With President Obama seeking to nationalize more and more private industry, Michael Moore promoting his latest socialist agit-prop and the left gleefully proclaiming the death of capitalism, a documentary special airing tonight offers a welcome antidote.
“The Power of the Poor with Hernando de Soto” airs Oct. 8 at 10:00 pm ET on PBS. Produced by Free to Choose Media and funded by the John Templeton Foundation, the documentary posits – and proves – a simple, powerful hypothesis: fair, unfettered access to the market economy will lift millions of the world’s people out of poverty and inoculate them against extremism.
The hour-long special is hosted by renowned Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto, the founder of Peru’s Institute for Liberty and Democracy (ILD) and an advocate for property rights. In the film, he takes viewers on a tour of shanty towns around Lima, Peru the likes of which can be found across the developing world.
In Peru during the 1970s and 80s, millions left subsistence agriculture behind and migrated to Peru’s cities. Across the developing world, the migration continues and major cities grow by hundreds of thousands of people each year. “The poor are no longer isolated,” de Soto said. “They are here, knocking at the door, demanding to be let in.”
These vast squatter communities that ring the cities in poor countries are teeming with what de Soto called “candidates for capitalism.” Indeed, they are already engaged in their own “extralegal” market activity. The economist estimated that 98 percent of all business done in Peru is extralegal, initiated by entrepreneurs who operate outside the official legal and commercial system.
Fans of Douglas Adams’ “Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” books will remember that the answer to “life, the universe, and everything” was “42.” For American liberals, the answer to “health, insurance, and everything” appears to be 47. Liberal pundits and politicians, right up to President Obama, have famously – and wrongly – claimed that there are 47 million uninsured Americans.
Now, an ObamaCare partisan has claimed that 47,000 Americans die annually because they lack health insurance. On Oct. 5, former Clinton White House staffer David Goodfriend appeared on CNBC’s “Power Lunch” to argue for taxing healthcare businesses to pay for health care reform. Goodfriend stated that, even though medical device manufacturers and others would pay up front, they’d see returns in the form of more customers when those now uninsured enter the system.
“Just think; ask yourself this question,” Goodfriend said. “Why would 47,000 people a year be dying from lack of health insurance? How many more procedures would they get – how many more devices would they buy, if they had the insurance?”
Goodfriend didn’t cite the source of that figure, but The American Spectator shed some light on the possible source. In the Sept. 2008 American Spectator, David Hogberg explained the origin of claims that 18,000 people die each year because they are uninsured and why some could improperly extrapolate even larger figures (up to 47,000 people).
It takes a breathtaking lack of self-awareness, or selective amnesia, or just bald hypocrisy for the left-wing blogosphere to speculate on the cause of “right-wing hatemongering.” But there it was on Sept. 21 – an article asserting that the “anti-Obama hyperventilating” was the result of … Christianity.
Appearing on Alternet.org, Frank Schaeffer’s “Right-Wing Hatemongering Fueled by Christianity?” suggested that resistance to the Obama program comes from “the ugliest side of religion.”
“The fact is,” wrote Schaeffer, “that if you're going to blame one group above all others for the willful ignorance and continuing ugliness of the response to President Obama the best candidate would be the evangelical/fundamentalist community.”
Schaeffer wrote that former president Jimmy Carter was correct when he recently asserted that racism was behind the passionate anti-Obama reaction. But Carter fell short in not explicitly linking that racism to his own religion – Evangelical Christianity. “The angry part of the South Carter spoke of is racist because it's dominated by a certain type of ‘Christian’ culture,” Schaeffer wrote.
What a novelty: a political reporter who reports on the remarkable success of a political book.
Michael Calderone of Politico has been just about alone in reporting on the popularity of conservative radio host and author Mark Levin’s book, “Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto.”
In his blog on September 15, Calderone wrote that “Levin has now sold a million copies of his latest book, Liberty & Tyranny, according to a release.” And Calderone noted that “‘Liberty & Tyranny’ spent 12 weeks at the top of the New York Times' best-seller list and remains in the Top Ten.”
Threshold Editions, part of Simon & Schuster, announced today that conservative radio host and author Mark R. Levin’s “Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto” has officially sold one million copies since its release in March. No thanks to the mainstream media.
As the Culture and Media Institute detailed in a new Special Report “Unmentionable: Best Selling Conservative Books and the Networks that Ignore Them,” Levin’s book, which spent 12 weeks at No. 1 on the New York Times Best Sellers List, has been ignored by the mainstream media. Levin told CMI that “we have not heard from any of the major networks, and the only major newspaper that has interviewed me is Philadelphia Inquirer, and that’s because I’m from Philadelphia.”
Obviously, that hasn’t harmed sales. “The book is selling by word of mouth,” Levin said. “I’ve done very little media, and its chugging along.”
Since the 1940s, an appearance on The New York Times Best Sellers List has been the mark of commercial success for any book. Authors with titles on the list can count on media attention to help sell even more copies. Unless they are conservatives.
Conservative books and authors have been very successful recently, as evidenced by their showing on the best sellers list. Since January 2009, conservatives enjoyed 95 total weeks on the list, compared to just 80 weeks for liberal books and authors. At this writing Michelle Malkin’s “Culture of Corruption” is at No.1, and several other conservative titles have prominent berths on the list.
But as the Culture & Media Institute discovered, viewers of ABC, CBS and NBC might never know of the popularity and commercial success of conservative books.
The Walt Disney Company is synonymous with two things: family entertainment and an iron grip on its intellectual property. Unless gays are involved. They can do what they want.
Currently, a parody of a Miley Cyrus video is an Internet phenomenon. “Party in the FIP” is a take-off on Cyrus’ hit “Party in the USA,” which is on Hollywood Records, a Walt Disney Company. “FIP” refers to Fire Island Pines, a famously gay New York beach. The video features, in the words of MSNBC host Carlos Watson, “guys dancing on the beach in Speedos.”
In a segment on August 31, Watson said, “It appears that Disney is in on the joke, or at least they’re laughing at it too.” He turned to cohost Kerry Eleveld, of gay publication The Advocate. “What do you think about Disney, who doesn’t always seem to be the most progressive company in the world, seeming not only to be to be okay with it but making phone calls to the creator of it?”
“They might not be incredibly progressive,” Eleveld said, “but they’re smart business people. It never hurts to have gay men on your side.”
So Michael Vick is an Eagle now. That’s ok with me. I’m a Giants fan. Or I was a Giants fan, when I could stand to follow pro football. For a long time now, I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch more than a few games a season. These days, I feel nearly as out-of-place at a Super Bowl party as I would at an Oscar party.
Here in the DC area, the Redskins religion has begun its sacramental advent count-down to opening Sunday. I wish I could share the excitement. Part of the problem is that I’m a natural contrarian. Everybody loves football, so I don’t. Also, I’m a baseball fan (in a town largely devoid of them). The end of summer means my season’s running down, while theirs is pumping up.
But the problem is more involved. See, I love the game of football. But I loathe how and by whom it is played at the professional level. I don’t like the hype and the spectacle and the production – the computer generated “Transformers”-type robots Fox uses in commercial bumpers. And I can’t believe I’m the only one who thinks Hank Jr.’s “Monday Night” theme song gets a little more embarrassing every year.
In a surprising move, the network that brought you “objectum sexuals,” “the pregnant man,” sugar daddies, transvestites and a whole array of sexual deviants has hired an unambiguously pro-abstinence voice for its morning show.
Reuters reported on August 17 that “Comedian Steve Harvey has joined ABC's ‘Good Morning America’ as a contributor for the next several months.” Harvey, an actor, comic and syndicated radio host, is the author of “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man,” an advice book for women.
What are your kids looking for when they surf the Web? The computer security firm Symantec Corp recently found that kids were interested in “Michael Jackson, eBay, Wikipedia, Miley Cyrus who plays Hannah Montana in the hit Disney series, Taylor Swift, Webkinz, Club Penguin, and the Black Eyed Peas' song ‘Boom Boom Pow.’” Oh, and “sex” and “porn.”
According to an August 12 Reuters report, Symantec “studied 3.5million searches and “identified the top 100 searches conducted between February and July through its family safety service OnlineFamily.Norton, which monitors children's and teenager's Internet use,” Reuters explained.
So Democrats don’t like all those ads for prescription drugs on T.V. – the ones for high cholesterol, enlarged prostates, dry eyes and, yes, ED. On C-Span recently, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D., Calif., said “a lot of people start thinking they have medical problems because they’ve seen too many of these commercials. I don’t think that’s doing the public a lot of good. It’s certainly making the drug companies richer, but it’s not doing a lot of good for the public.”
That statement tells us an awful lot about Waxman, President Obama and the other liberals currently trying to cram socialized health care down the throats of a reluctant citizenry.
Waxman assumes that there is something inherently wrong with citizens knowing that these drugs exist. Waxman is a statist ideologue, so perhaps he really believes information should be rationed (he certainly believes health care should be rationed). Maybe what bothers him in this case is that the state has not yet managed to insert itself into this transaction. A drug company speaking directly to a consumer smacks too much of liberty.
The congressman must have a low opinion of the medical profession, to imply that consumers need only ask their doctors for prescriptions and they’ll get them. Physicians pay massive malpractice insurance premiums and the Democrats refuse to cap malpractice tort awards. So in violation of the universal law of CYA, doctors can’t be trusted to give cursory exams to verify the presence of the maladies in question.
Here’s a dilemma: You come to find out that Cilla, the sister who’s been generously contributing thousands of dollars to your three kids’ college funds, is actually a porn star. The college cash turns out to be the ill-gotten gains of immoral exploitation. You’re horrified and consider returning the money. Your husband disagrees. What do you do?
“G-Rated Sister in San Diego” wrote to the syndicated advice column “Dear Abby” for advice. Understandably, she wrote, “Abby, I don't want my sister's sexual exploits paying for our kids' education … Should we return the money? And if we do, is it possible to do it without causing a rift between my sister and me?”
Here we are, just past the half-way mark in 2009, so I wanted to give you all a general business update, and let everybody know how things look from my chair.
So far, ’09 is on track to be one of our best years since they dismantled the Gulag, and it’s largely thanks to your hard work. The Che Guevera T-shirt sales continue to bring in revenue. While we took a hit when Madoff went out of business, Senator Dodd assures me that our other ventures are secure.
This year, several of our important client relationships have really blossomed. Hugo Chavez has come into his own as a world-class talent. (Hat-tip to Baal in Recruitment & Development: having Fidel mentor him was pure genius.) And several long-time clients have really stepped up to the plate: Kim, Putin and the mullahs are all on hot streaks.
We continue see residual up-side from the sliming of Sarah Palin last fall. (BTW – Astarte, send Katie Couric some more flowers. And that Purdum guy at Vanity Fair – find out if he likes cigars.)
Imagine you live in the Washington, D.C. metro area, and you’re wondering what to do with weekend guests after church on Sunday. Quite sensibly, you turn to the “Local Events” section of the “Going Out Guide” on the Washington Post’s Web site.
So much to choose from … best to rely on the Editors’ Picks – there are only five of them. Two of the five look promising. First, you can enjoy a “Drag Queen Brunch” in Dupont Circle, then it’s off to the African American Civil War Memorial for … “Bare Breasted Women Sword Fighting.”
This topless dueling took place yesterday, as part of the “Capital Fringe Festival,” a performing arts festival that bills itself as “Rebellious and adventurous.”
“Bare Breasted Women Sword Fighting” was, according to the Post’s “Quick Take,” “A martial whirl of femininity and breasts.”
But an editorial review by Nelson Pressley assured readers that there was more to the event. “They'll show some skin, but this ain't yer daddy's strip club. They're going to play with conventions and make you think about it.” Bare breasted women sword fighting, Pressley said, was “some of the most sophisticated comedy I've seen so far on the Fringe.”
The other day I was driving behind a car with a “Friend of Tibet” Virginia license plate. That’s great and I’d like to be a “Friend” myself, but with the job and the family and cutting the lawn … Can I just become a “Facebook Friend of Tibet?” If so, am I entitled to the same preening as Tibet’s actual Friends?
It got me wondering whether we’d see “Free Iran” paraphernalia anytime soon, and whether we’d see it on the same Volvos and Priuses as those “Free Tibet” bumper stickers. Somehow I doubt it, since Obama could barely fit any “concern” for Iran among the puffs of “hope” and billows of “change.” If he doesn’t care, the media doesn’t care, and the bumper sticker-industrial complex can concentrate on that cuddly Dalai Lama.
Not that freeing Tibet isn’t desirable. It should be free. In fact, we should also help free China (and Cuba and North Korea, while we’re at it), and make sure that Taiwan remains free. You don’t see many bumper stickers about those countries, though. And small wonder – if they really expected anyone to care about their plight, they would have had the foresight to stock up on skinny bald guys in saffron robes.
“A new study by the Media Research Center – a conservative group, but an accurate group – indicates that pornographic content is available to kids on YouTube pretty much all the time,” host Bill O’Reilly said.
Amanda Carpenter of the Washington Times, “The Factor’s” regular Internet correspondent, explained some of the study findings. “If you put in a search term like ‘porn,’ into the YouTube site,” she said, “you’ll come up with 330,000 different hits. And, while the Web site says it warns … it bans, excuse me … explicit pornography, there are tons of things out there that resemble, you know, soft-core type of porn, girls stripping, allusions to lesbianism, fetishes. And they say its porn – they advertise it as porn. Other pornographers put links to their own real sites that are pornographic.”
O’Reilly asked about the lack of safeguards that the CMI study uncovered. “So say a 12-year-old wants to see this stuff,” he said. “All they have to do is lie about their age, right?”
It’s small wonder the fawning media continue to note how “confident” and “cool” the new president is in office. The Sun King has assumed the throne and found it to his liking. Barack “L’État c’est Moi” Obama is a company man in a company town – a statist in a place where he needs only to stretch a hand to stretch the state. The federal apparatus in Washington, D.C. is vast, and designed to do one thing: grow and assume power. Obama is large. He contains multitudes.
Small wonder too that the GOP lost its identity after 12 years controlling Congress. No matter how strong your small-government credentials, or how “in-touch” you are with the folks back home, living and working at the heart of a sprawling, powerful government apparatus “dulls the edge of husbandry,” as Shakespeare might have put it. Conservatives can end up captive to Beltway norms and mores, and end up conservative no more. It’s Stockholm Syndrome for conservatives.
This is particularly so because the inherently liberal news media doesn’t question whether government should expand. So when the party of small government strays, who’s going to call them on it? Not the party of big government, and not the press. So government grows.
As Newsbusters has been covering for nearly a year, ABC developed and heavily promoted a nightmare "documentary" of our future (unless we listen to the einironmentalists). The Business & Media Institute's Dan Gainor watched "Earth 2100" when it aired last night:
ABC’s “Earth 2100” tried to tell the story of the future but ended up a documentary about the present. The global warming Armageddon-fest tried to scold and scare Americans into changing habits to prevent the deadly end. Instead, it told a tale of just how far journalism has descended from neutrality to bias to outright propaganda. That’s what host Bob Woodruff called “a different kind of journalism.”
The program focused most on the fictional character “Lucy” who he used to tell his equally fictional tale of the future. Immediately after viewers met Lucy, the first real human they saw other than Woodruff was John Podesta, president and CEO of the lefty-wing think tank Center for American Progress. Podesta also headed up the Obama transition team.
Since Earth 2100 was a two-hour, left-wing, Obama commercial complete with an early talking head appearance by the president, Podesta was an appropriate choice. But not so appropriate that he actually appeared in that part of the transcript, which ABC posted to go with its massive Web effort for the show. ABC had to add him in after the transcripts were completed. Apparently, the Obama connection wasn’t clear enough before that.
Singer Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20 is a passionate supporter of gay marriage – so passionate that he recently wrote a piece in support of same-sex marriage that was not only wrong-headed, but factually inaccurate, and a clear illustration of why celebrities should shut up and sing.
Featured in the “Huffington Post” on May 27, “The Big Gay Chip on My Shoulder” was written as a response after a Twitter post in which Thomas wondered why same-sex marriage shouldn’t be allowed.
Thomas focused most of the blame on religious conservatives for California’s rejection of same-sex marriage. “Still, I'm amazed at the audacity of a small, misdirected group of the ultra-conservative Christian right wing, to spend millions of dollars, in a recession, on advertisements to stop two men or women who love each other from being able to be married, but when you present any opposition to them, they accuse you of attacking their religion.”
To a man with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. To a community organizer, every citizen looks like a victim entitled to someone else's money.
The Obama campaign and administration has proved that again and again. But both the president and his wife put a fine point on it with commencement addresses this month. (Joe Biden also gave one, but it's a safe bet that nobody - Joe least of all - knew what he was talking about.) To the Obamas, grads should opt for the virtue of what Michelle has called "helping" careers, and eschew the vice and corruption of the private sector.
On April 21, the Business and Media Institute's Dan Gainor testified before the House Judiciary Committee's Courts and Competition Policy in a hearing on "A New Age for Newspapers."
As MRC's Tim Graham wrote on April 22, the hearing was spurred by the steady drumbeat of newspaper closings around the country, and calls from some Democrat lawmakers to bail out and subsidize the newspaper business.
While others testified on newsprint business models and the impact of the Internet, Gainor's statement to the subcommittee highlighted liberal bias as a major factor in the industry's decline. "The concept of a journalist as a neutral party has become a punch line for a joke, not a guideline for an industry," he said.
When American citizens assert conservative principles, as they did last week with the tea party protests, it has a strange effect on liberals. They get angry. Some get in touch with their inner Beavis and Butthead, giggling endlessly over lame sexual innuendo. Some, like Rolling Stone political reporter Matt Taibbi, just get downright misogynistic.
In a blog post on tax day, Taibbi sleazed conservative writer Michelle Malkin, who supported and wrote about the tea parties. “I have to say, I’m really enjoying this whole teabag thing,” Taibbi wrote. “It’s really inspiring some excellent daydreaming. For one thing, it’s brought together the words teabag and Michelle Malkin for me in a very powerful, thrilling sort of way. Not that I haven’t ever put those two concepts together before, but this is the first time it’s happened while in the process of reading her actual columns.”
Taibbi then paused to slime Ann Coulter (“When you read Ann Coulter, you know you’re reading someone who would f*** a hippopotamus if she thought it would boost her Q rating.”) before really turning on the charm.
In the wake of the tax day tea parties, the Business & Media Institute's Dan Gainor appeared on Fox Business Channel's "Cavuto" on April 16 to discuss the protests.
Host Neil Cavuto compared the tea parties to the successful 1978 California tax revolt led by Howard Jarvis, noting that the media failed to take notice of the movement in that case as well, until they had to report the surprise passage of Proposition 13.
"Well of course it's relatable," Gainor said of the comparison. "What we're dealing with now are the same problems. Taxes and government growth are out of control and the politicians are out of touch -- and frankly most of the media are out of touch."
When a senior editor from Newsweek goes on MSNBC to discuss conservatives who protest the massive tax and spend agenda of the Obama Administration, why shouldn't he join in the fun of disparaging them with juvenile sexual innuendo? After all, he's among friends and fellow travelers.
But eventually, someone may call that senior editor to account for his "pornographic" slurs, as St. Louis radio host Jamie Allman did to Newsweek's Daniel Gross on April 14.
Gross had appeared on MSNBC's "Countdown," on April 10 and told guest host David Shuster, "I think when it comes to tea bagging, the president should probably ignore this ... to get bogged down with what seems to be a fringe group of people throwing consumer products into the lakes and rivers of this nation, ah, doesn't seem to be worthy of his attention."
BMI's Dan Gainor has the following column on Tax Day and Tea Parties up on the Fox Forum:
When you want tea, you bring water to a boil. When you want genuine change, you do the same thing to the American public.
Right now, that public is boiling mad and, with April 15 around the corner, the most important thing brewing is tax protest. For every state in the nation, this tea’s for you.
Lucky for us, our cups runneth over. The nationwide Tax Day Tea Party movement is building incredible steam with an event on the day most Americans dread – April 15. It’s an H&R Block Party to take back our government from people who couldn’t manage the budget of a Kwik-E-Mart.
If the recession has been as hard on Madison Avenue as on other sectors, a lot of marketing types are probably free to watch daytime TV. And if marketing’s your game, that’s time well-spent. You can surf the kiddy shows and learn from the true masters of your art: environmentalists.
Their latest coup? Elmo, the most popular character on PBS’ “Sesame Street,” has gone “green.” Literally.
The environmental left has accomplished what marketers dream of: hooking consumers from a young age and creating customers-for-life.
What’s more, they’ve done it on the cheap. As CMI has documented, Nickelodeon’s “Big Green Help” gives valuable web resources, ad time and talent resources to getting kids to “pledge” to take carbon-reducing actions and to annoy their parents into taking them too. Just last week, Nick used valuable airtime during its “Kid’s Choice Awards” to bestow the “Big Green Help Award” on actor Leonardo DiCaprio (who’s probably as relevant to today’s 10-year-olds as Clark Gable).
Having already conquered the preteen market, and emboldened by evidence that it’s made important inroads with adolescents, the Gaia Conglomerate has scored the ultimate product placement victory – for free! The traditionally red Elmo was literally “turned green,” in a new “Sesame Street” DVD called “Being Green” to teach preschoolers about all environmental pieties.
Sure, PBS and the Sesame Workshop are likely candidates for environmental marketing. If you want to sell beer and salty snacks, go to ESPN. If you want to sell environmental awareness, you go to the one-worldy network with an audience of future community organizers. But getting Elmo on board is no less genius for all that.
In an appearance on the March 27 Fox & Friends, BMI's Dan Gainor discussed White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's brief, lucrative tenure on the board of Freddie Mac.
New reporting by the Chicago Tribune has updated the story BMI chronicled during the Obama transition of how Emanuel made more than $300,000 advising the Government Sponsored Enterprise at the very time it was engaged in unethical and illegal behavior. The mainstream print and broadcast media have mostly ignored Emanuel’s Freddie Mac history, as well has Barney Frank’s Fannie Mae connections because “very obviously they have an agenda,” Gainor said.
A notorious abortion doctor that specializes in grisly late-term procedures is heading to trial at the same time a politician he contributed to and socialized with is awaiting confirmation as President Obama’s Health and Human Services Secretary. Interesting story? Not to the Associated Press.
AP writer Roxana Hegeman wrote on March 14 about the trial of Dr. George Tiller, which began on March 16. “Tiller is charged with 19 misdemeanors alleging he failed to obtain the required second opinion from an independent physician that a late-term abortion is necessary,” she wrote. “If convicted, the Wichita physician could face a year in the county jail or a fine of $2,500 for each charge.”
As a social liberal, Frank Rich is feeling his oats. The New York Times columnist has declared the culture wars (one-sided affairs waged only by conservatives) to be over. But in his March 14 New York Times column, he couldn’t resist a last gloating shot at the “ayatollahs” and “family-values dinosaurs” that have the temerity to suggest there’s a place for traditional morality in the American public square.
"Here, at last, is one piece of good news in our global economic meltdown," wrote Rich. "Americans have less and less patience for the intrusive and divisive moral scolds who thrived in the bubbles of the Clinton and Bush years. Culture wars are a luxury the country — the G.O.P. included — can no longer afford."
BMI's Dan Gainor has a great column on the Fox Forum about the silence around "global cooling."
This is the winter of environmentalists’ discontent. They desperately want the earth to be warming to prove Al Gore’s truth inviolate and they are going to make you pay thousands of dollars for it no matter whether it’s true or not.
But the weather has been inconveniently cold. Thirty-two states have experienced record or near-record lows this winter – poking holes in the predictions of imminent fiery doom. Just ask the die-hard global warming activists who showed up in Washington last week to protest the nation’s use of coal. Their event was hampered by nearly a foot of snow in the nation’s capital – enough to freeze out luminaries like Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
Still, there they were, a couple thousand idiots standing in a winter wonderland, chanting about global warming. What’s amazing is that NASA’s climate chief James Hansen was part of this foolishness. Here we have a man who the left keeps telling us is so smart we need to listen to everything he says and he doesn’t have the public relations sense of a freshman communications major.
I have a news flash for Mr. Hansen – it gets cold in the winter. Sometimes it snows – even in Washington. If you want to promote global warming, look at a thermometer and wait until that red stuff climbs up real high.