Maybe it is the upbringing in Indonesia that taught Barack Obama the finer points of running a thugocracy. Or maybe it was from reading Saul Alinsky and growing up surrounded by communists, radicals, and domestic terrorists.

First you hire a bunch of tax cheats, then you confiscate a pile of tax payer dollars to bailout your preferred billionaires and screw shareholders of companies, then begin making demands on company products despite being outside what people will buy in the free market, and lastly turning to the bully pulpit and the press to beat the hell out of dissenters.

Michael Barone warned us the thugocracy was coming.

‘I need you to go out and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors,” Barack Obama told a crowd in Elko, Nev. “I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face.” Actually, Obama supporters are doing a lot more than getting into people’s faces. They seem determined to shut people up.

I just suspected the White House would maintain some level of plausible deniability instead of directly directing the bullying. Jake Tapper makes clear that is not the case.

A leading bankruptcy attorney [Thomas Lauria] representing hedge funds and money managers told ABC News Saturday that Steve Rattner, the leader of the Obama administration’s Auto Industry Task Force, threatened one of the firms, an investment bank, that if it continued to oppose the administration’s Chrysler bankruptcy plan, the White House would use the White House press corps to destroy its reputation.

The White House said the story was false.

Yes, yes, the White House denies the story. But while denying it, the White House was also proving the story true. Barack Obama took to the bully pulpit to heap scorn and derision on the the bankruptcy attorney’s hedge funds and money managers.

President Obama singled out Lauria’s clients for criticism when he announced the Chrysler plan on Thursday.

“While many stakeholders made sacrifices and worked constructively, I have to tell you some did not,” the president said. “In particular, a group of investment firms and hedge funds decided to hold out for the prospect of an unjustified taxpayer-funded bailout. They were hoping that everybody else would make sacrifices, and they would have to make none.”

Lauria said the president’s assertion that his clients weren’t willing to make any sacrifice is false. The clients were willing to take 50 cents on the dollar from Chrysler for their debt, he said.

A nationally respected bankruptcy attorney who, by the way, is also a huge donor to Democrats, say the White House told him the White House would destroy his clients in the press if they did not adhere to White House demands.

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The White House denies that is true.

Then the President of the United States attacks Lauria’s clients in a press conference.

Who do you believe? The businessmen or the thugocracy?