Questions and Observations

Free Markets, Free People

Assuming rights that no one has

That’s precisely what this pediatrician is claiming when he talks about what he has a right to do as it pertains to his patients and guns in the house:

As a pediatrician, I have one, straightforward professional obligation: to safeguard and support the health and wellbeing of my patients. In my case, those patients are children, but you could change the age range of the people coming into the office and apply that statement to any medical provider.

Every question I ask and every part of the physical examination, no matter how uncomfortable or invasive they might sometimes seem, is directed toward that one goal. I don’t ask about my patients’ sexual habits for the sake of prurience, for example, but rather to assess their risk for problems like sexually transmitted infections or unintended pregnancy.

Asking about guns in the house is no exception. When I ask parents if there are firearms in the home, and if so how they are secured, it is for the sole purpose of keeping their children safe. Given that access to guns in the home has been shown to increase the risk of death from suicide or homicide, to say nothing of the risk of accidental death, these questions are important. I ask because the answer matters.

He won’t ask you if you have a pool.  Or a car.  Or knives.  Just a gun.

He assumes a right to ask based on the false notion that it is his job to “keep children safe”.  Well, it’s not.

So when asked by anyone about guns in my house, I will invoke my real right – that of privacy – and look an intrusive bastard like this right in the face and say, “that’s none of your ‘effing business.”

Question asked and answered.

~McQ

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Economic Statistics for 30 Jul 14

The Commerce Department’s initial GDP estimate for 2Q 2014 came in at a 4.0% annualized rate of growth. The GDP price index rose at an annualized 2.0%. The Commerce Department says the high growth in the quarter is a rebound from the weather-related GDP declines in 1Q.

The Federal Open Markets Committee met today, and left interest rates unchanged, with a Fed Funds target rate of 0.0%-0.25%.

ADP’s estimate for private payroll growth in July is 218,000 jobs. Econoday’s analyst consensus is a bit higher at 235,000.

The MBA reports that mortgage applications fell -2.2% last week. Purchases rose 0.2% but re-fis fell -4.0%.


Dale’s social media profiles:
Twitter | Facebook | Google+

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Economic Statistics for 29 Jul 14

ICSC-Goldman reports weekly retail sales up 0.2%, and were up 4.6% on a year-over-year basis. Redbook reports a 3.0% rise in retail sales over last year.

The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index continued to fall in May, down -0.3% for the month. On a year-over-year basis, the index is up 9.3%, however.

The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index is moving steadily to new recovery highs, to 90.9 in July.

The State Street Investor Confidence Index fell to 114.7 in July from a revised 119.3 in June.


Dale’s social media profiles:
Twitter | Facebook | Google+

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

When bureaucracies run health care

When they do we see scandals like the VA.  What the left will tell you is that’s an exception.  That the government can run health care vastly better than the private sector because it knows how to control costs.

For example:

NHS doctors are prematurely ending the lives of thousands of elderly hospital patients because they are difficult to manage or to free up beds, a senior consultant claimed yesterday.

Professor Patrick Pullicino said doctors had turned the use of a controversial ‘death pathway’ into the equivalent of euthanasia of the elderly.

He claimed there was often a lack of clear evidence for initiating the Liverpool Care Pathway, a method of looking after terminally ill patients that is used in hospitals across the country.

It is designed to come into force when doctors believe it is impossible for a patient to recover and death is imminent.

There are around 450,000 deaths in Britain each year of people who are in hospital or under NHS care. Around 29 per cent – 130,000 – are of patients who were on the LCP.

Need beds?  LCP an oldie.  Problem solved.  Because with the bureaucracy, you’re not an individual or a patient, you are literally a number to be managed in a way that best benefits the bureaucracy.

Professor Pullicino claimed that far too often elderly patients who could live longer are placed on the LCP and it had now become an ‘assisted death pathway rather than a care pathway’.

He cited ‘pressure on beds and difficulty with nursing confused or difficult-to-manage elderly patients’ as factors.

Now it’s not like we don’t have examples that confirm this – this is one, the other is in our own backyard.

Death panels?  Don’t need ‘em.  Doctors – you know, the guys who swear to the Hippocratic oath – are empowered by the bureaucracy to arbitrarily assign you to the death pathway. Or, in the case of the VA, simply ignore you by leaving you on a wait list until you die.  Either way, a smart person would quickly see where the movement here in this country is going.  A bigger version of the NHS.

Just watch.

~McQ

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Observations: The QandO Podcast for 25 Jul 14

This week, Michael, and Dale talk about the Halbig Decision, Immigration and lawn watering.

The podcast can be found on Stitcher here. Please remember the feed may take a couple of hours to update after this is first posted.

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 Stitcher. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Lawlessness only begets more lawlessness

I imagine there are those out there who will write this off as the usual political squabble, but there’s a larger point here, and if you look closely you’ll see it:

Top White House political adviser David Simas refused again Friday to honor a congressional subpoena, prompting Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to vote to rebuke the administration.

The Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted 19-14 to reject the White House’s claim that Simas has absolute immunity from a subpoena from Congress.

Republicans said they were standing up for the principle that no one is above the law, and Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa quoted a long list of Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, who have backed Congress’ right to subpoena top administration officials.

Democrats, led by ranking member Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, said they strongly disagree with the White House’s claim of absolute immunity but also strongly disagree with Issa’s push to press the issue, warning it could hurt the institution if they take a case to court.

The White House informed Issa at 7:30 a.m. Friday that Simas would not appear, Issa said. The absence was “not excused,” the California Republican added.

White House Counsel W. Neil Eggleston asked Issa to withdraw the subpoena to discuss his late Thursday offer for Simas to give a deposition instead of subpoenaed testimony.

Issa refused to do so.

“We have an absolute right and obligation” to investigate the new White House Office of Political Strategy and Outreach, he said.

It is about this presidency’s seeming desire to be unlawful.  Screw Congress, screw the law, screw oversight, we (the Executive branch) get to decide what is or isn’t lawful.  And we’ve decided that we have full immunity.

Nice.  And this isn’t even some big agency or the like.  It’s a 4 person office.  It’s about the Constitution and the law:

“This was intended to be a short, and I hope it will be, oversight of a relatively small but in the past controversial office, consistent with our requirement to do oversight even without a predicate of wrongdoing,” he said.

Issa said oversight of the previously troubled political office will help American people be more comfortable and ensure taxpayer dollars are being used properly.

“This is not alleging a scandal at any level,” Issa said of the subpoena. But oversight is still legitimate, he said. ”We are accusing neither the president nor anyone in this four-person office of any wrongdoing.”

Nope … this is just their normal duties.  Oversight.  What a concept.  Make sure that executive agency entities are following the law, spending (or not spending) taxpayer’s money as prescribed by law, etc.

And, as I mentioned yesterday, perception is going to be what?  That they’ve got something to hide.  The optics on this sort of thing are horrible – but they either don’t seem to understand or they don’t care.

There’s no good reason at work here for this president, there’s just arrogance and defiance.  Even the Democrats won’t buy into the total immunity nonsense.

So we sit and watch as this administration continues to thumb its nose at the lawful functions of government and obeying the law.

But why should they?  They haven’t in the past and nothing has happened.  Why should they worry now?

~McQ

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Economic Statistics for 24 Jul 14

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 0.1 points to 37.6 in the latest week.

Weekly initial jobless claims fell a surprising 19,000 to 284,000. The 4-week average fell 7,000 to 302,000. Continuing claims fell 8,000 to 2.500 million.

The PMI Manufacturing Index Flash fell from 57.6 to 56.3 in July.

June new home sales fell very sharply to a 406,000 annual rate from May’s 504,000. Prices fell 3.2% to a median price of $273,500.

The Kansas City Fed manufacturing index rose to 9 in July from 6 in June.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $12.5 billion last week, with total assets of $4.411 trillion. Total reserve bank credit rose $14.7 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply fell $-12.4 billion in the latest week.


Dale’s social media profiles:
Twitter | Facebook | Google+

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

The politics of perception

One of the more surprising things of late, at least to me, is the short memory the left seems to have.  As I’ve observed them over the years, one of the things I’ve noticed is they seem to understand the saying “in politics, perception is reality.” Or at least they did.  And it was why they tried to seize and control the narrative.  If they could fashion the perception of the people to be to their advantage, then the “reality” would follow.  One only has to think back of the 8 years of GW Bush to watch that in action.

But now it seems they’ve either forgotten that point or think they’re immune to it.  Or maybe they’re just better on the offense than the defense.

Take the IRS scandal. They continue to push the line that it is a phony scandal.  But what’s the perception of the people when it comes to the IRS in general?  Well, you’ll find very few who harbor kind thoughts about the agency, even if it has never crossed their path during their lifetime.   The IRS is a tax agency and no one is particularly fond of tax collectors.  So when the agency is implicated in an apparent scandal, the left trots out the “phony scandal” meme expecting that sort of a hand-wave to magically make the scandal disappear off of the public’s radar screen.

However, it hasn’t, has it?  Why? Because the public’s perception of the IRS fully allows what is being said about the agency could be true.  They have absolutely no problem believing that the IRS was used for political purposes. The public’s interest in the scandal has remained high.  So perception being “reality”, the left trying to deny something that the public perceives as being true or at least having some truth to it isn’t a good situation to be in, is it?

Immigration has the same problem.  While the left would like to characterize what is happening on the border as something like a “children’s crusade” and then damn anyone who is against it as hating children (their usual “got to the extreme” tactic at work), the public perceives this differently.  That’s evident by the protests in various towns where the government is trying to house these illegals.  So again, the left is trying to create a meme the public just doesn’t buy.  They understand what unregulated and uncontrolled access means in terms of cost, disease and many other factors.  Perception?  That Democrats are defending the indefensible and trying to blame the problem on others.  The fact remains that this White House has never seriously addressed meaningful immigration reform … even when Democrats had solid majorities in both houses of Congress and a Democrat in the White House.

A third problem the left faces is an incompetent president.  He seems more and more disengaged, confused, and weak.   The meme the left continued to push during the earlier days of Obama’s term was that those who criticized him were racists.  But the public perception has built over the years has little to do with skin color and a lot to do with character or the lack thereof.  Foreign policy disaster after foreign policy disaster are hard to deny.  Oh Democrats have certainly tried to put a good face on all of it, but it remains a disaster to even the most low information voter.  You can almost literally see America’s power waning as this man remains in the White House.  And the lack of respect he’s shown throughout the leadership of the world points to much more that “race”.

This isn’t a secret to most of the public.  So when the left tries to fight the perception of incompetence and ineptness with “racism”, it sounds incredibly hollow.  Incompetence is usually fairly obvious.  In this case, it is very obvious.  Add to that the strident application of “racism” broadly against anyone who criticizes Obama and it fits most of the population at some point or another.  It’s not an argument meant to persuade, but instead to shame.  And when individuals assess their motives for saying what they said and realize that the left is just flinging poo in an effort to shut them up, “perception becomes reality”.

These certainly aren’t the only problems the left and Democrats face.  But they’re the most obvious.  Perception is being fashioned daily by a president who simply isn’t seen as credible anymore by a very large portion of the population.  And instead of understanding that and attempting damage control, they double down and defend the indefensible.

You have to wonder what the toll of such a defense will be in both the midterms and the next presidential election.

~McQ

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Buy Dale’s Book!