(Once more, don?t count on these posts on a regular basis anymore?about once in a while is the best I can do, unfortunately).
Mr. Biden offered other wild assertions that didn?t even get a mild pushback on Sunday morning. For example, Mr. Biden said Mitt Romney wanted to ?let Detroit go bankrupt,? apparently referring to General Motors and Chrysler and not the city. But GM and Chrysler did go bankrupt: their bankruptcies were decided by the president -- not by a court -- and rather than going forward with an infusion of private capital, the two businesses received $85 billion from the taxpayers, with at least $24 billion of that unlikely to ever be returned.How is that a ?wild assertion? from Willard Mitt Romney given this (though, in true weaselly form, Rove doesn?t say that Biden was lying, because he wasn?t).
Earlier today, General Motors announced that the company paid $4.7 billion to the U.S. government and $1.1 billion to the Canadian government, fulfilling its obligation agreed to when it received its initial bailout funds. In total, GM received $52 billion from the U.S. government, but only $6.7 billion of this amount was considered a loan. The company already paid back $2 billion, so this $4.7 billion is the last payment.Also, when it comes to presidents and automaker bailouts, I give you this (and in the matter of the auto industry in this country, this asks a great question).
This doesn?t mean that ?Government Motors? is no more. Despite the payback, the government still owns a controlling portion of the restructured GM. The United States will eventually relinquish its ownership, but this will take some time. Even when the new GM completes its initial public offering, the U.S. government will still be an owner for some time.
The vice president also plunged into health care, asserting, ?there?s millions of people out there? already benefiting from provisions in the new law. But far fewer people with preexisting conditions have signed up than anticipated (just 49,000), a much-ballyhooed subsidy for small businesses has gone virtually unused, and thousands of companies have been forced to seek waivers to keep millions of workers covered by existing policies.Gee, if I didn?t know better, I?d swear Karl had been reading the Bucks County Courier Times, since they did a more thorough job of trashing the Affordable Care Act than anyone else I?d seen when it was recently argued before the High Court of Hangin? Judge JR (with nary a favorable point of view like this one in sight).
The vice president went similarly overboard in suggesting America is drilling more wells, pumping more oil, and importing less oil because of this Administration?s policies. This is really happening in spite of Mr. Obama, not because of him.WAAAHHHHH!!!!!!
After declining to levels not seen since the 1940s, U.S. crude production began rising again in 2009. Drilling rigs have rushed into the nation's oil fields, suggesting a surge in domestic crude is on the horizon.Gee, wonder why that didn?t happen in oh, say, 2005, 2006, 0r 2007?you know, when Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History was taking up space in An Oval Office (with Rove by his side)?
The number of rigs in U.S. oil fields has more than quad¬rupled in the past three years to 1,272, according to the Baker Hughes rig count. Including those in natural gas fields, the United States now has more rigs at work than the entire rest of the world.
"It's staggering," said Marshall Adkins, who directs energy research for the financial services firm Raymond James. "If we continue growing anywhere near that pace and keep squeezing demand out of the system, that puts you in a world where we are not importing oil in 10 years."
"This is just about waving a tar baby in the air and saying that something else is a problem," Bachmann said in an interview Wednesday with The Shark Tank, a conservative news organization that covers Florida politics. "I have never seen a more irresponsible president who is infantile in the way that he continually blames everyone else for his failure to first diagnose the problem and second to address the problem. It's always everyone else's fault."?Waving a tar baby? ? waay too damn funny (though definitely an inappropriate comment, I hasten to add)?
"It's anybody but Obama for Obama. And that's why we have to call him out," she said. "The president is a complete and utter fraud and a hypocrite on this issue, with all due respect."
The oil game is overrun with IB desks, hedge funders, long/short punters, algos, HFT's and private trade houses like Vitol, Trafigura and Glencore. And yes, Virginia -- fraud can happen: We've forgotten too quickly about such stellar examples as Enron and Amaranth.So, it looks like, once more, the Repug U.S. House Rep from Minnesota and one-time presidential candidate is showing to the whole world that she has the mendacity of a lizard, the self-reflection of the most oblivious narcissist imaginable and the cognitive capacity of a flea.
These are not the guys that anyone should look to protect. They absolutely jack up the prices of oil that you and I are forced to pay at the pumps. But they are the beneficiaries of the continued defense of the broken oil markets as they are today. We haven't made much progress.
The president also unwisely attacked the Supreme Court as it deliberated the constitutionality of Obamacare. He needlessly referred to the justices as ?unelected,? and wrongly claimed that they had little precedent to overturn laws that dealt with commerce. The gaffe about the Court and its history was doubly embarrassing because Obama has often reminded the public that he used to teach constitutional law.Gosh, isn?t that a funny one from ?The Pericles of Petticoat Junction?? Hanson has a problem with Obama?s reference to Supreme Court justices as ?unelected,? but he has no problem apparently with Obama?s predecessor saying basically the same thing over and over again, as noted here...and for good measure, I give you this.
Earlier this week, I looked at a range of commodity stocks that look quite attractive in relation to the value of their assets.
I focused on Freeport McMoran … [visit site to read . . . → Read More: These 4 Companies Could Get Acquired Very Soon
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President Obama, 2009:
None of us were born with a silver spoon in our mouths, but we got a great education.President Obama, 2010:
Neither Harry or I were born with a silver spoon in our mouths. Our families were working folk. And we understand how hard it is sometimes.President Obama, 2011:
Most of you weren?t born with a silver spoon in your mouth.President Obama, yesterday:
Somebody gave me an education. I wasn?t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Michelle wasn?t. But somebody gave us a chance.And Mitt Romney responds:
Well, you know, the President is really taking aim at anybody he can find these days. In fact, in my case, I'm certainly not going to apologize for my dad and his success in life. He was born poor. He worked his way to become very successful despite the fact that he didn't have a college degree. And one of the things he wanted to do was provide for me and for my brother and sisters.Yeesh, talk about somebody who needs to lighten up. President Obama was not talking about Mitt Romney, nor Mitt's dad. He was saying that one of the things that makes America great is the idea that everybody should have a fair shot at success, no matter who their parents might be, and that we as a nation need to be committed to supporting the educational opportunities that make that idea a reality. If Mitt can't even agree with that, then what can he agree with? And if he thinks that is a personal attack, then what isn't?
I'm not going to apologize for my dad's success, but I know the president likes to attack fellow Americans. He's always looking for a scapegoat, particularly those [who] have been successful like my dad, and I'm not going to rise to that. This is a time for us to solve problems. This is not a time for us to be attacking people; we should be attacking problems.
And if I'm president, I will stop the attack on fellow Americans. I'll stop the attack on people and start attacking the problems that have been looming over this country.
The job approval rating of Congress, while still atrocious, has managed to improve slightly in the last few months according to Gallup. Currently 17% approve of the job Congress is doing and 79% disapprove.[...]
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Media conservatives are pushing the narrative that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's attacks against President Obama over the economy will be effective because Obama favored health care reform rather than focusing on "fixing the economy." However, this narrative falters when confronted with the facts, including that Obama pushed through the first of many economic initiatives a month after he was elected -- more than a year before health care reform became law.
Byron York: Republicans Will Use "Devastating Critique" That Obama Focused On Health Care, Not Jobs. On Fox News Sunday, Washington Examiner columnist and Fox contributor Byron York said:
YORK: If the law is struck down in whole or in part, Republicans will say that in 2009 and 2010, when the public was desperate for a president to concentrate on creating jobs and fixing the economy, the president instead spent all of his time passing this massive, new, intrusive health care law, and it turned out to be unconstitutional. That is a devastating critique of the president, and certainly Democrats don't want that. [Fox Broadcasting Co., Fox News Sunday, 4/8/12]
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough: If Obama Had Lost, Congress Wouldn't "Have Been Distracted By The Health Care Bill." After saying that the Republican message on the economy should be that Obama "made it worse," former Republican Congressman and MSNBC host Joe Scarborough claimed that if Sen. John McCain had won the 2008 election, "I certainly don't think Congress would have been distracted by the health care bill." He added that "there would have been more of a focus on jobs." [MSNBC, Morning Joe, 4/16/12]
Fox's Steve Doocy: "The President Made Health Care His Number One Initiative In The Beginning." Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy said the current condition of the economy is "the president's fault" because "the president made health care his number one initiative in the beginning." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/16/12]
Fox's Megyn Kelly Uncritically Repeated GOP "Line Of Attack" That Obama "Took His Eye Off The Ball" On Jobs "By Focusing On Health Care." Fox News host Megyn Kelly said:
KELLY: That seems to be a line of attack that they're getting ready to unleash -- the Romney camp -- that is health care, in addition to being something that's unpopular, was - he took his eye off the ball. Same way they went after President Bush for, he took his eye off the ball in Afghanistan by going in Iraq. It's going to be, President Obama took his eye off the ball on the economy by focusing on health care, which was something unpopular that the American people didn't want. Is that effective? [Fox News, America Live, 4/17/12]
Obama's First Speech To Congress Focused On The Economy.Obama's first address to Congress on February 24, 2009, focused on the economy, as CNN noted in an article that included the transcript of his speech. The headline CNN used read: "Obama speech to Congress focuses on economy." From Obama's speech:
I have come here tonight not only to address the distinguished men and women in this great chamber, but to speak frankly and directly to the men and women who sent us here.
I know that for many Americans watching right now, the state of our economy is a concern that rises above all others, and rightly so. If you haven't been personally affected by this recession, you probably know someone who has: a friend, a neighbor, a member of your family.
You don't need to hear another list of statistics to know that our economy is in crisis, because you live it every day. It's the worry you wake up with and the source of sleepless nights. It's the job you thought you'd retire from but now have lost, the business you built your dreams upon that's now hanging by a thread, the college acceptance letter your child had to put back in the envelope.
The impact of this recession is real, and it is everywhere.
But while our economy may be weakened and our confidence shaken, though we are living through difficult and uncertain times, tonight I want every American to know this: We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before.
The weight of this crisis will not determine the destiny of this nation. The answers to our problems don't lie beyond our reach. They exist in our laboratories and our universities, in our fields and our factories, in the imaginations of our entrepreneurs and the pride of the hardest-working people on Earth. [CNN.com, 2/24/09]
February 2009: Obama Signed Stimulus Bill. On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law, which the Associated Press described as "an ambitious package of federal spending and tax cuts designed to revive the economy and save millions of jobs." [Associated Press, 2/17/09]
May 2009: Obama Signed Credit Card Reform Into Law. From the White House website:
Today, President Obama signs the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009, marking a turning point for American consumers and ending the days of unfair rate hikes and hidden fees.
Americans need a healthy flow of credit in our economy, but for too long credit card contracts and practices have been unfairly and deceptively complicated, often leading consumers to pay more than they reasonably expect. Every year, Americans pay around $15 billion in penalty fees. Nearly 80 percent of American families have a credit card, and 44 percent of families carry a balance on their credit cards. To tackle these problems, the Administration moved swiftly with the Congress to enact reforms. [WhiteHouse.gov, 5/22/09]
July 2009: GM Exited Bankruptcy. On July 10, 2009, General Motors exited bankruptcy protection with the assistance of the Obama administration. From Reuters:
A whirlwind 40-day bankruptcy for GM concluded with the closing of a deal that sold key operations to a new company majority-owned by the U.S. Treasury.
The development, which follows a similar fast-track reorganization of Chrysler, represented a victory for the Obama administration and its commitment to save jobs and prevent a liquidation of the largest U.S. automaker.
At the same time, the U.S. government has taken on substantial new risks as a 60 percent owner of the new GM with a $50 billion equity investment and $10 billion in debt and perpetual preferred shares.
Analysts said the government intervention had given GM a new chance and sharply lower operating costs, but left management facing deep challenges given the weak economy and GM's long-running slide in market share. [Reuters, 7/10/09]
October 2009: Obama Announced Small Business Lending Initiatives. On October 21, 2009, the Obama administration announced several initiatives it was seeking to implement to help small businesses acquire loans. The New York Times reported:
On the Small Business Administration side, the administration will ask Congress to raise the loan limit on the 7(a) lending program to $5 million; on the 504 program to between $4 million and $5.5 million, depending on the type of loan; and on the microloan program to $50,000. These caps are identical to those proposed in legislation by Senator Olympia Snowe, the Maine Republican, whose support is crucial to the administration on another front -- health-care reform.
In addition, community banks will be able to borrow up to 2 percent of their "risk-weighted assets" in TARP money at 3 percent interest (down from 5 percent) for five years. In exchange, banks will have to demonstrate how they plan to increase small business lending and they will have to follow up with quarterly reports.
Finally, microlending community groups in poor urban and rural areas that are regulated by the Treasury Department and known as community development financial institutions will be able to borrow money from the federal government at 2 percent interest for eight years. [The New York Times, 10/21/09]
CBO: Stimulus Increased Employment By Up To 2 Million Jobs During Fourth Quarter Of 2011. A February 2012 CBO report estimated that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act "lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.2 percentage points and 1.1 percentage points" and that the law "increased the number of people employed by between 0.3 million and 2.0 million" during the fourth quarter of 2011. [Congressional Budget Office, February 2012]
CEA: More Than 4 Million Private Sector Jobs Added In Past Two Years Of Obama Administration. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Council of Economic Advisors Chairman Alan Kreuger stated that "the economy has added private sector jobs for 25 straight months, for a total of 4.1 million jobs over that period."
[WhiteHouse.gov, 4/6/12; Bureau of Labor Statistics, accessed 4/19/12]
CBPP: "Private Payroll Employment Has Grown For 25 Months." The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that job losses "slowed dramatically" following the passage of the Recovery Act in 2009:
The pace of monthly job losses slowed dramatically soon after President Obama and Congress enacted the Recovery Act in February 2009. The trend in job growth in 2010 was obscured by the rapid ramp-up and subsequent decline in government hiring for the 2010 Census (which is now over), but private employers added 4.0 million jobs to their payrolls in the last 25 months, an average of 162,000 jobs a month. Private employers added 121,000 jobs to their payrolls in March, while losses in local government employment led to a total payroll employment gain of 120,000 jobs. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 4/10/12]
GDP Has Grown Under Obama Administration. Data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis shows that the negative Gross Domestic Product growth inherited by the Obama administration has turned positive during Obama's time in office:
[Bureau of Economic Analysis, 3/29/12]
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, with a big gift to Mitt Romney's friends. (John Gress/Reuters)
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's H.R. 9, the Small Business Tax Cut, is up for a vote today, with Republicans cleverly thinking they can make Democrats look bad by voting against a tax cut for "small business." (Deficit be damned. The bill would cost $46 billion.) The bill would provide a 20 percent tax cut for business with fewer than 500 employees.
So, what kind of businesses have fewer than 500 employees?
Who else? Mitt Romney's good friends, those owners of NFL and NASCAR teams, would probably appreciate that tax break. So would Rob Rom Enterprises, the Romney corporation that has made Ann Romney's love for the sport of dressage a healthy tax write-off, since it lost $77,000 in 2010.
- Professional sports franchises, such as the Los Angeles Dodgers, which were recently sold for $2 billion
- Donald Trump?s Trump Tower Sales & Leasing
- Paris Hilton Entertainment, Inc.
In fact, half of Cantor's tax breaks would go to millionaires because of the way the bill is structured, with tax deductions tied to business income being the majority of the cuts. The huge majority of small business?76 percent?make less than $200,000 a year and would only get 16 percent of the benefits from this bill. The four percent with incomes over $1 million, like Romney's NASCAR and NFL team-owning buddies, would be the real beneficiaries. As usual.
Cantor could have targeted these cuts to truly struggling small business owners, but where's the fun (and campaign contributions) in that?
As we've discussed here many times, there a number of factors that make it more likely than not that Barack Obama will win re-election in November. But it's also quite possible that Obama will lose, and Mitt Romney will become president in January. If Romney does win, chances are that he'll come into office with Republicans controlling both houses of Congress. That's because whatever conditions produce a Republican win at the top will also probably allow Republicans to hold on to the House and take the Senate. It's even possible that Obama could win and Republicans wind up with both houses, since Democrats right now hold only a 53-47 lead in the upper chamber, and they are defending 23 seats in this year's election, while Republicans are defending only ten. There's an outside chance that a big Obama win could allow Democrats to hold the Senate and take back the house, but for now let's focus on the possibility of a Romney win, which will probably leave him with the benefit of total Republican control. This is an eventuality that we really need to start thinking about, since a Romney presidency would be shaped in large part by his relationship with Congress.
The thought of finding ourselves nine months from now with a President Romney, Speaker Boehner, and Majority Leader McConnell is ... let's say unsettling. But I'm sure they'll greet their newfound power with humility and restraint, not moving too quickly to roll back regulations, cut taxes for the wealthy, or dismantle social programs. Hah! Kidding, of course?the only question is whether they'll be literally firing their guns in the air on the floor of the House and Senate, leaving holes in the ceiling that will be a testament in plaster to their triumph for years to come. At that point, Democrats will discover that the filibuster is a really, really good thing.
But there's only so much they'd be able to stop, and congressional Republicans will be sending a stream of reactionary bills to President Romney's desk. And let's be honest: He's going to sign every one of them. You will not see Romney veto a bill passed by a Republican Congress because it went too far in achieving conservative goals. Not gonna happen.
Which is why, if Democrats are smart, they'll start a discussion now about how Romney is going to deal with the congressional nutballs in his party. They've already started tying Romney to Paul Ryan's budget plan, but the larger question is how he'll handle this unruly collection of extremists, who have shown themselves quite happy to hold the government hostage and bring America to the brink of default to serve their agenda. The White House is now warning Republicans not to renege on the deal they made last year on the budget (which they are showing signs they want to do, by cutting domestic spending more than they agreed to); if they do, there could be a government shutdown in September. That would put all kinds of pressure on Romney to show he can rein in his party's extremists. If he handles it well, he can demonstrate that he's a responsible adult who is capable of restraining the collection of tantruming toddlers that is the Republican caucus in the House. If he doesn't, he'll show everyone just how chaotic and dangerous a government with Republicans in control of all three branches could be.
At least that's what key Republicans were saying yesterday. Supposedly they'll be released today. Stay tuned....
If only these stories weren't so common. Is it really making America safer when we're harassing elderly Americans and then having their hard earned cash go missing? Maybe someone at the TSA thinks this behavior is providing some benefit, but really, this is going nowhere and only hurting the country. If anything, these actions only prove that the bad guys have won.
This is disgraceful. It's even more of a disgrace that the political class finds it acceptable.
"When I was patted down, I've never before been touched in every part of my body before," Woodward said.
As the search went on, the couple ? both widowed who met a few years ago at a bridge game and fell in love ? became increasingly concerned about missing their flight.
Finally, they were released and told to retrieve their belongings. But only four bins were handed over to them. When Petti inquired about his $300, a senior security official was called over. Petti says this officer insinuated that they were mistaken about the missing cash, instructing the two to take off their shoes again, check their pockets again. "When I told him we were going to miss our flight he asked me if I was objecting or refusing his request." Petti says. "I said: 'No, I'd do anything I was asked, I would just like to know where my $300 went.' "