While questioning Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) over the budget battle on Monday's "In the Arena," CNN's Eliot Spitzer switched gears and attacked Republicans for cutting taxes for the rich while cutting benefits for the poor. Spitzer and Chaffetz sparred over the ongoing budget battle and spending cuts, and Spitzer was certainly not lacking in Democrat talking points.
"You are driving the government to bankruptcy and then balancing the budget on the backs of the poor," Spitzer sharply accused the conservative congressman. "I'm saying to you, how do you justify that?"
In a softball interview with New York Senator Chuck Schumer on NBC's Today on Wednesday, co-host Matt Lauer recited Democratic talking points on the budget fight perfectly: "[For] the Tea Party and others on the far right....does it seem to you, Senator, that this is less about a fiscal debate or an economic policy debate and they are making an ideological stand here?"[Audio available here]
A visibly pleased Schumer excitedly agreed: "That's exactly right, Matt. You've hit the nail on the head.... they have an ideology just to get rid of all government....the Tea Party doesn't represent all of America. In fact, their popularity is rapidly declining and that ought to be a message to Speaker Boehner."
In his question to Schumer, Lauer was dismayed by conservative calls for "no funding for Planned Parenthood, no funding for climate control, public broadcasting."
Covering the budget debate on Capitol Hill and the conflict in Libya, Andrea Mitchell spun two serious policy issues as examples of race-baiting.
On the April 5 edition of “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” the MSNBC anchor lamented that Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) proposed 2012 budget would ravage black and Hispanic communities.
“Representative Paul Ryan’s 2012 budget, released today, includes reforms, what they call reforms, and also big cuts in housing assistance, job training, and food stamps,” warned Mitchell. “All of which would have a very big impact on particularly poor and minority communities, some say.”
With the looming possibility of a government shutdown and today's Republican 2012 budget proposal, you can expect the media to be hard at work amplifying the complaints of liberal Democrats that conservative-proposed budget cuts are extreme.
Even newspaper sections or online features generally disconnected from politics are picking up on the meme. Take the Chicago Tribune's The Seeker blog, a religion news feature.
The last two blog posts have taken a liberal tack from a religious perspective on the federal budget.
"Faithful, legislators should ask, 'What would Jesus cut?'" Rev. Soong -Chan Rah argued in an April 4 post, echoing the rallying cry of liberal Christian activist Jim Wallis:
Respectable economist turned partisan New York Times columnist Paul Krugman weighed in at his nytimes.com blog Tuesday morning on the ambitious budget proposal for Fiscal Year '12, released by the chairman of the House Budget Committee, the formerly flim-flam-sauce-drenched Rep. Paul Ryan.
In his post, headlined “The Threat Within,” Krugman at least held off the childish insults this time, perhaps because it backfired in his face back in August 2010, when the source he used in his column to “prove” Ryan was a flim-flammer acting in bad faith actually wrote a defense of him in response.
Krugman feared Obama would not sufficiently demagogue the issue like brave Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi did when Bush tried to save Social Security through a partial privatization in 2005.
On Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Meredith Vieira grilled Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on GOP criticism of the massive spending of the Obama administration: "...sixth consecutive month of job growth, unemployment numbers lowest in two years, it certainly appears that there is a recovery. So doesn't that throw a real monkey wrench into your argument?"
Priebus pointed out: "Under this president – he's promised millions and millions of jobs – we've lost 26 million jobs, Meredith, since he's been president. He promised under an $850 billion stimulus program that we'd be on the path to recovery. Well, none of that has come true." Undeterred, Vieira followed by declaring: "And yet, even some Republican economists have said that in criticizing these numbers, the Republicans run the risk of looking like they're cheering for an economic reversal."
Although a government shutdown hasn't occurred yet, ABC's Good Morning America has already begun showcasing the possible dire impacts of such a budget impasse. Reporter Jake Tapper highlighted White House worries about "figuring out what this will mean in terms of parks that are closed, museums that are closed, veterans that are not able to get assistance for their benefits..."
Correspondent Jon Karl, in the same segment, warned that although a possible deal could fund the government for another week, "...It would also come at a steep price. Republicans are demanding $12 billion in spending cuts just for that one week of funding."
Karl, Tapper and co-anchor George Stephanopoulos repeatedly put the emphasis on the GOP's responsibility for a shutdown, not on Barack Obama to find more cuts to make. Stephanopoulos, a former Democratic operative, responded to Karl's remark on the $12 billion by declaring "that's not going to fly with the White House."
Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, is slated to release the Republican budget for FY2012 today. He took to the Wall Street Journal to offer some details and tout the need for budget reform. Ryan also created the very slick video you'll see below the break to outline the nation's fiscal situation. Check it out and let us know what you think.
Do you believe Rep. Paul Ryan when he says we only have a few years left to get our fiscal house in order, or we're going to face European-type austerity? How about the co-chairmen of the bipartisan deficit commission, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, who have essentially issued the same warning?
Have you taken a hard look at President Obama's 10-year budget with a view to whether it would marginally address the crisis? Are you aware of the gargantuan deficits it projects — averaging some $1 trillion per year — and that this is before considering the Congressional Budget Office's scoring that revealed that its projected cumulative deficits were understated by a staggering $2.3 trillion?
On Monday's Morning Edition, NPR's David Schaper slanted towards a professor and his allies in academia who object to a recent open records request into his e-mails from the Wisconsin GOP, playing five sound bites from them versus only two from a non-Republican source who thought their concerns were overblown. One of the professor's allies labeled the request a "contemporary version of McCarthyism."
Host Renee Montagne introduced Schaper's report by putting the issue in the context of the continuing debate over state employees' collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin:
Ilario Pantano, a former sniper, sat in my office, rolling his shirtsleeve back down after showing me the United States Marine Corps tattoo on his arm. He wasn't showing off. He was making a point. "If my country is worth dying for, it's worth fighting for." Which is what brought him to Washington.
He's put his life on the line in the Marines, and now the North Carolina resident is in the embryonic stages of his second run for Congress. Last year, he fared reasonably well in a district that's been voting Democrat since the Reconstruction. The problems that called him to duty on the campaign trail have not gone away, and the people who had faith in him still deserve an alternative to their current representation. So Pantano feels like he owes them a second try. And with his national-security and economics experience available during a critical time in our history, he owes his country another effort, too.
In an argument which would make his ex-NPR colleagues proud, Juan Williams took to Fox News Sunday to push for tax hikes to reduce the deficit. Scolding Brit Hume, an exasperated Williams contended: “You’re going on as if, ‘you know what, we don't know in America how to help our own deficit problems.’ We do. We just have to tax people.”
Moments before, in assessing Republican Congressman Paul Ryan’s expected plan on how to slow budget growth, Williams insisted “tax increases should not be off the table,” chastising Ryan for, during an interview with Chris Wallace earlier on the show, rejecting a tax increase: “I don't know why it is that he somehow suggests the rich in the country have no obligation to support the country.”
Alvarez’s story hyped the liberal compassion factor even more than a similar story in Wednesday’s Times, on a move in Michigan that will also trim state unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 20.
In the year [Richard Dudenhoeffer has been collecting unemployment checks in Flagler County, where joblessness remains stubbornly high, Mr. Dudenhoeffer, 61, has not even gotten his foot in the door, despite his almost daily efforts to find a job, any job. No interviews. No phone calls. No e-mails. No flicker of hope.
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman was in his predictable defend Obama at all costs mode on Sunday's "This Week."
When former Bush administration official Torie Clarke said unemployment remains high because the private sector is concerned about future regulations, the Nobel Laureate scoffed, "All of this stuff about uncertainty is just a myth being made up to blame this on Obama" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
NPR's Julie Rovner lined up proponents of the federal Title X program on Friday's Morning Edition, devoting most of her four-minute report to three employees at a Washington, DC health care clinic who all pushed for continuing the funding of the subsidy for contraceptives. Rovner left only 30 seconds for a conservative advocate of defunding the program.
During the bulk of her report, the correspondent featured Unity Health Care's Upper Cardozo Clinic in Washington, DC. She stated that it is locate in a "heavily Hispanic neighborhood" and accented this by playing a clip of one of the clinic's doctors, Andrea Anderson, speaking in Spanish with a patient. Dr. Anderson's female patient had a "sinus problem," according to Rovner, but continued by noting that the "family physician" also asked the patient "if she's happy with the birth control method she's using. Thanks to the Title X program, Unity has available a wide array of contraceptive options....Anderson says one of her favorite things about the family planning program is the way it lets her integrate contraceptive choices into her everyday practice."
Even though the goings-on in Wisconsin this year connected with collective-bargaining rights legislation have been front-page news nationwide for well over a month, the Associated Press has apparently concluded that folks outside the Badger State couldn't possibly be interested in real threats of serious violence issued against Republican legislators who voted for it -- and their families.
The latest support for that contention comes in the AP's coverage of the indictment and arrest of Katherine Windels on four counts: two relating to "threatening injury or harm" and two for "bomb scares."
At first I thought that the wire service might have totally ignored the story when a search at the AP's home site on the woman's last name at 8:45 a.m. this morning came up empty. But AP did report the news -- in Wisconsin, treating it, at least based on the tag at the left seen below, as a local story ("Wisconsin woman Katherine Windels charged for threats to state senators"):
Not once did the Times forward an elementary piece of information -- the state’s $10 billion deficit. The word “deficit” did not appear in the story, although the emotionally laded word “pain” appeared three times, including in the headline. One had to look to local coverage for that basic piece of fiscal information. Instead, Kaplan went around soliciting sob stories, from school teachers, to prison guards, to NYC Mayor Bloomberg.
On her eponymous program today, MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell carried water for the Obama administration, warning viewers that not raising the debt ceiling would result in a "crisis" that would "stop the recovery."
Interviewing Politico's Roger Simon, the NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent argued that Republican opposition to empowering the federal government to borrow beyond its $14.3 trillion limit "could be a much larger crisis for America" than the looming government shutdown.
In an interview with Congressman Mike Pence on Friday, MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer slammed a Republican proposal to cut federal funding for Planned Parenthood and the Environmental Protection Agency: "...what it does not respect are women's rights, what it does not respect is the environment. Is it going to undermine potential success here if you force social issues on to the budget table?"
Brewer opened the 12PM ET hour segment with the Indiana Republican by blaming the Tea Party for the budget stalemate on Capitol Hill: "At issue, freshman Republicans, many with Tea Party support, who insist on slashing at least $61 billion. They also want to cut funding for Planned Parenthood, National Public Radio, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Social goals. Democrats are not on board."
New York Times food writer Mark Bittman’s Thursday morning nytimes.com blog post on the end of his politically motivated four-day fast, “Stating the Obvious: Hunger Is a Disease,” is a followup to his bizarre left-wing rant on Wednesday’s op-ed page, where he claimed proposed spending cuts in the new House budget plan would “quite literally cause more people to starve to death, go to bed hungry or live more miserably than are doing so now.”
After describing the symptoms of his fast, Bittman, a best-selling cookbook author, cooking-show host, and continent-hopping gourmand who has made a very good living selling his wares to other privileged foodies, nonetheless attacked “unregulated capitalism and greed” as the cause of the world’s problems.
What causes the lack? Imprisonment, torture, being stranded on a desert island, anorexia, crop failure....and both a lack of aid and bad distribution of nutrients. Some (or much) of both of these last two stem from unregulated capitalism and greed. Bad distribution is causing roughly 15 percent of the world to be overweight and 15 percent of the world to be hungry. The amount of grain being fed to industrially raised livestock in the United States alone is enough to alleviate much if not all of world hunger.
Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich, in a column appearing at Business Insider, says that we're heading in the direction of a "double-dip" -- and though he doesn't follow it with the word "recession," it's obvious he's not talking about an ice-cream cone. It's also obvious that he's less than pleased with the media spin that things are really okay.
Along the way, Reich had to go back to the mid-1930s, the era of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's ongoing economic depression (at least as far as employment was concerned) to exemplify what a supposedly good recovery from an economic trauma looks. He was clearly desperate to avoid saying anything nice about the more historically relevant and objectively more impressive recovery and subsequent prosperity that occurred under Ronald Reagan. This is also true of the establishment press.
Kicking off the March 30 edition of "Last Word," MSNBC anchor Lawrence O'Donnell unleashed a torrent of insults aimed at Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.).
"House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is the most stunningly ignorant member in the history of the Congress," bellowed O'Donnell. "That's right. Eric Cantor revealed today in a press conference that he does not know how a bill becomes a law. Seriously. He doesn't."
On Thursday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Nancy Cordes portrayed the Tea Party movement as the cause of the budget stalemate in Congress: "With a government shutdown looming, sources say negotiators are homing in on a package of cuts worth $33 billion. That's roughly what Republican leaders proposed last month, before the Tea Party wing demanded that they double their proposal to 61 billion."
Cordes went on to note how "sniping between party leaders is escalating," which was followed by a clip of House Speaker John Boehner calling on Democrats to "have real negotiations" instead of "rooting for a government shutdown." She then remarked: "Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid snapped back that it was Speaker Boehner who had been holding up negotiations, not him." In a sound bite, Reid said of Boehner: "I'm glad he's returned to the conversation. It's obvious that he has a difficult situation on his hands." Cordes added: "The situation he's talking about is the group of Tea Party freshmen Republicans who are insisting that Boehner hold firm on large cuts."
Puritanical New York Times food writer Mark Bittman made a rare appearance on the op-ed page Wednesday to call attention to his latest liberal project: “Why We’re Fasting.”
Bittman, food columnist for the Times Sunday magazine, has also written news stories for the paper from his perch as resident food scold. He made the front page of the Sunday Week in Review in February 2010 with his nanny-state call to treat soda like cigarette smoking. The text box captured Bittman’s puritanical flavor: “To help dam the river of sugared drinks that Americans pour into ever-fatter bodies each year, some suggest a soda tax and warning labels.” His attack on meat-eating also made the front page of The Week in Review. On Wednesday he wrote:
I stopped eating on Monday and joined around 4,000 other people in a fast to call attention to Congressional budget proposals that would make huge cuts in programs for the poor and hungry.
Once again, Comedy Central's Jon Stewart sacrificed "civility" in order to sharpen his liberal arguments – this time attacking corporations for greed. The liberal comedian, who time and again has used his national podium to cry out for civility in the nation's political discourse, resorted to vulgar name calling Monday during a four-minute tirade against big-business.
During the segment full of naive disillusionment and titled "I Give Up," Stewart tried to poke fun at the argument that corporate tax cuts stimulate the economy. His incivility boiled over when he reported that despite paying no corporate income tax, GE is still slashing American jobs and creating jobs overseas.
"You know, I know the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are people, but what I didn't realize is that those people are a**holes," he ranted. This is quite a far cry from his "Rally to Restore Sanity" this past October, when he pleaded for civility to govern the national political discourse.
They are a constant if unlikely pair these days: the oldest man elected governor of California and the woman who is its youngest budget director, shuttling from office to office as they meet with lawmakers, confer quietly in the Capitol hallways and fend off reporters and lobbyists.
Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, lived through another fiscal crisis when he was governor 30 years ago. The budget director, Ana Matosantos, 35, was barely able to do addition back then, but she has the experience that comes with having served under the last governor and through three years of California fiscal crises.
Medina painted Matosantos as a budgetary whiz (who, conveniently, is also opposed to Republican spending cuts):