James Taranto could be the best columnist around. Every day at his Best of the Web at the Wall Street Journal online, Taranto turns out an original, often unconventional, conservative take on the news, regularly managing to leaven the message with humor.
Rush today rightly extolled Taranto's column of yesterday, in which he made the point that there is a vast, inherent difference between private and public sector unions. In the former case, unions are negotiating against corporate interests. In the latter, unions are, by definition, organizing against the interests of the public itself.
Surely even Cenk Uygur understands this. So when Cenk suggests, as he did on his MSNBC show this evening, that without unions public employees would be "at the mercy" of "corporate executives," it seems fair to accuse him of . . . fraud.
On the February 22 edition of "American Morning," CNN's Carol Costello framed the ongoing budget debate in Wisconsin as a struggle between embattled middle class workers and corporatist Republicans with ulterior motives, parroting SEIU President Mary Kay Henry to warn viewers that "corporate America is about to win big time."
"Henry says corporate America save themselves money in wages by lining the pockets of Republicans running for statewide offices," regurgitated Costello. "According to followthemoney.org, in the 2009-2010 election cycle, business interests donated $878 million to candidates running for governor and other statewide offices across the country, that includes hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations for Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin and John Kasich of Ohio."
While those figures are not in dispute, Costello failed to hold Democrats and their Big Labor financiers to a similar standard: "And Democrats say there is another reason Republicans want to gut unions. Organized labor donates hundreds of millions of dollars to candidates like Barack Obama. So if you weaken the unions, you weaken a traditional moneyed supporter of the Democratic Party."
On Tuesday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Michelle Miller reported on planned closures of 2,000 U.S. Post Office locations: "...in this age of digital communications, online bill paying, and Federal Express, are physical post offices still relevant?" She seemed to answer her own question: "Folks are not going to let this go down without a fight...It's what makes their community whole."
During her report, Miller explained how the government subsidized organization had "a record deficit this year of $8.5 billion, the Postal Service loses a staggering $23 million a day and is facing a growing number of problems." Even so, she played on the emotions of viewers, interviewing an elderly New Jersey man named Harold Schutzman, who explained: "[I] got a friend there at the desk, Gary. I can't get into the paying by e-mail."
Ed Schultz on Tuesday spent a great deal of time blaming the crisis in Egypt on rising food prices tying commodity inflation to former President George H.W. Bush and Wall Street speculators.
Not once in over fifteen minutes of air time were the name Bill Clinton or the two bills he signed into law that deregulated the financial services and commodity futures industries mentioned (videos follow with partial transcripts and commentary):
Since its inception, NewsBusters has informed readers of the tendency of liberal media members to completely make up economic data when it fits their agenda.
Not surprisingly, this happened on Friday's "Real Time" when host Bill Maher brought up Reaganomics and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow proudly told - she even stood up to tell this whopper! - a 100 percent falsehood about income gains during that era (video follows with transcript and commentary):
For Chrystia Freeland, the thought of only taxing wealthy estates 35 percent is "destructive to the fabric of America." The Reuters global editor-at-large went on a ear-piercing tear this afternoon on MSNBC's "Dylan Ratigan Show," stoking the flames of class warfare.
"[The wealthy] were just born–it's the lucky sperm club, right?" screeched Freeland. "I don't think American wealth should be determined by that."
Politics Daily contributor Matt Lewis, for his part, tried to maintain a civil discourse, but Freeland repeatedly interrupted him to interject her inflammatory rhetoric.
"I thought the philosophy was against a landed gentry," asserted an indignant Freeland. "I thought the philosophy was against an aristocracy. I thought the American way was you build it yourself and everyone was born equal."
The Wall Street Journal can't seem to decide whether Sarah Palin is knowledgable on monetary policy or not.
WSJ reporter Sudeep Reddy criticized Palin's "inflation hyperbole" in an article Tuesday, claiming that, contrary to Palin's claims, "Grocery prices haven’t risen all that significantly."
"Do Wall Street Journal reporters read the Wall Street Journal?" Palin shot back in a Facebook post, noting that the Journal itself had raised concerns about grocery prices mere days ago. "An inflationary tide is beginning to ripple through America's supermarkets and restaurants," an article claimed on Thursday.
One of the more egregious results of the Democrat-controlled Congress skipping town without passing a budget, thus failing to address the issue of whether scheduled income tax increases will really go into effect for everyone, the highest income-earners, or no one at all, is that the Internal Revenue Service and employers have been left in the lurch with no idea of how to prepare for next year. As I understand it, at a minimum this is the first time in a very long time that something like this has occurred, and it may be unprecedented.
The issue is getting a half-decent amount of play in the business press, but as a general news item, it's going almost nowhere, even though some employers are already telling employees they will have to withhold more starting on January 1, 2011 if no action is taken in Washington.
At the Associated Press's main web site, the one story about the withholding issue written by Andrew Taylor that went up early this morning plays a shady game of "Y'know, it really won't be all that bad if the increases are only in effect during the early part of next year." See if you can detect what I'm referring to in the following excerpt:
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."
So we’re back to this again? We’re 21 days out of the midterm elections and the media are back looking to capitalize on anti-Wall Street sentiments.
On the Oct. 13 broadcast of NBC’s “Today,” host Matt Lauer referenced an Oct. 12 Wall Street Journal report to his guest, CNBC’s Jim Cramer, about Wall Street pay hitting a record $144 billion. Lauer, of course, just looked at the headline without examining exactly why pay on Wall Street reached that level. (The Journal cites “firms, benefiting from low interest rates and strong international markets” as a reason.) Instead Lauer argued that executives were somehow solely responsible for the financial collapse – not the irresponsible borrowers and asleep-at-the-wheel regulators – and therefore not entitled to such pay.
“Well you see, bubble’s a complicated term because a bubble to me implies that you’re never going to get your money back,” Cramer said. “People say that there's bubble in bonds – you will get money back just you may not do that well. Bubble in Chinese real estate – entirely possible. The Chinese economy is a growth economy and can sustain a bubble in one area and not others. The gold bubble is what people talk about. They talk about it when gold’s down for a given day but -- I think as our resident gold expert, I mean you could tell us – finding costs have gone up. There’s just not a lot around.”
Perhaps it was just a publicity stunt for his impending MSNBC show, but Lawrence O'Donnell went Crazy Larry on Morning Joe today. The lefty host of The Last Word unleashed on an unlikely target: AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka.
What ignited Larry's tirade was Trumka's professed concern for the contract-negotiations plight of professional football players. O'Donnell was outraged that the union honcho was spending his time on the millionaires of the NFL rather than workers such as miners who merit more concern. Sample lines: "Exactly how many minutes of your day do you spend worrying about $15-million football players? Is this the biggest waste of your attention that could possibly come your way? Is it embarrassing for you to have to talk about these guys?"
As the not-so "recovery summer" draws to an end, many are scratching heads, wondering what it will take for the economy to pull out of this recession.
According to Maria Bartiromo, host of CNBC's "Closing Bell," it will be political change in Washington, D.C. In an appearance on NBC's Sept. 7 "Today," she said the best stimulus would be a Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
"This is probably the single most important catalyst for the stock market right now," Bartiromo said. "I think that the perception of confidence, the perception that perhaps we won't see tremendous change in terms of higher expenses in 2011 if we were to see the Republicans gain control of the House, it will probably be a positive for the stock market.
Want to see a textbook example of how the left has tried to frame the debate against extending the Bush tax cuts? Take a look at Cenk Uygur, of "The Young Turks" fame, playing the class warfare/populism card.
On MSNBC's Aug. 17 broadcast of "The Dylan Ratigan Show," Uygur was up in arms over the argument that taxes shouldn't be raised by allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire. He alluded to Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, who made the case in 2007 that the wealthy should give more to society.
"Look at what Warren Buffett said," Uygur said. "He's talking to 400 wealthy donors and he says, ‘Look, the 400 of us pay a lower part of our income in taxes than the receptionists do, than our cleaning ladies do. For that matter, if you're in the luckiest 1 percent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 percent.'"
And Buffett has been a long-time advocate of higher tax rates - something easy to be for when you're one of the richest men in the world. However, Uygur says it's not good enough for Buffett to be charitable. According to Uygur, this "giving" must come in the form of "mandatory" higher taxes.
In late July, NB Contributing Editor Tom Blumer busted the Associated Press for neglecting to mention the party affiliations of scandal-plagued officials in Bell, California. The AP piece was one of hundreds of reports on the scandal. Of those hundreds, one solitary report mentioned party labels for the five officials.
Can you guess which party they belong to? I'll bet you can.
The only news outlet that mentioned the officials were Democrats was the Orange County Register. And even that paper noted the absence of party labels only in response to reader complaints. "Our readers noticed one part of the story has been left out by virtually all media sources," the paper's editorial board wrote. "All five council members are members of the Democratic Party."
The most prominent of the officials in question, former Bell city manager Robert Rizzo, resigned after it came to light that he was making $1.5 million per year - in a town with a per capita income languishing at about half the national average.
Ed Schultz on Thursday blamed Republicans for all the unemployed people living in America today.
As he began the most recent installment of the "Ed Show" on MSNBC, the host said, "The Republican Party has been on a crusade against the middle class and the poor for the last 30 years. We're now seeing the wreckage of that race to the bottom line culture."
He disgracefully continued, "Today a government report showed weekly jobless claims at a five-month high. 484,000 new unemployment claims were filed in the week ending August 7th. And you know what folks, you can lay this right at the feet, right at the altar of the Republican Party."
Sadly, he wasn't close to done, claiming, "The people you see flooding the streets begging for help, begging for an opportunity are victims of the Republican agenda just to make sure that President Obama fails" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
While ABC and NBC ignored a Monday USA Today report that found a significant gap in compensation between public and private sector employees, on Tuesday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Sharyl Attkisson provided a full story: "While many Americans have suffered pay cuts or job losses, one group is bucking the trend – federal workers."
Attkisson described how the "analysis finds that federal employees have gotten bigger pay and benefit increases than private employees for nine years straight." She cited numbers from the report: "Federal salaries have grown 33% faster than inflation. Their pay and benefits average $123,000, up 37% since 2000. Private workers average $61,000, up just 8.8% over the same time."
In addition, Attkisson included a sound bite from Cato Institute budget analyst Tad Dehaven: "So you have Wall Street, you have big oil, and now you have federal civilians." She went to note: "And the bonuses are flowing. CBS News has learned your tax dollars funded $95.8 million in airport security TSA bonuses last year. A $35,000 bonus to the head of the agency."
As media predictably pound the table for Congress to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire, an interesting analysis by Washington Post contributor Robert J. Samuelson should raise a caution flag.
Higher taxes inhibit couples from having children which in other developed nations has led to longterm economic paralysis.
In a western civilization that got drunk on entitlement programs in the previous century, population growth is essential as all of these schemes have a Ponzi component to them: they only work if you continually have new people entering the system to pay for those collecting benefits.
As Samuelson outlined in the Post Monday, our federal income tax structure is quite at odds with our best interests as a nation:
In liberal reporters' minds, the "more perfect union" referenced in the Preamble to the Constitution is a more perfect labor union.
In an August 6 ABCNews.com story about pay raises for the middle class, reporter Ray Sanchez found a few reasons for "median wage stagnation" including the decline of organized labor. He also cited a common liberal talking point -- the "erosion" of the minimum wage.
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.
Gold has been a highly valued commodity going at least as far back as the ancient Egyptian culture in 2600 BC. But now, with economic instability and uncertainty over the health of major global currencies, the demand for gold has risen as a store of value and a hedge against inflation.
Over the past 12 months, the price of gold has gone up dramatically - up 25 percent from July 2009 (from $929 per ounce to $1,163 per ounce, after reaching a high of $1,250 per ounce). That has outperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) on a percentage basis.
On Thursday’s Joy Behar Show on HLN, host Behar seemed to suggest that seeing poor whites might make Republicans more compassionate toward the poor as she hosted filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi to talk about her upcoming HBO documentary on the homeless who live in Orange County, California. Behar asked Pelosi – daughter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – if the reason she interviewed only whites for her film was to "make more of an impact" on Republicans:
JOY BEHAR: Did you deliberately only interview white families?
ALEXANDRA PELOSI: Well, they just happened to be at the school where I was interviewing, that`s who was there.
BEHAR: I`m only asking that because maybe you felt that that would make more of an impact on Republican congressmen and people who tend to, you know, veto any kind of help for people on the, you know, because the, oh, you know what I`m saying.
Pelosi later blamed the existence of the homeless problem in Orange County on Disneyland for not pushing the government to build more public housing:
Leave it to Dylan Ratigan, one of the star personalities at MSNBC who seems to be constantly looking for a reason to be angry.
On his July 12 show, Ratigan posed his view on how trade between China and the United States operates. According to Ratigan, importing products where labor costs are significantly lower is akin to slavery. He specifically named Foxconn, a company that manufactures iPhones and iPads for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). (h/t @KenShepherd)
"Do you want to get raw?" Ratigan said. "Let's say that the American people happily, logically apathetic are perfectly happy basically with a slave culture of illegals and outsourced slaves in China making iPhones at Foxconn and that for as much as we talk about the liberation of the slaves and we like to pat ourselves on the back for the Civil War - got a big statue of Abe Lincoln. All we've really done is alter the color of some our slaves and moved them to other countries. Is that too extreme on my part, Matt?"
If you were African-American living in the era of President Barack Obama, would you hate the Fourth of July because it reminded you of slavery and economic inequality?
You would if your name was Julianne Malveaux and you were the syndicated columnist that also serves as the president of Bennett College, the historically black women's school in Greensboro, North Carolina.
So disdainful of America's most-revered national holiday is Malveaux that she admitted in her July 2 USA Today op-ed, "I have never been big on the Fourth of July. Most years, I took great pleasure in reading the powerful Frederick Douglass speech, 'The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro.'"
Though written in 1852, this college president actually sees relevance to modern day America in these words:
Paul Krugman is known for throwing a bomb or two from his platform in the New York Times, but it's really tough to take him for a violent fellow.
In his July 2 blog post, "I'm Gonna Haul Out The Next Guy Who Calls Me ‘Crude' And Punch Him In the Kisser," Krugman lamented criticism of his support for more stimulus spending. A July 1 editorial in The Economist noted that the economy needs more private spending, not more government spending.
"Mr Krugman's crude Keynesianism underplays the link between firms' and households' behaviour and their expectations of future tax and spending policy," the editorial said. "For example, firms across the rich world are hoarding cash. Their reluctance to invest may have more to do with regulatory, financial and fiscal uncertainty than weak consumer demand (see article). If governments address those worries, businesspeople may start spending."
In an article published yesterday afternoon, CNBC news associate Joseph Pisani took note of something the rest of the media mostly hasn't, or at least hasn't highlighted: the terrible job market for teenagers. The headline and text indicate that this is the worst such market in 41 years. That's true, based on the stat Pisani presented. But barring a near miracle in the next three months, in terms of the stat that matters most, the unemployment rate, it's the worst ever.
Give the CNBC reporter props for doing something almost no other journalist has done, which is to use the not seasonally adjusted (NSA) employment numbers as his factual source. As I have discussed several times, including here, the reported NSA numbers represent the government's best estimate of what really happened in a given month, while the seasonally adjusted (SA) numbers published (and appropriately labeled) by the government and reported (but usually not labeled) by the press represent the result after smoothing out seasonal fluctuations.
A far-left Democratic congressman is accusing conservative commentators of improperly -- perhaps illegally -- conspiring with advertisers to shill for their products under the guise of political opinion. The accusers, however, conveniently ignore liberal commentators that do virtually the same thing, only on a far larger scale.
Rep. Anthony Weiner released a report yesterday alleging that Goldline "has formed an unholy alliance with conservative pundits to drive a false narrative and play off public fears in order to sell its products," according to a release. Under "conservative pundits," read the Fox News Channel, and specifically Glenn Beck.
Weiner has this far neglected to criticize Fox's cable news competitor MSNBC and its parent network, which consistently shill for policies that would dramatically enrich their parent company, General Electric. GE's communications arm consistently further's Weiner's own political agenda, so a double standard seems to be afoot in his failure to call NBC out on its colossal conflict on interest.
Could the New York Times not find an outspoken critic of the Senate's new Cap and Trade bill? Either one could not be found, or they opted not to include such a critic in the paper's report on the unveiling of the legislation.
The Times devoted 21 paragraphs to the new Kerry-Lieberman Cap and Trade bill -- proposed on Wednesday -- but did not even mention an actual critic of the legislation until the very last sentence of the story. Right after it noted that hardcore environmentalists think "the bill did not go far enough and offered too many concessions to win industry support," the Times quoted the Chamber of Commerce, which thinks the bill is a " 'work in progress' and may prove too costly to business."
Of course the Times needn't go further than President Obama himself to find a person who thinks a Cap and Trade plan will make electricity rates "necessarily skyrocket." The Times did note that energy companies could "pass along" higher costs to consumers, but gave no voice to critics or details of the criticism.
A $787-billion stimulus. Liabilities of $356 billion for the TARP bailout on the federal government's balance sheet. And that's in addition to other unfunded liabilities from federal entitlements like ObamaCare, Medicare, and Social Security.
But that doesn't mean the U.S. is heading down the path toward socialism because they were one-time expenditures, according to CNBC senior economics reporter Steve Liesman.
On CNBC's "Squawk Box" April 29, as jobless claims for the week was being released on the floor of the CME Group in Chicago, co-host Joe Kernen asked for Liesman's opinion.