On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, fill-in co-host Erica Hill cheered the passage of financial reform legislation as "another huge milestone for President Obama." Hill went on to explain: "The first was when he signed the historic health care bill back in March. Today he is set to sign a bill aimed at completely overhauling Wall Street."
White House correspondent Chip Reid began a report on the new bill by proclaiming: "It's being hailed as the biggest shakeup of Wall Street since the Great Depression." Reid enthusiastically touted provisions in the legislation: "The bill's centerpiece is the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection....charged with regulating financial products, including mortgages, credit cards, and student loans. The legislation also gives broad new powers to the federal government, allowing it to take control of and shut down large financial institutions..."
Reid pointed out criticism of the legislation: "But critics say the bill fails to reform mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, does not create a fund to help shut down big banks when they fail, and gives too much power to federal regulators to create reams of new rules." After noting GOP concern that bill "will curb growth and kill jobs," Reid turned to an analyst from the left-leaning Brookings Institution for reassurance: "Still, former investment banker Douglas Elliott believes the bill is better than doing nothing." Elliott argued: "The bill addresses most of the problems and makes a good start. It's not perfection, but in the real world, we don't get perfection."
Chrystia Freeland, global editor-at-large for Reuters, believes the new financial regulations are still pretty loose.
"It is still a very feudal, very Byzantine regulatory system," Freeland complained on the PBS News Hour with Jim Lehrer, referring to the Senate's approval of a financial regulations bill yesterday.
A radical policy, Freeland maintained, could have done away with the current "fractured" group of regulators and established a much stronger, more unified single regulator.
However, Freeland said the bill succeeds in tempering the rapid movement of capital. She did acknowledge that Main Street folks will have more trouble getting mortgages than they did in the past. "That's the price of having a safer financial system," she said.
Freeland's championing of the new regulations does not diminish some other aspects of the bill, which include no additional regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, tougher times ahead for small businesses trying to procure loans from banks, and tough times for small banks themselves, who lack the resources of Wall Street to deal with the new regulations.
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."
In August 2009, much to the chagrin of leftist environmental activists, the generally liberal electorate of the city of Seattle rejected a 20-cent tax on plastic shopping bags.
In fact, 58 percent of voters voted to reject the proposal, although the Seattle Post-Intelligencer sought to portray the vote as the result of the plastic industry plunking down $1.4 million in advertising opposing the ban.
"Environmental interests, by comparison, only raised about $80,000," the P-I lamented.
Now nearly a year later, the P-I's Amy Rolph seems to think Seattle residents may be "jealous" that Portland, Oregon politicians are looking towards an outright ban of the dreaded plastic scourge!:
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.
George Will on Sunday accused Barack Obama of being an expert at selling snake oil.
As the Roundtable segment of ABC's "This Week" began, host Jake Tapper asked Will if the President's claim Republicans "are peddling that same snake oil that they've been peddling now for years" will resonate with voters this November.
Will marvelously responded, "No, because he is an expert on snake oil."
"This is the man who said, if we pass the $767 billion stimulus bill, which it turns out costs $862 billion, a $95 million oops, we would have unemployment at 8 percent and no higher, and it went higher," continued Will.
"This is the man who last week was out saying, 'I'm going to give $2 billion, about $2 billion, to two companies to create about 1,600 jobs.' That's $1.5 million per job. That is snake oil" (video follows with partial transcript and commentary:
"And in San Francisco, a ban on sugary drinks in city vending machines is starting to take effect," Brzezinski said. "That's so great. It was issued by Mayor Gavin Newsom, my new hero, Mike Barnicle -- in an effort to combat obesity and improve citizen's health, and it will. In fact, if people would just not drink soda pop, they would be healthier and less fat."
So you want to crawl under a high-powered lamp and bake your skin so that it has a brownish-orangish glow to it, even though there are potential health consequences. Well, the federal government is here to save you and, according to "CBS Evening News," that's not a bad thing.
The new federal 10 percent tax on indoor tanning has provoked odd alliances - such as when Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told "Snooki" from MTV's "Jersey Shore"through Twitterhe would "never tax your tanning bed." But on the June 30 broadcast of "Evening News," CBS correspondent Michelle Miller made the case why the government should.
"Gisselle Colon wanted to be bronze and beautiful. She sunbathed and bought a membership to a tanning salon several years ago. Last month, things turned ugly," Miller said. "This is her scar. In May, Gisselle was diagnosed with melanoma, one of the deadliest and most preventable forms of cancer." (h/t @KenShepherd)
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."
Jon Stewart on Monday asked David Axelrod a truly extraordinary question: has this government proven itself competent enough to regulate industry?
Speaking to President Obama's senior advisor on "The Daily Show," the Comedy Central star was in the middle of a rather interesting discussion when he surprisingly said, "It's clear that this administration believes that government can have a stronger hand in regulating Wall Street, in regulating energy, in doing these things."
"But, has government during this time proved itself competent? And are our only two choices sort of an incompetent bureaucracy that doesn't quite regulate properly or free market anarchy?" he asked.
When Axelrod predictably tried to blame all the problems in the country on the previous administration's supposed lack of regulation and oversight, Stewart wasn't having any of it (video follows with transcript and commentary, relevant section at 1:50):
A federal judge in New Orleans has blocked a six-month moratorium on new deepwater drilling projects that was imposed in response to the massive Gulf oil spill.
The White House says President Barack Obama's administration will appeal.
Several companies that ferry people and supplies and provide other services to offshore drilling rigs had asked U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman in New Orleans to overturn the moratorium.
This later paragraph from AP's breaking news report explains why I believe Ken Salazar's dissenting experts from the National Academy of Engineering may have influenced the judge's outlook on the case:
Feldman says in his ruling that the Interior Department failed to provide adequate reasoning for the moratorium. He says it seems to assume that because one rig failed, all companies and rigs doing deepwater drilling pose an imminent danger.
Feldman's take seems to mirror the language of the dissenting experts.
It didn't take Velma, Shaggy or Scooby to uncover this mystery.
In a June 21 study published in the medical journal Pediatrics, researchers from Yale University "discovered" that food products with characters on them affect children's taste preferences, which may explain why food companies have been advertising with cartoons since at least the 1960's.
CNN.com and USA Today used the study to promote advertising restrictions and victimize consumers:
"Characters from TV and movies have appeared on food products for years, but until now little research has been done to examine how they influence children's food choices," Sarah Klein wrote on CNN.com.
On the June 20th edition of Sunday Morning, CBS reporter Richard Schlesinger conducted a glowing interview with pay czar Kenneth Feinberg, lauding him as someone who speaks with "moral authority" and who has "become an expert assessor of the value of life itself."
Feinberg, who will now be in charge of distributing the $20 billion BP has pledged for the oil spill, previously worked with President Obama to control salaries and bonuses of Wall Street CEOs. Schlesinger could barely contain his disgust for the executives.
He scolded, "How do you avoid looking at these guys on the other side of the table and say, You're just a bunch of greedy so-and-sos?"
Managing Editor's Note: I saw this earlier today on RedState and asked the artist for permission to republish here. You can check out more of Toby Dials's work at TobyToons.com and follow him on Twitter here.
How committed is the Washington Post to its crusade to see Congress abridge free speech under the guise of "campaign finance reform"? So much that it's willing to be a political bedfellow with the National Rifle Association, a group it detests for its persistent advocacy of Americans' Second Amendment liberties.
In a June 17 editorial, the Post voiced its support behind a bill that Democrats and some liberal Republicans have been cobbling together since the Supreme Court struck down a portion of the McCain-Feingold bill earlier this year. But the bill itself contains language that was tailor-made to carve out an exemption for the National Rifle Association. That exemption was included, it seems, to get the NRA to back down from opposing the bill and hence to prevent it from throwing the ire of its grassroots backers into the mix.
While there are both leftists and conservatives angry about this unholy alliance for wildly different reasons, the Post defended its support of the bill with its typical sanctimonious language about battling "shadowy" interests:
Wow, just wow. Never would have seen this one coming, but is one of the standard-bearers of the media elite recognizing the Obama administration's anti-business populist tone is inhibiting the U.S. economy?
"It is, certainly beyond Washington," Gregory explained. "You all know it talking to business leaders every day and I do speak to business leaders quite often as well and I hear it time and time again that what you got at the administration are two problems. One, you've got nobody in the inner sanctum of the President's advisers who has ever run a business - who have never run a business. And that's a real problem. I think there's a level of recognition about that being a problem in the West Wing as well. But the rhetoric and the policy substantively, a lot of people feel, is anti-business and getting to a point where it could really discourage businesses in the United States and certainly the multinationals working here as well. That's a problem and I think that element of criticism from Joe Barton, while off the reservation substantively, got to that larger point, which is this populist string."
In a satellite interview with Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-La.) held shortly before 1 p.m. EDT today, MSNBC's Contessa Brewer criticized Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) for denouncing the president for pushing BP to agree to a $20-billion escrow account for oil spill damages as a "shakedown":
So, there's Joe Barton calling the $20 billion in escrow a shakedown, and as you point out, there are people in your district who have lost their livelihoods! They wonder how they can feed their families!
But yesterday, Brewer's MSNBC colleague Ed Schultz used similar language to voice his giddy approval of President Obama's maneuvering [video embedded at right and available as WMV file here]:
Plenty of prominent media figures were upset with President Obama over his substandard address to the nation last night (full text). While most are distraught, none seem to be doing what should be the essential journalistic task of the day: pointing out all of the factual misstatements the president made.
So, in absence of a serious attempt at fact-checking from the legacy media, let us undertake some of our own.
In all, the president misrepresented the federal government's--and especially his cabinet's--role in creating the conditions that led to the spill, the state of the nation's oil reserves, and his own administration's involvement with BP. Futhermore, his transition from discussing the Gulf spill to advocating "clean energy" legislation was a huge logical leap, and one that necessarily misrepresents the problems the nation faces with regard to energy.
With the federal government - both on Capitol Hill and in the White House - beginning to take investigative and punitive action against BP (NYSE:BP), the future of the company, at least in the United States, is in peril.
On CNBC's June 14 "The Kudlow Report," John Kilduff, a CNBC contributor and the vice president of MF Global was asked by host Larry Kudlow about a potential debarment from eligibility to be awarded government contracts, which have been very lucrative for the embattled oil giant.
"John, this would effectively be debarment," Kudlow said. "This is something we talked about a week ago, and the prevailing attitude was there would not be debarment because that hardly ever happens in American commercial history. Is President Obama having this as a Sword of Damocles over BP?"
Earlier this year, in his "Can we lose health coverage? Yes we can" column, syndicated columnist Deroy Murdock made a point asserted in dozens if not hundreds of columns and reports during the hide-and-seek legistlative process that ultimately led to the passage of what is commonly known as ObamaCare: The President's core promise relating to the statist health care legislation that ultimately became law in March -- namely that "If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what" -- could not and would not be kept.
In that column, Murdock quoted Cato Institute analyst Michael Cannon as follows:
"Obama's definition of 'meaningful' coverage could eliminate the health plans that now cover as many as half of the 159 million Americans with employer-sponsored insurance, plus more than half of the roughly 18 million Americans in the individual market. ... This could compel close to 90 million Americans to switch to more comprehensive health plans with higher premiums, whether they value the added coverage or not."
In a late Friday afternoon blog post followed by a fuller early evening report, David Hogberg and Sean Higgins at Investors Business Daily confirmed that Obama's never-credible core promise is on the brink of being shattered, and that the employer-related calculations by Cato's Cannon were essentially correct (graphically illustrated by IBD at the top right):
Speaking to New York Magazine columnist John Heilemann on MSNBC Friday, anchor Andrea Mitchell wondered if the Gulf oil spill could be a political opportunity for President Obama: "Is there an opportunity now to do something real on energy?"Heilemann proclaimed the disaster was "a triggering action for us to try and get toward a greener future...break our addiction to oil..."
The discussion occurred during the 1PM ET hour on Andrea Mitchell Reports with Mitchell noting how the President was "trying to contain the political damage" from the spill. After she spun the crisis as an "opportunity," Heilemann argued: "I think this is one of these real moments for any president...what better moment is there than this?" Both Mitchell and Heilemann seem to share the philosophy of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel that "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste."
Heilemann actually worried that the White House would not exploit the situation enough: "I think that for the White House to do that and not end up with a piecemeal, some kind of small bill – small ball bill – he's got to go really big and turn this into a crusade." He described the "fear" on the Left that the administration was "going to end up settling for a small solution rather than the big one that really changes, fundamentally, our relationship to energy and the – and our climate."
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:
When a protectionist law is enacted and nearly a century later it is inhibiting a recovery from major ecological catastrophe, it's probably time to scrap it or at least temporarily waive it.
But instead a nearly century old provision known as the Jones Act of 1920 is wielding the wrath of unintended consequences. According to the Heritage Foundation, this protectionist measure was put in place to defend the American maritime industry, but is endangering far more jobs than it is protecting.
"The Jones Act, which is supposedly about protecting jobs, is actually killing jobs," Heritage co-authors James Dean and Claude Berube wrote in a June 8 The Foundry post. "The jobs of fishermen, people working in tourism and others who live along the Gulf Coast and earn a living there are being severely impacted. There are also additional private sector jobs which are NOT being created in the United States since the Jones Act effectively prices U.S. based companies out of the ability to be competitive on the competitive global market. As we strive to develop new technologies for a cleaner environment at sea, the Jones Act continues to hobble our own capabilities, sometimes with devastating results."
“Sooner or later, we’ll blame this on George W. Bush,” George Will presciently predicted on Sunday’s Week during the roundtable’s look as how President Barack Obama is handling the gulf oil leak. Seconds later, the Huffington Post’s Arianna Huffington didn’t let Will down, declaring “the truth is, that right now we have precisely the regulatory system that the Bush-Cheney administration wanted. Full of loopholes, full of cronies and lobbyists filling the very agencies they're supposed to be overseeing the industry.” Then this exchange:
GEORGE WILL: So, it's Bush's fault? Just clear this up.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: It is absolutely a thousand percent Bush-Cheney's fault.
Huffington proceeded to hit the Obama administration for not having “really done enough fast enough to change” Bush’s policies so “we are seeing the complete success of the kind of regulatory system that Bush-Cheney wanted.” Prompting Liz Cheney to marvel, “I don't know what planet you live on,” Huffington also charged that “right here we have the poster child of Bush-Cheney crony capitalism, Halliburton, involved in this.”
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.
On Wednesday's Rick's List, CNN's Drew Griffin pressed former Clinton administration official Robert Reich on his call for a federal takeover of BP and its efforts against the Gulf oil leak. Griffin first questioned Reich if his proposal was serious, and later stated that the Democrat's idea "sounds not only highly illegal...but seems to me to smack of something that we might see in Venezuela" [audio clips available here].
The CNN personality, who was filling in for anchor Rick Sanchez, brought on the current University of California, Berkeley professor to discuss his proposal, which he first made in a May 31 column (as noted by Jeff Poor at MRC's Business and Media Institute). After summarizing Reich's position, that it was "time for the government to seize control of BP and take over the company's oil spill recovery efforts in the Gulf," Griffin bluntly asked the former labor secretary, "I've got to tell you, I have always considered you a very serious person, but this doesn't sound serious to me at all. Are you serious about this, or was this some kind of a joke to get things going?"
On CBS's Sunday Morning show, correspondent Jim Axelrod filed a report touting the movement in America to make it the law of the land that some employers must provide paid vacation to their employees, even giving controversial Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson - known for making vicious attacks against conservatives – a chance to plug his proposal to make paid vacation, which the Florida Democrat called a "right," legally mandated:
Alan Grayson is adamant that vacation is a right. In fact, he wants to make it a law. ... Grayson wants to guarantee at least one week of paid vacation for every worker at a company with 100 or more employees. He says it will lead to greater productivity from well rested and healthier workers.
Touted as the show’s "cover story" by host Charles Osgood, the segment was teased: