At MarketWatch this morning, Paul Farrell's hostility towards Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Milton Friedman and especially free-market capitalism boiled over. Farrell claims that capitalism "is destined to destroy the world, absent a historic paradigm shift."
The problem he describes really has nothing to do with properly practiced free-market capitalism, but is instead a combination of rampant cronyism and the abandonment of capitalism's (and society's) Judeo-Christian moral underpinnings. But that's a long discussion outside the scope of this post. This post is about the opening claim Farrell makes: "Billionaires control the vast majority of the world’s wealth." No they don't.
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.
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.]
Call it Michael Moore's Jesse Jackson moment . . . Jackson once famously said that when he walked down the street and heard footsteps behind him, he was relieved to turn around and find a white person behind him.
This evening, on Ed Schultz's soon-to-be-extinct weeknight MSNBC show, a histrionic Michael Moore accused white gun owners of racism . . . then proceeded to say it was reasonable for them not to be afraid of their white neighbors . . . and admitted he felt more comfortable walking down the streets of Toronto than Detroit. View the video after the jump.
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.”
Tavis Smiley, PBS’s resident liberal activist, unleashed his anger against the Democratic Party on his talk show last night. In a conversation with California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), Smiley bemoaned the lack of increase in the federal minimum wage in recent years, attacking Democrats from the left: “Why has your party, the Democrats in Washington, the Democrat as president in the White House, why in the first term are they not more aggressive about that?” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
The taxpayer-subsidized left-wing host was furious that President Obama has lowered his minimum wage demand from $9.50 to $9.00 an hour: “I love the guy, but I keep saying he’s negotiating against himself. He started at $9.50, now he’s down to $9.00, and the debate hasn’t started.” He finished his rant by slamming the entire party once again:
Leave it to a Washington Post book reviewer to find a way to blame George W. Bush for the Irish Potato Famine. Okay, Peter Behrens didn't do exactly that, but he used the occasion of reviewing two books about the mass starvation of millions of Irish in the 1840s as an opportunity to bash the Bush administration over the federal response to Hurricane Katrina. Oh, I almost forgot, the bogeyman of the "free market" also finds itself in Behren's sights.
In his January 13 Washington Post item, Behrens reviewed two new books on the subject, The Famine Plot: England’s Role in Ireland’s Greatest Tragedy and The Graves are Walking: The Great Famine and the Saga of the Irish People, by Tim Pat Coogan and John Kelly respectively. Behrens favorably accepted Coogan's conclusion that “it was British reluctance to interfere with the supposed workings of the free-market economy that allowed famine to continue in Ireland at a time when the country was producing and exporting tons of food to England.”
The burning question on the mind of Dylan Byers Saturday afternoon at the Politico -- a question that somehow merited over 2,000 words of content -- was "Al Jazeera America (AJA): Will they watch?" He could have answered his question in eleven words: "Except for segments of America's Muslim community, the answer is 'no.'" Along the way, Byers spoke with former Al Jazeera English (AJE) anchor David Marash, who, per Byers, "still describes it as 'the best news channel on Earth.'" That's odd, because what Al Jazeera English did to him, as described in an interview he had in April 2008 with Brent Cunningham at the Columbia Journalism Review in April 2008 should have caused him to doubt the channel's ability to cover American stories in its new AJA unit with any kind of integrity (bolds are mine):
In an interview with a Canadian talk show, director Quentin Tarantino blasted America’s drug policies, saying that they are creating a system of “slavery through and through” at the behest of a prison “industry” which seeks to keep them in place solely to make money.
Tarantino’s comments came in response to a question from CBC host George Stroumboulopoulos who had asked him to put his latest film project, Django Unchained, a movie about a freed slave in the 19th century, into a contemporary American context. Tarantino warmed to the subject, apparently thinking that having directed the film gave him some sort of insight into race and America.
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.
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.]