Obama sent Congress a detailed budget Thursday proposing to eliminate or trim 121 programs and save $17 billion next year — not a trifle, for sure, but only about half of one percent of the $3.4 trillion in federal spending for the fiscal year begining in October.
The size of the savings clearly was a sore subject at the White House.
"It is important ... for all of you, as you're writing up these stories, to recognize that $17 billion taken out of our discretionary, non-defense budget, as well as portions of our defense budget, are significant," Obama told reporters. "They mean something."
Still, Obama's hit list was smaller than the one President George W. Bush included in his budget last year targeting 151 programs for $34 billion in savings.
These alleged cuts mean almost nothing, according to the Heritage Foundation's Brian Riedl, who cut through the misdirection earlier today at The Corner (bolds are mine):
As of early Tuesday evening, according to a report by Liz Moyer at Forbes, the latest news on the Chrysler bankruptcy filing is that:
The recalcitrant non-TARP lenders who would not agree to the deal the government attempted to force on them are now attempting to challenge the deal the government and Chrysler have proposed in bankruptcy court.
These lenders want to keep their identities hidden.
In court documents, they have said that "intensifying pressure and name calling by the government threatened to harm them if their identities became public."
Bankruptcy judge Arthur Gonzalez "isn't buying it," and has given the lenders until 10 a.m. tomorrow morning to identify themselves or (though not specifically stated) they will apparently lose their standing in court.
Meanwhile, John Carney at The Business Insider today expanded on what the lenders' lawyer Tom Lauria first brought out on WJR Radio on Friday, when Lauria told talk-show host Frank Beckmann that "One of my clients was directly threatened by the White House."
Friday, after the April vehicle sales figures rolled in, Associated Press reporters Kimberly S. Johnson and Dan Strumpf, in the opening sentence of a report carried at USA Today, showed that they finally noticed two things, one of which yours truly caught three months ago (NewsBusters; BizzyBlog), and the other which first became clear last month (NewsBusters; BizzyBlog).
The former point is that the American people are continuing to shun bailed-out car companies General Motors and now-bankrupt Chrysler. The latter one is that Ford's gain has been most the two bailed-out companies' loss.
Here is how the inconsistently-headlined ("Auto sales fall in April; Ford gains market share from Chrysler") AP report began (bolds are mine):
Detroit's Big Three is becoming Ford and the other two.
The Associated Press's obituary on Jack Kemp continued two troubling trends found in recent AP death notices.
In July of last year, covering Tony Snow's passing (saved here; covered at NewsBusters here), AP reporters found seemingly everything negative they could think of to write about the former White House press secretary and 2008 Media Research Center Buckley Award winner (examples -- "good looks and a relentlessly bright outlook -- if not always a command of the facts"; "questioned their [reporters'] motives as if he were starring in a TV show broadcast live from the West Wing"; "[he turned] the traditionally informational daily briefing into a personality-driven media event short on facts and long on confrontation"). The wire service also saw fit to include Snow's salary when he was at the White House.
In a March story about a tragic plane crash in Montana that took 14 lives, including seven young children, the AP just had to tell us that the plane's occupants had been en route to a skiing "retreat for the ultrarich." A later report referred to their destination as the "ritzy Yellowstone Club."
UPDATE, May 2:ABC’s Political Punch reports that the administration is denying making threats. Uh-huh, Tom Lauria just made it up. My take: Horse manure.
If the Bush White House had engaged in anything similar to what's being described here (actually, Hank Paulson did; the question is how much Bush knew), there would be calls for impeachment.
Maybe there should be similar talk now. As it is, the establishment media will more than likely work very hard to ignore this.
It should not be ignored. What attorney Tom Lauria describes is nothing short of chilling.
What follows is a rush transcription, omitting the intro and wrap-up niceties, of an interview today between WJR's Frank Beckmann and Tom Lauria, attorney for most of (at the moment) Chrysler's non-TARP creditors (audio is here; NYT link in transcript added by me):
Somebody needs to 'fess up. Who put truth serum in Calvin Woodward's coffee this morning?
Whoever it is, they're in a heap of trouble, as Woodward produced a fact-checking critique of Barack Obama that is so good you'd swear most of it was ghostwritten by a conservative talk host.
It will be interesting to see how much distribution it gets. I would suggest not counting on too much, but being open to a pleasant surprise.
Regardless of its distribution, you'd better believe they've read it in the White House, and they're wondering what in the world happened.
Here are key paragraphs from Woodward's rundown, which is really, seriously, a read (and save) the whole thing item (it is saved at my host for future reference; HT to Mark Levin, who excerpted the report on his show tonight):
The Associated Press's Jeannine Aversa, who became infamous last year for her stories of "vanishing jobs" that weren't, sounded hopeful early this morning before the release by Uncle Sam's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) of its first-quarter report on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth:
Economy's free-fall probably eased in 1Q The recession's grip on the country may be letting up a bit.
The government is set to release a report Wednesday expected to show the economy shrank at a pace of 5 percent in the first three months of this year. If Wall Street analysts' forecasts' are correct, the figure — while still extremely weak — would be viewed as a hopeful sign that the worst of the recession — in terms of lost economic activity — may be past.
While the business press has been preoccupied with day-to-day events in the ongoing saga of Government, er, General Motors, it has failed to note that its two closest competitors have gained substantial ground -- and quickly.
The establishment media is saying almost nothing about the man who co-founded Earth Day, and who also happens to be in jail for life for murder. Arlen Specter's involvement with the Ira Einhorn case is an important event in the party-switching Senator's career that curious readers would want to know about -- if the establishment media cared to note it.
You know they would be bringing out similar stories quite prominently if they existed about a Democratic senator switching parties. Look at what the Associated Press and the Democratic Party (but I repeat myself) laid on Joe Lieberman in 2006 ("AP Labels Joe Lieberman 'Democrats' Public Enemy No. 1'") -- and he's still considered a reliable Democratic vote.
But before excerpting Time, let's look at two of the earlier paragraphs at John J. Miller's related National Review piece in April 2004, written days before Specter barely withstood an aggressive GOP primary challenge from then-Congressman Pat Toomey:
The Audit Bureau of Circulations released this morning the spring figures for the six months ending March 31, 2009, showing that the largest metros continue to shed daily and Sunday circulation -- now at a record rate.
According to ABC, for 395 newspapers reporting this spring, daily circulation fell 7% to 34,439,713 copies, compared with the same March period in 2008. On Sunday, for 557 newspapers, circulation was down 5.3% to 42,082,707. These averages do not include 84 newspapers with circulations below 50,000 due to a change in publishing frequency.
Below is a chart showing the specifics for the top 25, including percentage losses for the past four years and during the past year (current year source: Editor & Publisher):
Party Affiliation - Let relevance be the guide in determining whether to include a political figure's party affiliation in a story. Party affiliation is pointless in some stories, such as an account of a governor accepting a button from a poster child.
It will occur naturally in many political stories. For stories between these extremes, include party affiliation if readers need it for understanding or are likely to be curious about what it is.
The AP, as readers here know, frequently flouts its own standards when Democrats are involved in legal or personal difficulties in its reporters' original write-ups. That's bad enough. But what's doubly offensive, and sadly no longer surprising, is how its writers seem to actively work to purge party references from other publications' original local or single-state stories about Democratic politicians or officials involved in scandal or other troubles.
In the latest example, it isn't just that the subject's party isn't directly identified. Based on AP's "clever" composition, many readers are likely to conclude that the person in trouble is a Republican.
Here's the relevant verbiage from Simpson's column ("Switch Sides, Sen. Specter"), the primary purpose of which is to lobby for the Keystone State Senator to become a Democrat:
The first time I met Mr. Specter was in 1974 as the state department desk officer for Rhodesia. The Nixon administration was trying to repeal the Byrd Amendment, which had America importing chrome from Rhodesia in opposition to most of the rest of the world.
Mr. Specter was representing a steel state and was not inclined to vote on the issue with the Republican president. I was told before seeing him that he was hard-minded and sometimes short-tempered. Nonetheless, he heard out the State Department argument, made no commitment and eventually avoided a vote. But he was fair and did not take the obvious position automatically. He was judicious.
In addition to his abuse of the word "exploration" and his false claim that he has "often said" that he supports additional drilling for oil and natural gas within the U.S. and off its shores, President 'Prompter Barack Obama misstated the timing of his tale of a pioneering oil man by a "only" a century (picture at right is from "The Story of Oil in Pennsylvania").
Beyond that, his fond recounting of the history of Pennsylvania's first meaningful oil discovery ignores the likelihood that if the regulatory regime in place today had been around at the time, not a single drop of oil might have made it to any kind of marketplace.
Straight from UPI's transcript of Barack Obama's Earth Day remarks in Newton, Iowa yesterday -- in the midst of flights that reportedly expended 9,000 gallons of jet fuel -- here is the President's take on this country's oil dependency (bold is mine):
Twenty percent of what we spend on imports is the price of our oil imports. ..... It's the cost we've known ever since the gas shortages of the 1970s.
And yet for more than 30 years, too little has been done about it. There's a lot of talk of action when oil prices skyrocket like they did last summer, and everybody says we've got to do something about energy independence. But then it slips from the radar when oil prices start falling like they have recently. So we shift from shock to indifference, time and again, year after year.
We can't afford that approach anymore, not when the costs for our economy, for our country and for our planet is so high.
So on this Earth Day, it is time for us to lay a new foundation for economic growth by beginning a new era of energy exploration in America.
Gosh, that sounds positively capitalist. You would think the guy is finally going to let the oil companies do what they do best.
Not a chance. Here, from later in the speech, is (I think, because he never used any variation of "explore" anywhere else in the speech) how President 'Prompter defines "exploration" (bolds are mine):
Of all the things for CNN to pick as an e-mail alert topic, AutoNation's profitable first-quarter results seemed quite an odd selection. But there it was:
It appears that CNN wanted harried readers who wouldn't dig deeper to think that the "auto industry" as a whole is recovering, or at least stabilizing, and that maybe there's even a way out for General Motors and Chrysler that doesn't involve a real bankruptcy.
Memo to CNN: Nice try, no sale. A desktop review of AutoNation's situation indicates that it is holding its own precisely because is relatively less dependent on Detroit's output than dealers as a whole, and less dependent domestically on Government, er, General Motors and Chrysler than it is on Ford.
CNN's actual report on AutoNation's results by Peter Valdes-Dapena told us how much sales declined in each of the company's major segments, but failed to tell us how important each segment is:
Almost a year ago, I was posting on what I called the "Supply-Side Stunner" (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog).
In April 2008, the US Treasury collected an all-time record $407.3 billion ($403.75 billion after subtracting the first $3.35 billion wave of stimulus checks, which really should have been treated as outlays, that went out just before month-end). It was an indication that, as I said at the time, "many (entrepreneurs, businesspeople, and investors) are thinking, in the face of relentless media harping to the contrary, that 2008 will be at least as profitable (as 2007)."
This year, it's shaping up to be the "Bailout Year Bummer." Uncle Sam's fiscal year began on October 1 of last year, mere days before Congress passed the legislation that has come to be known as TARP, and a bit more than three months after Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and Harry Reid promised to starve the economy of energy and punitively tax its highest producers, creating what I have since called the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy.
Through March, federal receipts were running 14% behind the previous year. Each month during the fiscal year has trailed the previous year, and degree of the difference has steadily increased.
A grisly late 2007 quadruple-murder case in the Cincinnati suburb of Sharonville has apparently been solved with the arrest of Santiago Moreno.
Moreno apparently brutally stabbed his four other apartment mates with near-surgical precision.
It is horrible that these men died. It is great news that the monster who did it has apparently been caught.
What is hard to understand is why after nearly 1-1/2 years, it's finally okay to use a certain "I-word" to describe the victims' immigration status that was almost never used when the original stories broke:
On April 14, The Toledo Blade, apparently having temporarily misplaced the comma key, reported that "Longtime Lucas County Sheriff James Telb and a top commander and two former deputies were indicted by a federal grand jury Tuesday on charges related to the 2004 death of an inmate at the jail" (HT to Maggie Thurber in an e-mail).
The Blade, which likes to brag about the over 1,000 articles (I'm not kidding) it carried about Republican Tom Noe's coin-dealing losses and related matters several years ago, nearly all of which reminded readers of Noe's GOP affiliation, "somehow" forgot to tell readers that Sheriff Telb is a Democrat (scroll down to list of "Uncontested Races" at link").
The Blade's blind spot on Sheriff Telb's party has been on display frequently since then. Telb's party affiliation is nowhere to be found in these other Blade reports:
Gosh, I thought you could just throw up a few solar panels, plug into the grid, and our energy problems would be solved in an environmentally perfect way. (/sarc)
Of course not.
Early this morning, Rita Beamish of the Associated Press reported that solar panel projects are running into problems with water availability and efforts to protect endangered species. But, as usual for a report on energy production, she fails to tell us how much the energy produced from such installations, if they ever go active, would cost.
Here are a few selected paragraphs from Beamish's report:
I could of course be commenting on the poor quality of the alleged journalism. But in this case I'm talking about their ratings, which is of course largely caused by said poor journalism.
Three weeks ago (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that the Big 3 networks' evening newscasts' combined ratings had dropped about 17% since the collective high they achieved during the week of January 26, the first full week after Barack Obama's nomination.
Make that 21%. In the 25-54 demographic, the drop has been 30%. And it's not just a seasonality thing. The collective drop compared to last year is over 4%, continuing a long-term decline the nets surely hoped they might prevent if they could just get their guy elected to the White House. No dice, guys.
Here is an updated week-by-week graph for each network since the first of the year, followed by some demographic and overall info (based on info found at the Evening News Ratings Category at Media Bistro's TV Newser):
MacsMind's post is in response to an all-too-predictable gusher delivered by Democratic operative disguised as Associated Press reporter Jennifer Loven on April 7 (bold is mine):
Cheered wildly by U.S. troops, President Barack Obama flew unannounced into Iraq on Tuesday and promptly declared it was time for Iraqis to "take responsibility for their country" after America's commitment of six years and thousands of lives.
"You have given Iraq the opportunity to stand on its own as a democratic country," the president said as he made a brief inspection of a war he opposed as candidate and now vows to end as commander in chief. "That is an extraordinary achievement."
MacsMind contends that the troop contingent was contrived, based on an e-mail he says he received "from a sergeant that was there." The corresponding sergeant also dropped a telltale clue (in bold):
Here's a Tea Party Wednesday engine-starter, so to speak.
This past week, while much the world focused on the terrorists in training euphemistically known as "pirates," and the more religious among us attended Holy Week services and celebrated the Resurrection, bean counters and government bureaucrats were trying to figure out just how much a bankruptcy at General Motors could cost the treasury .... Oh, I forgot, the treasury is empty. I should have said "how much future generations will pay for General Motors' current bankruptcy."
In a Sunday night/Monday morning story that 'skillfully' buried the lede, the New York Times's Micheline Maynard and Michael J. de la Merced misdirected readers with talk of a "surgical" bankruptcy, while saving for later paragraphs evidence they have indicating that, if it occurs, it won't be a bankruptcy as you or I understand it. Properly stated, it should be renamed "Operation Make UAW Members Nearly Whole at Taxpayers' Expense."
Meanwhile, the Detroit Free Press appears to be almost unique in reporting that, hard as it is to believe (kidding, of course), GM might not actually repay all of the monies "lent" by Uncle Sam.
But back at the Times, though they waited until Paragraph 10 to drop the big number on us, Maynard and de la Merced eventually made it clear that taking a bit of a principal hit on the government's loans might be the least of taxpayers' problems, given the skulduggery (and that is the right word) Barack Obama and Treasury Secretary Tim "Tax Cheat" Geithner have embarked upon:
In a report this morning on the situation off the coast on Somalia, Associated Press reporters Elizabeth A. Kennedy and Paul Jelinek seemed oddly sympathetic to the cause of the terrorists in training the world insists on calling "pirates," almost to the point of grudging admiration.
Check out some of the words the AP pair used in their 9:15 a.m. dispatch (saved at host for fair use and discussion purposes, and for future reference if or when the text changes) following the "breaking news alert" at the link:
Undeterred Somali pirates hijack 4 more ships
Undeterred by U.S. and French hostage rescues that killed five bandits, Somali pirates brazenly hijacked three more ships in the Gulf of Aden, the waterway at the center of the world's fight against piracy.
..... The latest trophy for the pirates was the M.V. Irene E.M., a Greek-managed bulk carrier sailing from the Middle East to South Asia, said Noel Choong, who heads the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting center in Kuala Lumpur.
The Irene was attacked and seized in the middle of the night Tuesday - a rare tactic for the pirates.
To keep up with what has happened in the aftermath of the odious Kelo v. New London Supreme Court eminent domain ruling nearly four years ago (quick answer: nothing that has to do with actually building anything), your truly gets alerts relating what is going happening in that Connecticut town. As a result, I occasionally get alerts concerning things about the affected Fort Trumbull area that while not directly tied to eminent domain, are nonetheless amusing.
Here's one: Did you know that we have government boards in many states wrestling with what to do about the supposedly imminent rises in ocean sea levels? Indeed we do, and poor, gullible Judy Benson of the New London Day decided to write about it.
Reactions from readers of the Day were justifiably less than uniformly kind.
Here are key paragraphs from Benson's report (Day link won't work without paid subscription after seven days):
Climate change poses challenges for the Connecticut coast
As was usually the case during Bill Clinton's presidency, the ascendancy of Dear Leader Barack Obama means that we will often have to consult the output of center-right commentators, and of course the Media Research Center and its affiliates, to cut through the establishment media's puffery to pick up even the most basic pieces of news.
I have bolded items in the excerpt below that represent news that was either not reported or vastly under-reported by what's left of the establishement media (there are even more examples at Krauthammer's full column):
That Joe Biden and the truth have been distant acquaintances from time to time was recently seen in March (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) when the Vice President claimed that Louisiana was losing 400 jobs a day. Louisiana at the time was actually gaining jobs.
The math-challenged Biden, who infamously said during the presidential campaign that the word “jobs” has three letters, is now making claims that he had face-to-face meetings with President Bush which aides and others don't recall or have a record of. Not surprisingly, Biden's narrative concerning these alleged meetings is meant to demonstrate what an influential truth-to-power guy he is.
Bill Sammon of Fox News has the story, which is a virtual lock not to make it into the established alphabet TV networks or into what's left of the establishment's newspapers:
The Associated Press's determination to keep the identity of Democrats in trouble or under investigation hidden is indeed strong and persistent.
Its report (as of 11:03 p.m.; a copy is saved here at my web host for future reference) on the launch of an ethics probe into Democrat Jesse Jackson Jr.'s relationship with ousted former Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich, particularly relating to Jackson’s bid to be appointed to the Senate seat left vacant by President Barack Obama, does not refer to Jackson or Blago as a Democrat. Any more, that's relatively unremarkable.
What is a bit more remarkable is that the underlying Chicago Sun-Times story on the impending probe refers to Jackson twice as a "D-Ill," once in the report's very first sentence and once in the picture caption copied at the top right (which, of all things, is apparently an AP file photo).
This means that AP had to proactively scrub the Democratic Party references already present in its underlying source.