Will There Be a Corresponding Media Call to Pitchforks?Please don't halt respiratory activity in the waiting.
Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are two public-private partnerships known as Government Sponsored Entities (GSEs). Wherein the executive staff, populated with woefully unqualified, egregiously overpaid political crony appointees, get to play housing market roulette with the House's (read: OUR) money.
Freddie and Fannie have spent the last two decades plus buying up nearly every horrendous home loan the federal government forced banks to make to unqualified borrowers. While the going was good, so too were the profits and attending bonuses for these political hacks posing as home lending experts.
But when the market collapsed, Freddie and Fannie were left holding the toxic asset bag. And by Freddie and Fannie I mean us. You and me. We tax payers.
It came and went - and some might not have even noticed it - despite the seriousness of its use. On April 2, CNBC's Jim Cramer proclaimed the Depression over.
Throughout that day, the "Mad Money" host told viewers of MSNBC's "Morning Joe," CNBC's "Street Signs" and finally on his own program that the Depression was over and that we were on the verge of a bull run for the financial markets.
"We have reached the land of a thousand bull dances - phoney maroney, why? Because the market swallowed its Prozac," Cramer said on CNBC's "Mad Money" April 2. "And right now, right here on this show - I am announcing the Depression over!"
For The New York Times economic scene section for March 31, David Leonhardt came across with one of the most amazing admissions about Obama that I've ever seen in the Times. Namely that Barack Obama is just like Hitler. Now, many of you may be solemnly shaking your head in agreement, but in so doing you would be missing why the Times was comparing Obama to Hitler. You see, Leonhardt didn't mean it as an insult. He was saying that it was a good thing that Barack was being like Hitler at least in an economic sense.
Here Leonhardt is taking the trains-on-time track with his Hitler angle by saying that, despite that whole Holocaust and World War II business, Hitler's policies were good for Germany. So good, in fact, that he celebrates the ways he sees that Obama is emulating the mustachioed mad-man's economic prescriptions with the massive takeover of the economy and bloated government spending on "stimulus."
You know the left has lost it when they are invoking the "success" of Hitler to prop up The One!
With the G20 meeting in London, there have been raucous protests - clashes with police in riot gear, destruction of property at nearby banks and even the death of one man from a heart attack. And the media have gone out of their way to cover every sordid detail.
"Look, I got a note from a friend of mine in Orlando who pointed out there were more people at a taxpayer tea party in Orlando a week ago than there are in London," Gingrich said on Fox News Channel's April 1 "On the Record with Greta van Sustren." "They just didn't get any coverage out of the media. There were more people recently in Cincinnati at a taxpayer tea party than there have been demonstrating in London. But the London demonstrators are breaking windows, they're being violent, and you know, the media is always happy to cover the anarchic and violent left."
On Tuesday, both USA Today and the Associated Press highlighted guarded optimism that seemed a bit beyond the justifiable after the release of March's sales results for the auto industry.
Though there is perhaps some cause for hope, both reports made more out of the industry's roughly 25% sales pickup from February to March (compared to a typical 20% in previous years) than was justified. More importantly, both reports failed to specifically cite:
Continued market-share losses at bailed-out General Motors and Chrysler.
Ford's disproportionate share of that decent but not exceptional industrywide February to March pickup (seen in a chart after the jump).
It's no secret the Bush administration used fear tactics to push the $700-billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) through Congress last fall. Both members of the House and the Senate have come out after the fact and disclosed the details.
However, the method the Treasury Department employed to get banks to go along with the TARP bailout breached legal boundaries to the point of "extortion," according to Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Andrew Napolitano, a former Superior Court Judge for the state of New Jersey.
Napolitano told viewers on FNC's April 1 "Studio B" that he had a conversation with a head of $250-billion bank that explained the federal government, under the threat of an audit, forced him to accept TARP funds.
Socialist International President George Papandreou has a lot in common with President Barack Obama.
Both the world leaders have called for nations to come together to solve the global recession and both claim it is necessary to focus on a green economy. Papandreou, who is likely to become Greece's next Prime Minister, was encouraged by Obama's "very new signal" about global goals for economic recovery.
"The United States under Barack Obama is giving out a very new signal which is, ‘We need to collaborate.' And I think that is very important for our planet today. We need to collaborate," Papandreou told Nicole Petallides of the Fox Business Network April 1. "The issues are global and if we do collaborate we can actually say that we can change the economy. We can change some of the structures that created this crisis and we can make sure that we uh, that we create the jobs for people - and jobs for workers in the United States."
The Associated Press did a masterful job of portraying Republican Governors as perpetrating "noncompliance" for how they want to spend Obama's education stimulus money. But, even as the AP spends the top half of a story wagging fingers at those nasty Republicans for not spending Obama's generous gift the right way, buried in the story it is revealed that the fault is really with how the stimulus bill was written, not in how GOP governors wish to spend it. Ah, but it's much better to make Republicans look like bad guys than it is to blame Democrat Congressmen for writing a bad bill, isn't it?
Even worse, the point AP is trying to promulgate is that these evil governors are hurting "the children" by not spending on education the way Obama says they should. Yes, the AP and the Obama administration are again hiding massive increases in federal control behind help for "the children." It's agenda journalism at its finest... or worst, depending on your point of view.
Arianna Huffington, who appeared as a guest host on CNBC's March 31 "Squawk Box" has following of left-wing readers and bloggers, as the editor of the very popular Huffington Post blog. The two faced off on "Squawk Box" about how the housing crisis should be handled. Huffington asked Santelli what his thoughts were on more government assistance for underwater homeowners to prevent another round of foreclosures.
"Well, the whole country is underwater I guess," Santelli replied. "It's just a matter of where you want to point the bailout gun. I would certainly like to see some of those mortgage contracts gone through to find out where the erroneous and inaccurate and illegal contracts and separate those from the rest because I think that a lot of the information on the original mortgage contracts is not accurate and I don't think it would be very fair to put those in the same camp as other foreclosures."
And to think we were "only" worried about having a known Tax Cheat overseeing everyone's taxes.
With Barney Frank's help, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is trying to expand his power (and by inference that of his Dear Leader boss) well beyond that. The "Pay for Performance Act," which has already gotten out of committee, would give him veto power over salaries at every company into which the government has inserted its intrusive claws.
Besides the utter outrageousness of the news itself, the story leads to the question of how the establishment media will handle it. Whitewash it? Minimize its significance? Ignore it? Given the fact that the news is over a week old, I vote for a continuation of Door Number Three.
Fox News Channel host Glenn Beck has already shown he's a rating success and is leaving a mark in cable news. However, he may have pulled one of his most successful performances yet.
Beck interviewed Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal on his March 30 broadcast. But, the radio and TV host took the opportunity to tell Blumenthal what he thought of his investigation into the bonuses received by American International Group (AIG) executives - whose company received federal bailout money.
"Look, you know what you have done, know what you have done?" Beck said. "You have - you are an insult to George Washington, sir. George Washington made it very clear that we are a respecter of laws, not of men. For your own political gain, you have decided to go after these people at AIG because it is a popular thing."
While reporting on President Obama forcing General Motors CEO Richard Wagoner to resign, on Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith happily declared: "It's the end of the road for GM's CEO, Rick Wagoner, ousted by President Obama as the White House demands more from the U.S. auto industry...we saw Bob Schieffer's interview with Barack Obama Sunday Morning and he said we need more from the auto industry. And the more was that Rick Wagoner, whose head went rolling off the guillotine, he is no longer the CEO of General Motors." Little criticism of Obama’s decision was offered during the coverage.
Later, Smith talked to Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer about that interview: "Can you remember in your lifetime when a President could reach into a private company and say, ‘you don't have a job anymore’?" Schieffer replied: "Well, we haven't had it in the past where the government owned as much of a company as the government now owns of these auto dealers...This was to let people know that he [Obama] takes seriously their concerns. I mean, he was very clear in the interview, as you heard in the sound bite there, that Bill Plante used, things are going to have to change." Smith observed: "And I've got to imagine if you're sitting in a boardroom in a bank in the United States right now, you're wondering about if you might be next with all of the money that's come your way already."
It is one thing - as Rush Limbaugh has been vilified for - to say you have a desire for the president to fail, but what about accusing the president of wanting his own policies to fail?
That's what Fox News Channel's Dick Morris said on the March 25 broadcast of "Your World with Neil Cavuto." According to Morris, those who are criticizing Obama for his spending, including Daniel Hannan, who represents South East England for the Conservative Party, made famous by a YouTube video eviscerating Keynesian politics, are missing the point. Obama wants to worsen the economic conditions to expand the powers of government according to Morris.
"We are confusing in analyzing the bank bailout and in what Hannan, the other guest you had on - the British Parliamentarian, had on, was also confusing - means with ends," Morris said. "He said, for example that more spending won't solve the recession. Obama doesn't want it to. He wants the recession to permit him to do more spending, and in terms of this bank package, he knows that the public-private partnership isn't going to work. He's doing his best to kill it by all these comments."
There is a somewhat amusing article on CNN.com right now. It's not amusing for its wit but for the fact that CNN and Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry think they need to explain away the "tough exchange" that Henry and Obama engaged in during Tuesday's press conference. Also amusing is the fact that Henry seems to be apologizing to The One for simply doing his job. Finally, it's amusing for the fact that CNN and Henry think they are the news along with the president. It's narcissistic and revealing all at once. On top of all that it is amusing for whom CNN obviously felt the need to explain themselves to because for the last day the left has been outraged over Henry's gall at asking the president a simple question.
If you'll recall, on Tuesday (March 24) Henry asked Obama why he waited days to react to the outrage over the AIG bonuses that Treasury Secretary Geithner wrote into the bailout plan. Avoiding the question, Obama replied with a surly "Because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." This exchange had the extremists at DailyKos and the profane folks at Wonkette as well as the rest of the left-O-sphere worked up into a frothy lather over Henry's low down, hornswoggling ways. How DARE he ask the Obammessiah a pointed question! Why it's sacrilege, surely!
So CNN has dutifully whimpered no mas and tried to smooth the waters with this odd article explaining away why that darned ol' Ed Henry had the temerity to ask The One a question. It's an obvious effort to appease the gods of the left-O-sphere and other zealots of the Obamanation. Henry must want a talisman to warn off the lefty heebie-jeebies awfully bad to go this far.
On Wednesday’s Countdown show, the duo of MSNBC host Keith Olbermann and new CNBC contributor Howard Dean delivered a gem of both double standard and apparent amnesia as both generalized about the inappropriateness of calling any President a "fascist." As Dean was interviewed by Olbermann, who famously called President Bush a "fascist" in a "Special Comment" rant last year which was even picked up by Iranian television, the former DNC chairman bluntly stated his view that even President Bush did not deserve to be called by such a name.
And just as Olbermann seemed to be trying to defend his own history of applying the "fascist" label to Bush, which he did not directly acknowledge, even he stopped short of proclaiming outright that such name-calling could sometimes be rational, as he contended that a person doing so "may be crazy" and "may be wrong." Olbermann: "If you have a case to call somebody a ‘fascist,’ lay it out. Define your terms and say where you, I mean, you may be crazy and you may be wrong, but at least put some meat on the bones."
Dean's response: "Even in the darkest days of the Bush-Cheney administration, I don't think there was any reason to call George Bush a fascist."
Has the federal government exceeded, or is it on the verge of exceeding its constitutional authority with the recent series of events connected to rescuing an ailing banking system?
Although Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., was ridiculed for raising that question in a congressional hearing on March 24, conservative talk show host, constitutional lawyer and legal commentator Mark Levin, told Fox News Channel's "Your World with Neil Cavuto" on March 24 that government was indeed exceeding the constitution. According to Levin, there is nothing in the Constitution that would allow the Obama administration to expand the government's ability to seize non-banking financial institutions as Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has proposed.
"It's unbelievable," Levin said. "There is no constitutional authority for this. I thought the American people like capitalism. I mean look, we luxuriated in this society as a result of the market system."
Talk about unintended consequences. All this populist anger ginned up by congressional Democrats, the media and the Obama administration is going to hinder the Treasury Department's strategy to rescue the banking system.
Paul Krugman, the liberal New York Times columnist and winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in economics explained to Bloomberg News on March 24 that this is just what is happening.
According to Krugman, the backlash caused by bailed-out American International Group (AIG) compensation debacle and efforts by Congress to limit other expenditures - private jets, office redecorations, salaries, etc. - is causing otherwise healthy financial institutions to shy away from accepting and keeping Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) money from the federal government.
I said earlier this year (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) that there was reason to believe that 2009 might be the year of the newspaper bailout.
Now one of Maryland's two Democratic US senators thinks he has come up with a way to subsidize and save them -- while simultaneously turning them into house organs for his party.
Ben Cardin (picture at right is from his Senate web site) has introduced "The Newspaper Revitalization Act," would accomplish the just-described goals by allowing papers to convert themselves into not-for-profit entities, providing them tax breaks, and .... prohibiting editorials.
Those who know establishment media reporting know that editorial commentary will then become the sole province of left-leaning beat reporters pretending to be strictly fact-based in their supposedly straight news stories and "analyses," while traditional newspaper editorials, which against all odds still seem to lean barely to the right when averaged out nationwide, will disappear.
The NBC News team of Brian Williams, Chuck Todd and Keith Olbermann were all enamored with President Barack Obama's explanation that “it took us a couple of days” to express outrage over the AIG bonuses “because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak.” But on CNN, Bill Bennett undermined Obama's spin. Just after Obama's news conference ended at 8:57 PM EDT on Tuesday night, MSNBC anchor Olbermann quoted Obama's “I like to know what I talk about before I speak” line and then exclaimed it reflected “a new policy among politicians of every party and throughout American history!”
On the broadcast NBC network, Brian Williams proposed to Chuck Todd at the White House: “Chuck you'll agree the sharpest moment was when asked more than once why did it take you a while to come out and reveal these AIG bonuses? The President said it took a couple of days 'because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak.'” Todd agreed: “I'd actually say that was a theme throughout this entire press conference” as Obama wanted to show “that he is making incremental progress. He even said it at the end: Persistence.”
It's the latest ailment of the left - CNBC derangement syndrome.
Since CNBC's Rick Santelli and Jim Cramer took an outspoken stance on the shortcomings of the Obama administration, left-wing storefronts have been popping up all over the place wanting to capitalize on the network after it took a vicious attack from Comedy Central "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart.
On Saturday's "Good Morning America," co-anchor Bill Weir and reporter Gigi Stone actually took a look at whether or not it's a good idea to tax CEO bonuses and what effect it could have on Wall Street. While much of the mainstream media have been playing off populist anger over bonuses, Weir teased the segment by wondering, "With tempers flaring over executive payouts, Congress considers cutting off bonuses at all institutions receiving taxpayer money. But without incentives, why would any smart banker work to fix Wall Street's mess?"
He followed up by querying, "But, could the corporate crackdown, all this righteous anger, actually backfire and make it even harder to rescue our system?" (Of course, "righteous anger" is certainly editorializing on Weir's part.) Reporter Stone talked with several financial experts who posed the same question. Scott Talbott, senior vice president for the Financial Services Roundtable, insisted, "By taking away bonuses, you remove incentive for employees to work harder." Stone added, "So, if taxpayers want their money back, they want the best and brightest working."
A left-wing "bus tour" protest prowled the affluent neighborhoods of Fairfield, Conn. on Saturday afternoon, looking for AIG execs to harass. The protest, run by a group sponsored by unlabeled leftists ACORN, were railing against the bonuses paid out to employees of the struggling insurance giant. The New York Times found the stunt worthy of a full story in the national section of Sunday's paper: "Carrying a Populist Message Into A.I.G. Territory." (The online headline differs from the print version.)
Reporter Manny Fernandez, while sounding supportive, remarked drily that more media than passengers were in attendance:
The bus pulled to a stop, and a pastor whose sister-in-law was facing foreclosure, a laid-off steelworker with a wife and five children, and a few of their colleagues nervously stepped out, like sightseers in some exotic land.
Anyone who has followed the decline of General Motors and Chrysler since the two companies received a combined $17-plus billion in bailout money in December won't be surprised at the news that they need more -- or at the government's convenient weekend timing of the news.
The financial cliff on which Chrysler stands was a given by the time its first bailout installment arrived. But, as shown in early March in a post by yours truly at BizzyBlog (mostly mirrored at NewsBusters), GM's sales non-performance has deteriorated to the point where it has become worse than Chrysler's during the two months following the George W. Bush-decided, Barack Obama-supported bailout decision:
When Jon Stewart eviscerated Jim Cramer for not doing a better job of warning Americans about the looming financial crisis, the "Mad Money" host should have brought videos and transcripts of some of his highly-publicized rants in order to thoroughly disprove the comedian's premise.
In fact, as former investigative reporter turned actor and producer Dan Giffordrevealed at Big Hollywood Sunday, Cramer should have wiped the floor with Stewart and put an end to all the CNBC bashing.
For instance, the "Mad Money" host could have shared with Stewart's audience this tirade from August 2007 (video embedded right):
On Friday, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow accurately blamed a bill enacted in 1999 for today's financial crisis, but in so doing exclusively pointed accusatory fingers at its Republican sponsors while totally ignoring the overwhelming Democrat support it received in both Chambers of Congress.
Maybe even more egregious, she chose not to address it being signed into law by President Bill Clinton until a guest inconveniently brought it up.
Of course, NewsBusters has been apprising readers about the significance of the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 (aka Gramm-Leach-Bliley) for many months, including articles on the subject here and here.
With this in mind, despite Maddow's supposed intellectual prowess, she's not only extremely late to this party, but she also apparently thinks only the sponsors of a bill are responsible for its content and not those that vote for or eventually sign it into law (video part I embedded right, part II below the fold with partial transcript):
Spitzer is best remembered for resigning as the Empire State's chief executive after being caught patronizing high-priced prostitutes over a period of several years, and for having a reputation as an attorney general on a self-aggrandizing crusade against against corporate corruption prior to that.
Spitzer is attempting to capitalize on the public's incomplete knowledge of his sorry saga to get back in its good graces.
Back on March 15, Noel Sheppard noted that the San Francisco Chronicle completely ignored the thousands of average Americans that came together in Cincinnati, Ohio to protest Obama's unprecedented take over of the US economy. The Cincinnati Tea Party truly was massive but is just one of the many dozens of Tea Party protests that have occurred -- and are continuing to occur -- all across the country in the last two months. Still, the SF Chronicle didn't see any reason to cover the rally.
This rally was no bigger (and arguably smaller) than the anti-Obama protests in Cincinnati, yet the Chronicle reserves the word "massive" for the anti-war/anti-Wall Street protest while offering no coverage at all for the one in Cincy. If size was the key here, as the Chronicle's headline seems to note, then why ignore the likely bigger protest in Ohio only a week ago?