July 31, 2017

Fake Fact Check: AP Won’t Accept Truth of Trump’s Economy Tweet

After a six-month respite, the Associated Press has started aggressively going after Donald Trump and his administration over conditions in the U.S. economy. In an opening salvo at 1:25 p.m. on Tuesday, the AP criticized as “not completely accurate” the following completely accurate Trump tweet: “Highest Stock Market EVER, best economic numbers in years, unemployment lowest in 17 years, wages raising.”


CNN Gives MS-13 a Platform to Claim Trump Is Helping Them

The establishment press and the left began to build a template after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the U.S. Their argument, which eventually gained traction with protest movements during the Iraq War, claimed that any serious attempt to kill, imprison, expel, or otherwise punish terrorists would only help the enemy recruit more terrorists. A CNN reporter and an opinion writer are now claiming that an equivalent of this bogus argument should apply to the attempt to rid the nation of the scourge of the MS-13 gang.


Monday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (073117)

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.

Positivity: The El Salvadoran who helped rescue 40,000 Jews from the Holocaust

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Lima, Peru:

Jul 30, 2017 / 04:04 pm

José Arturo Castellanos was a Catholic from El Salvador who during the Second World War was sent as a diplomat to the city of Geneva, Switzerland.

But after his requests to his country to rescue Jews who began to face massive persecution at the hands of the Nazis were denied, he took matters in his own hands. Through courage and cunning, Castellanos helped save 40,000 Jewish people from the Holocaust.

His actions resulted in his being posthumously granted in July 2010 the title of “Righteous Among the Nations” awarded to non-Jews by Yad Vashem, an institution of the Israeli government constituted to honor the memory of the martyrs and heroes of the Holocaust. This title has been conferred on priests, religious and other lay persons who saved Jews at that time.

In July 2016 Pope Francis had an encounter at the Auschwitz concentration camp located in Poland with the representatives of some “Righteous Among the Nations” who had already died.

José Arturo Castellanos was born in 1893 in El Salvador to a Catholic and military family. In his youth he decided to join the army like his father and began to develop a brilliant career. In 1930 he traveled to Europe to complete his education.

A biography of him published on the Yad Vashem website states that at the age of 44 Colonel Castellanos was sent as a diplomat to England and in 1938 assigned to Germany.

There he witnessed the persecution of the Jews by the Nazi regime. In face of this he asked his superiors if he could grant them visas so they could escape the country, but this request was denied.

However, Castellanos did not give up and in 1939 he sent a letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of El Salvador in which he described the situation of the Jews and asked for his help. This petition was also denied to him.

The website of the documentary “Castellanos Movie” set up by his grandsons Alvaro and Boris Castellanos says that the colonel disobeyed the orders received from his country’s government and began to extend visas and Salvadoran nationality to Jews to prevent them from being sent by the Nazis to the concentration camps, where they were made to do forced labor in inhumane conditions or were killed.

In 1942 Castellanos was appointed El Salvador’s consul in Geneva. There he named George Mandel-Mantello, a Jewish refugee from Romania who was a friend of his, as first secretary of the consulate to implement the “Salvadoran action.”

The colonel authorized Mandel-Mantello to secretly deliver passports and certificates of Salvadoran citizenship to the Jews. The Yad Veshem institution explained that those that obtained these benefits were saved because El Salvador was considered a neutral country for not supporting any one of the sides that fought during the Second World War.

Castellanos made the issuance of more than 13,000 Salvadoran documents to be done without any charge. These papers were sent through his contacts to Jews who resided in France, Hungary, Germany, Holland, Slovakia and Romania.

According to the Castellanos Movie website, the issuance of just one document was enough to save a whole family.

Through this work carried out between the years 1942 and 1945, Castellanos succeeded in saving about 40,000 Jews. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

July 30, 2017

At a Loss For Words: Fusion GPS

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:18 pm

Here’s why (just the headline and the final paragraph):

News-For-Hire Scandal Deepens: ‘Fusion GPS’ Sleazy Venezuela Links Shed New Light on Trump Dossier
News of the News: an oppo-research-for-hire outfit of former reporters tries to seed stories in the American press for global clients

… In order to report honestly on the Trump scandals, a weakened press would have to report honestly on Fusion GPS—which would mean lifting the lid on the incompetence and malfeasance of their own institutions and colleagues, which would reveal a scandal as threatening to democracy as anything Trump has said or done. “Imagine if they subpoena Fusion GPS’s emails,” said a veteran Washington reporter, “there are going to be lots of journalists in there who’ve taken stories from them. Big names, senior figures in the field. It will look like an apocalypse.”

A full reading indicates that the subheadline really should read “seed and kill stories.”

Read the whole thing.


Headline at Deceptive NY Times Story Ties Trump(!) to Dems’ IT Scandal

The first news reports of House IT staffer Imran Awan’s Monday arrest “for attempting to flee the country and charged with bank fraud” came out on Tuesday. The New York Times did not file a related story until Friday afternoon, roughly 72 hours later, for Saturday’s print edition. Reporter Nicholas Fandos’s Page A18 item is one of the most obvious and disgraceful attempts at misdirection and reality avoidance one will ever see, starting with its headline, which, incredibly, makes it appear as if this scandal, which the Democratic Party entirely owns, involves President Donald Trump.


Sunday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (073017)

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.

Positivity: Our Lady of Czestochowa to receive a new crown

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Czestochowa, Poland:

Jul 27, 2017 / 10:40 am

Three hundred years ago this September the image of Our Lady of Czestochowa was crowned Queen and Protector of Poland by Clement XI.

Nearly 200 years after that, in 1909, the golden, bejeweled crowns of the image – one for Mary and one for the Christ Child– were stolen, along with a pearl “robe” also belonging to the image.

Following the theft, Our Lady was crowned again by St. Pius X in 1910, and later again by St. John Paul II in 2005, but the original crowns were never recovered.

Now, in honor of the 300th anniversary of the first coronation and as a gift to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the original crowns have been replicated in gold diadems created by an Italian artist and goldsmith renowned for his religious art.


July 29, 2017

Press Pours Resources Into Investigating 9 Year-old’s Letter to Trump

On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders read a letter from a Stockton, California boy named Dylan Harbin, whose nickname is “Pickle.” Almost immediately, “Pickle Truthers” in the Trump-deranged media who couldn’t imagine that a 9 year-old could really have written such a letter embarked on an exhaustive boyhunt to verify Pickle’s existence.


Dem Aide’s False Tweet About Trump Snubbing Wheelchair-Bound Boy Circles the World

In a since-deleted tweet, an aide to Washington State Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal claimed that President Donald Trump had ignored a “child in (a) wheelchair” who reached up “twice to shake the president’s hand” after a Friday speech. It turns out that the aide, Ansel Herz, clearly engaged in the kind of “selective editing” critics claim conservative undercover journalists commit (but almost never do). By the time Herz deleted the tweet, the damage had spread around the world, as Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, unhinged GQ critic Keith Olbermann, and others ignorantly pounced on the deceptive tweet as proof that Trump is a heartless monster.


Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (072917)

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.

Positivity: Heart-lung patient to meet transplant surgeon who saved her life 30 years ago

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From York, UK:

27 July 2017 at 5:02pm

A woman whose heart and lungs were replaced in a life-saving transplant operation will celebrate the 30th anniversary of her surgery by reuniting with the doctor who transformed her life.

Carol Town, 63, had hoped the operation at Papworth Hospital, Cambridgeshire, would give her four extra years of life – which “felt like a long time”.

Living life to the full 30 years later is something she did not think was possible, and has allowed her to have a son and watch him grow up, build a career and enjoy new sports such as horse-riding.

Born in Upminster, Essex, in 1954 and now living in York, Mrs Town will meet her surgeon, Professor John Wallwork, now chairman of Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, at a celebratory reception at Pembroke College, Cambridge, on Thursday.

Mrs Town was diagnosed with the rare condition Eisenmenger’s syndrome, which leads to irreversible lung damage, at the age of five.

At the time, there was nothing that could be done to treat the disease and most patients died before they reached 30.

Mrs Town spent her childhood in and out of hospital, suffering extreme breathlessness, heart failure and later asthma.

Her health continued to deteriorate and she was told that her only hope for survival would be the development of a technique for heart-lung transplantation.

She was referred to Papworth and while she waited 18 months for organs to become available, she was not able to travel further than two hours from there.

Mrs Town was on the way home from work when she got a message from Papworth to say suitable organs had been identified for her transplant in July 1987.

Her surgery was a success and she was discharged in time for her fourth wedding anniversary in August 1987.

The treatment gave her a new lease of life and she quickly learned to run, swim, cycle and ride horses for the first time. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

July 28, 2017

Oregonian Initially Fails to Report Basic, Horrifying Facts About an Arrested Illegal Immigrant

For years, if not decades, it’s been obvious that all too many local, regional, and national journalists do everything they can to keep important details about criminal acts committed by people who are in this country illegally out of their reports. Immigration-enforcement advocates who attempt to track such crimes have told me on several occasions that they typically have to try to access court records to get full details which should clearly have been shouted out in news stories’ headlines. A Wednesday afternoon story written up at OregonLive.com, the web site of the Oregonian newspaper, provides a perfect and genuinely sickening example.


2Q17 Gross Domestic Product (Advance Estimate) and Revisions Back to 2014 (072817): 2Q at Annualized 2.6 Percent; Three Previous Quarters Revised Down by 0.4-Point Average

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:03 am

Well, the big day is here.

Today, the government will release its advance estimate of second-quarter economic growth. It will also issue revised figures for quarters and calendar years going back to 2014.

Predictions for the second quarter include the following:

  • GDPNow from the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta — an annualized 2.8 percent. That also is reportedly the consensus of “Blue Chip Consensus” reported there, with a range of the top 10 and bottom forecasts within that group as roughly 2.3 percent to 3.2 percent.
  • Moody’s is at 3.0 percent, as is the reported CNBC/Moody’s Analytics Survey seen there.
  • In a sign that the number may end up strong, I couldn’t find a prediction at the Associated Press’s main national site or at APNews.com at 7:40 a.m. As of 8:10 a.m., there was no mention of today’s report in the wire service’s Top 10 business stories. As of 8:30, there was no mention in its “10 Things to Know for Today.”
  • No bias here (that’s sarcasm) — Bloomberg is carrying a 2.7 percent estimate, claiming that “GDP figures to reflect dissipation of some temporary factors; Economy chugs along without chance for major acceleration.”
  • Reuters is predicting 2.6 percent, “which would confirm that the sluggish performance early in the year was temporary.”
  • Zero Hedge is showing a range from 2.0 percent to 3.5 percent.

The prior-year revisions going back three years will give a partial indication as to whether growth during the Obama era was better or worse than previously reported.

The report will be here at 8:30 a.m.

HERE IT IS (full text and tables link) A bit below the consensus expectation —

Real gross domestic product increased at an annual rate of 2.6 percent in the second quarter of 2017, according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP increased 1.2 percent (revised).

… The increase in real GDP in the second quarter reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), nonresidential fixed investment, exports, and federal government
spending that were partly offset by negative contributions from private residential fixed investment, private inventory investment, and state and local government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.

… The acceleration in real GDP growth in the second quarter reflected a smaller decrease in private inventory investment, an acceleration in PCE, and an upturn in federal government spending. These movements were partly offset by a downturn in residential fixed investment and decelerations in exports and in nonresidential fixed investment.

Current-dollar GDP increased 3.6 percent, or $169.0 billion, in the second quarter to a level of $19,226.7 billion. In the first quarter, current-dollar GDP increased 3.3 percent (revised), or $152.2 billion.

The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 0.8 percent in the second quarter, compared with an increase of 2.6 percent in the first quarter (revised). The PCE price index increased 0.3
percent, compared with an increase of 2.2 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 0.9 percent, compared with an increase of 1.8 percent.

More after analysis.

HERE are the past five quarters, as revised:


The biggest disappointment here is the downward revision to first quarter nonresidential fixed investment, which was a pretty robust 1.27 contribution to GDP but has now been cut by one-third. That line item drives long-term GDP growth more than any other. The runner-up is residential fixed investment, which was revised lower during each of the four previous quarters.

HERE is full list of quarterly and annual revisions:


Each quarter was revised up by an average of about 0.05 points (0.7 divided by 13). It’s worth noting that the last three quarters of the Obama era (considering 1Q16 to be a carryover from his policies) came in 1.2 points lower (an average of 0.4 points). Expressed another way, originally reported growth during those three quarters was reduced by about 17 percent (1.2 points divided by the original raw total of 7.0 points).

So the economy was definitely in worse shape than was originally thought coming into the Trump administration. The 2014 economy was somewhat stronger than originally thought, arguably influenced in an outsized way by large increases in health care spending, likely Obamacare-driven, in the final three quarters of that year.

Overall, today’s report was a nice improvement over the previous three quarters, but not acceptable long-term. It may be that the next two revisions will be positive, given that recent information on durable goods and the recent pattern of upward revisions to previous months’ retail sales data. But there are also indications that the Trump optimism bump has reached the end of its momentum, especially as it hasn’t been supported by beneficial congressional action.

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (072817)

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.