Musings, opinions, observations, questions, and random thoughts on island life, Fernandina Beach and more

Musings, opinions, observations, questions, and random thoughts on island life, Fernandina Beach and more

Amelia Island Journalist Witnessed American Media’s Demise He Chronicles The Sordid Details In His Upcoming Book

Mainstream journalism in America is on its death bed and Amelia Island’s Ken Timmerman was one of the first casualties when it was attacked from within.

Timmerman being interviewed by Mike Wallace on “60 Minutes” in 1991.

Timmerman was an international reporter some 30 years ago when the media administered its first self-inflicted wound. He has publicly chronicled its demise ever since.

He was there at the beginning of the end in 1994 when he was unceremoniously fired by Time Magazine for his investigative reporting about the Clinton administration.

His credentials are impressive. The veteran reporter covered wars and political upheavals for major news organizations in the United States and around the world, including the New York Times, Newsweek, Reader’s Digest, CBS’s 60 Minutes, ABC News, Le Monde, L ’Express, Le Point, among others.

“That was when these organizations still tried to be “mainstream” and did not hold back, self-censor and lie to protect their political allies” says the former political liberal and 2006 Noble Prize nominee, whose new book “And the Rest is History: Tales of Hostages, Arms Dealers, Dirty Tricks, and Spies,” (Post Hill Press), will be released August 30. It’s his 12th book of nonfiction.  The Book Loft, at 214 Centre Street in downtown Fernandina, has advance copies of the book and is featuring in its front window.

Time fired him when he uncovered secret information on the Clinton Administration’s clandestine transfer of defense manufacturing technology to China. Time rejected the story and as a result, he eventually made a political transition from a liberal Democrat to a conservative Republican.

“When I was fired by Time in 1994 for investigating a story that threatened President Bill Clinton and many senior officials in his administration I began to understand that the mainstream media was dead,” says Timmerman.

He was alerted to the scheme when sources in the AFL-CIO Machinists Union tipped him off to strange doings at the B-1 bomber plant in Columbus, Ohio, midnight visits by Chinese intelligence officers, and frustrated US Customs agents.

Timmerman and Simon Wiesenthal in 1992.

“As I investigated, encouraged by Time editors, I uncovered and documented a massive effort by China to buy sensitive military production gear from US weapons plants, seemingly with the benediction — or at least, a blind eye — from Clinton administration officials,” he relates.

Eventually, he and other reporters, put together a four-page story on the scheme that was scheduled to run in mid-July 1994. “After a Friday lunchtime staff meeting, the Washington, DC, editor, came into my cubicle. “You’ve pissed off people in the administration with your questions,” he said. He was fired on the spot and the story was spiked.

A year later the article ran under the title “China Shops” in the conservative American Spectator magazine.

“Three years after I was fired, the exporter, McDonnell Douglas, was indicted for export violations, and Sen. Fred Thomson and Rep. Christopher Cox launched massive investigations into the Clinton sell-off of sensitive US technology to Communist China that led to the creation of the US-China Security Commission, which continues to investigate Chinese misdeeds today.”

“A source at the Commerce Department later showed me the complaint that his predecessor, an assistant secretary, had faxed to the editor-in-chief of Time magazine the day before I was fired,” he says. “It was explicit and called for them to pull the story.”

Timmerman doesn’t pull punches detailing the media’s shift from neutral observer to its alliance with the Democrat party and the far left.

“Time’s editors showed in July 1994 that they believed their job was not to uncover the truth but to provide political cover to Democrats in Washington,” he relates. “It’s only gotten worse since then, but I believe this incident formally marks the end of the “mainstream media” as we once knew it.

As Timmerman points out media today are no more than cheerleading squads for the Democrat party and its progressive programs. They mimic the Democrat’s far left ideology in its attempts to define righteousness for all of us by advocating for the reallocation of citizens’ wealth according to party ideals and for regulating private economic behavior. They dictate to local communities how they should govern themselves by crusading for codes of “correct” speech and behavior, and so much more.

Recent media setbacks that activated a flashing “Cannot be resuscitated!” warning range from a revelation by former New York Times journalist Bari Weiss that she was instructed to “check with” Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer (NY) before running an op-ed from Republican Senator Tim Scott (SC) to the media’s complete silence about the southern border crisis and Hunter Biden’s laptop, cheerleading the unprecedented raid on President Trump’s Florida home and much more.

“Like many other countries in Europe and elsewhere, we now have a politicized media in the United States,” says Timmerman.  “But unlike other countries, in all but a few cases our media refuses to acknowledge its ideological affiliation. So added to bias, you have hypocrisy.”

If you want to meet and hear Timmerman, he will be the guest speaker at the September 19, 5-7 p.m. “We The People” meeting, at Walkers Landing, 70 Marsh Road. Admission is $10. If you want to eat and drink, bring your own food and booze. To RSVP contact Deb Boelkes by September 15 at 904/310-9602 or Deb.Boelkes@BWRising.com

During Timmerman’s talk you’ll hear hair raising stories about his capture and beatings by Palestinian terrorists in Lebanon, his trips to Iraq prior to the Gulf War, interviews with arms dealers and his conversion from a liberal Democrat to conservative Republican.

Click the following to hear Timmerman talking with Newsmax TV’s John Bachman on the Salman Rushdie attack, Afghanistan, and the new book: https://youtu.be/hrOA5gnOuvc 

(An abridged version of this commentary appears in Biz Pac Review (BPR) at https://www.bizpacreview.com/2022/08/18/last-rites-for-american-journalism-1274885/ )

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“All the news that’s fit to print”…..as long as it’s approved by Democrats.

https://www.nationalreview.com/2022/08/source-backs-bari-weiss-account-that-new-york-times-wanted-to-run-tim-scott-op-ed-by-schumer/?bypass_key=TUVoOThtU21scHlrQ1Q5N09rQ2FYUT09OjpPREZ6YW1sVlpXWm1WVk41VldwTk0wTnFlVWxEUVQwOQ%3D%3D?utm_source%3Demail&utm_medium=breaking&utm_campaign=newstrack&utm_term=28723345&utm_source=Sailthru

“The Times swiftly denied these allegations, telling the New York Post that ‘New York Times Opinion never seeks outside approval or consultation whether to publish guest opinion essays,’ ” reports my Tampa pal and American Spectator writer Larry Thornberry.

“Perhaps,”  Larry adds, “but stand by for a staff sxxt-storm if any op-ed strays from progressive orthodoxy. He cites the Senator Tom Cotton Send in the Troops piece, which cost the op-ed page editor his job after Times reporters pitched a tantrum.”

Senator Cotton is not an acceptable person to voice an opinion in the NY Times but they published an op-ed once from the Taliban, and that was OK.

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And Even More!  Jack Knocke, head of the newly formed Nassau County branch of County Citizens Defending Freedom USA (CCDF-Nassau) is offering free admission to the new documentary film Selection Code by famed international journalist Lara Logan

“This movie details the facts about manipulation of election machines,” Knocke says. “You will be shocked by what you see in it. Then you will be treated to the backstory by Lara Logan and other speakers (Matt Thayer, Seth Keshe, and more) who will share the details.”

Tickets are free and the film will be shown in the First Baptist Church sanctuary, 1600 South 8th Street, Thursday September 1 from 5-8 pm. Click here to order tickets: https://ccdf-usa-nassaufl.ticketleap.com/selection-code–movie-premier-and-analysis–main-event/

Jack told me the CCDF is also conducting a fund-raising BYOB cruise this coming Wednesday, August 24 featuring local singers Hupp & Ray. Sign up by clicking here: Sign up for the CCDF-NASSAU River Cruise on August 24th.

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Meanwhile Back At The Ranch: Dr. Gerald Decker, keen observer and analyst of all things strange going on at Fernandina Beach’s city hall, offered a quick summary of why city taxes are increasing while the population stays relatively steady.

Dr. Decker, says some budgetary items just don’t add up, and he should know as he boasts a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Chicago.

He says there are two issues that drive the excessive rise in property taxes, which are:

  1. Massive growth in city staff, and
  2. Pile of Impact Fees just sitting there.

Following are statistics compiled by the mathematically disposed observer and former member of the city’s Marina Advisory Board.

Staff Growth

City staff headcount is now the highest it has ever been—272 personnel. The last time staff levels were this high was in 2010, peaking at 247. In recent years the headcount has been slightly over 200, falling below 200 in 2015 and 2016. Interestingly, during the pandemic, when everything essentially stopped, headcount actually leapfrogged well above 220.

Personnel whose salaries are paid using taxes is also at a historic high—183, up 23 from 2010, mostly in parks and recreation. During the 2010-2022 timeframe only one (unused and unequipped) park has been built on Simmons Road.

Now city population has, indeed, increased by some 1900, or 16%, during the last decade, so some reasonable increase in city personnel is warranted—but the magnitude actually working on our behalf does seem a bit much. What new services or facilities or governance has been implemented to justify that?

Impact Fees

Impact fees have an “impact”.

The second issue is the stagnant use of impact fees.

These fees are collected to provide new services and facilities required because of population growth. As we have seen, our population increase over the last decade is 16%. During the same period Nassau County grew at a 28% rate, with continued rapid growth at 3% per year—and is predicted by the Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research to be the seventh fastest growing county in Florida.

The city seems a bit stagnant when compared to our home county. The uproar that accompanies any proposed new development in the city, and the overly expensive building fees being assessed, effectively discourage new construction—the city has a decidedly anti-development image.

But—the city has collected and sits on millions of dollars of impact fees. Since these fees are to support population growth (i.e., new development) and new development is seemingly discouraged, how can these funds ever be put to their intended use?

This is becoming a real problem, as the law requires that unused fees must be returned to those who paid them. Now that seems downright foolish—collect money, sit on it, then return it.

So, the challenge facing city government is serious—since you collected this money a proper way must be found to use it for the public good—time is passing, and something must be done.

“Finally, concludes Dr. Decker, “is this city commission, or the next one elected in November, up to handling these two most important issues?”

Citizens should contact their elected commissioners – all five of them – and tell them to start doing what they were elected to do – take the lead, not follow, advises Dr. Decker in conclusion.

Those commissioners that are confused and befuddled may want to pay close attention to Commissioner Bradley Bean, the one Commissioner in my opinion who appears to know what’s best for the folks that elected him and the future of Fernandina Beach.

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Things I Wish I’d Said: “Joe Biden has turned our country into the college bar that doesn’t check IDs.” — Fox News host Jimmy Failla on the millions of illegal aliens pouring in across the southern border.

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Fernandina Beach Mayor Mike “Left Coast” Lednovich.

Speaking Of Elections: As a reminder, City Commissioner and Mayor Mike “Left Coast” Lednovich is running again for the Fernandina Beach City Commission. In case you’ve never seen him, he’s pictured here proudly supporting the violent Marxist Black Lives Matter organization about 20 months ago while that vile group was busy burning, looting, rioting and shooting and administering beatings to bystanders in major cities throughput the country. Mayor “Left Coast” Lednovich, a California transplant, confirmed that the photo sent to me by a local resident, is him, but says that the red clown nose was photoshopped. So, pretend you don’t see it.

***

Overheard at PJD’s Beer & Wine Garden: “My email password has been hacked again. This is the fourth time I’ve had to rename the dog.”

  • Comment (18)
  • Another amazing post!

    I find amazing the amount of influential and meaningful people Amelia has. Sometimes I think we’re like a little Philadelphia.

    Thank you Dave!

  • “Jack Knocke, head of the newly formed Nassau County branch of County Citizens Defending Freedom USA (CCDF-Nassau) is offering free admission to the new documentary film Selection Code by famed international journalist Lara Logan. ” There’s so much to unpack here that it’s hard to know where to begin. But I’ll start with the obvious. “…famed international journalist Lara Logan” should read, “…shamed international journalist Lara Logan”. Logan is the ex-CBS reporter who was let go by the network for shoddy journalism. She herself admitted to her second-rate reporting on the Benghazi attack in Libya to a national audience on 60 minutes. Then, after trying to restore her credibility by joining FOX Nation, they too “dumped” her after she likened Fauci to Mengele. She’s so inept that FOX News won’t even invite her on as a guest anymore. She has sunk so low that she has now abandoned all journalistic values in favor of working for extreme right-wing propaganda organizations where she promotes conspiracy theories. Just two examples are: 1. Speculating that Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won her election to office because of some unspecified plot operated by unknown entities Logan believes control antifa activists. 2. Tweeting a picture, which Logan claimed was an antifa riot instruction manual. The picture actually was an updated hoax dating to the 2015 Baltimore riots. And tweeting a threat by the @ANTIFA_US Twitter account. An account that turned out to be fake and linked to Identity Evropa, a white nationalist organization. After being criticized for posting the hoaxes, Logan attempted to backtrack by claiming that there was a campaign to “destroy” her, including by Media Matters for America. “Famed journalist” indeed. And now the documentary “Selection Code”? About Tina Peters? The same Tina Peters that tried to rig her own election by leaning on Mesa County GOP Chair Kevin McCarney to remove her opponents from the race for Colorado’s Secretary of State? The same Tina Peters who has been charged with 10 felonies related to election fraud? It’s a tried and true axiom that the more ignorant one is, the more easily swayed they are by misinformation. Conspiracy promoters have taken the voting machine security vulnerabilities exposed by previous DEFCON gatherings and twisted the information so egregiously that this year’s DEFCON was singularly focused on disproving that misinformation. DEFCON by the way is one of the largest gatherings of the world’s smartest hackers. The admission price Jack Knocke is charging (free) for “Selection Code” is still too expensive for watching this trash. My time is worth way more.

  • Dave:
    Your discussion on impact fees represents the same irresponsible thinking that caused the city to lose two law suits finding their use of impact fees to be unlawful. It is important to understand that impact fees are strictly governed by Florida state law. Impact fees are not taxes and do not become the property of the city once collected. They remain the property of the payer held in trust by the city until properly used by the city in conformance to Florida law only to ameliorate the impact caused by the payer’s new development. They may only be used for that purpose and if challenged the city must prove by a preponderance of evidence that they were used in conformance to Florida law. In case “preponderence” is not clear enough the statute adds in any challenge “the court may not use a deferential standard for the benefit of government”. People who have paid impact fees should be demanding to know how their money was spent and if not lawfully spent they should demand return of their money.

    • No disagreement–the point being made is that impact fees have been collected and there is no real plan on how to use them in a proper way, namely to support new development. This is a problem.

      • It may be a fine point but there is a strict plan and that’s the one prescribed by state law. Impact fees may not be spent prospectively as in to “support new Development”. They must meet the state prescribed rational nexus test which provides that the fees now paid may only be used to support the public development caused by the development that was charged the impact fees. The proof of that nexus is on the city by a preponderence of the evidence. If that’s the kind of “new development” you meant then we are in agreement.

        • “The Legislature finds that impact fees are an important source of revenue for a local government to use in funding the infrastructure necessitated by new growth.” Chp. 163, Sec. 31801 (2). As noted, impact fees are to be used solely for providing new or expanded public capital facilities required as a result of new development. Some of the City’s spending of impact fee appear to be more for maintenance/replacement work (north Main Beach boardwalk) rather than expansion. For example, my understanding is that impact fees can’t be use to replace an existing beach due walkover, but can be used to build a new walkover where one didn’t exist before.

          • Exactly right–there are numerous capital improvement projects that can legally be paid for using impact fees–the city needs to act on them. Period. Hire an expert consultant to advise on appropriatness, and get on with it. Collecting $$$ and just sitting on it is folly.

  • The staffing levels in the City have gone unbridled over the last several years with a little bit of gamesmanship from year to year with personnel counts moving between city employees and third-party management contracts. In this years budget it shows the reduction of 2 full-time employees from the cemetery maintenance staff but reading through the budget you will find their work is now being outsourced but no statement as to the cost savings, if any, there is. In the 2021-22 Budget the increase of staff in the Golf Course enterprise fund by 7.5 FTEs was due to the termination of the contract with management company and bringing the operation in-house with a promise of lower costs and subsidies. And how has that worked out?
    The proposed millage rate results in a true tax increase of 14%. While much has been made of the latest inflation levels, the reality is that overall CPI for the last 12 months (July) has only been 8.5% – so what is the justification for the additional 5.5%?

  • The last thing Amelia Island
    needs is to be compared to
    Philadelphia.That city has more
    serious crime in a day than we
    have in two or three years. No
    disrespect intended.Art

  • Interesting that an IT guy from Seminole County would be so adamant about discouraging people from watching a movie that explains what is happening inside election computers. Is there something to hide?

    Watch the movie and make your own mind up.

    Lara Logan is a true journalist presenting the facts. The media is twisting facts to meet their narrative just like this guy is trying to scare folks from watching the movie. Tina Peters is a brave American exposing corruption. Just because she was charged, does not make her guilty. Let the judicial system work. I wonder why they so aggressively charged her.

    Watch the movie. People are free to see the facts and make up their own minds.

    • I assume this conversation is about the movie “Selection Code” and not “2000 Mules”. The movie Selection Code is a good movie and worth everyone viewing. First, in spite of some pre-announcement material, Lara Logan does not appear in the movie nor in the credits. Second, it is not a technical exposé, it is an exposé on corruption, so there isn’t much material of interest for IT people other than their concern for finding and exposing corruption like most everybody else. The technical IT material is really focused not on the technicalities, but more on how people manipulate the systems in ways that change and delete crucial date. The key thing that Tina did was to initially expose this by taking a forensic backup prior to the scheduled manipulation and another forensic backup after the manipulation by Dominion employees/contractors and Colorado Secretary fo State employees, including an IT person, and then making it public. Making the information public may have, technically, broken a law, I don’t know. Whistleblowers often have to do so to expose the corruption.

      The movie was presented as part of the two-day Moment Of Truth Summit. If you want a thorough view of the kinds of ineptitude and corruption that leads to incorrect election outcomes, the Moment Of Truth Summit presented a myriad of ways our elections lack integrity. For about eight hours, presentations from people representing all 50 states described the various ways in which laws were broken and/or improper procedures were followed in their elections. The second day involved some of the most highly credentialed IT professionals presenting information in their respective areas of expertise. The whole two days are very educational. Mostly, information was presented and you are left to draw your own conclusions. Some conclusions are inescapable.

    • And as an IT guy, whose skills include applying high levels of security to hardware, software, and networks, I understand the vulnerabilities of the machines involved in the voting process. I also followed the results of the DEFCON hacks of the the voting machines used in the 2020 elections. I also know that Peters and Logan have no IT background so anything they present as “facts” comes from a place of ignorance. Putting in simply, I’ll take the findings of the world’s best hackers who had unfettered access to the voting machines hardware and software over a bunch of conspiracy nut jobs.

      • Ok, so I just spent 3 1/2 hours of mostly wasted time watching Selection Code. It took me that long because I often paused the video (accessible on YouTube) to fact-check the claims made. But what took the longest was reading the “Mesa Reports 1, 2, & 3”. It would take me longer than I’m willing to spend on a task that has already taken way too much of my time to detail everything wrong with this documentary, but I’ll touch on the highlights. First, this film totally ignores physical security – which is a vital part of securing computers. In fact, it is physical security that Peters violated in a number of ways and for which she faces felony charges. Two, making an issue out of proprietary code and demanding source code is ludicrous. Software and hardware companies are in business to make money and handing out source code is literally inviting competitors to steal your work. Not to mention that exposing source code is in itself inviting a security vulnerability. The idiot (apologies if he was taken out of context) who demonstrated his code designed to swap votes ignores the multitude of security hurdles that must be overcome to get one’s malicious code inserted into a program. Among those hurdles is network, server, directory, and file permissions. Then there’s configuration management, which also has embedded security, where source code is stored in a digital vault and must be checked out in order to modify or alter in any fashion and then checked back in before a build can happen. The CM tool tracks changes or deltas if you will, thereby leaving audit trails of what was done and by whom. One, of a number of obvious omissions in the film, was the testing phases. First, there is unit testing, then system testing, then user acceptance testing – all following a detailed and approved test plan. In other words, many hands touch this program looking for expected as well as unexpected results before the final compile takes place and is moved into production (undergoing yet another layer of scrutiny and security by the production team). You have to have a whole lot of collaberation by a slew of bad actors if you’re conspiring to throw an election via a computer. Try keeping that a secret. As for the Mesa Reports, I’ll grant you that they exposed some security vulnerabilities. But there’s leaving a barn door open, and then there’s actually walking through it. This film does nothing to prove the latter. Here’s something to think about. Guided missile systems are controlled by computers. Believe it or not, these are not 100% secure either. Nothing is regarding computers. But you don’t have nimwits putting together a documentary trying to make the case that coordinates can be hacked and instead of striking the Taliban in Afghanistan it could instead strike Mara-a-Lago in Palm Beach. Possible? Yes. Probable? Just a hair above never. The whole time this Doug Gould is droning on about deleted log and other files and violations of VSS laws I’m yelling at my laptop, “Backups, BACKUPS”. His whole premise is based on comparing the same hard drive before and after a Dominion update. What about nightly backups? Whatever data he keeps insisting has been unlawfully deleted exists on those backups. In 36 years I’ve never worked on a server that didn’t have nightly backups. Not only is this a standard practice for the preservation and integrity of data, but it is also imperative for disaster recovery. And his claim of uncertified software in the form of SQL Server Management Studio rendering the election server invalid fails to acknowledge that SSMS comes with SQL Server as an embedded package, which is certified. As for it being a tool that makes it easy to switch votes in the database? Without the tool, I can simply open a window inside SQL Server and write the following: Update Voting_Records SET selection = Y where candidate=’Biden’. Never mind that Dominion has noted in their documentation that SSMS comes with SQL Server as part of their install. And speaking of databases, SQL Server comes with its own method of creating backups as well as keeping a log of every database transaction. So if someone did decide to alter the data in the database, there’s a record of who did it and when. I could go on, but I hear a glass of wine calling my name. Before I labeled Selection Code as trash. As it turns out, I was too kind.

        • Richard, my purpose in commenting on this blog is to do my best to ensure that the others here have access to the most factual information on subjects I am qualified to comment on. I am not here for the supposed gratification of proving someone else wrong. At this point, the conversation has probably gone beyond the technical depth of the others here to gain any insight. Your points about the SW dev processes, CM, and testing are valid and when performed by a white-hat company are beneficial to their business and their customer. However, consider that a black-hat company developing a nefarious product, also uses those same processes to ensure that their product does what they designed it to do. Also, while many, including those Def Con hackers, have proven the voting machines to be quite hackable, I don’t believe that hacking played any significant role, if any, in the election outcomes. But I don’t consider purpose-built back doors controlled by some third-party to be hacking. Now, I hope you had a chance to enjoy that wine and unwind some. Maybe someday we can share a glass of wine and discuss topics of interest.

          • In my experience, wine and politics never make a good pairing – even shared politics. If we can leave that off the menu then I’d be happy to share a glass of wine someday. Cheers!

      • It isn’t clear to me whether the biggest election integrity impact is from state hackers, designed-in cheats, or corruption of the human processes surrounding elections, but the DEFCON hackers in the DEFCON Voting Machine Hacking Village definitely proved the machines were eminently hackable:

        “E-voting machines and voter registration systems used widely in the United States and other countries’ elections can readily be hacked—in some cases with less than two hours’ work. This conclusion emerged from a three-day-long hackathon at the Def Con security conference in Las Vegas last weekend. Some of those hacks could potentially leave no trace, undercutting the assurances of election officials and voting machine companies who claim that virtually unhackable election systems are in place.”

        Source IEEE: https://spectrum.ieee.org/defcon-hackers-find-holes-in-every-voting-machine

      • “…the world’s best hackers who had unfettered access to the voting machines hardware and software…”

        Just a wild guess, but I think that you’re confirming everyone’s points regarding election security and the possibility of corrupt actions by good guys and bad guys alike.

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