MEDIA

JUNE 2017

DC REPORTERS DO NOT GET HOW GOVERNMENT WORKS
By Don Surber, May 01, 2017 http://donsurber.blogspot.com

The headline in the Hill was Fake News at its finest:

Trump did not clear Duterte invitation with State Department: report

Guys, that is not how it works. That is not how any of this works.

The president of the United States does not need the permission of the State Department bureaucracy to set America's foreign policy.

The Department of State works for him.

That is right.

Civil Service protects employment only. It does not give the constitutional authority of the chief executive of the United States to the bureaucracy.

I thought President Trump made this clear when he called the president of Taiwan in November.

Nevertheless, the Hill persisted:

Trump did not clear Duterte invitation with State Department: report

President Trump invited controversial President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines to the White House without consulting the State Department, according to a new report from The New York Times.

The Times reported Sunday that both the National Security Council and the State Department were caught off guard by the announcement, which set off criticism from human rights groups.

“By essentially endorsing Duterte’s murderous war on drugs, Trump is now morally complicit in future killings,” John Sifton of Human Rights Watch told the Times.

Oh my gosh. Being a drug lord is now a human right.

But I digress.

The Hill story shows how out of touch and ignorant of the Constitution journalists in Washington are.

How about this: Less time spent on self-congratulatory awards dinners featuring fourth-string comics, and more time brushing up on how the government works.

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JUNE 2013

CABLE UNBUNDLING BILL A BAD BET
'Television Consumer Freedom Act' isn't necessary
Posted by Bruce Edward Walker on May 23, 2013 http://www.mackinac.org

Imagine a world where you could have anything you desired and could jettison those things you don’t. For example, I recently purchased a CD box set of the band 10cc, and I could do without the majority of songs recorded after Lol Crème and Kevin Godley departed the group. Likewise, I’d love it if 1964’s “Beatles for Sale” didn’t include the song “Mr. Moonlight,” which I humbly consider the nadir of the Fab Four’s entire body of work.

Now that I have those personal preferences off my chest, I should add that I can learn to live with owning yet another copy of 10cc’s “Dreadlock Holiday” that I’ll never listen to, and as well have found digital detours around the dreaded “Mr. Moonlight.” Crisis averted.

Not so for Sen. John McCain, however, who seems to feel it’s the duty of the federal government to ensure your local cable and satellite providers don’t bundle channels you watch with channels you avoid. On May 9, Sen. McCain introduced the “Television Consumer Freedom Act of 2013” (S.912), which would require multichannel video programming distributors to offer individual television channels on an “a la carte” basis.

Is the current system somewhat annoying? Sure, but, as Al Capone reputedly said, “Don’t make a federal case out of it.”

Sen. McCain apparently loses sleep at night because MVPDs sometimes require customers to pay for channels they don’t want in order to receive the ones they do want. Fair enough, but there are perfectly legitimate reasons for MVPDs to bundle channels. On this, more later.

But, even if there weren’t, current technologies already provide television viewers with enough a la carte options to choke a horse. In a May 17 blog post, Randolph May, president of the Maryland-based Free State Foundation and a telecommunications policy expert, declared: “In the history of humankind, consumers never have had so many choices for watching so much diverse video programming offered by so many video providers.”

May continued:

Today, Netflix, with 29 million subscribers, is the nation’s largest subscription video service, with more subscribers than Comcast (22 million). In addition to the dominant provider Netflix, other major online video programming purveyors include Hulu, Amazon, iTunes, HBOGo, and Apple TV. Not to mention YouTube, which recently announced initiation of a subscription video service. And, of course, in addition to the traditional “television” screen, you can watch all this various video programming on laptops, notebooks, and smartphones.

We truly do live in the age of “TV Anytime, Everywhere.”

But what to make of the argument that consumers take it on the chin for MVPD channel bundling? According to John Stephenson, director of the Communications and Technology Task Force at the American Legislative Exchange Council, this, too, is misleading:

In 2003, the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that going from bundling to an a la carte model could cost video providers advertising revenues that would result in an increase in subscriber fees. Brent Skorup at the Mercatus Center explains why bundling works: “Bundling is efficient because in a high fixed-cost industry, like cable, cable channel bundles provide cost savings that outweigh the costs of providing ‘wasted’ channels consumers don’t watch.”

Even economic thinkers on the left dispute the notion that an a la carte model is a solution. Matty Yglesias at Slate notes that a la carte “starts with a fundamental misunderstanding: the delusion that if your basic package contains plenty of channels you never watch, you’re paying for many channels you don’t watch. It’s understandable that people would think in those terms, but it’s wrong.”

May concurs: “[A] government-mandated a la carte regime would not necessarily lower prices for consumers and might well diminish, even substantially, the number of channels available, especially those appealing to minority or specialized tastes,” and adds:

With the unbundling of all channels, the costs for making available certain individual channels would rise as the audience size for particular channels is reduced. Some channels almost certainly never would get off the ground because, absent the opportunity to bundle them with already-popular channels, MVPDs would not risk incurring the costs of carrying a channel with little initial expected audience demand.

In other words, Sen. McCain’s bill doesn’t acknowledge recent technologies that compete with traditional MVPDs; won’t necessarily lower costs to consumers; and may limit consumer options as well as present a barrier of entry for cable and satellite startups. It’s the Television Consumer Freedom Act, not channel bundling, that poses the real threat to ardent television viewers and the television industry at large.

Permission to reprint this blog post in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided that the author (or authors) and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy are properly cited. Permission to reprint any comments below is granted only for those comments written by Mackinac Center policy staff.

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AUGUST 2008

STEALING FREEDOM: DEMOCRAT 'MEDIA REFORM'
By Lance Fairchok , July 08, 2008

"Our massive strategy was to use the Fairness Doctrine to challenge and harass right-wing broadcasters and hope the challenges would be so costly to them that they would be inhibited and decide it was too expensive to continue."
--Bill Ruder, Democratic campaign consultant and Assistant Secretary of Commerce, Kennedy Administration

The usual suspects will be doing the dirty work. Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY) or Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) will likely resurrect the failed Media Act (Meaningful Expression of Democracy in America Act) intended to make political commentary unflattering to Democrats more difficult to deliver and easier to suppress through congressional oversight and, of course, litigation. They have been trying for years. The Media Ownership Reform Acts, H.R. 4069 & H.R. 3302, and H.R. 4710, the MEDIA Act, all tried to control ownership, force their definition of "diversity" and "localism" and reinstate the defunct "fairness doctrine" that was used until 1987 to suppress conservative broadcasters with tit-for-tat opposing view requirements. These became a prohibitive financial burden if a broadcast was challenged, so controversial topics were assiduously avoided and programming was lackluster and innocuous.

While challenges were filed from both sides of the political spectrum, the long-term effect was to discourage any meaningful discussion of issues by conservatives on the radio. Since the fairness doctrine repeal, Talk Radio has become a significant voice in today's media world, one the left wishes to silence. Luckily, attempts to reinstate "fairness" in recent years have not been successful, the legislative language was weak, and their justification a transparent exaggeration. The 2004 House Resolution 4710 (Media Act) was obviously not directed at CBS or NPR and it revealed an underlying pathology of the left; an inability to accept that conservative opinion is necessary within the national debate, it's very existence brings balance. However, balance is not really what they want.

(2) There is a substantial governmental interest in conditioning the award or renewal of a broadcast license on the requirement that the licensee ensure the widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources by presenting a reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views on issues of public importance.

(3) Since the removal of the Fairness Doctrine standard in 1987, we have seen a polarization in America due to the dissemination of false and misleading information and the growing proliferation of highly partisan news outlets.

Conservative radio, to which a sizable minority of adult Americans listens to on any given day, infuriatingly exposes leftist schemes and is harshly critical of their agenda. Translated, "highly partisan" means "not in agreement with us." Just enough information gets through the stranglehold on the rest of the media that Democrats' dominance is not assured. Rush Limbaugh, in particular, puts them into a rage, as he is so effective at turning over the leftist stones to reveal the ugly ideological vermin underneath.

In a softball 2004 interview with the publicly funded leftist anti-American Bill Moyer of PBS, congressperson Slaughter revealed her prejudices while selling media reform to the socialist home team.

BILL MOYERS: Well, you know some serious people, including some liberals have said that one reason Rush Limbaugh has succeeded is because he is good entertainment.
LOUISE SLAUGHTER: Exactly. He doesn't make any pretense of being a news person or even telling you the truth. He says he's an entertainer.
BILL MOYERS: And you're saying that kind of discourse is dominating America right now.
LOUISE SLAUGHTER: Dominating America and a waste of good broadcast time and a waste of our airwaves.
BILL MOYERS: Not to the people who agree with him.
LOUISE SLAUGHTER: Well, they don't hear anything else. Why would they disagree with him?

"Dominating America" is, of course, nonsense; most people still get their news from mainstream broadcast and print, which is overwhelmingly liberal, leftist and biased. The statement reveals just how important a show like Limbaugh's is. If it were not effective, they would not care.

What Democrat socialists cannot win in an honest debate, they try to steal by removing their opponent's access to the public view, by suppressing discussion and by inserting propaganda. Their starting assumptions are simple: conservatives are liars, their beliefs are false, their criticisms are unfounded and they need to be controlled "in the public interest." They also believe that Americans are stupid. Rep. Slaughter's double talk in the interview continued along that vein.

BILL MOYERS: What does your bill before Congress propose?
LOUISE SLAUGHTER: So far, it just reinstates [the fairness doctrine.] But you know, I've been giving some thought to it this week. I will in no way do anything to hurt the first amendment. I'd die for it. I certainly don't want to do anything about censorship or anything. I simply want equal time. As simple as we can make it is that we simply want to reinstate it. That people have an opportunity to give them an opposing view, that you can't own a radio station in the United States that simply gives one side all day long.
BILL MOYERS: So you're primarily concerned about radio?
LOUISE SLAUGHTER: No. I'm concerned about television as well. But radio is probably where we're going to get the biggest problems in trying to get this done, because people have the radio on all day. They listen to it. And I think that says a lot. I think we can see that reflected in what people are thinking and feeling today.
BILL MOYERS: You know people say well, "Yes, it is in principle true that the government, the people passed to the television and radio companies the right to use the airwaves, the public spectrum." But cable's a different baby altogether. Cable is unregulated.
LOUISE SLAUGHTER: Right.
BILL MOYERS: Are you proposing the fairness doctrine for Fox News or MSNBC?
LOUISE SLAUGHTER: You bet.

I'll bet not. MSNBC will be fine under any new Fairness laws, as long as it tows the Democrat line. In the battle for America's mind, the socialist and radical left never rest. They know that whoever controls the information citizens see and hear has enormous influence on how they vote. In the tradition of those who care for party and power more than country, they work diligently to undermine the basic freedoms that guarantee dissenting voices are heard. They disguise their intentions under buzz words like "fairness" and "democratic expression" to appeal to the public's sense of fair play, all while funneling millions of dollars into false front "bi-partisan" think tanks and media "watchdog groups" designed to mislead millions with push-polls, straw-man studies, and outright disinformation. Organizations like the Center for American Progress, Media Matters, the Open Society Institute and dozens like them are intended to desensitize the public, to steadily chip away at the foundations of specific constitutional rights, those that do not mesh well with leftist progressive, socialist and communitarian dogma.

BILL MOYERS: You're saying that your fairness doctrine would simply mean that if a radio station or television station offers one position, like Rush Limbaugh, on a bill or a campaign of President or an election, they should also have people who disagree with Rush Limbaugh?
LOUISE SLAUGHTER: Absolutely. They should not be putting their own bias and their own feelings out on their radio station because they think they own it. It has to be done as a public trust and in the public interest.
BILL MOYERS: But the first amendment guarantees the right of free press.
LOUISE SLAUGHTER: If they owned the airwaves, then I'd probably have no complaint. But they don't. It belongs to us. Part of our democracy. It's part of the ability that we have to contact our citizens. It's a way that we want our children to grow up with some understanding of what this country is about and what it's based on and what their choices are.

Rep. Slaughter's words are a rhetorical sleight of hand. She sets up the interview with the common leftist theme of "us versus them," painting the unspoken conservative "them" not as participants, but exploiters. She tries to make the bitter pill of media control taste sweet. "It belongs to us," she says. Who is "us" specifically? Are we to suppose that by the congresswoman's definition conservatives are not really citizens? Are they not Americans with an opposing view that also understand what this country is "about?" This is a clear "disenfranchisement" of a large number of Americans, to use their own slogan against them. For all their endless complaining about political polarization, Democrats readily contribute to it.

A week or so ago, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi stated she supported the return of the Fairness Doctrine. Now that the Democrats have conservative talk radio in their sights again, new proposals will be more carefully crafted, full of convoluted language in an attempt to hide the substance of the legislation in long pages of distracters and patriotic phrasing. Who will define the "public trust" and the "public interest?" It is apparent the leftists in congress bet they will. If they succeed, media reform will inevitably morph from an attack on talk radio to an assault on cable, to new print "standards," and to broadcast "guidelines." It is all about control and the totalitarian instincts the socialist left gravitates to, they cannot help it, it is in their bones. This is not a slippery slope, it is a roller coaster ride to censorship and if the left defines the rules, the freedom of speech we enjoy now will be a thing of the past, buried in regulation, litigation and outright intimidation.

Page Reprinted with permission from the American Thinker: http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/07/stealing_freedom_democrat_medi.html

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MAY 2008

IS THE MEDIA BURYING AN AMAZING OIL BREAKTHROUGH?

Joe Kovacs of WorldNetDaily (WND) reported on April 16, 2008, that one of the potentially biggest energy breakthroughs in history is getting virtually no coverage.  Despite a WND story in March introducing a new technique where altered bacteria "rapidly digest" everything from grass clippings and wood chips, turning them into hydrocarbons for fuels such as gasoline and diesel.  If done on a large scale, it could provide billions of barrels of renewable oil every year.

The pioneer of the process, agricultural researcher J.C. Bell, the CEO of Bell Bio-Energy, Inc. is surprised at the lack of attention from the national media.  While the story of Bell's bacterial discovery has already been published in two Georgia newspapers – the Tifton Gazette and the Macon Telegraph – neither report was picked up by the Associated Press, despite those papers being members of the news cooperative.

WND contacted the bureau chief at the AP's Atlanta office, who said, "I can't give you an answer as to why, because this is the first I've heard of it. We'll look into it and see what's going on."

Reporter Jana Cone, who documented Bell's claims for the Tifton paper, was also at a loss to explain why the AP neither picked up the story nor assigned its own writer.

"I have no explanation except people don't think it's possible," Cone said. "All of our stuff is available to them, and they pick up stories as they wish. If what [Bell] says is a fact, it could be absolutely huge."

Bell maintains with just 2 billion tons of biomass, his process can produce 5 billion barrels of oil each year naturally, with no negative impact on the environment.

"That's 5 billion barrels of oil that can be produced from just trash," he said.

Despite the national media's silence, Bell is moving forward with plans to make his process a reality.

"It's not even theory anymore," he told WND. "Now we're just engineering. We are within a very few days of announcing the location of our first pilot plant."

The process of converting biomass into energy is not in dispute scientifically.

"Yes it can be done, but you have to do it economically," said Dr. Art Robinson, a research professor of chemistry at the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine who publishes the Access to Energy newsletter. "These other ways [of producing energy] work; the only question is if they're competitive in price. Any hydrocarbon under pressure and temperature can turn into oil."

Robinson added, "We only have two competitive ways of making energy at low costs: hydrocarbons [oil, gas, coal and methane clathrate] and nuclear, and both are demonized to the point that our country is in trouble."

For the third straight day today, oil prices settled at a record high, gushing to a record $115.07 a barrel at one point. Gasoline prices have also been surging along with crude. AAA reports gasoline prices hit a new record of $3.399, up more than a penny from the previous day's price of $3.386.

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FEBRUARY 2006

WHAT THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA WON'T TELL YOU

The Assyrian International News Agency had an article on Jan. 6, 2006 about the failure of US media outlets to report a major terrorist plot against the US because it tends to support President Bush's use of NSA domestic surveillance. 

Italian authorities recently announced that they used wiretaps to uncover a conspiracy by 3 Algerians operating out of Italy.  The plan to conduct major attacks inside the US was widely reported elsewhere across the world.  Italian Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu said the planned attacks would have targeted stadiums, malls and railway stations hoping to exceed the devastation caused by 9/11.

The Italians stepped up their internal surveillance after the July terrorist bombings in London, and on domestic wiretaps picked up phone conversations by Algerian Yamine Bouhrama that discussed attacks in Italy and abroad.  He and Achour Rabah and Tartaq Sami, believed to be Bouhrama's chief aides, were arrested in a major coup for Italian anti-terror forces.

Accuracy in Media noted that while the story was widely reported from Europe to China, it was largely ignored in the US.  There was an Associated Press version of the story which failed to disclosed that the men planned to target the US or that the evidence against the suspects was gathered via a wiretapping surveillance operation.

Only one American newspaper, the Philadelphia Inquirer, is know to have published the story the AP distributed. It ran on page A-6 under the headline "Italy Charges 3 Algerians."  There was no mention of the plot to target the US or the use of domestic wiretaps in breaking up the plot.

Cliff Kincaid, editor of Accuracy in Media Report, noted that the media is busy attacking President Bush on the NSA intercepts and that reminding Americans that there are terrorists who really are planning to kill us, helps support his arguments.

Since the Democrats and media critics are trying their best to make the NSA story an impeachable offense, and consistently refer to the program as "spying on Americans," this story helps support the argument that President Bush makes that it is a program designed to uncover al Qaeda operations on American soil.

You think?

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OCTOBER 2005

A WAY WITH WORDS

In a press conference on evacuation plans for New Orleans in the event Hurricane Rita moves north, Mayor Ray Nagin was displaced at the podium by Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, who took over when reporters started to badger Nagin. Here are a few excerpts from Gen. Honoré's remarks:

Honoré: Mr. Mayor, let's go back, because I can see right now, they're setting this up... There are buses [at the convention center]. Is that clear to you? Buses parked. There are 4,000 troops there. People come, they get on a bus, they get on a truck, they move on. Is that clear?

Female reporter: Where do they move on...

Honoré: That's not your business.

Male reporter: But General, that didn't work the first time...

Honoré: Wait a minute. It didn't work the first time? This ain't the first time. Okay?... Let's get a little trust here, because you're starting to act like this is your problem. You are carrying the message, okay?

Male reporter: We were told that Berman Stadium...would be another staging area...

Honoré: Again, the current place, I just told you one time, is the convention center... Let's not confuse the questions with the answers... You're asking last storm questions for people who are concerned about the future storm. Don't get stuck on stupid, reporters. We are moving forward. And don't confuse the people please. You are part of the public message. So help us get the message straight.

Male reporter: Why [will the convention center work] this time, though, not last time...

Honoré: You are stuck on stupid. I'm not going to answer that question. We are going to deal with Rita. Rita is happening now... We can have a conversation on the side about the past, in a couple of months.

Every Republican in the nation, starting with President Bush, should take a lesson from Honoré. Next time a reporter asks a stupid question (anytime their lips are moving), just reply, "You are stuck on stupid!"

The Federalist Patriot, Sep. 23, 2005.

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JANUARY 2005

THE MISSING EXPLOSIVES

After all of the publicity the Main Stream Media gave to the missing explosives in Iraq before the election, they seem to have missed the reporting of Patrick Cockburn in Baghdad which appeared in the Dec. 1, 2004 The Independent, on-line edition from England.

As American forces were closing in on Bafhdad, senior members of Saddam Hussein's government devised a plan to send suicide bombers in vehicles packed with devastating high-energy explosives that were under UN safeguards.

In a letter to Saddam from Dr. Naji Sabri, the Iraqi Foreign Minister, suggests removal of the HMX from the underground bunkers where it was kept under seal by the International Atomic Energy Agency, and giving it to suicide bombers.  This letter was sent on April 4, 2003 as tanks were advancing on Baghdad.

Concerned that civilians were co-operating with the American, Sabri suggested that the best way of preventing US troops getting too close to Iraqi civilians was "to target their vehicle checkpoints with suicide operations by civilian vehicles in order to make the savage Americans realize that their contact with Iraqi civilians is as dangerous as facing them on the battlefield."

There is no proof that Saddam acted on the suggestion, but there were a number of suicide bomb attacks on US checkpoints at the time.  American soldiers now open fire on any car coming towards them that they deem suspicious.

The letter, marked "confidential and immediate" was given to The Independent by Hoshyar Zebari, the Iraqi Foreign Minister, in Baghdad on November 30, 2004.  He said it was found in the ministry's archives.  There is no reason to doubt its authenticity.

Dr. Sabri fled Iraq and lives in Doha, Qatar.

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OCTOBER 2002

LABOR HAS ITS OWN PROBLEMS

In an ignored story, a plea bargain was struck by a partner at a major accounting and auditing firm in August.  As Joel Mowbray reported on August 28, 2002, in National Review Online, the accountant acknowledged that he, like members of Arthur Anderson, obstructed justice in an attempt to thwart a federal investigation.  The plea-bargaining partner admits he helped hatch the accounting devices used to hide the dirty dealings.

Why the media silence?  Could it be because the accountant, Frank Massey, a partner with Thomas Havey, LLP, pleaded guilty to charges that he had helped union bosses and the Ironworkers Union shield over $1.5 million from disclosure on annual reporting forms to the department of Labor?

Massey was a "specialist in labor union financial and government reporting" with over 700 unions (including the AFL-CIO) as clients.  Another accountant is his firm, Alfred S. Garappolo pleaded guilty in June to helping conceal the embezzlement of payroll checks from a training fund of the Ironworkers.

Court documents disclosed the history of corruption and fraud surrounding the Ironworkers Union and its president, Jake West.  

After West took control of the Union in 1989, the Havey firm pursued the business.  West told Havey (which did his personal tax returns for free starting that year), that if he were elected president that August, Havey would perform the union's annual audits.  West won the vote and Havey won the contract.

Together with the union's lawyer, Victor Van Bourg, the founding member of the leading labor-law firm in the country, who died in 1999, Massey and the union officials, schemes were developed which compare to Enron and Arthur Anderson.

Union bosses expenses for drinking, dining, golfing and "other entertainment" (allegedly including prostitution) were called either "Office and Administrative Expenses" or "Education and Publicity", eliminating the requirement to itemize them.  From 1992-1998 the union's top brass accumulated $460,000 in bills at just one restaurant, a place called the Prime Rib in Washington, DC.  There was over $1 million for food, booze, and country-club golf outings for a favored few.  This was in addition to the $25,000 the same officials received every year, per person to cover out-of-pocket expenses.

When subpoenas started flying in 1998, Massey deleted some damning evidence and doctored the rest.  The actions were comparable to those of Anderson.

Meanwhile, Democrats are trying to stop Bush administration plans to require greater disclosure of how union dues of rank-and-file workers are spent by their leadership.  Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa)l recently offered an amendment to an appropriations bill -- which has already passed out of committee -- that would prevent the Department of Labor from upgrading outdated, loophole-ridden reporting requirements.  Why didn't this story get any play from the mainstream, liberal, media?  Could it be that it doesn't help Democrats politically?

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JULY 2001

MEDIA GET IT WRONG AGAIN

Richard S. Lindzen, one of the 11 scientists who prepared the National Academy of Sciences (NAS)  review of global warming, wrote on June 11, 2001, in the Wall Street Journal that while the media declared that the report represented a decision that global warming is real, getting worse, and due to man, this is simply untrue.

The primary conclusion was that despite some knowledge and agreement, the science is by no means settled.  They are quite confident (1) that global mean temperature is about 0.5 Celsius higher than it was a century ago; (2) that atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide have risen over the past two centuries; and (3) that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas whose increase is likely to warm the earth (one of many, the most important being water vapor and clouds).

They are not in a position to confidently attribute past climate to carbon dioxide or to forecast what the climate will be in the future.  The climate is always changing; change is the norm.  Two centuries ago, much of the Northern Hemisphere was emerging from a little ice age.  In the Middle Ages, the same region was in a warm period.  Thirty years ago, they were concerned with global cooling.

While they do not know what relation exists between global climate changes and the various factors which could affect it, they do know that a doubling of carbon dioxide by itself would produce only a modest temperature increase of one degree Celsius.

When asked to review the work of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC), the NAS panel essentially concluded that the IPCC's Summary for Policymakers does not provide suitable guidance for the US government.  There is a vast amount of uncertainty in the science, far more than the advocates of the Kyoto Treaty would like to acknowledge, and the NAS report has not ended the debate, nor was it intended to.

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JUNE 2000

HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THE E-MAILS?

In a remarkably under-reported story (except in The Washington Times which carried stories on March 9 and 10, 2000 -- and which continues to follow the story) it has been disclosed that the White House had secreted over 100,000 e-mails which were subject to subpoena.

The e-mails covered the period of time from August 1996 to November 1998 and involve campaign finance abuses, Monica Lewinsky, "Chinagate" and "Filegate."  They were routed from 500 White House computers to a special computer which was not connected to the rest of the system.  Therefore, when the employees made searches for documents in response to subpoenas from Congress, the Senate, the Independent Counsel or other litigation, they would not show up.

The presence of these e-mails and thousands of pages of missing telephone records covering the period of time from January 1992 through December 1998 were first reported in December of 1998 and January 1999 by Insight Magazine.  Once the story broke, the White House launched a major cover-up called "Project X."

The matter came to light again in litigation filed by Judicial Watch dealing with the 900 files of Republicans which ended up in the hands of White House operatives.  A former White House computer operations manager, Sheryl Hall, prepared an affidavit acknowledging that this project was a part of the White House Data Base project known as "WHODB."  When she refused to misuse government property, she was relieved of her job.  However, prior to that, the existence of the e-mails had been discovered by employees of Northrop-Grumman who worked at the White House under a long-term computer contract.

When they determined that some of the e-mails were being routed to a different computer, not a part of the regular system, five have testified that they were threatened by Laura Crabtree, White House customer-support branch chief.  They were told the matter was "extremely sensitive," warned them not to tell anyone about it without explicit authorization and said that the consequences would be a "jail cell."  One of the employees decided not to tell her boss about the problem and was threatened with firing for insubordination.  She ultimately told the company's program manager that she would "rather be insubordinate than go to jail."

This information is now in the hands of US District Judge Royce Lamberth of Washington, DC who has had other rancorous dealings with the administration and has held two Cabinet Secretaries in contempt of court.  He has ordered the White House to secure these e-mails and make certain they do not disappear.  Rep. Dan Burton (R-Indiana), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee has been following these developments closely.  The Washington Times reported on March 16, that Rep. Burton has requested Judge Lamberth ensure the security of the records since his committee is eager to subpoena the documents as well.

Mrs. Hall said the cover-up was part if an effort to delay the investigations into 2001, after President Clinton leaves office.  She also said the White House plans to get rid of computer-tapes archives and the contents of computer hard drives of departing White House staffers.  In telling Judicial Watch of her conversations with one of the Northrop-Grumman employees familiar with the contents of the e-mails, Hall said: "I was told by this contractor that if the contents of these e-mails became known, that there would be different outcomes to these scandals, as the e-mails were incriminating and could cause people to go to jail."

On March 17, 2000 late in the day, after the main news cycle, the White House admitted to a second e-mail error affecting e-mail sent to the White House between November 1998 and May 1999, The Washington Weekly reported on March 20.  A third e-mail error was also acknowledged which affected e-mails in Al Gore's office.

On April 28, 2000, Judicial Watch released a Press Release indicating that Judge Lamberth had required the White House to come back with a new time table for producing the e-mails, rejecting the 170 day estimate previously given.  He did not rule out the possibility of holding the White House in contempt or allowing further questioning into the failure to produce the subpoenaed records.

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MAY 2000

MEDIA DOWNPLAYS CONVICTION

When Maria Hsia (pronounced "Shaw") was convicted on five felony counts of causing false statements to be filed with the Federal Election Commission, Associated Press reported it the same day, March 2, 2000.

However, the three network evening news shows did not do a great job of reporting on the conviction, according to Jim Nicholson of the RNC.  Peter Jennings on ABC spent 19 seconds on the story, Dan Rather of CBS gave the story 23 seconds, and Tom Brokaw of NBC did not mention a word.

It could not be that the networks devoted such little space to the story because Hsia was the bag lady for Al Gore who laundered $109,000 in reimbursed donations at the Hsi Lai ("She Lie") Buddhist Temple in Los Angeles, could it?  This is the same lady who was identified by the Senate Government Affairs Committee as "an agent of the Chinese government."

Because of the whitewash, Nicholson sent out an "Activist Alert" giving the phone numbers and e-mail addresses of the network bigwigs and suggested, on March 6, 2000, that contact be made with these people to express dismay on the lack of coverage.  By that afternoon, the networks disconnected their anchors' e-mail accounts and Peter Jennings' secretary hung up on callers.  Rather's secretary routed the calls instantly to the CBS operator without instructions or comment.  Brokaw's secretary at least had the courtesy to take down a message even though his network had by-passed the story.

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FEBRUARY 2000

CONVICTION GETS NO COVERAGE

"One might think a trial of a major union official, caught in a fraud and embezzlement scheme that has ties to the president's chief fund-raiser, would make Page 1 headlines in every major newspaper in the country and be a top story of CNN, CBS, NBC ABC -- the works," Christopher Ruddy noted in a December 6, 1999 article on NewsMax.com.

William H. Hamilton, Jr., former political director of the Teamsters Union, was convicted on Nov. 19, 1999 in federal court of scheming to funnel $885,000 from the union to the campaign treasury of then-Teamsters boss, Ron Carey.  Hamilton and friends donated nearly $1 million to liberal groups who supported the Clinton-Gore re-election effort and they, in turn gave $200,000 to Carey's campaign.

During the trial, Richard Sullivan, former finance director of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) testified that Terence McAuliffe (who was going to back the Clinton mansion purchase to the tune of $1.3 million) called him frequently requesting that he locate a wealthy Democrat to donate to Carey's campaign.  Sullivan said he was told that the DNC would get a large donation from the Teamsters in return.

McAuliffe is now one of Al Gore's chief fund raisers.  While he has not been charged with anything, there is some question as to whether additional charges will come from the Hamilton trial.

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OCTOBER 1999

CENTRAL MICHIGAN DOESN'T SHARE LISTS

On July 21, 1999 the following question was sent to Central Michigan University by e-mail.

The response received is reprinted in its entirety.

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SEPTEMBER 1999

ANOTHER STUDY YOU NEVER HEARD OF

Last March 11, the Associated Press reported on the largest study ever to research the relationship between PCBs and cancer in humans. The biologist, Renate Kimbrough who, over 20 years ago, found the first link between PCBs and liver cancer in laboratory rats, found no evidence that work exposure to the toxins causes cancer in humans.

In a study of more than 7,000 former employees of two General Electric plants (which was published in the March issue of The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine) in which the medical histories of employees for an average of 31 years were compared with national and regional averages, nothing was found.

To their surprise, workers who were exposed to PCBs had a lower rate of cancer deaths than the national average despite having high levels of the chemical in their blood. While 353 workers died of cancer over the period of the study, a statistically similar sample of people would have 400 deaths due to cancer.

Environmentalists question the results of the report because it was funded by GE. However, since the study only concerned itself with death rates and did not take into account the health of survivors, Kimbrough defended the report. It was compiled largely from government statistics and reviewed by a committee of independent scientists. Mortality rates can't be manipulated, she said, "It's like counting beans."

(Ed. note: While the EPA relied on the evidence linking PCBs to cancer in laboratory rats to force multi-million dollar cleanups on the theory that the result would be the same in humans, it is interesting to note that in all of the cancer research performed on tobacco products, they have not been able to produce cancer in laboratory rats. . . .)

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JULY 1999

WHERE IS BONIOR NOW?

In the April, 1999 issue of The American Spectator (TAS), Byron York authored an interesting article on the clearing of Newt Gingrich by the IRS. He did a media search which showed over 10,000 references to the Gingrich ethics fight at its most heated moments. When the IRS completely cleared Newt, only a few more than 100 references to the report appeared, none on the evening newscasts of CBS, NBC and ABC.

For those of you who were unable to find information on the 74-page report which concluded that Gingrich acted completely within the law in the college course "Renewing American Civilization," the article is very informative.

Remember that Michigan's own, David Bonior, loudly proclaimed that: "Anyone who has engaged in seven years of tax fraud to further his own personal and political benefits is not deserving of the speakership" He claimed "Mr. Gingrich has engaged in a pattern of tax fraud, lied, and cover-ups in paving his road to the second highest office in the land."

The IRS did what Mr. Bonior and the news reporters did not do. They reviewed the course -- in detail. According to TAS, "After examining each lecture and the course reading list, IRS investigators concluded the course was not political. 'The overwhelming number of positions advocated in the course were very broad in nature and often more applicable to individual behavior or behavioral changes in in society as a whole than to any "political" action,' investigators wrote."

When asked for comment on the clearing of Mr. Gingrich, Mr. Bonior did not return five calls from TAS. Neither he nor any of the Democrats who loudly denounced and vilified Newt have admitted that Gingrich was right and they were wrong.

What a surprise.

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JUNE 1999

NO SUCH THING AS NETWORK MEDIA BIAS?

The May 10, 1999 issue of Investor's Business Daily (IBD) looked at the way the TV networks have reported on China scandals compared to the newspapers which have been breaking the stories.

When the Los Angeles Times dropped the bombshell about campaign funds to the Clinton-Gore campaign from the Red Chinese military intelligence chief, the big three, ABC, CBS and NBC, blacked out the story on their morning and evening news shows.

Analysts at the two major partisan media watchdogs - the conservative Media Research Center and the liberal Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting - are scratching their heads over the dearth of TV coverage, according to IBD.

IBD requested the nonpartison Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) to audit nightly newscasts back to March 6, the day The New York Times first broke the story on Red spying at Los Alamos National Lab, and learned that the big three together have aired an average of just half of one story a night on the Chinese espionage scandal or 31 total segments.

In contrast, the networks did 20 stories a night (699 total) on Kosovo since the bombing started on March 24 and 24 stories a night (73 total) on the Colorado shootings in the 3 days after the tragedy.

The article compares the sparse coverage given the Chinese spy scandals to the coverage given to scandals in Republican administrations. It seems clear that the worse the story for Democrats, the less coverage the networks give.

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