Franklin Delano Roosevelt
We are a nation of 325 million people. We have a bit of control over the behavior of our 535 elected representatives in Congress, the president and the vice president. But there are seven unelected people who have life-and-death control over our economy and hence our lives -- the seven governors of the Federal Reserve Board. The Federal Reserve Board controls our money supply. Its governors are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate and serve 14-year staggered terms.
Over at Reason, University of Alabama professor of history David T. Beito has written a fascinating look at “Roosevelt’s War Against the Press.” The telling subtitle? “FDR Had His Own Breitbart, and Radio Was His Twitter.” Well, yes. Exactly. I have been writing for sometime that not only is the FDR and radio comparison to Trump and Twitter eerily analogous, but that two other presidents made superb use of the new technology of their day: Abraham Lincoln and the telegraph and John F. Kennedy and the live televised presidential press conference.
MSNBC’s Hardball featured not one or two particularly crazy moments in Thursday night’s installment by host Chris Matthews, but rather a whole host of notable exchanges, insinuations, and quotes from both Matthews and a few of his guests. Without any further adieu, here’s the top eight loony moments (presented in chronological order).
On Friday, Melissa Quinn at the Daily Signal, after the release of the government's "Union Members -- 2014" report, uniquely observed that the unionized percentage of the public- and private-sector nonagricultural wage and salary U.S. workforce had reached "its lowest rate in 100 years." From what I can tell in web and news searches, despite the fact that virtually any 100-year record is ordinarily considered newsworthy, no major establishment press outlet has reported what Quinn found.
The report from Uncle Sam's Bureau of Labor Statisics claims that 1983 is "the first year for which comparable union data are available." Perhaps, but there is data available going back much further, and it has been used occasionally in previous media reports. That data also indicates that private-sector union membership is at its lowest point since the turn of the century — from the 19th to the 20th century, that is.
The press, even in the wake of yesterday's awful reported 2.9 percent annualized first-quarter contraction, continues to regale us with noise about the economy's "recovery" during the past five years.
As P.J. Gladnick at NewsBusters noted yesterday, CNNMoney.com's Annalyn Kurtz, in giving readers "3 reasons not to freak out about -2.9% GDP," concluded her report by telling readers that "This recovery is underway, but it's choppy and still very slow." Actually, it may have resumed this quarter. At the Associated Press yesterday, Martin Crutsinger all too predictably wrote that "the setback is widely thought to be temporary, with growth rebounding solidly since spring." After almost five years of this nonsense, it's long past time that they start telling readers, listeners, and viewers that this economy bears more resemblance to the 1930s economy under Franklin Delano Roosevelt than it does any post-downturn economy we've seen since the end of World War II. Hard proof follows the jump.
Warren Kozak, the author of "LeMay: The Life and Wars of General Curtis LeMay," wrote a memorable piece in "The Wall Street Journal" on June 6, 2012 that cries out for comment. On the 68th anniversary of the Allies' invasion of Europe over the bloody beaches of Normandy, he reminds us of an unthinkable act by President Franklin Roosevelt on that day. At least it is an unthinkable act today. The president did not call a press conference to notify Americans huddled before their radios of what our military was doing. They already knew from news reports, though they might have learned even more from their president. Nor did President Roosevelt boast of how he had marshaled our troops and given the order to action, as the present occupier of his office is prone to do.
Instead, Roosevelt offered a prayer, a prayer of unthinkable dimensions nowadays. I suspect if I were of voting age in 1944, I would have been a Republican. Yet, as President Roosevelt spoke, he would have spoken for me. Transported back to the battle of Normandy, I would have taken heart in his words. Would a Barack Obama, similarly transported back across the decades, have taken heart? Or would he and millions of other miraculously transported Americans from the present have squirmed? Would they have filed lawsuits through the American Civil Liberties Union? Is this not another of those church and state conundrums that we conjure up today?
On Sunday's Chris Matthews Show, after panel member Richard Stengel of Time magazine argued that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt is an example of a wealthy President who connected with average Americans more effectively than GOP presidential candidate Mitt Rommney does, NBC Andrea Mitchell praised New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for donating $250,000 to Planned Parenthood, arguing that it helped him "connect to people" in his "constituency." After an anecdote from Stengel about Roosevelt, Mitchell injected:
The ridiculous media hypocrisy concerning all the fuss over Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's wealth and income tax rate was perfectly demonstrated on MSNBC's Morning Joe Monday.
After claiming that Romney's "tax issue is not remotely" past him, John Heilemann, the National Affairs editor for New York magazine, admitted that he never reported John Kerry's income tax rate during the 2004 campaign (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Time's Ten Questions to Matt Damon beat around the bush about Damon's disappointment with President Obama as he's failed to deliver for the teachers' unions, but when asked what kind of leader America needs, Damon suggested "someone like FDR," and not like Obama. They didn't discuss the Education Secretary offering to meet the celebrity at the airport.
This has to be especially embarrassing for Time, since many people remember their fawning Obama-as-FDR cover.
Somebody better tell incoming MSNBC host Chris Hayes the network giving him his own show later this month doesn't cotton to commentators disrespecting President Obama.
On Thursday's "The Last Word," Hayes told host Lawrence O'Donnell the current White House resident can't run his reelection campaign like Franklin Delano Roosevelt did in 1936 because FDR actually had a strong economic record to boast about (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Chris Matthews on Thursday claimed Franklin Delano Roosevelt saved capitalism in the 1930s.
This deliciously came during a "Hardball" segment wherein he mocked the intelligence of Tea Party members saying they "need to read history, and especially Michele Bachmann" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
President Barack Obama said that Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) – the president best known for establishing a welfare and regulatory state in America – was “fiscally conservative,” in response to a question about how to keep the economy going.
Obama was referring to spending-cut measures Roosevelt took in the middle of the New Deal that lasted from 1933 to 1940.