Drucker came to NPR with the earnest recommendation that America desperately needs a significant hike in marginal tax rates that's more like socialist Europe, and perhaps a little value-added tax on top for seasoning:
The Associated Press reported that a Polish gay activist group called Rainbow Stand (or Teczowa Tribuna) wanted separate seating for gay and lesbian soccer fans to protect them from harassment and violence. William Donohue of the Catholic League took exception to this outburst of anti-religious bias:
Polish soccer matches are often the scene of violent attacks and fights involving hooligans.
Homophobia also remains deeply embedded in Poland because of the legacy of communism — which treated homosexuality as a taboo — and the teachings of the church in the predominantly Roman Catholic country.
While it is quite clear that the officials of WikiLeaks are leftists, there are more conservative media outlets picking through its scraps. The Telegraph in the U.K. has found a scandal: that the British government manipulated the Libyans into releasing a mass-murdering terrorist on his cancer diagnosis:
Appearing as a guest on Monday’s Parker-Spitzer on CNN, Chrystia Freeland of Reuters claimed that the European economy is at an advantage compared to the U.S. because of America’s lack of universal health care. But, when fellow guest Will Cain of the National Review pointed out that America’s economy outperforms Europe, Freeland was only able to name one nation in Europe - Germany - whose economy is performing impressively. Freeland: "I also think it’s a little bit of a mistake to be talking about how bad European economies have been doing recently. ... if you look at the industrialized nations, Germany is racing ahead. German economic growth is on a tear, so is Canadian-
Cain jumped in: "I commend you on your choice of Germany, but you picked the one out of about 12."
Freeland persisted in promoting Germany as co-host Eliot Spitzer jumped in to agree:
CHRYSTIA FREELAND: Yeah, but Germany is doing fantastically well.
ELIOT SPITZER: And Germany is the largest economy in Europe and the one that is driving the export-driven economy where their labor capital relationship is very much one that follows the blueprint of a global, of universal health care.
Cain quipped: "Good job, guys, on using Germany. I’ve got Greece, Spain, U.K., France, all with universal health care, expansive health care coverages, and their economies are literally imploding."
Correction [December 7; 15:05 EST]: Ms. Bachmann has informed me Tages-Anzeiger is based in Zurich, not Geneva.
The liberal media are generally fond of touting European countries for their liberal domestic policies, chastising America by comparison for being too conservative.
But when the electorate of such a country votes to institute a strong conservative policy over the objections of its political elite, the media's fascination with the European everyman evaporates.
Take Sunday's vote by Swiss citizens to institute a referendum law requiring foreigners convicted of serious crimes to be expelled from the country after serving out their sentences. Fifty-three percent of voters approved the bill, dismissing the objections of their professional political class who urged "no" votes.
Covering the story, the Christian Science Monitor decried the move as "the latest example of a sweeping set of popular antiforeigner measures around Europe":
Europe isn’t socialist enough for ABC’s Christiane Amanpour, who pushed French’s finance minister about how “prominent” economists are urging Europe to abandon “austerity” since “it needs more stimulus to provide more growth,” and later during the This Week roundtable, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman ridiculed Tea Party candidates as “irrational” and “seriously strange” before he insisted that irrationality is demonstrated by their inability to recognize Barack Obama is a “centrist moderate President.”
Krugman asserted: “If we have a Republican Party that actually takes the White House, actually has control of Congress, but contains a large wing of these people, it's going to be incapable of making real choices. These are people who are as irrational as they seem in these ads.” He soon parodied the views of Tea Party enthusiasts:
"The State Department has issued a "travel alert" for Europe—underscoring the effect Muslim-bashing politicians have had on the terror threat on the continent," reads the subheadline to an October 4 Newsweek story by Christopher Dickey and Sami Yousafzai.
In "Turn On the Red Light," Dickey and Yousafzai went so far as to suggest that anti-Islamist politicians like the Netherlands' Geert Wilders actually wanted to goad radical Islamists into violent acts (emphasis mine):
His poll numbers over here may be falling, but the New York Times found a place where Barack Obama is still very popular and bringing the hope: The slum-like “banlieues”outside Paris dominated by Muslim immigrants, in Thursday’s “Feeling Slighted by France, And Respected by the U.S.” by France-based reporter Scott Sayare.
The residents of this poor, multiracial Paris suburb say they have been abandoned. For 30 years, they say, the French authorities have written off Bondy and neighborhoods like it, treating their inhabitants as terminal delinquents and ignoring their potential.
Obama evidently has the French slum vote locked up:
"To survive in a hostile world, guys need to embrace girly jobs and dirty diapers," argued the Newsweek writers Andrew Romano and Tony Dokoupil in the subheadline of their September 20 article "Men's Lib."
The writers set out to explain "[w]hy it’s time to reimagine masculinity at work and at home."
If American men want to be competitive in a global economy, they argued, they need to suck it up and get comfortable with the idea of working traditionally "girly jobs" and/or being stay at home dads:
It’s possible to imagine protectionist trade and immigration policies boosting blue-collar employment at the margins. But the U.S. can’t stop globalization. If male morale—and the American economy—are ever going to recover, the truth is that the next generation of Homer Simpsons will have to stop searching for outsourced manufacturing jobs and start working toward teaching, nursing, or social-service positions instead.
Fair enough. But Romano and Dokoupil also cast their gaze across the Atlantic, arguing America needs public policies that emulate European countries on paid parental leave, particularly paid paternal leave (emphasis mine):
Predictably, Thursday's American Morning on CNN marked the Pope Benedict XVI's first day in the UK with a report on dissenting Catholic women who claimed they are ordained priests, contrary to the teachings of the Church. Correspondent Carol Costello took a misinterpretation of a recent Church document on ordination as fact, and ran only one sound bite from a Vatican official.
Substitute anchor Drew Griffin introduced Costello's report 24 minutes into the 6 am Eastern hour with the misinterpretation of the Catholic document, forwarded by the mainstream media outlets such as Time magazine, that it condemns the simulated ordination of women as "a crime similar to pedophilia." However, a July 16 Reuters story quoted Monsignor Charles Scicluna's clarification: "Scicluna, an official in the Vatican's doctrinal department, said there was no attempt to make women's ordination and pedophilia comparable crimes under canon...law....While sexual abuse was a 'crime against morality,' the attempt to ordain a woman was a 'crime against a sacrament.'"
The CNN correspondent began by highlighting the apparent negative response the Pope is receiving in the UK due to his visit: "You heard Kiran mention that Pope Benedict is now in Britain. He's there to appeal to the millions of Catholics in that country. But his visit is not without controversy. Many tickets remain unsold, which suggest many of Britain's Catholics are indifferent to his presence." She continued by introducing the subject of her report: "You could argue many American Catholics feel the same way, because of the way the Vatican handled the sex abuse scandal. Some say it's time for a change in leadership- a big change, that includes women."
A Washington Post news story earlier this week served to demonstrate that mainstream media journalists apply the same prism overseas as they do domestically when covering illegal immigration and the Ground Zero mosque: When an overwhelming majority of the public goes against the media’s position, journalists see division and portray politicians sharing the majority position as causing rancor.
Case in a point: An article from Paris on page A6 of the Tuesday, August 31, Washington Post, “Crackdown on Roma divides French: Unease grows as Sarkozy razes camps, expels residents,” in which the newspaper’s Edward Cody led: “Much of France has returned from summer vacation in a rancorous mood, disturbed by a crackdown ordered by President Nicolas Sarkozy against illegal Roma camps and naturalized immigrant youths who attack police in troubled suburbs.” Yes, the French people are “disturbed” that the police are reacting against immigrants who attack them.
Cody proceeded to assert “the unease over the action against illegal Roma immigrants, most from Romania and Bulgaria, has been particularly strong, with the expulsions drawing criticism at home and abroad.” Indeed, “for many, such policies undermine France's idea of itself as a haven for exiles and a beacon for human rights. Similar fears of intolerance were raised in July when, at Sarkozy's urging, the National Assembly passed a law banning women from wearing full-face Islamic veils in public.”
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."