CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer often showcases erratic and unpredictable behavior and the same goes sometimes for his analysis of the stock market.
While the economy continues to struggle through the recession, the forward-looking indicators known as the financial markets continue to perplex Cramer for not going up when some positive signs, also known as "green shoots" by the financial media, are starting show. According to his analysis - it's the government and a reliance on oil futures that have scared off investors.
"How did we reach this point where investors just can't be bothered to respond to clear unalloyed positives or be tempted by low, low prices of so many stocks?" Cramer said. "I think we've been worn down, I think we've been worn down by two different things - first, the government and then oil. And they're what's keeping everyone apathetic about stocks."
Which company sold the most light trucks in the U.S. in June?
Which company came in at Number 9 in car sales in June, down from Number 7 a year ago?
Aren't smaller players in the auto industry obviously gaining ground on the big guys because of their small, fuel-efficient cars?
If you don't know the answers to these questions, it's because the press has been doing a poor job of covering what's really been going on in the industry since the Era of the (Failed) Auto Company Bailouts began in December of last year.
Answers to the three questions are in the charts that follow:
Remember the good old days—when dissent was patriotic? Fuggedaboutit. Dissent isn't merely unpatriotic now. It's downright treasonous. Just ask Paul Krugman.
If, like virtually all House Republicans and a handful of Dems, you don't agree with the likes of Henry Waxman on the need to take radical measures on the climate, you're guilty of . . . "a form of treason." Treason against the planet, to be precise.
Noteworthy from Friday night's broadcast network evening newscasts which, a day after his death, spent 95 percent of their air time on Michael Jackson -- all but 1:03 of ABC's approximate 22 minutes was devoted to Jackson, all but 34 seconds of CBS and all but 1:22 of NBC, for 2:59, less than three minutes in total for all news beyond Jackson:
♦ Only ABC's World News reported how Monica Conyers, a Detroit city councilwoman married to powerful U.S. House Democrat John Conyers, pled guilty to accepting bribes. But anchor Charles Gibson, who on Wednesday night made sure to identify Mark Sanford as “a rising star in the Republican Party,” failed to name the party affiliation for either Monica Conyers or John Conyers, and neither did any on-screen graphic. Speaking of Detroit, last year, when Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was charged with felonies, Gibson (as well as the CBS and NBC anchors) didn't consider Kilpatrick's party worth mentioning.
♦ ABC also uniquely found a little time, a mere 20 seconds, to mention House action on President Obama's “cap and trade” bill. As noted by the MRC's Business and Media Institute, for months the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts have barely covered the bill “that would cost each family $1,241 a year.” CBS and NBC kept up the near-blackout again Friday night. Gibson outlined how “the bill would impose limits pollution from power plants and factories and force a shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy,” but also noted: “Critics charge it will drive up energy costs for consumers.”
This may be the beginning of a new summer, but one thing that isn’t new is the rise in gas prices. The average price for a gallon of gas is around $2.60, but though many in the media complain, they missed a big chance to talk about solutions.
On CNBC’s June 10 “Larry Kudlow Report,” Larry Kudlow hosted Indiana Rep. Mike Pence to discuss possible measures that might help lower gas prices – including a new GOP energy plan. But ABC’s “World New with Charles Gibson” and CBS’s “Evening News” instead focused on how gas prices were hurting Americans, and left out the bit about a new Republican plan to lower energy costs.
Virtually every time oil and gasoline prices rose when George W. Bush was in the White House, his policies and/or his connections to folks in the oil industry were blamed by newsrooms from coast to coast.
Yet, even though oil has doubled in price since Inauguration Day, with retail gas prices up $0.75 a gallon, you'd be hard-pressed to find reports blaming these spikes on President Obama or anything he's done since taking office.
Before you answer, take a look at the following crude oil chart:
It's the new "C" word according to Melissa Francis, co-host of CNBC's "The Call." Using the word "cartel" to describe OPEC is officially a no- no.
Francis, who was on location in Vienna, Austria at the OPEC summit, reported on an exchange between herself and Ali Al-Naimi, the oil minister of Saudi Arabia during the May 28 broadcast of "Squawk on the Street." In an interview, Al-Naimi took issue with Francis using the word "cartel" to describe OPEC:
Francis: When do you think we'll hit that $75-to-80 range that seem like almost everybody in the cartel agrees is sort of the equilibrium price?
Al-Naimi: You have to be careful calling OPEC a cartel. I resent that.
While reporting on the Obama administration’s plan to impose higher fuel standards on cars and trucks on Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith asked Obama environmental advisor Carol Browner: "As a former long-time administrator of the EPA, how overdue is this?" Browner replied: "It is long overdue. You know, Congress stood in the way of tougher fuel economy standards for a long time. That finally was fixed."
Smith did question the higher price of cars for consumers that would result from the tougher standards: "With the added price tag cost to these average vehicles, and much higher -- higher gas mileage and fewer emissions, what is my incentive, what is my dollar incent – incentive to buy a car like this?" Browner argued that consumers would save money in the long-run due to better gas mileage: "...whether you want to buy a bigger car or a smaller car, they will all be more efficient, and cleaner. So we're preserving the consumer choice, but giving every consumer the opportunity to save money at the pump." Smith replied: "Will SUVs and pickup trucks go the way of the dinosaur, though?"
"Good Morning America" co-host Diane Sawyer on Tuesday aggressively lobbied for the Obama administration to install a European-style gas tax on the United States. Talking to Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, about Obama's plans for increased fuel standards, she began, "Why not just go to a gas tax, for instance, which would accomplish a reduction in the use of gasoline, dependence on foreign oil right away?" Sawyer would proceed to ask variations on this question six times.
Citing calls for a gas tax by New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, she pressed, "If you really want to change the fuel patterns of this country, and if you want to reduce dependence on foreign oil, not by 2015 or 2016, but right now, there is one way to do it. It's the way Europe has been doing it. And that is a gasoline tax." Browner mostly dodged the question and focused on new fuel and environmental standards. Sawyer, however, would not be deterred. She fretted, "Do you think the gas tax approach is right or wrong? Or just politically unacceptable?" Not liking the non-answers, the ABC host argued, "So, no gas tax ever, as far as you're concerned?"
For whatever reason, CNBC keeps lining up challengers to take on its Chicago Mercantile Exchange floor reporter Rick Santelli over his self-reliance, pro-taxpayer persona - whether it's Steve Liesman, Arianna Huffington or this time, Keith Boykin - editor of The Daily Voice, a CNBC contributor and a BET TV host.
ON CNBC's May 7 "The Call," Santelli took on Boykin in the program's "The Call of the Wild" segment. Boykin was armed with the usual anti-George W. Bush talking points to defend President Barack Obama and his policies.
"Look what he inherited first of all," Boykin said.
"He didn't inherit anything," Santelli said. "He ran for office, it was his choice."
Here’s a quick informal poll:Who has heard news of Russia’s recent troop buildup in the South Ossetia region of Georgia?
Most of our readers would immediately think of the Russian invasion of that region last summer, during the presidential contest, but the Russians are arguably saber rattling again with a fresh buildup of boots on-the-ground ahead of planned NATO exercises.
Last August, the media coverage immediately took the angle of breathless anticipation on how each presidential candidate would react to such a situation.John McCain’s position was easily established from his record over many years in the Senate.Then-Senator Obama’s position was much more difficult to ascertain – but the media gave him ample time to figure it out, helping the candidate defer those questions to the September 26 debate.In fact, a good example of such activism was shown in the Washington Post’s Jim Hoagland, who in his August 31 op-ed insisted:
After getting wiped all over the floor by Marc Morano in a March 27 global warming debate, and responding by childishly forbidding any articles of Morano's be linked at his Climate Progress blog, Joe Romm has set his sights on NewsBusters.
When the New York Times today told its readers about the massive Henry Waxman-Ed Markey 648-page draft global warming bill, it bent over backwards to report the pros and cons of the proposal.
The March 31 story, supplied by Darren Samuelsohn and Ben Geman of Greenwire:
* Included sponsor Rep Waxman's claim that "this legislation will create millions of clean energy jobs, put America on the path to energy independence, and cut global warming pollution," without a balancing rebuttal or reference to the economic damage passage of the bill would almost assuredly cause.
* Followed that favorable quote by California liberal Democrat Waxman with a favorable quote by California liberal Democrat Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
* Followed those two favorable statements with seven sentences quoting Democrats Rep. Charles Gonzales (D-TX), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Rick Boucher (D-VA), who have quibbles on the margins about the proposal but who like the concept.
For over six months, bankers, traders, financial institution employees, and anybody in any way associated with Wall Street have been eviscerated by the media as greedy, lying crooks.
Considering this, and how shortly after his inauguration, President Barack Obama said this isn't the time for people to be worried about profits, one has to wonder what kind of reaction the left and their media minions will have towards George Soros's declaration that he's "having a very good crisis."
The following shocking revelation was reported Wednesday by Britain's Daily Mail in an article astoundingly titled "'I'm Having a Very Good Crisis,' says Soros as Hedge Fund Managers Make Billions Off Recession":
Perhaps this post could be headlined "CNBC Continues to Atone for Its Outspoken Obama Criticism."
As if announcing Democratic National Committee chairman and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean as a "CNBC contributor" weren't enough, CNBC has invited the editor in chief of one of the its biggest critics to guest co-host one of CNBC's most popular shows.
Originally reported in a status update from Arianna Huffington's Facebook page on March 24, and later confirmed by Huffington herself in an e-mail with the Media Research Center, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post will co-host CNBC's "Squawk Box" on March 31.
“Oh, god,” why did he have to use that word? According to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, the GOP “outsourced” the Republican response to a young, successful Indian-American governor who “had nothing to do with Congress.”
They had to outsource the response tonight, the Republican party. They had to outsource to someone who had nothing to do with Congress because the Republicans in Congress had nothing to do with the programs he was talking about tonight or the record he referred to.
First of all, one might point out that Piyush “Bobby” Jindal was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 2004 to 2006. Furthermore, Republican governors are quite important members of the party. The idea that the GOP was bringing in an outsider is flat out wrong.
As Nobel Laureate Al Gore warns Congress today about how the naturally occurring gas carbon dioxide is destroying the planet -- and gets a lot of press attention doing so, of course! -- one has to wonder whether anyone -- either on Capitol Hill or in the media -- will ask him how he financially benefits if the legislative measures he's proposing get enacted.
After all, as NewsBusters reported last April, Gore has made huge investments in companies that produce green technologies specifically designed to combat the "problem" he's been telling the world -- using his brand of junk science, of course! -- exists.
Now, with a new, green Administration in office, Gore wants our tax dollars spent on things he's invested in (from prepared remarks):
It's not often that meteorology intersects with geopolitics - but Europe could be in store for another Cold War, literally.
Accuweather.com's chief long-range and hurricane forecaster Joe Bastardi observed that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's recent cut of gas flows to Europe via Ukraine may have been done so in anticipation of a global cooling cycle on the Jan. 6 "Glenn Beck Show" radio program. Bastardi has a solid reputation among Wall Street traders for understanding weather's impact on energy commodities.
"The thing I want to bring up here - very interesting - most of the solar cycle studies that we know about and that guys like me read have come out of the Russian scientists," Bastardi said. "But when Glasnost developed, the Russian scientists, a lot of their ideas on the coming cool period that a lot of us believe is going to occur - ice, rather than fire is the big problem down the road here 2030, 2040, and the reversing cyclical cycles of the ocean - it came out of the East."
Climate realists around the world have contended for years that the real goal of alarmists such as Nobel Laureate Al Gore and his followers is to use the fear of man-made global warming to redistribute wealth.
On Monday, one of Gore's leading scientific resources, Goddard Institute for Space Studies chief James Hansen, sent a letter to Barack and Michelle Obama specifically urging the president-elect to enact a tax on carbon emissions that would take money from higher-income Americans and distribute the proceeds to the less fortunate.
The eco-socialism cat was let out of the bag on page five of a PDF Hansen published at Columbia University's website on December 29 (emphasis added, h/t Britain's Guardian, file photo):
Well, the unprecedented decline in gasoline prices the past five months is actually giving regular Americans a much-needed boost to their balance sheets possibly greater than what the government is doling out to the financial services and automobile industries.
New data just released by the Oil Price Information Service reveals that we're currently spending $1 billion a day less on gasoline than we were back in July.
Don't expect media members to be lining up to thank the oil companies for what was reported by the Associated Press just minutes ago:
Common sense says that the chart's results after adjusting for inflation are more important (identified as "Chained  dollars") than those in current dollars. Consmers' disposable income went up 1.0% in real (after-inflation) terms in November after a 0.7% increase in October.
It took a month for real consumer spending ("Personal consumption expenditures") to catch up to the increased disposable income, but it did so in a big way in November. The 0.6% real increase is the highest in over three years. Both improvements are objectively good news, and are largely due to sharply declining gas prices.
This is pretty fundamental Econ 101 stuff, isn't it? As you can see from the headlines and the treatment of the real spending increase that follow, the business press mostly flunked, and badly:
As oil and gasoline prices rose throughout much of this decade, a popular media meme was that a lower dollar was largely to blame.
By making this dubious connection, press outlets could point fingers at Bush economic policies thereby distracting the public from the reality that decades of liberal environmental constraints on oil exploration and refinery construction led to an inevitable and undesirable supply-demand squeeze culminating in the commodity futures bubble that peaked in July.
Yet, since early November, oil and the dollar have both been plummeting thereby destroying the press assertion that as one goes down, the other goes up (charts courtesy TradingCharts.com):
"You can see that even in Europe, some of the climate concerns, given this, this once in a lifetime recession, John - to put someone that, an advocate of such strong measures," Kernen said on "Squawk Box" Dec. 11. "Really I've seen her called Brownies or Brownistas. Um. That's a little scary with what's happening right now."
Earlier Kernen was discussing cabinet appoints with CNBC Washington correspondent John Harwood and pointed to new regulations Browner could institute:
During an interview on CNN’s “No Bias, No Bull” program on Tuesday, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman expressed his confidence in President-Elect Obama’s “vision” for environmental policy and urged that the future executive be given “means...that are as radical as its ends” to carry out this policy: “...[I]t’s great to say we’re going to have green jobs and green homes and green-collared jobs to re-insulate people’s homes, install solar panels. Those jobs won’t get taken up unless you change building codes around the country. So...I think, the challenge for President-elect Obama will be to have the standards, regulations, the means that are as radical as its ends so we can really achieve those ends.”
Host Campbell Brown devoted two segments to her interview of Friedman. During the second segment, Brown brought up “Obama’s attempt to take on the enormous environmental challenges facing the country and the world.” She first asked the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist if the president-elect’s plan for creating green jobs was “visionary” enough and if he has “the leadership ability to get this done.”
If you needed any more proof that liberal media members don't give a darn about the state of the economy or the American people, and instead just want to raise taxes, you got it Sunday when Tom Brokaw advocated gas prices, which have plummeted recently, be kept at $4 a gallon with government keeping the added cost.
Coming just two days after it was announced that America lost over 500,000 jobs in November, Brokaw, in what could be his last performance as "Meet the Press" host, actually asked Barack Obama why taxes shouldn't be dramatically raised on gasoline with revenues to be spent on alternative energy, and to send a signal that folks won't be able to "just fill up [their] tank for 20 bucks anymore."
This came in response to president-elect uttering another disturbingly socialist statement that should make clearer his spread the wealth motives (video embedded below the fold with relevant section at 6:00, readers are encouraged to review Mark Finkelstein's earlier piece on this subject, file photo):
If you needed any more proof climate alarmists are an extraordinarily deluded bunch that will do anything to protect their dogma, you got it Saturday when a 56-page report on military strategy incited ire because it included two paragraphs on global warming that don't perfectly fit Nobel Laureate Al Gore's agenda.
In fact, all the brouhaha was largely about one sentence: "In many respects, scientific conclusions about the causes and potential effects of global warming are contradictory."
Seems innocent enough, don't you think?
Well, not according to the Boston Globe's Bryan Bender, or any of the folks he chose to question about it:
Low gas prices are a boost to the economy and a reason for Americans to give thanks this holiday, but they’re bad for environmentalists who want government mandates for alternative energy, according to Business & Media Institute Assistant Editor Nathan Burchfiel.
“[T]hese prices are good for the American people, they’re good for the American economy, but they’re bad for environmentalists who want to use the government to make these cheaper, more efficient forms of energy more expensive so that the more expensive, less efficient forms of alternative energy are more appealing,” Burchfiel said on CBN “Newswatch” Nov. 25. “And that’s government manipulation of markets and it’s just not what we need right now in an economy that’s struggling.”
The national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline was $1.89 Nov. 25. It was down more than 50 percent from an all-time high of $4.11 in mid-July, and about 40 percent from the Nov. 2007 average of $3.09.
The Denver Post took note of leading state Democrats' objections to the Bush Administration's royalty rates for oil shale development in the state. Senator Ken Salazar and Governor Ritter's spokesman claimed that setting rates was putting the cart before the horse, as the technologies weren't fully vetted yet:
[Sen.] Salazar's brother, Democratic Rep. John Salazar, was also critical, saying water, energy and the impact of shale development on Colorado towns remain unresolved.
Harris Sherman, director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, said it was "irresponsible" to move ahead before officials have a better idea of which technologies will work and what the likely impact will be on towns, air, water and land.
Of course, the Senator and the Governor have been among the most vocal in blocking the creation of a regulatory regime that would permit experimentation on a large enough scale to vet the technologies. Then again, Mr. Sherman claims that the "right rate" is unknowable, while Sen. Salazar insists that it's too low. The mutual contradiction here also goes unremarked.
After spending much of the spring and summer hyping the dire consequences of rising gas prices, CBS on Thursday night decided the plummeting cost of gas at the pump is really bad news. Noting that “crude settled at about $58 a barrel today, that's about $90 less than it was in July,” fill-in CBS Evening News anchor Harry Smith warned “that comes as a mixed blessing.”
Reporter Mark Strassmann found an ecstatic man paying less than $2.00 a gallon, but Strassmann spoiled the mood: “Low gas prices are also bad news and the lower prices go, the worse the news gets.” An “oil analyst” explained: “This is just a reflection of the poor state of the economy and the oil market is reflecting this global slow down.” Strassmann soon fretted over how “it's also a grim time for alternative energy champions” and “sinking oil prices could” hurt “plans to develop alternative sources of energy or fund green developments.”