In an April 5 post on the conservative website American Spectator, contributor Nicole Russell writes that while "I agree with his general sentiments, the Coulter-like discourse seems unnecessary and silly":
The lawyer, blogger, and contributor to CNN operates the largest conservative blogging community online. Many of his posts are thought-provoking observations of the state of conservatism and its players. Today on his blog he accurately reflected the thoughts of many Red Staters: "If Michael Steele left tomorrow, I would not cry."
However, sometimes he veers a bit off course, for my taste. For example, on his radio show recently, Erickson discussed how he would respond if the American Community Service folks came to his door demanding he fill out extensions of the census. He responded thusly:
This is crazy. What gives the Commerce Department the right to ask me how often I flush my toilet? Or about going to work? I'm not filling out this form. I dare them to try and come throw me in jail. I dare them to. Pull out my wife's shotgun and see how that little ACS twerp likes being scared at the door. They're not going on my property. They can't do that. They don't have the legal right, and yet they're trying.
While I agree with his general sentiments, the Coulter-like discourse seems unnecessary and silly.
In his book, Erickson will use hard data and historical evidence to show "what Americans must do to downsize government before it is too late." Such a premise is part of conservatism's core and theories on how to accomplish that is hardly a new subject; however, I'd be curious to see, given Erickson's various stages of commentary, how much the final product matches its projected description.
I hope, for the sake of conservatism and its ties with right of center bloggers, that his book writing shows more of the kind of thinking reflected in his oft-read posts, and less of the kind that makes up some of his radio rants.
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) pushed back a couple of times against Fox News during a recent town hall forum. The first instance came after a woman suggested that under Obama's health care reform she could be put in jail for not having health insurance.
"The intention is not to put any one in jail. That makes for good TV news on FOX but that isn't the intention," Coburn responded.
Coburn later defended Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi after she was personally attacked at the forum. He pointed the finger of blame at Fox News:
"What we have to have is make sure we have a debate in this country so that you can see what's going on and make a determination yourself," Coburn added and then again warned the crowd against the myths perpetrated on FOX News.
"So don't catch yourself being biased by FOX News that somebody is no good. The people in Washington are good. They just don't know what they don't know," Coburn said.
Roger Ailes is not going to be happy.
Consumed by Obama Derangement Syndrome, the GOP Noise Machine finds itself in the unusual position of now rooting against the U.S. We saw the nuttiness explode, for instance, when America lost out on its quest for the 2016 Summer Olympics, which `wingers cheered. And when the President of the United States won the Nobel Prize, which `wingers jeered.
A cornerstone to the right-wing's obsessive campaign against Obama and the Democrats (and America) is to latch onto this idea that the economy is being driven off a cliff, which means that basically the conservative media are now rooting for bad news. Right-wing pundits almost seem to be hoping for higher unemployment numbers, which is why they were so busy last Friday trying to explain why the 162,000 new jobs added to payrolls was a bad thing. (Or not exactly a great thing.)
Well, it's stories like this from today's Wall Street Journal that must really test the fortitude of conservative pundits everywhere. It's days like this that the crew at Fox News has to put on their game face and hope that some bad news is lurking around the corner.
Markets Approach Milestone Levels
Lede [emphasis added]:
Stock and bond markets flirted with milestones on Monday, as the outlook for economic growth brightened following a string of reports showing signs of a pickup in the labor market, service sector and housing.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average came tantalizingly close to reaching 11000, and at one point was within 12 points, before closing at 10973.55, up 46.48. It was the highest close for the blue-chip stock index since Sept. 26, 2008, just after the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
Courage, Fox News. Courage.
UPDATED: What would Ronald Reagan say about this conservative trend to root against America?
From the April 6 broadcast of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
From an April 5 FoxNews.com article:
Possible nominees include Elena Kagan, U.S. solicitor general and former dean of Harvard Law School; Judge Diane Wood, on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago; Judge Merrick Garland, with the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C.; Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano; and Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm.
As with the Sotomayor nomination, Obama's new nominee wouldn't be likely to tilt the ideological balance of the court, since Stevens is considered a liberal justice and Obama is highly unlikely to pick a conservative. But the nomination would probably have more of an impact on the operation of the court than last year's did, because Stevens is the leader of the liberal wing.
Stevens, the longest-serving member of the current court, is often credited with bringing moderate Justice Anthony Kennedy to the liberal side for close cases, and it is unlikely his replacement could have that kind of influence.
From Neal Boortz's Twitter feed:
From an April 6 New York Times editorial, "We call that double-dipping":
What is really going on? It is true that, starting in 2013, the new law eliminates a corporate tax advantage on retiree drug benefits that amounts to double-dipping.
It is also true that accounting rules require that the present value of the entire additional tax that companies will have to pay over the next several decades be put on the books now. That led AT&T to declare a charge of about $1 billion in the first quarter of 2010 and Verizon to declare $970 million.
Those look like staggering amounts until one understands that they don't require any immediate cash payments and that the added taxes will be paid out slowly -- over perhaps 30, 40 or more years, depending on a company's retiree plan.
For every $100 the company spends on retiree drug benefits, Medicare sends it a subsidy payment of $28. On top of that, the companies got a rare double tax break. The $28 subsidy is tax-free, and the company was allowed to deduct the entire $100 as a business expense.
The new health care reform law has left the 28 percent subsidy intact and continued to exempt it from taxation. But companies will no longer be allowed to deduct the subsidy as if it were an expenditure of their own.
That seems a reasonable way to generate a bit more revenue to pay for covering the uninsured. It also treats all employers equally instead of favoring profit-making firms with a special deduction that is of no value to nonprofit organizations, state and local governments, or firms that lose money.
The Drudge Report isn't exactly known for its accurate headlines, so it's no surprise that yet another inaccurate one has popped up. In touting a New York Times story on President Obama's plan to narrow the conditions under which the U.S. would use nuclear weapons, Drudge made a completely false claim in its big red headline: "No Nukes: Even In Self-Defense!"
In fact, according to the Times article Drudge linked to, Obama would permit the use of nuclear weapons against nuclear states, against non-nuclear states that are not in compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and against a possible biological attack if the development of such weapons sufficiently threatened the U.S.
Even Allahpundit at Hot Air shot Drudge's headline down.
The actual facts, unfortunately, are likely to get trumped by the mindset that because something is in big red type, it must be true -- which seems to be the kind of audience Drudge is catering to.
Since the last time Glenn Beck attacked net neutrality as Marxist plot to take over the Internet, he's had ample time to research and discover that the issue is in fact about keeping the internet as an open platform for individuals and businesses (an initiative supported by major corporations like Google, Amazon.com and Facebook). Beck would even have learned that conservative groups like the Christian Coaltion as well as Gun Owners of America and the Parents Television Council support net neutrality.
True to the pattern we've seen from Beck over the years, he has not learned.
On his Monday Fox News show Beck explained to his audience that net neutrality was all about silencing Glenn Beck and others opposed to the Obama administration. To call this missing the point would be generous and a disservice to anyone who has ever legitmately missed a point.
Glenn Beck says that net neutrality is about squelching freedom of speech, the exact opposite of what net neutrality is about. From The Free Press' statement on net neutrality (Free Press is a major organizer of the Save The Internet campaign for net neutrality):
We need to keep the Internet free, open and neutral. Network Neutrality is vital to ensuring that everyone can connect and share content freely, that we can access the information, visit the Web sites and say what we want online, free from discrimination or interference.
The phone and cable companies that control access to the Internet for most Americans want to get rid of Net Neutrality, the rule that prevents them from discriminating against online content. They want to become the Internet's gatekeepers, deciding which sites go fast or slow and which won't load at all -- based on who pays them the most.
We can't allow the information superhighway to become the phone and cable companies' private toll road. If they get their way, the Internet as we know it -- as a democratic platform for free speech and innovation -- will disappear.
Somehow, Beck turned Free Press' net neutrality advocacy into a Marxist plot "to limit America's free press and freedom of speech."
After decrying a campaign by Free Press to have individuals comment to the FCC supporting net neutrality rules as a power grab by "special interests," Beck directed his audience to go to nointernettakeover.com to oppose net neutrality. Somehow, he neglected to point out that nointernettakeover.com is run by the right-wing organization Americans for Prosperity, which receives tons of corporate "special interest" money.
Do you know who would benefit from net neutrality? Glenn Beck. People like Beck would continue to have open access to a platform to share their conspiracy theories no matter how ill-informed they might be. So far, there are few signs that Beck will ever get this.