In the news today, the President and Oprah attempt to snag the Olympics from Rio, a Congressman yells something dumb on the floor of the House (not a Republican!), and double standards abound.
Meanwhile, back on the Hill, there's a humble bill involving the entire health care system of the United States making its way through the Senate. Lawrence O'Donnell is not usually so honest and brazen about the liberal agenda as he was during this morning's appearance on MSNBC's “Morning Joe”, but one can certainly be thankful that he was.
According to O'Donnell, there are now three new tax brackets in this legislation, a new 35% tax rate on certain private health insurance plans, and half of the health care legislation now being debated is a massive new tax bill. O'Donnell made the following comparison:
But two crucial votes held yesterday in the Senate Finance Committee point to how determined liberal Democrats are to prevent language in the health care legislation that would forbid taxpayer-backed abortions and taxpayer-financed health care for illegals.
Despite this, ABC's "Good Morning America," CBS's "The Early Show," and NBC's "Today" show found no time to devote to the development, not even a brief mention during the anchor desk news roundups.
Uniquely among the broadcast network evening newscasts, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams gave attention to "incendiary" comments made by Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson of Florida, who charged that the Republican plan for health care is that people should "die quickly" if they get sick, prompting Republicans to demand an apology.
Williams seemed to signal his own disapproval of Grayson’s words as the NBC anchor introduced the item by remarking that "there’s something about this health care debate that makes some people say the most incendiary things." After playing a clip of Grayson’s comments, Williams informed viewers that the Democratic Congressman not only refused to apologize but "compared America’s health care situation to the Holocaust."
Below is a complete transcript of the relevant portion of the Wednesday, September 30, NBC Nightly News:
Karl Rove, David Axelrod - look out. CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer has the political climate figured out.
Since inauguration, President Barack Obama has seen his approval ratings fall by almost every poll and that's historically a normal reaction as the newness wears off a new president.
During his Sept. 30 "Stop Trading" segment on CNBC's "Street Signs," Cramer pointed out that although the prospects of Obama's ideal health care reform package passing are doubtful, health insurance providers are facing fallout from a publicity campaign meant by the administration to push through health insurance reform. That gives the administration a new villain.
In a Chicago Tribune article today that appears to open as an attempt at humor but quickly devolves into nastiness, NPR-dependent radio host and author Garrison Keillor, among other things, attacks social conservatives, blames them and not those who have brought legal actions for years-long fights over keeping religious symbols right where they are, and -- while conveniently forgetting that Republican Mitt Romney gave us the Massachusetts disaster known as CommonwealthCare that current Bay State Democratic governor Deval Patrick considers the model for ObamaCare -- ponders the pros and cons of cutting Republicans "out of the health-care system entirely."
There are few if any indications in the last 2/3 of his column that Keillor was attempting anything resembling humor. If he was, he failed.
The Politico's Jonathan Allen reported last night that Democratic Congressment Alan Grayson of Florida let loose on the House floor. (UPDATE: Politico now has a YouTube video of Grayson's performance at the link.)
Hopefully, Allen himself was only being sloppy with his own wording:
Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., warned Americans that "Republicans want you to die quickly" during an after-hours House floor speech Tuesday night.
His remarks, which drew angry and immediate calls for an apology from Republicans, were highlighted by a sign reading "The Republican Health Care Plan: Die Quickly."
"Warned"? As if "Republicans want you to die quickly" is a fact?
“It is possible to have a very good health insurance system without a public option,” ABC's Dr. Tim Johnson acceded on Tuesday's World News in the wake of the Senate Finance Committee's bi-partisan rejection of the liberal quest, but without it we must follow Switzerland and Germany which have “no public option” yet impose “very heavy government regulation” on the health insurance industry. “One way or another, public option or regulation, the government has to play a role,” Johnson, who in March declared it a “national shame” that the U.S. lacks universal coverage, maintained. [audio here, video below page break]
ABC anchor Charles Gibson actually issued a liberal tag in setting up the segment on “a set-back today for the President and liberal Democrats.” Gibson relayed how “the President says we need this public option to keep insurance costs in line. Now with that gone,” he fretted in accepting the view of public option advocates, “do we face escalating insurance costs?”
The entry previously posted at this address incorrectly asserted that the Capitol Hill switchboard was being used to promote liberal health insurance legislation. It is not being used for that purpose.
The telephone number referenced in this post originally is owned by a liberal lobbying organization, not the U.S. Capitol switchboard. We regret the error.
Americans who fail to pay the penalty for not buying insurance would face legal action from the Internal Revenue Service, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.
The remarks Thursday from the committee's chief of staff, Thomas Barthold, seems to further weaken President Barack Obama's contention last week that the individual mandate penalty, which could go as high as $1,900, is not a tax increase.
Under questioning from Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), Barthold said the IRS would "take you to court and undertake normal collection proceedings."
Ensign pursued the line of questioning because he said a lot of Americans don't believe the Constitution allows the government to mandate the purchase of insurance.
Friday, Brown reported that Ensign got a clarification on what the result of "normal collection proceedings" might be, and got it in writing (HT Hot Air):
Remember "Baghdad Bob," the Iraqi Information Minister Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf? Even with Iraqi forces in a full rout and American Marines just blocks away Baghdad Bob would completely deny the presence of U.S. troops in the Iraqi capitol.
Watching MSNBC's "Countdown with Keith Olbermann," on September 24 was reminiscent of Baghdad's Bob's press conferences. Olbermann asked Newsweek's Jonathan Alter, also an MSNBC political analyst, how "the GOP" would convince the public that the health care system "is not really in crisis" and that it does not need to be a priority compared to Afghanistan. Turning right to page three of the current left-wing talking points, Alter used the opportunity to attack Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., for suggesting that the president is letting Afghanistan slide to curry favor for health care, by invoking George W. Bush.
"It's a pretty lame argument," Alter said. "I don't remember Jim DeMint saying when George W. Bush was proposing to reform Social Security a few years ago that somehow he was putting the troops at risk in Iraq, because he was worried about some domestic issue."
"I think that the President could have done a better job of really outlining the issues and what's involved in health care reform. I think it's mind-numbingly dull and complicated and a lot of people don't truly understand a) why the system is broken, if it is in fact broken and the proposals - and how these proposals will actually improve the quality of care."
Thanks to info "steveegg" at No Runny Eggs linked me to earlier today, I had to add the word "Annual" before "Cash Flow" at this post (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) that originally appeared Wednesday.
That's because the system is already running monthly deficits, and significant ones.
Back in February, the system also ran a deficit. It was bad news, but because February is an unusual month containing a full month of payments but only 20 business days of collections (actually 19, since Presidents Day is a federal holiday), I didn't think it was an indicator of a near-term problem when I noted it in early April. I was wrong.
The degree of the decay is obvious when you look at July's and August's results. The drastic decline in year-over-year collections noted in Wednesday's post indicate that September is almost certainly going to be no better, and will probably be worse.
Go to this link and you'll be able to replicate the tables that follow (simply type "7" or "8" at Item 3):
Enraged over Republican opposition to ObamaCare, on The Ed Show on MSNBC Wednesday, host Ed Schultz screamed at viewers: "The Republicans lie! They want to see you dead! They’d rather make money off your dead corpse! They kind of like it when that woman has cancer and they don’t have anything for her."
The woman Schultz was referring to was a relative of a woman who asked Republican Congressman Eric Cantor a question at a health care town hall in Virginia. Cantor replied to the woman, Patricia Churchill, by mentioning charitable care. After playing the question and Cantor’s response, Schultz launched into a diatribe: "This is a classic, because when you present the Republicans and the obstructionists with a real-life scenario, they don’t have an answer.... they’re great at holding up the socialism, the communism, the Marxism, all kinds of ’isms, but they don’t have an answer for that woman...Americans, you can’t trust Eric Cantor!"
"The liberal media claim to champion free speech, but if they continue to turn a blind eye to this offense, we can only assume they approve of government censorship," Media Research Center President Brent Bozell argued in a statement released today.
Mr. Bozell was reacting to news of the federal Department of Health and Human Services placing a gag order on private health insurance companies communicating to their Medicare Advantage customers their concerns about Democratic health care reform proposals. The gag order is backed by a threat of federal prosecution.
Even so, this flagrant abuse of power by the Obama administration has been underreported in the mainstream media. The Washington Post has not printed one word about the violation, and while ABC News aired a segment on its September 22 broadcast, their rivals at the CBS "Evening News" and NBC "Nightly News" have ignored the transgression.
Mr. Bozell's full statement appears below the page break:
On today's Morning Meeting, host Dylan Ratigan gathered his loyalist liberal media friends to deride Sarah Palin's recent speech to investors in Hong Kong, wherein she made the observation that government programs often create new problems, which are then tackled by eager politicians with what else but even more government programs.
First, in the interest of fairness, it must be noted that the guest from the Huffington Post and Vanity Fair, Vickie Ward, barely uttered a word in the entirety of the segment.
That's because she was laughing.
Here's what caused Ward's giggle-fit:
RATIGAN: I want to go to Andy Barr at Politico. Palin on health reform. This one made a little bit less sense. But I feel like it's very indicative, Andy, of certain aspects of right-wing talking points which look to demonize the government inherently, as opposed to looking at government as a tool that can either be abused, misused, or screwed up. Right? And so that rhetoric is evident here. [reading] 'It's common sense that government attempts to solve problems like the health care problem will just create new problems.' Now, forget the nonsensical aspect of that.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's decision to go to the Senate floor on Tuesday to call out the Obama administration for using the full power of a federal regulatory agency to suppress free speech -- specifically, to silence Humana's predictions about the impact of proposed ObamaCare cuts to the Medicare Advantage program -- led ABC, but not CBS or NBC, to air a story on the “gag order.”
ABC's story began with a McConnell soundbite (“'Shut up,' the government says, 'don't communicate with your customers. Be quiet and get in line,'”), before reporter Jonathan Karl explained McConnell was referring to the “Department of Health and Human Services, telling insurance companies who serve Medicare recipients, to stop 'misleading' and 'confusing' mailings, saying, quote: 'We are instructing you to immediately discontinue all such mailings, and remove any related materials from your Web sites.'”
Karl continued: “The extraordinary order comes in response to a mailing the Humana insurance company sent to customers in the Medicare Advantage program. The Humana mailing warned that because of Medicare cuts in the health care reform bills, quote, 'millions of seniors and disabled individuals could lose many important benefits and services.'”
The United States has been called a bailout nation, following the passage of TARP in 2008 and the government takeover of the auto industry earlier this year. However, that may ring true in other, more controversial areas, as well.
Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J, took President Barack Obama and proponents of his style of health care reform, along with the news media that cover the issue, to task, in a video posted on Sept. 21. He explained to the Washington News Observer the bill would do harm to sick people and called it the worst bill he had seen as a member of the U.S. Congress.
"Well, the Republicans are very clearly standing against bogus health care reform - that which will do grave injury to those who are very sick, those with cancers, unborn children and their mothers," Smith said. "This is I think the worst piece of legislation that I have seen in my 29 years as a member of Congress."
ABC's "World News" is supposed to be above the fray, right? According to "World News" executive Jon Banner, his program didn't jump into covering the recent ACORN scandal because it is "not in the business of noise."
Earlier in the day, on four Sunday morning network news programs, President Barack Obama had urged the media not to engage in Taibbi's specialty. The networks shouldn't air rude, angry political behavior, because that only encourages it, the president said. ABC must have missed that memo.
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, White House correspondent Bill Plante highlighted President Obama’s latest media blitz on health care reform and touted a new piece of the PR arsenal: "The President does have a new partner in his nonstop effort to sell health care, it’s the First Lady....Michelle Obama will be more like a stealth weapon in the battle for health care, giving it a softer touch."
Plante further explained the logic behind using the First Lady to promote ObamaCare: "With a favorable rating of around 70%, well above her husband’s, and the background of a hospital executive, Michelle Obama will counter balance her husband’s hard sell." A clip was played of Politico’s Nia-Malika Henderson exclaiming: "They feel like she can give a different voice, because as you can see, a lot of the folks out there are very partisan." Unlike Michelle Obama’s completely non-partisan approach.
Trying to boost the rationale for ObamaCare, Thursday's CBS Evening News ran two stories from far-left sources, but the network disguised the agenda behind both. Katie Couric announced that “while the debate goes on over the cost of insuring everyone, a new study reveals the cost of not doing it. The Harvard study says nearly 45,000 American deaths every year are linked to a lack of insurance.” Neither she, nor reporter Jim Axelrod, noted that the report was really produced by Physicians for a National Health Program, “the only national physician organization in the United States dedicated exclusively to implementing a single-payer national health program.”
Next, Nancy Cordes touted “a rare sight – leaders from the nation's largest insurers sitting down to get grilled,” without pointing out it occurred at a hearing held by the Domestic Policy subcommittee of the House's Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, a subcommittee chaired by far-left former presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich.
NPR "senior news analyst" Daniel Schorr recited the socialist sermon on Wednesday night’s All Things Considered: nationalized health care "would save many lives," and all that bother about providing taxpayer-subsidized abortions and health care for illegal aliens are tiresome "distractions" from the urgent need for more government. Schorr lamented:
Barring illegal from insurance benefits doesn't bar them from receiving treatment in a hospital emergency room. ERs have become the place of treatment of last resort for too many people here legally or illegally. T.R. Reid tells of a dramatic case in his book "The Healing of America." Nikki White lost her job and health insurance as a result of having a type of lupus. Because of her pre-existing condition, she couldn't get new health insurance. Eventually, she collapsed and was taken to the emergency room. Three doctors undertook to treat her until her condition stabilized. That involved six months in critical care and 25 surgical operations. Then she went home, still without insurance, and died at the age of 32. Her doctor, Amylyn Crawford, said: Nikki died of complications of the failing American health care system.
"All socialism does is spread misery equally," Rush Limbaugh has oft asserted. Newsweek's T.R. Reid found a Canadian health care enthusiast who would proudly agree.
In a September 21 print edition piece entitled "No Country for Sick Men," -- subtitled "To judge the content of a nation's character, look no further than its health-care system" -- Reid turned to Marcus Davies of the Saskatchewan Medical Society, who insisted he was perfectly happy with the Canadian health care system's long waiting lines.
After all, it's Canada's way of rationing care and he and his fellow countrymen are happy with it, so long as the misery is spread equally across income levels:
Appearing on CBS’s Sunday Morning, commentator Nancy Giles shared her thoughts on Congressman Joe Wilson’s outburst: "Some sign waving and you probably heard about it, heckling. At a joint session of Congress....That’s the voice of Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina, not some drunk at open mic night, calling the President a liar."
Giles continued, denouncing all health care reform protestors: "He later apologized, but still, it was a frightening mix of disrespect and bad behavior, with a dash of this summer’s town hall meeting craziness. I guess we should be grateful that there weren’t any ‘show us your birth certificate’ signs and at least no one beat anyone with a cane, which actually happened in the old Senate chamber in 1856."
Giles would certainly know about "disrespect and bad behavior," on the October 5, 2003 broadcast of Sunday Morning, she compared conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh to Adolf Hitler: "So as Rush’s world has steadily crumbled, it’s no wonder he allegedly had to turn to prescription pain killers....Edgy, controversial, brilliant....Hitler would have killed in talk radio. He was edgy, too."
Over the last several weeks, no one has been the target of the left-wing media and blogosphere more than Fox News host Glenn Beck, even more so than his radio host counterpart Rush Limbaugh.
Although conservatives have decried the daily ad hominem attacks, some voices on the left are starting to realize that's not an effective strategy for championing their cause, especially when it comes to the hot-button issue of the day, health care.
And that is really starting to bother Air America host Lionel - that is the daily repetitive nature of attacking Glenn Beck and/or Rush Limbaugh by giving a litany of complaints about what they said, as he laid out in a nearly three-minute tirade on his September 14 Air America radio show.
This is a notion that hasn't really gotten any traction anywhere yet, but could Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C. be a viable 2012 presidential election candidate?
The hosts of Fox Business Network's "Happy Hour," Eric Bolling, Rebecca Diamond and Cody Willard, contemplated that possibility on their Sept. 14 show, which comes on the eve of a vote on a "resolution of disapproval" on Wilson for calling out "You lie!" as President Barack Obama spoke to a joint-session of Congress Sept. 9.
"First off, House Dems appear set to censure South Carolina Representative Joe Wilson for shouting ‘you lie' at President Obama during last week's health care speech, but Wilson is not backing down," Diamond said. "He told Fox News Sunday he will not apologize to the House tomorrow. Instead, he is turning this - all of this into a fund-raising campaign, claiming he has raised $1 million since the outrage incident last Wednesday. So we are asking, ‘Hit or Miss' on whether Democrats risk turning Representative Wilson into a viable conservative candidate for 2012."
Two days after her magazine published Evan Thomas's "Case for Killing Granny" -- see related NewsBusters post here -- Newsweek staffer Jesse Ellison lamented that her "grandmother lived a full life and sought a quiet death" but "America's health-care system had a different idea of what was best."
In a September 14 Newsweek Web exclusive, Ellison laid out a story of zealous coverage aimed at prolonging her late grandmother's life, complaining that her grandmother's wish to die peacefully was disregarded as she was "treated like a problem to be solved, not as an elderly woman who had had enough."
Although Ellis's grandmother "had great insurance" plus "enough savings to pay for anything that Medicare and her insurance company would not," the writer found cause for complaint in the health care system having a bias to save and extend life, as well as the high costs that that approach incurred:
There's no doubt the so-called mainstream media turned their collective noses up at the Sept. 12 march on Washington, D.C. to protest the policies of Democratic-controlled federal government - whether in the form of denigration, downplay or outright ignoring the event.
However, conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh has suggested a different tactic. On his Sept. 14 show, Limbaugh proposed a future round of these grassroots protests not take place at the seats of power in government, but instead the headquarters and outposts of the local and national media.
"There have been hundreds and thousands of protests by conservative groups that haven't been covered, and tiny turnouts by the left that are covered," Limbaugh said. "You know all this as well as I do. What about this? We're looking for a force multiplier. Yeah, the protest in Washington on Saturday was great, two million people, but imagine what a force multiplier would be if the next one were held outside of local and national television networks and their headquarters where they can't miss it?"
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) appeared on MSNBC around 3:40 p.m. EDT today to defend Rep. Joe Wilson's (R-S.C.) claim that President Obama was lying about Democratic health care reforms not ensuring "public option" coverage of illegal immigrants. [MP3 audio available here]
King explained at length about Democrats voted down Republican amendments to put in place an enforcement mechanism to check the legal status of public option applicants.
Of course at the end of his interview, Shuster was unmoved, sticking to his guns that Joe Wilson "was lying" and insisting that Republicans were more interested in making political hay out of the illegal immigration question than safeguarding taxpayers from subsidizing illegal immigration:
On Sunday, CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer praised President Obama’s recent media blitz for health care reform: "There’s no question he is the best salesman on the staff," but wondered: "Does he run the risk of overexposing himself?" Politco.com’s Roger Simon dispelled that fear: "It is a risk, but he keeps topping himself."
Simon elaborated on Obama’s oratory skill: "Every time you think this guy can’t give another speech that’s better than the last one, he gives another speech that’s better than the last one. And he’s achieving his purpose." He added that the President’s address to Congress last Wednesday: "was to unite Democrats around him. As a man who can get this job done."
In the same segment, Schieffer also spoke with syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker, who gushed: "There is always that risk of overexposure. And yet, if you watched his speech yesterday in Minneapolis, he sort of redeems himself every time he goes out there in front of the public, because he is so good."
The "Killing Granny" link takes readers to a September 21 print edition article by Evan Thomas which is more measured in tone than the sensational headline suggests, but one that nonetheless laments how Medicare, presently structured, has a built-in bias towards heavy per-patient spending with too little government bureaucrat oversight (emphasis mine):