October 5, 2015

Not News: Obama’s Planned Visit to Roseburg, Ore. ‘Not Welcome’ There

Items found at the Associated Press, the New York Times and the Washington Post, in reporting that President Obama plans to visit Roseburg, Oregon later this week, have all failed to report that community leaders have said that his visit is not welcome.

The 4:10 p.m. PT (7:10 PM ET) entry at a running timeline at AP announced that “Barack Obama will travel to Oregon this week to visit privately with families of the victims of last week’s shooting at a community college.” None of the four previous items in the timeline as of 9:00 PM ET tonight (saved here for future reference) mentions that town leaders, who believe they are appropriately expressing the community’s sentiments, would prefer that he stay away.


Salon Writer Calls Michelle Malkin a ‘Right-Wing Rage Monkey’

Filed under: 2nd Amendment,Activism,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:57 pm

Poor Gary Legum at Salon.com. How dare supporters of the right to keep and bear arms as clearly defined in the Constitution’s Second Amendment push back against the gun control movement’s cynical exploitation of Thursday’s Roseburg, Oregon massacre?

Legum is outraged that “The right tells us (again) to ignore the elephant in the room.” He must mean the fact that the area in question at Umpqua Community College was a “posted” gun-free zone with only unarmed security guards, right? Of course not. Legum is upset over Americans’ “irrational attachment … to weaponry” — so upset that he descended into profanity and name-calling that would likely end his career forever if he were a right-wing commentator.


October 4, 2015

They Do Have Editors, Right? NY Times Issues Six Corrections to Melania Trump Story

One of the more tiresome criticisms the establishment press still levels at New Media from time to time is that they, unlike those awful bloggers, make sure their facts are right before they go to print or post a story online.

A story published at the New York Times on Wednesday about Donald Trump’s wife Melania shows what obvious rubbish that claim often is. The Old Gray Lady had to issue six corrections over two days to (one would hope) finally get it right. One of the errors was so pathetically obvious that it’s hard to imagine that Guy Trebay’s story was subjected at all to the scrutiny of an editor.


Press Yawns As U.S. PR Firm Flaks for Venezuela’s Oppressive Government

Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro presides over a country which is falling apart thanks to the socialist policies of his government and that of his predecessor Hugo Chavez. The Economist describes the period since Chavez took over in 1998 as that of “authoritarian misrule” characterized by “by shortages of everything from poultry to pharmaceuticals, by inflation approaching 200% and by rampant corruption and crime.”

It also cites the country’s “dwindling cash reserves.” Given the situation, the fact that a U.S.-based PR firm has recently and eagerly taken on the task of trying to make Maduro look good should be seen as appalling. But that hasn’t been the case. The apparent silence of some of this PR firm’s leftist clients arguably demonstrates their tacit support for obvious oppression as long as the one engaging in it is a socialist. What little press coverage there has been of this firm’s association with Maduro has been neutral to laudatory.


October 3, 2015

Raw Jobs Numbers the Press Won’t Disclose Paint an Even Uglier Picture Than Currently Reported

In their coverage of government and other economic reports, the business press routinely tells readers that the figures they are relaying are “seasonally adjusted.” That is, raw results are smoothed out to supposedly “remove normal, recurring variations” in data.

There’s one notable exception: The government’s monthly employment report. As has been their habit for as long as I have been following these things, various Associated Press reports in the past several days (examples here, here and here) and at yesterday’s New York Times failed to tag yesterday’s reported gain in payroll jobs of 142,000 as “seasonally adjusted.” There appears to be no reason for this other than to discourage curiosity among those who might otherwise be inclined to dig deeper. Doing so sometimes reveals that the seasonally adjusted figures understate the job market’s strength. Other times, they appear to overstate it. As seen after the jump, especially in the private sector, the poor seasonally adjusted results of the past two months are nowhere near as bad as the underlying raw data:


AP, NY Times Fail to Report Absence of Power, Kerry From Netanyahu UN Speech

On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at the United Nations. As described by George Jahn at the Associated Press, it was “an impassioned speech interspersed with bouts of dramatic silence.”

Jahn failed to report the absence of U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power and Secretary of State John Kerry. So did Rick Gladstone and Judi Rudoren at the New York Times. An unbylined Reuters report drily noted that U.S. representation at Netanyahu’s speech consisted of “Ambassador Samantha Power’s deputy, David Pressman, and U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro.” Breitbart also noted the presence of “Richard Erdman, Alternate Representative to the UN General Assembly.” Reuters uniquely explained why Power and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who was in town, did not attend (bolds are mine throughout this post):


October 2, 2015

Not News at AP: 10 Straight Months of Declines in Factory Orders and Shipments

Although it was very disappointing, the September Employment Situation Summary, which told us that the economy added only 142,000 seasonally adjusted jobs as hundreds of thousands of Americans withdrew from the labor force, was not the worst economy-related news of the day.

That dubious honor belongs to the Census Bureau’s Factory Orders report. At least the employment report showed more people holding payroll jobs and overall August payroll employment 2 percent greater than a year ago. By contrast the Census report continued a nearly year-long pattern of declining year-over-year orders and shipments accompanied by still-bloated inventories. As anyone could have predicted, Martin Crutsinger at the Associated Press completely ignored these alarming trends.


Random Question: Is The Government’s ‘Birth/Death Model’ Padding the Jobs Numbers?

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:14 pm

Every month, the government attempts to estimate the net result of jobs added at companies they haven’t found yet (because they’re new or still hiding out there somewhere) and companies that have gone out of business.

The result is the Birth/Death Model adjustment.

But here’s the thing.

The government always presents estimates by industry and then tells us how many not seasonally adjusted jobs were added or lost overall.

But the Birth/Death Model only applies to the private sector.

If we recognize that reality, the Birth/Death model gave us 34,000 of the 525,000 not seasonally adjusted jobs lost in the private sector in September.

It gave us 111,000 of the not seasonally adjusted 24,000 jobs added in August (after today’s downward revision).

You read that right.

Without the Birth/Death Model estimate, August would now be showing a net loss on the ground of 87,000 jobs.

If, as I suspect, the Birth/Death model is overly optimistic these days — it makes sense that it would be, given the continued year-over-year declines in factory orders and shipments this year and even late last year — we’re going eventually see even more downward adjustments to the jobs numbers as the annual comprehensive revisions roll in.

Factory Orders: Yet Another Month (10th in a Row) of Year-Over-Year Declines

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:20 am

From the Census Bureau:

New orders for manufactured goods in August, down following two consecutive monthly increases, decreased $8.2 billion or 1.7 percent to $473.0 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today. This followed a 0.2 percent July increase.

Shipments, down four of the last five months, decreased $3.2 billion or 0.7 percent to $480.1 billion. This followed a 0.2 percent July decrease.

That’s the 10th month in a row (previous nine are seen at link).

Zero Hedge says it’s the longest such negative streak outside of a recession.

All of this once again begs the question of how GDP can possibly continue growing.

The September Employment Situation Summary (100215): OUCH — Only 142K SA Jobs Added; Prior Months Revised Down 59K; Unemployment Rate Still 5.1 Pct.; Private Sector’s Worst Sept. Since ’09

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:27 am


  • Yahoo’s Business Calendar expects 200,000 payroll jobs added and the unemployment rate staying at 5.1 percent per Briefing.com.
  • “Markets” at Yahoo’s Business Calendar has 205,000 jobs added and no change in the unemployment rate.
  • An Associated Press report on initial unemployment claims yesterday had a prediction of +206K for jobs and the unemployment rate holding.

August adjustment: Everyone seems to assume, based on revisions made in previous years, that August’s number is going to get revised up by 30,000 to 50,000. As I noted last month, even that writeup isn’t going to mean that August was strong, based on how weak the raw numbers were.

Not seasonally adjusted benchmarks for September: Before seasonal adjustment, the economy will need to have added 750,000 jobs to nonfarm payrolls and to have lost just 200,000 jobs in the private sector.


September (actually the period between mid-August and mid-September, based on the timing of the underlying surveys) is a period when a lot of government workers in education return to their jobs after having the summer off, while a lot of private-sector workers end their seasonal employment.

The report will be here at 8:30.

HERE IT IS (full HTML link with tables) This one’s going to leave a mark. August got revised DOWN, not up. September is weak, and the malaise indicators got worse

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 142,000 in September, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in health care and information, while mining employment fell.

Household Survey Data

In September, the unemployment rate held at 5.1 percent, and the number of unemployed persons (7.9 million) changed little. Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons were down by 0.8 percentage point and
1.3 million, respectively.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (4.7 percent), adult women (4.6 percent), teenagers (16.3 percent), whites (4.4 percent), blacks (9.2 percent), Asians (3.6 percent), and Hispanics (6.4 percent) showed little or no change in September.

The civilian labor force participation rate declined to 62.4 percent in September; the rate had been 62.6 percent for the prior 3 months. The employment-population ratio edged down to 59.2 percent in September, after showing little movement for the first 8 months of the year.

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 142,000 in September. Thus far in 2015, job growth has averaged 198,000 per month, compared with an average monthly gain of 260,000 in 2014. In September, job gains occurred in health care and information, while employment in mining continued to decline.

Health care added 34,000 jobs in September, in line with the average increase of 38,000 jobs per month over the prior 12 months. Hospitals accounted for 16,000 of the jobs gained in September, and employment in ambulatory health care services continued to trend up (+13,000).

Employment in information increased by 12,000 in September and has increased by 44,000 over the year.

Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up in September (+31,000). Job growth has averaged 45,000 per month thus far in 2015, compared with an average monthly gain of 59,000 in 2014. In September, job gains occurred in computer systems design and related services (+7,000) and in legal services (+5,000).

… Employment in food services and drinking places continued on an upward trend in September (+21,000). Over the year, this industry has added 349,000 jobs.

Employment in mining continued to decline in September (-10,000), with losses concentrated in support activities for mining (-7,000). Mining employment has declined by 102,000 since reaching a peak in December 2014.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls declined by 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours in September. The manufacturing workweek decreased by 0.2 hour to 40.6 hours, and factory overtime declined by 0.2 hour to 3.1 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased by 0.1 hour to 33.6 hours.

In September, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls, at $25.09, changed little (-1 cent), following a 9-cent gain in August. Hourly earnings have risen by 2.2 percent over the year. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees were unchanged at $21.08 in September.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for July was revised from +245,000 to +223,000, and the change for August was revised from +173,000 to +136,000. With these revisions, employment gains in July and August combined were 59,000 less than previously reported. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 167,000 per month.

The latest figures indicate that about 83,000 more people were working in September than were working in August (142K minus 59K in prior-month revisions).

Not Seasonally Adjusted Results:

  • Overall, only 587,000 jobs were added compared to the 750,000 needed. As seen below, that’s the worst September performance since 2010. In the context of previous years, the overall seasonal adjustment looks reasonable.
  • The private sector was horrible. 525,000 jobs were lost compared to the benchmark of 200,000 losses. As seen below that’s the worst September by miles since 2009. In the context of prior years, one could easily argue that the seasonal adjusted result should have come in at about 20,000-40,000, or 80,000-100,000 lower than the reported 118,000. (Update: Upon further review, one could argue that the seasonally adjusted private-sector figure should have been zero).

Here are the ugly adjusted tables after incorporating today’s results:


The private sector results are indeed the “payroll disaster” Zero Hedge is describing. Note that August’s already poor 71K dropped to 24K.


UPDATE (data is seasonally adjusted unless otherwise indicated):

  • The Household Survey shows 236,000 jobs lost in September, and (not kidding) only 5,000 gained since May.
  • “Not in labor force” quantum-leaped by almost 600,000 to 94.61 million.
  • The last time we saw a labor force participation rate of 62.4 percent was October of 1977.
  • Manufacturing employment is down by 27,000 in the past two months.
  • Full-time employment fell by 185,000 to 121.839 million, retreating to a level just below the pre-recession peak of 121.875 million in November 2007 after slightly exceeding it last month. Part-time employment increased by 53,000.
  • Average weekly earnings fell by $2.85 to $865.61. That’s far more telling than the 1 cent drop in the average hourly rate.
  • Is there anyone who really believes that only 7.9 million Americans would be reported as unemployed if BLS was defining it exactly the same way as it was 10 years ago?

I would think that the people who have been so sure of a Fed rate hike aren’t as sure now.

More fundamentally, I would argue that the employment results are finally catching up to the awful orders, production, and shipments figures we’ve seen in hard-number Census Bureau, Federal Reserve and other data this entire calendar year. I would expect that people who believe that the past two months have been aberrations and who expect a return to 200K+/month payroll job adds as far as the eye can see — I’m talking to you, Mark Zandi at Moody’s/ADP — are going to be sorely disappointed.

October 1, 2015

Initial Unemployment Claims: 277K SA; Raw Claims (215K) 5 Pct. Below Same Week Last Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:43 am

From the Department of Labor:


In the week ending September 26, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 277,000, an increase of 10,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 267,000. The 4-week moving average was 270,750, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 271,750.


The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 215,483 in the week ending September 26, a decrease of 3,856 (or -1.8 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected a decrease of 11,741 (or -5.4 percent) from the previous week. There were 227,571 initial claims in the comparable week in 2014.

There was almost no difference between this year’s seasonal adjustment factor of 77.8 and last year’s 78.0.

Considering the low level of raw claims (even though the year-over-year decline is much lower than in previous weeks), there’s nothing alarming here.

Positivity: Pope Francis reportedly met with Kim Davis, offered support

Filed under: Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:15 am

From Washington:

Sep 30, 2015 / 08:47 am

Embattled county clerk Kim Davis met with Pope Francis in Washington, D.C. last Thursday, her lawyer has told multiple media outlets.

When asked about the meeting, the head of the Holy See press office, Fr Federico Lombardi, said, “I don’t deny that the meeting may have taken place but I don’t have comments to add.”

Robert Moynihan, editor of the publication “Inside the Vatican,” first broke the story about the alleged meeting. According to his account, Pope Francis and Davis met at the Vatican Embassy in D.C. on Thursday afternoon after the Pope’s address to the U.S. Congress. He offered her words of support – “Thank you for your courage” – and told her to “stay strong,” offering rosaries to Davis and her husband.

Davis, a clerk for Rowan County, Kentucky, made headlines this past summer for refusing out of conscience to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, after the U.S. Supreme Court in June legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states in its decision, Obergefell v. Hodges.

The district court judge ordered that Davis serve jail time for refusing to obey the law, stating that her conscientious objection was not enough for her to lawfully recuse herself from issuing licenses. Davis served five days in jail.

According to Moynihan, Vatican sources confirmed the details of the meeting. Davis’ attorney Mathew Staver confirmed to multiple outlets that the meeting occurred and told CBS News that the two promised to pray for each other, and that Pope Francis offered Davis and her husband rosaries.

“I can confirm the meeting took place Thursday afternoon in DC,” the Twitter account for Mathew Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel and attorney for Davis, said on Tuesday night.

Liberty Counsel released a statement Tuesday evening linking to Moynihan’s report. The rosaries that Pope Francis reportedly presented to Davis and her husband were blessed by the Pope and would be given to Kim’s parents, both of whom are Catholic, the group said.

According to the Liberty Counsel statement, Davis responded that she was “humbled” to meet the Pope.

“Pope Francis was kind, genuinely caring, and very personable. He even asked me to pray for him. Pope Francis thanked me for my courage and told me to ‘stay strong,’” she said, according to the statement. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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 LifeNews.com 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):