Deck the halls! The Obamas were Christmas shopping on "Small Business Saturday," and spurring economic growth with their consumer spending. Economic activity that may come to an abrupt end if we take the plunge off the fiscal cliff.
CBSNews.com reporter Lindsey Boerma wrote on November 24 about the outing detailing how, “accompanied by his daughters Sasha and Malia, the president journeyed across the river to One More Page Books, which the White House described as an "independent, neighborhood bookstore." After consulting his Blackberry for an apparent holiday wish list, he purchased 15 children's books before even browsing the store.” But is President Obama really pro-small business?
This morning the Obama administration's "National Economic Council & Council of Economic Advisers" jointly released "The Middle-Class Tax Cuts' Impact on Consumer Spending & Retailers." Among the howlers in this non-economic political document: "Independent Economic Analysis Clearly Demonstrates Why We Need to Extend the 2001/2003/2010 Tax Cuts for the Middle-class." But not everyone else? Don't high income-earners spend money too?
The primary thrust of the administration's release is that, in regards to negotiations to avoid the "fiscal cliff," is the predictable class warfare clarion call, complete with kidnapping-related rhetoric: "There is no reason to hold the middle-class hostage while we debate tax cuts for the highest income earners." The word "hostage" appears three times in the first two pages of the document. The subtext, of course, is that the hostage-holders are the Republicans in Congress, particularly the House of Representatives. At the Politico, Byron Tau ignored this classless, tasteless partisan tack by supposed professionals:
America has created almost six trillion dollars in new debt in the past four years and Time magazine's Joe Klein wants to "bring back earmarks."
On ABC's This Week Sunday, Klein also said, "I think John McCain did a tremendous disservice to this country by making such a huge campaign about earmarks" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The third page of an unbylined report with an early Saturday time stamp credited to "USA Today" carried at the Jackson, Mississippi Clarion Ledger (like USAT, a Gannett Company) claimed that "Walmart heiress Alice Walton expressed solidarity with Walmart's striking workers."
Putting aside whether or not an action taken by what the company estimated may have been fifty associates is a "strike" or a "temper tantrum," the claim was not true. USA Today fell for a hoax. Following the jump are several paragraphs from the Clarion Ledger report and an LA Times writeup identifying the hoax. Additionally, I learned that Alice Walton's Crystal Bridges Museum was the object of Occupy and union movement protests when it opened a year ago.
Jay Leno continued his string of comedic attacks on the current White House resident Wednesday.
During his opening monologue on NBC's Tonight Show, the host said that because Democrats did so well on Election Day, President Obama is running out of Republicans to blame the fiscal cliff on (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Ah, Thanksgiving. A time for Americans to come together, be grateful for their blessings—and tell people with different politics to stuff it?
That's apparently Ed Schultz's take on the holiday. On his MSNBC show this evening, gloating over his presumption that taxes will be going up on the top 2%, Schultz sent this warm 'n fuzzy message to John Boehner: "think about it over your turkey and stuffing Speaker Boehner. And by the way, you can put some gravy on that--and you know the rest of the sentence." View the video after the jump.
Jesse Jackson Jr. resigned from office today. The timing of the Democratic congressman's resignation (even beyond it taking place on Thanksgiving Eve) is convenient, coming just two weeks after his reelection and prior to what in apparently an imminent indictment. The former enables Democratic Party kingpins in Chicago and its south suburbs to ensure that the seat stays with someone they like and can control (a general election situation with a preceding mini-primary might have been more problematic), while resigning before an indictment makes it likely that Jackson will be eligible for a congressional pension he might have lost had he still been in office when charged.
We are told that Jackson is too distraught to get through a publicly spoken resignation and that he cancelled a conference call with his staff. His resignation letter (original here; Washington Post transcription here) to House Speaker John Boehner, our best potential window to his current state of mind, reveals a man who is utterly full of himself and his wonderfulness. In the process of building this monument to himself, Jackson delivered several self-evident falsehoods the press would never let a Republican in a similar position get away with making without sharp criticism. Since it's a public document, the letter follows the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
CBS News political director John Dickerson all but crossed his fingers on Wednesday's CBS This Morning as he forwarded the idea of letting the country go over the looming fiscal cliff so President Obama could gain the political advantage: "There is an argument for actually...letting this happen. The President gets even more leverage."
Dickerson explained that "if the so-called fiscal cliff happens, taxes go up for everybody; then, you have a conversation about – not about raising taxes, but about, then, cutting taxes." So, the President and Congress will look good for supposedly cutting taxes after raising them?
This Thanksgiving, a record high of 42.2 million Americans will use food stamps to curtail the cost of a big meal. At a whopping expense of $72 billion to the taxpayer per year, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has grown by 70 percent since 2007, an increase of over 15 million more people.
Despite acknowledging all of this, Elizabeth Flock of US News & World Report declared "More Americans will use food stamps to buy their Thanksgiving dinner this year than ever before," and implied these government handouts aren't as sufficient as they could be.
Hector Camacho might be in tough shape in hospital, but someone is out there bobbing and weaving like a champ. Meet Karen Mills, President Obama's head of the Small Business Administration.
When Joe Scarborough asked her straight-up to state the cost per worker of Obamacare, Mills ducked like a pro, switched the subject, and wound up describing . . . how last year, she bought blueberry jam at a Maine farmers market as gifts for her friends! Not a joke—just a world-class non sequitur from an Obama administration that would rather talk about anything other than the cost of its big-government plans. View the video after the jump.
It's been over a week since the Michael Bastasch at the Daily Caller exposed EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson's use of alias email accounts to conduct official business. A Monday evening Investor's Business Daily editorial noted that this practice is more than likely illegal, because "Federal law prohibits the government from using private emails for official communications unless they are appropriately stored and can be tracked" -- something which can hardly be done if non-flagged Jackson accounts are under names like "Richard Windsor."
Despite the obvious journalistic hot buttons of government secrecy and stonewalling (the Competitive Enterprise Institute has been trying through freedom of information requests since May and a lawsuit filed a few months later to get the EPA to reveal the contensts of "certain correspondence on the secondary email account assigned to" Ms. Jackson), establishment press coverage has been virtually non-existent.
This is the eighth year I have looked into how the media treats these two topics: The use of "Christmas shopping season" vs. "holiday shopping season," and the frequency of Christmas and holiday layoff references.
I have done three sets of simple Google News searches each year -- the first in late November, followed by identical searches roughly two and four weeks later. I will wait until just after Christmas to relay the full results, but feel compelled to note the following relating to today's "shopping season" searches, namely that the proportion containing "Christmas" came in at the lowest I've ever seen.
In his column yesterday, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman made the case for how the pro-union and high-tax policies of the 1950s led to America’s unparalleled economic success from the end of World War II until the mid-1970s. The essay is a classic example of how to use a few correct facts to make a completely illogical argument.
First Krugman says “Above all, the success of the postwar American economy demonstrates that, contrary to today’s conservative orthodoxy, you can have prosperity without demeaning workers and coddling the rich.” The only evidence of “coddling” he cites is lower tax rates on the wealthy in today’s America as compared to higher rates in the 1950s.
Two days after the national election on November 6, Brian Williams -- anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News -- made a peculiar comment during that Thursday's edition of Rock Center, the network's prime time news program.
“With the election now over, it is once again safe to talk abut the economy and jobs, Now that it is not a campaign issue, it's back to reality,” he stated despite the fact that he had regularly discussed the topic during the campaign in a manner that always favored President Obama.
During Friday’s broadcasts of the PBS's NewsHour and NPR’s All Things Considered, liberals continued with their narrative about the fiscal cliff, and how it’s not all that bad. Previously, Mark Shields and E.J. Dionne agreed with New York Times-style Republican David Brooks that they would go off the cliff. The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne equated it with the “will of the people.”
But now, the Post’s Ruth Marcus and E.J. Dionne insist that the cliff isn’t a cliff. It’s actually a well-defined “slope." But in the words of Joe Biden, “this is a big f***ing deal.”
The media's preoccupation with tax hikes over spending cuts continued on Sunday's State of the Union, with CNN's Candy Crowley pitching a millionaire's tax hike while not mentioning spending cuts once.
"Senator, there has been some thought on your side as well that perhaps $250,000, that if you could get the House to go along with something, that perhaps $250,000 is too low to be raising taxes, that maybe you could make it a genuine millionaires' tax that might be more palatable. What about something like that?" Crowley pressed Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Schlockumentary filmmaker Michael Moore had some straight talk for Barack Obama Monday.
In a letter to the President published at the perilously liberal Huffington Post, Moore advised Obama to "DRIVE THE RICH RIGHT OFF THEIR FISCAL CLIFF" while putting an end to "the s***ting on the poor."
Here's a which-is-better question for you. Suppose a New Jersey motel room rented for $125 a night prior to Hurricane Sandy's devastation. When the hurricane hits, a husband, wife and their two youngsters might seek the comfort of renting two adjoining rooms. However, when they arrive at the motel, they find that rooms now rent for $250. At that price, they might decide to make do with one room. In my book, that would be wonderful. That decision would make a room available for another family who had to evacuate Sandy's wrath. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and others condemn this as price gouging, but I ask you: Which is preferable for a family seeking shelter — a room available at $250 or a room unavailable at the pre-hurricane price of $125?
It's not the intention of the motel owner to make a room available for another family. He just sees an opportunity to earn more money. It was not the intention of the family of four who made do with just one room to make a room available for another evacuating family. They are just trying to save money. Even though it was no one's intention to make that room available, the room was made available as if intended. That's the unappreciated benefit of freely fluctuating prices. They get people to do voluntarily what's in the social interest — conserve on goods and services that have become scarce.
On November 14, the Hill reported that "Senate Democrats, feeling confident from their net gain of two seats in last week’s election, say any deficit-reduction package negotiated in the coming weeks must include stimulus measures." Alexander Bolton's writeup quoted Senator Chuck Schumer publicly asserting that "We have to do something because the economy is not growing fast enough in the first year or two." Although Schumer was referring to 2013 and 2014, the "not growing fast enough" characterization fits the U.S. economy under President Barack Obama's and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's "stimulus"-oriented policies ever since the recession officially ended in June 2009.
The fact that Democrats insist on more so-called "pump-priming" after four years of trillion dollar-plus deficits accompanied by tepid growth, thereby increasing the chances that the deficit streak will hit five years or more, even with tax hikes, while growth remains anemic, is something one might consider to be, well, news. But apparently not at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, or the Politico.
In a Friday report at the Associated Press on Friday with a celebratory headline ("2 YEARS AFTER IPO, GM IS PILING UP CASH"), Auto Writer Tom Krisher described bailed-out General Motors as "thriving," but didn't identify one of the important reasons for that characterization.
In paragraphs about the company's profitability and cash stockpile, Krisher failed to note that the company still hasn't paid any U.S. income taxes since emerging from bankruptcy, or why that's the case (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Since the financial collapse in the fall of 2008, we've heard doom and gloomers claim that America's best days are behind her.
Not so said Bill Gates on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS Sunday who instead believes, "The digital revolution is just at the beginning" and that "we're going to surprise ourselves" with what we create in the coming decades (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Yesterday, AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka may have broken a modern record for chutzpah exhibited by a labor leader Friday in criticizing management's decision at bankrupt snack maker Hostess Brands to liquidate in the wake of irreconcilable issues with its unions. In a Friday afternoon report at Politico, Kevin Cirilli not only let Trumka get away with it; he also lent the labor leader's contentions additional misleading support.
Trumka blamed the company's apparently imminent demise on "Bain-style Wall Street vultures." He wants everyone to believe that it's greedy, eeeevil Republican private-equity types who are on the brink of putting yet another company out of business. The "clever" framing of that quoted phrase appears to indicate that Trumka already knew better. It seems very likely that Cirilli also knew better. Three hours before the initial time stamp of Cirilli's report, Zero Hedge re-exposed the heavy involvement of D-D-D-Democrats in Hostess's management and advisors originally documented way back in july at CNNMoney by David Kaplan (additional paragraph breaks added by me; bolds are mine throughout this post):
Nuns on the Bus tour leader Sister Simone Campbell appeared on MSNBC's The Cycle on Thursday afternoon to discuss her ministry, which predictably led to her left-wing agenda becoming the focal point of the conversation. The only host to take issue with her talking points was token conservative S.E. Cupp, who was armed with facts and figures that the good sister could not rebut except by adamantly insisting they were "really wrong." That's when it started getting a little tense. [ video below, MP3 audio here ]
The cast of Good Morning America on Friday treated the bankruptcy of Hostess and the loss of 18,500 jobs as a hilarious joke. Josh Elliott, George Stephanopoulos and others guffawed as they handed out Twinkies and ate them on set. [See video below. MP3 audio here.] This is the same program that repeatedly spun Republican Mitt Romney as out of touch with the average American.
News anchor Josh Elliott highlighted the report for his final update of the 8am hour, a segment usually saved for humorous stories about puppies or funny videos. After referring to the mass firing as "troubling," the crew handed out treats. Elliott joked, "You know, I'm just going to save mine for 12 years when it will still be good." Co-host George Stephanopoulos mused, "So this is, like, one of our final Twinkies." Amy Robach mocked, "A toast to Twinkies."
Someone needs to tell Emily Jane Fox that for workers refusing to do scheduled work assigned by their employers to be engaging in a "strike" ("a concerted stopping of work or withdrawal of workers' services, as to compel an employer to accede to workers' demands or in protest against terms or conditions imposed by an employer") there needs needs to be enough of them to matter. If there aren't, it's pretty much a small group of people conducting a (conceivably justified) protest.
As Fox described it in her Thursday report at CNNMoney.com about a group of Wal-Mart employees workers planning a Black Friday walkout -- which, if large enough, may qualify for "strike" status -- what happened in October appears to have been little more than a tiny temper tantrum:
A congressional investigation into a failed venture capital firm run by a prominent former governor has faulted said governor for the debacle, which famously lost some billions in investor funds which, to this day, have not been accounted for.
No, it wasn’t Mitt Romney – it was former Democratic Governor of New Jersey Jon Corzine. One mystery that plagues this investigation is Mr. Corzine’s David Copperfield act that wiped $1.6 billion from MF Global’s client fund, which occurred days before the whole firm crumbled. Dina ElBoghdady of The Washington Post reported in the November 15 paper about this episode in financial malfeasance that cost people their jobs, and their savings – but it wasn’t too important for the paper's editors, who buried the item on page A18.