Dealergate: Additional Research Shows Closing Bias (UPDATED)

Chrysler-dealer-photoshop

It’s important to note that Chrysler’s leadership did not want these closings. This is being orchestrated by Obama’s automotive task force:

Lawyer Leonard Bellavia, of Bellavia Gentile & Associates, who represents some of the terminated dealers, said he deposed Chrysler President Jim Press on Tuesday and came away with the impression that Press did not support the plan… “It became clear to us that Chrysler does not see the wisdom of terminating 25 percent of its dealers,” Bellavia said. “It really wasn’t Chrysler’s decision. They are under enormous pressure from the President’s automotive task force.”

Who heads up the automotive task force? Steven Rattner, who, earlier this spring,  reportedly berated the head of a non-TARP Chrysler hedge fund with this outburst:

Who the f*** do you think you’re dealing with? We’ll have the IRS audit your fund. Every one of your employees. Your investors. Then we will have the Securities and Exchange Commission rip through your books looking for anything and everything and nothing we find to destroy you with.

World Net Daily took a look at all of the dealerships on the closing list:

WND reviewed the list of 789 closing franchises and databases of political donors and found that of dealership majority owners making contributions in the November 2008 election, less than 10 percent gifted to Democrats while 90 percent gave substantial sums to Republican candidates. The listed franchise owners contributed at least $450,000 to Republican presidential candidates and the GOP, while only $7,970 was donated to Sen. Hillary Clinton’s campaign and $2,200 was given to Sen. John Edwards’ campaign. Obama received a combined total of only $450 in donations – $250 from dealer Jane Baldock in Wenatchee, Wash., and $200 from Waco, Texas, dealer Jeffrey Hunter. Many of the majority owners who donated to Republican campaigns last year also contributed additional thousands to George W. Bush’s presidential campaign in 2004 and to help elect GOP representatives.

Many people have wondered if these numbers simply reflect an overwhelming Republican leaning in car dealers. The stats for the dealerships remaining open are still being researched, but Doug Ross has found one company that kept popping up on the list of dealerships remaining open.

The company is RLJ-McLarty-Landers, which owns six Chrysler dealerships. All six dealerships are on “the safe list.” RLJ’s owners “are Steve Landers (long-time car dealer, 4th-generation dealer), Thomas “Mack” McLarty (former Chief of Staff for President Clinton), and Robert Johnson (founder of Black Entertainment Television and co-owner of the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats)… McLarty campaigned for Obama in 2008, and Johnson has given countless amounts of money to Democrats over the years.

Go take a look at all of these RLJ dealerships and the surrounding dealerships that are being shuttered. Ross asks…what are the odds?

What are the Odds?

All other factors being equal, what are the odds that RLJ’s dealerships would remain open while all other area dealerships would be shuttered? The approximate odds of such an occurrence can be calculated. 789 of the Chrysler’s dealerships are closing, which represents 25% of the total (according to MSNBC). Recall that Chrysler claimed that its formula for determining whether a dealership should close or not included “sales volume, customer service scores, local market share and average household income in the immediate area.” Thus, the odds that any, randomly selected, single dealership would remain open is roughly 75%. The odds that a single dealership would close is roughly 25%. In the Bentonville, AR territory, the odds that RLJ would remain while its competition gets axed is .75 * .25 * .25 = .046875 (4.6%). In Huntsville, AL, the odds are .75 * .25 * .25 = .046875. In Branson, MO, .75 * .25 *.25 *.25 = .01171875. In Lee’s Summit, MO, .75 * .25 *.25 *.25 *.25 = .0029296875. In Shreveport, LA, .75 * .25 *.75 = .140625.

What are the odds of all of these RLJ dealerships remaining open while their competitors are wiped out? Maybe 1/10,000,000 of 1%. Yes, that’s one ten-millionth of one percent.

Chrysler Dealership Campaign Donation Information continues to investigate the dealerships that remain open. I wouldn’t count on the MSM to get this story out, but the  lawyers for the closed dealerships should be mighty interested. UPDATE: NTDTV covered a dealer protest over Chrysler’s termination plans:

What (Lawyer Leonard) Bellavia and his representees want to know, is why them? Bellavia and the protesters believe that US government’s task force initiated the terminations…and not Chrysler.

UPDATE II (May 28):

Gateway Pundit is on this story: Hope & Change– Car Czar Behind Chrysler Closings Married to Former Dem Party Leader

Car Czar Steve Rattner and wife Maureen White, who is the former National Finance Chair of Democratic Party. Rattner and his Auto Task Force decided on which dealerships would close and which would stay open.

and

Dealergate Number Crunching: Looking at US Dealership Political Donations

** Earlier it was reported that the Obama Administration may have targeted GOP donors in deciding which Chrysler dealerships would have to close their doors. ** Later it was discovered that a Big Dem Donor Group was allowed to keep all 6 Chrysler dealerships open…. And, their local competitors were eliminated. ** The Auto Task Force, which includes Obama cabinet members, is reportedly calling the shots on which dealerships will close and stay open. ** Steven Rattner leads The Auto Task Force and is married to the former National Finance Chair of Democratic Party, Maureen White. ** The closings in several instances appear to benefit Dem donating dealers where local GOP-linked dealerships were closed. ** Even Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla) lost his Chrysler dealership in Florida and found out from a colleague on the House floor. ** Lithia Motor Group’s owners gave $15,000 to two Democrat candidates and support nationalized healthcare. They will likely lose just two of 29 dealerships and gain 5 more. ** One report claims the odds that these Chrysler closings occurred without partisan bias are less than 1%. ** After closing the 789 dealerships Chrysler announced that they are already looking to open new franchises.

Mark Tapscott at the Washington Examiner looks at the *most car dealers Republican* argument:

…two points should be noted here. First, even if we accept the proposition that most car dealers are more likely to be Republican than Democratic donors, there would still be a “disparate impact” from closings on one class of dealers, compared to the other. When the federal courts see a disparate impact on racial groups, the policy or action in question is typically held to be inappropriate. Race and car dealer closings, of course, aren’t analogous. But the lesson remains that when government makes economic decisions that ought to be left to the private market, it is impossible to avoid disparate impacts. And there is always the question of would the Obama White House be so quick to close hundreds of dealerships if the owners of those dealerships were predominantly Democratic donors? Second, since neither Chrysler, nor the White House have made public the criteria used to select dealers for elimination – and because a significant number of those being closed were profitable – the only way to resolve the inevitable controversy about political considerations in political decisions is to make the criteria public and allow independent outside observers to assess how those criteria were applied. I’m not holding my breath on the likelihood of that happening any time soon.

Mike Sargent at Newsbusters is looking at the media angle – Chrysler Conservatives Axed – Only Blogs Investigate:

The odds are massively against this pattern emerging – to the tune of 1/10,000,000 of 1% [h/t Doug Ross].  By comparison, you have a better chance of being struck by lightning this year (1/400,000); Mine That Bird had a better shot at being the winner of the Kentucky Derby (a glue-factory refugee which was the longest-shot winner since Donerail won on 91-1 odds in 1913), and Buster Douglas had of knocking out Mike Tyson.

In all fairness, it must still be determined what overall percentage of these small-business owners actually donate to political parties and candidates.  One might assume that, since they are small-business owners, they are overwhelmingly supportive of the GOP.  But assumption is not the job of a vigilant press.  One would at least hope that with the odds being so stacked against the emerging pattern, the professional curiosity of journalists would get the better of them – or at least some of them.  Never fear, however; journalists have been inoculated against the disease of curiosity.

Here is Michelle Malkin’s post, this morning: Dealergate and the MSM

Here is her appearance on Fox and Friends, this morning:

MORE LINKS:

Atlas Shrugged: CAR THEFT: White House car czar married to Democratic fund raiser

Politics and Stuff: Obama Ignoring the ‘Flawed’ U.S. Constitution: Confiscating Private Property – Chrysler Dealerships – Without Due Process (Updated)

Strata-Sphere:  Obama’s “Dealergate” Scandal Needs Investigation

Two US Senators are now asking for details on the decision process – one from each party!

\TownHall: Chrysler Dealership Closings Target Republicans

Fire Andrea Mitchell!: Which Chrysler dealerships got shut down? Heavy GOP donors! – Big Obama donors keep their dealerships… WTF is going on here?

Just One Minute: Dealergate

Protein Wisdom: The Stats, Again [Dan Collins; UPDATED x2]

Jonah Goldberg, The Corner: Targeting GOP Donors?

MORE: (May 29):

Greg’s Weblog: Why Can’t “Liberals” Do Basic Stats

Gateway Pundit: Dealergate Update: Corrupt Dem-Donating Auto Group Keeps Dealerships While GOP-Linked Dealerships Are Closed

Mainstream Texas Conservative: Dealergate Update: What We Have So Far

Ace: Boy, Mack McLarty is a Lucky Guy

MORE (MAY 30):

The Other McCain: What Dealergate Says About The Conservative ‘Message’ Problem

Doug Ross: Awesome!-Olbermann and 538.com  Echo chamber inadvertently Confirm Dealergate Findings!

Canada Free Press: What’s Wrong with a little Wealth Redistribution anyway?

Sorry, libs. This story isn’t going away, no matter what your numbers guru, Ned Simpler says.

Doug Ross: Daily Dealergate: A “Dealer Council” and Reverse Discrimination

The latest development: Chrysler’s “Dealer Council” posted a letter at the new Chrysler LLC website. It says that the remaining Chrysler dealers are as pleased as punch with the way the dealership shuffle turned out.

It turns out seven of the dealers were Democrat contributors while three gave to GOP candidates (one was Ron Paul, so the figure is really two).

Josh Painter then sinks the knife in deep with a spot-on coup de grâce:

“If, as the Obama apologists claim, that most car dealers are Republicans, why does the Chrysler Dealer Council have more than twice as many dealers on it who donated to Democrats than those who gave to GOP candidates? Let them chew on that one for a while. I’m sure they will come up with something.”


Previously:

Payback Time: Review Finds Closing Chrysler Dealerships Were Republican Donors

Chrysler Dealership In New York Not Going Down Without A Fight

More Details On The Chrysler Threats

White House Threatens Chrysler Non-Tarp Investment Companies (UPDATED)

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Ann Coulter Tag Teamed By Sawyer And Carville On Good Morning America

Sawyer and Carville live to tell the tale:

Mike Sargent at Newsbusters kept score:

A total of nine questions were asked of the two pundits, seven of which went to Coulter.  Carville, on the other hand, was simply allowed to respond to Coulter without questioning – an unfiltered rebuttal, with free airtime provided by ABC. This, however, was not the most egregious point of controversy.  Carville was allowed, with no challenge from the host, to provide ad-hominem attacks against conservatives – as well as irrelevant, non-sequitur praise for Judge Sonia Sotomayor.

That’s okay, Coulter can hold her own in a whole roomful of  enchanted media sycophants. It’s what she does.

See Newsbusters for the transcript.

Remember This?

Here’s Obama talking tough about Iran in the second debate with John Mccain.

Just watch the first part where he says we will not allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon:

“We cannot allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon. It would be a game-changer in the region. Not only would it threaten Israel, our strongest ally in the region and one of our strongest allies in the world, but it would also create a possibility of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of terrorists. And so it’s unacceptable. And I will do everything that’s required to prevent it. And we will never take military options off the table.”

Because it looks to some like Obama is not going to keep that promise.

Caroline Glick’s take on Obama’s Iran policy:

During his ad hoc press conference with Netanyahu, Obama made clear that he will not lift a finger to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. And acting as Obama’s surrogate, for the past two weeks CIA Director Leon Panetta has made clear that Obama expects Israel to also sit on its thumbs as Iran develops the means to destroy it.

And Dick Morris said:

“Those sunshine Jewish patriots who voted for Obama must realize that we, as Jews, are witnessing the possible end of Israel. We are in the same moral position as our ancestors were as they watched Hitler rise but did nothing to pressure their favorite liberal Democratic president, FDR, to take any real action to save them or even to let Jewish refugees into the country. If we remain complacent, we will have the same anguish at watching the destruction of Israel that our forebears had in witnessing the Holocaust.

Because one thing is increasingly clear: Barack Obama is not about to lift a finger to stop Iran from developing the bomb. And neither is Hillary Clinton.”

Did that campaign promise already expire?

Hat tip: The American Thinker

Barack Come Home!!

So here we are, what with our economic woes, staffing problems in the administration, huge domestic policy changes, and Congress running rampant and often contra to the wishes of the President. And where is President Obama? Planning more trips to foreign lands.

It’s usually the Republican presidents who neglect domestic policy, but at this point I think we can safely say that our current President has decided quite consciously to set his sights abroad. He sure does seem to like to get out of the US:

Presidential-Travel

And that’s not counting his domestic travel – in particular his ill-timed fund-raising trip for Harry Reid and the like. With unemployment scheduled to break 9% this month, I think I’d prefer that he keep his fanny in Washington and start giving us some of that oversight of government spending that he promised.

On the other hand, it will be fun to watch him visit the Saudi king again. He’ll be so stiff trying to avoid looking like he’s prostrating himself that it should make for great video footage.

And maybe his time abroad will slow down his poorly considered health care reform nonsense.

[NiceDeb was quite severe with me for never posting at her site, so here goes. This was cross-posted at Uncommon Misconceptions.]

North Korea Continues to Test Obama Nukes

north_korean_missile_tests.previewPhoto credit Times Online

“Mark my words,” the Democratic vice presidential nominee warned at the second of his two Seattle fundraisers Sunday. “It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We’re about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America. Remember I said it standing here if you don’t remember anything else I said. Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”

“I can give you at least four or five scenarios from where it might originate,” Biden said to Emerald City supporters, mentioning the Middle East and Russia as possibilities. “And he’s gonna need help. And the kind of help he’s gonna need is, he’s gonna need you – not financially to help him – we’re gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it’s not gonna be apparent initially, it’s not gonna be apparent that we’re right.”

Joe Biden to supporters, October 19, 2008

Well, North Korea is taking him up on it:

North Korea defied international condemnation of its latest nuclear test by firing three short-range missiles off its coast on Tuesday and major powers considered tougher action against the isolated communist state.

With tension in the region high, South Korea said it would join a U.S.-led initiative to intercept ships suspected of carrying weapons of mass destruction, something Pyongyang has warned it would consider a declaration of war.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency quoted a government source in Seoul as saying the North had test-fired one surface-to-air and one surface-to-ship missile off its east coast. The missiles had a range of about 130 km (80 miles).

Yonhap later reported that Pyongyang had fired a third short-range rocket on Tuesday.

This is in addition to the three short range missiles the NORKS fired on Monday. And the rockets they fired before Obama’s nuke speech in Prague, in April.

I wouldn’t say they were testing Obama, as much as they’re taunting him.

Pyongyang said the United States was the aggressor, its usual justification for making nuclear arms. “Our army and people are fully ready for battle … against any reckless U.S. attempt for a preemptive attack,” said its KCNA news agency.

I half expect Obama to apologize to dear leader for the United States’ aggressiveness.

MORE:

AP Reports:

North Korea has restarted a weapons-grade nuclear power plant, news reports said Wednesday, and South Korea confirmed the regime fired off its fifth short-range missile amid a deepening standoff with world powers following its latest nuclear test.

Breibart:

North Korea’s military says it considers South Korea’s participation in a U.S.-led program to intercept ships suspected of spreading weapons of mass destruction tantamount to a declaration of war against the North.

The communist North’s military said in a statement Wednesday that it will respond with “immediate, strong military measures” if the South actually stops and searches any North Korean ships under the Proliferation Security Initiative.

I see Michelle Malkin is thinking along the same lines as I:

The time for O’s mettle test is here: North Korea prepares for war

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air:

So what should Obama do?  The Left keeps harrumphing that the “neocons” either have no solution or want Obama to start Korean War II, but that’s not the only two options available.  Going to the UN has proven to be a waste of time, and golfing very obviously did not cow Kim into submission, either.  Obama set the wrong tone when he pulled back the missile-defense radar during Kim’s first missile launch.  Obama may have thought he was sending Kim a message of friendship by taking Kim at his word that he was launching a satellite with his ICBM that went directly over Japan, but Kim took a much different measure of that message, as well as Obama’s mettle.  By acting as though Kim’s increasingly aggressive behavior couldn’t deflect Obama from his golf game, he gave Kim the impression that the US no longer cares what he does, as long as it doesn’t involve the US.

Kim’s now taking that carte blanche to the brink of war with South Korea.  Not even Bill Clinton fumbled North Korea this badly (and to be fair, Jimmy Carter cut Clinton at the knees while Clinton was trying to handle it properly).

The Washington Times on what action can be taken:

American policymakers would be wise to remember U.N. Security Council Resolution 1718, passed a week after the 2006 nuclear test. The resolution strongly condemned the North Korean nuclear test and imposed extraordinary financial sanctions. It called on North Korea to abandon its nuclear programs and authorized member states, including the United States, to intercept ships bound for North Korea to inspect them for nuclear components.

The United States also can take action under the 2006 North Korea Nonproliferation Act, which authorizes punishing foreigners trading in nuclear and missile technology with North Korea.

So far, the United States and other countries have failed to press North Korea to the limit of these U.N. measures, preferring diplomacy over action. This has only served as a means for North Korea to pursue its nuclear ambitions while the West mouths empty words.