Captain Rick: U.S. economic growth fell to a snail’s pace during Trump’s first quarter as president. GDP grew at an annualized rate of 0.7% in the first quarter of 2017, down from 2.1% growth in the fourth quarter of 2016.

The deceleration in real GDP in the first quarter was mostly a result of weak personal consumption due to lower auto sales and home-heating bills and a downturn in private inventory investment and in state and local government spending. An upturn in oil drilling and exports and accelerations in both nonresidential and residential fixed investment helped limit the overall GDP deceleration.

GDP Growth Rate in the United States averaged 3.21 percent from 1947 until 2017, reaching an all time high of 16.90 percent in the first quarter of 1950 and a record low of -10 percent in the first quarter of 1958.

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GDP…What is it?

‘GDP’ represents ‘Gross Domestic Product’…a market value of all officially recognized final goods and services produced within a country in a year. GDP performance (increases and decreases) present a broad-based picture of the health of a country’s economy. High GDP growth is typical of a healthy economy. Low GDP growth (below 3%) is typical of an unhealthy economy. Negative growth is typical of an economy in recession. 

GDP Details for Q1 of 2017:

Personal consumption expenditure (PCE) contributed 0.23 percentage points to growth (2.40 percent in the previous quarter) and rose 0.3 percent (3.5 percent in the previous quarter). Spending fell for durable goods (-2.5 percent from 11.4 percent in Q4 2016) and slowed for both nondurable goods (1.5 percent from 3.3 percent) and services (0.4 percent from 2.4 percent).

Fixed investment added 0.69 percentage points to growth (1.47 percentage points in the previous quarter) and increased 4.3 percent, compared to a 9.4 percent expansion in the previous period. By contrast, private inventories subtracted 0.93 percentage points to growth, after contributing 1.01 percentage points in the previous period. Government spending and investment subtracted 0.30 percentage points to growth (0.03 percent in the previous period) and contracted 1.7 percent (0.2 percent in Q4).

Meanwhile, exports jumped 5.8 percent, reversing a 4.5 percent drop in the previous quarter and imports increased at a slower 4.1 percent (9 percent in Q4), bringing the impact from trade to 0.07 percent (-1.82 percent in the previous quarter).

Captain Rick: President Trump made an ignorant choice when he recently attacked Shayrat air base in Syria with 59 Tomahawk E Cruise Missiles. He was obviously buckling to FAKE NEWS, the corrupted US Intelligence Machine and the warmongering minds of the U.S. Military. I am reblogging this outstanding journalism by fellow WordPresser Josep Goded. It presents a realistic view of the U.S. Strike on Syria that refutes the tons of FAKE NEWS that has been spread by Mainstream Media.

Josep Goded

On Thursday night, Donald Trump directed a strike against a Syrian military airbase, which targeted fighter planes, ammunition bunkers, radars, and petroleum storage. The Syrian regime said that the attack killed 7 soldiers and wounded 3.

In a brief press conference, Trump assured the American public that the strike was in retaliation for the last chemical attack against innocent civilians in Khan Sheikhoun in north-western Syria, which caused as many as 80 casualties, including many children.

Despite the fact that the UN could not reliably determine the accountability of the Syrian regime over the chemical attack, the U.S. government and the mainstream media launched a campaign to accuse them.

Ignoring the resolution of the UN, the NATO and other allies expressed their support for the strike and said that it was proportional. On the other hand, the Russian government condemned the attack and said that the U.S. is helping terrorists…

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Captain Rick: As I began to read this post from Marty, a fellow WordPress blogger, I wondered who is the ‘friend’ being written about? … but it did not take long before I knew Marty was talking about me. This story captivated me … gave me ‘goose bumps’ and even made me shed several tears of joy. Marty’s ‘words of kindness’ will forever be engraved in my heart as some of the best I have ever received. One never knows what will grow from the seeds that one plants along the road of life. A seed I planted for Marty has grown into a mighty tree. That tree will always be remembered as one of my best accomplishments in life. I am very humbled and grateful. Your friend, Captain Rick Atridim.

AHUELON NEWS JOURNAL

A friend’s guidance showed me my current purpose.  Purposes change over a lifetime. God sees the big picture of why we are here on earth, but we only see a chapter at a time as we amble through life.  I am going to tell a story about the past few years  that I faced, wondering what my new purpose would be and how my purpose was right under my nose.  It took a special friend to point me to it.friendship day

Over my seven plus decades I have faced many different chapters with many responsibilities. I grew up, married, had children, took care of a parent until her death, and became a widow.  Each chapter has its own story.  Becoming a widow had a surprising result.  I found I had no idea how to put myself on the front burner.  l felt lost.  I realized I needed to find a meaningful reason…

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Captain Rick: As the sun sets on my Arizona Oasis, it lights up with amazement. Red and blue rope lights surround the pool along with white pathway lights. Spot lights illuminate the fountain and numerous shrubs. Some of them reflect in the pool. At front is a desert spoon with yellow lantana to its right. Beyond it are mirrors on the block wall that reflect a glimpse into my house, which is also lit with vibrancy. There is no place in the world that is more serene to me.

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Click the photo to view full screen in 4K via Captain Rick’s Flickr site. Enjoy!

This is Part 2 of Ahuelon’s excellent series on Journalism and FAKE NEWS.

AHUELON NEWS JOURNAL

Brian Willams, Stephen Glass, Chris Cuomo, CNN, NBC, and CBS all have history involving FAKE News.  Some lost jobs, some lost credibility.  The public was cheated in all cases.

Fake News 1 (1)

I have  five examples, with  two different motives, for stooping low enough to offer fake news. The first four  fall in the category  of self promoting one’ own importance,  The last exhibits  the desire to deceive people from truth for political reasons.  The second seems more arrogant as it strongly indicates a lack of respect for his audience  by assuming they are stupid or naive.

In 1976 Jayson Thoma Blair resigned from a newspaper in the wake of plagiarism and fabrication charges involving some of his stories.  I guess fake news has been around a long time.

Number two on my list is Stephen Glass. He worked for The New Republic.  A movie,  Shattered Glass, dramatized his demise.  Stephen published articles that…

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A great post about FAKE NEWS from Marty, my friend and fellow WordPress Blogger …

AHUELON NEWS JOURNAL

I want to go down memory lane a bit  and talk about the news I grew up with way before fake news infiltrated our worlFake News 1 (1).jpg

My recollectio of “news” growing up was hearing it on the radio and seeing my parents with the paper in their hands every night.  In Dallas we had a morning and evening paper.  One was considered to have Democratic views and the other had a Republican slant.  It was  my sense that my parents believed everything they read in those papers as the gospel truth.

In 1940 the original TV news program was seen in New York. It was a simulcast of Lowell Thomas’ NBC network radio newscast.

In my home town Dallas TV was not seen until December 3, 1949.

I remember voices barreling from both the radio and TV in no-nonsense fashion.  They just stated the news without comment or opinion.  It was…

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held more than two hours of frank conversation Wednesday in the Kremlin amid tensions over a U.S. airstrike against a Syria air base blamed for last week’s deadly chemical attack. The unscheduled talks between Putin and the secretary came as Moscow warned against the U.S. repeating its missile strike on a Syrian air base.

Putin   Tillerson

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at left … Russian President Vladimir Putin right

In an interview broadcast Wednesday before the meeting with Tillerson, Putin said relations with the U.S. have worsened in the first few months of Trump’s presidency.

“It can be said that the level of trust at the working level, especially at the military level, has not become better but most likely has degraded,” he told state broadcaster Mir TV.

Putin also charged that the U.S. broke international law by striking the air base without providing evidence that the Syrian government used chemical weapons.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met

The meeting lasted for almost two hours to see if they could rescue relations between the world’s mightiest military powers. Russia’s alleged meddling in the U.S. presidential election also hovered over the first face-to-face encounter between Putin and a Trump administration Cabinet member.

It was not the first meeting between the two men. Tillerson, as CEO of ExxonMobil, forged a close relationship with the Russian leader over business dealings in the past. In 2013, Putin personally awarded Tillerson the Russian Order of Friendship when the two met to negotiate ExxonMobil’s $50 billion deal for Russian oil and gas rights.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov  and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met and spoke to the press after the Putin-Tillerson meeting

Tillerson and Lavrov spoke to the press after meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in an extended display of US-Russian disagreements over the chemical attack that left more than 80 dead; the role of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the country’s future; US actions in the Middle East; and Russian involvement in the US election.

Still, the two diplomats hinted that they could find common ground on this issue. Tillerson said that the US wouldn’t dictate how Assad’s departure takes place, saying, "We leave that to the process going forward," and added that it’s important his departure "is done in an orderly way" and that it will "take a pace of its own."

Lavrov, meanwhile, said that Russia is "not staking everything on a personality … we are simply insisting that everybody sits around the table and talks about it."

Lavrov also announced that Putin has agreed to reinstate a military "deconfliction" channel to ensure there are no unintended clashes in the skies above Syria. And Tillerson said that the two sides had agreed to establish a working group that would address smaller frictions and aim to make progress on larger differences.

The news conference came after Lavrov issued a warning to Tillerson Wednesday against any further US strikes on the Syrian regime. Russia is Syria’s most powerful ally.

Russia has rejected the US conclusion that Damascus was responsible for last week’s chemical attack, which killed 89 people and prompted the US to carry out its first strike against the Syrian regime in the six-year conflict, taking out aircraft and infrastructure at a Syrian military air base.

"The facts we have are conclusive" that the attack was planned and carried by Syrian government forces, Tillerson said, adding that the US was "quite confident of that" and describing it as "just the latest in a series of uses of chemical weapons by the Assad regime."

Lavrov countered, "It is perfectly obvious the subject is one we diverge on." He floated an alternate theory that "some of these stockpiles are being controlled by extremists," and added, "Russia is insisting on an objective investigation" and will protest if it does not take place.

Tillerson said he told the Russian leader that current relations between the two countries are at a "low point" … "There is a low level of trust between our two countries" … "The world’s two foremost nuclear owners cannot have this kind of relationship."

Lavrov said that the U.S. and Russia have agreed on the need for a United Nations probe of the Syrian chemical attack … an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the chemical attack and the U.S. response to "try and identify the culprits" … a step that could dial down the rhetoric between the two nations for now.

The two sides expressed their agreement over the need to defeat the Islamic State in the region. Lavrov said defeating the terrorist group is a more important priority than Assad remaining in power. Lavrov also that Putin could restore a military hotline with the U.S. if Washington focuses on fighting the Islamic State and other extremist groups.

Both officials addressed the question of allegations of Russian interference in the U.S. elections. Tillerson said there was no talk of additional sanctions in the wake of U.S. charges over the issue, but noted that it was an issue raised by Congress. "We are mindful of the seriousness of that particular interference in our elections and I am sure that Russia is mindful of it as well." Lavrov, echoing past denials of any Russian hacking or other interference in the electoral process, said Moscow hasn’t seen “a single fact, or even a hint at facts” proving the U.S. allegations of Russian interference.