Questions and Observations

Free Markets, Free People

A nation gone mad

I’m still sitting here shaking my head as I watch and listen to the left react to the Orlando massacre.

If you simply read their screeds you’d have concluded by now that it was the work of a right-wing Christian (or just a plain old “toxic male”) with an AR-15 instead of a Sig wielding Muslim who had pledged allegiance to ISIS in a 911 call prior to the massacre and was a registered Democrat.

In fact, the AR-15 meme has taken on a life of its own with such luminaries of the left as lyin’ Michael Moore and domestic terrorist Bill Ayers and some wimpy NYT metrosexual calling for its ban.  On what grounds one wonders, but hey, they’re leftists – fantasy is their business if it helps them move their agenda one inch further to fruition. Ignore the facts, full speed ahead.  Moore even made up stuff about the round(s) the AR-15 fires claiming they are banned by the Geneva Conventions.  Uh, no.  Not even close.  Pure fiction.

Sally Kohn, a CNN contributor, went on a bigoted anti-Christian rant that attempted, in however a tortured manner, to make a moral equivalence between Christian disapproval of homosexuality and Islam’s death sentence for homosexuals.

Milo Yiannopoulos, a right-wing gay activist, explains the difference for those who lack the ability to discern it:

There are eleven Muslim countries in which I could be killed for being a homosexual. The state penalty is death. One hundred million people live in country where the penalty for homosexuality is death. This is not radical Islam. This is mainstream Muslim society.

And this isn’t some hazy made-up claim like Michael Moore’s, it’s their law.  Guess who is taking political donations from those countries?

Instead of facing the truth of Orlando, the left, as usual, has chosen to divert and pretend the problem is on the right.  That way, their agenda remains viable and they don’t have to confront nasty little ideological conflicts they’re trying so damn hard to avoid:

“Look what’s happening in Sweden. Look what’s happening anywhere in Germany, anywhere there are large influxes of a Muslim population. Things don’t end well for women and gays. The left has got to make a decision. Either they want female emancipation and it wants gay rights or it wants Islam. It’s got to pick.”

But, at this point, it refuses to do so.  It is more afraid of being called Islamaphobic than it is of condemning a religion/ideology that throws gays off of buildings, burns them or hangs them and treats women as chattel.

That’s what the Sally Kohns, Michael Moores and Bill Ayers of the left should be doing.  Instead they’re after a weapon that wasn’t even used in the massacre and a Constitutional amendment that gives us the freedom to defend ourselves.

Mad.

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 14 Jun 16

Retail sales rose a surprising 0.5% in May, with sales less autos up 0.4%, and sales less autos and gas up 0.3%.

Import prices rose a huge 1.4% in May, while export prices rose 1.1%. On a year-over-year basis, however, prices are down -5.0% for imports and -4.5% for exports.

Business inventories rose 0.1% in April, but a 0.9% increase in sales lowered the stock-to-sales ratio from 1.41 to 1.40.

The NFIB’s Small Business Optimism index rose 0.2 points to 93.8 in May.

Redbook reports that last week’s retail sales growth rose to a sluggish 0.7% on a year-ago basis, from the previous week’s 0.6%.


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Ignoring the question … again

The Orlando shooting gives our president the chance to finally answer the question millions of Americans have been asking for years:

A young American Muslim pledging allegiance to Islamic State is now responsible for the largest mass shooting in U.S. history. Can we finally drop the illusion that the jihadist fires that burn in the Middle East don’t pose an urgent and deadly threat to the American homeland?

We hope so after the Sunday morning assault on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando that killed at least 51 and wounded 53 as we went to press. The killer was Omar Mir SeddiqueMateen, the son of immigrants from Afghanistan who was heard shouting “allahu Akbar” (God is great) as he fired away. Mateen attacked a popular night spot for gays, who are especially loathed in Islamist theology.

Well no, we can’t “drop the illusion” because, guns!

That’s right, never let a tragedy go to waste and certainly never let a tragedy redefine your agenda priorities.  Islamist terrorism? Bah, never heard of it (or at least never have admitted to hearing of it).  Instead call those who try to identify the problem “Islamaphobes” … and screw the 911 call in which the killer pledged allegiance to ISIS or the fact that witnesses say he was yelling “allahu akbar” as he gunned down his victims or the fact that per those who knew him he was intensely homophobic as is his claimed religion.

Instead, let’s talk about guns:

Reporter Peter Doocy asked White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest: “Does the President really think that common sense gun laws would deter terrorists now that he has admitted that these two may have been terrorists?”

“Yes. The president believes that passing common sense gun laws that makes it harder for people with bad intentions to get guns, makes the country safer,” responded Earnest.

“But so the president thinks that when there are potentially two terrorists sitting around planning a mass murder they may call it off because President Obama has put in place common sense gun laws?” Doocy shot back.

“Why wouldn’t we make it harder for them? What’s the explanation for that?” responded Earnest.

This is the face of insanity.  Why wouldn’t we make it harder for them?  To do what?  Ignore the law?  Maybe someone ought to tell the fools in the White House that those who plan on committing mass murder don’t normally worry about breaking laws.  In fact, it is pretty well known that criminals avoid getting their guns where the left thinks “common sense gun laws” would stop them cold. This is really not rocket science for heaven sake.  And, as usual, the left and the White House seem absolutely clueless about human nature.

A recent study that was conducted by the University of Chicago’s Crime Lab has learned that Chicago criminals do not acquire their guns from gun shops, gun shows or the internet.

The study examined and interviewed inmates in Chicago’s Cook County Jail who are either facing current gun charges, or have a background consisting of firearms related convictions.

The study learned that virtually zero criminals have ever used the internet or gun shows, because that method is easily traceable. It’s much safer for a criminal to acquire firearms on the streets where they’re harder to keep track of, and that’s most criminals method of choice.

Furthermore, University of Chicago Crime lab co-director, Harold Pollack, said that criminals “were less concerned about getting caught by the cops than being put in the position of not having a gun to defend themselves and then getting shot.”

Does the point that “virtually zero criminals have ever used the internet or gunshots, because that method is easily traceable” resonate at all?  Seems “common sense gun laws” are already doing what they’re supposed to do, however, criminals, as they’re likely to do, have decided not to play the game. They’re not going to risk getting caught.  They’re going to go outside the law.

So, then, what’s the point of more laws if not to deny criminals guns?  Seems that’s working rather well.  Is the purpose, then, of more laws, to further hobble legitimate and peaceful gun owners perhaps?  To make it harder and harder for law abiding citizens to own the means of defending themselves?

And what has any of that nonsense to do with what happened in Orlando?

Why, after another tragedy obviously perpetrated by a militant Islamist, is the question still being ignored!?

~McQ

 

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Observations: The QandO Podcast for 10 Jun 16

Podcastlogo 150x150

The two things Trump got right put him over the top. Also, we’re heading straight for 60s-style social unrest, and Chloe Grace Moretz displays her delicious donut.

 This week’s podcast is up on the Podcast page.

And the donut we’re referring to is this one:

Donuts

Please do not attempt to write a caption for this picture, or to make any references to any possible symbolism that the donuts may invoke. Just don’t do it.

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Economic Statistics for 10 Jun 16

The US Budget deficit for may was $52.5 billion. The fiscal year to date deficit, at $407.1 billion is 11.0% higher than last year. May’s deficit is actually understated, as calendar issues pushed about $30 billion of payments into June.

The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index fell -0.4 points in June to 94.3 for the preliminary estimate.


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Stray Voltage

With this latest SJW/liberal push, you have to wonder about the future of Title IX, don’t you?

Human bodies are either male or female, that is the only way they come. Males are physically different than females. Hormones and body modification cannot change that.

That’s a scientific fact, but liberals refuse to acknowledge this basic truth.

The Obama Administration’s directive requiring schools to allow transgender students use the bathroom of their choice has opened the gender dysmorphia floodgates.

For the first time in Alaskan history, a male athlete recently competed in the girls’ track and field state championships. The mother of one of the girls who lost to the transgender runner is crying foul after he took home all-state honors.

Well, well.  No need for female athletes – I mean those born that way – at all, is there?  The floodgates are open.

Bodies with the X/Y chromosome setup develop quite differently than the female body … as the article says that’s a “scientific fact” that has essentially gone undisputed in the history of mankind. Now, apparently. it’s all a “matter of the mind”.  You know, ‘if you think, you are’.  Never mind the wedding tackle, hormones and muscle mass (not to mention agility and strength).  If you say you’re a woman, it is everyone else job to kowtow to the absurd.

The results are, as usual, perfectly predictable.  But I am interested to see, now that they’ve essentially wrecked Title IX, how the liberal elite are going to justify it.

Speaking of the absurdity of all of this, how about when women begin to be hurt?

Critics are scrutinizing mixed martial arts (MMA) competitor Fallon Fox, after the transgender fighter gave her opponent a concussion and broke her eye socket.

Fox defeated her opponent, Tamikka Brents, by TKO at 2:17 of the first round of their match. Brent’s eye injury resulted in a damaged orbital bone that required seven staples.

In a post-fight interview this week, Brents told Whoa TV, “I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life.”

“I’ve fought a lot of women and have never felt the strength that I felt in a fight as I did that night. I can’t answer whether it’s because she was born a man or not, because I’m not a doctor,” she stated. “I can only say, I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life, and I am an abnormally strong female in my own right. ”

Fox’s “grip was different,” Brents added. “I could usually move around in the clinch against…females but couldn’t move at all in Fox’s clinch.”

Sorry Brents, but it was that “scientific fact” from above being used with a vengeance on you.  Because, well, you know, “social justice!”

“Inclusive” as well as “equality” are being redefined by the SJWs:

News that a university lecturers’ union has banned straight, white men from attending their equality conferences in a bid to create “safe spaces” is deeply depressing.

University and College Union equality conferences are held exclusively for women, LGBT, ethnic minorities or disabled people, and members must declare their “protected characteristic” when applying to attend.

Surely UCU can see the irony of hosting an equality conference where – as George Orwell wrote – some are more equal than others?
Apparently UCU is irony impaired.  But then, we’ve seen that to be the case with most of the Special Snowflake causes we’ve been watching.  So much for “equality” and “inclusiveness”.  However, no one should be surprised if these participants wouldn’t lecture you to death about both if you suggested leaving one of their favored self-identified “victims” out of the conference.

The bureaucracy has decided you’re just too dumb to handle “payday” loans, so they’re getting ready to try to shut the industry down.

More than 50 million Americans each year seek access to short-term, small dollar credit.  Generally speaking, these are loans with a maturity measured in weeks or months, for amounts less than $5,000.  This borrowing is used to fund just about everything that other borrowing funds, though on a smaller scale, and more immediately.

These are also loans you can’t get from a bank or other lending institution because they won’t write one for “weeks”.  As for the interest charged, here’s a interesting comparison:

Borrowing money is like renting money. You get to use it two weeks and then you pay it back. You could rent a car for two weeks, right? You get to use that car. Well, if you calculate the annual percentage rate on that car rental — meaning that if you divide the amount you pay on that car by the value of that automobile — you get similarly high rates. So this isn’t about interest. This is about short-term use of a product that’s been lent to you. This is just arithmetic.

Indeed, it is.  And, there are a majority of people who use this product who both benefit and are able to pay it back based on the terms under which they borrow it.

But that’s not good enough for the crowd who thinks they need to tell you how you should live (and would never need such a product, so have no idea whether or not you really do need it).

Read both articles.  The Freakenomics article is pretty well done, while quite long.  But in the end, you’ll probably be like me – none of the government’s business except in the case of force or fraud.  Of course driving this product underground and into the hands of the criminals guarantees both force and fraud, because obviously, the product is a viable one and people need it.  Like most of these attempts by government to rescue you from yourself, this will backfire in a big way.  Entirely predictable, as usual.

Is the grifter close to an actual indictment?  Well, if you listened to Josh Earnest this week (and why would you?), he may have tipped off something he didn’t plan on doing:

Perhaps it was an unguarded moment, but the White House has seemingly confirmed that the Justice Department is conducting a “criminal investigation” regarding Hillary Clinton’s personal email use – despite persistent claims from the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee that investigators are pursuing a mere “security inquiry.”

Press Secretary Josh Earnest used the term at Thursday’s briefing, after being asked by Fox News about whether President Obama’s newly unveiled endorsement of Clinton might apply pressure to investigators assigned to the Clinton case.

Earnest rejected the premise, saying the job of career prosecutors is to follow the evidence to its logical conclusion.

“That’s why the president, when discussing this issue in each stage, has reiterated his commitment to this principle that any criminal investigation should be conducted independent of any sort of political interference,” Earnest said.

Of course there’s no reason for him to talk about “criminal investigations” unless there’s a “criminal investigation” being conducted is there.  Instead, you just blow it all off.  Maybe this is why Bernie is sticking around.

And, finally, from the usual media realm of the “unexplained” and “unexpected”, another perfectly predictable and explainable event has apparently “surprised” them:

Violent crimes – from homicides and rapes to robberies – have been on the rise in many major U.S. cities, yet experts can’t point to a single reason why and the jump isn’t enough to suggest there’s a trend.

Still, it is stumping law enforcement officials, who are seeking a way to combat the problem.

“It’s being reported on at local levels, but in my view, it’s not getting the attention at the national level it deserves,” FBI Director James Comey said recently. “I don’t know what the answer is, but holy cow, do we have a problem.”

Holy cow, Mr. Comey, check out the “Ferguson effect”.  See if maybe that might have some bearing on explaining this mess.  Maybe, when you have government all but sanctioning violence against cops, the cops decide not to work quite as hard or risk themselves as much as they usually do.  When it is “damned if you do”, most won’t.

Again, the total unawareness of human nature seems to stump a certain segment of leadership who cannot, for the life of them, see how their programs and their actions can have such a negative effect.  And their lapdogs in the media are equally at a loss.

Meh – screw em.

Have a great weekend!

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 09 Jun 16

Wholesale inventories rose a sharp 0.6% in April, but a 1.0% rise in wholesale sales reduced the stock-to-sales ratio to 1.35.

Initial weekly jobless claims fell 4,000 to 264,000. The 4-week average fell 7,500 to 269,500. Continuing claims fell 77,000 to 2.095 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index was unchanged at 43.2 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $2.2 billion last week, with total assets of $4.464 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $1.1 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply fell by $-11.0 billion in the latest week.


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Economic Statistics for 8 Jun 16

The Labor Department’s JOLTS report says that April job openings rose to 5.788 million from a downward revised 5.670 million in March.

The Census Bureau reports that Information Revenue rose 1.3% in the 1st Quarter, and is up 5.7% on a year-over-year basis.

The MBA reports that mortgage applications rose 9.3% last week, with purchases up 12.0% and refis up 7.0%.


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Bern with Bernie?

Will Bernie become a write-in candidate?  Well, his supporters let it be known that they won’t vote for Hillary and many of them were thinking “write-in”:

Many took a different approach, saying they would not vote for Clinton, but would vote for Sanders as a write-in candidate.

That would split the left’s vote fairly significantly if they actually did that.  But, in reality, it is likely anger talking right now and many of them will fall in line and vote for the Hildebeest. But I would absolutely love to see this take off.

Others, though, are so mad they’re claiming they’d rather vote for Donald Trump than give Hillary the satisfaction of winning the White House.  Check out this reasoning:

A member of the group said: “I will vote for Trump as a f*** you to the stupid people that voted Hillary in. We are more likely to have a revolution with Trump in office and less likely to have a foreign war”

They have a point.  Well, at least about the “revolution” and their rather violent proclivities (see Trump rallies to find Bernie’s troops).

As for the “let it burn” crowd, they’re very well represented among the Bernie supporters:

Some said they would rather let the country ‘burn’ with Trump than let Clinton into the White House, with one person writing: “I’d rather Trump than Clinton. I won’t vote for him, but I’d be happy to see this country burn.”

If they weren’t such little fascists, I would be more sympathetic.  If they weren’t of the socialist mind-set, I could likely find more common ground with the sentiment.

But as it is, I hope they do what they say they’re going to do.  Neither of the candidates is worth warm spit and the more voters split away, the better this might all become.  No one gets a majority of either the popular vote or the electoral college?  Wouldn’t that be simply wonderful.

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 7 Jun 16

Non-farm productivity fell at an annualized rate of -0.6% while unit labor costs rose 4.5%. This is a key weakness in the economy. It looks better on a year-over-year basis, but not much, with productivity up 0.7% and unit labor costs up 3.0%.

The Fed’s Labor Market Conditions index fell from -0.9 in April to -4.8 in May, the 5th straight negative, and the lowest since 2009.

Gallup’s US Spending Measure indicates that Americans’ self-reported daily spending fell from $95 to $93.

The Gallup Economic Confidence Index was unchanged at -14 in May.

Redbook reports that last week’s retail sales growth fell to 0.6% on a year-ago basis, from the previous week’s 0.9%.


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