September 11, 2016

A Recession Indicator?

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:37 pm

If it’s not, it’s pretty darned close, given that wholesale sales are about 30 percent of GDP:


Going back to 1992 when such recordkeeping began, wholesale sales have never dropped as much in any July as they did this year, in dollars or percent. The seasonal adjustment to a mere 0.4 percent drop is hardly credible.

If there’s a “saving grace” to this, it’s that July only had 20 Monday-Friday non-holiday business days, while June had 22. But retailers usually accept shipments from wholesalers six days a week, so I would think that there’s less to that comparison than meets the eye.

Longer-term, January-July 2016 sales are running very slightly below 2012, and miles below the three years in between. How can an economy generating wholesale sales worse than 4 years ago be genuinely growing?

August’s numbers, and any revisions to July, will be crucial.

Also to be clear, the third quarter may not go negative because the government uses the seasonally adjusted numbers. But on substance, another month or two of what we saw in July will mean that 30 percent of the economy is in a genuine downturn.

Now That Hillary’s Candidacy Is in Some Doubt …

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:18 pm

… it’s time to remind readers of what yours truly wrote on August 2:

Anyone Who Automatically Assumes that Barack Obama will leave the White House and cede power on January 20, 2017 if Donald Trump wins the presidency has not been paying attention for the past 9-1/2 years, going back to when it became obvious that Obama would declare his candidacy for the presidency.

I’m not saying that this will happen. I am saying that it is a possibility. Anyone who doesn’t believe that this option isn’t on the table has not been following the authoritarian tendencies of candidate and then President Obama himself or the executive branch apparatus during his presidency.

Is the justification that “Trump won because his opponent had to drop out, and her replacements didn’t have enough time to make their case to the American people” enough to have Obama consider seizing the opportunity to stay put? I’m suggesting that it’s not inconceivable. Anyone who thinks this is presumptively rubbish, as I have noted, simply has not been paying close enough attention.

Stephanie Cutter: Far More Than Half of Trump Supporters Are ‘Deplorables’

Stephanie Cutter believes that Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton really made a mistake in her Friday evening “basket of deplorables” statement about Republican nominee Donald Trump’s supporters at a fundraiser in New York City when she limited the “basket” to “half” of them.

On Sunday’s Meet the Press on NBC, Cutter, the former 2012 Obama presidential campaign manager and short-lived cohost of CNN’s failed attempt to revive Crossfire a couple of years ago, made it clear that she believes that far more than half, and perhaps all, of Trump’s supporters belong in that “deplorables” basket containing people Mrs. Clinton described as “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it.


CNN Panelists Use Hillary’s ‘Medical Episode’ to Question Fox and Attack Trump

At 12:25 p.m. today, the New York Times (also saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes), covering an episode already widely known, reported that Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton “abruptly left a ceremony in New York marking the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks before it concluded because she became ‘overheated,’ according to a campaign spokesman.”

Over two hours earlier, Rick Leventhal at Fox News was apparently the first broadcast news journalist to report the story from the scene. An hour later, when all of them surely knew that Leventhal’s story was accurate from photos and videos of the same scene from multiple angles of Mrs. Clinton’s difficult entry into her motorcade vehicle already posted at several well-known websites, one panelist on CNN’s Reliable Sources asserted that Leventhal was (still) taking a huge risk allegedly relying on “one source,” while another thought it was the perfect time to blast out the tired litany of terms the left — including, as we learned Friday evening, Mrs. Clinton herself — routinely throws at Republican candidate Donald Trump.


NY Times Writer Ignores Bill Clinton’s ‘Coal People’ and Other Gaffes, Claiming ‘Uncharacteristic Year of Restraint’

Apparently just arriving after over a year spent in a virtually news-free, hermetically sealed cave, New York Times reporter Matt Flegenheimer pretended that former President Bill Clinton has, until he recently began complaining about the treatment of the Clinton Foundation, had “more than a year of uncharacteristic restraint.”

In the real world the rest of us inhabit, Clinton has benefited from over a year of the establishment press downplaying or ignoring his angry responses to challenges and his elitist statements, including his two most recent gaffes: a sneering reference to “coal people” and a claim that the Donald Trump campaign’s “Make America Great Again” slogan is racist. The national press’s consistent disinterest in reporting his remarks explains how the Times reporter can write what he did with a straight face.


Sunday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (091116)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 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.

Among the Things to Never Forget …

Filed under: National Security,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 5:59 am

… Palestinians celebrating the 9/11 attacks:

A Tribute to Initial 9/11 Media Coverage

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:58 am

This post is a BizzyBlog 9/11 tradition.


From the Media Research Center:

9/11 Remembered: Rick Rescorla Was a Soldier

Filed under: Positivity,Taxes & Government,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 5:57 am

This post is a BizzyBlog 9/11 tradition.


RescorlaInUniformRescorlaVietnamIn retrospect, it’s astonishing that the death toll from the 9/11 attacks wasn’t much higher. Vietnam War hero Rick Rescorla is one of the main reasons.

The following is excerpted from an item originally posted at Mudville Gazette in 2003 (Warning: Strong language):

… Rescorla’s office was on the forty-fourth floor of the south tower of the World Trade Center. The firm (Rescorla was vice-president in charge of security at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter — Ed.) occupied twenty-two floors in the south tower, and several floors in a building nearby. In 1990 Rescorla and Dan Hill, an old Army friend, evaluated the security, identifying load bearing columns in the parking garage as a weak point. A security official for the Port Authority dismissed their concerns. On February 26, 1993, a truck bomb exploded in the basement.

Rescorla ensured that every one of his firm’s employees was safely evacuated, and was the last man out of the building.

.. (on 9/11, Rescorla friend) Dan Hill was laying tile in his upstairs bathroom when his wife called, “Dan, get down here! An airplane just flew into the World Trade Center. It’s a terrible accident.” Hill hurried downstairs, and then the phone rang. It was Rescorla, calling from his cell phone.

“Are you watching TV?” he asked. “What do you think?”

“Hard to tell. It could have been an accident, but I can’t see a commercial airliner getting that far off.”

“I’m evacuating right now,” Rescorla said.

Hill could hear Rescorla issuing orders through the bullhorn. He was calm and collected, never raising his voice.

… the Port Authority was telling him not to evacuate and to order people to stay at their desks.

“What’d you say?” Hill asked.

“I said, ‘Piss off, you son of a bitch,’” Rescorla replied. “Everything above where that plane hit is going to collapse, and it’s going to take the whole building with it. I’m getting my people the f*ck out of here.”

… Hill turned back to the TV and, within minutes, saw the second plane execute a sharp left turn and plunge into the south tower. Susan saw it, too, and frantically phoned her husband’s office. No one answered.

About fifteen minutes later, the phone rang. It was Rick. She burst into tears and couldn’t talk.

“Stop crying,” he told her. “I have to get these people out safely. If something should happen to me, I want you to know I’ve never been happier. You made my life.”

Susan cried even harder, gasping for breath. She felt a stab of fear, because the words sounded like those of someone who wasn’t coming back. “No!” she cried, but then he said he had to go. Cell-phone use was being curtailed so as not to interfere with emergency communications.

From the World Trade Center, Rescorla again called Hill. He said he was taking some of his security men and making a final sweep, to make sure no one was left behind, injured, or lost. Then he would evacuate himself. “Call Susan and calm her down,” he said. “She’s panicking.”

Hill reached Susan, who had just got off the phone with Sullivan. “Take it easy,” he said, as she continued to sob. “He’s been through tight spots before, a million times.” Suddenly Susan screamed. Hill turned to look at his own television and saw the south tower collapse. He thought of the words Rescorla had so often used to comfort dying soldiers. “Susan, he’ll be O.K.,” he said gently. “Take deep breaths. Take it easy. If anyone will survive, Rick will survive.”

When Hill hung up, he turned to his wife. Her face was ashen. “Sh*t,” he said. “Rescorla is dead.”

The rest of Rick Rescorla’s morning is shrouded in some mystery. The tower went dark. Fire raged. Windows shattered. Rescorla headed upstairs before moving down; he helped evacuate several people above the 50th Floor. Stephan Newhouse, chairman of Morgan Stanley International, said at a memorial service in Hayle that Rescorla was spotted as high as the 72nd floor, then worked his way down, clearing floors as he went. He was telling people to stay calm, pace themselves, get off their cell phones, keep moving. At one point, he was so exhausted he had to sit for a few minutes, although he continued barking orders through his bullhorn. Morgan Stanley officials said he called headquarters shortly before the tower collapsed to say he was going back up to search for stragglers.

John Olson, a Morgan Stanley regional director, saw Rescorla reassuring colleagues in the 10th-floor stairwell. “Rick, you’ve got to get out, too,” Olson told him. “As soon as I make sure everyone else is out,” Rescorla replied.

Morgan Stanley officials say Rescorla also told employees that “today is a day to be proud to be American” and that “tomorrow, the whole world will be talking about you.” They say he also sang “God Bless America” and Cornish folk tunes in the stairwells. Those reports could not be confirmed, although they don’t sound out of character. He liked to sing in a crisis. But the documented truth is impressive enough. Morgan Stanley managing director Bob Sloss was the only employee who didn’t evacuate the 66th floor after the first plane hit, pausing to call his family and several underlings, even taking a call from a Bloomberg News reporter. Then the second plane hit, and his office walls cracked, and he felt the tower wagging like a dog’s tail. He clambered down to the 10th floor, and there was Rescorla, sweating through his suit in the heat, telling people they were almost out, making no move to leave himself.

Rick did not make it out. Neither did two of his security officers who were at his side. But only three other Morgan Stanley employees died when their building was obliterated.

Blackfive’s Greyhawk notes that over 2600 employees of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter walked out of the south tower and in to the rest of their lives that morning thanks to Rick Rescorla.

Despite his post-9/11 brag that the attacks worked out better than he had expected, Osama bin Laden, with his background in construction, almost surely knew that the jets would level the Twin Towers, and was thus anticipating well over 10,000 deaths. By reducing the horrible toll, people like Rick Rescorla, the rescuers at the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the heroes of Flight 93 prevented bin Laden from achieving a much grander ambition, and demonstrated that while America may have appeared to be a paper tiger before the attacks, that would no longer be the case, beginning on September 12, i.e., “tomorrow, (when) the whole world will be talking about you.”