January 1, 2014

Tom Blumer: A Brief Writing Career Compilation

Filed under: General — Tom @ 11:59 pm

(Latest Update: May 14, 2014)

Thomas W. Blumer
8251 Arbor Square Drive, #103
Mason, OH 45040
513-336-7121; Wireless 513-260-4494
tblumer@monetarymatters.com
biz@bizzyblog.com

I have been a contributor at NewsBusters since December 2005, and have been writing columns for PJ Media since early 2008. I have also had my own blog, BizzyBlog, since early 2005, have had stints with Watchdog.org and FrontPageMag.com, and have been an occasional columnist at The Fiscal Times.

I have had my work published in the New York Post and the Wall Street Journal.

I have had two NewsBusters posts linked by Matt Drudge, one in November 2012 and the other in August 2013. The latter involved AP’s cover-up of President Obama’s “Gulf ports” gaffe in early August 2013.

My September 25, 2013 column at PJ Media on Obamacare’s “Wedding Tax” was linked by Drudge for roughly 16 hours.

I have had at least a half-dozen of my NewsBusters posts linked by Rush Limbaugh during the past few years. He named me personally in discussing one of them in June 2012.

Limbaugh also made one of my PJ Media columns the starting point for the cover story in his March 2012 Limbaugh Letter.

Additionally, I am the person:

  • Whose work on Jeremiah Wright and his church bulletins was referenced by Hillary Clinton in her April 2008 debate with Barack Obama.
  • Who found in 2008 that presidential candidate Obama was a favorite cover topic of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s Trumpet Newsmagazine.
  • Who in 2009 exposed how ACORN’s supposedly extensive claims to have helped so many poor people really proved that they had done very little.
  • Who in early 2006 stopped a nascent campaign to tie coal miners’ deaths to supposedly lax safety regulation under George W. Bush before it could get started.
  • Who has consistently exposed the “Food Stamp Challenge” as a fundamentally dishonest exercise for seven years.

I have also been interviewed dozens of times on radio by at least a dozen different talk show hosts.

Recent comments:

  • “Best article I’ve seen on Common Core & how/why it’s resonating w/ voters.” (article link) — Richard G. Combs, May 2014
  • “Excellent analysis, Tom.” (article link) — Paul Bolyard at PJ Media, April 2014
  • “Excellent summary of Obama’s lawlessness and what led to it.” (article link) — PJ Media commenter, February 2014
  • “Tom Blumer has been doing yeoman’s work investigating the true economic and tax implications of Obamacare.” (article link) — Leading conservative blogger Doug Ross, September 2013

Business experience:

  • (Concurrent with writing career) Seven years in retail positions, primarily with third-party marketing firms, selling technology devices (printers, scanners, mobile phones, projectors, home theater, tablets, computers) and accessories.
  • Over two decades as owner of a training and development company presenting employer-sponsored workshops on personal finance (money management, retirement, and investing).
  • 3-1/2 years as the controller of a $30 million privately held manufacturing company.
  • 8-1/2 with an international accounting firm — 1-1/2 years in entrepreneurial services, 1-1/2 years in national training and development, and 5-1/2 years in auditing (with some tax season individual tax work).
  • 2 years with a local accounting firm.

Ten Forms of 2013 Media Malpractice

Out of several dozen.

______________________________________________

This column went up at PJ Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Monday evening.

______________________________________________

As the year ends, I see that others have already conscientiously compiled lists of the most underreported and misreported stories of the year, with some even breaking matters down between foreign and domestic.

With that task addressed, I thought it would be worthwhile to compile a far from comprehensive list of ten of the more noteworthy techniques which those who pretend to be loyal to the tenets of journalism employed during 2013 to deceive, misinform, misdirect and smear.

1. Pretend that “no one” is saying something, when they really are.

Carol Costello of CNN claimed in January that “no one is talking about overturning the Second Amendment or confiscating guns in America.”

In the three preceding weeks, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo had said that “Confiscation could be an option”; an Iowa state representative had “said governments should start confiscating semi-automatic rifles and other firearms”; and Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California had suggested a gun-buyback program which “could be compulsory.”

In early December, New York City’s police department sent out “letters telling gun owners to turn over their rifles and shotguns — or else face the consequences,” i.e., confiscation.

2. Bury the party affiliation of Democrats involved in scandal and crime.

Even when local stories appropriately identify leftist offenders’ party affiliation, national press outlets work hard to scrub them.

One of the most notorious such examples last year involved Steven Brooks, a Nevada State Assembly member from North Las Vegas. The opening sentence at the related Las Vegas Sun story told readers that “A Democratic assemblyman is in jail, arrested for threatening Democratic Speaker-elect Marilyn Kirkpatrick, according to North Las Vegas Police and Democratic sources familiar with the situation.” By the time the Associated Press was done massaging it for national consumption, the D-word was held until the ninth paragraph, and reporter Martin Griffith was regaling readers with a list of the wonderful organizations and charities which Brooks had served.

3. Decide that really bad news doesn’t matter.

When the government’s initial report on fourth-quarter 2012 economic growth showed contraction, the editors at Bloomberg News decided that the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) is an “imperfect measure of progress,” and that we really should be looking at indicators of “social progress or human happiness.”

How convenient. Expect a recurrence of such nonsense if first-quarter data show that the no-growth, Obamacare Christmas I warned of in November materializes.

4. Commit statistical torture.

In February, the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, was determined to show that government employment had steeply declined. Trouble is, it ignorantly and artificially pegged the “peak” at a point when hundreds of thousands of obviously temporary Census Bureau workers were on the federal payroll.

The truth is that government employment “grew by a ridiculous 1.2 million, or almost 6%,” from December 2003 to April 2009, and was long overdue for a correction.

5. Put on the moral blinders for leftists and horrible criminals.

While treating George Zimmerman as evil personified for defending himself against Trayvon Martin, the press was incredibly indulgent towards multiple baby-killer Kermit Gosnell, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, and China’s Mao Zedong.

AP reporter Maryclaire Dale described Gosnell as “an elegant man” who “smiled softly” in court as witnesses described his late-term abortion and infanticide house of horrors. The wire service rarely applied the “abortion” tag to its Gosnell stories, but frequently used “reproductive rights.”

The AP’s Paul Haven depicted the deceased Chavez’s funeral procession as “an epic farewell to a larger-than-life leader,” during which the authoritarian looter’s “flag-draped coffin floated over hundreds of thousands of supporters.”

Earlier this month, both CNBC and the New York Times ran headlines wishing the long-deceased “Chairman Mao,” who is responsible for the deaths of as many as 70 million during his multi-decade reign of terror, a “happy” 120th birthday.

6. Pretend that someone said something they never said.

Readers should always be on the alert for descriptions of what Republicans and conservatives allegedly “said” when quotation marks are absent.

In April, Politico’s Donavan Slack “reported” that House Speaker John Boehner had criticized “President Obama’s budget for failing to cut enough spending.” Boehner said no such thing. His press release merely noted that “it is time for Washington to deal with its spending problem.” Long-time budget watchers know that the left’s and the press’s dictionaries both define a “cut” as a “reduction in projected spending increases.”

7. Act as if you’ve done your job when when you’re years late covering an important story.

If complete, this list would be exhaustive, and exhausting. Here are just a few examples:

  • The New York Times devoted a 5,000-word piece to the Pigford “black farmers” scandal in April, over five months after the November 2012 elections when doing so would have mattered.
  • The Associated Press suddenly discovered years-long trends involving employers’ heavier use of part-time and temporary workers.
  • The 2013 trophy for deferred disclosure surely goes to the AP. On September 30, the day before HealthCare.gov was set to go live, it finally determined that President Obama’s five-year “you can keep your health insurance plan” guarantee to the American people “was an empty promise, made repeatedly.”
  • Just before Christmas, the New York Times astonishingly found that “the cost of premiums for people who just miss qualifying for (Obamacare) subsidies varies widely across the country and rises rapidly for people in their 50s and 60s … (and) can quickly approach 20 percent of a person’s income.” Imagine that. Anyone who studied Obamacare during the runup to its passage knew that almost four years ago.

8. Don’t believe our early reporting — and if you go looking for it, you won’t find it.

Though many news outlets irresponsibly send early news reports to the memory hole, the Times has become particularly adept at the practice:

  • In May, it “cleaned up” an early online report on the IRS conservative and tea-party group targeting scandal, completely changing the focus from Treasury Department admissions that it knew what the IRS was doing in 2012 to a tired “Republicans attack” exercise.
  • In June, before it went to print, it scrubbed an Obama adviser’s inflammatory “a war on coal is exactly what’s needed” remark which had briefly appeared online.
  • In September, it watered down the headline and content of an earlier report on Obama’s failure to form any kind of meaningful coalition for action on Syria.

9. Ignore or make excuses for inconvenient remarks by leftists and Democrats.

Here’s another list which could go on for miles. A few of the worst offenders in 2013 include the following:

  • Only the relatively minor wire service AFP reported Ben Bernanke’s bombshell remark at a July congressional hearing that “the economy would tank” if the Federal Reserve were to significantly reduce the $1 trillion a year in funny money (since reduced to “only” $900 billion) it has been creating.
  • Almost no one in the establishment press acknowledged the existence of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s August remark that the U.S. has to “work our way past” insurance-based health care towards a single-payer system.
  • The Associated Press also took 2013′s prize in this category. In August, when Obama identified Savannah, Jacksonville, and Charleston as “along the Gulf (of Mexico)” reporter Russ Bynum parenthetically added words to what Obama had said to remove any appearance of a presidential misstatement. AP then issued a weaselly correction which still would not directly acknowledge that Obama misspoke.

10. Sit on important information if doing so helps the administration.

In November, the AP’s Julie Pace reveled in the fact that she and her employer knew of secret negotiations between the U.S. and Iran a full eight months before they were publicly disclosed. The wire service’s claim that doing so involved doing the Obama administration no favors blew up in its face when another news organization acknowledged that it and AP “were asked to not publish til end of Iran talks.”

In 2014, the failures associated with President Obama’s “signature achievement” will become far more widely visible, and its negative economic effects will become more widely felt. Other aspects of his presidential stewardship are on track for similar decay. As a result, the likelihood that the left will suffer serious damage in the fall’s congressional elections will increase. As that occurs, look for the establishment press’s alleged journalists to make heavier use of the techniques discussed above and many others in an attempt to stop the bleeding.

Nine Years of ‘Christmas’ and ‘Holiday’ Search Results for ‘Shopping’ and ‘Layoffs’

Every year since 2005, I’ve done three series of searches — the first just before Thanksgiving, the second a couple of weeks later, and the third a few days before Christmas — on the use of “Christmas” and “holiday(s)” to describe the shopping season and layoffs.

Here the overall results for all nine years:

ChristmasShoppingLayoffs2005to2013

As has been the case since I’ve been doing this, the press uses the term “holiday shopping season” far more than “Christmas shopping season.” Also the press is far more likely to Christmas with layoffs than it is with shopping.

A couple of interesting points about this year:

  • 2013 had the highest percentage of mentions of “Christmas shopping season” compared to “holiday shopping season” ever. It’s not conclusive, but it wouldn’t be unreasonable to surmise that this occurred because the press was extraordinarily nervous about the effect this year’s mediocre results might have on Dear Leader. So a few more of them — but only a few — used the proper term.
  • The relative mentions of “Christmas” in connection with “layoffs” also peaked. Though this might argue against the point I made in the previous item, I think a better theory is that President Obama’s “income inequality” rants caused more local and regional journalists to use “Christmas” in reporting on layoffs to heap scorn on employers who engaged in them.

Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (010114)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 10:05 am

This open thread will stay at or near the top today. Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow. Other topics are also fair game.

Positivity: Christianity helps women rise out of poverty, economist finds

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 10:00 am

From Rome:

Dec 20, 2013 / 05:04 pm

A researcher at Washington D.C.’s Georgetown University has found that impoverished women in India are more likely to improve their economic circumstances after converting to Christianity.

“Conversion actually helps launch women on a virtuous circle. A woman feels better, she’s part of an active faith community, she works more, she earns more money: the extra money she earns and saves encourages her to earn more and save more and plan and invest in the future,” said Rebecca Samuel Shah, research fellow at Georgetown’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs.

Shah presented her initial findings of a pilot study looking at “patterns and directions where conversion had an impact” on Dalit women in Bangalore, India at a conference on “Christianity and Freedom” held in Rome on Dec. 13-14.

Shah and her team studied 300 women who lived in a Dalit slum community over the course of 3 years. When they began their research, they did not know that 23 percent of the women being interviewed were actually converts to Christianity.

Dalits are considered the “outcasts” of or “pariahs” of society in India.

“One is actually born a Dalit, you cannot leave a Dalit status. You’re born and you live and you die a Dalit,” Shah explained. “Dalits are employed in the some of the worst jobs…they scavenge, they sweep, they’re tanners. They do the smelliest, dirtiest work, and therefore they ‘polute’… they’re ‘untouchables.’”

Moreover, “Dalits are not allowed to go near a (Hindu) temple, or touch a religious object that is used in worship.”

Because “they don’t want to live on the margins” of society, “they are converting to Christianity,” she noted.

Shah’s study yielded some surprising results about the impact of Christian conversion on the lives of Dalit women in “a very violent urban slum.”

The majority of Hindu, Muslim and Christian Dalit women interviewed were illiterate. Many belong to a microfinance program which gives them access to loans which they then use towards their children’s education or to run a small business.

The first “unexpected pattern” Shah encountered was in housing. “The converts converted their loans to purchasing houses, and turned dead capital into resources to generate additional capital.”

Housing is an exceptionally important issue because “these people live in a slum community. It’s a transient community, they’re originally migrant workers, they had de facto rights to the property, but did not have legally enforceable title,” said Shah.

The impact of home ownership is crucial, since “by being able to own a house, these poor women were able to get bank loans, commercial loans, which they didn’t have access to before that. When you have a house you can get a loan at 3 percent, instead of from a money lender at 18 percent. So having a house is a very important investment in your future, so you can have access to very affordable credit.”

The second “dramatic” finding in Shah’s study concerned domestic violence.

A national family health survey in India in 2005-2006 indicated that 86 percent of the women interviewed nationally had never told anyone that they had been abused.

According to Shah, this large scale study indicated that a woman’s religion was an important indicator of whether or not she would seek help. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

Happy New Year to All!

Filed under: General — Tom @ 12:00 am

HappyNewYear2014