The Wires

Washington Post: "Cheap Chinese caviar is flooding the U.S. market, causing prices to plummet, and with it, the product’s cachet. Wholesale prices have fallen more than 50 percent since 2012, down 13 percent just in the past year. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the import price has gone from $850,000 per ton in January 2012 to $350,000 per ton in November 2018." Mrs. McC: This makes me very happy. I love caviar (I've only had the cheaper kind), but I seldom buy it because of the expense. I have some in the pantry now, but I'm going to check the price at the grocery store now in hopes it's something I can enjoy more often. Status symbol? I couldn't care less.

New York Times: "Pulitzer Prizes were awarded on Monday [April 15] to news organizations that uncovered instances of malfeasance and outright fraud in President Trump’s financial past, a nod to journalists’ perseverance in the face of the president’s ever-sharper attacks on a free press. The New York Times received the explanatory reporting prize for an 18-month investigation that revealed how the future president and his relatives avoided paying roughly half a billion dollars’ worth of taxes. The Wall Street Journal won the national reporting prize for disclosing clandestine payoffs by the president’s associates to two women who were said to have had affairs with Mr. Trump in the weeks before the 2016 election. The South Florida Sun Sentinel won the prize for public service, considered the most prestigious of the Pulitzers, for documenting the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. The paper’s in-depth articles revealed a series of failures by local officials and law enforcement that, the paper wrote, cost children their lives."

Medlar's Sports Report. New York Times: "Tiger Woods’s comeback from personal and professional adversity is complete: He captured his fifth Masters title and his 15th major tournament on Sunday, snapping a championship drought of nearly 11 years. It was a monumental triumph for Woods, a magical, come-from-behind win for a player who had not won a major championship since his personal life began to unravel on Thanksgiving night in 2009, when a marital dispute led to a car accident and a succession of lurid tabloid headlines. On the golf course, he had a series of back and leg injuries that led to an addiction to painkillers and culminated in pain so searing that, before surgery in 2017, he had questioned whether he could play professionally again." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Oh yeah? Trump can beat Tiger any day.

Tom Jones of Poynter picks the top 25 movies ever about journalism.

New York Times: "For 340 days, Scott Kelly circled the Earth aboard the International Space Station, gathering data about himself." His twin brother Mark Kelly, planted on Earth, did the same. "On Thursday..., NASA researchers reported that [Scott Kelly's] body experienced a vast number of changes while in orbit. DNA mutated in some of his cells. His immune system produced a host of new signals. His microbiome gained new species of bacteria. Many of these biological changes seemed harmless, disappearing after he returned to Earth. But others — including genetic mutations and, after his return, declines in cognitive test scores — did not correct themselves, provoking concern among scientists."

Farhad Manjoo of the New York Times: now does his first drafts of columns as well as other traditional writing tasks by speaking into his phone. "I open RecUp, a cloud-connected voice-recording app on my phone.... Every few days, I load the recordings into Descript, an app that bills itself as a “word processor for audio.” Some of my voice memos are more than an hour long, but Descript quickly (and cheaply) transcribes the text, truncates the silences and renders my speech editable and searchable.... New advances — like smarter and more ubiquitous voice assistants; better text-to-speech synthesis; easy-to-use audio and video production apps like Descript and Anchor; and gadgets that burrow the internet into your ears, like Apple’s AirPods and Amazon’s reported forthcoming AirPod clones — point to a profound shift in computing. Soon it might be possible to conduct a large slice of digital life, including work, without being glued to a screen."

New York Times: "In a cave in the Philippines, scientists have discovered a new branch of the human family tree. At least 50,000 years ago, an extinct human species lived on what is now the island of Luzon, researchers reported on Wednesday. It’s possible that Homo luzonensis, as they’re calling the species, stood less than three feet tall. The discovery adds growing complexity to the story of human evolution. It was not a simple march forward, as it once seemed. Instead, our lineage assumed an exuberant burst of strange forms along the way.Our species, Homo sapiens, now inhabits a comparatively lonely world. 'The more fossils that people pull out of the ground, the more we realize that the variation that was present in the past far exceeds what we see in us today,' said Matthew Tocheri, a paleoanthropologist at Lakehead University in Canada, who was not involved in the new discovery."

New York Times: "At 9 a.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, [April 10,] a group of astronomers who run a globe-girdling network of radio telescopes called the Event Horizon Telescope are expected to unveil the first-ever images of a black hole. For some years now, scientific literature, news media and films have featured remarkably sophisticated and academic computer simulations of black holes. If all has gone well, the images today will reveal the real thing, and scientists at last will catch a glimpse of what had seemed unseeable."

      ... Update: "Astronomers announced on Wednesday that at last they had observed the unobserveable: a black hole, a cosmic abyss so deep and dense that not even light can escape it.... To capture the image, astronomers reached across intergalactic space to Messier 87, a giant galaxy in the constellation Virgo. There, a black hole several billion times more massive than the sun is unleashing a violent jet of energy some 5,000 light-years into space."

"A commemorative print from 2008 of Mr. Robbins’s original paint-by-numbers creation in 1950, an abstract still-life. His boss then asked him to make something more representational, and an industry was born." CLICK ON PICTURE TO SEE LARGER IMAGE.New York Times: "Dan Robbins was no Leonardo da Vinci. But he copied one of the master’s basic techniques and thereby enabled children to grow up believing that they, too, could paint 'The Last Supper.' Mr. Robbins, a package designer who died on Monday at 93, helped to conceive what became known as paint by numbers. He copied the idea from Leonardo, who numbered the objects in the background of his paintings and had his apprentices paint them with designated colors. With paint-by-numbers kits, young baby boomers in the 1950s followed the same mechanics as those Renaissance artisans, coloring inside the outlines of images of everything from seascapes and the Matterhorn to kittens and Queen Elizabeth II. The process opened up art to the masses — another notch on the continuum of a limitless democratic American ethos that promised “a chicken in every pot” and 'every man a king.'”

Guardian: "In the 50s, the American art world took itself extremely seriously. Abstract painters such as Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko painted sublime slabs that were praised in hushed voices. Painting-by-numbers may not have been intended as a parody of this modernist reverence – but it sure looked that way. Robbins designed quaint scenes of farmhouses and mountain valleys that anyone could complete – they were good, solid pictures for good, solid middle-American homes. Yet the relationship between painting-by-numbers and modern art is more complicated than it looks. The earliest kit Robbins devised was a cubist still life in the style of Picasso, for the sharp planes of colour were, he said, easy to adapt. He called it Abstract No 1. It was his boss at the Palmer paint company in Detroit, where he worked as a package designer, who insisted he create homely American scenes instead. Robbins was thrilled when, as he remembered: 'Someone entered a completed Abstract No 1 in an art show and won. The judges were quite embarrassed, but the prize resulted in lots of debate about the concept of art …'”

NBC News: “Researchers who used DNA to identify ... the bones [of] Casimir Pulaski, hero of the Revolutionary War and the pride of the Polish-American community..., are convinced the gallant Pole who died fighting for America’s freedom was either a biological woman who lived as a man, or potentially was intersex, meaning a person whose body doesn’t fit the standard definitions of male or female. That’s the eye-opening takeaway from a new Smithsonian Channel documentary titled 'The General Was Female?,' which premieres Monday and is part of the 'America’s Hidden Stories' series.”

Constant Comments

 

Editor-in-Chief:
Mrs. Bea McCrabbie

Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance. -- H. L. Mencken (probably)

Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one. -- A. J. Liebling

Thursday
Dec092010

The Commentariat -- December 9

Reuters: "Another 17 U.S. billionaires, including Facebook co-founders Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz, have pledged to give away at least half their fortunes in a philanthropic campaign led by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. A total of 57 billionaires now have joined The Giving Pledge, which was launched by Microsoft founder Gates and investor Buffett in June."

New York Times: " The Senate has turned down the attempt to move ahead with a defense bill that would repeal the ban on gay troops serving openly in the military. The vote was 57-40, three short of the 60 needed." Washington Post: "A Senate procedural vote to move forward with debate on a bill ending the military's 'don't ask, don't tell' law failed Thursday to earn the 60 votes necessary to proceed.... Senators fighting to end the ban said they would introduce a separate bill to end it. The bill will be cosponsored by Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), and they said it will have bipartisan support." The Advocate story here. ...

... Ezra Klein: "The bill repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell didn't fail: The Senate did. The bill got 57 votes, not 49.... A procedural failsafe that's theoretically meant to protect the rights of minorities was just used to restrict the rights of minorities.... The diffusion of responsibility that comes from deciding law through complex parliamentary gamesmanship rather than simple majority-rules votes is the problem. What happened today is that a majority of the Senate voted for a bill that the majority of Americans support. The bill did not pass. Neither Harry Reid nor Susan Collins are ultimately responsible for that. The rules of the Senate are."

Ed Vogel of the Las Vegas Review-Journal: "Harry Reid won re-election because he got of a lot of Republican votes.

New York Times: "In a closed door caucus meeting on Thursday morning, House Democrats voted to reject the tax cut deal between the White House and Congressional Republicans 'as currently written.' The internal party vote is not necessarily binding on Speaker Nancy Pelosi ... as she decides whether to bring the measure to the floor.... With strong Republican support, the tax plan could easily pass the House with two-thirds or more of Democrats opposing it." Washington Post: "By voice vote, the rank-and-file Democrats passed a resolution that said the tax package should not come to the floor of the House for consideration." ...

     ... ** Reuters Update: "... Speaker Nancy Pelosi will not bring President Barack Obama's current proposed tax plan up for a vote in her chamber, an aide said on Thursday." ...

... David Herszenhorn of the New York Times: "... many Congressional Democrats are furious both about the prospect of continuing the Bush-era tax cuts, even on the highest incomes, and about the way they were cut out of the negotiations. House Democrats on Thursday voted to block the bill from getting a vote unless changes were made. One change that Democrats are seeking is the extension of a Treasury grant program for renewable energy projects.... Supporters say the program has generated big growth in American clean energy industries. The program is set to expire on Dec. 31."

Setting Social Security up for a Fall. Jackie Calmes of the New York Times: "President Obama’s Treasury secretary and budget director met at the White House with members of his bipartisan debt-reduction commission Thursday morning and agreed that the administration should lead an effort in the coming year to press for the sort of long-term spending cuts and revenue increases that a commission majority recommended last week. Participants said the discussion centered on the need for a deficit-cutting agreement before mid-2011...."

Paul Krugman: because the good stuff in Obama's tax deal runs out in December 2011 & the Republican stuff runs to December 2012, "the tax cut deal makes Obama less likely to win in 2012.... Obama may be buying off the hostage-takers by … giving them more hostages." ...

... Dana Milbank: Congressional Democrats' rebellions against Obama's tax deal lasted about 24 hours. ...

... E. J. Dionne of the Washington Post: President Obama doesn't care about liberal people. ...

Republicans really did use the unemployed as hostages. It's disgusting. -- Chris Hayes, trans. by Steve Benen from the original Twitterese

We're talking about a party that is literally refusing to do anything other than fight tooth and nail to protect unpopular tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, at the expense of middle-class families. -- Steve Benen, in his own words

CW: Bob Williams of TaxVox explains how the Obama-GOP deal is a huge boon for the rich but raises taxes on the working poor. "The agreement turns on its head [President Obama']s repeated argument that we need to give more to the poor and ask more of the wealthy. No wonder Democrats in Congress are mad." ...

... Austan Goolsbee on the Obama tax-cut deal. Funny, he doesn't mention raising taxes on the working poor:

Carol Lee & John Bresnahan of Politico: "With Capitol Hill increasingly hostile territory for President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden seems ready to take the place of the departed Rahm Emanuel as the one senior administration official who can deliver the White House’s position — good news or bad — to members and senators of both parties."

Brian Beutler of TPM: Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) holds DADT repeal hostage over stupid conditions. ...

... David Fahrenthold of the Washington Post: Harry Reid is bringing four test votes to the floor to demonstrate Republican obstruction of popular programs: "[1] A bill that would send $250 checks to Social Security recipients.... The Senate voted 53 to 45 - seven short of the needed 60 votes - on a measure to bring the bill to the floor for debate. [2] A bill that would require states to give police and firefighters' unions 'adequate' collective bargaining rights.... That proposal failed ... on a 55 to 43 vote. [3] The DREAM Act, a proposal that would provide a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who came to this country as children and grew up to attend college or serve in the military.... [Thursday vote] [4] A bill that would provide long-term medical care for" 9/11 responders. Thursday vote.

Your Tax Dollars Wasted. Eric Lipton of the New York Times: for-profit colleges (i.e., fake on-line "universities") are raking in federal dollars under the post-9/11 GI Bill. "Some members [of Congress] say they want to place tighter limits on how much these colleges can collect in military benefits, a move certain federal officials say they would welcome.... The Department of Education [is] proposing regulations that would cut off federal aid to colleges whose graduates have extremely low loan repayment rates. Amid this debate, the industry’s powerful lobbying forces are pushing for even more...."

Robert Barnes of the Washington Post: "The Supreme Court sounded conflicted Wednesday about whether Arizona's attempt to revoke the licenses of businesses that knowingly employ illegal immigrants intrudes on federal law or complements it. The case pits Arizona against an unusual coalition of challengers that includes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, civil rights groups, labor unions and the Obama administration. But that high-powered group faced a barrage of skeptical questions from the court's conservatives." ...

... Dahlia Lithwick has more.

Mideast Peace Process, Illustrated:

Ashlee Vance & Miguel Helft of the New York Times: "On Wednesday, anonymous hackers took aim at companies perceived to have harmed WikiLeaks.... MasterCard, Visa and PayPal, which had cut off people’s ability to donate money to WikiLeaks, were hit by attacks that tried to block access to the companies’ Web sites and services. To organize their efforts, the hackers have turned to sites like Facebook and Twitter. That has drawn these Web giants into the fray and created a precarious situation for them. ...

... Glenn Greenwald debates WikiLeaks critic-twins John Burns of the New York Times & Jamie Rubin, formerly of the State Department. Print & audio. ...

... The Letterman Files -- "David Letterman: Agent of Influence." Robert Booth of the Guardian: "Satellite broadcasts of the US TV shows Desperate Housewives and Late Show With David Letterman are doing more to persuade Saudi youth to reject violent jihad than hundreds of millions of dollars of US government propaganda, informants have told the American embassy in Jeddah. Broadcast ... on Saudi Arabia's MBC 4 channel, the shows are being allowed as part of the kingdom's 'war of ideas' against extremist elements." ...

... The New York Times' complete coverage of the latest WikiLeaks dumps is here. ...

... Jon Stewart struggles to characterize Julian Assange:

... Guardian: "Russia has suggested that Julian Assange should be awarded the Nobel peace prize, in an unexpected show of support from Moscow for the jailed WikiLeaks founder."

Justin Elliot of Salon: "Money-hungry" Newt uses Christmas, Pearl Harbor disaster, run for presidency -- whatever-- to hawk his wares. As an example, "In the past few days, Gingrich has been using his Twitter account to promote what he calls 'Gingrich Productions 12 Days of Xmas Presents.'"

Thursday
Dec092010

Dear Answerperson,

Gail Collins writes her column in the form of a lonelyhearts Q&A from a Miserable Moderate whose boyfriend is bummed by Obama's sellout to Republicans. Answerperson offers a comforting response. The Times moderators held back my comment again, which follows Collins' format:


Dear Answerperson,

I'm confused. I just read --

Indeed, the wealth of the Wal-Mart founder’s family in 2005 was estimated at about the same ($90 billion) as that of the bottom 40 percent of the US population: 120 million people. -- Tony Judt, New York Review of Books, on American economic inequality

AND --

At least a quarter of the tax savings will go to the wealthiest 1 percent of the population.... In fact, the only groups likely to face a tax increase are those near the bottom of the income scale — individuals who make less than $20,000 and families with earnings below $40,000. -- David Kocieniewski of the New York Times, on the effects of the President's tax deal

So Answerperson, my question is, Is America a great country or what?

Constant Weader at www.RealityChex.com


Dear Constant,

Or what.

Tuesday
Dec072010

The Commentariat -- December 8

Jacob Weisberg in Slate on "how the Republicans fleeced Obama in tax-cut poker": "There's an old poker adage that if you don't see the mark at the table, you're it. Bad news, Mr. President. You're the mark." ...

... Paul Krugman & ultra-conservative Stephen Moore of the Club for Growth appear on PBS's "News Hour" to talk about the tax deal & President Obama's disparaging his progressive critics. The segment with Krugman begins about 6 min. in:

... Actually, Krugman, Obama wants to pick a fight with Congressional Democrats. Glenn Thrush of Politico: "Relations between President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats have never been worse, but it’s a feud that many in the White House quietly welcome."

** Republican Conspiracy -- Starve the States & Unions. James Pethokoukis of Reuters: "Congressional Republicans appear to be quietly but methodically executing a plan that would a) avoid a federal bailout of spendthrift states and b) cripple public employee unions by pushing cash-strapped states such as California and Illinois to declare bankruptcy.... That’s why the most intriguing aspect of President Barack Obama’s tax deal with Republicans is what the compromise fails to include — a provision to continue the Build America Bonds program.  BABs now account for more than 20 percent of new debt sold by states and local governments thanks to a federal rebate equal to 35 percent of interest costs on the bonds. The subsidy program ends on Dec. 31." ...

     ... Reuters Update: "U.S. President Barack Obama would like to see the the Build America Bonds program continue this year or next year, White House economic adviser Larry Summers said on Wednesday." ...

     Also from Reuters: "Failure by the Congress to pass a tax cut deal soon would 'materially increase' the risk of the economy stalling and a double dip recession, White House economic adviser Larry Summers said on Wednesday." ...

... ** David Kocieniewski of the New York Times: in the tax deal, there's something for everybody, especially the rich: the biggest beneficiaries. "At least a quarter of the tax savings will go to the wealthiest 1 percent of the population.... In fact, the only groups likely to face a tax increase are those near the bottom of the income scale — individuals who make less than $20,000 and families with earnings below $40,000." Includes a chart that shows what's in it for you. ...

     ... Update: the back-and-forth between Jake Tapper of ABC News & Larry Summers on low wage-earners getting whacked is good. Summers finally concedes that Tapper & Kocieniewski are right.

... CW: This is exactly what I said last night in my comment (#8) in Maureen Dowd's column. Michael O'Brien of The Hill: "... senior administration officials said their own party is at least part[l]y to blame for the [tax-cut] deal. White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer said..., "He [President Obama] and the White House, frankly, urged the House and Senate to hold votes on this before the election.... But they didn't do that, in part because there's not unanimity in the Democratic Caucus on this.'"

The Polls. It Depends on What the Meaning of "All" Is:

     (1) Bloomberg: "Americans don’t approve of keeping the breaks for upper-income taxpayers that are part of the deal President Barack Obama brokered with congressional Republicans, a Bloomberg National Poll shows.... Only a third of Americans support keeping the lower rates for the highest earners." ...

     (2) Gallup: "Two major elements included in the tax agreement reached Monday between President Barack Obama and Republican leaders in Congress meet with broad public support. Two-thirds of Americans (66%) favor extending the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for all Americans for two years, and an identical number support extending unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed." ...

     (3) BUT Andy Borowitz reports: "President Obama’s deal to extend the Bush tax cuts for the rich drew rave reviews today from the wealthiest .0000001% of Americans, who pronounced the deal 'a total home run.'”

... Biden Did It. Carl Hulse & Jackie Calmes of the New York Times: Vice President Biden & Minority Leader McConnell hammered out the tax-cut deal in secret talks held in the Vice President's ceremonial Senate office. ...

... Jonathan Allen of Politico: "House Democrats railed against President Barack Obama's tax cut deal with congressional Republicans in a closed-door caucus meeting Tuesday night, even as there were signs that the White House could pick up enough support for the package to win enactment." ...

... President Obama speaks to his supporters about his tax-cut deal:

... New York Times Editors: "... the Democrats should vote for this deal, because it is the only one they are going to get." ...

... Ezra Klein agrees:

If you look at the numbers alone, the tax cut deal looks to have robbed Republicans blind. The GOP got around $95 billion in tax cuts for wealthy Americans and $30 billion in estate tax cuts. Democrats got $120 billion in payroll-tax cuts, $40 billion in refundable tax credits (Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and education tax credits), $56 billion in unemployment insurance, and, depending on how you count it, about $180 billion (two-year cost) or $30 billion (10-year cost) in new tax incentives for businesses to invest. But ... Republicans are treating it as a victory, and liberals as a defeat. ...

       ... CW: Read Klein's whole post. He's very good on how Obama, in his usual tone-deaf way, alienated liberals, in Congress & out. ...

... BUT. Russell Berman & Mike Lillis of The Hill: "Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday escalated the Democratic criticism of the agreement and said the estate-tax provision was 'a bridge too far.'”

... Michael Linden & Michael Ettlinger of the Center for American Progress say the Obama deal will create 2.2 millions jobs, but call it "unfortunate that these jobs have to come from an agreement that is a balance between large, unneeded, bonus tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and the needed continuation of unemployment benefits, middle-class tax relief, and additional help for the economy...." ...

... David Leonhardt of the New York Times: "Mr. Obama effectively traded tax cuts for the affluent ... for a second stimulus bill that seemed improbable a few weeks ago. Mr. Obama yielded to Republicans on extending the high-end Bush tax cuts and on cutting the estate tax below its scheduled level. In exchange, Republicans agreed to extend unemployment benefits, cut payroll taxes and business taxes, and extend a grab bag of tax credits for college tuition and other items. For the White House, the deal represents a clear shift in policy focus. Mr. Obama and Democrats spent much of the last year pursuing long-term goals. But with the recovery faltering..., the administration is turning back to short-term job creation."

... Matt Bai of the New York Times: "President Obama’s compromise with Republicans on extending tax cuts for the wealthy, which his self-described progressive critics see as a profound betrayal, is bound to intensify a debate that has been bubbling up on liberal blogs and e-mail lists in recent weeks — whether or not the president who embodied 'hope and change' in 2008 should face a primary challenge in 2012."

Richard D. Parsons, the chairman of Citigroup, says his bank and the other major financial institutions are too damned big to fail, and we taxpayers are so lucky we made a profit on the TARP loan to Citi. CW: funny, Parsons doesn't mention that Citi's remarkable turnaround is the result of gouging customers & the huge Fed loans it got at near-zero percent interest. Video. ...

... Washington Post: "The Treasury Department plans to sell the rest of its stake in Citigroup, a move that would allow the government to end its ownership in the bailed-out banking giant while turning a $12 billion total profit for taxpayers."

Alex Altman of Time: "... the National Association of Evangelicals and the United States Council of Catholic Bishops ... came together [Tuesday] to tell Congress to ratify the New START Treaty."

Elizabeth Edwards, photo via Politico.New York Times: "Elizabeth Edwards, who as the wife of former Senator John Edwards gave America an intimate look at a candidate’s marriage by sharing his quest for the 2008 presidential nomination as she struggled with incurable cancer and, secretly, with his infidelity, died Tuesday morning at her home in Chapel Hill, N.C. She was 61." ...

... Meredith Shiner of Politico: "Friends, lawmakers and prominent political figures mourned the loss of Elizabeth Edwards on Tuesday night." Statements from President Obama, Sen. John Kerry, Vice President Biden, Lance Armstrong, Secretary Hillary Clinton and others. ...

... Dr. Barron Lerner in the New York Times: "Lessons from Elizabeth Edwards." ...

Hackattack! AP: "WikiLeaks supporters struck back Wednesday at perceived enemies of the site and its jailed founder Julian Assange, launching hacker attacks against MasterCard, Swedish prosecutors, a Swedish lawyer and a Swiss group that froze Assange's bank account." ...

... New York Times: "The Justice Department, in considering whether and how it might indict Julian Assange, is looking beyond the Espionage Act of 1917 to other possible offenses, including conspiracy or trafficking in stolen property, according to officials familiar with the investigation." ...

... BUT. Reuters: "The Australian government Wednesday blamed the United States, not the WikiLeaks founder, for the unauthorized release of about 250,000 secret U.S. diplomatic cables and said those who originally leaked the documents were legally liable. Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd also said the leaks raised questions over the 'adequacy' of U.S. security over the cables."