Members of the liberal media continue to pile disrespect on the debt limit as the drumbeat for Congress to raise it grows louder. On Thursday’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell called the debt limit “a really dumb idea” and said there was no reason for it. That's right, she wants to get rid of it altogether.
Mitchell was talking to Rachel Maddow about the coming debt ceiling showdown in Congress when she made her comments. Maddow had just expressed hope that the country would reach an “adult moment” when Congress came together and raised the debt ceiling just in the nick of time. Mitchell seized on the “adult moment” line: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
At the top of Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams issued a dire warning to viewers about the possibility of a government shutdown: "Time running out until a big deadline, now days away, and it's getting ugly in Washington. Tonight, can anything be done to save our government from itself?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Introducing the later report, Williams again hyped how "the tone is getting uglier than normal in Washington, as lawmakers argue over funding the health care law." Chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd made it clear which party was being "ugly": "Another day of dysfunction and squabbling here in Washington as the clock ticks down for the potential government shutdown. Republicans trying to defund the President's health care law to do this shutdown."
Jay Leno took another comedic shot at the White House Thursday.
Early in his Tonight Show monologue on NBC, the host said, “President Obama now making his case for raising the debt limit. He said raising the debt limit does not increase debt – you know, like raising the speed limit does not increase speed” (video follows with commentary):
Appearing on Thursday's NBC Today, Meet the Press moderator David Gregory was already predicting the GOP would get the blame for a government shutdown: "Washington loves to engage in the same kind of destructive behavior every couple years, whether it needs to or not....There's a universal feeling that the party that's more divided, that's Republicans, will feel most of the heat on this from the public..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Referring to the fast-approaching debt ceiling, co-host Savannah Guthrie fretted: "...we now have a date on the real doomsday...we will reach the borrowing limit in this country no later than October 17." Gregory warned: "Well, I think it is a real crisis point because we know the kind of economic shock that the world, and certainly the U.S. economy, could feel if they were to take that step. That's why nobody messes with this and they always end up raising the debt ceiling, whether they want to or not."
Pundits and politicians are normally so slick that they can weasel their way out of even the most glaring of contradictions. "Depends on what the meaning of is, is," anyone? So it's particularly delicious, to use Noel Sheppard's trademark phrase, to see a talking head left absolutely cornered, babbling without response, when caught in the hypocrisy of a double-standard.
On today's Morning Joe, former Obama car czar Steve Rattner passed along the Obama admin line that negotiating with Republicans over raising the debt ceiling "is like negotiating with terrorists." With catlike quickness, Joe Scarborough pounced: "so you're saying Barack Obama was a terrorist in 2006 when he said he refused to raise the debt ceiling?" The cornered Rattner had no comeback, actually asking Mika Brzezinski of all people to "help me out here," then resorting to the lame "it's complicated" line. View the amusing video after the jump.
On Friday's PoliticsNation, MSNBC host Al Sharpton complained that the "Tea Party-fueled madness" of the GOP threatening to shut down the government would "take away health care from millions of people."
He went on to charge that Speaker John Boehner possesses "genuine political cowardice" because he is allowing the Tea Party to "run this country into the ground."
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News and Thursday's CBS This Morning, Nancy Cordes repeatedly played up how an unidentified Republican in the U.S. Senate attacked a House proposal to de-fund ObamaCare as "suicide". Cordes underlined that "Speaker Boehner was forced into the risky strategy by his right flank", and wondered if the plan was "just a recipe for a government shutdown".
Norah O'Donnell picked up where the correspondent left off, asserting that "there feels like something new about this fight this time...and that is that the Senate Republicans are saying to their colleagues in the House, you've gone crazy on this." Charlie Rose quickly added that these anonymous GOP senators were "describing it as a dumb idea".
Chris Matthews on Wednesday continued his assault on conservatives who oppose the funding of ObamaCare in the coming fiscal showdown, sneering that the "looney tunes" Republicans want to "kill the recovery." The Hardball anchor, who recently lost his 5pm slot and now can only be seen at 7pm, also bizarrely linked this to the President of Starbucks asking gun owners not to open carry in stores.
Refusing to even consider the legitimacy of conservative ideas, Matthews lectured, "I don't even think it's right to call it politics in the sane sense. There are dozens on the right who are deliberately plotting to jeopardize the U.S. economy by defaulting on the federal debt." Mocking conservatives as crazy, he continued, "It's that U.S. government the loony tunes are now pushing down, knocking the recovery off its feet with them." The host weirdly connected, "And while they're at it, they want to carry pistols, rifles, semiautomatics, whatever they want to carry, whatever firepower man has created in there when they go in to buy their frappuccinos." [See Video below. MP3 audio here.]
As usual, the AP and Kuhnhenn didn't look back at how U.S. Senator Barack Obama's debt-ceiling posture in 2006 sharply differed. Today, Mark Knoller at CBS New, after setting up Obama's plans for the day, which included speaking to Business Roundtable CEOs, did so in a series of tweets (HT Twitchy; bolds are mine):
On CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Tuesday, Sun Microsystems founder and Harvard-trained economist Scott Mc Nealy asserted the Federal Reserve has become a "marketing department" for the government and "shouldn't be in any business at all. They shouldn’t be in the business of taxing people by devaluing the dollar, and they shouldn’t be in the business of setting expectations."
He said the Fed should not be able to do "quantitative easing without going through Congress. It's an out of control branch of the U.S. government" that should be abolished:
A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll stumbled across a very interesting finding: 44 percent of respondents said they did not think Congress should raise the debt ceiling before the U.S. reaches it in October, while only half as many (22 percent) said Congress should raise it. On Friday, Andrea Mitchell reported that finding on her eponymous MSNBC program Andrea Mitchell Reports, but she dismissed it as reflecting a public that was ignorant of the debt ceiling debate.
As the poll results flashed on the screen, Mitchell declared, "Our polls show that people are not really that engaged. By two to one they think that Congress really should raise the debt ceiling-- or rather shouldn't, no 44 percent, yes 22 percent. But that seems to be sort of a very marginal number. They are not engaged because the debate is not yet engaged." In other words, Mitchell discounts the result because she believes the American public is blissfully ignorant, a rather condescending take. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Two such instances occurred in one speech on Friday in Binghamton, New York, where Obama told the audience at a "town hall" meeting that "we don't have an urgent deficit crisis," and that the deficit has "now dropped at the fastest rate in 60 years." Neither statement made it into Julie Pace's onsite coverage of Obama's visit. Later that day back in Washington, the AP's Jim Kuhnhenn was still running cover for Obama (bolds are mine):
Potentially the most dishonest aspect of the Obama-loving media's reporting since January 20, 2009, pertains to how they've almost totally ignored how poorly the economy is performing.
On Tuesday, Michael T. Snyder, author of the gloom and doom book "The Beginning of the End," wrote a fabulous piece titled "33 Shocking Facts Which Show How Badly The Economy Has Tanked Since Obama Became President":
A November 15, 2010 blog post by Michael S. Derby at the Wall Street Journal ("San Francisco Fed Official Says QE2 Is Working") told us that "The Federal Reserve‘s recently announced plan to buy $600 billion in Treasury securities to improve economic growth is having a positive effect on growth." The Fed official involved also predicted "the U.S. gross domestic product to come in at 2.5% this year (2010), and at 3.5% next year and 4.5% the year after that."
Uh, not exactly. Actual GDP results: 2.5% in 2010 (that was a gimme), followed by 1.8% and 2.8% in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Almost three years letter, the San Fran Fed's acknowledged result of that effort at "quantitative easing" — it "added about 0.13 percentage point to real GDP growth in late 2010" — is starkly different, and is only "positive" if you think a football team managing one field goal in four quarters is "positive." Of course, though it should be, the news is getting very little coverage.
One thing which is arguably worse for one's health than Obamacare is the act of reading a Paul Krugman column at the New York Times.
In his latest equivalent of a DNC press release on Thursday published in Friday's print edition, Krugman lambasted GOP Senator Rand Paul and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor as "politicians who gleefully add to the misinformation" the general public allegedly has about "the deficit" (more on that shortly). But "somehow," he a delusional statement made by Democratic U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu to a veteran earlier this month, as recounted by Army Lieutenant Colonel Andre Dean Benton (bolds are mine; note the weak headline more than likely chosen by the paper and not Benton):
Over the weekend, The New York Times promoted its July 24 interview with President Obama – after being shut out for almost three years – but reporters Jackie Calmes and Michael “Macaca” Shear couldn’t find time for a single question about the IRS scandal, Benghazi, or other Obama scandals. They found time to ask a softball about whether Obama would help observe the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. This could explain Obama’s last words: “Thanks, guys. Appreciate you.”
But Calmes and Shear did throw a series of hardballs about how Obama’s not getting around Republican obstructionism on the economy. In a question pushing to end the sequester, Calmes spurred Obama to talk about his passion for deficit reduction (despite the need for a laugh track, he’s not kidding):
Yesterday, President Obama gave another warmed-over version of the same economic policy speech that’s been given for the past five years at Knox College in Illinois. He saved the automobile industry. He’s overseeing an economic recovery. Republicans are intransigent. And he’s the best person to ever breathe oxygen on this planet. Yada, yada, yada.
Now with polls showing a record number of people calling for the repeal of ObamaCare, the president needed to pivot towards, well, jobs – again. Not that the liberal media have noticed the maddeningly repetitive same-old, same-old of it all. We’re getting to the point where the media should be calling the president out on this tactic, although with very few exceptions, no one's doing that.
CBS's Bob Schieffer got a much-needed lesson in recent history Sunday.
During a Face the Nation discussion with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Oh.), after the host wrongly claimed sequester was "the creation of Congress," Boehner interrupted him saying, "That's wrong. Who insisted on the sequester? The President of the United States" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Well, it’s Washington Post official: the sequestration wasn’t all that bad after all. In fact, you could classify it as a dud, according to none other than Ezra Klein, a favored pet pundit of many a liberal MSNBC panel.
In a June 30 item at his Wonkblog, Klein concluded that the experts were “mostly wrong” concerning the impact of the cuts. At the same time, conservatives saw from the beginning that the actual amount of cutbacks, which was only $44 billion, would have a de minimis impact on the economy. However, government spending increased over the past year, just at a lower rate of growth than originally planned, so in real terms, there were no real cuts to speak of in real terms.
The most interesting thing (to me, at least) about Wednesday's report in the Los Angeles Times by Ricardo Lopez on how the author of an economic report out of UCLA has said that the U.S. economy's performance since the recession officially ended in June 2009 stinks -- "It's not a recovery. It's not even normal growth. It's bad" -- is how the Associated Press relayed it to its readers and subscribers. I don't recall ever seeing a 15-plus paragraph report go unbylined, but this one did.
Maybe whoever wrote the AP item didn't want to incur the wrath of his or her colleague Tom Raum, who early last week wrote that the economy is "clearly, if slowly" recovering. It's also somewhat likely that Christopher Rugaber, who wrote "Gone are the fears that the economy could fall into another recession" in early April, might be a bit miffed. Choice nuggets from Lopez's LAT lament follow the jump:
Martin Bashir on Tuesday said New York Times columnist Paul Krugman "deserves the Nobel Peace Prize."
Yes, the MSNBC host said Peace Prize - not one for economics - all because the perilously liberal economist has advocated more deficit spending and even more federal debt to stimulate the economy (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):
On Monday's NBC Today, correspondent Tom Costello fretted over the impact of modest reductions in government spending: "401 parks, battlefields, monuments, seashores, volcanos, and deserts make up the National Park System....But the parks and their future are under stress....The Park Service budget hasn't changed since 2006....Now the sequester is forcing another $153 million in cuts just as tourist season begins."
During a similar report on Nightly News that evening, Costello warned viewers: "Park advocates say for years the parks have been underfunded. Now some are in trouble....Despite rising costs, the Park Service budget has been flat for seven years and now has lost another $153 million in the sequester."
On Wednesday's CBS This Morning, open Obama supporter Gayle King strongly hinted to Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn that he would face voter backlash for seeking cuts in the federal budget to pay for tornado disaster relief: "You voted against relief plans for Hurricane Sandy, and it sounds that you would do the same if it was raised in Oklahoma. Do you worry about alienating your constituents?"
The Republican politician shot back that he didn't want the next generation to foot the bill for the recovery from the EF-5 tornado that devastated Moore, Oklahoma on Monday, and then strongly criticized the multi-billion dollar Hurricane Sandy relief package audio available here; video below the jump]:
As the media, by and large, ignores the train wreck that is on the horizon with ObamaCare, yet another union has jumped ship on the president’s health care overhaul. Back in April, you may recall, the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers, and Allied Workers officially said thanks but no thanks to the president’s plan.
Well, now, a major labor union in the grocery industry is balking at the policy. According to The Hill:
Having two months ago said that his high taxes were leading him to consider dumping liberalism, HBO's Real Time host said Friday, "If you’re rich you should be begging the government to redistribute your wealth" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The left's media-echo chamber just got louder. On Thursday morning in a claimed exclusive, the Politico reported that "(Former presidential adviser and campaign official David) Plouffe will appear regularly on Bloomberg Television to offer analysis and commentary on political and business issues as they impact the intersection of Wall Street, Main Street and K Street and will lend his expertise to the discussion of technology, demographic changes and crisis management."
That day at his new place of work, in response to a "kerfuffle" over errors in an academic paper which showed that, throughout history, government debt levels have held back economic growth -- errors which the authors insisted in a New York Times op-ed did not alter the fundamental validity of their conclusions, Plouffe delivered exactly what one would expect of a "former" lead Obama apparatchik:
Any time you see an establishment press reporter fail to use quotation marks in characterizing something said by a subject of his or her report, be on the lookout for misdirection, misinterpretation, and downright distortion, especially if the person is a conservative or Republican. A story at Politico by Donovan Slack early this afternoon about the reactions of House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to President Obama's budget is a case in point. Slack pretended that Boehner said something he simply did not say.
Slack wrote: "House Speaker John Boehner hit President Obama's budget for failing to cut enough spending while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell dismissed it as 'just another left-wing wish list.'" Slack didn't quote Boehner. Boehner didn't come anywhere close to saying what Slack claims he said, as seen in the complete text of the Speaker's statement (video is at the link) following the jump:
Update (April 5): Fisker has laid off three-quarters of its workforce at its headquaters in Anaheim, owes DOE approximately $193 million | With a substantial repayment of the $529 million loan guarantee it received almost four years ago -- courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer -- coming due at the end of the month, the electric car company Fisker is exploring the idea of filing for bankruptcy before then. Sources have confirmed that an influential law firm from Chicago has been hired to help with the proceedings.
The major networks have been reticent on the subject however, as if they have no intention of breaking the next Solyndra-like scandal. It should be noted that no cars have been built since last July, and 200 of Fisker's American employees were recently furloughed.
The saga all began in 2009 when the Obama administration handed out $1 billion worth of loans to two electric car manufacturers, Fisker and Tesla. The latter appears to be on the verge of becoming profitable, but that assumes there's going to be a substantial number of people willing to pay near $1200 per month in leasing charges.
Fisker promised to do the majority of its auto assembly in Delaware, home of Vice President Joe Biden. Private investment partner Al Gore predicted that tens of thousands would be rolling off the the assembly lines there someday. But alas, two years later, it was revealed that production had shifted to Finland, where 500 workers had been hired to build the $100,000 cars called Karma.
Another report exposed that only 40 cars had been built at the time, and just two had been delivered. One of which was to actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio. Adding insult to injury, over 230 were recalled in late 2011 because of a fire hazard risk in the battery compartment. Luckily, very few were in the hands of consumers anyway.
Asked for comment back in October of 2011, founder and executive chairman Henrik Fisker was defiant. "We're not in the business of failing; we're in the business of winning," he said. "So we make the right decision for the business. That's why we went to Finland." Nearly a year and a half later, he would resign from the company that bears his namesake - citing 'differences with company management' in a March 2013 statement.
Now that the Kirkland & Ellis law firm is getting involved, to presume that a bankruptcy filing is coming isn't far-fetched. We'll keep our eyes open for the media's attention to this, but we're not holding our breath.