September 4, 2011

Labor Department’s Solis Again Politicizes Labor Day With an Error-Ridded, Inadvertently Hilarious Video

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:52 pm

SolisLaborDayVid0911A year ago (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), yours truly wrote up how Labor Secretary Hilda Solis had produced a Labor Day video which was both a propaganda vehicle glorifying the Obama administration’s alleged economic accomplishments and a straw-man attack piece targeting “some who will suggest that, when times are tough, it’s time to get tough on working people.”

This year, she’s done it again. Working with the thinnest of gruel given the true state of the economy, the video is so pathetic that it’s difficult at times to keep from laughing. The political statement I have transcribed goes from 0:23 to 3:57 of the 4:45 video (bolds and numbered tags are mine):

Now there were times in our history when we had great prosperity during Labor Day. But today, I’m talking to you when many workers feel anxiety and uncertainty.

I’ve heard from many of you in my travels across the country, and more than anything else, no matter where I go and who I hear from, you’ve told me: “We need more jobs.”

So I want to talk to you about that. I want to talk to you not only about the jobs we’ve saved, but more importantly about the jobs we’re working to create. [1]

We’re at a turning point in our history. We’ve been forced to take bold action to address the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and put the brakes on an economic downturn.

Our economy is showing signs of steady progress, [2] but I know we aren’t there yet.

We were losing 750,000 jobs a month — a total of 8 million jobs — before President Obama took office. [3] And although we’ve created 2.2 million jobs over the last year and a half, [4] and that’s very good news, our nation’s unemployment rate remains too high.

So the President and I will not stop working until every American is back on their feet, and we have fulfilled our goal to provide good and safe jobs for everyone.

To do that, our social safety net must remain strong. In challenging economic times, our unemployment insurance system serves as a crucial lifeline, not just to those who have lost a job through no fault of their own, but for our entire economy as well.

Last year we provided 23 million unemployed workers with help, [5] to pay their rent, to put food on the table, and keep local and small businesses afloat. This is the help they needed to seek new employment, or to get training in marketable new skills.

But that’s not enough. We must make smart, targeted investments in our future. [6] That means training, education, research and technology that will lead to new ideas and new industries we haven’t even thought of yet.

We must build new roads and bridges [7] and manufacture new products products right here in America. That’s why we acted quickly to save the automobile industry, which has come roaring back in the last year, adding thousands of jobs.

And that’s why this administration is bringing business, education and community leaders together to invest in emerging technologies that will create high-quality manufacturing jobs [6] that will allow us to sell our products all over the world. I’ve seen what’s working, and it’s amazing.

And while we’ve done the work to keep and create jobs, we’ve also ramped up our enforcement agencies to make sure workers stay safe and healthy, [8] and that employers are held accountable if they are not.

A workplace fatality is something no working family needs. [9] What they do need, however, is a voice, to ensure fair wages, safe workplaces, dignity, and respect. And that voice can only be guaranteed when they have the right to organize and bargain collectively.

We are at a turning point in our history. As we move forward, the debate about our economic recovery will only get more intense.

Some will argue that we need to cut back on unemployment benefits, cut back on worker training, cut back on giving workers an important voice on the job. [10]

On this Labor Day, I want you to remember: Your Labor Secretary will continue to fight for those things.

Notes:

  • [1] — This is a leftover line from last year’s video which seems to have no direct tie-in to this year’s. You will search in vain for any reference to jobs “saved” in this year’s script, which is just as well.
  • [2] — A similar line was also used in last year’s video. This year, with 0.7% annualized growth during the first half of the year, and an average of 35,000 seasonally adjusted jobs added during the last three months, the statement is beyond embarrassing.
  • [3] — This is the same discredited statement Harry Reid made in early August, and it of course remains as false now as it was then:

    SAjobs2007to2011

    The red box represents the high-water mark for seasonally adjusted employment while George W. Bush was President as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is part of Solis’s Department of Labor. The blue box is where total employment stood in January when Barack Obama took office. The difference is 4.433 million, not 8 million. Solis’s statement is a flat-out falsehood, and anyone in BLS could have told her that if asked.

  • [4] — The difference between the green boxes isn’t 2.2 million; it’s 1.886 million. The 2.2 million to which Solis is the increase in private-sector employment between December 2009 and June 2011. She should have said so. As it stands, the statement she made is also false.
  • [5] — This is how they measure success. To paraphrase the old McDonald’s slogan: “Over 23 million unemployed served.”
  • [6] — These two statements constitute another incredible embarrassment. It’s as if the news of Solyndra, Evergreen Industries and other stimulus and green jobs “investment” failures have never broken through DOL’s walls.
  • [7] — Last year’s video (I’m not kidding) said: “As a result of our quick and bold actions, millions of people are at work, building and rebuilding America’s roads, bridges, ports, and high-speed rail.” This year, building “new roads and bridges” is something that we apparently need to start doing. You can’t make this stuff up.
  • [8] — I suppose this is impolite, but I must point out that in 2010, the first full year during which an Obama appointee was in charge (Bush’s successor stayed until September 2009), there were 48 coal-mining deaths. That’s was up from 18 in 2009, and was highest number recorded since 1992. Maybe cooperating with employers to improve safety, which was the guiding philosophy during the Bush 43 years, instead of promising to beat them up if every “i” isn’t dotted and every “t” isn’t crossed, which is the new guy’s attitude might work better.
  • [9] — (jaw hitting floor) Who writes this stuff? Who let it get through?
  • [10] — Call this “The Return of the Straw-Man Argument.”

If a Republican Labor Secretary had engaged in such an error-riddled, self-congratulatory production, I daresay that the establishment press would (correctly) have raked him or her over the, uh, coals.

Solis’s 2011 sequel is so bad that the Republican National Committee ought to run snippets of it. That would serve two purposes. First, it would show the nation just how out of touch a key member of Obama’s cabinet really is. Second, it would hopefully convince her to make this year’s video her last.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Erika Smith at Indy Star: ‘I Really Don’t Care’ About Truth of Andre Carson’s Comment

On Wednesday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), quoting Indiana Congressman Andre Carson’s inexcusable, hateful comment at a Congressional Black Caucus event on August 22 (key sentence: “Some of them in Congress right now of this Tea Party would love to see you and me … hanging on a tree”), I observed that “Carson was obviously accusing some of his congressional colleagues, whom he gutlessly would not name, of actually wanting (not metaphorically wishing) to see himself and his black colleagues lynched.” I should also note that in an earlier segment of the quote originally cited by Matthew Balan at NewsBusters, Carson said, of Tea Party sympathizers wishes, “And this is beyond symbolic change.” This is why I also wrote that “The meaning of the words Carson used is not arguable.”

With a disregard for the truth and gutlessness similar to Carson’s, Indianapolis Star columnist Erika D. Smith wrote today that the congressman “had the guts to stand up and say what we’ve all seen over the last three years,” while also asserting that “I really don’t care” if any congressmen actually want to lynch anyone. Here’s more; brace yourself (bolds and numbered tags are mine):

Smith: Carson had the guts to say what some feel

In recent days, I’ve tried to explain to many of my white friends and colleagues exactly why I support what Rep. Andre Carson said. And why I hope that he never takes it back.

My reasons, I’ve discovered through some friendly debates, aren’t entirely logical. They’re emotional. [1]

When I opened my Web browser Wednesday morning and read the headline “Rep. Carson: Tea party wants blacks ‘hanging on a tree’ ” on IndyStar.com, my first thought was: “Yup! That’s about right.” My second thought was: “It’s about time somebody said it.”

That was before I even opened the article.

I admit that the details of what he said didn’t concern me. Are there members of Congress who literally want to lynch black people? I don’t know. And to be honest, I really don’t care. [2]

Because that’s not the point.

The point is that the essence of what Carson said is true. There is racism in Washington and a lot of it is coming from an extreme faction of the tea party — a faction that mainstream Republicans have chosen to indulge and no one, until now, has bothered to check. The GOP would rather pretend that faction doesn’t exist and silence anyone who dares to point out the obvious by calling him a “racist.” Talk about doublespeak. [3]

… (Many who disagree with me) think the personal attacks on Obama are just the lumps that come with being president of the United States. That because people called President George W. Bush “Hitler” and “stupid,” it’s the same as Obama being called an ape. [4]

When Obama is criticized, and veiled — or not so veiled — threats of racism are lobbed by an extremist faction of the tea party, [5] we see it through the lens of history, a history that didn’t begin anew just because Obama was elected.

Notes follow.

[1] — The guess here is that Ms. Smith’s “friendly debaters” have logically suggested that it’s not a good idea for a sitting Congressman to say that some of his colleagues would like to see him lynched — as Carson irrefutably did, despite an unbylined Associated Press reporter’s contention that he only “used a lynching metaphor.” Ms. Smith illogically insists that the actual English language meaning of what Carson said doesn’t matter, and credits herself for “emotional” argument. No ma’am; the word is “dishonest.”

[2] — Smith’s reaction is a textbook example of “prejudice,” that is, “an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.” She doesn’t care what Carson actually said, and she doesn’t care whether there are congresspersons who “literally want to lynch black people.” She’s got her mind made up: She feels that least some Tea Party-sympathetic congresspersons (perhaps even African-American Allen West) are racists while failing to offer any evidence, and what she feels is all that matters.

[3] — Y’know Erika, and Congressman Carson, and all who are giving Mr. Carson media cover, if you’re so convinced that there is a “faction” of racist Tea Party-sympathetic congresspersons in Washington right now — racist to the point of being comfortable with seeing Congressional colleagues killed solely because of their race — you should be able to name at least one of them. Either you can’t, because there aren’t any, or you won’t, because you’re gutless cowards who apparently would rather let the alleged racism continue than identify it with a person or persons so it can be addressed. Instead, you’ve chosen to smear every Tea Party-sympathetic congressperson (definitely including Allen West) with the charge that they’re death-wishing racists themselves or are comfortable being philosophical brothers and sisters with those who are.

[4] — Erika seems to have totally forgotten the frequent left-wing “Chimpy McHitler” references during the Bush 43 years. Apparently I’m supposed to just sit here and accept as a fact that likening Bush to a chimp isn’t racist or degrading. I’m not going to do that. It is likewise inexcusable for those who disagree with or don’t like Obama to employ simian references to him (however, we should and will reserve the right to call his actions and statements “stupid” if we believe they are; if Ms. Smith doesn’t like it, she can pound sand).

A Google News search on the president’s last name and the simian word Smith used returned eight items (it should return nine after this post appears, thanks to what Ms. Smith wrote):

  • Two of the results link to Smith’s column.
  • A third is a Chronicle of Higher Education item by Clarence Lang, an African-American, who is an Associate Professor in both African-American Studies and History at the University of Ilinois. Lang writes of the April case of “an Orange County Republican official who distributed an e-mail to party members depicting Obama’s head on the body of an (simian reference).” The woman involved has been censured; it appears that the first person to call for her resignation was a Republican.
  • Three of them are about how Abe Lincoln was in his day called “the Illinois (simian reference)”; none refer to Obama as one.
  • The remaining two items are of no political relevance.

Thus, it would appear that in the last 30 days, the only people in the media who have written about the president being compared to a three-letter word for a simian animal have been … two African-Americans (until I excerpted Ms. Smith). Surely if Tea Party sympathizers were engaging in such activity routinely there would have been something written up about it in the past thirty days. There hasn’t been, because it rarely if ever happens.

[5] — “Threats of racism”? Erika, did you read your copy? Reading the sentence as written, you’d think that Tea Partiers are saying, “Mr. Obama, if you don’t do what we want, THEN we’re going to start being racist.” So I guess that means it hasn’t happened yet. Zheesh.

Assuming that Ms. Smith really meant to write “racist threats,” who associated with any faction of the Tea Party has made them — veiled or not? What have they said? Readers, based on how she treated Congressman Carson’s statement and her utter disregard for objective truth, can safely assume that until she presents specifics, Ms. Smith is simply being “emotional” and has nothing to offer except her vivid, dishonest imagination.

Columnists have a duty to do everything they can to tell the truth in what they write. Erika Smith has said that when it comes to certain matters, she simply doesn’t care about the truth. The Indy Star has a serious problem on its hands which really needs to be addressed.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

AP’s Peoples Reports ‘At Least One’ Audience ‘Angry Shout’ at NH Perry Event; Attendee Says She ‘Never Heard’

According to the Associated Press’s Steve Peoples in a Saturday evening report, presidential candidate Rick Perry, speaking at a private reception in New Hampshire (which begs the question of whether Peoples was even there), told those attending: “I don’t support a fence on the border.” Then, again according to Peoples, “The answer produced an angry shout from at least one audience member.”

“Jane” (actually Jane Woodworth) at the YouTooCongress blog (HT Instapundit) says otherwise: “I attended that event, stood about 15 feet from where he delivered those remarks and never heard an ‘angry shout.’ Either the AP is making it up or it wasn’t much of a shout. Perhaps they can supply the audio.” They definitely should.

Absent audio, Peoples, his wire service, and other establishment press reporters do not deserve the presumption of truth in matters such as these, as they have a track record of misreporting campaign and protest-related statements and actions. What follows are several examples out of many which could be compiled.

First, there’s this from September 4, 2004 at Newsmax:

AP Retracts ‘Clinton Booed’ Story

The Associated Press has retracted its Friday afternoon report that a crowd at a Bush rally in West Allis, Wisc., booed when President Bush offered ex-President Clinton best wishes for a speedy recovery from coronary bypass surgery scheduled for next week.

In a report that moved on the AP wire at 9:27 a.m. Saturday, the AP said:

“This is a correction to an incorrect story posted by AP on Friday stating the crowd booed the President when he sent his good wishes. The crowd, in fact, did NOT boo.”

A transcript of Bush’s remarks released by the White House noted applause after Bush offered Clinton “best wishes for a swift and speedy recovery.”

ABC Radio Network news also confirmed that the Clinton reference was applauded, not jeered.

In its original version of the story, the AP had reported: “Bush’s audience of thousands in West Allis, Wis., booed. Bush did nothing to stop them.”

The original report of booing was traced to the AP’s Scott Lindlaw, who according to Powerline and several other sources in 2004, “has told fellow fellow members of the White House press corps that his ‘mission is to see that George Bush is not re-elected.’” As seen here, even after AP head Tom Curley acknowledged that “it was oohs, not boos,” Lindlaw himself refused to back down. Lindlaw remained with AP until 2006, and is now a legal extern at the First Amendment Coalition.

Then there were the reports of “kill him” apparently shouted at Sarah Palin rallies in 2008:

The Secret Service is looking into a second allegation that a participant at a Republican political rally shouted “kill him,” referring to Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.

The Scranton Times-Tribune reported that someone in the crowd shouted “kill him” after the mention of Obama’s name during a rally Tuesday for Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Last week The Washington Post reported a similar incident during a Palin rally in Clearwater, Florida. The Secret Service investigated that allegation and found no indication that “kill him” was ever said, or if it had been said, that the remark had been directed at Obama.

Concerning the second “kill him” incident, the Scranton Times Leader (apparently a different publication from the Times-Tribune) later reported that “The agent in charge of the Secret Service field office in Scranton said allegations that someone yelled ‘kill him’ when presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s name was mentioned during Tuesday’s Sarah Palin rally are unfounded.” The campaign-undermining mission was nonetheless accomplished: “News organizations including ABC, The Associated Press, The Washington Monthly and MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann reported the claim …”

Then there were the March 2010 allegations that members of the Congressional Black Caucus outside of the Capitol Building on their way to vote for Obamacare were spat on and subjected to racial slurs. Numerous press outlets reported those claims without a shred of evidence, for the spitting or the slurs; many if not most have not backed down from those reports.

That the pre-Obamacare vote lies still have life is seen in the final paragraph of an unbylined AP report out of Indianapolis last week — the same one in which, as I noted a few days ago (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) the writer claimed that Congressman Andre Carson’s statement about Tea Party-sympathetic members of Congress — that “Some of them in Congress right now with this tea party movement would love to see you and me – hanging on a tree” — was only a “lynching metaphor”:

This isn’t Carson’s first go-round with the tea party. In March 2010, he accused protesters of yelling racial slurs at him and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., outside the Capitol during the heated health care overhaul debate.

Of course, the AP writer never noted that no evidence of any racial slurs was ever found, or that, as Jack Cashill observed, “Not one of the many videos shot that day recorded any.”

Absent the audio and given the statement at YouTooCongress by Ms. Woodworth, there is no reason to believe what the AP’s Steve Peoples wrote, either about the existence of “at least one” (clever spin, isn’t it?) audible dissenting statement, or about it being “an angry shout,” unless and until he produces authentic audio. None. In fact, given that the New Hampshire event was supposed to be “a private reception,” I think we deserve to see evidence that he was even there.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

VDH on ØMG Jobs Report: ‘Zero Jobs 101′

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:53 am

America’s preeminent historian, Victor Davis Hanson, on what has really been the psychology of the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy aka more recently as the Fear-Based Economy since roughly June of 2008:

… the Obama administration has created a psychological landscape that finally just seemed, whether fairly or not, too hostile to most employers to risk new hiring and buying. Each act, in and of itself, was irrelevant. Together they are proving catastrophic and doing the near impossible of turning a brief recovery into another recession.

Here is the lament I heard: the near $5 trillion in borrowing in just three years, the radical growth in the size of the federal government and its regulatory zeal, ObamaCare, the Boeing plant closure threat, the green jobs sweet-heart deals and Van Jones-like “Millions of Green Jobs” nonsense, the vast expansion in food stamps and unemployment pay-outs, the reversal of the Chrysler creditors, politically driven interference in the car industry, the failed efforts to get card check and cap and trade, the moratoria on new drilling in the Gulf, the general antipathy to new fossil fuel exploitation coupled with new finds of vast new reserves, the new financial regulations, an aggressive EPA oblivious to the effects of its advocacy on jobs, the threatened close-down of energy plants, the support for idling thousands of acres of irrigated farmland due to environmental regulations, the constant talk of higher taxes, the needlessly provocative rhetoric of “fat cat”, “millionaires and billionaires,” “corporate jet owners,” etc. juxtaposed, in hypocritical fashion, to Martha’s Vineyard, Costa del Sol, and Vail First Family getaways — all of these isolated strains finally are becoming a harrowing opera to business people.

Despite enormous opportunity for many cash-rich firms to take advantage of the down cycles (low interest, plentiful potential employees, discounted prices, etc.), they are taking a pass, almost as if to collectively sigh, “This bunch doesn’t like me much and I’m going to hunker down, hoard my cash, and sit out the next year and a half until they are gone.” And the administration’s efforts to counteract these symbols and impressions by courting a high-profile, hyper-capitalist Warren Buffett, or a GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt have proven even more ironic: the former calls for higher taxes that his firms seek to avoid, or targets his post-mortem wealth to (more efficient?) private foundations that rob the Treasury of billions in lost inheritance taxes, or knows higher taxes won’t much matter to his tens of billions in net worth; the latter’s firm paid no 2010 U.S. income taxes on many of its profits and outsourced jobs overseas.

… Highly publicized visits to bankrupt subsidized green plants, blaming George Bush, new racially-driven invective from some congresspeople against the Tea Party, sermons about the sensitivities of illegal aliens, politically-correct tutorials about Islam — all that might rally the base or in isolation be understandable, but again fairly or not, such liberal rhetoric simply adds to the problem from yet another dimension: confirming perceptions that employers are about the last people in the world that this administration is worried about.

Enough entrepreneurs, investors, and businesspeople saw this coming in roughly June of 2008 and reacted accordingly to have a negative effect on the economy starting then. The economy tanked as growing numbers of them woke up to what the nation was facing. Normal recovery isn’t happening because just about everyone in the business community with a brain who isn’t benefitting from this administration’s crony capitalism is, as VDH noted, “hunkering down” and “sit(ting) out the next year and a half until they are gone.”

So we’re at a standoff for 18 months. I’d like to think I’m wrong about this, but I can’t come up with anything Team Obama can do to change a destructive psychology they have deliberately created and built up for three long years.

We really don’t want to see what might happen during the next four years if they’re not gone. We all should be seriously concerned about what Obama would do after losing reelection during the 75 days or so until the new guy or gal comes in. It could make Bill Clinton’s disgraceful pardon spree pale by comparison.

Positivity: D.C. Padres baseball team promotes priestly vocations

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:27 am

From Washington:

Sep 2, 2011 / 06:02 am

A baseball team of 11 Catholic priests and seminarians from the Archdiocese of Washington will play a team of high school and college varsity players to help promote vocations. The team’s first baseman, Fr. Larry Young, can’t wait for the game.

“We’re going to start something were we can play three games a year around the archdiocese. This is a forum to promote vocations to the priesthood in a fresh, different way,” said Fr. Young, the pastor of Our Lady’s Church in Leonardtown, Md.

Many of the players have experience in college or high school baseball.

“There’s talent among the seminarians and the priests. I think we’ve got a good team,” the priest said.

The team, named the D.C. Padres, has a roster of five priests and six seminarians. Their first game is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 4 at Bowie Baysox Stadium in Bowie, Md.

The Catholic community is rallying around the D.C. Padres. One parishioner at Our Lady’s Church ordered the shirts and hats for the men, while St. Mary’s Ryken High school is lending the team their equipment.

During the game’s “third inning stretch,” the team will talk to the crowd about the gift of the priesthood. They will invite young men to pray and consider whether God is calling them to follow him as priests.

Almost 500 game tickets have been sold, Fr. Young told CNA on Sept. 1.

“It should be a nice crowd of people to watch this. People seem to react favorably. It’s a novelty, the first time,” he said.

“It’s kind of extraordinary for people to hear that priests and seminarians are playing fast-pitch baseball. Softball is one thing, and there’s basketball. But playing varsity baseball players is a little unusual.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.