We don’t yet know the outcome of the Jan. 19 Massachusetts Senate special election. But the very fact that the Democrats could lose the seat formerly held by Sen. Ted Kennedy to a conservative who’s made blocking healthcare reform a centerpiece of his campaign, has liberals sputtering implausible explanations.
On Jan. 19, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and liberal radio host Nancy Skinner appeared on CNBC with Larry Kudlow to discuss the ramifications of the election for healthcare. Both suggested that Democrat Martha Coakley was in danger of losing to Scott Brown is because Democrats hadn’t been liberal enough on health care.
Although he predicted Coakley would hold Brown off, Dean said, “Let me agree with something Larry said (far be it from me to ever do such a thing). But I do think this is clarity – about clarity of message and I think the Democrats haven’t had a clear message.”
The problem, from Dean’s perspective, was that compromise had watered down and complicated the health care bill. “Look at what we’ve done. We’ve passed this health care bill, which has, you know, just been a very messy, ugly process – or we’re about to pass a health care bill,” he said, predicting it would pass with or without a Coakley victory. “The best way to [have a bill that works and can refute GOP arguments] was to pass an extension of Medicare to people below 65. Everybody knows what Medicare is, it’s easy to understand, you don’t have to make deals with the health insurance industry. So this is about clarity of message, and Scott Brown has a clear message and the Democrats don’t.”
Former Barack Obama supporter Jim Cramer on Friday said the stock market would have a huge rally if Scott Brown defeats Martha Coakley in Tuesday's special senatorial election in Massachusetts.
"I think investors who are nervous about the dictatorship of the Pelosi proletariat will feel at ease, and we could have a gigantic rally off a Coakley loss and a Brown win," said Cramer on Friday's "Mad Money."
"It will be a signal that a more pro-business, less pro-labor government could be in front of us."
The often outspoken CNBCer marvelously declared it a "Pelosi politburo emasculation" (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript):
But Ted Turner, founder of the first truly 24-hour cable news channel, doesn't see anything wrong with the channel's heading. CNBC's Joe Kernen asked Turner if he had any problems with CNN's direction during a "Squawk Box" appearance Jan. 14.
"I know you love CNN," Kernen said. "It's your baby. I know you're not involved in running it anymore, but when you look at the way Fox News in 10 years has sort of risen above CNN in terms of ratings and profitability and other metrics, would you advise - should CNN stay the course with their idea it's just straight news, or do they need to change with the times and become more opinion-based."
It hasn't been in the limelight recently, but it is coming. According to CNBC contributor John Kilduff of Round Earth Capital, we will soon see the price of reach $100 per barrel.
On CNBC's Jan. 11 "The Kudlow Report," host Larry Kudlow asked Kilduff what it would take for the Obama's administration to change its energy policy to allow for more oil exploration and drilling.
"Oil is hitting a 15-month high at $83 a barrel and it was $30 about a year ago," Kudlow said. "So, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar rules drilling of oil and gas out of bounds for federal lands. No drilling. So, how high does it go before we go back to drill, drill, drill?"
Given the well documented "revolving door" between the media and the Democratic Party (particularly the Obama administration), it's hardly surprising that MSNBC "The Ed Show" host Ed Schultz has been approached about a run for the Senate from North Dakota. But it's still hard to swallow the left's hypocrisy concerning who can make the jump from journalism to politics.
"After talking over how he arrived at this decision to retire, he did ask me one question," Schultz said. "That was, how old am I. I thought, uh oh, here we go. Then, this morning, I got a phone call from a good friend, Merle Boucher. Merle is the House Democratic leader in North Dakota. He officially asked me to consider to run for the U.S. Senate seat in North Dakota. All right. I'm flattered and I'm honored and I can't say I'm even considering it right now. I've worked, as many people know, very hard to get where I am in my career. To go from Fargo to 30 Rock is a dream come true for any broadcaster. I've invested a lot of years, a lot of time and effort, as an opportunity to use the microphone to advocate for the middle class in this country." [Emphasis added]
While much of the national media was focused on a Christmas Eve Senate vote to pass health care reform legislation, the Obama administration's Treasury Department was tending to other business that will have serious implications for the U.S. economy. But did anyone notice?
As Zachary Goldfarb reported for The Washington Post on Christmas Day, the Obama Treasury said it would lift the limits on what the federal government could provide in "emergency aid" to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - without seeking permission from Congress. That led CNBC CME Group floor reporter Rick Santelli to ask if anyone noticed and/or realized what was really at stake with this move during the Dec. 29 broadcast of "Squawk Box."
If you believe polls, current Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke favorability has been slipping. A recent Rasmussen Reports poll indicates that only 21 percent of Americans favor his reappointment as the Fed chair.
And this hasn't gone unnoticed by some members of the Senate, where Bernanke's fate lies. Bernanke's reconfirmation passed through the Senate Banking Committee by a 16-to-7 vote on Dec. 17. But that margin calls into question how his reconfirmation vote on the Senate floor could go. And as CNBC "The Kudlow Report" host Larry Kudlow warned, that puts his reconfirmation in question.
"Look, ‘Helicopter' Ben passed the Senate Banking Committee vote on his reconfirmation," Kudlow said on his Dec. 17 program. "He got 16-to-7, but he lost seven votes. I think all the Republicans except Sen. Bob Corker voted against Bernanke, and they were joined by one Democrat, Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon. Now the reconfirmation goes to the floor of the Senate. So, I think Bernanke's reconfirmation could be in some trouble when that Senate vote occurs. I'm going to bet that most, if not all, of the 40 Republicans are going to vote against Bernanke and that they are going to be joined by a number of Democrats."
It's often said markets function better when there is gridlock in Washington, D.C. because there's less of a chance for government will interfere in the private sector, creating a sense of security. But in this day and time, that theory applies to the U.S. dollar as well.
On CNBC's Dec. 17 "Squawk Box," CNBC Chicago Mercantile Exchange reporter Rick Santelli debated what was causing the recent rise in the U.S. dollar. Santelli, the original inspiration for the tea party movement, squared off with Jim Iuorio, CNBC "OptionsAction" regular and CME trader, about the cause - a weakened European economy or the place in the calendar year.
"So Rick, is the bigger deal right now on the dollar move - the risk-aversion trade because of the end of the year or because of the problems in Europe?" Iuorio said. "Or is it a combination of both? Which is the bigger thing, do you think?"
It's a good thing New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wasn't a used car salesman because CNBC "Squawk on the Street" co-host Mark Haines would have driven off the lot in a lemon.
Friedman appeared on the Dec. 14 broadcast of "Squawk on the Street" to promote the paperback release of his book, "Hot, Flat, and Crowded." And once again, he made the case the United States is lagging behind in green technology and the only way to overcome this innovation gap is to set some sort of premium on the price of using carbon-based energy sources, as he meticulously argued in his book.
Friedman insisted it will take action by the government to impose these premiums and to grant some sort of long-term subsidy to stimulate this innovation. Haines, showing he was sold on Friedman's premise, expressed his doubt this could ever be set in motion.
In his 1981 inaugural address, former President Ronald Reagan said, "Government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem." Nearly 29 years later, that still holds true according to CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer and former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.
Both Cramer and Greenspan were guests on NBC's Dec. 13 "Meet the Press" and although neither was making a vain effort to be nostalgic, but instead explained that Congress' deliberations over an "agenda" was creating uncertainty for business.
"I think the priority ought to be get rid of the agenda," Cramer said. "I hear the agenda over and over again from business people. In other words, Congress is stalled on health care. I favor universal health care, everyone does in this country. But Washington is killing job growth, not - and then trying to stimulate it small scale? How much does it cost to bring a new employee in? We don't know. We don't know what the health care will be. We don't know what the tax scheme will be."
"Well, what do you think when you read these miserable people in The Wall Street Journal op-ed pages? And I -- I picked The Wall Street Journal. I don't get it. There's some kind of culture out there that sits around and talks to itself, and pleases -- pleasures itself, I should say, over the argument that there isn't any climate change. What is in their breakfast that makes them do this? Why do they ignore science? Maybe they're the same people that ignore the evidence of evolution and millions of years of bones. What is it about them that just -- and they're -- and they're pandered to by the editors of The Wall Street Journal and other organs, like Fox News."
"It's 12 straight days in the [New York] Post right now," Rovell said. "Everyday since Nov. 29, there's been a Tiger Woods story. When does it end? We don't know. I'm not going to get into the details of this, but from a business standpoint - how about Donald Trump on 'Extra' yesterday?"
Here we go again. We've already seen how ineffective the previous $787-billion stimulus Congress and the President forced through earlier this year has been with curbing unemployment, as it has raced into double-digits over the previous months. But will there be an effort to force through another one?
"John, what would you say, I don't know, the chances of some sort of an additional jobs stimulus - however you'd like to characterize that, or whatever form it would take or price tag it might have ?" Burnett asked.
When viewers tune into watch CNBC's "The Kudlow Report," they may not anticipate a host interrupting conservative Republican Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla.
But on CNBC's Nov. 24 "The Kudlow Report," fill-in host Simon Hobbs attempted to do just that. Hobbs, a regular on CNBC Europe, suggested there was nothing to emails unveiled after a hacker allegedly accessed the Climate Research Unit at University of East Anglia in Britain. These emails showed an effort by scientists, some on the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), to manipulate data to strengthen the claim of anthropogenic global warming.
"You're well-known as a campaigner or man that believes humans are not the cause of global warming," Hobbs said. "I mean, specifically if you look at the coverage we have, the allegation is that the emails indicated that they were declining to share data with fellow scientists or they were seeking to keep other researchers with dissenting views from perhaps joining them on some platform. It doesn't indicate that the science was wrong or that the science was manipulated."
But it is also something that some in the financial media are reluctant to support, especially judging from the tone of CNBC "The Call" co-host Trish Regan and comments CNBC senior economics reporter Steve Liesman. On the Nov. 20 broadcast of "The Call," CME Group reporter Rick Santelli made the case that Federal Reserve should be audited. He cited opposition to the Fed audit proposal from Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., which was based on Congress' inability to be fiscally responsible.
"He said, ‘You know, there independence is important to protect the soundness of the dollar,'" Santelli said. "Has he read any papers lately or looked at any charts? Come on. Amen, amen that this process is happening. They're not taking away their independence to make a decision on interest rates. We need to know where the money is going. I remember when Ben Bernanke faced committees of elected officials and said, ‘We can't audit the Fed because then you might look unfavorably on some of the counterparties we deal with. That's like finding paraphernalia under your kids bed and then not asking where he got it."
We've come to expect intellectual dishonesty from the media elite, and Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, a columnist for the New York Times, never disappoints.
Krugman, in a Nov. 11 post on his NYTimes.com blog titled "The agony of Fox Business," made it clear he was a subscriber to the left-wing fairy tale that Fox News, and by extension the Fox Business Channel, are not pro-business. Instead - they're "pro-Republican."
"Clearly, the Fox Business crew is having a very hard time," Krugman wrote. "They bill themselves as being truly pro-business - not like those leftists at CNBC. But they aren't really pro-business; they're pro-Republican. They'd like you to believe that it's the same thing; but there's this awkward fact that markets have, you know, gone up under Obama."
Drinking the Kool-Aid on MSNBC wasn't enough, even for CNBC's Jim Cramer, to escape the reality that Obamanomics isn't working.
Back on October 12, Cramer, to his credit, knew there were some problems with the $787-billion stimulus passed earlier this year. However, he felt it was necessary to pledge his admiration for President Barack Obama, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. But, Matthews asked Cramer if there would be something tangible to back up that praise.
"OK - let me ask you the question," Matthews said on MSNBC's Oct. 12 "Hardball." "Let's talk about how we keep score in electoral politics, that's how we keep score. Between now and next summer, when people begin to decide how they're going to vote in next year's election, will the employment rate be coming down by then?"
"[I] think we're building a stairway to heaven in Dow prices on the back of paper and I think that, you know it seems kind of dire to me that 8 percent - 8,000, 9 percent - 9,000, 10.2 - 10,000," Santelli said. "I shudder to think where the unemployment rate is going to be at 11 and 12,000 in the Dow."
Want more evidence print media is giving way to digital formats? According to CNBC "Squawk on the Street" Nov. 3, Internet behemoth Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) could have its sights set on The New York Times (NYSE:NYT).
Brian Shactman, a general assignment reporter for CNBC noted an article in the Nov. 2 Wall Street Journal that indicated a lot of big companies are hoarding cash and short term investments and it pointed out the information technology sector had nearly $280 billion to invest.
"There's so much talk today about M and A," Shactman said of mergers and acquisitions. "Well let's look it forward - some names out there that could be in the offing, some things to think about. Remember The Wall Street Journal said yesterday tech has about $280 billion to work with. Remember Google said they wanted to make about one acquisition a month. They have the cash - they got to speed up."
There's a lot of uncertainty with the U.S. economy and a lot of its recovery hinges on some key policy decisions due from the federal government.
On CNBC's Nov. 2 "The Kudlow Report," CNBC host Maria Bartiromo discussed her interview with former Chairman of the Federal Reserve and Obama adviser Paul Volcker from the Global Financial Leadership Conference in Naples, Fla. One of the topics Bartiromo reported on from the conference was the possibility the Bush tax cuts would be allowed to expire, which she insisted is unlikely.
Now that the Obama administration is attempting to take a victory lap on the U.S. economic recovery, claiming the $787-billion stimulus passed earlier this year was what did the trick, despite a cost of $160,000 per 'stimulus' job, as ABC's Jake Tapper pointed out, it has come at the cost of the U.S. dollar.
Since then, the stock market has rebounded nicely. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is off a March low of 6,547 points, even topping the 10,000-mark recently. But what has caused this nearly 50-percent jump? According to CNBC's Larry Kudlow - loose monetary policy by the Federal Reserve, with low interest rates, has made it possible for the markets to rise, with the 'loose' money going into the market.
"The funny thing is, Steven, it has gone into stocks - I mean the stock market guys ... there's no real multiplier for the economy, right?" Kudlow said on his Oct. 30 CNBC program. "But it has gone into stocks and the stock market crowd wants to see the Fed to keep pouring the money in no matter what happens to the U.S. dollar."
Kudlow, referring to the Oct. 26 broadcast of MSNBC's "The Ed Show," which featured Rep. Barney Frank, perennial presidential candidate Ralph Nader and the host Ed Schultz, noted all the participants were left-of-center. And in the appearance, Frank made a pitch for the expanded role of government and argued the only reason people opposed it was because they were disillusioned by the government for its failures during the Bush administration, specifically dealing with Hurricane Katrina.
Recent problems with the financial system could be used as a reason for regulators to have authority policing social networking sites like Facebook and other types of electronic communication like text messaging. If Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) CEO Richard Ketchum has his way, that's exactly what will happen.
Ketchum appeared on CNBC's Oct. 27 "Closing Bell" in an interview with the network's NYSE floor reporter Bob Pisani from the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) annual meeting in New York City. Ketchum explained how the Internet and text messaging are unconventional means of communication that pose problems for regulators.
"With all of our kids, they don't talk by phones or certainly directly to each other anymore," Ketchum said. "They talk through the Internet and they talk through text messaging and they talk through Facebook."
Worried about a potential slippery slope with the Obama administration dictating what people are paid in the private sector - TARP bailout or no TARP bailout? Message from CNBC's Jim Cramer: Get over it.
On CNBC's Oct. 21 "Street Signs," the "Mad Money" host ripped into Wall Street executives that objected to the government dictating the rules of compensation. Opponents argue these pay restrictions inhibit Wall Street firms ability to retain the best employees possible - an argument Cramer says doesn't matter.
"Hey, there's no God-given right to work at those companies," Cramer said. "These people can go off if they want to. I know that [Citigroup Inc. Chief Executive] Vikram Pandit has kept 23 of the top 25 people with very severe pay restrictions. If you believe in your institution, you stay. See, a lot of Americans are looking at those pay cuts and thinking, ‘How do I get in on the action?' So I don't really care."
Want to make a big splash to bolster your chances in a political campaign? A tried and true strategy for some attorneys general has been to champion a populist position by exploiting the legal system for publicity. Just look at the lead up to the launch of former New York AG Eliot Spitzer gubernatorial campaign with his attacks on Wall Street.
And that appears to be the playbook California Attorney General Jerry Brown is using in a lawsuit accusing State Street (NYSE:STT) of cheating the state's two largest pension funds, the California Public Employees' Retirement System and the California State Teachers' Retirement System, of at least $56.6 million.
However, CNBC's Michele Caruso-Cabrera wasn't afraid to ask Brown if that was indeed the case in an Oct. 20 interview on CNBC's "Power Lunch."
Lately there's has been an anti-Wall Street sentiment, propagated by the media that has become exacerbated as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) hit 10,000 Oct. 14.
On CNBC's Oct. 15 "Street Signs," Jim Cramer, host of "Mad Money," was asked by fill-in host Melissa Francis what he thought about the outrage over Wall Street hitting its stride, while unemployment continues to rise.
"What did you think about [Morgan Stanley CEO] John Mack's answer to the big question of the day, which is the divergence between Main Street and Wall Street?" Francis asked. "We see Dow 10,000 - bonuses are back at the same time Main Street is in a shambles."
Cramer took a different and unexpected tact by explaining he was a Spartacist, one who believed in a Communism in his youth. But during that time in his life, he said he became very familiar with the teachings of Vladimir Lenin.
One of the most damaging accusations you can level at opponent is call that individual a racist in one form or another. And that's the tactic MSNBC and others left-wing opponents of Rush Limbaugh are taking to thwart his bid to purchase the St. Louis Rams.
During a segment on MSNBC on Oct. 13, former Pulitzer Prize winner Karen Hunter appeared to voice her opposition to the Limbaugh's NFL bid. She made one of the most outrageous - likening Limbaugh's ownership of an NFL team to being a plantation owner, a metaphor that invokes the image of antebellum South during the 19th Century, when slavery was rampant.
"I can just see the visions of plantation grandeur dancing in his head as we speak," Hunter said. "Yeah, it doesn't make you a racist to want to own a team. But, it does kind of with all his history question his power position over these players who make millions of dollars and his ability to be able to move them around, deny them contracts and do whatever he wants willy-nilly. It's the ultimate power position to be an owner of an NFL team."
Is Fox News Channel president Roger Ailes about to score another big name personality for his fledgling off-spin business channel? According to The New York Times television and digital media reporter Brian Stelter, News Corp's (NASDAQ:NWS) Fox Business Network is considering adding CNN "Lou Dobbs Tonight" host Lou Dobbs to its lineup.
"The business channel is also keen on another administration critic, Lou Dobbs, who met for dinner with Mr. Ailes last month, according to two people with direct knowledge of the meeting," Stelter wrote in a piece for the Oct. 12 Times about the growing divide between Fox News and the Obama administration. "The shift for Fox News - the favorite network of the Bush administration, now the least favored one of the Obama administration - has financial implications for the News Corporation, especially given the network's status as a growth engine in a perilous time for media companies."
But it was just a matter of time before the usual culprits on the left would attempt to make an issue of it, in what seems to be an effort to gin up some reason for the talk show host not to have an ownership stake in an NFL team. And, MSNBC's Ed Schultz isn't waiting for pointers from the left-wing blogosphere to set the "Stop Rush's Bid for the Rams" agenda. He took it to Limbaugh on his Oct. 6 program immediately.
"There's also some comical football news out there," Schultz said. "The drugster's talking about buying the St. Louis Rams. That's right, the leader of the Republican Party is bidding for ownership of a team that's been giving more money to Democrats than any other team has over the last 10 years, at least that's what the survey says. He'll have to do something about that I'm sure."
Fans of Douglas Adams’ “Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” books will remember that the answer to “life, the universe, and everything” was “42.” For American liberals, the answer to “health, insurance, and everything” appears to be 47. Liberal pundits and politicians, right up to President Obama, have famously – and wrongly – claimed that there are 47 million uninsured Americans.
Now, an ObamaCare partisan has claimed that 47,000 Americans die annually because they lack health insurance. On Oct. 5, former Clinton White House staffer David Goodfriend appeared on CNBC’s “Power Lunch” to argue for taxing healthcare businesses to pay for health care reform. Goodfriend stated that, even though medical device manufacturers and others would pay up front, they’d see returns in the form of more customers when those now uninsured enter the system.
“Just think; ask yourself this question,” Goodfriend said. “Why would 47,000 people a year be dying from lack of health insurance? How many more procedures would they get – how many more devices would they buy, if they had the insurance?”
Goodfriend didn’t cite the source of that figure, but The American Spectator shed some light on the possible source. In the Sept. 2008 American Spectator, David Hogberg explained the origin of claims that 18,000 people die each year because they are uninsured and why some could improperly extrapolate even larger figures (up to 47,000 people).