On Monday, Jonah Goldberg at The Corner forwarded a shocking page from the Organizing for America website (mybarackobama.com) that promoted setting aside 9/11 as a day to call Senators to pass a Public Option as they “fight back against our own Right-Wing Domestic Terrorists.” They also suggest conservatives are "the heirs of yes, bin Laden."
Will the major media notice? So much for No-Drama Barack Obama uniting the country in hope and change. The Heritage Foundation blog The Foundry noticed that the Obama organizers pulled the page, as it now says: "INVALID EVENT URL: The URL you clicked references an event that does not exist. This event may have existed at one time but been subsequently deleted." The text is nothing less than jaw-dropping, as they describe a day of telephone activism directed at liberal Illinois Senators Dick Durbin and Roland Burris:
Our US Senators return to DC the Tues after Labor Day. That next FRIDAY, Sep 11, is Patriot Day, designated in memory of the nearly three thousand who died in the 9/11 attacks.
All 50 States are coordinating in this – as we fight back against our own Right-Wing Domestic Terrorists who are subverting the American Democratic Process, whipped to a frenzy by their Fox Propaganda Network ceaselessly re-seizing power for their treacherous leaders.
With “Filling the VOID” as the on-screen heading, Monday's NBC Nightly News, without any consideration for how Massachusetts Democrats blocked the Governor's interim appointment power, fretted over the loss to Democrats of Ted Kennedy's Senate seat as a health care vote approaches. “Less than 48 hours after Ted Kennedy was laid to rest at Arlington Cemetery, the political reality of his vacant Senate seat has set in,” Chuck Todd warned.
Though you could argue Kennedy's plight left the seat empty all year so far, Todd explained: “Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick set January 19th, 2010 for the special election, leaving the potential for the seat to be vacant for five months. To avoid a lengthy vacancy, next week the Massachusetts legislature begins debating a change in the law to give the Governor the power to appoint an interim Senator, a power most Governors in other states already have. It was a wish Senator Kennedy himself and his family made known directly to Massachusetts' lawmakers.” Todd, however, failed to point out that in a crass 2004 political maneuver urged by Kennedy, Bay State Democrats changed the law so then-Governor Mitt Romney, a Republican, could not replace John Kerry if he had won the presidency.
Remember when Michael Moore depicted the United Kingdom's National Health Service (NHS) as a superior health care system in his 2007 documentary "Sicko"?
That romanticizing on the silver screen might have seemed like a good idea for the American society, but according to Lord Ara Darzi, it's not ideal for the United States. Darzi, a former British Health Minister, appeared on CNBC's Aug. 31 "Street Signs" to defend the NHS from attacks made in a TV spot, which had been rejected by ABC and NBC for airing because they were "too partisan."
"Street Signs' host Erin Burnett presented the hypothetical question to Darzi that if the U.S. would ever go to a single-payer system, would stifle innovation and would that mean rationing of care. According to Darzi - those decisions are made on a local level.
Chris Matthews, on Monday's "Hardball," threw out a couple of crazy comparisons as he likened the socially conservative Sarah Palin to shock jock Howard Stern and the rakish Bill Clinton to God. First up, in his "Hardball Sideshow" segment, Matthews claimed the reason the former Alaska governor was so popular on the lecture circuit is because, "just like Howard Stern the reason people will pay to hear her is that they have no idea what she's gonna say next." However Matthews outdid himself, just a little later, as he declared listening to Clinton's strategic advice for Democrats on passing health care reform was like hearing, "The Voice of God." [audio available here]
The following Matthews observations were made on the August 31, edition of "Hardball":
Some of us have been wondering how viable the Voluntary Employee Benefit Arrangements (VEBAs) set up by the United Auto Workers for its auto industry employees really are. This is of particular concern at the VEBAs tied in to General Motors and Chrysler. What happens to the employer stock these VEBAs own will heavily influence whether they have the money to pay promised benefits.
The answer to the viability question must be "not very," because the House version of health care that has made it out of committee has a $10 billion provision tucked into it that would largely work to back the VEBAs up in case GM and Chrysler are never able to stand on their own -- or in case other high-wage, high-benefit companies, many of which are unionized, follow them into serious financial difficulty.
Maybe it's because $10 billion doesn't mean much any more in an era of trillion-dollar deficits, but media coverage of this "little" provision has been very, very light. A Google News search on "retiree health care UAW" (not typed in quotes) came back with only about 25 relevant items of roughly 100 total results earlier this afternoon. Many of those results are outraged editorials and op-eds. There is precious little original news coverage of the topic.
One of the few examples of original coverage is an August 24 report by Justin Hyde and Todd Spangler of the Detroit Free Press that explains the provision and provides background:
That's the advice PBS host Bill Moyers had for President Barack Obama in an appearance on HBO's August 28 "Real Time with Bill Maher." According to the former press secretary for President Lyndon B. Johnson, a defeat on health care/health insurance reform would do the left more good than crafting some sort of compromise.
"I mean, I would rather see Barack Obama go down fighting for vigorous, strong principled public insurance, than to lose with a bill - look, BusinessWeek had a cover story last week, ‘The Insurers are Winning,'" Moyers said.
I know it's accepted by now that the MSM group will label any conservative group, "conservative," any libertarian group, "conservative," and any liberal group, "left-leaning" or "centrist," when they bother to label them at all. But when a new one comes along, it's good to put both that group's leanings, and the MSM's failure to note them, on the record.
Despite those fears, a study from the nonprofit Small Business Majority found health reform, even with a mandate, would save small business more than $500 billion over the next decade.
"Should everybody be in?" asked Elisabeth Arenales, an analyst with the Colorado Center on Law and Policy. "What's the contribution of the business sector? Businesses stand to gain a lot from health-insurance reform."
The CCLP may be talking about small business, but that doesn't mean it's speaking for small business. Far from it.
On the one hand, she writes that "the feeding tube that had nourished her for years was removed according to her husband's wishes." I would expect that Michael Schiavo, who consistently said for years that withdrawing nourishment is what Terri would have wanted, and that he pursued that end "purely based on her wishes," will be miffed at Kennedy's assertion. Too bad, so sad, Mike. Your own words in the legal record say otherwise; Ms. Kennedy is correct.
But Ms. Kennedy erred in her single paragraph about Terri's autopsy, continuing an incorrect media meme that has persisted for years:
An autopsy supported Michael Schiavo's contention that she was in a persistent vegetative state with no consciousness and no hope of recovery.
It's as if there was no support for contrary contentions. That implied assertion is patently false.
Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the results of a study entitled "2009 Pandemic Influenza A (H1N1) Virus Infections: Chicago, Illinois, April-July 2009."
In a report Rush Limbaugh criticized on the air, Mike Stobbe of the Associated Press ("Swine flu sends more blacks, Hispanics to hospital") irresponsibly framed CDC's results in racial terms, and then used them as evidence of health care system "inequities."
By contrast, Julie Steenhuysen of Reuters ("In Chicago, swine flu hit children hardest") went right to the study's key finding, namely that H1N1 appears to be more likely to affect children compared to other flu viruses, which have tended to hit the elderly harder.
The opening paragraphs of Steenhuysen's work makes you wonder how the AP and Stobbe could have looked at the same CDC study and not have done anything with its critical age-based finding:
ABC displayed “Battle Cry” on screen, beneath HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, as anchor Charles Gibson teased Thursday's World News: “Health care reformers hope to win one for Teddy, but the opposition is largely unmoved.” Gibson introduced the story by asserting “some of his allies in Congress harbor hopes that his death might generate a change of heart among opponents,” but it may not come to be: “If that is to be the case, there are few signs of it yet.”
Reporter Jonathan Karl noted continued opposition amongst those at town hall meetings, yet ran soundbites from three Democrats who demonstrated how “many prominent Democrats are hoping to turn an outpouring of goodwill into political magic.” For instance, “the most senior Senator, Robert Byrd, said yesterday, 'my heart and soul weeps' at the loss of the Senator Kennedy and called for naming the health care bill after him, a view wildly held b by Democrats.”
Karl recalled “the tactic has worked before. After the assassination of John Kennedy, President Johnson invoked his memory to revive the long-stalled civil rights bill.” This year, however, while “win one for Teddy” is “already becoming a rallying cry here on Capitol Hill, Karl concluded, “the divisions run deep and will not be easily overcome, even with all that obvious good will for Senator Ted Kennedy.”
NBC's Ann Curry, on Thursday's "Today" show, asked Senator John McCain if "the death of Senator Kennedy" would "be the catalyst" to pass health care reform, but when the Arizona senator responded that it may change the partisan way in which the Democrats have had "no real negotiations" with the GOP to get it passed, Curry demanded that McCain and the Republicans should be the ones to relent as she pushed McCain to "cross the aisle." McCain said he was "willing," but reiterated to Curry, "There's been no opportunity to do so," as seen in the following exchange:
ANN CURRY: Well, one of the next battles before Congress, which is one that, what mattered really most to the Senator, is of course about health care reform. And you faced a lot of rancor, some anger yesterday at a town hall meeting. What do you say about this idea? Could, in fact, the death of Senator Kennedy be the catalyst that might spark the possibility that this actually might go somewhere, as it doesn't seem to be right now? [audio available here]
At the top of the 8AM ET hour of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Russ Mitchell wondered if Ted Kennedy’s death could "spur Congress to pass a health care reform bill?" Correspondent Nancy Cordes answered that question: "Kennedy’s death, in a way, gives new life to health care legislation, which has really taken a beating the past few weeks at town halls across the country."
Cordes went on to declare: "Supporters of health care reform say they’re going to fight even harder to achieve Kennedy’s dying wish, universal healthcare. With Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia even suggesting that the legislation be named after the late great lawmaker."
Earlier on the show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez interviewed Utah Senator and Kennedy friend Orrin Hatch, and asked about the "dying wish" of the Massachusetts Senator: "I’d be willing to bet that he would be smiling down on the capital if Republicans and Democrats could finally compromise to fulfill his dream of health care reform. Do you think that Senator Kennedy’s passing could be the impetus that could finally make that happen, or do you think that the only bridge builder who could have done that is gone now?"
Law of averages being what it is, only a matter of time before a moment of candor eluded the thought police on left-wing radio.
Appearing on Ed Schultz's top-rated liberal radio show this past Monday, Newsweek chief political correspondent Howard Fineman provided an example of this when he traced Obama's difficulties in overhauling health care to his vague promises about reform during the '08 campaign (click here for audio) --
SCHULTZ: What do you make of the president's leadership so far on this? Should the Democrats be this divided at this point on some of these major issues in health care reform and what responsibility does the White House bear for that?
ObamaCare supporter Anthony Wright has a suggestion for TV networks in their coverage of the town hall protests: treat the protesters the way ESPN covers unruly sports fans. In other words, avoid pointing the cameras at them. Here are some of Wright's thoughts about censoring the town hall protesters published in The New Republic:
The Fox network has done more than any other network to showcase the protesters at health care town halls. And the coverage has been a lot like Fox’s reality shows: The more outrageous, the more likely you’ll end up on TV or YouTube. A sign referencing Nazis will get you on the local news. Shouting in a Senator’s face gets an radio interview afterwards. Bring a gun, and you get your full interview on a cable news program. After the first gun-toter made the rounds, the question wasn’t why there was a dozen folks packing outside the next presidential event, but why weren’t there more?
The announcement of Sen. Ted Kennedy's death came at 2 a.m. Eastern on Aug. 26 and a little over 15 hours later, two prominent liberal voices were scheming as to how the president and other Democratic leaders could use his passing to advance a political agenda.
Huffington Post editor Arianna Huffington appeared on MSNBC host Ed Schultz's Aug. 26 program and was asked by Schultz if it somehow could be used to push "real reform" for health care.
"The passing of Ted Kennedy - could this be a rallying cry for progressives to carry this fight through and to see real reform and health care in this country?" Schultz said. "Because, of course, I think everybody on the left knows that this was his passion, this was his cause."
Proffering how “national sorrow has created political momentum before,” Wednesday's NBC Nightly News devoted a story to the hope of Democrats that Senator Ted Kennedy's passing will propel ObamaCare to victory. Noting how Kennedy was “passionate” about more government in health care, from Hyannis anchor Brian Williams proposed “ironically, the fact that he did not live long enough to see a possible overhaul of the system” raises the question: “Will this be the very thing that might break the log jam over getting it done? Or not?”
With “final Fight” as the on-screen heading, reporter Kelly O'Donnell asserted that “looking forward, the emotional impact of Kennedy's passing could become a factor now” as “Democrats are saying respect for Kennedy could change minds now.” Leading into a clip of President Lyndon Johnson using President John Kennedy's assassination to push for civil rights legislation, O'Donnell delivered the “national sorrow has created political momentum before” formulation, recalling:
Within months the Civil Rights Act passed with young Senator Kennedy's help. Today, a similar suggestion from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “Ted Kennedy's dream of quality health care for all Americans will be made real this year because of his leadership and his inspiration.” And outside groups were even more direct. The seniors lobby, AARP, wrote: “As Congress seems poised to act this fall, Senator Kennedy will no doubt be watching.” And the service workers union said: “Let us continue his cause. Let us take action this year to pass health care reform.”
NBC's Brian Williams, during NBC News' live coverage of the President's remarks about the passing of Ted Kennedy on Wednesday, cited what sounded like a spam e-mail rallying support for health care reform, as a way to remember the Democratic Senator. Quoting from his in-box Williams suggested: "In lieu of flowers, pass health care reform." Responding to a question from "Today" co-host Ann Curry on the effect Kennedy's death will have on the chances of a health care bill passing through Congress, Williams offered the following "theories":
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Number one, that it could lose momentum with the death of its great champion. The other theory, of course, is that in the memory of Senator Kennedy, perhaps it will get a needed shot. There is already an e-mail circulating that I've received today that reads simply, "In lieu of flowers, pass health care reform." [audio available here]
The following exchange was aired during the August 26, "Today" show:
Don't like ObamaCare? Well, more than likely - you're suffering from some sort of psychological delusion according to Newsweek Senior Editor and self-declared psychiatrist Sharon Begley.
Begley, in a piece posted on Newsweek's Web site on Aug. 25, theorized that the widespread opposition to President Barack Obama's health care reform is from any legitimate reason, but instead it exists mostly because people are not willing to go against their own beliefs, but have a desire to satisfy their need to think they're beliefs are right.
Begley used the analogy that some people refused to dismiss a connection between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 terrorist as why people won't dismiss some of the "myths" about ObamaCare.
"Some people form and cling to false beliefs about health-care reform (or Obama's citizenship) despite overwhelming evidence thanks to a mental phenomenon called motivated reasoning, says sociologist says sociologist Steven Hoffman, visiting assistant professor at the University at Buffalo," Begley wrote.
The threat of a government-run public option plan in health care legislation was frightening enough to spur thousands of people to attend town hall meetings across the country and voice their dissent, sometimes angrily.
Now legislators and the national media are talking about a possible "compromise" that could replace the public option with health care co-ops. Conservatives are concerned that such an attempt will just be "government health care in yet another set of clothes," but national broadcast or print media have practically omitted that perspective.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., stirred up those concerns July 9 when he said, "We're going to have some type of public option, call it 'co-op,' call it what you want."
According to Nexis, ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN, as well as the five major newspapers, ignored this admission from Reid. In fact, on the three broadcast networks Reid wasn't even mentioned in any of the 21 health care co-op stories. More than half of those stories (12) used the word "compromise" to discuss the co-ops and only 2 conservatives critical of co-ops were included.
On Tuesday’s Situation Room, CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux questioned RNC Chairman Michael Steele about the debate over ObamaCare, and alleged that protesters “from your own party...have talked about and compared President Obama to Hitler” at the health care town halls. The anchor also bizarrely asked Steele if he gave Attorney General Holder “credit...for breaking away from President Obama.”
Midway through her interview with the GOP leader, Malveaux made the left-wing allegation that Republican activists were using Nazi imagery against the President at the town halls: “How honest do you think the debate has been- the discussion? In light of some of the town hall meetings, some of the rhetoric that we’ve seen from both sides, but specifically those who are from your own party who have talked about and compared President Obama to- to Hitler.”
CNN has raised the issue of the Nazi comparisons at the health care town halls in the past weeks, all the while making three significant omissions. First, they neglected to mention that early in August, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused the anti-ObamaCare protesters of “carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town hall meeting on health care,” which led to Rush Limbaugh pointing out the similarities between the DNC health care logo and a Nazi symbol. They have also failed to mention that supporters of leftist Lyndon LaRouche bore posters of President Obama defaced with a Hitler mustache.
MSNBC News Live hosts David Shuster and Tamron Hall on Tuesday embraced a contrarian notion that the tide is shifting in favor of liberal health care reform. Interviewing a Democratic strategist-turned-left-wing columnist, whose political affiliations went unidentified, Shuster tried to be optimistic: "...If the anti, sort-of, reform crowd on the right owned the early part of August, you almost get the sense that things are starting to pick up on the left, as far as the last couple of weeks in this month."
Shuster talked to David Sirota, whom he identified simply as a "syndicated columnist." The cable anchor left out the fact that Sirota is a former Democratic/far-left operative who previously worked for, among others, socialist Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. One MSNBC graphic hopefully speculated that the country may be seeing a health care "momentum shift." Another touted, "Is Tide Beginning to Turn on Health Care Reform?"
During an interview with John McCain on Sunday’s This Week, George Stephanopoulos practically begged with the Arizona senator to repudiate "death panel" claims by former Governor Sarah Palin. Speaking of the health care bill, Stephanopoulos attacked euthanasia worries and lobbied, "[Obama] called that an extraordinary lie. And he is right about that, isn't he?"
The former top Clinton aide turned journalist reworked the same query four more times. After McCain referred to the fact that a Senate panel dropped a provision on end-of-life counseling, Stephanopoulos interrupted, "I don't think that's correct, Senator. The bill, all it said was that if a patient wanted to have a Medicare consultation about end of life issues, they could have it, at their request. And the doctor would get reimbursed for it. No panel."
Using a "clever" headline, LiveScience.com, in a report carried at Yahoo News, tries to give those who will only see the headline the impression that Americans are a bunch of dummies who don't understand what's good for them:
Majority of Americans Believe Health Care Reform 'Myths'
Yes, the word "myths" is in quotes, but the reader is left to assume that a credible outfit must be asserting what those "myths" are. But it's actually that less than credible outfit known as "the Obama White House," which claims that those who don't swallow their assertions are subscribing to "myths." The reality is that President Barack Obama and his apparatchiks continue to peddle a set of long-disproved assertions about the kind of health care plan he and the Democratic Congress intend to make law.
The good news is that the American people aren't buying most of what Obama et al are selling:
"I think right now for example, this health care debate looks like it's - we could lose it because I don't think [Obama] he has been tough enough," Maher said. "You know, he used to say in the campaign, ‘It's your time.' This is his time. He should get mad, stop [expletive] around."
One of the hurdles Obama is facing to get his brand of health care made law is some of the more moderate Democrats in the Senate aren't willing to agree to the far-reaching plan Obama and the Democratic congressional leadership want. Maher said it really didn't matter what they thought.
I don't anticipate that those in the UK who are rushing to the defense of their precious National Health Service (NHS) will be bringing up the item that follows any time soon, nor do I expect the U.S. statist heath care cheerleaders to take note of it.
The UK Daily Mail tells us that NHS is importing general practitioners who commute from foreign countries. Wait until you see the reason why, and the effect it has had on patient care.
Here are key paragraphs from the report by Rebecca Cambers:
As the national debate roils on about the proposed public option for health care and as newspapers face declining fortunes, one might think major newspaper editors would jump at the chance to front-page a story of government-run health care negligence.
Army veteran Juan Rivera reported to the veterans hospital in Miami for a routine colonoscopy in May 2008. Almost a year later, the 55-year-old father of two learned that the Department of Veterans Affairs had not properly sterilized the equipment used for the procedure.
ABC News anchor Chris Cuomo conducted a hostile interview of RNC Chairman Michael Steele on Monday’s Good Morning America. Noting Steele hadn't used the term “death panel,” Cuomo asked if it was "a sign of positive progress." He also wondered why Steele wasn't bashing insurance companies, since when there is "excess in the system, it always comes back to the insurance companies."
The GMA anchor interviewed the RNC chairman 15 minutes into the 7 am hour. He zeroed in on Steele’s op-ed plugging a “Seniors’ Health Care Bill of Rights" which ran in the Washington Post on Monday. After Steele first summarized what was in the proposal, Cuomo brought up the hyped “death panel” term, which is a central part of the debate over ObamaCare:
“Now Mr. Steele, here in this health care bill of rights -- very interesting what is not here, the word ‘death panel’ is not anywhere in here. Is this a sign of positive progress, that we’re not going to talk about death panels anymore as a scare tactic?”
A well-known newspaper had this to say about writer Nat Hentoff upon his departure from the Villiage Voice at the end of 2008 after a 50-year run:
Across his 83 years, his three dozen books and his countless newspaper columns and magazine articles, Mr. Hentoff has championed free speech and opposed censorship of any kind, whether by liberals or conservatives. Few have more assiduously and consistently defended the right of people to express their views, no matter how objectionable.
The thing is that, agree with him or not, Nat Hentoff offers no opinion that isn’t supported by facts, diligently gathered.
Mr. Hentoff may not hear as well as he once did, or stand quite as straight. But he will not fade to silence.
You probably already knew Jeanane Garofalo was no fan of conservatives, Republicans or just about anything that could be described as right of center. But the former Air America host and MSNBC regular really has a low regard for conservative activists.