According to the Associated Press, the stimulus bill being passed by Congress contains "pork" because it might pay for a highway construction project in Indiana, which in turn might remind people of the Bridge To Nowhere. And that means Obama's a hypocrite because he's trying to have it "both ways." Boy, nothing like laying on the GOP talking points, eh?
From the AP's Calvin Woodward's latest misadventure in journalism:
President Barack Obama had it both ways Monday when he promoted his stimulus plan in Indiana. He bragged about getting Congress to produce a package with no pork, yet boasted it will do good things for a Hoosier highway and a downtown overpass, just the kind of local projects lawmakers lard into big spending bills.
But does Woodward have the slightest idea--proof--whether the vaguely referenced highway construction in Indiana would be some sort of wasteful boondoggle? No. Does the AP know if th project would be unneeded? No. Does Woodward know if the highway's a pet project of a local politician? No, he does not. But it sounds like it might be, so he used it to claim Obama's not being truthful about the stimulus bill.
Can the media's economic 'debate' get any dumber?
Rush Limbaugh repeated a falsehood in a Bloomberg "commentary" by Betsy McCaughey that claimed that under a provision in the House-passed economic recovery bill, "[o]ne new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective. The goal is to reduce costs and 'guide' your doctor's decisions." In fact, the provisions McCaughey referenced address establishing an electronic records system such that doctors would have information about their patients "to help guide medical decisions at the time and place of care."
Trying to make strained comparison between Congressional retreats and Wall Street pay. This is the same territory ABC News embarrassed itself yesterday. Idiotic premise: Wall Street execs who accepted billions in taxpayer bailouts were chastised for raking in seven and even eight-figure salaries, but it's hypocritical when politicians complain because they're living in the lap of luxury. Or something like that.
From the AP:
Members of Congress were quick to shame corporate executives for over-the-top extravagance during the economic crisis, flying private jets and taking luxury junkets. But some lawmakers are strolling fancy resorts spending tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars and mingling with lobbyists.
Details about the "luxury junkets"? [emphasis added]
Democrats spend taxpayer money on their retreat but do not permit lobbyists to accompany them. The public pays for a charter train from Washington to Williamsburg for many of the 200 members who attend, as well as conference rooms, security and catering. The round-trip fare on Amtrak is $90 or more. Catered dinners at Kingsmill cost at least $60 per person. Kingsmill's rooms at this time of year start at $119 a night.
See, that's just like CEOs pocketing tens of millions of dollars, right?
On MSNBC Live, The Hill's Susan Crabtree again stated that "Democrats have spent 500,000 -- half a million dollars" in "taxpayer money" on annual retreats "over the past five years" without noting that House Republican leadership committees have been appropriated amounts of taxpayer money for salaries and expenses that are comparable to the amount given to their House Democratic counterparts. Crabtree also did not address how the House Republican leadership committees spend their "taxpayer money."
In an article stating that the "thinnest chapter" of a book about Nancy Pelosi's term as speaker of the House might be "Bipartisanship and the 111th Congress," the Politico cropped Pelosi's statement on the passage of the House recovery bill, omitting comments supporting her statement that "we have reached out to the Republicans all along the way."
Mark Levin declared of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: "[S]he's gotta have a big military jet. I mean, she's the first woman speaker. She wants a really, really big one. ... And if she doesn't get it, well then that's sexual discrimination." Levin ignored the fact that the House sergeant-at-arms -- who is responsible for the security of House members -- has said that a larger military plane for Pelosi, "that is capable of making non-stop flights" between Washington, D.C., and California, is necessary for "security purposes."
Referring to criticism of President Bush by Dick Gephardt over rising gas prices, Rush Limbaugh asserted: "[G]as prices didn't start going through the roof till [Democrats] took over the House in 2006." In fact, average monthly gasoline prices (adjusted for inflation) began to climb several years before Democrats took control of Congress.
Fox News' Alisyn Camerota falsely claimed that House "Democrats are pushing legislation which would strip telecommunications companies of their immunity." In fact, the House Democrats' bill does not "strip" telecommunications companies of immunity; it provides immunity prospectively, leaving intact existing immunity provisions under current law and leaving to the courts the question of whether the telecom companies are immune from suit for their prior alleged cooperation with the government in its warrantless domestic wiretapping program.
Robert Novak asserted that "[a] closed-door caucus of House Democrats" had "instructed Speaker Nancy Pelosi to call President Bush's bluff on extending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to continue eavesdropping on suspected foreign terrorists" and that "Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said there was no danger in letting the FISA legislation lapse temporarily." In fact, FISA did not lapse or expire; what expired was the Protect America Act (PAA), which amended FISA. Additionally, Novak falsely stated that "the Democratic leadership Wednesday brought up another bill simply extending FISA authority, this time for 21 days" and that most of the Democrats who voted against the bill "intuitively oppose any anti-terrorist proposal." In fact, the House voted on an extension to the PAA, not FISA, and most of the Democrats who voted against the extension have supported other bills to allow surveillance of suspected terrorists.
On The Situation Room, Dana Bash said that former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who is resigning, "presided over a politically polarizing era. He said that was his biggest regret." A November 16 Chicago Tribune article also reported that Hastert "bemoaned the 'pool of bitterness' he believes exists in the nation's capital and urged his colleagues to try and work together in civility after he is gone." But neither Bash nor the Tribune noted Hastert's own history of partisan attacks.
Echoing the false assertion in a Politico article that Democrats are "Zero for 40" on passing "bills limiting President Bush's war policy," CNN's Carol Costello reported, "Forty times Democrats have forced a vote to curtail the Iraq war and 40 times they've lost." In fact, in April, both the House and Senate passed war funding legislation that included a timetable for a U.S. troop withdrawal, which President Bush vetoed.
On The Situation Room, Tom Foreman reported, "From Iraq to domestic programs, Democrats face White House vetoes and little support from Republicans on Capitol Hill." Foreman then aired a clip of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying, "I know that Congress has low approval ratings. I don't approve of Congress because we haven't done anything." However, Foreman cut off the end of Pelosi's remarks, in which she made clear that she was referring only to Congress' not having done anything that brought an end to the Iraq war.
In a New York Daily News column, Michael Goodwin claimed that a Democratic amendment that "condemn[ed] all attacks on the honor, integrity, and patriotism of any individual who is serving or has served honorably in the United States Armed Forces, by any person or organization" was "almost identical" to an alternative Republican amendment "except that [the Democratic amendment] did not mention MoveOn." Though the Democratic amendment did not refer to MoveOn.org by name, it did specifically criticize MoveOn's ad about Gen. David Petraeus.
On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh asserted: "Three weeks ago, you had Jim Clyburn of the Congressional Black Caucus saying, 'You know, if this report is good, it presents problems for us,' meaning the Democrat [sic] Party." In fact, Clyburn did not say that good news from Iraq is bad news for Democrats in electoral terms, but rather that a recommendation from Gen. David Petraeus against withdrawal would impede Democrats' efforts to garner support in Congress for legislation to begin withdrawal. And while Limbaugh identified Clyburn merely as "of the Congressional Black Caucus," Clyburn is also House majority whip, the third-highest position in the House.