As Tea Parties ensued from coast to coast last week, the Obama administration and their media minions depicted attendees as not understanding that the new president has decreed taxes will be going down for 95 percent of Americans.
On Sunday's "Meet the Press," Washington Post business columnist Steven Pearlstein let the cat out of the bag: Tea Partiers are right. Taxes are going up.
This revelation occurred after host David Gregory said to the Post's Pulitzer Prize winner, "There may be doubts about President Obama, but he is cutting taxes."
CNN reporter Susan Roesgen became a pseudo-"journalistic" anti-hero yesterday for her obnoxiously belligerent interview of one Taxed Enough Already (TEA) Party participant and her overall assessment of the more than 750 events around the country as amongst other derogatory things "anti-government."
But in another segment, she delved into rank hypocrisy the likes of which we rarely find even in the woefully biased liberal media pantheon.
In it she sought out another TEA Party participant who had a mocked-up sign in which President Barack Obama is melded with Adolf Hitler. She immediately began arguing with this gentleman as well; amongst the things she angrily said were "Why be so hard on the President of the United States with such an offensive message?" and "Do you realize how offensive that is?"
We will admit that portraying President Obama as Der Fuhrer is a bit over the top. But Miss Roesgen's sensitivity to being "so hard on the President of the United States with such an offensive message" seems only to arise when the Hitler-izing involves Democratic Commanders-in-Chief.
The broadcast network evening newscasts on Wednesday provided prominent coverage of the “Tea Party” rallies across the nation with time for the views of participants, but they tried to discredit the protests as a front for “corporate interests” or a “fistful of rightward leaning Web sites” -- a concern for motives and hidden agendas the same programs lacked when championing the 2006 pro-illegal immigrant marches. All three also cited polls to undermine the premise the public shares the concerns on taxes and spending espoused by the “tea party” protesters.
“Cheered on by Fox News and talk radio, the hundreds of tea parties today were designed to protest the bailouts, the stimulus plan, and President Obama's budget,” Dan Harris explained on ABC before asserting: “But critics on the left say this is not a real grassroots phenomenon at all, that it's actually largely orchestrated by people fronting for corporate interests.” Harris proceeded to argue that “while the Boston Tea Party in 1773 was about taxation without representation, critics point out that today's protesters did get to vote -- they just lost. What's more, polls show most Americans don't feel overtaxed.”
CBS's Dean Reynolds noted a tea party organizer “insisted these events were non-partisan,” but, Reynolds maintained as if it were an embarrassment, “a fistful of rightward leaning Web sites and commentators embraced the cause.” Reynolds stressed how “it's important to keep in mind that fresh polling indicates there is not all that much passion about high taxes in the country at large right now. Gallup this week found 61 percent of Americans see their federal income taxes as fair.” (What percent surveyed even pay income taxes?)
While Fox News has celebrated the Taxpayer Tea Party rallies and MSNBC has denigrated them, the impetus of the movement - CNBC and specifically Rick Santelli, its inspiration - had been conspicuously quiet about it.
"A lot of articles about these tea parties," Kernen said. "They all have your name in them, like you caused it. Are you actually attending any or are you just sort of got the idea going initially? What do you think? I mean, you're like a cultural phenomenon at this point."
No wonder this guy professes love for President Obama: neither one cares how much the government spends . . .
Ed Schultz debuted his MSNBC show this evening by calling for universal health care, saying "I don't care how much it costs." There was one area, however, in which Schultz did show more guts than his new colleague, Keith Olbermann.
Get ready for a rare spectacle -- Rachel Maddow, chastened. By a Democrat.
In one of her nightly efforts to slam so-called "conservadems," members of a newly formed Senate caucus of moderate Democrats, Maddow invited one of its members, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, on her MSNBC show Wednesday night.
Reacting to a 12:30PM EST Thursday press conference in which House Republicans unveiled an alternative budget plan to President Obama’s, MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer seemed to be annoyed that the GOP interrupted coverage of the President’s virtual town hall meeting: "And moments ago, Republican leaders got together for a news conference. They said they would unveil what they called their alternative to the President's $3.6 trillion budget...I am very frustrated...Because I -- we've been waiting for this, we cut away from the President to hear the big buildup. Republicans have plan. They have ideas. They're not the party of no. And all I heard in that news conference was what they don't like about the President's plan."
Congressional correspondent Mike Viqueira responded to Brewer’s criticism: "It does not have, in the sense of a traditional budget, numbers with estimates, an estimate for how much they would reduce the deficit, things of that nature. That, they say, will come next week when they take this up on the floor. For example, what would they do? They would undo what they call the 'recent, reckless, and wasteful Democratic spending binge,' including the so-called stimulus and omnibus bills they would undo."
Brewer replied: "But Mike...Mike, we've heard that before...We've heard them and today you get us all hyped up. You have our undivided attention. And what happens but you get up and repeat the same criticism we've already heard. I didn't hear ideas. I heard the promise of ideas and 'we're going to have more on x, y and z,' but I didn't hear the ideas."
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez discussed President Obama’s Tuesday night press conference with Republican Senator Richard Shelby and asked: "The President will head to Capitol Hill today to sell his budget and last night he wondered why Republicans who have been critical of it haven't come up with an alternative budget. What's the answer?"
After Shelby explained that Republicans have serious concerns about the President’s budget, Rodriguez quickly ran to Obama’s defense: "Senator, the President said that even if he takes out all this spending from the budget, he'll still have a deficit, as evidenced by the $1.3 trillion deficit that he inherited from the Republicans." Shelby responded by declaring: "...we had a deficit, but nothing like this...This is scary. I believe we've reached the tipping point now, the tipping point, and if we tip over, it's a point of no return. We're looking at inflation and financial and economic destruction. We cannot go down this road."
Perhaps not fully listening to what Shelby was saying, Rodriguez exclaimed: "But it looks like we are, and what good does it do the American people to -- to point that out? Why not work with the President to try to reach a compromise?" Shelby replied: "Well, I don't think we should compromise destruction of our economic system. And this is where we're going here."
Barack Obama's optimistic campaign rhetoric has crashed headlong into the stark reality of governing.
In office two months, he has backpedaled on an array of issues, gingerly shifting positions as circumstances dictate while ducking for political cover to avoid undercutting his credibility and authority. That's happened on the Iraq troop withdrawal timeline, on lobbyists in his administration and on money for lawmakers' pet projects.
But just wait. Although it's true that Obama is breaking promises faster than he made them, we can't hold that against him. Sidoti explains:
The Seattle Times compiles what it calls "The Favor Factory," which it calls "A database of lawmakers, earmarks, and campaign giving."
One noteworthy congressman in the Favor Factory is Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA; picture at right is currently at his home page).
Moran's Favors Factory page for 2008 lists 29 earmarks totaling $40.6 million, and over $890,000 in capaign contributions from earmark recipients.
Recall that Nancy Pelosi promised "Fiscal Restraint If Democrats Win" in a July 2006 Wall street Journal interview about the congressional elections that would be taking place four months later (link is to cato.org, which excerpted the now unavailable WSJ report). She also told the Journal:
“Personally, myself, I’d get rid of all of them,” she said. “None of them is worth the skepticism, the cynicism the public has… and the fiscal irresponsibility of it.”
Rep. Moran begged to differ just one month earlier, using language he would hopefully avoid around the second-graders with whom he is pictured above (actual offensive four-letter word is at link), as reported by a local metro DC community newspaper, the Sun Gazette:
The good folks in the Obama administration and in the media took on the wrong foe with Jim Cramer, for the outspoken CNBC personality struck back at his ill-informed and economically-challenged critics Monday in a fashion those that have watched him for years have grown to expect.
In his self-titled "Cramer Takes on the White House, Frank Rich and Jon Stewart," the "Mad Money" host: referred to the current White House as "exacerbating the crisis with its budget and policies"; accurately exposed the New York Times' Frank Rich and comedian Jon Stewart for cherry-picking snippets of his on-air recommendations in order to discredit him, and; complimented the civility of folks on the right declaring, "I always love anyone from Fox on the team because they are fierce in their defense with much less gratuitous slamming."
Coverage of "tea party" protests in various cities around the country (this March 4 Pajamas Media press release, HT to FreeRepublic, cited 22 locations on February 27 and seven this weekend) has been sparse to non-existent, especially at major establishment media outlets.
Most notably, based on a seach on "tea party" (not in quotes) at its ap.org home page at about 10:00 a.m., there has been no coverage of this weekend's or last weekend's protests by the Associated Press, the self-described "essential global news network":
Don't expect Bill Clinton's former labor secretary Robert Reich to ever do so, for in an article published at Salon Thursday, the UC-Berkeley professor claimed "every major policy that led to this collapse occurred under George W.'s watch."
Not only that, but the man who recently told Congress that jobs created by the economic stimulus package shouldn't only go to "white male construction workers" also declared, "Angry right-wing populism lurks just below the surface of the terrible American economy, ready to be launched not only at Obama but also at liberals, intellectuals, gays, blacks, Jews, the mainstream media, coastal elites, crypto socialists, and any other potential target of paranoid opportunity."
Readers are warned to proceed with caution before going any further, for Reich was loaded for conservatives and wasn't taking prisoners:
On a day when the number of Americans out of work reached a 25- year high, President Obama made a visit to a place where he could show just how in fact his stimulus plan really is saving jobs.
Bullet point number one tonight: the president in Columbus, Ohio, where two dozen police cadets whose jobs were saved as a result of the stimulus were sworn in as officers today. It's a story we have been following for some time now. The president insists today the nation is now on the right track.
A controversial $410 billion spending bill hits a snag in the Senate. This is the bill we've been talking about with about $8 billion in earmarks. Republicans and a few Democrats are mad about all that pork barrel spending. That led members from both parties to push President Obama to veto the bill.
Senate majority leader Harry Reid says the measure will be opened up for changes next week in an effort to gain more support. The bill is a hold-over from the last administration.
A consistent media meme since Election Day has been that Barack Obama was inheriting a recession that some believe began as far back as December 2007.
Since then, despite various rescue plans from his Administration, and the passage of a $787 billion stimulus package, the stock market has continued to plummet while employers shed payrolls in a fashion rarely seen in history.
This all raises an important question: will media ever blame current economic conditions on Obama, or will they continue to point fingers at George W. Bush despite his residence being in Texas?
Consider that as was reported by Bloomberg Friday, Obama now does indeed have his own bear market (image by Martin Kozlowski courtesy Wall Street Journal):
"General" David Brooks, the very compliant house conservative of the New York Times, after just three days of bravely volunteering to lead a mighty "moderate" army against the "ideological outrages" of the Barack Obama administration, has now called a hasty retreat with a column that borders on outright apology for daring to oppose the very liberal budget. First let us take trip down memory lane to three days in the past to take a look the battle plan presented by General Brooks following his astounding revelation that most of the non-house conservatives discovered long, long ago:
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) participated in a conference call with a number of bloggers on Wednesday.
On the agenda was the Fairness Doctrine, and what the Senator believes the Democrats have up their sleeves to attack conservative talk radio.
Also on the docket was an update on the potential for a carbon cap-and-trade scheme to be enacted by this Congress, and what Republicans are going to do to try to rein in spending (30-minute audio available here).
In February, in the build up to the ultimate passage of President Barack Obama's $787-billion stimulus package, there was a lot of discussion about how much the stimulus was going to help the ailing economy. And to promote the bill, Obama visited a Caterpillar plant in Peoria, Ill.
Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., who represents the 18th Congressional District of Illinois, where the Caterpillar plant is located, described Obama's visit and how he used it to lobby him to vote for the bill. It was another side of the story that went unreported by the media.
Although an admitted Barack Obama supporter during last year's campaign, CNBC's Jim Cramer has certainly changed his view concerning our 44th president.
On Tuesday's "Today" show, the outspoken "Mad Money" host said: we have "an agenda in this country now that I would regard as being a radical agenda"; Obama's just announced budget "put a level of fear in this country that I have not seen ever in my life," and; "This is the most, greatest wealth destruction I've seen by a president."
He also called Timothy Geithner "an invisible treasury secretary," and expressed hope that the next time he goes to Capitol Hill "he doesn't throw the drowning man the anvil like he did the last time he spoke" (video and transcript below the fold, file photo):
Perhaps it is time to award the New York Times house conservative, David Brooks, a kewpie doll for having at long last a very brief moment of mental clarity. Brooks, who has been making a habit lately of bashing conservative Republicans such as Sarah Palin, emerged ever so slightly from his comfortable conventional wisdom cocoon, and discovered that (gasp) "Barack Obama is not who we thought he was." If Brooks had been listening to Rush Limbaugh, whom he continues to detest, on a regular basis he would have made this "astounding discovery" long ago. Brooks begins his op-ed "discovery" by announcing his proud moderateness to the world:
You wouldn’t know it some days, but there are moderates in this country — moderate conservatives, moderate liberals, just plain moderates. We sympathize with a lot of the things that President Obama is trying to do. We like his investments in education and energy innovation. We support health care reform that expands coverage while reducing costs.
CNN personalities Jack Cafferty and David Gergen continued the chorus of praise for President Obama on Wednesday evening for his first address to a joint session of Congress, twenty-four hours after he had given it. During his regular “Question of the Hour” segment on The Situation Room, Cafferty gushed that the Democrat “had that place in the palm of his hand for the entire time he was in that room” and, despite all the serious issues he discussed during the speech, that the president “seems remarkably unruffled by all of this, serene in an inner confidence that he’s got what it takes to lead this country back into the sunlight.”
At the top of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith declared: "Tax the rich. New details on how President Obama plans to pay for his $3 trillion budget." Later, correspondent Bill Plante reported on Obama’s proposed budget in a matter-of-fact way with little skepticism: "It spends almost $4 trillion. That's trillion with a 'T.' And the deficit is $1.75 trillion because of spending on the recession. And it raises taxes on the wealthy in order to pay for some new proposals on health care. The president wants to set aside $634 billion over the next ten years as a down payment on health care reform. He'd get the money by lowering the limit on tax deductions for high earners and by trimming some Medicare spending."
In Plante’s report, Politico’s Mike Allen was quoted: "This budget is going to have some highly symbolic cuts to show people that tough choices are going to be made." Plante elaborated: "Those include what officials call 'massive cost overruns' at the Defense Department. A phase-out of direct payments to farmers making more than $500,000 a year. Elimination of the federal mentoring program, a Bush administration initiative which is labeled ineffective. And closing the loophole which allows Wall Street investment managers to pay income tax at the rate of only 15%."
Maybe it was just too easy to assume the worst of the news network most others in the press love to hate. Or perhaps it was deliberate.
Whatever the reason, the Agence France-Presse (AFP) wire service's Wednesday story about reaction to Barack Obama's sort-of State of the Union Speech the previous evening spent four of its last five paragraphs pinning a report harshly critical of various claims in the speech on Fox News.
True, Fox News's web site carried the story ("Fact Check: Obama's Words on Home Aid Ring Hollow"). But it was actually written by the Associated Press's Calvin Woodward and Jim Kuhnhenn. (Yes, the AP actually wrote an Obama-critical story. More on that in a bit.)
Here are the four paragraphs in question from the AFP report, which otherwise lavishes praise on Obama's speech and rips into Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's GOP response performance:
CNBC reporter Santelli's Thursday morning "Shout Heard Round the World" (CNBC's term) objecting to the Obama administration's mortgage modification program on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange quickly went viral, and struck two nerves. First, it ignited a groundswell of support from the over 90% of the of the nation that pays its bills and plays by the (normal) rules. The other nerve it struck was at the White House, whose spokesman Robert Gibbs struck back with a level of poorly concealed fury and contempt that I don't think I've seen publicly displayed by any other administration in my lifetime.
Larry Kudlow had Santelli as a guest on CNBC's Kudlow Report Friday night (CNBC video here; YouTube here [HT Scott's Slant]). As one would fully expect by this time, Santelli made a few huge, emotionally-charged points of his own. The gratifying stunner is Kudlow's passion in the final third of the interview, where he sounded the alarm over freedom of the press, basic respect, and bullying.
Looking around the web, at least at this point, this interview has gained relatively little exposure, leaving the distinct and incorrect impression that Gibbs has the rhetorical upper hand.
No way. The CNBC pair of Santelli and Kudlow has the White House on its heels. Common-sense, passionate, principled assertions rooted in truth will tend to do that. Here's the full transcript (bolds are mine):