Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: August 15, 2013

This week’s auto review

For your reading pleasure, I have test driven a little city car that provokes huge grins when driving on city streets by allowing you to embarrass Miata pilots at stoplights. When not on city streets, at higher speeds…it’s slightly terrifying.

If you like the review, please click the “Recommend” button. It’s green and has a little white heart on it.

Dale Franks
Google+ Profile
Twitter Feed

Economic Statistics for 15 Aug 13

The following US economic statistics were announced in today’s heavy round of releases:

The CPI rose 0.2% in July, at both the headline and core levels. On a year over year basis, consumer prices are up 2.0% overall and 1.7% at the core.

Initial jobless claims fell 15,000 to a recovery low 320,000 last week. The 4-week average fell 4,000 to 332,000. Continuing claims fell 38,000 to 2.987 million. All signs are pointing to a good employment picture for August.

The Empire State manufacturing index in August fell nearly a point to 8.24.

Net purchases of long-term US securities in August were $-66.9 billion vice a revised $-27.0 billion in July, as foreign investors sold &77.8 billion in US securities.

The Fed reports that Industrial Production was unchanged in July, while capacity utilization in the nation’s factories fell 0.2% to 77.6%. Manufacturing fell -0.1%.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell 3 points to -26.6 in the latest week.

The NAHB Housing Market Index continues to rise, up another 2 points to 59 for August, a seven-year high.

The Philadelphia Fed’s Business Outlook fell 10 points to 9.3 in August.

E-Commerce sales rose 4.9% in the 2nd Quarter of 2013. Year-over-year sales are up a very strong 18.4%.

The fed reports that M2 money supply grew by $21.9 billion last week.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose by $61.0 billion last week, bringing total Fed assets to $3.646 trillion.

Dale Franks
Google+ Profile
Twitter Feed

Fast and Furious guns still enabling crime in Mexico

The scandal that is the DoJ’s “Fast and Furious” debacle continues to enable crimes and murders in Mexico:

Three more weapons from Fast and Furious have turned up at crime scenes in Mexico, CBS News has learned, as the toll from the controversial federal operation grows.

According to Justice Department tracing documents obtained by CBS News, all three guns are WASR-10 762-caliber Romanian rifles. Two were purchased by Fast and Furious suspect Uriel Patino in May and July of 2010. Sean Steward, who was convicted on gun charges in July 2012, purchased a third. The rifles were traced yesterday to the Lone Wolf gun shop in Glendale, Ariz.

During Fast and Furious and similar operations, federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) encouraged the Lone Wolf and other gun stores to sell massive amounts of weapons to questionable purchasers who allegedly trafficked them Mexican drug cartels.

Patino is said to have purchased 700 guns while under ATF’s watch. Ever since, a steady stream of the guns have been recovered at crime scenes in Mexico and the U.S. But the Justice Department has refused repeated requests from Congress and CBS News to provide a full accounting. An estimated 1,400 guns are still on the street or unaccounted for.

What I find interesting about this is what happened in the immediate aftermath of the revelation that this operation had been so badly bungled. Remember the reaction from the administration when this began to become public knowledge?

Denial. The attempt to pin the blame on some “rogue agents” in Phoenix.

Ring any bells? What was their reaction to Benghazi? To try to pin the blame on some video producer.

IRS? I believe it was rogue agents in Cincinnati.

Name your scandal and the results are almost uniformly the same.

And the real result in every case? None of the initial spin had any credence whatsoever.  None.  Not once.

In fact, all were traced back to high level failures on the part of various executive agencies.

And they wonder why trust in government is at an all time low.