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Jamison Foser

Author ››› Jamison Foser
  • Townhall's Shapiro: Obama "Mince[s] About Like A Coed," Suffers From "Psychological Condition"

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    The bar is pretty high, but Townhall's Ben Shapiro may have outdone himself with his latest anti-Obama screed:

    Obama is the "Girls Gone Wild" president: Stick a lens in front of him and he'll take off his shirt, mince about like a coed, and babble nonsensical nothings to an audience oddly fascinated by his antics.

    Wow. That's pretty bad. The verb "mince" is often used as an anti-gay pejorative.

    Shapiro then goes on to diagnose the president with what he claims is "clearly a psychological condition," presumably drawing on the extensive psychiatric expertise he developed by staying in a Holiday Inn Express last night:

    Obama's desperate need for attention is clearly a psychological condition. He drinks in applause like a washed-up movie star. It is usual for neglected children to develop narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), typically characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, a strong sense of entitlement, preoccupations with utopian fantasies, elitism, manipulative tendencies and pathological need for praise.

    President Obama was abandoned by his parents during childhood. Now he exhibits the textbook symptoms of NPD. He thinks his powers are godlike in import; "I have a gift, Harry," Obama once told Sen. Harry Reid. He believes he is entitled to positions of power and prestige. He has never worked a real job in his life, yet deigns to tell the rest of us that he embodies our hopes and dreams.

    Yeah, it's so weird that the President of the United States thinks he's "entitled to positions of power and prestige"! (Or maybe, as President, Obama simply holds a position of power and prestige?) Sadly, running the executive branch of government for the most powerful nation on earth isn't a "real job," according to Townhall columnist Ben Shapiro, whose bio notes he is also "a regular guest on dozens of radio shows around the United States and Canada."

  • Washington Post Baselessly Asserts Obama Lacks "Fiscal Credibility"

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research highlights this odd passage in today's Washington Post:

    Obama, who has overseen an expansion in spending, does not have the fiscal credibility that helped give President Bill Clinton the winning political hand in 1995 and 1996.

    As Baker explains, that's a dubious assertion from a policy perspective:

    One might think that whether or not President Obama has "fiscal credibility" is an assessment that readers should make for themselves. … According to the Congressional Budget Office and a wide range of private forecasters, the increase in spending that has taken place on President Obama's watch has boosted growth and prevented the unemployment rate from rising further.

    It is bizarre to imply that because he acted to prevent a steeper recession President Obama lacks fiscal credibility. By the Post's logic, President Roosevelt could have established fiscal credibility by cutting the defense budget in half in 1943 in the middle of World War II. While most people might have viewed letting our military lose to the Axis powers in order to balance the budget as close to crazy, the Post no doubt would have applauded such an act of fiscal responsibility. At least it would if it applied the paper's current logic.

    But maybe the Post wasn't assessing Obama's "fiscal credibility" from a policy standpoint; maybe it was suggesting that the public doesn't see him as credible. But if that's what the Post meant, the comparison to Clinton in 1995 is dubious, as a quick scan through the Washington Post's own archives demonstrates:

  • Would Somebody Please Give David Bossie A Dictionary?

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    David Bossie has no idea what the word "hypocrisy" means:

    [I]nsiders connected to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are hatching plans to protect the tenuous Senate Democrat majority. These Reid insiders are forming a "super" political action committee, called Majority PAC, to raise unlimited money in order to go on the offensive in Senate races across the country. Reid's people are within their rights to form the PAC, thanks to the Citizens United v. FEC victory at the United States Supreme Court last year. … However, because the entire Democrat Party machinery was against this landmark decision last year, this blatant reversal reeks of hypocrisy.

    No. That isn't hypocrisy. If someone said no one should form such a PAC, even if it's legal, then that person turned around and formed one, that might be considered hypocrisy. Or if David Bossie were to say "I would never distribute doctored transcripts in an effort to mislead the nation about my political opponents and you shouldn't either," after having done exactly that, he would be guilty of hypocrisy. But saying "we don't think this campaign tactic should be legal, but as long as it is, we're going to use it" isn't hypocrisy. It's merely a refusal to unilaterally disarm.

    And that's what Bossie is suggesting Democrats must do in order to avoid being hypocrites: Unilaterally disarm. By Bossie's logic, campaign finance reformers should never employ legal campaign finance tactics they think should not be legal. That, of course, would severely disadvantage those reformers electorally, and thus make the prospect of reform unlikely.

    Bossie's position is like saying that if a nation advocates a worldwide ban on the development of new nuclear weapons, it is a hypocrite unless it unilaterally stops developing such weapons while its enemies continue to do so. It just doesn't make any sense, and it just isn't what the word hypocrisy means.

  • Daily Caller Complains About Accurately-Worded Poll Question

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    The Daily Caller complains about a new poll showing public support for unions:

    The New York Times and CBS News have released a general public poll on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's budget plan as it relates to public sector unions, and critics are saying the poll results don't necessarily support the conclusions drawn in the Gray Lady's Tuesday front-page story.

    The Times story was titled, "Majority in Poll Back Employees in Public Sector Unions." But the paper and CBS used phrases such as "taking away" collective bargaining rights when conducting the poll.

    At no point in the Daily Caller article is there any indication of what is (supposedly) wrong with "phrases such as 'taking away' collective bargaining rights." Pro Tip: If you're going to suggest that the wording of a poll question is problematic, you should go ahead and explain why. In this case, it clearly isn't: Wisconsin public employees currently have collective bargaining rights that the state's governor is trying to take away.

    Then there's this gem:

    By framing the issue as a battle over collective bargaining rights, rather than balancing the budget, and including what "you've read and heard" about the issue opens the door for more bias, [Ira] Stoll said.

    One problem with this complaint: The controversy in Wisconsin is a "battle over collective bargaining rights, rather than balancing the budget."

    Basically, the Daily Caller is worried that accurately descirbing the controversy will bias respondents in favor of unions.

  • Chuck Norris Facts: "Teachers Unions Muscle Legislators Like The Mafia"

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Townhall columnist Chuck Norris insists: "I love teachers. I really do. … I applaud the hardworking teachers across this land." But Norris has a funny way of showing his appreciation: comparing teachers unions to the mafia and "gangsters":

    [W]hen teachers unions muscle legislators like the Mafia and Democrats abandon their voting posts because they don't like projected outcomes, haven't we abandoned the very foundational principles of our republic?

    The Wisconsin Education Association Council leads the pack of lobbyists, spending two times as much and five times the amount of time as its closest lobbying competitor in order to buy, bribe and bamboozle legislators to do as it wants.

    What also chaps my hide is that a gigantic chunk of the WEAC's gangster money and time is used to lobby against alternative choices in schools (including charter schools) and against tuition tax credit programs, which aid parents in sending their children to private schools.

    The fact is that teachers union-sponsored protests spreading the land are not primarily about the teachers or the students. They are about the unions and feds maintaining their Mafia-style rule over education and our kids and preventing people from choosing educational alternatives.

  • Another Conservative Columnist Re-Writes History In Arguing For Government Shutdown

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Oh, boy. Here comes another conservative columnist peddling revisionist history about the 1995/96 government shutdown in an attempt to convince Republicans to again shut down the government.

    A few weeks ago, I noted that columnist Tony Blankley, who served as press secretary to then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich during the shutdown, was wrong to claim that "the issue of deficit spending and public debt was of much less concern to the public than it is now."

    Now here's Byron York:

    Even if the 1995 shutdown hurt the GOP -- and there's no doubt the party suffered wounds inflicted not only by Clinton but also by themselves -- today's voters are in a different mood. "We have fiscal crises at the federal, state and local levels, and voters understand that," says Bill Paxon, a former Republican lawmaker and veteran of the shutdown. "Back in '95, we were whistling into the wind -- we were trying to preach fiscal discipline when voters were saying, 'Hey, there's not a problem.'"

    And here's reality:

    Then, as now, reporting suggested the public cared deeply about fiscal discipline. (And then, as now, there's every reason to think the public cares more about other things, like jobs and Social Security and Medicare.)

    More from York:

    Republicans like House Speaker John Boehner have learned from their mistakes. "Our goal is to cut spending and reduce the size of government, not to shut it down," Boehner said recently -- a statement he has repeated many times. Contrast that to 1995, when, Paxon recalls, "We said we wanted to shut down the government, that it was a good thing, that it would get people's attention, that it would advance our cause."

    Contrary to Paxon's suggestion that in 1995, Republicans were publicly saying they wanted to shut down the government, Republicans at the time tried to blame Bill Clinton for the shutdown. One such Republican was (wait for it …) Bill Paxon:

    "Rep. Bill Paxon, R-Amherst, said: 'We are making a down payment on a balanced budget, and it is unfortunate that the president is willing to shut down government to prevent us from balancing the budget.'" [Buffalo News, November 15, 1995]

    "Paxon said the vote put retirement funds at risk to 'aid and abet President Clinton's shutdown of the federal government.'" [Bismarck Tribune, November 19, 1995]

  • Washington Post Feature On House GOP Freshmen Omits Key Historical Context

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Today's Washington Post feature on the House Republican freshman class probably seems rather familiar to anyone who remembers the GOP class of 1994.

    The Post describes the current freshman class as revolutionaries who have "found a way to run the House," explaining that their "willingness to do things their way stems from their hyper-confident vision of themselves." The freshmen, we are told, describe their jobs as a "calling," and we are told that "more than three dozen freshmen … had never held elected office," including former talk-radio host Blake Farenthold. Because the freshmen aren't career politicians, but rather ordinary citizens, they say "that they don't mind turning some people off, or even losing reelection." The Post quotes freshmen saying things like "The job just doesn't mean that much to me. I'm loyal to my word, and in the end I think that's what I'll be judged on."

    What the Post doesn't do is mention the remarkable similarity between all of that and the class of '94.

    Here's an August 14, 1995 Washington Post piece on the class of 1994:

    Many of the 73 Republican freshmen in the House of Representatives do not look like Republicans. They don't look like politicians, even. They look like people.

    About half of the Republican freshmen had never held elective office. They are not the usual lawyers turned state legislators turned congressmen. Their resumes say: doctor, home builder, rancher, real estate broker, school superintendent, has-been pop singer, homemaker. Gil Gutknecht is an auctioneer. Tom Latham owns a seed company. Mark Souder owns a general store. Frank Cremeans owns a concrete supply company. Charlie Norwood is a retired dentist. George Radanovich is a vintner.

    They will tell you they are the genuine Mr.-Smiths-going-to-Washington. They have their mandate. Their greatest strength is their innocence in the conventions of the Hill. They don't know how things have always been done, and they frankly don't care.

    And a January 2, 1996 Post article:

    [T]his session was driven mainly by the energy, resolute commitment and conservative ideology of the 73 House freshmen elected in the 1994 GOP landslide, who often outstripped even their mentor Gingrich in their zealous determination to end the welfare state and cut Washington down to size. They campaigned against "go-along-to-get-along" compromises in 1994; in 1995, they voted against them with remarkable unanimity.

    "The fact that we tried to do what we said we'd do really did set a new standard," said freshman Rep. Mark Edward Souder (R-Ind.).

    The similarities between today's Post article and mid-1990s coverage of the class of '94 are striking. Today's article would have been better had it contained an indication that this "we aren't politicians, we're regular folks" image the current freshman class is projecting is exactly the image previous Republican politicians have adopted in similar circumstances. Even more importantly, the Post should have noted how things played out for the Republicans first elected in 1994.

  • WaPo Omits Partisan Background Of Economist Cited By GOP

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Today's Washington Post article about a possible government shutdown contains a brief he-said/she-said section about the estimated 700,000 job losses that would be caused by Republican spending cuts:

    Democrats pointed to a new report Monday from Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics, which found that the Republican plan would cost 700,000 jobs through 2012, giving fresh ammunition to Democrats seeking to block the proposed GOP cuts. Zandi's report comes after a similar analysis last week by the investment bank Goldman Sachs, which predicted the cuts would do even greater damage to the economy.

    Republicans have dismissed both reports as flawed. They cited Stanford University economist John B. Taylor, who argued that the macroeconomic models employed by Zandi and many other independent forecasters - including the Congressional Budget Office - overstate the economic impact of government spending.

    Hmmm. Both sides point to experts. Which is a reader to believe? Well, it might help if the Post had given readers some idea of who Mark Zandi and John Taylor are. Zandi was a key member of John McCain's economic team during McCain's 2008 presidential campaign. Taylor is a fellow at the anti-government Hoover Institution and worked in the presidential administrations of Gerald Ford and both Bushes, and served as an advisor to the presidential campaigns of Bob Dole and George W. Bush.

    But the Post didn't tell readers any of that; didn't give the slightest hint that Democrats were citing the work of an economist who has worked for Republicans, while Republicans were citing one of their own. Instead, it presented Taylor simply as a "Stanford University economist."

    What's next? An article quoting John Yoo's views on torture, but describing him simply as a "Berkeley professor"?

    UPDATE: At Yahoo News, Zachary Roth criticizes the same problem in another Post article, adding:

    Politicians often try to advance their position by fogging up the debate, suggesting that the state of academic research on an issue is less settled than it in fact is. And you can't blame them for that: Their goal is to move their agenda, not to educate the public. But lately they're having too much success in getting reporters to advance that agenda via a surface impression of evenhandedness. And on this crucial policy front--as well as on a few others--this dynamic makes it that much harder to have a debate that's grounded in facts.

  • The Washington Post's Absurd Anti-Union Framing

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Check out this Washington Post headline:

    The Post's framing of state budget fights as a battle between unions and taxpayers is simply absurd. Unions in Wisconsin aren't battling taxpayers, they're battling an attempt by their employer to eliminate their collective bargaining rights. Unionized government workers and taxpayers are not antagonists any more than defense contractors and taxpayers are antagonists. And when did you last see a Post headline about defense spending frame the issue as a battle between Lockheed Martin and taxpayers? Never, right?

    The extreme anti-union framing of the Post's headline is made clear by its resemblance to a quote featured in the article:

    These people are bargaining against the American taxpayer," said Ned Ryun, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush and the president of American Majority, a grass-roots political training organization that also has helped coordinate anti-tax rallies. "I'm not sure they can win the PR battle. People are saying, 'You're kidding me. They're making that much and I'm paying for it?' "

    Though the framing the Post adopted in its headline closely resembles the rhetoric of the former Bush aide quoted in the article, it does not reflect public sentiment. Way down at the end of the article, 23 paragraphs after the Post quoted Ryun claiming the public opposes unions, readers are finally given some public opinion data:

    So far, some recent polls have shown the public leaning in favor of government workers having collective-bargaining rights and maintaining the essence of a union.

    A USA Today/Gallup poll found, for example, that 61 percent of Americans are opposed to a bill that would take away some collective-bargaining rights of public unions. And a poll in Wisconsin by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research found that 74 percent of voters opposed removing state workers' collective-bargaining rights, as long as they agree to cover more for their health care and pensions. Research by the Pew Research Center similarly found virtually no difference in opinions about private- and public-sector unions.

    So, it turns out the public doesn't buy Ned Ryun's framing. Why does the Washington Post? And why did it put 23 paragraphs between his spin about public opinion and actual public opinion data that contradicts that spin?

    Previously: More Anti-Union, Pro-GOP Reporting From The Washington Post

  • CNSNews' Jeffrey: "It is time to drive public schools out of business"

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Terry Jeffrey, editor-in-chief of Media Research Center subsidiary CNSNews, takes the right's war on public school teachers a few steps further:

    What Wisconsin ought to be debating is whether these public school teachers should keep their jobs at all.

    Then every state ought to follow Wisconsin in the same debate.

    It is time to drive public schools out of business by driving them into an open marketplace where they must directly compete with schools not run by the government or staffed by members of parasitic public employees' unions.

    In addition to being less expensive and better than public schools at teaching math and reading, Catholic schools -- like any private schools -- can also teach students that there is a God, that the Ten Commandments are true and must be followed, that the Founding Fathers believed in both and that, ultimately, American freedom depends on fidelity to our Judeo-Christian heritage even more than it depends on proficiency in reading and math.

    That's what at least some conservatives want to get out of their attacks on unions: The complete elimination of public schools. And Jeffrey is adamant that private schools not be regulated by states in any way: "the state shall not regulate the private schools, period." That means no oversight to make sure private schools are successfully educating children. Or to make sure they're providing safe conditions and sanitary facilities. Nothing. What could possibly go wrong?