Republic Steel to Idle Ohio Rolling Mill Operations

Republic Steel has announced it will idle its Lorain, Ohio rolling mill operations, citing weak demand. Plans call for the remaining 200 employees to be laid off by the end of the first quarter in staggered moves. AMM

A bearish tone has prevailed in annual special bar quality (SBQ) steel contract negotiations, with indications that prices could fall by as much as $60 per ton from last year as buyers push for price cuts.

Meanwhile, many US SBQ mills operated at 50-60 percent capacity utilization rates near the end of 2015. Canton, Ohio based SBQ producer Timken Steel operated at a 40 percent melt utilization rate in the third quarter and expected melt rates to dip below 40 percent in the fourth quarter. AMM

Midwest Economy Index (MEI) Moved Down

The Midwest Economy Index (MEI) moved down to -0.17 in November from -0.14 in October. November’s value for the MEI indicates that Midwest economic growth was slightly higher than what would typically be suggested by the growth rate of the national economy.

Chicago Business Barometer Contracted

The Chicago Business Barometer contracted at the fastest pace since July 2009, falling 5.8 points to 42.9 in December from 48.7 in November.

The steepness of the decline in the Barometer in recent months ends a particularly volatile year which has seen orders and output move in and out of contraction.”

Philip Uglow, Chief Economist of MNI Indicators

US Stocks Performed Poorly in 2015

US stocks posted their worst annual performance since 2008, closing out a rocky year that tempered investor’s expectations for gains in 2016. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 2.2% in 2015, while the broader S&P 500 fell 0.7%.

December 2015 Manufacturing ISM Report on Business

The December 2015 Manufacturing ISM Report on Business reported the Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) came in at 48.2 percent. Economic activity in the manufacturing sector contracted in December for the second consecutive month while the overall economy grew for the 79th consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest report.

The report, issued Monday by Bradley J. Holcomb, CPSM, CPSD, chair of the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Manufacturing Business Survey Committee:

The December PMI registered 48.2 percent, a decrease 0f 0.4 percentage point from the November reading of 48.6 percent. The New Orders Index…increased. The Production Index…increased…Contraction in new orders, production, employment and raw materials inventories accounted for the overall softness in December.

US raw steel production dropped another 1.1 percent last week as mills operated at an ACUR of 60.2 percent, the lowest level since October 3, 2009. In the corresponding week last year mills were operating at an ACUR of 75.1 percent.

Clinton Conflicts of Interest

Make your own decision; this little tidbit about the Clinton money raising machine was in the Wall Street Journal last week (12/31).

At Hillary Clinton’s confirmation hearing for secretary of state, she promised she would take “extraordinary steps…to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.” Later, more than two dozen companies and groups and one foreign government paid former President Bill Clinton more than $8 million around the same time they also had matters before Mrs. Clinton’s State Department.

  • Fifteen of them also donated between $5 million and $15 million to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.
  • In several instances, State Department actions benefited those that paid Mr. Clinton.
  • Mr. Clinton, for example, collected $1 million for two appearances sponsored by the Abu Dhabi government that were arranged while Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state. His speeches there came during and after the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security were involved in discussions about a plan to open a US facility in the Abu Dhabi airport (chief beneficiary would be Etihad Airways). The State Department supported the facility in the face of substantial opposition from unions, members of Congress and others. On December 6, 2011, US officials signed a letter of intent. One week later, wild Bill gave a 20 minute talk on climate change to the Abu Dhabi government environmental gathering. He collected $500,000.00.
  • In December 2012, Mr. Clinton sought approval for another speech in Abu Dhabi, before the World Travel and Tourism Council. One of the sponsors (all three were Abu Dhabi tourism agencies) was Etihad Airways. Naturally, Clinton’s spokesperson said it was “farcical” to suggest any connection between the speeches and the opening of the facility. Meanwhile, Etihad Airways operated its first flight from the facility last year.
  • Mr. Clinton was paid for more than 200 speeches while Hillary was secretary of state, according to Hillary’s disclosure forms. The ethics department turned down five of his speech requests.
  • Mr. Clinton also had a large payday from Oracle Corp: a total of $500,000.00 for two talks given or approved while Hillary was secretary of state, giving one in October 2012 as the company was urging the State Department to increase the number of skilled worker visa’s being issued.
  • Oracle, Samsung and Microsoft paid Mr. Clinton a total of $1.1 million for speeches during Hillary’s tenure.
  • In 2009, the Biotechnology Industry Organization lobbied the State Department to oppose rules against genetically modified foods…five months later the group paid Mr. Clinton $175,000.00 to appear at its convention. After Hillary left the State Department, she also spoke at the trade group’s convention, earning $335,000.00. of course a spokesman for the trade group said the speeches were unrelated to the company’s lobbying efforts toward Mrs. Clinton.
  • Mr. Clinton also received a substantial payout in 2010 from Renaissance Capital, a Russian investment bank whose executives were at risk of being hurt by possible US sanctions tied to an alleged corruption case in Russia. The Russian government was opposed to sanctions. At the time, the Obama administration was attempting to reset relations with Russia (remember Hillary’s red reset button?). the State Department rebuffed the request from Congress. “We…do not support such a measure at this time.” A few weeks later, Bill Clinton participated in a Q&A session at a Renaissance Capital Investors conference. He was paid $500,000.00. After the appearance, Mr. Clinton received a personal thank you call from Vladimir Putin.

I mean, doesn’t this strike you as being obvious for what it is? Aside from being obvious as graft, she violated her agreement with the Obama administration. Yet, she remains the front runner for the Democratic party and may become President of the United States when she should be in jail. You try to pull off what she and Bill have pulled off. See how far you get. It is bullcrap.

Excerpts from an “Opinion” by Daniel Henninger in the Wall Street Journal 01/07/16:

…without recording 2015 as the year that political correctness finally hit the wall…Since at least the early 1990’s a lot of the public has been intimidated into keeping its mouth shut and head down about subjects in the political and social life of the country that the elites stipulated as beyond discussion or dispute. Eventually the most important skill in America became adeptness at euphemism. It isn’t an abortion; “it’s a terminated pregnancy.”

Political Correctness

Some keywords in PC’s history: identity, gender-neutral, diverse, inclusive, patriarchy, workplace harassment, multiculturalism, dead white males, sexism, racism, organic, “privileged,” hate speech, speech codes, prayer in schools, affirmative action, respecting our differences, microaggressions, trigger warnings. That’s just the tip of the iceberg-which political correctness slammed into with the Trump and Carson campaigns….

In a 2014 essay written for the Washington Times, Mr. Carson wrote:

Political correctness is antithetical to our founding principles of freedom of speech and freedom of expression. Its most powerful tool is intimidation. If it is not vigorously opposed, its proponents win by default because the victims adopt a “go along to get along attitude.”

When Donald Trump’s mostly working class voters repeatedly said that “he tells the truth,” this is what they were talking about-not any particular Trump outrage but the years of political correctness they felt they’d been forced to choke down in silence.

…But people don’t get over it and they never forget. For a lot of voters now, possibly a majority, their experiences with enforceable, politically correct behavior, speech and thought have bred a broad mistrust of elites.

Average people think individuals in positions of leadership are supposed to at least recognize the existence of their interests and beliefs. The institutions that didn’t do that or were complicit include the courts, Congress, senior bureaucrats, corporate managers, the press, television, movies, and university administrators.

The election’s two big issues remain: a weak economy and global chaos. But for many the revolt against political correctness is on…

It’s about time. That we have endured this bullcrap for so long and have allowed it to take us to this miserable place is a sad commentary on the destruction which has befallen American society. It is time to turn the ship; hopefully we are not too late.

Oops! How Did That Missile Miss Its Intended Destination

This was a nice move. All the money spent on security:

An inert Hellfire missile sent to Europe for training purposes was wrongly shipped from there to Cuba in 2014…a loss of sensitive military technology that ranks among the worst known incidents of its kind.

The unintended delivery of the missile to Cuba has confounded investigators and experts who work in the regulatory system designed to prevent precisely such equipment from falling into the wrong hands.”

Wall Street Journal

New Sanctions on Iran … Delayed

Last Wednesday the Obama administration announced they would begin to levy new sanctions on Iran as it continues its ballistic missile program. On Thursday, the administration chose to delay its plan to impose new financial sanctions. Another red line…another capitulation to the enemy.

Have a great weekend…. God bless America!

Buy American made products whenever you can, it’s good for you, good for your friends and neighbors and good for our country.
If you are hiring…try to hire a veteran…. they are loyal, disciplined, hardworking…and they deserve our support.

Remember these tidbits as the election cycle grinds on:

  • Fast & Furious-Americans killed by guns supplied to the drug cartels…by the Department of Justice-Eric Holder presiding. The president was clueless. No one held accountable
  • Benghazi: Four Americans killed in an assault described as the result of a viral video. This was proved to be a false narrative. This was in fact, a planned act of terror. The president was clueless. No one even knows where he was as this went down. No one held accountable
  • “At this point, what difference does it make?” Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State
  • The IRS targeting of conservative groups and individuals. No one held accountable, Lois Lerner is on paid vacation and has refused to testify. The president was clueless. No one held accountable
  • Hillary using a private server for correspondence during her term as Secretary of State against the orders of the president. She thought “it would be more convenient…” Though the records were due when she left office, they were not submitted, subpoenas were issued, which she ignored for two years. Finally, she released 30,000 of some 60,000 alleged emails then she deleted the rest of the emails and will NOT turn over the server for investigation.