Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) participated in a blogger conference call Monday to discuss President Obama's stimulus package and its prospects for passage in the Senate.
NewsBusters associate editor Noel Sheppard participated in this discussion, and had an interesting exchange with the Senator concerning current tax receipt projections by the White House and what they suggest about the economy.
Those interested can listen here.
With all the populist sentiment generated from the economic slowdown by politicians, CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer is seeing eerie similarities with the comments of President Barack Obama and the words of a communist revolutionary.
Cramer, appearing on MSNBC's Feb. 2 "Morning Joe," drew comparisons between remarks between the first head of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin, and Obama. Obama criticized Wall Street's moneymaking on Jan. 30, when he said there would be a time "for them to make profits, and there will be time for them to get bonuses. Now's not that time. And that's a message that I intend to send directly to them."
Cramer said that was similar to Lenin's writings. "Let me tell you something, we heard Lenin," Cramer said. "There was a little snippet last week that was, ‘Now is not the time for profits.' Look - in Lenin's book, ‘What Is to Be Done?' is simple text of what I always though was for the communists, it was remarkable to hear very similar language from ‘What Is to Be Done?' which is we have no place for profits."
Despite what media members and government officials claim to be the worst economy since the Great Depression, NBC completely sold out -- at a record high price no less!!! -- its full complement of ads for Sunday's Super Bowl.
If the economy was really as bad as we're constantly hearing, given this somewhat low marquee matchup -- this isn't the Giants vs. the Patriots or the Cowboys vs. the Steelers -- wouldn't NBC have needed to reduce its fees to entice supposedly cash-strapped sponsors?
Not according to the Washington Post:
CNN's Campbell Brown isn't happy with what Rush Limbaugh said about her colleague Ali Velshi Friday, and has invited the conservative radio host to debate him on her program.
As some background, Velshi was on Brown's "No Bias, No Bull" show Thursday and claimed: "This is not the economy that Ronald Reagan ever saw or anybody with the last name Bush ever saw, or Clinton. We have not seen anything like this in our lifetime."
After the fourth quarter Gross Domestic Product numbers were released Friday showing a much lower-than-expected decline, Limbaugh took issue with what Velshi said the night before:
Mr. Velshi, you are incompetent. You are a disservice to your business, except you fit right in at CNN. Disinformation, character assaults. This economy is nowhere near as bad as it was in 1982.
Brown took issue with this Friday evening (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, file photo):
I was dismayed and angry to learn recently that the Philadelphia Inquirer is seeking a $10 million government bailout from my home state of Pennsylvania. My own discontent and the discontent of NB commenters over the possible bailout was made clear in my earlier NewsBusters post on the subject but now its apparent that we are not alone. Chris Freind of the Philadelphia Bulletin, the reporter who interviewed Democrat Governor Ed Rendell's press secretary about the Inquirer bailout, has chronicled the reaction to the news.
Nobody interviewed, including the Media Research Center's own Brent Bozell, had anything nice to say about Rendell's plan to give money to the Inquirer:
Showing that Barack Obama is fighting for the common man, on Friday’s CBS Early Show correspondent Jeff Glor reported on the President’s reaction to big bonuses on Wall Street: "For a man who prides himself on being cool, this was a rare flash of anger, if planned. A tongue-lashing directly from the Oval Office, which is indicating now they will look to change the rules if Wall Street doesn't itself."
Glor explained: "...firms gave out $18.4 billion in bonuses to New York-based employees last year, the same year the Dow Jones caved in 33%. And yes, a lot of the bonus money came from T.A.R.P. government bailout funds, taxpayer dollars." There was no mention of the fact that then Senator Obama was a strong supporter of the bailout.
At the top of the show, co-host Julie Chen declared: "Target Wall Street. An angry President Obama lashes out at bonuses worth nearly $20 billion." Co-host Harry Smith introduced Glor’s report in a similar fashion: "In our series ‘Red, White, and Greed,’ President Obama chastising Wall Street for paying itself big bonuses while the economy and the banking industry tanked."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) at a press conference in support of the Democrats' stimulus proposal, January 28, 2009. Photo AFP/Getty/Mark Wilson
The cartoon shows Democrats in the role of the Marines featured in the Iwo Jima Memorial, a sculpture based on the famous photo by Joe Rosenthal entitled Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima. The exception to this replication lies in the flag being raised - the Dem's are trying to hoist a ‘bailout flag' as opposed to a flag of the United States.
If that weren't insulting enough, the cartoon also shows the Republican Party mascot, the elephant, trying desperately to pull the flag down.
In short, the Democrats are trying to save our nation by heroically raising up the Obama bailout flag, while the villainous Republicans are trying to destroy our nation by stopping their efforts.
More below the fold...
The Gross Domestic Product declined by 3.8 percent in the final quarter of 2008.
It was bad, but nowhere near as bad as expected.
Is it possible that all the hysterical gloom and doom emanating from the media is way overdone, and that things are not close to as apocalyptic as we've been told the past five months?
Consider the actual numbers reported Friday morning by MarketWatch:
On Thursday, NewsBusters asked, "How Will Media Cover Rush Limbaugh's Bipartisan Stimulus Plan?"
Moments later, we got our first clue as the conservative talk radio host was interviewed by CNBC's Erin Burnett and Mark Haines.
UPDATE: Better functioning video now embedded; bonus "Fox & Friends" interview video also added at end of post.
Most fascinating, Burnett, who has come across as left of center and pro-Obama, seemed much more interested in Limbaugh's views on this issue than Haines who not only has always struck me as conservative, but has also been quite hostile to Obama's economic positions as well as all the government spending since the financial crisis began last September (video embedded below the fold, full transcript available here):
Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh wrote an op-ed in Thursday's Wall Street Journal wherein he offered a bipartisan stimulus plan to get the economy going.
As not one Republican voted for President Obama's economic package in the House Wednesday despite his campaign promises to usher in a new era of bipartisanship, given the media's focus on Limbaugh of late one would expect his now-published plan to get oodles of press attention.
Will it, and if it does will Obama-loving media members seriously consider the details or quickly dismiss it because of its origin?
As you ponder, here are some of Limbaugh's suggestions:
Between Election 2008 and the early moments of the Obama administration, it was assumed a new New Deal was coming complete with massive infrastructure projects. But, now the stimulus package is so full of other things even some of the most unlikely news outlets have noticed.
In an amazing moment of clarity, resembling the end of a Hardy Boys novel after Frank and Joe solved a mystery, CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer and MSNBC "Hardball" host Chris Matthews questioned the meager infrastructure spending in the stimulus bill that passed in the House of Representatives on Jan. 28 by a 244-188 margin, without a single Republican vote during "Hardball" that night.
Matthews asked Cramer if the stimulus spending included in the House version of the bill would be "enough boost" for the economy.
We all wondered if it would happen. NB readers said it would very soon. NB author Tom Blumer even predicted this would be the year for it. Now the largest newspaper in Philadelphia is requesting a bailout.
In a perfectly ironic fashion it took a lawsuit for the public to learn that the Philadelphia Inquirer is seeking $10 million dollars from the state of Pennsylvania. The bailout request was revealed after the school filed suit against the paper for a series of articles questioning the school’s use of government funds.
“You know this situation -- you don't need me to tell you about it, we hear about job losses being reported every day,” news anchor Chris Cuomo told viewers, “so the pressure is on lawmakers” to “get past the age-old battle over tax cuts versus spending” and pass the massive spending bill. Making it perfectly obvious which side he’s on, Cuomo declared “a promising signal for all of us” that Boehner seemed to come out of a meeting with President Obama “looking to make a deal.”
But the economic horror stories that ABC pushed prior to showing the interview with Boehner (taped Tuesday afternoon) all contain significant omissions. The “unregulated” power company being blamed for the elderly man’s death is owned by the local government, not some greedy capitalist utility. The new report arguing for massive spending on roads and bridges was released two months early to influence the stimulus vote. And the man who tragically killed his family did not lose his job because of cost-cutting or anything related to the economy, but after being investigated for possible fraud.
President Barack Obama has congressional approval to spend the second half of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) money. But before Americans are asked to spend another $350 billion, it is up to government to account for the massive spending that has already occurred. The question at stake: Where exactly is the money?
While both Bloomberg and the Fox Business Network have filed suit to force the government to tell where this money has gone, the rest of the news media have remained largely indifferent to the answer. Journalists have failed to investigate what may be the most extravagant federal spending in our nation's history and at a time when taxpayers can least afford wasteful government programs. With a separate $825-billion stimulus plan in the works, government transparency is essential. Yet the government has provided zero accountability to track the billions of dollars and whether the money will stimulate the economy and create the jobs promised.
Media Research Center President Brent Bozell said it is up to rest of the media to do their jobs. "Other news outlets need to follow the lead of Fox Business and Bloomberg and ask the hard questions here. They must hold the Obama administration accountable for how $350 billion was spent before Americans have to come up with another $350 billion."
During his regular “Question of the Hour” segment on Monday’s Situation Room, CNN commentator Jack Cafferty compared House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s idea to spend hundred of millions of dollars on contraception as a cost-reducing measure to the oppressive birth control policies of the Chinese Communists under Mao: “What exactly did she mean? Are the millions of dollars for contraception supposed to stop people from having babies? [That’s] starting to sound a little like Chairman Mao.”
The commentator began his 5 pm Eastern hour “Cafferty File” segment by describing President Obama’s proposed stimulus package, and how this past weekend, “lawmakers were out on their soap boxes. Democrats were selling the plan. Republicans were pointing out problems with the plan.” He then addressed Speaker Pelosi’s comments to George Stephanopoulos on This Week: “On ABC, the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, defended hundreds of millions of dollars in the stimulus package earmarked for contraception. She said family planning reduces costs and explained that the stimulus plan includes assistance to states, and part of that includes children’s health and education. That includes contraception, which Pelosi said will, ‘reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.’”
Update/Closing thoughts (14:34): Hearst columnist Helen Thomas continues to make a cartoon of herself in her using her perch to parrot ultra-left-wing talking points. Her question today was on why President Obama wants to send troops into Afghanistan to "kill more people."Without doubt it was the loopiest left-wing question posed today. Oddly enough, given her history of bias, one of the best queries today came from April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks, who questioned the wisdom of pegging hopes of economic recovery on so-called "green jobs."
About to live-blog the White House daily press briefing. I'm focusing chiefly on the questions from the journalists. I'm watching via Fox News.
13:42: Gibbs: our e-mail system isn't working so well, apologizes for that to press corps.
Questions from reporters follow:
13:44, female reporter: Can you describe a little more fully about Amb. Rice's comments on mid-east diplomacy
13:45, female reporter: So you can't say when the diplomacy [with Iran] will begin or how?
13:46, Chuck Todd, NBC News: When are you guys going to announce a housing plan? Where is the money? Is it part of TARP?
13:47,Todd's followup: Does that mean it will not be part of the $350 billion?
13:48, Todd: Going to encourage banks to lend more?
Here's a headline I bet you'd never imagine seeing in a mainstream publication:
Why the Bush Years Weren't So Bad
Huh? Come again?
Yep. Counter to the doom and gloom regularly espoused by today's so-called journalists, things really aren't anywhere near as bad as what's being advertised.
While most mainstream media outlets continue to ignore racist statements made by Obama economic adviser Robert Reich two weeks ago, CNN's Lou Dobbs not only played them for his viewers Friday, but also pointed out the absurdity of the comments as well as the shameful way the press boycotted them.
Despite Reich's January 7 remarks about stimulus spending and "white male construction workers" having been revealed Thursday morning by a number of conservative websites including NewsBusters, Dobbs was one of the few "journalists" who seemed offended enough about what was said to shed some light on the subject (video embedded below the fold courtesy our dear friend MsUnderestimated):
You've heard it here, there and everywhere in the news media - the time is now for a big-government economic stimulus package, not only to revive the economy, but to salvage America's crumbling infrastructure.
That's one of the selling points used over and over again by pundits, as they are paraded out repeatedly on broadcast and cable network news programs - that so-called "shovel-ready" projects will challenge economic woes by revitalizing something we need to do anyway. But only 3 percent of the Obama stimulus plan is slated for such projects.
"The total size of the plan is about $750 to $800 billion - roughly $300 billion is for tax cuts for businesses and individuals," CBS correspondent Chip Reid said on CBS's Jan. 12 "The Early Show." "The rest will be spent on everything from roads and bridges to renewable energy to create three to 4 million jobs. Republicans are raising red flags about the amount of spending."
Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs is conducting his second-ever press conference right now. Below you'll find my live-blogging of the questions. I can't promise verbatim rendering of the questions, but should the Obama administration post a full transcript later on, I'll link to that as well. [see related post]
I'm watching the video via MSNBC.
13:20 ET: Unid'd female reporter: This morning this event with the bipartisan leaders that the president had... but will there come a point when the president, and democratic leaders in the congress decide to have a vote whether Republicans like it or not?
13:21 ET, same reporter asks follow-up question on bipartisan cooperation
13:22 ET, male reporter asks about economic stimulus plans
13:25: What kind of reassurances can you give on the economic package. And on Pakistan, did the president consult with the Pakistan government on the strike.
Gibbs replies that he won't address the airstrikes or other military operations.
13:25, Major Garrett, Fox News Channel: You will never speak of any military operation taken by the United States?
Gibbs replies he won't discuss those airstrikes at today's briefing
Like him or not, this time he has a valid point.
CNBC rabble-rouser and "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer questioned the merits of Timothy Geithner, President Barack Obama's Treasury Secretary-designate, and told viewers on CNBC's Jan. 22 "Street Signs" that, had he been in Geithner's shoes, he'd face criminal prosecution.
"I happen to have a meeting with my lawyers just to discuss this - with my battalion of lawyers, the $2,000-a-hour gang - and you know, they would say if it was Cramer, I would be prosecuted, maybe criminally prosecuted," Cramer said. "And my lawyers were somewhat shocked that on Chris Matthews I said it was OK, given the fact they said Geithner better get himself the best lawyer in town."
A rather astounding statement was made a few weeks ago by an economic adviser to Barack Obama that went completely ignored by America's press: "I am concerned, as I'm sure many of you are, that these jobs [hopefully being created by government spending] not simply go to high skilled people who are already professionals or to white male construction workers."
Such was uttered by Robert Reich, the former Clinton Administration Secretary of Labor, during a January 7 House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee meeting attended by high-ranking Democrats including Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Despite huge attention given this hearing from a wide range of press outlets not one mentioned Reich's racist comments (video and partial transcript below the fold):
Sometimes you learn a lot from commenters.
I was going through the comments tonight at my Pajamas Media column about the Geithner nomination that went up earlier today, and came across this at Comment 39 from "Mike M":
The deduction he took for the summer camp as a day care expense is EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED IN THE IRS CODE! That’s out and out tax fraud. Even Leona Helmsly (sic) is jealous in her grave ....
It turns out that there is a lot more to the Geithner story. It has been sitting right there in details that were made public last week, but were mostly ignored by the Washington press. While the amounts involved aren't anywhere near as large as those relating to Geithner's self-employment taxes from 2001 through 2004 on his earnings at the International Monetary Fund -- taxes he didn't pay until audited by the IRS (2003 and 2004) or until just before his nomination was announced (2001 and 2002) -- they are nonetheless revealing, infuriating, and disturbing. They make the claims of "honest mistakes" that his defenders up to and including Barack Obama continue to employ look much, much weaker (paragraph image is from Pages 3 and 4 of the relevant report stored here as a PDF; a larger JPEG image is here):
After nearly two years of favorable treatment from seemingly every corner of the media since he announced his candidacy for the presidency in 2006, Obama is still finding ways to delight his biggest fans.
On his first day on the job, Obama announced "a new standard of openness" at a swearing in ceremony for senior members of his administration. According to CNBC's Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, that was greeted with cheers from the CNBC studio.
"Not to belabor the whole point of the Freedom of Information Act, but politically brilliant in a way to immediately co-opt the press," Caruso-Cabrera said on CNBC's Jan. 21 "Power Lunch." "I mean a big cheer went up here - journalists of the world rejoice and automatically you have pleased a big part of the folks that are going to be covering you."
AP Geithner Hearing Report: No Mention of IMF 'Reimbursements' for Taxes Not Paid, Related False Statements
The Associated Press's 1:12 p.m. coverage (saved here, as the dynamic link changed during the drafting of this post) of the Senate Finance Committee's hearing on Barack Obama's nomination of Timothy Giethner as Treasury Secretary has plenty of discussion of Geithner's tax "mistakes" (the picture, but not its heading, is from a November 21 New York Times article).
But as has been the case with every AP report I've seen, there is no mention of the fact that the International Monetary Fund, Geithner's 2001-2004 employer, partially reimbursed him for his Social Security and Medicare "self-employment tax" liabilities.
Here are the first eight paragraphs of AP Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger's report:
Anne Applebaum said she was reaching for a metaphor to describe the dreamy Barack Obama when she started her Slate piece on January 19. Instead of reaching for a metaphor, however, she only got a handful of absurd hyperbole when she decided that Barack Obama was "just like" Captain C.B. "Sully" Sullenberger, the hero pilot that saved the lives of his entire planeload of people by landing it safely in the Hudson River last week. But, after she went wild with her "metaphor" about Obama, Applebaum ended her piece with some really solid warnings about government overreach.
Still, the first half of Applebaum's column was so silly that its hard to know where to start discussing its over-the-top nature. But, lets begin at the top with her ill-fitting conflation of Capt. Sullenberger's excellent job, an "anti-9/11" she absurdly claimed, and the terrorist attacks that brought down the World Trade Center in 2001. There is simply no logical way to relate the two incidents at all, but Applebaum makes a valiant and risible attempt to do so.
"Good Morning America" news anchor Chris Cuomo conducted a surprisingly tough interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday, grilling her on the lack of accountability for how 2008's financial bailout money has been spent. He told the powerful Democrat, "...I think there are a few issues that unite Americans like this. Don't waste our money, especially right now."
Regarding the news that Congress doesn't know how much of the $350 billion T.A.R.P has been spent, Cuomo challenged, "Why didn't savvy lawmakers like yourself, like Barney Frank, say, 'We're not going to just release this money with no strings. We'll build it in the law. We'll build in accountability?' Why didn't you do that?"
The new Congress has arrived in Washington with grand plans to spend a trillion dollars in an endless Christmas, a bailout for anyone in need, or in want, and in line. Now that America has seen how easy it was for the financial powerhouses to walk away with hundreds of billions, one segment of the population after another is getting into the queue.
The auto industry drove itself into the ground and wants billions. The mayors mismanaged their cities and they want billions. It was only a matter of time before the governors would raise their "me too!" voices, with California’s being the loudest and most obnoxious.
But only in America, and only during this period when we’ve taken a leave of our national senses in the belief that there’s a tooth fairy and her name is "Paulson," would we see materialize that no one could possibly have predicted: the porn industry wants a bailout, too.
I can just imagine the newsreels fifty years from now: "Back in 2009, America was reeling. During those tough times, poor Joe and Mary could hardly afford to put food on the table and porn on the DVD."
Nobel laureate on arcane trade matters, former Enron adviser, and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is at it again.
In his latest Times column ("The Obama Gap"), he chides President-elect Barack Obama for not being ambitious enough in his stimulus plan, and, heaven forbid, for including tax cuts in the mix. He complains that Obama is only committing to much less than half of what's necessary.