An editorial in yesterday's Wall Street Journal bemoaned the fact that the state-run health system in Massachusetts is failing, and that its implosion isn't common knowledge.
Formally known as CommonwealthCare, the Massachusetts scheme has the political name of "RomneyCare," in "honor" of the Bay State governor and former presidential candidate who championed its passage in 2006.
The Journal understands that the Bay State Blowup is one of the media's least-covered stories because exposure of CommonwealthCare's true results would make all too clear the awaiting disasters found in the various versions of ObamaCare Congress is considering for the entire country.
The Journal editorial yesterday primarily addressed what I'll call the "free rider" problem (link to outside blog post added by me; bolds are mine):
In the week since South Carolina’s Republican Governor announced he had flown to Argentina to carry on an extra-marital affair, the broadcast morning and evening news shows have gone full bore on the scandal, cranking out 49 stories even in the midst of other major stories like Michael Jackson’s death and the continuing repression in Iran.
The morning after Sanford announced his affair, on the June 25 Good Morning America, longtime correspondent Sam Donaldson used the scandal to broadly charge Republicans with being “sanctimonious. They thump the Bible. They condemn everyone else, and when they [act] human, they don’t have much credit in the bank for forgiveness.” Unlike when New York Democratic Governor Eliot Spitzer was caught consorting with a prostitute in March 2008, all three broadcast networks immediately identified Sanford’s party ID.
A number of top Democrats are enmeshed in embarrassment or facing allegations of wrongdoing, but the networks have far less interest in publicizing those cases. A rundown of ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening coverage so far this year:
Barack Obama’s energy czar appeared on Fox & Friends this morning to discuss the cap-and-tax bill passed by the House last week on a razor-thin margin. Carol Browner got stumped by Fox’s Steve Doocy while questioning her ability to speak to the subject, which prompted her to declare Doocy “unfair” for blindsiding her. You be the judge — should Doocy have wondered whether Browner had bothered to read the bill she was promoting on national TV, or is that “unfair”?
Froma Harrop may have once been called Heartland Institute's "favorite lefty" journalist, but lefty she is and her use of a lopsided New York Times poll to urge President Obama to "act fast" on a government healthcare policy is a perfect example of that.
With her June 23 article, Harrop was frustrated that Obama was not "stepping on the gas" to institute publicly funded healthcare and she wondered why he is dragging his feet when "85 percent of Americans want 'fundamental changes' in American healthcare." This factoid she gleans from a very flawed NYT poll that is so badly skewed to the left that it is amazing anyone takes it seriously.
Harrop makes no bones about the fact that she wants a nationalized healthcare policy to be forced on the nation and she also doesn't think that anyone needs to listen to Republicans, effectively disenfranchising the roughly half of the American electorate that votes that way. Amazingly, Harrop is supposed to be a "financial reporter," yet she still wants this disastrously expensive, jobs killing, cost spiraling sort of plan anyway. This doesn't say much about her grasp of economics.
Does my headline bury the lede? On the one hand, it's catchy to hear Chris Matthews proclaim his belief that reparations for slavery "make sense."
But in the grand scheme of things, one more liberal pundit coming out for reparations might be small potatoes. Perhaps the bigger story was the statement on this evening's Hardball by Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC). The former head of the Congressional Black Caucus revealed that he saw nationalized health care as a part of reparations.
The New York Times and the Washington Post had a pretty profound disagreement this morning on whether or not Obama has a chance to get a health care "reform" proposal through Congress this year, with the Times, predictably, being far more optimistic about prospects for the president's big-government health plan.
In their heart of hearts, few in the Obama administration would have predicted late last year that they would be this well positioned by June to achieve a major victory on health care. As the economy faltered, and attention focused on Wall Street and Detroit, it seemed unthinkable that Congress would be ready to devote the summer of 2009 to the costly proposition of providing health coverage for all, a goal that has eluded presidents since Theodore Roosevelt.
But five months after the inauguration, health care dominates the domestic agenda on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. Any package that emerges will preserve the country's private insurance system, at least for now. It could nonetheless bring sweeping changes, requiring that everyone be insured, creating a government health plan to compete with commercial carriers and perhaps taxing employer-provided health benefits.
By contrast, the top two paragraphs of Ceci Connolly's lead story in Friday's Washington Post seem to have come from an alternate universe:
The Senate Commerce Committee plans to hold confirmation hearings on June 16 for Julius Genachowski, President Obama’s nominee to head the Federal Communications Commission. He is not a controversial figure, in part because he seems like a blank slate. His positions on many regulatory issues are yet to be revealed. But passionate advocates will want answers dragged out of him.
The Obama team is placing its emphasis on the wishes of its liberal base, like expanding access to the Internet and broadband service. But conservatives want senators to press on the fervent desire of Obama’s Democratic supporters for a reimposed Fairness Doctrine (or, as conservatives are warning, a "Censorship Doctrine.") The White House has suggested the fury is overblown. They remind us that the president has come out against the Fairness Doctrine. But there are many evolving ways to try and intimidate radio stations to alter their content, including initiatives for diversity in broadcast ownership.
It’s small wonder the fawning media continue to note how “confident” and “cool” the new president is in office. The Sun King has assumed the throne and found it to his liking. Barack “L’État c’est Moi” Obama is a company man in a company town – a statist in a place where he needs only to stretch a hand to stretch the state. The federal apparatus in Washington, D.C. is vast, and designed to do one thing: grow and assume power. Obama is large. He contains multitudes.
Small wonder too that the GOP lost its identity after 12 years controlling Congress. No matter how strong your small-government credentials, or how “in-touch” you are with the folks back home, living and working at the heart of a sprawling, powerful government apparatus “dulls the edge of husbandry,” as Shakespeare might have put it. Conservatives can end up captive to Beltway norms and mores, and end up conservative no more. It’s Stockholm Syndrome for conservatives.
This is particularly so because the inherently liberal news media doesn’t question whether government should expand. So when the party of small government strays, who’s going to call them on it? Not the party of big government, and not the press. So government grows.
In the second half of his op-ed in the Washington Post today, former Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev entirely credits himself and fellow countrymen for the end of his country's Communist dictatorship, and claims that it's the Western capitalist model that is currently failing.
In the process, he espouses positions that seem to have been copied from the Democratic Party's past few platforms, as well as from U.S. Dear Leader Barack Obama's governing model.
Following Gobachev's ridiculous rewrite of the Soviet Union's final decade (you know it's ridiculous because the name "Reagan" never appears; he doesn't even believe that the break-up should have happened), here are key passages from the former dictator's admonishments of the West (the most obvious direct lifts from Obama and Dems are in bold):
Today the Media Research Center’s Free Speech Alliance (FSA) will deliver nearly 400,000 petitions – combined with thousands of calls and faxes - to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid urging them to allow a full, fair stand-alone floor vote on the Broadcaster Freedom Act (BFA).
"Free speech on the radio airwaves remains in peril so long as the FCC is just a 3-2 vote away from reinstating the mis-named 'Fairness' Doctrine," MRC President Brent Bozell argued in a June 1 statement. What's more, the doctrine "remains a threat to free speech as long as elected officials like Pelosi and Reid... refuse to give the Broadcaster Freedom Act a vote."
The Free Speech Alliance (www.FreeSpeechAlliance.us) is made up of sixty-seven (67) organizations representing millions of Americans dedicated to defending free speech against a return of the Censorship Doctrine or any other assault on the First Amendment and talk radio. National talk show hosts Lars Larson and Rusty Humphries have also been heavily involved in the petition effort.
Margery Eagan of the Boston Herald has done it again. She's unleashed her deathless prose filled with soaring rhetoric and high concepts all revealing her infinite sagacity. OK, that was just sarcasm. In truth, Eagan has given us another example of the sort of low-end, guttural, sputterings that we have become so used to seeing drip like sour milk from her pen. Her latest Boston Herald piece is a prime example of the unprofessionalism that pervades her work.
In a posting titled "Men in throes of Supreme panic," Eagan gets into her best name calling mode against all those eeeevil "white men" out there that might find reason to oppose President Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor, a woman well known for positing that female Hispanics are inherently better judges than white men -- a sentiment that if reversed would be considered a racist statement.
Blago and Burris, Sitting in a tree, But they'd rather we not know their political party.
There has been yet another revelation about contacts between Democratic President Barack Obama's U.S. Senate successor, Democrat Roland Burris and former Illinois Democratic governor Rod Blagojevich over Blago's pre-Senate appointment, uh, deliberations. A released FBI audio recording reveals that Burris offered to make a campaign contribution to Blago as he lobbied to be selected.
This news has brought on yet another wave of stories that fail to tell us what party Blago and Burris belong to.
The Washington Post is the only publication that identified the party of both men in the course of reporting their story. The Post's Peter Slevin and Perry Bacon Jr. also identified the Democratic Party affiliation of the Senate Ethics Committee's Barbara Boxer:
CNN correspondent Joe Johns included a seeming lament in his report on Friday’s Situation Room about the inclusion of an amendment to the so-called credit card reform bill which expands gun owners’ rights in national parks: “How in the world did the credit card bill get so hijacked?” He also only included one pro-gun rights sound bite in his report, as opposed to three from proponents of gun control [audio clips from the report are available here].
Johns introduced his report by juxtaposing beautiful imagery of Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Mount Rushmore with a picture of a handgun on a rack: “Just imagine: along with the sweeping views of natural beauty at Yellowstone and Yosemite, mixed in with history at Mount Rushmore, that some of the tourists toting diaper bags and binoculars might also be packing heat.” He continued by labeling this juxtaposition, and outlining how congressional opponents of the provision felt about its inclusion and passage: “Extreme perhaps, but absurd is in fact how it looks to some congressional Democrats -- they’re almost apoplectic about how the gun lobby slipped a provision into, of all things, the credit card reform bill, a provision that really has nothing to do with the rights of credit card holders, and a lot to do with the right to bear arms.”
NBC's coverage of a new bill that restricts credit card companies has been riddled with contradictions - first attacking companies for taking advantage of young people, then admitting students need to build credit.
On May 14 "Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams said, "graduates enter the world with awful credit card debt" and then reporter Lisa Myers demonized credit card companies for student debt and praised possible government intervention.
The House passed a bill on May 20 to restrict credit card companies which would make it very difficult for consumers under 21 to obtain a credit card unless they have a parent co-sign the card or prove they can pay.
That will make things difficult for college students who need to establish a line of credit to rent an apartment, buy an airline ticket or purchase a car. That was ignored by NBC "Nightly News" May 19 and CBS "Early Show" on May 20. "Good Morning America" didn't report the credit card story at all on May 20.
Who did MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell feature to respond to Michael Steele's Tuesday speech about the future of the Republican Party? Chris Shays, the liberal, former Republican congressman with a lifetime American Conservative Union score of 44, appeared on "Andrea Mitchell Reports" to critique the chairman of the Republican National Committee.
After Shays insisted that Dick Cheney shouldn't be deciding who is and isn't a solid member of the GOP, Mitchell complimented, "Chris Shays, a good Republican." Responding to the Steele speech, Mitchell pontificated, "No mention of Dick Cheney. No mention of Rush Limbaugh. Is he [Steele] trying to move the party to a broader party, one that would include you? You were the last standing moderate from the northeast."
Acting Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Michael Copps insists that the so-called Fairness Doctrine is "long gone" and "not coming back." But liberal legislators such as socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Democratic presidential aspirants Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) have recently called for a return of the anti-free speech.
That's why Media Research Center (MRC) President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell is calling on FCC Chairman Copps to call for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to bring the Broadcaster Freedom Act to the floor for an up-or-down vote:
When this many high-powered elected officials are calling for a return of the mis-named ‘Fairness’ Doctrine, and are actively opposing a vote on the bill to prevent the FCC from reinstating it, it isn’t a conspiracy theory. It’s a determination to shut down free speech on talk radio.
The solution is simple: Chairman Copps should call on Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid to allow a full, fair stand alone vote on the Broadcaster Freedom Act. That way we will know once and for all how each member of Congress thinks – are they for free speech, or are they for the ‘Fairness’ Doctrine?
Those who believe that Politico is a hangout for former establishment media journalists who want to recreate a combination of the New York Times and Washington Post on the web -- complete with the insufferable biases of those two publications -- can look to the disparate treatment of two challenges to party congressional leaders as affirmative evidence.
In a search on "Cindy Sheehan" at Politico, I found that in covering the congressional candidacy of former media darling Cindy Sheehan in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Northern California district, the online news site carried two tiny items. Only one of them was originally produced there.
Naming a man who wants to levy sin taxes on soda pop to be the head of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) might not be the politically wisest thing for President Obama to do, especially on the heels of massive TEA Party protests. But then again, with media outlets like the Washington Post leaving that controversy unmentioned, perhaps the White House calculated correctly that the risk of staffing the federal government's public health branches with nanny state activists was minimal.
On May 15, President Obama announced in a press statement that New York City health commissioner Thomas Frieden will take the helm of the CDC in June. Reporting the story in the May 16 paper were Post staffers Debbi Wilgoren and Michael D. Shear (along with some help from staffer Ceci Connolly).
Wilgoren and Shear allowed "an industry-funded group" spokesman to slam Frieden as "barely recogniz[ing]" the line between "government's responsibility in regulating health and what is the individual's responsibility," yet they curiously omitted perhaps the clearest example of the same, Frieden's support of a penny-per-ounce soda tax. This even though the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on the idea earlier in the week.
Slate's William Saletan noted Frieden's push for a penny-per-ounce soda tax in early April:
For the past three weeks, controversy has swirled around Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has called for a “truth commission” to expose the supposed war crimes of the Bush administration but who herself was briefed years ago on the use of waterboarding and the other enhanced interrogation techniques that are now drawing howls of outrage.
ABC, CBS and NBC have said nothing about the Speaker’s shifting stories, or the potential hypocrisy of her once supporting (or at least not objecting to) policies that she would later condemn as illegal “torture.”
The current round of stories began April 22, after the Obama administration released selected memos from the Bush administration on the legal limits to interrogation. That night, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell offered a brief mention of how Pelosi was one of those who had been told: “Members of Congress were briefed at the time and reportedly didn’t dissent, including intelligence committee leaders Nancy Pelosi, Porter Goss, Bob Graham and Richard Shelby.” ABC and CBS said nothing about Pelosi that night.
It is disappointing, but not at all surprising, that the Democratic Party affiliation of the politicians involved in the union-driven campaign to force Wells Fargo Bank not to liquidate the Chicago-area operations of Hartmarx, the high-end clothier which has made suits for President Obama, has not been noted in the vast majority of stories I have reviewed about ongoing developments there.
The two Illinois politicians (there are others named below) are Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, who has formed a US Senate seat exploratory committee in hopes of unseating current occupant Roland Burris, and 13th District Congressman Phil Hare.
The situation, for those just learning of it, is described pretty well at this Chicago Sun-Times story by Sandra Guy, who at least flagged Hare's Democratic affiliation:
Even after Hart Schaffner Marx plant workers in Des Plaines unanimously stood up shouting their approval of staging a sit-in if Wells Fargo presses their parent company to liquidate, Wells Fargo said parent company Hartmarx is unable to repay more than $114 million it owes the bank.
On Friday, Media Research Center President Brent Bozell appeared on Fox News Channel's "Hannity" program in the "Great American Panel" segment. The topics included the stimulus package:
BRENT BOZELL: No one read this bill in the Congress, because we had to pass it because there was such a need to get this going so we could create jobs and give everything away. How much of the stimulus bill have we spent? Four percent. So much for that need. This is a fraud.
SEAN HANNITY: So this was really about bigger government? This is a fraud. This was greater control of government.
Also discussed was the resignation of White House Military Office director Louis Caldera, who authorized the ill-advised low-altitude flyover of lower Manhattan by Air Force One:
Chris Matthews just can't get it up. The Democratic Party label that is.
On the May 8 "Hardball", the MSNBC anchor noted in his Political Sideshow segment that Reps. Jim Moran (Va.) and Bob Brady (Pa.), are up in arms about erectile dysfunction drug ads running on television and are sponsoring legislation before the House to ban television stations from running ads for drugs like Viagra and Cialis from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Democratic congressmen argue the ads are indecent for children. [get audio for download here]
While the legislation's premise seems prudish at worst and laughably silly at best, Matthews insisted that the congressmen, who are "regular guys" and "both friends of mine" were simply "looking out for the kids." All the same, he failed to give the Democratic Party credit for threatening the cold shower of government regulation on the drug commercials.
President Obama is proposing a measure today to slowly kill the D.C. school voucher program by attrition. Because the liberal National Education Association wants Congress to immediately kill the program, the Washington Post's Bill Turque and Shailagh Murray hailed Obama's plan as "an attempt to navigate a middle way on a contentious issue."
President Obama will propose setting aside enough money for all 1,716 students in the District's voucher program to continue receiving grants for private school tuition until they graduate from high school, but he would allow no new students to join the program, administration officials said yesterday.
The proposal, to be released in budget documents today, is an attempt to navigate a middle way on a contentious issue. School choice advocates, including Republicans and many low-income families, say the program gives poor children better access to quality education. Teachers unions and other education groups active in the Democratic Party regard vouchers as a drain on public education that benefits relatively few students, and they say the students don't achieve at appreciably higher levels at their new schools.
After the hijacking of the MV Maersk Alabama, we often heard from the mainstream media about how shipping executive companies don't want to arm their civilian crews for fear of an escalation of violence from pirates, not to mention the potential legal and liability headaches presented by such a policy change.
Well, yesterday, shipping company executive Philip Shapiro threw a wrench in that meme in his testimony before a Senate subcommittee in which he called for Congress to remove the legal and regulatory obstacles to arming civilian merchant vessels.
Unfortunately the story was ignored this morning by the broadcast network morning shows. What's more, Nexis and Web site searches yielded no print stories from today's Washington Post, USA Today, Los Angeles Times -- although there is an online article by Rebecca Cole available here -- or the New York Times. The Gray Lady also failed to report on Richard Phillips' pro-armed crew remarks last week.
To its credit, CNN, both in print and broadcast, reported the story. From a May 5 CNN.com story:
Cancer is a terrible disease. It is a slow, painful way to die, and the best of modern medicine can only sometimes beat back its advances. Also notable: Cancer is a nonpartisan disease, attacking the Jack Kemps and Ted Kennedys of the world with equal impunity. Only a true cynic could see cancer as a political fundraising opportunity.
Enter the appropriately named Senator Arlen Specter, stage left. The media-beloved Specter has been the subject of much discussion recently, following his decision to switch his party affiliation to Democrat. Some in the mainstream media have painted Specter as a consummate moderate, while others have seen in his party switch the death-knell for the Republican party’s electoral aspirations in the Northeast.
Following controversial comments about the death of former Republican vice presidential candidate Jack Kemp by newly Democratic Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter on Sunday’s Face the Nation on CBS, neither Sunday’s CBS Evening News nor Monday’s Early Show made any mention of the remarks.
While talking to Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer, Specter suggested that if members of Congress had supported his legislative efforts on cancer research funding, people like Kemp may still be alive and certain cancers may have been cured:
And one of the items that I’m working on, Bob, is funding for medical research. I’ve been the spear carrier to increase medical research. And I’ve even established a Web site, specterforthecure.com, to try to get people to put more pressure on Congress to join me in getting more funding. This medical research has been a reawakening-- the ten billion dollars. We were about to lose a whole generation of scientists. And now they’re enthused. There are fifteen thousand applications to be granted. If we had pursued what President Nixon declared in 1970 as the war on cancer, we would have cured many strains. I think Jack Kemp would be alive today. And that research has saved or prolonged many lives, including mine. Now, as the New York Times pointed out in a column today, when you talk about life and death and medical research, that’s a much more major consideration on what I can do, continuing in the Senate, contrasted with which party I belong to.
Apparently, CBS did not see anything controversial in such a self-aggrandizing statement.
Yesterday I forecasted that by and large the mainstream media would paper over or outright ignore the testimony of Captain Richard Phillips. The commanding officer of the MV Maersk Alabama told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that arming senior officers on merchant ships should be part of a larger anti-piracy policy that includes beefed up U.S. Navy patrols and escorts. Also testifying, Maersk chairman John Clancey disagreed with his employee about arming the civilian sailors.
Well today, that newspaper which touts itself as bearing "all the news that's fit to print" failed to include a story on the testimony by the former Somali pirate hostage. That's right, the New York Times failed to even carry an Associated Press wire story, according to a search of the New York Times Web site for content published between April 30 and May 1 that mentions "Richard Phillips." A similar scouring of the print edition's A-section confirmed that the paper didn't carry the story.
What's more, it's not as though the Times was unaware of Phillips' testimony before the fact. As Kate Phillips and Janie Lorber noted in an April 30 post at the Times' The Caucus blog:
It's bound to be mostly lost in the mainstream media thanks to swine flu and the Obama 100 days hype, but Richard Phillips testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today. In doing so, the captain of the MV Maersk Alabama called on lawmakers to open the way for at least some merchant sailors to be armed as part of a comprehensive anti-piracy policy that includes more military escorts.
The Chicago Tribune's Mark Silva has the story in an April 30 post in that paper's "The Swamp" blog. Silva reports that Phillips has a moderate stance on arming civilian crews -- he wants only the four most senior ranking officers aboard a given ship armed -- and that Phillips hopes for a greater U.S. Navy presence in escorting and protecting U.S. merchant vessels (emphases mine):
"First, I believe it is the responsibility of our government to protect the United States, including U.S.-flag vessels that are by definition an extension of the United States, their U.S. citizen crews, and our nation's worldwide commercial assets.
"So, it follows then that the most desirable and appropriate solution to piracy is for the United States government to provide protection, through military escorts and/or military detachments aboard U.S. vessels. That said, I am well aware that some will argue that there is a limit to any government's resources - even America's.
As Kathleen Sebelius was sworn in as Secretary of Health and Human Services on April 28, the media continued its biased coverage of her controversial appointment. News outlets ignored the reason GOP senators had delayed her confirmation - her pro-abortion extremism - and focused instead on the importance of having the Secretary in place to combat swine flu.
But the media failed to note that since the creation of The Department of Homeland Security epidemic-fighting efforts are no longer headed up by HHS. Homeland Security is supposed to work with the Center for Disease Control. The CDC is led by Acting Secretary Richard E. Besser since the Obama Administration has yet to nominate anyone for the top job, something the media, with exception of CNN's Ed Henry, haven't reported.
An interview with Former Secretary of HHS Donna Shalala on "Fox and Friends" April 29 asks if having no director at the department had an impact on the swine flu crisis. Shalala said, "If you remember we transferred the emergency powers for this kind of outbreak to the Department of Homeland Security when it was created. So that power is no longer in HHS. There is no question though that the CDC plays a lead role here and it's very important to get a CDC director as well as the Secretary sworn in."
Eleanor Clift is by no stretch a conservative apologist, but her reporting in Newsweek on the Specter switch exposes an angle that the broadcast networks are omitting: the Machiavellian maneuvers behind-the-scenes to coax Specter to jump the GOP ship.
Of particular interest is Clift's revelation that Gov. Ed Rendell's motive for pushing Specter to become a Democrat was to shut down a potential Democratic rival for the U.S. Senate, Rep. Joe Sestak (Pa.) [emphasis mine].:
Those who know Rendell say he really wants the seat that Specter holds but would not run against his friend. The scenario that was unfolding had Specter losing in the Republican primary to Club for Growth President Pat Toomy, the favorite of Pennsylvania's conservative Republican base, and then had Toomy losing to a Democrat in November 2010. The Democrat suiting up for that task was Rep. Joe Sestak, a retired Navy admiral in his second term, eager to move up, and at 57 years of age, young enough to stake a claim on the seat.
A Sestak candidacy would derail Rendell's future plans.Keeping Specter in the seat at his age, which is 79, makes it far more likely that the seat would open up in the kind of timetable Rendell would hope for.