- The Washington Times - Friday, September 18, 2009

‘Entrapment’?

MSNBC anchor Norah O’Donnell, during a recent on-air segment about several explosive videos involving ACORN, suggested that two conservative filmmakers who secretly recorded the organization’s workers giving them tax advice on how to run a brothel may be guilty of a serious crime.

“This might be viewed as entrapment,” Mrs. O’Donnell said on “Morning Joe” on Tuesday morning. “That some conservative activists used hidden cameras in order to get this stuff on camera.”

James O’Keefe, who posed as a pimp seeking federal funds through the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) to run a prostitution ring in the videos, has been threatened with lawsuits to which he defiantly replied, “bring it on” on Fox News. When asked about the possibility of “entrapment” raised by Mrs. O’Donnell, he dismissed it just as forcefully.

“Any fool knows a private citizen can’t entrap someone,” Mr. O’Keefe wrote in an e-mail to The Washington Times. “Entrapment has two requirements. First, it must be done by a law enforcement agent. Second, the person being entrapped must agree to commit an offense which it otherwise would have been unlikely to commit. I’m obviously not an agent of the government. And the video speaks for itself on the second requirement.”

‘Junk science’

Steven Milloy’s “junk science” detector began running high when he got a hold of a new study appearing in the American Journal of Public Health that claims nearly 45,000 Americans die each year from lack of health insurance.

According to the study, titled “Health Insurance and Mortality in U.S. Adults,” working-age Americans have a 40 percent higher risk of death than their privately insured counterparts.

Mr. Milloy, founder and publisher of Junkscience.com and co-founder and portfolio manager for the Free Enterprise Action Fund, said the study was created to boost President Obama’s health care agenda. Mr. Milloy noted that Mr. Obama said during the joint session of Congress on health care reform last week that people would die if they didn’t have health insurance.

“Everyone in this room knows what will happen if we do nothing,” Mr. Obama said in his Sept. 9 address. “Our deficit will grow. More families will go bankrupt. More businesses will close. More Americans will lose their coverage when they are sick and need it most. And more will die as a result. We know these things to be true.”

Mr. Milloy thinks the study will give Mr. Obama more specific numbers to use in order to ramp up public support for his plan.

“They are trying to create these factoids that they can beat opponents over the head with,” Mr. Milloy said. “They interviewed 9,000 people between 1988 and 1994 and asked ‘do you have health insurance,’ and if you die at some point in the future they assume your death was caused by the fact you didn’t have insurance during that time you were interviewed.”

“That kind of stuff is classic junk science,” Mr. Milloy added.

John C. Goodman, president of the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), agreed the study was flawed.

“The subjects were interviewed only once and the study tries to link their insurance status at that time to mortality a decade later. Yet over the period, the authors have no idea whether subjects were insured or uninsured, what kind of medical care they received, or even cause of death,” he said in a statement.

NPCA noted that a “more careful study” completed by the Congressional Budget Office found that low-income people without insurance had a 3 percent higher chance of death, but found no difference among higher income earners.

Dr. David Himmelstein, co-author of the study and co-founder of the Physicians for a National Health Program, testified before Congress earlier this year in favor of a single payer system.

“Our 16,000 physician members support nonprofit, single-payer national health insurance because of overwhelming evidence that lesser reforms will fail.”

His health care advocacy work was not disclosed in a press release for the study.

Bucks off Beck

A number of liberal organizations have e-mailed solicitations asking for money to help fight off charges levied at their groups by Fox News personality Glenn Beck.

The left-leaning Center for American Progress Action Fund on Tuesday sent an e-mail that read: “Help us keep fighting Glenn Beck and the right-wing media by supporting us today.”

Mr. Beck is often critical of CAP President John Podesta’s work that promotes liberal causes.

“Beck has mentioned the Center for American Progress or John Podesta at least 10 times on his show in the past few months,” the CAP mailer complained. “He’s got his target set on us.”

Campaign for America’s Future has a similar appeal posted on its Web site, titled, “Glenn Beck’s Next Target? Us!” that included similar text.

“Recently, Fox News’ Glenn Beck interviewed one of his favorite right-wing pundits, David Horowitz, who revealed the ‘horror’ that Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) worked with Van Jones to bring together businesses and unions to create clean, green American jobs,” CAF’s donation page said. “Well, here’s the truth. CAF was the co-founder of the Apollo Alliance, and we are proud of it. And this is what makes Glenn Beck so mad. Help us fight Glenn Beck’s smears, and fight for a clean energy economy.”

Suggested donations ranged from $10 to $2,500.

Van Jones update

Hot Button reported on Thursday that former White House “green jobs czar” Van Jones was offered a job by the Center for American Progress after his controversial resignation.

CAP Vice President of Communications Anne Soeller sent an e-mail to clarify that Mr. Jones is not working for CAP at this time.

“As our friend and former colleague, we offered him work space to use while he decides what he wants to do next but he has not taken us up on the offer,” she wrote to The Washington Times.

Before going to the White House, Mr. Jones served as a senior fellow at CAP. He resigned in August after his signature on a 9/11 “truther” petition, statements about communism and other questionable ties to various organizations went public.

Amanda Carpenter can be reached at acarpenter@ washingtontimes.com.

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