On October 3, the National Retail Federation projected that "sales in the months of November and December" will "marginally increase 3.9 percent to $602.1 billion, over 2012’s actual 3.5 percent holiday season sales growth." But on October 16, it warned that "the average holiday shopper will spend $737.95 on gifts, décor, greeting cards and more, two percent less than the $752.24 they actually spent last year."
Anne D'Innocenzio at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, in a report on the upcoming Christmas shopping season, chose to report the NRF's overall November-December increase, and ignored the obviously more relevant and more recent individual spending expectations. She also held off mentioning the elephant in the room — sharply reduced spending by Obamacare "sticker shock" victims and those who anticipate more of the same during 2014 — until the 19th of her 21 paragraphs (bolds are mine):
On Sunday's 60 Minutes, CBS's Steve Kroft boosted the agenda of Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-identified socialist, by granting him 30 seconds of air time to attack billionaire Pete Peterson, who was featured on the November 17, 2013 edition of the news program. However, this half-minute block was 2.5 times the amount that Peterson got during Charlie Rose's report [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Rose merely played a 12-second soundbite of Peterson during the segment, and mentioned the former Nixon Cabinet official's involvement with a group of philanthropists, who are donating at least 50 percent of their wealth to charity:
There was no annual adjustment to Social Security benefits for inflation during 2010 or 2011. That's because the 2009 increase of 5.8 percent (announced in November 2008, and considered the "2009" increase at this table) was artifically lifted by the $4 per gallon gas prices seen in the summer of 2008, the period used in the annual inflation adjustment calculation. After gas prices came down, overall prices levels were slightly lower during the next two years.
With that background, it's hard to imagine how a headline writer at the Associated Press, aka the Adminstration's Press, could transform what writer Stephen Ohlemacher accurately described as an "historically small increase" to "among the lowest in years" — unless it's to create a false impression among those who only read headlines that the government is being unduly stingy in disbursing benefits. Excerpts from Ohlemacher's report follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Quick: how much were Social Security, Medicaid and food stamps cut by the sequester? Zero, you say? Those programs were exempted from sequester cuts, and Medicare was reduced by only 2%? Correctomundo!
So what was Andrea Mitchell thinking when she claimed on her MSNBC show that the sequester "gutted" social programs? You tell me. View the video after the jump.
If President Barack Obama is losing Al Hunt, there is definitely trouble in Lefty-land.
But let's not go too far. In the midst of leveling criticisms at Obama as "bordering on incompetence," the former host of CNN's Capital Gang and executive editor at Bloomberg News, who is now a Bloomberg View columnist and host of a Bloomberg TV's Political Capital Sunday news show, cited three examples of supposedly indisputable George W. Bush administration incompetence, none of which fits the description.
Potentially the most dishonest aspect of the Obama-loving media's reporting since January 20, 2009, pertains to how they've almost totally ignored how poorly the economy is performing.
On Tuesday, Michael T. Snyder, author of the gloom and doom book "The Beginning of the End," wrote a fabulous piece titled "33 Shocking Facts Which Show How Badly The Economy Has Tanked Since Obama Became President":
Ed Schultz took a dive off the deep end on Saturday’s The Ed Show, claiming that Social Security is a “cheap” program that “has never contributed one penny to the deficit.” The bombastic MSNBC host also blasted Republicans who support partially privatizing Social Security, arguing those lawmakers just want to “get their hands on the money.”
Schultz echoed similar arguments made by Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who suggested that Social Security doesn’t contribute a “penny” or a “dime” to the national deficit. Both Democrats’ claims were challenged by fact-checking organizations, including PolitiFact, The Washington Post’s Fact Checker, and FactCheck.org. And while the term "cheap" is relatively subjective, few would argue that Social Security – which takes up one-fifth of the federal budget – is "cheap."
Before the government released its first estimate of first-quarter economic growth in late April, the establishment press, particularly Bloomberg News and the Associated Press, salivated at the chance to report the then-predicted "robust" annualized growth of 3 percent and to describe how the economy had "accelerated" from the previous quarter's pathetic 0.4 percent. When that first estimate came in at only 2.5 percent, most news organizations at least had the integrity to pronounce the news disappointing. But not Martin Crutsinger and Christopher Rugaber at the AP, aka the Administration's Press, who opened their coverage by saying that "the American economy quickened its pace early this year despite deep government cutbacks."
The government's second estimate in May was little changed at 2.4 percent. But Wednesday's third and final estimate (pending annual revisions going back several years, the next of which will appear in July) came in at 1.8 percent, a 40 percent drop from so-called experts' original predictions (1.2-point difference divided by the original 3.0 percent). The AP's reaction was to produce a terse three-paragraph blurb which was gone from its national web site within 24 hours, followed by a late afternoon report which blamed higher Social Security taxes and "federal spending cuts":
On Monday's All In show, MSNBC host Chris Hayes complained about Republicans trying to increase the number of border agents and to bar illegal immigrants from collecting Social Security benefits based on taxes they've paid into the system.
After recounting the time when he worked with several illegal immigrants in a bakery who paid Social Security taxes, and the efforts by Republicans to make the border with Mexico "one of the most militarized places in this country," Hayes concluded:
Jonathan Alter showed up on PBS’s Charlie Rose Wednesday to promote the new book in which he celebrates Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection. The Bloomberg columnist doesn’t seem to understand the irony of his book’s title – The Center Holds. He really does believe President Obama is a centrist, and he attempted to explain the title from the comfort of Rose’s dark studio:
“So the reason I call the book The Center Holds is, you know, not just ObamaCare, but he has defended the American social contract against an assault by the American Right.”
Showing how difficult it is to make the smallest reductions in federal spending, New York Times personal finance reporter Tara Siegel Bernard's latest "Your Money" column criticized, as hurting the old and poor, a proposed change in how inflation is calculated that would slightly curb the annual increases in entitlement spending. The proposal is generally supported by conservatives and reviled by liberals.
I guess Byron Tau thought he had to make it look like Big Labor is really, really mad at President Barack Obama and the White House so he could make Obama look like he's a moderate on economic and fiscal issues. Thus his Sunday morning post's headline: "Labor targets Obama over proposed benefit cuts."
Of course, they aren't "cuts" at all, though they are being portrayed as such. All Obama has done, according to information which appears to have been conveniently leaked (perhaps in hopes of killing the idea) to the New York Times ahead of his very late President's Budget, is "propose a new inflation formula that would have the effect of reducing cost-of-living payments for Social Security benefits, though with financial protections for low-income and very old beneficiaries, administration officials said." Despite the weakly descriptive language at the Times, monthly Social Security and other checks would continue to increase under the proposal each year inflation occurs -- just not by as much.
Senate Democrats on Saturday narrowly passed their first budget in four years.
Appearing on PBS's Inside Washington Friday before the vote, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer called it "the most appalling document you have ever seen" claiming, "It marches us off a cliff into Greece and perhaps into Cyprus" (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
While you were watching Rand Paul's historic filibuster and the debate surrounding budget sequestration, an economic theory battle was waging between two of the nation's foremost liberal economists Paul Krugman and Jeffrey Sachs.
In his most recent salvo published at the Huffington Post Saturday, Sachs spoke heresy to Obama-lovers across the fruited plain including Krugman claiming that following the 2008 financial crisis, "It was the Fed, not the fiscal stimulus, which prevented a fall into depression."
As NewsBusters reported earlier, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and MSNBC's Joe Scarborough had quite a heated discussion about the budget, debt, and the economy on PBS's Charlie Rose Monday evening.
Near its conclusion, Scarborough actually scolded Krugman for pompously behaving like a sighing Al Gore (video follows with transcript and commentary):
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and MSNBC's Joe Scarborough had an at times heated discussion about budget deficits, debt, and the economy on PBS's Charlie Rose Monday evening.
At one point Krugman got so rattled by the facts that he actually said Scarborough quoting what he had said in the past was making an ad hominem attack against him (video follows with transcript and commentary):
For conservatives, it's been truly delicious the past few weeks watching previously devote Obamaites break ranks with their colleagues to finally tell the world that the emperor has no clothes.
A fine example Monday was the perilously liberal economist and media darling Jeffrey Sachs who published an article at the Huffington Post with the headline "How Obama's Politics Led to Sequestration":
Bob Woodward is a legend in modern journalism, especially for fellow liberal reporters. But that all is for naught now that Woodward has committed the cardinal sin of criticizing the White House for an operative's use of what apparently is a fairly common tactic: a harsh bullying of the press in order to demand even more favorable coverage than the Obama-friendly press already lavishes on Team Obama. It centers on Woodward reporting that sequestration was the White House's idea. This morning Matt Lauer, on the Today Show, questioned Woodward's judgement, saying "I'm a little surprised you've gone public with this." Even, the New York Times offered no refuge for Woodward.
He isn’t the only one. Clinton operative and op-ed columnist Lanny Davis has received similar treatment, and veteran White House reporter Ron Fournier at National Journal also reported threatening emails and calls. But in today’s broadcast of Morning Joe, co-host Mika Brzezinski decided to give deference to Obama acolyte David Axelrod’s days as a journalist for the Chicago Tribune in order to portray Woodward as going over the line in his reporting on Gene Sperling's harassment:
On Friday, Renee Dudley at Bloomberg News exposed the contents of February 12 internal emails revealing that Walmart executives are worried -- very worried -- about sales during the first 10 to 14 days of the its most current fiscal period (mostly likely either the first 10 days of February if the company works with calendar months, or 14 days if it began the second period of the fiscal year on Monday January 28).
Their primary concerns are the payroll tax hike and delayed tax refunds, but they may also need to start worrying about higher gas prices (bolds are mine):
Buzzfeed's Ben Smith, who used to toil at Politico, must be blind in one eye and can't see out of the other.
In what appears to be a sudden revelation in his column ("Obama Prepares To Screw His Base") on ObamaCare's harsh treatment of young people, Smith notes how they "will pay disproportionately for ObamaCare." What this really represents is something which alarmed those who studied the bill both before and after its passage in March 2010. In other words, people who follow these things closely have known about this situation for years. But course, it has fallen on deaf, deliberately ignorant, or deliberately negligent establishment press ears. Thus, most low-information voters don't know what's coming. Beyond that, Smith acts as if the Obama administration hasn't been shafting young people ever since Barack Obama took his first oath of office in January 2009, when it has been doing so in a variety of ways on a daily basis. Excerpts from Smith's somnambulance, wherein he actually tries to blame Sarah Palin for what's coming, follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
The front-page title at the Politico for David Nather's lengthy write-up on Democrats' alleged ideas for doing something about runaway entitlement programs is "The quiet liberal plan for entitlements; There are some ideas for reining in spending that have been blessed by the left." That gives readers the impression that the left might actually have something specific and potentially palatable in mind.
No such luck. The actual title at Nather's write-up, however, pluralizes "plan" -- "The quiet liberal plans for entitlements." Its itemization of the supposedly brilliant ideas for reform liberals have in mind are dominated by tax increases and income redistribution measures which fail to structurally reform anything.
Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) made a comment on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday that is guaranteed to raise eyebrows on both sides of the aisle.
"If we had a Clinton presidency, if we had Erskine Bowles chief-of-staff at the White House, or President of the United States, I think we would have fixed this fiscal mess by now. That's not the kind of presidency we're dealing with right now."
ABC and CNN contributor Donna Brazile - posing as one of Barack Obama's trusted defenders in the media like she always does! - got a much-needed education Sunday about the President's profligate spending.
Countering Brazile's propaganda on ABC's This Week, George Will said, "A dollar spent on A cannot be spent on B...This is our future. We're going to be an assisted living home with an Army. That's going to be the American government" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Stop the presses! Stop the presses! Bill Maher on Friday actually said something well-reasoned and intelligent that conservatives - including members of the Tea Party - might agree with.
"We have 23.5 percent dirt bags in America," the HBO Real Time host surprisingly said. "It just seems like there’s less people pulling the wagon and more people in the wagon, and at some point the wagon is going to break" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
During PBS’ coverage of the 2013 Inauguration, syndicated columnist Mark Shields, Gwen Ifill, and Yale University’s Beverly Gage seemed to have forgotten what the definition of liberal is within the context of Obama’s second inaugural address. In fact, Gage said that this wasn’t an “endorsement of collective liberalism,” and Shields called it more “humanitarian.”
The non-taxpayer subsidized liberal media has been more honest. Today’s New York Times said Obama offered a “liberal vision.” Slate’s John Dickerson, who infamously called for Obama to destroy the GOP, called the 44th president’s address “a liberal love letter.” ABC finally figured out that Obama is a progressive liberal.
For four years (and really going back further when you consider former President George W. Bush's halting attempt to reform Social Security in the middle of last decade), Barack Obama and his party have paid lip service at best to the idea of entitlement reform while refusing to provide any specifics about what they would do to fix Social Security and Medicare, both of which are unsustainable in their current forms. Obama rejected his own Simpson Bowles commission's recommendations. Democrats have treated serious proposals coming from Republicans as grannycide.
Yet the Politico's Carrie Budoff Brown, who must be gaining strength in her arms and shoulders from all of her water-carrying for Obama and his party, wants us to believe that Obama has a "deeply conflicted relationship with entitlement reform." And in case you missed it (I certainly did), Obama has tried "harder than any other Democratic president to tackle the issue" (no Democratic Party president has "tried hard" to tackle the issue). Several paragraphs from her Tuesday dispatch follow the jump (bolds are mine):