June 5, 2014

Passage of the Day: On Bergdahl, His Platoon, Obama, and ‘Non-Disclosure’

Bryan Preston at PJ Tatler (bolds are mine):

Obama’s Rose Garden ceremony with the Bergdahl parents provoked these men to put themselves on the line for us. Again.

Let’s suppose that Obama knew all about Bergdahl’s alleged desertion. If he knew about that, he also knew about the NDAs that silenced the soldiers and he had reason to believe that the soldiers who knew the truth could be kept quiet for fear of military prosecution. Obama therefore had reason to believe that even though he had traded five Taliban commanders for a deserter, the public might never know that all we got back was a worthless deserter, not a hero who served with honor and distinction. That part would never become part of the narrative. Bergdahl would come home, there would be video of his tearful reunion with his parents, the parade in his hometown, and Barack Obama presiding over it all as the man who pulled it off. Sure, there’s that inconvenient Michael Hastings story out there about Bergdahl. But Hastings is dead, so he won’t be going on Fox to talk about that story.

If the soldiers had not defied their NDAs, Obama would’ve gotten most of the PR win that he expected from bringing “the last American POW” back from Afghanistan. There would be questions about negotiating with terrorists, and freeing five of them, and breaking a law or two. But “He brought a hero home!” would have overwhelmed all of that before too long.

But Barack Obama doesn’t know the first thing about the kind of men who are destroying his pleasant narrative. These are not “psychopaths,” as Brandon Friedman speculated on Twitter. These are men who know why they’re in the military and who they ultimately serve. They are actually serving with honor and distinction. They deserve a medal for their courage. And they deserve to be awarded that medal by a president who isn’t a lying leftist who keeps working for the other side, when he isn’t busy just working for himself.

Being called “psychopaths” may just be the beginning. Pray for these brave men for what may be done to them privately.

As to what the administration might try to do them publicly, I’d say, “Bring it. We’d love to see you bury yourselves in the process.”

Latest PJ Media Column (‘The Obama ‘Recovery’: As Bad as (or Worse than) the Great Depression?’) Is Up

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:43 pm

It’s here.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Saturday morning (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.

Long-suffering “must have charts” advocates will be pleased.

Unhinged Obama Admin Flak: Bergdahl’s Platoon May Have Been ‘Long on Psychopaths and Short on Leadership’

UPDATE, 4:40 p.m.: Friedman has partially scrubbed his Twitter bio. His Tumblr bio linked in this post remains — for now.

Late last night, Brandon Friedman, the Obama administration’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, unleashed a furious five-tweet barrage attacking those who dare to question whether Bowe Bergdahl served “with honor and distinction” (National Security Advisor Susan Rice’s words on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday).

Friedman’s tweets would already be headline news in the establishment press if an official in a Republican or conservative administration published what readers are about to see. He saved his strongest venom, couched in a question, for Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers — apparently including the ones who died trying to retrieve him — after Bergdahl left his unit (HT Gateway Pundit via Hot Air):

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Initial Unemployment Claims (060514)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:29 am

Prediction: Business Insider — 310,000 seasonally adjusted claims, up from 300K (before possible revision) last week.

Seasonal adjustment factors:

  • Week ended May 31, 2014 — 84.4
  • Week ended June 1, 2013 — 84.9

Raw claims:

  • Week ended May 24, 2014 — 271,805 (before possible revision)
  • Week ended June 1, 2013 — 294,608

For the result to come in at 310K or below, raw claims will need to be 261K or lower (261K divided by .844 is 310K, rounded).

I think we’re going to see 320K or so as the result, but we’ll see here at 8:30 a.m.

HERE IT IS:

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending May 31, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 312,000, an increase of 8,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 4,000 from 300,000 to 304,000. The 4-week moving average was 310,250, a decrease of 2,250 from the previous week’s revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since June 2, 2007 when it was 307,500. The previous week’s average was revised up by 1,000 from 311,500 to 312,500.

… UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 262,931 in the week ending May 31, a decrease of 12,481 (or -4.5 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected a decrease of 19,130 (or -6.9 percent) from the previous week. There were 294,608 initial claims in the comparable week in 2013.

That’s a strong result, given how low raw claims needed to be to generate it, even after considering that week included Memorial Day.

Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (060514)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

This open thread will stay at or near the top today. Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow. Other topics are also fair game.

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WashTimes“Snow job? Terrorists may have staged video of haggard POW to fool U.S.”

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UK Daily Mail, collecting major points in one place:

Bowe Bergdahl had deserted before and officers KNEW he was a risk: Classified report reveals Army’s fears over Bergdahl as he faces desertion charge

  • Classified 2010 military investigation found Bowe Bergdahl did leave his post in 2009
  • Official says: ‘We have no indication he intended to leave permanently’
  • Former military officials said Bergdahl left a note for his comrades saying he did not want to fight for America any more and was leaving to start a new life
  • Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff today said ‘it’s premature’ to think there will be no charges laid against Bergdahl
  • Taliban militants released in exchange for Bergdahl will be allowed to roam Qatar free and can return to Afghanistan after a year
  • Report: Obama ignored intelligence briefings that the five Taliban were too dangerous to release
  • President is blasted for ‘going rouge’ (sic) and not telling Congress in advance of the prisoner swap

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At NetRightDaily:

Help Wanted: One in six men aged 25-54 not working

Five years into Obama’s presidency, the United States looks very different than it did in years past.

Over 10.2 million American men between the ages of 25-54 — about seventeen percent of that age group — are not currently working. Two thirds of them have given up on looking for work altogether. As a comparison, in the early 1970s, only seven percent from the same age group was not working.

Excuse me for not being as optimistic as Mark Zandi was on the ADP conference call yesterday about most of these people getting back into the workforce, especially as full participants.

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As if we don’t have enough problems, President Obama’s unilateral actions on illegal immigrants is creating a humanitarian crisis in the Southwest.

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WaPo poll“Republicans have a mandate for their Benghazi probe”

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(Tentative) Hope for Humanity Update (HT Life News) — “Sandra Fluke Fails to Clinch Victory in Bid for (California) State Senate.” She finished 2nd with 19.4% of the vote, and will be in the November general election against the opponent wno got more votes.

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George Will (“When Obama Goes Rogue; The Bergdahl deal abused the rule of law, and the president will need the military to cover it up”) — “If the military stalls on turning over files to Congress pertaining to the five years of Bergdahl’s absence, we will at least know that there is no national institution remaining to be corrupted.” i put the odds at 50-50.

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Zero Hedge“7 In 10 Americans Believe The Crisis Is Not Over Or Worst Is Yet To Come: 52% Can’t Afford Their Homes”

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AP“U.S. Auto Sales Hit Nine-Year High in May.”

That is undeniably good, but needs some mellowing.

First, May, which as I understand it really included Sunday, June 1, had five weekends. May 2013 had four full weekends, so that discounts more than a little bit of the value of the reported 11.4% year-over-year increase.

Additionally, it’s clear that many consumers are getting new or used vehicles because they have to, not because they want to, and they’re stretching themselves to the brink to get them. The average car loan term is now 66 months, i.e., 5-1/2 years.

I noted in November of last year that General Motors was taking on extraordinary risk in approving car loans to just about anyone with a pulse. Now the company’s latest quarterly financial statements tell us that “At March 31, 2014, 89% of the consumer finance receivables in North America were from consumers with FICO scores less than 620″ (i.e. subprime). When I wrote my column for the Fiscal Times last fall, it was 88 percent. GM’s exposure appears to be at least $20 billion. A general economic downturn could create a huge write-off problem.

Positivity: RIP, Don Zimmer

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From St. Peterburg, Florida (HT Twitchy), but really from every major league baseball town in the USA (the Associated Press obituary is here):

Baseball lifer Don Zimmer passed away Wednesday night at the age of 83.

Zimmer — who suffered a stroke in December 2008 and underwent heart surgery April 16 to repair a leaky valve —was working as a senior advisor for the Rays in his 66th season in professional baseball, and was the last Brooklyn Dodger still working in baseball.

Beginning his career in Brooklyn in 1949, “Zim” was an infielder on the borough’s lone World Series-winning team in 1955, starting Game 7 of Johnny Podres’ shutout win over the Yankees.

Zimmer played for six different teams, which included the inaugural season of the Mets in 1962.

“We are saddened by the passing of Don Zimmer, an original Met, who played in our very first game,” the Mets said in a statement. “He gave six decades of his life to baseball. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Zimmer later would manage four different teams, including the Red Sox and Cubs, before joining the Yankees as Joe Torre’s bench coach from 1996-2003, when the team won four World Series titles and six American League pennants.

“I hired him as a coach, and he became like a family member to me. He has certainly been a terrific credit to the game,” Joe Torre said in a statement. “The game was his life. And his passing is going to create a void in my life and my wife Ali’s. We loved him. The game of Baseball lost a special person tonight. He was a good man.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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From the Chicago Tribune:

Zimmer, nicknamed “Popeye” for his big cheeks, spent 65 years in baseball.

But few of them were as wild as his three-plus year stint managing the Chicago Cubs, who he led to a division title in 1989 with an unpredictable style that has never been replicated.

Zimmer began his career with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1954, and later played for the Cubs, Mets, Reds and Washington Senators during a 12-year career, mostly as an infielder. After spending the 1966 season playing in Japan, Zimmer managed in the minors from 1967-’70 before becoming a coach with Montreal in 1971. He had several coaching stints afterwards, and managed the Padres, Red Sox, Rangers and Cubs, going 885-858 and winning one division title with the Cubs.