It's hard to imagine how the Politico's Kyle Cheney could have written up his Thursday story about the government's dissatisfaction with soon to be (but not yet) former prime HealthCare.gov contractor CGI with a straight face. But it appears that he did.
The opening sentence of Cheney's report is an absolute howler. When you read it after the jump, keep in mind that the firm worked on HealthCare.gov for well over a year before its October 1 debut, and that it was obvious to everyone within hours of its launch that the web site's construction had been horribly botched. So guess when the government wants us to believe it finally figured out that CGI wasn't up to its assigned tasks?
On Wednesday's PoliticsNation, MSNBC host Al Sharpton seemed to accuse Republicans of deliberately causing economic problems as "part of the plan" to attack President Obama during the midterm elections (video follows page break):
In May 2009, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, announced that it would be "launching an index that will provide monthly, multi-format updates on the economic stress of the United States down to the county level." Not a bad idea, especially if you were concerned that evidence of an economic recovery under Barack Obama would not otherwise be convincing.
The AP likely believed that since an overwhelming percentage of U.S. counties lean conservative (remember those Bush v. Gore county maps?), a large majority of U.S. counties would likely recover in time for the 2010 congressional elections, or in the worst-case scenario, the 2012 presidential election — even if the nation as a whole did not. A statement that "most counties in the U.S. have recovered from the recession" would have been quite useful in defending congressional Democrats and Barack Obama's incumbency. But a recently released report from the National Association of Counties (NACo), which was covered poorly by the Wall Street Journal and virtually ignored by almost everyone else, shows that it hasn't happened.
On the Monday, January 13, All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, host Hayes laughed off the view that encouraging marriage can help some women out of poverty as he spoke to a guest, Shenita Simon-Toussaint, who argued that she has found that being married is more expensive. Hayes posed:
Before anyone seeks to level a criticism for picking on someone's mistake, let's imagine what the press, which is so desperate to pin anything on Ted Cruz that one of its members recently tried to hold him responsible for others' comments on his Facebook page, would do to him if he made the error recently elected New Jersey Senator Cory Booker made two days ago on Twitter — and has yet to correct.
On Tuesday a federal appeals court ruled that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) overstepped its legal authority in 2010 when it imposed so-called net neutrality regulations on broadband companies -- cable and fiber-optic Internet providers like Comcast or Verizon FiOS. The FCC had done this despite language in federal law which forbade the regulations under a "common carrier" provision.
While the Wall Street Journal's Gautham Nagesh and Amol Sharma gave readers a factual portrait of the ruling which dealt with the law and the economic realities of broadband service, the Washington Post's Cecilia Kang opted for the melodramatic in her January 15 front-pager, foreseeing a future replete with the Internet's fast lanes auctioned "to the highest corporate bidder" while "other Web sites [slow] to a crawl." "Ultimately," the Post national technology correspondent ominously warned (emphasis mine):
NBC News special anchor Maria Shriver played both roles of journalist and activist on Tuesday's Nightly News, as she promoted her own report on closing the gender "wage gap" while touting President Obama's support for her cause.
"NBC's Maria Shriver was invited to the White House to present her report to President Obama late today," reported anchor Brian Williams, unconcerned about the conflict of interest of a reporter going to the White House to drum up support for her own work. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
MSNBC's Touré Neblett, who recently condoned consumers lying to corporations like Amazon to get discounts to which they aren't entitled, really needs to stay away from Twitter — or have someone screen his tweets.
On Tuesday, he tweeted (HT Twitchy) that "Many in poverty are working poor w two jobs. So 'jobs' is an ineffective anti poverty program." Note that he didn't indicate that "jobs" might not be the whole answer, which in some instances may be the case. He instead asserted that the idea of creating jobs and encouraging poor people to get them is "ineffective" as a way to get them out of poverty.
On a special edition of All In with Chris Hayes on Monday, January 13, MSNBC host Hayes and NBC's Maria Shriver devoted the hour to a discussion of poverty in America, 50 years after President Johnson announced the "War on Poverty."
At one point, the two gave New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand an unchallenged forum to push for paid family medical leave, without any concerns about the cost to businesses, as Gillibrand fretted that the federally mandated Family and Medical Leave Act does not go far enough since employees are often unable to go without income while taking leave.
We've seen it play out in several areas, one of which is climate science. Any researcher who questions the supposedly "settled science" of global warming is a hack who will produce whatever industry wants if they have ever accepted a dime from an energy company, while those who depend on government grants to sustain their livelihood — grants which heavily depend on toeing the politically correct line that human-caused warming is one of the greatest evils of our time — are as pure as the driven snow.
In an item about head injuries and football, USA Today's Dan Wolken went to the same, uh, playbook with neuroscientist Sandra Chapman, who contends that "concussions don't pose a significant long-term health risk." It almost seemed as if Wolken believes that those who have sued the NFL and obtained a tentative $675 million settlement — an amount which a judge believes is likely inadequate — have "settled science" on their side (HT Rush Limbaugh; bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Let's see. We know, to name just a few of many impositions, that much of the enrollee information that HealthCare.gov and other exchanges have communicated to insurers has been erroneous, that insurers have had to deal with signing up hundreds of thousands of policyholders they originally cancelled, that deadlines for premium payments have been serially revised, and that there is no computerized subsidy payment system in place.
Yet Chad Terhune at the Los Angeles Times is irresponsibly steering gullible readers into believing that insurers are responsible for the Obamacare-related chaos and poor customer service, when it's a virtual miracle that anyone is being served at all (HT Patterico; bolds and numbered tags are mine):
If it weren't for a shamelessly dishonest, hyper-protective liberal media, the American people would know, unanimously and without doubt, that Obamanomics is killing American jobs. There is no silver lining in the December jobs numbers.
Experts and analysts were expecting this latest jobs report, released Friday, to show 200,000 new payroll jobs in December, but there were only 74,000, which is 37 percent of the goal. Not 90 percent, not 80, not 70, not even 50 percent. Just 37 percent.
The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky has turned up the partisan hyperbole to 11. In a January 13 piece, the leftist writer claimed that, “the fight over unemployment benefits underscores the right’s extremism” with a picture of Tea Party Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) featured to illustrate his point.
The frequent MSNBC guest argued that because the GOP is demanding that for the first time in years any extension in unemployment benefits be offset by cuts elsewhere in the budget that “the party has been hijacked by extremists.” [Pro-tip: Never play a drinking game involving liberal journalists and the term "hijacking." You'll die of alcohol poisoning.]
Following up on Friday's awful jobs report from the government (only 74,000 seasonally adjusted jobs added, with the unemployment rate dropping to 6.7 percent only because adults continued to leave the workforce), the Asssociated Press's Christopher Rugaber tried to search for excuses.
To its credit, the headline at Rugaber's report didn't blatantly dissemble like the one at Bloomberg, which, in revising the title of an underrated Stevie Wonder song from the 1970s ("Blame It on the Sun"), blamed it on the cold and snow: "Old Man Winter Put a Chill on U.S. Labor Market at End of 2013." But the AP reporter predictably failed to entertain the possibility that Obamacare's virtual chaos, plan cancellations, and impending 2014 premium hikes might have thrown a great deal of sand into the job market's gears, even though a virtual halt in healthcare hiring stuck out like a sore thumb. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
The Labor Department released absolutely horrendous employment numbers Friday that are going to be difficult for the Obama-loving media to positively spin.
Moments after the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that only 74,000 jobs had been created in December with the unemployment rate declining due to almost 500,000 people leaving the job market, Christine Romans on CNN's New Day called the report “a big miss,” “a real shocker,” “a big disappointment,” and concluded that the jobless rate “fell in part because people simply gave up” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Lee set about spinning the results of the latest Quinnipiac Poll, which shows President Obama sitting atop a 41 percent approval rating, up from a low of 38 percent in December, but still a net negative approval rating. Lee used the slight uptick in approval as a springboard to forecast that the president's economically liberal spending agenda could change his and his party's fortunes (emphasis mine):
There's little debate among academic economists about the effect of minimum wages. University of California, Irvine economist David Neumark has examined more than 100 major academic studies on the minimum wage. He reports that 85 percent of the studies "find a negative employment effect on low-skilled workers." A 1976 American Economic Association survey found that 90 percent of its members agreed that increasing the minimum wage raises unemployment among young and unskilled workers. A 1990 survey reported in the American Economic Review (1992) found that 80 percent of economists agreed with the statement that increases in the minimum wage cause unemployment among the youth and low-skilled. If you're searching for a consensus in a field of study, most of the time you can examine the field's introductory and intermediate college textbooks.
Economics textbooks that mention the minimum wage say that it increases unemployment for the least skilled worker. The only significant debate about the minimum wage is the magnitude of its effect. Some studies argue that a 10 percent increase in the minimum wage will cause a 1 percent increase in unemployment, whereas others predict a higher increase.
Daily Beast political writer Patricia Murphy dutifully peddled Democratic spin on the economy and unemployment while singing the praises of Nevada Republican Senator Dean Heller who led a breakaway contingent of fellow GOPers to invoke cloture on a Democratic bill to extend unemployment benefits without any offsetting spending cuts.
CNN's Chris Cuomo pounded Republicans on Tuesday's New Day for demanding offsetting spending cuts in exchange for extending jobless benefits.
"Are they holding these people hostage? I mean, shouldn't these be extended and then have a legitimate jobs policy discussion?" Cuomo asked in disbelief of Republicans holding out for a deal on jobless benefits. Cuomo is the brother of New York's Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, and once again sounded like a Democratic strategist going after Republicans. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Fifty years after it was first waged by LBJ, the federal War on Poverty has worked, and not only that, it's been a "wild success," the Daily Beast's Michael Tomasky is insisting.
Great, that being the case, we can de-mobilize and drastically cut back spending on social welfare, right? Heaven forbid! No, Tomasky wants to double-down with efforts at tackling "income inequality." Of course, along the way he insists that things under Republican presidents -- but particularly Reagan -- were absolutely dreadful for the lowest-income earners in American society (emphasis mine):
In late October, continuing a four-year pattern of making such claims, MIT's Jonathan Gruber, who along with Ezekiel "Zeke the Bleak" Emanuel is considered one of the two "architects" of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, pointed to a study which claimed that "the Affordable Care Act is working even better than expected, producing more coverage for much less money." But, as Wingfield noted in his Friday column, Gruber sang a totally different tune when quoted in the Washington Post on Thursday.
It's hard to know what's more ridiculously entertaining when choosing between Jesse A. Myerson's "Five Economic Reforms Millennials Should Be Fighting For," the illogical screed in Rolling Stone which would lead to the enslavement of those about whom he claims to be concerned, or Myerson's tweets as the opprobrium has poured in.
In his State of the Union address on Jan. 8, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson declared a "war on poverty." Today, with roughly the same number of people below the poverty level as in 1964 and with many addicted to government "benefits," robbing them of a work ethic, it is clear that the poor have mostly lost the war.
In 1964, the poverty rate was about 19 percent. Census data from 2010 indicates that 15.1 percent are in poverty within a much larger population.
Even as he hailed Bill de Blasio's "progressive revolution," The Daily Beast's Michael Daly sought to downplay fears that the newly-sworn-in mayor was a radical leftist intent on soaking the rich. Instead Daly practically painted a picture of the Democratic politician as a drum major leading the "march" to a more "equal" New York.
While noting de Blasio was a "leader speaking much the same language" as the now moribund Occupy Wall Street movement, Daly insisted the left-of-center David Dinkins acolyte "was only asking [wealthy New Yorkers] to pay 'a little more.'" Heck, de Blasio "suggested that the city’s very wealthiest would be paying only $973 more a year," no big whoop:
Drudge's headline linking to a Politico item by Carrie Budoff Brown and John Allen about the Obama administration's plans to aggressively identify and promote Obamacare successes in 2014 ("White House Plans to Step up Obamacare Propaganda in 2014") is far better than the tired one Politico itself used ("White House looks to spread good Obamacare news").
What Team Obama plans to pursue will be propaganda, because as it identifies and "spread(s) good news," it's going to have to ignore a far larger volume of bad news. An NBC investigative report (video at link; HT Political Outcast) two days ago about the situation at a Michigan car dealership makes that point about as well as it can be made (bolds are mine):
In an earlier post today (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that reporters at Politico and CNNMoney.com seemed mystified at a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll showing that 68 percent of Americans believe the economy is in poor shape, and that over half believe it will still be that way a year from now.
One reason for their incredulity is that, perhaps deliberately, they haven't been paying attention to household income data compiled monthly by ex-Census Bureau workers at Sentier Research. Sentier's latest report covering November came out today. It shows that annualized inflation-adjusted median household income is still more than 7 percent below where it was when Barack Obama took office in Janaury 2009, and that it's gone nowhere in the 23 months since December 2011. At an index value of 92.7, November's figure is virtually the same as it was in December 2011 (92.8).
One thing the establishment press will not be celebrating this evening as we head into 2014 is the fact that they have been unable to convince the American people that the economy has been and will continue to be on the rebound.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released on Friday, which "oddly enough" (no, not really) is not being touted at ORC's related press release web page, shows that 68 percent of Americans believe the economy is in poor shape. Over half expect the economy to be in that condition a year from now. This came as somewhat of a surprise to Lucy McCalmont at the Politico and Gregory Wallace at CNNMoney.com.
In a December 27 blog post, New York Times columnist and incurable Keynesian economist Paul Krugman capitalized on the problems United Parcel Service and to a lesser extent Fedex had in delivering Christmas packages on time: "Can’t the private sector do anything right?"
While I recognize that there's sarcasm in his question, Krugman then went on to try to make HealthCare.gov's problems appear analogous: "[M]any pundits were quick to declare healthcare.gov’s problems evidence of the fundamental, irretrievable incompetence of government, and as an omen of Obamacare’s inevitable collapse. ... (But) none of these people are making similar claims about UPS or Amazon." Since the Nobel Economics laureate appears to be too dense to understand the differences between the two situations, Robert P. Murphy, "the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism," explained many of them in a Sunday post at the Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada's web site (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Bloomberg Businessweek and others are trying to capitalize on the difficulties United Parcel Service and to a lesser extent Fedex had in delivering packages in time for Christmas to claim that the U.S. Postal Service is coming out of it smelling like a rose ("An Unlikely Star of the Holiday-Shipping Season: The U.S. Postal Service").
Not so fast, people. Let's be extremely generous and take it as a given that the Post Office didn't have any late arrivals, and that it deserves props for delivering 75,000 packages on Christmas Day. It's hard to make an apples-to-apples comparison, but based on the quoted number of packages UPS planned to deliver on Christmas Eve, the private company's package volume, particularly its air package volume, dwarfs that of the Post Office, and would overwhelm it if it tried to pull off what UPS routinely does: