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The political strategy of a crocodile tear

Mr. Obama shed a tear yesterday as he told us why he was going to bypass Congress and enact gun control (at least a small part of it) by executive order.  Speaking of “gun violence” instead of violence in general, he said:

“We do not have to accept this carnage as the price of freedom,” Obama said.

That’s simply poppycock. We don’t have to like it but freedom, as has been said any thousands of times, is not free.  Nor is it pretty or neat.  Nor are there those who don’t suffer because of it. It always has a cost – a price. But the alternative, what most Democrats seem to want, is the state deciding everything you can or cannot do, everything you can or cannot own.  That alternative is unacceptable to those who value freedom and are willing to suffer the cost.

No one is in favor of “carnage”.  But it isn’t the guns which cause the violence, sir.  Figure it out please.  When you tell me that abortion instruments are what kill about a million unborn human beings in the US each year, perhaps I’ll at least consider your thinking to be somewhat consistent.  And of course, that means cars and pools and rope, well you name it, also need to be controlled even more because the “carnage” they cause rivals anything to do with that involving guns.

Gee, given the numbers, perhaps he ought to be going after Planned Parenthood instead of demonizing the NRA.

Oh, and this was rich:

“No matter how many times people try to twist my words around, I taught constitutional law, I know a little bit about this. I get it,” he said. “But I also believe that we can find ways to reduce gun violence consistent with the Second Amendment.”

Apparently he thinks he knows the Constitution, but if true, he’d know it doesn’t allow aristocracy, and certainly it doesn’t allow kings.  Laws are passed through Congress and if the President doesn’t have the heft or gravitas or whatever he needs to see it done, then it doesn’t get done. Obama doesn’t have any of that. And the people have been quite clear that they don’t consider guns or gun control to be much of an issue.  In fact, it barely registers, no pun intended. So instead he  does “work arounds” with executive orders.  Tell us again about how you know the Constitution, please?

But let’s get to the nuts and bolts of what went on yesterday, shall we?  It is about, get ready for it, ideology:

Despite professing an unflinching commitment to curbing gun violence, Obama and Biden have been thwarted by Congress and what Obama calls a lack of national will to change the way Americans think about guns.

Got it.  It’s about changing the way you think about guns.  Its about making them the equivalent of a cigarette.  You remember when cigarettes were popular?   And what happened?  Well, think about it.  It wasn’t about people making poor choices and suffering for them that was the “cause” of their diseases. It wasn’t about their refusal to heed the strident warnings about smoking.  It became “the cigarette”.  That was the “cause”. And it was the cigarette that was killing people, not the people’s choices.  The object became the problem.  People were excused for making poor decisions even though the information that cigarettes caused horrific health problems had been out for years … decades.

The same sort of argument is being made about guns and “the strategy of a tear” was just the latest emotional appeal to a people who’ve been pretty darn logical about guns so far and aren’t buying into the argument as readily as they did with cigarettes.  In fact, they’re not buying into it at all and are, instead, buying more and more guns.  If you can’t get them to swing your way, cry on national TV.  That’ll show ’em how sincere you are.   And, of course, it seems to have fooled a good number of people out there already.

But to the point – this is frustration for Obama because you and most Americans won’t think the way he wants you to.  So?  So screw you, he’ll stamp his feet, hold his breath and make you do it by taking unilateral action.  But he knows the Constitution, by George.

This is just another in a long line of tantrums by this man.  When he can’t get his way, he simply looks for a means to impose his will.  He has no concept of what a President is or what one is supposed to do and he’s certainly no Constitutional scholar.  This is just the latest example.

So why is the cigarette model not working for the left?  For the most part it is because there really is no redeeming value to a cigarette.  But there is tremendous positive value to a gun.  You can’t defend yourself or your family with a cigarette.  You can’t feel more secure in your person with a cigarette.  You can’t protect your life or your property with a cigarette.  So despite the demonization of the object the left has committed itself too, the positive aspects of gun ownership simply won’t be buried, even with a tear.

The bottom line however should be clear – the left will do whatever it thinks necessary to strip Americans of their right to own firearms.  You will see every sort of argument tendered and numbers that, without context, seem horrific.  Such as “30,000” gun deaths – 62% of which are suicides.  Anyone who believes removing guns will prevent suicide just isn’t very serious about discussing suicide.  Japan, which has strict gun control laws, has more suicides than the US.  The problem isn’t the means.  It is the mental state of the person.  35% are homicides, most gang related.  No matter the laws passed, criminals are not going to obey them.  This seems to be a point the left can’t comprehend.  And finally accidents claim most of the remainder (about 606 in 2010).  “Mass shootings”?  A small minority of the final total.  And, in fact, gun violence and gun homicides are and have been trending down for quite some time.

However, like “climate change”, the alarmist hysteria continues despite the fact that the data doesn’t support it.

So now, it is all about an emotion.  A tear.

My freedom isn’t for sale for a tear, crocodile or otherwise, Mr. Obama.

~McQ

 

Economic Statistics for 31 Dec 15

The Chicago PMI plunged -5.8 points to a recessionary 42.9. I suspect the national PMI will be significantly better, though.

Initial weekly jobless claims jumped 20,000 to 287,000. The 4-week average rose 4,500 to 277,000. Continuing claims rose 3,000 to 2.198 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 1.4 points to 43.6 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet fell $-9.9 billion last week, with total assets of $4.487 trillion. Reserve bank credit fell $-6.1 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $53.1 billion in the latest week.


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Economic Statistics for 8 Oct 15

Chain stores—at least those that still report monthly sales results—are reporting slightly higher rates of year-over-year sales growth for September.

Initial weekly jobless claims fell 13,000 to 263,000. The 4-week average fell 3,000 to 267,500. Continuing claims rose 9,000 to 2.204 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 1.8 points to 44.8 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $2.1 billion last week, with total assets of $4.486 trillion. Reserve bank credit fell $-1.3 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply fell by $-46.6 billion in the latest week.


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Why the US has lost its presence in the Middle East

As if it wasn’t obvious, Gary Kasparov summarizes it very well in today’s WSJ:

Mr. Obama has already decided to continue his policy of disengagement from the Middle East, and his platitudes about cooperation and the rule of law rang hollow in the U.N.’s General Assembly hall. Of the conflict in Syria, he said, “we must recognize that there cannot be, after so much bloodshed, so much carnage, a return to the prewar status quo.” But every listener was aware that Mr. Obama had no intention of backing his words with action.

Mr. Putin, speaking about an hour later in the same room, included his usual NATO-bashing and obvious lies. “We think it is an enormous mistake,” Mr. Putin said, “to refuse to cooperate with the Syrian government and its armed forces, who are valiantly fighting terrorism face to face.” He spoke of national sovereignty—which is very important to Mr. Putin, unless it’s the sovereignty of Georgia, Ukraine or another place where he wishes to meddle.

In other words, Mr. Obama’s speech was routine because he knows he will not act. Mr. Putin’s speech was routine because he knows he will act anyway.

And that final sentence is the best capsule of the two opposing foreign policies you’re likely to see.  Mr. Obama has always been long on words – that is “talking the talk”.  But he’s almost never bothered to “walk the walk”.  In international politics that’s interpreted as a huge weakness.  Consequently, his lack of action (i.e. backing up his words) has been constantly tested for reaction.  And the reaction has always been … more words (or more “red lines”).

One of the major reasons for the rise of ISIS is the poorly thought out American withdrawal from Iraq after the Obama administration took over.  With the withdrawal came the abandonment of the Sunni minority there that had been key to the Anbar Awakening that had helped make the surge a success and stabilize Iraq.  ISIS was a direct result of that abandonment.  One of the key questions asked by Sunni leaders to American commanders before they committed to the Awakening was, “are you going to stay”.  Obama’s policy put “lie” to their promises.  Now, after failing to act when ISIS first rose and trying to blame others for the rise, the administration wants a part in the defeat of ISIS (which, by the way, will have to be much more of an effort that an occasional air strike, if it is to succeed).

But there’s this “words over action” problem that Obama suffers from that certainly erodes any confidence in the viability of any US involvement.  In international politics, action speaks louder than words and Mr. Putin is and has taken action.  Whether or not you agree with his action or want to see Russia involved in the Middle East isn’t the point.  The point we should all understand is the weak and indecisive Middle Eastern policy that this administration has pursued has handed over it’s predominant role in the region with barely a whimper.  Putin hasn’t forced his way through the door there.  The US has willingly opened it and all but welcomed him in.

Kasparov has a brutal conclusion which I find hard to fault:

Mr. Putin didn’t say anything new at the U.N., because he didn’t need to. He knows that he has concrete assets that are more effective than mere words. He has tanks in Ukraine, jet fighters in Syria, and Barack Obama in the White House.

Indeed.

~McQ

Economic Statistics for 27 Aug 15

GDP for the 2nd Quarter of 2015 was revised sharply upwards to an annualized 3.7%, with the GDP Price Index up 2.1%.

Corporate profits in the second quarter came in at $1.824 trillion, up a year-on-year 7.3%.

The Pending Home Sales Index rose 0.5% in July to 110.9.

The Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index declined by -2 points to -9 as the district’s manufacturing contraction deepened.

Initial weekly jobless claims fell 6,000 to 271,000. The 4-week average rose 1,000 to 272,500. Continuing claims rose 13,000 to 2.269 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 0.9 points to 42.0 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet fell $-12.1 billion last week, with total assets of $4.475 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $70.8 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply increased by $33.4 billion in the latest week.


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ObamaCare: fewer doctors, higher premiums and deductibles – oh, boy!

A new report by Avalere Health points out what an “improvement” ObamaCare has been:

[E]nrollees in ObamaCare plans have access to 34% fewer providers than those who buy a commercial plan outside the exchange. On average, it found, ObamaCare enrollees had 32% fewer primary care doctors and 24% fewer hospitals from which to choose.

Worse, ObamaCare plans covered 42% fewer oncologists and cardiologists than non-ObamaCare plans.

Yes indeed, what a deal.  Couple that with sky-high deductibles (according to Health Pocket, average deductibles for the lowest cost Bronze Plan in ObamaCare are 42% higher than before the law was passed) and you’ve got a real winner on your hands.  By the way, the average Bronze Plan costs around $3,500 a year and has a whopping $5,181 deductible to be paid.

Oh, and here’s the good news:  “insurers are pushing double-digit premium hikes for 2016, some as high as 50%.”

So again, let’s ask, what good is insurance if you can’t find a doctor or it doesn’t pay a penny until you’ve paid your huge deductible (not to mention the premium) out of pocket?  As should be obvious, for the most part it isn’t any good.  Especially if you have a young, relatively healthy family.  In that case, be prepared to pay for everything out of pocket.

Sounds like a pretty bad deal, doesn’t it?  However, remember, if you don’t have insurance, well, the IRS will make sure to make life miserable for you.

Another example of the Democrats looking out for the middle/working class in this country.

~McQ

Economic Statistics for 15 Jul 15

Producer Prices for Final Demand rose 0.4% in June, with the core rising 0.3%. On a year-over-year basis, PPI-FD is down -0.7%, but up 0.8% less food and energy. Overall PPI-FD results:

PPI-FD – M/M: 0.4%
PPI-FD less food & energy – M/M: 0.3%
PPI-FD less food, energy & trade services – M/M: 0.3%
PPI-FD Goods – M/M: 0.7%
PPI-FD Services – M/M: 0.3%PPI-FD – Y/Y: -0.7%

PPI-FD – Y/Y: -0.7%
PPI-FD less food & energy – Y/Y: 0.8% 
PPI-FD less food, energy & trade services – Y/Y: 0.7%
PPI-FD Goods – Y/Y: -3.7%
PPI-FD Services – Y/Y: 0.8%

The Fed reports that June industrial production rose 0.3%, as did capacity utilization in the nations factories, rising to 78.4%.

Today’s Beige Book from the Fed reports that 10 of 12 Fed districts are reporting only moderate to modest growth.

The Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations survey shows inflation expectations rose 0.1% in July to 2.0%.

The Empire State Manufacturing index rose from -1.98 to 3.86 in July, but the new orders component is still dragging at -3.50.

The MBA reports that mortgage applications fell -1.9% last week, with purchases down -8.0%, but refis up 4.0%.


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PPI-FD Goods – Y/Y: -3.7%

Almost half of all Federal criminal charges are made in 5 southern border districts, but we don’t have a border security or illegal immigration problem

41.7% of all Federal criminal charges come from 5 districts that are on the US southern border.  In one district, West Texas, the US attorney filed 5,832 cases.  That’s more than all the cases filed for the entire length of the US norther border (5,257).  The southern district of Texas ranked 2nd, followed by Arizona, New Mexico and Southern California.

And that’s not all:

“In addition to criminal cases brought before United States district judges, the United States Attorneys also handle a considerable criminal caseload before United States magistrate judges,” explained the U.S. attorneys’ statistical report for fiscal 2013. “The utilization of magistrate judges varies from district to district in response to local conditions and changing caseloads.”

“Magistrate judges are authorized by statute to perform a variety of duties as assigned by the United States district judges, including presiding over misdemeanor trials, conducting preliminary hearings, and entering rulings or recommended dispositions on pretrial motions,” said the report.

In fiscal 2014, according to the Table 2B, 67,401 criminal defendants were determined to be guilty in magistrate proceedings. Of those, 63,253 — or 93.8 percent — were in the five districts along the U.S.-Mexico border.

And yet this administration has, for its entire tenure, ignored the crisis on the border and even encouraged illegal immigrants to enter the country. While some may buy into the argument that the fault lies with Congress (and, more specifically the GOP) for not passing immigration reform legislation, the problem at the border is a law enforcement problem.

Law enforcement is not a Congressional duty, but instead, the job of the Executive branch.  However, despite their being laws on the books concerning illegal immigration, this administration refuses to enforce them and has, in fact, has defied them.  Compound that with blue cities offering sanctuary to illegals (again, in defiance of existing law) and you have a situation out of control.

While it is certainly true that some form of immigration reform needs to be legislated, that doesn’t excuse the lax or non-existent enforcement of existing laws by the administration.  It is clear to most that this crime wave that has engulfed the southern border is squarely the responsibility of the Obama administration, and no amount of attempted blame shifting will change that.

~McQ

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