HBO's Bill Maher spouted his usual anti-conservative and anti-Fox News rhetoric on Monday's Situation Room on CNN, attacking the Tea Party movement as "teabaggers [who] are all carrying the banner...of corporatist America" and accusing CNN's competitor of "filling people with misinformation." Maher also labeled Republican voters "far right" and a "fringe group of people who are very forceful."
The left-wing HBO host appeared for two segments starting at the bottom of the 5 pm Eastern hour. Anchor Wolf Blitzer began with an election-related question: "Let's talk a little bit about what's going to happen tomorrow. A lot of Democrats are worried. They're sitting on a potential political disaster tomorrow. Here's the question to you: why? What happened?"
Maher actually first blamed the Democrats: "Well- I mean, partly, it is the Democrats' fault. They don't do very good at bragging about their achievements. This Congress, which I'm sure is going to be tarred as a do-nothing Congress, actually was one of the more successful congresses in recent memory, probably not since Lyndon Johnson in 1965 has a Congress achieved so much." The guest predictably cited health care "reform" and financial reforms as his examples.
Blitzer followed-up by asking, "So is it just a matter of communications?" Maher launched his attack on Fox News in his reply:
In 2011, the two major legislative initiatives of the tea party Congress (pray the voters deliver such a congress) will be to get a grip on the deficit, and to begin to reverse the intrusion of the federal government in American lives and business.
It remains to be seen whether Congress will have the guts — and even the tea party public will give their support-for the entitlement cutting that deficit control and long-term fiscal soundness will require.
Procedurally, however, the method is pretty straightforward. Congress passes a 10-year budget resolution, then passes appropriations and other bills to carry out those objectives. And, of course, the president has to sign them into law. That may result in the greatest Washington political battle since slavery, but at least the legislative method is obvious and straightforward.
Appearing as a guest on Wednesday’s The Ed Show on MSNBC, Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter applauded President Obama for bringing "poetry" back into the campaign as he cited former New York Democratic Governor Mario Cuomo’s famous saying about campaigning "in poetry" and governing "in prose." Alter: "Look, he (Obama) overlearned Mario Cuomo's famous lesson. Cuomo said you campaign in poetry and govern in prose. And he took that too much to heart. He's been governing too much in prose. Finally, he's beginning to bring some of the poetry back, the poetry that moves people and inspires people. And it's about time."
The Newsweek columnist went on to credit President Obama with preventing another Great Depression after host Ed Schultz lamented that Obama is not receiving credit for recent gains in the stock market. Alter: "He saved them. He saved their fortunes. We were headed for a depression. We were losing 750,000 jobs a month when he took over. If we'd stayed on pace, we would have had another Great Depression in late 2009. He saved them."
The National Transportation Safety Board has again recommended that airlines require a separate seat for all children, regardless of age, eliminating the current practice of permitting children under the age of 2 to fly for free on the lap of a parent. Will mandating child restraint systems make air travel safer? The answer is probably yes but that's the visible.
Having to purchase an extra airplane ticket, some families will opt to drive to their destination instead. Thus, mandated CRS will force some families to switch to a less safe method of travel and some highway fatalities will represent the invisible victims of NTSB policy. By the way, if parents wanted a greater measure of safety for their infant, it's available to them right now. They can purchase a seat and seat restraint for their infant.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is charged with ensuring that drugs are safe and effective. Drugs must meet FDA approval before they can be marketed. FDA officials can make two kinds of errors. They can approve a drug that has unanticipated, dangerous side effects that might cause illness and death. Or, they can err by either not approving or causing huge delays in the marketing of a safe and effective drug. Statistically, these are known as the Type I and Type II errors.
FDA officials have a bias toward erring on the side of over-caution. If FDA officials err on the side of under-caution, approving an unsafe drug, they are attacked by the media, patient groups and investigated by Congress. Their victims, sick and dead people, are highly visible. If FDA officials err on the side of over caution, keeping a safe and effective drug off the market, who's to know? The victims are invisible.
With low poll approval ratings and the prospect of his congressional allies in Congress taking a drubbing in November, it's hardly surprising the liberal media are looking for any silver lining for Obama that it can find.
Enter Time magazine's Kate Pickert, who on the magazine's Swampland blog yesterday claimed that a ruling upholding ObamaCare's constitutionality yesterday was a "significant victory for the Obama administration."
A temporary boost, perhaps, but significant? The ruling was at the District Court level, and the public interest firm representing the plaintiffs plans to appeal to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. Plus Pickert herself noted that there are plenty of other court challenges against ObamaCare, and they are not all bound to come down the same way District Court Judge George Steeh ruled yesterday.
What is significant is how Judge Steeh's reasoning profoundly obliterates the scope of the Constitution's interstate commerce clause to define refraining from commerce as commerce. It's an open question if appellate courts agree.
CNN's new host Eliot Spitzer slammed the Tea Party movement on Tuesday's Parker-Spitzer: "I think that that piece of the Republican Party is vapid. It has no ideas....They're going to destroy our country." Spitzer also accused Tea Party members of forwarding a "Herbert Hoover vision of government...saying, we want to take away the very pieces of government that created the middle class."
The former New York governor of "Client Number Nine" infamy launched his attack on the nascent political movement minutes into the 8 pm Eastern, as he and his co-host, Kathleen Parker, discussed Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell's new ad. After listing what he thought was positive about O'Donnell and her ad, Spitzer gave his "vapid" remark about the Tea Party and made his first mention of former President Hoover:
New York Times correspondent Thomas Friedman is clearly unhappy about the Tea Party, so much so that he considers the movement "not that important."
Instead, he envisions another group, "which stretches from centrist Republicans to independents right through to centrist Democrats," sitting silently out there in America waiting for the right leader to emerge.
In the earlier paragraphs of a Friday report on the recently passed small business lending bill at the Associated Press, reporter Pallavi Gogoi gave readers the impression that Congress's allegedly noble intentions might be thwarted because banks and businesses who should apparently be grateful for the "help" don't want it.
Gogoi gives no direct indication that the bill involves government "investment" in (i.e., partial state ownership of) participating financial institutions.
The AP reporter didn't have to look very far to see what's really involved. The defined purpose of the bill, which weighs in at over 40,000 words (full text here), is right there at its beginning (bold is mine):
An Act -- To create the Small Business Lending Fund Program to direct the Secretary of the Treasury to make capital investments in eligible institutions in order to increase the availability of credit for small businesses, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide tax incentives for small business job creation, and for other purposes.
This is not very different from what ended up happening with the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) enacted two years ago. In fact, two lawyers writing on the law's potential impact describe it as a "mini-TARP." You'd never know that from Gogoi's report (one cryptic reference to the underlying state control involved is in bold):
Congress shall make no law . . . abridging . . .the right of the people . . . to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. -- First Amendment to the Constitution
Remember the MSM brouhaha when some conservatives suggested reconsidering the automatic granting of citizenship to children born in the US to illegal immigrants? Suddenly, the sanctity of the 14th Amendment became the single most precious thing to liberals—even though no amendment of it, let alone its abolition, would have been necessary to revise the policy on birthright citizenship.
So should we expect the liberal media to take up its constitutional cudgel against Elizabeth Warren? After all, Pres. Obama's newly appointed [not nominated] head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau went on Morning Joe today and in effect proclaimed that the right to petition government for the redress of government "scares" her. More disturbingly, Warren suggested we need to work on "dialing back" that right.
To be sure, Warren never cited the First Amendment or the right it recognized to "petition government for a redress of grievances." But read and listen to her words: that's exactly what she was kvetching about—and wanting to "dial back."
Since the financial industry collapse two years ago, dishonest media outlets and their employees have continually blamed George W. Bush for the implosion that occurred in the fall of 2008 as well as the resulting recession.
NewsBusters has regularly pushed back on this historically inaccurate premise specifically pointing to two crucial pieces of legislation signed into law by former President Bill Clinton.
On Wednesday, a contributor to the Huffington Post - who is also the editor of the website TruthDig - published an article confirming what NewsBusters has been claiming, doing so in a fashion that must have shocked the economically ignorant proprietor of this perilously liberal online "news" outlet:
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):
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):
With a 9.6 percent unemployment rate overall in the United States and unemployment rates showing an uptick in states on the Gulf of Mexico that allow offshore oil drilling, one has to wonder what the Obama administration is thinking its Draconian wide-sweeping moratorium halting deepwater drilling in the Gulf after the BP oil spill.
While environmentalists are using today's explosion on a oil production platform in the Gulf to support a drilling moratorium, critics like CNBC's "Fast Money" panelist Jon Najarian have questioned the wisdom of the Obama administration's decision to put up to 75,000 in limbo.
"As far as what was going on in the Gulf, it shows a tone-deafness from this administration," Najarian said on the Sept. 2 broadcast of "Fast Money." "I mean, I'll pound the table for that because I'm not running for office. But I mean, this guy is tone deaf that 75,000 jobs in the Gulf of Mexico that have been idled for no good reason. It's costing all of us and it costs all the places where they would normally spend money as well."
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:
Good Morning America's Bianna Golodryga on Sunday featured a liberal activist arguing for more government intervention in the form of paid time off laws and "affordable" child care. The ABC host never identified Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner's ideology or the fact that she's a Huffington Post contributor. Instead, Golodryga fretted about "bias" against women who have children.
The Rowe-Finkbeiner interview and the preceding segment lamented the fact that women who have children often don't end up making as much as men and also females who don't have kids. Neither segment even hinted that there could be two sides to the story.
Instead, Rowe-Finkbeiner was allowed to lobby, "We know that passing family-friendly policies and programs like paid family leave, like affordable child care, like access to paid sick days, like access to flexible work options, those things actually help lower the gap between women and men."
At the top of CBS's Sunday Morning, host Charles Osgood proclaimed: "From sky-high air-conditioning bills to gasoline-fueled vacations in the car, there's nothing like summer to remind us that we Americans are power hungry." In the story that followed later, correspondent Seth Doane declared: "In the wake of the Gulf oil disaster, calls for cleaner, greener energy, are growing louder."
Doane lamented: "America is still powered by the energy of yesterday. 95% of our electricity comes from an aging network of coal, natural gas, nuclear, and hydroelectric plants. Despite decades of promise, today less than 5% of our electricity comes from all other forms of alternative energy combined." He then turned to "Nobel Prize-winning physicist" and Obama administration energy secretary, Dr. Steven Chu: "Secretary Chu sees the oil spill as a tragedy, of course, but also as something else." Chu argued: "The United States has an opportunity to lead in what I consider to be essentially a new industrial revolution."
After detailing different forms of alternative energy, Doane moved on to liberal advocacy. He warned:"But agreeing on a national energy policy won't be easy....And the coal and petroleum lobbies spend millions to protect the status quo." Doane then cited the head of the left-wing group Environmental Defense Fund, Fred Krupp, who whined: "You know, we've passed three energy bills in the last ten years and none of them has done a damn thing to get us a brighter energy future."
Paul Krugman and Larry Kudlow - not exactly two guys you would associate with one another. However, they are two media figures Washington Post columnist Frank Ahrens thinks should be candidates for the same job.
In his case for Krugman, Ahrens wondered that since Krugman can talk the talk, can he walk the walk as well.
"Outside the academic world, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman is best known for his New York Times columns arguing that the $787 billion, debt-busting stimulus bill was not enough, so even moderate Democrats -- not to mention conservatives -- might lose their minds with this pick. But maybe it's time for Krugman to put his money where his mouth is," Ahrens wrote. "You think government needs to spend more to get us out of this funk? Okay, Paul. Here's the key to the car."
OK - it's not really much of a surprise. However, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has responded to the slowing economic recovery with restraint, not tinkering with interest rates and showing a continued willingness to buy mortgage-backed securities and long-term Treasury bonds. And that was roundly applauded by the markets, and CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer.
"Here's what you need to know about the Fed," Cramer said. "They're not in the way. I'm a Fed-is-friend, Fed-is-foe guy."
On CNBC's Aug. 10 "Street Signs," during his "Stop Trading" segment, Cramer explained that the Fed is acting appropriately and noted it wasn't the Bernanke that was holding the economy back. Who is to blame? It's Congress, according to Cramer, with its complicated health care bill and even more indecipherable financial regulation bill.
Initial requests for jobless benefits rose last week to their highest level since April, a sign that hiring remains weak and some companies are still cutting workers.
The Labor Department said Thursday that new claims for unemployment insurance rose by 19,000 to a seasonally adjusted 479,000. Analysts had expected a small drop. Claims have risen twice in the past three weeks.
On Tuesday's Situation Room, CNN's Jack Cafferty used the term "Obama-nation," a pun on the word "abomination," which is used on many conservative blogs, to slam the "sprawling bureaucratic giant...that seems to be the result of President Obama's new health care law." Cafferty admitted during his commentary that ObamaCare is "shaping up to be exactly what the critics were afraid it would be."
The CNN commentator devoted his regular Cafferty File segment 12 minutes into the 6 pm Eastern hour to the recent report from the Congressional Research Service that, as Cafferty put it, "says it's 'impossible' to estimate the number of agencies, boards, and commissions that will be created by this new law." Cafferty explained that the report "points to many reasons for this. First off, the parts of the law that create these new bodies vary drastically. In some cases, the law gives a lot of details- in other cases, barely a mention."
Later, the CNN personality cited one provision in the ObamaCare law which "requires six separate agencies- six- within Health and Human Services to each establish an Office of Minority Health- six!" After listing two delays in getting new bureaucracies set up, he continued that there were "questions about the ability of Congress to carry out oversight of this sprawling mess."
It seems that not even the truth can possibly overturn the narrative that President Obama and the Democrats in Congress have brought transparency to Washington.
Last Wednesday I wrote about how the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory bill Obama signed into law last month contains a provision exempting the Securities and Exchange Commission from Freedom of Information Act requests. Such an exemption would surely have been grounds for a media outcry during the Bush administration, yet apart from The Wall Street Journal and CNN, only blogs have been following the developments. The latter opted simply to parrot the administration's claims without challenge.
Other media ouetlets, such as National Public Radio and MSNBC, completely ignored the controversy, in stark contrast to their extensive coverage of the Bush administration's attempts to curtail the scope of the Freedom of Information Act. NPR's Don Gonyea said "When conflicts arise over what should or should not be open, the administration does not hesitate to invoke the memory of 9/11. And while it's true that 9/11 changed the security landscape, it's also true that the administration was tightening the control of information much earlier . . ."
What a fine group of happy warriors! Right Online 2010 turned out over 1,000 like-minded activists from over 30 states. These passionate folks walked the over-100 degree streets of Las Vegas to educate voters that November Is Coming.
Should the Democrats be worried? No. They should be resigned. The real worry-warts should be Republicans consistently intent on selling out their principles. Be worried. People are mission-focused.
A couple highlights from the conference: Here's my favorite speaker from the group, Emery McClendon:
On June 24, 2010, I had a post on BigHollywood that examined Robert Redford’s asinine statements about the Gulf Oil Spill. From his support of a drilling moratorium to the fact that he literally blamed the spill on Dick Cheney to the way he expected George W. Bush to respond instantly to Katrina, while making excuses for President Obama’s slow response to the BP disaster, his words were just another proof that many actors in Hollywood are out of touch with reality.
And although I hoped Redford would rethink his pomposity before speaking again on topics that he seems unable to comprehend, except through the prism of politics, it appears my hopes were misplaced. On Tuesday, the Huffington Post carried a statement by Redford wherein the actor lambasted Republicans for sinking Obama’s energy bill and with it “our moment to create two million clean energy jobs here in the United States.”
Where did Redford get such precise information about “two million” jobs? It seems like something that was conveniently snatched out of thin air, unless this number is a reference to jobs that the government would supposedly create in a faux clean energy market. But since when when has the government been successful in creating jobs?
Free enterprise and the American marketplace– not the guiding hand of government – have revitalized the beleaguered automaker General Motors, which expects to announce another profitable quarter, according to GM officials.
President Barack Obama plans to visit a GM plant in Hamtramk, Michigan on July 30, and his administration is linking GM’s return to profitability with the bailout of the old GM the administration orchestrated last summer.
“Just over a year after President Obama made tough decisions to save Chrysler and GM, these companies are returning to profitability, hiring workers, and keeping plants open,” the White House said in a July 23 press release. “And because of the steps the Administration and Congress have taken with Cash for Clunkers and the Recovery Act, the industry overall is strengthening.”
Striking a blow for her sex, Mika Brzezinski today claimed that the Wall Street meltdown "simply would not have happened" if more women had been in charge.
The Morning Joe co-host was reacting to news that the Dems managed to slip into the recently enacted financial regulation bill a provision--authored by Rep. Maxine Waters--that would create "at least 20 new Offices of Minority and Women Inclusion" with the power to kill government contracts with financial firms not meeting new "diversity standards."
Tina Brown seconded her sister's sentiment, blaming the financial industry's woes on "all this phallic obsession."
What's good for Wall Street is presumably good for Washington, too. Mika Brzezinski--founder of Feminists For Palin, perhaps?
At the end of Sunday's CBS Evening News, anchor Russ Mitchell celebrated the efforts of 82-year-old Jean Hill to ban the sale of bottled water in Concord, Massachusetts as: "...one woman's campaign for a greener America, one bottle at a time." He declared: "...you may remember the environmentalist mantra: 'Think globally, act locally'....[Hill] is trying to take that message to heart."
Mitchell went on to describe Hill's involvement in the issue: "...it was only a few months ago that this grandmother, best known for her blueberry pie, became a political force....At the annual town meeting in April, Hill proposed a resolution to ban her town from selling still water in plastic bottles. It passed." Some clips were played of Hill proclaiming: "There's nothing wrong with tap water....The most appalling was the trashing of our planet....They're filling our landfills and they're ending up in the ocean."
While noting the objections of a local grocery store owner, who feared a loss of customers due to the ban, Mitchell concluded the segment with a glorified comparison: "Concord would become the first American town to ban the sale of bottled water – a revolutionary move in a place where the first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired 235 years ago." He added that Hill had "received postcards of support from around the country."
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, fill-in co-host Erica Hill cheered the passage of financial reform legislation as "another huge milestone for President Obama." Hill went on to explain: "The first was when he signed the historic health care bill back in March. Today he is set to sign a bill aimed at completely overhauling Wall Street."
White House correspondent Chip Reid began a report on the new bill by proclaiming: "It's being hailed as the biggest shakeup of Wall Street since the Great Depression." Reid enthusiastically touted provisions in the legislation: "The bill's centerpiece is the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection....charged with regulating financial products, including mortgages, credit cards, and student loans. The legislation also gives broad new powers to the federal government, allowing it to take control of and shut down large financial institutions..."
Reid pointed out criticism of the legislation: "But critics say the bill fails to reform mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, does not create a fund to help shut down big banks when they fail, and gives too much power to federal regulators to create reams of new rules." After noting GOP concern that bill "will curb growth and kill jobs," Reid turned to an analyst from the left-leaning Brookings Institution for reassurance: "Still, former investment banker Douglas Elliott believes the bill is better than doing nothing." Elliott argued: "The bill addresses most of the problems and makes a good start. It's not perfection, but in the real world, we don't get perfection."