Friday, July 30, 2010

did General Motors pay back the government loan?

General Motors claims that they paid the government back the loan from the automotive bailout.That was April 22nd, apparently.

The United States Department of the Treasury released this on April 21:

Press Room

April 21, 2010

GM Repays Treasury Loan in Full, TARP Repayments Reach $186 Billion

GM Repayment of Remaining $4.7 Billion in Debt Comes Five Years Ahead of Maturity Date

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury today announced that General Motors (GM) has fully repaid its debt under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). GM paid the remaining $4.7 billion of the total $6.7 billion in debt owed to Treasury. The repayment comes five years ahead of the loan maturity date and ahead of the accelerated repayment schedule the company announced last year.

Total TARP repayments now stand at $186 billion – well ahead of last fall's repayment projections for 2010. With this repayment, less than $200 billion in TARP disbursements remain outstanding.

"We are encouraged that GM has repaid its debt well ahead of schedule and confident that the company is on a strong path to viability," said Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. "This continued progress is a positive sign for our auto investment – not only more funds recovered for the taxpayer but also countless jobs saved and the successful stabilization of a vital industry for our country."

After this repayment, the remaining Treasury stake in GM consists of $2.1 billion in preferred stock and 60.8 percent of the common equity.


Now we must remember two things.
  1. Everyone has an agenda.
  2. The automotive loan consisted entirely of tax dollars, leaving aside the fact of Chinese loans.
All that kept in mind, I think both the US Dept. of the Treasury and General Motors are lying to the general public. GM never repaid the government loan.

Shikha Dalmia, a senior analyst the Los Angeles-based Reason Foundation, says GM's repayment is actually a "nifty scheme to refinance GM's government debt--not pay it back!" (That's her exclamation point, not ours.)

In a column posted on Friday, Dalmia takes CEO Ed Whitacre to task for ads that tout the "new GM" and say the automaker has "repaid our government loan, in full, with interest, five years ahead of the original schedule." Dalmia called the ad a "fairytale version about Government Motors' grand comeback." In particular, she bemoans the fact that Whitacre doesn't mention that American taxpayers still own 61 percent of GM--money that won't be repaid until the company begins selling public stock again.
A Forbes article says
Forbes, April 23: Sean McAlinden, chief economist at the Ann Arbor-based Center for Automotive Research, points out that the company has applied to the Department of Energy for $10 billion in low (5%) interest loan [sic] to retool its plants to meet the government's tougher new CAFÉ (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards. However, giving GM more taxpayer money on top of the existing bailout would have been a political disaster for the Obama administration and a PR debacle for the company. Paying back the small bailout loan makes the new--and bigger--DOE loan much more feasible.

In short, GM is using government money to pay back government money to get more government money. And at a 2% lower interest rate at that.
Naturally this is convenient for me and my agenda but why wouldn't the government lie about this?

JournoList verus Keith Olbermann

The fool attacked Carrie Prejean and apparently took it too far. The leftists felt sorry for her.

On a mildly related note...

This is my take on Olbermann, which was censored over at Huffpo:

Olbermann is a laughingstock. He is a chimera of a pouting pompous poodle and a bovine intellect.

Olbermann is a misogynist who has some twisted need to degrade attractive young women as brainless bimbos. It proly goes back to school when cheerleaders mocked him and hid his bottle-bottom glasses and their boyfriends slapped “kick-me” signs on his back to deafing howls of laughter.

Olbermann is a sportscaster whose specialty is bashing athletes with more talent in their little fingernail than in Olby’s entire frail frame. His obsessive need to attack others probably stems from revenge for always being mocked and chosen last to play stick ball.

Olbermann is proud of his cognitive prowess, which he confuses with an ability to pronounce pollysyllabic words in a stilted, pretentious manner. He is proud of having attending an “ivy league” school — the Cornell college of animal husbandry.

Olbermann’s shtick at first appears to be a parody of some classicly pompous news anchor, until shockingly you realize that this sad little man is actually serious.

Olbermann is self-righteous, self-important, and self-absorbed. He has not a whit of wit, nor an iota of irony and is humorless and dull. His narrow mind is like a carnival whack-a-mole game which quickly crushes any emerging original thoughts. He has no clue about how the real world works and lacks any hint of curiosity in learning.

Worst of all Olbermann is utterly predictable, soporific, boring and lacks any redeeming qualities whatsoever, as is reflected in his consistently dreadful ratings.

No wonder he is considered an intellectual giant by the mental midgets of the Left.

by "Freedom Fan",a registered DailyCaller commenter

Charlie Rangel versus Michel Faulkner

Could the corrupt Charlie Rangel be toppled?

Hope in Harlem

Could a Reaganite, community-organizing pastor topple Charlie Rangel?

no surprise that Democrats cut budget on military

Peace through strength

Friday, July 23, 2010

Troubling Talk of Defense-Budget Cuts [Marc Thiessen]

The New York Times has a front-page story today on the growing momentum on Capitol Hill to cut defense spending. It is not surprising that in an age when the Democrats are showering money on almost every domestic initiative known to man, the one area they would seek spending cuts is the defense budget.

By contrast, the one area where the GOP has traditionally supported increased government spending is national defense. With the brief exception of the ill-considered post–Cold War “peace dividend,” since the 1970s the Republican party has consistently supported increased investments in national defense. But now there are some troubling rumblings on the right that if the GOP takes power in November, defense should not be exempt from the budget-cutting knife.

Earlier this week, I asked Rep. Paul Ryan during his outstanding talk at the American Enterprise Institute what a GOP Congress would do when it comes to the defense budget. Ryan said that while the Pentagon should not be exempt from the scalpel, and there is plenty of waste to be found, any savings should be plowed back into the core mission of the department — and the GOP should seek net increases in defense spending. You can see his full comments here.

This is important. The movement for fiscal responsibility is vital to the long-term survival of our way of life — but it must not come at the expense of the fundamental responsibility of government to “provide for the common defense.” With growing threats such as a nuclear Iran, a rising China, and the continuing danger of terrorist attack, increased defense investments are something every constitutional conservative should support.

07/23 09:53 AMShare

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Obama narcissism

Charles Krauthammer notes President Obama's massive narcissism and lack of great faith in his own country. One should contrast it directly to how Ronald Reagan viewed the trappings of the Presidency. Krauthammer didn't here but I hope to later.
Bolden added that the United States cannot get to Mars without international assistance. Beside the fact that this is not true, contrast this with the elan and self-confidence of President John Kennedy's 1961 pledge that America would land on the moon within the decade.

There was no finer expression of belief in American exceptionalism than Kennedy's. Obama has a different take. As he said last year in France, "I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism." Which of course means: If we're all exceptional, no one is.

Take human rights. After Obama's April meeting with the president of Kazakhstan, Mike McFaul of the National Security Council reported that Obama actually explained to the leader of that thuggish kleptocracy that we, too, are working on perfecting our own democracy.

Nor is this the only example of an implied moral equivalence that diminishes and devalues America. Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner reported that in discussions with China about human rights, the U.S. side brought up Arizona's immigration law -- "early and often." As if there is the remotest connection between that and the persecution of dissidents, jailing of opponents and suppression of religion routinely practiced by the Chinese dictatorship.

Nothing new here. In his major addresses, Obama's modesty about his own country has been repeatedly on display as, in one venue after another, he has gratuitously confessed America's alleged failing -- from disrespecting foreigners to having lost its way morally after 9/11.

It's fine to recognize the achievements of others and be non-chauvinistic about one's country. But Obama's modesty is curiously selective. When it comes to himself, modesty is in short supply.

It began with the almost comical self-inflation of his presidential campaign, from the still inexplicable mass rally in Berlin in front of a Prussian victory column to the Greek columns framing him at the Democratic convention. And it carried into his presidency, from his posture of philosopher-king adjudicating between America's sins and the world's to his speeches marked by a spectacularly promiscuous use of the word "I."

Notice, too, how Obama habitually refers to Cabinet members and other high government officials as "my" -- "my secretary of homeland security," "my national security team," "my ambassador." The more normal -- and respectful -- usage is to say "the," as in "the secretary of state." These are, after all, public officials sworn to serve the nation and the Constitution -- not just the man who appointed them.

It's a stylistic detail, but quite revealing of Obama's exalted view of himself. Not surprising, perhaps, in a man whose major achievement before acceding to the presidency was writing two biographies -- both about himself.

Obama is not the first president with a large streak of narcissism. But the others had equally expansive feelings about their country. Obama's modesty about America would be more understandable if he treated himself with the same reserve. What is odd is to have a president so convinced of his own magnificence -- yet not of his own country's.

Troy, MI texting ban measures

It's more or less common knowledge that Michigan passed a ban on texting on your phone while driving.

This is excessive and unnecessary, redundant, considering that reckless driving is already a crime in Michigan.

Troy, MI has added additional punishments.


Nominally I do not trust the New York Times, its website, or much else about it but in this case I am nearly certain that this Opinion piece is accurate.

Faster Than a Speeding Blog

The Obama administration has been shamed by its rush to judgment after it forced the resignation of a black midlevel official in the Agriculture Department who was wrongly accused of racism by the right-wing blogosphere. Shirley Sherrod was sandbagged by a two-and-a-half-minute clip from a 45-minute speech in which the real message was reconciliation.

Instead of tracking down the whole speech, the administration ran scared. Tom Vilsack, the agriculture secretary, dismissed Ms. Sherrod from her job as the chief of the department’s rural development office in Georgia. On Wednesday, Mr. Vilsack apologized that Ms. Sherrod had been “put through hell” and offered her a new job with a “unique opportunity” to help the agency move past its checkered civil rights history. The White House admitted it “bungled” the entire affair.

Truth be told I never made it a priority to learn about this event and it all more or less happened when I was not paying attention, and when I was paying attention this bored me. The only thing about this that seems relevant to me is that the United States Executive Branch, the federal government, just has contingencies in place to give jobs as apologies to people when the government screws up.
In her March speech at an N.A.A.C.P. event in Georgia, Ms. Sherrod recalled a period 24 years ago when she worked for a nonprofit agency that helped rural farmers fight bankruptcy. In the excerpt, she spoke of helping a white farmer, but not with the “full force” that she then believed black farmers needed. She said the farmer ultimately opened her eyes to the truth that white farmers faced much the same threat as blacks and that “there is no difference between us.” Her message was confirmed by the white farmer’s family. “She’s a good friend,” said Eloise Spooner. “She helped us save our farm.”

The N.A.A.C.P. also had to apologize after swallowing the excerpt and condemning Ms. Sherrod. The organization certainly should have first checked with its chapter in rural Georgia, which had the full speech on tape.

I do not care if she is a racist, just as long as government officials act in an above-board and ethical fashion, and when Miss Sherrod failed to do so, she purportedly repented. This does not take away from the fact that the NAACP is a left-wing political advocacy organization that never admits to that.
The administration’s haste to fire Ms. Sherrod was unfair and unseemly. She told of how an agriculture under secretary phoned her to demand she resign instantly via her BlackBerry. The official anxiously cited the likelihood the furor would “be on Glenn Beck tonight.”
It is more than a little disgusting that the United States federal government and its employees, agents, and whatnot is/are apparently afraid of what a cable talk show host may or may not say.
By the time the conservative commentator took up the issue, the full transcript of the speech was out and Mr. Beck was citing Ms. Sherrod — but as a victim of administration recklessness. This time, he was right.
It is what it is and the New York Times credited Glenn Beck properly. This roughly summarizes what happened and what all the important parts are. I am still miffed that after unjustifiably firing the woman the government spent our money (well, China's money) inventing a new one for her at purportedly our expense because they feared media backlash that never came and would never come. This is fake accountability at its best.

The context is the escalation of racial politics in the wake of President Obama's policies. Victor Davis Hanson summarized it well recently and I hope I can delve into it further in the future. Relevant is a sad double-standard (not that I am against double-standards but this one is unfortunate) that existed prior to the Obama policies taking effect, but was always unfortunate.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has claimed that the loosely organized Tea Party includes "racist elements." The National Council of La Raza has ripped the state of Arizona for its new anti-illegal alien legislation. Jesse Jackson characterized aspects of the multimillion-dollar bidding war to acquire basketball superstar LeBron James in terms of masters and slaves. Pundits are arguing whether the fringe racist New Black Panther Party is analogous to the Klan.

In turn, a number of Americans want to know why -- nearly a half-century after the Civil Rights Act, affirmative action and Great Society programs -- some national lobbying organizations still identify themselves by archaic tribal terms such as "colored people" or "La Raza" ("the race") when it would be taboo for other groups to adopt such racial nomenclature... the country passed the old white/black divide years ago. We are a racially diverse society of Asians, blacks, Hispanics, whites, and mixtures of all that and more. In a world of conservative Cubans and liberal whites, race is no longer necessarily a guide to politics.... The more the president appeals to his base in racial terms, the more his appointees identify themselves as members of a particular tribe, and the more political issues are framed by racial divisions, so all the more such racial obsession creates a backlash among the racially diverse American people.

America has largely moved beyond race. Tragically, our president and a host of his supportive special interests have not.
It ultimately means that while most Americans don't care about race most America there are enough that would use tribal or racial distinctions as either a rhetorical weapon and that there are Americans who genuinely care about race in a fashion that contains a genuine a antipathy towards white people.

Since the modern American social standard means that everyone should regard everyone else in any way that is totally irrespective of race it has become a trigger event that if anyone is revealed as a "racist" he is outside the standard and treated as a villain. Whether that is a valid thing or not, the sad fact is this new aspect of American life creates an opening where political factions can slander, defame, and discredit other political factions with mere accusations of racial prejudice. What is worse is the genuine suspicion that the Conservative philosophy is rife with inherent antipathy to black or Hispanic people, that Conservative must be racist because execution of ideas like lower taxation for all is racist in effect. As it the Tea Party Movement has come under fire from the NAACP as a band of racists, when the message of the movement is nearly devoid of anything outside of fiscal policy attitudes.

Shirley Sherrod was purged from the umbrella of protection by the NAACP when evidence surfaced that suggested she was a racist, even if she was not. I don't care whether she is a racist. NAACP doesn't care either, as stated before by the New York Times, the Department of Agriculture and the NAACP merely fear bad publicity. Broader social context does not really help this, explain this, and my views of the contemporary American racial climate are all arguable in terms of objectivity.

The more immediate context involves Andrew Breitbart. The termination of Shirley Sherrod has much less to do with fact than appearance and the appearance of her racism is the liability of Andrew Breitbart presenting her in line with his suspicions rather than investigate for greater context. He likely made an honest mistake which would indicate he was not lying about indicating she was a racist. He likely should have done more research into the matter. James Taranto says thus
It is entirely fair to observe that Breitbart's Monday report on Sherrod was journalistically shoddy. He misinterpreted a quote whose meaning was at best ambiguous. He should have sought out the full speech (the NAACP has posted it here), and he should have given Sherrod an opportunity to comment.

But the NAACP's defense that it was "snookered" by Breitbart--and Frum's implication, in turn, that Breitbart is the only "villain" of the piece--is laughable. Are we to believe that Ben Jealous thought Breitbart was what Dan Rather, before his fall, claimed to be--an impartial and reliable purveyor of facts? In the unlikely event that the answer to that question is yes, doesn't his failure to know better reflect a stunning incompetence?

The defense against accusations of Dan Ratherism is mounted as a response to fool David Frum.
On the website of the magazine This Week, David Frum weighs in with a post titled "Shirley Sherrod and the Shame of the Conservative Media":

You'll never guess who emerged as the villains of the story in this second-day conservative react. Not Andrew Breitbart, the distributor of a falsified tape. No, the villains were President Obama and the NAACP for believing Breitbart's falsehood.
Breitbart went almost universally unmentioned. . . .
When people talk of the "closing of the conservative mind" this is what they mean: not that conservatives are more narrow-minded than other people--everybody can be narrow minded--but that conservatives have a unique capacity to ignore unwelcome fact.
When Dan Rather succumbed to the forged Bush war record hoax in 2004, CBS forced him into retirement. Breitbart is the conservative Dan Rather, but there will be no discredit, no resignation for him.

Frum's reasoning is extraordinarily slipshod. As far as we know, Rather insists to this day that the crudely forged documents to which he "succumbed" were, or at least might have been, genuine. Yet it doesn't seem to dawn on Frum that the Rather example disproves the assertion that conservatives have a unique "capacity to ignore unwelcome fact."

More to the point, though, Frum's description of Breitbart as "the conservative Dan Rather" is silly. We interviewed Brietbart for The Wall Street Journal last year, and here is a key passage of the resulting profile:

Although Mr. Breitbart practices a form of journalism, as an independent operator he moves freely across boundaries that would constrain a traditional newsman. He makes no pretense of impartiality and openly engages in political activity. On Sept. 12, he took time off from the Acorn video roll-out to travel to Illinois, where he spoke to a tea-party rally. . . . You might say he's something of a community organizer.

In the same piece, we observed that Breitbart has a "flair for publicity"; that his work on the Acorn story "has centered on a sophisticated public-relations campaign" devised "with politics in mind"; that he describes himself as having " 'planted traps' for Acorn and its defenders"; that in developing his tactics, he took inspiration from Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals"; and that the methods his collaborators used in gathering information about Acorn were "grossly unethical by the standards of institutional journalism."

Dan Rather obviously was not the liberal Andrew Breitbart. Imagine if someone had written a profile in 2003 that included a sentence beginning: "Although Mr. Rather practices a form of journalism . . ." If such an assertion made any sense at all, it would have been part of a very snide hit piece. Rather is--or rather, was--simply a journalist. His critics had long charged him with bias, and his conduct in the 2004 "Memogate" affair strongly suggested they were right. Unquestionably, his work on that story was incompetent. CBS dumped him because he had fallen spectacularly short of his profession's standards.

David Frum, by the way, is a "Conservative" who makes his living now by attacking Conservatives. He would have nothing otherwise.

It is important to note that
Breitbart has posted a correction atop his Monday post: "While Ms. Sherrod made the remarks captured in the first video featured in this post while she held a federally appointed position, the story she tells refers to actions she took before she held that federal position."
That clarification is not an apology. Power Line notes (especially in regard to the Taranto piece)
I asserted that Andrew had made a mistake and owed Shirley Sherrod an apology. Whether I am right or wrong about that, I also think he is right to withhold it under the circumstances.
All of that is in the context of the declaration that Andrew Breitbart is likely the William F. Buckley of the internet age, at least in terms of creating a presentational format and venue for Conservative views.

There are other things that Shirley Sherrod has said but that is not the point. There are other assaults on Andrew Breitbart but that is not the point. All of those things can be covered later.

Rich Lowry is generally not as someone I turn to for especially great insights. (He has a particularly workmanlike approach to Conservative punditry, which is not a bad thing but it is only what it is). His syndicated column placed the whole Sherrod affair into the best and largest context historically. He contrasts the "controversy" of her being lambasted for something she never said while speaking in public, with the fact that over one hundred years ago a white racist sheriff in the south could attempt to murder a black man and it would not be considered controversial at all, let alone something to be punished.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

partisan economic accountability based on legislative power

the last time the Republicans were in charge of spending the deficit was under 200 million dollars

that was in 2006

the Democrats have been in charge since 2007