Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick's attempt to keep his state's agencies from releasing detailed data on the use of the public-assistance system by the Tsarnaev family, whose sons, one dead and one in custody, are accused of carrying out the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, appeared to be successful last week.
Ah, but Patrick, apparently feeling some heat, did agree "to release the information only to a House oversight committee where it will remain a secret." Except it's not a secret any more, at least in the aggregate, based on a report in the Boston Herald by Chris Cassidy which, based on when story comments first began appearing, went up during the middle of the afternoon today:
The Boston Herald has broken the story -- a scoop even the Boston Globe has acknowledged -- that "Tamerlan Tsarnaev was living on taxpayer-funded state welfare benefits even as he was delving deep into the world of radical anti-American Islamism."
A responsible national establishment press would treat this as an important story, because, as the Herald's Chris Cassidy noted in the understatement of the day, it "raises questions over whether Tsarnaev financed his radicalization on taxpayer money." Several paragraphs from the Herald story, followed by a look at how Todd Wallack and Beth Healy at the Globe handled their story on the family's finances, follow the jump.
Here’s a good definition of what The Washington Post doesn’t find newsworthy. The big headline on the front page of Monday’s Washington Examiner was “Most on D.C. welfare don’t look for work: 22% of able recipients meet job-search rules.”
A quick Nexis search of The Washington Post finds no attempt to report on this sad fact in the last few weeks. Examiner reporter Eric Newcomer explained:
There never seems to be a shortage of extreme and vitriolic language spewing out of the folks at MSNBC. The latest example of the extreme rhetoric appearing on MSNBC programming comes from a guest on the weekend show Melissa Harris-Perry.
Appearing as one of Ms. Perry’s guests was Anthea Butler, associate professor of religious studies at the University of Pennsylvania, who, when discussing record numbers of Americans now on food stamps, compared Walmart, the nation’s largest employer, to a “sharecropper.” [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
A lengthy – 3,500 word – anguished expose on the front page of Sunday’s Washington Post, “Hungering for a new month to begin,” about how people in Woonsocket, Rhode Island race to the grocery stores on the first of the month to spend their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) payment, yet run out of food long before the month ends, didn’t offer a word about President Obama’s responsibility for the poor economy.
Deep in it, however, reporter Eli Saslow undermined his case when he sympathetically cited “a series of exhausting, fractional decisions” a couple with two toddlers face over having to choose between food “or the $75 they owed the tattoo parlor.”
When liberals and their media allies have an agenda to push, they’ll use any tool at hand. The left often rails against the presence of religion in civic life, mocking conservative Christians as “Taliban” agitating for theocracy. But other times, they find faith to be a handy weapon to bludgeon conservatives. And they’ll go so far as to reinterpret and rewrite the Bible to justify any liberal cause, no matter how outrageous.
In 2010, MSNBC anchor Melissa Harris-Perry summed up this strategy in her call for “re-imagining the Bible as a tool of progressive social change.” Huffington Post contributor Mike Lux embraced Harris-Perry’s advice, writing that the Bible embodies “all kinds” of “liberal, lefty, progressive values.”
Katie Zezima at the Associated Press is the latest in a long line of reporters sucked into the fundamental dishonesty of the "Food Stamp Challenges" which have been taking place around the country for more than five years.
Zezima's misdirection came at the direction of Newark, New Jersey's Democratic mayor Cory Booker, who challenged one of his Twitter followers several weeks ago to, in Zezima's words, "try to live on the monetary equivalent of food stamps for at least a week" in connection with "a debate about the role the government should play in school nutrition funding." Those two quoted characterizations expose the two main problems with the Food Stamp Challenge. I'll explain both after excerpting a bit more of Zezima's December 11 dispatch after the jump:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its latest report on food stamp program participation through September today. I received the email alerting me to the release at 5:17 p.m., so it seems reasonable to believe that USDA and the Barack Obama administration wanted the new data to get as little attention as possible (as will be seen later, it's currently getting none). If so, they have two probable reasons for wishing to minimize its impact.
The first and more obvious of the two is that the food stamp rolls increased by over 607,000 in September to 47.71 million, yet another all-time record. That's awful enough, but here's the real kicker: the participation figure for July, the last month of data available before Election Day, was revised up by over 150,000, changing that month's reported increase from 11,600 to just under 166,000. As will be seen after the jump, no other month's data was revised except August, where the changes were infinitesimal.
How dare Catholic bishops use their teaching authority to speak out in favor of religious liberty! That was the thrust of University of Dayton theology professor Vincent Miller’s November 8 post on CNN’s Belief Blog (which has a tendency to attack conservative ideas) titled “Catholic Bishops’ Election Behavior Threatens Their Authority.”
Miller complained that: “The Catholic Church was well within its rights to conduct its campaign on religious liberty, but its “Preserve Religious Freedom” yard signs were clearly designed to be placed alongside partisan candidate signs.” He continued by bewailing the supposed partisan nature of the campaign: “The technically nonpartisan nature of the Church’s religious liberty campaign was further drowned out by a small chorus of strident bishops who left no doubt about how Catholics ought to vote for president.”
In their third Presidential debate analysis, the Jurassic Press Media last night and thus far this morning have failed utterly in their role as fact checker and record-corrector - at least when it comes to what President Barack Obama had to say.
As but one glaring example, there were the President’s absurd assertions regarding the auto bailout and China.
In August, in response to an ad from the campaign of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney claiming that the Obama administration's Department of Health and Human Services had just weakened the work requirements of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (also known as TANF, or "traditional welfare"), Molly Moorhead at the so-called fact check site PolitiFact gave the ad a "Pants on Fire" rating, the one supposedly reserved for the most scurrilous lies propagated by politicians and others. Russell Sykes, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute has just doused PolitiFact's imaginary flames -- but don't hold your breath waiting for PoltiFact to recognize it.
Earlier this week, the GAO said the Obama administration evaded the law by waiving welfare requirements, but CNN failed to mention the report. Neither CBS nor ABC reported it as well.
According to the GAO, the administration's directive issued in July “is subject to the requirement that it be submitted to both Houses of Congress and the Comptroller General before it can take effect.” Thus, the Obama administration, by law, should have submitted it to Congress for review first, under the Congressional Review Act (CRA).
On Monday’s Rachel Maddow Show, the MSNBC host mocked Mitt Romney’s pursuit of the white vote, reporting Romney told USA Today that President Obama moved toward welfare waivers “as a calculation that was designed to shore up the Obama base before the election.” Maddow thought it was ridiculous: “As if people on welfare are Barack Obama’s base. [Maddow winks] Especially the lazy ones. [Winks again]” Government dependents never vote to keep their government money coming?
Then Maddow turned to former New York Times columnist and NBC reporter Bob Herbert, who said Romney has a “campaign that doesn’t have a theme,” so Romney’s just saying “white people, please vote for me,” because he’s white. “You can’t win an election if that’s all you’ve got going for you.” Maddow said the GOP’s almost all-white:
Of course, MSNBC's answer to Katie Couric would be downright indignant had Romney run ads on welfare that included black people.
Here is Chris Hayes venting to socialist soulmate Rachel Maddow about what he considers the veiled racism of Romney's ads slamming President Obama for gutting work requirements in the 1996 welfare reform law (video after page break) --
CNN shot down Mitt Romney's claim that President Obama "gutted" welfare reform, despite experts who helped construct the actual 1996 law insisting that Obama did indeed strike at its heart by nullifying work requirements for welfare recipients.
"Problem is, President Obama calls this claim nuts," stated reporter Tom Foreman, who aired a clip of Obama calling it "patently false." Foreman relayed another White House talking point about how the states were granted waivers from some rules as long as the work participants increased by 20 percent, thus ensuring Obama's motive was to increase the law's effectiveness and not to change it wholesale.
On Wednesday's Morning Edition, NPR followed the example of its Big Three counterparts in failing to cover a new ad from a pro-Obama super PAC that points the finger at Mitt Romney for a woman's cancer death. Instead, the liberal radio network sent correspondent Ari Shapiro to "do some truth squadding" about the Romney campaign's latest ad slamming the Obama administration on welfare reform.
Shapiro slanted towards the Democratic campaign's spin of the Romney ad, and concluded that the White House's move on welfare work requirements was "poor form by the Democrats, perhaps, but not the same at gutting welfare reform."
Everyone knows that politics can be an ugly business, but MSNBC’s Chris Matthews sunk to a new long on his Hardball program Tuesday night. Matthews’ outrage came from an ad put out by the Romney campaign suggesting that President Obama, "announced a plan to gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements," which, his administration most certainly did.
Since there's nothing factually assailable about the ad, Matthews decided that the best approach for criticizing the spot was claiming it was "Willie Horton stuff." Of course, the 1988 Willie Horton ad was also 100 percent factually unassailable, which is why that ad resonated against then-Gov. Michael Dukakis (D-Mass.). The issue at hand isn’t the accuracy of the ad but rather Matthews' insistence that racism is at play. [Video follows page break; MP3 audio here.]
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."
On CNN Newsroom this morning, anchor Carol Costello reported on "Nuns on the Bus:"
"Normally, you see nuns working in their closely knit communities and religious orders. But a group of nuns in the United States, they are hitting the road," she reported. "They are taking a bus on nine-state tour. They are protesting the Ryan budget cuts they say will hurt the poor the most. The nuns are in Milwaukee today and that's where Ted Rowlands is. So the nuns are jumping into the political fray."
Perhaps the most common justification for government intrusion into people's lives and into the economy at large is the notion that "doing something" is better than preserving limited government.
The usual rejoinder from the right is that capitalism has done more to alleviate poverty and is therefore a more efficient way of helping raise living standards than socialism or its related ideologies. While that answer has the advantage of being true, it is often unpersuasive for those looking for an answer to a moral question. That is the task at hand for Robert Sirico, a Catholic priest and center-right thinker in his excellent new book, Defending the Free Market: The Moral Case for a Free Economy.
Appearing as a panel member on Sunday's Melissa Harris-Perry show on MSNBC, former CNN political analyst Bill Schneider undermined the judgement of men versus women while analyzing the gender gap in American politics as he ended up joking that "men are stupid, they take stupid risks."
He also labeled President George W. Bush as a "great risk taker" whose drive to cut taxes and invade Iraq were "big risks."
After recounting that since 1980, women have tended to vote more Democratic than men, Schneider asserted: (Video at bottom)
New York Times welfare reporter Jason DeParle appeared on the NPR program "Fresh Air" hosted by Terry Gross, on Thursday to retell the horror stories that appeared in his lead story last Sunday: "I can't remember a time when I heard people talk so openly about desperate or even illegal things that they were doing in order to make ends meet. They were selling food stamps. They were selling blood. Women talked openly about shoplifting." Even committing "muggings of illegal immigrants." DeParle noted with laughable understatement that such "strategies" can "make them seem unsympathetic."
Asked by the sympathetic Gross about the 1996 welfare reform (which DeParle at the time said risked forcing mothers to "turn to prostitution or the drug trade....abandon their children....camp out on the streets and beg"), DeParle responded with tales of formidable state bureaucracy that won't cut much ice with anyone who has dealt with the DMV:
In 1996 DeParle predicted poor mothers would "turn to prostitution or the drug trade. Or cling to abusive boyfriends. Or have more abortions. Or abandon their children. Or camp out on the streets and beg." None of which came to pass, until now (or so his new anecdotes suggest).
National Review's Reihan Salam on Sunday proved once again that liberal media members no matter what their number are no match for one well-informed conservative.
On CNN's FareedZakaria GPS, Salam took on the host, Time magazine's Joe Klein, and the Nation's Katrina VandenHeuvel on a far-ranging discussion about how both sides of the aisle view taxes, the Tea Party, and social change with the conservative ending up looking like the only knowledgeable person in the room (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Tuesday, for the second time in two weeks, CNN's Soledad O'Brien insisted that President Bush, not President Obama, is the "food stamp president" – even though data show her argument is ridiculous.
On January 19, O'Brien had opened up that "it was George Bush who was the food stamp president." Then on Tuesday, she stated that Bush oversaw a greater percent increase of food stamp recipients than Obama has, and thus was more deserving of the title "food stamp president."
Using the same predictable liberal smear of shouting racism at any conservative who criticizes President Obama, on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Ann Curry ranted: "...you've been increasingly stepping up your characterization of President Obama as a 'food stamp president,' interestingly, in the lead-up now to South Carolina....Are you intentionally playing the race card to win votes?" [Audio available hereand view video below]
Gingrich dismissed the assertion and rightfully condemned those hurling the outrageous accusation: "You know, modern liberals are just, I think frankly, totally off the deep end....their only answer is to yell racism and hide."
As NewsBusters previously reported, MSNBC's Chris Matthews has been making the rounds accusing everyone associated with Monday's Republican presidential debate of racism.
On Tuesday's Hardball, the host finished the program by claiming former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was race-baiting by calling Barack Obama The Food Stamp President (video follows with transcript and commentary):
New York Times poverty beat-writer Jason Deparle, who once described Clinton’s welfare reform proposal as “a bill that begrudges poor infants their Pampers” and predicted it might cause women to “camp out on the streets and beg,” made Thursday’s front page with the claim that America is becoming “less equal...less mobile” with the poor stuck in place, in “Harder for Americans to Rise From Economy’s Lower Rungs.”
A photo caption read: “Occupy protesters, like these in Flint, Mich., have pushed discussions about economic mobility toward center stage.”