On Thursday's CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric touted the just-passed financial reform bill as a "big win" for President Obama, "as was the passage of health care reform." She then lamented how despite that: "...there are rumblings he's in big political trouble as the midterm elections approach."
In the report that followed, White House correspondent Chip Reid proclaimed: "...the President was reveling in another victory on a major piece of legislation.... he'll add it to a long list, headlined by health care reform and the stimulus." A graphic then appeared on-screen actually listing half a dozen of the Obama administration's supposed accomplishments for viewers.
Turning to Obama's falling poll numbers, Reid seemed puzzled: "With so many accomplishments in just 18 months, you'd think the President would be flying high. Instead, his approval rating continues to sink and now stands at just 44 percent."
Reid then observed: "So, what's the problem? In a word: jobs." He highlighted the President's recent trip to stimulus-funded projects in Michigan and sympathized with how Obama "seems powerless to do anything about an unemployment rate stuck at an excruciating 9.5 percent."
Reporting Thursday from Capitol Hill, MSNBC congressional correspondent Luke Russert touted a likely win for Senate Democrats on the Financial Reform Bill, saying it would be a "huge victory."
"Obviously, [President Obama] ran on the slogan 'Change you can believe in,' with health care reform and financial regulatory reform," Russert commented, thus tying the passage of the financial reform bill with success of Obama's message of "change."
The financial regulations package recently passed by the House of Representatives would create a new diversity overseer at each of the major federal financial regulatory agencies, including the new ones created by the legislation itself.
This new office, called the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion, would take over from any existing diversity or civil rights office already working at the agencies in question.
It would also be responsible for making sure that each of the major federal financial regulators is hiring enough minorities and women, and contracting with enough minority-owned and women-owned businesses.
However, each individual diversity czar is responsible for defining exactly how many minorities, women, and minority- and women-owned businesses are satisfactory.
While some on the left side of the aisle in Congress are getting all starry-eyed about prospects of more federal stimulus spending, the first round of stimulus under President Barack Obama may have done even less to help the ailing economy than supporters claim.
On MSNBC's July 9 broadcast of "The Daily Rundown," co-hosts Chuck Todd and Savannah Guthrie interviewed CNBC "Closing Bell" anchor Maria Bartiromo from the Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colo. And Bartiromo offered her views why the economy didn't spiral out of control any more than it did. She said according to some on Wall Street, it wasn't Obama's $787-billion "stimulus" that included a huge bulk of state government bailout spending, but instead action by the Federal Reserve to put more liquidity in the economy.
"Look, there's no doubt about it - we were close to going off a cliff the weekend at Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy, Merrill [Lynch] was sold and AIG acquired by government," Bartiromo said. "You know, I mean I think we were very close and the economy needed stimulus in a big way. It's arguable whether that stimulus that helped the economy was really because of the stimulus plan or really because of the Federal Reserve. I think most people on Wall Street will believe and will tell you that it was really the Fed action in terms of giving greater access to the banks to overnight lending that really, really got us out."
Barack Obama is president. Oil is gushing in the gulf. America was eliminated from the World Cup. Looking for a laugh break? Try this: MSNBC has described DEMOS as "non-partisan." OK, I hadn't heard of them, either. But their web site just happens to mention that Barack Obama is "a founding Board member."
But that didn't stop Chris Hayes of the lefty Nation mag, on MSNBC this evening subbing for Ed Schultz, from, yes, describing DEMOS as "non-partisan" in introducing the group's Washington, DC director, Heather McGhee. And who is Heather? From the DEMOS site: "previously, she was the Deputy Policy Director, Domestic and Economic Policy, for the John Edwards for President 2008 campaign."
Can anyone think of an angrier group of writers in political punditry than the ones currently published at Salon.com?
Throughout the Elena Kagan hearings, both Joan Walsh and Joe Conason have written anti-Republican screeds accusing GOP lawmakers of all sorts of unsavory things to score political points despite what's likely be a certain confirmation.
However, this disposition goes beyond just the SCOTUS hearings.
On CNBC's June 29 broadcast "Power Lunch," Rep. Paul Kajorski, D-Pa. made a pretty prediction about the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) should Congress be unable to pass financial regulation legislation. [Video Available Here]
"You know, I wish every one of them would ask the question and also the industry and media, what happens in this country if this bill fails?" Kanjorski said. "Do you think 236 points down on the Dow is surprising? Check 1,000 or 2,000 points if we fail to change the ways that caused this problem."
That caught the attention of CNBC's Erin Burnett, who played the clip for "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer. Cramer blasted Kanjorski and the entire institution of the federal government for being a drag on the markets for a myriad of reasons on his June 29 "Stop Trading" segment of CNBC's "Street Signs."
Fresh off his Tea Party cover storyin the June 24 Weekly Standard, CNBC's Rick Santelli foresees what could be classified as an economic black hole for the United States of America.
On the network's June 24 broadcast of "Strategy Session," the CME Group reporter explained how the country could be headed down the same path and face the economic calamity the Japanese faced in what is known asthe "lost decade."That period, from 1991-2000, was one which the Asian nation failed to grow economically despite countless efforts by the government to intervene. But as Santelli explained - the U.S. version of Japanese economic policies could result in Greek-style austerity measures.
"The notion that we are turning into Japan has been something talked about on this floor for probably a year and a half," Santelli said. "What changes though, is that it is now a toss up between Japan and Greece and trust me the eventual solutions or recommendations for avoiding the pitfalls of either are completely different strategies. A lot of Japanese say, ‘More Keynesian, more stimulus, spend, spend, spend, spend, spend.' And the other side of the equation says, ‘Well then, you are going turn into Greece.' Where does the truth lie? One thing I can tell you is, is that demographics are a big issue in this story as well. The Japanese have a demographic time bomb similar to the U.S. in terms of underfunded pensions and liabilities."
Don't be surprised if you open up the June 24 USA Today and find pom poms in the ‘Money' section.
Reporters-turned-cheerleaders Paul Wiseman, Jayne O'Donnell and Christine Dugas wrote a glowing 38-paragraph story about the proposed Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP). The story even included a section called "keys to a new agency's success" with quotes from "experts" at a wide variety of government agencies from the Environmental Protection Agency to the Food and Drug Administration.
USA Today's story began by praising the creation of the EPA in 1970 and the way it hit the ground running by ordered city mayors to clean up their water. They included 10 "expert" voices in favor of government agencies (proposed or current) many of whom were former regulators, against only three voices of opposition - all politicians.
Real Clear Politics currently has a video highlighting statements by Democratic Congressman James Clyburn Jr. of South Carolina. It teases the video with a question asked by Candy Crowley of CNN.
Once one sees the entire sequence, it's clear that Clyburn really answered Crowley's question before she even asked it.
Here's the full transcript of the vid, which begins after Indiana Republican Congressman Mike Pence had apparently made some points about how steps taken by the Obama administration to revive the economy to the point where it generates meaningful job growth aren't working. Clyburn's answer to when his party will stop blaming Bush is in bold:
Clyburn: Uh, Congressman Spence, uh, Pence keeps talkin' about, uh, the fact that, uh, we are, uh, failing in our approach. We all know exactly what this president inherited, and we will stop talkin' about that inheritance, uh, when uh Congressman uh Pence and others stop talkin' about takin' us back uh to those failed policies.
On February 19, 2009, Rick Santelli helped create a movement whose political impact has not yet been fully realized. The "Rant Heard 'Round the World," as it has become known, was a profound, if hardly isolated example of the power of conservative pundits to enact political change.
That power has grown as Americans have become more sympathetic to the economic conservative argument--both the moral/spiritual element of it, and the strictly economic one. The American people have by and large come full circle in a short time, and the pundits that retain the most influence in our society have changed accordingly.
Santelli is the perfect example, as he was certainly not the prominent name he is now before he let loose on the floor of the Chicago exchange. Michael Barone explains the essential appeal of the rant. He wrote Wednesday that it "was both an economic and a moral argument."
While appearing before Congress, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was asked by newly-elected Rep. Charles Djou (R-Hawaii) whether or not the federal government has a plan to tackle the continuing financial crisis. Check out his answer:
Like tar balls on a Pensacola beach, doubts about Pres. Obama's leadership are beginning to accumulate even among his most avid supporters appearing in the MSM. Today's Morning Joe provided two prime examples of the phenomenon in the persons of Jeffrey Sachs and Donny Deutsch.
Both men are self-described Obama supporters. Yet each expressed disappointment at the lack of leadership the president has demonstrated on the oil spill and other issues.
Columbia U. professor Sachs went first, sounding like a serious candidate for a Zoloft transfusion. Sachs was reacting to Joe Scarborough's suggestion that PBO seize the moment by addressing a joint session of Congress and issuing a post-Sputnik like summons for America to rise to the current challenge by leading the world in clean-energy solutions.
CNN tried to downplay poll results it released on Wednesday which indicated continuing opposition to ObamaCare, while emphasizing how the poll also found "growing support" for the President's call for increased federal regulation of the financial institutions. The network and its partners at Opinion Research also took two weeks to publish the results of only two questions from the poll.
A protest noticed by the target's next-door neighbor who happened to be home at the time, namely journalist Nina Easton (who also took the photo at right), occurred in a Metro DC suburb in Maryland marked the next round of a national labor union's attempt at persuasion through intimidation.
IBD concisely describes what happens, and why it should cause so much concern:
Mob Rule From SEIU
On May 16, Washington, D.C., police escorted 14 busloads full of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) members at least part of the way to storm the Chevy Chase, Md., home of Bank of America's deputy legal counsel, Greg Baer.
Talking with CNBC's Jim Cramer on the May 6 "Hardball" about the Greek fiscal crisis, everyone's favorite MSNBCer blamed "right-wing" dictators from the Cold War era for financial troubles in Greece, Portugal, and Spain [MP3 audio available here]:
I'm a political guy, you're a money guy. Let's crosswalk this thing. It seems to me that you and I grew up with the fact there were dictatorships in Europe. They were in the Iberian peninsula and in Greece. You had Franco, who overstayed the Second World War a bit, by about two generations. You had Salazar in Portugal, and of course you had the Greek colonels.
The right-wing governments in Europe seem to be the ones that are most precarious right now: Greece, Portugal, Spain.
What's the connection? Is this a complete coincidence, or is it old-line right-wing politics that never quite stabilized into serious social democratic countries? What happened?
CBS's local affiliate in Chicago today threatened to stop covering the Illinois Senate race if the Republican candidate continues to harp on an issue extremely damaging to his Democratic opponent.
If a candidate for the United States Senate was a senior loan officer for a bank that made over $20 million in loans to convicted bookies and pimps (while he was employed as a loan officer), is that candidate's opponent in the wrong for harping on the issue?
Chicago's CBS affiliate apparently thinks such connections should be off limits. A reporter from Chicago's CBS Channel 2 told Mark Kirk, the Republican opponent of former Broadway Bank loan officer Alexi Giannoulias that his channel is "not going to cover the Senate race, if it’s consistently only in your terms, is about Broadway Bank." (H/t Big Journalism, via Steve Gutowski)
A $787-billion stimulus. Liabilities of $356 billion for the TARP bailout on the federal government's balance sheet. And that's in addition to other unfunded liabilities from federal entitlements like ObamaCare, Medicare, and Social Security.
But that doesn't mean the U.S. is heading down the path toward socialism because they were one-time expenditures, according to CNBC senior economics reporter Steve Liesman.
On CNBC's "Squawk Box" April 29, as jobless claims for the week was being released on the floor of the CME Group in Chicago, co-host Joe Kernen asked for Liesman's opinion.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that so-called payday loans probably aren't the most reasonable option when it comes to short-term borrowing. But according to MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, it takes the federal government to let you know.
On her April 28 program, Maddow charged that these lenders engage in unscrupulous practices, despite offering a service that their clientele is willing to buy.
"Last week we did our best to explain payday lenders - who they are and who they are, who they - what they do and who they are, excuse me," Maddow said. "Payday lenders are basically loan sharks with nice store fronts. They specialize in turning what look like short-term loans into ongoing obligations that rollover every two weeks, piling up fees until they're ultimately collecting 400 percent annual interest."
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith lamented Republican opposition to the Democrats' financial reform legislation: "The Senate is expected to vote for a third time on financial reform.Republicans blocked the previous two attempts. President Obama says he can't understand why, and plans to make his case once again later today."
In the report that followed, White House correspondent Chip Reid described the Democratic strategy against Republicans:
Of course, both parties have accepted millions of dollars in political contributions from Wall Street over the years. But now Democrats are doing everything in their power to portray Republicans as the party of Wall Street. It's an argument the President believes is especially effective here in the heartland. President Obama was back where it all started, Iowa, this time denouncing Senate Republicans for blocking debate on financial reform.
A headline on screen read: "Presidential Push; Obama Takes on GOP on Financial Reform."
Hitting from the left in an interview with Republican Senator John McCain on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith worried about the ability of financial reform legislation to expand government control over Wall Street: "How are you going to dis – how does any of this dismantle these giant financial institutions?"
On April 22, ABC Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos asked Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner a similar question: "Why shouldn't those big banks be broken up?"
At the top of Tuesday's Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez put the GOP on the defensive: "Democrats continue to push for Wall Street reform. But are Republicans on board?" Smith later introduced the segment by portraying Democrats as fighting for reform: "Democrats refuse to give up on reforming Wall Street. Yesterday Republicans put the brakes on, but another vote could happen today."
In a report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes declared: "Senate Republicans voted last night against moving forward with debate on the massive financial reform bill. That drew angry recriminations from Democrats." A clip was played of Democratic Virginia Senator Mark Warner slamming Republican opposition: "I never got the memo that said our job wasn't actually to get stuff done."
Monday evening, Tonight Show host Jay Leno joked about Wall Street reform. As reported on The New York Times's Web site, he said:
Last week, President Obama gave a speech in New York City about his plan to reform these rules on Wall Street, you know? And one embarrassing moment. When the head of Goldman Sachs was going through security, he was asked to empty his pockets and five Republican senators fell out.
The truth, of course, is that Goldman Sachs has consistently given much more money to Democrats than to Republicans. For the 2008 election cycle, as detailed at OpenSecrets.org, 75 percent of the almost $6 million in political contributions made by the investment bank's political action committee and employees went to Democrats. Goldman Sachs's donations made it the second-biggest contributor to Obama’s presidential election campaign.
Leno's gag would have been funnier, I think, if it weren't so misleading.
Cramer told MSNBC's April 26 "Morning Joe" that Goldman really has no defense if, as the government alleges, Goldman misled investors when it established a mortgage-backed security in 2007 for a hedge fund client looking to bet against the housing market. And that's in addition to facing heat from shareholders for not revealing that it received a Wells Notice from the SEC.
At the top of Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith referenced a possible Senate vote on the Democrats' financial reform bill and proclaimed: "Showdown in the Senate. Democrats are scrambling to get enough votes. Will anyone in the GOP break ranks?" It was just the latest example of a week of CBS coverage pressuring Republicans to sign on to the controversial legislation.
In a later report, correspondent Nancy Cordes explained: "both parties say they are for reform and they are deep in negotiations over it....But without a deal, many, if not all, Senate Republicans plan to vote 'no' today, blocking a floor debate on the bill." That was followed by a clip of Democratic Senator Chris Dodd declaring: "Here we are 17 months after someone broke into our house, in effect, robbed us, and we still haven't even changed the locks on the doors." A headline on screen read: "Financial Reform Showdown; Will Anyone in GOP Break Ranks?"
In his introduction to the report, Smith described the Democratic effort as a "test vote." Cordes pointed out: "this vote that Democrats have called for today could very well fail." She later concluded: "Even if the vote fails today, negotiations will go on and Republicans and Democrats seem confident that a financial reform bill will pass sooner rather than later." However, neither her nor Smith questioned holding the vote or suggested it was political theater to force a deal.
Does anyone remember when the liberal intellectuals decried populism coming from the likes of Glenn Beck and other conservatives that was aimed at the direction the country is going under the leadership of President Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress?
Apparently it is OK to cry foul on so-called populist rants when the mouthpieces tend to be right-of-center. But now, with Congress debating financial regulation, this sort of above-the-fray approach has gone by the wayside, at least for Slate.com. On Slate's Political Gabfest podcast for April 22, moderator John Dickerson asked his panel consisting of Slate editor David Plotz and Slate senior editor Emily Bazelon, if Wall Street banks had a responsibility to self-regulate and do what's right as opposed to solely relying on legislation to set the boundaries. That inspired an "impassioned" populist response from Plotz.
In the past 20 months, liberal media members have routinely blamed 2008's financial crisis on George W. Bush, Republicans, Wall Street, and greed.
Someone that has hardly ever been accused of having a hand in what led to the tumult is former President Bill Clinton.
As NewsBusters has been reporting almost since the crash began, it was Clinton who signed into law two key bills -- the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 and the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 -- that ushered in the malfeasance that almost toppled the world economy.
On Saturday, a former editorial page editor for the Wall Street Journal, George Melloan, made the connection even stronger as he pointed a finger at someone most in the media have shamelessly given a pass for his involvement in this crisis (h/t @RLMcMahon):
On Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared that when it comes to financial reform legislation, "Democrats have all the leverage right now." Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer appeared on the show and observed that "They think this is the time to picture Republicans as trying to protect fat cat bankers, as it were."
In her first question to Schieffer, Rodriguez wondered: "Do Democrats have anything to lose by going for a vote on Monday even though the Republicans have said they'd like a little bit more time to work on a compromise?" Schieffer replied: "No, they have absolutely nothing to lose. They want to get this out and get it on the table as quickly as possible."
Following his comment about the image of Republicans supporting "fat cat bankers," Schieffer added: "it's one thing to oppose health care reform, but on this case, I think most people would agree that doctors are more popular than bankers, especially at this particular time when you've had this lawsuit filed against Goldman Sachs." The headline on screen throughout the segment read: "Financial Reform Face-Off; Obama Takes on Wall Street, GOP."
The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
That was the takeaway from an April 22 CNBC "Squawk Box" segment in which the network's Washington correspondent John Harwood explained the upside for the Obama administration in taking an aggressive tack on financial regulation and pushing it through Congress.
According to Harwood, public opinion on this issue favors President Barack Obama. He explained that Wall Street is very unpopular and that's causing some Republicans to be willing to compromise with Democrats on the issue.
"He knows that things are rolling his way on this issue," Harwood said. "You had battle lines initially drawn - both parties took to the trenches, started firing heavy ammunition. But the throw weight is with the Democratic side on this. The public wants financial regulation reform. They don't like Wall Street, just as they don't like Washington. So this is a case where Barack Obama, instead of being the target of public anger, can direct some of it somewhere else. That is what causes Republicans at the end to say, ‘OK, it's time to negotiate, get serious about a deal.' And they're going to get some concessions in that bargaining in exchange for their votes. And they will then be able to stand up and say, ‘This bill was headed to be a bailout bill. We stopped the bailout and everybody can hold hands and say they did something good for the country.'"
CNBC's John Harwood, in an interview aired on Thursday's Today show, pressed Barack Obama about the need to regulate Wall Street as he questioned the President if Americans needed to view them in the same way they view Big Tobacco as "companies whose core activities are harmful to the country?" Obama declined to make the comparison to the tobacco companies, but went on to insist Wall Street needed new rules to protect against "excess." [audio available here]
JOHN HARWOOD: Should average Americans think about big Wall Street institutions the way that some have come to think about tobacco companies, that is, companies whose core activities are harmful to the country?
BARACK OBAMA: No. We have to have a thriving financial sector. But, we also have to have basic rules of the road in place to make sure that investors, consumers, shareholders, the economy as a whole, are protected against excess. We have gotten into one of those places where we need to update those rules of the road, and if we do so, not only is that good for the economy, not only does it protect consumers and investors, it's also good for the financial sector.