August 31, 2012

Bernanke Claims Two Rounds of QE Created 2 Million Jobs; That Would Mean Obama Admin Policies Have Created Fewer Than 750K

In his Jackson Hole, Wyoming presentation today, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, as reported by Paul Wiseman at the Associated Press, made the following claim in connection with the Fed’s programs of “quantitative easing” (QE): “Bernanke argued Friday that collectively, such measures have succeeded. He cited research showing that two rounds of QE (quantitative easing) had created 2 million jobs and accelerated U.S. economic growth.”

I’m not inclined to automatically believe Big Ben’s word. But if he’s right, and if the allegedly positive effects of QE started being felt at about the time the recession ended, that would mean that the fiscal policies of the Obama administration are responsible for the remnant. Of course, Wiseman at the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, didn’t ask the next logical question, so I will. Guess how big that remnant is?

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MSNBC’s Touré Neblett Reacts to Ryan’s Speech: For Women and Minorities, ‘Our Rights Do Not Come From God or Nature’

Near the end of his Wednesday night speech at the Republican National Convention, vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan told his audience and the nation that “sometimes, even presidents need reminding, that our rights come from nature and God, not from government.”

John Hayward at Human Events noted that MSNBC’s Touré Neblett did not handle Ryan’s self-evident assertion very well. In fact, Thursday morning, Toure went into a bit of a tirade:

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This Is What Real Lies About Auto Plant Closures Look Like

Note: I won’t be posting anything else until this evening. In the meantime, read the following BizzyBlog blast from the past (some links may not work, but the primary Cleveland Plain Dealer item is still there) to see what real lies about auto plant closures (as opposed to the truths Paul Ryan told about the plant closure in Janesville, Wisconsin Wednesday night) look like.

* * * * * *

May 15, 2009

Obama’s And Admin’s Blatant Chrysler Plant-Closing Fibs to Four States’ Pols

ObamaAndCarGuysChryslerBk0509Imagine if in December (2008) George W. Bush and his administration had:

  • Decided to issue the initial bailout billions to General Motors but not Chrysler, thereby forcing Chrysler into bankruptcy.
  • Had his advisers get on the phone with elected officials in towns and states where Chrysler has plants and told them that the bankruptcy was about to happen.
  • Said that the Chrysler bankruptcy “will not disrupt the lives of the people who work at Chrysler or the communities that depend” on them.

Now imagine if, 24-36 hours later, Bush’s advisers disclosed that many Chrysler plants would close.

Does anyone reading this think that such an obvious betrayal would have gone unreported by the major TV networks or newspapers of record?

Well, on Wednesday and Thursday, April 29 and 30, Barack Obama and his administration did exactly what I described above. Then, on May 1, Obama’s car guys and Chrysler announced the closings of plants in Ohio, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Michigan. Yet this shocking deception, acknowledged as such by well-known names in both major parties, has only been news in the metro areas affected.

In a May 10 column in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, reporter Stephen Koff did a fine job of laying out the details of the story. It’s a definite read-the-whole-painful-thing piece, but here are some of Koff’s key paragraphs (bolds are mine; the Plain Dealer has a separate detailed timeline here):

Late in the morning on Thursday, April 30, three officials serving under President Barack Obama got on a telephone conference call with members of Congress and Capitol Hill staffers. ….

These are smart people, and they listen carefully. They all took notes on what was said by Larry Summers, Ed Montgomery and Ron Bloom, three of the advisers Obama had tapped to rescue the American auto industry. And what these and other Congress members heard in this private telephone conference was consistent with the message that President Obama publicly made a few minutes later in the White House grand foyer: Chrysler, the storied American automaker, was entering a short, government-assisted Chapter 11 bankruptcy and would merge with Fiat, the Italian car maker.

But this “will not disrupt the lives of the people who work at Chrysler or the communities that depend on it,” Obama said.

That seemed straightforward enough, and it mirrored the statements the Congress members had just heard from the top task force officials — that there would be no plant closings and no layoffs, with only short-term plant idling to restructure and move excess inventory off the lots. It also followed a telephone briefing with reporters little more than an hour earlier, in which a senior administration official was asked about the potential loss of Chrysler “head counts.” The administration official, talking with reporters on the condition that he and others not be named, responded that “there are no plans to have any immediate plant closings or major white- or blue-collar head-count reductions.”

Maybe someone should have asked what the White House meant by “no plans” and “disrupt.”

Congress members say they were blind-sided by the news the next day, May 1, that Chrysler in fact intended to permanently shutter five plants: one each in Ohio, Wisconsin and Missouri, and two in Michigan.

The news was embarrassing as well as shocking, since many members, like LaTourette, had issued statements applauding, for instance, the report that no jobs would be cut at the 1,250-worker Twinsburg Stamping Plant. Candice Miller, a Republican congresswoman representing Sterling Heights, Mich., home of a 1,400-worker Chrysler plant, even went on the House floor soon after Obama’s announcement, saying it meant, “most importantly, no plant closures or new job losses.”

Wrong. Sterling Heights, like Twinsburg, would be sucker-punched the next day with news of a plant closing.

Were Congress members duped? If so, by whom and why?

The short answers appear to be yes, by both Chrysler and the White House.

Koff’s very plausible theory is that the administration made its risible claims early Thursday that jobs would be saved to get all-day TV and online media plaudits and no blowback from localities they knew darn well would be affected. Then it sent Chrysler into bankruptcy on Thursday afternoon to ensure that the press didn’t have enough time to adequately scrutinize the voluminous filing ahead of their Friday print runs. Koff says that only the Detroit Free Press was able to beat their print deadline. By the time anyone caught on to the ruse, the slow-news weekend arrived, while the attention of the national press went on hiatus.

As Koff says, “If it was, in fact, a media strategy, it worked.”

A further appalling aspect in all of this is the unwillingness of virtually every Democrat involved except Dennis Kucinich to go on the record to criticize the administration’s self-evident deception. Read the rest of the story, and you’ll see pathetic cop-outs or stone silence from the likes of Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, Ohio Congressperson Betty Sutton, and Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm.

After the fact, the Obama administration is trying to claim that the closure of the affected plants was already envisioned in Chrysler’s February viability plan. That doesn’t even pass the stench test, let alone the smell test. A different Plain Dealer reporter and Ohio Republican Congressman LaTourette have separately shown that “Chrysler’s Feb. 17 restructuring proposal never mentioned plans to close additional plants, whether unidentified or not.”

A May 6 Plain Dealer story notes that “Chrysler acknowledges it failed to inform Twinsburg and other communities of imminent plant closures.” I’m not aware of any such acknowledgment by the government, let alone anything resembling an apology from President Barack (“[it] will not disrupt the lives of the people who work at Chrysler or the communities that depend on it”) Obama.

I wonder how the employees affected feel, knowing that they’re being left jobless while their union’s health plan controls half of the new company, and that they were further treated like mushrooms (kept in the dark and fed horse manure) until the attention of the nation’s press disappeared?

If the national establishment media are offended at being used, and duped, I sure haven’t seen it. I don’t expect that I ever will.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (083112)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow later. Other topics are also fair game.

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Positivity: Cranston waitress lands $458 tip on $42 tab

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Cranston, Rhode Island (HT Daryn Kagan):

Posted: Aug 23, 2012 5:52 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 23, 2012 10:11 PM EDT

Kristen Ruggiero has been punching in at Uncle Tony’s Pizza in Cranston for the last 15 years. She has her share of regulars, but the best table she has ever had was taken up by complete strangers.

“I’ve had regulars leave me a good tip,” Ruggiero said. “But nothing like that.”

A couple walked in one night in July, she served them a pizza and made some small talk.

“I said yeah you know I have three kids. I’m a single mother,” Ruggiero said.

She did not know those few words would add up to the larges tip she has ever received.

“There check was in here, it was $42, and there were five $100 bills rolled up,” Ruggiero said. “My first reaction was am I counting this right because I was in shock.”

The shock led her to think it was all a mistake. She held on to the money thinking they would come back for it, but when they finally did a few weeks later, it was only to say something else.

“He said no it was absolutely not a mistake you deserved it.”

Her co-workers cannot help but agree. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

August 30, 2012

As Gas Prices Spike, Bloomberg Cites Hurricane Isaac, Worries Over Obama, Fails to Recognize ‘Hurricane Hugo’ (Chavez)

Gas prices have risen to a nationwide average of $3.80 per gallon, per gasbuddy.com early this afternoon, and an Ohio average of over $3.90.

Is Asjylyn Loder at Bloomberg worried about the effects on drivers’ pocketbooks and travel plans over Labor Day? Don’t be silly. Loder is worried about its impact on Dear Leader’s presidential reelection prospects, and avoids the implications of the ten-year rule of another Dear Leader, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, on the current situation. Her first three paragraphs in graphic form, plus a few more on Venezuela, follow the jump:

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AP’s Wagner Sees ‘Slow Improvement in the Job Market’ in ‘Unchanged’ Initial Jobless Claims

First, the bad news from a media coverage standpoint. All three major wire services covering today’s report from the Department of Labor on initial unemployment claims characterized the seasonally adjusted result of 374,000 as “unchanged” from last week, but failed to note the 98%-plus probability based on the last 75 weeks of history (only one exception during that time) that the number will be revised upward by 1,000 or more, changing today’s “unchanged” number to an increase.

That’s bit ironic, given that all three wires at least told readers that last week’s 372,000 claims was revised up to 374,000. Bloomberg, Reuters, and the Associated Press had different takes on the meaning of today’s results, as will be seen after the jump (bolds are mine):

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Unemployment Claims (083012): 374K SA (Before Next Week’s Inevitable Upward Revision), Same as Last Week’s Upwardly Revised 374K

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:51 am

From the Department of Labor:

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending August 25, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 374,000, unchanged from the previous week’s revised figure of 374,000. The 4-week moving average was 370,250, an increase of 1,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 368,750.

… UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 309,923 in the week ending August 25, a decrease of 1,864 from the previous week. There were 336,761 initial claims in the comparable week in 2011.

This is really an increase; unless by some miracle there is no upward revision next week; all we await is official confirmation in seven days. Upward revisions have occurred in all but one of the past 70-plus weeks.

This year’s seasonal adjustment factor 82.8 is almost identical to the 82.7 used in the comparable week last year.

This metric isn’t showing us anything that would support “stronger growth” — in employment or the economy as a whole.

WaPo’s Ezra Klein Pulls Out Tired ‘Bush Tax Cuts Cost Us Trillions’ Graph

Ezra Klein, the “former” head of the Journolist news coordination conspiracy (given the evidence of coordination seen during the Republican convention, it’s hard to believe it hasn’t continued in some form), rolled out a graphic yesterday at the Washington Post which he touted as “the one graph you need to see before watching” the Republican convention.

To show would be to give it more attention than it deserves. Its core contention, delivered via the lefty-driven Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, is that “Tax Cuts, Wars Account For Nearly Half of Public Debt by 2019.” They could have changed the title to “we’re going to blame Bush for eight more years.” Some of Klein’s clanking follows the jump; I’ll deal with the “Blame Bush’s tax cuts” mantra after that (the “wars” claim has been addressed several times before, and is just as dumb):

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Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (083012)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow later. Other topics are also fair game.

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Positivity: New Christian group created to celebrate, defend marriage

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Tampa Bay, Florida:

Aug 30, 2012 / 04:01 am

Pastors from across the country have come together to form an organization celebrating the important role of marriage and encouraging Christians to take action in support of it.

“For us to remain silent is for us to give consent to the belief that traditional marriage can be redefined,” said William Owens, Jr., founder of We Celebrate Marriage.

“This is not a time in our generation to be silent.”

We Celebrate Marriage welcomes families and organizations who want to witness to the truth of marriage as being an important and timeless institution founded by God rather than government.

The group is seeking to “defend the family union” by establishing scientific and social evidence that fathers and mothers each make unique contributions to their children and that marriage is important in transmitting cultural and moral values to future generations. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

August 29, 2012

Say It Loud …

Filed under: Ohio Politics,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:12 pm

… via Instapundit:

WATCHING ROB PORTMAN, it’s clear that Ryan was a much better pick.

Heh.

Michelle Malkin on the RNC Establishment Power Grab (Plus: John Boehner’s Shameful, Dishonorable Deed)

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:24 pm

Well-stated (bolds are mine):

There were several inspiring speeches delivered at last night’s Republican National Convention. Talk of “unity” filled the air. Many GOP leaders praised the “grass-roots.” But behind the scenes, the RNC power grab has exacerbated distrust between a diverse group of rank-and-file activists and party bosses.

I have no patience for the Republican party-bots telling these front-line soldiers to shut up in the name of unity — and to hide “in-fighting” because the Left will publicize it. It should be publicized. Conservative activists and Tea Party members have worked their asses off within the system, doing the groundwork of righting the wayward GOP ship from the inside. These are the door-knockers, sign-makers, phone-bankers, and message-spreaders who fueled the Tea Party revolution and who enabled the 2010 GOP midterm victories. They fought for and earned their place at the table.

I also have no patience for the sideline-sitters who gripe that rules fights are booooooring and meaningless. The Tea Party conservative activists are doing what an effective movement is supposed to be: They’ve moved on from protests and rallies to the nuts and bolts of party politics. These battles matter, because exercising grass-roots muscles makes them stronger.

Finally, I have no patience for the addled critics who think we are unable to multi-task. Yes, you can criticize bad GOP maneuvers AND maintain the fight against Obama and the progressives at the same time! It’s easy if you try.

The bottom line: Get organized, get loud, and stay vigilant. No matter who ends up in the White House in January, no matter what letter follows the names of the people in power in Washington, the grass-roots conservative movement must be prepared to stand its ground. Forewarned is forearmed.

It has become very clear that a Mitt Romney presidency, though preferable, will be extraordinarily high-maintenance, and even that might not be enough to keep Washington from going off the rails permanently.

Dean Clancy reports on the hijacking of the delegates’ will by the deeply disappointing John Boehner:

Yesterday, the Republican National Committee in Tampa adopted some rules changes that shift power from the state parties and the grassroots to the RNC and the GOP presidential nominee. Former Governor John Sununu of New Hampshire touted the new rules as providing “a strong governing framework” for the party over the next four years. But in fact the the new rules should be very troubling and disappointing to conservative grassroots activists, because they move the national Republican Party away from being a decentralized, bottom-up party toward becoming a centralized, top-down party.

The Romney rules effectively disenfranchise grassroots delegates, and will thus tend to weaken and splinter the party over time. They specifically represent a blow to the Tea Party and the Ron Paul movement, and force grassroots conservatives of all stripes to contemplate their future within the GOP.

Party sage and long-time RNC member (and conservative activist) Morton Blackwell led a last-minute effort to stop the changes — an effort the FreedomWorks strongly supported, together with Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. Phyllis Schlafly and RNC for Life also got involved, while Michelle Malkin, Mark Levin, and Rush Limbaugh helped sound the alarm.

But the Romney camp and RNC insiders won the day, successfully imposing their will with the help of their control of the gavels and superior knowledge of the process, and perhaps some dirty tricks. The conservative “rebels” won the moral victory, however, taking their fight to the Rules Committee and the full Convention floor and arguably winning the voice vote there to stop the rules, only to be gaveled down by (House) Speaker John Boehner [view video from 1:08 minutes]:

Wow. I think the “no’s” had it, though not by a lot, and that the Speaker knew what his decision was going to be before he heard any response. An honest arbiter would have called for a roll call vote. John Boehner was not an honest arbiter. Period.

This is intraparty tyranny. It’s unforgivable, and it won’t be forgotten.

Welcome to the attitude of the incoming Romney administration and the GOP Beltway establishment.

Kevin DeWine couldn’t have done it any better.

UPDATE: Read the full Freedom Works account.

CNNMoney.com Email, AP Ascribe Less Than 0.1% Stock Market Advance As Due to Signs of Stronger U.S. Growth

Today, per Nasdaq.com, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 4.49 points to 13107.48, the S&P 500 went up 1.19 points to 1410.49, and the NASDAQ gained 4.05 points to close at 3081.19.  The average of the three gains is less than 0.1%.

That didn’t stop the disseminators of CNN Money’s email at the close of business from interpreting the result as being due to “signs of stronger U.S.growth.” Really:
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PolitiFact Won’t Set Stephanie Cutter’s Pants on Fire Over Ridiculous Obama vs. Reagan Jobs Lie

On August 27, PolitiFact, the once promising but now largely co-opted “fact check” site run by the Tampa Bay Times, finally got around to evaluating Obama campaign spokesperson Stephanie Cutter’s August 22 lie that “over the past, you know, 27 months we’ve created … more jobs than in the Bush recovery, in the Reagan recovery.” Apparently, the evaluators lost their matches as they only gave Cutter’s statement a “False” tag.

In doing so, PolitiFact clearly ignored its own rating guidelines, wherein “False” means that “The statement is not accurate,” while “Pants on Fire” means “The statement is not accurate and makes a ridiculous claim.” Cutter made an utterly ridiculous claim, which I will illustrate beyond what was already shown on Sunday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog):

(Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)

ReaganVsObamaPostRecJobGrowth37mos

The graphs presented at my August 26 post were based on absolute growth in total nonfarm payrolls (NFP) and private-sector jobs. The graph above lays out job growth as a percentage of employment when the respective recessions ended in November 1982 and June 2009. Obviously, the differences in the Reagan-era and Obama-era slopes are even greater.

It’s hard to imagine how one could get any more ridiculous than to try to assert that any part of the Obama-era lines charted above show greater job growth than any section of the Reagan-era lines. In the realm of economics, Stephanie Cutter’s lie is on the level of “Baghdad Bob” during the initial stages of the war in Iraq in 2003.

Readers can peruse the claims that did earn the “Pants on Fire” tag at their leisure see how obvious the double standards there really are.

James Pethokoukis also found that Cutter’s claim about fewer jobs being created during George W. Bush’s presidency is also false.

PolitiFact’s blindly partisan pants are what’s really on fire.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.