"The Senate's 88 to 5 vote" on a one-year reprieve for middle class taxpayers on the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) "blew a $50 billion hole in the Democrats' promise not to pass any spending or tax measure that would add to the deficit," Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman and Jeffrey Birnbaum reported today. The staff writers then rounded up three "conservative 'Blue Dog' Democrats" from the House of Representatives to rail against the Senate for lacking the courage to "take a tough vote," in the words of Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.).
But just how conservative are these "conservative" Blue Dogs? Try slightly left of dead-center.
Previewing her questions next week for her “Primary Questions: Character, Leadership & The Candidates” series in which she runs clips of ten presidential candidates from both parties answering the same question, Katie Couric on Thursday night showed herself asking Joe Biden: “With the country fighting a costly war and going deeper into debt should the American people be expected to sacrifice more, and if so, specifically how?” Couric didn't specifically cite raising taxes, and so maybe by some miracle a candidate will suggest cutting government programs, but “sacrifice” is the common media code word for raising taxes. After the Minneapolis bridge collapse in early August, with a logical implication that taxes would have to be increased, Couric set up a CBS Evening News story by wondering “are taxpayers ready to spend the billions, maybe trillions, it would take to fix all the pipelines, tunnels and bridges?”
Opponents of the Death Tax may have found a very unlikely celebrity spokesperson, "View" moderator Whoopi Goldberg. On the December 4 edition, guest co-host Kate Walsh noted all of the programs Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul wishes to abolish. Goldberg then stepped in proclaiming "I’d like somebody to get rid of the death tax...If I have to give something to my kid I already paid the tax, why do I have to pay it again because I died?"
I'll be live-blogging the press conference (mostly just the questions from the journalists as we're focused on the bias) and if a video update is warranted, we'll post one shortly after the conference concludes:
10:44 closes press conference, leaves podium.
10:41: Mark Silva, Chicago Tribune, says reading Bush's body language he can tell he's "somewhat dispirited." Then he says "the facts have failed you" on things he's telling the American people. Quotes Harry Reid. "Are you feeling troubled... credibility gap?"
10:37: unid'd reporter "Wolf" asks about if Bush's personal relationship with the Democrats in Congress is affecting getting legislation through.
10:35: another unid'd reporter named "Wolf" asks Bush to react to 2008 U.S. presidential race
10:35: reporter asks if he discussed Russian elections with Putin
10:33: unidentified reporter asks Bush if in his conversation with Putin if he asked him to not sell uranium to Iran.
10:30: Baier, Fox News: "What does the vote in Venezuela mean for the U.S.? .... What's your reaction to Chavez opponents winning?"
Have you noticed the genie concerning the real modus operandi behind climate alarmism beginning to peek its head out of the bottle lately?
After the United Nations announced earlier in the week that rich countries - code for America, of course - are going to have to pay billions of dollars to help poor nations deal with global warming, several international press outlets published articles of similar content.
Is it possible media are recognizing that since the Democrat presidential candidates are all advocating a tax the rich platform it is safe to begin discussing the need for developed nations to foot the bill for international global warming solutions?
Consider an op-ed published Friday by Britain's Guardian (emphasis added, reader is strongly advised to hide wallet or purse before proceeding):
As climate alarmists around the world head to a tropical paradise on Bali next week to discuss how developed nations should pay to solve global warming, an inconvenient truth has emerged: many countries that are part of the Kyoto Protocol are going to dramatically overshoot their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions limits.
While it seems a metaphysical certitude that America's green media will largely boycott such revelations so as not to put a damper on the hysterical proceedings, the fact that taxpayers in countries missing these targets will end up footing the bill also appears likely to be ignored.
As reported by Bloomberg Friday (emphasis added throughout, h/t Benny Peiser):
Wednesday night's CNN/YouTube presidential debate for the Republican candidates largely lived up to its promise to be a debate fitting for Republican voters as the vast majority of the questions used were asked from a conservative point of view. But the GOP debate's slant toward conservative questions was less than the July 23 CNN/YouTube Democratic debate's slant toward liberal questions. On Wednesday, out of a total of 34 video questions presented, conservative questions outnumbered liberal questions by 14 to 8, with the remaining questions ideologically ambiguous or neutral. During the Democratic debate, out of a total of 38 video questions, the slant toward liberal questions came in at 17 liberal to 6 conservative, with the remainder ambiguous or neutral.
Are voters sick of taxes? Gov. Chris Gregoire is worried enough about angry voters to call a special legislative session to reinstate I-747's tax limit.
That's how the Seattle Post-Intelligencer website front page teased a November 26 story by state capitol correspondent Chris McGann. The bottom line is that the Democratic governor -- who eked out a narrow victory in 2004 after a drawn-out recount process -- has called the state legislature to convene on November 29 in a special session to address a court ruling that struck down I-747, a tax limitation measure that voters approved six years ago.
McGann found a politicial scientist and a Democratic state legislative leader to suggest that voters are not really all that steamed about high taxes. By contrast, McGann produced just one man, Tim Eyman, to suggest voters in Washington State are fed up with high taxes.
What's more, nowhere does McGann find any conservatives to suggest that Washington State voters might chafe at their legislators failing to do anything to address overreaching or judicial activism by the court that struck down a ballot initiative approved by the voters themselves.
Here's an excerpt of McGann's article, with portions in bold reflecting my emphasis.:
Was that Mike Huckabee on "Morning Joe" today -- or John Edwards? The former Arkansas governor found an odd way to refute charges he's not a true conservative, indulging in some class-warfare rhetoric that would have been the envy of the former North Carolina senator.
Mika Brzezinski hit Huckabee with an excerpt from Bob Novak's column of today. Here are the opening paragraphs from Novak's False Conservative:
Who would respond to criticism from the Club for Growth by calling the conservative, free-market campaign organization the "Club for Greed"? That sounds like Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich or John Edwards, all Democrats preaching the class struggle.
As NewsBusters has been reporting, Nobel Laureate Al Gore's recent employment by a Silicon Valley venture capital firm puts him in a fabulous position to turn his estimated $100 million net worth into billions.
Upon further examination of the particulars, Gore's fortunes might rest on the defeat of tax law changes currently proposed by Democrats.
Maybe more delicious, as a former congressman whose voting record shows a proclivity towards higher taxes, this could pit Gore's future earnings potential against his legislative history, especially if he ends up not supporting Democrat efforts to close a tax loophole enjoyed by hedge funds and venture capital firms.
As reported by TheStreet.com Wednesday (emphasis added throughout):
For years one of the great unanswered questions along Main and Wall streets has been why, in the midst of 24 consecutive quarters of uninterrupted growth, polls have regularly found Americans sour about the economy.
On Tuesday, a battle between the New York Times liberal economics columnist Paul Krugman and WOR radio's Steve Malzberg offered a clue.
In fact, after 16 minutes of sparring on subjects from healthcare to the Iraq war, a truly inconvenient truth became evident concerning the left's continued bearishness since the economy emerged from recession in the fourth quarter of 2001: too many folks listen to people like Krugman.
As a perfect illustration of just how separated this man, and anybody who reads him, are from reality, when Malzberg asked Krugman where he'd seek medical treatment if he was really ill, the Times columnist said (16 minute long audio link available here):
Yesterday I noted that the Washington Post's John Wagner virtually cheered Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and the Democratic Maryland General Assembly for its recently-concluded, tax-hiking special legislative session. Well today the hosannas migrated from the front page to the editorial one. The closing paragraphs are rather telling (emphasis mine):
Politically, Mr. O'Malley will have more than higher taxes to show for his gamble. The new revenue will not only close the deficit, it will also help to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, extend health-care coverage to 100,000 lower-income Marylanders, build public schools, and add facilities for state colleges and universities. In addition, and critically, the governor secured about $420 million in fresh annual revenue for transportation, the biggest infusion of new money in 15 years...
Facing a budget shortfall due in large part to overspending in years past, Gov. Martin O'Malley called a special session of the Maryland General Assembly to consider a package of tax hikes and a referendum on legalizing slot machines. Now that the freshman Democratic governor has proven successful in pushing through both, the Washington Post congratulated O'Malley with a front page article replete with pats on the back and attaboys from O'Malley's fellow Democrats. The icing on the cake: a signing ceremony photograph (shown above*) of O'Malley that appears to show him pumping his fist in victory.
Staff writer John Wagner opened his November 20 article with triumphal language that painted O'Malley as a respected statesman:
On Tuesday, "Good Morning America" reporter Bianna Golodryga hyperventilated about high gas prices and highlighted a man who alleged that the cost of fuel is keeping him from going to church and that it could ruin Christmas. Golodryga piled on, suggesting that some Americans would be forced to eat "cheaper foods" such as pasta and peanut butter instead of fruits and vegetables.
Only a few days later, Golodryga, who covers business and economic issues for GMA, proved her journalistic independence by gushing over liberal billionaire Warren Buffet, or "Robin Hood," as she called him. While Golodryga lobbied for holding on to the death tax (or, as she called it, the estate tax), co-host Diane Sawyer rhapsodized over how Buffet is battling "on behalf of fairness in taxes." (The leftist billionaire has claimed recently that he pays less taxes, percentage-wise, than his receptionist.)
What's another $1 trillion here and there among friends - especially when it promotes a leftist agenda?
Throwing around a big number like that obviously isn't a problem for one liberal executive. Woody Tasch, the chairman of Investors' Circle wrote in the November 15 Christian Science Monitor that since we can spend money on Iraq, we can spend $1 trillion over five years for socialist causes.
"Economists project that the cost of the war in Iraq, when all is said and done, will come in at $1 trillion or more," wrote Tasch. "I say: Let's do it again! Let's allocate another trillion dollars - but this time for the good of all humanity and all species. Let's do it with the same moral urgency and vision that has made America great at so many critical junctures in history."
ABC's "Good Morning America" devolved into outright advocacy on Thursday as the morning program openly lobbied for more taxes, misled viewers about how much the wealthy pay and passed off an economic advisor to Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign as an impartial observer. Correspondent Bianna Golodryga filed a report on liberal billionaire Warren Buffett and his assertion that he pays a lower percentage in taxes than his receptionist. GMA co-host Diane Sawyer turned the story into a class warfare campaign as she promised that the show would be battling "on behalf of fairnessin taxes." The host lauded Buffett for taking "your side over taxes and fairness." Additionally, Golodryga fawned over the billionaire for advocating that Congress should retain the estate tax, another leftist position.
At no point in the misleading report did any GMA host or reporter mention a fundamental fact: The wealthy already pay a disproportionately high amount of taxes. According to information just released by the IRS, the top one percent of earners paid 39.4 percent of all federal income taxes. The top five percent pay almost 60 percent of federal taxes. Golodryga did, however, make time to compare Buffett to Robin Hood, complete with an onscreen graphic, and harass other billionaires over the salaries of their receptionists. Sawyer claimed that most of these wealthy individuals were "hiding" and that GMA would call them on "[Buffett's] behalf."
It's hard to overstate the importance of the study released today by the Treasury Department ("Income Mobility in the U.S. from 1996 to 2005"; press release; full study PDF).
That's because it provides documented evidence of more, not less, economic mobility than in previous eras. Beyond that, taken in combination with an independent report I covered last week, it demonstrates beyond any reasonable doubt that the first four-plus years of the Bush economy were exceptional.
Tuesday's read-the-whole-thing feature editorial at OpinionJournal.com provides a great overview (bolds are mine), plus some tantalizing details:
In a move that must be causing Excedrin headaches at the New York Times and other Old Media outlets, USA Today reports that the Wall Street Journal's new owner expects to tear down its subscription wall:
News Corp. (NWS) Chairman Rupert Murdoch said Tuesday he intends to make access to The Wall Street Journal's website free, trading subscription fees for anticipated ad revenue.
"We are studying it and we expect to make that free, and instead of having 1 million (subscribers), having at least 10 million-15 million in every corner of the earth," Murdoch said.
News Corp. has signed an agreement to acquire Dow Jones (DJ), and the deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter. A special shareholders meeting is scheduled for Dec. 13 in New York.
Murdoch said he believes that a free model, with increased readership for wsj.com, will attract "large numbers" of big-spending advertisers.
In an interview with obscure Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul on Sunday’s "Face the Nation," host Bob Schieffer asked the Texas Congressman: "What is it that you see that the government ought to do besides deliver the mail?" This followed Schieffer’s description of Paul’s limited government philosophy:
Well, let me -- I want to just get your take on what you think the government ought to do. You've already said your anti-war. We know you're anti-abortion. You're anti-drug administration. You're anti-Medicare. I wrote all this down. Let's see. You're anti-income tax. You want to do away with that. You're anti-United Nations. You're anti-World Bank. You're anti-International Monetary Fund. And there must be some other things that you're against.
What could be more timely than a study about debt? With all the networks crying about oil prices and threats to the economy, consumers are feeling squeezed. Director of the Business & Media Institute, Dan Gainor appeared on the Fox Business Channel today to talk about the Culture & Media Institute and Business & Media Institute joint study, "DEBT Who'$ responsible?" That found the broadcast networks blame businesses, not borrowers for spendthrift ways.
"When you look at how the networks cover [debt] what you find is they ignore personal responsibility and flip it around and blame business for debt. Six times more they blame business than borrowers and almost two-thirds of the time they ignore the whole concept of personal responsibility," Gainor told viewers.
The Contra Costa Times has given us an interesting new angle to fool the voters into voting for a new gasoline tax in an article titled, "Calling gas tax a 'fee' may help at ballot." In an opinion laced article, the CCTimes is advising politicians to call the tax hike a "fee" instead of a tax to fool the voters into accepting it at the ballot box. Throughout this piece is the obvious assumption by staff writer Erik N. Nelson that the county governments in and around San Francisco are "cash-starved" and that these taxes... oops, I mean fees... are needed because it is important that the governments "look for new funding" for roads and to "curb global warming." Not a hint that these governments have wasted the money they are already confiscating from the citizens, nor any investigation why some of the highest taxes in the country have not been able to satisfy the needs there.
In the November 7 "Washington Post," in an article reporting on the Virginia General Assembly elections, staff writer Tim Craig adopted the liberal terminology of referring to government spending as "investing" as he relayed that Democratic Governor Tim Kaine hopes to get more support for his "agenda to invest more in education, health care, and the environment." The complete text of a similar article using the same line can be found on the Washington Post's Web site here. In the front-page article "Delays in Counting Slow Results in State, Local Races," after summarizing some of the early election results, including the plight of some Republican state senators running for re-election in Democratic-trending districts, the following one-sentence paragraph ran on page A12:
NewsBusters has been reporting for the last several years that in the midst of the media's fascination with global warming alarmism, the financial ramifications of proposed solutions to this potentially nonexistent problem have been almost universally ignored.
In reality, you couldn't completely tell just how controversial this piece was from the opening paragraph, but it ended up being a clever -- albeit delicate -- foreshadowing of seriously inconvenient truths that folks like Nobel Laureate Al Gore and his media sycophants have been immorally withholding from the public (emphasis added throughout):
Talk about talking down the economy! No fewer than three times today, Matt Lauer invited Barack Obama to declare that the U.S. economy is headed into recession. At the end of a "Today" interview that focused largely on Hillary-related issues and Iran, Lauer turned to the economy and pressed Obama to predict the worst.
Back in the days of our MediaWatch newsletter, we used to have a feature called "Revolving Door" to note reporters swapping their jobs for political appointments or political appointees swapping their jobs for reporting gigs. (See the NB Revolving Door topic for more recent updates.) The Minneapolis Star Tribune announced that its editorial writer Dave Hage is leaving "to become communications director for first-term Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. Hage, 52, will take over Klobuchar's fledgling press operation," which has already lost its top press aide. Hage, a Minneapolis native, was an economics correspondent for for U.S. News & World Report magazine in Washington from 1991 to 1995, where he drew our attention as he repeatedly attacked Reaganomics and boosted Clintonomics. So the new Democrat job isn’t a shocker.
From our Notable Quotables in March 1993, the myth that health socialism-pushing Clinton would have a "healthy respect" for free enterprise:
“I know that most people are very fearful of Hillary being elected,” Jim Cramer said to Matthews on the October 29 “Mad Money.”
“Well, they ought to be fearful,” Matthews responded. “Democrats raise taxes and Hillary already said she's going to repeal the Bush tax cuts. The Republicans start this election with their hole card, the ace showing – they’re going to keep taxes lower. That’s always a big plus for Republicans.”
A billionaire and a receptionist walk into an IRS bar. They each order a beer. The IRS bartender charges the receptionist $2.50 and the billionaire $2,260. Who got undercharged? If you're Warren Buffett or Tom Brokaw, the answer is . . . the billionaire.
As NB Editor Brent Baker has noted, the NBC Nightly News "decided Monday night to base a story on a four-year-old contention by a professor that the middle class is worse off now than in the 1970s, followed by a piece promoting Warren Buffett's claim the rich don't pay enough in taxes."
NBC was back at it again this morning, with a "Today" segment featuring Brokaw's interview with Buffett and his gripe that the rich are undertaxed. Brokaw seconded Buffett's notion, introducing the segment this way:
When you're the world's third-richest man, you can break some rules. Warren Buffett, the "Oracle of Omaha," is going after a fundamental injustice he says touches all Americans [cut to clip of Buffett]: the taxation system has tilted toward the rich and away from the middle class in the last 10 years. It's dramatic and I don't think it's appreciated."