Questions and Observations

Free Markets, Free People

Forget the extremes on the Syrian refugee crisis

On the one extreme:

“We are not well served when, in response to a terrorist attack, we descend into fear and panic,” [Obama] said. “We don’t make good decisions if they’re based on hysteria or an exaggeration of risks.”

There you have it, folks: If you doubt any portion of our current refugee policy, you’re “hysterical.” Never mind that a recent poll showed 13 percent of Syrian refugees declaring a “positive” or “somewhat positive” view of ISIS, or that at least one of the Paris attackers apparently arrived in France posing as a refugee. Never mind the 26 charges of terrorism brought up against foreign-born individuals in the U.S. in the past year, as Sen. Jeff Sessions documented this week, or the fact that in October, FBI Director James Comey testified that our current system likely can’t effectively vet Syrian refugees.

More importantly, never mind the fact that opposition to current refugee protocols doesn’t necessarily translate into opposition to helping refugees altogether; had Obama led with an acknowledgment of the system’s weaknesses and showed genuine concern towards fixing them, we might be in a different situation today.  As it is, a new Bloomberg poll shows 53 percent of Americans opposing the current settlement plan.

Yes, that’s right, our President is on extreme.  And of course he considers the GOP to be the real extreme, characterizing them as wanting no refugees from Syria at all.  Granted there are certainly those who do indeed want that.  But broad brushes are a little, well, broad.

In effect, no one is saying turn away “widows and 3 year old orphans”, as some on the left have characterized the attitude on the right.

What is concerning everyone is the number and percentage of young, military age men in this mix.  Are they jihadists that ISIS is trying to smuggle into the US. Despite their claims, the administration has no idea.  That’s a national security issue and the safety of the citizens of the US take priority over a bunch of refugees.  Of course that’s how the job description of President goes, but apparently, Obama is trying to rewrite that.  Risk is a matter of opinion, and a good leader would develop a process that would be transparent and assure the public of its safety.  But then, we have Obama …

And what most want is a “pause” before wholesale importing of refugees, to review the vetting process and tighten it up if necessary.  In the meantime, I’m sure, if the US asked nicely, these refugees could be placed in a neutral middle Eastern country until that process is complete. That would assure their safety.

But to hear Obama and his supporters, it is as if the right is just so damned racist and xenophobic that they can’t tolerate the thought of helping any foreign refugees by placing them here (of course, history tells a different story).

Tell you what.  To show your good faith Mr. Obama, let’s first start by giving refugee and immigration status to our Iraqi and Afghan interpreters who are at daily risk for helping us and many on the right have been trying to get here for years.  That’s been a hill the left just doesn’t seem to have been able to climb.

Then they can again assume their superior attitude and lecture the rest of us on our “responsibility” to others.

Seem fair?


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Economic Statistics for 19 Nov 15

The Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey moved back into positive territory in November, rising from -4.5 to 1.9.

The Conference Board’s index of leading economic indicators rose 0.6% in October.

Initial weekly jobless claims fell 5,000 to 271,000. The 4-week average rose 3,000 to 270,750. Continuing claims rose 2,000 to 2.167 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell -0.4 points to 41.2 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet fell $-5.3 billion last week, with total assets of $4.487 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $7.2 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply fell by $-13.4 billion in the latest week.

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Liberals in Wonderland

As exemplified by Margaret Carlson on “Morning Joe”:

Carlson said of assimilating immigrants, “we do know how to do it. Europe doesn’t know how to do it. France especially doesn’t know how to do it. England not very good at it. And so, we have less of a problem. You know, those people who have snuck in, that, I don’t know if they’ve snuck in, but maybe they become Americanized, maybe the anger goes away. Maybe what they snuck in to do they’re not going to do, because we do have an acceptance of these people, as Congressman [Keith] Ellison (D-MN) said. They’re more patriotic because they’re here and they work harder.”

Because that’s why jihadists came here – to assimilate, get jobs, work harder.

Remember when we were told that all the members of ISIS needed were jobs?  If we’d provide that, well, they’d just settle down and quit trying to impose a 7th Century caliphate on the world.  And then there’s Mohammed Atta, who basically came here, hung around, tasted the “good life”, learned to fly and shopped at Walmart and ate at Pizza Hut the day before he flew a hijacked plane into one of the twin towers.  He “assimilated” quite well didn’t he, Margaret?

The fact that the left will not admit to or recognize the fact that this is a war of ideologies and the radical Islamist ideology isn’t about “assimilation”, any more than was the Nazi ideology, is dangerous.  They also apparently  can’t admit that there is evil in the world and in this case, it is epitomized in ISIS, and one must confront evil head on.  If they did any of that they’d have to admit their “tolerance” and “multicultural” arguments are nonsense. Admitting all of that would also demand they take action.

None of that is going to happen with this crowd.  Just look at the man in the White House.  He’s all about pretending.  He’s pretended for quite some time that ISIS isn’t really a threat.  His failure to admit, recognize and confront the evil that is radical Islam has helped lead us to this point.  And he still won’t take action.  But he’s not going to.  In a recent speech, he as much as said that:

But what we do not do, what I do not do is to take actions either because it is going to work politically or it is going to somehow, in the abstract, make America look tough, or make me look tough. And maybe part of the reason is because every few months I go to Walter Reed, and I see a 25-year-old kid who’s paralyzed or has lost his limbs, and some of those are people I’ve ordered into battle. And so I can’t afford to play some of the political games that others may.

Whether or not he goes to Walter Reed, this is just an excuse leveraged off of the military.  My first thought was if he’s not able to make the hard decisions that will keep the American people safe, he needs to resign from the job. The second thing I thought was, just as I did, these young men and women were willing to pay the price necessary to keep this country safe, and he’s just made that effort worthless.  It has been all OJT for him anyway, and he has failed miserably.  As to playing “political games”, that’s all the man does. This play on wounded military is just that.

We’ll do what’s required to keep the American people safe. And I think it’s entirely appropriate in a democracy to have a serious debate about these issues. If folks want to pop off and have opinions about what they think they would do, present a specific plan. If they think that somehow their advisors are better than the Chairman of my Joint Chiefs of Staff and the folks who are actually on the ground, I want to meet them. And we can have that debate. But what I’m not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of American leadership or America winning, or whatever other slogans they come up with that has no relationship to what is actually going to work to protect the American people, and to protect people in the region who are getting killed, and to protect our allies and people like France. I’m too busy for that.

Of course the CJCS have presented numerous proposals that he wouldn’t even entertain, much less approve and none of which included the dreaded “boots on the ground”.  He’s simply not going to do anything serious.  The above is politics.  He no more wants to meet and debate than he wants to strike ISIS.  He’s “too busy” being arrogant and inept and leaving a huge mess for whomever it is that has to fill the vacancy we’ve actually had for 7, going on 8, years. As for doing “what’s required to keep the American people safe”, apparently importing possible jihadis from a hot bed of them how this is done.

This is the legacy of liberalism

Beautiful, ain’t it?



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Economic Statistics for 18 Nov 15

Today’s release of the minutes of the October FOMC meeting hint strongly that an interest rate hike may be in the cards for December.

The Atlanta Fed reports that annual inflation expectations for business were unchanged for November at 1.8%.

Housing starts fell sharply in October, down -11.0% to a 1.060 million annual rate.

The MBA reports that mortgage applications rose 6.2% last week, with purchases up 12.0% and refis up 2.0%.

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Economic Statistics for 17 Nov 15

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey improved a bit, but still stayed deeply negative at -10.74 in November.

The Consumer Price Index rose 0.2% at both the headline and core rate in October. On a year-over-year basis, the CPI is up 0.2% overall, but 1.9% less food and energy.

The Fed reports industrial production fell -0.2% in October, while capacity utilization in the nation’s factories was unchanged at 77.5%. The production drop is misleading, since it includes big drops in mining and utilities. Manufacturing actually rose 0.4%.

The NAHB’s Housing Market index declined -2 points to 62 in November, signaling some weakness in home construction.

Growth in e-commerce sales remained strong in the 3rd quarter of 2015, up 4.2%.

Net foreign demand for US long-term securities rose to $33.6 billion in September vs a revised $20.8 billion in August.

Redbook reports that last week’s retail sales rose very slightly to a weak 1.2% on a year-ago basis, from the previous week’s 1.1%.

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Mother Jones: Quit mocking GOP over Syrian refugee stance

Even Mother Jones know the Democrats are on the wrong side of this issue:

Here’s the thing: to the average person, it seems perfectly reasonable to be suspicious of admitting Syrian refugees to the country. We know that ISIS would like to attack the US. We know that ISIS probably has the wherewithal to infiltrate a few of its people into the flood of refugees. And most voters have no idea how easy it is to get past US screening. They probably figure it’s pretty easy.

So it doesn’t seem xenophobic or crazy to call for an end to accepting Syrian refugees. It seems like simple common sense. After all, things changed after Paris.

Mocking Republicans over this—as liberals spent much of yesterday doing on my Twitter stream—seems absurdly out of touch to a lot of people. Not just wingnut tea partiers, either, but plenty of ordinary centrists too. It makes them wonder if Democrats seriously see no problem here? Do they care at all about national security? Are they really that detached from reality?

They just cancelled a soccer game in Germany due to very hard intelligence that terrorists planned to bomb it.  And, of course, Paris.

Why wouldn’t it be “reasonable” to be suspicious of admitting Syrian refugees to those who are supposedly intellectually above average on the left?

That, my friend, remains the question, doesn’t it?


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France, the Democrats and reality

One of the three in the title doesn’t belong there:

I watched, incredulously, as all three contenders in Saturday night’s Democratic presidential debate — Hillary Rodham Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley — refused to say the slaughter was the work of “Muslim” extremists.

Clinton blamed “jihadis.” But despite prodding, she would not speak of the Islamic elephant in the room.

Sanders stood by his earlier claim that climate change, not creatures in suicide vests, presents the biggest threat to this planet because it makes poor people into terrorists by interfering with their crops or something.

At that point, I switched to the Syfy channel to get a bigger dose of reality.

And probably got much more of a dose of reality than the Democratic debate.

Imagine claiming “climate change” was the “biggest threat to the planet” when terrorists are blowing up people in France.  Or the simple fact that the climate really hasn’t shown any change in over a decade.

Who are “jihadis” and what religion do they represent, Ms. Clinton?

And who’s two memes, “ISIS is the jayvee” and “other civilized countries don’t have this sort of problem (referring to mass killings), were utterly destroyed?  Not to mention watching the French president show what leadership means by hitting ISIS immediately, repeatedly and hard?

Oh, that would be our Commander-in-Chief, the semi-retired and totally disconnected Barack Obama.

Meanwhile, the importation of 10,000 Syrian refugees will continue as planned.

Yup, Syfy would seem to deal in reality much more than our President and the Democrats.


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Observations: The QandO Podcast for 13 Nov 15

Allons enfants de la Patrie, [Arise, children of the Fatherland,]
Le jour de gloire est arrivé! [The day of glory has arrived!]
Contre nous de la tyrannie, [Against us is tyranny,]
L’étendard sanglant est levé. (bis) [Its bloody banner raised. (repeat)]
Entendez-vous dans les campagnes [Do you hear, in the countryside,]
Mugir ces féroces soldats? [The roar of their ferocious soldiers?]
Ils viennent jusque dans nos bras [They’re coming right into our arms]
Égorger nos fils, nos compagnes! [To cut the throats of our sons, our women!]
Aux armes, citoyens, [To arms, citizens,]
Formez vos bataillons, [Form your battalions,]
Marchons, marchons! [Let’s march, let’s march!]
Qu’un sang impur [Let their impure blood]
Abreuve nos sillons! (bis) [Water our furrows! (Repeat)]

On the podcast page.

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Another day, another academic asylum goes berserk

This time, Claremont Institute.  I want you to read four articles.

First the LA Times:

Dean Mary Spellman at Claremont McKenna stepped down after she sparked a campus protest and hunger strikes by two students this week over her email to a Latina student saying she would work to serve those who “don’t fit our CMC mold.”

Spellman later apologized, but her remarks appeared to be a tipping point for students who have pressed the campus for months for greater diversity among faculty and staff and more funding for multicultural services.

Apparently “mold” is a trigger word.  She was addressing a student who wrote a guest editorial in the student newspaper.  The email?


Oh, my Lord.  She must not have been thinking. “Our CMC mold”, anyone knows that means … white people, right?

BANG! Off with her head (for what should at best have been considered an email attempting to help, but possibly poorly worded and needing a bit of an explanation)!

And, as you can tell, they figuratively got her head.  Of course, the LA Times does its best to give the student complaints credibility.

OK, second article from the college itself, the Claremont Independent:

At the demonstration, students vocalized their demands, emphasizing that they want everything done on their own terms. “We don’t want a center for free speech meant to educate white students,” one protestor asserted. “We want a center that supports marginalized students first and foremost.” When students demanded that President Chodosh commit to giving them a temporary and eventually permanent space on campus, he initially said that he could not commit to a temporary space, but is working on a permanent space at this time. But after about 5 minutes of students speaking out against him, President Chodosh said he would love to transform the Hub, CMC’s student food store and central lounge, to provide them with a temporary space. In a swift, executive decision, CMC Student Body President Will Su dedicated part of the student government office as a temporary space, ordering the administration to give these students a permanent space immediately.

“To the administration as a whole, we require greater diversity in our faculty and staff,” stated the protest leader. “The need for such programs to educate the student body is eminent [sic] by the numerous microaggressions felt by students of color.” Students of color called out racially-insensitive professors for making them feel unsafe. “We want mandatory and periodic racial sensitivity trainings for all professors,” one protestor stated. “How are students supposed to learn in the classroom when they don’t even feel safe? When their own professors, someone who is supposed to be a mentor to them, a teacher, doesn’t even respect their identities? We want more diverse course offerings for critical race theory, community engagement, and social justice issues.”

In other words, this isn’t about learning diversity, this is about cookie-cutter Social Justice Warrior learning.  And they want the student body as a whole to have to endure these offerings as well.  This isn’t about diversity, this is about control.  And it’s about control of the orthodoxy and who gets to decide its direction.  A little reminiscent of the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks, no?  Certainly a branch of the same tree.

The third is from the Daily Beast which includes this:

A black male student emerged from the crowd and went to the center, saying, “It’s literally your jobs to take care of us when we don’t feel safe on this campus.”

Amazing, no?  Still thumb sucking adolescents engaged in throwing a tantrum because they’re apparently afraid of … words and ideas they don’t like.  Or “mean people”.  Or … something.

These people are our hope for the future?

Well, not really.  The wheels will come off this little parade when it heads into the real world.

But all is not lost.  There was this, also from the Claremont Independent, entitled “We Dissent”.  And they tell it like it is.  A snippet:

First, former Dean Mary Spellman. We are sorry that your career had to end this way, as the email in contention was a clear case of good intentions being overlooked because of poor phrasing. However, we are disappointed in you as well. We are disappointed that you allowed a group of angry students to bully you into resignation. We are disappointed that you taught Claremont students that reacting with emotion and anger will force the administration to act. We are disappointed that when two students chose to go on a hunger strike until you resigned, you didn’t simply say, “so what?” If they want to starve themselves, that’s fine—you don’t owe them your job. We are disappointed that you and President Chodosh put up with students yelling and swearing at you for an hour. You could have made this a productive dialogue, but instead you humored the students and allowed them to get caught up in the furor. 

Above all, we are disappointed that you and President Chodosh weren’t brave enough to come to the defense of a student who was told she was “derailing” because her opinions regarding racism didn’t align with those of the mob around her. Nor were you brave enough to point out that these protesters were perfectly happy to use this student to further their own agenda, but turned on her as soon as they realized she wasn’t supporting their narrative. These protesters were asking you to protect your students, but you didn’t even defend the one who needed to be protected right in front of you.

And there’s much, much more … hitting every nail visible right on the head.

Enjoy your weekend.  This too shall pass.  But it is incredibly entertaining and certainly indicates how the left can manage to consume itself because, for the most part, the utopia it is trying to build and human nature just don’t get along at all.   And, of course, that means that their only resort is to apply totalitarianism in dealing with others.



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