The Accidental Candidate: Meet Alvin Greene

June 10, 2010

 

It reads like a pitch for a great Hollywood comedy:

Alvin Greene

A virtually unknown, unemployed vet who was kicked out of the military after 13 years and has a felony charge pending against him decides to run for the Democratic Senate nomination against a widely-backed and widely funded lawmaker.  With NO campaign staff, no campaign fund and virtually no idea what’s going on in Washington, he wins by a commanding margin.

It’s the great American dream, right? Well, if you’re the South Carolina Democratic Party it turns out to be the great American Nightmare: After the election, it was discovered that Alvin Greene, 32 year-old unemployed Vet was arrested last November in Columbia, S.C. for allegedly showing obscene photos to a college student, and trying to follow her to her dorm room. Court records show he was charged with “disseminating, procuring or promoting obscenity.”

Sounds like he’d fit right in up in Washington.

On Wednesday, South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Carol Fowler asked Greene to withdraw from the race for U.S. Senate because of the arrest. Greene has refused. Sure, why not? What unemployed alleged pervert would turn down a job that pays $174,000 per year and where debauchery is considered normal behavior?

Asked  how he would have voted on TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program), Greene replied, “TARP? What’s that?”  You know, being a Democrat that doesn’t know what TARP is could be his strong point. 

Greene showed an equal amount of awareness when asked questions in other areas, and begged off responding with a Washington-like, “I’ll have to look into that and get back to you.” 

When asked what his platform will be based on, not surprisingly Greene said “Unemployment.”  The vet who, as a specialist, was stationed in Korea for a year, added he would like foreign relations to be part of his candidacy: “I think there should be one Korea under a democracy, done peacefully,” he said. Greene added that this could best be accomplished through “diplomatic efforts.” He might want to check with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, seeing as how she’s made such progress in that area.  

Yeah, looks like incumbant Jim DeMint has his work cut out for him all right.

Meanwhile, I’ve gotta start work on a script for this. Anyone got Damon Wayan’s phone number?

Gerry Ashley


How Much More Pathetic Can GM Get?

April 26, 2010

 

GM is still running that stupid ad, trumpeting the company’s payoff of its “government loan” (with interest! Five years ahead of schedule!)

However, more and more lawmakers are showing concern with GM’s blatant attempt to mislead the public. Along with Charles Grassley (R-IA), Sens. Tom Carper and Richard Shelby have also voiced their discomfort with GM’s message.

“It sounds like they’re kind of like taking money out of one pocket and putting it in the other to do that,” Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., said at the hearing. 

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., expressed similar concerns Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” saying it’s “misleading” for the administration to claim the company has paid back its loans. 

Fox News also reports that GM could be in trouble with by playing fast and loose with the truth:

The GM ad could potentially land the company in trouble with the Federal Trade Commission over its truth-in-advertising laws, which prohibit ads that are “likely to mislead consumers.” 

…General Motors admits that the company is repaying the loan with other government money, but says a year ago “nobody thought we’d be able to pay this back.”

And of course, that’s the problem, isn’t it? It’s almost as if General Motors honchos don’t want to admit that paying one loan back with another loan (from the same source) isn’t paying the loan back at all. It’s just transferring the liablity from one bucket to another within the same well.

How many more politicians will call Whitacre out for his lies? How much more can the unions gouge out of GM via all those loans? How much lower will Whitacre and the unions sink General Motors before the company loses all claim to any kind of credibility at all?

My guess is that they’ll ride GM right down to the ground before “retiring” with vaults full of taxpayer money, causing eventual failure for a company deemed “too big to fail.” And you and I will pay for Ed Whitacre’s golden parachute.

Stoutcat


GM True Lies Redux: A Time to Boycott?

April 23, 2010

In yesterday’s post about GM’s touting of their TARP payback (with interest!), I asked the following question:

“Unless GM is engaging in financial shell games of a kind that would put Bernie Madoff to shame, how is it possible for a company which posted a $4.3-billion loss for the half year after “emerging” from bankruptcy last summer,  lost $30.9 billion in 2008, and has laid off nearly 65,000 workers over the past year expect to a) build good cars that consumers want to buy, b) keep up payments to unions and union healthcare trust funds, and c) pay back their debt to American taxpayers?”

Clearly, I’m in good company, as American Thinker‘s Joseph Ashby arrived at the same “shell game bordering on fraud” conclusion (UPDATE: HotAir calls “shell game” too):

“So how did a recently bankrupt company which is still hemorrhaging money pay back a multi-billion dollar loan five years early? Could it be that the mountain of bailout cash was much more than turned out to be necessary?

“It’s hard to conclude that the repayment is anything other than a political and marketing ploy where the federal government receives “repayment” with the very same loan money handed out starting in 2008…

“Over-lending on a loan to achieve quick initial repayment (and thus inflate the loan’s perceived value), in the private economy, is called fraud. Where did GM come up with the money? It’s a question that merits asking.”

Ashby then links to FoxNews, which splashes cold water all over GM’s initial triumphant “pay-back” announcement in an article outlining Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) letter yesterday to tax-cheat Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner:

“It appears to be nothing more than an elaborate TARP money shuffle…”

“The bottom line seems to be that the TARP loans were ‘repaid’ with other TARP funds in a Treasury escrow account. The TARP loans were not repaid from money GM is earning selling cars, as GM and the administration have claimed in their speeches, press releases and television commercials.” [emphasis mine]

TARP watchdog Neil Barofsky supports Sen. Grassley’s conclusion:

“I think the one thing that a lot of people overlook with this is where they got the money to pay back the loan. And it isn’t from earnings. … It’s actually from another pool of TARP money that they’ve already received,” [Barofsky] said Wednesday. “I don’t think we should exaggerate it too much. Remember that the source of this money is just other TARP money.” 

Barofsky told the Senate Finance Committee the same thing Tuesday, and said the main way for the federal government to earn money out of GM would be through “a liquidation of its ownership interest.” 

Grassley criticized this scenario in his letter. 

The taxpayers are still on the hook, and whether TARP funds are ultimately recovered depends entirely on the government’s ability to sell GM stock in the future. Treasury has merely exchanged a legal right to repayment for an uncertain hope of sharing in the future growth of GM. A debt-for-equity swap is not a repayment.”  [emphasis mine]

I’m torn, here. GM is, at best, deliberately misleading the public; at worst, the company is outright lying to us. I want to suggest a boycott of GM cars (for those who would actually consider buying a GM car in the first place), but if nobody buys their cars, they’ll never pay back the TARP money.

…Hell, they’ll never pay it back anyway. Go ahead and boycott ’em!

Stoutcat


GM’s True Lies

April 22, 2010


If you watched any television last night, you probably saw this commercial:

“We have repaid our government loan in full, with interest, five years ahead of the original schedule.”

CEO Ed Whitacre is telling us the truth, but not the whole truth. What about the other $45 billion that American (and Canadian) taxpayers gave General Motors last year, which was originally part of that loan? Why doesn’t he mention that still-outstanding amount as he so proudly touts the payback of less than 14% of GM’s unsettled debt? When do we get that money back?

[crickets]

MarketWatch is a bit more realistic about Whitacre’s announcement:

Yet for all the fanfare, this is icing on the cake — and there’s still no cake.

The federal governments of Canada and the United States are the majority shareholders in General Motors, and will be until the carmaker issues new shares to the public. We still don’t know when that will be, and Whitacre didn’t offer any new clues.

And the Associated Press reports:

The White House pointed to GM’s repayment of the loan and Chrysler LLC’s posting of an operating profit in the first quarter of 2010 as concrete signs that the bailout of the U.S. automakers was working.

In a report, they noted the American auto industry lost more than 400,000 jobs in 2008 and analysts estimated another 1 million would have been lost had GM and Chrysler liquidated. In the past nine months, the White House said the industry has added 45,000 jobs, the strongest job growth in the industry in nearly a decade.

Sorry, but given the record the White House has in their predictions, as well as their ability to accurately account for jobs “created or saved”, I’m going to take that assertion with a huge shaker of salt (until that’s outlawed, too).

Unless GM is engaging in financial shell games of a kind that would put Bernie Madoff to shame, how is it possible for a company which posted a $4.3-billion loss for the half year after “emerging” from bankruptcy last summer,  lost $30.9 billion in 2008, and has laid off nearly 65,000 workers over the past year expect to a) build good cars that consumers want to buy, b) keep up payments to unions and union healthcare trust funds, and c) pay back their debt to American taxpayers?

Just asking.

Stoutcat

H/T: BBCW


Punishing Success

March 31, 2010


I don’t believe that any company is “too big to fail.” If a company has adhered to risky business practices, and the risks fail, then I think the company should be allowed to fail. I’d far rather have seen our government make it a bit easier for small and mid-sized businesses in this country to stay afloat, rather than shell out tens and hundreds of billions of TARP dollars on the likes of AIG, CitiGroup, Wells Fargo, and the likes.

That said, however, I definitely don’t think the United States government should be meddling in the financial affairs of businesses which have paid off their TARP loans and are no longer under obligation to the government. Sadly, these companies won’t get off that easily:

Did you catch that?

“Don’t spread that around because it’ll be much harder for the punitive taxes we’re going to put on the bonuses, if you actually say they’ve made money–it’s what we want to do because these guys have got to be punished.” [emphasis mine]

In other words, “You are too big to fail, but you’d better not be too successful, or you will be punished.”

“Once you have paid off the Danegeld, you never get rid of the Dane.”

Stoutcat


Annum Absurdus: Top Ten News Stories of 2009

December 24, 2009

Goodness, what an absurd year it has been! And it’s been an even tougher year to rate news-wise. Below, I humbly offer my choices for the top stories of the year. The choices are based on a number of things… most were inspired by actual events, some by  friends with unique perspectives, and one is from a viral e-mail we’ve probably all received by now. They are listed in ascending order of importance in terms of their impact to our American way of life.  And I reserve the right to ridicule where appropriate. 

And so, with out further ado: 

10) The public’s fascination with celebrity death and scandals.  

From Michael Jackson’s passing (“All Michael, All Day!” screamed the headlines on some sites providing ghoulish  coverage) to the exaltation of Ted “Lion of the Senate” Kennedy, we were mesmerized by those we loved to hate in life. Jackson, who will be forever linked to suspicions of inappropriate relations with children, was never convicted. However, one thing the vast majority of people with IQs above shellac will agree with, he was guilty of showing extremely poor judgement in the way he professed his affections towards children based alone on his own public admissions (Sleeping naked with them at Neverland, giving them “Jesus Juice” etc.) 

There were a number of also-rans in the celebrity loss department, but Jackson and Kennedy each grabbed the gold ring of coverage in death. 

As for scandals, who’d have thunk it? The year’s top celebrity scandal: Tiger Woods? Rumor has it that the publicists for Madonna and Britney Spears are still in intensive care.  All I know is that somewhere, Roger Clemens is saying, “Thank God the spotlight is off me!” Uh, yeah, Roger that

9) The Miracle On The Hudson 

Well, the passengers on US Airways Flight 1549  didn’t exactly get a whole lot of frequent flyer miles on January 15th, but I don’t think you’ll hear any complaints. And with over 40 years logged as a pilot and more than 27,000 hours of flight under his belt, Captain Chesley Sullenberger will forever be remembered for a flight that lasted about three  minutes. No one was killed and the only injuries were minor. Police DID find 3 or 4 bodies in the Hudson, but that had nothing to do with the flight. It was, as the NYPD referred to it, “a typical Thursday on the Hudson… except for the plane landing.” 

One side note: Upon closer inspection, it turned out that the passengers luggage from US Airways Flight 1549 suffered less damage than that caused by the United Airlines baggage handlers in Chicago’s O’Hare airport. This has been confirmed by Dave Carroll.   

8 ) Protests In Iran – and the Murder of Neda Agha-Soltan 

Millions around the world shed tears for a beautiful young woman we would never meet, named Neda. She was brutally shot by a Basij member hiding on the rooftop of a civilian house near where she was standing during a political demonstration in Iran in protest of the outcome of Iran’s Presidential election. Neda instantly became the face of reformist opposition. To add insult to barbarism, last month her grave was desecrated by supporters of the Iranian regime headed by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. You know, the man who President Obama has said on many occasions, he would meet without any preconditions.   

In light of Neda’s brutal slaying however, Obama wasted no time, taking only about a week to condemn the action, after carefully weighing the impact such a stand might have on himself.  Perhaps the world-wide uproar enabled him to see it was “OK” to speak out. 

One is left to imagine how different things might have been if we’d had a leader with guts, like President Ronald Wilson Reagan. Suffice it to say, things would have been quite different for Ahmadinejad.    

7) ACORN & Van Jones 

I grouped these together because both were discovered to be grossly inappropriate for the powers given them by Barack Obama and who, had they NOT been exposed, could have done great damage to this country in a surreptitious manner. They are also two examples of why the President should not be allowed to empower his own choices with such authority without having to go through the standard vetting process of a Senate confirmation hearing.   

Another reason I’ve grouped them together:  They may have been removed from their official positions within the administration, but don’t think for a moment they are gone and out of the picture. An administration that doesn’t give a damn what the American Public wants, and is determined to shove their agenda down our throats regardless, isn’t about to excommunicate either ACORN or Jones.  

Unless I’m wrong, their influence will continue to stink up the Obama administration and, if we’re not vigilant in keeping tabs on both, will continue in the federal government long after Obama is gone. KEEP YOUR EYES ON BOTH. We have not seen the last of their impact. For more in-depth information on just how dangerous Jones could be (and remember, he had Barack Obama’s complete confidence and Valerie Jarrett’s dewy-eyed admiration), click here. This issue also exposes just what kind of people Barack Obama chooses to surround himself with as he attempts to live up to his promise of “fundamentally changing life in the United States.” 

6) The Deficit 

This should be ranked a lot higher, but it took the better part of the year for much of the American public to catch on to the fact that while Obama was blaming everything on the Bush administration (yes, Bush did leave a whopping deficit) Obama was in the process of tripling it with his “Spend money to get out of debt” approach to the recession.  If either Cap and Trade or the Health Care Reform bills are enacted, we could be looking at the death of the American economy. Fortunately, the public has caught on to the President’s attempts to blame Bush for everything including… 

5) Swine Flu 

This hasn’t turned into the Pandemic to end all Pandemics as predicted, but it is taking a toll on a lot of people world-wide and we need to continue to take it seriously. Uh, folks? You can get all the flu shots you want, but until WE THE PEOPLE start practicing better personal hygiene, we’re gonna continue to get sick, whether it’s swine flu or pink eye.  

4) Obama winning the (heh-heh) Nobel (snicker) Peace Prize 

Bwahaha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!!! Well, it’s nice to have some comic relief during this past year. It was just getting waaayyyy too serious. As far as I know, it’s the only time that Comedy Central provided live coverage of the presentation of the award.  OK so it wasn’t one of the top stories, but we surely did need the laugh.   

3) The University of East Anglia Global Warming e-mail Scandal 

Controversy exploded in late November when someone hacked into the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit and downloaded tens of thousands of e-mails (even zipped, the data weighed in at 62 megabytes). The e-mails exposed a conspiracy to hide research results detrimental to the claims of man-made global warming.  They also discussed different ways scientists could “fix” the outcome of experiments to support the agendas of  major global-warming advocacy groups desperate to show that global warming is real. The exposure of the fraud could not have come at a worse better time, just weeks before the global warming Convention in Copenhagen.   
 
The authenticity of the e-mails was confirmed as genuine by Dr Phil Jones, head of the University’s Climate Research Unit. 

2) Health Care

 I don’t think the American public fully understands yet just what this is really all about. It’s not just about ruining what is arguably the world’s best health care system in terms of research, healing, and chances of recovery. It’s about the government taking control of 1/6th of the American economy and, in all probability, completely destroying the economy altogether with debt even our great-grandchildren will not be able to pay off. 

Why else would the administration (and the whores of Congress) stoop to the levels they are lowering themselves to in order to cram it down our throats when numerous polls show that the American public is against this by a margin of approximately 3-1? 

And my choice as the number one news story of the year in terms of its impact on the American Way of Life as we know it (inspired by an e-mail I received last week: Read the rest of this entry »


Obama’s First Year Spending Shatters Record

November 25, 2009

It should come as no surprise, but at least now it’s officially documented. From Fox News:

The federal government spent $3.5 trillion during President Obama’s first year in office. This far exceeds the spending for any other first-year president.

This is double what George Bush spent on his first year in office and light years ahead of all previous Presidents… even when adjusted for inflation.

In fairness, this includes the final 3.5 months George Bush was President and, therefore, includes the TARP bailout which was Bush’s blunder.

That still leaves close to $3 Trillion – with a “t” – spent by the President and what Nancy Pelosi described as  “the most honest, most open, and most ethical Congress in history,” as they proceeded to shove through (in the middle of the night and week-end)  a stimulus bill packed with more pork than you’ll find at Honeybaked Ham’s Headquarters.

As the President’s On-The-Job Training proceeded, he continued to act as if the way out of a recession is to spend more money that we don’t have. Maybe after his visit to China, he will have a better idea what we’re facing a couple of years down the road: An economic Tsunami he won’t be able to lay at the feet of George W. Bush.

Please, people… don’t anyone tell President Obama what comes after “Trillions.”

Gerry Ashley