I rise today in defense of bacon, as well as consuming hamburgers on Independence Day. And, most importantly, in defense of my mother's awe-inspiring pot roast.
Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC's Morning Joe, wants the government to make these classic American foodstuffs, as well as soda, alcohol, and being overweight, cost more. I apologize in advance for the long length of the transcript snippets – while Brzezinski is pontificating by reading the ‘New York Daily News’ editorial, the rest of the Brew Crew is making fun of her.
No, really [emphasis mine]:
BRZEZINSKI: Some people actually cares about their health, so I'm going to read that for those people. [reading] "A tax on sodas containing sugar has also been under consideration by Governor Paterson, among others."
It would appear that the Associated Press has nominated Calvin Woodward to be their go-to guy for "Fact Check" pieces that blow up political arguments and assertions by the White House and partisan Democrats.
In late April (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), Woodward, in an item headlined "Obama disowns deficit he helped shape," blistered Barack Obama and his administration for its attempt to pin the blame for this exploding federal deficits and national debt on his predecessor. This of course didn't prevent the administration from continuing to blame Bush 43 for most of this past fiscal year's deficit of $1.417 trillion; it also didn't prevent Woodward's AP colleagues from mostly parroting a White House claim he had long since debunked.
In today's Fact Check ("Health insurer profits not so fat"), the AP writer ripped into what has seemingly been a mandatory talking point any time a Democrat brings up health care: the supposedly excessive profits of health insurance providers.
Woodward found that the Democrats' claim doesn't survive even cursory scrutiny:
President Obama was at Democratic Party fundraising events for incumbent Democratic Governor Deval Patrick in Massachusetts Friday night.
The Boston Herald's Hillary Chabot described the attendance at one of the events (HT Jules Crittenden, who is a Herald editor, via Instapundit) as "barely half-full with 125 deep-pocketed Democrats" in the second paragraph of her report ("President Obama: ‘Tough race’ ahead for Gov. Deval Patrick").
Meanwhile, at the Boston Globe ("Obama blows in, talks up Patrick and future"), staff reporter Matt Viser saved an observation that "the events appeared to not be fully booked" for the end of his fifth paragraph. The "events" were "a reception and a larger ballroom gathering." Somehow, if Fenway Park had 20,000 - 25,000 on hand for a Red Sox game (Fenway's capacity is 37,400, and every Red Sox game has been sold out for over six years), I doubt that Globe sports reporter Bob Ryan would describe it as "not fully attended."
Here are the first several paragraphs from each report. First, from the Herald:
Just from the title of today's Huffington Post cover story, Leaderless: Senate Pushes For Public Option Without Obama's Support, you can see that they have pretty much given up on counting on Barack Obama demonstrating leadership in the fight to pass ObamaCare. Here are Huffington Post correspondents Sam Stein and Ryan Grim registering their disgust with Obama in a grim story:
President Barack Obama is actively discouraging Senate Democrats in their effort to include a public insurance option with a state opt-out clause as part of health care reform. In its place, say multiple Democratic sources, Obama has indicated a preference for an alternative policy, favored by the insurance industry, which would see a public plan "triggered" into effect in the future by a failure of the industry to meet certain benchmarks.
The administration retreat runs counter to the letter and the spirit of Obama's presidential campaign. The man who ran on the "Audacity of Hope" has now taken a more conservative stand than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), leaving progressives with a mix of confusion and outrage. Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill have battled conservatives in their own party in an effort to get the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster. Now tantalizingly close, they are calling for Obama to step up.
So who are they hoping will be their hero to save the day? Since it's not Obama, they are now placing their hopes upon Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who is actually more like Al Capp's gloomy figure of Joe Btfsplk, who carries his bad luck with him as a perpetual raincloud over his head (illustration below the fold), than Mighty Mouse.
Earlier, Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., took on the issue and defended Fox and its audience. However, Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, also took on the White House and questioned why it would be something Obama and his administration should be concerned with in comments from the floor of the House of Representatives on Oct. 20.
The Washington Post touted a new poll on Tuesday that popular support is increasing for a government-run "public option" health care system – just as liberal Democrats try to push that into the Senate Finance Committee bill. The headline was "Public option gains support: Clear majority now backs plan." So it’s not surprising, as Ed Morrissey found at Hot Air, that the Post is stuffing its poll sample with a few extra Democrats:
The sampling comprises 33% Democrats, as opposed to only 20% Republicans. That thirteen-point spread is two points larger than their September polling, at 32%/21%. More tellingly, it’s significantly larger than their Election Day sample, which included 35% Democrats to 26% Republicans for a gap of nine points, about a third smaller than the gap in this poll. Of course, that’s when they were more concerned about accuracy over political points of view.
The Post’s poll (illustrated by a chart) found respondents favored a public option "to compete with" private insurance by a margin of 57 to 40 percent. But even with the polling sample tilted toward the Democrats, some less favorable findings weren’t in the headline, as Dan Balz and Jon Cohen reported:
On Tuesday’s Situation Room, CNN’s Jack Cafferty highlighted a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll which found that Americans apparently support the public option and mandatory insurance, and most of the viewer responses that he read supported these left-wing positions. Cafferty didn’t explicitly voice his agreement with the poll results, but presented his own liberal proposal for health care.
Cafferty touted how “a majority of Americans supports two of the more controversial parts of health care reform: the public option and requiring everyone to buy insurance” during his 4 pm “Question of the Hour” segment: “A new Washington Post/ABC News Poll shows independents and seniors, both critical voting blocs, have warmed up to the idea of a public insurance option. Fifty-seven percent favor the public option. Fifty-six percent support making it mandatory for all Americans to buy health insurance, either through their employers, on their own, or through Medicare or Medicaid.”
Ed Morrisey of HotAir.com pointed out on Tuesday morning that this poll has a skewed sample. On the other hand, the CNN commentator did however subsequently note that “there’s even broader opposition to how to pay for all of this. Sixty-one percent are opposed to the proposed tax on so-called Cadillac insurance plans, and nearly 70 percent say they think any health care bill will increase the federal deficit, although almost half of those people say it would be worth it to grow the deficit in order to achieve true health care reform.”
Well the verdict is in and it looks like the GOP has been severely damaged by its opposition to Obamacare, well at least that was the conclusion of all the liberal members of "The Chris Matthews Show" panel over the weekend. On the syndicated show, NBC's Kelly O'Donnell and HDNET's Dan Rather were unanimous that the "branding" of the GOP as "The Party Of No," has "hurt" them. The New York Times' Helene Cooper chimed in that the Republicans were "gonna be in a really tough spot," and the Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan judged "The town halls clearly hurt them. They turned the debate around in favor of the President."
The following exchanges were aired on the October 18 edition of "The Chris Matthews Show":
Demonstrating the media never tire in coming up with new rationales to tout President Barack Obama's popularity, ABC led Monday night with a polltimed to the night before Tuesday's nine-month mark of the Obama presidency -- as if that's some kind of important anniversary, and spent as much time on how it found record low affinity for Republicans. Anchor Charles Gibson announced “the President has a 57 percent approval rating, his rating rising for the first time since April. And only 20 percent of the country now consider themselves Republican. That is the lowest level of support in 26 years.”
In “perhaps the biggest surprise,” Gibson suggested, “57 percent support one of the [health] plan's most controversial elements -- perhaps the most controversial -- a government-sponsored insurance option,” though “fewer than half those polled agree with” Obama on health care as “45 percent approve of his plans for health care reform, 48 percent opposed.”
Emphasizing Obama's popularity compared to the GOP, George Stephanopoulos relayed how “we asked Americans 'who do you trust to make the right decisions for the country's future?' 49 percent said President Obama, only 19 percent said Republicans in Congress.” Stephanopoulos also contended “one of the most interesting numbers in the poll, Charlie, the President's highest ratings on how he's handled his responsibilities as Commander-in-Chief: 57 percent.”
Back on October 7, when the Congressional Budget Office reported that the federal deficit had ballooned to a massive $1.4 trillion during President Obama’s first year on the job, Katie Couric’s CBS Evening News did not tell viewers. But Couric finally caught up to the bad news after the Obama White House put out its final numbers on Friday afternoon.
Couric disclosed the news in a brief item that never mentioned The One by name: “It's the biggest IOU Uncle Sam has ever written. Government figures out today show for the last fiscal year, which just ended, the United States spent a record 1.4 trillion dollars more than it took in. That's three times more than the year before.”
New York Times reporter Jackie Calmes this morning noted that Obama’s deficit is much larger as a percentage of GDP than during the 1980s, when Democrats attacked Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts as fiscally reckless:
Robert Reich has finally responded to the audio of him telling "brutal truths" to an audience at Berkeley which your humble correspondent chronicled here in NewsBusters on Tuesday. Here are the gems delivered up by Reich as to what he claims an honest candidate for president would say about health care if he didn't worry about getting elected:
"We're going to have to, if you're very old, we're not going to give you all that technology and all those drugs for the last couple of years of your life to keep you maybe going for another couple of months. It's too expensive...so we're going to let you die."
"...I am going try to reorganize it to be more amenable to treating sick people but that means you, particularly you young people, particularly you young healthy people...you're going to have to pay more."
"...What that means, less innovation and that means less new products and less new drugs on the market which means you are probably not going to live much longer than your parents."
So what was Reich's excuse for these assertions? Why he was "taken out of context." Here is Reich making his claim on Wednesday:
MSNBC, the self-proclaimed "place for politics" is well-known for its pro-Obama boosterism, from Chris Matthews's "tingles" to on-air talent Ed Schultz's persistent bully pulpit-pounding for the so-called "public option."
But it's not just the on-camera talent that has all the fun cheerleading liberal policies. It seems a promotional ad narrator for MSNBC also does voiceover work for a pro-ObamaCare group, Health Care for America Now (HCAN).
I noticed the HCAN ad at 11:20 a.m. EDT today and worked up a mashup featuring excerpts of the HCAN ad and a promo for tonight's MSNBC programming.
Listen for yourself by clicking the play button on the embed at right.
National Public Radio is making a change and has sent out a "guidance" email to member stations on the issue.
NPR'S deputy senior supervising editor Joe Neel drafted an e-mail that was sent out Oct. 14 to member stations addressing the number of uninsured. The e-mail clarified proper use of Census Bureau statistics and advised staff to "avoid the construction '46 million Americans.'" That number has been a flashpoint throughout the health care debate.
The NPR e-mail said, "We are sticking with the 46 million number issued by the Census Bureau in September (for 2008). It's the number of people in the U.S. who lack insurance coverage at any point during the prior 12 months. It includes citizens, legal residents and undocumented immigrants."
Last fall, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel remarked, "Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it's an opportunity to do things you couldn't do before."
That quote has become part of a rallying cry for conservatives, that those currently in power are trying to create the perception of a crisis to force things through the legislative process that couldn't be done otherwise. That has been dismissed by those on the left as fear-mongering and the party in power is acting in good faith based on what their constituents want.
But on MSNBC's Oct. 14 "Countdown," Newsweek senior Washington correspondent Howard Fineman found fault with President Barack Obama's administration for not living up to Emanuel's expectations. On Oct. 14, the Senate Judiciary Committee toyed with the idea of stripping health insurance providers of their antitrust exemption and "Countdown" Keith Olbermann suggested members of Congress hold that exemption over insurance companies' heads to force them to go along with the Senate's idea of health insurance reform.
Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, is a media darling now that she was the only Republican to break ranks and vote a health care reform bill out of the Senate Finance Committee Oct. 13. "Good Morning America" interviewed Snowe about health care reform on Oct. 14 and didn't challenge a misleading statistic about the number of medical-caused bankruptcies.
Snowe, who backed the $829-billion bill, claimed that "62 percent of all bankruptcies are a result of medical debt. I can't imagine that kind of anxiety. It's one thing to deal with an illness, quite another to deal with the fact you don't have the insurance to cover for it."
The senator did not mention the source of her claim or point out that respondents to the study she cited didn't even agree with that result. CNN.com reported on June 5 that the 62 percent figure came from a Harvard Medical School study that would be published in The American Journal of Medicine.
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Nancy Cordes celebrated one GOP Senator’s support for health care reform: “Democrats can claim a smidge of bipartisan support and that’s because of one yes vote from one rebel Republican....When Olympia Snowe cast the lone Republican vote for the Senate Finance bill, she reaffirmed her place as a power player on Capitol Hill.”
Cordes went on to tout Snowe’s history of going against the Republican Party: “This is not the first time Snowe has bucked her party. In 2006, she helped kill an amendment that would’ve federally banned gay marriage. And she voted in favor of allowing federal funding for stem cell research. This January, she joined Democrats to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and was one of only two Republican senators to support President Obama’s stimulus package.”
After Cordes’s report, co-host Harry Smith spoke with Senator Snowe and wondered why other Republicans on the Finance Committee did not support the legislation: “You’ve described this crisis as like the Titanic heading toward an iceberg and this being an opportunity to turn away from it. If there is no bill, and if there is no Republican support, will they be abrogating their responsibility to avert this crisis?”
Forget Sarah Palin. The female maverick of the Republican Party is Sen. Olympia Snowe.
Kellman's opening is revealing on a number of levels. To bring Palin into this at all exposes the establishment press's obsession with dissing her at every conceivable opportunity. It also classically employs the "sudden respect" technique the media has used for decades to buck up Republicans who sell out core principles. Finally, it sends a message to male Republican "maverick" John McCain that he's being upstaged, and that to keep his media cred he should join hands with Snowe in acquiescing to statist health care.
Here are other paragraphs from Kellman's Snowe congratulatory:
Anchor John Roberts became the fourth CNN personality to omit the left-wing affiliation of Wendell Potter, as he interviewed the on Tuesday’s American Morning. Roberts only described Potter as someone who “worked for two different insurance companies in the past, and now he’s working against them to help get reform passed.”
Before introducing his guest, the CNN anchor played up the merits of Senator Max Baucus’s health care reform proposal: “The Senate Finance Committee’s health care reform bill got high marks from the Congressional Budget Office for keeping the deficit down, but now, insurance companies say it will actually cost you and your family thousands of dollars more than you’re paying now. So who is telling the truth?”
After posing this rhetorical question, Roberts introduced his guest: “We’re joined by Wendell Potter. He has worked for two different insurance companies in the past, and now he’s working against them to help get reform passed.” An on-screen graphic gave a glowing description of the former insurance company spokesman’s career: “Former head of public relations at Cigna Corp. and Humana Inc., now a whistleblower against health insurance industry- advocate for health care reform.” Another chyron finally revealed that the guest was also “Sr. Fellow on Health Care, Ctr. For Media & Democracy,” but Roberts never revealed Potter’s affiliation with the left-wing organization.
ABC's Charles Gibson and CBS's Katie Couric led their newscasts on Tuesday night in a manner which suggested they are along for the ride with President Barack Obama as they celebrated how a Senate committee's vote moved Obama's quest to impose ObamaCare closer to reality.
“In 1912, almost a hundred years ago,” Gibson trumpeted at the top of World News, “Teddy Roosevelt called for universal health care. It now may be closer than at any time since then.” Couric championed “a major victory for President Obama” and how “health care reform cleared a major hurdle today” so “health care reform is closer than it's ever been,” but, she warned, “the battle is still far from over.”
Gibson teased: “Tonight, vital vote. A key Republican joins with Democrats in an historic move forward on health care. We cover today's vote, and talk with Senator Olympia Snowe.” With “Crucial Vote” on screen, he led:
Paging Congressman Alan Grayson! Here is a quote that validates what you said about those EVIL Republicans:
"We're going to have to, if you're very old, we're not going to give you all that technology and all those drugs for the last couple of years of your life to keep you maybe going for another couple of months. It's too expensive...so we're going to let you die."
Aha! So it turns out that Grayson was right when he said "Republicans want you to die quickly." Only one "little" problem here. That quote did not come from a Republican. In fact it came from the very liberal former Labor Secretary Robert Reich who is now an economics adviser for Barack Obama.
Let's see. A Big 4 independent public accounting firm vs. the Democratic Party's go-to health care economics guy. Who has more presumptive credibility?
It's more than a little offensive to see the people whose party gave us entitlement programs with multitrillion-dollar unfunded liabilities (Social Security and Medicare), pension plans that are completely unsustainable (the federal government and many states), and year-over-year budget increases that almost always dwarf inflation -- in other words, people with absolutely no record of financial credibility on matters big and small -- go after Big 4 accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers and its "industry-funded" study on what would happen to insurance premiums under the BaucusCare iteration of ObamaCare with the eager assistance of their media apparatchiks.
Understand this: When PwC prepares a report for the health insurance industry projecting, in the Wall Street Journal's words, that "the Senate Finance Committee’s big health-care bill would raise health insurance premiums by thousands of dollars a year," one can be confident that it is based on exhaustively researched and thoroughly reviewed work.
I suppose President Obama is still running around telling everyone who will listen, along with anyone else who won't, that "If you like your doctors and medical providers, you can keep them."
It would also not surprise me to learn that Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is still singing the praises of CommonwealthCare, the state-run system conservatives also deride as RomneyCare, so named after Mitt Romney, Patrick's allegedly Republican predecessor who brought it into being. Patrick even wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed column several weeks ago that called CommonwealthCare a "model for national reform."
As an apparently pivotal Senate committee vote on imposing statist health care on the entire country looms, the Boston Globe's Liz Kowalczyk has inconveniently reminded statists (HT Hot Air) that the alleged wonders of the Bay State's care regimen are instead leading it inexorably into serious rationing, and to a direct contradiction of Obama's and Patrick's core claims. Currently on the horizon are serious limitations on choice of care providers and annual capitated payments to those providers. Kowalczyk would probably protest that she never uses the word "rationing," but it really doesn't matter. Anyone with even a modicum of sense will recognize these moves for what they are.
A New York Times article by Nick Bunkley on Friday targeted for print on Saturday about the status of contract talks between Ford Motor Company and the United Auto Workers piqued my interest in a previously neglected but important matter.
Ford and the UAW are apparently close to an agreement. In describing what Ford workers are being asked to give up, Bunkley wrote the following (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Ford executives have said the company needs more concessions to keep G.M. and Chrysler from having an advantage.
.... The deal that U.A.W. workers at Ford approved in March got rid of cost-of-living pay increases and performance bonuses through 2010 and eliminated the jobs bank program, which allows laid-off workers to continue receiving most of their pay. In addition to those concessions, G.M. and Chrysler workers agreed to work-rule changes and a provision that bars them from striking.
What? From press coverage at the time, you would have thought that unionized GM and Chrysler workers made ginormous, humungous, unprecedented sacrifices to enable their companies to get through bankruptcy and to emerge as lean, mean vehicle-making machines.
CNN’s White House correspondent Dan Lothian, on Friday's American Morning, saw nothing but pluses for President Obama’s reception of the Nobel Peace Prize. Lothian guessed that “the President obviously is getting an ‘A’ for effort here,” and even went so far to speculate about whether the reward could help the Democrat “push through on...health care as well...so this could help him.”
Anchors Kiran Chetry and John Roberts turned to the correspondent right out of the gate at the beginning of the program at 6 AM EDT. Chetry asked if there had been any official reaction from the White House at that early hour, and Lothian confirmed that the administration hadn’t released any statement at that point. He continued that “two things came to mind when this shocking announcement was made. First of all, that the President obviously is getting an ‘A’ for effort here. The President has made overtures and talked about, since he was running for president, that he wanted to be one who would engage in dialogue.” The White House correspondent cited the Obama administration recent work with Iran and the President “trying to get both the Israelis and the Palestinians to jump-start the peace process there.”
The Senate Finance Committee's ObamaCare bill will spend $829 billion over ten years, but fill-in CBS Evening News Maggie Rodriquez trumpeted how “according to a new report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the plan costs less than expected and would actually reduce the deficit. So why do Republicans still oppose it?”
Instead of explaining the skepticism toward how the massive additional spending could lead to less spending, reporter Nancy Cordes touted how “the new numbers give health care reform a much-needed boost” and credulously recounted the spending would be offset by fees, taxes “and trims to Medicare.” When Republicans proposed a reduction in the rate of increase of Medicare spending the media screamed about “cuts.” Now a $400 billion change is merely a “trim.” And who really believes that proposal will ever pass?
“The result,” Cordes maintained, “a net savings to government of $81 billion over 10 years” before she championed: “It's estimated the new bill would allow 29 million Americans who don't currently have coverage, Americans like Javier Salinas, to buy it.” Nonetheless, “Republicans still oppose the bill, despite the lower price tag.”
Don't be surprised to soon see Keith Olbermann display a picture of Randi Rhodes on his "Worst Person In The World" segment while pompously intoning, "Have you no shame, madam?"
And what would be the cause for this "honor?" Well, yesterday Randi emerged briefly from radio obscurity to blast Olbermann's one hour special comment on ObamaCare that he delivered earlier this week. And it wasn't just a quick blast. She went on a rampage against him for her entire three hour show. To get an idea of the tone of the attack, here is what Randi posted on her blog:
Last night's Countdown on MSNBC was devoted to a one-hour "special comment" by Keith Olbermann. I always thought a comment was a brief observation. Evidently I was wrong about the "brief" part. I'm sorry, but that was the most self-indulgent hour I've heard since Emerson, Lake & Palmer broke up. Keith! Talking for an entire hour isn't a comment. It's a filibuster. Olbermann railed on for an hour about how we need healthcare reform. Keith, the best thing about stating the obvious is that you can state it pretty quickly. At least most people can. Watching that there were a lot of things I wanted to hear Keith Olbermann say. But mostly I wanted to hear him say "And in conclusion..."
Following the talking points of the Democratic Party, at the top of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared a win for health care legislation being pushed by Montana Senator Max Baucus: “President Obama’s health care plan gets a green light from the Congressional Budget Office, as a key bill not only pays for itself, but actually saves billions.”
Rodriguez later introduced a report on the CBO estimates by declaring: “This morning Democratic leaders are cheering a report that shows that the Senate Finance Committee’s health care bill actually saves money.” Correspondent Nancy Cordes followed: “The new bill would actually reduce the federal deficit by $81 billion according to the new estimates. The price tag, $829 billion over ten years, would be fully paid for, and then some, by an excise tax on top dollar insurance plans, by fees on drug makers and medical device manufacturers, and more.”
During the segment, an on-screen headline read: “One Step Closer? New Health Care Estimate Raises White House Hopes.” In her report, Cordes cited Jonathan Cohn, the senior editor of the liberal magazine, The New Republic, who praised the bill: “You’re average family will have security they don’t have, they won’t – they’ll know they won’t lose their insurance if they lose their job. If they need financial assistance paying for their health care, that will be available to them.”
MRC's Brent Bozell appeared on this morning's "Fox & Friends" to discuss reporting by NewsBusters.org's sister site CNSNews.com that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is planning to hitch a health care reform bill on to an unrelated tax bill which passed out of the House of Representatives earlier this year.
Instead of having a debate in the House and the Senate and giving a bill to the president, you're going to get Harry Reid's bill, passed by the Senate, by the Democrats... immediately rubber-stamping it, no debate, no House-Senate conference, no Republican discussion, and it goes right to the president for his signature, and oh, by the way, no one knows what's in it.
You can check out the October 7 story by CNSNews.com's Nicholas Ballasy here, an excerpt appears below the page break:
Remember back just a few short months ago - when thousands, if not millions, of Americans were protesting out-of-control government spending and other policies favored by President Barack Obama's administration?
Surprised by the resounding turnout, the usual lefty talking heads on MSNBC, specifically on "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" and "The Rachel Maddow Show," explained the protests away as being fake grassroots aka AstroTurf.
Fast forward to Oct. 7, when both Olbermann and Maddow started laying down AstroTurf of their own. They encouraged free health care clinics to be held in the states of six Democratic senators that are not in lockstep with the left-wing agenda on health care reform.