GDP Worsens

Zero Hedge has the details:

In what has been called the economic equivalent of hitting 00 on roulette, moments ago the BEA announced that Q2 GDP eased off from the original estimate of 1.2%, declining fractionally to 1.09%, and right on top of consensus estimates, which also expected a 1.1% print in the second quarter. This means that following the disappointing Q1 print of 0.83%, the first half economic growth is now officially just below 1%, or 0.096% to be precise.

There was little change in the constituents, with Personal Consumption revised modestly higher from an already questionable 2.83% to 2.94%, translating into 4.4% sequential increase in personal consumption, above the 4.2% expected, and higher than the pre-revised 4.2%. Also improving was fixed investment which is said to have dipped by “only” -0.42%, modestly better than the -0.52% reported a month ago. However, this was offset by a downward revision to private inventories which subtracted -1.26% from Q2 GDP, worse than the -1.16% reported previously, while trade now contibuted only 0.1%, down from 0.22% last quarter. Finally, government was also revised lower from -0.16% to -0.27%.

While there were no major surprises in the report, we urge readers to keep an eye on consumption, which as we showed one month ago, inexplicably soared in the first quarter. In fact, as shown below, after today’s revision it is just shy of the highest print reported over the past five years.

Considering recent commentary from dollar stores which plunged most on record yesterday on the back of a collapse in low-income spending, we doubt that this seasonally adjusted and goal seeked number is even remotely close to reality.

Finally, with real GDP now rising at just 1.2% Y/Y, entirely propped up by the consumer, any incremental weakness to US spending in the current quarter would push the US into a technical contraction.

Senator’s Kin Behind EpiPen Hike

Well lookie here. A Democrat Senator’s daughter is CEO of the company that just hiked the EpiPen 400%.

Her name is Heather Bresch and she’s the CEO of Mylan NV, maker of the drug, and the daughter of West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin.

You’d think this doesn’t look good. Bloomberg has decided to report on it. Whether it gets traction is dubious, given the efforts of the media, especially TV people, to let it slide on by.

If lawmakers follow the usual script, Bresch could get called up to Capitol Hill next month to explain her company’s justification for raising the price on the life-saving allergy shot. But that could be awkward, since she’s the daughter of Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

The scrutiny on EpiPen intensified Wednesday after Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton called the price increase “outrageous,” sending Mylan’s stock down as much as 6.2 percent. The intense political pressure could lead regulators to speed up their review of a rival product by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., according to some analysts, or force Mylan to curb prices — in both cases hurting revenue and profits.

While CEO Bresch’s family ties may mute the ire of some lawmakers, others are already asking the company about taxpayers having to foot the bill for these price increases — particularly after Bresch and the company successfully pushed legislation to encourage use of the EpiPen in schools nationwide.

Mylan is the latest drugmaker to provoke congressional ire for steep price hikes. Martin Shkreli and executives from the company he used to lead, Turing Pharmaceuticals AG, and executives from Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. were called before congressional committees earlier this year to explain why they bought the rights to older drugs that lacked competition and raised the prices.

The Mylan controversy fits a similar pattern. Mylan has increased the price of its EpiPen from about $57 a shot when it took over sales of the product in 2007 to more than $600 for two auto-injectors. But the company’s EpiPen is a more mainstream drug used to treat life-threatening allergic reactions from bee stings, food allergies or other triggers, which could give the issue a larger constituency.

Mylan declined to comment when asked to explain the price hike or Bresch’s role in promoting legislation. Manchin’s office also didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Members in both chambers expressed outrage this week.

“I am deeply concerned by this significant price increase for a product that has been on the market for more than three decades, and by Mylan’s failure to publicly explain the recent cost increase, which places a significant burden on parents, schools and other purchasers of the EpiPen,” Senator Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, said Tuesday in a statement, noting that he is a parent of a child with severe allergies.

On Wednesday, the Senate Special Committee on Aging asked Bresch to turn over information used by Mylan’s board of directors related to the price increases. The panel wrote a letter to Bresch asking her to “provide a briefing to Committee staff on the pricing of EpiPen at a mutually convenient time no later than two weeks from today.” The letter was signed by the committee’s chairman, Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine, and its top Democrat, Claire McCaskill of Missouri.

Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat who has asked the company to lower its prices, is holding an event on Wednesday where he will call for investigations by the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Federal Trade Commission into potential antitrust violations and deceptive and illegal trade practices.

Congressional anger may be fueled by the company’s tactics in pushing legislation that helped boost the use of EpiPens.

Mylan spent about $4 million in 2012 and 2013 on lobbying for access to EpiPens generally and for legislation, including the 2013 School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act, according to lobbying disclosure forms filed with the Office of the Clerk for the House of Representatives. Mylan also was the top corporate sponsor of a group called Food Allergy Research & Education that was the key lobbyist pushing for the bill encouraging schools to stock epinephrine auto-injectors, of which EpiPen is by far the leading product.

They played the rigged system and will probably get by with it.

The Never Trump Pledge

Always insightful blogger Don Surber has “found” the Never Trumpers’ pledge:

Never Trumpers take the high moral ground in their opposition to Trump. This weekend, I acquired a copy of the pledge they take on that high moral ground on which they glide.

Here is the Never Trump pledge.

I (state your name) do solemnly pledge my allegiance to True Conservatism as determined by the National Review, the tax-exempt think tanks many of its writers work for, and Sir Rupert Murdoch through his various media holdings such as the Wall Street Journal and Fox News. I will do everything in my power to trip up Trump, even if it means re-tweeting links to Huffington Post, the Washington Post, and Michael Moore.

I make this vow fully knowing that if successful, Never Trump will result in the election of a woman who has aided and abetted rapists, including her husband; and,

a woman whose lies got her fired from the Watergate committee;

a woman who used her husband’s elected position as attorney general of Arkansas to land a job at the Rose Law Firm;

a woman who accepted $100,000 under the ruse of capital gains from cattle futures;

a woman who helped her husband acquire an illegal $300,000 loan as governor from the Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan in the Whitewater land scam;

a woman who as first lady illegally fired the White House travel office staff;

a woman who aided and abetted the sexual harassment of Paula Jones to the point where she and her husband had to pay every cent Miss Jones sought in her lawsuit, just to avoid trial;

a woman who stole White House furniture;

a woman who set up a server in her bathroom to avoid FOIA requests of her emails at the Department of State, and then opened thousands of state secrets to our adversaries; and finally,

a woman who laundered foreign bribes disguised as charitable donations to the Clinton Foundation, which served as her campaign-in-waiting.

However, I will disavow any aiding and abetting the election of a woman who would sell out the country for thirty pieces of silver because I am a candy-ass.

Furthermore, I pledge allegiance to stopping Trump knowing that this is passive-aggressive support for a woman who helped Iran get nuclear weaponry, sent soldiers to two wars which she later disavowed, and helped recruit thousands of Islamic State terrorists by destabilizing governments in Egypt, Libya, and elsewhere.

Finally, I pledge to stop the only man who can prevent Hillary Clinton from stacking the Supreme Court with people who will assist her in liquidating the Bill of Rights.

In so doing, I disavow everything I said I stood for previously — including gun rights, the right to life, free speech, freedom of religion, and the sanctity of marriage — in the faint hope of stopping her in 2020, and reversing the damage done, just like Reagan ended Medicaid and a Republican Congress rescinded Obamacare.

I do so because Trump says mean things, has bad hair, and once posed in a picture with the Clintons.

Couldn’t express it better.

The ISIS Stabbing You Didn’t Hear About

The media continues to obscure what it doesn’t want us to know while highlighting the ridiculous.

Case in point, a stabbing Saturday in Virginia. The ISIS inspired man tried to behead someone.

Here’s the story from zerohedge:

It may come as a surprise to Americans who were keenly following their favorite media outlet, that on Saturday, in Roanoke, Virginia, there may have been an attempted ISIS-inspired beheading attempt. Surprising, because virtually nobody covered it. However, as ABC reports this morning, the FBI has launched a federal terrorism investigation into a weekend stabbing in Roanoke, VA, looking at whether the attacker may have been trying to behead his victim in an alleged ISIS-inspired assault.

While it is unclear if there was a media blackout surrounding the attack, what is more troubling is that according to ABC, US authorities had been aware of the alleged attacker, 20-year-old Wasil Farooqui, of the Roanoke area, for some time. In the past year, he traveled to Turkey and may have tried to sneak into Syria, where ISIS is recruiting and inspiring sympathizers from across the world, sources said.

As ABC adds, Farooqui was arrested Saturday by Roanoke County Police on charges of assault with malicious wounding, and he’s being held without bond at the Western Virginia Regional Jail, according to the sources and a jail database.

During the Saturday stabbing, Farooqui allegedly injured a man and woman at an apartment complex in Roanoke, yelling “Allah Akbar” as he attacked them with a knife, sources told ABC News. Authorities believe he may have been trying to behead the male victim, who was likely picked at random, ABC News was told.

CBS adds that the victims told police they were attacked as they entered The Pines Apartments just before 8 p.m. The male was able to fight off the attacker, who fled the scene, police said.

Farooqui and his two alleged victims were hospitalized after the attack. Their conditions were not clear.

While officers were at the hospital with the victims, a male, subsequently identified as Farooqui, came into the emergency room with injuries of his own, authorities said. He met the description of the suspect in the stabbing, and further investigation by police led to his arrest, they said.

“The FBI is working with the Police Department following the incident that occurred on Saturday evening,” the head of the FBI’s Richmond field office, Special Agent In Charge Adam Lee, said in a statement. “While I cannot discuss details of the investigation at this time, I do want to reassure the community that we are working to determine the nature of the incident.”

It was not clear if Farooqui had a lawyer. It was also not clear how, unlike in Europe, where any attempted beheading gets media coverage within seconds of taking place, this event which took place three days ago, has so far avoided the broader press.

A U.S. intelligence source tells CBS News Farooqui has been on the FBI’s radar for months and is believed to be “self-radicalized”… even though other sources confirm he traveled to Turkey and may have been in Syria. Authorities aren’t sure whether Farooqui is an American citizen.

Feel secure with Obama as Commander in Chief?

Another Arkancide Victim?

You know what Arkancide is. It’s that sudden and inexplicable death of someone who might do harm to the Clintons. It first happened while he was governor of Arkansas, hence the name.

There have been several suspicious deaths this summer:

John Jones, who represented Wikileaks chief Julian Assange, died April 18. He was 48 years old. He was staying in a hospital, reportedly for mental problems and reportedly he jumped in front of a train after he was allowed to leave the hospital for a walk at 5 a.m. They deemed it a suicide.

Lawfuel blog has questions about the incident:

Few reported on it or raised the obviously question as to his suicide – Why?

However serious questions have arisen this week at the coronial inquest into Mr. Jones’ death as to how he was permitted to leave a private psychiatric hospital at 5am and go to the train station where he died.

As the Camden New Journal reported he was at the private hospital with a number of mental health issues that had been given the ‘working diagnosis’ of bipolar disorder and anxiety.

But the court heard that he spent the majority of the time alone in his room, refusing to attend therapy sessions or even eat in the communal dinning room.

Coroner Mary Hassell raised concerns about his treatment and said: “He was in his room, lying on his bed or on his laptop. That seems fairly awful in therapeutic terms. To me if I were worried about a person that was mentally unwell I would think that environment was the worst possible environment for them.”

As the EU Times reported this week: No one did any kind of investigative journalism at all and no one asked themselves what was a millionaire lawyer doing on the train tracks. Picking mushrooms?

There is a severe lack of information that we don’t even know where exactly this happened, in West Hampstead train station? In the middle of nowhere? No one interviewed the train driver, no one asked him what happened or what he saw. Was he pushed in front of a train? Did he slip? Are there any witnesses? What about CCTV cameras?? UK is infested with those yet they prove useless now when we need them?

Again, complete blackout on this so-called suicide.

Strange indeed.

He was happily married, with children. His mother says he would never take his life because of the children.

His wife said she was “surprised” when her husband was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after a one hour meeting with a Dr. Pereira because she said: “John could be obsessive, and could ruminate, but he didn’t have highs and lows.”

Julian Assange has questions about it, too, especially after Wikileaks tweeted “Male intruder at 2.47am climbed this wall of the Ecuadorian embassy in London where Assange has asylum.” Then this: “Inquest rules that death of Julian Assange’s lawyer, John Jones QC, was not ‘suicide’, opening door to law suits.”

If you’ll recall, Wikileaks says they will release documents damaging to Hillary Clinton before our election. Stay tuned.

Dems Demise Should Spur GOP

Seeing this headline in this morning’s Commercial Appeal, “Shelby Democrat party disbanded,” should gladden the hearts of Republicans in our city. As is said, when your enemy is busy killing himself, don’t get in the way.

Make no mistake. They are the enemy. Of course I don’t mean that you can’t have a friend who’s a Democrat. But you can’t trust their organization because they will whittle away at our rights and work to make us an even bigger minority than we are now. That is what they have been busy doing for the past century.

Their decline is an opportunity for the Shelby GOP. There is no doubt that their effort in several elections has made a difference. We’ve gotten people elected who will steer this city into more jobs and prosperity for all while safeguarding our rights.

But we shouldn’t sit back. They are dissolving, we need to be strengthening.

How to do this? I’m certainly no expert, but having started a club and been on the steering committee, I have come up with some ideas.

We need someone in place who can devote continual time to the effort. Someone who can make the maximum use of our headquarters as Don Johnson did. A friend called HQ recently to ask about getting a Trump sign. The response she got was I’m not here, but I am working. No specific hours were given when someone would be there. How does that help someone who wants to drop by for a sign for a candidate?

Many of our officials are lawyers or other professionals with a lot to do in those occupations and with family. That’s fine, but they cannot give the 100% leadership others can. Some kind of delegation of duties needs to be done so that we can cover all our needs and plan ahead of elections, debates and other civic events.

We need to get people who can look at facts and data and tell us how to contact Memphians who are potential Republican voters. Voter rolls are discussed a lot, but attempts to use them to our advantage never materialize. Granted it is a lot to go over, but it is one way we can expand our vote.

Our messaging is poor. Even today, a look at the Shelby GOP website is out of date, referring people to links about the upcoming Aug. 4 election. One item even refers to the presidential primary on March 1st! Can’t this be checked daily? What does a Shelby County resident who wants information on our party going to think when it’s not current?

I would have liked to have seen pictures or read reports of the convention held in Cleveland. I’m sure a lot of interesting things happened there to Shelby County Republicans, but it wasn’t communicated publicly. A daily quick report from there by leaders would have let some of us at home have an idea about what was obviously an exciting and newsworthy convention.

Our clubs need to be strengthened. I think the clubs have helped get many of our people elected by sending out letters to their neighbors who recognize them and give credence to the appeal. Right now clubs are just left to sink or swim on their own. Again, it’s not a criticism of leadership, it’s recognition that many of our leaders just have too much to do for one position.

Perhaps we need more communal events free of cost to encourage fellowship among the clubs. One where there isn’t any agenda or speaker or cause. Get togethers could do a lot to foster communication and esprit de corps.

Our big fundraiser, the Lincoln Day dinner, drastically needs an overhaul. The silent auction has some weird items and has lost its interest. Surely there are other ideas to supplement the event. The food doesn’t exactly lure you in either. And let’s put some of the speakers on the retired list, please.

We need to get more young people involved. There is activity at U of M, but what about Rhodes? A few years back, the president of the College Republicans there attended one of our Midtown meetings. He then graduated and we lost touch with them. I think a lot of our members would welcome them to our meetings and be able to lend a hand in other ways, too.

Being in charge of Republicans anywhere is a big job. Our philosophy of individuality means we don’t indoctrinate or propagandize easily.

I hope we can overcome these divisions to come together. So much of the future depends on it.

Party Girl Malia Obama

“Malia Obama ‘attends wild party in Martha’s Vineyard and is rushed out by the Secret Service as cops shut it down.'”
So reads a headline in the British paper The Daily Mail. You won’t see much of this covered in our media.

Khaleda Rahman reports:

Malia Obama was reportedly a guest at a wild party on Martha’s Vineyard that police ended up coming to break up last week.

The 18-year-old is with parents President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle and sister Sasha on their final vacation as First Family on the Massachusetts island.

Malia went to the party at the private home in West Tisbury near the presidential summer retreat, the Boston Herald reported, but was escorted home right as officers responded to a noise complaint.

West Tisbury police declined to confirm if the first daughter was one of the partygoers ushered out of the bash, citing ‘national security’ to the newspaper.

They did elaborate that they ‘responded to a noise complaint, like we do numerous times this time of year.

‘We told them to go home and they did.’

It’s not the first instance of Malia making the most of her gap year before starting at Harvard University in the fall of 2017.

Earlier this month, she was pictured taking a drag of what appeared to be a marijuana cigarette at the Lollapalooza concert in Chicago.

Like father, like daughter, it seems, as Obama himself has admitted to smoking the drug in his autobiography.

And it’s not just Malia who enjoys a night out while on vacation, Obama has reportedly hit the town four nights in a row.

On Sunday, the president assembled his security and press entourage to go out at nearly 11 pm.

That day, he played golf for about five hours before dismissing the small group of reporters who accompany the president in public.

They were told to reassemble at 8:15 pm, but Obama’s motorcade rolled down the dirt driveway of his secluded rental in Chilmark, on the island’s western tip, almost two-and-a-half hours later.

The motorcade later pulled up to Lola’s in Oak Bluffs, on the other side of the island.

The whole family joined friends for a ‘social event’ at the Southern seafood restaurant, the White House said.

They socialized for about an hour before returning to their rented home just before 1 am on Monday.

The White House says Obama is just trying to get the most out of the time he is spending here with family and friends, before a busy fall crammed with foreign and domestic travel.

Here’s a video of Malia twerking:

Ask yourselves what the media would have done were it the Bush twins doing this.