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DEEMING DISAPPEARED! Remember deeming? In today’s Times, the process has been disappeared: // link // print // previous // next //
THURSDAY, MARCH 18, 2010

Ain’t idiocracy grand: Gail Collins, the New York Times’ simpering ninny, had been “off” since February 20, by the paper’s admission. Today, she returns to her perch at the Times with this column.

After a month, with the whole wide world to discuss, what was on Collins’ mind? Of course! Ain’t idiocracy grand? This is the start of her column:

COLLINS (3/18/10): Sex Scandals to Learn By

Let’s consider the story of Representative Eric Massa, a freshman Democrat from upstate New York who made headlines recently when he resigned from office amid talk about sexual harassment of male staffers.

Good God, Collins is awful. She could have written about any topic, including topics which actually matter. Go ahead—read what she wrote. (She also discusses Rielle Hunter today, although she skips Tiger Woods.)

We’ll have to admit it: In all the nonsense which defines the upper-class journalistic idiocracy, we have come to be puzzled by Collins’ inanity ahead of all others. In fairness, we’ve recently had the burden of rereading Collins’ simpering, destructive work from 1999. George Bush rode her clowning work to the White House. From there, it was on to Iraq!

But then, the idiocracy is all around. At a different point on its spectrum, we caught a few minutes of Glenn Beck last night, during his 2 AM re-broadcast. We swear: At the very moment we clicked over, Beck was offering this:

BECK (3/17/10): There are easy ways to actually make the current [U.S. health] system, which let me remind you, is the best system in the world, bar none—there is easy ways that we can fix things.

Did you know that the top five U.S. hospitals conduct more clinical tests—the top five hospitals here in America conduct more clinical tests than all of the hospitals, every last one of them, in the entire country of Canada or Sweden or Great Britain for an entire year? Five of our hospitals!

Sometimes, you just have to laugh as this porcine, sweaty fellow rants about all the Communists (see below). In this case, we have no idea if “the top five hospitals here in America conduct more clinical tests than all of the hospitals, every last one of them, in the entire country of...Sweden.” But why did we chuckle at that clap of thunder? Two reasons. This is the first:

Current population:
Entire country of Sweden: 9.3 million
New York City: 8.4 million

Here’s the second reason we laughed: By endless accounts, something like 30 percent of all medical procedures in this country are unnecessary. By endless accounts, our large number of procedures represents one of the problems with our broken health “system.” In other moods, people like Beck blame this on the lack of tort reform and the concomitant need for defensive medicine; presumably, that is partially right. Last night, Beck simply counted up all the tests, then proclaimed our unparalleled greatness. Again: We have no idea if his factual claim is correct. But given the factoid we have produced, we just had to laugh when he dragged in Sweden.

Minutes later, Beck was naming the Communists surrounding Obama:

BECK: Let me ask you why would any sane individual ever do this in the middle of an economic crisis? Well, at the core of Marxist belief is the redistribution of wealth. That is all this is. Take wealth from one group and give it to another. What is it the Marxist FCC czar says? That somebody has to decide who's going to step down to give somebody else a chance? This isn't about health or care.

Look at everybody who's around the president. Let me just—let me just go through some of these people.

Let's just start with Andy Stern. This is his health care. I mean, he's sending me fishes in the mail. Andy Stern. SEIU. OK? He doesn't believe in the free-market system. He wants to redistribute the wealth. He wants workers of the world unite. OK?

Ron Bloom, he's Maoist. Anita Dunn, Maoist. Van Jones, communist. Mark Lloyd—yes, who is going to step down to give somebody else a chance?

How about Jim Wallis? He's the latest. Oh, Jim, oh, Jim, Jim, Jim, Jim, Jim, Jim, Jim. I've got a whole show—in fact, I could do a whole week, and we will, on you with your "spread the wealth" social justice nonsense. It's Marxist.

Cable ratings aren’t in for last night’s show, which occurred on St. Patrick’s Day. (Numbers could be affected.) But last Wednesday, just over 3 million people watched Beck thunder at 5 PM. In that same time slot, only 493,000 people were playing Hardball. (Click here.)

One final complaint as we call the idiocracy’s roll:

No one else is in Beck’s class. But at 2 AM, we flipped back and forth between the Beck and Maddow shows. No one else is near Beck’s class. But increasingly, as we watch Maddow opposite Beck, we’re not entirely sure we see a clear difference in kind. In fairness, Maddow clatters and clowns on our behalf, hoping to send pleasing thrills up our legs. And she says some things which are actually accurate. (As far as we know, she made perfect sense about Virginia’s attorney general last night.) But on balance, as we watch, she seems to becomes a bigger hack right before our eyes. Ain’t idiocracy grand?

The idiocracy has a vast sweep. We liberals have always yelled about Fox. But even when it was run by Jack Welch, we never seemed able to grasp the problem with Fox’s competitor, MSNBC. Each of these highly corporate channels have spread idiocracy hard.

No one comes close to Beck. But we also groaned at Maddow last night. And Maddow spreads the dumb on our side.

More Beck on Obama: As the evening progressed, Beck grew pensive about Obama’s background. The doctor was very much IN:

BECK: Here's the sad thing that I don't think anybody will really ever say about Barack Obama, because it sounds mean and I don't mean it to be mean. This is truly a sad, tragic story. But the only way to understand first of all, all the people around him and then his thinking— I don't think he's an evil man. I don't think he's trying to do evil things intentionally.

He really does believe Marxism is the way, is the answer, it is the future. He believes that. From the moment he was born, he had contact with nothing but socialist, Marxist, communist radicals. His father abandoned him. Why? So, he could go off to a Marxist school in New York. Then his father left the country to go try it out.

How tragic? What kind of scar does that leave on a boy?

Then his mother, I mean, this is—you tell me, what scar is left when the mom leaves a son who's been abandoned by his father for Marxism, leaves the son with his grandparents so she can pursue critical theory, which is Marxist. Both parents leave a boy for Marxism?

And then he goes to his parents—or his grandparents. His grandparents attended the little red church, which was known for its communist teachings.

This level of lunacy was admitted into mainstream “journalistic” culture with the claim that the Clintons were serial murderers. In 1998, Hardball and Hannity gave the crackpot Gennifer Flowers ginormous time spots to advance these soul-destroying claims. (Hardball gave her thirty minutes. She was so loony on that show, Hannity rewarded her with a full hour.) Flowers went on and on about all the murders committed by the president and the first lady.

At all our big major serious newspapers, not a single “journalist” rose off his fat ass to complain. Two months later, Collins mocked and complained when Candidate Gore asked a young mother two questions about her sick child.

The upper-class idiocracy is vast. It was firmly in place by that time.

DEEMING DISAPPEARED (permalink): Wow.

Yesterday, congressional Democrats had a problem. They were planning to pass health reform in the House through a little-known procedure called “deeming,” or “deem-and-pass.”

Republicans were squawking hard. Various people were having problems explaining how the procedure would work—or if it was constitutional.

This situation was described in yesterday’s New York Times (see below). But this morning, in that same New York Times, deeming seems to have been disappeared! In David Herszenhorn’s front-page news report, Republicans continue to squawk about what the Democrats may do in the House. But Herszenhorn has rewritten his text from yesterday’s Times—and their squawking no longer makes any sense.

But then, neither does Herszenhorn’s news report. See if you understand what follows. It seems to us that, on the front page of the Times, deeming has been disappeared:

HERSZENHORN (3/18/10): House Republicans said they still believed they could block the bill, a top priority for President Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Under a two-step plan devised by House Democratic leaders, the House would approve the health care bill passed by the Senate in December, then make changes in a separate bill using a procedure known as budget reconciliation to avoid the threat of a filibuster in the Senate. Republicans like Representative David Dreier of California have accused Democrats of ducking a straight-up vote on the Senate bill, which has provisions that many House Democrats do not like.

In an interview with Fox News, Mr. Obama dismissed Republican criticisms of the parliamentary tactics, saying he does not ''spend a lot of time worrying about what the procedural rules are.”

We’re baffled by that account.

According to Herszenhorn (and co-writer Robert Pear), Democrats have devised “a two-step plan” for the House to follow. What are those two steps? In the first step, “the House would approve the health care bill passed by the Senate in December.” In the second step, the House would “then make changes in a separate bill using a procedure known as budget reconciliation.”

We are then told that Republicans like David Dreier “have accused Democrats of ducking a straight-up vote on the Senate bill.” In fact, every Republican, including the party’s highest-ranking leaders, have been making that same accusation. And by the way: Why would Republicans make such a claim, if the Democrats are going to use “a two-step plan” which starts with the House “approv[ing] the health care bill passed by the Senate in December?”

Under that scenario, why would Dreier “accuse Democrats of ducking a straight-up vote on the Senate bill?” This accusation would make no earthly sense. But so what? Herszenhorn agrees not to notice this fact. For that reason, his report seems to make no sense too.

Remarkably, this is today’s lead story on the front page of the New York Times, our most famous newspaper. But does this account make a lick of sense? Does it even seem to describe the state of affairs being described everywhere else? To our ear, deeming has simply been disappeared on the front page of this morning’s Times. Indeed: According to Nexis, no variant of the word “deem” appears in any health reform story in today’s Times. The word is gone from these texts.

It seems that deeming has been disappeared! If you believe what you read in this morning’s Times, the Dems have devised a two-step plan! In the first step, the House “would approve the health care bill passed by the Senate in December.” But how weird! That isn’t what Herszenhorn seemed to tell readers in yesterday’s New York Times. In yesterday’s Times, a vastly different world existed. In yesterday’s paper, this is what this very same Herszenhorn wrote. We start from the top, with his hard-copy headline:

HERSZENHORN (3/17/10): Democrats Consider New Maneuvers for Health Bill

As lawmakers clashed fiercely over major health care legislation on the House floor, Democrats struggled Tuesday to defend procedural shortcuts they might use to win approval for their proposals in the next few days.

House Democrats are so skittish about the piece of legislation that is now the vehicle for overhauling the health care system—the bill passed by the Senate in December—that they are considering a maneuver that would allow them to pass it without explicitly voting for it.

Under that approach, House Democrats would approve a package of changes to the Senate bill in a budget reconciliation bill. The Senate bill would be ''deemed passed'' if and when the House adopts rules for debate on the reconciliation bill—or perhaps when the House passes that reconciliation bill.

The idea is to package the changes and the underlying bill together in a way that amounts to an amended bill in a single vote. Many House Democrats dislike some provisions of the Senate bill, including special treatment for a handful of states, like Medicaid money for Nebraska, and therefore want to avoid a direct vote on it.

Republicans paraded to the House floor on Tuesday to denounce the maneuver as a parliamentary trick.

Yesterday, “the idea [was] to package the changes and the underlying bill together in a way that amounts to an amended bill in a single vote.” Today, though, in the place of that “single vote,” we are told that the Democrats have “a two-step plan”—through Republican complaints stay the same.

Has something changed in the Democrats’ planning? In today’s report, Herszenhorn makes no such claim—and Dreier is offering the same complaint Republicans were offering yesterday. All that seems to have changed is Herszenhorn’s account of the Democrats’ plans. Yesterday, the Democrats were planning a “procedural shortcut” in which they would “package the changes and the underlying bill together in a way that amounts to an amended bill in a single vote.” Today, talk of that “single vote” is gone. Today, the Dems have “a two-step plan,” although Republicans like Dreier still seem to be weirdly protesting that “single vote.”

For the record, this is the way the Washington Post describes the situation today. To her credit, Lori Montgomery hasn’t changed her account of this widely-debated matter. To her credit, she talks about John Boehner, the Republican leader, without pretending it’s no-names like Dreier who are offering the complaints. That said, can you spot an unexplained problem in Montgomery’s account?

MONTGOMERY (3/18/10): [Yesterday's] events seemed to boost the outlook of House leaders, even as they were unable for a second day to deliver on promises that they would present a package of changes intended to tailor the $875 billion health-care expansion the Senate passed on Christmas Eve to the demands of House members. Lawmakers were still waiting late Wednesday for a final cost estimate on the revisions, which must significantly reduce deficits over the next 20 years. After initially hoping for a Friday vote on both measures, senior Democrats said a Sunday vote looks increasingly likely.

But House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said he remains doubtful that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her lieutenants can persuade 216 Democrats to back a package that he says lacks support among voters and has united Republicans in opposition.

In an interview, Boehner vowed to "do everything we can to keep the pressure on" Democrats in battleground districts. His first move will come Thursday, when Republicans will try to force a vote on a resolution that calls on House Democrats to abandon plans to use a parliamentary maneuver known as “deeming” to pass the Senate bill without explicitly voting on it.

The Senate bill, if approved, would go to the White House for Obama’s signature, while the package of revisions would be sent to the Senate under special rules that protect it from a Republican filibuster. Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) said the Senate could take up the changes next week, with a goal of approving the package before the Easter break.

In the Post, Democrats still have “plans to use a parliamentary maneuver known as ‘deeming’ to pass the Senate bill without explicitly voting on it.” In the Times, this has been disappeared.

Why has deeming been disappeared in the Times? Conservatives will say that the paper is trying to help the Democratic leadership, disappearing a giant dispute about that “deem-and-pass” procedure. It’s also possible to imagine that this is just a clumsy attempt to avoid “process” reporting. At certain points in the past—we think of the 1995 government shutdown—we’ve been amazed by the extent to which big papers will go to avoid discussing “process.”

But Herszenhorn makes no sense today; Times readers are left in the dark. And this is the Times, our leading newspaper. As a matter of fact, it’s the leading story on the Times front page.

Questions:

Do you understand the difference between Herszenhorn’s dueling accounts? Do you understand the difference between the dueling accounts in tody’s Washington Post and New York Times?

Here at THE HOWLER, we don’t understand. And these are our leading newspapers.

You live inside a very low-IQ journalistic culture. If engineers conducted their business this way, all our systems would constantly fail.

About that unexplained problem: Say what? According to Montgomery, who wrote the same thing yesterday: “The Senate bill, if approved [by the House], would go to the White House for Obama’s signature, while the package of revisions would be sent to the Senate under special rules that protect it from a Republican filibuster.” This means that the original Senate bill—including such notorious provisions as the “Cornhusker kickback”—would in fact be signed into law by Obama! Question: What happens if Senate Democrats then somehow refuse or fail to pass that “package of revisions?”

We always thought this was the possibility House Democrats were looking for ways to avoid. If Montgomery is right, the possibility still exists. But most news orgs don’t even describe this situation—and Montgomery doesn’t explain why House Dems have decided that this isn’t a problem after all.

Is Montgomery’s account correct? We have no idea.

Good grief! What happens if Obama signs the original Senate bill into law, and then the “package of revisions” fails in the Senate? If Montgomery’s account is accurate, this remains as a possibility. But Montgomery doesn’t explain why House leaders don’t seem to care.

In the New York Times, this apparent situation hasn’t even been mentioned. Ain’t idiocracy grand?