You can't make this stuff up. The titled quote comes from a Bloomberg story today about new GM Chairman Ed Whitacre. You also can't make up most of the media's calm acceptance of yet another person heavily involved with running General Motors, aka Government Motors, who knows next to nothing about cars except as a consumer who drives them.
At least it's refreshing that this guy has experience running a business, which is more than you can say about the other two architects of the company as it currently subsists.
On May 31, the New York Times put out a fawning portrayal of the a Mr. Brian Deese, the guy who was the only full-timer on President-elect and then President Obama's car team from Election Night until mid-February.
Fasten your seat belts, this guy's lack of any kind of pedigree will have you death-gripping the steering wheel, as will the smug dismissiveness of a business system that has been the most successful in human history:
If you stand in the way of President Barack Obama's agenda, beware because there may be a litany of consequences that could result from your act - regardless if the obstacle is legitimate or not.
On June 8, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg issued a stay to review an appeal by a trio of Indiana pension and construction funds that own a part of Chrysler's secured debt. They claimed the administration's handling of the deal that would have sold Chrysler's assets to Italian automaker Fiat (BIT:F) arbitrarily threw 150 years of bankruptcy law out without process of law.
Actor Jon Voight, who recently spoke critically of President Obama at a Republican fundraiser, appeared on Tuesday's The O'Reilly Factor to reiterate his problems with Obama. After recounting that America was "warned" by Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden during the Democratic primary season that Obama "had no experience" and was a "novice," the conservative actor reminded FNC viewers of the unheeded warnings about Obama's connections to questionable figures like Bill Ayers and the Reverend Jeremiah Wright:
Look, he was a fellow who was associated with all the wrong people. The signs were up. His associations with Bill Ayers, Alinsky, with ACORN, with Pfleger, with Wright. But no one seemed to take the warnings. And his inexperience was quite evident.
Many have claimed the federal government was playing fast and loose with the rules surrounding its takeover of General Motors and the circumstances surrounding the selection of which dealerships would remain open and those that wouldn't. Fox News' Gretchen Carlson came forward with evidence of this through a personal account of dealership closings.
"I'd like to get a hold of the car czar too," Carlson said. "Never did I think personally that I would need to get a hold of him, but now I do because my parents have owned a General Motors dealership in Anoka, Minn., for 90 years and they were terminated last week and they would like to know why. They would like to know why from the car czar."
The Obama administration’s arguably unconstitutional and potentially illegal makeover/takeover of General Motors and Chrysler hit a legal road block on June 8, when Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg issued a stay preventing Team Obama’s plan to sell Chrysler to the Italian automaker Fiat. This speed bump was a great opportunity for the media to pay attention to objections to the White House’s reckless executive-branch manipulation of the auto business.
President Bush and his team were regularly savaged by the media elite if they so much as sniffed a hint of evasion over the rule of law and the bounds of constitutional authority in fighting terrorism. So why is President Obama’s unprecedented intervention in the auto industry, including a TARP-fund bailout expressly ruled out by Congress, all but ignored?
Even with the Supreme Court order, the nightly news shows of CBS and NBC gave the decision just a few seconds of air time, the equivalent of a stifled yawn, and never went anywhere near describing the strange bankruptcy proceedings the Obama administration has cooked up to manipulate the industry to its liking.
In the ever-expanding aura of liberal hysteria surrounding MSNBC, Chris Matthews is regularly outpaced by the formerly coherent sportscaster, Keith Olbermann. But Matthews may have won the nightly laurel wreath last night, with his insight on Sarah Palin’s warning against federal bailouts.
The offending quote from Palin is not unlike many other things heard from other current leading Republicans:
GOVERNOR SARAH PALIN: We need to be aware of the creation of a fearful population and a fearful lawmakers being lead that believe that big government is the answer. To bail out the private sector because then government gets to get in there and control it and, mark my words, this is going to happen next I fear, bail out next debt-ridden states, then government gets to get in there and control the people.
Palin is referring to the possible federal use of forced funded mandates. It is conceivable that, if a Mark Sanford is legally required to use federal money, with all of its attached mandates, state governments could be forced to use more money to provide more services – possibly services that the voters in the states do not need or desire. That is conservatism du jour these days – and not rhetoric outside the norm, for the GOP.
Ed Frank created an interesting little video that serves as a stark reminder of how harsh the Old Media was on Bush's "faltering" economy in comparison to today's hearts and flowers style of reporting during the age of Obama, even though the stats are far, far worse under Obama than they ever were under Bush.
Frank's video is shocking for its revelation of how Bush was slapped around and how every economic indicator during his tenure in the White House was deemed as obvious proof of the supposed though times we then faced. Yet now, every dismal indicator is celebrated as if recovery just around the corner. Under Bush the Old Media was sure the economy was a wreck, now the wreck proves we will surely be saved by Summer!
There is happy-talk and then there is delusion. The Associated Press has just approached the delusional stage with its recent assessment of what the unemployment numbers mean. Absurdly, the AP seems to imagine that the continued job losses under Obama means that job hunters are experiencing "raising hopes"! It's like sitting on the Titanic pleased that taking on water raises hopes that a nice, relaxing bath is will soon be at hand.
The first paragraph of the story claims that since last month saw a few less layoffs, why, that is saying that what we have here is "the brightest hope yet that an economic recovery" will take hold later this year. What does the AP offer as proof? Not a whole lot, sadly. In fact, the very next paragraph sort of torpedoes the first. After this "brightest hope" business, the AP gives us this:
Even if they ultimately lose their last-minute court battle, the Indiana pension funds defending their rights as secured first-lien creditors of Chrysler have done a valuable deed.
We have learned, among many other things, how at least one government lawyer characterized the funds' lawyer, Thomas Lauria.
A $10,000 Democratic Party donor, Lauria, despite clear evidence of intimidation of his originally larger pool of clients by Barack Obama himself (in his April 30 speech announcing the company's bankruptcy filing) and his car guys, has nonetheless bravely pursued the important contract law and fiduciary duty issues involved in the shortchanging of his clients for several weeks.
Wait until you see the word the government lawyer used to describe Lauria.
On CNBC, Tony Fratto, former White House Spokesman for President Bush, has used the nice word -- that would be "deception" -- to say that Barack Obama is lying about his claims that his "stimulus" efforts saved any American jobs. Not only does Fratto devastate the administration's claims to have saved jobs, but he rightfully points out that the lapdog media is letting Obama get away with the deceit.
Fratto calls the jobs-saved rhetoric a "breathtaking deception" and is aghast at the "gullibility of the Washington press corps" for reporting Obama's claims with a straight face and an un-skeptical eye.
Oh, it isn't that the numbers that Obama uses to make his claims are somewhat jiggured, but that the whole claim is impossible to figure all the way around and Obama's economic team knows it, according to Fratto. The claim is simply a fiction, a fantasy, a claim made based on no numbers and no ability to find them.
In a time when fiscal responsibility from politicians seems to be a thing of the past, NBC’s “Today Show” and ABC’s “World News with Charles Gibson” criticized California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for his proposed budget cuts in his effort to save California from reaching total financial ruin.
The June 3rd “Today Show” featured numerous opponents of Schwarzenegger’s budget cuts, but nobody supporting or defending them.
The segment began with a clip of the governor stating: “Our wallet is empty. Our bank is closed, and our credit is dried up,” a fact that does not seem to bother NBC, as they mourn the proposed solution to this problem: the cutting of what they deemed “essential services.”
In what could be a new record for the Morning Joe crew, Joe Scarborough exploded into an anti-media rant today – a mere six minutes and forty-one seconds into the show. From review of the tape, it is clear that Scarborough had not missed his morning coffee – so that was apparently not the reason for his detonation. What, then, set Scarborough off?
This Scarborough eruption was brought to you by the past (and continuing) failure of the main-stream media to cover President Obama fairly. In Mika Brzezinski’s morning news rundown, there was (what was supposed to be) a short segment on President Obama’s comments yesterday; regarding the latest in a series of auto-maker bailouts:
JOE SCARBOROUGH: How can he say that with a straight face? Seriously. This is one of the things that's troubling about this President is he can say things with a straight face that the media does not call him on.
After arguing the details of the President’s proposal at length (length for a TV show...), Brzezinski provided this gem:
Roll Call is reporting that during the typical Friday afternoon document dump -- a practice used to hide actions that might prove somewhat embarrassing to the White House -- the administration quietly announced that some of the former restrictions on lobbying ballyhooed about during the late campaign have been lifted. And now, we have to wonder: will the media notice this sudden change? I mean, a whole day has gone by and so far only Roll Call has mentioned it.
"Dealergate" is a term referring to a collection of evidence indicating that dealership termination decisions at bankrupt Chrysler may have been based on factors other than maximizing the chances that the company, post-bankruptcy, will be viable and profitable.
Josh Painter at RedState has a roundup focusing on what have been the primary concerns, which continue to be vetted by Doug Ross (here, here, here, and here), Joey Smith, and several others. Those concerns are that dealers with records of supporting Republican candidates and organizations were disproportionately terminated in comparison to those with records of supporting Democratic candidates and causes, and that certain terminated right-leaning dealers have seen their territories gobbled up by Democratic Party-connected business cronies.
A separate but very relevant Dealergate issue should be whether minority-owned dealerships were unfairly spared at the expense of non-minority dealers.
Earlier today at my blog, I noted in a post updating the sad situations at bankrupt Chrysler and headling-for-bankruptcy General Motors, that GM is, according to a Wednesday Reuters report, offering secured bondholders a much better deal than the 29 cents on the dollar Chrysler's secured creditors have been offered. Chrysler's "non-TARP secured lenders," after what they allege with much evidential support was a campaign of threats and intimidation by President Obama and the White House, abandoned their efforts to have their first-lien rights recognized in bankruptcy court.
But Indiana pension funds holding some of that secured debt representing teachers, police, and other workers have taken legal action objecting to the terms of the Chrysler bankruptcy that don’t give first-lien lenders their proper and legal due.
It thus appears, despite a chest-thumping May 2 assertion in the New York Times that the White House's Chrysler hardball might have taught GM lenders a "lesson," that Obama and his car guys don't have the stomach for riding roughshod over the rights of GM's secured bondholders and ending up with the possibility of another bankruptcy moving into a regular federal district court (the Indiana situation could be the first).
Now what? Well, if you're Team Obama, you instead try to put the screws to GM's unsecured bondholders -- to the benefit of the United Auto Workers' Voluntary Employee Benefits Association (VEBA) trust.
The Fed and the FDIC have waived lending and borrowing rules for GMAC in order to ease consumer borrowing for GM and Chrysler cars, and the Washington Post doesn't seem to find anything unusual about this:
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. granted a rare approval to a program that will allow GMAC to raise money cheaply and take on lending for Chrysler. The Federal Reserve had to waive a rule separating banking and commerce that would have prevented GMAC, which just became a bank holding company, from lending to GM customers because the auto maker is a major shareholder in GMAC.
According to the Post, "The decision by regulators to grant these waivers demonstrates the lengths the government is going to prop up the nation's auto industry." Well, Ford Motors is also part of the auto indutry, but it doesn't appear that Ford Credit is going to benefit from this program, so it's not the auto industry that's getting breaks, it's the now-government-un car companies.
For the Fed to make an exception to its rule separating banks and commercial enterprises would not be unprecedented. The Fed took such a step in its original decision to bring GMAC under the agency's umbrella and it made similar moves involving other financial companies.
On May 15, I posted (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) on the Obama administration's and government-run Chrysler's blatant deception concerning whether plants would be closed as a result of the company's bankruptcy filing.
Specifically, on April 29 and 30, Obama, the administration and Chrysler told senators, congressmen, state and local politicians, and local and regional union leaders that the bankruptcy (these are Obama's words) "will not disrupt the lives of the people who work at Chrysler or the communities that depend on it." Those who heard this and other reassurances reasonably concluded that no plants would be permanently closed. But on May 1, government-run Chrysler announced that it would close plants in Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Days later, hundreds of Chrysler dealers were terminated.
The national media establishment has treated all of this as a non-story, so I expect it will do the same with this update from the Cleveland Plain Dealer. It includes news that two Ohio congressmen, one Democrat and one Republican, are demanding documents relating to the who, what, where, when, and why of the plant-closing decisions:
What is the idea of the American dream, of working hard and achieving something, and knowing that all, you know, half your wealth is going to someone who didn't do that?
So asked CNBC's Maria Bartiromo Thursday during a stirring discussion with a union advocate who had the nerve to claim the problems in the auto industry were all caused by a lack of a nationalized healthcare system, and that only the top one percent of wage earners in America should pay federal income taxes.
Unlike most media members who would have applauded such sentiments coming from one of their guests, Bartiromo pushed back, with respect and professional courtesy not seen much from journalists these days, and in a fashion that would make many Americans currently concerned about their nation's direction a wee bit nostalgic and tremendously proud.
What follows is a partial transcript of this exchange, as well as an embedded video of the entire segment:
In Part I (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) of my coverage of Martin Crutsinger's Associated Press report about Uncle Sam's Monthly Treasury Statement and the Obama administration's deficit projections, I noted that the government "miraculously" shrunk the deficit through March, the first six months of its fiscal year, by $175 billion, by employing an "accounting change."
Even though this "accounting change," which does not report TARP disbursements as outlays because they are considered "investments," violates fundamental cash-flow reporting principles, Crutsinger gave the change an unskeptical treatment. He also failed to tell readers whether the administration used the old or new method in calculating its latest full-year deficit projection of $1.84 trillion. If Team Obama used the new method to determine it, the deficit under the old and more correct method will more than likely be over $2 trillion.
Crutsinger also failed to report the steep dive in federal receipts that took place in April, which is the government's highest month for collections, compared to last year's all-time record April haul, which I referred to as the "Supply-Side Stunner," and which Crutsinger and others also failed to report when it occurred last year (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog).
Here is how April 2009 collections compared to April of 2008:
Remember back in March when Congress had the brilliant idea to retroactively tax bonuses paid out by bailed out insurer American International Group (AIG)? The House voted 328 to 93 for the 90-percent tax on the $165 million in bonuses, but it later died in the Senate.
Steve Moore, a member of The Wall Street Journal's editorial board, explained on CNBC's May 13 "Street Signs" that the punitive retroactive tax was just a distraction to divert attention away from the culpability of Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., for the current financial crisis.
"Remember, Barney Frank was one of the guys right at the center of the financial crisis," Moore said. "I think he had a lot of the blame of this lays at his foot. He said roll the dice on Fanny and Freddie. So the point is I think that these Democrats are trying to redirect the populist storm against members of Congress like Chris Dodd and Barney Frank towards executives. So, I'm not so sure he didn't want that to pass as a way of deflecting criticism."
It is disappointing, but not at all surprising, that the Democratic Party affiliation of the politicians involved in the union-driven campaign to force Wells Fargo Bank not to liquidate the Chicago-area operations of Hartmarx, the high-end clothier which has made suits for President Obama, has not been noted in the vast majority of stories I have reviewed about ongoing developments there.
The two Illinois politicians (there are others named below) are Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, who has formed a US Senate seat exploratory committee in hopes of unseating current occupant Roland Burris, and 13th District Congressman Phil Hare.
The situation, for those just learning of it, is described pretty well at this Chicago Sun-Times story by Sandra Guy, who at least flagged Hare's Democratic affiliation:
Even after Hart Schaffner Marx plant workers in Des Plaines unanimously stood up shouting their approval of staging a sit-in if Wells Fargo presses their parent company to liquidate, Wells Fargo said parent company Hartmarx is unable to repay more than $114 million it owes the bank.
The Obama White House revised up 2009's budget deficit projections to $1.8 trillion Monday, and the press blamed it on George W. Bush.
Without considering how the current budget passed last year with virtually no Republican support, and that all spending associated with this record-breaking deficit was either approved by Senator Obama or signed into law by President Obama, news outlets echoed what Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag ascribed as the culprit in his blog:
The deficits in these years, now projected to be 12.9 percent and 8.5 percent of GDP, respectively, are driven in large part by the economic crisis inherited by this Administration.
The New York Times accepted this assessment without question in its article on the subject Tuesday:
During his first 100 days as President, Barack Obama has pushed an audaciously liberal agenda which, if enacted, would have radical consequences for America for decades. With Democrats enjoying monopoly control of the House and Senate, the news media have a professional duty to scrutinize those policies, and give audiences both sides of the story — not just the perspective of a powerful Chief Executive.
Unfortunately, a Media Research Center analysis of ABC, CBS and NBC evening news coverage of President Obama’s first 100 days in office shows network reporters have failed as watchdogs. The networks have raised few doubts about Obama’s left-wing agenda and showered each of Obama’s major policy initiatives with positive press.
MRC analysts looked at all 982 broadcast evening news stories about Obama and his administration from Inauguration Day (January 20) through April 29. Key findings:
On Friday, Media Research Center President Brent Bozell appeared on Fox News Channel's "Hannity" program in the "Great American Panel" segment. The topics included the stimulus package:
BRENT BOZELL: No one read this bill in the Congress, because we had to pass it because there was such a need to get this going so we could create jobs and give everything away. How much of the stimulus bill have we spent? Four percent. So much for that need. This is a fraud.
SEAN HANNITY: So this was really about bigger government? This is a fraud. This was greater control of government.
Also discussed was the resignation of White House Military Office director Louis Caldera, who authorized the ill-advised low-altitude flyover of lower Manhattan by Air Force One:
On the heels of President Barack Obama's weekend radio address, where he lobbied for so-called credit card reform, "CBS Evening News" chimed in calling the legislation "help" for small business borrowers.
"Evening News" anchor Russ Mitchell referred to Obama's address about the need for new credit card regulation on May 10 and backed up Obama's claim with data from the Center for Responsible Lending, an activist organization that calls for more stringent regulation of all lenders.
"President Obama called, this weekend, for passage of his credit card consumer protection bill by the end of the month," Mitchell said. "According to a recent survey, four out of five Americans are paying lots more since December. The Center for Responsible lending found that an estimated 10 million users were hit by rate increases of at least 10 percent. And, it's not just consumers who are paying the price - nearly half of all small business owners have seen interest rates higher than 15 percent during the past four months."
It's a whole new wrinkle on the old joke about accountants (when asked what 2 + 2 is, he or she replies, "What do you want it to be?").
The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the reported results of the financial institution stress tests were negotiated:
Banks Won Concessions on Tests Fed Cut Billions Off Some Initial Capital-Shortfall Estimates; Tempers Flare at Wells
The Federal Reserve significantly scaled back the size of the capital hole facing some of the nation's biggest banks shortly before concluding its stress tests, following two weeks of intense bargaining.
The overall reaction to the stress tests, announced Thursday, has been generally positive. But the haggling between the government and the banks shows the sometimes-tense nature of the negotiations that occurred before the final results were made public.
It's also clear that the negotiations were over clearly non-trivial amounts:
Shoot, he's only talking about pulling $8 billion in state-controlled money because a bank won't go easy on a business borrower who can't pay. What's the big deal?
Well, the story involves the company that makes suits for President Barack Obama (pictured at right). Beyond that, the union at that company is citing the US Treasury Department's Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) as a reason that company's bank should in essence bail it out.
You might think that these two factors, combined with what I'm characterizing as a loyalty oath all financial institutions who do business with the State of Illinois must soon agree to (covered later), might make the Treasurer's and union's threats a national story. You would be wrong.
Here is most of the very short AP item, carried at the Springfield (IL) State Journal-Register, and referred to me by a NewsBusters commenter:
For whatever reason, CNBC keeps lining up challengers to take on its Chicago Mercantile Exchange floor reporter Rick Santelli over his self-reliance, pro-taxpayer persona - whether it's Steve Liesman, Arianna Huffington or this time, Keith Boykin - editor of The Daily Voice, a CNBC contributor and a BET TV host.
ON CNBC's May 7 "The Call," Santelli took on Boykin in the program's "The Call of the Wild" segment. Boykin was armed with the usual anti-George W. Bush talking points to defend President Barack Obama and his policies.
"Look what he inherited first of all," Boykin said.
"He didn't inherit anything," Santelli said. "He ran for office, it was his choice."