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.
C.L. Bryant, a former NAACP Texas president and current Baptist minister, told MSNBC's Thomas Roberts Thursday there's really no reason for black people to have voted for the re-election of Barack Obama other than the color of his skin.
Bryant said that due to the high Latino unemployment rate as well as the high poverty rate among young white women, the same was true for those demographic groups.
While the reliable and original formula for the government to calculate who lives in “absolute poverty” is still in place, another measure has been introduced that enables the government to determine how many people live in “relative poverty,” a term often used to describe the concept of “income inequality.”
According to Mickey Kaus of the Daily Caller website, this new “supplemental” concept is “an audacious, slimy bait-and-switch by liberal activists inside the government anti-poverty bureaucracy.” And, as would be expected, it's gone almost totally unnoticed in the establishment left-wing press.
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 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.
He clearly doesn't suffer from a shortage of chutzpah.
According to the Politico's Josh Gerstein, President Barack Obama was asked the following question by The View's Barabara Walters in a Monday appearance to be broadcast on Tuesday: "What would be so terrible if Mitt Romney were elected? Would it be disastrous for the country?" His response: "We can survive a lot. But the American people don't want to just survive. We want to thrive. I've just got a different vision of how we grow an economy. We grow fastest when the middle class is doing well."
In her writeup covering the Census Bureau's latest release of income and poverty data, Hope Yen at the Associated Press quoted University of Michigan economist Sheldon Danziger, who specializes in "Applied Policy, Labor Markets, Poverty and Social Welfare," describing the news that the official poverty rate was statistically unchanged, moving from 15.1% of all Americans to 15.0%, as "good news and surprising."
Mr. Danziger should consider moonlighting as a stand-up comedian. With laugh lines like that and another one which will be seen in the excerpt after the jump, he's a can't-miss prospect, even if his delivery is as deadpan as Steven Wright's. But, as will also be seen shortly, he has stiff competition from White House bloggers. In both cases, audiences will be laughing at them, not with them (bolds are mine):
Completing a two-month full reversal of a tiny decline which began earlier in the year, the USDA reported on Friday that participation in the Food Stamp program, which the government wants everyone to call SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), reached an all-time record high in June. The program's had 46.67 million participants that month, eclipsing the previous record of 46.51 million in December 2011.
Only the business press seems interested in covering the story. What follows are excerpts from the story at Bloomberg Business Week, where the most important story element for reporter Alan Bjerga was the impact on Dear Leader's reelection effort:
An e-mail from Daily Kos Campaign Manager, Chris Bowers announces 'big news' regarding voter ID laws in Pennsylvania. Bowers explains:
A huge coalition of 100+ labor and civil rights groups has come together to do the door knocking, phone banking and voter education necessary to make sure everyone in this must-win swing state can still cast a ballot.
At Daily Kos, we're helping out by running online ads in Pennsylvania to sign up more than 1,000 volunteers so that this coalition has the people power it needs. Please, click here to contribute $3 to Daily Kos so that we can sign up the thousands of volunteers needed to overcome Pennsylvania's voter ID law.
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."
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.
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:
Over at the Associated Press in a report with a Tuesday morning time stamp, Christopher Rugaber produced yet another predictable lemonade-from-lemons story about how the economy is allegedly "improving faster than economists had expected. They now foresee slightly stronger growth and hiring than they did two months earlier - trends that would help President Barack Obama's re-election hopes." Because, after all, that's what it's all about.
The folks at AP, the economists they surveyed for their report, and the rest of the establishment press really need to get out more. Y'know, they used to, at least before November 4, 2008. If they did, they'd find something which it seems only the BBC among major original-source news organizations has found: well over 50 "tent cities." These are not Occupy movement encampments; instead they are places where one will find America's desperately poor:
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."
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):
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich had a rather testy exchange with Fox News's Juan Williams during Monday's debate in South Carolina.
After Williams accused the former Speaker of the House of being racially insensitive when referring to Barack Obama as "The Food Stamp President," Gingrich said, "The fact is that more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history. Now, I know among the politically correct you are not supposed to use facts that are uncomfortable" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
PBS host and leftist activist Tavis Smiley called out Republican candidates for their hostility to the poor in America, on Thursday morning on MSNBC. Appearing during the 7 a.m. hour of Morning Joe, he singled out four candidates by name and warned that "we're in a world of trouble" due to their campaign trail rhetoric.
As a PBS host, Smiley benefits from public funding. That has not stopped him in the past for making outrageous liberal remarks, and it didn't stop him on Thursday when he railed against a Congressional "bipartisan consensus that the poor just don't matter." [Video below the break. Click here for audio.]
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.”
During the "Grapevine" segment on Tuesday's Special Report on Fox News, anchor Bret Baier played a clip of a UNICEF ad depicting Santa Claus as an uncaring Scrooge and quoted an item from NewsBusters' senior editor Tim Graham: "Conservative site NewsBusters asked quote: 'Why on Earth would jolly old Saint Nicholas resent aid for the poor? Is this just another way the UN bureaucracy asserts its own moral superiority?'" [View video after the jump / audio available here]
No wonder President Obama adopted some of the language of the Occupy movement in his class-warfare speech this week. It's led by the likes of Alfredo Carrasquillo, a fellow "community organizer" with whom the president perhaps identifies. Carrasquillo specializes in breaking into foreclosed homes to dole them out to people—beginning with himself—to live in.
Chris Hayes gave Carrasquillo a sympathetic platform on his MSNBC show this morning. Making it clear that he was speaking as a "devil's advocate," not, God forbid, expressing his own opinion, Hayes gently inquired of Carrasquillo whether, you know, it could be said he has no right to break into and live in homes owned by others. Dismissing the notion out of hand, Carrasquillo described theft of others' property as "technicalities." That seemed good enough for Hayes, who helpfully pointed out that the homes Carrasquillo is breaking into "are just sitting there, no one's making use of them." Video after the jump.
As NBC's Meet the Press panel ripped into Newt Gingrich on Sunday for his comments on poor children in inner cities lacking working role models, Manchester Union Leader publisher Joe McQuaid was the lone voice of dissent: "I think he gets a bum rap on the child labor thing."
That prompted host David Gregory to declare: "Are you really saying that the working poor in this country don't have good role models of how to work hard?...How do you get to that practical solution and not see it as a kind of grotesque distortion of what's really happening out there?"
In an interview with Donald Trump on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer hit Newt Gingrich for pointing out that poor inner city children lack role models: "He made some controversial comments recently about the poor and jobs....Maureen Dowd in the Times on Sunday said, 'Has he not heard of the working poor?'"
Lauer turned to Trump and fretted: "Did Newt Gingrich unfairly characterize what's happening in poor communities across this country?" Trump replied: "No, it wasn't maybe politically correct but it happens to be the truth....[Gingrich] is looking at the inner city, where Obama has done nothing..." Lauer pressed: "But do children in those inner city areas really have no role models who work?"
Apparently, Newt Gingrich wanting to employ students from poor neighborhoods and teach them job skills means that he believes they possess "no work habits." CNN obliged to put words in the candidate's mouth during Friday's 1 p.m. news hour as its headlines slammed Gingrich's "controversial" statements.
Anchor T.J. Holmes admitted that the candidate "tends to say some pretty edgy things every now and again," and CNN headlines blared that Gingrich's "controversial" talk "could become a campaign liability," and that his statement "targets children in 'poor neighborhoods'." [Video below the break. Click here for audio.]
With the news that the liberal Joy Behar's HLN show will end next month, the Media Research Center compiled a "best of Behar" list from its own archives. The liberal prime-time host was one who could never be accused of holding back her smears against conservatives, and repeatedly teed-up her liberal guests to bash Republicans.
Behar, who is also the co-host of ABC's The View, mostly interviewed entertainment and celebrity figures but was never at a loss for bringing liberal politics to the fore in those interviews. She embarked on many a crusade against social conservatives and any who opposed her passionate support for the GLBT cause.
Here are some of the best examples of Behar's bigotry:
It's one thing for your average, secular liberal not to know the New Testament. But for the Reverend Al Sharpton not to know better?
On his MSNBC show this evening, Sharpton rolled video of Michelle Bachmann, after making the case for self-reliance, saying "if anyone will not work, neither shall they eat." Even this NewsBuster, who is anything but expert in the area, realized that Bachman was quoting Scripture to the effect that people who are unwilling--not unable--to work don't deserve support. But Sharpton incredibly claimed Bachmann meant that "if you don't have work, you should starve." Video after the jump.
According to an unbylined Associated Press report out of Atlanta tonight, when police move in to arrest members of a crowd which won't move when ordered to move, they "swarm." Nice insect comparison, eh? And in case readers didn't get the negative connotation the first time, the AP report used the word again in its final paragraph.
Here are several paragraphs from the report, including an unchallenged reference to Martin Luther King's "Poor People's Campaign" by the "Rev." Jesse Jackson (bolds are mine):
Call yourself a Christian? Then you can't oppose whatever welfare programs the Democrats devise. So in effect argued Al Sharpton on his MSNBC show this evening.
In the course of criticizing House Republicans for having passed a bill reaffirming "In God We Trust" as the national motto, Sharpton somehow equated Christianity with support for the liberal agenda. And although I'm the opposite of an expert on Christian theology, he also came up with a formulation on faith and works that might be surprising to some Protestants. Video after the jump.