Daily Archives: October 11, 2012
The following US economic statistics were announced today:
The US trade balance worsened in August, as the trade deficit rose to $–44.2 billion, on declining exports due to economic weakness in both Asia and Europe.
Initial jobless claims fell unexpectedly and steeply, by 28,000, to 339,000, perhaps due to some odd seasonal adjustment factors this week. The four-week average is down 11,500 to 364,000, while continuing claims fell 15,000 to 3.273 million. This week’s level of 339,000 is the lowest of the recovery. But, as I said, there are some odd seasonal factors in play this week, so we’ll need to wait for the coming weeks’ reports to see if this low level is confirmed, or due for a big revision. UPDATE: As it turns out, California didn’t report any of its quarterly claims numbers. The seasonal adjustment was expecting a bump in those numbers, and that bump wasn’t there without the CA numbers. So, it’s thrown everything higgledy-piggledy.
Import prices rose 1.1% in August, while export prices rose 0.8%. On a year-over-basis, import prices fell –0.6%, while export prices fell –0.5%.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index dropped 1.4 points to -38.5.
That’s an amazing quote. Jake Tapper, who has done a pretty fair job of chasing the Benghazi debacle through the denials of the administration, reports on the Congressional hearings held yesterday about the terrorist attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya:
The former regional security officer in Libya, Eric Nordstrom, recalled talking to a regional director and asking for twelve security agents.
“His response to that was, ‘You are asking for the sun, moon and the stars.’ And my response to him – his name was Jim – ‘Jim, you know what makes most frustrating about this assignment? It is not the hardships, it is not the gunfire, it is not the threats. It is dealing and fighting against the people, programs and personnel who are supposed to be supporting me. And I added (sic) it by saying, ‘For me the Taliban is on the inside of the building.’”
Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Wood, the commander of a Security Support Team (SST) sent home in August – against his wishes and, he says, the wishes of the late Ambassador Chris Stevens – said “we were fighting a losing battle. We couldn’t even keep what we had.”
Nordstrom agreed, saying, “it was abundantly clear we were not going to get resources until the aftermath of an incident. And the question that we would ask is again, ‘How thin does the ice need to get until someone falls through?’”
Patrick Kennedy, a career foreign service officer, claims, on his honor, that the denial wasn’t driven by politics. And, when questioned, the State Department claimed funds or the lack thereof had nothing to do with it.
So what did? Why in the world wouldn’t the request of a regional security chief be filled? After all, isn’t that what you pay him for, to assess and recommend? And doesn’t it make sense, unless he’s crying “wolf” every 30 seconds (in which case he should be replaced), to listen to his assessment and err on the side of safety for your people? That is if politics and money weren’t a factor.
Tapper later confronts Presidential spokesman Jay Carney with a very pointed question:
TAPPER: President Obama shortly after the attacks told “60 Minutes” that regarding Romney’s response to the attack, specifically in Egypt, the president said that Romney has a tendency to shoot first and aim later. Given the fact that so much was made out of the video that apparently had absolutely nothing to do with the attack on Benghazi, that there wasn’t even a protest outside the Benghazi post, didn’t President Obama shoot first and aim later?
Carney, of course, goes into full dissemble and evade mode. Read the whole exchange, it’s interesting.
Big point? Tapper’s exactly right. What we know now, as opposed to what we were told prior too and during the “60 Minutes” broadcast, are totally different. We went from a spontaneous protest over the anti-Islam video that mophed into a murderous attack on our ambassador there to no protest at all, a planned terrorist attack and all of it having to nothing to do with any video.
We know as a matter of course that the terrorists like to do things on certain anniversaries (it was 9/11) and since this was the year their leader had been killed, it stood to reason something like this would likely happen.
We also learned the US was warned about it 24 hours prior to it happening. And, as the hearings have pointed out, additional security assets were denied numerous times and an unacceptable security situation was left in place with the ultimate outcome being an attack, the murder of US citizens to include the Ambassador, the compromise of sensitive information and then a massive attempt at coverup.
Obama has a second debate coming up. It’s the foreign affairs debate. If this isn’t the topic of the night, then it will be clear he’s being covered for by those moderating the debate. Fair warning. Don’t be surprised if that’s the case. What should also be a topic is Russia’s refusal yesterday to renew it’s nuclear arms treaty with the US (how’s that “reset” working out?) as well as it’s overt and material support of both Syria and Iran, China’s apparent comfort with bullying our ally Japan over some South China Sea islands, why our relationship with Israel is so strained, how well he thinks the Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Egypt is working out in terms of the best interests of the US (which is, by the way, why we supposedly conduct foreign policy), and the obvious failure of his Afghanistan “strategy” (announce a surge at the same time you announce the pull out).
If those are actually things which are brought up and he walks off the stage afterward thinking he won, Dems can pack it in.
My guess is we’ll be hearing questions and comments about Bain’s investments in China (they have to be careful there since it seems one of Obama’s campaign finance bundlers is in China), as if that has anything to do with foreign affairs.
Hopefully I’m proven wrong and that dismal foreign affairs record (supposedly his “strength”) of this awful administration is actually brought out that night.
I’ll not be holding my breath though.