Questions and Observations

Free Markets, Free People

Yes, it’s official – he’s a national embarrssment

I mean, come on:

embarrassment

 

Below the dignity of the office?  You think?

One CNN correspondent asked White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest during a daily biefing: ‘I’m just curious – was “Charlie Bit My Finger” or “David After Dentist” not available?’

Add in the John Kerry/James Taylor “You’ve Got A Friend” and, well, “pitiful” is an inadequate way of describing this mess.

Next up?  Joe Biden attends the funeral of the Saudi King and offers Ray Stevens and “Ahab the Arab” in tribute?  Would anyone be surprised?

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 22 Jan 15

Initial weekly jobless claims fell 10,000 to 307,000. The 4-week average rose 6,500 to 306,500. Continuing claims rose 15,000 to 2.443 million.

The FHFA House Price Index rose 0.8% in November, following October’s 0.6% increase.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell -0.7 points to 44.7 in the latest week.

The Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index fell -5 points to 3 in January.

The Fed’s balance sheet fell $-3.141 billion last week, with total assets of 4.513 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $5.4 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $67.5 billion in the latest week.


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SOTU: infomercial for low info voters

Facts – hard to beat.  Easy, though, to put nonsense out there (especially when you have an hour of prime time TV to yourself) and have it believed by enough people that will never see the corrections.  Even AP couldn’t quite stomach the baloney Obama put out:

Among the claims the AP finds less than truthful in the piece, entitled “FACT CHECK: Obama claims credit for an incomplete recovery“:

  • “At this moment – with a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry and booming energy production – we have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth.”

Actually, the AP notes, “By many measures, the economy is still recovering from the deep scars left by the Great Recession.” Unemployment has been steadily decreasing, but that’s driven primarily by a growth in low paying jobs and people leaving the labor market. There are still 1.7 million fewer workers with full-time jobs than in December 2007 when the recession began.

  • “I am sending this Congress a bold new plan to lower the cost of community college — to zero.”

The cost of community college isn’t being lowered to zero, the costs will simply be shifted elsewhere. The AP estimates it would cost “an estimated $60 billion over 10 years to the treasury.” Furthermore, the plan would require states to contribute a quarter of tuition, and not all students would qualify.

  • “Wages are finally starting to rise again. We know that more small-business owners plan to raise their employees’ pay than at any time since 2007.”

While business owners are indeed reporting that they “plan” to increase wages, “there is scant evidence that it is happening yet.”

And that’s just a very small part of the propaganda Obama put out there.

Frankly I think Emily Zanotti (I’m a big fan of hers) summed it up best:

The State of the Union is an infomercial for low-information voters and an excuse for DC staffers to get blindingly drunk on a weeknight.

Pretty much.  I’d only amend it to say that it is the party of the President who gets to present the infomercial (because few if any watch the other party’s rebuttal).  But yeah, it’s a whole bunch of preening and lying laid out for those who will look no further.  It’s also an exercise in bias confirmation for others.

Modern politics.  What’s not to love?

 ~McQ

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Even more this and that

Not sure how you stick with one topic a day when so much is going on, thus the appeal of commenting on lots of topics.

For instance, we find out that President Obama is the reason gas prices are down … if his SOTU is to be believed (yeah, it’s not).  The fact that you happened to be hanging out in Washington DC and your title is “President of the United States” doesn’t mean you did anything to make that happen.   As I pointed out earlier, his EPA will soon take care of that anyway.

There were a lot of other bits of fun and fantasy as well – free community college.  Because, you know, its free.  And not to worry, it’s those greedy rich folks that will pay for it.  Mr. Obama wants $320 billion in new taxes.  Capital gains tax – up.  Death tax – up.  Bank tax – up.  And  your 529 savings plan for your kids college?  Yeah, no longer tax free.

That, dear friends, is how you get “free” college.  Isn’t free stuff wonderful?

 

Rob-Peter-NRD-600-w-logo

On to your retirement savings:

There would be a new cap in the amount one could accumulate in the aggregate in all IRA and 401(k) type accounts of $3.4 million. After that, you can’t save any more new dollars. The idea is that this is enough to secure a $210,000 annual distribution in retirement, which the government apparently deems “enough” for a retiree.

Because, of course, nanny knows best.

Finally, if  you’re an employer:

In addition, all employers with more than 10 workers and who do not have a 401(k) type plan would be mandated to set up payroll deduction Traditional IRAs for their employees. Also, part-time workers would have to be covered under retirement plans if they have been working someplace long enough. These two things are a new kind of employer mandate from Obama.

Nice plan, no?  No.  As usual, that means precisely what the cartoon shows.  Someone has to pay for all of this and it isn’t just going to be the employer.

Of course the concept that someone must actually “pay” for these things is always left out of the discussion.  It’s “free” after all.

For a completely different subject, and in case you were wondering, yes, liberals in Hollywood (almost redundant, isn’t it) are still wringing their hands about the all white Oscars.  Or at least doing a good imitation of it.  My favorite theory?  “Racial fatigue”.

The unknowable question is whether the same voters who supported “12 Years a Slave” had racial fatigue after supporting a black film last year.

Because, you know, there’s only so much support those white Hollywood liberals can dole out a year, or something. They gave their all last year.  And you black folks just need to understand that!  By the way, I believe “racial fatigue” does indeed play a part.   People are tired of everything being made to be about race.

Speaking of culture, I found article to be very entertaining.  Is there a civil war brewing on the “progressive” left (one dearly hopes so)?  Why the question?  Dilemmas such as this:

Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett and Christopher Hitchens were once known as the “Four Horsemen” of New Atheism. For a long while, there was nothing more amusing to a young liberal than watching one of them debate against a creationist, or someone who objected to abortion or gay marriage on religious grounds. Dawkins, for a while, was the darling of the British media.

Then things started to sour. Christopher Hitchens, in his full-throated defences of the second Iraq war, was the first to lose left-wing support. Notoriously, Feminist Frequency producer Jonathan McIntosh celebrated Hitchens’ death, saying he was a “despicable, warmongering, hateful human being. Good riddance.” (To put that in perspective, McIntosh had just a few months earlier refused to celebrate the death of Osama Bin Laden.)

Dawkins, who recently discovered the joys of deliberately offending people on Twitter, has become an even greater figure of hate for progressives. This is probably due to his indiscriminate rationalism: he is just as willing to poke holes in theories of post-modern feminism as he is to attack religion. And when he does attack religion, he insists that Islam is probably the worst one out there. He has become persona non grata in progressive circles as a result.

2014 saw atheists and progressives embroiled in what looked like an all-out war. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a female genital mutilation survivor and one of the fiercest critics of Islam in the atheist movement, was disinvited from a planned speaking engagement at Brandeis University for her criticism of Islam, and was stripped of her honorary degree. Salon.com immediately applauded the decision.

Students at UC Berkeley attempted to do the same to Bill Maher over his alleged islamophobia, but were stopped by the college administration. Sam Harris, another of the “four horsemen”, felt compelled to engage in a three-hour debate with progressive commentator Cenk Uygur after enduring a wave of hatchet-jobs from media progressives for his own comments on Islam.

Progressives may be overwhelmingly atheist, but there is only so much heresy they can stand. One of their core beliefs is that you do not “punch down”–that is, attack vulnerable or marginalised communities. Islam, despite being the dominant religion of dozens of nation-states, is said by progressives to fall into this category.

We’ve watched this sort of cognitive dissonance have its way with the left before.  That’s because they aren’t really about principles as much as they are about biases.  Oh, and limiting your freedom:

A YouGov poll taken just last fall found that equal amounts of Americans support and oppose “hate speech laws,” defined as laws that would “make it a crime for people to make comments that advocate genocide or hatred against an identifiable group based on such things as their race, gender, religion, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation.” Thirty-six percent said sure and 38 percent said no way. That’s disturbing enough on its own, but here’s something even more unsettling: Fully 51 percent of self-identified Democrats supported hate-speech laws.

Somehow I’m not at all surprised, given the examples above … are you?

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 21 Jan 15

The MBA reports that mortgage applications rose% last week, with purchases down -3.0%, but refis up 22.0%.

Housing starts rose by 4.4% in December to an annual rate of 1.089 million, but building permits fell -1.9% to 1.032 million annualized.

Redbook reports retail sales rose 3.0% on a year-ago basis, down from last week’s 3.8%, as sales continue to decline in January.


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This and that

There’s a lot to talk about as we begin this week.

First and foremost, I wanted to note that Word Press found something I wrote in my EPA post to be unpublishable.  Try it with the first sentence, nothing.  Take out the first sentence and it published.  But that was discovered after a long session of trying to figure out if it was a computer problems, internet problem … etc.  Here’s hoping this publishes.

Saw an article that said Hillary was looking for a slogan for her run for the presidency.  I have a great one: “No more Clintons”.  I’d apply the same slogan to the Bush campaign: “No more Bushes”.    And Romney … etc.  I’m becoming convinced we could leave the office vacant and probably do better.  Especially when you consider those who want the job.

If you’re wondering what I thought of the John Kerry/James Taylor attempt at diplomacy last week, I thought is was pathetic and embarrassing.  It was like the diplomatic equivalent of the ObamaCare website rollout.

I am thoroughly enjoying the left’s melt-down over the success of Clint Eastwood’s film “American Sniper”.  Here’s a typical bit:

But Academy members seem to be paying attention to the criticism that Eastwood and star/producer Bradley Cooper shouldn’t be celebrating a man who wrote that killing hundreds of Iraqis was “fun.”

“He seems like he may be a sociopath,” one Academy member told TheWrap, adding he had not yet seen the film but had read the article, which is being passed around.

“He seems to be a sociopath, uh, but I haven’t seen the film yet …I did read an article however”.

And that made it into the critique of the film because it used a word that apparently found favor with the author – “sociopath”.  Because this academy member knows all about sniper operations and how they’re used in warfare and somehow soundly concludes that the guy must be a sociopath.  Gee, I wonder what he thinks about, oh, I don’t know, regular infantry guys in the Army and Marine Corps?  Would it be too much of a stretch to think he might hold the same thoughts about them?

And the Yahoo who ate Detroit, Michael Moore, felt it necessary to “weigh” in:

Michael Moore, an Oscar voter and former Academy governor from the Documentary Branch, tweeted an anti-sniper comment on Sunday — “My uncle killed by sniper in WW2. We were taught snipers were cowards … Snipers aren’t heroes … ” — but said it wasn’t about “American Sniper.”

Of course its not about “American Sniper” … just a gratuitous out-of-the-blue cowardly shot.  What pisses Moore and the other off is you people out in flyover land are making “American Sniper” a box-office success.

And by the way, Michael … why are all the Oscar nominees white?

Yeah, that’s right … that’s the latest Hollywood scandal to rock Tinsel-town these days.  Apparently it’s not the perfection of your craft that’s important but the mix of skin color.  I wonder if anyone would have said anything if there were no whites nominated?  My guess is, “no”.

Finally to Jane Fonda – sorry what you did wasn’t a “huge, huge mistake” anymore than what John Kerry did was a mistake.  It was a carefully thought out and pursued strategy that has made you wildly unpopular and despised by a very respected community – veterans.  So trying to rewrite history isn’t going to work:

“It hurts me and it will to my grave that I made a huge, huge mistake that made a lot of people think I was against the soldiers. … This famous person goes and does something that looks like I’m against the troops, which wasn’t true, but it looked that way, and I’m a convenient target. So I understand.”

No, you don’t understand … you apparently don’t understand at all.  You were against the troops and made it known by your actions.  But like much of the left, after a despicable and reprehensible act you think all you have to do is give some sort of apology and all is right with the world.  Uh, no.

Happy Monday.

~McQ

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