Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The ACORN Never Falls Far from the Media Tree

Disclaimer: Yes, I read Michelle Malkin. I do so not because I particularly enjoy her prose; in fact I find her to be among the harsher voices of the conservative bloggers. Yet she also remains one of those who consistently finds and reports on those stories that mainstreamers either under-report, ignore, or mis-report.

The recent videos showing ACORN representatives encouraging people to lie in order to bilk the government out of housing that might be put to better use (i.e., anything but a house of ill-repute) are case in point.

Now, you know... you just know... that if this were a conservative organization, the networks would not hesitate to plant an undercover reporter in one of their offices if it meant getting their hands on this kind of video. In fact, our local newsies do this all the time. They have "special correspondents" whose sole job it is to track down and embarrass scoff-laws at any cost. They use Michael Moore assault tactics to accost these people at work, at home, or whereever the story leads, so that we get the "truth" of the matter from the horse's mouth.

Michelle finds two ironies here. First, she points to Charlie Gibson's apparent ignorance of the entire ACORN video fiasco. Based on the transcripts of the interview, I find Gibson's remarks that he was "unaware" of this story to be disengenuous at best.

Who for a minute would believe that ABC (along with every other news outlet of any repute) is not completely wired into the internet and keeping a close eye on both sides of the political blogosphere? That's what they have staff for, for crying out loud. This story has been percolating for a couple of weeks now, and this is the first the mighty Charles Gibson has heard of it?

Well, okay, let's give him the benefit of the doubt. In his crystal reporting booth, it's just possible that his staff and editors left him out of the loop on the decision of whether to run with this story, or treat it like a non-issue so their liberal customer base wouldn't roast them over a spit. That would give Gibson "plausible deniability" (a term I've come to completely despise over the years) and allow him to claim that he had no idea that ACORN was putting their collective feet in their over-large mouths.

But I don't buy it.

Malkin then points to a story out of Newsbusters.org wherein Nora O'Donnell of NBC frets that these videos may comprise a form of "entrapment." Oh, brother. ABSCAM could, conceivably, have been classified as "entrapment." The worst these videos could be considered is a violation of wire-tapping laws in certain states (primarily Maryland). Entrapment is a method of enticing or encouraging someone to do something illegal where they show reluctance to proceed. These ACORN representatives were only too happy to show these fake sex traffickers exactly how to lie to the government so they could set up their illicit brothels. Hardly entrapment.

Of course, we might still be waiting for NBC to report on this issue at all were it not for the fact that the Senate voted (finally!) to block ACORN funding last night. Even without a foreknowledge of the ACORN videos, then, this vote by the Senate should have sprung even the laziest mainstreamers into immediate action. Why the amendment in the first place? Why block funding to one of Obama's favorite organizations? What could possibly justify such an action?

Michelle calls this the "ostrich media" and wonders what we think. I think they should be renamed the "convenient-hearing media." Not as catchy, but more appropriate. Their heads aren't in the sand. They're watching those videos on the internet with their fingers in their ears.

"La, la, la! Can't hear you!"

(Corrected to show Gibson working for ABC, not NBC. Like I ever care to watch primetime news.)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Why Late-Night Blogging Never Pays

Two Obama-related items on my mind tonight.

First, the webcast directed at school-aged children across the country, scheduled for September 8.

This to me smacks of severe over-reach on Obama's part. Ostensibly the purpose of this speech is to motivate kids to stay engaged with their education. Not bad as topics go. However, if the intent is to keep kids in school to prevent them from dropping out at some point, does he really believe that anything he says is going to make a difference for more than a handful of kids? Also, I would guess that this will have even less impact on those who have already made the decision to leave school. Kids who have already given up on their education are not likely to change their minds at this point, no matter who delivers this message. If their own parents can't reach them, how is a man sitting in a mansion thousands of miles from their reality going to do the job?

The discussion questions distributed by the Education department are most revealing. Worded in such a way that I strongly suspect more than just staying in school will arise in Obama's speech. I'm guessing there will be pointed references to community service, and requests to convince Mommy and Daddy that Obama "needs" their help in promoting other points of his domestic agenda. Won't know that until the speech is actually given, but I will be surprised if I am much mistaken.

The other mind-waster in front of me tonight is (natch!) health care. I find it amusing that the administration is suddenly back-pedalling on the "public option." For one thing, even though Drudge trumpets its demise, the legislation is not Obama's. He didn't write it, and heaven knows he probably has no idea what's really in it. But assuming the report is correct, and Obama is truly ready to set aside (I don't for a minute believe it won't be resurrected at some point in the future) the public option, how do we know that it will be expunged from HR 3200?

We don't.

I can't see Pelosi or Reid being any too happy about striking any portion of this 1000 page nightmare because Congress seems to feel anymore that they're paid by the word. Also, the more liberal elements of the party will make hay of this should they capitulate on the public option at this point.

What interests me most, however, isn't the decision to take the public option off the table. What I find interesting is a post over at Wizbang that talks about progressive Christians getting into the act. Michael Laprarie talks about this development, and notes the opinions of folks like Father Jake, who says:
I must admit to being simply astounded that anyone who claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ would be against providing health care for every child of God.

Unless you cut out the 25th chapter of Matthew, the parable of the Good Samaritan, the year of Jubilee, and various other big swaths of scripture, it is simply impossible to refute the clear message that God has a preferential bias for the poor.
It's one of those yes-and-no statements, really. Yes, the Savior strongly advised His followers with respect to the poor (and the widows, and the sick, and so on). His strict injuncture was to turn them not away, lest the church fall under condemnation.

But (here's the "no") the Savior was also careful to separate the functions of the church (i.e., His followers) from the functions of government. Giving Caesar his due was the Savior's way of reminding us that governments are imperfect, if necessary, and that we should never trust them to do what the church itself must always do. Nowhere in scripture does the Savior say "set ye up an government with power to take from the rich and give to the poor." No, what He specifically says is, "sell that thou hast, and give to the poor" if you want access to the blessings of heaven (Matthew 19:21). He does not instruct Caesar and the government to do this; he gives this commandment to followers who wish to live righteous lives.

It's one of those arguments where you never find big-government proponents on the correct side. They always get it wrong. Only government, they insist, has the "power" to level the playing field and make things fair for all concerned. It's the same philosophy that creates welfare states, demonizes those who dare to profit from their labors, and dismisses any logic presented that does not match their own as so much ephemera. This is how we end up with thousands of home-owners who cannot pay their mortgages. (Remember that the mortgage crisis began not with the economic downturn and massive layoffs, but that the economic downturn and massive layoffs were driven in part by the mortgage crisis.) Forcing banks to restructure loans to make it easier for low-income families to keep their homes for now is no guarantee that these same families will ever be able to actually afford those loans.

Likewise, guaranteeing health insurance coverage for 15 million people (many people strongly dispute Obama's 45 million that he spins as incontrovertible fact) at the expense of those who can and do afford their current coverage makes no sense whatsoever. I'm all for doing my part to care for my neighbors, but let me do so as an act of service, rather than force me to do so through increased taxes that will eventually ensure that I can never retire on my pension. Assuming my company can still support my pension when that time comes.

If Obama's policies are allowed to continue unabated, I'm pretty sure I won't long be one who is able to help pay for these schemes. I will instead be one of the increasing number of those who must beg the government for more handouts, because my company won't be able to afford me any longer.

What a deal.