Appearing on Fox News today, Fox News contributor Christopher Hahn called out conservative talking points by pointing out that Senate Republicans constantly resort to filibusters to block bills that have the support of a majority of senators.
As we've pointed out, the conservative media have been hiding Republican obstructionism in order to label Democratic senators as "lazy" and "do-nothing." But Republicans have repeatedly resorted to filibusters to block legislation -- such as bills to ensure that the richest Americans pay their fair share in taxes -- that would otherwise have passed the Senate. Republicans are on a pace to filibuster more often than Democrats did when they were in the minority.
Today, Republican strategist Chip Saltsman, a regular Fox guest, claimed that the Republican House is passing bills but the Democratic Senate is not. In response, Hahn pointed out that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that his most important goal was "to make sure that President Obama was a one-term president." Hahn added that McConnell has tried to do that by "block[ing] everything, using the filibuster more than any time in the history of this country."
Following a lengthy investigation, the national Oil Spill Commission concluded in January 2011 that "the root causes" of the BP disaster were "systematic and, absent significant reform in both industry practices and government policies, might well recur." This week the same panel of experts found that Congress "has yet to enact any legislation responding to the explosion and spill." Rather than implement the panel's recommendations, the House has actually "passed several bills" with provisions that "run contrary to what the Commission concluded was essential for safe, prudent, responsible development of offshore oil resources," said the commissioners.
So far ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and Fox News have ignored the panel's assessment report, issued just days before the second anniversary of the worst oil spill in U.S. history. MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan was the exception, running a segment on the panel's findings and the ongoing impacts of the spill.
Yesterday, we documented how the conservative media, following the release of a report by the Secretary of the Senate, covered up obstructionism by Senate Republicans in order to cast Democrats as "do-nothing" and "lazy." In fact, Republicans have routinely resorted to filibusters to try to block bills that would have otherwise passed the Senate.
But the right-wing media would not easily get away with this if not for the complicity of the mainstream media. On Monday, a majority of senators voted in support of legislation to enact the Buffett Rule, which would set a minimum effective tax rate for annual income in excess of $1 million. Fifty-one senators voted in favor of the bill, while 45 senators opposed it. The legislation did not pass the Senate, however, because a Republican filibuster meant that a supermajority of 60 senators was needed in order to pass the bill.
But the mainstream media was noticeably derelict in reporting that the bill had majority support and was blocked by procedural tricks by the minority. For instance, The Boston Globe article on the subject stated: "Monday night's Buffett rule vote, which blocked consideration of the bill in a 51-45 tally, was timed to coincide with Tuesday's IRS filing deadline." The article continued: "Republicans prevented the measure from receiving the 60 votes necessary to open debate. All Republicans but Senator Susan Collins of Maine voted against it. All Democrats except for Mark Pryor of Arkansas voted for it."
Unless a reader knew the number of Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, the reporting makes it seem that 51 senators voted against the bill rather than in favor of it.
USA Today similarly failed to inform its readers that the bill received majority support.
Following the release of a report on the legislative business conducted by the Senate, conservative media have tried to cover up Republican obstructionism in order to label the Democratic-controlled Senate as "lazy" and "do-nothing." In fact, Senate Republicans have repeatedly used procedural tricks to block measures that would otherwise have passed the Senate.
From the April 9 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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Today, Fox News host and senior vice president of business news Neil Cavuto tried yet again to suggest that it was actually Democrats at fault for the recession. During a rambling, three-minute monologue on his daily Fox News' show Your World, Cavuto conceded that President Obama did "inherit a mess" when he entered office. But he then added: "[A] Democratic Congress for most of that time before had a hand in that mess, and a Congress by the way of which one Senator Obama was part."
Watch Cavuto's rant (which includes a bizarre reference to former President John F. Kennedy and the Bay of Pigs):
To be charitable, Cavuto doesn't know what he's talking about.
The National Bureau of Economic Research, the organization that declares when U.S. recessions begin and end, said that the recession began in December 2007. Democrats regained the majority in Congress in January 2007, meaning that Democrats had been in control for less than 12 months before the recession began. By contrast, Republicans controlled both houses of Congress for more than a decade before that, from January 1995 through January 2007 (except for a brief period from June 2001 - January 2003 when Democrats controlled the Senate by one vote while the Republicans retained control of the House).
Moreover, Bush had, of course, been president for nearly seven years leading up to the recession.
So much for Cavuto's claim that "for most of that time before" the recession, a "Democratic Congress" bore responsibility for creating a bad economy.
But have no fear. I'm sure Fox will come up with a new way to blame Democrats for the recession again tomorrow.
From the February 1 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
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Fox News has been attacking Senator Barbara Boxer non-stop for saying that a provision delaying an EPA rule will "kill 8,100 more people than otherwise would have been killed from pollution." On Fox Business, radio host Michael Reagan suggested Boxer's comments were over the top before calling Boxer a "job killer in America" and saying "every time she votes, it kills jobs."
No one on Fox found time to note the basis for Boxer's reference to 8,100 lives. Fox's Steve Doocy said, "I don't know where she comes up with that" number and Sean Hannity incorrectly suggested Boxer was referring to Keystone XL on his radio show. A minimal amount of research would reveal that Boxer was referring to an EPA rule that regulates hazardous air pollution, including known carcinogens, from industrial boilers under the Clean Air Act, which the EPA estimates would prevent as many as 8,100 premature deaths a year, among other health benefits.
Conservative media are once again ignoring these benefits of EPA's pollution regulations, and exaggerating the costs to industry for complying with the rule. Fox & Friends' Brian Kilmeade said on that the boiler rule would be "another economy killer" and Michael Reagan said that the rule would "kill 230,000 jobs," apparently referencing an industry-funded study. That study, prepared for the Council of Industrial Boiler Owners (CIBO) in 2010, estimated that the Boiler MACT (Maximum Available Control Technology) rule would put anywhere from 152,553 to 798,250 jobs "at risk." However, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service concluded that "little credence can be placed" in the study. One of the several problems with the study is that it failed to estimate jobs that would be created by the regulation -- for instance, the boiler rule benefits companies that build boilers. Fox regularly cites industry-funded estimates of the jobs impact of EPA rules, even though retrospective studies find them to be unreliable.
The right wing media have claimed that President Obama is deliberately sabotaging the super committee's negotiations to reach a deal to decrease the deficit in an attempt to strengthen his re-election prospects. But Obama has repeatedly urged the super committee to come to a compromise, while the Republicans on the super committee have refused to compromise, instead proposing massive tax giveaways for the richest Americans and even more massive cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and other programs Americans rely on.
The American Constitution Society has published an issue brief by law professors Michael Gerhardt and Richard Painter setting forth a "proposal for judicial nominations reform" that suggests limiting the power of a minority of senators to obstruct a judicial nominee from being confirmed. Predictably, National Review Online's Ed Whelan -- who professes to be an opponent of filibustering judicial nominees, but always seems to provide cover for Republican attempts to filibuster President Obama' nominees -- is on the warpath against the report.
People can legitimately disagree about when, if ever, filibusters of judicial nominees are legitimate. But Whelan's attack against Gerhardt and Painter is far from fair.
In their report, Gerhardt and Painter noted that in 2005, a "Gang of 14" senators agreed not to filibuster judicial nominees except in "extraordinary circumstances." Gerhardt and Painter then suggested that the agreement has broken down, in large part because all remaining Republican members of the Gang of 14 have voted to filibuster one or more of President Obama's judicial nominees:
On May 23, 2005, seven Republican and seven Democratic senators banded together to block a movement that would have changed the Senate forever. Because the Senate at that moment was otherwise almost evenly divided over a radical plan to revise the rules of the Senate to bar judicial filibusters without following the Senate's rules for making such a revision, the Gang of 14, as the senators became known, controlled the future of judicial filibusters. They each agreed not to support a filibuster of a judicial nomination unless there were "extraordinary circumstances." For the remainder of George W. Bush's presidency, the agreement held, and there were no filibusters of judicial nominations. But, in the past two and a half years, several developments have threatened the continued viability of the agreement of the Gang of 14.
Perhaps most importantly, the remaining Republican members of the Gang of 14 have each found "extraordinary circumstances" justifying their support of some judicial filibusters.
Whelan responded by calling Gerhardt and Painter "hilariously confused" and stating: "One elementary flaw in Gerhardt's and Painter's account is that they fail to recognize that the Gang of 14 agreement, by its very terms, related only 'to pending and future judicial nominations in the 109th Congress' -- that is, for 2005 and 2006."
But while the agreement technically applied only in 2005 and 2006, Whelan is either confused himself, woefully uninformed about the judicial nominations process, or dissembling when he suggests that the Gang of 14 agreement is no longer applicable.
Indeed, in Senate floor speeches in 2011 alone, the following Republican senators have applied the "extraordinary circumstances" test: Sens. Jeff Sessions (AL), a former ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee; John McCain (AZ), a member of the Gang of 14; Jon Kyl (AZ), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee; Charles Grassley (IA), the current ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee (on two occasions); and John Cornyn (TX), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
If the Gang of 14 agreement is now meaningless, why do the senators continue to reference it when justifying filibusters of judicial nominees?
Sean Hannity, Andrew Breitbart, and others pushed the falsehood that in 2007, then-Senator Barack Obama appeared and marched with the New Black Panther Party in Selma. In fact, Obama's visit was sponsored by the Faith & Politics Institute, a non-partisan organization that has prominent Democrats and Republicans among its leaders.
During the 42nd anniversary of the 1965 march from Selma, Obama pushed the wheelchair of the late Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, a civil rights icon, across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
The Faith & Politics Institute released this picture of Obama, former President Bill Clinton, Shuttlesworth, and Rev. Joseph Lowery, another civil rights leader, during the event in Selma:
From the August 18 edition of Citadel Media's The Mark Levin Show:
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Breitbart.tv is highlighting a YouTube video that shows Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) speaking at a seaside event that the video says was held on Wednesday in Belmar, New Jersey. The title of the video on YouTube is "Lautenberg 'we got to eliminate the rich.' " Similarly, the title of the Breitbart.tv post is "Sen Lautenberg: 'We Got to Eliminate the Rich.' "
Toward the end of the video, Lautenberg references Warren Buffett's recent statement that taxes should be raised on the wealthy. Lautenberg then says, "And it's a tough fight, but" -- and at this point, a graphic appears over the footage that says, "We got to Eliminate the rich."
If you listen carefully and ignore the text over the video, it's fairly easy to understand that what Lautenberg actually says is, "And it's a tough fight, but we've got to eliminate the waste, we've got to eliminate the fraudulent practice, the expanded things that have no value and the" -- and at this point, the video ends.
Fox News personalities have expressed outrage that Congress is reportedly considering investigating Standard & Poor's (S&P) controversial decision to downgrade its U.S. credit rating. But S&P has significant credibility issues, and executives at rating agencies - including S&P - have routinely testified before Congress, including about their role in the Enron scandal and the financial crisis.
From the August 10 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program:
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