In an interview with Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez touted the signing of ObamaCare into law: "the Senate bill...becomes law today. You're going to be stuck with a bill you don't like." She then wondered: "What if the catastrophic scenario that you've been warning about doesn't play out?"
Rodriguez referred to an interview that her fellow co-host Harry Smith had just concluded with White House advisor David Axelrod and asked: "What if, as David Axelrod suggests, now that it's a reality and people start to see the benefits, they actually like it?" Steele replied: "David Axelrod didn't talk about the $506 billion that's being taken out of Medicare....He didn't talk about the $500 billion in new taxes that are going to be imposed on those small businesses....there's a lot in this bill that have yet to be revealed to the American people. And when it's further revealed, it'll be less – less liked."
After Steele's response, Rodriguez felt the need to incredulously repeat: "If it turns out to be the catastrophe that you are predicting." She then criticized the RNC for being too "extreme" in its opposition: "I looked on the RNC website this morning. I have to say, I was surprised by what I saw. The home page shows a big photograph of Nancy Pelosi and in huge block letters it says 'Fire Pelosi' and she is against a backdrop of flames....Isn't this a little bit extreme?...What can you accomplish with this?" A still shot of the RNC website appeared on screen (see picture below). Rodriguez failed to point that in the latest CBS News poll, Nancy Pelosi only has an 11% approval rating.
Steele dismissed Rodriguez's characterization: "Actually, I tamed it down. You know, the reality of it is I don't know why you're surprised. Nancy Pelosi is the architect of the demise, in my view, of one-sixth of our economy. She should be fired for her failure to serve the interests of the American people."
The VAT is a consumption tax that is placed on a product whenever value is added at a stage of production and at final sale. For example, as Investopedia.com explains, "When a television is built by a company in Europe the manufacturer is charged a VAT on all of the supplies they purchase for producing the television. Once the television reaches the shelf, the consumer who purchases it must pay the VAT that applies to him or her."
Now that health care reform has actually been passed by Congress, the options of stopping it are growing more and more limited. According to syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer, this expensive unfunded liability won't likely be undone in the Supreme Court.
Appearing on Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC analyst Howard Fineman – also of Newsweek – dismissed Republican promises of working to repeal ObamaCare, suggesting that because it would be nearly impossible to have the numbers in Congress to do so after the next election, Republicans are merely using the issue as a fundraising and political ploy: "This isn`t about mathematics, Keith, it`s about theology – and fundraising, as you pointed out. ... But the Republicans aren`t interested in fixing anything. They`re interested in holding out this kind of almost anti-messianic hope that they`re somehow going to be able to repeal the thing."
Fineman also argued that because the ObamaCare bill does not include either the government-run "public option" or a single-payer system, that in reality it is a "preservation and enhancement, if you will, of the existing system."
As he listed factors that helped Democrats successfully pass ObamaCare, Fineman at one point seemed to make Olbermann a little nervous that some would tie the "birther" conspiracy theory in with his contention that President Obama "comes from a country of long-distance runners and was one," as he credited Obama with "persistence."
At the top of Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed the passage of ObamaCare: "A major victory for President Obama as House Democrats work late into the night to pass health care reform." A headline on screen read: "Historic Victory."
Co-host Maggie Rodriguez later introduced a report on the legislation by remarking that Smith, who was pleased with his NCAA March Madness bracket picks, was "not the only one who's happy this morning. So is President Obama." She went on to declare: "We begin with Congress's historic passage of health care reform late last night." Rodriguez recited ObamaCare talking points: "Now under this law...insurance companies will not be allowed to drop your coverage if you get sick. There will be no cap on lifetime insurance benefits and you can keep your children on your health insurance through the age of 26. Also, coverage will be available for uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions."
In the report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes began by describing the "sense of relief for Democrats," in the wake of the bill's passage. The on-screen headline read: "Historic Vote; Health Care Reform Passes; Heads to Obama's Desk."
If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, it must be a duck - but just be prepared to have your spelling skills challenged when you reach that conclusion.
And so goes CNN's Roland Martin. On the network's March 21 special coverage of the House of Representatives passage of health care legislation, host Wolf Blitzer asked Martin, a CNN political analyst, about his views of those who call these so-called reform measures Soviet-style communism or socialism.
"That's just stuck on stupid," Martin said. "I mean to sit there on the House floor and all of a sudden you're talking about, oh, this is communism and you're sitting here and reaching - that's just dumb, OK? You know what? If Republicans truly cared about health care, why in the world didn't they do anything for eight years? So don't stand here now when the Democrats have been pushing the issue and now say, oh, no, ‘Republicans - we really care about health care,' when you had the opportunity to make changes to our system."
Some of the American people probably thought they were voting for hope and change when they voted for President Barack Obama on Nov. 4, 2008. But according to Rev. Al Sharpton, they were voting for socialism.
Sharpton, the founder of the National Action Network and talk radio host told Fox News on March 21, during their special coverage of the House of Representatives' passage of health care reform legislation, this victory for President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would begin "transforming" the country.
"I think that the president and Nancy Pelosi get credit," Sharpton said. "I think this began the transforming of the country the way the president had promised. This is what he ran on."
And if that transformation is socialism, then so be it, he explained. That is what the American public "overwhelmingly" voted for.
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer gave a very ominous prognosis of health care in the United States, assuming House Democrats have finally mustered up votes to pass particular legislation.
On a special broadcast of the Fox News Channel's "Special Report with Bret Baier" on March 21, Krauthammer announced upon passage of health care reform legislation in the House of Representatives, we will have a different country and on the road to nationalized health care.
"Nonetheless, it will be the law of the land as of tonight and we're going to be a different country," Krauthammer said. "We are on our way, there is absolutely no chance we are not going to end up with national health care."
Is The Washington Post playing favorites with causes that inspire people to exercise their First Amendment rights and take to the streets to protest? When it comes to opposition to Democratic efforts to reform health care versus opposition to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it appears so.
In a March 20 Washington Post story headlined "Obama delivers plea to 'help us fix this system,'" Ben Pershing, Paul Kane and Lori Montgomery suggested House Democrats were gaining momentum in their pursuit of the 216 votes needed to pass health care reform legislation, despite "hundreds" of "tea party" protesters rallying outside the U.S. Capitol. (h/t Amanda Carpenter)
"Outside the Capitol, hundreds of 'tea party' protesters rallied against the legislation, jeering Democratic lawmakers as they passed and holding signs reading 'We'll Remember in November' and 'Revolution,' Pershing, Kane and Montgomery wrote.
On Thursday’s Joy Behar Show on CNN Headline News, as host Joy Behar discussed the ObamaCare debate during a segment that included Bloomberg News’s Margaret Carlson – formerly of Time magazine and CNN’s Capital Gang – the two took jabs at the "conscience" of Catholic bishops as Carlson argued that the group of nuns who recently endorsed ObamaCare are the "real conscience of the Catholic Church," and dismissed the opinions of bishops. Carlson: "[President Obama is] not going to get the Catholic bishops, they`re too busy denying Senators and Congressmen who are pro-choice, too busy denying them communion. They`re never coming over, so forget them."
As the two ignored the apparent left-leaning nature of the nuns group – the Catholic Health Association – Behar agreed with Carlson’s characterization of nuns as the "conscience" of the Church: "Exactly. You`re not kidding, especially these days."
Behar soon declared herself to feel "sappy" toward President Obama: "I`m sappy for Obama. I`m not sappy generally, but I just believe in the guy. I think he`s a gentleman, and I think he gives a damn."
Below is a complete transcript of the segment with guests Margaret Carlson and Ari Melber of the liberal The Nation magazine, with critical portions in bold, from the Thursday, March 18, Joy Behar Show on CNN Headline News:
In a Friday piece of presidential protection prose promulgated by the Associated Press, writer Erica Werner correctly identified a number of significant "unfulfilled commitments" relating to proposed health care legislation, and then attempted to make excuses for why they didn't happen.
Werner's work was conveniently accompanied by a heavily downplaying headline -- "Final health bill omits some of Obama's promises" -- while her rundown of the specifics in reality ended up being "all but two":
It was a bold response to skyrocketing health insurance premiums. President Barack Obama would give federal authorities the power to block unreasonable rate hikes.
Yet when Democrats unveiled the final, incarnation of their health care bill this week, the proposal was nowhere to be found.
Democrats will be pointing to this preliminary CBO score as if it is engraved on stone tablets. Republicans will proclaim their respect for the CBO and proceed to argue that its estimates should not be taken too seriously in this instance. This may come as a surprise, but I think the Republican argument is closer to correct. To crow, as did House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, that the package is "a triumph for the American people in terms of deficit reduction" is premature at best, delusional at worst.
The mainstream media are carping about Bret Baier's "contentious" interview when in fact "he did nothing unlike what Tim Russert did in all the years that Tim Russert interviewed Republican presidents," argued Media Research Center President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell on today's "Fox & Friends." [MP3 audio available here; WMV format video available here]
Just as the late "Meet the Press" host would push interview subjects to reconcile contradictory positions, Baier asked the same of President Obama, who "showed up [to the Baier interview] prepared to give a speech with his talking points, which is what he always does and always gets away with" when interviewed by other journalists, Bozell noted.
Later in the interview, former Bush White House press secretary Dana Perino noted that Obama currently has a 46 percent approval rating and asked Bozell what the poll numbers would look like if the media were actually tougher on Obama.
"If the press were, not tough on Obama [but] fair, fair with this president... I think among other things, health care would be dead. This whole charade would be dead," Bozell concluded.
On Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez proclaimed: "After more than a year of debate, Democrats say they're on the verge of passing historic health care legislation." And touted the massive legislation as fiscally responsible: "The government says the final version of the bill will cost $940 billion over ten years, but will reduce the projected budget deficit by $138 billion."
In a report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes gave a fully positive description of the legislation: "The final bill would extend coverage to 32 million Americans who are currently uninsured. It would close the gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage for seniors by the year 2020 and it would penalize businesses with more than 50 workers if they don't offer insurance."
After Cordes's report, Rodriguez spoke with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who praised CBS's adherence to the Democratic Party line: "Maggie, what I think is that we have seen yesterday very important information from the Congressional Budget Office, which as you indicate and Nancy indicated, shows that we are doing exactly what we said we would do."
While a vote on health care reform legislation appears to be imminent, should it pass it could have broader economic implications, even if the bill itself won't take effect for some time.
As CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer predicted - if it passes, get ready to see a sell-off on Wall Street. Cramer appeared on CNBC's March 18 "The Kudlow Report," with his former broadcast partner Larry Kudlow. Kudlow asked Cramer to elaborate on his theory ObamaCare could send the financial markets reeling or "topple the stock market," as Kudlow described it.
"First, it is the single biggest impediment to the stock market going higher," Cramer said. "And a lot of this has to do with what's not being talked about enough with how it's going to be paid and also about what it will do to small business formation. This bill is a disaster for both."
As the Media Research Center's latest Media Reality Check details, over the past year, the media have served as cheerleaders for ObamaCare, praising the proposed legislation, while continually slamming its critics.
As Congress moves closer to a final vote on the bill in the coming days, it's a good time to take a look back at the friendly spin that has dominated the airwaves in support of it, as well as the harsh attacks that have been launched against its opponents.
Here is a video compilation with just a sampling of some of the slanted coverage from the past 12 months.
Yesterday the Associated Press and Newsweek latched onto a pro-ObamaCare letter circulated by a left-wing group and signed by 59 nuns. Today, liberal Washington Post columnist and practicing Catholic E.J. Dionne took to the op-ed page to encourage House Democrats to "listen to the nuns."
Dionne ably expressed the sentiments of perhaps many a liberal journalist giddy over the news:
House members voting on health care will be representing primarily their positions as Americans and as agents of their constituents, though many will also be influenced by their faith. Those with a special affection for the Roman Catholic Church have an extra reason for voting in favor of the health bill.
By passing it, they would save the bishops from the moral opprobrium that would rightly fall upon them if they succeeded in killing the best chance we have to extend health coverage to 30 million Americans. I suspect that many bishops would be quietly grateful. In their hearts, they know the nuns are right.
But today, National Review's Kathryn Jean Lopez noted another group of nuns that probably won't get as much, if any, media coverage precisely because they stand with the nation's Catholic bishops with their concerns about inadequate protection for the unborn in the legislation before Congress.
Finally! A reporter who stands up to the media's Chosen One and isn't afraid to ask the tough questions.
Kudos to Bret Baier. He prepared for a difficult interview and came right out of the gate asking the questions that matter most to the millions of Americans protesting government takeover of health care. Other networks have had this opportunity in innumerable interviews, but Fox has proved itself to be the only network willing and capable of showing backbone and doing their journalistic duty.
How have the left-wing media reacted? While they should hang their head in humiliation for making the fair, hard questions in this interview monumental, they have instead criticized Baier's interview as ‘contentious,' as if it's unprofessional for a journalist to deviate from lapdoggery.
And we wonder why America has chosen Fox News Channel over the competition time and time again.
"Hot on the heels of Kucinich's declaration of support for health-care reform, the Associated Press is reporting that Catholic nuns are urging Democratic lawmakers to support health-care reform," Newsweek's Katie Connolly informed readers of the magazine's The Gaggle blog this morning.
"This is a major break with the church's bishops, who have strongly opposed the legislation on the grounds that some federal subsidies may end up funding abortions," Connolly gushed, later closing her blog post with the conclusion that "[a]t the very least, the letter damages the validity of [pro-life Democrat Rep. Bart] Stupak's argument."
Both Connolly's post and the underlying AP story failed to delve into this, but the letter in question was not simply cobbled together by apolitical nuns. It was pushed out to the media by a group with a left-wing agenda, reports CatholicCulture.org:
It's no shock to rational, thinking people that healthcare legislation currently before Congress will do nothing to halt rising insurance premiums, but that the folks at the Associated Press would come to such a conclusion AND write about it is quite surprising.
There it was in a piece published Wednesday called, "FACT CHECK: Premiums would rise under Obama plan."
Readers are strongly encouraged to fasten seatbelts tightly, for they're about to enter what has to be an alternate universe (h/t Ed Morrissey):
"[H]ypocrisy is a well-established parliamentary procedure," Tumulty noted in her March 17 Swampland blog post before contrasting the Hoyer of 2010 to the in-the-minority-party Hoyer of 2003 who decried "deem and pass" as "demeaning of democracy" and cautioned that its prior use should not excuse the practice in the future (emphases mine):
2010: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer on the idea of passing health care with a self-executing rule:
The House Democratic leader, Representative Steny H. Hoyer, also defended the maneuver on Tuesday. “It is consistent with the rules,” Mr. Hoyer said. “It is consistent with former practice.”
2003: House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer complaining about the Republicans' use of self-executing rules:
But have the media completely dropped the ball and that is allowing those in power to circumvent constitutional process? According to Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., they have. She had some harsh words for the fourth estate on conservative talker Sean Hannity's March 16 radio show. (h/t Kevin Eder)
"Well yeah and the other thing is treason media," Bachmann said. "Where is the mainstream media in all of this not telling this story? This is a compelling story - that the Speaker of the House would even consider having us pass a bill that no one votes on?"
It's certainly not business as usual in Washington, D.C., but that's probably not what the American people had in mind when they elected President Barack Obama to come to the White House and usher in a new era of change.
"I think the process is well tainted by now," Hume said. "This is a case where in the face of a level of resistance that I have never seen before, in the sense on a bill that the sponsors continue to push, I've never seen anything pushed this far for this long in the face of such resistance of this size. This is unprecedented."
Michael Moore: crusader and "common-man" - with a net-worth in the range of $25-50 million, appeared on "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" with fill-in Lawrence O'Donnell March 15, continuing to fight the good fight against capitalism and health insurance companies.
Moore predicted the Democrats' ObamaCare will pass, "But this bill, as good as many of the thing are in the bill, you know - young people can stay on their parent's insurance until 26, that's a great thing - it's a death sentence for literally tens of thousands of people who are going to get sick, or have been sick, and because of their preexisting conditions."
To Moore, the current health care reform proposal does not go nearly far enough. He favors a universal single-payer system that would effectively be a government take-over of one-sixth the economy.
Perfectly timed for the week President Barack Obama is pushing the House to vote on ObamaCare, on tonight’s (Tuesday) episode of CBS’s The Good Wife, set at a Chicago law firm, the lawyers “battle a health insurance company that refuses to pay for urgent in-utero surgery.” The CBS.com plug for the March 16 episode: “In an emergency courtroom set up in a hospital, Alicia and Will battle Patti Nyholm and an insurance company that refuses to pay for life-saving in-utero surgery.”
So, I’ll hold out hope this episode will deliver more than just simplistic vilification of an insurance company and might, given the plot involves “in-utero surgery,” also forward pro-life perspectives. Watch and see.
The Associated Press's timing couldn't have been better for those who still want to pretend that Social Security is really not in serious trouble. Stephen Ohlemacher's item ("Social Security to start cashing Uncle Sam's IOUs") originally appeared on Sunday, in the midst of most of the major college basketball conference tournament championships, then followed by the evening's announcement of the selections for the NCAA Division I Men's basketball tournament. (The AP has issued minor revisions several times since its original appearance, up to and including today.)
The wire service's timing, while convenient for the Washington establishment, as it minimizes the possibility of distractions from its statist health care obsession, couldn't have been worse for those of us who wish the American people would get a grip on the gravity of the situation -- which is why I saved this post for today.
What is about to occur is the event that as little as a year ago, according to the Social Security Trustees' 2009 Report, wasn't expected to arrive until 2016. Ohlemacher tells us that it's right here, right now, and gets the reporting right until his seventh paragraph (bolds are mine):
And delivering that response was "The O'Reilly Factor" host Bill O'Reilly, who called his show "the signature broadcast" of the network. O'Reilly dismissed Raines as a lunatic. However he was also critical of The Washington Post for giving him an outlet to trot out his ranting.
"[I] think there is a more important thing in play here," O'Reilly said. "The Washington Post has given this guy Raines a big platform on Sunday, this coming Sunday, to print this nonsense and it is nonsense. If Raines were sitting here I could carve him up and he, Raines knows it."
But O'Reilly questioned why the Post had decided to give Raines the space in its upcoming March 14 issue to rip on his network. According to O'Reilly, this was an effort to rally the media for a last stand.
Bill Moyers and Michael Winship sure have something against health care insurance companies and the Chamber of Commerce. Moyers, the liberal host of PBS’s “Bill Moyers Journal,” and Winship, the show’s senior writer, slammed both for making money and lobbying in the March 12 Huffington Post article.
The article, “Ask the Chamber of Commerce: Why Is Too Much Not Enough?” was a long complaint about “the health care industry saying to hell with consumers and then hiking premium….” They continued whining and wrote, “This week, America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the health insurance industry's lobby, announced they'd be spending more than a million dollars on new television ads justifying their costs.”
So much for the MSM refrain about Republicans having previously used reconciliation just as Dems are proposing to do now on ObamaCare . . .
Larry O'Donnell has emphatically proclaimed that the way Dems intend to use reconciliation is "unprecedented" and has "never, never, never" been so used before. O'Donnell's many off-his-meds rants notwithstanding [recent example here], he actually does understand the legislative process, having served as Dem Chief of Staff of the Senate Committee on Finance back in the HillaryCare day.
O'Donnell also criticized the MSM "group think" to the effect that Dems were obliged to pass some kind of health care legislation this year. Larry's uncharacteristically lucid observations came during his Morning Joe appearance today. [H/t reader Mike K.]
One of the left's knocks on conservatives has been claiming they're demagogues that play on emotion to push a certain point of view. It's been said about Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and the Tea Party movement.
However, HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" host Bill Maher doesn't seem to take issue with using trumped up emotions to push an agenda. The difference - he is approaching things from the opposite end of the ideological spectrum. Maher appeared on MSNBC's March 10 "Countdown" and defended his demand from his own March 5 program that President Barack Obama quit smoking. The reason - so he would get angry and use that emotion to promote his agenda.
"No, what I was - you know, the point of the rule was that when people quit smoking, they get angry," Maher explained. "And I like my president angry, because, you know, considering how much in this country people are poisoned, ripped off and lied to, we should all be angry, but especially that guy, who has to deal with Congress every day in trying to get this health care bill through and all that. And you know, I like him when he's out on the stump in a sort of a partisan mode. I think his biggest mistake, that he has made, in his first year, was to out put bipartisanship ahead of fixing the country. He spent all his political capital on getting three damned votes for that stimulus bill instead of coming in with all the energy from the election and saying, ‘You know what, we're in a crisis mode, I won this election by a sizable mandate, here's what we're going to do. If you don't like it, Republicans, you can suck on it.'"
When Michael Moore starts getting panicked, you know times are getting tumultuous for the left and the Democratic Party.
The anti-corporation, sometimes conspiracy theorist documentary filmmaker aired his frustrations about the current health care reform predicament. Congressional Democrats have gotten themselves into a mess with time running out as the midterm election cycle fast approaches and Moore said he was worried. According to Moore, who appeared on MSNBC's March 10 "The Rachel Maddow Show," if the Democratic Party doesn't make strides in getting their liberal agenda passed - it's bleak times ahead for them.
"Well, we see what it's led us to, to the fact that one out of eight homes now in America is in foreclosure or delinquency," Moore said. "One out of eight home and, of course, the millions that don't have health care and everything else it's - how do you get yourself out of bed every morning to do this show with just the despair of how - the hope that we all had a year, year and a half ago. And now it's like, I just feel like the Democrats are - they're in for an ass-whooping of Biblical proportions in November if they don't get off the dime and do the job they were sent there to do. I mean that. I mean, it - don't they see that?"