On Thursday morning's "Squawk Box," CNBC's on-air editor Rick Santelli sounded off against raising the debt ceiling, the Democrat-controlled congress' failure to pass a budget last year, and "spendthrift" politicians. The rant echoed his famous 2009 diatribe where he called for a Chicago "Tea Party."
"It's a matter of principle. If we can't do the discretionary spending now, what chance do the conservatives have to tackle everything we know?" he said of more budget cuts.
"But you turn on certain channels that are supposed to be news, and they vilify anything to get it under control. They say we're going to kill kids? You know, we will have problems with children if the whole damn country goes bankrupt. Wake up!"
Trashing Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) as "Dr. Kevorkian," CNN political contributor Paul Begala condemns the congressman's bold proposal to revamp Medicare in his latest op-ed for CNN.com. If the GOP follows Ryan's plan, "like lemmings," Begala writes that their agenda will end in disaster.
He interprets the plan as nothing less than an attempt "to deny ill and infirm seniors the health care they deserve – while giving oil companies billions in taxpayer subsidies." The "lives and health" of the elderly are now in the hands of the "tender mercies" of the insurance companies. Is this a hint at death panels?
Ryan's plan involves transforming Medicare, which he sees as a fiscally unsustainable program in the long run, into a voluntary system where the elderly are covered by private insurance companies and their premiums are subsidized by the government.
While questioning Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) over the budget battle on Monday's "In the Arena," CNN's Eliot Spitzer switched gears and attacked Republicans for cutting taxes for the rich while cutting benefits for the poor. Spitzer and Chaffetz sparred over the ongoing budget battle and spending cuts, and Spitzer was certainly not lacking in Democrat talking points.
"You are driving the government to bankruptcy and then balancing the budget on the backs of the poor," Spitzer sharply accused the conservative congressman. "I'm saying to you, how do you justify that?"
The latest presidential approval poll shows Barack Obama's ratings at his lowest point of his tenure: 42 percent. But the three major broadcast networks took no notice whatsoever on their Wednesday evening newscasts.
Neither CBS, NBC, nor ABC reported the Quinnipiac poll results on their respective evening news broadcasts. The results, released Wednesday, recorded 42 percent of respondents approving of the job President Obama is doing, and 48 percent disapproving.
Would liberal journalist Karen Hunter have whitewashed President Bush's low approval ratings during his time in office? On MSNBC Wednesday, the ever-classy Hunter curtly dismissed President Obama's lowest approval rating to date, growling that "polls are for strippers."
MSNBC anchor Chris Jansing highlighted a new Quinnipiac poll recording Obama's approval rating at 42 percent, an all-time low for the president. She brought on Hunter, who was listed as an MSNBC contributor, along with another more conservative guest to discuss the ratings.
Hunter argued that the populace can be quite fickle in its rating of Obama's accomplishments. "If people do their homework," Hunter noted, they would recognize the magnitude of the president's accomplishments in office, which she believed to have been the most since FDR.
Once again, Comedy Central's Jon Stewart sacrificed "civility" in order to sharpen his liberal arguments – this time attacking corporations for greed. The liberal comedian, who time and again has used his national podium to cry out for civility in the nation's political discourse, resorted to vulgar name calling Monday during a four-minute tirade against big-business.
During the segment full of naive disillusionment and titled "I Give Up," Stewart tried to poke fun at the argument that corporate tax cuts stimulate the economy. His incivility boiled over when he reported that despite paying no corporate income tax, GE is still slashing American jobs and creating jobs overseas.
"You know, I know the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are people, but what I didn't realize is that those people are a**holes," he ranted. This is quite a far cry from his "Rally to Restore Sanity" this past October, when he pleaded for civility to govern the national political discourse.
In discussing the present "kinetic military action" in Libya, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell and Contessa Brewer both tried to shift scrutiny away from President Obama and toward Republicans Monday afternoon, hours before the President's address to the nation on Libya.
O'Donnell tried to pinpoint the hypocrisy of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for criticizing Obama's failure to obtain authorization from Congress for military action in Libya. The liberal MSNBC host referred back to a nonbinding Senate resolution passed unanimously on March 1, calling for the U.N. Security Council to implement a no-fly zone over Libya.
Since the resolution passed unanimously, O'Donnell believed McConnell to be a hypocrite for voting for a no-fly zone and then calling out President Obama for failing to seek authorization from Congress. The nonbinding resolution, though, was effectively an opinion from the Senate on the matter. The U.S. Congress never authorized President Obama to declare war or preside over military action in Libya.
During Monday's "Morning Joe," Time's Mark Halperin and co-host Mika Brzezinski helpfully provided some spin for the White House to borrow as President Obama finishes his prepared remarks for Monday evening's address to the nation on the events in Libya.
President Obama has received sharp criticism for his foreign policy concerning Egypt and Libya, but Halperin threw cold water on that, calling Obama's strategy "extremely deft in a very tough situation." Brzezinski agreed with his premise, adding that his "deft" handling is also in accord with promises he previously made.
"He's pro-democracy, right? He's anti-violence. He's anti-unilateral U.S. intervention," Halperin noted of Obama, trying to connect his current policy with the peacemaker he claimed to be as a presidential candidate.
(Video below the jump. Comments begin at the 12:30 mark.)
Once again the liberals on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" threw a pity party for President Obama in the face of conservative criticism of his foreign policy. Never mind that President Bush faced withering criticism from all sides during his tenure in office, and the media felt no pathos for him.
Is Obama more 'hawkish' and yet more charming than his immediate predecessor?
Apparently so, claimed Time's Mark Halperin and MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski on Thursday's edition of "Morning Joe."
Halperin believes that President Obama has been more cavalier than his predecessor, and Brzezinski thinks that although Obama has extended many of Bush's unpopular policies, he brings a different "characterization" to the table.
The panel harped on the irony of Obama receiving the Nobel Peace Prize despite his inexperience in the White House at the time (less than a year) and the fact that he has continued American wars overseas and started a third one in Libya. Liberals Mike Barnicle and Mika Brzezinski both admitted to having been taken aback by the 2009 decision to bestow the prize on the president in his freshman year in office. (Interestingly enough, this recalls an episode in 2009 when co-host Joe Scarborough mocked the Nobel committee's decision on the "Morning Joe" set.)
(Video after the jump. Comments from start until 3 minutes in.)
On the one-year anniversary of the health care law, MSNBC thought it fitting to bring on a boy who championed the bill and give him a platform. Anchor Andrea Mitchell hosted 12-year-old activist Marcelas Owens Wednesday and asked him questions with predictable answers to explain the case for the health care law.
Owens became famous last year for his public appearances to rally support for the health care overhaul. His mother had died of pulmonary hypertension in 2007 after she lost her job due to extended leave of absence. She was unqualified for Medicare or for health insurance. Owens used the tragedy to speak out in favor of universal health care.
Mitchell gave Owens a soft interview in what seemed a plug for the health care bill, given that she asked him to explain what could be done in the face of opposition "who don't understand the need for health care" and believe that "there isn't enough money" for universal health care. Of course, Republicans last year proposed health care reforms of their own but were largely ignored amidst the partisan Democratic push for the bill's passage.
Jon Meacham, the liberal host of PBS's "Need to Know," frankly admitted Thursday that media scrutiny of President Bush would far surpass the mild criticism of Barack Obama when it comes to a 10-minute ESPN segment on the President filling out his NCAA Tournament bracket.
Stalwart liberals such as MSNBC "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski and California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom (D) agreed.
"My only point is that Bush would have gotten more barbecued for this," Meacham claimed on "Morning Joe" Thursday. "Anyone who thinks that he didn't – he wouldn't – is crazy." The panel was debating the merits of President Obama appearing on ESPN to discuss basketball while Libya is in turmoil and Japan is facing a possible nuclear catastrophe.
The damage control effort over at National Public Radio (NPR) is at such a state that they've consulted a piece from Glenn Beck's TheBlaze.com to argue it's the victim of a smear operation. On Sunday morning's "Weekend Edition," NPR delved into the report.
When a sting operation launched by conservative James O'Keefe recorded a top NPR Foundation fundraiser making disparaging comments about Republicans and tea partiers, NPR faced heavy public scrutiny. But a publication created by Glenn Beck, described by an NPR correspondent as a "sort of a conservative 'Huffington Post,'" used the full-cut video of the operation, released after the original edited video, to argue that O'Keefe may have cut the video to cast some comments out of context.
(Click here for the NPR story, which includes audio and transcript of the segment.)
On Friday in its 7 a.m. Eastern hour, MSNBC's "Morning Joe" headlined Thursday's congressional hearings on the radicalization of American Muslims – but only played clips of Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), a Muslim-American who represents only one side of the issue. The show then interviewed him for nine minutes, a lengthy interview for one person on the morning show.
While Ellison received some tough questions, no clips were played of Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), who is chairing the hearings, nor of Melvin Bledsoe or of Abdirizak Bihi, witnesses who testified about loved ones who were radicalized by Islamic extremists. Bihi's nephew joined a Somali Islamic militia while Bledsoe's son allegedly shot up an armed forces recruiting center in Arkansas.
Later on in the 8 a.m. Eastern hour of the show, "Morning Joe" hosted liberal Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson to discuss the hearings. Robinson dismissed King's hearings in his March 11 column entitled "A Modern-Day Witch Hunt."
MSNBC's "panel" on today's hearings about radicalization of Muslim-Americans featured liberals Carl Bernstein and Cenk Uygur – with MSNBC's Richard Lui moderating. With no substantial conservative counterpoints to be offered, the two guests sounded their condemnations of the hearings as "cultural warfare" and bigotry.
Bernstein slammed the House inquiry as a joke and as a "debating society for cultural warfare." Referencing the institution's past for producing McCarthy-ite investigations, he compared the current hearings with the gladiatorial combat of the Roman coliseum.
"Now we have this question which is part of this coliseum-like atmosphere of cultural warfare," Bernstein spat.
Cenk Uygur turned up the invective knob to 11 when it was his turn to speak. He questioned whether Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), the chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security, is a "real American."
Former CNBC anchor Donny Deutsch went ballistic Thursday on "Morning Joe" over the situation in Wisconsin. Deutsch called the Republican majority in the state capital "a fascist regime" after they rushed a vote Wednesday night to curb most collective bargaining for public sector workers.
"This is a governor that would not sit down at the table with these people, the Democrats, they walked away," Deutsch ranted. "Now he's doing whatever sleazy, end-run – this is not what this country is built on. This is a fascist regime."
Both Deutsch and MSNBC political analyst Harold Ford were audibly dismayed at the procedural move by the Republicans that caught the opposition in complete surprise, but it was an unashamed Deutsch who doubled down on his criticism by arguing that Gov. Walker and the Republicans were totalitarian.
CNN seemed to fear the worst before Thursday's hearings on the radicalization of American Muslims, pressing committee chair Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) on his stance toward radical Islam with the shadow of Joseph McCarthy looming in the background.
CNN correspondent Dana Bash asked King, the chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security, if he was "obsessed" with radical Islam, and what he thought about being compared to Joseph McCarthy. Her exclusive video interview with the congressman was aired multiple times Wednesday on the network.
In a voice-over, Bash reported that the hearing appears "to some, akin to Joseph McCarthy's 1950's communist witch hunt." She then asked a question of the congressman in real-time, this much of which was included in the segment: "Peter King is the modern day Joseph McCarthy?" Bash was probably alluding to the thoughts of King's critics, and was asking him for his reaction.
Twice within the span of a few minutes on Wednesday's "Morning Joe," journalist Carl Bernstein pressed for a gas tax to be implemented to help deal with the nation's budget crisis.
The panel was covering the debate over the deficit taking place in Washington when Bernstein voiced his sentiments. When the question was if the country is truly serious about fixing the deficit, Bernstein replied in the negative. "I'm not sure we are [serious] as a country either, because again, you'd have a gas tax if we were," he quipped. Liberal co-host Mika Brzezinski immediately chimed in with her approval.
The liberal Watergate "legend" also hit Republicans for cutting programs that "for the most part...really help people." Could Bernstein have meant National Public Radio as one of these "helpful" programs?
The Wisconsin public sector unions, in agreeing to compromise on their pensions and benefits in exchange for collective bargaining, have apparently done all they could to negotiate with the state's governor – according to "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski Tuesday. The self-confessed Democrat for whom appeal to sentiment is second-nature, Brzezinski painted the governor as "cold" and "mean" in the eyes of Wisconsin voters, to whom the union has "given blood."
"The union has given blood to this guy. They've given everything he's wanted," Brzezinski lamented. "I don't know what more they can do for him."
Brzezinski highlighted polls of Wisconsin voters, which show a majority now have an unfavorable view of the governor. "You know what the voters are saying?" she rhetorically asked. "He's cold. And he's mean. And he doesn't care about the little guy." Wow, it sounds like someone's getting coal in his stocking next Christmas.
The Washington Post's Ezra Klein decried an upcoming congressional hearing on the threat of homegrown Islamic terrorism Monday, saying that Christians engage in violence as well but are not investigated by Congress. Klein lambasted the investigation, led by the chair of the House Homeland Security Committee Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), as an attention-grabbing ploy to demonize the American Muslim community.
"We've had school shootings from young Christians," Klein claimed on Monday's "Morning Joe." He added that there are "neo-Nazis who claim they're Christians. Is the Christian community in America so deeply vulnerable to neo-Nazis?"
Klein's point was not that Christians in America deserve an investigation by Congress, but rather that the Muslim community should not be singled out for acts of terrorism, and that they are not so vulnerable to be influenced by extremism from abroad. However, he failed to provide a single instance of violence that was itself motivated by a radical strand of Christianity.
The left-wing comedian Jon Stewart is at it again after ripping conservative Republicans for going after public sector collective bargaining. Stewart updated the situation in Wisconsin Thursday night on the "Daily Show," reporting on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker introducing his new budget proposals.
"He has put public sector unions on notice, and particularly teachers, that the gravy train is over – even if the gravy is actually lunchroom cafeteria-grade gravy-like rehydrated soy chips," Stewart spun, painting the comfortable pensions and benefits of Wisconsin public school teachers as dog food compared with infamous Wall Street bonuses. He also shifted the debate – instead of going after public sector unions, conservatives somehow are anti-teacher, according to Stewart's logic.
Jon Stewart's latest anti-conservative screed included a satirical defense of top income earners and a tongue-in-cheek plea for teachers to pay their fair share, in the wake of the Wisconsin protests. On Monday's "Daily Show," the Comedy Central host offered a shallow assessment of the entire Wisconsin situation with not a single critical look at the state's public sector unions.
Stewart's simplistic take on events is that teachers are being unduly bullied by Republicans and the wealthy to help solve the budget crisis in this country. What could help, he opined, would be boosting taxes on the "top two percent" of income earners.
"Hey you know, one thing we could do – not extend the Bush tax cuts to the top two percent of the country. That would earn us $700 billion over the next ten years," Stewart remarked to applause. "Oh, oh, and maybe also we could close some corporate tax loopholes."
MSNBC's Richard Lui questioned and generally disagreed with a St. Augustine High School alum who supported the school's 60 year tradition of corporal punishment – paddling – in a story MSNBC apparently thinks merits national attention.
Joe Scarborough's "intuitive gut reaction" to the mess in Wisconsin is that Gov. Walker's holdout against union pleas for collective bargaining "seems kind of un-American" to him. It supposedly pained the self-described small-government conservative to say it, but he held to his opinion on Monday's "Morning Joe."
"I'm going to get killed for saying this," Scarborough hesitantly prefaced his confession. "I'm going to get so killed for saying this – I hate to say this, but the concept of telling people that they cannot come together to negotiate with a government – it just kind of seems un-American to me."
The "Morning Joe" panel was covering the latest updates on the standoff in Wisconsin between Gov. Walker and the public sector unions, who are willing to compromise on some demands but want to keep their ability to collectively bargain. Walker still refuses to meet their demands, saying that unions' historic abuse of collective bargaining power contributed to the budget mess his state is now in.
Journalist Karen Hunter belittled Pastor Stephen Broden over his provocative pro-life billboard on MSNBC's "Jansing & Co." Thursday, calling the ad "racial," "sexist," and "completely offensive." Host Chris Jansing didn't do much moderating over the segment, essentially giving Hunter a pass for her statements and further pressing Broden on the billboard.
Pastor Broden is a board member of pro-life group Life Always that sponsored a billboard in New York City claiming that "The Most Dangerous Place for an African-American Is In the Womb." From the start of the interview, Jansing pressed Broden to admit that the ad may be offensive to minority communities.
"Can you understand why some people say this ad offends communities of color?" Jansing asked. She later turned to Hunter, who is a journalist and has co-authored multiple best-selling books with African-American celebrities. Jansing threw her a softball, simply asking her if she thought it racist, sexist, and/or offensive.
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, who was raised a Baptist, criticized Dr. Edward Peters, a Vatican canon law adviser, Wednesday on "Morning Joe," for his call to deny Holy Communion to a public figure who is living "in violation of a fundamental moral expectation of the Church."
"Deny Communion? I'm sorry, and not to get religious here, but Jesus said, you know, 'I didn't come here to heal the healthy,'" Scarborough trumpeted from his soapbox.
"Why don't they first open the books on past priests who have victimized children?" columnist and "Morning Joe" regular Mike Barnicle chimed in, following Scarborough's lead.."That shows rigor. That would be a mistake," CNBC anchor Jim Cramer lampooned the Church.
The issue at hand is not a matter of whether Dr. Peters is "butting in" and questioning Cuomo's faith or unduly condemning him. The Catholic Church's Code of Canon Law 915 explicitly states that those "who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy Communion."
MSNBC's Chris Jansing, referencing a report by the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) on "active U.S. hate groups," asked Wednesday if the rise of radical right-wing groups coincided with the motives behind Jared Loughner's assassination attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.).
When asked about the "hate groups" report, guest Mark Potok of the SPLC immediately pointed to the rise of "radical right-wing groups" and attributed the rise to "resentment over the changing racial demographics," "frustration over the lagging economy," and "mainstreaming of conspiracy theories."
"The economy since the fall of 2008, of course, has really played into this in terms of unemployment, anger with the bailouts, and so on," added Potok. "It's really ginned-up anti-government feeling, in many ways."
"Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski and regular guest John Heilemann both pulled the class warfare card and pressured Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) Tuesday on why he did not raise taxes on the wealthy to cover the state's budget shortfall, rather than pushing to require union members pay into their pensions.
"You're receiving a lot of criticism for only asking the other side to give, and they have given – on health care and pensions. Are you asking people in your state across the board, including the wealthiest, to give, to help deal with the crisis....and I mean tax increases for the wealthy, or in any way, has anyone else been asked to give?" Brzezinski pressed Walker.
Following up on Brzezinski's question, New York Magazine columnist John Heilemann asked Walker why he cut the corporate income tax rate and chose to go after unions – but Walker corrected him. "We didn't cut corporate taxes," he answered.
On MSNBC's "Jansing & Co." Tuesday, liberal journalist Carl Bernstein criticized the continued stance of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) against the right of public unions to collectively bargain. The liberal Watergate journalistic "legend" labeled the governor's efforts as "ahistorical" and "demagogic."
When the governor cut into benefits and pensions of state employees to solve a budget shortfall, union members and supporters of their cause took to the streets of the state capital. Later they were willing to compromise on the amount they had to pay for their benefits, but they demanded to keep their collective bargaining ability. The governor was not willing to cut that deal.
Bernstein said Gov. Walker's move went beyond his own prudence, calling it a "very political, demagogic move by a governor who knows that the Democratic Party subsists to some extent on union contributions." He even called out conservatives for making too many issues into partisan battles.
For about seven minutes on Monday's "Morning Joe," Chris Matthews celebrated his President's Day fawning over former President Clinton. Matthews had nothing but praise for the nation's 42nd president in anticipation of the documentary "President of the World" – apparently Clinton's new title – airing at 10 p.m. EST Monday on MSNBC.
"You know, Churchill's huge in this country and he's 70-30 back in England, and Nixon is probably 20-80 here, but in France he's about 60-40. You know, he's 100-0 around the world, Bill Clinton," Matthews remarked. Apparently Clinton is more liked around the globe than Churchill.
"He is, I don't know what IQ, what, 160? I don't know what it is" Matthews rambled, in awe of Clinton's intellect. "He studies economics an hour a day," he added. "He gets up every morning and does, like, a daily office....Somebody asked me the other day what makes him click? I said he won't quit. He doesn't want the lights to go out. It isn't complicated. I don't want to go to sleep, mommy."