Filed under: Foreign Policy, History, Media Bias, Politics, Progressivism, Regulation, Statism, The United States | Tags: No Longer a Free Press, No Longer a Government Watchdog, Shallow Superficial Work
I have not been unduly impressed with our journalists in general for a number of years. I got curious a while back and looked up Columbia University’s graduate school of journalism and Northwestern’s as well, and learned that the coursework offered concerned how to write a lede and writing about foreign policy or fashion, that sort of thing. This was some time ago, so I may have forgotten the particulars, but I had been looking for requirements in history or law, and international relations. I my quick perusal, it seemed to all be about how to write one kind or another of piece.
My investigation was superficial at best, and I sort of assumed that perhaps the study of history and foreign affairs and important things were requirements to get in to journalism school, and left it at that. But I kept noticing that journalists simply parroted what other journalists were saying, and didn’t seem to know what they were talking about. They did seem to be reliably of the leftist persuasion, however. But I already knew that.
Then this week, Governor Brewer of Arizona vetoed a law sent up by the legislature, the origin of which seemed to be a case in another state in which a baker refused to make a wedding cake for a gay wedding because gay marriage was against his religious convictions. That case seemed to be a set-up when the gay couple sued, rather than go to any one of innumerable other bakeries available.
The national press, inspired by what American universities actually do teach — Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Disability and Sexuality Studies, Imperial, Transnational and Postcolonial Studies, critical theory or creative writing, spoke in one voice. “Arizona Governor Brewer vetoes controversial anti-gay bill,” Arizona Governor Jan Brewer Vetoes Anti-Gay Bill,” and other slight variations. Every radio announcer repeated the same thing.
The words “gay” or “homosexual” do not appear in the bill at all, nor was the bill directed at any criticism of gay people. There was no “anti-gay” in the bill. The bill was a simple effort to protect the Constitutional right to the free exercise of religion. Very obviously, the journalistic profession had not read the bill, but were off on a religious jihad. The text of the bill is here.
Governor Brewer vetoed the bill because, as she said, “Senate Bill 1062 does not address a specific and present concern related to religious liberty in Arizona. I have not heard of one example in Arizona where a business owner’s religious liberty has been violated.
Ed Whelan, at National Review wrote:
There has been a blizzard of hysterical misinformation about Arizona’s SB 1062. As anyone who takes the trouble to consult the text of the legislation will readily discover, SB 1062 does not mention, much less single out, gays or same-sex ceremonies.
As Douglas Laycock (who supports redefining marriage to include same-sex couples) and other leading religious-liberty scholars explain in a letter to Arizona governor Jan Brewer, SB 1062 “has been egregiously misrepresented by many of its critics.”
This is an absolutely pure example of media bias, which is real and pervasive. You just have to question what you are reading and hearing if you want to know the truth. Requires a little more work, but you avoid feeling sleazy when you find out that you’ve been had. Studies show that the media is much more liberal than the American people, and more likely to agree with the liberal position on policy matters than members of the general public. The public, according to public opinion polls sees the media as politically biased, inaccurate, intrusive and a tool of powerful interests. Huh. Wonder why.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Freedom, History, Media Bias, News, News the Media Doesn't Want You to Hear, Politics, Progressivism, The Constitution | Tags: Critical Information Needs?, No Longer a Free Press, Press Freedom Index
As the Obama administration has degraded American and world trust in our institutions, each new downgrade seems more ordinary and unexceptional and less surprising. So it is that Reporters Without Borders released its annual World Press Freedom Index the other day. Those of us who still believe in a strong, independent and above all a free press found it disheartening. Who would be surprised that China, Syria and North Korea inhabit the bottom layer at the rankings of press freedom? One would think that the explosion of new sources, and vast new channels of information would increase freedom.
The United States of America has slipped in the fifth year of Obama’s reign by thirteen spots to 46th in the world — right between Rumania and Haiti. That fall is based largely on the Obama administration’s remarkably determined efforts to curb dissent, to plug and track down leaks, and control the press.
Obama brought with him from Chicago a kind of governance to which we are unaccustomed. The Obama administration leaks profusely with the news they want out. This is normal, all administrations work at getting out that which they want to get out. But no president wants to hear surprises from the media. No administration in memory, however, has gone to such lengths to control the press, control leaks and punish those who are uncooperative.
The Democrats are facing an upcoming election this fall in the looming shadow of the ObamaCare Disaster. The Left is deeply involved, at every level, in pretending that all is well, or will be well — tomorrow. Obama’s signature achievement cannot fail. And they will go to whatever ends they must to make sure that it does work.
The Tea Party is deeply frightening to the Left. Obama told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that the IRS scandal of attempting to intimidate and derail conservative groups as merely some “bone-head decisions” by confused local agents, without even a “smidgen” of corruption. The president portrayed himself as a victim of Fox News’ efforts to harp on the case, to drive its own anti-administration agenda. Nine months back, he denounced the same affair as an outrage, and promised a thorough investigation.
Now that the media is firmly under control, The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will launch this Spring a nationwide “study” of newsroom values, priorities and processes to see if they meet a list of government “critical information needs.” This will also involve print media over which the FCC has previously had no authority whatsoever under the Constitution.
The FCC will place “researchers” in U.S. newsrooms, supposedly to learn about how editorial decisions are made. They will invade radio, television and even newspaper newsrooms. It is called the “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs.” They’re always good at coming up with innocuous-sounding names. I mean what could be more innocuous than “the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act?” And look where that’s gotten us.
Remember when the government seized Associated Press phone records, and tailed the mother of a Fox News reporter? That flared up for a bit, briefly, but there was “nothing to see there, just move along,” and it vanished down the memory hole.
The media has noticed that the administration can be somewhat assertive in waving around the vast power and majesty of the government of the United States of America. The media may not write about it, but they notice when the automobile industry is taken over by the federal government, and when Gibson Guitars is shut down and all their instruments and supplies are removed. Did you think there was pride in a free press? Not much and no courage.
The National Association of Broadcasters said the FCC “should reconsider” “qualitative” sections of its study, it wrote. Um, powerful statement.
Ajit Pai, a commissioner with the FCC, warned in a Wall Street Journal op-ed (pay-wall) that under the rationale of increasing minority representation in newsrooms, the FCC, which has the power to issue or not issue broadcasting licenses would seek “voluntary” compliance about how news stories are decided, as well as “wade into office politics” looking for angry reporters whose story ideas were rejected as evidence of a shutout of minority views. Pai questioned if such a study could really be voluntary given FCC’s conflict of interest.
News agencies ought to be screaming bloody murder, but the boat must not be rocked. The Obama administration has a record of going after its opponents. Race and minority status come in very handy. That’s why our press has dropped 13 places to a disgraceful 46th on the ranking of press freedom.
The Left is still seething over the failure of the defunct Fairness Doctrine. Their goal is to win. It’s that simple. They’ve had a taste of success and they won’t give up.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Health Care, Law, Liberalism, Media Bias, Progressivism, Regulation | Tags: All About ObamaCare, For Your Enjoyment, The Republican Response
Here are Six Answers to your Most Pressing Questions today, or they would be the most pressing if you’d thought of them.
- When Obama Rewrites ObamaCare, Why Doesn’t Anyone Sue Him? Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) has a remarkable legal mind, and it pays to listen. “President Obama has repeatedly suspended parts of the Affordable Care Act without the consent of Congress. The latest unilateral action happened Monday night, when the administration announced another delay of the employer mandate, the law’s provision that businesses with more than 50 employees must provide their employees with insurance starting in 2014 or pay large fines.“
- Why is Janet Yellen so concerned and disturbed about income inequality? James Pethokoukis explains why “income inequality” is a flawed enthusiasm of the Left. “A ‘very concerned’ Janet Yellen told a congressional panel today that she thinks income inequality is “one of the most important issues and one of the most disturbing trends facing the nation at the present time.”
- Actually, We Won the War on Poverty, And sorry liberals; It was conservative ideas that did it. “After all, despite the alarm of the current debate about America’s poor, the country has actually reduced poverty more than we often appreciate—and that decline in poverty has been less about the liberal programs of the New Deal and Great Society and more about economic growth and center-right welfare reforms than is widely recognized.”
- Why I’m Getting Sick of Defending ObamaCare: Incompetence, politics, and delays frustrate advocates of health care reform. Waiting for a Democrat to notice that all is not well? Ron Fournier is beginning to have trouble with it. “It’s getting difficult and slinking toward impossible to defend the Affordable Care Act. The latest blow to Democratic candidates, liberal activists, and naïve columnists like me came Monday from the White House, which announced yet another delay in the Obamacare implementation.“
- HIT Apologia: Health Information Technology, promised by the Left to save all the costs racked up by ObamaCare, forced on the health care industry with a $20 billion appropriation from the HITECH law to upgrade information technology. A team of RAND Corporation researchers projected in 2005 that rapid adoption of HIT would save the U.S. more than $81 billion annually. Not the first time people got a little overexcited by the wonders of high tech. Seven years later, information on efficiency and safety are mixed and health care expenditures have grown by $800 billion. The evidence is overwhelmingly negative. You doctor probably has more interaction with his computer than he does with you. They gave the problem to engineers to solve instead of doctors to develop what would work for them.
- “ObamaCare both sucks and blows” John Podhoretz offers up full-throated outrage at the latest announcement that “the Obama administration is once again unilaterally delaying a key aspect of its health-care law and what this act of astonishing royalism suggests about the president and his fundamental disrespect for the American system of checks and balances.” For your enjoyment.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Foreign Policy, Law, Media Bias, Politics, Regulation | Tags: Hubris and Incompetence, It was of course Bush's fault, Ozymandius
From the archives, September 28, 2010:
President Barack Obama was interviewed by Rolling Stone, and is typically modest about his accomplishments. He tells the Democrats to “wake up” and gaze upon his works:
When I talk to Democrats around the country, I tell them, “Guys, wake up here. We have accomplished an incredible amount in the most adverse circumstances imaginable.” I came in and had to prevent a Great Depression, restore the financial system so that it functions, and manage two wars. In the midst of all that, I ended one of those wars, at least in terms of combat operations. We passed historic health care legislation, historic financial regulatory reform and a huge number of legislative victories that people don’t even notice. We wrestled away billions of dollars of profit that were going to the banks and middlemen through the student-loan program, and now we have tens of billions of dollars that are going directly to students to help them pay for college. We expanded national service more than we ever have before.
The Recovery Act alone represented the largest investment in research and development in our history, the largest investment in infrastructure since Dwight Eisenhower, the largest investment in education — and that was combined, by the way, with the kind of education reform that we hadn’t seen in this country in 30 years — and the largest investment in clean energy in our history.
You look at all this, and you say, “Folks, that’s what you elected me to do.” I keep in my pocket a checklist of the promises I made during the campaign, and here I am, halfway through my first term, and we’ve probably accomplished 70 percent of the things that we said we were going to do — and by the way, I’ve got two years left to finish the rest of the list, at minimum. So I think that it is very important for Democrats to take pride in what we’ve accomplished.
We hear from international statistics on education that our kids are deficient in math, science, reading and just about everything except that they excel in self-esteem, where they are right off the charts. Brings a bit of verse to mind, from Shelley:
I MET a traveller from an antique land
Who said: —Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter’d visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp’d on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock’d them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
What made me think of this were the 2013 Twitchy Awards for this year’s top 5 most malignantly narcissistic Obama moments: (which made me laugh), and it seemed appropriate to add this Photoshop, but I don’t know who created it.
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Economy, Media Bias, Energy, Democrat Corruption, Capitalism, Statism, Regulation | Tags: Excessive Regulation, Higher Electricity Costs, Everything Costs More
America is is the midst of an energy boom. Fracking technology has released abundant oil and gas stored in shale deposits. The amazing paradox of the domestic fossil-fuels boom has been overwhelming destructive federal government policy. The U.S.Oil boom driven by private investment and ingenuity has transformed North American oil markets. The International Energy Agency estimates that America will surpass Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’s largest oil producers by 2015.
Oddly, in the midst of an energy boom, U.S. electricity prices have skyrocketed to new highs. This paradox is not a result of the free market, but of runaway “green” regulation by the government. In November, the BLS Electricity Price Index hit 202.284, an all-time record high nearly 20% higher than just six years ago. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in 2008 the U.S. produced 2.1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. Today, it’s 12.3 billion cubic feet and growing fast. But as energy booms, electricity prices are going up as well.
What is at work here is the green movement’s moral beliefs about what kinds of energy are “good.” Wind and solar power, which are “morally pure” cannot exist without generous governmental (taxpayer) subsidy. Wind and sunshine are of course free, but as producers of electricity, very expensive. The wind is intermittent and must be backed up 24/7 by conventional power, and the wind may not blow for days at a time. The sun goes down at night, and only shines in the day when the clouds don’t cover it. Trust me, I live in the Seattle area. We call the occasional appearances of the sun “sun-breaks.”
Electricity is now one of the most regulated goods in the U.S. The Environmental Protection Agency has sweeping powers to regulate CO2 — a power not found anywhere in the Constitution, electricity has become even more expensive, and will get more so. The EPA’s new rules, put in place to pander to the environmental movement will remove 34,705 megawatts of coal-based energy capacity off the market. This will increase electricity prices and the cost of everything where electricity is used.
This is a de facto ban on all new coal-fired power plants in spite of the fact that coal produces a third of all electricity in the country due to its cheap coast and plentiful supply. Despite the fact that CO2 levels are falling in the U.S., not rising, and despite the fact that the earth is cooling, not warming, as it has been for the last 17 years.
The demonization of coal and other fossil fuels means that utilities must shut coal-fired plants, and replace them with more costly energy sources like wind and solar. This is an enormous hidden energy tax, levied on every individual and every business — killing jobs and adding to the unemployment rolls.
Chicago political rules mean you must reward your financial supporters. The environmental movement is flush with money, wind and solar are awash with crony capitalism, and besides, the cost of higher electric bills will be borne by taxpayers.
Of course higher electricity bills on top of higher grocery bills, higher cost health insurance and higher cost of medical care may seem unreasonable. When confronted with a problem, Democrats first reaction is to make a law, to regulate. But that’s where the whole problem came from in the first place — excessive regulation.
Ironically, the very success of economic and political freedom reduced its appeal to later thinkers. The narrowly limited government of the late nineteenth century possessed little concentrated power that endangered the ordinary man. The other side of the coin was that it possessed little power that would enable good people to do good. And in an imperfect world there were still many evils. Indeed, the very progress of society made the residual evils seem all the more objectionable. As always people took the favorable developments for granted. They forgot the danger to freedom from a strong government. Instead, they were attracted by the good that a stronger government could achieve — if only government power were in the “right” hands.
…………………Milton and Rose Friedman: Free to Choose
Filed under: Politics, Education, Economy, Media Bias, Health Care, Energy, Capitalism, Regulation | Tags: "Do-Nothing Congress", The American Dream, The Yearly Summing-Up
I always hate the week between Christmas and New Years. The Media does the “Great Summing Up.” Lists and rankings, best and worst, biggest news stories, best photos, most notable deaths, the best books, the worst books, the funniest cartoons and the best and worst movies. These are not exactly think pieces.
The American Dream is dying, or dead. Things are really bad and only getting worse. The Least Productive Congress in History? The Do-Nothing Congress has been good for America, and if they pass few new laws, we can breathe slightly more easily. Congress passed just 70 laws, which may be too many. But Obama and Congressional Democrats planned an array of Big Government initiatives — gun control, immigration reform, a higher minimum wage, more job creation, infrastructure (again!), climate change, and education, to name only a few. Congress ended the year with none of those initiatives signed into law. And we are far better for it. No major tax hike, and the probability of a major tax hike in the next year has fallen.
Congress’ approval rating fell to a new low in a November Gallup poll at 9%, and 72% of Americans agreed that “big government” was the nation’s Number One threat. That is an encouraging opinion.
It used to be that a limited government with only modest aims was the guiding principle of nearly every Congressman. Until some sanity is restored to Congress, gridlock may be the best thing we can hope for. A year spent thoughtfully repealing useless laws, wretched excess, and governmental duplication would do us a world of good.
Markets have been encouraged by governmental inaction. Businessmen are not quite so frightened about what government might do next. In 2013, the growth oriented NASDAQ has surged 40%. Markets look six months to a year on down the road.
The EPA is facing real questions about just what ‘science’ they are relying on in their push for power and control. They are backing off their attempt to require 15% corn ethanol in gasoline, which will save many cars and all sorts of small engines. Inaction from the EPA would be a real boon to the economy.
The Democratic majority is running scared from the ObamaCare disaster and its potential influence on the 2014 election. The President is not going to win back the approval of the American people easily. The economy might survive after all. Let’s hear it for gridlock, and root for another do-nothing year in the nation’s capitol.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Economy, Election 2012, Liberalism, Media Bias, Politics | Tags: A Pattern of Lies, The Chicago Way, Winning is Everything!
The Obama administration has faked the census numbers that are used to compile unemployment statistics, in the period before the 2012 election.
In the home stretch of the 2012 presidential campaign, from August to September, the unemployment rate fell sharply — raising eyebrows from Wall Street to Washington.
The decline — from 8.1 percent in August to 7.8 percent in September — might not have been all it seemed. The numbers, according to a reliable source, were manipulated.
Granted, these numbers are careful estimates, but the figures are used by economists, financial institutions, hedge funds, state/private pension funds, and other governments base policy, predictions, expectations and invest real dollars based on those numbers. It is, as Joe Biden would say, a big #*!# deal! A knowledgeable source says the deception went beyond one employee, and escalated at the time President Obama was seeking reelection in 2012, and continues today.
Headline: 23 Million Unemployed is Not a Recovering Economy!, 10/7/2012
The labor participation rate is down to 1981 levels. Of the 114,000 new jobs last month, only 104,000 were in the private economy. The number that had a lot of people suspicious was the giant 873,000 leap in employment as measured by “the household survey.” That’s the biggest one-month increase in nearly 30 years, which does deserve an explanation. …
A lot of knowledgeable people were wondering if the Obama administration was, um, cooking the books. Robert Gibbs, former press secretary, appeared on the Sunday shows to say he was ‘shocked, shocked, that anyone would think that the administration manipulated the numbers. And yes, it is shocking that anyone would think that, but that is the kind of suspicion that this president’s lawlessness and executive orders and presidential proclamations have led us to.
Other things going on in October 2012: “The White House has moved to prevent defense and other government contractors from issuing mass layoff notices in anticipation of sequestration, notices which they must, according to law, send to workers deemed reasonably be likely to lose their jobs sixty days before they will be let go. The White House wants defense contractors to keep the layoffs secret and the contracting agencies would cover any potential litigation costs or employee compensation costs that could follow. The spending cuts would take effect January 2, 2013—$109 billion.”
And there was this one: Obama Economy Fashion Statement 10/7/2012, which I rather liked. There was also Benghazi, Obama performed horribly in a debate, and the Democrats interviewed the man who picked up the garbage from the Romney’s La Jolla house, and the CBO reported another $1 trillion+ deficit for 2012. Military Times reported a concerted effort to keep military votes from being counted or even received. “Mr Obama claims we are adding jobs every month, but for every person added to the labor force, ten drop out. That is not progress.
It would seem that promises of “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan” and “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor,” are not an isolated aberration, but a longstanding pattern of lies. What is important for Liberals is winning, and you do what is necessary to make that happen. For the man who was elected to the Senate on the basis of miraculously having “sealed” divorce records opened for public perusal, it’s just what we should have expected.
October 12, 2012: Jack Welch, famed former CEO of General Electric provoked outrage when he suggested that the White House had manipulated September job numbers for political gains. Chris Matthews was simply beside himself. But Jack Welch was right!
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Election 2014, Health Care, Media Bias, Politics | Tags: Changing Opinion, Insurance v. Health Care, Non-Governmental Health Care
Well, finally, the American people are sitting up and taking notice of the health care debacle. ObamaCare not only dominates the news cycle, but all the late night comics are trying to outdo each other in making fun of the website disaster and cancellations of everyone’s insurance. When you have lost Country Music and college football fans, you are in trouble.
So now what? A majority of voters say the federal government shouldn’t be involved in the business of healthcare according to a Gallup survey released on Monday.
The poll found that 56 percent say making sure people have health insurance shouldn’t be a government responsibility, against 42 percent who say that it should be. Those who say the government doesn’t have a responsibility to guarantee citizens have healthcare has reached the highest point ever among Democrats and Independents.
A record 30 percent of Democrats say the government shouldn’t be involved in healthcare, and 55 percent of independents now say the same. For Republicans, those against stand at 86 percent, down from 88 percent in 2012.
The post from Gallup was not clear about whether they distinguished clearly between government provided health care and government provided health care insurance. This is a distinction that has really confused most commentary.
ObamaCare is health insurance, but dips far into who you can see, what treatment you may have, what medicines you can take, and where you can go for care. They have chosen to offer a large array of (unnecessary) services—many that should not be paid for by insurance— but that add enormous cost to the insurance. The high cost must be offset by greater control of remuneration for doctors and suppliers, but control was what they were after in the first place.
What terrifies me is the possibility that they will try to “fix” ObamaCare. What we most need is to get government completely out of the health care business. They are no good at it.
Democrats expected to have to “fix” ObamaCare, and the improvement would be more control. Doctors would become government employees. the hated insurance companies would be ended and we would arrive at their long-desired single-payer, government-run care that other countries are trying to figure out how to escape.
Here’s an example of the turn of opinion, and the slow death spiral of ObamaCare from Saturday Night Live.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Health Care, Humor, Media Bias, Politics
The Obama enamored media has struggled mightily to avoid acknowledging clearly that Barack Obama’s central selling-point —”If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” was a straightforward fraud intended to deceive. A New York Times editorial last week said it this way:
Congressional Republicans have stoked consumer fears and confusion with charges that the health care reform law is causing insurers to cancel existing policies and will force many people to pay substantially higher premiums next year for coverage they don’t want. That, they say, violates President Obama’s pledge that if you like the insurance you have, you can keep it.
Mr. Obama clearly misspoke when he said that. By law, insurers cannot continue to sell policies that don’t provide the minimum benefits and consumer protections required as of next year. So they’ve sent cancellation notices to hundreds of thousands of people who hold these substandard policies.
On the news side they settled for the term “incorrect promise”while reporting that “hundreds of thousands of people have received cancellation notices:”
The split between lawmakers and the White House reflects the dilemma the president finds himself in as he seeks to follow through on last week’s acknowledgment about his incorrect promise on health care coverage. Hundreds of thousands of people have received cancellation notices from health insurance companies because their plans do not conform with minimum standards set by the new law.
You will notice that in each case they refer to that insurance policy you liked as a “substandard policy,” on the editorial side and “plans that do not conform with minimum standards” on the news side.
The new “minimum standards” are fat, bloated policies that could only be constructed by people who have no understanding of insurance and its purpose. Every benefit added has a cost, and that is the reason why your auto insurance doesn’t guarantee new tires and a regular change of windshield wipers. You can take care of that yourself.
Laughter is the best medicine. The Democrat/Media Complex can come up with all sorts of euphemisms, but at some point their attempts become absurd.
Filed under: History, Humor, Media Bias, Politics | Tags: Bill and Hillary?, Gullibility and Kid Gloves, The Meaning of "Is"
New MSNBC host Ronan Farrow actually said on Tuesday’s The Cycle: “They represent a style of honesty that the Public craves right now.”