Free Markets, Free People

Monthly Archives: July 2013


Sean Smith’s mother doesn’t think his death is phony … nor the scandal surrounding it

[Guest posting at Hot Air today:]

In its usual inept and ham-fisted way,  the Obama administration has chosen to address the scandals surrounding it by waving them away as “phony” – conspiracies dreamed up and pursued by political enemies.  The president recently did that in his long-winded, laborious and incredibly boring re-hash of his failed economic policies.   The “phony” conspiracies are “distractions” from the “real problem”, a problem he has yet to address satisfactorily during his term in office.

The “phony” scandals include Benghazi, the IRS targeting of political groups on the right and others.  All were initially acknowledged by the administration and the president as serious breaches of public trust.  They’ve since, however, transformed into conspiracies generated by their enemies.

But there’s one voice asking what was “phony” about her son’t death in Benghazi?

Patricia Smith, mother of Sean Smith, who was slain in the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack, lashed out on “Your World” on the Fox News Channel about that terminology.

President Obama has never revealed what, if anything, he was doing while workers at the Benghazi embassy were urgently requesting support, nor has the administration explained why no forces were sent to protect the embassy. The administration also denied the attack was a terrorist incident, claiming it was a spontaneous protest against an obscure YouTube trailer for a film that may or may not exist.

To make matters worse, she was essentially lied to while standing on the ramp watching the body of her son being offloaded from an AirForce transport plane in Dover, DE.  Speaking of Obama, she said:

“I don’t believe him anymore,” Smith said. “He’s wrong. My son is dead. How could that be phony?”

According to Smith, she has been given no answers about what happened that night. She said the administration told her she “didn’t need to know.”

“When I was there at the ceremony of the welcoming of the caskets, both Obama and Hillary and Biden and all of the other ones, all promised me they would get back to me to tell me what happened,” Smith said. “I begged them. Please, I must know what happened with my son. How come this happened? They all promised me they would get back to me. You know, not one of them, not one of them ever got back to me in any way shape or form — not by a letter, not by anything other than I got a memo stating that I didn’t need to know because I was not part of the immediate family.”

No answers, no contact and no closure.  She’s lost all faith in the credibility of those who promised her answers, and rightfully so.  And then, as if to deliver a final slap to her face, an arrogant president waves away the death of 4 men, including her son, as a “phony scandal”.

She, however, has no intention of leaving the questions the administration is avoiding like the plague unanswered:

Smith made one last plea to the Obama administration explaining her desire for answers.

“How can I tell you?” Smith added. “I mean, it is wrong. It is not phony. It is not fake. My son is dead, and why is he dead? All I am waiting for even to this day is just someone to get back to me and tell me what happened. Why did Hillary do as she did? Why was there no security there when there was supposed to be? Who was the general that called back the troops when they were going to help?”

Is it really too much to ask the President of the United States to be forthcoming about why you son died in the service of his country?  Apparently so.

Meanwhile in Kabul, the administration is on track to see what happened in Benghazi happen there as again very lax security has been cited by an internal investigation that the Washington Times obtained under the Freedom of Information Act as a risk to the safety of embassy personnel.

U.S. diplomatic facilities in Afghanistan have serious security lapses that pose “unnecessary risk to staff,” including poor emergency preparedness and inadequate protections that might allow classified materials to fall into the hands of attacking enemies, according to an internal report that raises fresh questions about the State Department’s commitment to safety in the aftermath of the Benghazi tragedy.

Another “phony” scandal in the making.

~McQ


Economic Statistics for 25 Jul 13

Here are today’s statistics on the state of the economy:

Durable goods orders shot up by 4.2% in Jun, but it was almost entirely due to aircraft orders. Ex-transportation, orders were unchanged. On a year-over-year basis, Durable orders are up 10.9%, and ex-transportation orders are up 4.9%.

Initial jobless claims rose 7,000 to 343,000 last week. The 4-week average fell 1,750 to 345,250, while continuing claims fell 119,000 decline to 2.997 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 0.9 points to -27.3 in the latest week, matching a 5 1/2 year high.

The Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index rose from -5 to 6 in July.

The Fed balance sheet increased $36.7 billion last week, with a $36.4 billion boost in mortgage-backed securities and $8.3 billion in Treasuries. Total assets for the July 24 week were $3.575 trillion.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 24 Jul 13

Here are today’s statistics on the state of the economy:

The MBA reports that mortgage applications fell -1.2% last week, with purchases down -2.0% and re-fis up 1.0%.

Markit’s PMI Manufacturing Index Flash rose a full point to 53.2 in July.

New Home Sales proceeded at a 497,000 annual rate in June, with a very tight availability of only 3.9 months at the current sales rate.

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Dale Franks
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If you are still wondering why Detroit is bankrupt …

Here’s a perfect example, one which occurred after the bankruptcy filing – because, you know, Detroit doesn’t have enough problems of their own:

The Detroit City Council on Tuesday unanimously passed a resolution calling for a federal investigation to see whether civil rights charges are warranted against George Zimmerman, who was acquitted July 13 of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in the killing of Florida teen Trayvon Martin.

The resolution, sponsored by Councilwoman JoAnn Watson, sparked a discussion over the need for city leaders and others to focus more on violence in Detroit.

“We need to have that same level of outrage with respect to the black-on-black crime that takes place in our community,” Councilman Kenneth Cockrel Jr. said. “How many people were shot — maybe even shot and killed this past weekend in the city — mostly likely by folks who look just like them?”

Well yeah.  And, how about trash pickup, potholes, streetlights, Detroit’s bills, yatta, yatta, yatta.

Instead you have a councilwoman playing for headlines and pushing the agenda of an equally bankrupt “civil rights” organization because … well you tell me why.  Because I don’t get it.

~McQ


Economic Statistics for 23 Jul 13

Here are today’s statistics on the state of the economy:

ICSC-Goldman follows last week’s big -1.1% sales drop with a 1.4% weekly gain this week, and 2.1% year-over-year gain. Redbook shows same-store retail sales up sharply, with 3.3% year-on-year sales growth.

The FHFA House Price Index continues to rise, up 0.7% in May, for a year-over-year 7.3% increase.

The Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index collapsed in July,  dropping from 8 in June to -11. Both new orders and shipments fell to -15.

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Dale Franks
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Joe Scarborough is a blooming idiot, and “stand your ground” laws have been around for a long time

I include the former in the title because, as the token “rightie” on MSNBC, it didn’t particularly surprise me to see him fold like a cheap paper box to the culture there and utter these moronic thoughts about the Zimmerman/Martin case:

Because there is no defense for shooting down a young black man in a middle class neighborhood with Skittles. Armed with Skittles.

The man works for a news organization, for heaven sake (or one that claims to be a news organization).  There is no excuse for he or any other MSNBC employee to be this incredibly ignorant about what happened to the point that they think they’re credibly describing reality.  Here’s a clue, Joe … Martin didn’t attack Zimmerman with Skittles.  He attacked him with his fists.  Oh, and key point – Martin initiated the violence.  Got it?

And people are now claiming two other things that have no basis in reality.  One, that “stand your ground laws” are new and should be repealed and two, it was the stand your ground law that got Martin killed.

Dealing with the last first, no, what got Martin killed was choosing (notice the word) to attack George Zimmerman by hitting him in the nose and breaking it and then jumping on top of the man and bashing his head into a sidewalk.  Grow up people … Martin was the aggressor and it had nothing to do with “Skittles”.  Pretending otherwise is just willful ignorance.

But to the “stand your ground laws”.  Andrew Branca over at Legal Insurrection does a little research about the law and provides us with this:

The tendency of the American mind seems to be very strongly against the enforcement of any rule which requires a person to flee when assailed, to avoid chastisement or even to save a human life . . . [Therefore,] [t]he weight of modern authority . . establishes the doctrine that when a person, being without fault and in a place where he has a right to be, is violently assaulted, he may, without retreating, repel force by force, and if, in reasonable exercise of his right of self-defence, his assailant is killed, he is justifiable.

That’s from an Indiana case ( Runyon v. State, 57 Ind. 80) in 1877 where the court found that no one is required to “retreat” when faced with what they surmise is a deadly assault.

In fact, the late comer to the game are these so-called “duty to retreat” laws.  Branca notes:

Stand-Your-Ground has been around a very long time. Indeed, it has always been the majority doctrine in the United States, with only a minority of states adopting a generalized duty to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense. Even today, only 17 states apply such a duty.

And, as with most stupid laws, common sense tells you the law provides perverse incentive to criminals:

A criminal who knows he can seize physical control of his immediate surroundings with no fear of death or grave bodily harm being visited upon him is emboldened to do exactly that. You get more violent aggression from the criminal element of society, not less, when you force law-abiding citizens to cede control to violent criminals.  It’s Heinleins’, “An armed society is a polite society,” turned topsy-turvy.

Check out hot burglary statistics in the UK since guns have been banned.  They make the case.

Everyone has a right to self-defense up to and including using the force they feel is necessary to preserve their life.  No one has a “duty to retreat”.  Because doing so only encourages criminals to up the ante.  The fact that supposedly bright people are unable to understand that and insist victims further endanger themselves and their lives instead of defending themselves speaks to a cluelessness about human nature that is really difficult to comprehend.

But we all know they’re out there — and they look a lot like Joe Scarborough.

~McQ


Detroit: The dead canary in the debt mine

Zero Hedge has a very pointed article about Detroit’s decline.  In it are listed 25 reasons it’s bankrupt (that, as ZH claims, will leave you shaking your head when you finish).  Here are the first 12:

1) At this point, the city of Detroit owes money to more than 100,000 creditors.

2) Detroit is facing $20 billion in debt and unfunded liabilities.  That breaks down to more than $25,000 per resident.

3) Back in 1960, the city of Detroit actually had the highest per-capita income in the entire nation.

4) In 1950, there were about 296,000 manufacturing jobs in Detroit.  Today, there are less than 27,000.

5) Between December 2000 and December 2010, 48 percent of the manufacturing jobs in the state of Michigan were lost.

6) There are lots of houses available for sale in Detroit right now for $500 or less.

7) At this point, there are approximately 78,000 abandoned homes in the city.

8 ) About one-third of Detroit’s 140 square miles is either vacant or derelict.

I know, you look at that and say, "these have me shaking my head already … there’s more"? Oh, yeah. Read ‘em all. But here’s the important part. It’s not just Detroit:

9) An astounding 47 percent of the residents of the city of Detroit are functionally illiterate.

10) Less than half of the residents of Detroit over the age of 16 are working at this point.

11) If you can believe it, 60 percent of all children in the city of Detroit are living in poverty.

12) Detroit was once the fourth-largest city in the United States, but over the past 60 years the population of Detroit has fallen by 63 percent.

“Oh my”, you’re saying, “I’m already shaking my head.  There’s more”?  Oh, yeah, much more.

But here’s the important part – a part we’ve been talking about for quite some time”

A while back, Meredith Whitney was highly criticized for predicting that there would be a huge wave of municipal defaults in this country.  When it didn’t happen, the critics let her have it mercilessly.

But Meredith Whitney was not wrong.

She was just early.

Detroit is only just the beginning.  When the next major financial crisis strikes, we are going to see a wave of municipal bankruptcies unlike anything we have ever seen before.

And of course the biggest debt problem of all in this country is the U.S. government.  We are going to pay a great price for piling up nearly 17 trillion dollars of debt and over 200 trillion dollars of unfunded liabilities.

All over the nation, our economic infrastructure is being gutted, debt levels are exploding and poverty is spreading.  We are consuming far more wealth than we are producing, and our share of global GDP has been declining dramatically.

We have been living way above our means for so long that we think it is "normal", but an extremely painful "adjustment" is coming and most Americans are not going to know how to handle it.

I agree completely.  As I said in my first post about Detroit it is just the dead canary in the debt mine.  It was simply the worst off of the bunch.  But, remember, we were told this sort of stuff couldn’t happen and to quit worrying about.   That debt wasn’t really that important.  Well, in a microcosm, Detroit is the end state we can expect for any number of governmental units in this country (and others).  It is where everyone is headed, it’s just a matter of the speed in which they get there.

You cannot live as we’ve been living and expect there to be no consequences.  Let me modify that.  You can “expect” whatever you wish, what’s delivered will be delivered by reality, not your expectations.

~McQ


Observations: The QandO Podcast for 21 Jul 13

This week, Bruce, Michael, and Dale discuss Detroit, the NLRB, and police militarization.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here.


A little plug

Just as a reminder for any of our automotively inclined readers, I have been using Medium as an outlet for my automotive writing. The archive of articles is here. If you like anything you read there, please be sure to hit the "Recommend" link on the article. A recent sampling of articles include:

What God Drives on the Weekend (Jaguar F-Type)

Curve Carver (Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ)

Good Enough (Volvo S60 T6 R-Design)

Doctor Hoon (Mini John Cooper Works GP)

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Dale Franks
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