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Free Markets, Free People

Economic Statistics for 12 Feb 16

January retail sales rose 0.2%, with sales less autos up 0.1%, and sales less autos and gas up 0.4%.

Import prices fell -1.1% in January, while export prices fell -0.8%. On a year-over-year basis, prices are down -6.2% for imports and -5.7% for exports.

December business inventories rose 0.1%, but a -0.6% plunge in sales drove the stock-to-sales ratio up to 1.39.

The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index fell -1.3 points to 90.7.


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Stray Voltage

Heather Mac Donald explodes the “Black Lives Matter” myth – the myth the Democratic presidential candidates have decided to embrace:

For starters, fatal police shootings make up a much larger proportion of white and Hispanic homicide deaths than black homicide deaths. According to the Post database, in 2015 officers killed 662 whites and Hispanics, and 258 blacks. (The overwhelming majority of all those police-shooting victims were attacking the officer, often with a gun.) Using the 2014 homicide numbers as an approximation of 2015’s, those 662 white and Hispanic victims of police shootings would make up 12% of all white and Hispanic homicide deaths. That is three times the proportion of black deaths that result from police shootings.

The lower proportion of black deaths due to police shootings can be attributed to the lamentable black-on-black homicide rate. There were 6,095 black homicide deaths in 2014—the most recent year for which such data are available—compared with 5,397 homicide deaths for whites and Hispanics combined. Almost all of those black homicide victims had black killers.

Police officers—of all races—are also disproportionately endangered by black assailants. Over the past decade, according to FBI data, 40% of cop killers have been black. Officers are killed by blacks at a rate 2.5 times higher than the rate at which blacks are killed by police.

Read the whole thing.  Again, as with global warming, the facts don’t fit the theory.  And, as usual, the facts don’t matter when they bump up against election year rhetoric, ideology and the need to pander for votes.

The Washington Post’s Catherine Rampell has apparently noticed what’s going on at colleges and universities these days and has noticed a number of surveys which conclude:

Today’s students are indeed both more left wing and more openly hostile to free speech than earlier generations of collegians.

She notes that the surveys are mostly taken among incoming freshman and makes and interesting observation:

One parting observation: Remember that these survey questions were asked of newly matriculated college freshmen. That is, students are setting foot on campus already more liberal, more protest-happy and more amenable to speech restrictions than their predecessors.

Which suggests that colleges themselves are not wholly responsible for rising liberal and illiberal tendencies on campus — even if they do sometimes aid and abet both trends.

 Interesting point.

As for sources of indoctrination, how about this:

From the University of California, Irvine, “Teaching Climate and Sustainability: A Faculty Skills-Sharing Workshop”:

This workshop aims to engage, inspire, and support faculty members from across disciplines who are interested in voluntarily infusing relevant climate change and/or sustainability concepts into their courses. The overall goal of this curriculum program is to boost climate change/sustainability education at UCI, especially targeting those students for whom climate and sustainability may not be a focus.

Any guess as to what “theory” they’re pushing in terms of “climate change?”

Oh, and an incentive to indoctrinate.  You bet:

Incentive: Participating faculty members receive $1000 for completing the workshop and subsequent course revision. Faculty will also receive an additional $200 for attending a follow up Faculty Networking Event on Friday, November 4, 2016 to showcase their revised course material (note: revised courses do not need to be taught by November 4, 2016, however, course materials will need to be updated to include sustainability by this time).

Never mind that at a minimum, the AGW theory is controversial at best, here we have a ideological pressure group paying teachers to revise their courses and insert this controversial and obviously deeply flawed theory as “truth”.  It doesn’t get any more blatant than that.

In the “LOL, BS talks and money walks” department, the DNC comes through again … for Hillary.

The Democratic National Committee has rolled back restrictions introduced by presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2008 that banned donations from federal lobbyists and political action committees.

The decision, which may provide an advantage to Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, was viewed with disappointment Friday morning by good government activists who saw it as a step backward in the effort to limit special interest influence in Washington.

With that and the Super Delegate game, they can now pretty much rig the game anyway they want too, can’t they?

Meanwhile, the war against CO2 is going … badly:

A new report by the oil giant BP shows CO2 emissions significantly growing, despite huge gains in energy efficiency and countries forcing more green energy onto the grid. It looks like economic growth in developing countries, like China and India, will overshadow global warming regulations in rich countries. “Despite the slowdown in emissions growth, the level of carbon emissions continues to grow, increasing by 20% between 2014 and 2035,” BP reported in its latest energy outlook.

That’s one reason these drastic rules in the US against CO2 are a fool’s game (yes, the one’s the Supreme Court issued a stay on).  Developing countries aren’t playing, and with them not playing, the desired result – less CO2 – isn’t happening.  What will happen though is economy strangling regulation if we allow it.

Have a great weekend!

~McQ

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Economic Statistics

Initial weekly jobless claims fell 16,000 to 269,000. The 4-week average fell 3,500 to 281,250. Continuing claims fell 21,000 to 2.249 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 0.3 points to 44.5 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $2.8 billion last week, with total assets of $4.486 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $1.6 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply fell by $-0.6 billion in the latest week.


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A couple of things for you to read today

Headed out on the road today, so a short post with a couple of things for you to read.  First, Camille Puglia commenting on Clinton, Steinem and Albright’s attempt to shame women into voting for Clinton:

Despite emergency efforts by Gloria Steinem, the crafty dowager empress of feminism, to push a faltering Hillary over the finish line, Sanders overwhelmingly won women’s votes in every category except senior citizens. Last week, when she told TV host Bill Maher that young women supporting the Sanders campaign are just in it to meet boys, Steinem managed not only to insult the intelligence and idealism of the young but to vaporize every lesbian Sanders fan into a spectral non-person.

Steinem’s polished humanitarian mask had slipped, revealing the mummified fascist within. I’m sure that my delight was shared by other dissident feminists everywhere. Never before has the general public, here or abroad, more clearly seen the arrogance and amoral manipulativeness of the power elite who hijacked and stunted second-wave feminism.

The next day, Hillary was accompanied on the campaign trail by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (a Bill Clinton appointee), who proclaimed, to Hillary’s laughter and applause, “There’s a special place in Hell for women who don’t help other women.” Waspishly policing the earth was evidently insufficient for the feminist politburo, who are now barging into the salvation and damnation game.

Never mind that the woman elevated to Christ Redeemer status by Steinem and Albright has a stained and tattered rap sheet five miles long. What genuine principles does Hillary have left, after a public career so light on concrete achievement and so heavy with lies and greed? Yes, she’s been handed job after job, but primarily due to her very unfeminist association with a man. As a senator, she initiated nothing of substance, and as Secretary of State, she stumbled into one disastrous fiasco after another, escalating the destabilization of North Africa and the Mideast.

Read the whole thing.  Interestingly, she’s a Bernie Sanders supporter, much to her disgrace.  But what she says about this trio is dead on.

Then a Kevin Williamson article about the knee-jerk reaction by some on the right to oppose whatever side the left lines up on in an issue.

Why conservatives and Republicans should be defensive about the fact that Baltimore, Los Angeles, Cleveland, and Honolulu are misgoverned to various degrees of criminality is a mystery. Conservatives with real political power in those cities are as scarce as hen’s teeth. Could it really be something so simple as the fact that we do not feel comfortable standing on the same side of a bright red line as the malefactors in Ferguson and such opportunists as DeRay Mckesson, now a Baltimore mayoral candidate, and Al Sharpton?

As he points out, sometimes, like a stopped clock, they’re right a couple of times a day.  And he also points out that where most of the problems with law enforcement are to be found are in cities and locations with deep Democratic roots and years of their governance.  Take them case by case. Support those who deserve it, condemn those who don’t,  but remember  – sometimes, a corrupt policeman is just a corrupt policeman.

~McQ

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New Hampshire

While the polls may not have been exact as concerns the numbers for each winner, they certainly did predict the winners for each party … or losers if you prefer.

Found a few things interesting.  This for instance:

Senator Bernie Sanders beat Hillary Clinton among nearly every demographic group in the Democratic New Hampshire primary, according to exit polls.

He carried majorities of both men and women. He won among those with and without college degrees. He won among gun owners and non-gun owners. He beat Mrs. Clinton among previous primary voters and those participating for the first time. And he ran ahead among both moderates and liberals.

Even so, there were a few silver linings for Mrs. Clinton. While Mr. Sanders bested her among all age groups younger than 45, the two candidates polled evenly among voters aged 45 to 64. And Mrs. Clinton won the support of voters 65 and older. And, though Mrs. Clinton lost nearly every income group, she did carry voters in families earning over $200,000 per year.

So what’s Clinton’s answer?  A staff shakeup.  And remember, it’s not the candidate, it’s that they’re just not doing a good enough job getting their message out there.  Oh, and not enough pandering.  So that’s about to change:

Staffing and strategy will be reassessed. The message, which so spectacularly failed in New Hampshire, where she was trailing by 21 points when she appeared before her supporters to concede to Bernie Sanders, is also going to be reworked – with race at the center of it.

Clinton is set to campaign with the mothers of Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner, unarmed African-Americans who died in incidents involving law enforcement officers and a neighborhood watch representative, respectively. And the campaign, sources said, is expected to push a new focus on systematic racism, criminal justice reform, voting rights and gun violence that will mitigate concerns about her lack of an inspirational message.

“The gun message went silent in New Hampshire,” remarked one ally close to the campaign. “Guns will come back in a strong way.” She is expected to highlight the problem of gun violence as the leading cause of death among African-American men as she campaigns in South Carolina on Friday.

Heh … so when in trouble, revert to racism and sexism.  Why now?  Two words “South Carolina” where 60 percent of Democratic voters are African American?

And guns!  Evil, nasty, terrible guns. Don’t forget guns. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

By the way, a quick read of Salon tends to solidify why the Queen is having problems among her own constituency (besides being a terrible candidate that is):

Only Bernie Sanders has harnessed the full power of an electorate disgusted with politicians yet to disclose the transcripts of million dollar speeches. Nothing defines establishment politics better than a Democrat who takes money from the same interest that harm core constituencies of the Democratic Party.

Hillary Clinton has accepted campaign contributions from two major prison lobbyists, Wall Street, and the oil and gas industry, yet promises progressive stances against all these interests.

They’re not quite as stupid as Madam Clinton would like to believe.  And by that I mean they’re not buying the Clinton assertion that she’s not establishment and she is going to go after Wall Street.  Actions/words.  Guess which are highlighting the truth in the matter?  Just wait till Sanders names Elizabeth Warren as his running mate.

On the GOP side, the only surprise to me was Kasich.  As Real Clear Politics noted, it may have been his “back to the ’60s” message that resonated in New Hampshire:

In one sense, Kasich’s emergence from the pack was New Hampshire’s most interesting development. Objectively speaking, he may be the most qualified candidate on the Republican side. He’s in his second term as governor of Ohio, perhaps the GOP’s most crucial state, and is a former congressman who helped balance the federal books in Washington when he was chairman of the House Budget Committee.

At times, Kasich sounded like he was running for office as a 1960s Democrat — a Jack Kennedy Democrat — and he even quipped that maybe he should be running in New Hampshire’s Democratic primary. But his message resonates with a significant slice of working-class Republicans and crossover independents. He also talks about the obligation of his party to the poor and working class, using arguments that are both practical and faith-based.

“If you think about the American home, which is the family, we know the family is only strong when the foundation is strong,” he said. “That’s why we will wake up every single day to make sure that every American has a job in the United States of America to help their families and their neighbors.”

Or it could be that those who voted for Kasich weren’t very enamored with Cruz, Rubio, Bush and Trump.  We’ll see if this 2nd place finish has any legs in SC.

And how out of touch is the Republican establishment?  This out of touch:

In late January, the New Hampshire Republican Party held a gathering that attracted GOP officials, volunteers, activists, and various other members of the party elite from across the state. At the time, Donald Trump led the Republican presidential race in New Hampshire by nearly 20 points, and had been on top of the polls since July.

What was extraordinary about the gathering was that I talked to a lot of people there, politically active Republicans, and most of them told me they personally didn’t know anyone who supported Trump. Asked about the Trump lead, one very well-connected New Hampshire Republican told me, “I don’t see it. I don’t feel it. I don’t hear it, and I spend part of every day with Republican voters.”

Yes, friends, they’re still in the denial stage.  What is it they don’t seem to realize?

This:

“But this phenomena is the result of 25+ years of failed promises and lackluster leadership over multiple administrations from both parties. People have had it, and those in power don’t want to accept the reality they can no longer maintain the status quo.”

Chickens.  Home.  Roost.

As for the rest of the field?  Well, many of them are in the denial stage as well.  Time for them to shuffle off the stage.  Of course they can remain in the denial stage for as long as their money holds out, but then reality gives them a good slap and they’re gone.  I expect to see Christie, Carson, Fiorina, and yes, Jeb Bush, finally fold their tents in the next week or so.

There is a sort of political revolution in motion right now on both sides.  That’s because party politics in the last few decades has taken priority over the good of the country.  The two parties still haven’t figured that out.  So the voters are very pointedly making it clear they’re completely dissatisfied with the status quo even if they have to elect someone so bad that they may do worse harm to the country than one of the establishment candidates.  Apparently the voting public is tired of the bait and switch game the establishment has been playing for years.

Time to pay the piper I guess.

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 9 Feb 16

The Fed’s Labor Market Conditions Index slipped to 0.4 in January, From December’s 2.9.

Wholesale inventories fell -0.1% in December, while a -0.3% decline in sales kept the stock-to-sales ratio at 1.32.

The Labor Department’s JOLTS report indicates that December job openings came in at 5.607 million.

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index fell sharply to 93.9 in January, from December’s 95.2.

Redbook reports that last week’s retail sales kept sliding downwards to 0.6% on a year-ago basis, from the previous week’s 0.8%.


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The significance of NoKo’s “satellite” launch

Yes, yes, I know, I’m making some assumptions.  Assumption A) Noko was actually able to launch a “satellite”.  Assumption B) they’ve actually built a real nuclear device that works and downsized it enough to be launched.  And assumption C) they’d do what I think they would do for no other reason than they can.  See the link below:

‘For the Record’: Understanding the Threat of EMP

And what is our military being directed to do? Well they’ve been directed to  integrate women into combat jobs and prioritize “climate change” in all of our military operations.  Or said another way, its about ideology over national security.

EMP is a real threat, a cheap and easy way for those with low yield nuclear weapons to have a huge and potentially devastating effect on a large and more dangerous enemy.  But, instead of concentrating on real threats, we’re involved in potentially capability degrading social engineering and ideological masturbation.

Do I think the potential number of 300 million dead in the US is probable (as outlined in the clip)?  No. I don’t.  We have neighbors and allies (unless they too are all hit with the same sort of attack, which would be unlikely). But it would likely cost us millions of lives.  There’s no question the effect would be pretty devastating on the national infrastructure – something no one in government has addressed adequately.  In fact, preparation for EMP attacks is nonexistent.  And, in the case of such an attack, as a side effect, you can  expect the bad actors in the world to take advantage of the attack to advance their agendas as well.

Will NoKo do it?  Under the right circumstances (that means should it ever enter the whack-a-do leader’s head), yes.  Do I think it will happen?  Well it depends on assumptions A and B.  And the “experts” seem to think that they at least haven’t been able to do B.  I don’t disagree.

But NoKo isn’t the only rogue nation out there trying to develop this sort of capability.  The article above talks about “delivery” of nuclear weapons in a conventional sense, i.e. ground to ground.  And it claims NoKo has a long way to go to do that.  But, as I’m suggesting, do they really need to do that if they can set up the EMP attack?  Same with Iran?

Of course, should NoKo and/or Iran screw up such an attack, I’m sure they’re aware that they’d cease to exist as a functioning state as the retaliation from a real nuclear capable nation would be devastating.  And our biggest deterrent (besides the overwhelming ability to strike them) may be the fact that they are unsure of the effect or reliability of their technology.

That doesn’t change the fact that we’ve done nothing to prepare for a threat that a nations like NoKo or Iran (or any other nuclear capable nation) are building.  I’ve heard it discussed as a serious problem for decades and we’ve still done nothing about it.  If this crew in charge right now want to actually do something to benefit national security, they ought to knock off the social engineering and ideological nonsense and prepare the military and the nation’s infrastructure to resist an EMP attack.

That would actually be useful.

~McQ

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Clinton and paving the “Road to Serfdom”

Sometimes you see a quote that just infuriates you, because it is so wrong.  It is wrong in substance, because this is not what our Founders believed at all.  And it is wrong in context, an implication that what you pay in taxes is due because you are renting something the government or others own.  Anyway, Kevin Williamson does a bang up job of making the point based off of this one liner from Hillary:

Terry Shumaker, former U.S. ambassador to Trinidad (I wonder what that gig cost him) and current abject minion in the service of Mrs. Clinton, quotes Herself telling an audience in New Hampshire: “Service is the rent we pay for living in this great country.”

You do not owe service to this country … at all.  This is the “Elizabeth Warren” school of lefty politics.  Living in this country and working our rear ends off to produce wealth is what makes this great.  The country is a creation of those who have done and are doing that now.  Government is the parasitic institution that likes to claim credit for what it has “done” when it doesn’t have nor has ever had the assets to do what it claims.  Government too is a creation of those living in the country and not the other way around.

Williamson likens what Clinton said to a very old age which I thought we’d gotten past:

There is a very old English word for people who are required to perform service as a rent for their existence, and that word is serf. Serfdom is a form of bondage.

Americans are not serfs. We are not sharecroppers on Herself’s farm or in vassalage to that smear of thieving nincompoopery in Washington that purports to rule us.

We don’t owe you any damned rent.

Nope.  And, in fact, the government and politicians “serve” at our sufferance.  But that sort of thinking, the thinking Clinton espoused in her quote, is why so many people refer to the “Democrat plantation”.  Because frankly, that’s precisely how the elite of that party view the citizens of this country … share croppers and plantation workers.   And we all know what the bulk of plantation workers were.

And make no mistake, the Clintons and even the Sanders of this world see themselves as members of the elite.  The plantation owners.  The Queen in her medieval castle who, unfortunately, must sally out every few years and be around the serfs long enough to garner the minimum support necessary to keep herself (themselves) in power.

The Nanny State is simply another name for the plantation or that feudal plot.  The serfs get the minimum shared equally while they “serve” to “earn” it.  Meanwhile the Queen and her court get whatever they want, to include umpteen million in speaking fees, ignoring laws that would put anyone else under the jail and pretending that the law is important to them, when, in fact, they see it as nothing to concern themselves with.

When they obviously break the law, meh.  When a serf does, the Red Queen yells, “off with his head”.

Back to the quote though.  That quote says so much about why we’re in the shape we’re in now.  And it reflects an attitude that bodes even more travail. Someone who actually believes that should be kept as far away from the Oval Office as is possible.

I suggest a max security jail somewhere in Colorado.  Or reopen Alcatraz.  Let the Queen rule there.

~McQ

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