After two years of a lot of hard work, little sleep and 'one thing after the other' days end on end, Sweet Tammy's begins baking out of their new facility.
From this point forward, after additional new baking equipment from Italy is delivered, their customer expansion should begin in an aggressive fashion. ST is being pressed by several of their grocery chain customers to place their products in more stores and come up with new sku's.
Message from our son: "We ran our first 'bake' out of the new facility. Lots of exciting times ahead.....Exhausted but powering through....a great day all in all. Still working out the kinks, finding places for everything and getting "settled in" but its nice to be in our new home."
The most open White House ever seems to shut down when their hand is caught in the cookie jar. Obama and Holder only lie when they are talking. (See 1 below.)
And why is Wall Street shocked by GDP figures? All you have to do is read the Wall Street Journal or some comparable paper like Investor's Business Daily and you would know the economy is stalling out and the only growth in corporate earnings is from their foreign operations.
The media and press want to hide reality to protect their 'anointed one' who, along with his advisers, is afraid to let the "free' market clear the air and do what it always does - more effectively allocate. than government bureaucrats
I have written repeatedly, I believed we were going to experience the backside of the hurricane , admittedly having been in the eye much longer than I would have thought, but Bernanke spent billions keeping us there. (See 1a below.)
Don't know whether you will read about this in the traditional drive by media. What this says to me is that Libyan rebels are also thuggish and our support of them might backfire because we may be trading the devil we know for the one we don't.
Once again, I suspect our State Department is going to be caught flatfooted. (See 2 below.)
Kevin Jackson gives a hurrah to The Tea Party which, he claims, Obama keeps trying to mug. Obama's only recourse is to keep on his demagogy. (See 3 below.)
Krauthammer and the debt ceiling debate.
K explains what is going on, why and what he believes is the best solution until the final philosophical battle is won, if it can be won: "Given this reality, trying to force the issue — trying to turn a blocking minority into a governing authority — is not just counter-constitutional in spirit but self-destructive in practice."
K concludes, until conservatives control government, go with the Boehner plan. He explains explains why and why the other proposals are either unworkable and/or a smokescreen for doing nothing.(See 3a below.)
Meanwhile, Mitch believes the 'glitch' is that there is no Obama plan. Ah, but that is the Obama plan - Criticize the opposition for their plan and then you do not have to reveal that you have none of your own. (See 3b below.)
Have a great weekend.
1)ATF: The White House Knew
Scandal: A former ATF special agent tells Congress a National Security Council staffer was informed about Operation Fast and Furious before guns allowed into Mexico wound up at the murder scene of a U.S. agent.
The latest evidence that both the White House and attorney general knew and approved of Project Gunrunner and its deadly offshoot, Operation Fast and Furious, came this week in the testimony of William Newell, ATF special agent in charge of the Phoenix office, before Rep. Darrell Issa's House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
That the "stench of cover-up," as Fox News analyst Brit Hume described the administration's handling of the matter, may reach even into the Oval Office itself was evidenced by Newell's testimony that he communicated with Kevin O'Reilly, a staffer on President Obama's National Security Council, about Operation Fast and Furious in September 2010.
O'Reilly was national security director for North America tasked with monitoring the activities of Mexican drug cartels. We are asked to believe he inquired about a program that was providing the cartels with guns but kept what he found out to himself.
That date, by the way, is three months before weapons permitted to "walk" into Mexico were found at the scene in Arizona were U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered. Newell said O'Reilly had inquired about the status of Project Gunrunner to brief administration officials before a trip to Mexico.
Newell sent O'Reilly the requested information with the caveat, "You didn't get this from me."
Why was a National Security Council staffer asking about an operation that no one in the upper echelons of the administration was supposed to be aware of? We find it hard to believe it was for O'Reilly's personal amusement. Why would Newell request that he not be acknowledged as the source?
Certainly the whole area of drug cartels, cross-border violence and gun trafficking are matters of national security. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has made a cause celebre of blaming the easy access to U.S. weapons for Mexican violence.
Subscribe to the IBD Editorials Podcast Are we to believe neither the White House nor the Department of Justice knew about a program that made that access even easier?
Administration officials have taken the Sgt. Schultz "we knew nothing" approach to any inquiries, only to be tripped up by their own words and actions.
Newell's email to O'Reilly is evidence that at least one person in the White House did.
Attorney General Eric Holder told the House Judiciary Committee in May that he learned about the operation in the "last few weeks." In fact, as we've noted, Holder himself gave a speech to Mexican authorities in Cuernavaca, Mexico, on April 2, 2009, taking credit for Gunrunner as well as Fast and Furious for himself and the Obama administration.
Holder told the audience: "Last week, our administration launched a major new effort to break the backs of the cartels. My department is committing 100 new ATF personnel to the southwest border in the next 100 days to supplement our ongoing Project Gunrunner."
At a June 29 press conference, President Obama told reporters, "As you know, my attorney general has made clear he certainly would not have ordered gun-running to pass through into Mexico."
Yet a video shows former Deputy Attorney General David Ogden telling reporters at a Department of Justice briefing of steps to expand Gunrunner "as part of the administration's comprehensive plan" and as the "president has directed us."
ATF agents have testified that they were ordered not to interdict guns before they passed into Mexico under this operation and evidence has surfaced that the FBI averted its eyes when an instant background check should have alerted them to two convicted felons transferring more than 300 guns.
The "stench of cover-up" grows stronger even as the mainstream media put a clothespin on their collective nostrils.
1a)Economy Grew Only 1.3% in Spring After Nearly Stalling in Winter
The U.S. economy grew less than forecast in the second quarter, after almost coming to a halt at the start of the year, as consumers retrenched.
Gross domestic product rose at a 1.3 percent annual rate following a 0.4 percent gain in the prior quarter that was less than previously estimated, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a 1.8 percent increase. Household purchases, about 70 percent of the economy, climbed 0.1 percent.
Slower job and income gains raise the risk that a pickup in purchases during the remainder of 2011 will fail to materialize. The faltering economy will probably complicate the debt-ceiling negotiations in Congress and is one reason why Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke has said policy makers need to keep all options open.
“The transition into the second half is on rocky footing,” Guy LeBas, chief fixed-income strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott LLC in Philadelphia, said before the report. “Consumers are just refusing to increase their spending, which sets the stage for a stagnant economy. We’re in economic doldrums right now.”
Forecasts of 85 economists in the survey ranged from 0.9 percent to 2.9 percent. At $13.27 trillion in the second quarter, GDP has yet to surpass the pre-recession peak.
The GDP estimate is the first of three for the quarter, with the other releases scheduled for August and September when more information becomes available.
The Commerce Department today issued GDP revisions going back to 2003.
The 2007-2009 recession took a bigger bite out of the world’s largest economy than previously estimated and the recovery lost momentum throughout 2010, the report showed. GDP shrank 5.1 percent from the fourth quarter of 2007 to the second quarter of 2009, compared with the previously reported 4.1 percent drop. The second-worst contraction in the post-World War II era was a 3.7 percent decline in 1957-58.
Consumer spending from April through June showed the smallest gain since the second quarter of 2009, when the economy was in recession. The slump reflected a 4.4 percent plunge in purchases of durable goods like automobiles.
Higher expenses for necessities like food and energy may have curtailed spending on less essential items. The cost of a gallon of regular gasoline climbed in May to about $4 a gallon, the highest in almost three years, according to AAA, the nation’s biggest auto group.
The absence of faster job growth is also discouraging shoppers. The unemployment rate climbed to 9.2 percent in June while payrolls grew by 18,000, the fewest in nine months, Labor Department figures showed on July 8.
Purchase, New York-based PepsiCo Inc., the world’s largest snack-food maker, said profit this year will increase more slowly than it previously projected because of rising commodity costs and cooling customer demand.
“It’s the consumer and competitive picture that has become more difficult than we expected,” Chief Executive Officer Indra Nooyi said on a July 21 conference call.
Much of the growth in the second quarter came from business investment and trade. Spending on commercial structures, including factories and office building, and equipment contributed 0.6 percentage point to growth. The improvement in the difference between imports and exports added another 0.6 point.
Overseas sales will remain a backstop for factories. Dow Chemical Co. (DOW), the largest U.S. chemical maker, said demand is “strong” in markets abroad.
“We captured strong growth in Latin America, and the emerging geographies more broadly, while North America experienced moderate growth,” Andrew Liveris, chief executive officer, said on a July 27 conference call with analysts.
Inventories grew in the second quarter at about the same pace as in the prior three months, adding 0.2 percentage point to GDP.
A slump in government spending added to the economy’s woes last quarter. Outlays by state and local agencies dropped at a 3.4 percent annual pace, and non-military spending by the federal government slumped 7.3 percent, the most since 2006.
“In the very near term, the recovery is rather fragile,” Fed Chairman Bernanke told lawmakers on July 14. “We just want to make sure that we have the options when they become necessary” to stimulate the economy.
One area of weakness last quarter was auto purchases. Cars and light trucks sold at an average 12.1 annual rate in the April to June period, down from a 13 million pace in the first three months of the year, according to industry data.
A shortage of Japanese-made parts after the earthquake and tsunami in March slowed production at U.S. manufacturers. The shortage of components is projected to ease this quarter.
At the same time, the government’s inability to agree on a budget and debt-limit increase may be making companies reluctant to order new equipment and hire in the second half.
The employment outlook remains dim, based on company announcements this month. San Jose, California-based Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO), the world’s largest networking-equipment maker, plans to cut about 6,500 jobs worldwide. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. will reduce staff by about 1,000, and Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) will offer a voluntary separation plan to 6,500 employees.
“Recent economic data are clear — the U.S. economy is still struggling to emerge from the Great Recession and unable to move to a path of vibrant and sustainable growth,” Dan DiMicco, chairman and chief executive officer at steelmaker Nucor Corp., said on a July 21 teleconference with analysts.
The Fed’s preferred price gauge, which is tied to consumer spending and strips out food and energy costs, climbed at a 2.1 percent annual pace, the most since the last three months of 2009, compared with a 1.6 percent in the first quarter, as higher oil and food costs pushed up the prices of other goods and services. The central bank’s longer term projection is a range of 1.7 percent to 2 percent.
© Copyright 2011 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.
2)Libyan rebels killed their commander for secret parley on war's end with Qaddafi
Abdel Fatah Younis, commander of the Libyan rebel forces fighting Muammar Qaddafi, was put to death on the orders of Mustapha Abdul Jalil, head of the rebel Transitional National Council, who wanted him out of the way before the start of peace negotiations, debkafile's intelligence and military sources report.
His execution was set up by TNC officers who first abducted him and the two colonels who never left his side. After they were removed to a point 20 kilometers east of the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, all three were shot in the head. The killers brought the bodies back to Benghazi to prove the TNC chief's orders had been carried out and collect their payment.
Younis, a former interior minister, defected to the rebel side in February after working with Qaddafi for 40 years. The circumstances of his death were deliberately confused by Benghazi.
The TNC chief Jalil aparently wanted the powerful Younis out of the way for good before negotiations for the transition of government in Tripoli began. Jalil is a weak figure who enjoys scant respect – even among the Libyan tribes supporting the insurgency. He was clearly concerned that at some point in the negotiations, Gen. Younis's name would be put forward as the most suitable candidate for leading rebel representation in the post-war government in Tripoli, Qaddafi would then appoint his son Saif al-Islam as his successor and the two would run the future government as a team.
the plan was already taking shape at the highest levels in Washington, Paris, Moscow and Berlin when it was derailed by the death of Younis. French foreign minister Alain Juppe brought the plan to London on Tuesday, July 26 to help the British government climb down from the demand to keep the war going until Qaddafi quit and departed Libya.
And indeed, the Cameron government agreed to line up behind Washington, Moscow and Berlin and conceded that the Libyan ruler would stay in the country after he stepped down.
But then, on Thursday, the TNC announced the death of the rebels' military chief. It was followed by a claim that pro-Qaddafi loyalists had shot him to impair rebel military capabilities and punish him for defecting. Jalil claimed that Younis had been called to the Benghazi headquarters for questioning but never arrived, tacitly encouraging the rumors that he had been a double agent who secretly served Qaddafi after his defection and made sure the rebels lost the war.
Those rumors were disseminated as a smokescreen to cover Gen. Younis' warning to the rebel administration in closed meetings - starting four months ago - that they would never defeat Qaddafi's army in battle and they would do well to stop the bloodshed and sit down to work out a power-sharing deal.
The general explained that were it not for the NATO air umbrella and Qaddafi's fear of the losses air strikes would inflict on his army he would have trounced rebel forces in eastern and western Libya and retaken Benghazi in less than a week.
When the TNC leader Jalil refused to heed these warnings and cut rebel losses, Younis gave his field commanders a free hand to negotiate a ceasefire with their opposite numbers on the pro-Qaddafi side. As a result, from the second week of May, an informal truce descended on the main battle fields of Misrata and Brega.
From time to time, rebel headquarters in Benghazi sent out officers with orders to tackle Qaddafi forces in defiance of the truce. But they were no match for the superior strength of government troops and were forced back - proving Gen. Younis had got it right.
When negotiations for ending the conflict hove in sight, Jalil suspected Gen. Younis of planning to beat his own path to Qaddafi and bypassing both the TNC delegation and the NATO powers. The TNC leader resolved to protect his own standing and bid for power by scotching the threat posed by the general.
3)Tea Party Crashes Washington Orgy
By Kevin Jackson
For Obama, the Tea Party fits in Washington like nuns at a swingers' convention. The fiscal orgy at Club Fed just can't continue unless the Tea Party gets the hell out. Unfortunately for Obama, we just won't leave. How could we? We can't afford to refuel our corporate jets.
So in order to give the Tea Party the "change we need," Obama is pulling out all the stops. He continues his War on Productivity against the "rich." Like the preacher said to the congregation, "I have good news and bad news. The good news is we have the money for the new building. The bad news is it's out there in your pockets."
When Obama can't just get taxpayers to hand over their booty at knifepoint, he threatens to "Katrina" America and unleash Mother Nature on us. His timing was impeccable, as he delivered his Mother Nature threat in the wake of the worse tornado season in decades -- let no crisis go to waste!
But somebody must have whispered in Obama's ear that on people's list of concerns, more tornadoes a hundred years from now can't measure up to the need to eat every day until then.
This prompted Obama to threaten our food, as not allowing Obama to create more debt might force him to cut the FDA. How horrible a death would it be to die from E. coli?
Has this guy ever experienced cuisine in Mexico, where merely handling a mango can get you Montezuma's revenge? You'd think that being African, Obama realizes that the bugs you can get in the Motherland from eating the wrong foods make salmonella feel like slight indigestion.
We weren't fooled. So when the food scare didn't work, Obama pulled the entitlement card out. Obama tried to mug old people -- gank them like a purse-snatching, wallet-lifting thief in the street -- by suggesting that they wouldn't receive their Social Security checks.
However, even the old "old people will lose their benefits" trick didn't persuade conservatives to allow Obama to pick their pocket, thus victory was delayed for the battle-worn wannabe hero of the left.
Time for yet another escalation within the Democrat Rules of Destruction of America manual, with willing Democrat Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee pulling out her well-worn but now laminated race card.
According to Lee, there exist racists in Congress who do not want to raise the debt ceiling for this president as they have for all "other" presidents. Lee points out that there is only one glaring difference between this president and all "others." I originally guessed that this president is the only idiot we've ever elected, but then I was reminded of Jimmy Carter, who presided during the Peanut Era.
Congressman Lee's beehive is obviously wrapped too tight, as she apparently forgot that the debt ceiling has already been raised three times for this president, putting Obama ahead of Bush in the "Race to Continually Raise the Debt Ceiling."
Obama was left with only one possibility, one move -- one gambit, as it were: Obama would have to "talk tough."
Things are serious when Obama talks tough. Reminiscent of the battle between the African king Ramses and the Jewish Prince Moses, Obama warned Republican Eric Cantor: "Don't try me...uh...you Yutz!"
Unfazed by Obama's threat, Cantor challenged, "Game on...Boyee!"
At a press conference, Obama unleashed tough talk on Cantor, the Republicans and the Tea Party, and anybody else who would dare try to live the American Dream unfettered. The raw-meat supporters of Obama's tough talk were treated to Obama's poll-tested new tough words: "balanced approach."
In his call for a balanced approach to allow himself the ability to run up even more massive debt, Obama used the historical, heretofore automatic raising of the debt ceiling to defend his actions. Apparently the "change we need" did not involve turning off the money spigot or the Treasury printing presses.
Ironically, it was Obama who in the campaign of 2008 sold half of America on the idea that he was going to Washington to stop the status quo. I can only surmise that Obama didn't think Washington was spending America into oblivion fast enough. He's not exactly "reining in Washington," is he?
So we find ourselves fighting the same battle with liberals yet again, and pretty much in the same old ways. Democrats bluster that if taxpayers don't keep forking over the big bucks, we will all die, and Republicans allow us to be pecked to death by chickens.
The only way to rein in Washington is to take away our money. Not raising the debt ceiling is the only way to force America to cut government, something liberals abhor.
Liberals love spending orgies. Unfortunately for them, the Tea Party movement brought a fiscal religion revival to the continuing party at Club Fed Hedonism 2008+. And we ain't going nowhere.
That's my rant!
Kevin Jackson is author of the Amazon bestseller The BIG Black Lie and The Black Sphere blog.
3a) The Debt-Ceiling Divide
By Charles Krauthammer
We’re in the midst of a great four-year national debate on the size and reach of government, the future of the welfare state, indeed, the nature of the social contract between citizen and state. The distinctive visions of the two parties — social-democratic versus limited-government — have underlain every debate on every issue since Barack Obama’s inauguration: the stimulus, the auto bailouts, health-care reform, financial regulation, deficit spending. Everything. The debt ceiling is but the latest focus of this fundamental divide.
The sausage-making may be unsightly, but the problem is not that Washington is broken, that ridiculous, ubiquitous cliché. The problem is that these two visions are in competition, and the definitive popular verdict has not yet been rendered.
We’re only at the midpoint. Obama won a great victory in 2008 that he took as a mandate to transform America toward European-style social democracy. The subsequent counterrevolution delivered to that project a staggering rebuke in November 2010. Under our incremental system, however, a rebuke delivered is not a mandate conferred. That awaits definitive resolution, the rubber match of November 2012.
I have every sympathy with the conservative counterrevolutionaries. Their containment of the Obama experiment has been remarkable. But reversal — rollback, in Cold War parlance — is simply not achievable until conservatives receive a mandate to govern from the White House.
Lincoln is reputed to have said: I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky. I don’t know whether conservatives have God on their side (I keep getting sent to His voicemail), but I do know that they don’t have Kentucky — they don’t have the Senate, they don’t have the White House. And under our constitutional system, you cannot govern from one house alone. Today’s resurgent conservatism, with its fidelity to constitutionalism, should be particularly attuned to this constraint, imposed as it is by a system of deliberately separated — and mutually limiting — powers.
Given this reality, trying to force the issue — trying to turn a blocking minority into a governing authority — is not just counter-constitutional in spirit but self-destructive in practice.
Consider the Boehner plan for debt reduction. The Heritage Foundation’s advocacy arm calls it “regrettably insufficient.” Of course it is. That’s what happens when you control only half a branch. But the plan’s achievements are significant. It is all cuts, no taxes. It establishes the precedent that debt-ceiling increases must be accompanied by equal spending cuts. And it provides half a year to both negotiate more fundamental reform (tax and entitlement) and keep the issue of debt reduction constantly in the public eye.
I am somewhat biased about the Boehner plan because for weeks I’ve been arguing (in this column and elsewhere) for precisely such a solution: a two-stage debt-ceiling hike consisting of a half-year extension with dollar-for-dollar spending cuts, followed by intensive negotiations on entitlement and tax reform. It’s clean. It’s understandable. It’s veto-proof. (Obama won’t dare.) The Republican House should have passed it weeks ago.
After all, what is the alternative? The Reid plan with its purported $2 trillion of debt reduction? More than half of that comes from not continuing surge-level spending in Iraq and Afghanistan for the next ten years. Ten years? We’re out of Iraq in 150 days. It’s all a preposterous “saving” from an entirely fictional expenditure.
The Congressional Budget Office has found that Harry Reid’s other discretionary savings were overestimated by $400 billion. Not to worry, I am told. Reid has completely plugged that gap. There will be no invasion of Canada next year, no bicentennial this-time-we-really-mean-it 1812 do-over. Huge savings. Huge.
The Obama plan? There is no Obama plan. And the McConnell plan, a final resort that punts the debt issue to Election Day, would likely yield no cuts at all.
Obama faces two massive problems — jobs and debt. They’re both the result of his spectacularly failed Keynesian gamble: massive spending that left us a stagnant economy with high and chronic unemployment — and a staggering debt burden. Obama is desperate to share ownership of this failure. Economic dislocation from a debt-ceiling crisis precisely serves that purpose — if the Republicans play along. The perfect out: Those crazy tea partiers ruined the recovery!
Why would any conservative collaborate with that ploy? November 2012 constitutes the new conservatism’s one chance to restructure government and change the ideological course of the country. Why risk forfeiting that outcome by offering to share ownership of Obama’s wreckage?
3b)McConnell To Dems: Where Is Your Plan?
“Let me just explain what’s been going on in Congress this week.
“The American people have been waiting on us to do something to prevent default. They want us to end this crisis now. And over in the House of Representatives, you’ve got the Speaker of the House doing his job. Speaker Boehner’s been doing the hard work of governing, working day and night to put together a bill that can actually pass the House of Representatives and end this crisis now. And he should be commended for his efforts.
“And what about here in the Senate? Well the contrast couldn’t be starker. Rather than working these last few days towards a solution to this crisis the way the Republican Majority in the House has, the Democratic Majority here in the Senate has been wasting precious time rounding up `no’ votes to keep this crisis alive. Rather than being responsible and doing their duty and come up with a bill that can pass, they’ve been busy signing people up for the `not good enough’ caucus and ginning up opposition to everything else.
“Lawmakers should be working a solution to this crisis, not a blocking strategy. Our Democrat friends here in the Senate have offered no solutions to this crisis that could pass either chamber. Not one. Instead, all day long yesterday, we got chest-thumping comments about how they’re going to kill any piece of legislation that comes over here from the House, that it’s dead on arrival.
“Democrats are out bragging about how they’re going to prolong this crisis instead of doing the hard work of trying to solve it.
“And that includes the President.
“Look: If the President hadn’t decided to blow up the bipartisan solution that members of Congress worked so hard to produce last weekend, we’d be voting to end this crisis today.
“Instead, Democrats in Congress are still talking about blocking a solution to this crisis. And the President’s rolling out new mileage standards.
“How about this: how about a plan from Democrats in Washington that can pass both chambers, prevent this crisis and protect Americans from a worsening economy?
“I would suggest to my friends on the other side this morning that they start taking their responsibilities as a majority party a little more seriously, because at this point, the only people who are disregarding the consequences of default are Senate Democrats — not the Republicans in the House — but them.
“Republicans have been doing the hard work of governing this week. It’s about time Democrats join us.”