September 2010 might go down in history as the month America's comedians took over the Democrat Party.
From upcoming political rallies by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert to the latter testifying before Congress and the media waiting breathlessly for Bill Maher to release another video of Delaware Republican senatorial candidate Christine O'Donnell, our world has surely taken a giant step towards the bizarre.
Jumping aboard the crazy train was David Gregory who on Sunday's "Meet the Press" actually played a clip from Comedy Central's the "Daily Show" to mock the Republican "Pledge to America" and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Oh.) (video follows with transcript and commentary):
All three broadcast evening newscasts on Thursday covered the formal unveiling of the Republican ‘Pledge to America,’ a campaign document calling for the repeal of ObamaCare, no tax hikes and balanced budgets. CBS’s Nancy Cordes cast it as pro-Tea Party, “littered with references to the Constitution and promises to reduce the federal debt,” and Tea Party members as “grateful” for its policy prescriptions.
But ABC’s Jonathan Karl said the Pledge was “hardly a Tea Party manifesto. The 45-page document includes more photographs than specifics on spending cuts. No mention of controlling Social Security or Medicare. No mention of eliminating any federal departments. Not even a promise to eliminate earmarks or pork barrel spending.”
Karl even hit GOP Representative Mike Pence from the right: “There aren’t enough cuts in this thing that I see to get anywhere near a balanced budget.”
A recurring theme from liberal media members as we approach the midterm elections is that Americans have to vote for Democrats in November so the nation doesn't go back to the way things were when Republicans ran everything.
A perfect example is New York Times columnist Paul Krugman who on Friday penned a piece called "Downhill With the G.O.P.":
Never mind the war on terror, the party's main concern seems to be the war on arithmetic. And this party has a better than even chance of retaking at least one house of Congress this November.
Banana republic, here we come.
In the midst of all this "Do you really want to go back to those days" talk is a staggering ignorance concerning how "those days" compare to now:
A new CNN/Money survey of 31 top economists found a majority of them say the top priority — given the weak state of the economy — is for Congress to extend the Bush tax cuts for all income groups. But talking about this policy recommendation with CNN/Money’s Paul La Monica on Monday’s American Morning, co-anchor John Roberts rued the conundrum of needing to keep tax rates low for economic reasons — putting “more money in the pockets of people” — while at the same time, because of the “frightening” trillion-dollar deficits, “you’ve got to bump up your [the government’s] revenue stream.” Roberts fretted:
You want to put more money in the pockets of people, particularly when you look at unemployment over 9 percent. But then at the same time you have these deficits that are running at an absolutely frightening rate of a trillion-plus dollars a year. So, you’ve got to bump up your revenue stream but at the same time you want to keep your money coming into the economy. So how do you reconcile that calculation?
It seems not to have occurred to Roberts that the way to avoid either monstrous deficits or suffocating tax increases is to reduce government to a more affordable size.
Looking at the details of CNN’s survey of economists, it’s understandable why they would want the tax cuts extended. Their average forecast is for unemployment to be just below 9% at the end of next year, a full fifteen months from now, with a quarter of those surveyed seeing the unemployment rate still at 9.5% or higher in December 2011.
It must be nice to know you can go on a nationally televised political talk show and not be challenged when you make an historically inaccurate claim, especially when it's about yourself.
Such happened Sunday when former President Bill Clinton was interviewed by David Gregory on NBC's "Meet the Press."
The host began the discussion by asking his guest about "pretty significant developments...inside the Republican Party after this turbulent primary season."
Clinton responded by saying members of the Tea Party have "good impulses" concerning the size of government adding, "They believe those in the Republican Party believe that they've talked a good game about balancing the budget, but the debt was quadrupled in the 12 years before I became president and then we paid down the debt for four years, paid down $600 billion on the national debt."
Actually, the national debt never declined when Clinton was President. Not one year. But before we get there, here's his entire comment on this subject (video follows with transcript and commentary):
It's almost tempting to just run a few paragraphs of Kate Zernike's latest item in the New York Times and simply have folks take their rips, but a bit of background would be helpful.
Zernike (pictured at right) is the Times reporter who seems to have made it her mission to somehow singlehandedly discredit what may when all is said and done come to be seen as the most significant grass-roots movement in America in a long, long time. Earlier today, Clay Waters at NewsBusters reviewed Zernike's new book, "Boiling Mad -- Inside Tea Party America," noted that she "evinces little sympathy or feel for conservative concerns," and is intent on "finding racism everywhere she looks in Tea Party land."
In a late March post (at NewsBusters; BizzyBlog), I noted a Zernike item ("With No Jobs, Plenty of Time for Tea Party") which cynically questioned "whether the movement can survive an improvement in the economy, with people trading protest signs for paychecks."
This is the same Kate Zernike Andrew Breitbart memorably called “a despicable human being” after she claimed to have found racism that really didn't exist at CPAC in February.
With that background, the paragraphs that follow from Kate's latest calamity won't surprise anyone too much, but they will as usual disappoint if you're foolishly expecting anything resembling fair treatment (bold as mine):
Newsweek veteran Evan Thomas, who announced a few weeks ago his intention to leave the financially-failing magazine and teach journalism at Princeton, issued a ringing call – in defense of federal spending – for why he hopes Congress and President Obama cannot agree on extending any of the Bush tax cuts, so income tax rates rise next year:
God knows the federal government desperately needs that revenue, so this is one case where I think gridlock is a good thing.
Not exactly in line with the thinking of Tea Party voters. (Audio: MP3 clip)
On this weekend’s Inside Washington, the magazine’s former Washington bureau chief, Assistant Managing Editor and, most-recently, editor-at-large, encapsulated the political/media class’s priority – keeping government spending safe – as he argued:
I tried to find a nicer way to put it in the headline. But I can't.
At the Associated Press, Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger's apparent plug-and-play report less than an hour after the issuance of Uncle Sam's August Monthly Treasury Statement on Monday (his item is time-stamped at 2:56 p.m., which follows the Treasury Department's 2:00 p.m. release by less than an hour) contains three obviously false statements that a news organization which really subscribes to its own "Statement of News Values and Principles" would retract and/or correct.
The specific AP standard in question is whether it has violated its promise not to "knowingly introduce false information into material intended for publication or broadcast." The only conceivable excuse at this point is that Crutsinger and his employer don't realize what they have done. The three falsehoods involved are not arcane or open to interpretation. Rather, they are significant, obvious, irrefutable, and in need of correction.
What follows are the three statements, the first of which contradicts itself in the report's own subsequent sentence:
CNN's Ali Velshi leaned against extending the Bush tax cuts during a commentary on Tuesday's Newsroom, warning that it "may not be a brilliant idea," and spouted the liberal talking point that tax cuts are a costly matter. Velshi also misleadingly stated that "we have not seen a huge surge in spending."
The anchor devoted his regular "XYZ" segment at the end of the 2 pm Eastern hour to the tax issue. He began by outlining how "President Obama wants to extend the Bush-era tax cuts that apply to the middle class, or households earning less than $250,000 a year...and that sounds like a great thing." He then continued with his argument about the "cost" of cutting taxes: "But let me put this into perspective. First, it's not free. Extending the tax breaks to the top 3 percent of earners would cost between 650 and 700 billion dollars. Extending it for the rest of us is going to cost a lot more, possibly $3 trillion. Everyone wants to pay less in taxes, but in an economy with a debt like America's, that may not be a brilliant idea."
As NewsBusters has previously reported, liberal Internet publisher Arianna Huffington is breathtakingly ignorant when it comes to basic economic theory.
On Sunday, she proved it again by making an absolute fool of herself on ABC's "This Week."
With the "Roundtable" segment beginning on the subject of the economy, Huffington noted how the failure of the banking bailout to stimulate growth was "proof that the government does not work."
In a stunning display of both idiocy and hypocrisy, she moments later demanded more financial regulations, including a reinstatement of the Depression Era Glass-Steagall Act, to - wait for it! - stimulate the economy.
Adding insult to injury, George Will was available to really make clear what an absolute imbecile Huffington is (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):
For general discussion and debate. Possible talking point: Here's change you can believe in!
The number of people in the U.S. who are in poverty is on track for a record increase on President Barack Obama's watch, with the ranks of working-age poor approaching 1960s levels that led to the national war on poverty.
Census figures for 2009 - the recession-ravaged first year of the Democrat's presidency - are to be released in the coming week, and demographers expect grim findings. [...]
The anticipated poverty rate increase - from 13.2 percent to about 15 percent - would be another blow to Democrats struggling to persuade voters to keep them in power. [...] (more stats follow)
CNN's Rick Sanchez took a very strong position about a White House promise on Monday only to have to backtrack and admit he was wrong 45 minutes later.
During Monday's "Rick's List," Sanchez challenged Republican National Committee communications director Doug Heye about his claim that the Obama administration said the unemployment rate wouldn't exceed eight percent if Congress enacted the President's stimulus bill.
"Doug, who made that promise?" asked a defiant Sanchez. "I never recall hearing the President of the United -- in fact, I recall the very first speech the President of the United States made after being sworn in and the very first thing he said to Americans was, expect unemployment to go into double digits."
The CNN host arrogantly continued, "I don't think you're right. Prove me wrong."
About 45 minutes later, Sanchez marvelously proved himself wrong (videos follow with transcripts and commentary):
National Review's Rich Lowry on Sunday had a classic debate with Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne about whether or not the tax cuts implemented by former President George W. Bush should be allowed to expire.
Dionne agrees with President Obama that they should only be extended for folks making less than $250,000 a year; Lowry thinks that raising anyone's taxes right now could send the country back into recession.
With this in mind, NBC's David Gregory opened the panel segment of "Meet the Press" with a discussion about the current state of the economy and how this issue might impact the upcoming midterm elections.
As he tossed the baton to Lowry and Dionne, one got the feeling Gregory was intentionally lighting a fuse he knew would result in some entertaining fireworks (videos follow with transcripts and commentary):
Obama administration Labor Secretary Hilda Solis (pictured at right with what I would guess is her ideal car of the future) shamelessly used Labor Day weekend as an opportunity to score political points.
In a presentation that was more a political stump speech than an informative presentation, Solis recited a litany of alleged accomplishments. Many of them have no relationship to what her department does, while some are also objectively wrong. Second, she set up a host of straw men in the form of "those who would" and "to those who want to" to make her department and the administration where she works appear as if they and they alone are the bulwark against rapacious employers and their political allies.
The YouTube video is present at this DOL page (direct YouTube link here). What follows are selected transcribed excerpts, with specific critiques:
Looks like the Huffington Post is buying into the “As Ohio goes, so goes the nation” meme this election cycle, based on a story out today.
The HuffPo item is by Liz Sidoti. But Sidoti is a national politics writer for the Associated Press, and what Holt really read was what AP would like us to believe is a supposedly "objective" analysis of the electoral situation in Ohio right off the wire. Word for word, the item at HuffPo is the same dispatch as found at the AP's main site. The only clue as to its origin, which Holt missed (and it's easy to see how), is the teeny-tiny AP logo where Sidoti's byline appears.
In other words, Sidoti's stridency and Democrat-sympathetic viewpoint are so obvious that she passes the HuffPo zealotry test.
Here are some examples of how Sidoti "successfully" came off as a budding HuffPo pundit:
New York Times columnist Tom Friedman on Sunday accused Barack Obama of badly misreading his Election Day mandate, and said the current White House is the worst communicating administration he's ever seen.
Appearing on the Roundtable segment of ABC's "This Week," Friedman blasted the President saying, "I'm for more health care. I'm glad we've extended it to more Americans. But the fact is there's a real, I think, argument for the case that Obama completely over-read his mandate when he came in."
Friedman continued, "He was elected to get rid of one man's job, George Bush, and get the rest of us jobs. I think that was the core thing, and by starting with health care and not making his first year the year of innovation, expanding the economy and expanding jobs, you know, I think looking back, that was a political mistake."
Moments later, the Times columnist said, "I've never seen a worse communicating administration" (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):
Can you imagine what would happen to the economy if top wage earners were taxed at 70 to 90 percent?
Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich can, and he thinks it's a great idea.
To be sure, many Americans were concerned that giving Democrats control of the executive and legislative branches of our government during an economic crisis could usher back in socialist tendencies first seen in this nation during the Depression.
Fears of such a leftward shift sparked a new powerful movement called the Tea Party.
With this in mind, Reich's op-ed "How to End the Great Recession" published in Friday's New York Times validates these concerns:
Despite unemployment at 9.5 percent and millions of people having lost their jobs since Barack Obama was elected, Chris Matthews just doesn't understand why anyone would miss George W. Bush.
Without naming this week's PPP poll finding Ohioans would vote for Bush over Obama by the tally of 50 to 42 percent if a presidential election was held today, Matthews in the first segment of "Hardball" asked his guests, "Why would you want that back?"
When Time's Michael Scherer tried to explain logically why voters are disappointed with what Obama has done since Inauguration Day, Matthews wasn't having any of it (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Liberal Democratic strategists reading today's Washington Post are probably taking notes, preparing talking points for a future which may hold a Republican Congress in the cards.
"British women to bear budget pain" cried the page A6 headline. "Report says austerity plan mostly cuts into women's livelihoods," added the subheader for London-based Post staffer Anthony Faiola's story.
Faiola noted that "[t]he Fawcett Society, a leading women's rights group here, filed an unprecedented complaint with the nation's high court this month, arguing that the government failed to consider the effect on women of its leaner 'emergency budget.'"
At no point did Faiola find a critic to allege that the social welfare system in Britain itself was "sexist" or at least that it victimizes poor Britons, particularly women, by creating a culture of dependency on the state.
It's been a challenging week for President Barack Obama. His vacation ended. He was forced to rebuke questioning reporters with a cutting, "We're buying shrimp, guys." And now Reuters global editor-at-large Chrystia Freeland, accurately described recently by Media Research Center president Brent Bozell as "a deeply devoted Obama groupie," is referencing what Obama-endorsed former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) termed testicular virility.
On today's CNN Newsroom, anchor Ali Velshi suggested a second stimulus might be needed, an idea Chrystia clearly liked:
FREELAND: Well, I think you're absolutely right. I mean, look, he is a Democrat. If you talk to Democratic economists -- one of them, for example, Laura Tyson, who was a senior economist in the Clinton White House, came out with a very strong op-ed piece over the weekend saying we need a second stimulus. I think that is the consensus among Democratic thinkers right now.
And, yes, I think the president should probably have the balls to say this is what I believe in and push it. It's true, that would be publicly difficult, but this is not a moment for milquetoast measures. Things are really rough.
Republicans are “exotic” and “extreme,” and against science too, CBS’s Bob Schieffer contended on Sunday’s Face the Nation. “You have also taken some fairly controversial, some would say very extreme, positions,” Schieffer lectured Alaska Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller, citing “you want to phase out Medicare, you want to privatize Social Security.” Miller countered: “I would suggest to you that if one thinks that the Constitution is extreme then you’d also think that the founders are extreme.”
Next, picking up on Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s claim Democrats are “are centrist” while Republicans “are really off on the right wing fringe,” Schieffer pressed Republican Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour “about that,” highlighting Miller’s “controversial stands” before asserting:
Isn't that going to make it harder for some of these Republican candidates to get elected because down in Kentucky you have Rand Paul, who’s got the nomination for the Senate there, talking about, well, maybe we ought to rethink the Civil Rights Acts of '64 and '65. You've got Joe Buck, who won the nomination up in Colorado, who’s talking about bicycle paths being a, might lead to UN control or something other. It seems to me that you do have kind of an exotic crew out there this time.
Barbour shot back: “Well Bob, the administration and the Democratic Congress have taken the biggest lurch to the left in policy in American history.”
An amazing thing happened on the set of ABC's "This Week" Sunday: a liberal tried to extol the benefits of President Obama's unrestrained federal spending only to get completely smacked down by the entire panel.
Host Christiane Amanpour began the Roundtable segment of the program by showing some of last week's horrendous economic numbers, and opened the debate about what can be done to improve the current condition.
When Democrat strategist Donna Brazile got her turn at the plate, she uttered the same nonsense Americans have been hearing from her ilk for approaching two years:
Congress is divided. They are afraid to put more money back into the system, although most Americans should know by now that the stimulus did create or save 2 million to 4 million jobs, averted the Great Depression 2.0, but Congress doesn't have the appetite to put more money into the system.
The other panelists - George Will, President of the Council on Foreign Relations Richard Haass, "Nightly Business Report" host Susie Gharib, and even Amanpour - weren't buying it (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's first full day as the only person in the whole wide world with any kind of influence over what happens in the economy didn't go too badly.
That's the impression one might get from consuming two Friday Associated dispatches and a related AP Video.
Bernanke apparently took full charge of anything and everything having to do with the economy on Thursday evening. As noted early Friday morning (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), two Thursday afternoon dispatches from the wire service in advance of the government's Friday morning GDP report widely predicted to contain news of a significant downward revision to second-quarter economic growth placed surreal importance on the content of a speech he was to give Friday morning shortly after that report's release. The names of President Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Tim Geithner, and Larry Summers were totally absent from both reports.
Friday, in the wake of the downward revision of second-quarter GDP from an annualized 2.4% to 1.6%, AP's primary economic report about Bernanke's apparent first day as Emperor-in-Chief again failed to name the five folks just mentioned, as did a one-minute video from Mark Hamrick found here (after a 30-second commercial).
Here is some of what Christopher Rugaber, with assists from Jeannine Aversa and Alan Zibel, wrote about Ben's big day:
On the same day the Commerce Department dramatically revised down second quarter Gross Domestic Product estimates, New York Times columnist David Brooks published a stinging rebuke of Obama economic policies.
"The American stimulus package was supposed to create a 'summer of recovery,' according to Obama administration officials," wrote Brooks.
"Job growth was supposed to be surging at up to 500,000 a month," he continued. "Instead, the U.S. economy is scuffling along."
Scuffling is putting it mildly, for it was announced Friday that the GDP only grew by a pathetic 1.6 percent last quarter which was down from previous estimates of 2.4 percent.
With this in mind, Brooks' column was not only spot on, but a surprising indictment of everything the Obama administration has done since Inauguration Day:
As the Obama administration’s “Recovery Summer” crumbles, CBS’s Early Show on Thursday noted how the poor economic data has made many Americans deeply pessimistic about the future, with 37% saying that the economy “is in permanent decline.”
So does that mean Obama's $862 billion stimulus is a failure? Not according to economist Mark Zandi, who was interviewed by co-host Erica Hill. Zandi asserted that “the recession ended about a year ago, in large part because of the stimulus efforts,” and the current sluggishness was because “the stimulus is now fading,” and thus “the benefit to growth is winding down.”
Of course, Zandi has been a consistent enthusiast for the stimulus, as far back as early 2009, a fact which was not disclosed today. “We need stimulus,” Zandi championed on the January 28, 2009 Early Show. “It’s about preserving jobs.”
It has now been five days since Politico's Ben Smith published a powerpoint presentation created by an amalgamation of powerful left wing interest groups, conceding that two of the central arguments for passing ObamaCare - that it will lower the deficit and will reduce health care costs - have failed.
For a group of organizations integral to the passage of the law, that was a stunning admission. And yet, the mainstream press is nearly silent on the issue. Searches on Nexis and Google News reveal no coverage from the major television networks, the cable news channels (with the exception of Fox), the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, NPR, PBS, or Newsweek. To their credit, Time Magazine and the Washington Post published a blog post each on the revelation.
Even while discussing ObamaCare and its potential effects on the deficit and health care costs, some media outlets managed to avoid any mention of a fact Democrats now seem to be conceding: "the White House's first and most aggressive sales pitch have essentially failed," as Smith notes.
The New York Times on Tuesday declared what most conservatives knew would happen if Democrats took control of both Congress and the White House: "more Americans - and not just the rich - are going to have to pay more taxes."
In its editorial comically titled "A Real Debate on Taxes," the Times predictably argued for a total elimination of the Bush tax cuts, although it favored some partial delay to this given the precarious state of the economy.
That in itself was humorous as the Times clearly seems to get that raising taxes is indeed economically damaging.
Yet maybe more telling was how this "real debate" didn't once involve the spending side of the budget:
On Monday's Situation Room, CNN's Jeffrey Toobin used dire language to describe a federal judge's decision which struck down federal funding for embryonic stem cell research: "The bottom line is this is a major setback for stem cell research and for the Obama administration....it will certainly cut way back on federal funding." Anchor Suzanne Malveaux labeled it a "potential wedge issue."
Malveaux led the 5 pm Eastern hour with the "breaking news" about Judge Royce Lamberth's decision, who issued a preliminary injunction against federal funding for the life-destroying research. The anchor brought in Toobin and asked, "What does this mean today?" Toobin immediately gave his "major setback" assessment and described the grounds on which Judge Lamberth gave in his 15-page opinion.
The CNN senior legal analyst, like many in the media, omitted that embryonic stem cell research isn't the only field when it comes to stem cell research. The federal government has actually spent much more on adult stem cell research. According to a July 18, 2008 report by PBS, the NIH "spent $200 million funding non-embryonic stem cell research, and only $38 million on embryonic stem cells." Less than a month ago, on August 2, the Associated Press actually highlighted the successes of adult stem cell research.