October 21, 2011

Politico’s Mak Buries the Lede: Austan Goolsbee, Supply-Sider

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:55 pm

AustanGoolsbee2010.pngThe easy catch in former Obama administration economic adviser Austan Goolsbee’s Thursday interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” as reported by the Politico’s Tim Mak, is that he believes that “if given a second chance he would not have backed the Cash for Clunkers program or the home buyer tax credit.” Goolsbee’s excuse for his changed position — that the administration didn’t think the recovery would take so long, when the administration’s policies have primarily explain why the recovery has taken so long — is characteristically lame.

Something else Goolsbee said is far more surprising — so surprising that one wonders if famed supply-side economist Arthur Laffer somehow temporarily took over the former Obama adviser’s mind and body. One also wonders why Mak saved what Goolsbee said for his report’s final two paragraphs instead of headlining and leading with it.

Here they are:

Goolsbee also disagreed with Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who said Wednesday that “private-sector jobs have been doing just fine” and that the focus should be on saving public sector jobs.

“I guess I would disagree a little. I think at this moment, the government still has an important role to play, it’s to get the private sector going, and we can do that with tax cuts and incentives,” he said.


WaPo’s Kessler Exposes Biden’s ‘Absurd Claims About Rising Rape and Murder Rates’; Otherwise, Nearly a Non-Story

FactCheckerGraphicWaPo0611In June, when yours truly last blogged on a Glenn Kessler piece (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), the Washington Post’s “Fact Checker” was calling Barack Obama’s claims about the accomplishments of the auto-company bailouts “one of the most misleading collections of assertions we have seen in a short presidential speech.” He gave Obama’s claims three Pinocchios (“Significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions”).

Today, Kessler went to four Pinocchios (“whoppers”) on Vice President Joe Biden’s claims about the prospects for a rise in rapes and murders if the $35 billion section of Obama’s “American Jobs Act” devoted to “saving” public-sector jobs doesn’t pass. NB’s Noel Sheppard did a great job on the “macro” aspect of Biden’s bogus claim this morning. Kessler’s clean-up has to do with Biden’s supposed exemplar, the city of Flint Michigan, where the Vice President claims that murders have doubled and rapes have tripled in the past year (bolds are mine):

Biden’s absurd claims about rising rape and murder rates

In the battle over the administration’s jobs bill, Vice President Biden this week has been making the startling case that more people will be murdered or raped if the legislation is not passed. His argument is that in cities such as Flint, Mich., the murder and rape rates have soared as the police force has been cut back for budgetary reasons.

When challenged by a reporter from a conservative publication about his charge (see video below), Biden stood his ground and said without more money, “murder will continue to rise, rape will continue to rise, all crimes will continue to rise.” As he put it, “Go look at the numbers.”

Okay, challenge taken. What do the numbers show?

… Murder did go up—though the rate did not double from 2009 to 2010, as Biden claimed. But rape has gone down. Biden actually asserted it had tripled.

… Interestingly, Flint Police Chief Lock has repeatedly asserted that cuts in staffing had little effect on the crime rate.

As the Flint Journal reported in May: “Officials said the fact that 46 police officers were laid off last year had little to do with the escalating crime. Most of the crimes were between people that knew each other. ‘No matter how many officers we have, we can’t stop disputes between two people in their own homes,’ Lock said.”

… the vice president should know better than to spout off half-baked facts in service of a dubious argument. Even if one believes there is a link between crime and the number of police—which is debatable and subject to many caveats—there is no excuse to make the dramatic claim that more people will die or be raped without additional funds for police. When making such a breathtaking charge, you had better have your facts straight.

Four Pinocchios.

The press has had over a week to report on and investigate the veracity of Biden’s assertions, the likes of which would almost certainly be far more prominent news if a conservative or Republican had said something similar. So here’s a roundup of coverage:

  • The “as expected” news is that WaPo itself referred to Kessler’s work in two other places. But Erik Wemple also accused Human Events videographer Jason Mattera of a “sneaky little maneuver” for daring to ask if threatening an increase in rapes if a bill doesn’t pass is appropriate behavior for a Vice President. At the paper’s Plum Line blog, Greg Sargent tersely noted Kessler’s work and FactCheck.org’s Biden takedown.
  • At the Associated Press’s main national site — searches on “Biden rape,” “Biden rapes,” “Biden murder,” and “Biden crime” (not in quotes) return no results.
  • The same four searches done on the past 30 days at the Los Angeles Times (“rape,” “rapes,” “crime,” “murder“) return either no results or no relevant results.
  • At the New York Times yesterday (on Page A27), Robert Pear avoided Biden’s specifically mentioned locale by writing: “Mr. Biden said that because of police layoffs, ‘murder rates are up, robberies are up, rapes are up’ in many cities.” What about Flint, Robert?

Thus far, with some Democratic defections, hasn’t passed. WaPo’s Sargent is all hot and bothered that the media isn’t universally denouncing Republicans for being in the way, when the fact is that a few Democrat defections made the vote 50-50.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Fisker. Tesla. Been There …

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:35 pm

… blogged on it — Two years ago, at BizzyBlog and NewsBusters.

And ABC is acting like it deserves props because it’s just now discovering it (“Car Company Gets U.S. Loan, Builds Cars In Finland”)?

Meanwhile, as Scott Whitlock at NewsBusters has noted, the network has avoided any mention of connected individuals involved in Democratic Party campaign fundraising.

To be fair, my post was occasioned by the Wall Street Journal’s excellent write-up, which noted at the time Fisker’s plans to make these incredibly expensive toys for the politically correct wealthy in Finland (i.e., hint to ABC, this means that the plans to manufacture overseas have been knowm for a long, long time). Meanwhile, the rest of the press, in typical fashion, studiously ignored the WSJ report and those who blogged on its significance.

One of my comments from two years ago:

It’s reasonable to ask whether Congress in 2007 expected that the program would take on the self-evident default risks of lending to a start-up and a very early-stage company, respectively, or if it expected that the funds would be accessed by already well-capitalized companies.

When are people going to figure out that “lending” is not for speculative ventures? That’s why they call equity investments in such enterprises “VENTURE capital.” It’s the type of capital meant for such ventures.

IBD Calls Out Obama on His Tea Party-OWS Comparison

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

A Thursday evening editorial at Investor’s Business Daily explains the differences between the two movements. Quite oddly, it critically misreads President Obama’s public pronouncement to ABC’s Jake Tapper in its opening paragraph, but gets it right in latter ones:

Sliming The Tea Party

The president makes an odious comparison between the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street, unable to tell the difference between those who work to change the system and those who would destroy it.


Barack Obama thoroughly understands the difference between the two. He needs to legitimize OWS by attempting equivalence with the Tea Party movement because, even though he is the most “successful” president in a generation in milking Wall Street for campaign contributions, he shares OWS’s hostility towards capitalists and capitalism.

The rest of the editorial gets it right, up to and including correctly making the parallel between Obama’s and OWS’s goals. Excerpts:

While described as angry mobs at the time, the Tea Partyers who peacefully assembled and showed up at town hall meetings to confront the career politicians who claimed to represent their views left these meetings quietly to organize and rock the vote, to coin another phrase, in November 2010.

Voices were raised, to be sure. Unlike in New York (and many other locales — Ed.), we can find no reports of Tea Partyers being arrested, individually or en masse, at the thousands of tea parties with millions of attendees that have taken place across the country. After the massive Tea Party march on Washington, D.C., in 2009, not so much as a paper cup was left behind on the Mall. There was no attempt to shut down the city or its commerce.

If nothing else, the beating of one Kenneth Gladney by people wearing the purple shirts of the Service Employees International Union outside a Missouri health care town hall meeting in 2009 should underscore the difference between the Tea Party and the mob on the left. Gladney was a capitalist trying to sell “Don’t Tread on Me” shirts. Occupy Wall Street hates capitalists and capitalism.

The Tea Party is vastly different in its methods and goals. It shares Thomas Jefferson’s belief that the government that’s best is the one that governs least. It wants to limit government and get it out of their wallets and daily lives. It believes that “we the people” defines who is master and who is servant.

It believes government should work for us, not the other way around. The OWS mobs believe government owes them and should take from those who earned and give to those who want. Redistribution of wealth is as much their mantra as it is the mantra of the occupant of the White House.

The Tea Party wants government to leave them alone. OWS wants government to take care of them.

To a former community organizer and Alinsky disciple like Obama, the mob action known as Occupy Wall Street is a dream come true. It is a textbook example of demonizing your opponent, in this case capitalism, while distracting people from your own failures.

It’s the same type of mob action used by Acorn, which a young Barack Obama worked with, and others to pressure banks to issue the bad loans under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) that ultimately led to the excesses of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the financial meltdown, the effects of which still fester in the body politic.


CRA, Fan, and Fred were — and, if the administration continues to have its way, will continue to be — the Cloward-Piven strategy, the goal of which “is to overthrow capitalism by overwhelming the government bureaucracy with entitlement demands,” applied to home lending and ultimately the financial system. They, with latter-stage help from private-sector financial institutions, have virtually destroyed the homebuilding industry, which is a mere shadow of what it once was, with activity at Depression-era levels in a country that is three times as large.

Expanding Cloward-Piven’s application to “overthrowing capitalism by overwhelming the private sector and bankrupting the government,” the administration’s deliberate spending ramp-up can similarly be seen not merely as in sympathy with OWS — and hostile to the Tea Party — but as carrying out its more radical leaders’ fondest wishes.

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (102111)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:00 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow later. Other topics are also fair game.


Positivity: Vatican stem cell endeavor with US company in full swing

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Denver:

Oct 14, 2011 / 06:14 am

The Vatican’s adult stem cell venture with a U.S. biopharmecutical firm continues to gain momentum since the partnership between the two was announced in June.

The move shows how “the Catholic Church is not against science, that we support ethically acceptable research, and that we want to foster this knowledge and spread it globally,” Father Tomaz Trafny of the Vatican’s Council for Culture told CNA on Oct. 12.

“We also want people to understand that in joining forces, we can really bring benefit to humanity,” he said, noting that the endeavor “is the first time we’ve entered into so deep a collaboration with an outside company.”

On June 16, the Vatican announced before the global media in Rome that it was partnering with NeoStem, a public firm pioneering new medical research with adult stem cells.

Stem cells are the body’s master cells from which all of the body’s 200-plus types of tissue ultimately grow. Their versatility allows for potential in providing replacement tissue to treat countless illnesses and disorders.

The Catholic Church approves of stem cell research but disapproves of those cells being drawn from human embryos—a process that involves their destruction.

Fr. Trafny explained that the new venture is creating a hub for scientists, academics, policy makers and Church leaders to discuss moral and ethical advancements in bio-medicine.

“All of these groups very often work and act separately and in isolation and bringing them together to create a network of collaboration and hotspots for exchanging their opinions, experiences, and knowledge,” he said.

Dr. Robin Smith, CEO of NeoStem, added that the adult stem cell research field is growing rapidly—from around 500 clinical trials in the U.S. five years ago to over 4,000 today. …

Go here for the rest of the rest of the story.

Mark Levin on Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 Plan

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:57 am


A few points:

  • “Cain’s proposal takes us in the right direction.”
  • “It’s the simplicity that makes it so attractive.”
  • “We don’t need … 59-point plans and all the rest of it.”

Levin also points out that “simplicity” was one of the main bogus criticisms of Reagan.

The Foodfight Is Still Over …

Filed under: News from Other Sites — Tom @ 12:33 am

… though “Karl” wants to keep it going.

In two posts (here and here; I never imagined little ol’ yours truly, especially having earned the designation “Idiot of the Day,” could get him so hot and bothered — down boy), Karl lays out some nice points and recounts history as he sees it — though it’s more than a little ironic that Dylan Ratigan, whom Karl has grown to know and somehow love, was clearly as duped as much as if not moreso than anyone on October 14, 2008 (he bought Charles Gasparino’s “gun to the head” rendition which Karl believes is the stuff of sheer fantasy hook, line, and sinker). To a larger extent than he would care to admit, I agree with him, including about the current sense of urgency to right our sinking ship. In a civil situation, a meaningful dialog might commence …

… but at this point, I could care less.

You see, Karl bitterly clings to calling me a liar and purveyor of “utter falsehood,” and even though I have proven that nothing I produced contained a lie, he won’t retract. He also called a website to which I provide a roughly weekly column a collection of liars.

When people do that, I demand an apology and a retraction — in this case to me and to Pajamas Media. When I don’t get one, my fundamental sense of decency and honor dictates that I ignore that person — unless and until the apology and retraction arrive, because nothing else matters unless and until the apology and retraction arrive. That’s how I roll. I see no alternative.

Karl, the words still are: “I was wrong. I am sorry. I will appropriately retract.” Until those words arrive … see ya.


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