The press continues its disinterested fiddling while the royal mess known as Obamacare burns through money and exhausts the patience of those attempting any kind of oversight.
One of the more obvious examples of this is how the Washington Post's May 17 story on errors in calculating Obamacare subsidies has gone absolutely nowhere. About one-third of the 20 results returned in a Google News search on "healthcare subsidies" (not in quotes) at 11 p.m. ET Friday evening were partial reprints or rewrites of the original story by WaPo reporters Amy Goldstein and Sandhya Somashekhar. Most of the remaining results were from center-right outlets, while a few came from medical sites. The results didn't change much when searching on "health care" instead of "healthcare." What the WaPo pair reported is a breathtaking cacophony of incompetence which, as Heritage noted last year, won't even "solve" itself when Obamacare enrollees file their 2014 tax returns. Goldstein and Somashekhar also missed an opportunity to make a fundamental point, which is that everyone who has enrolled has some exposure.
At some point in the not so distant future, former president Bill Clinton will pick up a phone, dial the main number at MSNBC/Pravda in Rockefeller Center, ask to speak with resident loose cannon/action hero Ed Schultz, and tell Schultz that if he really wants to help the Clintons, he should refrain from talking about them. At least not aloud and within range of a microphone. (Audio after the jump)
House Speaker John Boehner made himself a hero in the eyes of the liberal Morning Joe panel. All it took was lashing out publicly against conservative organizations which criticized the Ryan-Murray budget deal.
Appearing on Thursday’s show, panelist Donny Deutsch was the most effusive about Boehner. He proclaimed: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
As individual and small group health care policy cancellations pour in and HealthCare.gov continues to be a phenomenal embarrassment, Obamacare's apologists, when they're not promoting laughable conspiracy theories about Republican "sabotage," are desperate to find something good to say about it.
On Al Sharpton's MSNBC show Thursday night (HTs to Hot Air, The Blaze and National Review), MSNBC analyst Goldie Taylor tried this "logic": "Health care costs alone are the number one driver of financial distress in this country for families. The number one cause of divorce in this country for families is financial distress." Therefore, because Obamacare is providing affordable health care "for all families," it is saving marriages and keeping families together, and it is hypocritical for Republicans, as the self-described party of families, to oppose it. Too bad for Ms. Taylor that, as will be shown after the jump, Obamacare really discourages marriage while encouraging currently married couples to divorce and shack up — impacts which have been known and almost completely ignored by the establishment press since early 2010.
Kathleen Pender at the San Francisco Chronicle (HT Zombie at PJ Media) had some Obamacare-related financial advice for her readers on Saturday: "Consider reducing your 2014 income by working just a bit less," because doing so could get you a "huge health care subsidy."
This is not news to anyone who has studied Obamacare in detail, and shouldn't be a revelation to anyone in the business press, especially a financial advice columnist like Pender. Among several others, Robert Rector at the Heritage Foundation and yours truly sounded the alarm about Obamacare's work-demotivating impact — as well as how it will encourage marital breakups and discourage couples from getting married — in early 2010. I also wrote related columns here and here in late September. Excerpts from Pender's prose follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Demonstrating his and his employer's pro-union bias, Jeff Karoub at the Associated Press, in compiling a list of "5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT MICH. RIGHT-TO-WORK BILLS," made "The Name Is Misleading" his first item.
As an AP journalist, Karoub is likely a member of the Occupy Movement-supporting News Media Guild. Earlier this year, his employer's recently departed chairman, acting in an official capacity representing his supposedly objective, values-driven organization, praised President Obama in terms so effusive that Charles Hurt at the Washington Times wrote that it was "more like he proposed to him." In his five-item listing, the third of which has an inchoherent title, Karoub seemed to jump right in where Obama left off in a Monday Michigan speech (bolds and numbers in headings are mine):
There will be plenty of time later to look at how the Associated Press and other wires more than likely fail to report the violence that took place in connection with right-to-work legislative actions in Michigan's legislature today. For now, let's look at the reactions of Associated Press reporters John Flesher and Jeff Karoub on Friday in an item which is no longer at the AP's main national site.
Their dispatch's headline ("Michigan Republicans end part of union tradition") was from all appearances an attempt to make it seem uninteresting. The story itself didn't describe the law involved as "right to work" until its fourth paragraph. Both before and after that, the pair, who are more than likely members of the Occupy Movement-supporting News Media Guild, got bitter (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) announced Thursday that he will be trading his Senate seat in January to assume the helm of the Heritage Foundation. Covering the surprising development in its Friday edition, Politico dismissed DeMint as a mediocre politician with an undistinguished record who is moving on to captain a conservative think tank that has become "predictable, uninspiring, and often lacking in influence."
Manu Raju and Scott Wong mocked DeMint's lack of credentials in their front-page story titled, "DeMint Departure Fallout." They described him as a popular senator who has actually "accomplished very little" in Congress because he "wasn't a legislator" and having "no signature laws to his name." Of course, this betrays an inside-the-Beltway way of thinking about success in Congress. Conservatives dedicated to shrinking the size and scope of the federal government are not going to be be known for legislative accomplishments, which more often than not are about expanding the federal government's size and scope, not dismantling old bureaucracies.
This Thanksgiving, a record high of 42.2 million Americans will use food stamps to curtail the cost of a big meal. At a whopping expense of $72 billion to the taxpayer per year, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has grown by 70 percent since 2007, an increase of over 15 million more people.
Despite acknowledging all of this, Elizabeth Flock of US News & World Report declared "More Americans will use food stamps to buy their Thanksgiving dinner this year than ever before," and implied these government handouts aren't as sufficient as they could be.
Yesterday, James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web had this to say about the title of an Associated Press report ("Obama Defends Tenor of His Campaign, Slams Romney") covering President Obama's four-question "press conference" -- "The writer of this Associated Press headline is either witty or clueless."
The underlying writeup by Jim Kuhnhenn and Charles Babington wasn't witty, and was at least as clueless, especially in letting the howler about how Obama was supposedly able to "distance himself" from the "Mitt Romney caused my wife to die of cancer" meme his own campaign associated itself with earlier this year (verbiage relating to the Todd Akin situation in Missouri is also in the report; I'll defer to others in that matter; bolds and numbered tags are mine):
In September 2010, the Associated Press prepared an advance report on the expected surge in the Census Bureau's official poverty rate, which rose from 13.2% to a 15-year high of 14.3%. Their stated preoccupation was not with the associated pain, but with "the unfortunate timing for Obama and his party just seven weeks before important elections when Congress is at stake."
Well, this year's official poverty rate will very likely be the highest seen since the mid-1960s, and there's a presidential election coming up. What's the AP, aka the Administration's Press, to do? It looks like the strategy is to get a comprehensive report out on how bad things are in July when few are paying attention, and then to give the official report short shrift when it arrives in mid-September. Here are excerpts from Hope Yen's nearly 1,500-word writeup:
On July 12, the Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children & Families, the group which administers the entitlement program known to most as "welfare" or "traditional welfare, issued an "Information Memorandum" entitled "Guidance concerning waiver and expenditure authority under Section 1115" (i.e., not "proposed guidance"). After navigating the thicket of bureaucratic babble contained therein, Robert Rector and Kiki Bradley at the Heritage Foundation asserted, with agreement from several other quarters and no meaningful dissent I have detected, that the memo's effect "is the end of welfare reform."
Yesterday former Rep. Artur Davis -- who served in Congress as a Democrat but recently became a Republican out of frustration with the Obama administration -- was a featured guest of the Heritage Foundation's weekly blogger briefing.
Davis briefly discussed the similarities between the upcoming election and the election of 1980. He claimed that Ronald Reagan had to make the American people realize that what the Carter administration was doing was ruining the economy and that Mitt Romney will have to make a similar case regarding President Obama.
Last week, CNN's Steve Kastenbaum (podcast is also at link) visited what he characterized as Occupy Wall Street's "nerve center" (but don't call it a "headquarters," Occupiers insisted) in space provided by an anonymous donor. No, it wasn't at Zuccotti Park or any other open-air location. It was, and presumably still is, in Lower Manhattan, one block south of the New York Stock Exchange.
Along the way, Kastenbaum interviewed several people who portrayed themselves as "volunteer staff" for a supposedly leaderless movement, but as is par for the course in the establishment press when leftists are involved, didn't reveal anyone's previous background. At Heritage, Lachlan Markay reports at Robert Bluey's blog that the prior affiliations and involvements of at least a few of those interviewed belies their starry-eyed self-portrayal:
The dictionary definition of "stimulate" relevant to a nation's economy is "to rouse to action or effort."
We still have journalists who gullibly relay the notion that extending unemployment benefits and increasing entitlement programs will "rouse" the economy "to action of effort," despite almost three years of evidence that such is not the case. One of them is Andrew Taylor, a writer for the Associated Press, who, in his unprofessionally titled ("Deficit deal failure would pose crummy choice") and painfully long writeup about the supercommittee's lack of action or effort in Washington, wrote the following:
Somebody needed to give Calvin Woodward and Christopher Rugaber at the Associated Press Five-Hour Energy drinks or some other boost before Tuesday night's GOP debate. Their brains must have totally turned off late in the afternoon without re-engaging before they filed their late-evening post-debate report.
Behold how the AP pair "proved" that excessive government regulation doesn't kill jobs (bolds are mine throughout this post):
On Monday, in a story I will link after the jump, the Associated Press reported that on March 1 the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association (MTEA) dropped a lawsuit it initiated last year over the school district's refusal five years earlier to cover a prescription drug the union described as "an issue of discrimination, of equal rights for all our members” (that link will also appear after the jump).
So the questions submitted for our readers to ponder are these:
1) What drug was involved?
2) How much has the district spent defending itself against the lawsuit?
In the midst of outcry that Wisconsin teachers were skipping school to protest the governor's new budget bill and demand collective bargaining rights, NBC's Norah O'Donnell provided the teachers' motives as an argument for their side. She failed to mention why Wisconsin Gov. Walker cut into their benefits in the first place.
Covering the story on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports," O'Donnell remarked that "I know there are some that think this is a travesty for the schoolchildren of that state." She added, however, "But these teachers are talking about their pensions, and they're worried about having to pay more for their health care costs, right?"
The explosive debate has featured voices from the left and right crying about the compensation Wisconsin public employees receive and what they pay in, compared with that of private sector workers. The conservative Heritage Foundation explains that Wisconsin's budget was already in the red, and that state employees enjoy generous benefits that many other citizens don't.
During the past week, MSNBC’s Ed Schultz had trouble acknowledging that allowing a tax cut to expire, in effect, is a tax increase, as he debated on the Ed Show the issue of whether the tax cuts passed during the Bush administration – due to expire at the end of this year – should be extended beyond 2010. On Tuesday’s show, even while noting that the top marginal rates would increase from 35 to 39 percent, Schultz absurdly claimed: "The bottom line is they want you to believe that letting the Bush tax cuts expire is a tax increase. ... The Republicans are saying that, hey, this is all about a tax increase. No, it`s not. It`s the law they put into effect. It`s the law that they signed. It`s the law that they pushed under President Bush. It had an expiration date. Now they’re coming back saying, well, it`s a tax increase. No, it`s not. People in the top two percent are going to go from 35 percent to 39 percent. Ninety-eight percent of Americans are not going to be affected."
The MSNBC host also insisted on the semantics of calling an extension of the tax cuts "cutting taxes," even though such an extension would, in effect, leave rates the same and merely stop rates from increasing in 2011. Schultz went on to deceptively claim that the Heritage Foundation’s Curtis Dubay, appearing as a guest on Tuesday, had agreed with him that "cutting taxes" does not create jobs. On Wednesday’s show, during a discussion of financial reform, after guest Stephen Sprueill of the National Review spoke in favor of extending the Bush tax cuts, Schultz misleadingly shot back: "No, it doesn`t work. And it`s not a job creator, and the Heritage Foundation guy was here last night admitting that cutting taxes is not a job creator."
When a protectionist law is enacted and nearly a century later it is inhibiting a recovery from major ecological catastrophe, it's probably time to scrap it or at least temporarily waive it.
But instead a nearly century old provision known as the Jones Act of 1920 is wielding the wrath of unintended consequences. According to the Heritage Foundation, this protectionist measure was put in place to defend the American maritime industry, but is endangering far more jobs than it is protecting.
"The Jones Act, which is supposedly about protecting jobs, is actually killing jobs," Heritage co-authors James Dean and Claude Berube wrote in a June 8 The Foundry post. "The jobs of fishermen, people working in tourism and others who live along the Gulf Coast and earn a living there are being severely impacted. There are also additional private sector jobs which are NOT being created in the United States since the Jones Act effectively prices U.S. based companies out of the ability to be competitive on the competitive global market. As we strive to develop new technologies for a cleaner environment at sea, the Jones Act continues to hobble our own capabilities, sometimes with devastating results."
About 45 minutes ago, Red State's Caleb Howe reported that a package filled with a white powder was sent to the office of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. Brewer, picture right in a file photo, has become a controversial figure since she signed into law a bill giving state authorities more power to determine an individual's immigration status.
Andrew Staubitz, the chief of Phoenix's Capital Police Department, told Howe that a state employee opened an envelope addressed to the Governor and found a "powdery white substance." The first floor of the Arizona Capitol was closed for about half an hour. Paramedics were called, but the employee required no further medical assistance. The powder was sent to a lab where it is undergoing tests.
Will the media report this event as vehemently as they have other instances of purported political violence? Will they extrapolate a larger threat posed by opponents of the new immigration law as they repeatedly have with the Tea Party movement (even though it has been completely devoid of violence)? Or will they apply the journalistic scrutiny to this incident that they failed to apply to the claims of members of Congressional Black Caucus who said protesters had shouted racial slurs at them? We will see.
The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
"Quite honestly, I don't even know anything about MSNBC," Bachmann said. "It's not a network that I watch and most of the American people agree with that assessment. They aren't watching it either. And that's why Fox's ratings - I mean it's like CNN, CNBC, MSNBC combined. I think Fox even exceeded one of the major networks last week. They're on the ascendency."
Heritage's points are even more valid today than they were 16 years ago.
At the time, which "so happened" to be the first year of the last Democratic administration, there was legislation in Congress called the "Fairness in Broadcasting Act of 1993" that would have restored the doctrine, which had been overturned by the Federal Communications Commission in 1987.
Here are the three faulty premises highlighted by Heritage's Adam Thierer, followed by why they are even more faulty now:
Has Paul Krugman become print's version of Keith Olbermann?
After you read his column published by the New York Times Friday in which he called Republicans "a party of whiners" that forty years ago "decided, in effect, to make itself the party of racial backlash," there may be little doubt.
Readers are advised to strap themselves in tightly, for Krugman appears to have woken up New Year's day with a vicious hangover, and the target of his disaffection was anyone with an "R" next to his or her name (emphasis added):
CJR's Trudy Lieberman announced it was "ominous news" that a government health insurance plan might be delayed:
"Ezra Klein over at The American Prospect’s blog was right on point last week when he sent along some ominous news. Klein, quoting a story in Congressional Quarterly, said that John McDonough, the former head of a Massachusetts advocacy group who now works for Ted Kennedy, seemed to be backpedaling on the public option..."
On the other side, Lieberman warned, "right-wing think tanks" are "on the march," illuminating problems with a government-controlled approach to medicine. She noted The Heritage Foundation's criticism of a federal health board, a top idea of Health and Human Services Secretary-designate Tom Daschle. Lieberman's warning:
If the idea of the Fairness Doctrine bringing government control of broadcasted speech wasn't bad enough, there's also a possibility that its oversight powers could spill over onto the Internet and control Web content.
CBS's "Early Show" gave a fairly glowing report from the May Day celebration in Havana, Cuba, May 1, on changes Cuban President Raúl Castro has made in the country. Reporter Elizabeth Palmer called the leader's brother, Fidel Castro, a "revolutionary hero."
Fidel Castro handed provisional power to Raúl Castro, his younger brother, in July 2006. Raúl Castro officially took over the presidency in February 2008 after Fidel Castro fell ill.
Anchor Russ Mitchell said the May Day celebrations in Cuba signaled a "new era" for the country, and Palmer touted reforms like "cell phones," "text-messaging," opening of "resort hotels" to Cuban citizens and "shiny new Chinese buses."
CNN, in a report on the Centers for Disease Control’s finding that the teen birth rate increased in 2006, focused attention on what liberals surmise is a partial cause of the increase - President Bush’s advocacy of abstinence-only sex education. CNN correspondent Mary Snow, in her introduction to her report, noted that, "no one is saying for certain whether the rise in teen pregnancy is in fact a trend, but it is bringing attention to abstinence-only programs, and the roughly $176 million the federal government spends on them each year."
The report, which aired during the 4 pm Eastern hour of Thursday’s "The Situation Room," featured three sound bites from both sides of the debate. Two came from Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, whose political leanings are never mentioned. The third came from Robert Rector of The Heritage Foundation, which is described as a "conservative think tank."
[Update, 12:20 pm Eastern: Kristen Fyfe of MRC's Culture and Media Institute pointed out the biased reporting of the New York Times and the Washington Post on the CDC report.]
The Heritage Foundation's Robert Bluey reported in his Sunday Townhall column that there was disinterest at the hallowed "newspapers of record" in the government's news about the just-ended fiscal year's deficit (links to White House deficit announcement and to Business and Media Institute report are in the original):
The U.S. budget deficit fell to the lowest level in five years last week, but three of America’s leading newspapers -- the New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times -- couldn’t find the space to mention the dramatic drop.
Journalists who have spent years trashing President Bush’s tax cuts appeared to suddenly lose interest when the budget picture brightened. That’s not surprising, however, considering that mainstream reporters frequently ignore upbeat economic news.