May 12, 2011

In NY-26, Jack Davis Scuffles With Cameraman, and AP IDs Him As a ‘Tea Party Candidate’; He’s Not

AssociatedPressAbsolutePropagandaCan someone call himself a Tea Party candidate even though he has no visible support from local Tea Party groups and has been asked by one of them not to run? The Associated Press’s Carolyn Thompson apparently thinks so.

Thompson’s 3:03 p.m. report (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) makes no mention of congressional candidate Jack Davis’s lack of Tea Party group support. The AP reporter also waited until the final paragraph of her 17-paragraph report to tell readers that Davis is “a wealthy Republican businessman” who ran for Congress in 2004, 2006, and 2008 — as a Democrat.

The large body of evidence that Davis is not a legitimate Tea Party candidate consists of at least the following:

  • On April 6, William Jacobsen at Legal Insurrection asserted that “Davis is a spoiler, does not represent the Tea Party movement or conservatives, and his campaign is being run a self-described progressive operative.”
  • On March 24, Moe Lane at RedState writes that the campaign manager, Curt Ellis, is a former diarist at Talking Points Memo, a leftist site, and quotes Ellis as saying the following about the Tea Party: “They fancy themselves the vanguard of a revolution, when in fact they are typical self-absorbed, privileged children used to having their way — now – and uninhibited about complaining loudly when they don’t. It’s the same demographic Spiro Agnew called ‘an effete corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals.’”
  • On March 25, Roll Call reported that “Leaders of the largest tea party organization in Western New York have called on Jack Davis to exit the 26th district special election,” alleging that “his advisors and campaign manager are trying to pull a power play for self aggrandizement and power.”
  • On April 6, Sam Foster at Left Coast Rebel in a post entitled “Months after Tea Partiers were Protesting, Jack Davis was supporting progressive politicians,” documented mid-2009 contributions of $1,000 to the following Democrats –Dan Maffei on June 30; $1,000 to Brian Higgins on June 25; $1,000 to Eric Massa on June 30; $1,000 to Louise “demon pass” Slaughter July 1; and Steven Kagen on August 4.

Thompson’s report addresses a YouTube-posted incident (also embedded at Hot Air, where Jazz Shaw’s post is headlined “Fake Tea Party Candidate Assaults Cameraman”) which occurred on Wednesday. What follows are the first seven paragraphs from Thompson’s report, with her “oh by the way” final paragraph added at the end:

A 15-second video shows a tea party congressional candidate in New York scuffling with a Republican Party volunteer who questioned his absence from a debate.

The video posted on YouTube shows candidate Jack Davis asking the volunteer Wednesday whether he wants to “punch it out” after a campaign event in Greece, outside Rochester.

Davis was responding to the man’s repeated calls for him to explain why he backed out of a debate held Thursday in Buffalo.

Davis announced Wednesday he’d changed his mind about participating in the debate with the two major party candidates in the May 24 special election for the 26th District seat. Instead, he said he’d speak to voters directly via an electronic town hall meeting May 21.

In the video, the 78-year-old candidate steps toward the volunteer, who was holding a camera and asking, “Why did you back out of the debate? Why did you back out of the debate?”

“Do you want to punch it out?” Davis asks before swiping at the camera with his right hand.

Davis then laughs as he walks to his car while a man who appears to be a Davis campaign aide approaches the cameraman. As the camera shakes, the cameraman groans out of view as if he has been struck and then resumes asking Davis, “Why did you back out of the debate?”

… Davis, a wealthy Republican businessman, ran for the congressional seat as a Democrat in 2004, 2006 and 2008. A late April Siena poll showed him at 23 percent in the Republican-leaning western New York district. The poll showed 36 percent of likely voters supporting Corwin and 31 percent favoring Hochul. Green Party candidate Ian Murphy trailed with 5 percent.

By ignoring clear evidence that is several weeks old that Davis is not a legitimate Tea Partier — up to and including contributions to political candidates whose philosophies are diametrically opposed to the Tea Party’s Constitution-based, sensible conservatism — and by saving the inconvenient truth about Davis’s Democratic Party candidacies until the final paragraph, Thompson’s work comes across as an opportunistic attempt to smear legitimate Tea Party activists as supporters of an unhinged candidate prone to thuggishness. If not, Carolyn, why did you write your report as you did, and why did you ignore the volumes of evidence discrediting Jack Davis’s legitimacy?

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Initial Unemployment Claims: ‘Only’ 434,000

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:39 pm

And of course, the prior week’s “O…M…G” number was revised even higher:

UnempClaimsWkOf050711

Reax from Christopher Rugaber at the Associated Press:

The drop suggests that the increase of 47,000 reported last week was mostly due to temporary factors. The state of New York reported that applications jumped by more than 24,000 two weeks ago, because more school systems had spring break than usual. That led to a spike in temporary layoffs. A new extended benefits program in Oregon had caused applications to rise in that state.

Okay, I guess that means that the “new normal” is 430,000 or so new claims a week — in the 23rd month after the end of the recession, when by Rugaber’s own admission in his report the number needs to consistently be 375,000 or lower for sustainable job growth (BTW, that seems like a bit of bar-lowering, but investigating that will have to wait).

Also, in the “Of Course He Ignored This” Dept. — Rugaber “somehow” forgot to report today’s number was higher than expectations of 423,000. Update: Reuters thought it would be 430,000.

WSJ on Romney and RomneyCare: ‘Compromised and Not Credible’

Filed under: Economy,Health Care,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:57 am

mittagainGuest-blogging at Instapundit, Ed Driscoll writes that today’s Wall Street Journal editorial (“Obama’s Running Mate”) “buries Mitt Romney.” We should be so lucky.

That said, the Journal, on the eve of the Mittster’s supposedly important health care speech, hits Romney very hard. Every broadside is richly deserved. Here are excerpts (bolds are mine):

… As everyone knows, the health reform Mr. Romney passed in 2006 as Massachusetts Governor was the prototype for President Obama’s version and gave national health care a huge political boost. Mr. Romney now claims ObamaCare should be repealed, but his failure to explain his own role or admit any errors suggests serious flaws both in his candidacy and as a potential President.

***

There’s a lot to learn from the failure of the ObamaCare model that began in Massachusetts, which is now moving to impose price controls on all hospitals, doctors and other providers. Not that anyone would know listening to Mr. Romney. In the paperback edition of his campaign book “No Apology,” he calls the plan a “success,” and he has defended it in numerous media appearances as he plans his White House run.

… When Mr. Romney took office in 2003, the state was already enforcing public utility-style regulation of insurers for premiums and multiple benefit mandates. The resulting distortions were increasing rates fast, along with the natural increases from good but expensive Massachusetts medicine.

… (RomneyCare’s) conceit was that a universal reform would cover everyone and all but pay for itself by reorganizing the state’s health-care finances. Since 1985, Massachusetts footed most of the bill when the uninsured showed up for treatment through a $800 million fund for uncompensated care. That money, along with extra federal Medicaid dollars under a special waiver, would subsidize lower- and middle-income residents.

In the name of personal responsibility, Mr. Romney also introduced the individual mandate, first in the nation, requiring everyone to buy coverage or else pay a penalty.

… The only good news we can find is that the uninsured rate has dropped to 2% today from 6% in 2006. Yet four out of five of the newly insured receive low- or no-cost coverage from the government. The subsidies will cost at least $830 million in 2011 and are growing, conservatively measured, at 5.1% a year. Total state health-care spending as a share of the budget has grown from about 16% in the 1980s to 30% in 2006 to 40% today. The national state average is about 25%.

The safety-net fund that was supposed to be unwound, well, wasn’t. Uncompensated hospital care rose 5% from 2008 to 2009, and 15% from 2009 to 2010, hitting $475 million (though the state only paid out $405 million). “Avoidable” use of emergency rooms—that is, for routine care like a sore throat—increased 9% between 2004 and 2008. Meanwhile, unsubsidized insurance premiums for individuals and small businesses have climbed to among the highest in the nation.

Like Mr. Obama’s reform, RomneyCare was predicated on the illusion that insurance would be less expensive if everyone were covered. Even if this theory were plausible, it is not true in Massachusetts today. So as costs continue to climb, Mr. Romney’s Democratic successor now wants to create a central board of political appointees to decide how much doctors and hospitals should be paid for thousands of services.

The Romney camp blames all this on a failure of execution, not of design. But by this cause-and-effect standard, Mr. Romney could push someone out of an airplane and blame the ground for killing him. Once government takes on the direct or implicit liability of paying for health care for everyone, the only way to afford it is through raw political control of all medical decisions.

Mr. Romney’s refusal to appreciate this, then and now, reveals a troubling failure of political understanding and principle. …

In reality, his ostensible liberal allies like the late Ted Kennedy saw an opening to advance their own priorities, and in Mr. Romney they took advantage of a politician who still doesn’t seem to understand how government works. It’s no accident that RomneyCare’s most vociferous defenders now are in the White House and left-wing media and think tanks. They know what happened, even if he doesn’t.

***

For a potential President whose core argument is that he knows how to revive free market economic growth, this amounts to a fatal flaw. Presidents lead by offering a vision for the country rooted in certain principles, not by promising a technocracy that runs on “data.” Mr. Romney’s highest principle seems to be faith in his own expertise.

More immediately for his Republican candidacy, the debate over ObamaCare and the larger entitlement state may be the central question of the 2012 election. On that question, Mr. Romney is compromised and not credible. If he does not change his message, he might as well try to knock off Joe Biden and get on the Obama ticket.

I would go much further and say that it’s way too late for Romney to “change his message.” He’s had five years. As is the case in so many other areas, he’s compromised, not credible … and, as I’ve been saying since December 2007, objectively unfit.

Positivity: John Paul II influential in former terrorist’s conversion

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:59 am

From Lima, Peru:

May 9, 2011 / 08:46 pm

A letter John Paul II sent in 1991 to a prisoner in Lima, Peru increased the inmate’s faith and inspired him “to continue his evangelization efforts while incarcerated.

Carlos Turrin Villanueva spent 10 years behind bars for the crime of terrorism at the Castro Castro Prison in Lima, Peru.

Turrin, who was released in 1999, told CNA that months before receiving the papal letter, he had written to John Paul II without expecting a response. “He was so busy and received so many letters that I never thought he would take notice of a prisoner,” Turrin said.

In his message, the Pope thanked Turrin for writing to him and offered his prayers that “through the intercession of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, the Lord will strengthen you in the faith and grant you continual peace and Christian prosperity.” He also bestowed an apostolic blessing on Turrin and his loved ones.

Turrin recalled the difficulties of living the Christian life and evangelizing inside the prison. At that time, “around 1989-90, the only ones who could control and manage our block in the prison was the Shining Path, and we were the enemy.”

The Shining Path was a terrorist organization responsible for numerous anti-government attacks throughout the 1980s and 90s.

“The leaders of our small Christian communities were the targets of death threats, psychological threats, physical assaults and abuse. Almost all of us were physically and psychologically abused, but that was the cost of our conversion, and we accepted it,” he said.

The terrorist group’s displeasure with Turrin’s prison ministry grew worse as the number of members in his Christian community increased from 15 to 100.

“A time came in which prisoners were evangelizing prisoners; we assumed the leadership because at that time it was almost impossible for priests and religious to visit. Eventually, 12 Christian communities were established, one in each prison block. Each year many prisoners consecrated themselves to the Virgin Mary. We even were able organize festivals for life and peace, activities that were powerful and unheard of at that time, when we were living under a harsh regime,” he said.

“However, God allowed all of these events to take place – as if we were free – with prizes, contests, etc.,” Turrin said.

He said that seeing the beatification of John Paul II “was a profound experience, because deep inside I thought about how this Pope, who was kind enough to write me a letter, is today beatified.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.