From a March 19 column by The Washington Times' Jeffrey T. Kuhner headlined: "Impeach the president?"
The Slaughter Solution is a poisoned chalice. By drinking from it, the Democrats would not only commit political suicide. They would guarantee that any bill signed by Mr. Obama is illegitimate, illegal and blatantly unconstitutional. It would be worse than a strategic blunder; it would be a crime - a moral crime against the American people and a direct abrogation of the Constitution and our very democracy.
It would open Mr. Obama, as well as key congressional leaders such as Mrs. Pelosi, to impeachment. The Slaughter Solution would replace the rule of law with arbitrary one-party rule. It violates the entire basis of our constitutional government - meeting the threshold of "high crimes and misdemeanors." If it's enacted, Republicans should campaign for the November elections not only on repealing Obamacare, but on removing Mr. Obama and his gang of leftist thugs from office.
It is time Americans drew a line in the sand. Mr. Obama crosses it at his peril.
As we've been documenting of late, Fox News has been on a tear with its anti-reform activism now that the health care reform legislation inches closer to a possible vote in Congress this week. And the one person who has received much of Fox News' ire of late is, of course, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has been a favorite target of the right since she ascended to the speakership and whose resignation they continually demand.
Well, today, discussing the "political fallout" from health care on Hannity, The Daily Caller's S.E. Cupp gleefully jumped in to heap additional scorn on Pelosi when Sean Hannity brought up Obama's and Congress' approval ratings; Cupp falsely suggested that Pelosi has a 3 percent approval rating. Cupp announced that a new poll had "Pelosi at 3 -- 3! -- 3!" Hannity interjected: "Percent?" Cupp, laughing, replied: "Yeah -- 3," adding, "Terrible." Then she laughed some more.
This 3 percent approval number for Pelosi, however, doesn't in fact exist. From the poll:
3. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Nancy Pelosi is doing as speaker of the House?
Approve Disapprove (DK)
16-17 Mar 10 31% 57 13
Democrats 56% 28 16
Republicans 9% 83 8
Independents 25% 65 10
Then you get to question 9 of the poll and you start to see the -- how shall I say? -- asinine reasoning by which the 3 percent number became Pelosi's approval number. First, the poll question:
9. Which one of following people do you have the most respect for -- President Barack Obama, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, or Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts? (ROTATE)
President Speaker Chief Justice
Obama Pelosi Roberts (All) (None) (Don't know)
16-17 Mar 10 46% 3 37 2 9 3
Democrats 76% 4 12 3 4 2
Republicans 14% 2 67 1 12 4
Independents 48% 2 35 1 11 3
See, only 3 percent of people in this poll had the "most respect for" Pelosi, not approved of the job she is doing as speaker. Either I'm dumb or my powers of comprehension have been impaired by March Madness mania and now both respect and approval mean the same thing.
Bill O'Reilly, who is ... um, very fond of attacking Pelosi, also couldn't help himself tonight, saying on his show: "One poll said -- you know what Nancy Pelosi's approval rating is? Three percent." But, unlike Cupp, O'Reilly caught himself, quickly putting his hand up and adding, "It's not a straight approval rating question -- it's who do you trust? And they listed Obama, and somebody else, and then Pelosi at 3 percent."
Final thought: Guess who conducted the poll? Two points if you picked Fox News.
I'm hesitant to take anything Debbie Schlussel says seriously, given her track record. That rather large disclaimer aside, Schlussel has posted what is, on its face, a potentially damaging investigation of Sean Hannity and the Freedom Alliance charity. Given the public statements by New York Times and Washington Post editors about the need to be more responsive to stories developed on conservative web sites, you have to wonder if they'll look into this:
For the last several years, Sean Hannity and the Freedom Alliance "charity" have conducted "Freedom Concerts" across America. They've told you that they are raising money to pay for the college tuition of the children of fallen soldiers and to pay severely wounded war vets. And on Friday Night, Hannity will be honored with an award for this "Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Talk Show Host" at Talkers Magazine's convention.
But it's all a huge scam.
In fact, less than 20%-and in two recent years, less than 7% and 4%, respectively-of the money raised by Freedom Alliance went to these causes, while millions of dollars went to expenses, including consultants and apparently to ferret the Hannity posse of family and friends in high style. And, despite Hannity's statements to the contrary on his nationally syndicated radio show, few of the children of fallen soldiers got more than $1,000-$2,000, with apparently none getting more than $6,000, while Freedom Alliance appears to have spent tens of thousands of dollars for private planes. Moreover, despite written assurances to donors that all money raised would go directly to scholarships for kids of the fallen heroes and not to expenses, has begun charging expenses of nearly $500,000 to give out just over $800,000 in scholarships.
Schlussel then summarized Freedom Alliance's revenues and expenses for several years. For example:
According to its 2006 tax returns, Freedom Alliance reported revenue of $10, 822, 785, but only $397,900-or a beyond-measly 3.68%-of that was given to the children of fallen troops as scholarships or as aid to severely injured soldiers.
Those numbers check out (pdf). But Freedom Alliance's mission is broader than scholarships and aid to injured soldiers (a fact Schlussel overlooks), so it's certainly possible that it is spending an appropriate proportion of its revenues to advance that mission. But Schlussel doesn't merely criticize the charity's disbursements; she also contends the Freedom Alliance's fundraising practices have been deceptive:
And then, there are the 2008 Freedom Alliance tax forms, which were signed in November 2009 and filed only recently. That year, Freedom Alliance took in $8,781,431 in revenue and gave $1,060,275.57 total-or just 12%-to seriously wounded soldiers and for scholarships to kids of the fallen. Remember, this is well below the 75% required to be considered a legitimate charity. And after claiming in written letters to donors that 100% of the money donated, via the Freedom Concerts or otherwise, to the scholarships would go directly to the scholarships and not to expenses, the Freedom Alliance decided to do the contrary and charge expenses anyway-charging a whopping $436,386 to give out $802,250 in scholarships. That means that 35% of the $1,238,636-all of which was supposed to go to scholarships for these kids of the fallen-went to Freedom Alliance. [Emphasis added]
Unfortunately, Schlussel doesn't provide any documentation for the assertion that Freedom Alliance claimed in writing that 100 percent of donated funds would go to scholarships, so we don't know if it's true.
Schlussel's characterizations and assertions need to be taken with more than a grain of salt -- they require an entire salt lick, at least. But her numbers seem to check out. If her assertions that Hannity has made false claims in raising money for the charity are also true, that would be scandalous.
Editors at The New York Times and the Washington Post have said in recent months that their papers need to do a better job of picking up on stories right-wing web sites are pushing. Schlussel's investigation into Hannity and Freedom Alliance would seem like a good place for the Post and Times to do some digging -- unless, of course, they only intend to follow up on conservative attacks on liberals.
If there was one thing Glenn Beck hated (except for that time he was for it) it was the bank bailouts. That's why it's been so surprising to hear him rail against the student loan reform bill that was included in the health care reconciliation package. According to Beck, Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, or SAFRA, would amount to the government "taking over" education, meaning "[y]ou are not going to get any private dollars for education." Sounds scary:
In reality, the bill eliminates the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program, which currently allows banks and other lending institutions to issue student loans that are insured by the federal government. In other words, the lending institutions make money from the interest they charge students, but if a student defaults, the government picks up the tab. So, it's not as if the banks that handle federally guaranteed student loans are currently operating in a private free market.
If that weren't enough corporate welfare, in FY2008, several FFEL lenders found themselves unable to secure private investors and actually borrowed from the Department of Education in order to keep issuing student loans. That seems like a bailout Beck would have opposed.
The SAFRA bill simply cuts the middle man and issues these federally backed loans directly from the Department of Education. As CBS News' Stephanie Condon noted, SAFRA "would slash subsidies the government gives loan companies like Sallie Mae," and "would save the government billions of dollars."
Furthermore, contrary to Beck's suggestion that the bill will eliminate private lending, Private Education Loans will still be available to students who need such loans to cover their full tuition and other costs of attending school.
Why is Beck opposed to a program that saves money and is the antithesis of a bank bailout? Is this going to become something else Beck has to deny he ever said?
Fox News personalities and other right-wing media figures have been baselessly claiming or suggesting that the Obama administration bribed Rep. Jim Matheson by nominating his brother Scott to a seat on the federal judiciary. Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano even declared it might be illegal for Rep. Matheson to vote for health care reform. Those claims were always extremely dubious, and a spokesman for Republican Sen. Robert Bennett said: "Sen. Bennett has heard of all kinds of pressure being applied and offers being made to Democrats for votes on health care, but Scott Matheson's nomination is not one of those because it has been in the works for a long time."
But now the claim has been definitively debunked by former Judge Michael McConnell -- an appointee of former President Bush -- who last occupied the seat for which Scott Matheson has been named. Referring to the claim that Scott Matheson was picked in order to change Rep. Matheson's vote, McConnell wrote: "From my personal knowledge, this speculation cannot be true." From McConnell's March 18 Salt Lake City Tribune letter to the editor:
News that University of Utah law professor Scott Matheson Jr. has been nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals has been marred by speculation that the nomination is an attempt to suborn the vote of his brother, Rep. Jim Matheson, in favor of the Obama administration's health care proposal. From my personal knowledge, this speculation cannot be true.
As the former occupant of the judicial position to which Matheson has been named, I was consulted in August 2001 [sic] by the White House Counsel's office to discuss potential nominees. It was clear Matheson was the leading contender.
The decision to nominate Matheson must have been made by mid-October, because in mid-January 2010 I received a call from the American Bar Association committee investigating him. Because of the need for a thorough FBI check, it takes approximately three months from the date the White House decides on a judicial nominee before the ABA can do its work. On Nov. 7, the House of Representatives passed the health care bill, with Rep. Matheson voting "nay."
McConnell added: "Evidently, President Barack Obama nominated Matheson, who has superb credentials and excellent character, for the position despite the politics of health care, not because of it."
And McConnell is not just any run-of-the-mill Bush appointee. He was widely rumored to be on Bush's short list for a Supreme Court nomination in 2005. And WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah said that McConnell would be an "excellent choice" for the Supreme Court.
At first, I was surprised CNN would hire Erick Erickson despite his long record of misogynist comments. Erickson has, after all, called Michelle Obama a "harpy" and used the Limbaugh-esque pejorative "feminazis" and suggested feminists are "too ugly to get a date" and told "Ugly feminists" to "return to their kitchens." That doesn't seem like the kind of commentary the self-styled "most respected name in news" would favor, does it?
Then I remembered Alex Castellanos. Castellanos is a CNN contributor and Republican consultant most famous for creating the infamous race-baiting "Hands" ad for Jesse Helms. He's used his perch at CNN to defend calling a woman a "bitch" and to compare Hillary Clinton to Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction and to mock Nancy Pelosi's physical appearance.
And, of course, it was CNN's Headline News that first brought Glenn Beck to cable news.
So maybe Erickson won't be out of place at CNN after all.
From a post on Howard Kurtz's Twitter account:
From the Fox Nation (accessed on March 18):
From a March 18 entry on Bret Baier's Twitter account:
At least 80 advertisers have reportedly dropped their ads from Glenn Beck's Fox News program since he called President Obama a "racist" who has a "deep-seated hatred for white people." Here are his March 18 sponsors, in the order they appeared: