September 30, 2015

Press Ignoring Blatant Conflicts of Interest Exposed in CBS Benghazi Coverage

Apparently, the establishment press is waiting for its marching orders on how to handle what an Investor’s Business Daily editorial has already called a “scandal.”

This one’s a joint effort involving Hillary Clinton, Sidney Blumenthal, a recently deceased former CIA operative named Tyler Drumheller who worked with Blumenthal — and CBS News. As Mark Hemingway at the Weekly Standard reported Tuesday afternoon (i.e., now approaching two overnight news cycles ago), “Drumheller, the former chief of the CIA’s clandestine service in Europe who was working directly with Blumenthal as a member of Clinton’s spy network, was concurrently working as a consultant to CBS News and its venerable news program 60 Minutes. IBD’s question, reacting to Hemingway’s report: “Who is more corrupt, Clinton or the mainstream media?”


Richards to Congress: ‘I’ve Never Heard of’ Child Surviving Abortion Attempt

In three previous posts yesterday and today, I have noted obvious distortions and untruths in Cecile Richards’ testimony this week before a House committee.

I didn’t mean to save the best (really the worst) for a fourth post, but I came across an jaw-dropping item at this afternoon. It covers an assertion Richards made during the House hearing that is either one of the biggest lies of the 21st century thus far or its most glaring example of hermetically sealed ignorance. Either way, the fact that it hasn’t made its way into the establishment press virtually proves that their mission is to protect Richards and her organization, not to tell its readers, listeners and viewers what is really happening.


Not News: Richards Criticizes ‘Heavily Doctored’ CMP Vids Just As Forensic Experts Say Otherwise

Tuesday afternoon, Alan Fram laughably headlined his coverage of Planned Parenthood head Cecile Richards’ appearance before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee at the Associated Press as follows: “FACING CONGRESS, PLANNED PARENTHOOD CHIEF REBUTS VIDEOS.”

She did no such thing. Most notably, Fram quoted Richards making the following statement to the committee: “The outrageous accusations leveled against Planned Parenthood, based on heavily doctored videos, are offensive and categorically untrue.” Not merely “heavily edited,” but “doctored,” which according to the dictionary in this context means “to tamper with; falsify.” Unfortunately for Richards and her group’s supporters, in a report released yesterday, forensic experts have concluded that the Center for Medical Progress videos she criticized are “authentic” (bolds are mine throughout this post):


Not News: Richards’ False Planned Parenthood Mammograms Claim

In Congressional testimony on Monday and Tuesday, Planned Parenthood head Cecile Richards twisted or failed to tell the truth in several instances.

As shown last night, one of them related to how many of its facilities are involved in the provision of fetal tissue for compensation. Her claim that it’s “less than 1 percent” is only plausible if the organization has recently terminated such involvement at many facilities known to have participated in the practice in the recent past. A second more obviously untrue claim, whose falsehood has been completely ignored by the national establishment press, is her contention that “we’ve never stated” that Planned Parenthood performs mammograms at any of its facilities. Well, yes she has — and as will be seen later, an awful lot of people who you might think would know better still believe the lie.


September ADP Employment Report: 200,000 Private Sector Jobs Added (With Conference Call Notes)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:24 am

From ADP:

Private sector employment increased by 200,000 jobs from August to September according to the September ADP National Employment Report®. … the ADP National Employment Report is produced by ADP® in collaboration with Moody’s Analytics. The report, which is derived from ADP’s actual payroll data, measures the change in total nonfarm private employment each month on a seasonally-adjusted basis.

… “Businesses with more than 1,000 employees contributed over half of the job gains in September, despite weakness in energy and manufacturing,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, VP and head of the ADP Research Institute. “The largest companies appear to be starting to overcome the impacts of weak global demand and the high dollar, while the smallest companies may have pulled back as concerns about the resiliency of the U.S. economy grew and consumer confidence softened.”

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, said, “The U.S. job machine continues to produce jobs at a strong and consistent pace. Despite job losses in the energy and manufacturing industries, the economy is creating close to 200,000 jobs per month. At this pace full employment is fast approaching.”

August was revised down from 190K to 186K.

July was revised down from 177K to 169K; it was 185K in the original release.


Mark Zandi’s commentary:

  • Another month, another 200K jobs. Very consistent and strong employment growth. 200-225K per month for close to three years. About half of that growth absorbs growth in working-age population.
  • People are finding jobs very quickly. If we take 200K+ plus into mid-2016, we’ll be at full employment.
  • Friday’s employment report will probably come in below 200K, about 190K. Thinks August will get revised up by 30K or so.
  • Turmoil in financial markets and overseas.
  • Some evidence that wages are beginning to accelerate, but still modest. wage growth will pick up in a pronounced way by early next year to spring (6-9 months).
  • JOLTS job opening are rising, which should be a leading indicator for wage growth. 5.7 million open job positions, up 1 million from a year ago and 2 million from 2 years ago. As high as ever.
  • Consumer confidence not back to where you’d expect in an expansion.
  • ADP numbers highlights threats to optimism. First, effects of decline in oil and energy prices. Continued employment declines in resource sector since end of last year (about 85K jobs). Second, from overseas, weak overseas economy, primarily on mfg employment. But vehicle sector is booming.
  • Looks good, lots of momentum. Will be hard to short-circuit the job machine.


From me — re HH Income lag. Wage growth has to happen first. Fed wants to stay at full employment and get economy “hot.” Many years in making. Step 2 is doing something about skewing of income and wealth, a long-running problem. Education, unions, globalization. 30-35 years in making, will take a long time to get it back.

From me — re JOLTS. Based on surveys of companies, not jobs always listed.

From Chris Rugaber, AP — re JOLTS. Weak productivity growth is also causing need for employees to produce what’s needed. Also, increasing skills mismatch issues. Demographics are an issue with a lot of boomers retiring. Zandi has noticed an HR trend of being much more careful in hiring people than 5-10 years ago; don’t hire until you’re absolutely sure it will work out.

From Chris Rugaber, AP — re government shutdown in December (also debt limit). 2013 shutdown (supposedly) cost 0.1% of GDP growth per week. Shutdown might disrupt (supposed) Fed plans to raise rates in December. Odds are better than even that they will make a deal extending past the 2016 elections.

From Jeffrey ___ at MarketWatch — wage growth, Will it not be as fast as it was, therefore leading to mediocre growth? Zandi expects a “hockey stick,” as in it will pick up quickly at some point and accelerate. Once one industry player increases pay it will spread to others, and we will hopefully get there by mid-next year. JOTLS is a leading indicator for that (6-9 mos. leading indicator). Next thing he expects is to see the “quit rate” pick up in a more substantive way, which he expected but hasn’t happened to the expected degree so far.

Richard Leon from Reuters — Fed raise in Oct. or Dec.? Zandi expects December.

Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (093015)

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

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.

Positivity: Saint Junipero Serra’s canonization an ‘exciting time to be a Catholic’

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Washington:

Sep 28, 2015 / 11:31 am

Last week’s Mass for the Canonization of Saint Junipero Serra, said by Pope Francis, proved to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for those who participated in it, and a reflection of the excitement for the Pope’s mission.

“I think the Pope has a beautiful mission, which is to bring to all of us the love of Christ, who we grow closer to every day,” Maria, from Maryland, told CNA. Maria and her husband came to the Sept. 23 Canonization Mass along with their two daughters.

The Mass marked the canonization of Junipero Serra, a Franciscan missionary from Spain who founded nine Catholic missions in the area that would later become California. It was the first canonization performed on U.S. soil.

Kaden, a high school student at Bishop McNamara High School in Forestville, Maryland, said he took the canonization and large crowd at the Mass as a sign of “hope that the Catholic faith is still alive and strong” in the United States.

His little brother George piped up that to him, the Pope’s visit “means that he loves and respects us and prays for us all the time.”

Fray Carlos Reyes told CNA that as both a Franciscan friar and a Latino, he thought the canonization on US soil was “a good gesture on the part of the Church” to recognize Serra’s “work and legacy for Catholics.”

“It’s deserved.”

The excitement for the Mass and historic canonization united Christians across denominational divides.

Chloe, a student at Georgetown University, said even though she is a nondenominational Christian, she was excited to attend her first Mass.

“I can’t miss this historic opportunity,” she explained, adding that she was excited “just to be in this holy place with all these people” who had come for the Mass.

The Canonization Mass also had an impact on those who helped volunteer for the Mass.

Gina, a Catholic University of America junior helping direct the crowds at Mass, told CNA “it was incredible” to be able to serve in that capacity. “It was just amazing to help out people and helping at Communion. Being next to the Eucharist was incredible for me.”

The event also had great meaning for other Catholic University students – particularly one from California.

“It’s a really special time especially for Californians … because Junipero Serra is such an important part of our history,” said Dexie, a senior from San Diego – a city that sprung up around a mission St. Junipero Serra founded. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

September 29, 2015

Shaky: Cecile Richards’ Claim That ‘Less Than 1%’ of PP Clinics Dispose of Fetal Tissue for Compensation

In Congressional testimony Monday and Tuesday, Planned Parenthood head Cecile Richards twisted the truth in several instances.

One of them had to to with how many of its facilities are involved in the provision of fetal tissue for compensation. She may be technically telling the truth about how many are involved at this moment, but it’s clear that far more have been — at least until recently.


WashPost’s ‘Fact Checker’ Goes Full Politifact Over Fiorina’s ‘Secretary to CEO’ Bio

The Washington Post’s Fact Checker blog, after years of usually sincerely prepared though not always accurate posts, appears to have descended to the level of hackery typically found at Politifact.

One recent example demonstrating that the effort has turned into a weapon dishonestly employed against Republicans and conservatives comes from Michelle Ye Hee Lee, who on Friday called 2016 Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina’s true story about once being a secretary and eventually becoming a Fortune 20 CEO “bogus,” giving it “three Pinocchios.” That means, according the paper’s description, that the claim itself is a “Significant factual error,” that it contains “obvious contradictions,” or both. What rubbish.


Not News at AP: Pending Home Sales Index Hits Lowest Level in 5 Months

August’s seasonally adjusted Pending Home Sales Index value contained in the related press release from the National Association of Realtors was the lowest in the past five months, and 2 percent below April’s level.

Disclosing the size of the recent slump apparently wasn’t considered important at the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press. What was news at AP, whose Josh Boak essentially copied NAR’s release instead of engaging in informative journalism, is that the index is up by over 6 percent from a year ago, even though that increase ended several months ago.


Tuesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (092915)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 8:25 am

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.

Positivity: Burglary Suspect Took Off Running After Being Caught Red-Handed by Texas Neighbors — That’s When ‘It Got Really Spectacular’

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Dallas:

Sep. 23, 2015 11:07am

After a series of garage and car break-ins that police couldn’t seem to solve, neighbors in Dallas took matters into their own hands and worked together to catch the culprit.

It all began when Lenora Moffa noticed a suspicious person she didn’t recognize opening car doors in the neighborhood on Monday, KTVT-TV reported. When she approached him, the young man closed the doors and took off.

“He starts taking off so I sprinted after him, and this is when it got really spectacular,” Moffa said, recounting the moments her neighbors joined her.

Resident Brenda Williams also gave chase to the teenager, and when he became belligerent, the older woman punched him. Brian Wong, another neighbor, helped the ladies and wrestled the burglar to the ground.

“And at that particular point in time, all of the neighbors just piled on top of him,” Wong told KTVT. “And once the neighbors piled on top of him, he had it. Because somebody was sitting on him from behind, somebody was holding his leg, I had his arm. He couldn’t move at that point.”

“It was neighborhood solidarity,” Moffa said.

KTVT reported that the neighbors kept the 16-year-old subdued until police arrived and took him away. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

September 28, 2015

Trippin’ With Trippi: All Is Really Well With Hillary’s Campaign

In a real-life example of Animal House brought to life, Joe Trippi, Howard Dean’s former 2004 campaign who until now seemed reasonably sane, went to the op-ed section of the Los Angeles Times to declare in essence that “All is well” with Hillary Clinton’s march to the Democratic Party’s coronation — er, nomination.

In Trippi’s fantasyland (i.e., Trippiland), the fact that Mrs. Clinton is ahead of Bernie Sanders by 15 points nationally proves his point. Never mind that Sanders is ahead in New Hampshire and Iowa, the only two states which are paying close attention right now. The only thing he’ll concede is that things might change if Vice President Joe Biden enters the race.


WashPost’s ‘Fact Check’ Gives ‘Four Pinocchios’ to Carson For Correctly Citing Taqiyya

Imagine my “surprise” (not really) when I came across a Thursday Daily Beast item originally referenced by Mark Levin on his radio show (HT Joe Newby at about the comments of a “secular Muslim” in response to what 2016 Republican presidential contender Ben Carson had to say about whether he could support a strict, sharia-compliant Muslim to be this nation’s chief executive.

The author of that column, Asra Q. Nomani, effectively made mincemeat out of a “fact check” written by Glenn Kessler at the Washington Post on Tuesday. You see, Kessler, in what must be his worst “fact check” ever, gave Carson’s statement about the Muslim concept of taqiyya, namely that it “is a component of Sharia that allows, and even encourages you to lie to achieve your goals,” a grade of “Four Pinocchios,” i.e., “a whopper.”


An Investor’s Business Daily Editorial Does the Beat Press’s Job With a Digest of Hillary Scandal News

If the establishment press was treating Hillary Clinton’s private server/email and other controversies as the genuine scandals and the national security nightmares that they really are, we’d be getting daily or near-daily updates on the latest developments.

It really isn’t too much to ask. After all, outlets like the Associated Press frequentlycapsulized the latest Watergate developments during 1973 and 1974 (four such examples from 1973 are here, here, here and here; note that the first three items all appeared within three days of each other). It is fortunate, since the AP and others traditional hard-news outlets won’t do their jobs, that an Investor’s Business Daily editorial presented a readily understandable Hillary scandal summary on Wednesday.