July 21, 2011

No Media Reckoning for Harkin’s False Deficit History

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin was at his worst Wednesday morning in a press conference.

Sure, there was the usual immature Democratic Party name-calling — calling Republicans “dead-beat debtors” and characterizing Republicans who oppose raising the debt ceiling as a “cult fringe,” even though polls seem to be showing that 60% of Americans are in that “fringe.” But beyond that, Harkin uttered a demonstrably untrue statement, something so obviously untrue that if a Republican or conservative had said something similar against Democrats, the establishment press would have dwelt on it for days.

In apportioning responsibilities for annual federal budget deficits and the staggering increases in the national debt, Harkin made the following claim:

“Democrats are willing to do whatever is necessary to raise the debt ceiling, not for future borrowing but to pay the debts that we racked up in the past. Which, mostly was racked up by a Republican House, a Republican Senate and a Republican President in the last 8 years. Yet, they’re not willing to pay the bills,” Harkin said.

Well, Tom, not exactly.

Giving Harkin the greatest possible (and totally undeserved) benefit of the doubt, let’s look at where the national debt stood at each fiscal year-end beginning with September 30, 2000:


Let’s take it in steps, assuming that each annual session of Congress and the President is fully responsible for the debt buildup occurring during the subsequent October through September fiscal year:

  • Year ended September 30, 2001 — Bill Clinton was president in 2000, and the Republicans controlled Congress. The $133 billion debt buildup during that fiscal year doesn’t make Harkin’s list. (Gosh, I thought we were running surpluses?)
  • Two years ended September 30, 2003 – George W. Bush was president, Republicans controlled Congress, and Democrats controlled the Senate during from mid-2001 until the end of 2002. The The $976 billion increase in the national debt during those two years doesn’t make Harkin’s list.
  • Four years ended September 30, 2007 — George W. Bush was president and Republicans controlled Congress during calendar 2003-2006. Republicans get full credit for the $2.24 trillion increase in the national debt during that period.
  • Two years ended September 30, 2009 — Bush was president, but Democrats controlled Congress during calendar 2007-2008. The $2.9 trillion increase in the national debt during that period doesn’t make Harkin’s list.
  • Year ended September 30, 2010 — Barack Obama was president and Democrats controlled Congress during calendar 2009. The $1.62 trillion increase in the national debt during that year doesn’t make Harkin’s list.
  • October 1, 2010 through July 19, 2011 (the day before Harkin spoke) — Obama was president and Democrats controlled Congress during calendar 2010. On July 19, 2011, the national debt was $14.34 trillion. The roughly $780 billion increase in the national debt during the current fiscal year doesn’t make Harkin’s list.

The scoreboard:

  • Republican President and Republican Congress — $2.24 trillion
  • All other situations — over $6.4 trillion

Most of the increases in the national debt occurred during all other situations.

Republicans did not “mostly” run up the national debt. Tom Harkin’s statement was false. Assigning responsibility on a strict calendar year to calendar year basis would make Harkin’s statement proportionally even more untrue.

A search on Harkin’s name at the Associated Press’s main national web site returns nothing containing Harkin’s statement above. A search on Harkin’s full name at the New York Times comes up empty. I am so not surprised.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Just What I Need: Another Outage

Filed under: General — Tom @ 5:07 pm

Only this one’s scheduled and *should* only take four hours or so starting at midnight Eastern Time.

I’ll be keeping this post at the top for the rest of the day (as long as I remember to keep it at the top).

BizzyBlog’s web host is upgrading from MYSQL4 to MYSQL5. This will (eventually) enable an upgrade to a more recent version of WordPress.

Cross your fingers that it doesn’t mess with the theme or other unknown items. I am (and toes, and arms, and legs …).

That White House Raise List

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:57 pm

Just got this from a fave e-mailer.

As the government continues to run record deficits and as millions of everyday people struggle to stay afloat in impossible circumstances, my correspondent reminds me that “Barack is handing out our cash to his inner circle for fat pay increases! Please let everyone on your email list know about this!”

Well, how about we “settle” for BizzyBlog’s and hopefully much of the SOB Alliance’s vast readership?

Here’s the list (click to enlarge in a separate tab or window):


Special note to Ohio lefties: You can officially STHU about what John Kasich’s staff gets paid (which IIRC, on an overall basis isn’t much different from what T-Shirt Ted was paying his peeps, including the guy who ran a prostitution ring from his Faith-Based Initiatives office). Kasich’s budget balances, without tax increases and while keeping spending in control. Obama doesn’t have a budget, has run deficits of over $1 trillion for three years running, can’t have enough of tax increases, and refuses to control spending.

In case you didn’t get it the first time: STHU.

Remember Lou Pritchett? (He Was Right to Be ‘Scared,’ Wasn’t He?)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:25 pm

Readers probably won’t remember his name from two years ago (I’ll save the links until after the jump), but they’re more likely to remember what he wrote.

The economy-related items contained in the gentleman’s original open letter to President Obama follow:

Latest Pajamas Media Column (‘The Fear-Based Economy’) Is Up

Filed under: Economy,Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:51 am

It’s here.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Saturday (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.


Primary points:

  • Since its beginning three years ago, what I have been calling the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy has been the fear-based economy described by Steve Wynn of Wynn Resorts on Monday.
  • The economy, which hasn’t been impressing anyone since the recession as normal people define it ended two years ago, is sputtering.
  • Further tax increases, on top of the $438 billion over 10 years relating to Obamacare which start taking effect in 2013, will seriously harm the economy and could send it back into recession.

Oh, and something I didn’t mention: Additional tax increases, if enacted, won’t lead to anywhere near the collections the tax-raisers envision.

Still Stuck on Stagnant: Unemployment Claims — 418K SA vs. Expectations of 415K; Prior Week Higher (of Course); NSA 465K

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:30 am

From DOL:

In the week ending July 16, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted (SA) initial claims was 418,000, an increase of 10,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 408,000. The 4-week moving average was 421,250, a decrease of 2,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 424,000.

… The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted (not seasonally adjusted, or NSA), totaled 464,865 in the week ending July 16, a decrease of 9,022 from the previous week. There were 502,065 initial claims in the comparable week in 2010.

Business Insider’s email this morning said that expectations were for an initial SA number of 415K. (Update: Steve notes in the comments that others had expectations from 403K to 410K. Update 2: Another “Unexpectedly” sighting, this time at the Wall Street Journal [HT Instapundit], where expectations were for 405K. These two updates would appear to indicate that Business Insider was talking to astute economic observers, while most the of the press appears to have been talking to drones and apparatchiks.)

Here’s the going-nowhere table:


Must-have charts fans get a free bonus — a going-nowhere chart:


The situation is not improving.

Lucid Links (072111, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 8:48 am

I’ve been a bit surprised by the negative reaction of a few people I know who don’t follow the news particularly closely at the end of the space shuttle program. They are upset, and their take is similar to Drudge’s current headline: “America’s Era in Space Ends.”

They’re in league with PJM’s Ed Driscoll, who describes it as “an ignominious conclusion,” and truthfully observes that “In a sense though, we’ve been marking time for the last 25 years or so, maybe even longer.” I’d say it goes back to the last moon mission. There’s talk of going to Mars, but who believes it?

Then there’s Lileks’s astute observation (redundant term when it comes to him): “… when nations, cultures stop exploring, it’s a bad sign. You’re ceding the future.”

Perhaps it’s at the point where private entities can take up the slack, but that’s a mighty tall order — and just wait until something goes wrong. The nanny-state government will be there to stop people from taking risks they fully understand.

I don’t think the Chinese will be ceding the future.


At NewsBusters, Brent Bozell observes that the Big Three Networks have long treated the New York Times as the primary source of news fodder (I would observe that the Associated Press has recently taken supremacy in that arena) — except when it comes to the exposure of Democratic presidential candidates’ and Democratic presidents’ lies. The Times exposed Al Gore’s lie about his sister dying of cancer, and Gore’s pretense of being a tobacco farmer; the nets ignored both. Bozell didn’t mention it, but Bill Clinton’s whopper about being aware of burnings of black churches in Arkansas when he was a kid (when none occurred) never made the nets’ evening news either.

Now the nets have predictably failed to mention Barack Obama’s lies about his mother’s health insurance situation during her final-year fight with cancer both as a candidate and as president:

That was Barack Obama in 2008 claiming his mother Ann Dunham died of cancer battling with insurance companies all the way through. Dramatic? Yes. But an utter lie. Network coverage of this new jaw-dropper on ABC, CBS, and NBC? Also zip, zilch, zero.

How pathetic. This is the same set of networks that devote multiple heavy-breathing stories to “correcting” non-candidate Sarah Palin’s historical knowledge of Paul Revere, or Michele Bachmann’s location for the birthplace of John Wayne. But Obama lies about his mother – a shameless, pandering tug using his mother to get socialized health care, and they’re mute!

The nets know that the relatively disengaged cannot be allowed to hear bad things about “good” (defined as holding the right poltical views) Democrats.


Fluffiest Kerfuffle of Them All Update (go here for original item on Monday) — It turns out that a Wired columnist in 2004 advocated lowercasing the word “Internet,” and had the power to do it, making it Wired’s policy. This 2006 item at Wired, where “Internet” is lowercased eight times, demonstrates that the decision stuck around, even if he apparently didn’t. A related “op-ed” is here.


At Investors Business Daily (HTs to JWF via Instapundit and to Wizbang) — “Home Depot Co-Founder: Obama Is Choking Recovery”

IBD: What’s the single biggest impediment to job growth today?

Marcus: The U.S. government. Having built a small business into a big one, I can tell you that today the impediments that the government imposes are impossible to deal with. Home Depot would never have succeeded if we’d tried to start it today. Every day you see rules and regulations from a group of Washington bureaucrats who know nothing about running a business. And I mean every day. It’s become stifling.

If you’re a small businessman, the only way to deal with it is to work harder, put in more hours, and let people go. When you consider that something like 70% of the American people work for small businesses, you are talking about a big economic impact.

… As he speaks about cutting out regulations, they are now producing thousands of pages of new ones. With just ObamaCare by itself, you have a 2,000 page bill that’s probably going end up being 150,000 pages of regulations.

… IBD: Why don’t more businesses speak out?

Marcus: They are frightened to death — frightened that they will have the IRS or SEC on them. In my 50 years in business, I have never seen executives of major companies who were more intimidated by an administration.

To Obama’s crony-capitalist, big-company friends, stifling regulations and fright which in turn stifle job growth are features, not bugs. Big companies can stay in their non-threatened perches and can handle the government-superimposed fixed costs — and if they’re too much of a problem, they used their political connections to solve them. The little guys can’t handle the fixed costs and don’t have the connections. High unemployment? Too bad, so sad.

Update: This post later this morning teases yours truly’s coverage of the fright topic in my latest Pajamas Media column.

Positivity: Sabattus officer recalls reviving teen who hanged himself

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:59 am

From Sabattus, Maine:

Posted July 17, 2011, at 10:30 a.m.
Last modified July 17, 2011, at 2:18 p.m.

Sabattus police officer Ralph DeStefano is being honored by selectmen Tuesday for saving a 16-year-old boy’s life last month.

Distraught over a girl, the teenager had hanged himself in a garage and now lay there, gray and still, on the floor.

Officer Ralph DeStefano didn’t want to say out loud what he and the boy’s parents already feared. He thought the boy was dead.

He threw himself into CPR, anyway.

The call came in around 2 p.m. on June 5. With the Sabattus force seven years, and an officer for 22 years, DeStefano was on the job that afternoon. Androscoggin County dispatch said they had heard from a distraught father.

“His son told his dad that he didn’t have to bother coming home because he’ll be dead when he gets there,” DeStefano said.

The father relayed that the 16-year-old described being near the first yellow house with a two-car attached garage on a rural road.

DeStefano had passed it many times.

“I have in my mind this yellow house,” he said. “[But] I didn’t know if this kid had a gun; I didn’t know what he was going to do. It was not a comfortable situation.”

The house was abandoned and unlocked. DeStefano cautiously but quickly checked its rooms, closets, the garage, the land around the property — nothing. Dispatch couldn’t reach the father for clarification. DeStefano hopped back in his cruiser and drove farther up the road.

Outside a second yellow house, “I could hear someone screaming — it was the dad,” DeStefano said. “The dad was screaming, ‘Help, help, help.’”

“I jumped out of the car,” he said. “[The teen] was in the shed on the floor, face up. He was gray, gray head to toe.”

The 16-year-old had hanged himself and the father pulled him down. DeStefano said he checked for a pulse, felt the carotid artery, put his head to the boy’s chest to listen.

“Nothing, nothing,” DeStefano said. “I didn’t want to say, ‘Your kid’s dead.’”

He ran back to the cruiser, grabbed a CPR mask and began breathing into the boy’s mouth while coaching the father to do chest compressions.

“I don’t know how long it was. It seems like forever — it was probably just a few minutes,” DeStefano said.

As an ambulance pulled in, he listened again for a heartbeat. “It was really rapid but faint. All of a sudden, the kid went, ‘Uhh!’ It took another few minutes for him to take another deep breath. …

Go here for the rest of the story.