November 15, 2009

AP Parrots GM’s Comparative Tease of Not Comparable ‘Financials’ Coming Monday

GovernmentMotors0609In the alternative universe known as Government/General Motors Land, you can:

  • Talk about how your financial results are going to be better than last year’s and in the next breath caution that the numbers won’t be comparable.
  • Inform the public that the financial information to be released on Monday isn’t going to be prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), and is going to simply skip about 3-1/2 months of activity that will apparently never be reported, even though your majority-owning government forces your publicly-held competitors and every other publicly-held company to prepare full-blown financial statements under those same GAAP rules.
  • Tell the world that you’re a private company, even though the federal government owns a majority of your stock (in effect making you more of a public company than any other public company around), and thereby insist that you’re doing the world a favor by releasing any financial information at all.

In the alternative reporting universe known as the Associated Press, you parrot these points without questioning whether they are correct, proper, or even less than fully transparent.

Here are key paragraphs from that Wednesday unbylined AP report (bolds after title and footnotes are mine):

GM to announce 3rd-quarter earnings on Monday

General Motors Co. said Tuesday that it will release its preliminary third-quarter earnings on Monday morning, the automaker’s first earnings release since emerging from bankruptcy this summer.

The company is not expected to make a profit but has hinted that its results for the quarter will show a big improvement over the same period last year. (1)

…. GM last released a quarterly earnings statement in May, when it reported losing $6 billion in the first quarter of 2009. At the time, it was trying to stave off collapse and was staying afloat from infusions of government aid.

GM lost $2.5 billion in the third quarter of 2008 and a huge $30.9 billion for the entire year.

The company says the numbers it releases Monday cannot be compared with other quarters because they do not comply with U.S. accounting principles. (2) The period also is not a full quarter (3) as it covers only the period from its emergence from bankruptcy to Sept. 30.

…. As a private company, GM is not required to file financial updates, (4) but company officials have said they plan to continue to make regular disclosures. (5)

Following the footnoted bolds:

(1) and (2) — How can a company get away with telling the world that its number will be better when they’ve admitted they won’t be comparable? Answer: They can’t, except in Government/General Motors Land. Shoot, there isn’t even a “same period as last year” to discuss in the first place.

(3) — How can AP headline its story as being about “3rd-quarter earnings” when the article content says the report isn’t for a full quarter? Answer: It can’t, and doesn’t, unless it’s taking stenography in Government/General Motors Land.

(4) and (5) — Since when is it acceptable that the full-blown “financial statements” required of any company in which the investing public has an ownership interest are allowed to turn into mere “financial updates” and “regular disclosures,” even though the entire taxpaying public has a vested interest in its government’s majority ownership? Answer: Since we’ve arrived in Government/General Motors Land.

Other questions logically arise:

  • When, if ever, will we see financial results for the period GM was in bankruptcy? Will Motors Liquidation Company, the shell of old GM, file a report for April 1 –  July 9 with the SEC, or will those financial results be buried in oblivion forever?
  • Will GM even attempt to tell us how its “accounting” differs from GAAP and roughly what GAAP income or loss would have been, or will we just forced to go “uh-huh” at whatever level of incomplete information the company and its government owners are willing to give us about its balance sheet, income and expense, and cash flow?
  • Are outside Big Four or other auditors involved at GM in looking over whatever passes for financial statements (oops, I meant “financial updates”) to see if they’re even reasonable or credible? If they are, what is their level of involvement, and do they have an opinion to issue on the financials? Oh, and when’s the outside audit going to take place?

These and other questions never get asked, let alone answered, in AP La-La Land, while tens of billions of taxpayer dollars disappear down what has thus far been a bottomless money hole, and the press stands by with its collective mouth hanging open.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

American Spectator Nails It…

Filed under: Activism,General,Taxes & Government,US & Allied Military — Rose @ 2:23 pm

This article absolutely rocks, but with all due respect, it took discerning minds about 5 minutes last year to size this joker up…still, it’s time someone said it again.

The Man Who Despises America
By Mark Hyman on 11.11.09 @ 6:09AM

The very next paragraph is going to make the nut jobs on the far left excitable beyond belief. I am not referring to all Democrats or even a majority of liberals. I am singling out the “they’ve-lost-all-touch-with-reality” crowd. This includes Media Matters for America led by the admitted hit-and-run, drunk-driving serial liar. The group includes the unshaven, bathrobe-clad unemployed who live in their mother’s basement and are devout followers of MoveOn.Org. It is also the bitter, aging spinster working at the New York Times, the morbidly obese documentary film maker, and cable TV news’ resident drama queen who hosts MSNBC’s Countdown. They are about to simultaneously suffer from brain aneurisms. So without further delay, I’ll say it.

Barack Obama despises America.

When people who voted for Obama in 2008 — including registered Democrats — start speaking in normal conversational voices at dinner parties, neighborhood gatherings and PTA meetings that the over-inflated ego from Chicago has it “in for America,” then it’s clear most reasonable people have reached the same conclusion.

Indeed, this spoiled man of extremely moderate mental capacity has forced many to reconsider their postions on a plethora of issues…

…The 30-years of Obama’s post-adolescent life are radical by any measure. First, he grew up listening to the ramblings of committed Communist Frank Marshall Davis. It had such a profound effect on him that he wrote fondly of Davis in his first book. In fact, that book is replete with statement after statement about how the U.S. is deeply flawed. Most Americans believe in American exceptionalism. Not so with Obama.

Patriotic Americans would not have listened to the bigoted, anti-Semitic, hate-America rants of a fringe religious leader for 20 seconds let alone for 20 years. Yet, Obama who admitted he attended services at Trinity United Church at least twice a month for two decades called Jeremiah Wright his mentor and his moral sounding board.

Nor would most Americans cultivate a close friendship with an admitted domestic terrorist and his wife whose most notable life’s accomplishments were to set off bombs that killed and maimed innocent people.

But we must admonish and ridicule George W. Bush for naming Jesus as his favorite philosoper…

…Obama’s view of America in national security and foreign affairs is profoundly disappointing to say the least.

Americans overwhelmingly view the men and women who saved Europe and the Far East during World War II as comprising the Greatest Generation. By his comments and actions, President Obama obviously thinks otherwise.

Obama did not honor American greatness on the 60th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift while on his first European trip. Instead, he accused “America [of having] shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive” toward its European allies.

He also denigrated the accomplishments of the American G.I. during World War II in the Pacific theater when he offered a thinly veiled apology for the U.S. having dropped the A-bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Those acts brought the war to a swift conclusion, perhaps saving hundreds of thousands of lives when it appeared Japan was prepared to wage an island-by-island battle to the last man.

At least Bill Clinton had the stones to import rocks to Pointe du Hoc which conveniently made a perfect cross. Why he even framed the picture with a US destroyer, a “just happened” over-turned American flag to upright and – don’t melt now – a tear (eyeroll).

…In May, Obama immediately issued a statement that he was “shocked and outraged by the murder” of a Kansas doctor specializing in partial-birth abortions. He called it a “heinous act of violence.” Attorney-General Holder mobilized U.S. Marshals nationwide to provide protection to abortion clinics.

But Obama remained silent the very next day when two U.S. soldiers were gunned down by a Muslim extremist outside a Little Rock recruiting station. After repeated prodding for a presidential comment, the White House faxed an after-hours statement to select media outlets two days later offering a tepid remark that Obama was “saddened” without even mentioning the soldiers were murdered.

Five months later, another Muslim fanatic gunned down nearly four dozen Americans, killing 13, at the Ft. Hood army base. It was an act that demanded the most serious demeanor of the military’s Commander-in-Chief. Yet, Obama referenced the massacre in the most insincere fashion just seconds after a jocular shout-out to an audience member during a public speaking engagement. It was the equivalent of attending a funeral in swimwear while en route to the beach….

The whole thing is here and is a must read. Please forward it and/or print it out for your family and co-workers. We must continue to mobilize against this ridiculous, affirmative action president and his congress who not only make President Bush look like Albert Einstein, but make Benedict Arnold look like a true American hero.

We Wish: AP Report Falsely Claims National Debt Is ‘Accumulation of Annual Budget Deficits’

red_inkIn a report that is so riddled with bias and factual errors it’s hard to know even where to begin, Associated Press Writers Tom Raum and Andrew Taylor yesterday gave making President Obama look like a born-again deficit hawk their best shot.

The pair’s work is partially saved here for fair use, discussion and in this case entertainment purposes.

The biggest error Raum and Taylor made was publishing the following “we wish it were true” statement:

The national debt is the accumulation of annual budget deficits. The deficit for the 2009 budget year, which ended on Sept. 30, set an all-time record in dollar terms at $1.42 trillion.

Well, Tom and Andy, using this readily available tool, if that’s the case, why was the national debt on September 30, 2008 $10.02 trillion and then $11.91 trillion on September 30, 2009? That’s a difference of $1.89 trillion, a whopping $470 billion more than the past year’s $1.42 trillion deficit.

The answer is, sadly, that the national debt is NOT the accumulation of annual budget deficits, as shown in the graphic that follows:

DeficitVsNationalDebt2005to2009

In the past five fiscal years, the national debt has increased by over $4.5 trillion, or over $1.9 trillion more than the $2.6 trillion sum of the five years’ reported deficits.

Thus, Raum and Taylor promulgated quite a whopper yesterday. Perhaps the “real journalists” at the Associated Press don’t agree that being off by that much is that big a deal. If readers don’t see a correction, we’ll just have to assume that’s the case.

I have addressed why these differences exist several times in the past (one such example is here), but the main point here is that the supposedly Essential Global News Network has two guys on board and presumably a gaggle of editors behind them who are so utterly clueless.

Here are some of other howlers the pathetic pair put forth in their embarrassing effort:

  • They wrote that “the economy surged at a 3.5 percent annual pace in the July-September quarter” — Calling such growth a “surge” is wildly inconsistent with the known and acknowledged fact that Cash For Clunkers, the homebuyer’s credit, and other unsustainable government-paid steroids made up most of the growth. Similar or better growth that was not artificially induced during the previous administration was rarely described as positively.
  • They described fiscal 2010′s anticipated budget deficit as “trillion-dollar-plus.” That’s an odd term considering how big the “plus” part is. The Congressional Budget Office’s August report projects a $1.381 trillion shortfall.
  • With the help of a an “expert” from the Pew Research Center, they claimed that the public’s concern about deficits is the highest since Ross Perot’s 1992 presidential candidacy, conveniently forgetting that the first year of the Gingrich Congress in 1995 up to and including the government shutdown was dominated by the issue of reining in annual deficits.
  • The piece’s headline focused only on spending. But in the story’s sixth paragraph, Obama’s budget director informed AP, in the wire service’s words, that his “spending blueprint …. would include a mix of spending cuts and new revenue-producing measures.” In the real world “new revenue-producing measures” are known as “tax increases.”

The AP’s Tom Curley has said he has plans for protecting and monetizing the wire service’s content. Before attempting that, I would suggest that Mr. Curley and his crew put a bit more effort into making that content worthy of protection and worth paying for. You’re not even in the neighborhood, Tom.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Positivity: Catholic bishop takes the Faith onto the ice

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 9:59 am

From Chicago:

Nov 15, 2009 / 03:42 am (CNA).- On Nov. 5, Bishop Thomas Paprocki, known as the “Holy Goalie” of the Archdiocese of Chicago, skated with the Green Knights at St. Norbert College in Wisconsin and addressed the team in the locker room before their game.

Bishop Paprocki, a seasoned athlete and marathoner, told CNA that he was able to practice with the team and talk to them before their game that evening. He spoke to the college athletes about the connections between sports and living the Catholic Faith.

“The connections that I see between sports and living the Catholic Faith,” explained Bishop Paprocki, “are that they teach us lessons for life. My faith gives me strength to run marathons, and running marathons teaches me endurance, which helps me to persevere when facing challenges in life. When I’m having a bad game and I’m giving up a lot of goals, I need to keep my spirits up and not give up hope. The same is true when faced with difficulties in life when things are not going so well.”

Bishop Paprocki told CNA that he is currently writing a book on sports and faith, which was enriched by his ice time with the Green Knights.

“My most memorable part of the experience was at the end of practice when Coach Tim Coghlin had us do a shootout drill, that is, one-on-one breakaways, individual shooter against goalie. St. Norbert All-American defenseman Nick Tabisz skated in alone on me. He faked a slap shot, I was fooled and went down, he moved to his left and attempted a wrist shot to my stick side.”

“Not giving up,” the bishop recalled, “in desperation I dove to my right and blocked the shot with the paddle of my stick. That brought a collective roar from the whole team as they banged their sticks on the ice, the traditional way for hockey players to cheer since it’s hard to clap their hands wearing gloves and holding a stick.

“It still gives me goose bumps to think about it,” he said. ….

Go here for the rest of the story.

Touched By a Real-Life Angel

The heroic mom of a wounded serviceman shakes the author out of a temporary torpor.

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Note: This item went up at Pajamas Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Friday.
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Like many in our current economy, yours truly finds himself doing extracurricular things to bring in the daily bread while occasionally bemoaning the necessity of doing so. It was in the course of carrying out one such task that an ordinary commercial interaction on a Sunday afternoon turned into a deeply moving experience.

It couldn’t have come at a better time. The news during the three days preceding this encounter was particularly rough on those of us who understand who has made us, what has come before us, and our obligation to do what we can to make things better for those who will follow us.

Three days earlier, American soldiers were massacred on American soil by a supposed comrade. By Sunday, a maddening, reality-denying, excuse-making exercise in political correctness that should frighten anyone interested in our country’s long-term survival was already unfolding. We’ve subsequently learned that the evil jihadist perpetrator literally waved his calling card, his 50-slide Powerpoint presentation, and his chilling core beliefs, complete with exclamation points and misspellings (“We love death more then you love life!”) right in front of his peers’, patients’ and superiors’ faces. Yet he wasn’t stopped.

During the previous two days, an obviously unconstitutional, coercive statist power grab of unprecedented dimensions got one step closer to becoming a reality. In the midst of the legislative sausage-making, people who claim to be defenders of life signed on to the creation of a health care labyrinth designed to give us wholesale rationing, denial of care, and a virtual end to medical progress, all in return for a tissue-thin “guarantee” — one which probably wouldn’t stand up in court when tested — that the new leviathan won’t finance feticide.

In the midst of all this, we learned that employment continues to spiral downward, the predictable result when an administration persists in pursuing what historically hasn’t worked while disdainfully eschewing what has. Illegitimately tokin’ on Okun (unemployment has never been within the necessary 3.0% – 7.5% range cited at the link during this administration), it soullessly engages in the utter fantasy that it has “created or saved” hundreds of thousands of jobs. Even the created/saved claims that are supposedly firm don’t stand up to scrutiny by reporters who would ignore the lies if they could. Lectures over how we should just accept all of this, that high unemployment is all of a sudden an immutable condition of American life, that there’s really nothing we can do about it, and that it really isn’t such a bad thing anyway, are beginning to appear.

I suspect I’m not alone in having gone into a bit of funk as the Fort Hood horror, Congress’s determination to dismantle the greatest health care system in the world, and the unemployment rate’s double-digit surge all unfolded in 60 hours.

But then an angel appeared.

She wasn’t an angel by the weird contemporary standards that artificially define “beauty,” but she embodied the verity that true beauty is far more than skin-deep.

She’s a middle-aged woman born overseas. Her husband was born in that same country. They emigrated here decades ago.

She told me that they have a son who served in Iraq. I said, perhaps a bit lamely given a bout of late afternoon fatigue, “Thank him for his service.” Then she opened up.

Though he is home, her son, following many months at Walter Reed and the local VA hospital, is still going through a fitful recovery from an awful encounter with an IED that severely damaged his brain. She described what happened, what he’s been through, what she’s been through, and what their family has been through — and then spoke of her great love of this country and all it stands for.

Her most poignant line with relevance to all was roughly this: “Don’t believe any of what you read about what the rest of the world thinks of this country. No matter where I have been, everyday people literally worship America and all it stands for.”

She fully understands that so many of the people who are currently in charge don’t seem to understand or appreciate any of this, especially the part about American exceptionalism. If what she has suffered hasn’t deterred her, the events of this past weekend surely shouldn’t discourage others among us who also believe in it.

This angel may have no idea of what she did for me, or of what I suspect she does for others on a daily basis. She thought I was doing her a favor by listening to her story and was almost apologetic about sharing it with me. Doing everything I could to keep from turning into a babbling, blubbering mess, I said, “It was a privilege to hear it.”

That those of us who know what should be done and who try to do our little part in making it happen might get occasionally and briefly down is understandable. To let it go on for too long, or to give in to the easy temptation of apathy, is simply unforgivable. The sacrifices this woman, her son, her family, and thousands of families like hers have made over the centuries to defend and preserve what we have, and who have given us the precious opportunity to improve upon it, demand that we press on unapologetically and forcefully.