“No Man’s life liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session”.

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Friday, November 6, 2009

Thomas Frank's Tilted Little Yard

There's an ultra-liberal columnist by the name of Thomas Frank whose writing appears on Wednesday's in the Wall Street Journal, just below Holman Jenkins' column.

I'm not sure just when Frank was added to the paper's slate of resident editorialists, but I suspect it has something to do with Murdoch's newly-installed publisher attempting to provide a similar "balance" to the Journal's editorial staff as is found on News Corporation's Fox News cable channel.

Frank is so liberal and, no pun intended, frankly wrong on so many issues that it actually makes me wish- despite the pain- for the return of one-time Journal writer Al Hunt.

And that is no small feat.

For over a year, one of my business colleagues and I have discussed some of Frank's more outrageous, ill-informed and out-of-touch with reality pieces. But this past Wednesday, Frank finally wrote something about which I apparently have more knowledge than him, and, is truly a total misrepresentation of reality.

The subject in question, to use Frank's own title, is "Glenn Beck's Hotline to Nowhere."

Frank's misinformation begins with the editorial's featured quote in the middle of the piece,

"The White House has no obligation to correct willful ignorance."

Perhaps true, but totally irrelevant to the piece's title. Frank starts off totally ignorant of the chain of events leading to Beck's 'hotline.'

Here's the back story Frank either doesn't know, or won't divulge.

Beginning a few months ago, Wonderboy's administration began to demonize Fox News in a sort of head fake to get the rest of the media, and many voters, distracted from its push for the health care bill.

It began with the administration's spokesperson, Robert Gibbs, solemnly declaring that Fox isn't really a news organization, and publishes untrue stories. No specific examples were forthcoming. I believe that Wonderboy's chief of staff got in on the act, as well. Administration member Anita Dunn apparently joined the pile-on.

In an interview, Wonderboy himself mused that Fox was mostly opinion shows, not a news organization. In the past, he's threatened NewsCorp, a publicly-held company, by name as being too powerful.

Following the public media assault on Fox News, the White House began to publish its alleged identification of lies on a website. To my recollection, the only one of note was that Beck referred to the wrong city when reporting on how much money had been lost by an Olympics host. But Beck noted that the White House had taken it upon itself to be a fact checker.

Frank missed this entirely, or is simply, as many liberals are wont to do, in denial about this truth.

Beck grabbed the opportunity to ask the White House to back up its allegations that Fox News reports lies as truth. He installed the red hotline, then sent its number to Anita Dunn, the White House Communications Director.

Beck was quite clear about the setup. The White House had attacked Fox News for publishing lies, and begun a website on the topic. Beck provided an easy facility for Dunn to directly communicate lies which she or other administration officials had detected on Fox News.

The phone, of course, has never rung. But it was only for the White House, and only in response to Wonderboy's team's accusation of Fox News for publishing lies, and then going so far as to start a website devoted to 'fact checking.'

Further, about a week into the hotline watch, Beck noticed that someone in the administration emailed MSNBC within an hour of some story, correcting what it believed was an untruth.

Beck again jumped on this, observing that the administration clearly felt it worthwhile to communicate directly with some media outlets, such as its favorite, left-leaning cable channel, MSNBC. True, fewer people watch MSNBC than almost any other cable channel. But Beck never the less seized on the event to point out how hypocritical and cowardly Wonderboy and his minions are behaving.

None of this relevant information appears in Frank's one-sided lambaste of Beck. Instead, he writes,

"On Monday I wrote to an old friend, Robert McChesney, a professor of communications at the University of Illinois who has been a frequent target of Mr. Beck in recent weeks for his left-wing views and also for co-founding Free Press, an advocacy group on media policy. Did Mr. McChesney get a chance to respond on the red phone or any other way? No. "He never asked me or Free Press to call the red phone," Mr. McChesney wrote me.

Then I emailed Mark Lloyd, the Chief Diversity Officer at the Federal Communications Commission. Mr. Beck has attacked Mr. Lloyd numerous times in recent weeks, repeatedly airing video clips in which he appears to hold noxious views. Did Mr. Lloyd get a chance to call the red phone? "No, no one gave me a phone number to call Beck."

Nor should Mr. Beck require a phone call from the White House to understand that lots of people, including conservatives, have cited Mao and Lenin and other such demonic figures in all sorts of contexts, and that they aren't always careful, when so citing, to point out what bad people these were. "

You can see that Frank doesn't understand, or doesn't want to understand, that Beck's hotline is only relevant for and directed at the White House, and with good reason. These other people have nothing to do with it.

Frank went on to assert,

"Consider a few of the other grand assertions tossed out by the panic-peddling host last week: that the cause of last year's financial crisis was pressure exerted by Acorn and "the people in Washington" on otherwise-reluctant mortgage lenders; that the cause of the inflation of the 1970s was President Jimmy Carter's quest for a "socialist utopia." "

This is actually true, despite Frank's desire that it not be. For proof, check yesterday's post on my business blog, in which I discuss Charlie Gasparino's new book on the topic. Gasparino is clear on assigning responsibility to government officials, including Andrew Cuomo and Barney Frank.

These are postulates that it is only possible to believe after you have utterly closed yourself off to conventional ways of knowing, after you have decided that the reporting and analysis and scholarship on these subjects are not worth reading, and that you will choose ideological fairy tales over reality until the day a magical phone call comes from on high."

Totally untrue, as you will understand by reading about Gasparino's book and numerous Journal editorials over the past year. You can even find a post on this blog devoted to quotes by liberal government officials demanding that Freddie and Fannie increase their securitization of low-income, poor-quality mortgages. ACORN and Congressionally-mandated CRA mortgage lending requirements figured large in this mess.

Frank concludes with these passages,

What Mr. Beck's silent phone really symbolizes is a new kind of ignorance, a coming high-tech dark age in which people can choose to blow off professional standards of inquiry; in which they can wall themselves off with cable TV and friendly Web sites, dismiss what displeases as liberal bias, and demand that any contrary view be transmitted to them via telephone call from the president himself.

Why not let Mr. Beck and his viewers have their fun? Because ideas have consequences. Maybe, as many believe, Glenn Beck is indeed the future of the conservative movement. From tea parties to town-hall meetings, thousands are signing up and fitting themselves out with their very own hotline to nowhere. "

Thomas Frank is probably a pretty good indicator of just how clueless the liberal Democrats in this country are to the coming storm of rage from millions of centrist, independent voters, along with a conservative core of the Republican party. It's not about random hotlines. Or dismissing what, if Keith Olberman were doing it, Frank would consider to be 'investigative journalism.'

Rather than walling themselves off from anything, Beck's viewers are learning more about what conventional, liberally-biased media outlets won't investigate. Socialist members of Wonderboy's administration. Selective persecution of balanced media outlets by a fearful, cowardly White House.

Frank is on display in his recent editorial as being clueless, biased, and in denial about reality on so many levels. Not to mention having failed in his own 'investigative' piece, to learn the actual background of the story which he attempts to lampoon.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Glenn Beck & PETA On Al Gore's Hypocrisy

Al Gore's hypocrisy is beginning to become more apparent.

First it was Bjorn Lomborg's challenges to many claims in Warm-Boy Al's (liberal) prize-winning documentary. Al has been ducking a direct confrontation with the esteemed researcher for years.

Next, it was the subtle change from 'global warming' to 'climate change,' because, well, the earth hasn't actually been uniformly warming according to Al's schedule.

Then it became more well-known that Al has made well over $100MM from investments which benefited from his false cries of coming environmental destruction.

Now, PETA is after the Warm One to go vegetarian. Glenn Beck provides an interview with the head of PETA in this hilarious clip on YouTube.

Strange bedfellows, indeed.

But I think the PETA head is on target in labeling Al a hypocrite for ignoring what would be a simple and easy lifestyle change in keeping with his alleged concern for the environment.

How's that for an "inconvenient truth?"

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Usual Excuses & Lies From The Usual Liberal Suspects

It's official.

Republican governors won in blue state New Jersey and 'purple,' slowly returning to red state Virginia. In Virginia, the rest of the GOP slate swept in with Governor McDonnell.

In the upstate NY 23rd District, the Democrat squeaked by the Conservative candidate, benefiting from the bizarre endorsement by the withdrawing GOP candidate. This situation was so strange as to provide no national reading.

Of course, various Democratic pundits began excusing these losses by the middle of yesterday evening. On Fox News, Howard Dean's ex-campaign manager claimed that neither gubernatorial loss meant anything significant for Wonderboy or the greater liberal Democratic regime in Congress. If anything, he claimed, it meant trouble for all incumbents when challenged by their parties' fringes.

This morning, on CNBC, liberal apologist and businessman Don Peebles, a prominent black supporter of the country's first black president, crowed about how nothing had changed for Wonderboy. His agenda, declared Peebles, ignoring the election results, was now more important than ever, and any delays due to minor issues like free speech and opposing views were inexcusable. Health care must be passed because our First Rookie says so.

On the failure of Wonderboy's five- count 'em- trips to the Garden State on loser Corzine's behalf, Peebles excused and explained it by saying there was absolutely no credibility on the line. Presidents always must and do support their party's governors.

A lie, but Peebles has drunk so much Kool-Aid now that he can't tell the difference anymore. And, besides, he's no politician. Just a fund raiser who is probably hoping to ride somebody's political coattails.

I believe Karl Rove and Brit Hume got it right when they opined that, with health care passage stretching into 2010, these two GOP victories will quite possibly and probably immobilize the 40+ Democratic Representatives with seats in districts won by McCain last year.

Contrary to popular conceptions, an analysis of the House and Senate revealed that only a 2 seat change in the latter chamber will remove the ability of Harry Reid to prevent cloture, thus delaying votes on bills to who knows when? The House, by contrast, would need to see a 40 seat shift to give a Republican the Speaker's gavel.

Personally, I believe that 40 seat move is quite possible. If the GOP had removed the perennially, eerily tan Boehner from a leadership position, it would be a slam dunk.

But, back to last night.

There's no doubt that, had either gubernatorial race, or the rest of the Virginia contests, gone the other way, Wonderboy and his team would be crowing about the electorate re-validating his win last November. And how this reinforced the need to inject more government into every sector of American life.

Instead, they are silent and will try hard to spin the results as meaningless.

As several Fox News and CNBC guest pundits noted, the big news for all Democratic candidates next year is that Wonderboy couldn't get his personal, energized motley crew of voters out for other candidates from his party.

Bad news if you are a Democratic House blue dog, or simply worried about how much more debt and spending your district's adult, as opposed to Wonderboy's kiddie voters, will tolerate.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Kim Strassel On HarryCare's Public Option

Kim Strassel wrote an interesting piece in last Friday's Wall Street Journal regarding the reason Harry Reid added the infamous "public option" to his HarryCare bill.

It may be cynical, but Strassel thinks he added it as a diversion, so people would sort of forget the bigger, simpler issue of just not wanting the basic HarryCare bill at all.

Specifically, the idea that, in order to allow US consumers to spend less on health care, you don't need to: reform tort law, allow interstate purchase/marketing of health insurance, or level the tax-preference basis of health insurance between those who receive health insurance as a pre-tax benefit, and those who purchase it with after-tax dollars.

Instead, HarryCare will ignore all of that, and offer the dubious claim that his bill will 'fix' health care, with or without the public option.

Very reasonably, and not alone, Strassel argues that Reid can now say he tried for the uber-liberal goodie, the public option, and thus shed responsibility for whatever happens next. At moderates, if it passes, he can thumb his nose, while, if it doesn't, he can explain it was never his idea anyway. Liberals pushed him to it.

But as Strassel points out, Harry has now gotten everyone squabbling over this frill, and perhaps they'll forget the big elephant to which it is attached.

She notes that he's Senate Majority leader for a reason, and it's not because he's stupid.

Perhaps so.

Perhaps today's two gubernatorial and the special upstate NY Congressional elections will give liberals pause.

Or it may make them accelerate the damage they can do before they lose the House next November and end the Reign of Wonderboy for good.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Modernity vs. Liberal Democrats & Progressives

There were a pair of excellent editorials in recent Wall Street Journal editions concerning how out of step with modern practice and technology in the US.

On Thursday, Daniel Henninger wrote "Obama and the Old Hat People," deriding the liberal Democrat Senate oldsters.

Henninger points out that young American voters thought they were getting a youngish, cool black dude for President, when what they actually got was "old hat" in the form of Chuckie Schumer, Pat Leahy, Chris "Doddering" Dodd and Harry Reid, ol' vinegar himself.

As Henninger puts it so well,

"Our out-dated political software can't recognize trial and error. What ObamaCare is doing with health care' the "public option"- may be fine with the activist left, but I suspect it's starting to strike many younger Americans as at odds with their lives, as not somewhere they want to go. Wait until EPA's ghost busters start enforcing cap-and-trade.

People thought something small, agile and smart was coming to government, but so far it's turning out to be just big-box politics."

Henninger captures an aspect of public disaffection for Wonderboy's evolving political mess and failure that I have yet to see in polls or in the media. That is, the techno-culture of young Americans is very much at odds with the old liberal Senate bulls' view of government control of everything in sight.

Henninger closes with this observation,

"So long as the Democratic Party is the party of the Old Hat People, dependent on public-sector unions with Orwellian names like the Service Employees International Union, it will remain yoked to a pre-iPhone political model that will increasingly strike average everyday American voters as weird and alien to their world."

As it to provide the perfect support to his views, Friday's Journal carried an editorial by Republican Senators Jim DeMint (SC) and Orrin Hatch (U), extolling the virtues of non-"net neutrality."

Their point was simple and clear. Nevermind what the complicated meanings of the term or the proposed regulation entail.

We have a vibrant, free, useful internet and tens of thousands of "apps" springing up for iPhones, texting, etc., on a medium which has been totally free of government intervention.

Why spoil that? How can government "help" improve anything?

They note how the large, blundering entities which are linked to the federal government, like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, GM and Chrysler have done recently.

Orrin Hatch is no spring chicken. Yet, he provides a wonderful counterpoint to Harry Reid.

And this editorial, these two GOP Senators, perhaps illustrate the beginning of an awareness that could build among young Americans.

That is, the GOP isn't "against" good things. Rather, it's "against" getting government's messy, slow, cumbersome, dumb hands all over your personal life and so many precious, private, individualistic things about it.

Thus, the GOP approach to health care reform isn't to pass a total redesign of the existing system, with government taking control.

Instead, it's to remove barriers to: tort reform, interstate marketing of health care insurance, mandates, and differential tax treatment of health insurance premiums.

It's a beautiful point. Everyone, especially the new voters who flocked to Wonderboy last year, value and prize their technologically-based freedom and individuality.

How will they like having the Old Hat crowd, with our First Rookie's leadership, take all of that away?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Peggy Noonan Almost Hits the Mark

Peggy Noonan almost got it right this weekend in the Wall Street Journal when she opined,

"This is historic. This is something new in modern political history, and I'm not sure we're fully noticing it. Americans are starting to think the problems we are facing cannot be solved.

Part of the reason is that the problems- debt, spending, war- seem too big. But a larger part is that our government, from the White House through Congress and so many state and local governments, seems to be demonstrating every day that they cannot make things better. They are not offering a new path, they are only offering old paths- spend more, regulate more, tax more in an attempt to make us more healthy locally and nationally. And in the long term everyone- well, not those in government, but most everyone else- seems to know that won't work. It's not a way out."

Noonan actually refutes herself by the end of that second paragraph. If she had simply added the phrase,

"by our increasingly professional, lifetime political class"

to that last sentence in the first paragraph, she'd have hit the mark exactly.

How is it she could write "well, not those in government, but most everyone else- seems to know that won't work," but claim we are dispirited and feel overwhelmed by our problems?

Nobody I know, with a brain, thinks our problems are overwhelming us.

They think the problems are overwhelming power-hungry professional pols who just want lifetime sinecures and more power.

Sensible Americans understand that we must spend less via government, trim entitlements, reverse 60 years of deficit spending, and focus on defining objectives for our current combat situations, then achieve the objectives.

These problems are far from insoluble by Americans who want to go about their business unhampered by government.

But for too-long-sitting Senators and Representatives with half a dozen years in office and dreams of as many more, or one of their state's Senate seats, those solutions don't sound like fun.

Less power. More accountability. Fewer lush promises made with other peoples' taxes.

Maybe Noonan's friends are too set in their government ways, and, by extension, so is Noonan.

She almost had it right.

But not quite.

She knows the right answer, but, like so many careerists in and around national politics, she can't bring herself to say it.

Term limits. Less federal power. No more professional politicians.

It's that simple. Solving that problem might be overwhelming. But not debt and spending. Not even war.