretend. I founded WorldNetDaily only after working inside the news media doing everything one can possibly do for more than 25 years. WorldNetDaily's mission is to telling the truth – no matter whose ox is gored. WorldNetDaily hires only serious and experienced journalists with the highest standards of ethics – both in their professional lives and their personal lives.

That's the WorldNetDaily difference – something easily missed by political activists who want to hitch their wagons to the New Media trail blazed by WorldNetDaily and WorldNetDaily alone.
Oh, sure, there are other efforts. But I would submit to you that all of them have, unfortunately, more in common with the Gannon-Guckert media model than with the WorldNetDaily model.
There is no substitute for good journalism. There is no substitute for seeking the truth. There is no substitute for upholding high ethical standards. There is no substitute for fierce independence.

What the pretenders did backfired. They have hurt their own ideological cause more than they know. They have tarnished the image of the administration they championed. They have undermined the cause of the responsible New Media and the free press in America.
You might remember the
two-year fight WorldNetDaily waged to become credentialed by the Senate Press Gallery. Meanwhile, an activist organization – pretending to be a journalistic one and ensnared in personal scandal – pranced into the White House and secured access to the president of the United States.

It raises serious security questions. It raises questions of propriety. It raises questions of judgment. And it raises questions about the role of a free press in a free society.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005



The run up to the war in Iraq and what seems to be happening now with Iran have a real eerie resemblance to me. It's just eerie and I don't like it. I don't think this country is ready for more nation building... I didn't think we were with Iraq.


Monday, February 21, 2005

Here comes the draft, especially if Bush wants to invade Iran, Syria, and N. Korea.

Army Having Difficulty Meeting Goals In Recruiting

By Ann Scott Tyson

The active-duty Army is in danger of failing to meet its recruiting goals, and is beginning to suffer from manpower strains like those that have dropped the National Guard and Reserves below full strength, according to Army figures and interviews with senior officers .

For the first time since 2001, the Army began the fiscal year in October with only 18.4 percent of the year's target of 80,000 active-duty recruits already in the pipeline. That amounts to less than half of last year's figure and falls well below the Army's goal of 25 percent.

Meanwhile, the Army is rushing incoming recruits into training as quickly as it can. Compared with last year, it has cut by 50 percent the average number of days between the time a recruit signs up and enters boot camp. It is adding more than 800 active-duty recruiters to the 5,201 who were on the job last year, as attracting each enlistee requires more effort and monetary incentives.

Driving the manpower crunch is the Army's goal of boosting the number of combat brigades needed to rotate into Iraq and handle other global contingencies. Yet Army officials see worrisome signs that young American men and women -- and their parents -- are growing wary of military service, largely because of the Iraq conflict. (Duh, do you think? Don't you think people would be jumping at the chance to either send their kids or go themselves into a conflict to get maimed or die???)

"Very frankly, in a couple of places our recruiting pool is getting soft," said Lt. Gen. Franklin L. Hagenbeck, the Army's personnel chief. "We're hearing things like, 'Well, let's wait and see how this thing settles out in Iraq,' " he said in an interview. "For the active duty for '05 it's going to be tough to meet our goal, but I think we can. I think the telling year for us is going to be '06."

More at http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1802&e=2&u=/washpost/20050221/ts_washpost/a40469_2005feb20

Sunday, February 20, 2005

An interesting article analyzing our media from the UK's Observer.


Saturday, February 19, 2005

Why isn't this Gannon scandal making headlines like the Lewinsky scandal did during Clinton's tenure?

I just have to allow myself to dream for a moment...what if Gannon was hired by Rove for some extra-curricular activity and that was Gannon's "in" to the WH pressroom...what if it blew the lid off the Bush administration's "moral values" hypocrisy...That would be sooo sweet.

For more on the Gannon story, John Aravosis's blog has a wealth of info:

Rove-Gannon Connection?
WASHINGTON, Feb. 18, 2005

(CBS) Dotty Lynch is the Senior Political Editor for CBS News.

Karl Rove took a victory lap at an SRO lunch at the Conservative Political Action Committee meeting at the Ronald Reagan building in Washington on Thursday. After a glowing introduction by Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association, Rove proclaimed "conservatism as the dominant political creed in America," but warned Republicans not to get complacent or grow "tired and timid." He recalled the dark days when the Democrats were dominant and cautioned that that could happen again if they let down their guard. The new White House deputy chief of staff also called on conservatives to "seize the mantle of idealism."

Tired and timid are two adjectives never applied to Rove. The architect of the Bush victories in 2000 and 2004 came through the ranks of college Republicans with the late Lee Atwater, and their admitted and alleged dirty tricks are the legends many young political operatives dream of pulling off. So when Jeff Gannon, White House "reporter" for Talon "News," was unmasked last week, the leap to a possible Rove connection was unavoidable. Gannon says that he met Rove only once, at a White House Christmas party, and Gannon is kind of small potatoes for Rove at this point in his career.

But Rove's dominance of White House and Republican politics, Gannon's aggressively partisan work and the ease with which he got day passes for the White House press room the past two years make it hard to believe that he wasn't at least implicitly sanctioned by the "boy genius." Rove, who rarely gave on-the-record interviews to the MSM (mainstream media), had time to talk to GOPUSA, which owns Talon.

GOPUSA and Talon are both owned by Bobby Eberle, a Texas Republican and business associate of conservative direct-mail guru Bruce Eberle who says that Bobby is from the "Texas branch of the Eberle clan." Bobby Eberle told The New York Times that he created Talon to build a news service with a conservative slant and "if someone were to see 'GOPUSA,' there's an instant built-in bias there." No kidding.

Some of the real reporters in the White House pressroom were apparently annoyed at Gannon's presence and his softball, partisan questions, but considered him only a minor irritant. One told me he thought of Gannon as a balance for the opinionated liberal questions of Hearst's Helen Thomas. But what Gannon was up to was not just writing opinion columns or using a different technique to get information. He was a player in Republican campaigns and his work in the South Dakota Senate race illustrates the role he played. It is also a classic example of how political operatives are using the brave new world of the Internet and the blogosphere. Gannon and Talon News appear to be mini-Drudge reports; a "news" source which partisans use to put out negative information, get the attention of the bloggers, talk radio and then the MSM in a way that mere press releases are unable to achieve.

One of Gannon's first projects was an attempt to discredit the South Dakota Argus Leader, South Dakota's major paper, and its longtime political writer, David Kranz. According to the National Journal, which reported on this last November, Gannon wrote a series of articles in the summer of 2003 alleging that Kranz, who went to college with Democratic Sen. Tom Daschle, was not only sympathetic to him but was an actual part of the Daschle campaign. These articles then got a huge amount of play on the blogs of John Lauck and Jason Van Beek, and were picked up by other conservative sites and talk radio. The paper was bombarded with messages about its bias and acknowledges that these had an impact on its coverage.

Daschle opponent John Thune's campaign manager was Dick Wadham, an old political crony of Karl Rove's; the kind of pal Rove could ask to hire his first cousin, John Wood, a few years back. Wadham put the bloggers on the campaign payroll and the symbiotic relationship between the campaign, the bloggers and "reporter" Gannon” continued. On September 29, Gannon broke the story that Daschle had claimed a special tax exemption for a house in Washington and the bloggers jumped all over it. According to a November 17 posting on South Dakota Politics – a site that Van Beek, who has become a staffer for now-Sen. Thune, has bequeathed to Lauck – "Jeff Gannon, whose reportage had a dramatic impact on the Daschle v. Thune race (his story about Sen. Daschle signing a legal document claiming to be a D.C. resident was published nearly the same day Thune began to run an ad showing Daschle saying, "I'm a D.C. resident) has written an analysis of the debacle."

Daschle aides told Roll Call, "This guy (Gannon) became the dumping ground for opposition research." The connections are so strong that there is an FEC challenge which could be a test case on the limits of the use of the Internet in federal campaigns.

Gannon also had Thune on his radio show "Jeff Gannon's Washington," and the White House correspondent for Talon became touted as the "resident D.C. expert on South Dakota politics" by the bloggers. Thune and Wadham (who has been hired by aspiring White House Republican Sen. George Allen) have become go-to guys on the use of blogs in campaigns. Thune was cited in The New York Times as introducing "Senators to the meaning of 'blogging,' explaining the basics of self-published online political commentary and arguing that it can affect public opinion."

This week Democrats, who have serious case of Rove envy, went a little nuts and started sending around information and graphic pictures of Gannon and his porn Web sites. But it is the more routine part of Gannon's life that deserves serious scrutiny. Planting or even just sanctioning a political operative in the WH press room is a dangerous precedent and Karl Rove's hope to become a respected policymaker will be hampered if the dirty tricks from his political past are more apparent than his desire to spread liberty around the globe.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Up to 32,000 jobs could be lost right in my own back yard, thanks to Bush


SEATTLE -- A White House proposal to boost power rates for the Bonneville Power Administration could cost Washington and Oregon tens of thousands of jobs by the end of the decade, according to a new report commissioned by U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash.

The Bush administration's pitch to increase BPA electricity rates from wholesale prices to levels charged on the open market sparked protests from Northwest politicians, businesses and utilities.

Robert McCullough, an energy consultant who prepared the report, warned that the proposed increase would, in some ways, mimic the effects of skyrocketing prices witnessed during the West Coast energy crisis of 2000 and 2001.

McCullough works for a number of private companies and utilities that buy power from the BPA, a federal power marketing agency based in Portland, Ore., that supplies the Pacific Northwest with nearly half its electricity, most of it from a system of federal dams along the Columbia and Snake rivers.

The Bush proposal, spelled out in the president's budget released earlier this month, would raise BPA prices 20 percent a year over three years.

McCullough's report, released Saturday, said Washington stands to lose 21,000 to 32,000 jobs, and Oregon could lose from 19,600 to nearly 30,000.

He noted that the 2000-21 energy crisis cost the Pacific Northwest more than 70,000 jobs in primary industries dependent on electricity.

A Bush administration official cautioned it was too early to make detailed projections about what the proposal would do.

"I believe any firm number at this time is premature," said Joe Davis, a spokesman with the Department of Energy, which controls the BPA.

Davis said any rate increase would not likely have a huge impact because charges would be raised over several years. He also said the increases wouldn't affect prices set in long-term contracts held by major buyers of BPA power.

Several Northwest lawmakers jumped on McCullough's report as another piece of ammunition in their fight to preserve cheaper power. The idea has drawn bipartisan criticism from Northwest politicians.

"The Bush administration wants to pull the rug out from underneath the foundation of the economy of the Pacific Northwest," Inslee said Sunday, as he stood outside the Nucor Steel plant near West Seattle.

The factory is the largest single customer of Seattle City Light, which buys roughly a third of its power from the BPA.

Doug Jellison, vice president and general manager at the Nucor plant, said higher power rates could dampen growth at the plant, which recycles scrap metal into steel bars and employs 285 people.

Electricity prices also will influence where Nucor builds a new mill to produce sheets of steel, Jellison said. The company has said it's considering the Northwest or Southeast.

"This type of an increase would definitely stop our investigation of the Northwest," Jellison said.

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