August 21, 2009

W-W-W-W-Wait a Minute, Ben

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:48 pm

At CNNMoney.com:

BernankeOnGrowthCNNMoney082109

We’re more than halfway through the third quarter, and we haven’t returned to growth yet? And there’s only a “good chance” for the “near-term”?

I thought you guys predicted positive third-quarter growth not that long ago.

I’ll have to find it later due to other commitments, but a positive range for predicted third- and fourth-quarter growth, or a scenario for the second half that virtually requires the third quarter to be positive, is buried here in BizzyBlog somewhere, or elsewhere ….

UPDATE: I don’t know how you get to this from what Bernanke said, but here’s how at least one press report interpreted it:

The United States is expected to post positive growth in the third quarter

UPDATE 2: Now I remember, from this post a month ago:

GrowthEstimatesFor2ndHalf2009

The chart doesn’t need a rework despite the late-July comprehensive GDP revision, because the current combined 1st and 2nd quarter actuals of -7.4% (-6.4% in the first and -1.0% in the second) are only slightly worse than the -7.3% in the original analysis (-5.5% in the first and -1.8% in the second).

If you predict a negative third quarter (which I think is what Bernanke is saying), then, as seen above, you put a lot of pressure on the fourth quarter to be robust. But Bernanke is saying recovery “could be slow.” I think there’s reason to question whether the recovery will be there. Of course, I hope I’m wrong, and that growth does return. At this point, any recovery will clearly have nothing to do with anything the Obama administration did, while a continued recession would only be evidence that its statist outlook and/or additional statist legislation continues to rattle those who could get this economy moving again, keeping them on the sidelines.

That ‘Engagement’ Thing With Iran Hasn’t Worked Out So Well

As noted at this late June post, former Spanish Prime Minister José Aznar, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, admonished world leaders not to let Iran go on its merry way in the wake of an election marred by rampant fraud followed by a government crackdown:

It would be a shame …. if our passivity gave carte blanche to a tyrannical regime to finish off the dissidents and persist with its revolutionary plans.

Well, it is a shame, and a disgrace, because passivity and carte blanche is exactly what has followed.

You don’t see much in the press about Iranian dissidents any more, do you? At best, there are only occasional references to ongoing repression. Powerline notes that we are standing by and watching “Iran’s Great Purge.”

And the ignoramuses in the White House and Foggy Bottom are probably scratching their heads wondering how Ahmadinejad and Ali Hoseyni Khamenei, the guy who really runs it all with “virtually unlimited authority,” could do what they just did after the nicey-nice, carte-blanchey thing we did for them a few weeks ago (“Obama Frees Iranian Terror Masters”). Those who were freed, as Andrew McCarthy noted, “were coordinating terrorist attacks in Iraq that have killed hundreds — yes, hundreds — of American soldiers and Marines.”

From the Washington Times: “Terror suspect tapped as Iran defense minister” –

Ahmad Vahidi, nominated Thursday by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to serve as Iran’s defense minister, is a suspected international terrorist sought by Interpol in connection with a deadly 1994 attack on a Jewish community center in Argentina.

Mr. Vahidi, a former commander of the elite unit of the Revolutionary Guard known as the Quds Force, was one of 15 men and three women named to Cabinet posts by Mr. Ahmadinejad as he begins his second term in office. The choice is likely to further chill relations between Iran and the international community, especially Israel.

…. The bombing, which killed 85 people, is thought to have been carried out by members of Hezbollah, a Lebanese militia and political party with close links to Iran.

Kenneth Katzman, a senior analyst on Iraq and Iran at the Congressional Research Service, said that Mr. Vahidi is also suspected of having played a role in a 1996 attack on the U.S. Air Force barracks in Saudi Arabia known as Khobar Towers.

…. “This sends a signal that the Iranians are unconcerned with anybody’s sensibilities about the regime’s prior record of terrorism,” said Kenneth Piernick, a former chief of the FBI’s Iran-Hezbollah unit.

Further, BBC reports that:

He (Vahidi) is a close and hardline ally of Mr Ahmadinejad, suggesting the president is already getting ready for student protests that are expected to break out when the university term begins in a month.

Regardless of whether or not Iran’s dissidents miraculously prevail, Barack Obama blew what Victor Davis Hanson described at the time as “the Moment” to assert moral clarity, to orchestrate worldwide pressure, and put a stake into the heart of the world’s most deadly terrorist regime.

Positivity: Pope Benedict fulfills dream of armless young Sri Lankan

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 8:23 am

From Castel Grandolfo, Italy:

Aug 20, 2009 / 10:13 am

Rajiv Janine is an 18 year-old Sri Lankan who was left without his arms after a train accident. On Wednesday he fulfilled his dream of meeting Pope Benedict XVI and receiving his blessing after yesterday’s general audience.

Rajiv told the Holy Father his story and asked for a special blessing for his brother, who will soon be ordained to the priesthood, and for his sister who is a nun in the Philippines. His older sister who helps take care of him was also present at the audience.

The prosthetic arms that Rajiv wears were purchased with help from a group of Italians that is also engaged in a series of solidarity projects in Sri Lanka to aid those affected by the 2004 tsunami, Fr. Giuseppe Iasso explained.

He told L’Osservatore Romano the money raised to help Rajiv was collected by “sending letters and knocking on the doors of parishes and families until $56,000 dollars were raised. Many kids gave all of their savings and even an elderly woman in a wheelchair helped us with her savings.”

The meeting with Pope Benedict took place after the priest sent a letter to the Holy Father recounting Rajiv’s story. ….

Go here for the rest of the story.

Follow-Up: Virtually No U.S. Media Interest In ‘Imploding’ Canadian Press State-Run Health Care Story

CanadianPressLogo0809

On Sunday evening, NewsBusters colleague Noel Sheppard highlighted a health care-related story from the Canadian Press (CP), which is that country’s rough equivalent to the USA’s Associated Press.

It appears that the CP is more open to reporting inconvenient news than is “our” AP, judging from a report earlier that day by the CP’s Jennifer Graham. In an interview with Graham, the incoming president of the Canadian Medical Association said that the supposedly idyllic wonderland known as Canadian medical care is in deep trouble. Lo and behold, Graham actually reported it:

The incoming president of the Canadian Medical Association says this country’s health-care system is sick and doctors need to develop a plan to cure it.

Dr. Anne Doig says patients are getting less than optimal care and she adds that physicians from across the country – who will gather in Saskatoon on Sunday for their annual meeting – recognize that changes must be made.

“We all agree that the system is imploding, we all agree that things are more precarious than perhaps Canadians realize,” Doing (sic) said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

Given the current debate in the U.S. over health care and private insurance, and the president’s seeming determination to force a state-controlled and ultimately state-run health care regime onto the remaining portion of the system that is still privately run, you would think that the story out of Canada might have attracted the interest of U.S. establishment media outlets. Noel thought that “It’s going to be absolutely delicious to see how this gets reported by Obama-loving media in the next 24 hours.”

Four days later, deliciously proving that “the Obama-loving media” is more than a mere slogan, there has virtually no original source establishment media coverage of what Ms. Doig said, or of anything else relayed in the Graham’s CP report.

The incoming CMA director’s last name made searching for results pretty easy. What I found in a search on “Doig” at the following media sites was the following:

  • The New York Times — nothing.
  • The Washington Post — zip.
  • The Los Angeles Times — nothing relevant.
  • The AP, whose search scope is seven days — nada.

A Google News search on “Anne Doig” for August 16-20 came back with a whopping 41 relevant items. Only about 20 of those were from sources within the U.S. The majority of those results were op-ed columns by Mona CharenLarry Elder, and others, plus think-tank contributions from Heritage and the National Center for Policy Analysis. Original news reports appear to have been limited to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (a four-sentence snippet), the Washington Times (in an editorial), and NewsMax (in the final paragraphs of a related article about health care rationing in the Canadian province of British Columbia).

As Noel also pointed out on Sunday, both the outgoing and incoming CMA presidents are advocates of expanding private medical services up north. While our president and the congressional majority are attempting to move health care decisively in a statist direction, the establishment media has apparently decided that news consumers couldn’t possibly benefit from learning that there is significant sentiment in Canada’s medical community for going the opposite way.

I mean, really, how silly of a thought is that? (/sarcasm)

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.