Posts Tagged United State

Cagle Post – Political Cartoons & Commentary – » Unholy Trio: Gun Control, the UN and Obama


SUSAN BROWN

Unholy Trio: Gun Control, the UN and Obama

                          

 

Welcome to President Obama’s second term, America — that special place where ridiculousness replaces raison d’etre, and presidents give us things like gun control a’ la United Nations.

Obviously, Obama understood he would never get the support needed for a gun control bill from Congress, so the astute Constitutional professor chose to skirt around the Constitution by signing on to the United Nations (UN) Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) shortly after his re-election. Liberals certainly know how to get what they want, ethics aside. Remember in 2010, when former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described how liberals would circumvent the electorate to pass Obamacare?  Pelosi said they would “…go through the gate. If the gate’s closed, we’ll go over the fence. If the fence is too high, we’ll pole vault in. If that doesn’t work, we’ll parachute in.” And parachute they did.

Rick McKee / Augusta Chronicle

Now Obama’s doing the same thing with gun control. On one hand, we have the administration telling us they are committed to protecting our Second Amendment rights; while on the other hand, the president is joining alliances with UN gun grabbers by giving them the green light for the ATT. In the real world, presidents work in conjunction with Congress to pass laws, but in Obama Land anything goes.

The administration claims ATT primarily applies to exporting weapons, thus posing zero threat to gun ownership domestically. ATT’s verbiage, instructing nations to “take the necessary legislative and administrative measure to adapt, as necessary, national laws and regulations to implement the obligations of this treaty, is too gray, hence leaving room to dilute or supersede the Second Amendment.

It is clear Obama’s been a gun control advocate all along although he was too cowardly to admit it before re-election. According to the Washington Post, last year Obama told gun control activist Sarah Brady, whose husband Jim was shot during the Reagan assassination attempt in 1981, that gun control was “very much on his agenda… but under the radar.” History will not be kind to America’s 44th president who promised transparency, but governed mostly under the radar.

Of course, the UN wants us to believe that global gun control is for our own good and granting them authority to force us to register our guns with them will prevent weapons from getting into the “wrong people’s” hands, and will somehow make the world a safer place. For whom might it be safer? The easy answer is criminals.

In reality, government is the real problem. Case in point: that little scandal affectionately codenamed “Fast and Furious,” wherein the Justice Department made the injudicious decision to sell weapons to those linked to the Mexican drug cartel in Arizona. Their plan backfired when the weapons “walked” across the border into Mexico and into the hands of cartel thugs. It should have been codenamed “Dumb and Dumber.” And more than 50 million Americans voted to give them a second term.

The United Nations needs to mind its own business and stay out of ours, thank you. And President Obama needs to get over his attitude about those who, as he once put it, are bitter because they “cling to guns or religion.” Before he came along, we had the Constitution, need I say more? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, or even this blond columnist, to deduce that if the UN is given an open door into our personal lives by way of the ATT, gun confiscations will, at some point, follow.

 Cagle Post – Political Cartoons & Commentary – » Unholy Trio: Gun Control, the UN and Obama.

 

, , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

America’s open secret: Middle-class decline – Salon.com


 

SUNDAY, AUG 26, 2012

America’s open secret: Middle-class decline

It’s become a national emergency, but where is our FDR?

BY DAVID WOOLNERNEXT NEW DEAL

 

America's open secret: Middle-class decline

 

Graphic shows unemployment statistics (Credit: AP)

 

This originally appeared on Next New Deal.

In the 1930s, the president and Congress responded to the economic crisis with immediate action. Why haven’t today’s policymakers done the same?

Sometimes I get bored sitting in Washington hearing certain people talk and talk about all that Government ought not to do— people who got all they wanted from Government back in the days when the financial institutions and the railroads were being bailed out in 1933, bailed out by the Government. It is refreshing to go out through the country and feel the common wisdom that the time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.

They want the financial budget balanced. But they want the human budget balanced as well. – Franklin D. Roosevelt, October 1937

Next New Deal

 

A recent study by the Pew Research Center has confirmed what millions of Americans have realized for some time now: that the middle class has endured its worst decade since World War II. With declining home values, falling wages, and skyrocketing higher education costs, the median wealth for the middle class fell by 28 percent over the past decade, while the wealth of higher income families rose slightly. The same sad story holds true for middle class incomes, as government data now shows that we have finally managed to break the half-century-long streak that saw inflation-adjusted family income rise in every decade between 1950 and 2000, but not in the decade ending in 2010. Thanks to these and other economic trends, the overall size of the American middle class has also shrunk, down to just 51 percent of the population as compared to 61 percent of the population four decades ago.

One might assume that these alarming statistics—and the fact that the U.S. unemployment rate has been above 8 percent for more than three years—would lead to something like a crisis atmosphere in Washington, a recognition that this is no ordinary economic downturn, but a great national emergency made all the more worrisome by the onset of the worst drought in more than 50 years. But instead of acting, members of the House and Senate have elected to go on their usual five-week summer recess, confirming in the minds of most Americans that the principal blame for their current troubles and for the decline of the middle class lies with Congress.

Roughly three-quarters of a century ago, in similar circumstances, the reactions of both the public and the government was exactly the opposite. From the day he assumed office, FDR identified the collapse of the U.S. economy as an unprecedented national emergency, not unlike the onset of war, that must be countered by “action and action now.” Indeed, his first move as president was to call Congress back into an “emergency session” that launched the most productive period in U.S. legislative history—15 major pieces of legislation in 100 days, including such “emergency” measures as the 1933 Banking Act, the Glass-Steagall Act, and the Truth in Securities Act, all of which helped provide the regulatory structure needed for the U.S. banking and financial sector to thrive for decades to come.

But FDR’s characterization of the economic crisis as an emergency did not end there. He would continue to describe the nation’s woes in the 1930s as a “national emergency” and would continue to demand the cooperation of Congress in meeting both the short-term and long-term challenges that the nation faced as it climbed its way out of the Great Depression. It was this spirit to act—in both parties—that gave us the major provisions of the New Deal and that laid the basis for that remarkable 50-year period of expansion of the middle class that may now have sadly come to an end.

Given the level of inactivity on Capitol Hill, it would appear that the steady and sharp decline in the size and economic wherewithal of the American middle class does not represent a crisis to the members of Congress. But for the millions of Americans out of work or underemployed, the millions of Americans who now face the very real prospect that they will not be able to attain the same level of economic prosperity as their parents, this is no garden-variety recession. It is a deep structural decline that may forever change the way they and their children lead their lives.

In short, we remain in the midst of a very real national emergency that demands the same sort of response taken by the president and Congress more than three-quarters of a century ago: “action and action now.” Until Congress recognizes, this, however, one suspects that little will change, except that the long, steady decline of the American middle class and American way of life will continue.

 America’s open secret: Middle-class decline – Salon.com.

 

, , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Nuns Challenge Romney To Spend A Day With Them To Learn About Plight Of America’s Poor | ThinkProgress


 

Nuns Challenge Romney To Spend A Day With Them To Learn About Plight Of America’s Poor

By Travis Waldron on Aug 8, 2012

 

Sister Simone Campbell

 

The group behind the Nuns On A Bus tour that highlighted the ill-effects of the House Republican budget in congressional districts across the country is now setting its sights on the party’s presidential candidate, inviting Mitt Romney to spend a day with the nuns to learn about the plight of America’s poorest citizens.

NETWORK, a national Catholic social justice lobby, is inviting Romney to “spend a day with Catholic Sisters who work every day to meet the needs of struggling families in their communities,” according to a release. The group is specifically targeting Romney a day after his campaign released amisleading ad about welfare reform that Sister Simone Campbell, NETWORK’s executive director, said “demonize[s] families in poverty” and shows Romney’s “ignorance about the challenges” the poor face in America:

Recent advertisements and statements from the campaign of Governor Romney demonize families in poverty and reflect woeful ignorance about the challenges faced by tens of millions of American families in these tough economic times,” stated Sister Simone Campbell. “We are all God’s children and equal in God’s eyes. Efforts to divide us by class or score political points at the expense of the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters reveal the worst side of our country’s politics.”

Romney has endorsed the House GOP budget plan authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). It was that plan, which includes deep cuts to food stamps and other safety net programs that benefit the middle class, that NETWORK’s Nuns On A Bus tour targeted, with Campbell and other sisters blasting it as “immoral” at the tour’s conclusion in Washington D.C. Romney has also proposed massive tax cuts for the rich that would likely come at the expense of lower- and middle-class families, which would see higher taxes or significant cuts to the programs they depend on.

Those policies, Campbell told ThinkProgress, show that Romney “doesn’t have clue” about the struggles the poor face. “The fact is, his policies shift wealth to the upper class,” she said. “Yes, it hurts the middle class, but it devastates those at the margins of our society.” If Romney were to accept their invitation, Campbell said she would take him to places like St. Augustine’s in Cleveland, where food programs “provide a hand up” to the community’s neediest members. “He thinks they’re lazy,” Campbell said, in reference to Romney’s misleading welfare reform ad. “It is hard work to keep things together when you’re poor. He doesn’t have a clue. Let him talk to them, and maybe they’ll touch his heart. And his mind too.”

The Romney campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but Campbell said she “lives in hope” that he will accept, even if he spends only an hour with the group. “I’ll take whatever I can get,” Campbell said. “He should accept.”

 Nuns Challenge Romney To Spend A Day With Them To Learn About Plight Of America’s Poor | ThinkProgress.

 

, , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Free Wood Post – Congress Faces Pressure to Stop Taking Government Handouts


 

Congress Faces Pressure to Stop Taking Government Handouts

July 9, 2012

By Molly Schoemann

A growing number of Americans have come forward to demand that members of Congress stop accepting government handouts.

“Congressmen sit there doing nothing, week after week, just waiting for their government checks to come in,” said Lance Martin, the head of an organization that has recently begun protesting against what he calls ‘Congressional Welfare Kings’.

“If members of Congress were actually passing laws and working to make things better for Americans, I might say that that they were earning their government assistance—or, at least some of it,” Martin continued.  “But the way things currently stand, we feel strongly that our lazy, shiftless lawmakers need to start pulling their weight and actually working for a living.”

Nearly all members of Congress depend on some form of government assistance, including skyrocketing wages, comprehensive health benefits, paid holidays and vacations, massive retirement packages, and various other perks which the government provides virtually free of charge—whether or not representatives are actively working or even seeking to work.

Protestors argue that many of these same representatives are only too happy to accept government handouts throughout their entire careers in office, only to turn around and advocate for deep cuts to Federal programs such as those which provide food stamps to families with children, veterans, and the disabled.

“Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions has been on the dole since he was first elected in 1997,” said activist Shelley Fettler.  “And yet he is against providing food stamps to needy families during a recession on the grounds that it is a ‘moral issue’ which ‘increases dependence’?  What, because impoverished children are too dependent on food?”  Fettler shook her head.  “Who’s really dependent here, Jeff?  Let’s get real.”

The protestors are being taken seriously by Congress, with many lawmakers arguing vehemently that they are in fact working hard for their government aid.

“How can you say I’m not earning my keep?” said Arizona Senator Jon Kyl, interviewed by a reporter while vacationing at his summer home in Scottsdale.  “Last week I attended a fundraiser dinner that was three hours long.  Tomorrow I’m getting a haircut, and if all goes well, this week I’ll actually be in Washington for a largely symbolic vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act.”

Further comment from House members was difficult to obtain, since much of Congress was admittedly on vacation.

“July is a really slow month around here,” said one Congressional page, found wandering around the largely empty House of Representatives.  “Most members of Congress prefer to spend the summer months on their boats or at their vacation homes and ranches.  They’d rather not be cooped up in a stuffy building when it’s so nice out.”  He added, “I totally understand, though.  I mean, why work if you don’t have to, right?”

 

 Free Wood Post.

 

, , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Free Wood Post – Congress Faces Pressure to Stop Taking Government Handouts


Congress Faces Pressure to Stop Taking Government Handouts

July 9, 2012

By Molly Schoemann

A growing number of Americans have come forward to demand that members of Congress stop accepting government handouts.

“Congressmen sit there doing nothing, week after week, just waiting for their government checks to come in,” said Lance Martin, the head of an organization that has recently begun protesting against what he calls ‘Congressional Welfare Kings’.

“If members of Congress were actually passing laws and working to make things better for Americans, I might say that that they were earning their government assistance—or, at least some of it,” Martin continued.  “But the way things currently stand, we feel strongly that our lazy, shiftless lawmakers need to start pulling their weight and actually working for a living.”

Nearly all members of Congress depend on some form of government assistance, including skyrocketing wages, comprehensive health benefits, paid holidays and vacations, massive retirement packages, and various other perks which the government provides virtually free of charge—whether or not representatives are actively working or even seeking to work.

Protestors argue that many of these same representatives are only too happy to accept government handouts throughout their entire careers in office, only to turn around and advocate for deep cuts to Federal programs such as those which provide food stamps to families with children, veterans, and the disabled.

“Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions has been on the dole since he was first elected in 1997,” said activist Shelley Fettler.  “And yet he is against providing food stamps to needy families during a recession on the grounds that it is a ‘moral issue’ which ‘increases dependence’?  What, because impoverished children are too dependent on food?”  Fettler shook her head.  “Who’s really dependent here, Jeff?  Let’s get real.”

The protestors are being taken seriously by Congress, with many lawmakers arguing vehemently that they are in fact working hard for their government aid.

“How can you say I’m not earning my keep?” said Arizona Senator Jon Kyl, interviewed by a reporter while vacationing at his summer home in Scottsdale.  “Last week I attended a fundraiser dinner that was three hours long.  Tomorrow I’m getting a haircut, and if all goes well, this week I’ll actually be in Washington for a largely symbolic vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act.”

Further comment from House members was difficult to obtain, since much of Congress was admittedly on vacation.

“July is a really slow month around here,” said one Congressional page, found wandering around the largely empty House of Representatives.  “Most members of Congress prefer to spend the summer months on their boats or at their vacation homes and ranches.  They’d rather not be cooped up in a stuffy building when it’s so nice out.”  He added, “I totally understand, though.  I mean, why work if you don’t have to, right?”

 Free Wood Post.

, , , , , , ,

1 Comment

Punting against America. – Tea Party Nation « Gds44’s Blog


Punting against America. – Tea Party Nation

JULY 12, 2012 

 Punting against America. – Tea Party Nation.

Posted by Judson Phillips

 

 

Just in case you missed it, America is a nation that was designed by geniuses and is now run by idiots.   We can also add that our nation is run by gutless, self-centered cowards too.

 What is going on that requires stating the obvious?

 The gutless cowards we call the Senate and Congress are now working a plan to punt the so-called sequestration for another year. 

 First, the sequestration was a horrible idea.  John Boehner, instead of standing and fighting, he raised his freshly laundered white flag of surrender and gave us sequestration. 

 Sequestration is the process of automatic budget cuts if the Congress could not agree on a specified amount of budget cuts.  

 Barack Obama and the Party of Treason loved sequestration because half the cuts if sequestration were invoked would come from the Department of Defense and one of Obama’s long standing goals has to destroy America as a military superpower.

 The budget is out of control.  While members of Congress are now seriously looking at ways to avoid the catastrophic defense budget cuts, they are not serious about cutting spending.

 We have hundreds of billions of dollars in waste in the Federal Budget.  When is the government going to cut the waste?  We have hundreds of billions of dollars in spending that exists only to help get politicians reelected.  When is that going to be cut?

 Oh wait, according to the politicians in Washington think that is more important than minor details such as defending the nation.

 Now the pressure is building in congress, including among Republicans for new “revenues” for the government.

 So here is the thirty-five cent question.  Are the politicians in Washington going to listen before or after we have an economic collapse?   My money is on after the collapse because so many of these politicians do not even have a room temperature IQ.  Most of them don’t have an IQ that could thaw ice. 

 John McCain and Lindsay Graham are leading the charge on punting sequestration. 

 One thing is certain.  You know when Graham and McCain get together on something, anything, you can oppose it just on general principles and probably be right.

 Graham and McCain are believers in the P.T. Barnum School of politics, believing there is a sucker born every minute and they are all voters.   The so-called “offsets” or cuts are going to be non-existent.  They are going to be numbers made up by the Congressional Budget Office.    The CBO is the Indianapolis Colts of politics, except the Colts have a better chance of winning than the CBO has of getting anything right. 

 The numbers will exist on paper.   It will be the equivalent of me taking my bank statement and adding a couple of zeros to my account balance.   It might make me think I am rich, but the reality will be I am just as broke as I was before I took my pen to the bank statement.

 The real danger is the pressure in Republican circles to raise taxes.

 The Taxpayer Protection Pledge of Americans for Tax Reform is the standard by which Republican anti-tax beliefs are measured.  Most Republicans have signed the pledge. 

 Yet within Congress, a number of Republicans have turned their backs on the pledge not to raise taxes.  Even more Republicans are threatening to go squishy and raise taxes.

 The problem is not revenue.   It is spending.

 In a hearing in 2011, the GAO could not even identify the number of welfare programs the government had, how much money was being spent or even whether the programs were effective.

 Instead of gutting defense spending, which is something the Constitution mandates, why don’t we cut wasteful government spending? 

 With hundreds of billions of dollars of identified government waste, why aren’t McCain and Graham out making those cuts?  The answer is, they are clueless Washington politicians. 

 Killing, not punting sequestration is a good idea.  Even Leon Panetta, the Secretary of Defense says the cuts in defense spending would be devastating.  

 We need real budget cuts.  We need to eliminate the programs that are wasteful or that have just completely failed. 

 Unfortunately with McCain and Graham leading the charge what we are going to end up with are phantom budget cuts along with real tax and fee increases. 

 In short, America is sinking faster than an Italian cruise ship and Graham and McCain simply want to order more lasagna.

 Punting against America. – Tea Party Nation « Gds44’s Blog.

, , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

NSA: It Would Violate Your Privacy to Say if We Spied on You | Danger Room | Wired.com


NSA: It Would Violate Your Privacy to Say if We Spied on You

By Spencer Ackerman 

June 18, 2012 

 

 

Gen. Keith Alexander, center, the head of the National Security Agency, visits Afghanistan, 2010. Photo: ISAF

The surveillance experts at the National Security Agency won’t tell two powerful United States Senators how many Americans have had their communications picked up by the agency as part of its sweeping new counterterrorism powers. The reason: it would violate your privacy to say so.

That claim comes in a short letter sent Monday to civil libertarian Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall. The two members of the Senate’s intelligence oversight committee asked the NSA a simple question last month: under the broad powers granted in 2008′s expansion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, how many persons inside the United States have been spied upon by the NSA?

The query bounced around the intelligence bureaucracy until it reached I. Charles McCullough, the Inspector General of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the nominal head of the 16 U.S. spy agencies. In a letter acquired by Danger Room, McCullough told the senators that the NSA inspector general “and NSA leadership agreed that an IG review of the sort suggested would itself violate the privacy of U.S. persons,” McCullough wrote.

“All that Senator Udall and I are asking for is a ballpark estimate of how many Americans have been monitored under this law, and it is disappointing that the Inspectors General cannot provide it,” Wyden told Danger Room on Monday. “If no one will even estimate how many Americans have had their communications collected under this law then it is all the more important that Congress act to close the ‘back door searches’ loophole, to keep the government from searching for Americans’ phone calls and emails without a warrant.”

What’s more, McCullough argued, giving such a figure of how many Americans were spied on was “beyond the capacity” of the NSA’s in-house watchdog — and to rectify it would require “imped[ing]” the very spy missions that concern Wyden and Udall. “I defer to [the NSA inspector general's] conclusion that obtaining such an estimate was beyond the capacity of his office and dedicating sufficient additional resources would likely impede the NSA’s mission,” McCullough wrote.

The changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in 2008 — which President Obama, then in the Senate, voted for — relaxed the standards under which communications with foreigners that passed through the United States could be collected by the spy agency. The NSA, for instance, no longer requires probable cause to intercept a person’s phone calls, text messages or emails within the United States as long as one party to the communications is “reasonably” believed to be outside the United States.

The FISA Amendments Act of 2008, as it’s known, legalized an expansive effort under the Bush administration that authorized NSA surveillance on persons inside the United States without a warrant in cases of suspicion of connections to terrorism. As my colleague David Kravets has reported, Wyden has attempted to slow a renewal of the 2008 surveillance authorities making its way through Congress. The House Judiciary Committee is expected to address the FISA Amendments Act on Tuesday, as the 2008 law expires this year.

Longtime intelligence watchers found the stonewalling of an “entirely legitimate oversight question” to be “disappointing and unsatisfactory,” as Steve Aftergood, a secrecy expert at the Federation of American Scientists told Danger Room.

“If the FISA Amendments Act is not susceptible to oversight in this way,” Aftergood said, “it should be repealed, not renewed.”

Even though McCullough said the spy agencies wouldn’t tell the senators how many Americans have been spied upon under the new authorities, he told them he “firmly believe[s] that oversight of intelligence collection is a proper function of an Inspector General. I will continue to work with you and the [Senate intelligence] Committee to identify ways we can enhance our ability to conduct effective oversight.”

 NSA: It Would Violate Your Privacy to Say if We Spied on You | Danger Room | Wired.com.

, , , , , , ,

1 Comment

Facebook Raises $16 Billion in I.P.O. – NYTimes.com


MAY 17, 2012

Facebook Raises $16 Billion in I.P.O.

BY EVELYN M. RUSLI AND PETER EAVIS

Joel Saget/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Facebook pulled it off.

As investors raced to get shares, the sprawling social network raised $16 billion on Thursday, in an initial public offering that valued Facebook at $104 billion.

The I.P.O. signals a rapid evolution for the company. In just eight years, Facebook has gone from a scrappy college service founded in a Harvard dormitory to the third-largest public offering in the history of the United States, behind General Motors and Visa.

Investors, who are paying $38 a share for the offering, now consider Facebook more stalwart than start-up. At $104 billion, the social network’s market value is higher than those ofMcDonald’s, Citigroup, Amazon.com and all but a handful of other American companies.

“Facebook is here to stay,” said Navin Chaddha, a managing director of the Mayfield Fund, a venture capital firm. “It’s a virtual economy where people are spending more time than any other Internet property.”

Facebook will be celebrating the occasion with the same style on which it built its reputation.

At 7 p.m. on Thursday, the social network will kick off its 31st “hackathon,” with engineers coding into the wee hours of the night, employees amped up on Red Bull and staffers-turned-DJs playing their tunes, according to a person with knowledge of the event. Part work, part fun, the Facebook tradition, which will take place an area of the company’s campus known as Hackers Square, encourages employees to do what they do best – brainstorm, design and create.

On Friday, Mark Zuckerberg, the baby-face founder known for his trademark hoodie sweatshirt, is set to ring the opening bell for the Nasdaq from Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., surrounded by executives, engineers and other employees. Shares of Facebook, which will trade under the ticker FB, will start selling to the public later in the morning.

For now, Facebook seems to be a must-own stock.

As the largest player in the social media arena, Facebook has been enjoying blue-chip status from the start, with investors worried about missing out on what could be the next Google. The social network will also soon join Nasdaq 100, the technology index, so money managers looking to track the benchmark will join the swell of demand in the coming months.

The frenzy for Facebook was on full display during the two-week roadshow leading up to its I.P.O. Across the country, investors packed hotel ballrooms to hear Facebook executives give their pitch. Bankers drew up waiting lists for the events, which included stops in New York, Boston and Washington.

The tour yielded an avalanche of orders. As investors lined up for shares, Facebook raised its price range and increased the size of its offering. The company is offering 421.2 million shares, 25 percent more than originally intended. Given the strong demand, the bankers, led by Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, are widely expected to sell 63.2 million shares.

With the supersize offering, Facebook’s insiders are taking the opportunity to cash in some shares. The group, which includes early owners and more recent investors, will now collect an additional $3 billion or more from the I.P.O. Goldman Sachs, for instance, which took a stake early last year, is selling about a third of its stake. Peter Thiel, the contrarian venture capitalist who was one of Mr. Zuckerberg’s first backers seven years ago, has more doubled the number of shares that he is offloading, to 16.8 million shares.

Facebook landed its record I.P.O. in the face of doubts about the company’s main source of revenue: advertising.

After years of courting Madison Avenue, the company is still trying to convince advertisers to spend not just time on its site, but real dollars. Just as important, the company has to find ways of inserting advertising into its users activity without making the site tacky or irritating.

Inconveniently, General Motors, one of the country’s biggest advertisers, said this week that it was dropping its entire ad budget for Facebook. That amounted to $10 million, a drop in the ocean for Facebook, but it exposed the social network’s Achilles Heel. Investors, experts caution, will have to be patient for Madison Avenue to come around.

“It could take many years to calculate Facebook’s impact,” said Martin Sorrell, the chief executive of WPP, the large advertising company. “There’s a lot of pressure for them to monetize their content and demonstrate productivity, but you can’t do it overnight.”

In addition, Facebook may struggle to generate advertising revenue from its mobile sites. Last month, it paid about $1 billion for Instagram, a mobile photo-sharing application that has plenty of users but not a scratch of revenue. Given the explosion of smartphones and the increasing number of minutes those devices command, solving the mobile question is widely seen as a necessity not an option for Mr. Zuckerberg.

 Facebook Raises $16 Billion in I.P.O. – NYTimes.com.

, , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

G.M. to Quit Facebook Ad Campaign Worth $10 Million a Year – NYTimes.com


Ahead of I.P.O., G.M. to Quit Advertising on Facebook

By TANZINA VEGA
Published: May 15, 2012

 

Just days before Facebook is scheduled to hold its first public stock offering, which could value the company at more than $100 billion, one of the country’s largest marketers has decided to remove its advertising from the social network.

 

General Motors, the third-largest advertiser in the United States, decided to discontinue its Facebook advertising, worth about $10 million annually, after a routine review of how and where it spends marketing money, said Tom Henderson, a spokesman for the automaker.

“It’s not unusual for us to move our spending around various outlets, especially with the growth of social and digital media outlets,” he said, adding that the company is “making adjustments as we need to.” General Motors’ decision was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

For Facebook, which reported $3.7 billion in revenue in 2011, the loss of $10 million in ad dollars does not represent a financial disaster but it is a public-relations headache coming so close to the company’s eagerly anticipated public offering. Facebook and investors are expecting a large valuation based primarily on its potential to draw advertising in the future; its advertising revenue had been growing quickly but remains small compared with competitors like Google.

In a public filing last month, Facebook said that its first-quarter ad revenue had actually declined to $872 million from $943 million in the previous three-month period, although it was up almost 37 percent from $637 million for the same quarter from the previous year.

Several analysts believe that GM’s decision will cause other marketers to take at least a second look at their own Facebook strategy. Melissa Parrish, an analyst at Forrester, wrote in an e-mail that the move would force Facebook to listen more closely to marketers.

“My colleagues and I have spoken with several other advertisers who were already thinking of putting their dollars elsewhere,” Ms. Parrish said. “Now that G.M. has done so in such a large and public way, many of the fence-sitters will know that they’re not alone in their disappointment about their results.” According to Forrester, Facebook made just under $4 in revenue per user in 2011.

General Motors, which spends about $3 billion on advertising annually worldwide, has advertised on Facebook since 2008. In January, G.M. consolidated its media planning and buying operations, giving Carat, part of the Aegis Media unit of the Aegis Group, the job. The automaker will continue to have a presence on Facebook with free content like the existing brand pages. Mr. Henderson said Facebook “continues to be a very effective tool for engaging with our customers.”

A person briefed on the discussions between the companies said that G.M. spent a total of about $40 million on Facebook annually, most of that on managing its own presence and developing applications. This person, who asked not to be identified discussing private negotiations, said that Facebook had advised the company to spend less money on developing applications and more money on advertising and promotion. “They didn’t use paid media to get the message out,” the person said.

Debra Aho Williamson, a principal analyst at the research company eMarketer said that “if G.M. is spending $40 million year and $30 million of that is going toward managing its page, that’s a lot of money.”

“The advertising on Facebook helps brands extend their message,” said Ms. Williamson. “The challenge for G.M. is, can they do that without actively marketing and paying Facebook for advertising?”

When Facebook held its first advertising conference in February, the reaction from marketers was mixed. Rumors that Facebook would announce its own ad network, allowing advertisers to buy inventory on the site in real time, did not materialize. Instead, advertisers were given more places to put their ads, including on the log-out page and in a user’s news feed.

Ben Winkler, the chief digital officer at OMD, an agency in the Omnicom Media Group, said that while Facebook was a great mechanism for communicating and sharing content, it did not provide advertisers with the amount of data and analytics that they want from the site. “It will cause a ripple effect,” Mr. Winkler said about G.M.’s pullback. “It will make advertisers consider what they are spending.”

One company that disagreed with G.M.’s decision was its Detroit rival, Ford. In a statement, the company said, “We’ve found Facebook ads to be very effective when strategically combined with engagement, great content and innovative ways of storytelling, rather than treating them as a straight media buy.”

 G.M. to Quit Facebook Ad Campaign Worth $10 Million a Year – NYTimes.com.

, , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

A simple question, a blizzard of emails, and a peek inside how Canada’s bureaucracy works


A simple question, a blizzard of emails, and a peek inside how Canada’s bureaucracy works 

 

BY TOM SPEARS, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN 

APRIL 17, 2012 

 

OTTAWA — The Citizen asked the National Research Council a simple question back in March: What’s this joint study that you and NASA are doing on falling snow?

The federal department never agreed to an interview. It sent an email instead, with technical details on equipment but without much information on the nature of the project.

It never even explained the study’s topic.

Before sending even that modest response, however, it took a small army of staffers — 11 of them by our count — to decide how to answer, and dozens of emails back and forth to circulate the Citizen’s request, discuss its motivation, develop their response, and “massage” its text.

A simple question, a blizzard of bureaucracy

All this for a question about how snow falls.

NASA, meanwhile, answered everything in a single phone call. It took about 15 minutes.

Now papers released under an access to information request show the Byzantine world of how federal departments respond to even the simplest request for information with second-guessing and internal strategy, but few answers.

First, the study:

NASA wanted to get a better understanding of snowstorms. Conventional radar shows where snow is falling but has trouble measuring the quantity.

So NASA teamed up with Environment Canada, the NRC and several universities to fly through and over falling snow in southern Ontario this winter. It used specialized equipment to analyse falling snow in different weather conditions.

We phoned a NASA scientist who happily described the project. It’s a good story: an offbeat look at the mysteries that winter still holds.

But it’s also a Canadian story, so the Citizen wanted to know more about Canada’s role. Why should Americans get all the credit?

Environment Canada wouldn’t talk because their expert was out of the office. We held the story for a day, and early the next morning we phoned the other federal participant, NRC. It supplied one of the aircraft, loaded with scientific gear.

We asked for an interview. That’s when the media relations machinery kicked into gear.

• First, an analyst labels the article’s expected tone as “positive/informative” and suggests agreeing to an interview.

• But the director general of NRC’s communications and corporate relations branch kills that idea via email: “I am not convinced we need an interview. A few lines on our involvement are fine. Let me see them first.”

• The department emails the Citizen and promises an answer by 1 p.m.

• Senior officials approve release of a drawing showing where W- and X-band radar and other instruments are mounted on a Convair. This is a long way from the hoped-for interview, which would have asked questions along the lines of: Why do you want to study snow?

• The department mulls the wording of its message. For example: That the NRC “has been conducting airborne atmospheric research projects for more than 20 years in collaboration with universities, government, and other scientific organizations,” and that it participated in “NASA’s Global Precipitation Measurement Cold Season Precipitation Experiment (GCPEx) snow study over Ontario, Canada.” Funding came from the Canadian Space Agency.

There’s additional material on wide areas of research activities for the aircraft. A staffer promises to “trim these down a bit and send to the journo.”

• After 2 p.m., and still no interview. A staffer suggests that the Citizen story will be “for laymen.” As such, he suggests this explanatory material: “NRC was to collect and analyse unique ground and airborne in-situ and radar datasets that will be used to characterize the radar signatures of glaciated and mixed-phase clouds.”

• The department shortens its “lines” to say very little. The nine-sentence message now adds up the number of flights, number of instruments, and number of government partners. Curiously, there’s no explanation of what aspect of snow they were studying.

As staff debate two potential written responses, the marketing manager for the NRC’s Institute for Aerospace Research wonders whether they shouldn’t just talk to the reporter. “The story then becomes more about us (and our Canadian partners) rather than NASA.”

• The newly released papers don’t show a response to his suggestion, but no interview is ever granted. The media lines go out, now shortened to seven snow-free sentences and an aircraft drawing, and well after the Citizen’s story is substantially written.

The finished article mentions NRC’s involvement as a courtesy, but can say little beyond that. NASA has talked with enthusiasm about the joy of studying snow and its mysteries. NRC has sent an email describing the number of pieces of equipment on an airplane.

A plaintive little note circulates within NRC the next day: “NRC is mentioned only in the last para (i.e. paragraph of the article), but with no mention of our science contribution.”

That’s all right, a staffer commented, because the newspaper never really wanted information on NRC anyway.

A simple question, a blizzard of emails, and a peek inside how Canada’s bureaucracy works.

, , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

SATIRE NATION

Off the charts...

Thoughtfully Prepping

My Scribblings about Prepping and Survivalism

Derek's Blog

Personal Blog about nothing

The Better Man Project

A man in progress. One day at a time.

Don Charisma

because anything is possible with Charisma

∙ tenderheartmusings ∙

we were born naked onto the page of existence; with nothing but the pen of our soul to write ourselves into eternal ecstasy ~ DreamingBear Baraka Kanaan

The Wine Wankers

Smile :) You’re at the best wine blog ever! Scroll down to read our fun stories, and join our journey as we fight through the wine jargon in search of a good glass of wine. Wine blogs; the best place to read about wine online! We're rated as one of the most infuential wine people on the net by Klout and Kred. Contact: winewankers@hotmail.com

Good Time Stories

Inspiring and Heartwarming Stories

musings from a musical mind

60's flowerchild,herbalist,dreamer, seeker of truth

retireediary

The Diary of a Retiree

AirportsMadeSimple

Your Interactive Travel Magazine~Showcasing a Variety of Authors

oasisbidari

A fine WordPress.com site

NoWorksSalvationApocalypseNow

Finishing Lifes Race Strong

Deep Shit Media

Alternative Sovereign Communications

38 Years

Perspective from the middle ages of life

Bookgirl

A great WordPress.com site

Chastisement 2014

He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork

Direct From The Street - Stuff We And People Share

Photos, Videos, Articles - Business, Social Media, Marketing, Entertainment, Fashion, Sports, Life

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 364 other followers

%d bloggers like this: