Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cruising the Web

Sharyl Attkisson has a book coming out next week about her experiences working for CBS trying to cover Obama scandals such as Fast and Furious, spending on the stimulus, and Benghazi. She's won numerous awards for her investigative journalism, but that didn't seem to help when she started digging too deeply into Democratic scandals. Kyle Smith has a profile of Attkisson detailing how the Obama administration, as she titled her book, stonewalled her investigations.
Sharyl Attkisson is an unreasonable woman. Important people have told her so.

When the longtime CBS reporter asked for details about reinforcements sent to the Benghazi compound during the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack, White House national security spokesman Tommy Vietor replied, “I give up, Sharyl . . . I’ll work with more reasonable folks that follow up, I guess.”

Another White House flack, Eric Schultz, didn’t like being pressed for answers about the Fast and Furious scandal in which American agents directed guns into the arms of Mexican drug lords. “Goddammit, Sharyl!” he screamed at her. “The Washington Post is reasonable, the LA Times is reasonable, The New York Times is reasonable. You’re the only one who’s not reasonable!”

Two of her former bosses, CBS Evening News executive producers Jim Murphy and Rick Kaplan, called her a “pit bull.”
That was when Sharyl was being nice.

Now that she’s no longer on the CBS payroll, this pit bull is off the leash and tearing flesh off the behinds of senior media and government officials. In her new memoir/exposé “Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington” (Harper), Attkisson unloads on her colleagues in big-time TV news for their cowardice and cheerleading for the Obama administration while unmasking the corruption, misdirection and outright lying of today’s Washington political machine.
And she's also exposing how CBS was shilling for Obama and blocking negative stories about the administration.
Reporting on the many green-energy firms such as Solyndra that went belly-up after burning through hundreds of millions in Washington handouts, Attkisson ran into increasing difficulty getting her stories on the air. A colleague told her about the following exchange: “[The stories] are pretty significant,” said a news exec. “Maybe we should be airing some of them on the ‘Evening News?’ ” Replied the program’s chief Pat Shevlin, “What’s the matter, don’t you support green energy?”

Says Attkisson: That’s like saying you’re anti-medicine if you point out pharmaceutical company fraud....

Attkisson mischievously cites what she calls the “Substitution Game”: She likes to imagine how a story about today’s administration would have been handled if it made Republicans look bad.
In green energy, for instance: “Imagine a parallel scenario in which President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney personally appeared at groundbreakings for, and used billions of tax dollars to support, multiple giant corporate ventures whose investors were sometimes major campaign bundlers, only to have one (or two, or three) go bankrupt . . . when they knew in advance the companies’ credit ratings were junk.”

....One of her bosses had a rule that conservative analysts must always be labeled conservatives, but liberal analysts were simply “analysts.” “And if a conservative analyst’s opinion really rubbed the supervisor the wrong way,” says Attkisson, “she might rewrite the script to label him a ‘right-wing’ analyst.”

In mid-October 2012, with the presidential election coming up, Attkisson says CBS suddenly lost interest in airing her reporting on the Benghazi attacks. “The light switch turns off,” she writes. “Most of my Benghazi stories from that point on would be reported not on television, but on the Web.”
She's not a conservative ideologue, but it's amazing how covering this administration fairly makes her sound like a conservative. It also demonstrates how different things might have been in 2012 if more reporters had demonstrated her dogged fairness.

The Hill profiles the GOP's rising female stars.

This NYT story about how the IRS has seized accounts of individuals who weren't even under any suspicion is just flabbergasting.
For almost 40 years, Carole Hinders has dished out Mexican specialties at her modest cash-only restaurant. For just as long, she deposited the earnings at a small bank branch a block away — until last year, when two tax agents knocked on her door and informed her that they had seized her checking account, almost $33,000.

The Internal Revenue Service agents did not accuse Ms. Hinders of money laundering or cheating on her taxes — in fact, she has not been charged with any crime. Instead, the money was seized solely because she had deposited less than $10,000 at a time, which they viewed as an attempt to avoid triggering a required government report.

“How can this happen?” Ms. Hinders said in a recent interview. “Who takes your money before they prove that you’ve done anything wrong with it?”

The federal government does.

Using a law designed to catch drug traffickers, racketeers and terrorists by tracking their cash, the government has gone after run-of-the-mill business owners and wage earners without so much as an allegation that they have committed serious crimes. The government can take the money without ever filing a criminal complaint, and the owners are left to prove they are innocent. Many give up.
How does this even happen? It shows how far the IRS has grown beyond just trying to collect revenue. Once again the Institute for Justice is on the side of the angels.

If you thought that Louisiana's screwy jungle primary system was going to cause problems, add this into the mix.
If Louisiana State University’s two conference losses earlier this year had briefly quieted anxious chatter in Bayou State political circles, the school’s Oct. 25 victory over Ole Miss has both college football fans and Senate campaigns in the state keeping a close eye on the rest of the season.

The Southeastern Conference is holding its championship game Dec. 6, the same day Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu and Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy — both LSU graduates — would face off in a runoff if neither takes a majority of the vote on Election Day.

The issue for the campaigns: The game is in Atlanta, and if LSU qualified, tens of thousands of voters would be out of state on that day to cheer on the Tigers. Motivating turnout on a Saturday a few weeks before Christmas is never easy, but the exodus of a portion of the voting base — or simply not paying as much attention to politics — would add an unpredictable wrinkle.
Roll Call looks back at 10 moments this election season that had an important impact on the races.

Another great ad targeting Bruce Braley for suing over chickens.

James Hamblin at The Atlantic catches up with Dr. Steven Hatfill - remember him - he was the doctor whose reputation was trashed by being connected to the anthrax poisoning and being named as a person of interest even though no proof was ever found. Hatfill is actually an expert on communicable diseases and he has some disturbing warnings about what we don't know about Ebola.

How could the Obama administration not have thought through their policy on whether soldiers returning from West Africa should be quarantined? How did they get to the position that soldiers returning are now being quarantined at the same time that the administration is arguing against quarantines for people entering the U.S. from the same area, including medical workers who have been working with Ebola patients? Every day we have some fresh example of how slipshod the policymaking is on Ebola. The President sent American troops over to West Africa and yet they hadn't figured out how to bring them back safely? Amazing. The CDC keeps contradicting itself. As Mary Katharine Ham writes of the questions that White House correspondents are asking at the press briefing: "Let's be real; you're making this up as you go, right?" Sure seems that way.

If you thought the Hobby Lobby decision had clarified the role of forcing employers to violate their religion when it comes to abortion, think again. California is now ordering churches to fund elective abortions. Don't they have any Constitutional scholars in their government?

Philip Klein is thinking about Hillary Clinton's Kinsey gaffe when she said last week, "Don't let anybody tell you that, you know, it's corporations and businesses that create jobs.” Now she's backtracking and saying she "short-handed" her supposed point about outsourcing. Klein thinks that Hillary's misspeaking is what happens when she tries to "co-opt" Elizabeth Warren's populism.
To be clear, this one comment isn't going to be an issue for Clinton assuming she seeks the presidency in 2016. But it is illustrative of how Warren's presence in a Democratic nomination fight could create problems for Clinton, even if the Massachusetts populist doesn't ultimately prevail.
Hillary is quite awkward when she tries to fake her populism. Such a challenge to her from the left could create lots of such gaffe-filled moments for Hillary.

CNN realizes that there is a reverse gender gap this year for Democrats among men.

Yup, the UNC academic scandal is now a punchline on SNL. That is not good.