Questions and Observations

Free Markets, Free People

Economic Statistics for 6 Jan 15

Factory orders fell for the 4th straight month in November, down -0.7%, with nearly all major categories declining.

Gallup’s U.S. Economic Confidence Index rose 3 points to -5 in December.

Redbook reports retail sales rose 4.3% on a year-ago basis, slowing from last week’s 5.4%.

The Markit PMI services index fell -2.9 points in December to 53.3.

The ISM Non-Manufacturing Index fell -3.1 points to 56.2 in December.

The JP Morgan Global Composite PMI fell -0.9 points to 52.3 in December.

The JP Morgan Global Services PMI fell -1.2 points to 52.3 in December.


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So, why does this even make it to the “presidential level”

The “this”?  Keystone XL pipeline.  Why is the president at all involved in this decision?  Why is he threatening a veto if the Republican Congress passes a bill authorizing it?

After all:

The nation’s pipelines are a transportation system. Pipelines enable the safe movement of extraordinary quantities of energy products to industry and consumers, literally fueling our economy and way of life. The arteries of the Nation’s energy infrastructure, as well as one of the safest and least costly ways to transport energy products, our oil and gas pipelines provide the resources needed for national defense, heat and cool our homes, generate power for business and fuel an unparalleled transportation system.

The nation’s more than 2.6 million miles of pipelines safely deliver trillions of cubic feet of natural gas and hundreds of billions of ton/miles of liquid petroleum products each year. They are essential: the volumes of energy products they move are well beyond the capacity of other forms of transportation. It would take a constant line of tanker trucks, about 750 per day, loading up and moving out every two minutes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to move the volume of even a modest pipeline. The railroad-equivalent of this single pipeline would be a train of 75 2,000-barrel tank rail cars everyday.

Pipeline systems are the safest means to move these products.

The source?  The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration of the Department of Transportation.  Yes, that’s right, the US government.  Executive branch.

Note the facts – 2.6 million miles of pipeline safely moving petroleum products 24/7.  Look at would be required without them.

Oh, wait, look what’s required without Keystone – trucking and railcars, of course. And who has a major stake in those operations continuing?  You know how this works … follow the money.

Can you say “cronyism”?

Sure you can.

The most “transparent administration”, ever!

Btw, GOP … make his veto it or forever be held as the cowards most think you are (after all, you didn’t even have the courage to dump Boehner).

~McQ

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Here’s a point to ponder

What’s old is new again.

What you need to focus on is the way the feminists would have you take any rape allegation made, without exception.  That in the wake of any number of examples of false (Duke LaCross) and exaggerated stories (Dunham/UVa, etc.) and the propensity of certain institutions to ignore due process while having no qualms at all about forever branding the alleged perpetrator as a rapist for life.  Facts are not necessary, just an accusation in many cases.  No appeal.  No place the accused can present evidence or demand evidence be presented (I’m talking particularly here about universities and the so-called rape epidemic that feminists are trying to allege is happening).  If you’re accused, you’re condemned.  the accuser’s narrative is inviolate  (until it comes apart).

Guess who else used those sorts of tactics?

Automatic belief of rape accusations was a central principle of the KKK’s war on rape, too. This was one of the things that most shocked Ida B Wells, the early twentieth-century African-American journalist and civil-rights activist. ‘The word of the accuser is held to be true’, she said, which means that ‘the rule of law [is] reversed, and instead of proving the accused to be guilty, the [accused] must prove himself innocent’. Wells and others were startled by the level of belief in the accusers of black men, and by the damning of anyone who dared to question such accusations, which was taken as an attack on the accuser’s ‘virtue’. The great nineteenth-century African-American reformer Frederick Douglass was disturbedby the mob’s instant acceptance of accusations of rape against black men, where ‘the charge once fairly stated, no matter by whom or in what manner, whether well or ill-founded’, was automatically believed. Wells said she was praying that ‘the time may speedily come when no human being shall be condemned without due process of law’.

The author of this article goes on to say that at least no lynching is going on today. I disagree.  There are all sorts of “lynchings” going on, they just don’t result in the death of the accused.  But it certainly results in his reputation being lynched.

I can hear the feminists now – “how dare you compare us to the KKK”!?

I’m not.  I’m comparing your tactics to those of the KKK.  You can draw your own conclusions from there.

~McQ

 

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Economic Statistics for 2 Jan 15

Markit’s PMI Manufacturing Index slowed by -0.9 points in December, coming in at 53.9.

The ISM Manufacturing Index fell -3.2 points to 55.5 in December.

The J.P. Morgan Global Manufacturing PMI fell -0.2 points to 51.6 in December.

Construction spending fell -0.3% in November, well below expectations. On a year-over-year basis, spending is up only 2.4%. The recent slack in housing has negative implications for 4th Quarter GDP.

The Fed’s balance sheet fell $-11.8 billion last week, with total assets of 4.498 trillion. Reserve bank credit fell $-11.9 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply grew by $16.6 billion in the latest week.


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Economic Statistics for 31 Dec 14

Initial weekly jobless claims rose 17,000 to 298,000. The 4-week average rose 500 to 290,750. Continuing claims fell 53,000 to 2.353  million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell -0.4 points to 42.7 in the latest week.

The NAR’s Pending Home Sales index rose 0.8 points in November, to 104.8.

The Chicago Purchasing Managers Index  fell -2.5 points to 58.3 in December.


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OK, one more …

This one is simply stunning:

HarperCollins, one of the world’s largest publishing houses, sells English-language atlases to schools in the Middle East that omit Israel.

Collins Middle East Atlases show Jordan and Syria extending to the Mediterranean but do mark the position of the West Bank.

When confronted about this non-factual depiction of the region?

However, Collins Bartholomew, the subsidiary of HarperCollins that specialises in maps, said that including Israel would have been “unacceptable” to their customers in the Gulf and the amendment incorporated “local preferences”.

So, they sold out.  They published a lie for money and tried to cloak it in something called “local preference”, which apparently trumps the truth.

What does that say you should keep in mind when buying anything from HarperCollins or its subsidiaries?  That they will lie in a New York minute if they think it will enhance sales.  Hence, anything they publish that is supposedly fact based should be viewed as suspect at the very least.  Or you could simply avoid buying anything from them under the assumption that if they’re willing to incorporate “local preferences” into their “work”, that their work isn’t worth a bucket of warm spit.

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 30 Dec 14

ICSC-Goldman reports weekly retail sales at chain stores were flat, and rose only a soft 2.2% on a year-over-year basis. Redbook reports retail sales were little changed from last week, rising 5.4% on a year-ago basis, compared to 5.3% last week.

The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index rose 0.8% in October, but the still-weak 4.5% increase from last year is down -0.3% from September.

The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index rose 1.6 points to 92.6, which is near recovery highs.

The State Street Investor Confidence Index remains strong but did ease in December, to 112.1 vs a revised 113.7 in November.


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