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Totenberg: Tax Vote "Immoral," Thomas: Hike Taxes on "Super-Rich" --12/12/2005


1. Totenberg: Tax Vote "Immoral," Thomas: Hike Taxes on "Super-Rich"
NPR's Nina Totenberg declared on this weekend's Inside Washington that the House vote to extend the current tax rates on dividends and capital gains was "immoral" as she ridiculously claimed, in the face of ever-soaring entitlement spending, that Congress is cutting aid to the poor. Newsweek's Evan Thomas backed her up, asserting that "we need to raise taxes...and who better to raise them on than the super-rich?" Totenberg argued of the tax rate extension vote: "I just think it's immoral to do that, not to mention fiscally irresponsible, when you're cutting people who have nothing -- from children off of Medicaid and mothers who depend on childcare losing the childcare and can't work. And then what do they do? Go back on welfare? I mean, it is, it's, I just think it's immoral." Columnist Charles Krauthammer tried to insert some rationality into the tax hike advocacy of Totenberg, Thomas and columnist Mark Shields, as he pointed out that if the House position does not prevail and "you abolish" the current rate "you are essentially raising" taxes when that current rate expires in two years.

2. NBC's Andrea Mitchell Tells Matthews Kerry was "Lied To, Misled"
While appearing on MSNBC's Hardball on Friday night, NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell, reacting to a clip of John Kerry saying he would not vote to authorize the Iraq War if he had it to do again because, in his words, he was "misled about the intelligence," Mitchell responded by claiming: "It's true they were lied to, misled, however you want to characterize it." Returning from a commercial break, a clip from that morning's Imus in the Morning was shown in which John Kerry was asked by Don Imus, "Knowing what you know now...would you still vote to authorize the President's use of force?" Kerry responded, "Absolutely not, not a possibility," and then said that what changed his mind is, "the intelligence, above all. We've learned the ways in which we really were misled about the intelligence, and the intelligence that we believe, if you had that knowledge today, we wouldn't even have a vote."

3. CBS Highlights Clinton Attack on Bush's Opposition to Kyoto
On Friday night's CBS Evening News, substitute anchor Russ Mitchell read a short item relaying Bill Clinton's criticism of President Bush, with Clinton calling him "flat wrong" for opposing the Kyoto treaty in a speech at the UN conference on climate change in Montreal. In contrast to FNC, Mitchell did not add perspective to Clinton's attack by noting the Senate's history of strong opposition to the Kyoto treaty, and of Clinton's own failure to submit the treaty to the Senate for ratification.


Totenberg: Tax Vote "Immoral," Thomas:
Hike Taxes on "Super-Rich"

NPR's Nina Totenberg declared on this weekend's Inside Washington that the House vote to extend the current tax rates on dividends and capital gains was "immoral" as she ridiculously claimed, in the face of ever-soaring entitlement spending, that Congress is cutting aid to the poor. Newsweek's Evan Thomas backed her up, asserting that "we need to raise taxes...and who better to raise them on than the super-rich?" Totenberg argued of the tax rate extension vote: "I just think it's immoral to do that, not to mention fiscally irresponsible, when you're cutting people who have nothing -- from children off of Medicaid and mothers who depend on childcare losing the childcare and can't work. And then what do they do? Go back on welfare? I mean, it is, it's, I just think it's immoral." Columnist Charles Krauthammer tried to insert some rationality into the tax hike advocacy of Totenberg, Thomas and columnist Mark Shields, as he pointed out that if the House position does not prevail and "you abolish" the current rate "you are essentially raising" taxes when that current rate expires in two years.

[This item was posted Saturday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To share your comments, go to: newsbusters.org ]

I caught Totenberg's latest outburst on the Friday night airing of Inside Washington on WETA-TV channel 26, Washington, DC's PBS affiliate. The program is taped at ABC's Washington, DC affiliate, WJLA-TV, channel 7 (actually in Arlington, Virginia), where it airs Sunday morning at 10am after This Week. It also runs Saturday nights at 7pm on NewsChannel 8, the local all-news cable channel owned by the ABC affiliate.

Since the tax talk came in the very last segment of the PBS airing, about 25 minutes into the show, I suspect this portion of the program did not appear in the re-airings which include advertising breaks.

A transcript of the exchange from the show as aired December 9 on WETA-TV:

Moderator Gordon Peterson, a WJLA-TV anchor: "How about tax cuts? Are they everything? The House this week gave us good news and bad news on tax cuts. One is the alternative income tax. A lot of middle people would not get whacked so badly on that. On the other hand, they're going to keep cutting."
Nina Totenberg: "Well, there are some relatively minor tax cuts and fixes in the first part of the week and then came the big benefit for investors in capital gains and all of that. Now, you know, I would benefit from that. Probably everybody here would benefit from that, but I just think it's immoral to do that, not to mention fiscally irresponsible, when you're cutting people who have nothing -- from children off of Medicaid and mothers who depend on childcare losing the childcare and can't work. And then what do they do? Go back on welfare? I mean, it is, it's, I just think it's immoral."
Mark Shields, with a new weekend TV home after the demise of CNN's Capital Gang: "I want to say a good word for the Republicans in Congress. I admire their tenacity and their determination to close that dangerous social gap between the rich and the super-rich. That's commendable. I mean you have to really say they're wiling to stand up and say we're her to comfort the comfortable. God love 'em."
Charles Krauthammer: "It's funny but it isn't exactly. AMT is not about the super rich. The alternative minimum tax is something that was intended for the super rich thirty tears ago, was never indexed and is hitting a lot of ordinary folks. It ought to be repealed. Now, on the other issues, look, I'm not a great fan of this stuff but if you find as we have, that reducing capital gains and dividends has kept an economy strong in a rough economic period in the face of oil shocks, in the face of hurricanes and on all kinds of other pressures and also in a world in which Europe has been faltering and stagnant, you got to ask yourself, do you want to undo a policy which is keeping a strong economy, because ultimately it's the strong economy and the growth in economy that provides jobs-"
Totenberg: "There are already much lower capital gain taxes than there are other ones."
Krauthammer: "If you abolish the cut, you are essentially raising it. There's no way around that."
Evan Thomas, Assistant Managing Editor of Newsweek: "And you know what? We need to raise taxes because we cannot, our official house is not in order. It's going to hurt our children-"
Totenberg: "Thank you."
Thomas: "-and who better to raise them on than the super rich?"
Totenberg: "Right."
Shields: "The Wall Street Journal reported this week that the Federal Reserve Board found out that the dividend tax cut had nothing or next to, negligible impact upon this change that Charles has just trumpeted. I think an administration that talks about family values has basically determined they're going to take $2 trillion in deficit spending and pass it on to children and grandchildren. We're not going to accept that responsibility like every other generation who fought a war have."
Peterson: "Has there ever been a war when they fought a war and then cut taxes at the same time?"
Shields: "Never."
Totenberg: "Never."
Shields: "Six times."
Krauthammer: "Our problem is not a temporary explosion of spending either because of a war or hurricanes or disasters. It's our entitlements which are draining our economy and which everybody, particularly the liberals, will not index for income."
Totenberg, talking over Krauthammer: "If you got rid, if you got rid of the top one percent benefits, you would be able to get rid of the Social Security problem for the next ten years."
Krauthammer: "But Democrats won't allow it."

Earlier examples, as documented by CyberAlert, of Totenberg pushing tax hike or denouncing tax cuts:

September 19: "NPR's Totenberg Urges a 'Katrina Tax,' Says 'I Want More Taxes.'" See: www.mediaresearch.org
September 26: "Totenberg, Clift Urge Tax Hike; Thomas Recalls Reagan Upped Taxes." See: www.mediaresearch.org

October 24: "Totenberg Advises Democrats to Hit GOP on Tax Cuts for the Rich." See: www.mediaresearch.org

NBC's Andrea Mitchell Tells Matthews
Kerry was "Lied To, Misled"

While appearing on MSNBC's Hardball on Friday night, NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell, reacting to a clip of John Kerry saying he would not vote to authorize the Iraq War if he had it to do again because, in his words, he was "misled about the intelligence," Mitchell responded by claiming: "It's true they were lied to, misled, however you want to characterize it." Returning from a commercial break, a clip from that morning's Imus in the Morning was shown in which John Kerry was asked by Don Imus, "Knowing what you know now...would you still vote to authorize the President's use of force?" Kerry responded, "Absolutely not, not a possibility," and then said that what changed his mind is, "the intelligence, above all. We've learned the ways in which we really were misled about the intelligence, and the intelligence that we believe, if you had that knowledge today, we wouldn't even have a vote."

[This item, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, was posted Saturday night on our blog, NewsBusters.org. To post your comments, go to: newsbusters.org ]

To her credit, as Mitchell began her response, she raised the story first reported by the Washington Post on April 27, 2004 on how little interest senators showed in viewing intelligence on Iraq before the war. The story had reported, "No more than six senators and a handful of House members read beyond the five-page National Intelligence Estimate executive summary, according to several congressional aides responsible for safeguarding the classified material." Mitchell declared, "I still wonder why only six senators read that National Intelligence Estimate in October of '02, why more senators didn't make it their business to try to learn that."

But then, adding credibility to the current liberal spin on pre-war Iraq intelligence, Mitchell claimed, "It's true they were lied to, misled, however you want to characterize it. There was a lot of cherry-picking going on, and the reports that were given to them were pretty darn selective..."

A complete transcript of the exchange from the December 9 Hardball:

Don Imus: "Knowing what you know now, would you, knowing what you know now, today, December 9 or whatever it is, 2005, would you still vote to authorize the President's use of force?"
John Kerry: "Absolutely not, not a possibility."
Imus: "What's changed your mind since, from the last time?"
Kerry: "Everything. Well, the intelligence, above all. We've learned the ways in which we really were misled about the intelligence, and the intelligence that we believe, if you had that knowledge today, we wouldn't even have a vote."
Chris Matthews: "We're back with NBC's Andrea Mitchell, Chuck Todd of The Hotline, and Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard. Andrea, what did you make of that? That was pretty clear."
Andrea Mitchell: "It was pretty clear, except I still wonder why only six senators read that National Intelligence Estimate in October of '02, why more senators didn't make it their business to try to learn that. It's true they were lied to, misled, however you want to characterize it. There was a lot of cherry-picking going on, and the reports that were given to them were pretty darn selective, but you have to-"

Matthews then interrupted Mitchell and changed the subject to Donald Rumsfeld's view on withdrawing troops from Iraq.

CBS Highlights Clinton Attack on Bush's
Opposition to Kyoto

On Friday night's CBS Evening News, substitute anchor Russ Mitchell read a short item relaying Bill Clinton's criticism of President Bush, with Clinton calling him "flat wrong" for opposing the Kyoto treaty in a speech at the UN conference on climate change in Montreal. In contrast to FNC, Mitchell did not add perspective to Clinton's attack by noting the Senate's history of strong opposition to the Kyoto treaty, and of Clinton's own failure to submit the treaty to the Senate for ratification.

As recounted by Jim Angle during Friday night's "Grapevine" segment on FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume, in July of 1997, "the Senate voted 95-0 against even considering the treaty and warned President Clinton not to even send it up to them, saying the United States shouldn't sign anything that would, quote, 'result in serious harm to the economy of the United States.'" Angle added, "As a result, President Clinton never submitted the Kyoto treaty for ratification."

[This item, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, was posted Friday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To share your take, go to: newsbusters.org ]

Below is a complete transcript of Mitchell's story on the Clinton speech from the CBS Evening News, followed by Angle's version of the story from Special Report with Brit Hume, both from Friday December 9:

CBS's Russ Mitchell: "At the close of a UN conference on climate change in Montreal today, Bill Clinton blasted President Bush's position on global warming. Mr. Clinton said Mr. Bush is, quote, 'flat wrong,' for rejecting the Kyoto accord, the treaty aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, and for arguing the treaty would harm the U.S. economy."

FNC's Jim Angle: "And now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine. Bill Clinton says President Bush is 'flat wrong' to reject the Kyoto treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on economic grounds. Telling an audience at the UN's climate conference in Montreal, 'We could meet and surpass the Kyoto targets in a way that would strengthen and not weaken our economies.' Clinton and then Vice President Al Gore were instrumental in the formulation of the original Kyoto treaty in 1997, which would have required a 29 percent cut in emissions from the U.S. from 1990 levels by 2012. President Bush has come under fire from environmentalists for formally renouncing the agreement, but in 1997 the Senate voted 95-0 against even considering the treaty and warned President Clinton not to even send it up to them, saying the United States shouldn't sign anything that would, quote, 'result in serious harm to the economy of the United States.' As a result, President Clinton never submitted the Kyoto treaty for ratification."

-- Brent Baker