Last Thursday, Larry Kudlow hosted Jim Cramer and the two discussed the effects of health care reform on the stock market:
KUDLOW: You are saying that Obamacare will topple the stock market. This is a huge issue. Let me get your first take.
CRAMER: It is the single biggest impediment to the stock market going higher. And a lot of this has to do with what's not being talked about with how it's going to be paid. And also to what it would do to small business formation. This bill is a disaster for both.
Well, on the first day following Sunday's historic vote in the House effectively passing health care reform, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 43.91 points (0.41%).
Of course, Cramer may have been referring to the long-term effects of the bill on the stock market, rather than "knee-jerk" reactions to the vote. After all, Cramer has already established he isn't any good at predicting "knee-jerk reactions."
According to right-wing journalist Matthew Vadum, it's my fault -- along with my Media Matters colleagues, President Obama, and House Democrats -- that people are apparently vandalizing congressional offices over health care reform.
Yesterday, Vadum predicted "possibly violent civil unrest" as a result of health care reform -- and said we should "Blame Obama and the Ds" for such violence, rather than the people behaving violently. Later, Vadum wrote that "America is dying" and "Fascist House Democrats are preparing to euthanize America."
Today, the Associated Press and Arizona Daily Star have reported vandalism at Democratic congressional offices, including a brick thrown through a window in Rep. Louise Slaughter's Niagara Falls office on Friday and a front door "smashed out" at Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' Tucson office last night -- in addition to a brick thrown through the glass doors of a county Democratic party headquarters in Rochester over the weekend.
In response to those acts of violence, Vadum wrote "You & MMFA are just as to blame as Obama is."
Me?!? I've never even been to Tucson.
Then Vadum finally got around to noting "This does not excuse the violent behavior," which is good of him, though he quickly added: "but let's not forget that Dem behavior set the stage for this."
I'm still waiting for Vadum to announce whether President Obama and I are more or less to blame for the bricks thrown through the windows than the people who threw the bricks. I've never seen a conservative so desperate to blame everyone except the criminal for the crime -- Vadum says he doesn't excuse the violent behavior, but he has not yet said that the people who have actually behaved violently are in any way responsible for their actions, or that they should stop.
And that's a problem. Vadum can say he doesn't "excuse the violent behavior," but he's busy rationalizing it, and suggesting that the people who commit the violence are not to blame -- that their actions are the understandable, even inevitable, consequences of health care reform. If there's a way to interpret that other than that Vadum is siding with those who commit acts of violence -- and, thus, encouraging violent actions -- I'd love to hear it. Not that Vadum is alone: As Ben Dimiero has pointed out, conservative blogger Connecticut Yankee "is openly calling for the torture and execution of Members of Congress."
Vadum's recent rantings:
From a March 22 article in The Hill:
The two men Capitol Police arrested for disrupting Congress on Sunday belong to an offshoot of Glenn Beck's "912 Project."
Capitol Police arrested two Massachusetts men, William Gunn, 49, and David Sanders, 61, on Sunday afternoon after they allegedly shouted, "Kill the bill!" from the public gallery above the House floor proceedings.
The two men are affiliated with the "Western Mass 912 Project" - an offshoot of Fox News commentator Glenn Beck's group, "The 912 Project."
Beck's group says it "is designed to bring us all back to the place we were on September 12, 2001... united as Americans, standing together to protect the greatest nation ever created."
In a March 22 article, Washington Post Supreme Court reporter Robert Barnes sets the stage for this week's hearing on President Obama's nomination of University of California Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. There is no reason to doubt Barnes' thesis that Liu's hearing may be important because, if confirmed, Liu "would be a rarity on the appeals courts, where not one of the 175 active judges is Asian-American." Nor is there a reason to dispute the possibility that, as law professor Michael Gerhardt stated in Barnes' article, the upcoming hearing "might serve "as an initial referendum on Goodwin Liu as a Supreme Court nominee." After all, each of the nine justices currently sitting on the Supreme Court previously sat on the courts of appeals before being promoted to the high court. However, it is important to respond to the suggestion that Liu has garnered support only from the left.
Barnes writes that Liu's nomination "has energized the left and outraged the right." Barnes quotes statements of concern or outright opposition from Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and conservative activists Kent Scheidegger and Edward Whelan III. In fact, Liu has received support from several conservatives.
The Goldwater Institute's Clint Bolick wrote: "Having reviewed several of his academic writings, I find Prof. Liu to exhibit fresh, independent thinking and intellectual honesty. He clearly possesses the scholarly credentials and experience to serve with distinction on this important court." And according to the Los Angeles Times, John Yoo -- the Bush administration lawyer who authored the infamous torture memos -- said of Liu's nomination: "[H]e's not someone a Republican president would pick, but for a Democratic nominee, he's a very good choice." Liu has also reportedly received the support of James Guthrie, education policy studies director at the George W. Bush Institute in Dallas.
As the media begin to pay more attention to Liu's nomination, it is important for them not to buy into Whelan's and others' rhetoric. Liu has support from across the political spectrum no matter how loudly Whelan et al. complain that he is an extremist.
Earlier today on Fox News' America Live, host Megyn Kelly talked health care politics with Alan Colmes and grew quite indignant when Colmes said that it was a Republican who shouted "baby killer" during Rep. Bart Stupak's (D-MI) speech on the House floor last night in support of the health care bill.
According to Kelly, Colmes was "assum[ing] too much" because the "latest reports are that it may have been a pro-life Democrat":
Kelly did not cite any specific reports.
Interestingly enough, about 40 minutes later, Kelly brought us a breaking "Fox News Alert" on this very issue:
Needless to say, this "latest report" trumped the earlier "latest reports," so I guess there's really no need for Kelly to explain where those earlier "latest reports" came from. And it's a shame, too, because I'd be really interested to know if those reports actually existed, or if Kelly simply made all that up to simultaneously protect the Republicans and smear the Democrats.
Earlier, Eric Boehlert highlighted a New York Times "news analysis" piece that blamed President Obama for the lack of bipartisanship in Washington.
That article contains at least one more basic flaw: One of the article's key themes is the possibility that health care reform will prove to be a political albatross for Democrats. Or, as the Times' put it, "political suicide" for the Democrats. One way that could happen, according to the Post, is if health care adds to deficits in the coming years: "If deficits soar, if the Congressional Budget Office's estimates prove fanciful, they will be able to argue that Mr. Obama expanded government at a time the country simply could not afford yet another entitlement."
But the Times completely ignored the possibility that Republicans, in voting against health care, have handed Democrats a line of attack for decades to come. If health care reform works, and the CBO's estimates prove accurate, reform could be wildly popular, and Democrats will be able to remind voters time and time again that they created this popular program, and Republicans -- every single one of them -- voted against it.
There are, after all, a couple of rather famous precedents for this scenario. For decades, Democrats have been taking credit for creating Social Security and Medicare, and skewering Republicans for opposing those programs. One of the key Democratic lines of attack on Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole in 1996 was about Medicare -- including the fact that Dole had voted against creating the program more than thirty years earlier.
Republicans may have just opened themselves up to decades of reminders that they opposed a popular and deficit-reducing health care reform. Yet the media behaves as though the only political risk is to the Democrats.
I've often wondered if conservative media figures buy their own hype (fueled by blatant misinformation) about the horrors of the health care reform bill that just passed in the House last night. For some, it's unclear if they actually think the bill is "slavery" that will bring about "the end of America as we know it," or if they are just worried about what will happen to the GOP's electoral prospects if the Democrats score a major domestic policy victory. It's pretty clear that Confederate Yankee, aka Bob Owens, falls into the former group.
I stand by my comment that the Democrats who crammed this unwarranted bill down the throats of the American people who clearly and overwhelmingly opposed it deserve to be drawn and quartered.
As Wikipedia notes, having someone "laboring against that person's will to benefit another, under some form of coercion" is the very definition of involuntary servitude... slavery. We are Americans, and will be slaves to no man, no Congress, and no President.
As Wikipedia also notes, describing what it means to be "drawn and quartered,":
1. Dragged on a hurdle (a wooden frame) to the place of execution. This is one possible meaning of drawn.
2. Hanged by the neck for a short time or until almost dead (hanged).
4. The body beheaded, then divided into four parts (quartered).
Owens is openly calling for the torture and execution of Members of Congress who think it should be a right for all people in this country to have access to health care. In case you were thinking he may be speaking metaphorically, he clears up any confusion with his latest post.
Owens is essentially calling for armed revolution. I wish I were exaggerating:
Some are calling for the armed revolt against this encroaching tyranny. It was for this specific reason, after all, that our Founders made sure Americans would not be denied the use of arms.
Some misguided souls seem to already be responding to this affront to liberty with violence. I fail to find the usefulness or utility of such symbolic and largely impotent acts. This sort of petty vandalism is not what the Founders sought to protect.
They sought to protect our right to replace--yes, overthow--would-be tyrants and rouges that history has taught us always eventually arrive to usurp power and run roughshod over the rights of the people.
As we have been told countless times by philosophers and statesmen, tyranny is always seeking power and it comes in many guises. Sometimes sunlight is enough to dissuade those who would enslave others. In other instances, the mechanisms of justice can undo such wrongs. Thankfully, the final mechanism our founders instill to protect us from tyranny has not had to be used since an isolated event 64 years ago.
We live in a nation full of freshly-experienced combat veterans and graying patriots alike that still remember their oaths to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. The taste of liberty is much sweeter for them, having been to parts of the world where such things cannot be taken for granted. Pray that we are not required to call upon their service in a struggle against our own countrymen. God protect us all if we are forced to such extremes by a power-mad clique intent on transforming citizens into dependent subjects.
I have some hope that the courts will respond favorably to the many states suing to eradicate this unconstitutional scheme, or that November's elections will destroy the Democratic majority and lay the ground for a full repeal of a bad law designed purely for one party's political gain.
The thought of the morally-required alternative is almost too much to bear.
To recap: Owens has "some hope" that the bill will be ruled unconstitutional or that Dems will be voted out of office, or else Owens and "freshly-experienced combat veterans" may be forced to resort to the "morally-required alternative."
Owens doesn't want to have to kill us, but he may be forced to. Nice blogosphere you have there, conservatives.
With Republican politicians and conservative activists increasingly claiming in recent days that health care reform is unconstitutional, the Washington Post published a Outlook piece yesterday purporting to examine the question. Under the header "Is health-care reform constitutional," Georgetown law professor Randy Barnett offered a "guide to the possible legal challenges to a comprehensive health-care bill. " Barnett's "guide" must surely hearten Republicans: Again and again, Barnett offered arguments against the bill's constitutionality, while omitting arguments that it is constitutional.
Today, the Post hosted Barnett for an online Q&A about the constitutionality of health care reform.
Opinion columnists, of course, are free to pick and choose facts to make their arguments, within reason. And constitutional law is not arithmetic; Barnett is under no obligation to agree with other lawyers, or even court decisions. But Barnett's piece was not presented to Post readers as an argument; it was presented as a "guide to the possible legal challenges" to health care reform. And he was identified simply as a Georgetown law professor. All of that suggests that Barnett is a neutral observer, and his piece is a dispassionate, balanced assessment of the constitutionality of reform.
In fact, Barnett is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and the Goldwater Institute, a member of the Federalist Society, and authored a paper for the Heritage Foundation arguing that health care reform is unconstitutional. The Post mentioned none of that.
And, in a reminder of the paper's recent solicitation of a column attacking liberals as condescending, it turns out that Barnett didn't have pitch his column to the Post -- he was "invited" to write it.
Talk about a can't-lose situation.
The GOP Noise Machine dedicated its entire being to defeating health care reform, and had recently been gloating about how it had killed the initiative. But Democrats seemed to defy the political odds and got the votes for passage, and now Time crowns the right-wing media as the big winners?!
Whether the bill is hated, hailed or forgotten by the general electorate come November, whether it's repealed or becomes an institution, its passage means a big win for the media wing (as opposed to the holding-office-and-running-things wing) of the conservative movement and the Republican party. The audience will be angrier, the following will be more passionate, the images and analogies will be darker (I'm guessing this will be a memorable Glenn Beck show tonight) and the ratings will go up, up, up.
Washington Post media critic thinks complaints about health care coverage are a "bum rap" because if people "bothered to look," they could find "endless reams of data and analysis."
But for someone who thinks the media did a good job of covering health care reform, Kurtz sure stipulates to a lot of failings:
As time went on, though, journalists became consumed by political process and Beltway politics, to the point that the substance of health-care reform was overwhelmed
Journalists struggled to say exactly what was in health-care reform because as Obama allowed congressional leaders to take the lead, there were multiple versions floating around the Hill at any one time.
When the polls turned against the president's push, journalists did what they usually do in campaigns: beat up on those whose numbers are sagging. Stories shifted from preexisting conditions and individual mandates to whether Obama had staked his presidency on an overly ambitious scheme that Congress was unlikely to accept (and, inevitably, how much was Emanuel's fault). From there it was a short jog to the rise of political polarization, the death of bipartisanship and the erosion of Obama's influence -- legitimate undertakings that again shoved the health-care arguments to the back of the bus.
Too many stories quoted dueling experts without making a concerted, serious effort to sort out the facts. ... It was sooo much easier to write another story about the latest Tiger mistress to go public.
The press did a good job of highlighting backroom deals -- the Cornhusker Kickback, the Louisiana Purchase -- that polluted the process. But the larger narrative came to resemble a long-running soap opera in which the plot made sense only if you had been following all the previous twists and turns.
In the end, the subject may simply have been too dense for the media to fully digest. If you're a high-information person who routinely plows through 2,000-word newspaper articles, you had a reasonably good grasp of the arguments. For a busy electrician who plugs in and out of the news, the jousting and the jargon may have seemed bewildering.
But, remember: the media did a good job covering health care, according to Kurtz. To say otherwise is a "bum rap." Talk about the soft bigotry of low expectations!
Note, by the way, that Kurtz pretends the media's focus on politics and process was a recent development that was inevitable once reform reached the legislative endgame:
As time went on, though, journalists became consumed by political process and Beltway politics, to the point that the substance of health-care reform was overwhelmed. Here the plea is guilty-with-an-explanation: The battle came down to whether the Senate could adopt changes by majority vote (reconciliation) and, until late Saturday, whether the House could approve the Senate measure without a recorded vote (deem and pass). With the bill's fate hanging by these procedural threads, there was no way to avoid making that the overriding story.
In reality, focus on politics and process drowned out serious policy analysis long ago. Last August, Washington Post Ombudsman reviewed "roughly 80 A-section stories on health-care reform since July 1" and found "all but about a dozen focused on political maneuvering or protests." Alexander also noted "The Pew Foundation's Project for Excellence in Journalism had a similar finding. Its recent month-long review of Post front pages found 72 percent of health-care stories were about politics, process or protests."