New on NewsReal – Evil Republicans Take Aim at "Sesame Street"

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

As we all know, the Republican Party is the single most evil organization in human history. Republicans hate the poor, hate the environment, hate teachers, hate foreigners, and generally hate joy and happiness in all its forms. And now the Daily Beast’s Samuel Jacobs says the GOP is poised to undertake their most heartless act yet: “kill Big Bird.”

Jacobs is citing a report in the New York Times which describes House Republicans’ latest batch of proposed budget cuts, meant to reduce federal spending by $100 billion. “Dozens of programs” are on the chopping block, including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s government funding.

The CPB, of course, isn’t happy:

We understand the challenges to our economy as a result of increasing budget deficits, but the proposed elimination of funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) will not address this challenge in a meaningful way; it represents a disproportionate attack on public media. Further, elimination of CPB would impact millions of Americans who rely on public media for free, quality content that has a mission to educate, inform and inspire. This proposed action would directly result in cuts to the 1,300 public television and radio stations that provide this service; impact thousands of jobs in rural, suburban and urban communities throughout the country already reeling from a faltering economy; and eliminate a valued service – content that strengthens our civil society through children’s and educational programming, lifelong learning for all Americans, and quality entertainment.

First things first: This wouldn’t destroy Sesame Street. For decades, Sesame Street has been a staple of kids’ TV. Sesame Workshop boasted in 2010 that their 122-time Emmy-winning show “was rated THE NUMBER ONE favorite show of preschoolers” (emphasis in the original), and TV Squad says:

With so many choices, it’s amazing that older shows, like the long-running ‘Sesame Street,’ can still draw the attention of little folks. Yet, the four-decade-old program is still going strong — so strong, in fact, that the show has garnered its highest ratings in years.

Read the rest on NewsRealBlog.

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Nightmare in Arizona

The shooting that took six lives, including a little girl and a judge, and have seriously injured Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, is absolutely sickening. Pray for the full recovery of those injured, and for comfort and peace for those who lost loved ones.

Donald Douglas and Walter Hudson have great round-ups of details about the shooter, a mentally-disturbed, gold-standard loving, atheistic, paranoid, anti-government fan of The Communist Manifesto. The info contained therein puts the lie to the dishonesty and hypocrisy of those blaming the shooting on everyone from Sarah Palin to the Tea Party movement to the Religious Right.

This is nothing new – leftists defame conservatives whenever violence is inflicted upon one of their own, and even when it isn’t. There’s not much more to say about it that hasn’t already been said, save reiterating the one thing everyone who hears this filth needs to understand.

This line of attack isn’t sincere. Those pursuing it know better. They don’t care what really motivates killers, or what conservatives do and don’t say. They say it anyway because they’re fundamentally indecent people. Period.

Republicans Move to Repeal ObamaCare

My NRB colleague Joseph Klein has a good look at the potential and pitfalls of the strategy. He notes that, since the Democrats still control the Senate and White House, ObamaCare won’t actually be repealed before 2012, but House Republicans have another way they can get policy results in the short term:

The Republican-controlled House also has the power of the purse, which its leaders say they intend to exercise by denying funding for implementing and enforcing key portions of Obamacare. But in order to make this stick, the Obama administration must be prohibited from moving discretionary monies around to make up for any shortfall in direct Obamacare funding. That means making it a criminal act for any Executive branch employee to use any monies appropriated by Congress to implement or enforce any portion of Obamacare unless there is an express Congressional appropriation specified for that purpose.

The time to impose such spending limitations with criminal sanctions is during the lead-up to the vote on raising the debt ceiling that will be occurring in a few weeks.  This is the opportunity for the Republicans who are serious about cutting discretionary spending across the board, and stopping any spending on Obamare, to exercise maximum leverage.

President Obama will either have to blink or face the consequences of a government shutdown due to his intransigence on Obamacare and other wasteful spending. That’s a battle the Republicans should win hands-down if they stick to their guns.

Indeed. Republicans squishy on the repeal because it won’t pass need to understand something: without the presidency or a veto-proof Congress, the GOP shouldn’t expect to pass much of its own legislation into law at all. The objective for the time being isn’t to pass good laws, but to block bad ones where possible and to keep forcing the Democrats to explain their position on things like health care to the American people, in particular their insistence on keeping something the country doesn’t want.

Without losing sight of other important business, Republicans should periodically reintroduce ObamaCare repeal bills until Election Day 2012, to keep the bill’s failings – and its supporters’ folly and hubris – fresh in the public’s mind.

The Democrats Hate Democracy

Exhibit A, courtesy of Charles Krauthammer:

A month ago, Medicare issued a regulation providing for end-of-life counseling during annual “wellness” visits. It was all nicely buried amid the simultaneous release of hundreds of new Medicare rules.


Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D.,Ore.), author of Section 1233, was delighted. “Mr. Blumenauer’s office celebrated ‘a quiet victory,’ but urged supporters not to crow about it,” reports the New York Times. Deathly quiet. In early November, his office sent an e-mail plea to supporters: “We would ask that you not broadcast this accomplishment out to any of your lists . . . e-mails can too easily be forwarded.” They had been lucky that “thus far, it seems that no press or blogs have discovered it. . . . The longer this regulation goes unnoticed, the better our chances of keeping it.”

So much for Democratic transparency — and for their repeated claim that the more people learn what is in the health-care law, the more they will like it. Turns out ignorance is the Democrats’ best hope.
And regulation is their perfect vehicle — so much quieter than legislation. Consider two other regulatory usurpations in just the last few days.
On December 23, the Interior Department issued Secretarial Order 3310, reversing a 2003 decision and giving itself the authority to designate public lands as “Wild Lands.” A clever twofer: (1) a bureaucratic power-grab — for seven years up through December 22, wilderness-designation had been the exclusive province of Congress, and (2) a leftward lurch — more land to be “protected” from such nefarious uses as domestic-oil exploration in a country disastrously dependent on foreign sources.
The very same day, the president’s Environmental Protection Agency declared that in 2011 it would begin drawing up anti-carbon regulations on oil refineries and power plants, another power grab effectively enacting what Congress had firmly rejected when presented as cap-and-trade legislation.

For an Obama bureaucrat, however, the will of Congress is a mere speed bump. Hence this regulatory trifecta, each one moving smartly left — and nicely clarifying what the spirit of bipartisan compromise that President Obama heralded in his post-lame-duck December 22 news conference was really about: a shift to the center for public consumption and political appearance only.

Read the rest. It’s an outrage that this country has gotten to a point where unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats can make de facto laws outside of the legislative process, contrary to the will of the people, and that a political party called Democratic of all names relies upon this sleazy, un-American, anti-democratic process to implement its agenda. Let’s hope the incoming Congress has at least a few Republicans who have the spine to call this out as the disgrace it is.

New on NewsReal – Shepard Smith Goes Nuclear on GOP "Grinches" Over 9/11 Health Bill

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

Many outlets, including the Huffington Post, Mediaite, and the Examiner, are increasingly taking notice of Fox News anchor (and longtime left-wing drama queen) Shepard Smith for his alleged courage and principle in distancing himself from the rest of the channel’s right-wing propagandizing. He’s currently being lauded for having taken up the cause of a controversial bill to provide medical care for 9/11 first responders, angrily unloading on Republican Grinches who would dare steal Christmas from American heroes:

We’re able to put a 52 story building so far down there at Ground Zero, we’re able to pay for tax cuts for billionaires who don’t need them and it’s not going to stimulate the economy. But we can’t give health care to Ground Zero first responders who ran right into the fire? Went down there to save people? Do people know what this city was like that day? People were walking over bridges, they were covered in ash, they were running for their lives, they were crying, their family members were dead. And these people ran to Ground Zero to save people’s lives. And we’re not going to even give them medicine for the illnesses they got down there? It’s disgusting, it’s a national disgrace, it’s a shame and everybody who voted against should have to stand up and account for himself or herself.

The Examiner’s Elliot Levin compares Smith to several of his Fox News colleagues, including Sean Hannity, who has endorsed the bill’s purpose but expressed reservations about the particulars, such as concern for potential abuse by illegal immigrants, suspicion about the Democrats’ refusal to pass it via simple majority in the House when they had the chance, and scorn for Rep. Anthony Weiner’s unwillingness to allow that reading a bill might be an important prerequisite for supporting it. Levin says:

While Fox’s primtime lineup of Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and to a lesser degree, Greta Van Susstren, are all card-carrying Republicans and openly use their shows to press a conservative agenda, Smith, who anchors the 3pm and 7pm shows, is well-known and liked throughout the TV news world for his passionate and apolitical perspectives.

He has also broken away from the typical conservative line in the past on issues such as torture.
Smith is at his best when it comes to hard news stories, such as car chases, wars, and natural disasters, but when he steps into politics he epitomizes the Fox News slogan of ‘fair and balanced,’ speaking his mind regardless of what his fellow anchors may be saying or believing.

Smith’s caterwauling certainly makes good on the “balance” part of the Fox promise, but “fair” is questionable.

Read the rest at NewsRealBlog.

New at NewsReal – Media Matters Grasps at Straws Trying to Pit Hannity Against Bush

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

Attempting to paint one political opponent as undermining another is an especially tempting line of political attack, sometimes so tempting that a propagandist will settle for the most contorted, threadbare argument to that effect. Such is the case with Media Matters’ latest attack on Sean Hannity. Seizing upon Hannity’s latest interview with GOP Congressman Steve King about Congress’ current tax bickering, Media Matters claims to have caught Hannity admitting that the Bush tax cuts were “madness”:

Speaking with Rep. Steve King about the estate tax, Hannity made the following complaint:

HANNITY: If you died last year it was 45 percent, if you die this year it’s zero percent, if you die next year, it could be 55 percent: Only Washington could think of this madness. 

That’s so true. Only in Washington could such a crazy plan be hatched. Only in the Bush White House, to be specific. Bush, and a Republican led Congress chose to have the Bush tax cuts “sunset” on the last day of 2010, largely because Republicans neglected to propose any way to pay for the hugely expensive cuts, and letting them expire after nine years mitigated the enormous price-tag that accompanied these cuts (because price estimates are calculated over a 10-year period). 

First, our leftist friends apparently hope none of their readers will stop to think about what a sunset provision is. Sunset provisions set a date by which a measure will expire, unless it’s reauthorized. Note well the last part: politicians know when something is going to happen well in advance, and have to act to decide whether or not to do anything about it.

Read the rest at NewsRealBlog.

Surprise! Gay Republican Lobby Wants Social Conservatives to Shut Up

Last week, Jim DeMint fired a shot on behalf of social conservatism, and this week, gay Republican group GOProud is counterattacking with a press release speaking for “a group of Tea Party leaders and activists”who urge “Republicans in Congress to avoid social issues and focus instead on issues of economic freedom and individual liberty”:

On behalf of limited government conservatives everywhere we write to urge you and your colleagues in Washington to put forward a legislative agenda in the next Congress that reflects the principles of the Tea Party movement.

Poll after poll confirms that the Tea Party’s laser focus on issues of economic freedom and limited government resonated with the American people on Election Day. The Tea Party movement galvanized around a desire to return to constitutional government and against excessive spending, taxation and government intrusion into the lives of the American people.

The Tea Party movement is a non-partisan movement, focused on issues of economic freedom and limited government, and a movement that will be as vigilant with a Republican-controlled Congress as we were with a Democratic-controlled Congress.

This election was not a mandate for the Republican Party, nor was it a mandate to act on any social issue, nor should it be interpreted as a political blank check.

But as Joe Carter points out, not only does this letter not speak for the majority of the Tea Party, but its signatories are the ones out of step with the movement:

There are more than 2,300 local Tea Party groups across the nation yet leaders from only 12 of them signed the document […] They don’t seem to realize that they are out of touch with their own “movement.” A recent survey has shown that nearly half (47 percent) of Tea Party supporters consider themselves to be part of the conservative Christian movement. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of Tea Partiers say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, and only eighteen percent support same-sex marriage. Most Tea Partiers are part of the one-legged conservative coalition.

GOProud might not like it, but we belong here every bit as much as (actually, even more than) they do. And you can’t really claim to stand for “individual liberty” if you don’t recognize that human rights begin in the womb.

GOProud and (a tiny sliver of) the Tea Party continue:

Already, there are Washington insiders and special interest groups that hope to co-opt the Tea Party’s message and use it to push their own agenda – particularly as it relates to social issues. We are disappointed but not surprised by this development. We recognize the importance of values but believe strongly that those values should be taught by families and our houses of worship and not legislated from Washington, D.C.

We urge you to stay focused on the issues that got you and your colleagues elected and to resist the urge to run down any social issue rabbit holes in order to appease the special interests.

The Tea Party movement is not going away and we intend to continue to hold Washington accountable.

The rhetoric about “special interest groups” ought to raise major red flags. It’s clearly meant to demean organizations who take seriously the right to life, protecting marriage, and religious liberty, by defining them as somehow beneath economic issue and motivated by something less pure. But first, that distinction is utterly arbitrary. All organizations involved in “influencing politics and policy on the federal level” (to use GOProud’s self-description) on anything – tax cuts, defense spending, health care, Israel, guns, abortion, marriage, environmental regulations, education, you name it – have an “interest” of some sort, and can just as easily be defined as a “special interest group.” Guess what, GOProud? That means you, too.

Second, labeling something a “special interest” is an old insult that dates all the way back to the writings of the early progressives. It’s meant to suggest that a position is motivated not by political principles or by a desire for the good of the country, but by either selfishness or devotion to something other than the country. Obviously, this isn’t true, for reasons I’ve explained before (and linked above). Disagreeing with GOProud on something doesn’t automatically make our motives impure (nor does it mean their motives are automatically on the level).

And just as obviously, it’s not how allies allegedly committed to the same goals treat each other in a healthy coalition. I’ve long been suspicious of GOProud’s true aims and their value to the Right – and this latest arrogant, dishonest attack on those of us who fully and consistently follow the principles of the American Founding only hurts their credibility further.