Not even the light sections of the New York Times Sunday paper offer an escape from politics. In “Social Q’s,” his Sunday Styles column on modern etiquette, Philip Galanes got political when answering a question from Amanda from Grand Island, N.Y., criticizing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker for teacher bashing during his recent battle to reduce the influence of public-sector unions.
Q: I asked one of my professors if he would write a letter of recommendation for an internship I was applying for. He did, and I thanked him. And I got it. Am I supposed to thank him again? I don’t know the protocol.
The governing class in Washington has no excuse for not having addressed our spending issues and formulating a comprehensive federal debt retirement plan before we approached another debt ceiling threshold.
At every possible opportunity, politicians convince themselves that it's always better to kick the can down the road — Democrats because they aren't remotely serious about debt reduction, Republicans because they're afraid of their own shadow.
Perhaps you hadn't noticed, but in late August 2010 Ben Bernanke took on complete responsibility for everything -- especially everything mediocre or bad -- that occurs in the economy.
I know this because on August 27 and 28 (covered here and here), the Associated Press issued three reports essentially telling readers that it was up to Ben to save us. There wasn't anything Barack Obama, Tim Geithner, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, or then-present Larry Summers could possibly say or do to improve the economic situation, described at the time as "appears to be stalling" in one of those AP items.
Out of this came what has come to be known as "QE2" (the second round of "quantitative easing"), otherwise known as "electronically printing money to buy U.S. debt because possibly no one else will."
Once again, a presumably simpatico guest on "The Rachel Maddow Show" undermined a claim she made on the same show.
This occurred twice in the same week back in March, as I described at the time. It happened again Friday night when Maddow talked about Republican congressmen facing constituents angered by the GOP budget plan. Maddow compared this to the contentious public forums on health reform in August 2009.
Here's what Maddow said about the Republican budget's effect on Medicare, followed by her guest claiming something altogether different (video after page break) --
If you had any questions about just how far to the left New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is, they were answered Monday when he expressed enthusiastic support for the Congressional Progressive Caucus's radical tax-hiking "People's Budget."
In his "Let's Take a Hike," the Nobel laureate left no doubt about his desire to swiftly redistribute America's wealth with little regard for the economic consequences:
Everyone but the blind and reckless agrees that the United States faces a dire financial crisis. But only one of the two major political parties is offering a plan that has a reasonable chance of averting this crisis and restoring the nation to financial health.
Obama's ever-changing proposals, allegedly designed to tackle the problem, simply could not work. One of the following must be true: He doesn't agree that the crisis is grave, doesn't understand that his policies can't work, doesn't have the same vision about America as most of us, or doesn't intend for his policies to work. Some people believe he's intentionally damaging America, because they believe he's too smart not to know that we face a crisis and that his policies can't work.
On the April 21 edition of FNC's "Hannity," NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell tackled how the media lapped up President Obama's talking points about the Paul Ryan budget plan and its effect on senior citizens.
"You know, Sean, this is some of the worst fear-mongering I've ever heard, and I think, personally, I find it despicable that this came from the president of the United States," the Media Research Center founder complained, adding:
Why is it that Donald Trump is a creditable candidate with a significant segment of Republican voters? In some polls, he runs ahead of all Republicans save Mitt Romney, and all I have heard him say is that he wants to see our president's birth certificate. Imagine if he would ask to see budget cuts from the president or revenue enhancements.
Frankly, I would like to see President Barack Obama's birth certificate, too. But on the other hand, I have in hand a copy of a notice of our president's birth printed Aug. 13, 1961, from The Honolulu Advertiser. That has to count for something, no? According to the notice, he was born Aug. 4, 1961, but there are a lot of other things about him I would like to know. For instance, I would like to see those aforementioned budget cuts and the revenue enhancements.
Brooks Thistlethwaite -- who previously hit Tea Party conservatives as tribalistic -- apparently believes that politically conservative Christians are trying to serve two masters, Jesus and Ayn Rand (emphasis mine):
If future historians look back on the ruins of the American economy after a U.S. bond crisis struck in the second decade of the 21st century, many causes will be noted. Obviously, it will be seen that for decades before the catastrophe, the U.S. was spending vastly more than it could afford on government health and retirement programs.
And, just as after the Great Depression, Pearl Harbor and Sept. 11, 2011, blue-ribbon commissions will be incredulous that all the telltale signs of the coming disaster were in plain view, yet were ignored.
That could accurately describe Republicans' relationship to the liberal media on budget matters.
While the mainstream media often raise a clamor about GOP plans to cut back on arts funding -- see this article from yesterday's Washington Post -- it seems any move to do the opposite will also face scorn.
Take ABCNews.com's "The Blotter" and its take on Rep. John Mica's (R-Fla.) proposal to expand funding the National Art Gallery:
The New York Times's chief economics writer David Leonhardt has won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for commentary.
The prize committee praised Leonhardt for “his graceful penetration of America’s complicated economics questions.” The White House and congressional Democrats are huge fans as well, emailing around his previous defenses of programs like Obama’s stimulus. However, the paper's Public Editor chided the Times in January for placing Leonhardt's neo-liberal commentaries promoting Obama-care on the front page, which gives them the imprimatur of objective news.
As documented by Times Watch, Leonhardt's "graceful penetration" generally involves digging into citizen's wallets for even more federal tax money.
Do you read Ayn Rand? Do you enjoy her novels? You do? Well then, you're clearly a proponent of - or at the very least sympathize with - domestic terrorism. That, at least, is the logic put forth by Pulitzer Prize-winning former New York Times reporter David Cay Johnston on last night's "Ed Show," in what may be the most absurd, laughable attempt to demonize Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to date.
Johnston insisted that Ryan, by requiring his staff to read Ayn Rand novels - a claim itself divorced from reality - was essentially endorsing terrorism by "hold[ing] out as a model people who commit felonies like blowing up buildings," a reference to Howard Roark, the main character of Rand's novel "The Fountainhead" (video below the break, via former NBer Jeff Poor).
On Monday, the New York Times assembled a panel of alleged experts in its Room For Debate section. Each weighed in on Monday's ratings agency outlook downgrade by Standard and Poor's in an item entitled "Is Anyone Listening to the S.&P.?" (Don't ask me why "the" is there. It shouldn't be; the item is about the firm Standard and Poor's, not "the" Standard and Poor's stock index.)
One of the contributors was Yves Smith. Ms. Smith "writes the blog Naked Capitalism. She is the head of Aurora Advisors, a management consulting firm, and the author of 'Econned: How Unenlightened Self Interest Undermined Democracy and Corrupted Capitalism.'"
As part of its effort to "shore up" the backing of social conservatives, House Republicans today "issued a contract today to pay former Solicitor General Paul Clement $575 an hour, up to $500,000 to defend the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act," San Francisco Chronicle's Carolyn Lochhead insisted in the paper's Politics Blog.
"Republicans claim they will take the money out of the Justice Department's budget, as if that will hold taxpayers harmless. But a cost is a cost and taxpayers will pay it either way. Any funds removed from DOJ are funds removed from other work," Lochhead groused.
This from the same reporter who approved of Obama's fiscal year 2012 budget proposal as "centrist."
I am beginning to wonder whether President Obama is so cocky about his 2012 re-election prospects that he thinks he doesn't even have to be serious in his budget plan offerings.
Unfortunately, the nation's unfunded liabilities aren't so casual as the president; they are growing by more than $10 trillion per year, which means that our looming debt crisis becomes far more problematic with each passing day.
In a discussion with CNBC's Erin Burnett on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer was skeptical of Standard and Poor's downgrading of the chances of the U.S. addressing its massive debt and worried: "Is this a kind of a delicate line for the folks at the S & P to walk? Are they venturing into politics here when they should be sticking to fiscal policy?"
What Lauer failed to mention was that he was using the exact line put out by the Obama administration on Monday. At the top of the 8:00AM ET hour of the broadcast, news reader Natalie Morales reported: "The White House is minimizing the significance of the credit rating agency Standard & Poor's decision to downgrade its outlook on U.S. government debt. The Obama administration saying it underscores the need for a bipartisan agreement to reduce the deficit and that the S & P's political judgment should not be given too much weight."
“I’m not biased,” CNN host and ex-Democratic politician Eliot Spitzer told NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell on In the Arena Monday night. Bozell was on CNN to talk about the budget fight and his 800,000 member grassroots political organization, ForAmerica, but Spitzer first wanted to ask about various NewsBusters items documenting his liberal approach, particularly about the recent budget showdown.
“Brent Bozell is a self-described right-wing voice who takes on what he views as the liberal media bias,” Spitzer began the segment. “Through his Media Research Center and NewsBusters web site, lately, my coverage of the budget and deficit reduction has been featured as bias. So I thought it would be fun and maybe insightful to bring him on and talk about what he sees as my one-sided coverage.” (Partial video clip below the fold).
As NewsBusters has been reporting, America's media have been on a full-court press to raise taxes ever since Barack Obama proposed this in his deficit reduction speech last Wednesday.
So supportive of soaking the rich is MSNBC's Ed Schultz that on Monday's program bearing his name, seconds after claiming "Republicans are forced I guess you could say to make stuff up," he lied about what happened after taxes were cut by President George W. Bush (video follows with transcript and commentary):
As night follows day, the press is beginning to go after a business entity which had the nerve to do its job and call attention to Uncle Sam's dire fiscal situation.
Standard and Poor's is presumably not 100% populated with angels, but it didn't deserve the gratuitous and ignorant shots fired at it this evening by the Associated Press's Bernard Condon and an "expert" he quoted. In attempting to tar the firm, Condon acted as if the mortgage-lending mess was the creation of "banks" which marketed mortgage-backed securities and asleep at the switch ratings agencies. He didn't once mention Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, the fiasco's Democratic crony-run uber-culprits, which for 15 years consistently deceived the markets about the quality of the already marginal loans underlying the securities they issued .
Here are selected paragraphs from Condon's cracked creation, including a headline which gives away a resentment that the ratings agencies are still actually able to do what they were designed to do (bold is mine):
Credit ratings agency Standand & Poor's Monday placed a negative outlook on the future of America's AAA debt rating as a result of looming budget deficits as far as the eye can see.
Later in the day, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer of Fox News's "Special Report" said this move by S&P was actually a negative review of President Obama's deficit reduction speech last Wednesday (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In my book "Crimes Against Liberty," I described President Obama as dishonest, hyper-partisan, a bully, a narcissist and a hard-core left-wing ideologue. Anyone who thinks my description is exaggerated or too harsh didn't hear his Wednesday speech on the budget.
One might have expected that a newly elected president who had "inherited" such a disturbingly high deficit, a growing national debt, and a forecast of unfunded entitlements soon to explode because of baby boomer demographics alone would roll up his sleeves and tackle this deficit and debt problem.
This week’s edition of MRC’s Notable Quotables newsletter is chock full of liberal media quotes showing reporters’ slanted approach to the tax and budget issues now at center stage. In fact, there’s so much bad material, we had to add an extra page to our usually three-page newsletter (you can view/download the PDF here).
The whole issue is up over at www.MRC.org. Here’s a baker’s dozen of the worst quotes (including two video clips), all collected in the last couple of weeks:
As part of the political panel on NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, PBS host Tavis Smiley decried the recent budget deal in Congress to fund the government through the rest of 2011: "I believe that budgets are moral documents....And I'm not so sure that this is not anything more than an immoral document where the poor are concerned."
Smiley went on to lament how the budget negotiations "effectively locked out the American people, namely, the poor." He further ranted: "I don't understand why it is in this town that every debate about money always begins and ends with how we can further reward the rich and more punish the poor. I don't get that."
Days before his 2012 budget was released, Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) predicted that he and it would be demagogued by the Left.
Doing its part is the New York Times which began its editorial Monday, "Six months after voters sent Republicans in large numbers to Congress and many statehouses, it is possible to see the full landscape of destruction that their policies would cause — much of which has already begun":
Whoever is compiling a list of what journalists really believe when they put forth certain vague but commonly used phrases (e.g., using "some people believe" instead of truthfully saying "in my opinion") should consider adding the following: "small but vocal group" really means "a tiny bunch of people I agree with."
That's my assessment as I look at two uses of the term this past weekend, each referring to pathetically small gatherings of people using tax-filing weekend as a excuse to protest "corporate tax loopholes."
The first comes to us via David Roeder of the Chicago Sun-Times (HT JammieWearingFool via Instapundit), where the paper's headline writers cooked up something that would give those who didn't read the underlying report the impression that the city's Tea Party Tax Day protest was small:
As NewsBusters has been reporting, the media have been on a full-court press in recent days supporting the President's push to raise taxes.
Doing his part was NBC's David Gregory who trotted out the words of former Vice President Walter Mondale on Sunday's "Meet the Press" to really drive home the point, and then got a huge assist from former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The Associated Press's Ben Feller interviewed President Obama on Friday. In the transcript, Feller interrupts Obama's long-winded response to his previous softball question ("Are the Republican leaders lacking compassion and they're pessimistic?") by beginning another question, which is shown as having been stopped before completion:
Q. You said they might lead us to third world -
It's impressive that Feller even knew that Obama, as reported by AFP, indeed accused Republicans of creating a fiscal plan that would, in Obama's words, turn the U.S. into: "... a nation of potholes, and our airports would be worse than places that we thought -- that we used to call the Third World, but who are now investing in infrastructure."
That's because, as seen in a search on "Obama third world" (entered without quotes), there is no current story at the AP's home site:
CNN's Howard Kurtz is either astonishingly naive or so strongly in the tank for Barack Obama that he's willing to ignore the totally obvious to assist the President's reelection efforts.
On Sunday's "Reliable Sources," Kurtz actually discussed with far-left guests Joan Walsh of Salon and John Aravosis of Americablog.com - without ever disclosing the painfully inconvenient truth! - why the "so-called liberal media" don't report divisions within the Democrat Party especially left-wing disappointment with the current White House resident (video follows with transcript and lots of commentary):