Thursday, May 07, 2015

Captain Jerry Yellin: A Veteran Of The Last Battle of WWII

This link to the following video on dvids the "Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System" which is embedded just below, was very thoughtfully emailed to me by a relative of mine -- my second cousin Bob, who lives out West.

It is a portion of an interview with a 91 year-old gentleman by the name of Jerry Yellin, from Fairfield, Iowa, who holds the rather compelling distinction of having flown his P-51 in the very last combat mission of World War II over Japan, on August 14, 1945. During that mission his wing man, Phil Schlamberg of Brooklyn, NY. was killed making his death the last American combat death of the war.  Capt. Yellin was a pilot, having flown many missions over Iwo Jima.  He was an officer in the Army Air Corps, there having been no separate United States Air Force until 1947, a few years after the war.

His interview was actually given on March 21, 2015, right on Iwo Jima, where Capt. Yellin had traveled along with other World War veterans, to take part in a ceremony commemorating the end of the war, nearly 70 years ago.

My reaction to the video was that it simply took my breath away.  Jerry relates some basic historical information and also makes several personal observations that really put things in perspective, at least for me.  When he speaks of the "purity of purpose" people had back in those days in fighting the war, it highlights by way of contrast the level of divisiveness in our culture today.

Naturally, I wrote back to my cousin and thanked him for having shared this video with me.

And I also told him this:

"It made me both smile and cry.  Anyway, the smile won."

More here, a press release detailing a few appearances Jerry made two years ago in Washington, D.C. at the age of 89.

Jerry Yellin, of Fairfield, IA, was flying a P51 fighter plane over Japan on August 14, 1945, the day that President Harry Truman announced that the war had ended and spontaneous celebrations broke out across America. Yellin, now 89, is a national spokesman for “Spirit of ’45 Day,” a national day of remembrance honoring the men and women of the WWII generation that was passed by Congress in 2010 and is now observed on the second Sunday in August.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

No More French Connection? New Nickname Needed for John Kerry!

From the pages of the Wall Street Journal: a compelling article regarding the current state of Iranian nuclear ambitions by Jay Solomon and Laurence Norman:

"France Takes Toughest Line at Iran Nuclear Talks -- Negotiations move closer to March 31 cutoff without a breakthrough"

Updated March 20, 2015 5:40 p.m.  LAUSANNE, Switzerland

—France is again adopting the toughest line against Iran in negotiations aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear program, potentially placing Paris at odds with the Obama administration as a diplomatic deadline to forge an agreement approaches at month-end.

 President Barack Obama called French President François Hollande on Friday to discuss the Iran diplomacy and try to unify their positions. The presidents “reaffirmed their commitment” to a deal “while noting that Iran must take steps to resolve several remaining issues,” the White House said.

French diplomats have been publicly pressing the U.S. and other world powers not to give ground on key elements—particularly the speed of lifting U.N. sanctions and the pledge to constrain Iran’s nuclear research work—ahead of the March 31 target.

Paris also appears to be operating on a different diplomatic clock than Washington, arguing that the date is an “artificial” deadline and that global powers should be willing to wait Tehran out for a better deal if necessary. Obama administration officials have said that expected moves by the U.S. Congress to put new sanctions on Iran as soon as April limit their ability to extend the diplomacy.

But French officials took exception.

“Making the end of March an absolute deadline is counterproductive and dangerous,” France’s ambassador to the U.S., Gérard Araud, said via Twitter after the latest round of negotiations in Switzerland concluded Friday.

“No agreement without concrete decisions on issues beyond the enrichment capability question,” he said a day earlier, specifically mentioning the need for extensive monitoring and clarity on Iran’s past research work. Western officials believe they included the pursuit of nuclear-weapon capabilities.

In a sign of France’s determination, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called his negotiating team in Lausanne on Thursday to insist no deal could be forged that allowed for the rapid easing of U.N. Security Council measures, according to European officials.

France worries the quick repeal of the U.N. penalties could lead to a broader collapse of the West’s financial leverage over Tehran, according to these officials.French diplomats, however, say their strong stance against nuclear proliferation has been a central foreign policy tenet for years. By remaining one of the world’s few nuclear powers, France can maintain an independent role in global affairs.
. . . .

Nearly ten years hence, I suppose there's a bit of amusing irony involved in John Kerry being revealed as the softie, vis-à-vis the French national delegation, even in the context of the international negotiations over the control of Iranian nuclear weapons ambitions!

During his ill-fated Presidential run back in 2004, Kerry was repeatedly stigmatized with the moniker "Frenchie" for his perceived lack of resolve and repeated flip-flopping when it came to serious matters of war and peace. Sadly, that inclination has apparently not changed one bit! Back then, he was even taunted with the suggestion that his real middle initial -- F. -- stood for "Frenchie" rather than the actual "Forbes."

But the French connection now appears to be decidedly inapt!  Enter François Hollande, stage right!

Kerry's current objective, on behalf of the Obama Administration, seems to be to meet the upcoming deadline and thereby obtain whatever deal he can get in the current round of Iranian negotiations, as opposed to securing a tough substantive agreement that will firmly prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapons capacity.

The disturbing appearance is that Mr.  Obama is legacy hunting, with Sec'y Kerry carrying the water bucket for the semi-retired President. Having frittered away his first four years shamelessly, as his critics have repeatedly suggested, conducting an apology tour ostensibly on our behalf, and then utterly misreading the political circumstances, especially in the Middle East, via his enthusiastic endorsement of the ill-fated Arab Spring.

The truth is that Obama and his first Sec'y of State Hillary Clinton accomplished nothing positive of a substantive nature anywhere, least of all anywhere in the Middle East, and in particular on the critical matter of preventing Iranian nuclear weapons capability.

And disturbing details are even beginning to be reported in liberal publications about how the curiously well-traveled, but decidedly unaccomplished former Sec'y of State, may have been simultaneously pursuing a personal fundraising agenda (raising funds from individuals closely aligned with foreign governments she was dealing with as Secretary of State) on behalf of the Clinton Foundation, whilst so actively traveling hither and yon, ostensibly conducting State to State business on behalf of the United States government!  Conflicts galore, knocking on Hillary's door!

And, no Clinton Foundation annual reports on health-related matters have been issued since 2010, though they were expressly promised by her.

Now her replacement, the former Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, is being seen as pressing hard for closure on a squishy deal over Iran, one that is even causing the French national delegation very serious concerns!

So, during the course of these critical negotiations, the Obama Administration, via the President himself and now through John Kerry, have managed, among other achievements, to:

1.) seriously alienate our strongest ally in the region, Israel (thereby arguably cementing the strong reelection of Benjamin Netanyahu as the Israeli Prime Minister), and then continuing the antagonism toward Mr. Netanyahu even following his recent reelection;  

2.) signal the international community at large that Mr. Obama can indeed be played when it comes to achieving results in international diplomacy, having had nothing positive to show for his first six years in office;


3.) alienate the leadership of the constitutionally coeval and coequal branch of the United States government in matters regarding the securing of international agreements -- the United States Senate. He has done so via the manner in which he has recently threatened to obtain a "final" agreement, i.e., by bypassing the express "advise and consent" provisions of our Constitution -- the treaty clause -- and he is even signaling that he may try instead to sign a final agreement on Iran exclusively under the auspices of the United Nations.

One thing that seems pretty certain in all of this is that no one will likely be reviving that specific "Frenchie" taunt when it comes to John Kerry, or his equally squishy boss.

Indeed, France, our oldest international ally seems to be stepping up and taking a hard line when it comes to Iran.  It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it . . . even if he (Hollande) is a socialist.

So, on this particular point at least, Félicitations, Monsieur François Hollande.

. . .

UPDATE, 3/24/2015, posted at 2:30 pm:  More proof of the tougher French stance published by ABC News, which is reporting that Israel is seeking an ally in France to oppose the Iran deal in the context of the rapidly approaching deadline.

From the AP story written by Greg Keller:

Unable to find support from its U.S. allies, Israel is turning to France to help head off what it sees as a bad and dangerous nuclear deal with Iran.

In an interview with The Associated Press in Paris, Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said Monday that dialogue with France over Iran's nuclear program "has proven in the past that it was productive" and makes this week's last-minute diplomatic mission to Paris worthwhile.

France played a key role strengthening an interim agreement with Iran in late 2013 that froze key parts of the Islamic republic's nuclear program in exchange for some relief from Western sanctions.

The so-called P5+1 group — Britain, China, France, Russia the United States and Germany — is attempting to reach a final nuclear deal with Iran before a deadline expires at the end of the month.

. . .

France has been more hawkish than the U.S. at the negotiating table, reportedly demanding more stringent restrictions than other Western delegations.

UPDATE II, 4/4/2015, This story will just not quit!

France FM: U.S. Surrendered to Iran’s Last Minute Demands at Nuke Talks

by Jordan Schachtel,04/03/15:

The French delegation in Switzerland felt the outline for a nuclear deal with Iran was “not solid enough,” and wanted to improve upon the deal before signing off on the accord, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told Europe 1 radio on Friday.

However, the Iranian delegation threatened at the last minute to leave the talks entirely, which persuaded the American delegation to capitulate to the demands of the Ayatollah’s regime, Fabius revealed. The French Foreign Minister said he wanted a strong, comprehensive deal that dissuades “other countries in the Gulf such as Saudi Arabia from embarking on nuclear proliferation.”

Fabius’s remarks add evidence to Friday’s Wall Street Journal report that the delegation led by Secretary of State John Kerry continually conceded to the demand’s of the Iranian regime throughout the course of the talks. What started in September of 2013 as a chance to dismantle a vast swath of Iran’s nuclear program, turned into America making major concessions as the agreement was finalized, the Wall Street Journal explained.
. . . .

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Is The Obama Administration Reviving "Snitch Central" Via The Nat'l Science Foundation?

At HotAir, Mary Katherine Ham alerts readers to a story in the Washington Free Beacon (WFB) about a coming "social media" web trawler and database funded by the National Science Foundation the purpose of which is to "detect" and/or track "false" information of a political nature on the social media pages of the web.

She quotes extensively from the story written by Elizabeth Harrington.  Here is the beginning of that WFB story:
The federal government is spending nearly $1 million to create an online database that will track “misinformation” and hate speech on Twitter.
The National Science Foundation is financing the creation of a web service that will monitor “suspicious memes” and what it considers “false and misleading ideas,” with a major focus on political activity online.
The “Truthy” database, created by researchers at Indiana University, is designed to “detect political smears, astroturfing, misinformation, and other social pollution.”
The university has received $919,917 so far for the project.

Sounds to me like this may be a slightly less direct, but vastly more sinister version of the old “Snitch Central” that was launched back in August of ’09 by Obama’s first White House Director of Communications, the Mao-loving, Ms Anita Dunn.

Remember when she fronted former ABC operative and WH “eat-your-peas” scold, Linda Douglass, to be the Director of the White House’s Health Reform Office? Douglass promptly took to YouTube to signal Americans that they should feel free to start turning in (via email to the White House) anyone who was spreading disinformation about the healthcare reform monstrosity then wending it’s ugly way through Congress.

We wrote about it back at the time, here.

The post they actually put up on their WH website to encourage snitching on one’s friends and neighbors, was risibly entitled, “Facts Are Stubborn Things” quoting our second President.

It was more like shades of “The Whisperers” in the Stalin Era, and the possible reincarnation of Sheptun, that briefly, all too briefly, stirred D.C.

Yep. You know the old bromide, “You can’t make this stuff up?” Well, with the Obama Administration, they were proving that’s not necessary — they’ll eagerly make it up for you!

And just in case you’d forgotten what a ridiculous bunch of lousy liars they all were, and still are, below is a direct quote from that website, which is still posted to this day, by the way!

Even when they were caught red-handed in a “4 Pinocchios” whopper by no less a friendly outfit that the Washington Post, they still didn’t bother to go back and correct the record.

Again, check it out for yourself!
“For the record, the President has consistently said that if you like your insurance plan, your doctor, or both, you will be able to keep them.”
Yep, there it was and still is! Lie number one.

Now, of course, they’ve decided to turn the issue of identifying and “outing” truth or falsity over to the “National Science Foundation” via the creation of a political truth-detection database and web trawler, funded by the federal government?

Gee, what could possibly go wrong . . . to repeat another thoroughly modern bromide!

And, it kind of makes you wonder if the "truth detector" has as yet picked up on the White House blog . . . or if it ever would?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The "Goldilocks Principle" in Foreign Policy? Hillary's Organizing Principle Bared

Updated, 8/13, w/link to Atlantic interview

To some extent, this Dana Milbank column in the Washington Post (and the ensuing material in the comment thread) read a little like a Democrat family-feud version of trench warfare . . . a furious fusillade of factional fire, with little immediate effect, as long as you keep your head down.

There is nothing quite like an abject American foreign policy failure to precipitate an angry blame-game, no? Especially from those in your own political party.

Hillary Clinton thinks she now sees an opening to criticize her former boss, especially whilst Mr. Cool is out playing golf "as the world burns."

For his part Millbank, a few commenters wryly observed, seems to be making his expected loyalty shift over to she-who-would-be-queen.

Here are just two examples:
MrBoz 2:45 PM EST And Milbank begins his pivot to Hillary ... helping to separate her from this failed president.
SimpleCountryActuary 2:57 PM EST Apparently Milbank is making another installment in his contributions to Hillary's 2016 Presidential Campaign.
This intramural Democrat trench warfare being waged between Obama and his former Sec'y of State Clinton so early in his second term, makes you wonder how long it will be before someone seeking additional advantage opts to spray the functional political equivalent of gas in order to further skew the odds.

What seems unusual is that, for her part, Hillary is not even waiting for the anticipated outcome of the midterms to put distance between herself and Obama.

Or, perhaps she's trying to provide a "second platform" for Democrat senatorial candidates (and House members) to articulate -- on-the-line candidates who are trying desperately to survive the anticipated debacle come this fall?

Gosh, that sounds so Clintonian, doesn't it? Oh, wait . . .

Anyway, I suppose it's a rare occasion when one feels compelled (as I certainly do) to concede at least one debating point to President Obama, though certainly not any victory in the overall foreign policy scrum.  In that regard, they are both losers.

The amusing thing was that the debating point Obama did score in this sour little exchange, turned out to be "friendly fire" -- hitting both himself and his former Sec'y of State. For at least the second time in as many days, Obama sharply sought to rebuke critics who claimed he should have insisted on keeping a residual military presence in Iraq, via a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) back in 2011 when he instead chose to completely pull all U.S. Forces altogether.

He is grousing out loud now by sarcastically referencing mostly his Republican critics, calling them "folks who oftentimes are trying to defend previous policies that they themselves made." The problem is that his failure to obtain a SOFA was indeed at the heart of the serious foreign policy collapse that is now taking place in Iraq today.

 Ouch! That nasty Obama shot passed right through his own foot, en route to a direct hit on Hillary, though it was unquestionably aimed elsewhere. Touché , Mr. President! You got her!

For her part, Clinton is desperately trying to postulate a novel "Goldilocks principle" in American foreign affairs, as a "just right" response to the too hot Bush, and the too cold Obama formulations.

From Millbank's column (quoting from her interview with Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic):
She applied a bit of Clintonian triangulation to the foreign policies of Obama and George W. Bush, suggesting that there’s a just-right medium between the too-hot Bush policy and the too-cold Obama approach. 
"I think part of the challenge is that our government too often has a tendency to swing between these extremes," she said. She later added: "You know, when you’re down on yourself, and when you are hunkering down and pulling back, you’re not going to make any better decisions than when you were aggressively, belligerently putting yourself forward."
Of course, the risible fly in that ointment comes down to this:  For four long years she was the chief cook and bottle washer of the Obama foreign policy -- she was not just some lowly sous chef, or outside observer, in what she is now calling the too-cold Obama kitchen.

It was she who hired the top operatives, wrote the menu, and prepared and served up the foreign policy dishes, most of which failed rather miserably! Even she recently struggled to try to name one single foreign policy success when asked to do so in a friendly forum -- at the Women of the World, 2014 Summit back in early April of this year!  Two minutes later, and no accomplishments.

That rah rah mush answer she gave, just 4 short months ago, lauding the cooperative efforts between herself and her "partner" President Obama, now sounds downright duplicitous when compared with her recent nasty attack on an unattributed White House quip summing up the Obama Doctrine as, "Don't do stupid shit", alleging, as she said in response that: "Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle."

But thinking back to that partnership . . . the toppling in Egypt, and the subsequent reversal, active precipitation the fall of Libya, and the ensuing disaster in Benghazi, the reset with Russia . . . need we go on? These and others comprised a failed foreign policy during those years four years.

From the perspective of judging Hillary's performance as Sec'y of State, the logical point should be this:

If the White House was really calling the shots, and she disagreed at the time, where were her organizing principles in staying on and cheer leading? But if she agreed and/or guided that policy at the time, then where was her judgment?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Where's the CBS Face Palm, Bob Schieffer?

As has been well pointed out by Jazz Shaw at HotAir, Bob Schieffer, veteran CBS newscaster, has now endeavored to up the ante on his recent close questioning of the Obama Administration's fast-talking propagandist, Dan Pfeiffer, to the point of now lecturing President Obama on the need for the administration to examine its communications policy.

Jazz has helpfully posted the full transcript of Schieffer's soapbox spiel, but the money line from Bob seems to be this one:
"The President needs to rethink his entire communications policy top to bottom. It is hurting his credibility and shortchanging the public."
Now, many of us could not agree more. But for Bob Schieffer to be mouthing this seems more than just a little hypocritical.

In other words, he's absolutely right. But he's hardly the right guy to be making the case!

It should occur to anyone who has been paying attention that there is quite a large measure of hypocrisy involved in any of the top figures at CBS lecturing the President on his "communications policy" when it pretty clearly appears to be the case that they were key communications enablers of the President during the fall Presidential Campaign, having quietly helped him to put one over on the American people during the run up to the election.

As a result, the venerable CBS newscaster Bob Schieffer may really need to examine his own damn "communications policy," and most certainly that of the CBS television network, particularly with respect to their highly suspicious handling of one key video clip from an interview of Barack Obama by Steve Kroft, conducted by the CBS 60 Minutes team on September 12, 2012, right after the President's Rose Garden remarks made in response to the Benghazi attacks -- the clip was of Obama openly and deliberately downplaying the possible role of terror in the attack when he was specifically asked by Kroft if it was a "terrorism attack."

Here was the key question and answer during that September 12, 2012 interview:
. . .
STEVE KROFT: Mr. President, this morning you went out of your way to avoid the use of the word terrorism in connection with the Libya Attack, do you believe that this was a terrorism attack?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well it’s too early to tell exactly how this came about, what group was involved, but obviously it was an attack on Americans. And we are going to be working with the Libyan government to make sure that we bring these folks to justice, one way or the other.
. . . .

That exchange, at the time utterly unknown to the American public because someone at CBS hid it before it aired, obviously gained high newsworthy significance during the heart of the Presidential campaign last fall, particularly during and in the immediate aftermath of the second presidential debate which was held on October 16th, the one moderated by the failed fact-checker, CNN's hapless Candy Crowley, when she initially agreed with the President's risible claim that he had called the attack a "terrorism attack" right from the get-go.  In fact, he had obviously done no such thing!

That conclusion was also just recently arrived at by the Washington Post, with their "posthumous" awarding of their notorious "four Pinocchios award," a mere 8 months after the comments were made, and only half a year after the election itself was held.

Of major news organizations, only Fox News sounded the alarm about the quiet posting of the tape on the CBS website before the election, hereCBS had done so without notice, and obviously too late for the newsworthy clip to matter in the election, at least without stories appearing on the news.  Funny how the WaPo missed those Fox stories at the time of the release, huh?

And, great timing by our other mainstream news giants all around, no?

Regardless of it's newsworthy significance from the second debate on, that clip remained curiously buried by one or more unknown "bigs" at the CBS network, with the prime "suspects" including -- in addition to third presidential debate moderator, and long time CBS News anchor, Bob Schieffer -- the following specific individuals, to wit: CBS News President, David Rhodes (brother of Ben Rhodes, Deputy Nat'l Security Adviser to Barack Obama, and NSA Benghazi "talking points" editor); and/or Patricia Shevlin, Executive Producer of the CBS Evening News; and/or, CBS Evening News prime anchor (and active 60 Minutes contributor) Scott Pelly; and or, CBS 60 Minutes interviewer, Steve Kroft; and or, CBS 60 Minutes Executive Editor, Bill Owens.

Any one or more of those individuals may have played an active or passive role in their game of "Shhhh . . . Let's Hide the Tape." But they're not talking.

And yet, Bob Schieffer now deigns to lecture the President, telling him that he has a "communications policy" problem, when one or more of several CBS bigwig compatriots of his -- possibly including Schieffer himself -- quietly participated in a news blackout on that clip last fall that likely affected the outcome of the 2012 Presidential Election?

Well, shake my head!  Seems like this current crop at the "Tiffany Network" has nothing on mere pikers like Dan Rather and Mary Mapes!

My father, who sadly passed away some 35 years ago, had a great old-time expression to describe an obvious hypocrite.

He'd shake his head and say, "Jeez, that guy has more nerve than a one-legged man at an ass kicker's convention."

Schieffer would have earned a "one-kick" nod from Dad over this latest mission of his!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Byers: Attkisson/Shevlin Cat Fight at CBS? It Runs Much Deeper!

05/26/2013 -- A new Politico portrait of CBS investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson by Dylan Byers could prove to be a very important story, and possibly a logical next step in uncovering what may have been a patent resurgence of direct and inappropriate left-wing political interference during the Presidential election process by a news media figure (or figures) at the CBS news network.

Shades of the Dan Rather and Mary Mapes attempted media coup? Well, there are certainly many unanswered questions about the 2012 coverage -- and non-coverage -- that CBS has since conspicuously failed to address.  They should examine those matters. Therefore, the problem certainly seems to run far deeper than a personality conflict between Sharyl Attkisson and a news producer, Patricia Shevlin.

John Nolte at Breitbart News highlighted the Byers story here, with a perspective piece primarily focused on the reported conflict between Attkisson and CBS Evening News Executive Producer, Patricia Shevlin, entitled, "Politico: Attkisson Fights Bias of CBS Evening News Producer."

As John succinctly put it:
"Byers' story is yet more confirmation that there really is a Narrative Plantation controlled by the left. Recently, we learned that Attkisson was/is having trouble getting Libya reports on the air. What does that tell you, especially now that her Libya reporting (as Byers points out) has been vindicated."
Other obvious questions might now include, what role, if any, did Shevlin have in minimizing exposure of the now-famous and muted Presidential response to Steve Kroft on September 12, 2012? And, what role might others have played in the curious history of that "off and on" tape clip during the 2012 election?

Serious questions still remain unaddressed about the curious non-inclusion of that short clip in a CBS 60 Minutes, Wednesday show in mid-September -- a key "question and answer" portion of the interview of President Obama that was conducted on September 12th by Steve Kroft almost immediately following the President's Rose Garden reaction to the terrorist attacks in Benghazi.  What we now know followed that initial suppression, was the continued burying of that clip during the heart of the campaign and the equally mysterious and quietly unannounced initial appearance of the clip on the CBS website, just two days before the 2012 election.

That late CBS posting was obviously too close to the end for the newsworthy clip to have any effect in meaningfully addressing what had emerged during the second Presidential debate, on October 16th as a key issue in the fall campaign -- the timeline of the President's public posture in identifying the attack at the Libyan outpost, as an act of terrorism.

During that debate, the President had received an unwarranted political boost by at least initial backing from moderator, Candy Crowley. But even the Washington Post now concedes (seven months late) that the President earned a disreputable "four Pinocchios" for his brazen dissembling during that exchange.  For their part, CBS quietly kept the lid on the proof they had to the contrary (of the President's claim)! Who at CBS -- obviously other than Steve Kroft and his producer --inappropriately kept the lid on that clip after that second debate?

And then, why did CBS so furtively post that obviously newsworthy clip too late to have a legitimate role in the election, and even then, fail to draw any attention to it, such as on the CBS Evening News?

Who were the network players in that "delicate" handling of the clip? Was Bob Scheiffer, a news anchor, aware of the clip before he moderated the third debate on October? How about the recently boastful Scott Pelly, who has been the CBS Evening News prime anchor since May of 2011?  He too, incidentally was an old hand from 60 Minutes.

Because of an obvious appearance of a conflict of interest in the matter, did CBS News President David Rhodes, the brother of the Deputy National Security Advisor, Ben Rhodes, the NSA editor of the Benghazi "Talking Points," recuse himself from any decision-making role in the matter at CBS?  Or, did he play an active role in keeping it quiet?

In sum, who among the top players at CBS News made the final decisions regarding the suspicious handling of that tape clip? Or, was that clip merely a victim of CBS groupthink?

Dylan Byers' Politico piece seems to write off the possibility that David Rhodes has been anything other than pleased with Sharyll Attkisson's investigative reporting on the Obama Administration . . . "CBS News president David Rhodes is said to value her diligence," but Byers does not specifically address questions about the handling of the Kroft tape, and whether Rhodes may have played any role in that.

And, perhaps most importantly from the perspective of Executive Producer Patricia Shevlin . . . why was that Kroft clip not the subject of a lead news story on the CBS Evening News, such as in the immediate aftermath of the second debate "kerfuffle" between the President and Mitt Romney, which occurred on October 16th; or prior to (or during) the third debate on the 22nd, which was moderated by CBS's own Bob Schieffer; or even at the time of the quiet initial posting of the tape on the CBS network's website, just two days before the election? It was quietly posted at that time, with no story on the CBS Evening News.

As we have previously noted, only Fox News openly covered the obviously newsworthy and significant Kroft clip that had been curiously concealed initially, then kept bottled up during a few key moments of the campaign, and then was finally posted without comment at the last second during the campaign, too late to matter . .  all that having occurred as a result of decisions made at the CBS network.

Does partisan political bias at CBS still run as deep as it did in the Dan Rather years?

We all still recall the key role and unquestionable bias of CBS 60 Minutes producer, Mary Mapes, who teamed with disgraced former CBS news anchor, Dan Rather back in the fall of 2004, in their attempted-but-failed media-based coup, having publicized known and absolutely fake documents on the Wednesday edition of the show. Even the hired CBS document expert questioned the authenticity of the Killian documents that Rather and Mapes had presented as legitimate.  That show was subsequently exposed as an openly partisan effort to reshuffle the odds of that year's Presidential race, obviously intended to undermine the Bush reelection effort by throwing the President off stride in the heat of the campaign.

However, a resultant dizzying round of highly convincing internet based document analytics that followed immediately on the heels of that corrupt airing of the bogus documents, collectively contributed to by a variety of previously unknown bloggers, not only slammed the door on the legitimacy of those documents, but also stemmed the previously absolute media dominance of the mainstream media, cementing with proof what had largely consisted of prior suspicions of left wing bias in the media.

One interesting career fact readers may not be aware of is that CBS's Patricia Shevlin, really cut her eye teeth in the news business as a producer of the CBS Evening News (1989 - 1991), and then as a senior producer (1995 - 2000), for Dan Rather for many years during the lengthy period during which he was the network's prime anchor.

Now that long-time connection to the biased new figure may or may not mean anything with regard these latest CBS machinations. But what is undeniable is the fact that Shevlin was the Executive Producer of the CBS Evening News when the decisions were made to forgo coverage of the Kroft clip during the news hour.

At a minimum, therefore, the CBS network definitely owes the public an explanation for the curious and obviously inappropriate handling of that tape clip at a few important points during the 2012 election campaign.  And Patricia Shevlin should indeed be one focus of inquiry in particular, in piecing together that explanation.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Retrospective Umbrage Of Bob Schieffer


To: Bob Schieffer, Anchor, CBS Evening News; Host, CBS Face the Nation; former 2012 Presidential Debate Moderator (3rd Presidential Debate, held October 22, 2012).

From: A Concerned and Curious Citizen of the United States

Date: May 21, 2013

Mr. Schieffer:  Today I watched a fascinating video clip, posted by Ed Morrissey on HotAir, here, and originally posted by Meenal Vamburkar on Mediaite, here, involving a key portion of an appearance by White House staff underling, Dan Pfeiffer, on your interview show (Face the Nation) which was held on May 19, 2013, and which you hosted for CBS.

This one:

At one point during that interview, you expressed righteous indignation at the mere presence of Mr. Pfeiffer, to take questions regarding a brewing scandal about IRS abuses of power in the targeting and auditing of American individuals and groups on partisan political grounds. Your umbrage was directed at Mr. Pfeiffer because it was he, and not some more knowledgeable “higher-up” Obama Administration official, who was making the appearance on your show. Your concern was that the Obama Administration did not send someone who actually knew what happened. They sent a fast-talking "flak."  It was just like, as you retrospecively observed herein, they had done when they dispatched Susan Rice to talk about Benghazi, back in mid-September.

And you finished your point to Pfeiffer [at about 5:30] with a telling rhetorical flourish, by saying (my emphasis added):
“. . .
"I mean I would, and I mean this as no disrespect to you — why are you here today? Why isn’t the White House chief of staff here to tell us what happened?"
Good one, Bob! Now that was the way to do it with Mr. Pfeiffer.

Hey, I have a great idea! Why not use that same tactic in order to flush out some more of the unanswered questions regarding the Benghazi scandal? And, to be honest, part of the problem with that one seems to have occurred close to your home turf, at CBS. So, you could use your position there to report the news.

Let me explain. On the day following the attacks that killed those four brave Americans, September 12, 2012, this exchange took place during an interview of President Obama by your pal, Steve Kroft of CBS:
. . .
STEVE KROFT: Mr. President, this morning you went out of your way to avoid the use of the word terrorism in connection with the Libya Attack, do you believe that this was a terrorism attack?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well it’s too early to tell exactly how this came about, what group was involved, but obviously it was an attack on Americans. And we are going to be working with the Libyan government to make sure that we bring these folks to justice, one way or the other.
. . . .
Unfortunately for the American people (but politically fortunate for the President) someone at CBS intentionally suppressed that portion of the taped interview with Kroft -- where the President refused to call it a "terrorism attack." We can only now guess why, but we now know the interview was intended for airing on the 60 Minutes Wednesday show that week. That was when the other portions of the Kroft interview were first aired, but NOT that above portion.

Someone at CBS also kept that portion of the Kroft interview completely under wraps until a mere two days before the November election, too late to have any effect in resolving an important issue that had arisen during the 2nd debate (on October 16th), and, therefore, too late to have had any effect on the election.

Bob, that suppressed tape was not even released until long after you, Bob Scheiffer, the anchor of the CBS Evening News, “moderated” the third Presidential debate on foreign policy, on October 22, 2012.

Yep.  It was more than a full week later, a mere two days before the election, when someone at CBS quietly, and without any public notice, posted that additional video clip on the network website!

Only Fox News noticed the quiet release and covered that on their news during those final two days.

Even your network, CBS, ignored it, as did all the other major broadcast networks, including CNN. Yet, we all remember when Candy Crowley of CNN had incorrectly “backed up” the President when she moderated that second debate. But when the release of the Kroft interview proved conclusively that she had been wrong in backing up Obama back on the 16th, why do you suppose she chose not do a story on CNN to correct her error? Why has neither she nor CNN publicly addressed that issue since then?  Thoughts?

But I’m most curious why you folks at CBS ignored that clip, Bob? Why, as the anchor of the CBS Evening News, didn’t you play it up during the news hour, including by noting the contextual significance of that Q&A portion in light of the patently false claim the President had made during the second debate — i.e., that he had publicly called the Benghazi attack a "terrorism attack" right from the get go?

Now, I assume that whoever initially suppressed that portion of the tape did NOT let you know about it at the time, right? Bob, you only became aware of it, as the rest of us did, two days before the election, right?  You didn't know about it when you moderated the third debate on foreign policy, did you?  Bob?

Anyway, so . . . here’s my idea. You should invite Steve Kroft and his producer (who BOTH would have been very aware of the suppression of the tape), to appear on your show, Face the Nation to answer questions about why the tape was initially suppressed, and also to address why it was not released right after the second debate, when it was patently obvious how newsworthy that tape was.  CBS is still in the news business, right?

I mean, think about the idea of catching the President in an obvious “whopper” during the Presidential race, and not just 7 months later after it was all over! Whoa!  Now that would have been great, huh?  Bob?

And, if Steve Kroft and his producer both decline your invitation to appear on Face the Nation, and they send some lackey over to talk to you about it, you could say, “Why are you here today?” Cool, huh?

You don't suppose some "higher up" at CBS ordered that tape suppressed, do you?

Well just to be sure, you should use the same idea with CBS News President, David Rhodes. I’ll bet he knew something about he suppression of that tape at some point, too. At least someone should ask him, no? You should invite him to appear on Face the Nation, and if he sends some lackey, you can also ask him (or her), "Why are you here today?"

Bob, the reason I suggest this latter approach, is because David Rhodes is the brother of Ben Rhodes, who is the President’s deputy National Security Adviser. AND, Ben was a key player in "editing" what turned out to be the bogus talking points that Susan Rice tried to run past you guys way back in mid-September. UPDATE: More here.

Again, remember when you got so upset about that for the first time, just this past week?

Small world, huh Bob?