On Sunday, in a report which I contend would surely have been published on a weekday -- and more importantly, published with far greater clarity -- if a Republican or conservative were in the White House, the Associated Press's Paul Wiseman essentially explored the following question: "Why aren't people spending more if they're so much richer?"
The answer he found, which should surprise no one in touch with reality, is that quite a few of us aren't richer. We're poorer. But Wiseman also cryptically revealed some of the dollar amounts involved and enough other information to enable one to back into an estimate of the shocking degree of wealth redistribution which has taken place during the recession and the first term of the Obama administration -- and it's not in the direction you might think.
Update (June 25, 5:48 p.m. EDT): Wurzelbacher has responded in a blog post at RedState, linking to a Smart Girl Politics post which noted that "[o]f the thirty-one signatories [of the anti-Wurzelbacher letter], all but six are registered Democrats or have made financial contributions to Democratic candidates or PACs."
"A viral campaign video in which Samuel 'Joe the Plumber' Wurzelbacher links gun control to the Holocaust has sickened some members of Ohio's Jewish community, who sent the GOP congressional candidate a letter on Thursday that calls his claims 'misguided,' 'highly offensive' and 'harmful to the Jewish community,'" Sabrina Eaton informed readers of the Cleveland Plain Dealer in an article uploaded yesterday evening. In the video in question, Wurzelbacher noted that gun control programs in Turkey and Germany preceded the Armenian genocide of 1915-17 and the Holocaust, respectively.
In a heated exchange Thursday between CNN’s Zoraida Sambolin and Samuel Wurzelbacher, also known as “Joe the Plumber,” Sambolin dug up comments he made about “gay people” in 2009, causing Wurzelbacher to quip that "this is TMZ. This isn't CNN, is what you're saying."
Sambolin also questioned his qualifications to run for office, and mislabeled his liberal opponent as a "conservative Democrat" while branding Wurzelbacher as a "conservative Republican." [Video below the break.]
Bill Maher invited comedian Patton Oswalt to his table on HBO's Real Time on Friday night and saluted his small film from 2009, "Big Fan," in which he plays a superfan of the New York Giants, even after a Giants linebacker beats him up severely. Maher turned this analogy to politics and leftist Thomas Frank's book "What's the Matter with Kansas?" which argued that poorer Americans are duped into voting for conservatives against their own economic interests.
"He will not go against the people who are hurting him, and it just seems so typical of the Joe the Plumbers of the world," Maher said. Oswalt replied, "It just seems to me that a lot of the people who are in the Tea Party movement and those other groups, there's been this brilliant magic trick where people are confusing capitalism with corporations, and those could not be more opposite, but they're made to root for these giant corporations as if they're rooting for free enterprise."
Vituperative left-wing radio host Ed Schultz took to the air on Monday and insisted that he hasn't said anything hateful on his MSNBC program in the last year:
Look, we all get carried away in talk radio but I do not think that on 'The Ed Show' on MSNBC in the last year I've said anything *hateful.* Hateful?! ... Hateful stuff? No, no, no, we point out the hateful stuff and sometimes it lands in Psycho Talk.
On Thursday, MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer reported on Meghan McCain calling Joe the Plumber a "dumb ass" for his views on homosexuality and remarked: "Is that name calling? Or, you know, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck and looks like a duck. Just asking, folks. I'm just asking." [audio available here]
In the brief report, during the 2:00PM ET hour, Brewer explained:
Let's go to the war of words between Meghan McCain and the man known as Joe the Plumber. In a recent interview, the daughter of the former GOP presidential contender railed against her dad's big supporter here. And she was talking about her support for gay marriage, she criticized Samuel Wurzelbacher, that’s his real name, his comments about homosexuals. She said – this is – okay, these are her words, I’m going to quote them, ‘Joe the Plumber, you can quote me, is a dumb ass, he should stick to plumbing.’ Is that name calling? Or, you know, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck and looks like a duck. Just asking, folks. I'm just asking.
Republicans, particularly those who are the biggest fans of Gov. Sarah Palin, are stuck in the vestiges of the 1984 "white-bread fantasy" of Reagan's "Morning in America," huffs Time magazine's Joe Klein in a July 6 Swampland blog post on "Sarah Palin's America":
All this talk about Sarah Palin's constituency being "real Americans" raises the question, yet again, of who the unreal Americans are. Last September, when the Governor burst upon the scene like a head-on collision, I wrote that Palin's America--white folks, small towns, traditional values--was a Republican fantasy, a vestige of Ronald Reagan's "Morning in America" hornswoggle in the 1980s. (This fantasy was reinforced by John McCain's fetishizing of Joe the Unlicensed Plumber.)
Real America is much different from, and more interesting than, that white-bread fantasy, a problem the Republican Party--the party of immigrant bashing--will be wrestling with for the immediate future.
Klein conveniently omitted that 2008 presidential nominee Sen. John McCain was hardly an immigrant basher, heavily criticized by conservatives in the GOP for his push for amnesty for illegal immigrants. What's more, it was President Reagan who signed the last amnesty bill in 1986, another inconvenient fact that cuts against Klein suggesting Reagan was a quasi-racist xenophobe.
As if to bolster his own cosmopolitan credentials with which to better slam Gov. Palin as provincial, Klein casually dropped a reference to a party he recently attended in the Islamic Republic of Iran:
As he appeared as a guest on Thursday’s Countdown show on MSNBC to discuss Joe the Plumber’s recent criticism of the Republican party, Newsweek’s Richard Wolffe started off by suggesting that Republicans had "lost their heart" in the 1980s and had "lost their mind" in the 1990s. Wolffe: "You know, if they lost their heart in the 1980s, and they lost their mind in the 1990s, what we've seen in the 2000s is Republicans losing their image, and they lost it on national security."
Wolffe later demeaned the intelligence of participants in the recent Tax Day Tea Parties, whom he referred to as "tea baggers," and charged that they want to "have their cake and eat it." Wolffe:
Hear all that shattering glass? That's David Shuster's house. The MSNBC host threw his latest rock when he snidely thanked Samuel Wurzelbacher, Joe the Plumber for a "lesson in tolerance" during the 11:00 hour of MSNBC's live news coverage on May 5.
And now a lesson in tolerance from Joe the Plumber. In an interview with Christian [sic] Today, he says we're supposed to love everybody and accept people, even has some friend who are gay. But he says he doesn't let his gay friends, quote, anywhere near his children. Oh, and according to Joe, queer is not a slur. It just means strange and unusual. Thank you, Joe the Christian.
Christianity Today asked Wurzelbacher about his views on same-sex marriage at a state level and he responded:
MSNBC host Keith Olbermann, who has a history of using distorted or even factually inaccurate information -- much of which he gets from far-left sources like Media Matters for America and Think Progress -- on Friday's Countdown show accused FNC's Brit Hume of making a "dumbfounding" admission that "he was fed a buffet of daily talking points" by the "lunatic fringe, right wing" Media Research Center, which the MSNBC host identified as a Web site "run by the perpetually angry Brent Bozell." During the show's "Worst Person in the World" segment, after designating Hume with the second place distinction, Olbermann also claimed that Hume's "admission" was "as startling as if he had confessed to making up the news out of whole cloth or reading it off a ouija board." Olbermann was referring to Hume’s Thursday speech at the MRC’s annual Dishonors Awards gala, as the former FNC anchor accepted the "William F. Buckley Jr. Award for Media Excellence."
And during a discussion with left-wing Family Guy producer Seth MacFarlane about a number of off-color comments made by several conservative public figures during the week, the two characterized Joe the Plumber's stage entrance at the MRC event as "gay," with MacFarlane cracking that "they're the people who are supposed to be opposed to homosexuality," and that "that‘s kind of an oddly gay entrance, wasn't it? 'God Bless the USA' and that welting, wistful tone." Olbermann played along, adding that "the guy looks like he just jumped off the Brawny towel thing."
The Media Research Center's annual “DisHonors Awards,” held Thursday night, furnished MSNBC's Keith Olbermann with comments to ridicule, but his rants exposed his own hypocrisy. As Brit Hume accepted our “William F. Buckley Jr. Award for Media Excellence” he thanked the MRC for providing information he could use, leading Olbermann to denounce Hume at the top of Friday's Countdown: “Brit Hume's dumbfounding admission. He was fed a buffet of daily talking points by an ultra-conservative media site and quote 'we certainly made tremendous use of it.'”
As if Olbermann doesn't graze a “buffet of daily talking points” from an “ultra-liberal media site.” The headline over a post earlier in the day on Media Matters' “County Fair” blog: “Accepting Buckley award, Fox's Hume thanked Media Research Center 'for the tremendous amount of material' they 'provided me for so many years when I was anchoring Special Report.'” Unlike Olbermann, however, Hume almost always credited the MRC so viewers were informed of his source.
Before subsequently reading the Hume quote verbatim as transcribed by Media Matters, Olbermann charged “Brit Hume admits that for years he's been reading daily talking points, from a lunatic-fringe right wing Web site, on the news” and that Hume “made an admission at a DC dinner last night as startling as if he had confessed to making up the news out of whole cloth or reading it off a ouija board.”
As if out to prove our point about media bias, the Washington Post's Mary Ann Akers seized on a one-liner by Joe "the Plumber" Wurzelbacher made last night at the MRC Gala and DisHonors Awards. Wurzelbacher, accepting the "Obamagasm Award" on behalf of ABC's Bill Weir, made a crack playing off the orgasmic delight that Chris Matthews and others in the media expressed after watching then-candidate Obama deliver rousing campaign speeches.
"God, all this love and everything in the room - I'm horny," Akers quoted Wurzelbacher, before going on to insist that no one in the whole room, especially at her table, understood why he said that.
An important story appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer on Tuesday. Here's how it began (Warren County is adjacent to and northeast of Cincinnati's Hamilton County):
County: no more food stamps for rich
Warren County’s poor (population) does not include someone with $80,000 in the bank, a paid-off $311,000 home and a Mercedes, members of the Warren County Board of Commissioners said Tuesday.
And if they have to fight the state and federal government over it, they will.
Recently the commissioners learned that this person, with the before-mentioned property, qualified for $500 a month in food stamps after she lost her job.
The Enquirer never told us why the County suddenly became motivated to do what it did.
Here's why (and how typical it is that the Enquirer either doesn't know this, or refused to give credit where due).
Someone who is "a source in the business" e-mailed State of Ohio Blogger Alliance founder Matt Hurley of Weapons of Mass Discussion. Matt put up a memorable post on March 13 containing the text of that e-mail:
There were many famous people at CPAC this year and I was lucky enough to run into some of them. And some of those I ran into even let me ask them a few questions about media bias. The resulting videos are embedded below the fold.
The four interviews I was able to get where with Joe the Plumber, John Ziegler, George Phillips, and Roger Simon. Each have unique experiences with liberal media bias and each articulated different but insightful points about the media.
Make sure you check out each of the videos and watch them all the way through.
Some might think MSNBC isn’t as aggressively liberal during the daytime as it is in prime time. But David Shuster aggressively pushed the idea that the Republicans were "out of touch" in the 11 am hour Thursday, complete with music going into the commercial break ("Out of Touch" by Hall and Oates – like that’s on the cutting edge?) Shuster suggested the Conservative Political Action Conference was a joke since it was featuring Joe the Plumber, and that booking him was a "huge mistake."
SHUSTER: With us now live is Armstrong Williams, he’s a syndicated radio talk show host, and Armstrong, why should anybody take CPAC seriously when it allows Joe the Plumber, invites Joe the Plumber to be one of the featured speakers? Good grief!
WILLIAMS: Well, you know, Joe the Plumber represents a certain constituency out there. He got a lot --
SHUSTER: Right. He represents those who don't have a proper license with tax liens against them. Does the Republican Party really want Joe the Plumber to be a role model?
We've seen the mainstream media afflicted with Palin Derangement Syndrome. We've experienced the media in the throes of Bush Derangement Syndrome. Over at CNN, which modestly styles itself as the most trusted name in news, there's now an outbreak of Joe the Plumber Derangement Syndrome.
Meanwhile, something else to take note of today. I want to share with you the thoughts of Samuel Wurzelbacher -- you know, "Joe the Plumber" -- now Joe the war correspondent. Yes, he's been in Israel filing reports.
And here's his analysis, as reported by the Associated Press. You're going to love this: "I don't think journalists should be anywhere around war. I mean you guys report where our troops are at. You report what's happening day to day. You make a big deal out of it. I think it's asinine. I think media should be abolished from, you know, reporting, war is hell."
There you have it.
Samuel, let me talk to you directly.
First, I was born in a communist country, so I'm familiar with people like you -- and Fidel Castro, by the way -- not to name drop -- who also think "that media should be abolished."
Given the flap that ensued when he famously told Joe the Plumber that he wanted to "spread the wealth," I figured Barack Obama wouldn't be making such a suggestion again anytime soon. I figured wrong.
Pres.-elect Obama to Tom Brokaw on today's Meet The Press:
I think the important principle, because sometimes when we start talking about taxes, and I say I want a more balanced tax code, people think, well, that's class warfare. No. It turns out that our economy grows best when the benefits of the economy are most widely spread. And that has been true historically.
Talk about arrogance, but apparently New York Times Columnist Timothy Egan wants to stop Joe the Plumber from being allowed to have his book published and calls the government oppressed blue collar man a "no good citizen" and a "no good plumber." Arrogantly, Egan imagines that Joe somehow doesn't deserve to have a book deal.
Egan imagines himself more qualified than Joe to write a book and in his column Egan asks Joe if he wants him to fix a leaky toilet? He then haughtily replies, "I didn't think so." You see, Egan thinks he is smarter than anyone as low as a Joe the Plumber.
The Columbus Dispatch has done some impressive work exposing the unauthorized and arguably illegal database diving done by State of Ohio employees into the records of Joe the Plumber in October. The rest of Ohio's and the nation's media have been virtually asleep.
In a previous post (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that Vanessa Niekamp, the state employee who blew the lid off the underhanded undertaking, was virtually unknown, while many other past government whistleblowers have been treated as media heroes.
A story in the Dispatch this morning that should be read in full (HT Michelle Malkin) about Ms. Niekamp's testimony before the Ohio House's Government and Elections Committee reveals just how imperiled she was.
While carrying out a personal order from a superior who was trying to cover his tracks, she was reminded that she was an "unclassified" employee. In plain English, she was threatened with her job if she didn't do what she was told (bolds are mine):
Note to Chris Matthews: when mocking someone for using a ghostwriter, it's best to avoid doing so on a day when Hillary Clinton is prominently in the news . . .
On this evening's Hardball, Matthews went out of his way to mock Joe The Plumber for his use of a ghostwriter on his just-released book. This on the day Hillary Clinton was in the headlines, having been named Barack Obama's Secretary of State. You know, Hillary Clinton. The woman famous, in writing "It Takes A Village," for failing to credit her . . . ghostwriter.
It's very doubtful that the name "Vanessa Niekamp" rings a bell with very many readers here. That's because the media elites like some whistleblowers, and not others.
In other circumstances, someone like Ms. Niekamp would be a heroine. In the current circumstances, she's barely a footnote. In my opinion, it's because she was involved in exposing shenanigans conducted on behalf of the then-presidential candidate the media loves and adores that threatened to derail his march to victory.
If it weren't for Vanessa Niekamp, the public might not have learned of the duplicitous and likely extra-legal dives into State of Ohio databases by state employees determined to dig up dirt on Joe the Plumber. A subsequent investigation by the Ohio Inspector General (OIG; PDF is accessible at the first item at this link) determined that Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Director Helen Jones-Kelley and state employees at other agencies had engaged in "improper" records checks "without any legitimate business purpose."
While the vast majority of political reporters have dropped off the snotty comments about the McCain-Palin ticket and their campaign messaging, that’s not true of the football writers at the Washington Post. In the chatty wrap-up of the NFL scores appropriately called "The Slant," Post sports writer Desmond Bieler could be called for unnecessary roughness on Joe "the Plumber" Wurzelbacher. In Monday’s paper, he came up in summarizing the St. Louis Rams being thumped by the 49ers:
Remember when the Rams shook off their awful start and actually played pretty well for a few weeks? Well, they’re back to being about as relevant to the national conversation as Joe the Plumber. Over its past three weeks, St. Louis has been outscored in the first half by a total of 99-10. We haven’t seen lopsided figures like this since the numbers started rolling in on election night! Sorry, Joe.
I’m not sure anyone saw 90-10 numbers in the presidential race on election night, unless you count returns from D.C. (where it was 93 percent to 6.5 percent, actually.) This is not the first time that Bieler has worked Joe the Plumber slams into his football slant. From October 20, the awful NFL team to mock was the Bengals:
The liberal talk-radio host who said in a vulgar, on-air tirade that he wanted Joe (The Plumber) Wurzelbacher "dead" is out of a job.
Examiner.com reports that Charles "Karel" Bouley was fired Tuesday. Michelle Malkin noted that Karel is "playing the victim card." He whined that the station has fired "the most prominent gay voice" in San Francisco and blamed an engineer for his vulgarities being broadcast during a news break in the show.
Sheesh! Talking about rolling around in the dirt! CNN's Rick Sanchez was arguing taxes with Joe the Plumber (Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher) yesterday and somehow couldn't figure out the concept of "principles." Ironically, Sanchez then showed just how unprincipled he is by rolling around in the mud and digging up recycled "dirt" on Joe. Here is the transcript of the video so you can see for yourself just how low Sanchez went in an attempt to smear Joe the Plumber (emphasis mine):
RICK SANCHEZ: Probably nobody in this campaign has been referred to more by his acronym or slash name than "Joe the Plumber." His real name is Joe Wurzelbacher. And he's good enough to join us now to bring us up to date on what's going on with them -- Joe, are you there?
JOE WURZELBACHER, "JOE THE PLUMBER": Oh, hey, I'm doing good. How about yourself today?
SANCHEZ: Good. Good.
Man, we -- I've got to tell you, just to be completely open about this, so many people have been writing to me today saying why are you talking to this guy, why are you talking to this guy?
So here's your chance to answer a lot of the questions that I've been getting from a lot of them. And I'll start with just probably the most curious question that a lot of people have.
Why would you be so upset about people who clear more than $250,000 a year having to pay taxes when you're nowhere near that category? Is that a fair question? Can you give me answer?
Imagine that a week before a presidential election, a radio interview surfaced in which the Republican candidate had called for, say, the abolition of Social Security. Now imagine the broadcast networks' reaction to that nugget: "We interrupt regularly-scheduled programming for this Breaking News," followed by 24/7 coverage with talking heads pondering the devastating impact on America's seniors, the overall economy, the future of Western civilization, etc. Nobel laureate Paul Krugman would be booked from now till election day, offering his pained pronouncements.
But how do those same networks react when a radio interview [YouTube after the jump] surfaces of Barack Obama in a call for the redistribution of wealth, in which he laments the Supreme Court's insufficient radicalism in pursuing redistribution and refers to the civil rights movement's failure to develop a better strategy to bring about wealth redistribution as a "tragedy?
A new survey found that more Americans know who Joe the Plumber is than about Barack Obama's ties to the radical group ACORN.
The same study released Wednesday by the highly-respected Pew Resesearch Center found that voters, by a margin of almost eight to one, believe media want Barack Obama to win on Election Day instead of John McCain.
Although it is typical the public feels journalists are pulling for the Democrat presidential candidate, the numbers this election cycle are nothing but astounding (emphasis added):
When at the beginning of the current financial mess John McCain declared that "the fundamentals of the economy are strong," he was roundly lambasted by the MSM, while the Obama campaign called his statement "an enormous mistake."
So, should we expect the liberal media and the Obama campaign to go after Barney Frank . . . now that he has said something remarkably similar? Discussing the markets with Maria Bartiromo on CNBC this afternoon, Frank declared: "I think it's clear that the fundamentals are better than the psychology."
ABC's Sam Donaldson has validated Joe the Plumber's worst fears: socialism has indeed washed over capitalism.
Maybe worse, Donaldson is clearly less unhappy about this than our new campaign spokesman from Ohio.
Such appeared to be the case when the former White House correspondent published a rather ominous commentary at ABCNews.com Tuesday both in written and video form (emphasis added, h/t Extreme Mortman via Glenn Reynolds):
The mainstream media began a frenzied investigation of Joe the Plumber this week. His "high crime" wasn't anything he said. Instead Joe the Plumber has earned the ire of the MSM because of what Barack Obama said to him, namely that he wanted to "share the wealth." As a result of inadvertently revealing his collectivist yearnings to Joe the Plumber, the latter gentleman is having every last detail of his background investigated including his modest tax lien and the fact that (gasp!) his first name isn't really Joe. That last charge is actually quite laughable since there are probably millions of people in this country who don't use their first name (including your humble correspondent). Perhaps we should take a trip back in time and impeach President Thomas Woodrow Wilson for ditching his first name.