December 6, 2012

NewsBusted (120412)

Filed under: NewsBusted — Tom @ 5:10 pm

This one’s a bit late, but here we go:

Topics:
–Hillary Clinton
–John Kerry
–Susan Rice
–President Obama
–Mitch McConnell
–Tim Geithner
–Jeffrey Zucker
–CNN
–Vice President Biden
–Linday Lohan
–Dollar Bill

Best Line (among many): “Former NBC network President Jeff Zucker will become head of CNN. Obviously, Zucker was chosen by CNN because of all of his experience with fiction and comedy.”

Did GM Conduct a Pre-election Production Charade?

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:59 pm

GovernmentMotors0609It had the motive, and the means.

This post went up at Watchdog.org earlier this afternoon.

Did General Motors keep its production lines humming at full throttle in the final months before November’s elections to help Barack Obama and Democrats?

On Monday, GM, which was bailed out in 2009 at an ultimate cost estimated at $25 billion, announced that its November dealer deliveries to customers exceeded November 2011 by only 3.4 percent. Its competitors’ dealers saw sales jump by 17.5 percent. GM’s November’s performance followed mediocre year-over-year increases of 1.5 percent and 5 percent in September and October, respectively.

The next day, the Wall Street Journal reported that the company “is taking steps to cut excess production and signaled there may be more to come.” The production cutbacks include the company’s Lordstown, Ohio, plant, where workers “will be off the job for three weeks instead of a planned two-week Christmas shutdown as the Detroit auto maker curtails Chevrolet Cruze output.”

The financial results and the news that followed beg the question: Why did GM produce and ship almost 100,000 more vehicles than its dealers sold during the past two months, especially as dealer inventories, now at 106 days of sales overall, including a shocking 139 days for full-sized pickups, were already seriously bloated?

Absent state control, the only people with a stake in the answer to would be the company’s shareholders, lenders, employees, suppliers and plant-located communities. If the answer pointed to a pattern of poor decisions or management incompetence, shareholders would act to change course, and if necessary, change management.

But with state control, management often has non-business motivations. In this case, one cannot rule out the possibility that the company engaged in pre-election window-dressing, keeping its plants humming at levels not justified by market conditions to support Obama’s re-election effort and to assist other Democratic Party candidates, particularly incumbent Ohio U.S. Sen.Sherrod Brown.

Obama and his party made “GM is alive, Osama is dead” a centerpiece of their fall campaigns. Brown especially touted his support for the 2009 bailouts of GM and Chrysler, claiming they “saved” the U.S. auto industry. He emphasized the point by saying his Republican opponent, Josh Mandel, would have simply let them die.

GM’s public reports show that the Lordstown plant, located in what was considered the election’s most important swing state, produced 28,572 Cruzes in October, while dealers only sold 19,121. Unit Cruze sales for the first 10  months of 2012 were less than 200,000, even as the company produced almost 245,000. Now, with Obama safely re-elected, and allowing for a little extra time to avoid the appearance of an obvious connection, the company has decided to cut back production. How convenient.

Skeptics will inevitably retort that GM’s overproduction and channel-stuffing could not have been a case of Potemkin-like pre-election pretension because the company made a point of barring both parties’ presidential candidates from visiting its plants during the campaign’s final two months. My response is twofold. First, the “GM-Osama” narrative was already in place by the time GM ended candidate visits. Second, the company and its government overseers didn’t want astute business reporters and other observers capable of detecting telltale signs of overproduction sniffing around inside their buildings, and especially wished to avoid having employees accidentally or deliberately spill the beans.

GM’s dealers were sitting on 788,000 unsold vehicles at the end of November, making them particularly vulnerable to getting forced into fire-sale pricing if the economy slows down, as many expect. GM may have to put the brakes on production far more than it is currently letting on, which will only worsen the downturn. But at least the guy they wanted to see in the White House will still be there.

Breaking: DeMint Resigning to Head Heritage Foundation

Filed under: News from Other Sites,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:33 am

Here’s a portion of Erick Erikson’s reax:

I got the call before the news went out. Jim DeMint, the standard bearer of the conservative movement in America and conservative king maker, is leaving the United States Senate.

He will succeed Ed Feulner as President of the Heritage Foundation.

,,, If McConnell smiles at hearing the news Jim DeMint is leaving the Senate, he should remember Obi Wan Kenobi telling him . . . errrr . . . Darth Vader, “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.” Jim DeMint’s power in the conservative movement just grew exponentially. A man who was going to retire in four years anyway, will now be leading the conservative movement from its base of operations for years to come.

Without Jim DeMint we would most likely not presently have in the United States Senate Pat Toomey, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, Jeff Flake, Ron Johnson, and Ted Cruz. We would not have a Republican establishment that now worries conservatives might actually primary them.

Without Jim DeMint we would still have a conservative movement that is part and parcel the Republican Party in name, word, and deed. DeMint showed the Republican Party can be challenged from within and that conservatism can be distinctly voiced from within the party moving it right, not moving with it.

… As for Jim DeMint leaving the United States Senate, it is a very good thing.

The more I think about it, the more I think this is a great thing. Just yesterday, John Hayward noted Jim DeMint may just be the leader of the resistance within the GOP on the fiscal cliff deal. But DeMint has replenished the bench of conservatives within the Senate. As long as he remains there, the new conservatives will be in his shadow.

Jim DeMint is, like Ed Feulner, not indispensable. But his ideas are. It is time for the tea party senators he brought to the Senate to stretch their legs and prove they are Jim DeMint’s ideological heirs. In the meantime, he will be on the outside providing them the support and intellectual ammunition they need.

… About the only thing that could make this more awesome is if Governor Nikki Haley ensures the Senate’s only black Senator is a conservative Republican who presently represents the congressional district in which Ft. Sumter sits.

Erickson is referring to Tim Scott.

Initial Unemployment Claims (120612): 370K SA, Year-Over-Year NSA Claims Down Less Than 6%

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:52 am

From the Department of Labor:

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending December 1, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 370,000, a decrease of 25,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 395,000. The 4-week moving average was 408,000, an increase of 2,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 405,750.

… UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 498,619 in the week ending December 1, an increase of 139,678 from the previous week. There were 528,793 initial claims in the comparable week in 2011.

As usual, last week was revised upward, this time by 2,000.

The change in seasonal factors between years wasn’t that important this time around. This year’s factor was 134.7; last year’s comparable factor was 137.9.

If last year’s seasonal factor was applied to this year’s raw number of claims, the reported seasonally adjusted result would have been 8,000 claims lower (498,619 divided by 137.9 is 362,000, rounded).

It looks like we’re back to the unimpressive 360-380K water-treading range. The “good news,” post-Sandy, is that it hasn’t worsened yet.

Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (120612)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

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

__________________________________________

Positivity: Pro-life leaders ask GOP to stand strong on abortion

Filed under: Health Care,Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Washington:

Dec 3, 2012 / 04:20 pm

Top pro-life advocates are calling on the Republican Party to maintain its pro-life stance despite calls from some to back off from the position in the wake of the presidential election.

“A real soldier doesn’t stay on the defensive,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, which works to promote pro-life candidates and policies. “You go out and state your best case.”

“The folks that have taken the stand on this issue have taken it because we’re talking about defending vulnerable human life,” she told CNA on Nov. 30. “If it’s not about that, it’s not about anything.”

Dannenfelser was one of several pro-life leaders who responded to suggestions by some Republicans, including Arizona senator John McCain, that the GOP should drop or mitigate its pro-life stance in order to broaden its appeal after losing the presidential election.

Appearing on “Fox News Sunday” on Nov. 25, the senator – who unsuccessfully ran for president against Barack Obama in 2008 – suggested that while “I can state my position on abortion,” Republicans should “other than that, leave the issue alone when we are in the kind of economic situation and, frankly, national security situation that we’re in.”

When asked by host Chris Wallace whether his suggestion to “leave the issue alone” meant allowing “freedom of choice” to abort, McCain responded, “I would allow people to have those opinions and respect those opinions.”

“I’m proud of my pro-life position and record, but if someone disagrees with me, I respect your views,” he said.

Pro-life advocates immediately rejected such suggestions, arguing that the adamant support of life is both a winning battle and the right thing to do.

Dannenfelser pointed to the historic words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.