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:
Sharp-eyed Jim Geraghty at NRO's Campaign Spot draws a doozy out of the Can They Be Serious? Department. A Danish newspaper (Politiken) posted an editorial headlined "Obama Greater Than Jesus: The U.S. President -- the practical saviour of our times." It must simply be reproduced to be believed:
He is provocative in insisting on an outstretched hand, where others only see animosity.
His tangible results in the short time that he has been active – are few and far between. His greatest results have been created with words and speeches – words that remain in the consciousness of their audience and have long-term effects.
He comes from humble beginnings and defends the weak and vulnerable, because he can identify himself with their conditions.
And no we are not thinking of Jesus Christ, whose birthday has just been celebrated - - but rather the President of the United States Barack Hussein Obama.
For some time now, comparisons between the two have been a tool of cynical opinion that quickly became fatigued of the rapture that Obama instilled prior to and after the presidential election last year.
CNN made a real, day-long effort on Monday to address the climate-change debate as a debate, giving skeptics of manmade climate change a series of chances to match the leftist view, especially during its evening programming. CNN is also the only U.S. TV news outlet so far to send an anchor to the Climate Research Unit at the center of the ClimateGate controversy.
International correspondent Phil Black’s interview of Lord Christopher Monckton, a prominent skeptic of the theory of manmade global warming, ran four minutes into the 6 pm Eastern hour. The “passionate skeptic on climate change,” as Black referred to him, traveled to Copenhagen for the UN’s climate change summit, and is one of the few skeptics of the theory of manmade climate change in attendance. The CNN correspondent actually compared belief in the theory to a religion at the beginning of his report: “Copenhagen’s Bella Conference Center has become an international temple for thousands of true believers, people who have no doubt the planet is warming and humankind is to blame. But there are a few people here who do not believe.”
Hollywood liberalism has some strange priorities. During the last couple months, two high-profile criminals have been slated to face justice in American courts. The first drugged and raped a young girl in 1977. The second orchestrated the most deadly attack against American civilians in our nation's history.
Decisions to try them in the United States were controversial, but a petition against the extradition of the former, director Roman Polanski, garnered over 130 signatures. Included on the list were such illustrious film personalities as Woody Allen, Martin Scorcese, David Lynch, and Wess Anderson.
Shortly after, another petition circulated the hills of Los Angeles, this one protesting the Obama administration's decision to try 9/11 terrorist mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York City courts. This petition garnered seven names: Robert Duvall, Brian Dennehy, Jon Voight, Danny Aiello, Robert Davi, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and Ben Stein.
Normally, it's news when a leading politician in a country hosting a summit expresses harsh dissent against that summit's agenda -- or at least it is when a leftist is the dissenter.
But I doubt that what Thor Pedersen, Speaker of the Danish Parliament, has to say about the upcoming COP15 Climate Summit will get much if any play in U.S. network newscasts or in the nation's establishment media publications of record.
Reporting for CBS Sunday Morning, correspondent Mark Phillips marked the 20th anniversary of the fall the Berlin Wall by noting the economic difficulty East Germany has faced in the aftermath: “It still isn’t easy for many. East German industry without government subsidy could not compete. The economy shrank by an estimated 50%.”
Phillips mourned the loss of state-run industries after the oppressed nation was freed from decades of communist oppression: “The eastern landscape is littered with the ruins of former state-supported enterprise. A million people have gone west looking for work.”
Earlier in the report, Phillips credited those responsible for the wall’s collapse: “The main players on that night 20 years ago were the people of East Berlin....But it was the behind-the-scenes players who really determined events that night, mostly by doing nothing. Then Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev had refused to back the desperate GDR regime. Then President George Bush refused to gloat as the wall came down. Then German Chancellor Helmut Kohl went on to become the leader of a reunited Germany.” Ronald Reagan slipped Phillips’ mind.
Noting tomorrow’s 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on Sunday’s Today show, former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw claimed East Germans were “still adjusting to the harsh economic realities” of life after communism. But a recent poll of former East bloc countries by the Pew Research Center actually discovered that the people of what was East Germany are actually the biggest enthusiasts of the shift to capitalism, with 82% approving, higher than any other ex-communist country.
Brokaw did note, however, that the current “center-right” Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, was “born and raised in East Germany,” implicitly acknowledging that her youth spent under communism obviously did not make her a fan of leftist economic policies.
The suggestion that capitalism is somehow “harsh” compared to communism echoes what many liberal journalists argued after the fall of the Berlin Wall 20 years ago. “The transition from communism to capitalism is making more people more miserable every day,” CBS reporter Bert Quint argued in 1990.
A Newsweek.com article on Tuesday celebrated historic speeches by U.S. Presidents at the Berlin Wall, somehow ignoring the fact that Barack Obama has decided not to go to Germany to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the collapse of communism. At the same time, the piece, by Anita Kirpalani, pretended that President Obama has made such a trip.
The article, entitled, "Ich Bin Ein Speechmaker: Historic speeches by visiting American presidents have left an outsize footprint on Berlin," listed visits by John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Obama’s entry insisted, "President: Barack Obama- Date: July 24, 2008." This was prior to his election and was only in the city of Berlin, not at the wall. The article notes these facts. So, why list him as President when he wasn't? The rest of the piece is vague on this point.
There's little doubt that at hand is an ongoing effort by the Obama White House to marginalize the Fox News Channel - especially after the administration attempted to leave Fox out of the White House pool last week. That is something conservative columnist Cal Thomas said is eerily comparable to Cold War tactics of the old Soviet Union.
On the Fox News Channel's Oct. 24 "Fox News Watch," Thomas alluded to an Oct. 21 column he wrote, which he compared what the Soviets did with radio signals that penetrated the Iron Curtain to deliver a message of freedom from Western Europe - they jammed them.
"I wrote a column on this, this week - if I can promote myself and my own column," Thomas said. "I likened it to what happened during the Cold War, when the Soviet Union especially tried to jam the signals of the Voice of America and Radio Europe, other entities that were trying to pump truth into the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc countries, the so-called captive nations."
Like everyone else on the morning of October 9, the major media’s first reaction to Barack Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize was shock and disbelief. NBC’s Matt Lauer spoke for the pack when he said he didn’t want to be "rude," but how did Obama earn it? Washington Post columnist (and former reporter) Ruth Marcus was blunt: "This is ridiculous -- embarrassing, even." She said the award is supposed to be for "doing, not being."
That is true, but for the swelling group of Americans who are not enamored of Obama, that could easily be turned around on the media: why would you, of all people, question the inflated judgment of the five Norwegian prize pickers? They are merely doing the same thing you’ve been doing for five years: praising Obama far beyond his actual job experience or accomplishments, and building a powerful myth of a global savior in an effort to put the international socialist Left in power, eclipsing America once and for all.
However, will they be so eager to echo the sentiment of David Brooks in the wake of President Barack Obama's Nobel Prize announcement? On PBS's Oct. 9 "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," the Times columnist had some disparaging words for Obama's award - despite a sentiment from some liberals that those who question it were somehow un-American.
"Well, my first reaction is he should have won all the prizes because he has given speeches about peace, but also he's give economic speeches. He wrote a book - that's literature. He has biological elements within his body. He could win that prize. He could have swept the whole prizes," Brooks said tongue-in-cheek before delivering the knock-out blow. "Now - it's sort of a joke."
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer wondered about negative political fallout from President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize win: “one European commentator who said ‘will this become a poison chalice?’ In other words, is this going to hurt the President rather than help him?...is this going to widen the part of partisan divide rather than bring people together?”
Schieffer spoke with Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez, who asked: “Clearly a surprise to everyone, including the White House, for the President to be awarded this less than nine months into his term. And already some people are questioning whether he deserves it.” Schieffer expressed that skepticism: “My first reaction was, ‘what?!....It’s almost as if they’re saying ‘we’re giving you the Nobel Peace Prize for winning the election.’...I can’t recall anybody who won this prize for his aspirations. People usually get it for results.”
During 11AM CBS breaking news coverage of the President’s acceptance speech, anchor Jeff Glor got more Scheiffer reaction: “Is this more a commentary on the current administration and the current president or the previous administration, Bob?” Schieffer replied: “It’s almost as if the committee today was giving Barack Obama a prize for not being George Bush.”
Good Morning America co-host Diane Sawyer on Friday used an odd expression to fawn over Barack Obama’s Nobel Prize win. She cooed that the award is "the Olympic gold of international diplomacy." (Was this Sawyer’s way of saying the prize makes up for the Chicago Olympic failure?)
In a follow-up segment, former top Democratic aide turned journalist George Stephanopoulos touted what an enormous impact the Nobel Prize would have: "But on a serious note, White House aides do believe this will strengthen the President's hand, both at home and abroad." He explained how these "White House aides" (Rahm Emanuel, perhaps?) told him that "this will really strengthen the President's hand as they try to force inspectors in to the Iranian nuclear sites."
Sawyer should be credited for at least asking the obvious question. Talking to Geir Lundeestad, the director of the Nobel Institute, she quizzed, "Here’s the first question: Nine months into a presidency. Isn’t that a little fast?" Reporter Yunji De Nies mildly observed, "But with critics arguing that Mr. Obama's accomplishments have yet to rival those of previous winners, the chairman of the committee found himself on the defensive."