October 17, 2011

AP Hit Piece on ‘Dominionism’ Tries to Tie in Perry, Even With No ‘Direct Link’

This afternoon, Associated Press Religion Writer Rachel Zoll devoted over 1,600 words to “dominionism,” spending much of it attempting to cast Rick Perry as their guy, even though, as she admitted, “Perry has never said anything that would directly link him to dominionism.” Oh, but he’s sorta said some things that might hint at such sympathies, and he’s been on stage with people who are supposedly “dominionists.” Zoll even cited MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow as a supposedly authoritative source.

Don’t even ask if there’s any mention of Barack Obama and Jeremiah “God D**n America” Wright. You know better. Here are several paragraphs from Zoll’s barrel of blather:

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Dour Denninger Dumps on Yours Truly — and Pajamas Media

The financial commentator refers to my PJM article as “bald lies from the right.”

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Special Note: I am grateful to Pajamas Media for giving me an opportunity to respond so quickly to Karl Denninger’s hit piece at Market-Ticker.org, and for allowing me to post the column here at BizzyBlog without the usual blackout.

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Even when they sharply criticize yours truly, I have tried in recent years to avoid getting unduly exercised over individual posts at other sites. They have their views, I have mine. It’s a (mostly) free country (for now).

Unfortunately, I must carve out an exception to that stance because the individual objecting to my most recent PJM column (“October 14, 2008: The Day the Economy as We Knew It Died”; BizzyBlog mirror): a) has accused me of “bald lies” while failing to successfully identify one; b) did so without having the integrity or basic decency to name me; c) criticized a column which deliberately focused on a narrow two-week time frame as “a particularly odious and sickening piece of crap” without the faintest understanding of my full take on the government-led, bank-assisted, political corruption-driven financial crisis we face and the several decades of history which led to it (completely irrelevant to this column, which will exclusively address the absence of “utter falsehood”); and d) deliberately made it about more than my work by indicating that “these people (in context: ‘at Pajamas Media’) need to be exposed as the liars they are.”

The critique in question, “Bald LIES From The Right (This Is IMPORTANT),” was published Friday evening at Market-Ticker.org by Karl Denninger, who is also a frequent contributor at the leading and highly regarded financial website Seeking Alpha. Denninger has a hard-earned reputation as a no-holds-barred commentator. Though I disagree with him strongly on occasion (e.g., his extraordinarily uncharitable “nothing of societal value” attack on the accomplishments of Steve Jobs and Apple), I also frequently agree with him. His Saturday afternoon item on GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain’s “999 Plan” is just one such instance. His attack on my column and PJM is obviously not.

I will show that, unless the sources I referenced totally made up their stories out of thin air, no sentence Denninger specifically criticized could possibly be construed to contain, in his words, “utter falsehood.”

The first three of four paragraphs Denninger excerpted followed my quote of part of the text of a CNBC exchange (video here) between Dylan Ratigan and Charles Gasparino. Twice, Gasparino described the October 14, 2008 meeting between Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and the CEOs of the nation’s largest banks, during which the CEOs “agreed” to direct government “investment” (i.e., partial ownership and de facto control) as done with a “gun to the head.” Here’s what I wrote:

The “gun to the head” was obvious: “You really have a nice bank there. But if you walk out without signing this document, right here, right now, we will bring all of the regulatory and law-enforcement powers of the United States government to bear on your institution. Your depositors and shareholders will suffer immensely. Your bank won’t survive. It would really be a shame if that were to happen. But we promise you, it will.”

What I wrote is my interpretation of what happened in that room, based on what CNBC, the New York Times, to a lesser extent the Associated Press (which watered it down to, “Paulson basically told the bank CEOs that they had to accept the government stock purchases for the good of the U.S. economy”), and precious few others reported. The Times even described Godfather Paulson’s “proposal” as “an offer the banks could not refuse.” My interpretation based on what is known sure as hell isn’t “utter falsehood.”

Next, I wrote the following about a provision in the TARP legislation that became law eleven days earlier which permitted the Treasury Secretary to buy “any other financial instrument” in achieving the law’s goals:

Hank Paulson’s defenders will probably claim that provision (B) above gave him authorization to do what he did, and that the preferred shares the banks were forced to issue count as “financial instruments.” The problem with that “logic” is that these weren’t “purchases.” They were extorted ownership interests — and in case you’re wondering, there is no authorization to extort anywhere in the legislation.

Again, if there’s evidence that all the banks willingly jumped up and said okey-dokey without coercion, I’d like to see it. Otherwise, what I wrote is an opinion based on the clearly understood difference between a willing seller-willing buyer transaction and one based on implicit and explicit threats. It sure as hell isn’t “utter falsehood.”

The next paragraph is clearly an expressed opinion. As much as Karl may not like it, I’m entitled to it, and it sure as hell has no “utter falsehood” component:

The economy as we knew it died that day — and virtually no one objected. As Michelle Malkin wrote: “If you don’t feel like throwing up today, you’re not paying attention.”

I wrote that paragraph because in my view (which Michelle at least generally shared) what happened three years ago on October 14 represented a pivotal turning point for the worse in our economic history:

  • It was as far as I know the first instance, and certainly the first on such a large scale, where the government deliberately and under threat of force took effective ownership and control of an entire industry sector, not just its failures.
  • It directly defied the clearly understood intent (and, I would argue, the hardwired provisions) of the TARP law passed only eleven days earlier.
  • It was greeted with near silence by the political class, the press which knew how different Paulson’s actions were from the law’s intent, and the public at large.

The fact that the large majority of TARP funding has been repaid hardly represents an exoneration of what Paulson did. His action — again, I must emphasize, “with President George W. Bush’s shameful capitalism-betraying acquiescence” — gave cover to all manner of subsequent longer-lasting government moves towards tyranny (“arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic abuse of authority”), including but by no means limited to the use of TARP funds to bail out General Motors and Chrysler (which Congress, at least publicly, never originally intended), while arbitrarily and extralegally divvying up the spoils; the government’s outright takeover of student loans; the Dodd-Frank legislation, which, as I wrote in the run-up to its passage, is a massive power grab giving the government nearly unquestioned power to shut down any financial institution any time it likes; and pervasive regulatory overreach like we haven’t seen since the economically depressed 1930s.

The final paragraph with which Denninger takes issue is also the column’s finale:

Even beyond what we can see with regulations gone wild, failed stimulus, and outright corruption, our government’s authoritarian overhang and its destructive psychological effect on business and investor behavior largely explain why the economy won’t acceptably grow.

Denninger wrathfully writes: “If you believe one word of that paragraph you’re dumber than a box of rocks.”

Rock on this, Karl: It sure as hell isn’t an “utter falsehood” — and for heaven’s sake, please note that in my view the government influences cited “largely explain” why the economy won’t grow — not by any stretch exclusively, or even nearly exclusively. Plenty of individuals, businesses, government institutions, politicians, and government officials — including Hank Paulson, both before and during his Treasury tenure — are deserving of properly allocated blame for the conditions which led to our currently stuck in neutral (at best) economy. The column was about how the legislated TARP was not the Paulson-executed TARP, and how the Paulson-executed TARP was a tragic, possibly point-of-no-return authoritarian first.

Thus, the column contains no “utter falsehoods.” I try my damnedest not to write ‘em, and I can attest from experience that the editors at PJM try their damnedest to prevent ‘em from getting published.

Karl Denninger owes us — myself and Pajamas Media — nothing short of an unconditional apology. The proper words are: “I was wrong. I am sorry. I will appropriately retract.” Period. From my standpoint, there’s no chance of any kind of dialog about the rest of the content at your post — which might otherwise be quite worthy of discussion — until I get one.

Lowe’s Store Closings With 1,950 Job Losses Not Worthy of AP’s Business Front Page

LowesSmallUPDATE, 4 p.m.: BizzyBlog gets results? The Lowe’s story is currently #10 on the AP’s Business home page (saved here).
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It’s a good thing I heard this on the radio at about 11:00 a.m., because I might otherwise have missed it. With yours truly’s opinion along for the ride, I’ll let readers judge whether the news of the Lowe’s home improvement chain announcing that it will close 20 stores and cut its new store opening plans by one-half to two-thirds deserved to be in the top ten business stories at the Associated Press as of 12:52 p.m.

Here are the ten which made the cut in order of appearance on the wire service’s Business home page (saved here for future reference, fair use, and discussion purposes; original link not made because of frequent changes):

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Romney ‘The Inevitable’ Update

Filed under: Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:13 pm

At Rasmussen:

Whether Herman Cain’s surge in the polls is temporary or has staying power, he’s enjoying a big enough bounce to take a very slight lead over President Obama in a hypothetical 2012 matchup. At the moment, the Georgia businessman is the only Republican with a lead of any kind over Obama, although former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has held a similar advantage several times and is currently trailing the president by just two points.

… The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely U.S. Voters shows Cain attracting 43% support, while Obama earns 41%. Given such a matchup, eight percent (8%) prefer some other candidate, and another eight percent (8%) are undecided.

Romney “inevitable“? Not so much.

Related: Cain, from his “Meet the Press and Get Hounded by David Gregory” interview yesterday, is unequivocally pro-life:

Cain said he does not agree with abortion “under any circumstances.” In cases of rape and incest, “there are other options,” he said.

Cain implied that an abortion might be appropriate in an emergency, when the procedure would save the life of the mother. “The family is going to have to make that decision,” he said.

Cain clearly is referring to actually saving the mother’s life (i.e., she will die if she gives birth), and is NOT referring to the “life and health” exception — specifically, “when a woman’s physical or mental health was gravely threatened by continuation of a pregnancy” — which gravely deceived Governor Ronald Reagan and led to de facto abortion on demand in California in the late 1960s.

Monday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (101711)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:30 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder is below. Other topics are also fair game.

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From the Mitt Romney “No Conservative Principle Left Unbetrayed” file, in an Investor’s Business Daily editorial: “On Jan. 1, 2006, Massachusetts became the first state to regulate CO2 emissions from power plants, … A Dec. 7, 2005 memo from the governor’s office announcing the new policy listed among the ‘environmental and policy experts’ providing input to the policy one “John Holdren, professor of environmental policy at Harvard University.’ This is the same person who wrote that a ‘massive campaign must be launched to restore a high-quality environment in North America and to de-develop the United States.’” More on Romney/Holdren is at Moonbattery (who got the ball rolling) and Hot Air. Original research on the frankly frightening Holdren was done two years ago by Zombie (“John Holdren, Obama’s Science Czar, says: Forced abortions and mass sterilization needed to save the planet”). As IBD writes: “Holdren’s bizarre views are best suited for an adviser to someone like, say, Pol Pot.”

Andrew Klavan at PJM on Romney: “While he may win the Republican presidential nomination by default — and while he may indeed win the presidency due to desperation — it is clear from every word he says that he understands neither the peril nor the needs of the present moment. Even his supporters seem to realize that he’s not really what is called for.”

The Associated Press celebrates as “Occupy Wall Street reaches 1-month birthday,” without having the integrity to tell its readers that it was originally christened “Day of Rage.” Doing so would be might inconvenient, especially since “Obama extends support for protesters.” Related: “Obama-Endorsed Group Sings “F*** the USA.”” Also: “‘Hang and Shoot’ Bush Administration.”

In an item at Pajamas Media which is generally about the shaky financial situation at Tesla Motors, there’s this nugget which largely answers the question, “Who put the ‘loan’ in many of the government’s loan-guarantees?”: “The loans actually are paid by the Federal Financing Bank, a bank supervised by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Geithner has doubled the size of the bank and redirected its loans from government projects like rural electrification to private sector projects like Tesla. Geithner has total control over the size and disbursements of the bank. He has no oversight.”

Meant to get to this a while ago: Now that Lizzie Warren has walked away from the chance to become the nation’s first unaccountable to anyone “consumer czar” under the must-be-repealed Dodd-Frank law to run for Senator in Massachusetts, President Obama wants to install Ohio’s own former attorney general Rich Cordray. Cordray was okay on gun rights (at least in theory), but mostly awful. The “consumer czar” position and the related agency that person would head should not exist. But Buckeye State Senator Rob Portman, an alleged Republican, appears ready to green-light Cordray. Those of us who know Portman’s record fully understand that he won’t fight for anything difficult. After all, he told the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 2008: “‘I probably am a little risk-averse compared to some members [of Congress],’ he concedes, ‘but I think a lot of that is a deliberate decision on my part that some things are worth it for my career and some things aren’t.’”

Ann Althouse: “Herman Cain nailed ‘Meet the Press.’”

At the Wall Street Journal (“Obamacare Starts to Unravel; The real story behind the Class program failure, and what to do now”) — “In a 48-page report that HHS submitted to Congress Friday, the department concedes that it is literally impossible to create any kind of long-term care program under the law’s statutory text in which revenues match expenditures. Such a plan would cost as much as $3,000 per month, which no one would ever buy.” In other words, if it’s not heavily taxpayer-subsidized, it won’t work. Fun fact:CLASS started out as a bipartisan proposal, co-sponsored (with the late Ted Kennedy) by former Ohio Republican Sen. Mike DeWine.”

Positivity: Down Syndrome Awareness Helps Stop Abortions on Special Kids

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 5:56 am

From Mark Leach at Life News:

10/13/11 10:33 AM

New research on Down syndrome presents an overwhelmingly positive picture of how Down syndrome can affect individuals and families. These findings need to be shared as they will affect decisions made to accept prenatal testing and following a prenatal diagnosis.

October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Fittingly, the American Journal of Medical Genetics recently published groundbreaking research that challenges conventional wisdom about raising a child with Down syndrome (DS). Responding to these studies, noted bioethicist Art Caplan predicted that, nevertheless, they will not “make a bit of difference to parents deciding to end pregnancies once [DS] is discovered in the fetus.” Actual experience contradicts Caplan’s pessimism.

The new research reports the findings of three surveys in which thousands of parents and hundreds of siblings and individuals with DS themselves, were questioned about what it is like to be affected in one way or another by DS. Ninety-nine percent of parents said they loved their child with DS and 97 percent were proud of them; only 4 percent regretted having their child. While 4 percent of siblings would “trade their sibling” with DS, 96 percent indicated that they had affection toward their sibling with DS, with 94 percent of older siblings expressing feelings of pride. Finally, although 4 percent of individuals with DS expressed sadness about their lives, 99 percent said they were happy with their lives and 97 percent liked who they are.
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