Saturday, February 23, 2013

Why the sequester is all Obama's fault.

It seems almost everyone ( but not all) thinks the sequester scheduled to go into effect March 1 is a bad thing. And maybe it is. But those condemning the sequester the loudest have been Barrack Obama and the Democrats.
Obama has been going into overdrive in his town hall meetings ( and when it comes to Obama and town hall meetings that's saying something) pointing out how the Republicans are being obstinate and refusing to compromise or meet him half way to forge an agreement to avoid the sequester. And all of that is true. Except there wouldn't be a sequester in the first place if it wasn't for Obama, and his own negligence, incompetence and his once again, failures of leadership in his not dealing with the debt ceiling when he could have, when the Democrats controlled both houses of congress and they could have done what they wanted with no Republican roadblocks. If he had, all this would have been avoided.

The other thing to keep in mind is that the sequester was all Obama's idea, not the Republicans. And the cuts are Obama's cuts. You can blame Republicans all you want for their Draconian, almost medieval ideas about everything,their political dishonesty, ineptitude, and putting politics over everything and all that would be true, but it is Obama's inability to be a leader, to take it to the Republicans and instead instituted this sequester that is the heart of the problem.

The sequester was Obama's response to the Republicans holding the country hostage over the debt ceiling in 2011. The Republicans threatened to let the country go into default on its debts for the first time in its history by not raising the debt ceiling unless Obama agreed to budget cuts they would accept, and then and only then would they be willing to raise the debt ceiling, something the Republican congress did eight times without batting an eye when Bush was president.

The smart thing to have done, the leadership thing to have done, certainly what I would have done, is call the Republicans bluff, and even label their threat to default a violation of the constitution which states " the debt of the United States shall not be questioned", and call their intentions treasonous.

How long do you think the Republicans would have stood up against that kind of attack? How long do you think they would have gone on trying to defend themselves against being traitors to the United States and the constitution? How many polls do you think the news organizations would have done asking the American people if they thought the Republicans forcing the country to default on its debts was treason against the country and the constitution?

But instead of calling the Republicans bluff and daring them to cause the United States to default and holding it hostage to raise the debt ceiling, (calling them "budget terrorists" would have done nicely also) Obama did what he does more than any president in history -- he caved in and initiated the Draconian budget cuts in the sequester as a way of bribing the Republicans to raise the debt ceiling and prevent default, something they should have done anyway. Republicans 1, Obama 0.

We heard from Jay Carney the other day that the sequester proposed by Obama was never supposed to go into effect. They why did he propose it and agree to it in the first place? To play games with the Republicans? When it comes to gamesmanship Obama and the Democrats come out on the losing end every time, mainly because there are no Democrats in leadership positions or Democratic strategists that really know how to play the game or take it to the Republicans. They think they do but they don't (see the recent fiasco with Harry Reid backing off his original intention to get rid of the filibuster, then compromised with McConnell on something way less, only to see the Republicans spit in Reid's face and use the filibuster against Hagel only days after he backed down on the filibuster and capitulated to McConnell).

So Obama proposed a series of deep budget cuts that he thought the Republicans would never agree to as a way of playing a political game by thinking he was tricking the Republicans with a bribe to get out from under Republican threats to default on the U.S.debt and now Obama's back is to the wall because the Republicans seem ready to accept Obama's bribe and let the sequester go into effect.

In other words, Obama didn't have the backbone to call the Republicans bluff on default and the debt ceiling , but Republicans seem very willing to call Obama's bluff on the sequester and blame him for it and now Obama and Democrats are crying foul.

Had Obama called the Republican bluff on the debt ceiling in 2011, called their intention to let the country default treasonous, he would have been holding all the cards. Either the Republicans would have backed down and there would now be no sequester, or had they followed through on their threat and caused a default and all that came with it, it would have been a major campaign issue in 2012 and the Democrats would have assuredly retaken the House and now controlled all three branches of government, and in that case there wouldn't be any sequester either.

Democratic groups like MoveOn, The DCCC and others keep sending out dishonest emails asking people to sign petitions blaming the Republicans for the sequester that was initiated and crafted by Obama ignoring the fact that Obama was grossly negligent in not dealing with the debt ceiling and the budget in his first term when he had a huge congressional majority, and now they act like he had nothing to do with it.

This is what happens when dishonest politics grips both parties. The email from the DCCC showed a picture of Obama and the words " Have His Back. Sign your name".

If Obama had had the country's back, if he had been a leader and was able to see down the road more than 6 inches in front of his face, if he had dealt with the debt ceiling when he had the chance or if he had called the Republican bluff in 2011 instead of caving in, if he didn't offer a compromise he had no intention of wanting to honor in the first place, none of this would be happening. Its all the fault of a lack of leadership by Obama and the sooner Democrats admit it the better. Blaming Republicans for accepting cuts Obama proposed because Obama is now yelling, "but wait, you weren't supposed to accept this, I was only kidding", is not going to work. In a recent town hall meeting Obama said, "these cuts are not fair, not smart and will hurt the economy". He also said, "we can't afford the reckless sequester". He forgot to add, "and it was all my idea".

The Democratic groups who are now complaining about the sequester and Republican refusal to compromise and what it might do, should wise up that they are complicit in this also by supporting a president who has not been 1 /10th of what they pretended he would be, and still doing nothing about it, which would be to pressure Democrats in leadership positions to do something they have been incapable of doing in the past -- get tough with Republicans. And force Obama to use his backbone or get one, instead of asking rank and file Democrats to sign petitions that are supposed to be a substitute for one.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

McCain, Graham, and phony Republican outrage over Benghazi.

The Hagel nomination has been held up by Republicans and one of the excuses that has emerged for holding it up,  especially by the two most outspoken Republicans opposing Hagel, John McCain and Lindsay Graham, are their assertions that they aren't getting the whole truth behind what happened at Benghazi. Over on the House side we saw the vein popping Republican Congressman Dana Rorharabacher make a fool of himself as he often does, during a recent House hearing on Benghazi by comparing the initial administration explanation of the attack at Benghazi to Watergate, the scandal that almost destroyed Rorharbacher's party when a Republican president, every White House aide including two White House chiefs of staff, a number of White House counsels and two Republican attornys general along with a Republican appointed Director of the FBI were all found guilty of multiple felonies including obstruction of justice, and who subverted the U.S. constitution with abuses of power never before seen in the U.S. government and were sentenced to prison.  To Rorharbacher, Susan Rice's initial statements on Sunday morning TV talk shows  repeating  initial information  given to her  by intelligence agencies  that proved to be incorrect, was the same thing.

The outrage expressed and continuing to be expressed by Republicans and their stated desire to get to the bottom of what happened over the deaths of four Americans is as phony and hollow as Rorharbacher's analogy. Because the facts show it's not the deaths of four Americans in a terrorist attack that really matter to any of them. Those deaths are nothing more than political fodder and smoke screen for Republicans to use against a Democratic administration and a Defense Secretary nominee who, as a Republican,  bucked the party over the war in Iraq. 

Republicans have hammered away at the same questions about Benghazi and have used them in part as an excuse to hold up the confirmation of Hagel as Defense Secretary, their childish  way of poking a stick in the eye of the Obama Administration and Hagel himself.  Graham and McCain claim they want to know why there wasn't more protection at the embassy in Benghazi and claim they are outraged that the deaths of four Americans were, accordingt to them,  the result of Obama Administration State Department negligence.  And, they claim, they want answers.

They point to requests to the State Department for more protection for the Benghazi embassy that were ignored, and warnings of potential threats in a part of the world that was clearly dangerous and filled with anti-American sentiment. They accuse the State Department and the Obama Administration of fudging, of hiding, of not being honest about what happened that night, about trying to dodge responsibility and engineering a cover up. As recently as tody's Sunday morning talk shows, McCain was saying he hasnt gotten the answers to crucial questions.  And Republicans, headed by McCain and Graham accuse the State Department and the Obama Administration of doing nothing, of not heeding the warnings and therefore  being responsible for the deaths of four Americans by not responding adequately to the threats.

We know what Lindsay Graham, John McCain, Dana Rorharabacher and other Republicans have demanded to know and are still demanding to know about Benghazi in their self-righteous anger, according to them,  over the deaths of the four Americans.But  here is what Lindsay Graham, Dana Rorharabacher, John McCain, Mitch McConnell and other Republicans in the House and Senate didn't want to know.

They didn't want to know 12 years ago, why George W. Bush, the president from their own party, and Condoleeza Rice, his national security advisor ignored nine months of terrorist warnings from every intelligence service in the United States, including warnings from the outgoing president, outgoing National Security advisor, the directors of the FBI and CIA, and  their own White House head of anti-terrorism that the United States was going to be attacked by Al-Qaeda who represented the biggest threat to U.S. national security in the world.
 Republicans didn't want to know why one month before the 911 attack, on August 6, 2001, Bush was given an intelligence report that not only told him Al-Qaeda was going to conduct a terrorist attack against the United States within the United States, but that intelligence agencies had observed Al-Qaeda operatives who were already  in the United States and were in New York City conducting surveillance on New York office buildings. Even more damning,  the intelligence report told Bush that Al-Qaeda's plan of attack involved the hijacking of U.S. airliners.
McCain, Graham, McConnell, Rorharbacher or any other Republican didn't want to know why Bush ignored these warnings and did nothing, why he didn't act on these intelligence reports and the dire warnings that were being received as a result of intercepts of Al-Qaeda chatter, chatter that Richard Clarke said had spiked to the highest level in 20 years.   They also didn't want to know why Bush ignored dire warnings in August of 2001 from the CIA  that these interecepts indicated an attack was imminent and in the words of one CIA translation, was going to be "spectacular".

 Lindsay Graham, John McCain, Dana Rorharbacher and others didn't want to know back in 2002 why, when Richard Clarke testified that the threat of an Al-Qaeda attack was so great and so  imminent   that he and CIA director George Tenant were "running around the White House like men with their hair on fire" trying to get Condoleeza Rice and Bush to do something and that not only did Bush and Rice do nothing, Bush refused to even see  or even talk to them while he was on vacation in Crawford at Rice did nothing.

Neither Lindsay Graham, John McCain, Dana Rorharbacher or any other Republican ever  wanted to know why.  And they never asked.

None of them wanted to know why a Republican president ignored warnings for 9 months that resulted in the worst attack on American soil and the greatest loss of life on American soil at the hands of a foreign enemy in American history. None of them wanted to know how  the worst case of gross, even criminal negligence in regards to the national security of the United States in the country's history committed by a president of the United States could have happened. None threatened to hold up  a single nomination or piece of legislation until they were given the answers. None demanded an explanation as to why Bush and Rice ignored all those  warnings for nine months when they clearly could have prevented the 911 attacks has they been taken seriously. None of them demanded accountability for 3,000 Americans killed at the World Trade Center and at the Pentagon.  But now they are demanding accountability for four.

Last week for the first time in American history, a cabinet confirmation was filibustered by Republicans, keeping the country from having a Secretary of Defense for the next ten days and forcing Hagel, who is in no danger of not being confirmed,  to miss an important meeting with his European counterparts in Belgium and they used Benghazi as the excuse. It was also payback to Hagel for having the gall to attack Bush for lying the country into war in Iraq, lying about the yellow cake Sadaam was supposedly importing from Africa, and using the 911 attacks that Bush could prevented,  as the dishonest excuse to go to war in Iraq.

Unlike McCain who was caught lying through his teeth about the progress  of the war and the  security situation in Iraq during what was revealed to be a completely phony photo op in Baghdad designed to show that the insurgency had been quelled at a time when the insurgents were still out of control, Hagel tore into Bush over his lying the country into the war, was proved right and made fools and marionettes out of McCain, Lindsay Graham and every other Republican. This is their payback for Hagel telling the truth when Republicans were  trying to hide it. That these actions by McCain and Graham  hurts the United States doesn't really matter to them. For Repblicans  its usually party before country. And politics before policy. And payback before anything else. Their silence over Bush's failures in the 911 attacks show it.

When it comes to phony Republican outrage over anything,whether it's  phony Republican morality, phony Republican patriotism,  phony Republican concern over the economy, it;'s never what they say that   matters, only what they do. And when it came to the gross negligence of a Republican administration in the worst attack on American soil by a foreign enemy in our history,  one that cost the lives of 3000 Americans, and then a phony war that cost another 5,000 lives with tens of thousands of injuries,  John McCain,Lindsay Graham and all their Republican cohorts sat in a corner and never said a word. But now they want answers from a Democratic administration over the deaths of four Americans at an foreign embassy and what they are trying to call a cover up. Something Republicans know a great deal about.

On Sunday on Meet the Press, McCain and David Gregory engaged in what almost became a shouting match when Gregory asked questions that pointed out the absurdity of McCain's inquest, namely the idea that there was a cover up with regards to Benghazi.  Gregory repeatedly asked,
"cover up of what"? to which McCain repeatedly answered, " don't you care about the deaths of four Americans, David"?

If demanding accountablity from a president and his administration in the deaths of four Americans at the hands of terrorists is the standard McCain is using, then McCain, Graham, and every other Republican joining in on the Benghazi inquest,when it comes to the deaths of Americans at the hands of terrorists didnt care very much about the 3,000 who were killed Sept.11,2001 when those deaths were  the result of gross negligence by a president of their own party.

Friday, February 15, 2013

CNN coverage of Carnival ship return,biggest waste of news resources in history.

CNN covered live, exclusively and interminably for 9 consecutive hours,the return of the Carnival cruise ship Triumph which had become disabled at sea, until it docked in Mobile Alabama at approximately 11 p.m. eastern.

Nine hours on CNN of nothing but watching a big cruise ship being towed by tug boats at between 3 and 5 mph after  it had been disabled for 4 days by a fire that had wiped out the ships electricity and engines.

CNN and its journalists treated the event like it was the Titanic instead of what it really was - a titanic inconvenience and nothing more, for those on board and nothing short of a man bites dog story for the rest of the country. How unimportant was it? You couldn't find the story about the ship finally docking on the front page of the NY Times. You had to go to the travel section to find the story, which is where it belonged.

No one was killed. No one was injured. No one was sick. No one was in any danger of any of those things happening. It was not a tsunami. It was not an earthquake. It was not a natural disaster of any kind. It was not the cruise ship that went aground and tipped over on its side in Greece putting people at great risk and necessitating dramatic sea rescues.

It 4200 people aboard a large cruise ship who went through enormous inconvenience for 5 days without electricity aboard a cruise ship, and thanks to CNN because many though not all, the toilets weren't we working, we know they had to poop in biohazard bags. It's not known if reporting that fell under CNN's journalistic guidelines of the public having a right to know, the need to know, or ought to know.

But that and other things, none of which had anyone in any danger is what CNN thought worthy of 9 consecutive hours of live coverage by all their correspondents and for some reason known probably known only to her college roommate, necessitated a trip by Erin Burnette and Martin Savage flying to Mobile to be on the dock with a camera crew when the ship came in.

CNN seemed to think that this ship coming in would be their ship coming in as far ratings are concerned, but they are liable to be disappointed. It was one of the biggest bores in the history of television news which is saying something when you consider the low level of journalism you get on a daily basis on all the cable news channels.

It finally degenerated into a kind of desperate comedy when coverage spilled over into CNN's pretentiously named Situation Room, and Wolf Blitzer did his best to try and turn it into something serious when anyone could see it wasn't.

Blitzer kept repeating that this was a "dramatic and very serious news story" only to be constantly rebuked by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, maybe the one real journalist CNN has who doesn't compromise his integrity one iota, when Blitzer kept asking  leading questions hoping for breathless answers from Gupta concerning the seriousness and danger of disease aboard the ship. Unfortunately Blitzer didn't get what he wanted from Gupta who simply told him there was no danger of disease at all because of the conditions. Blitzer tried again reminding Gupta of the perceptions out there that this is a dangerous situation with the potential to spread disease and Gupta said he understood that there might be those perceptions but that the perceptions were wrong and that there was no danger of disease. Blitzer, undaunted, tried again pointing out that the mother of one of the passengers was bringing antibiotics to give her daughter when she got off the ship. Gupta said, really bad idea, since you don't do that if someone isn't really sick.

CNN kept trying to tug at our heartstrings and empathy and the deplorable conditions those on the ship had to endure by talking about how families and loved ones hadn't been able to hear from those on the ship for two whole days because of no cell phone service and the internet being knocked out,ignoring the fact that they were on a cruise and out to sea where presumably there aren't a lot of cell phone towers so no one would have gotten a cell phone call from them anyway.

Erin Burnette who breathlessly made it to the scene of of the docking in Mobile Alabama, on the scene, helped pass the time of waiting for the ship to dock by asking a former Carnival crew member if the crew, any crew on a cruise ship was really ready to handle a fire on board the ship. Her voice was hopeful, full of anticipation that he would say "no" no one could be prepared for anything like this, and she would finally have something newsworthy to justify all this attention. But her hopes were dashed when he said, " the crew is absolutely ready to handle a fire and this kind of situation. They are sailors first, they are well trained, and they know exactly what to do in a situation like this".

Clearly disappointed she thanked him and moved on to how terrible it must have been not to have internet for days and not be able to send videos or text messages to loved ones.

There was another attempt to try and justify this idiotic expenditure of resources when Martin Savage, interviewing a passenger getting off the ship after it docked, tried to compare their experience with Katrina. The passenger clearly thought Savage was nuts and would have none of it. "Two different things, two entirely different things. We were on vacation here to have a good time, we were on a cruise ship. In Katrina's case it was people's homes that were destroyed, their whole lives that were affected". Not to mention 1500 people who died, not exactly the same as 4000 people who had to poop in a biohazard bag.

After this latest passenger interview dashed Savage's hopes of comparing a cruise ship inconvenience to Hurricane Katrina, Erin Burnette kept hope alive pointing out that there had to be people who were "absolutely frightened". But she couldn't find any. And no one she interviewed said they were frightened.

Another passenger getting off the ship, this one interviewed by Martin Savage, was asked, "what was the lowest point for you"? You could literally see the blood drain out of Savage and Burnett's face when he said, " there really wasn't any". Savage and Burnett looked at each other briefly and shared a "now what?" moment.

Their last desperate shot at trying to justify 9+ hours of continuous coverage came when Burnette used the well known underhanded dishonest journalistic trick of trying to create a controversy and get an answer to something that has no bearing on reality by saying to a passenger, " there are some passengers are really angry about what happened. What do you say to that"?

Journalists always like to say "some say", when asking a question when no one at all has said it but them, but they don't want to say it's them saying it so they say "some say". But in this case this passenger left Burnette holding the proverbial biohazard bag when he said, "the crew was wonderful, they couldn't have done a better job. It was a little inconvenient, but the crew was wonderful, many of them going without sleep and doing all they could. We werent angry at all".

 It was an end to a long and grueling day for CNN and it was hard to say who went through more grief and who had the more trying time, the passengers on board the Triumph, or CNN. Based on the expressions on the faces and the demeanor of the passengers and the journalists for CNN, it seems to be CNN.

Monday, February 11, 2013

New findings demolish Freeh Report,Freeh himself,the NCAA, news media and Penn St. Board of Trustees.

 A review of the Freeh Report by a distinguished panel of investigators which includes a former U.S. Attorney General has demolished the Freeh Report along with Freeh's integrity,even calling into question his motives,  and proved beyond any doubt what should have been obvious from the beginning --  that the Freeh Report was a biased hatchet job with an agenda,  filled with smears, unsubstantiated conclusions designed intentionally to smear,and did not at any time present even a shred of actual proof to back up any of its conclusions. It was in not in any way the independent and honest investigation it pretended to be.
This is going to be a hard pill to swallow and cause a lot of embarrassment, humiliation, heartburn and worse for a lot of people including 99% of the news media, the NCAA and of course the Board of Trustees at Penn State who accepted, perhaps swallowed is the right word,  Freeh's report so it should be expected that there are going to be some reactions, probably first from the news media, that will attempt to cast aspersions on this report and its findings which, unfortunately for any naysayers,  is bullet proof in it's conclusions.
Some may attempt to dismiss it using the fact that the Paterno family commissioned the report, and therefore it is somehow biased but that will never fly. First it would ignore the fact that the Freeh Report itself was bought and paid for by the Board of Trustees, who clearly had a hidden agenda, especially after their knee jerk firing of Paterno before any facts were in, not to mention that they had closed down a press conference Paterno had called to tell all he knew, and Freeh was only too happy to accept the $6 million fee and be the hit man he was hired to be.

 The other unassailable fact is the difference in the integrity, the backgrounds and experience of the people who reviewed and issued the report for the Paterno family who, unlike Freeh who was one of the most unscrupulous and sinister characters in the history of law enforcement, have impeccable credendtials and reputations.  Dick Thornburgh is a former Attorney General of the United States during Reagan's presidency, Jim Clemente a career FBI agent, profiler and former prosecutor whose entire career and expertise is in the area of child sexual abuse, and Dr. Fred Berlin, a renown physician and expert on sexual disorders at Johns Hopkins University hospital.
The report issued by Thornberg,FBI agent and former prosecutor Jim Clemente and Dr. Fred Berlin (click the link for the report)  tears the Freeh Report to shreds from the ground up not only destroying it on factual grounds but destroying Freeh's motives and integrity and proves it to be the  incompetent, inadequate  hatchet job and dishonest mess that it is, pointing out the same things that were pointed out here more than a year ago when the story first broke and the media first started to railroad Paterno based on inaccuracies, unvarnished lies, distortions and self-serving fabrications that were as false today as they were then.  Nevertheless the media and others, like lemmings simply swallowed what Freeh fed them when he issued his report in July since it supported (probably intentionally) their own factually inadequate and dishonest narrative, and they swallowed it for self serving purposes not the least of which was money and the opportunity to try and elevate themselves as the moralists they aren't but will pretend to be when given the opportunity.

The Freeh Report itself, when it first came out, was clearly and intentionally dishonest for anyone who read it and didnt have an agenda, and was taken apart in this space back in July of 2011. Every dishonest aspect of the Freeh Report exposed here was re-enforced by the review by Thornburgh et al.
The report was also, as characterized by the Paterno family lawyer,  a shot across to the bow to the NCAA, the Board of Trustees and Freeh himself since there were suggestions during an interview with Bob Ley on ESPN with Paterno's attorney as well as with Thornberg and Clemente, that unless something is undone, there could be massive law suits which could force the NCAA, the Board of Trustees and Freeh himself  into a court room.
Not unsurprisingly, Freeh issued a statement that did not say, "okay you nailed me, I was completely dishonest and the report is the biased hatchet job it was supposed to be,  paid for by John Surma and others on the Board of Trustees for reasons they will have to explain. I did the best I could to pin this on Paterno and the three others and take the heat off everyone else including myself since I was the vice chairman of a huge bank, MBNA, and during my tenure from 2000-2007 as vice chairman we were Sandusky's biggest corporate sponsor at Second Mile, and even though there is evidence I must have known about the 1998 Sandusky investigation and 2001 incident with Sandusky I did nothing.  But look,  I did pretty well pulling the wool over the eyes of a lot of people by using the dishonest and biased narrative  established by the news media  and I was pretty successful in fooling as many dumb people as I did who were stupid enough to buy it".
No Freeh didn't say any of that but if he were honest he would have. Instead to no one's surprise  he stood by the report he was paid $6 million to produce that was supposedly an unbiased objective investigation to get to the truth of what happened but didn't think he needed to interview the two people at the epicenter, Paterno or Mike McQueary who repeatedly asked to be interviewed. He stands by his report that drew conclusions from an email in 1998 from Curley asking Schultz for an update on the investigation, writing "coach is anxious to know" that concluded without a shred of proof that "coach" was Paterno even though all the evidence showed that "coach" was actually Sandusky but Freeh  fudged it and got away with it at the time  by saying "it is believed coach is Paterno" instead of "the evidence shows 'coach' is Paterno".  Because he had no evidence to show that. The real investigators hired by the Paterno family pointed that out as well which was also pointed out here months ago.
The 1998 investigation is extremely important because without Paterno knowing anything about the investigation and therefore the allegations against Sandusky as Freeh tried to allege, the entire Freeh Report falls to peices since there is no motive to cover anything up and no knowledge by Paterno of the allegations against Sandusky.  Not only is there no evidence that Paterno knew, all the circumstantial evidence says he didnt. But more compelling than that, there are two people who know exactly who "coach" is. Unambiguously and with a 100% certainty. Its Curley who wrote the email and Schulz who recieved it. And the report by Thornburgh,Clemente and Berlin states clearly that even though Freeh never interviewed Curley or Schultz, Thornburgh et al did meet with Curley and Schultz' lawyers and interviewed them and they say so in the report. And though they didnt say it in so many words ( perhaps for legal reasons since both men still face a trial) it is a virtual certainty that lawyers for Curley and Schultz know who "coach" is from their clients and the fact that the report cites that their lawyers were interviewed with respect to that email, and the report emphatically states that Paterno knew nothing of the investigation, it is a certainty one can conclude they received assurances in some way from Curley and Schultz' lawyers that "coach" in that email was NOT Joe Paterno.
Don Van Natta, the only real journalist ESPN employs called the new report "damning" against Freeh. which chronicles all the dishonesty that exists in the report. Van Natta wrote, "the report raises troubling questions about the findings, motives, independence and investigative techniques of Freeh's investigators".   And damning,by extension the NCAA, the Penn State Board of Trustees , all the journalists who bought it, like CNN's spineless Roland Martin who never wrote a word in his life about child abuse even with all the painful revelations coming out against the Catholic church, but who jumped on the bandwagon vilifying Paterno, calling him a coward in a column based on the Freeh Report which was something he obviously never even read.

The real coward of course is Roland Martin. As were so many others in the media especially those writing for ESPN. In fact, even in reporting on the new Thornburgh report, ESPN cant get the facts straight and continues to "report" the false narrative they pushed from the beginning which had much to do with inflamming passions against Paterno.

In their article published yesterday they state, " In that 2001 incident, then assistant coach Mike McQueary witnessed the assault of a boy in a shower by Sandusky and told Paterno about it the next day (italics added).   We know now McQueary never witnessed any such thing. In fact it turns out he witnessed nothing at all much less an assault and testified as such at Sandusky's trial which is why Sandusky was acquitted of the count of sexual assault stemming from the incident in the Penn State shower.

So we know he never told Paterno about any assault of a boy by Sandusky in that shower. In fact he never told anyone he witnessed an assault including his own father and family friend Dr. Dranov, and never mentioned an assault of any kind except in his shaky grand jury testimony where he was asked leading questions. That he never witnessed any assault and that none took place in the Penn State shower was confirmed by "Victim 2", in an on the record pre-trial interview with Sandusky's defense lawyer where Victim 2 stated that no assault of even contact ever took place, which explains why Freeh didnt want to interview McQueary.

That anyone needed a report to point out how dishonest and factually manipulative the Freeh Report really was, is in itself damning.As was the media dishonesty that started from the very beginning which turned Paterno into a modern day Richard Jewell, another one of Freeh's smear victims back in 1996 when Freeh was FBI director and had him named as the Olympic bomber.
But the news media  who had a lot invested in attacking Paterno to ring up their cash registers (according to Pew Research the media made the story the number 1 story in the country for three weeks) continued to perpetuate the misrepresentation of facts and attacks for which  they had no facts and it didnt matter. Unless it was going to cost them in some way. After I pointed out in a peice here  that Sean Gregory of Time magazine had presented as fact things that were so clearly untrue about what Paterno knew back in November of 2001  that he had opened himself, Time Magazine and Time Warner up  to an open and shut case of libel, Time magazine's lawyers must have agreed because sometime after my piece was written, someone removed the  false and libelous comments Gregory tried to pass off as journalism and replaced them with sentences so reasonable and measured  compared to what was orginally written, it actually makes you laugh when you compare the two.
Unfortunately they didn't remember Woody Allen's line that when you tell the truth all the time you never have to remember anything because the new lines that replaced Gregory's libelous ones would have been impossible to write on November 8,2011 when the article was first written because it reasonably suggests we wait and see what facts will come out in the future to tell us what Paterno knew and told the grand jury when, by November 8,2001 when the article was first written those facts had already come out. (Note to Gregory and Time magazine's lawyers -- you can still go back and fix it).
The report written by Thornburgh,Clemente and Dr. Berlin not only demolishes Freeh as a dishonest hack, but it also demolishes the news media, the Board of Trustees, the NCAA and every person who blindly believed the clearly preposterous unsubstantiated nonsense Freeh presented in the hopes he would get away with it. And they did it by presenting facts and evidence collected by people whose integrity, experience and public lives are beyond reproach.

 It demolishes Freeh's central and preposterous premise, that Paterno knew of the 1998 investigation into Sandusky, did nothing, said nothing and was part of some conspiracy with three others to keep Sandusky;s activities quiet and to keep Penn State from bad publicity (even though the investigation and child protection exonerated Sanduksy at the time).
The report not only proves Paterno knew nothing of the investigation ( and couldn't have since as pointed out here months ago by a former inspector general who had read the report, unauthorized persons are prohibited by law from being given any information in  a case involving a sexual assault on a child and had Schultz given Paterno any information about the 1998 investigation he certainly would have been charged and prosecuted for that now -- and he isnt, a little fact that escaped Freeh  those intrepid journalists in the news media and those who don't read Woody Allen).
While there is no evidence that Paterno knew of the investigation, there is plenty of evidence that Freeh did as co-chairman of a bank that was Sandusky's biggest corporate sponsor. Which would give Freeh the proverbial means, motive and opportunity to fix the blame somewhere else and hopefully avoid any blame himself. And who knows what skeletons are in the closet of some members of the Board of Trustees? There have already been articles written showing that John Surma, a trustee had a vendetta against Paterno.
There are still going to be people who will cling to the Freeh Report at any cost and try to cast aspersions on this review of that report which debunks everything Freeh concluded,  as if Thornberg a former U.S. attorney general,  Clemente a career FBI agent and Dr. Fred Berlin a physician at Johns Hopkins would compromise their good names and a lifetime of integrity and achievement for a few bucks after the story had passed from public view.  The only people who will still support the Freeh Report will be those who will do it for their own self serving reasons. One of those is attorney Thomas Kline, a lawyer looking for a payout and who represents Victim 5 who said this in response to the new report:

(The new report and its findings)  "do not erase the shocking and striking documents which Freeh did uncover and which form an unassailable finding made by Mr. Freeh that Joe Paterno tragically had knowledge in 1998 .."

Mr. Kline is either incompetent, a liar,  or is simply out for a payday since as pointed out both here and in the Thornburgh review,  the Freeh Report produced no such proof that Joe Paterno knew a thing about the 1998 investigation, there is more proof to the contrary, and Kline's use of the word "unassailable" is a bad joke for someone whose profession is supposed to be about presenting facts. But  there is a lot of money on the line for Mr. Kline as he is representing a victim whose case and claim would be substantially damaged if Paterno didnt know anything about the 1998 investigation, and that is apparent in the way Kline factually misrepresents the truth, when in fact the findings made by Freeh are not only quite assailable they were assailed completely and effectively by former Attorney General Thornberg, FBI agent Clemente and Dr. Berlin and seemingly confirmed by lawyers for Curley and Schultz.

This report debunking the Freeh Report could be the opening of a Pandora's Box for Freeh, the Board of Trustees, and the NCAA. It will force all of them to answer questions that need to be asked and answered. And it will happen either in the court of public opinion or in a court of law. It will also teach a lesson to those who can't or won't think for themselves,who are not nearly as smart as they think they are, not nearly as moral as they think they are and blindly believe everything they read by those who will willfully ignore the truth for their own self serving reasons.

That it took this new report to point out all the lies, distortions, and blatantly misleading and biased aspects of the Freeh Report underscores how useless the mainstream media has become and how devoid they are of any journalistic standards or ethics. From the time the first dishonest  and factually inaccurate reports by people like Sean Gregory at Time magazine and those at ESPN first started to flow, and then the response of the media the NCAA and others to the Freeh Report, the mindless and equally ignorant torch carrying mob has had their say. Now with this report which speaks for itself,  and the unquestioned integrity and professionalism of the people who produced it,  reason, facts, truth and justice will have it's say.

As for the NCAA,  their sanctions were nothing more than cheap grandstanding by Mark Emmert who behaved more like a sycophantic small town World War II burgomeister trying to curry favor with Nazis than anyone who had any respect for the truth, facts or the constitution. Emmert wanted to jump on the bandwagon and show that the NCAA "cared" and cared so much he was willing to smear and damage an innocent man and punish tens of thousands of Penn State students who were eight years old at the time Sandusky committed the crimes for which he was convicted. And Emmert did it by circumventing and violating the NCAA's own rules, procedures and guidelines.

Freeh issued a statement that he stands by his report. He has no choice. What matters now is who will stand by Freeh.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The NRA's newest enemy: America.

 All the latest polls show that a large majority of Americans are diametrically opposed to the ideas and point of view of the NRA when it comes to gun control, especially the NRA's opposition to more sweeping and extensive background checks and the banning of high capacity magazines and assault weapons.

Based on all the latest polls covering a variety of issues related to gun control the NRA is now on the outside looking in. But what's made matters even worse for them has been the publicizing of their new "enemies list", a list so preposterous it  might be a factor that causes politicians who might be sympathetic to the NRA to bite the bullet and start voting against them.Because if there is one thing any politician wants to avoid at all costs it's embarrassment. And the NRA's new enemies list is just that - an embarrassment. To the NRA, it's leadership,  and any one who supports them who are capable of being embarrassed.
The enemies list not only shows the NRA out of touch with reality, it shows that the NRA is also out  of touch with America and possibly out of control completely. They have not only become the enemy of America and has made  America the enemy of the NRA, they are quickly becoming a joke. Which will not only make them politically irrelevant, but  they are inspiring reactions that range from contempt and derision to simply being laughed at as the recent front page of the New York Daily News exemplies.  And for good reason.
Here is a sample of some of the groups and organizations that are on the NRA's newest enemies list:


American Medical Association

American Academy of Pediatrics

American Federation of Teachers

American Bar Association

American Nurses Association

American Association of Surgeons

Children's Defense Fund

Gray Panthers

League of Women Voters

National Association of Law Enforcement Officers

Ben and Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream

Blue Cross Blue Shield

Hallmark Cards

Kansas City Chiefs Football

Kansas City Royals Baseball

Levi Strauss and Co.

Sara Lee Corporation

St. Louis Rams Football

Stoneyfield Farms Yogurt

Time Warner

The Christian Science Monitor



McCalls Magazine

Motorcycle Cruiser Magazine


No doubt were he still alive Norman Rockwell would be on the list too. How the Girls Scouts didnt make it is a mystery.  Intentionally left out are all the groups and people one might expect to find on an NRA enemies  list, which includes every news organization in the country except for Fox News and groups like the ACLU and journalists and companies you would expect to be on the list.  (the entire list can be seen here). But Sara Lee and Ben and Jerry's? One can imagine Wayne LaPierre lining up boxes of Sara Lee frozen cheesecakes on a firing range and opening fire. Or blasting a case of Ben and Jerry's ice cream to bits.

The fact is, when you have as big a list of enemies that begin with the word "American" as the NRA does,  you have made America your enemy. And have become un-American yourself. In spite of the bogus ideas they have about the second amendment. And not only do recent polls bear that out, so do the recent elections results.

The problem for the NRA is that they are fast becoming impotent as a political force as well as being laughed at in some places and no amount of political Viagra is going to help.  In  the last election, of the $7 million the NRA spent supporting candidates who pushed their point of view against candidates who opposed them, they received close to nothing as a return on their campaign dollars. In contrast Planned Parenthood saw a 99% return on the money they spent on candidates they supported against those who opposed them and who won their elections.
So how much is the NRA really at war with America? These are the results of recent polls.

 Should gun control laws be more strict?

 57% say yes. 9% say less strict, 30% say keep them as they are.

 Banning the sale of high capacity ammunition clips?

 62% say yes.

 Banning the sale of semi- automatic rifles like the AK-47?

 62% say yes.

 Requiring all gun owners to register all their guns with local government?

 78% say yes.

Background checks on anyone attempting to buy a gun in any venue?

 95% say yes.

In New York which recently passed the most restrictive gun laws in the country, including the outright ban on the sale of assault weapons and a ban on magazines holding more than 7 rounds, 65% of New Yorkers approve of the new laws. Laws that the NRA said made them "outraged". The respone has been " so what"? So the NRA might want to add the state of New York to their enemies list.

The NRA has decided it is going to vehemently oppose all and any reasonable restrictions and laws related to owning guns, laws that despite the lunatic statements to the contrary would clearly make the country safer, especially those laws that  would force legal gun owners to be more responsible by holding them criminally responsible with severe prison sentences for anyone other than the registered owner using their gun to commit a crime,  which is about as common sense a law as it gets.

 But the NRA has decided to oppose that too and has not only put themselves and the gun owners they speak for on the lunatic fringe of American society and outside what America wants,but when you have someone like Tony Bennett, not just a respected celebrity for six decades who has never gotten involved in a political fight, but who is also someone who fought in the Battle of the Bulge,  when you have someone like that saying that the  NRA and their positions have more in common with Nazis than Americans as he did on CNN, the NRA is going to find itself outgunned.