The MBA reports that mortgage applications fell -4.6% last week, with purchases up 1.0% but refis down -8.0%.
ADP is signaling that Friday’s Employment Situation will be weak, showing just 169,000 new private sector jobs in April.
2015’s weak 1st Quarter economy pulled productivity down by -1.9%, while unit labor costs surged 5.0%. On a year-over-year basis, productivity is up only 0.6%, though labor costs are also restrained at 1.1%.
Gallup’s U.S. Job Creation Index rose 2 points in April to 31.
But the LA Times thinks there is as it states in its piece about the Garland, TX attack by Islamists:
The Garland attack refocused public attention on the fine line between free speech and hate speech in the ideological struggle between radical Islam and the West.
Hate to break it to them but what they categorize as “hate speech” is a subset of “free speech”.
Of course the term is now in popular use all across the world, but it has very interesting and nasty origin as the Hoover Institution discusses here.
The origin of the term comes from the Soviet Union and its satellites in arguments about the 1948 UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights (udhr). The arguments during its drafting and particularly the area concerning freedom of speech showed the world the totalitarian concept of “free speech” as articulated by the USSR and its satellites.
The drafting history of the protection of the freedom of expression in the udhr does not leave any doubt that the dominant force behind the attempt to adopt an obligation to restrict this right under human rights law was the Soviet Union. On the other hand, led by the U.S. and uk, the vast majority of Western democracies, albeit with differences in emphasis, sought to guarantee a wide protection of freedom of expression and in particular to avoid any explicit obligation upon states to restrict this right.
In particular the USSR sought language that addressed “hate”:
The first draft was limited to the prohibition of “any advocacy of national, racial, or religious hostility that constitutes an incitement to violence.” However, a number of countries led by the Soviet Union were adamant that incitement to violence was insufficient, and sought a broader prohibition against “incitement to hatred.” Poland expressed dissatisfaction with a provision only prohibiting incitement to violence, since it did not tackle “the root of the evil,” and worried that freedom of expression could be abused and “contribute decisively to the elimination of all freedoms and rights.” The Yugoslav representative thought it important to “suppress manifestations of hatred which, even without leading to violence, constituted a degradation of human dignity and a violation of human rights.”
Of course we all know how loosely such a term as “hate” can be interpreted and how arbitrarily it can be applied, especially by a state bent on oppression of the opposition. And, of course, that was the point. The totalitarian regimes were looking for the blessing of the UDHR to sanction their planned oppression.
Eleanor Roosevelt found the language “extremely dangerous” and warned against provisions “likely to be exploited by totalitarian States for the purpose of rendering the other articles null and void.” She also feared that the provision “would encourage governments to punish all criticism under the guise of protecting against religious or national hostility.” Roosevelt’s concern was shared by, among others, the five Nordic countries. Sweden argued that “the effective prophylaxis lay in free discussion, information, and education,” and that “fanatical persecution” should be countered with “free discussion, information and debate”. Australia warned that “people could not be legislated into morality.” Furthermore, it noted that “the remedy might be worse than the evil it sought to remove.” The uk representative stated that “the power of democracy to combat propaganda lay . . . in the ability of its citizens to arrive at reasoned decisions in the face of conflicting appeals.” When challenged by the Soviet Union, the uk representative pointed out that during World War II, Hitler’s Mein Kampf had not been banned and was readily available in the uk, and that its government “would maintain and fight for its conception of liberty as resolutely as it had fought against Hitler.”
Of course, at the time this was being discussed, the West was adamantly against the restrictions that the Soviets were seeking, i.e. including “hate speech” as a legitimate reason to limit speech. They clearly understood the implications of such restrictions and how they could and most likely would be used.
Fast forward to today:
All western european countries have hate-speech laws. In 2008, the eu adopted a framework decision on “Combating Racism and Xenophobia” that obliged all member states to criminalize certain forms of hate speech. On the other side of the Atlantic, the Supreme Court of the United States has gradually increased and consolidated the protection of hate speech under the First Amendment. The European concept of freedom of expression thus prohibits certain content and viewpoints, whereas, with certain exceptions, the American concept is generally concerned solely with direct incitement likely to result in overt acts of lawlessness.
So, in essence, Europe has capitulated to Soviet demands a few decades after the communist nation ceased to exist. It apparently buys into the notion that that state has the right to limit speech if hateful and reserves to itself the right to define what is or isn’t hate. Eleanor Roosevelt, of course, was right – such laws are “likely to be exploited by totalitarian States for the purposes of rendering” free speech “null and void”. That’s precisely what totalitarian regimes always do, with or without the blessing of a UDHR. They are going to control speech and they’re going to suppress as “hateful” anything they don’t agree with.
Interestingly it was a representative from Columbia who said it best:
Punishing ideas, whatever they may be, is to aid and abet tyranny, and leads to the abuse of power . . . As far as we are concerned and as far as democracy is concerned, ideas should be fought with ideas and reasons; theories must be refuted by arguments and not by the scaffold, prison, exile, confiscation, or fines.
Kirsten Powers points out that we’re slowly drifting toward tyranny when she talks about how it once was on the college campus and how it is now. Contrary ideas are now characterized as “violence” and intolerance to those ideas is rampant for some. Interestingly, for the most part, those who would ban speech they disagree with mostly find themselves on the left side of the political spectrum, which, at least, is historically consistent. They’re heirs to the Soviet Union’s attempts to oppress free speech.
They must be very proud.
March’s trade deficit was much higher than expected at $-51.4 billion. This may push 1st Quarter GDP into negative territory on revision.
Gallup’s U.S. economic confidence index for April fell from -2 in March to -9.
Redbook reports that last week’s retail sales weakened again, falling to 1.4% on a year-ago basis, from the previous week’s 1.6%.
The PMI Services Index fell -1.8 points to a still-strong 57.4 in April. Both costs and finished prices rose, some of the first inflation signals of any report.
The ISM non-manufacturing index strengthened from 56.5 to 57.8 in April. Unlike the PMI, however, there are no signs of price pressure.
It is interesting to me to examine events and the reaction too them in certain contexts, such as left and right. Below is a listing I found on Facebook (h/t Christopher Buckley) which succinctly states the left’s reaction to each of the events listed:
Rioters in Baltimore: EXPRESSION OF SPEECH
Stomping on US flag: EXPRESSION OF SPEECH
Crucifix in a jar of urine: EXPRESSION OF SPEECH
Cartoon art display: UNPROTECTED INCENDIARY HATE
In fact, rioting is now being redefined (or at least the attempt is being made) from a criminal enterprise to a “free speech” event if a protected minority is involved. If it’s a bunch of straight white guys, they’re going to jail.
Stomping the flag and a crucifix in a jar of urine have always been defended by the left as free speech. Burn the flag – free speech. Neo-Nazi’s marching in a Jewish neighborhood – free speech. The list goes on.
However, it appears that there is a line somewhere on the left where that changes. Outrageous acts focused on offending certain groups are always free speech. Outrageous acts, of exactly the same nature but against protected groups, yeah, screw free speech, it’s hate speech. And, of course, the protected group is the “victim”. On the other side, however, the deeply offended group is told to get over it, free speech is inviolate … well, except … yeah. I’m not sure how the left keeps it straight in their tiny little heads and don’t keel over from an overdose of hypocrisy.
But then, they seem to have developed some sort of tolerance for hypocrisy over the ages – no pun intended.
Boosted by aircraft and motor vehicles, factory orders rose an as-expected 2.1% in March, ending 7 straight months of decline.
Gallup’s US Consumer Spending Measure shows Americans’ daily self-reports of spending averaged $91 in April, up from $86 in March.
From Reason, a Nick Gillespie quote that perfectly sums up the precious snowflake/SJW phenomenon in colleges:
But really, what the f*ck is wrong with kids these days and, more important, the supposed adults who look after them? They act as if they are raising human veal that cannot even stand on their own legs or face the sunlight without having their eyeballs burned out and their hearts broken by a single deep breath or uncomfortable moment. I’m just waiting for stories of college deans carrying students from class to class on their backs.
“Human veal”. A perfect metaphor. Calling PETA … lol.
A well known and respected scientist resigns from the American Physical Society? Why?
It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist. Anyone who has the faintest doubt that this is so should force himself to read the ClimateGate documents, which lay it bare. (Montford’s book organizes the facts very well.) I don’t believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist.
Read the whole thing. His point, of course, is that any scientist with a shred of integrity who has examined the “evidence” presented should be doing precisely what he is doing – shaming those perpetrating the fraud and refusing to be associated with them.
Billy Bob in his usual role as Denier-in-Chief:
“No one has ever tried to influence me by helping you,” the former president added while channeling his wife. “There is no doubt in my mind that we have never done anything knowingly inappropriate in terms of taking money to influence any kind of American government policy. That just hasn’t happened.”
There was no doubt in his mind he hadn’t had sex with that woman too! If his lips are moving he’s … yeah, he is. And his wife is no better.
Nothing to see here citizen … keep moving, keep moving.
Guy Benson lays it out:
“A free-thinking, free citizen of a free country is not obliged to be confined to a bedazzled ideological straitjacket because that’s how they ‘ought’ to think and ‘ought’ to vote and ‘ought’ to rank their priorities,” he said. “It’s not true, it shouldn’t be true, and I think part of liberty and tolerance and coexistence is understanding that, ‘Hey, I might have something in common with this person over here, and they have every right under the sun to disagree with me on this whole panoply of public policy questions over here.’ And if their views on those things lead them to another conclusion about how they exercise their right to vote, to jump to the conclusion that that is borne of some secret, deep-seated, self-loathing is just lazy and boring.
Bingo. And given what we see today, we’re hardly “A free-thinking, free citizen of a free country”.
Social justice warriors are as dumb as they come. They probably don’t even realize that they’ll be successful in splitting the country apart. We talk about it on the podcast page.
April motor vehicle sales fell -4.1% from a strong March, to still fairly robust 16.5 million annual rate.
The Markit PMI manufacturing index for April fell -1.6 points to 54.1 in April.
Weakness in the employment component held the ISM manufacturing index unchanged for April at 51.5.
The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index was unchanged in April at 95.9.
March construction spending dropped -0.6% against expectations of an increase of 0.4%, showing basic weakness in the construction sector.
Apparently the left is now involved in an attempt at ginning up speech codes, redefining words and then trying to prohibit their use because … “racism”. The latest attempt is to equate “thugs” with “n*igger”. That’s right, if you call a rioter a “thug” it’s the same as using the “n-word”.
Here’s a pretty descent response:
In ascribing racial animus to “thug,” the left is actually asserting a moral and logical vertex between “thug” and “black.” The only people who seem to be fixated on a racial undertone are the liberals. I believe the textbooks call that “projection.” Hey Democrats: not all looters are black. And you’re the only ones who seem to think otherwise.
Precisely. And here’s the point (and difference between social activism (ala MLK) and thugs):
If you looted, stole, robbed, assaulted and/or set fire to something/someone in Baltimore, you’re a thug. Torching the neighborhood pharmacy doesn’t make you a revolutionary. Stealing Air Jordans from the local shoe store is not a cry of freedom. And throwing trash cans at passersby will not release you from the bonds of – whatever bonds you believe are holding you back.
A coordinated effort to resist the increasingly militarized storm troopers employed by the government to crush the life out of liberty is social activism. Throwing a brick at tourists who made a wrong turn on the way to Inner Harbor is not.
There’s no nobility in wanton destruction. And pretending otherwise diminishes the sacrifices made by those who were actually motivated by the greater good. Looters, thieves and violent savages not only deserve no respect, attempts to suggest otherwise elevate them beyond their station at the expense of those who manage to challenge the forces of tyranny without looting the Sports Mart. Acting as if Thuggy McThuggerston pinching Pringles from the Quik-E-Mart is “sticking it to the Man” makes a mockery of those who “stuck it to the Man” without knocking over a convenience store.
The fact that the majority of those doing these things were black doesn’t change the fact that their actions were those of thugs – exactly how the context of the word has always been understood, and what race the thugs were was completely irrelevant. Anyone who does the above is a thug.
What is most abhorrent about this debacle in Baltimore is listening to the “leadership” trying to explain this behavior away.
Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young (Democrat):
It is about the pain, the hurt and the suffering of these young people. There’s no excuse for them to loot, riot, and destroy our city. I made a comment out of frustration and anger when I called our children thugs. They’re not thugs. They’re just misdirected. We need to direct them on a different path by creating opportunities for them.
If they’re your “children” then you, sir, are an utter failure. They are not misdirected, they’re undirected. They’re under the influence of thugs. And they’re doing exactly what you’d expect a thug to do in such a situation. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s likely a duck. And these “children” are indeed thugs. What Mr. Young wants to do is downplay the seriousness of the rioting and looting, play it off as just the work of some “misdirected children” and absolve himself and others of responsibility. After all, kids will be kids and we need to understand their “hurt” and “suffering” as they loot drugs and burn out a CVS.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (Democrat):
“I wanted to say something that was on my heart … We don’t have thugs in Baltimore. Sometimes my little anger interpreter gets the best of me,” she said. “We have a lot of kids that are acting out, a lot of people in our community that are acting out.”
The infantilizing of rioters. They’re just “kids” that are “acting out”. No, Ms. Rawlings-Blake, they’re criminals who are engaged in criminal activities which by that very definition makes them thugs. Looting beer from a store you’ve broken into isn’t “social activism”, it’s theft! And thugs are thieves.
Unfortunately she goes on:
“I made it very clear that I work with the police and instructed them to do everything that they could to make sure that the protesters were able to exercise their right to free speech,” she said.
There is NO right to “free speech” that involves the destruction of property or looting someone’s property. Those, again, are criminal activities. Those that engage in those sorts of criminal activities are and will always be identified as … thugs. So she chose to indulge the thugs at the expense of the citizens of Baltimore.
It’s a very delicate balancing act. Because while we tried to make sure that they were protected from the cars and other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy, space to do that as well. And we worked very hard to keep that balance and to put ourselves in the best position to de-escalate.
What absolute SJW drivel that is. So her priority was to protect the thugs from “cars and other things that were going on” and to ensure those who wanted to burn cars and businesses as well as loot property had the “space to do that as well”. Serve and protect the citizens of Baltimore? Nope. Serve and protect the thugs. And make excuses for them.
She needs a little dose of recall election quickly. She’s a disgrace.
But the bottom line? No, “thugs” isn’t the same as the n-word unless the n-word now means “criminal”. And no, I won’t stop calling thieves and the like thugs just because some idiot on the Baltimore City Council wants to equate it with the n-word. He and his council are failures. The mayor is a failure. And all they are trying to do, unsuccessfully I might add, is divert attention under the auspices of “damage control”.
Personal income was unchanged in March, while personal spending rose 0.4%. The PCE Price index rose 0.2% overall and 0.1% at the core. On a year-over-year basis, income is up 3.8% while spending is up 3.0%. The PCE Price Index is up 0.3% overall, but up 1.4% when food and energy is excluded, the so-called core rate.
The Employment Cost Index rose 0.7% in the 1st Quarter of 2015. On a year-ago basis, employment costs have risen 2.6%.
The Chicago Purchasing Manager’s Index jumped from 46.3 to 52.3 in April. It’s worth noting, though, that this is a volatile index.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index declined for the 3rd straight week, from 45.2 to 44.7 in the latest week.
Initial weekly jobless claims fell 34,000 to 262,000. The 4-week average fell 1,250 to 283,750. Continuing claims fell 74,000 to 2.253 million. This weeks number of claims was the lowest since April of 2000.
The Fed’s balance sheet fell $-18.2 billion last week, with total assets of $4.472 trillion. Reserve bank credit fell $-3.2 billion.
The Fed reports that M2 money supply fell by $-1.9 billion in the latest week.