Patterico's Pontifications

8/14/2008

Russian Games

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 9:35 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

From UK’s The Times, Russia’s Kremlin is playing a new game called Cheney Derangement Syndrome:

“Russians were told over breakfast yesterday what really happened in Georgia: the conflict in South Ossetia was part of a plot by Dick Cheney, the Vice-President, to stop Barak Obama being elected president of the United States.

The line came on the main news of Vesti FM, a state radio station that — like the Government and much of Russia’s media — has reverted to the old habits of Soviet years, in which a sinister American hand was held to lie behind every conflict, especially those embarrassing to Moscow.”

Does this mean Russia is endorsing Barack Obama?

Meanwhile, President Bush was apparently able to escape Vice President Cheney’s mind control long enough to order US military aircraft and naval forces to begin “vigorous and ongoing” humanitarian relief to Georgia:

“We expect Russia to honor its commitment to let in all forms of humanitarian assistance,” Bush said. “We expect Russia to ensure that all lines of communication and transport, including seaports, airports, roads and airspace, remain open for the delivery of humanitarian assistance and civilian transit.”

Humanitarian aid seems like a good method to help stabilize the civilian population, begin peacekeeping efforts, and monitor Russian military activity without escalating the conflict.

In related news, the US and Poland announced a deal to place an American missile defense system in Poland in exchange for a stronger American commitment to defend Poland:

“The United States and Poland reached a long-stalled deal on Thursday to place an American missile defense base on Polish territory, in the strongest reaction so far to Russia’s military operation in Georgia.
***
But the deal reflected growing alarm in countries like Poland, once a conquered Soviet client state, about a newly rich and powerful Russia’s intentions in its former cold war sphere of power. In fact, negotiations dragged on for 18 months — but were completed only as old memories and new fears surfaced in recent days.

Those fears were codified to some degree in what Polish and American officials characterized as unusual aspects of the final deal: that at least temporarily American soldiers would staff air defense sites in Poland oriented toward Russia, and that the United States would be obliged to defend Poland in case of an attack with greater speed than required under NATO, of which Poland is a member.

Polish officials said the agreement would strengthen the mutual commitment of the United States to defend Poland, and vice versa. “Poland and the Poles do not want to be in alliances in which assistance comes at some point later — it is no good when assistance comes to dead people,” the Polish prime minister, Donald Tusk, said on Polish television. “Poland wants to be in alliances where assistance comes in the very first hours of — knock on wood — any possible conflict.””

I am now officially a fan of Polish PM Tusk.

US-Russia relations have always been a chess game. With its latest move, Russia apparently exchanged South Ossetia for Poland. We’ll see what Russia’s next move is.

– DRJ

FactCheck.org: Obama’s Tire Pressure vs. McCain’s Offshore Drilling

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 8:11 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

FactCheck.org says: Obama’s call for proper tire pressure could save approximately 1B barrels gallons of fuel per year, but McCain’s plan to drill offshore would yield at least 3 times as much and possibly 10 times as much fuel for American consumers.

Details and more information are at the link, so read the whole thing.

Here’s my 2 cents: Obama’s plan depends on full participation from America’s drivers, something that is unlikely to occur. McCain’s offshore drilling depends on full participation from profit-motivated oil companies, something that is likely to occur. Thus, McCain’s proposal is more likely to produce the desired results than Obama’s plan.

– DRJ

More on ‘Blocking the Path to 9/11′

Filed under: Media Bias — Justin Levine @ 7:10 pm

[posted by Justin Levine]

Article slated for publication tomorrow.

As usual:  “Officials at ABC declined to comment about a DVD release of the original miniseries.”

L.A. Times Reporter Responds to Allegations by Dowie Attorney

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:46 pm

L.A. Times Staff Writer Ted Rohrlich has responded to my request for a comment about the letter I published last night from Doug Dowie’s attorney Michael Faber:

Dear Mr. Frey,

Thank you for the opportunity to respond.

I am not willing to comment on matters involving confidential sources, real or imagined. If I were, who would agree to speak with me in confidence?

I would, however, respectfully point out that I did not convict Mr. Dowie. Mr. Dowie was convicted by a federal court jury aware that Monique Moret testified under a grant of immunity.

Sincerely,

Ted Rohrlich
Staff Writer
Los Angeles Times

Indeed, and as I said this morning, jury verdicts are generally entitled to respect, even though they can be mistaken. But the jury — and more importantly for my purposes, the public — didn’t know that Ms. Moret’s father was being investigated by the feds, and that he was never charged despite evidence that he was involved in a criminal conspiracy.

Meanwhile, Tim McGarry provides a link to an L.A. Times story containing the following passage:

Fred Muir, a former Times reporter and editor, testified that he quit his job at the corporation’s Los Angeles office in protest over the alleged fraud, for which the company has refunded the city of Los Angeles more than $6 million. He said he was directed to file false documents by his boss, John Stodder Jr.

“At the direction of John Stodder, there were occasions when I believe I may have written up some of those bills. It was largely in ignorance of what I was doing,” Muir testified in federal court Wednesday.

Stodder and Douglas Dowie, a political power broker and former head of Fleishman-Hillard’s Los Angeles office, are on trial for the alleged scheme to overbill the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the Port of Los Angeles, the city’s airport agency and several private businesses.

The scandal was at the heart of allegations of influence-peddling at City Hall, which played a central role in the defeat of former mayor and Dowie confidant James K. Hahn by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Unlike other prosecution witnesses, Muir testified without having been granted immunity from prosecution. And unlike others, he said he quit in protest over what he called improper billing.

“I came to my own determination that it was fraudulent, and that it was wrong, and that I didn’t want to be a part of it,” Muir said.

Under cross-examination, Muir testified that he wanted more than the $170,000 a year he received at his hiring, that he felt he had lost a bonus because of an unfair performance review by Stodder, and that he had developed a strong distaste for Dowie.

This undercuts to some extent this passage from Mr. Faber’s letter:

A key prosecution witness in the trial of Mr. Dowie was a former Times editor named Fred Muir. Muir had left the Times and gone on to Fleishman-Hillard, but he maintained close relationships with his former Times colleagues. Muir testified under oath that after clashing with Mr. Dowie at Fleishman, he assisted his former colleagues in the preparation of the original story. He also admitted under cross examination that he had personally over billed clients while at Fleishman. The Times, which covered every day of the trial, never reported on those portions of Muir’s testimony. Giving Muir anonymity to help him settle a score, and then not reporting key elements of his testimony was an egregious conflict of interest on the part of the newspaper.

I’ll let the interested reader compare Faber’s allegations to the story, and determine for himself the extent to which the story undercuts Faber’s claims. The story clearly does report a conflict between Muir and Dowie, and Muir’s participation in overbilling.

However, the story does not ever say that Muir was one of the original anonymous sources for Rohrlich’s original story — even though, according to Faber, Muir admitted this under oath, which would presumably render any confidentiality agreement moot.

Thanks to Tim for the link.

Biden, Bayh on Short-list for Obama VP

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 5:45 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Media sources, including CNN and the New York Times’ The Caucus, speculate that Delaware Senator Joseph Biden and Indiana Senator Evan Bayh have made the final cut for Obama’s Vice President.

That would be a Senator-heavy ticket with limited executive experience but Biden has a foreign policy background and Bayh adds … I don’t know what Bayh adds but he shouldn’t hurt the ticket and he might appeal to moderates and Midwestern voters.

I don’t see how Biden or Bayh would help with Hillary’s disaffected women voters and they don’t appeal to me but, of course, I’m not a Democrat.

– DRJ

Serious Media Covers Obama Campaign

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 5:29 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

“A network pool camera captured a shirtless Barack Obama enjoying the surf in Hawaii Thursday.”

– DRJ

Hillary’s Name Will Be Placed in Nomination

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 4:38 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Marc Ambinder reports that, for the sake of Party Unity, the Obama and Clinton campaigns jointly announced that Hillary Clinton’s name will be placed in nomination at the Democratic Convention.

According to Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times, Hillary will cast her superdelegate vote for Obama:

“The move is entirely symbolic; Clinton herself will cast her superdelegate vote for Obama, a source close to Clinton said. The deal was reached as a result of talks between Obama campaign manager David Plouffe and Clinton senior advisor Cheryl Mills.

Initially, said the source, who was close to the discussions, Clinton was not keen on having her name offered at the convention. But the Obama team independently thought that was a way to respect her more than 1,800 delegates.

In a joint statement, Obama said “I am convinced that honoring Senator Clinton’s historic campaign in this way will help us celebrate this defining moment in our history and bring the party together in a strong united fashion.”

I don’t think Hillary can pull this out but symbolic votes can muddy the water just as much as real votes.

– DRJ

Those Youthful Chinese Gymnasts

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 1:14 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Gateway Pundit has a wealth of material on those youthful Chinese gymnasts and China’s efforts to scrub the internet of all references to their ages.

– DRJ

Were Former L.A. Times Editors Given Preferential Treatment in Coverage of a Local Los Angeles Scandal?

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 12:34 am

In an e-mail to the editor of the Los Angeles Times, an attorney accuses the paper of giving favorable treatment to its former editors, in the paper’s coverage of a scandal involving alleged overbilling by a public relations company.

The letter is by Michael Faber, attorney for Doug Dowie, who was convicted of several felonies in connection with alleged overbilling of the DWP by P.R. firm Fleishman-Hillard.

Mr. Faber’s letter, for the most part, speaks for itself. I found several of the stories referenced in Mr. Faber’s letter, and have added links to the stories where appropriate, as an aid to the reader.

The full letter is below the fold. It repays repeated readings. I have bolded the parts I found most interesting, namely, allegations of favorable treatment given to former editors of the newspaper.

(more…)


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