The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit an all-time high on Tuesday.
But you wouldn't know that if you watched MSNBC's Hardball where two guests actually made the case that this really isn't an all-time high due to inflation (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
WaPo ‘Guppy’ Ezra Klein Lamely Claims 2012 Election Win Allows Obama to Break Pledge and Include Tax Increases in Sequestration
You take humor anywhere you can get it these days. Matt Drudge's characterization of Washington Post WonkBlog editor Ezra Klein as a "guppy" ("WASH POST Guppy Says Legend is WRONG") in linking to the 2007-2008 Jounolist conspiracy organizer's pathetic attempt to refute Bob Woodward's indisputably correct claims that sequestration was the brainchild of Obama administation officials and that "Obama personally approved" it is a morning-maker.
Rather than take Woodward head-on, Klein gutlessly goes after three words in his Friday piece: "moving the goalposts." What Woodward wrote, followed by a portion of Klein's clunker, appear after the jump.
In a careless attempt to get a rise out of their readers, mainstream media outlets like the Washington Post and Esquire Magazine erroneously reported that the Navy SEAL credited with the assassination of Osama bin Laden had been unceremoniously stripped of health insurance following his retirement last September.
The story immediately went viral, thanks in large part to the tireless efforts of Ezra Klein and Sarah Kliff from the Post and their massive followings on Twitter. Former editor of the San Francisco Chronicle Phil Bronstein originally posted an 'exhaustively researched' article about it on Esquire's site. Upon its publication and online distribution however, some readers noticed just how rife with inaccuracies the story was. Former public affairs officer of the Department of Veteran Affairs Brandon Friedman was among them. (H/T - Twitchy)
“Americans trust their guns, not God,” and the gun lobby is sacrificing children to an ancient pagan god demanding child sacrifice. That’s the message of Washington Post ‘On Faith’ theological train-wreck Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite’s plea for gun control in the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Thistlethwaite complained in a December 17 post: “It is becoming increasingly clear that Americans realize the unfettered flow of guns into our society is making us less free not more. These guns find their way far too easily into the hands of the mentally unstable and the school and mall-type massacres are increasingly the result. But these guns also circulate easily in cities like Chicago, and more carnage results. There are numerous deaths, including the deaths of children and young people, and they make horrifying statistics. Read this list of homicide victims, most of them from guns in Chicago, just from 2012. This must not be.”
Rachel Maddow is often absent from the MSNBC show which bears her name, thereby allowing one of her alternating guest hosts to serve up unintended comic relief.
Providing the hilarity last night was Washington Post blogger and Bloomberg columnist Ezra Klein, who predictably spun the story about Michigan legislators passing a right to work law (video after page break)
Ed Schultz's lofty opinion that he's indispensable at MSNBC is apparently not widely shared at 30 Rockefeller Center.
Schultz responded angrily on his radio show yesterday to a New York Times story about the network that contained an eye-opening disclosure close to the end of the piece (audio clips after page break).
As Washington Post columnist and MSNBC analyst Ezra Klein appeared during the midnight hour of Wednesday night's Democratic National Convention coverage on MSNBC, he described former President Bill Clinton as a "missile" for the Obama administration, and argued that high tax rates have not harmed the economy in the past.
But, as he pointed to periods of high growth while marginal tax rates were higher than modern times, he neglected to mention that the existence of more tax shelters often kept effective tax rates from being as high as they might have appeared, whereas many of those tax shelters were removed in the 1980s. He also did not note that the capital gains tax was cut in the mid-1990s during the Clinton presidency after Republicans took control of Congress.
Referring to Clinton's speech, Klein began:
On a special Saturday edition of Hardball, MSNBC host Chris Matthews twice claimed that Republican Rep. Paul Ryan's budget "screws" needy people. During a segment with Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen, as he asked what it was like to work with Rep. Ryan as his colleague, the MSNBC host asserted that the plan "really screws the people who desperately need Medicare and programs like that."
In an article for NBCNews.com's First Read on Monday, Domenico Montanaro eagerly proclaimed to readers: "Mitt Romney has criticized President Obama for his 'you didn't build that' line, when it came to businesses....But in 2002, during his speech at the Opening Ceremonies at the Winter Olympics....Romney made a similar argument about Olympians."
Romney simply told the Olympic athletes – many in their teens and twenties – that they achieved their individual success with help of parents, coaches, and their local communities. However, by Monday night, The Washington Post's Ezra Klein, filling in for MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, wildly misconstrued the comment to slam Romney: "Got that, Olympians? You didn't build it....It's like David Axelrod went back in time and put the precise words he needed into Mitt Romney's mouth."
WashPost’s Ezra Klein Laments a ‘Radical and Discredited’ Constitutional Theory Could Doom ObamaCare
I will give this to Ezra Klein: unlike other liberals in the media -- Michael Tomasky and James Fallows come to mind -- the Washington Post economic and domestic policy columnist is decidedly less histrionic about the Court likely striking down as unconstitutional the ObamaCare "individual mandate" on Thursday. But all the same, Klein is seeking to dismiss the intellectual and legal credibility of the Court's ruling should a majority rule on Thursday that the individual mandate violates the Constitution's limits on federal power.
In a June 26 column, Klein sought to explain how "a radical and discredited reading of the commerce clause" came to be popular with American voters and palatable to a majority of the justices on the Supreme Court, all thanks to conservatives erecting a "permission structure" that overrode previous conservative backing for the idea of a health-care mandate.
A "permission structure" is a platform that relies "heavily on 'third-party authentication' -- endorsements from respected figures or institutions that the targeted voters admired," Klein explained. In this case, the "targeted voters" are the four conservatives on the court plus moderate-conservative swing voter Justice Anthony Kennedy:
Over the past two years, the Republican Party has slowly been building a permission structure for the five Republicans on the Supreme Court to feel comfortable doing something nobody thought they could do: Violate the existing understanding of the commerce clause and, in perhaps the most significant moment of judicial activism since the New Deal, overturn either all or part of the Affordable Care Act.
Of course, it's not "violat[ing]" existing commerce clause case law to say that the ObamaCare individual mandate goes beyond what existing precedent has allowed. That's precisely the point of numerous conservative amicus curiae [friend-of-the-court] briefs that were filed in the HHS v. Florida case: the commerce clause exists to permit Congress to regulate existing commerce, not to compel private parties to engage in an act of commerce under penalty of law.
Another conservative/libertarian amicus brief, filed by the Institute for Justice (IJ), held forth that ObamaCare violated fundamental principles of American contract law. Contracts, IJ attorneys note, cannot be legally enforceable if they are entered under compulsion, which is precisely what ObamaCare's individual mandate would engender (emphasis mine):
The Founding generation that drafted and ratified the Constitution never meant for the federal government to possess the power to coerce individuals to engage in commercial transactions against their will. Coercing commercial transactions is antithetical to the foundational principle of mutual assent that permeated the common law of contracts at the time of the founding and continues to do so today. The Founding generation recognized that this principle was critical to protecting individual liberty. It would never have given, and in fact did not give, Congress, through the guise of the Commerce Clause, the power to gut the foundation upon which the entirety of contract law rests.
Equally important, granting Congress the power to eviscerate the doctrine of mutual assent cannot be a “proper” exercise of congressional power within the meaning of the Necessary and Proper Clause. As Chief Justice Marshall declared in McCulloch v. Maryland, for a law to be necessary and proper, the “end [must] be legitimate” and it must “consist with the letter and spirit of the constitution . . . .” 17 U.S. (4 Wheat.) 316, 421 (1819). But it is not consistent with the letter and spirit of the Constitution for Congress to compel individuals to engage in commerce and thereby to eviscerate the concept of mutuality of assent. Construing the enumerated powers of Congress as including a power to coerce individuals to engage in commerce would destroy the longstanding principle of mutual assent.
But rather than address the merits of the legal theory promulgated by conservatives in their briefs to the Court, Klein fixated on how some otherwise conservative legal jurists had previously weighed in in in favor of ObamaCare, with appeals court judge Jeff Sutton upholding the mandate and fellow appeals court judge Brett Kavanaugh ruling the challenge "not justiciable."
Both judges are "top choices for Supreme Court picks on the Republican side," Klein noted, quoting former Justice Kennedy clerk Orin Kerr of George Washington University's law school. Adding to that the factoid that "[a] poll of top constitutional law scholars found that 19 of 21 top constitutional law scholars found that 19 of 21 thought the mandate was unconstitutional, but only eight were confident that the Supreme Court would uphold it," Klein's point seems to be that, objectively speaking, ObamaCare should be upheld, but conservatives have done a great job lobbying the Court to ignore sound legal theory in favor of a political outcome.
Of course, Klein conveniently left unmentioned that there was a Clinton appointee in the 11th Circuit Court's majority opinion, the same case that the Obama administration appealed to the Supreme Court and which could be affirmed by the Court on Thursday.
From the August 12, 2011 Politico (emphasis mine):
The 2-1 ruling marks the first time a judge appointed by a Democrat has voted to strike down the mandate. Judge Frank Hull, who was nominated by former President Bill Clinton, joined Chief Judge Joel Dubina, who was appointed by George H.W. Bush, to strike down the mandate.
The majority of the panel said they couldn’t uphold the mandate because there would be no limit to Congress’s powers if they did. Opponents of the law have frequently argued that if Congress can require people to buy insurance, they can force people to do anything else, such as buy broccoli or a gym membership for their health benefits. Vinson cited this broccoli argument in his sweeping ruling striking down the entire law.
“We have not found any generally applicable, judicially enforceable limiting principle that would permit us to uphold the mandate without obliterating the boundaries inherent in the system of enumerated congressional powers,” Dubina and Hull wrote in an expansive, 200-page ruling. “‘Uniqueness’ is not a constitutional principle in any antecedent Supreme Court decision.”
"If the Supreme Court rules against the mandate, it will no longer be out on a ledge. It will be in lock step with the entire Republican Party, many polls, a number of judges, the impression the public has gotten from the media coverage and the outcome of the oral arguments," Klein lamented.
To Klein and his buddies in the media, they're all but certain the Court will not rule in their favor. The fight is now over the narrative, the spin to discredit the ruling and dismiss the sound constitutional legal theory, originalism, that will underpin it.
Whenever a liberal labels an organization "non partisan," consider yourself duly alerted that it is nothing of the kind.
Here is what said liberal is actually saying if he or she could stomach the candor -- This is an organization that shares my views. I call it "non partisan" in a feeble attempt to provide legitimacy it would otherwise not possess. (video after page break)
This transparent dynamic was on display Wednesday night when Washington Post and Bloomberg columnist Ezra Klein guest hosted on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" --
There's a number for you -- 180. That is the number of bills to restrict voting rights that have been introduced in state legislatures since the beginning of 2011, according to the non-partisan Brennan Center for Justice.
Not surprisingly, Klein stumbled in describing the "Brenner" center as non partisan, implying that such a description was a bit much even for a Maddow guest host.
The Brennan Center for Justice, part of New York University School of Law, is named for the late Supreme Court justice William Brennan -- father of the "living" Constitution. The organization is headed by Michael Waldman. Name ring a bell? According to his bio at the Brennan website, Waldman did a bit of work for Bill Clinton back when Clinton was president. In fact, Waldman was "responsible for writing or editing nearly 2,000 speeches, including four State of the Union and two inaugural addresses."
Can you imagine a think tank run by someone who wrote that many speeches for George W. Bush -- that many major speeches -- being described on MSNBC as "non partisan"? The chances of this, to put it charitably, are nil. Instead, you'd hear it derided as "radical."
Not only that, the Brennan Center is a major beneficiary of financial contributions from an organization backed by left-wing financier George Soros, aka, He Whose Name Must Never Be Mentioned On MSNBC.
The Soros-funded Open Society Foundations donated $7.4 million to the Brennan Center from 2000 to 2010, plus another $2.8 million to New York University, NewsBuster Iris Somberg wrote last October.
Media coverage of a voting study released by the Brennan Center last fall was curiously lacking in references to Soros. "None of the five stories by The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, or CBS News noted that this study was funded by Soros," Somberg wrote.
Moreover, the study itself was riddled with questionable conclusions, according to a detailed, withering critique at National Review Online by Hans A. von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, former FEC commissioner and former voting counsel at the Justice Department.
"To judge from the number of reports citing its conclusions, the Brennan Center report is certainly a successful propapanda effort," von Spakovsky wrote. "However, neither the editorials of the Washington Post and the New York Times nor the Brennan Center report are empirically driven. Rather, they are myth-driven diatribes against common-sense election reform that the vast majority of the American people agree with, no matter what their race or political background. They are certainly not the devastating constraints on voters that the Brennan Center's report puffs them up to be."
Further evidence of Brennan Center propagandizing is evident from the organization's website, which today prominently displays a press release titled "Justice Department Will Sue Florida Over Voter Purge."
"We are disappointed with Secretary of State (Ken) Detzner's decision to press forward with this misguided voter purge," says Wendy Weiser, "Director of the Democracy Project," according to the release. "The state's planned purge, so close to the election, opens the door to errors, confusion and the removal of eligible voters."
"So close to the election" ... that's five months away.
The press release neglects to mention the reason that Florida officials are purging their voting rolls of non-residents and ineligible voters at this alleged 11th hour -- the Department of Homeland Security dragging its feet for nine months in failing to allow access to its SAVE system of a dozen immigration databases.