Liberal Democratic strategists reading today's Washington Post are probably taking notes, preparing talking points for a future which may hold a Republican Congress in the cards.
"British women to bear budget pain" cried the page A6 headline. "Report says austerity plan mostly cuts into women's livelihoods," added the subheader for London-based Post staffer Anthony Faiola's story.
Faiola noted that "[t]he Fawcett Society, a leading women's rights group here, filed an unprecedented complaint with the nation's high court this month, arguing that the government failed to consider the effect on women of its leaner 'emergency budget.'"
At no point did Faiola find a critic to allege that the social welfare system in Britain itself was "sexist" or at least that it victimizes poor Britons, particularly women, by creating a culture of dependency on the state.
Those who don't believe that high taxes on the rich don't influence economic activity or economic behavior, which of course includes many in the establishment press, are going to have a tough time explaining away this brief item that's being reported in the Associated Press:
Tour officials hampered by UK tax rules
European Tour officials are in talks with the British government over tax rules which they say could deter leading golfers from playing in the Ryder Cup in October.
Players competing in the match between Europe and the United States at Celtic Manor, Wales, could be seriously affected by new rules issued by the customs and revenue agency, which can now tax foreign sportsmen and women not just on prize money earned but on sponsorship and endorsements.
Mitchell Platts, the European Tour's director of public relations corporate affairs, said Tuesday the tax rule was "seriously hampering our efforts."
Great Britain has a new coalition government of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, and what a mess it is as they face is the largest budget deficit in Europe. Where, oh where, will they cut the budget? Horror of horrors, one obvious target is funding for the arts “in the land of Shakespeare.” When the the Empire is so broke National Health Service is refusing people hip replacements, it's probably not a good idea to suggest it's more important to fund the ballet.
Especially when the government-bankrolled ballet is “The Spirit of Diaghilev.”
Anthony Faiola of The Washington Post reports the usual line we hear in America about arts funding, that taxpayer monies provide artists with “independence,” and all that blather. But then he quite seriously maintains that government is a “beacon for controversial pieces, such as one staged last year at Sadlers Wells in which” – are you ready for this? – “the pope sexually abuses an altar boy through an interpretive dance.”
Travel writer and public television personality Rick Steves lauded Europeans's "more relaxed" attitude about nudity in public and on television while labeling Americans "overly prudish" by comparison in a Tuesday column on CNN.com: "I like a continent where the human body is considered a divine work of art worth admiring openly."
Steves's ode to European nudity began six paragraphs into the column, "European nudes and American prudes," after he gave a detailed sketch of his 1978 experience at a Turkish bath: "Any traveler to Europe who's visited a bath, perused a newsstand, hung out at a beach or park on a sunny day, or channel-surfed broadcast TV late at night has noticed that Europeans are more relaxed than Americans about nudity."
The writer, who, back in 2003, feared that the American flag was being "hijacked" as a "logo" for support of the war in Iraq, then spent several paragraphs describing how widespread this practice is on the European continent and how apparently great it is (including his "overly prudish" label about Americans):
Antonia Senior of The Times of London revealed her extremist position in favor of abortion in a June 30 column. Senior bluntly admitted that the intentional killing of the unborn was a cause she would be willing to die for, and while acknowledging it was "taking a life," she labeled it was a "lesser evil," for, in her view, "you cannot separate women's rights from their right to fertility control."
The British journalist, is the personal finance editor for The Times, began her column with outlining the extent to which abortion is a core issue for her. Senior noted that in the Tower of London, there's an "interactive display that ask visitors to vote on whether they would die for a cause." After eliminating dolphins and even her own country of England as potential choices, she continued that she "could think of one cause I would stake my life on: a woman's right to be educated, to have a life beyond the home and to be allowed by law and custom to order her own life as she chooses. And that includes complete control over her own fertility."
Overall, the news media have been supportive of the Obama's spending requests, a trend some continued in reports about the summit.
An "American Morning" segment painted a flattering picture of Obama at the G-20 summit by ignoring the "rift" between Obama's push for more stimulus and Europe's desire to slash budgets. Christine Romans made it sound as if everyone came to an agreement.
For the second day in a row, French President Nicolas Sarkozy shared the blame for France's surprising loss in the opening round of soccer's World Cup -- in a story in the New York Times's news section.
Jere Longman's Wednesday front-page story transmitted rants from Socialist Party opponents of the right-leaning, Bush-supporting Sarkozy, accusing him of being "President Bling Bling" and promoting a national "selfishness" that seeped into the players' psyches.
While most politicians have talked carefully of values and patriotism, rather than immigration and race, some legislators blasted the players as "scum," "little troublemakers" and "guys with chickpeas in their heads instead of a brain," according to news reports.
Fadela Amara, the junior minister for the racially charged suburbs who was born to Algerian parents, warned on Tuesday that the reaction to the team's loss had become racially charged.
"There is a tendency to ethnicize what has happened," she told a gathering of President Nicolas Sarkozy's governing party, according to news reports. "Everyone condemns the lower-class neighborhoods. People doubt that those of immigrant backgrounds are capable of respecting the nation."
She criticized Mr. Sarkozy's handling of a debate on "national identity," warning that "all democrats and all republicans will be lost" in this ethnically tinged criticism about Les Bleus, the French team. "We're building a highway for the National Front," she said, in a reference to the far-right, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim party founded by Jean-Marie Le Pen.
Sometimes even the seemingly most unreasonable characters as far public policy goes can be reasoned with if the circumstances are right. Just sometimes it takes someone like Steve Forbes to pull it off.
"Well, when you engage in binge spending and the idea that going to revive an economy, you just get in a spiral on that," Forbes explained. "In terms of countries like Greece what should be done, in addition to the necessary austerity, is they haven't put in place policies, Joe that we did in the early '80s that enabled this country to get back on its feet.
Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds employed sarcastic irony this morning when he wrote that "Obama’s hate speech is promoting violence against BP." Well, it's at least clear that the blame game out of Washington isn't helping the situation.
Reynolds is referring to a report from TV station WREG in Memphis about an incident involving property damage at a local BP station, and other instances that have occurred in other parts of the country (video is at the link):
Bullets Shatter Glass at BP Gas Station
(Southaven, MS) -- Windows at the BP Gas Station on Highway 51 at Custer Drive were shot out overnight. Folks who work at the store believe the suspects were expressing anger over BP and how it's handling the oil spill.
"I believe that would be the reason," said Alex Saleh. "We don't have any enemies." He said nothing was taken from the store after the windows were destroyed.
Obviously, blaming former President George W. Bush is en vogue - for everything from the BP oil spill to the current economic malaise. But some things that are going wrong in the world - it just seems to be a bit of a stretch to pin on a former administration.
But that didn't stop CNN's Fareed Zakaria, also the editor of Newsweek International. On his June 6 show "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Zakaria pointed out the pivotal role Turkey played in last week's deadly Gaza flotilla raid.
"Turkey was also playing a new and potentially dangerous game here," Zakaria said. "Despite being physically and historically connected to Europe, Turkey is increasingly playing a role that distances itself from those roots. Once a strong U.S. ally, a founding member of NATO, Turkey now often looks more like a troublemaker than a friend."
The New York Times's former Middle East Bureau Chief thinks violent revolt is a laudable response to economic woes, and that murder is at least acceptable in pursuit of a far-left agenda. The media so concerned with the potential for violence from conservative groups are completely silent.
"Here’s to the Greeks," wrote Chris Hedges at Truthdig.com. "They know what to do when corporations pillage and loot their country." Riot, by Hedges's account, is the correct response. That the riots in Greece have so far killed three innocent people doesn't seem to bother him.
Oh but it's not violence borne of a frustration with an unsustainable welfare state that finally reached the inevitable conclusion of skyrocketing public benefits coupled with a fast-shrinking population. No, the riots are "a struggle for liberation" against the oppressive bourgeoisie (capitalists). Hedges is advocating in no vague terms mass political violence. The response from the media: crickets.
In prepared remarks he gave to the European Union, Vice President Joe Biden advocated for Brussels to be considered the capital of the free world. Is European Exceptionalism becoming an official policy of the Obama administration?:
On Tuesday’s Larry King Live on CNN, a pre-recorded interview with Mick Jagger was shown in which the English musician talked about his decision to leave his home country in the 1970s to escape the 90 percent marginal tax rates of the time on high-income earners. After noting that he had made bad financial decisions in his earlier days of success, he recounted: "We had to leave England to acquire enough money to pay the taxes because in those days, in England, the high tax rate was 90 percent, so that's very hard. ... You made 100 pounds, they took 90. So it was very difficult to pay any debts back. So when we left the country, we would get more than the 10 pounds out of 100. You know, we might get 50 or something."
After King asked if he was "held in low regard in your mother country for leaving it," Jagger explained that, unlike in America, successful people are "resented" in most countries, including England:
Talking with CNBC's Jim Cramer on the May 6 "Hardball" about the Greek fiscal crisis, everyone's favorite MSNBCer blamed "right-wing" dictators from the Cold War era for financial troubles in Greece, Portugal, and Spain [MP3 audio available here]:
I'm a political guy, you're a money guy. Let's crosswalk this thing. It seems to me that you and I grew up with the fact there were dictatorships in Europe. They were in the Iberian peninsula and in Greece. You had Franco, who overstayed the Second World War a bit, by about two generations. You had Salazar in Portugal, and of course you had the Greek colonels.
The right-wing governments in Europe seem to be the ones that are most precarious right now: Greece, Portugal, Spain.
What's the connection? Is this a complete coincidence, or is it old-line right-wing politics that never quite stabilized into serious social democratic countries? What happened?
The European Union and the International Monetary Fund to the rescue! The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) soars and investors breathe a sign of relief. But where's this $1 trillion in bailout funds for Greece coming from?
"On one thing, Rick - because you started the whole thing where you said, ‘Are you listening, President Obama?' about paying for your neighbor's mortgage," Kernen said. "Are you, could you really tell the American taxpayer, you can connect the dots between them and Greece? I mean are they paying for some lavish benefits in Greece right now?"
On Thursday's Morning Joe, NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell appeared and seemed to agree with Britain's Prime Minister that a voter he met was a bigot. Discussing Gordon Brown's April 28 comments, which were caught on a live mic, Mitchell defended, "And what he said is not actually that offensive...I mean, it was an honest opinion." [Audio available here.]
Even the fellow panel members on the mostly liberal MSNBC seemed shocked. Guest Sam Stein of the left-wing Huffington Post recoiled, "Really? To call her bigoted?"
Mitchell repeated her charge: "Well, she was decrying immigration and in a lot of people's views, that is a bigoted stand." Fill-in host Savannah Guthrie didn't seem to agree, asserting that this wasn't something you do "when you're trying to reach out to the working class."
The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
CNN's Rick Sanchez named me and NewsBusters to "the very top" of his daily 'List That U Don't Want 2 Be On' on his Rick's List show on Monday. Sanchez criticized me for apparently not being able to tell he was "joking" during a segment on April 15 where he stated that "you think it's too cold to have a volcano" in Iceland [audio available here].
I have been monitoring the anchor since September 2007, before he landed his regular weekday gig on CNN. It actually isn't the first time he recognized my criticism of him. On November 12, 2008, Sanchez actually complimented NewsBusters on air: "...[T]he NewsBusters website, which constantly monitors this show -- and we're glad that they do -- questioned my conversation- criticized it with Neal Boortz. In particular, our suggestion that the GOP needs to remain adamantly anti-abortion, to try and keep the Southern vote." However, Monday was the first time that Sanchez mentioned me by name on the air.
Watch the latest business video at &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;a href=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;http://video.foxbusiness.com/&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;video.foxbusiness.com&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;It is virtually impossible to separate economics from politics, and politics from a society's culture - but is economics inherently intertwined with religion as well?
Fox Business Network (FBN) anchor Stuart Varney thinks so. On FBN's April 14 broadcast of "Varney & Co." Father Jonathan Morris joined the show's panel and explored the question.
"Do you think that Europe's paganism - it's turn away from Christianity - has anything to do with Europe's economic decline?" Varney bluntly asked the priest. "Can you link this secularism - what I call ‘paganism' in Europe- directly to economic decline?"
"Certainly Europe is much more secular than the United States, and all of a sudden you lose hope," Morrison said. "If you lose hope in what life is all about, you're not going to work very hard. On the other hand, if you have hope that what I'm doing today matters tomorrow - and I'm building a life and I'm building my family and we're going places - and there's something beyond this life? You're going to be hopeful, you're going to make money - you're going to build the culture of life and goodness."
On Thursday's Rick's List, CNN's Rick Sanchez again demonstrated his lack of knowledge of basic science, again related to geology. As he covered the volcanic eruption in Iceland which has disrupted thousands of airplane flights across Europe, he commented that "when you think of a volcano, you think of Hawaii and long words like that. You don't think of Iceland. You think it's too cold to have a volcano there" [audio available here; alternate video link here].
The anchor, who asked on-air, "By the way, nine meters in English is?" after the massive earthquake in Chile on February 27, directed his "too cold" remark to CNN on-air meteorologist Chad Myers, who also reports on other science-related stories. Myers didn't get into details of plate tectonics as footage of the volcano played on-screen, but explained that "a plume of ash [was] coming out of the top of [a] volcano, going straight up."
Sanchez then asked about one of the details in the video: "What's that white stuff though? It looks like clouds." The meteorologist replied, "That's just a cloud....The volcano is going off, but there's just regular weather happening underneath it. This thing is going tens of thousands of feet in the sky, and it is going right into the flight path of an awful lot of airplanes."
The network morning shows on Thursday trumpeted Barack Obama's nuclear weapons treaty with Russia as "historic" and "landmark," with only Good Morning America allowing that the reduction plan could be "controversial." However, ABC's George Stephanopoulos also enthused, "But, [Obama and Russia's President] are here first and foremost to make history..."
Reporting live from Prague, Stephanopoulos was mostly light on details. He did explain that the treaty's goal is to cut "nuclear arsenals by about 30 percent over the next seven years." And while the ex-Democratic aide allowed that "critics call [the treaty] utopian and dangerous," he didn't explain why.
Co-host Robin Roberts announced, "George Stephanopoulos is there in Prague for the historic moment." She later teased, "George is traveling, of course, with the President, who just signed a landmark treaty."
Of the three network morning shows, only Good Morning America has highlighted conservative outrage over Barack Obama's decision to limit the situations in which the America can use nuclear weapons. CBS's Early Show has mostly ignored the development.
On Wednesday's Today, reporter Mike Viqueira enthused, "...It was Prague about a year ago when the President made a speech outlining his vision for a world with no nuclear weapons. Well this is a start in the right direction."
On GMA, Jake Tapper alerted, "The pledge fueled conservative outrage across the air waves." He then played a clip of Rudy Giuliani and one of Rush Limbaugh slamming the President for "announcing to every regime out there, under circumstances they can nuke us."
The Associated Press was the only American major media organization (as of 4 pm Eastern on Friday) that picked up on a March 31 altercation in the world-famous Catholic cathedral in Cordoba, Spain (at right, taken from The Builder blog), where over 100 Muslims responded with violence after security guards ordered them to stop praying inside the building, which once served as a mosque. Two of the guards were seriously injured.
The UK's Guardian reported about the incident in an April 1 article. Correspondent Giles Tremlett noted that "half a dozen members of a group of more than 100 Muslims from Austria had started praying...when security guards ordered them to stop....Cathedral authorities said the guards had invited the visitors to continue viewing the inside of a 24,000 sq metre building...but without praying. 'They replied by attacking the security guards, two of whom suffered serious injuries," the bishop's office said.'" The statement from Bishop Demetrio Fernández's office stated the Muslims "provoked in a pre-planned fashion what was a deplorable episode of violence."
CNN's Anderson Cooper brought on anti-Catholic singer Sinead O'Connor on his program on Friday to discuss the Church sex scandal. Unsurprisingly, O'Connor, who infamously tore up a picture of then-Pope John Paul II on Saturday Night Live in 1992, has engaged in lesbian relationships, and went on to be "ordained" in a schismatic dissident church, spent much of the interview blasting Pope Benedict XVI.
The anchor aired the first part of his interview with O'Connor 15 minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour. Cooper never brought up the celebrity's open dissent with Church teaching and practice during the interview, and only referred to her as a "singer." In his first question to his guest, he referenced her recent Washington Post column (in it, she actually urged her fellow Irish to stop attending Mass, but Cooper never raised this controversial proposal): "Sinead, in The Washington Post, you talk about this letter of apology that Pope Benedict wrote to the people of Ireland, and you say the letter is an insult to the people of Ireland. Why?"
Here's a story you might not be aware of what with all the media's focus on ObamaCare's passage and the MSM's short attention span when it comes to international news.
Yesterday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy decided to back down from a July deadline to pass a carbon dioxide tax into law. Apparently French business leaders had voiced strong objection, noting that it would put French business at a strong disadvantage with its European competitors.
Surely this story would never escape the notion of that great newspaper of record, the New York Times, which prides itself on publishing “All the news that’s fit to print.”
But alas, the print edition of the March 24 Times failed to include even a brief wire service item on the story, even though it published six pages worth of international news in the A-section in addition to three A-section front-page stories with international implications.
For almost a decade, American news readers have been presented with a litany of complaints from Old Europe regarding how the barbaric United States has surrendered its moral authority by introducing terror into the minds of suspected terrorists during interrogations. Even sleep deprivation and the playing of loud pop music have caused conniptions with these tender folk.
So how are we to greet the French "reality show" suggesting people would be willing to apply fatal jolts of electricity just to get on television? Should we despair at the willingness of human guinea pigs to commit torture on others? Or should we condemn the producers for exploiting an old social-science experiment using maximum sensationalism in front of a studio audience?
The gubernatorial race in Illinois is heating up. Conservative Republican candidate Adam Andrzejewski has, according to some reports, surged from relative obscurity to within 2 points of the lead for the GOP nomination. And last week Andrzejewski was endorsed by Lech Walesa, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and former President of Poland.
If you live in the Chicago area, however, may be unaware that such an important historical and political figure was just in your town, endorsing a candidate for governor of your state. The only local television coverage the endorsement event received was from Chicago's ABC News station, which showed Walesa and Andrzejewski on stage while covering a Tea Party rally at the event, but never even mentioned the former president by name (see video below the fold).
The only print coverage in local newspapers the event garnered was from the Tribune, which ran a 113-word AP story, and the Sun-Times, which mentioned Walesa in a 2-sentence caption, right below a blurb headlined "Family of boy found hanged sues schools" and above one headlined "New Schools Expo today". So the latter paper decided the death of a child in a local suburb was more important than a political endorsement from a man at least partially responsible for the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe. The former decided it couldn't spare a reporter for such a monumental figure (h/t Founding Bloggers and Race 4 2012).
Certainly there's enough domestic adoration of Barack Obama. A year of consistent failure has done little to diminish Obama's support among the mainstream media, Hollywood celebrities, and academics. Overseas, the fascination with Obama also continues. Associated Press writer Kirsten Grieshaber reports "Obama musical set to open in Germany." The article begins:
A musical about Barack Obama's "Yes we can" election campaign premieres in Germany this weekend, including love songs by the president to his wife Michelle and duets with Hillary Clinton. . .
In all, 30 singers, actors and dancers are to perform in the musical "Hope - the Obama Musical Story" when it opens at the Jahrhunderthalle concert hall in Frankfurt in a bilingual mix of English and German. The audience may recognize that many songs quote from the politicians' stump speeches during the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign.
The venue for the premiere seems appropriate since the optimism of Obamania remains largely intact in Germany, about a year after Obama, an accomplished public speaker, became America's first black president.
On Saturday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Jeff Glor teased an upcoming story on Switzerland’s health care system by wondering: "Could Switzerland’s health care be a model for America?" He later introduced the segment by claiming that the Swiss system could be "a glimpse of what the U.S. health care system of the future might look like."
Correspondent Richard Roth touted the Swiss "love of capitalism," but then went on to praise their socialized health care system: "The law, finally approved in a 1994 national referendum, guaranteed health care for everyone by requiring everyone to have insurance....They choose their own doctors and their own insurance company, and the whole country is covered....Switzerland devised a health care system that’s been praised as efficient and neutral. Basic insurance is the same price for everyone."
Roth did manage to find one flaw: "...it’s turned out to be expensive....No one goes broke from getting sick, but health care’s cost to the economy here is higher than anywhere except the U.S." However, as he talked to the Swiss director of the Federal Office of Public Health, Thomas Zeltner, Roth described the problem this way: "What you built here was a Rolex, and really, perhaps, you should have made a Timex." Zeltner replied: "It is a Rolex. You’re right. It should not just look like a Rolex, but also work like a Rolex." Roth concluded: "It does, and the Swiss love it..."
The front page of Saturday’s Washington Post heralded the first wave of a new evangelism in the United States. It’s not for a religion, per se, but they are definitely disciples of a lifestyle (and a government-style). Reporter Juliet Eilperin explained the Embassy of Sweden has found four Washington-area families to serve as "climate pilots" to teach others the need to stop driving cars and using fossil fuels. Take the Nolan Stokes family of Falls Church, Virginia:
There's even an official name for the Stokeses, along with three other households in Northern Virginia: They are Climate Pilots, guinea pigs in a Swedish experiment aimed at helping U.S. citizens understand that a lifestyle that curbs greenhouse-gas emissions is not necessarily oppressive, just different.
"Not oppressive, just different." It should have been Al Gore’s campaign slogan. Eilperin explained how Europe feels the United States is full of savages who need socialist civilization: