November 30, 2015

As Paris Climate Talks Loom, AP’s Borenstein Goes Full-Bore Over ‘Trying to Save’ Earth

From time to time over the past nine years, I have written about “globaloney,” a shorthand term for the pseudo-science behind “climate change,” and “globalarmism” to describe the enviro-hysteria over “global warming” and the misguided public-policy prescriptions arising from that hysteria. Since the Paris climate talks have just begun, the press hysteria has reached a fever pitch.

At the Associated Press on Sunday, Seth Borenstein, swept up in that hysteria, wrote up a perfect example of “news” coverage embodying the essence of each term. We should be foreven grateful that longtime skeptic Christopher Monckton, at the Watts Up With That blog, picked Borenstein apart, utterly destroying the AP reporter’s work, piece by piece.


Former Reporters: AP Suppressed ‘World-Changing’ Story on Israeli Peace Offer in 2009

In predictably disingenuous fashion, the Associated Press claimed in a November 18 story that “Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has shined new light on the breakdown of a potentially history-altering round of 2008 peace talks.” Abbas acknowledged that Israel offered Palestinians 93.5 percent of the West Bank and other significant concessions.

The “light” isn’t “new” at all. The wire service had the news almost seven years ago, and, according to former AP reporters, refused to publish it. An AP reporter who “discovered the Israeli peace offer in early 2009, got it confirmed on the record and brought it” to the AP in Jerusalem has substantiated the assertion that it “suppressed a world-changing story for no acceptable reason.” It is perhaps the most damming validation yet that prudent people should never trust establishment press reports out of the Middle East — particularly in regards to Israel — because of their “pattern … of accepting the Palestinian narrative as truth and branding the Israelis as oppressors.”


November 29, 2015

AP’s Rugaber, Despite Wednesday’s Weak Economic Data: ‘Fundamentals Remain Solid’

As yours truly noted in several posts at my home blog on Wednesday and at NewsBusters on Friday and Saturday, the torrent of pre-Thanksgiving “getaway day” economic data was largely disappointing.

That didn’t stop the Associated Press’s Chris Rugaber from pushing the “All is well” meme late Wednesday afternoon, declaring, contrary to what anyone’s eyes could see, that “the fundamentals of the U.S. economy remain solid,” that “Consumers appear relatively confident in the economy,” and that “Americans are unleashing pent-up demand for big-ticket items such as homes and cars.”


November 28, 2015

AP’s Boak Says New-Home Sales ‘Recovered’ In October; No They Didn’t

On Wednesday, the Associated Press’s Josh Boak added to the wire service’s collection of weak “Getaway Day” business journalism by declaring that new-home sales “recovered in October.”

No they didn’t. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of 495,000 units reported by the Census Bureau was the fourth-lowest monthly level seen this year, even well below the 521,000 and 545,000 reported in the supposedly unprecedentedly awful winter months of January and February, respectively. Boak also claimed that “Americans recovered much of their appetite for owning new homes this year,” even though current levels are at best about 70 percent of what one would expect in a pre-”new normal” healthy market.


November 27, 2015

AP: Japan, in a Real Recession, Is Trying to ‘Pump Up (a Non-Existent) Recovery’

Twenty years of average economic growth of less than 1 percent have failed to convince Japan’s leaders — and apparently its citizens — that Keynesian-style government spending and handouts are not the answer to turning that long-suffering nation’s economy around.

So the Shinzo Abe government, fresh from learning that the country is in yet another recession — its fifth since 2008 — is doing more of the same, while counting on press shills around the world like the Associated Press’s Elaine Kurtenbach to be gentle in their coverage. Kurtenbach cooperated as expected early Friday morning (bolds and numbered tags are mine):


AP Accentuates and Makes Up Positives, Ignores Most Negatives, in Covering October Durable Goods Report

Ever since the White House changed hands almost seven years ago, press reports on the U.S. economy have annoyingly overaccentuated whatever positives reporters might find (or think they have found), while ignoring glaring negatives and omitting key items.

One example of such biased reporting came from the Associated Press’s Martin Crutsinger on Wednesday. In covering the Census Bureau’s October Durable Goods report, Crutsinger praised its one-month seasonally adjusted increases in new orders and shipments. While that news was welcome, the AP reporter ignored the ugly fact that October’s actual (i.e., not seasonally adjusted) year-over-year figure was lower than October 2014, marking the seventh straight month of year-over-year declines. He also didn’t address shipments, which have been flat compared to to the same month last year for the past four months, at all.


AP Headlines Oct. Consumer Spending As ‘Weak’; Crutsinger Opens by Claiming a ‘Modest Increase’

Economic news on Wednesday’s pre-Thanksgiving “Getaway Day” was largely dismal. The government’s report on October’s personal income and outlays headed up the disappointing news. While incomes increased nicely — at a rate which needs to be repeated about two dozen more times before it can be seen as genuinely impressive — spending only rose by 0.1 percent, and prior months were revised significantly downward.

Perhaps because they were all in a pre-holiday hurry, the headline writers at the Associated Press and AP economics writer Martin Crutsinger had fundamentally different takes on the news. Additionally, Crutsinger was apparently in such a rush that he didn’t worry about the fact that his first two paragraphs’ characterizations of the result disagreed. Finally, the AP reporter failed to note that total consumer spending in October was lower than what was originally reported in September after the previously mentioned downard revisions.


November 26, 2015

Positivity: George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation

Filed under: Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:00 am

This post is a BizzyBlog Thanksgiving tradition.



General Thanksgiving
By the President of the United States of America

WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLIC THANSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;– for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;– for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;– and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions;– to enable us all, whether in publick or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.

(signed) G. Washington

November 25, 2015

October Durable Goods: Orders Up 3.0 Pct. (But Down Slightly ex-Aircraft), Shipments Down 1.0 Pct.; Raw Numbers Are Worse

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:58 am

A mixed bag, but with more coal than presents, from the Census Bureau:

New Orders

New orders for manufactured durable goods in October increased $6.9 billion or 3.0 percent to $239.0 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today. This increase, up following two consecutive monthly decreases, followed a 0.8 percent September decrease. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.5 percent. Excluding defense, new orders increased 3.2 percent.

Transportation equipment, also up following two consecutive monthly decreases, led the increase, $6.1 billion or 8.0 percent to $82.1 billion.


Shipments of manufactured durable goods in October, down two of the last three months, decreased $2.5 billion, or 1.0 percent, to $240.1 billion. This followed a 0.2 percent September increase.

…  Inventories

Inventories of manufactured durable goods in October, down five of the last six months, decreased $0.7 billion, or 0.2 percent, to $397.4 billion. This followed a 0.6 percent September decrease.

The good news on orders is that they went up. The not-so-good news is that but for the big increase in the volatile nondefense aircraft and parts (+$7.8 billion), net orders in all other sectors declined by $0.9 billion.

Not seasonally adjusted October orders of $240.2 billion trailed October 2014 by 1.0 percent. This is seventh straight year-over-year monthly decline.

Not seasonally adjusted October shipments of $246.2 billion trailed October 2014 by 1.7 percent. This is a rare year-over-year decline in this area — only the second in the almost six years, and the biggest such decline since December 2009.

The inventory come-down is necessary from a business standpoint, but it’s probably going to hurt fourth-quarter GDP.

Overall, the trends here are decidedly not our friends.

New-Home Sales: Annualized 495K in Oct.; Previous 3 Months Revised Down by a Total of 40K

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

From the Census Bureau:

Sales of new single-family houses in October 2015 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 495,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 10.7 percent (±17.7%)* above the revised September rate of 447,000 and is 4.9 percent (±17.6%)* above the October 2014 estimate of 472,000.

Today’s result was in the expected range of 490K to 504K, but previous month revisions reduced July through September sales by a total of 40K:


Given that the three previous months got revised down today, it’s not unreasonable to believe that today’s not-great, not-terrible number won’t hold up in future revisions.

If Consumers Are Going to Save the Day, They’d Better Show Up Soon

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:56 am

The Bureau of Economic Analysis has just told us that personal income went up nicely in October, but that people didn’t spend the extra money:

Personal income increased $68.1 billion, or 0.4 percent, and disposable personal income (DPI) increased $56.8 billion, or 0.4 percent, in October, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased $15.2 billion, or 0.1 percent. In September, personal income increased $27.4 billion, or 0.2 percent, DPI increased $27.0 billion, or 0.2 percent, and PCE increased $9.5 billion, or 0.1 percent, based on revised estimates.

Real DPI increased 0.4 percent in October, compared with an increase of 0.3 percent in September. Real PCE increased 0.1 percent in October, the same increase as in September.

Additionally, as seen in the second of the two tables which follow, spending increases in previous months were were revised significantly downward, despite income increases getting revised upward:


Here’s the underlying data for this year, which shows a 2.1 perent increase through 10 months:


Since it came out only a day after GDP, I wouldn’t know whether today’s downward revisions were or weren’t considered in yesterday’s GDP report. If they weren’t, the above data, which shows PCE increasing by just 0.6 percent in the third quarter (2.4 percent annualized), would seem to dictate the need to take what the government reported yesterday — a 3.0 percent annualized increase in PCE — down significantly. If they were, yesterday’s result doesn’t seem defensible.

(UPDATE, Nov. 27: The Atlanta Fed reduced its fourth-quarter forceast from 2.3 percent to 1.8 percent based on today’s news. So if the government didn’t bake today’s income/outlays news into yesterday’s GDP report, it seems that the third quarter will be revised down in late December by a more than minor amount.)

In general — It’s more money, but barely more consumption. I say, with support found here, that the explanation is higher debt payments, which aren’t part of consumption, but certainly work to empty consumers’ pockets.

Initial Unemployment Claims (112515): 260K SA; Raw Claims 12 Pct. Below Same Week Last Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:37 am

Predictions were for 270,000 to 272,000 seasonally adjusted claims, which averages out to the same as last week.

Here are the key paragraphs from the Department of Labor’s report released at 8:30:


In the week ending November 21, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 260,000, a decrease of 12,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 1,000 from 271,000 to 272,000. The 4-week moving average was 271,000, unchanged from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 250 from 270,750 to 271,000.


The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 305,757 in the week ending November 21, an increase of 40,941 (or 15.5 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected an increase of 54,977 (or 20.8 percent) from the previous week. There were 357,202 initial claims in the comparable week in 2014.

I’m not sure why raw claims would have topped 300,000 for the first time in a while, but apparently, given both years’ relatively high seasonal adjustment factors (117.5 this year, 118.0 last year), the last full week before Thanksgiving typically has a higher level of claims than previous weeks.

So there’s nothing particularly cheering or alarming here.

November 24, 2015

‘Victim’ of ‘Islamophobia’ Three Years Ago Arrested in Turkey as Part of ISIS Cell

There are plenty of problems with the government’s “no-fly list,” and especially the plans by some congressmen and senators to abuse it. That said, it appears, almost three years later, to have gotten one name right.

In late 2012 and early 2013, leftists like Chris Hayes at MSNBC, Glenn Greenwald and Kevin Drum at Mother Jones were upset that Saadiq Long, a U.S. Air Force veteran who was living in Qatar, had been put on the no-fly list. After making a stink, Long’s name was apparently removed so he could fly into Oklahoma to see his ailing mother, only to see his no-fly listing reinstated so he couldn’t leave. He returned to Qatar, but only after taking a bus down to Mexico City and flying from there. End of story? Hardly, as PJ Media’s Patrick Poole reports:


Reuters: 2.1 Pct. GDP Growth Is ‘Respectable’; 2 Pct. Is Economy’s ‘Long-Run Potential’

Call it the triumph of the “new normal.”

At Reuters today, after today’s first revision of third-quarter gross domestic product showed that the economy grew by an annualized 2.1 percent, up from the late-October estimate of 1.5 percent, reporter Lucia Mutikani and Editor Paul Simao demonstrated that they have completely given in to the artificially lowered expectations of past seven miserable years. Despite the fact that annual growth in the U.S. economy averaged 3.4 percent from 1946-2007 — a period which included ten recessions — and that it has seen four-year spurts averaging over 4 percent several times in the past three decades, the Reuters pair claims that its “long-run potential” is now only 2 percent, thus making today’s 2.1 percent result “respectable.”


AP’s Boak: Consumer Confidence Drop Occurred Despite ‘Strengthened’ Economy

There was yet another sighting of the U-word (“unexpectedly”) in connection with disappointing economic news today.

Bloomberg News, which most frequently employs the word, told readers thatConsumer confidence unexpectedly declined in November to the lowest level in more than a year as Americans grew less enthusiastic about the labor-market outlook.” Expectations were that confidence would increase from October’s value of 99.1 to between 99.6 and 101.0, not drop like a rock in just one month by almost 9 percent to 90.4. Over at the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, economics writer Josh Boak clearly wanted his readers to believe that the news was a one-off “curveball” in an economy which he contended “has strengthened by many measures over the past month.” All one can say is that he must not be looking at the same economy as the rest of us.