Saturday, 18 June 2011

The Press

Filling in the blanks

James Taranto:

When news organizations evade facts that fit what they see as undesirable stereotypes, they train news consumers to fill in the blanks even when the stereotypes do not apply.
...and to always be asking, "what else aren’t they telling us.”


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Tuesday, 14 June 2011


“Marketplace” confuses taxes, expense deductions, and subsidies

Not deliberately, I’m sure.

First we start with an inaccurate headline:

Congressional vote could end ethanol tax
Erm... no. Read your own first paragraph:
STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Meanwhile, tomorrow in the Senate, there'll likely be a vote on whether to end federal ethanol subsidies.
(Well, subsidies are just like taxes, right?  The money comes in, the money goes out, the music goes round‘n’round, yo-oh-oh-oh...)
The 45 cent a gallon tax credit for ethanol, the blended mixture of gasoline and corn, cost the federal government nearly $5.5 billion last year.  And the sponsor of the ethanol-scrapping amendment,
Quibble: Not "scrapping” ethanol, just the subsidy.

But we get the idea.  Onward!
...Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn, says that money is needed to help balance the budget.  But some conservative groups such as Americans for Tax Reform, headed by Grover Norquist, say ending the subsidies is like raising taxes.
Oh, come on.  This is totally disingenuous! The ATR wants to maintain subsidies?  Right!  Here’s what they actually have to say about ethanol:
...ATR is pleased to support Senator Jim DeMint’s amendment which ... fills in the gaps left by Senator Tom Coburn’s ethanol amendment...

The government’s mandate of ethanol usage distorts energy markets and raises prices for consumers.  In order to fully repeal the government’s unfair, anti-free market support of ethanol, all three policies must be eliminated—the mandate, the tax credit, and the tariff.  Only the combination of the Coburn and DeMint amendments completely kills the government’s support of the ethanol regime.

The DeMint amendment... insures that repealing the ethanol tax credit is done in a way that prevents additional money from flowing to the appropriations committees.  ATR has always opposed all forms of government support of ethanol.  Our goal has been to repeal the ethanol tax credit, tariffs and the mandate totally…without raising taxes.  The Coburn amendment, combined with the DeMint Amendment, accomplishes this longstanding goal.
Unpacking the verbiage, what the ATR seems to be worried about is any reduction in subsidy that is made without a corresponding tax cut.  But while ending subsidies alone may be "like” increasing taxes[1], that doesn’t mean that ATR opposes ending subsidies.  To imply such is to tell less than the whole truth.[2]

Now, back to our program:
Senator Coburn is with us on the phone to talk about the legislation. Good morning sir.

TOM COBURN: Good morning.

CHIOTAKIS: Why end the ethanol subsidy?

COBURN: Well first of all, we can’t afford it -- number one.  For the $6 billion that we will have paid out this year, we will have borrowed $2.5 billion from the Chinese to pay it.  Number two is we’re subsidizing the blending of ethanol.  We have a federal law that mandates they have to blend it anyway.  And oh by the way, they don
t want the money.  We have a letter from all the blenders saying, "We don’t need this money.”

CHIOTAKIS: So what’s been keeping the subsidy in place then?

COBURN: The farm belt legislators.

CHIOTAKIS: And this is all a political game do you think?

COBURN: Well, I don't know it's a political game.  You know, 40 percent of our corn is going to be used to make ethanol this year and yet, the price of food is skyrocketing.  And so we've created a false demand for this.  What we really need to do is utilize our own resources and [while] I’m not against ethanol, I just don't think we ought to necessarily incentivize it with our tax dollars.

CHIOTAKIS: And speaking of incentives, though, what about the subsidies that go to oil and gas producers as well.
"Subsidies” like allowed deductions for business expenses?  Exactly alike, right?  The money comes in, the money goes out, the music goes round‘n’round, yo-oh-oh-oh... and when the music stops, those eeevil corporations wind up with more than they deserve. No difference whatever!
COBURN: I think that's a legitimate point to raise, but there is no actual subsidy.
(See, he gets it.)
What there is tax expenditures that are not tax credits.
(Hold on, Senator, you’re borrowing Democrat rhetoric. And you shouldn’t. Repeat after me: "Letting taxpayers keep their own money is not an expenditure.” Once more: "Letting taxpayers keep their own money is not an expenditure.” Got it? Okay, now go and sin no more...)
We certainly shouldn’t subsidize with direct tax payer money to cause somebody to do something.  We don’t do that at all in the oil and gas industry.

CHIOTAKIS: Would you be in favor of re-looking at some of those oil and gas --

COBURN: What I want to do is look at the whole tax code because what we
ve done is we’ve misdirected capital in the tax code. And if in fact we change those things, what we'll see is we can lower tax rates and actually get more revenue for the federal government.

CHIOTAKIS: What about the critics who say, and by critics I’m talking about obviously Grover Norquist, saying the end of the ethanol subsidy is akin to a tax increase.
Ridiculous!  Even The Huffington Post managed to report Norquist’s position accurately, and that was back on March 29th!  What’s your problem?
COBURN: I don’t think anybody in America is going to believe that.  When we go borrow money to pay the largest oil companies in the country to blend ethanol into gasoline, that’s just not spending money that we could save.  And so I don’t think it has anything to do with being a tax increase.

CHIOTAKIS: Senator Tom Coburn from Oklahoma, Senator thank you.

COBURN: You're welcome.

[1]  This curious language doesn’t help with understanding ATR’s position; even The Economist got confused:  See this post and its updates.

[2]  The New Republic’s Jonathan Chait offers an interesting take - just ignore all the "tax cuts for the rich” rhetoric - on the politics in motion here, specifically the interaction between Coburn and Norquist.  (HT: The Mello Guy)

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Saturday, 11 June 2011

The Press

The Washington Post: It’s all about The Agenda.

"The Washington Post thinks it’s ‘harassment’ to request Michael Mann’s files from the University of Virginia (their Memorial Day editorial) but it’s cool with requesting and obtaining and asking for citizen-journalists to go through 24,000 of the State of Alaska’s emails involving Sarah Palin.” - Jeanne Bodine, commenting at Le•gal In•sur•rec•tion


Via:  Insty


Jeff Goldstein:
...The press cannot be allowed to operate this way, or we don’t have a free country.
Small Dead Animals:  I’m Not Expecting A Call Back
Temple of Mut:  Alaskan Goose and Hawaiian Gander!
Buuuuurrrrning Hot:  491 and counting

Posted by: Old Grouch in The Press at 16:05:46 GMT | No Comments | Add Comment
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Friday, 10 June 2011

The Press

Preparing the battlespace?

Fox News:

Justice Officials in ‘Panic Mode’ as Hearing Nears on Failed Anti-Gun Trafficking Program

Department of Justice are in "panic mode,” according to multiple sources, as word spreads that congressional testimony next week will paint a bleak and humiliating picture of Operation Fast and Furious, the botched undercover operation that left a trail of blood from Mexico to Washington, D.C.

The operation was supposed to stem the flow of weapons from the U.S. to Mexico by allowing so-called straw buyers to purchase guns legally in the U.S. and later sell them in Mexico, usually to drug cartels.

Instead, ATF documents show that the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms knowingly and deliberately flooded Mexico with assault rifles.
So today the Wall Street Journal prints this article, topped with a year-old picture of Zetas cartel suspects and captured guns:
scan of The Wall Street Journal, June 10, 2011 Page A3: ‘Mexican Guns Tied to U.S. • American-Sourced Weapons Account for 70% of Seized Firearms in Mexico’
The U.S. was the source of at least 70% of 29,284 firearms recovered by authorities in Mexico in 2009 and 2010...

The statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives are expected to add to controversy over the U.S. role in fueling drug-cartel violence in Mexico...
The controversy was fueled... when U.S. officials backed off earlier claims that up to 90% of firearms recovered in Mexico were of U.S. origin...
So, whe have a suspiciously-high 70% figure (Really?), the so-convenient timing of the release of information, and the fact that known gun-controller Sen. Dianne Feinstein is involved.

Any bets as to which story gets bigger play from the Make-Believe Media?

Related (And read the whole thing- this is not just about guns):
...If ATF Agent John Dodson had not blown the whistle and revealed that an ATF operation called Fast and Furious was in play, no one could have linked the weapon found at [US Border Patrol Agent Brian] Terry’s murder site to an operation that had to have been initiated and approved by high-levels officials at ATF and DOJ—and that story [American agent killed by Mexicans using an "illegally”-obtained American gun] would have benefited not just Mexico, but proponents of stronger gun regulation here in the US, and in the US government, as well. Win-win...

Indeed, here’s how that story would have read: Mexico’s claim re the US fueling cartel violence is right, and worse yet, weapons trafficked from the US are no longer being used just to murder Mexicans, but to kill Americans as well.


Credits: FPA link via Fighting in the Shade™

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Friday, 03 June 2011

The Press

More of the usual...

Investors Business Daily:

It’s been over two years since the Democrat-led Senate last passed a budget, a fact that puts it squarely in violation of the law...  This hasn’t happened since the budget rules were changed in 1974.  Though required by law to pass a budget, Democrats have just said no.  Yet the media have largely given them a pass on this willful lawlessness.  Why?
Ummm... "Because”?

Hot Air:
Google "Stocks Fall 279 Points” or "Stock Market Falls 279 Points”...  ...Major papers and network online sites have already buried this plunge in the markets as if it just never happened...

We can all imagine how a major stock market plunge would have greeted George W. Bush...
Yes, we can.

Mickey Kaus:
Will the MSM give Breitbart & Co. credit for gratuitously pursuing the truth here, even if it might come at the expense of a media narrative that Rep.Weiner is losing?
No.  Next...?

The Wall Street Journal:
Former NPR Boss Is Hired by NBC

NBC News said Thursday that it had hired Vivian Schiller, who quit as chief executive of NPR in March, to a new role overseeing the news unit’s digital strategy...

Me. Schiller’s new job comes just months after she left NPR amid controversy [link added - o.g.] over political bias...
She should feel right at home.

Related, previously:

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Thursday, 02 June 2011

The Press

Name That Party v.2.0

New variation:  If Your Democrat is in trouble, be sure you call him a Republican:
Reuters headline at MSNBC

Via JWF:

Obviously Democrats will now be demanding his resignation.
Screenshot: "tetriskid” at Hot Air


Posted by: Old Grouch in The Press at 16:42:35 GMT | No Comments | Add Comment
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