July 20, 2011

AP’s Ohlemacher Describes ‘Gang of Six’ Document As a ‘Plan’ 12 Times (Update: If CBO Won’t Score a Speech, It Sure Can’t Score This)

OurGangIt really is a “plan,” and don’t you forget it.

Never mind, as the Washington Examiner’s Conn Carroll inconveniently points out, that the document produced by the “Gang of Six” — Republican Senators Coburn, Chambliss, and Crapo, along with Democratic Senators Conrad, Warner, and Durbin — is all of five pages. If you take out the white space, it’s about 3-1/2.

Early this evening, the Associated Press’s Stephen Ohlemacher called the output of the Gang of Six a “plan” no fewer than 12 times — and his report’s headline was “Bipartisan tax plan trims mortgage deduction.” Okay, Steve, even though you (and the Gang) are obviously wrong, we get it.

A “plan” — at least one that is supposed to lead to legislation — is supposed to be “a detailed scheme, method, etc., for attaining an objective.” The roughly 1,050 words in the AP writer’s report is not that much shorter than the Gang of Six’s almost 1,600-word “plan.” Ohlemacher himself cites the document’s lack of specifics or details in some manner about a half-dozen times. Sorry, Steve: The Gang of Six document is not a “plan” in any meaningful sense of the word, and their calling it a “plan” doesn’t change that reality.

But give Ohlemacher and AP credit in one area: While the Gang of Six claims that “If CBO scored this plan, it would find net tax relief of approximately $1.5 trillion,” the wire service’s coverage reveals that taxes would instead increase by almost as much or possibly more.

Here are several paragraphs from Ohlemacher’s effort (bolds are mine). Note the class warfare hit in the final bolded item:

A new bipartisan plan to reduce government borrowing would target some of the most cherished tax breaks enjoyed by millions of families – those promoting health insurance, home ownership, charitable giving and retirement savings – in exchange for lowering overall tax rates for everyone.

Many taxpayers would face higher taxes – a total of at least $1.2 trillion over the next decade, and perhaps more.

… For its part, the Gang of Six plan punts on many of the most difficult issues, leaving it to congressional committees to fill in the details later. But supporters say it provides a framework to simplify the tax code, making it easier for businesses and individuals to comply while eliminating incentives to game the system.

The Republican staff of the House Budget Committee issued a critique saying the revenue increase could exceed $2 trillion over the next decade, when compared with current tax policy.

“A tax increase is the wrong policy to pursue with so many Americans out of work,” said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.

The plan would simplify the tax code by reducing the number of tax brackets from six to three, lowering the top rate from 35 percent to somewhere between 23 percent and 29 percent. That could provide a windfall for wealthy taxpayers because the 35 percent tax bracket currently applies to taxable income above $379,150.

Geez, Steve, higher-income people (who may or may not be “wealthy”) would lose all kinds of deductions, but might still get “windfalls.” In some cases, sure, but to present it as if it’s a likelihood for most, which is definitely implied, is sheer speculation which is in my estimation backed up by little or no investigation.

The Examiner’s Carroll points to the Gang of Six document’s absurd assumption that the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body will actually “find” (that’s the document’s actual word) massive amounts of spending to cut as anticipated:

The Armed Services Committee is then charged with finding $80 billion in cuts, Homeland Security $65 billion, Agriculture $11 billion, Energy $6 billion, and Commerce $11 billion. All this budgeting from Democratically controlled committees that haven’t produced a budget in over 800 days!!!

Indeed. What a joke. Without specifics, this isn’t a plan, it’s just a bunch of nice intentions at best, or deliberate deceptions at worst, which will never materialize.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.


BizzyBlog Update: The whole idea that these guys think that the Congressional Budget Office can “score” anything based on what they’ve produced so far is absurd. Several weeks ago, CBO’s Doug Elmendorf politely informed a congressional committee that “We don’t estimate speeches.” The Gang of Six document is no better than a speech.

Quote of the Day: Doug Ross on the Daily Caller’s Michele Bachmann Hit Piece (Update: Doctor’s Note)

Filed under: Quotes, Etc. of the Day,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:21 pm


Monday’s feature article on Michele Bachmann in The Daily Cromney (“Stress-related condition ‘incapacitates’ Bachmann; heavy pill use alleged”) was one of the more thinly veiled Beltway hit pieces in recent memory.

There’s only one reason for this sort of thing: Mitt Romney is feeling the heat.

Anyone claiming Doug is being ridiculous doesn’t remember the following caught-redhanded event from four years ago, which I noted in my “Not This Mitt Again” column in November:

… the only evidence that anyone attempted to use Mitt Romney’s religion against him (in the 2008 election cycle) was one alleged early-December 2007 push poll in Iowa. Oddly enough, the only people who came forward to claim they had received the offensive phone calls were Romney campaign operatives, who “somehow” forgot to tell the press that they were on the candidate’s payroll.

Going to the linked item, from November 21, 2007 (it’s a sometimes shaky lefty source, but at least it quotes an identified person, which the Daily Caller’s report on Bachman never did, and Kevin Madden will have to prove that he didn’t say what he is alleged to have said):

the Romney campaign is confirming that it referred reporters to two recipients of the calls without disclosing that the two were also on the Romney campaign payroll, TPM Election Central has learned.

In response to questions from TPM Election Central, Romney spokesman Kevin Madden confirmed that the campaign had failed to disclose this info to reporters. Madden suggested that the campaign had identified them as “supporters,” which is a far cry from being directly paid by the campaign, as the two call recipients were.

The revelation could add grist to the theory — now spreading on conservative blogs and even getting coverage by news organizations — that the Romney campaign itself is behind the calls.

Romniacs are completely capable and ethically barren enough to plant the Bachmann smear — and the Daily Caller was jounalistically barren enough to let it run. For shame.


UPDATE: So who do you believe, anonymous sources, or the woman’s doctor? (HT Hot Air’s Tina Korbe) —

Dear Congresswoman Bachmann –

The enclosed summary regarding your experience of migraine headaches is provided to you as per your request. You are overall in good general health.

You have a well-established diagnosis of migraine headaches with aura for which you have had an extensive evaluation by both my office and by a board certified consulting neurologist. Your evaluation has entailed detailed labwork and brain scans all of which were normal. Your migraines occur infrequently and have known trigger factors of which you are aware and know how to avoid. When you do have a migraine, you are able to control it well with as-needed sumatriptan and odansetron. It has not been necessary for you to take daily scheduled medications to manage this condition. You have not needed medical attention from me regarding your migraines with the use of the above-mentioned commonly used therapies.


Brian P. Monahan, MD, MACP

Couldn’t Have Said It Better Myself (Update: News Corp’s Biggest Political Contributions Beneficiary)

So I’ll let the person who sent the following to the NewsBusters email box do the talking (bolds are mine):

With Fast and Furious the Obama Administration is effectively a state sponsor of terrorism. This is a scandal of epic proportions. It includes coverups to the highest levels of government and involves the death of federal employees. In short this is Watergate on a steroids/crack cocktail. We continue to be told the media is out for controversy. What could be more controversial?

Meanwhile, a media mogul has some of his employees in one country performing some potentially illegal acts. But THIS guy owns Fox News.

So which is getting more stories and minutes devoted to it in American news, the President or Attorney General giving guns to drug cartels to kill Americans so as to attack a Constitutional Amendment, or some phone hacking and bribes by a media branch in England?

Few things are a better sign of undeniable bias.



UPDATE: Of course, the anti-Murdoch attacks and overweighted coverage are all about crippling and falsely discrediting fair and balanced news sources. But the following info is fun nonetheless (HT JWF) —

Political donations by News Corp., its employees and their families were evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, with President Obama the all-time leading recipient, according to a report from the Sunlight Foundation.

The transparency watchdog noted Tuesday that Democrats received 51 percent of contributions while Republicans received 49 percent, despite the firm’s highly publicized links to the GOP, such as a $1 million donation to the Republican Governors Association in August.

Other major beneficiaries mentioned at the Hill’s post: Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. Imagine that.

Globaloney: The Statist Push Continues

Filed under: Economy,Environment,Scams,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:58 am

Facts won’t matter if they finally get their way.


Note: This column went up at Pajamas Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Monday.


In an April Pajamas Media exclusive, while conceding that doing so in 2007 or 2008 would have paid off handsomely, Ira Stoll wondered whether it might still be a good time to short carbon credits. His fear was that, despite the mountain of inconvenient facts in the way, Congress will still “impose a vast new regulatory regime on energy consumption.”

It has become clear that the current Congress isn’t willing to do that. If the House were to get its way, dumb ideas like the ban on incandescent bulbs would be repealed. But the House probably won’t get its way, because Harry “coal makes us sick, oil makes us sick” Reid still runs the Senate, and Barack “Green Jobs, Clean Jobs” Obama is still President.

In the face of clear congressional opposition to going any further with regulating and taxing energy consumption, the administration has decisively shifted to a posture of “We don’t need Congress to impose our ‘green’ will on America.” Readers will see why shortly.

What’s amazing is that the scientific justification for doing so, which was never really there in the first place, has virtually evaporated. Meanwhile, the frightening economic costs of “going green” have never been clearer. All one has to do is periodically visit the web site of The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), the home of the indefatigable Dr. Benny Peiser, to see how true these assertions really are.

On the science side, here are just a few items which appeared in the week preceding the writing of this column:

  • On July 9, GWPF excerpted a post by climate scientist Dr. Roy Spencer, Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, noting that the global average sea surface temperature is a tad lower than it was in 2002.
  • A July 6 article reported that British scientists who study the sun, which sane people realize has the predominant impact on our planet’s temperature, are concerned that it might be “coming to the end of a ‘grand solar maximum,’” meaning that we could be heading towards colder winters, not warmer ones. What they found essentially corroborates sun-related concerns raised by American scientists that the earth “may be headed into a mini Ice Age within a decade.” What was that about the supposedly “settled science” that the earth is warming?
  • On July 4, Dr. David Whitehouse of the foundation’s academic advisory council observed that even global warming true believers have been forced to admit that “there has been no global temperature increase since 1998,” but that they’re making up the most bizarre of excuses — Chinese coal dust! — to assure cultists that the earth is still fundamentally warming, but we somehow aren’t seeing it.

Even though the bogus science of global warming, which I have been referring to for several years as “globaloney” (though I don’t claim to be the first to coin the term), is on the run, its effects on citizens’ pocketbooks are being felt around the world — and politicians are beginning to feel serious electoral heat as a result. Here again from GWPF are just a few relatively recent items:

  • A July 11 post on UK carbon taxation linking to the UK Daily Mail reveals that the government is establishing “minimum price guarantees, higher than the normal market price, for the electricity generated by new wind farms and nuclear power stations.” This will cost UK households as much as 1,000 British pounds (about $1,600 US) per year. President Barack “Energy bills will necessarily skyrocket” Obama will be likely be pleased to know that this is described as “send(ing) bills rocketing.”
  • A related entry which links to a two-weeks-earlier Daily Mail item predicts that the heavy overpayments for “green” energy sources “could push tens of thousands of households into fuel poverty but do nothing to reduce emissions.” As a result, “30,000 to 60,000 more households will be … spending more than 10 per cent of … disposable income on heat and light.” It’s reasonable to believe that this estimate is low.
  • The foundation links to a July 11 Australia Herald-Sun report on that country’s Labor Party’s “Suicide Sunday,” which describes the blowback from Labor Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s $24.5 billion (about $26 billion US$) carbon tax announcement. Specifically, “More than 70% of voters” in a plebiscite “said they now planned to vote for the Coalition (the opposition party) at the next election while just 8.51 per cent said they would support a Labor government.”

What’s happening in Australia, along with the well-deserved opprobrium the United Nations is receiving for telling the world it will “only” need $76 trillion to enable the world to comprehensively “go green,” explains why the Obama administration is trying to do all it can to impose its green will under the radar.

Even at that, Devon Swezey, a dedicated lefty with the Breakthrough Institute, whose mission is “to modernize liberal-progressive-green politics,” predicts that “The global clean energy industry is set for a major crash.” You might think that this is good news for free-market advocates, but Swezey believes the opposite, and is more than likely working towards it. Swezey expects “a comprehensive energy innovation strategy to develop, manufacture, and deploy riskier but more promising clean energy technologies that may eventually compete with fossil energy at scale” to rise out of the ashes. Unspoken but obvious: Only the federal government can (try to) run this, and pretty much only by force. Welcome to the world of five-year plans and “comprehensive” de facto control over energy resources.

If you think facts are going to matter in Swezey’s world, think again. As Ben-Peter Terpstra wrote at American Thinker in November 2009: “[w]hen green Leftists try to shut down a democracy it isn’t because they can defend their arguments, it’s because they can’t.” Soon, it may become as dangerous to tell the truth about globaloney as certain Argentine economists have recently found telling the truth about inflation to be.

In this fearsome context, going short on carbon credits is far from a surefire winner.

Positivity: Organ donation leads to friendship between families

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:57 am

From Springfield, Ill.:

Posted Jul 17, 2011 @ 06:15 PM

Christine Smith’s son, the late Spc. Jack Gallaher, died in a shooting accident four years ago while serving in the Army at Fort Lewis, Wash. But for her, he lives on in Steve Charest.

Smith, a Springfield resident, didn’t get to talk to her son before he died. Jack had never talked about whether he wanted to donate his organs, and Smith hadn’t thought about it much before then, either.

“That was something I decided. That just popped into my head. Obviously, it was a good idea,” she said. “I knew going up there that he wasn’t going to survive.”

The decision to donate Gallaher’s two kidneys and liver has resulted in a long-standing friendship with Charest, 50, and his wife, Kathy, 49, of Orting, Wash. — a relationship Kathy Charest says is typical of donors and recipients. The Charests visited Christine Smith and her family for Jack Gallaher’s 28th birthday, which they still celebrate, at a party over the weekend.

“It’s an amazing feeling, just to know that part of him lives in somebody else,” Smith said.

Pathetic: CNN Email Claims Tuesday Stock Market Rise Entirely Due to Obama

cnnlogoIn a USA Today email I received 20 minutes after Tuesday’s closing bell, I was informed that the exceptionally good day occurred because the stock markets were “buoyed by strong earnings reports by IBM, Coke and others.” A visit to the email’s linked article also partially attributed the rise to “renewed hopes that U.S. lawmakers would be able to break their stalemate and strike a deficit-reduction deal in time to avert a catastrophic government default.”

That’s strange, because the CNN Headline email I had received 20 minutes earlier struck a totally different and completely absurd pose, as seen after the jump: