Questions and Observations

Free Markets, Free People

Economic Statistics for 23 Jun 15

The Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index moved further into positive territory in June, rising 5 points to a reading of 6.

Led by a -49% drop in aircraft orders, May durable goods orders fell once again by -1.8% overall. April’s number was revised down to -1.5%. Ex-Transportation orders rose 0.5%.

Redbook reports that last week’s retail sales remain soft, rising to 1.6% on a year-ago basis, from the previous week’s 1.1%.

The FHFA House Price Index rose 0.3% in April, with a year-on-year increase of 5.3%.

The PMI Manufacturing Index Flash fell -0.4 points in June, to 53.4.

New Home Sales continued April’s big gain, up 2.2% in May to a 546,000 annual rate. April’s gain was revised upwards to 8.1% to a 534,000 annual rate.


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How dare “black America” forgive so easily

Most of the country and the world have been touched by the forgiveness granted by the families of the victims of the Charleston church murders.  In an act that lives up to their faith, the families have forgiven the murderer and set the bar for civilized and compassionate behavior even that much higher.  And the city has rallied behind them, all races of the city, in an attempt to heal the wound the murderer opened.

But, of course, not everyone is happy about that, such as this creature:

If we really believe that black lives matter, we won’t devalue our reality and cheapen our forgiveness by giving it away so quickly and easily. Black people should learn to embrace our full range of human emotions, vocalize our rage, demand to be heard, and expect accountability. White America needs to earn our forgiveness, as we practice legitimate self-preservation.

Or, in other words … Baltimore.

Here’s a question for you, which event makes you think more about racial healing – Baltimore or Charleston?

Who has set the example for how the races should come together in the face of tragedy, even that driven by hate, and try to heal the community?

Baltimore or Charleston?

Right.

Given what Charleston has accomplished as a community, why should anyone listen to the race baiter above?

~McQ

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It is what it is and we should have no fear denouncing it

Dr. Ben Carson writes the following about the murderer of the 9 in Charleston:

Not everything is about race in this country. But when it is about race, then it just is. So when a guy who has been depicted wearing a jacket featuring an apartheid-era Rhodesian flag allegedly walks into a historic black church and guns down nine African-American worshipers at a Bible study meeting, common sense leads one to believe his motivations are based in racism. When the sole adult survivor of the ordeal reports that the killer shouted before opening fire, “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go” — well, that sounds to me a lot like racial hatred.

Let’s call this sickness what it is, so we can get on with the healing. If this were a medical disease, and all the doctors recognized the symptoms but refused to make the diagnosis for fear of offending the patient, we could call it madness. But there are people who are claiming that they can lead this country who dare not call this tragedy an act of racism, a hate crime, for fear of offending a particular segment of the electorate.

It is and was an act of racism.  Anyone with a tepid IQ should know that and why anyone would deny it is beyond me.  Racism is not dead in this country.  Plenty of racists still exist.  But here’s a news flash … they’re not just confined to the white race.

That said, Carson is right.  Face what it is, call it what it is and then deal with the aftermath.  The fact that this yahoo was a racist, however, doesn’t allow anyone the broad brush they’d like to have and we’ve seen waved about in the wake of this tragedy.

Oh, and by the way, the citizens of Charleston, much better than our leadership (political, cultural and opinion leaders included) have shown the world how a town handles such a crime.  They know it was an act of racism.  They also know that not everyone is racist.  And they’re uniting not dividing. The families have forgiven the slug who killed their loved ones – something I’d likely have difficulty doing.  But when all is said and done, the citizens of Charleston are acting like the adults in this tragedy.  Too bad our president hasn’t acted that way.

~McQ

 

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Raining science on a popular delusional meme

That’s what Paul McHugh, the University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medical School does with the notion of “transgenderism”.  McHugh has spent 40 years, 26 as Psychiatrist in Chief of Johns Hopkins Hospital, “studying people who claim to be transgender. ”

The larger issue is the meme itself. The idea that one’s sex is fluid and a matter open to choice runs unquestioned through our culture and is reflected everywhere in the media, the theater, the classroom, and in many medical clinics. It has taken on cult-like features: its own special lingo, internet chat rooms providing slick answers to new recruits, and clubs for easy access to dresses and styles supporting the sex change. It is doing much damage to families, adolescents, and children and should be confronted as an opinion without biological foundation wherever it emerges.

Or said another way, he doesn’t buy the present day “meme” at all.  He finds it destructive.  And the meme is all based in “feelings” rather than science:

The champions of this meme, encouraged by their alliance with the broader LGBT movement, claim that whether you are a man or a woman, a boy or a girl, is more of a disposition or feeling about yourself than a fact of nature. And, much like any other feeling, it can change at any time, and for all sorts of reasons. Therefore, no one could predict who would swap this fact of their makeup, nor could one justifiably criticize such a decision.

At Johns Hopkins, after pioneering sex-change surgery, we demonstrated that the practice brought no important benefits. As a result, we stopped offering that form of treatment in the 1970s. Our efforts, though, had little influence on the emergence of this new idea about sex, or upon the expansion of the number of “transgendered” among young and old.

A little, “been there, done that, it doesn’t hold up”.  That will royally piss off the SJWs who’ve this infantile belief that if you “feel” something, it must be true.  But as we’ve seen and discussed, that meme has taken hold, regardless of its lack of scientific foundation or, frankly, reality:

But the meme—that your sex is a feeling, not a biological fact, and can change at any time—marches on through our society. In a way, it’s reminiscent of the Hans Christian Andersen tale, The Emperor’s New Clothes. In that tale, the Emperor, believing that he wore an outfit of special beauty imperceptible to the rude or uncultured, paraded naked through his town to the huzzahs of courtiers and citizens anxious about their reputations. Many onlookers to the contemporary transgender parade, knowing that a disfavored opinion is worse than bad taste today, similarly fear to identify it as a misapprehension.

I am ever trying to be the boy among the bystanders who points to what’s real. I do so not only because truth matters, but also because overlooked amid the hoopla—enhanced now by Bruce Jenner’s celebrity and Annie Leibovitz’s photography—stand many victims. Think, for example, of the parents whom no one—not doctors, schools, nor even churches—will help to rescue their children from these strange notions of being transgendered and the problematic lives these notions herald. These youngsters now far outnumber the Bruce Jenner type of transgender. Although they may be encouraged by his public reception, these children generally come to their ideas about their sex not through erotic interests but through a variety of youthful psychosocial conflicts and concerns.

Yes, he said it … many go along out of “fear” of having a “disfavored opinion”.  Luckily, I’m not one of those – nor, apparently is Dr. McHugh.  And to those of us without such fear, this emperor has had no clothes for quite some time.  Where does all of this delusional empathy produce?

First, though, let us address the basic assumption of the contemporary parade: the idea that exchange of one’s sex is possible. It, like the storied Emperor, is starkly, nakedly false. Transgendered men do not become women, nor do transgendered women become men. All (including Bruce Jenner) become feminized men or masculinized women, counterfeits or impersonators of the sex with which they “identify.” In that lies their problematic future.

When “the tumult and shouting dies,” it proves not easy nor wise to live in a counterfeit sexual garb. The most thorough follow-up of sex-reassigned people—extending over thirty years and conducted in Sweden, where the culture is strongly supportive of the transgendered—documents their lifelong mental unrest. Ten to fifteen years after surgical reassignment, the suicide rate of those who had undergone sex-reassignment surgery rose to twenty times that of comparable peers.

There is nothing “scientific” about the assumptions of the meme, in fact, they’re blatantly anti-science.  And indulging them can lead to catastrophic results, such as the suicide rates suffered by those who undergo such sex-reassignment surgery.

Most young boys and girls who come seeking sex-reassignment are utterly different from Jenner. They have no erotic interest driving their quest. Rather, they come with psychosocial issues—conflicts over the prospects, expectations, and roles that they sense are attached to their given sex—and presume that sex-reassignment will ease or resolve them.

The grim fact is that most of these youngsters do not find therapists willing to assess and guide them in ways that permit them to work out their conflicts and correct their assumptions. Rather, they and their families find only “gender counselors” who encourage them in their sexual misassumptions.

Treatment.  Psychiatric treatment and counseling.  Or to say the words that a certain community and its activists will loathe – it’s not a choice, it’s a disorder.

Bottom line:

What is needed now is public clamor for coherent science—biological and therapeutic science—examining the real effects of these efforts to “support” transgendering. Although much is made of a rare “intersex” individual, no evidence supports the claim that people such as Bruce Jenner have a biological source for their transgender assumptions. Plenty of evidence demonstrates that with him and most others, transgendering is a psychological rather than a biological matter.

In fact, gender dysphoria—the official psychiatric term for feeling oneself to be of the opposite sex—belongs in the family of similarly disordered assumptions about the body, such as anorexia nervosa and body dysmorphic disorder. Its treatment should not be directed at the body as with surgery and hormones any more than one treats obesity-fearing anorexic patients with liposuction. The treatment should strive to correct the false, problematic nature of the assumption and to resolve the psychosocial conflicts provoking it. With youngsters, this is best done in family therapy.

Interesting.  Sure to make waves … or it should.

Most likely, it will be dismissed as some sort of “right wing” conspiracy to deny choice.  Oh, and McHugh is also likely to attacked … for speaking out about something he’s spent a lifetime studying.

But such is the fate of those who fight the ‘meme’.  Good thing he didn’t tell a bad joke about women or have a recent photo in a “sexist” shirt floating around the internet – he’d have the fems on him too.

Make sure you read the whole article.  Especially the part about what is or isn’t allowed as treatment for this delusion.

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 18 Jun 15

The Consumer Price Index rose 0.4% in May, while the CPI less food & energy rose 0.1%. On a year-over-year basis, the CPI is unchanged at the headline level, while the core CPI is up 1.7%.

The nation’s current account deficit for the 1st Quarter came in at the low end of expectations, at $-113.3 billion.

The Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey jumped above expectations, rising 7.5 points to 15.2 in May.

The Conference Board reports that the index of leading economic indicators rose 0.7% in May.

Initial weekly jobless claims fell 12,000 to 267,000. The 4-week average fell 2,000 to 276,750. Continuing claims fell 50,000 to 2.222 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 0.8 points to 40.9 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $19.8 billion last week, with total assets of $4.487 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $23.1 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply fell by $9.3 billion in the latest week.


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And here we go …

After a senseless tragedy that anyone can see was racially motivated and has pretty much received universal condemnation for both the crime and the motivation, you merely have to wait a mere matter of hours before the first of the exploiters attempts to politicize it.

And, of course, there are a plethora of them, I just happened to pick some creature named Chauncey Devega writing in, unsurprisingly, “Salon.”  It is entitled “Charleston church massacre: The violence white America must answer for”, because this tragedy is something for which all us white devils must answer. In fact, Chauncey has a list of questions to answer:

They include:

1. What is radicalizing white men to commit such acts of domestic terrorism and mass shootings? Are Fox News and the right-wing media encouraging violence?

2. Is something wrong with the white family? Why are their sons and men so violent?

3. What should law enforcement and white politicians do about white crime?

4. Is the Charleston mass shooting just one more sign that America needs sensible and reasonable gun control policies?

5. Where are the white fathers in the white home?

6. When will white leadership step up and stop white right-wing domestic terrorism?

7. Is White American culture pathological? Why is White America so violent?

8. Are there appropriate role models for white men and boys? Could better role models and mentoring help to prevent white men and boys from committing mass shootings and being seduced by right-wing domestic terrorism?

Now if you’ve ever wondered what “tarring with a broad brush” means, here it is. It couldn’t possibly be because the POS that did this shooting is an outlier. No, of course not – its about all those white devils out there all wanting to kill black folks.  Don’t you know, there’s “something wrong with the white family”. It’s because their “sons and men are so violent”.

No mention, of course, of the biggest blight on the black community in terms of murder – black on black crime. I’m sure in some way, Chauncey blames that on whitey too.

You have to really chuckle at the “where are white fathers in the white home”.  The question of fathers is continually brought up and dismissed when talking about black on black crime.

And, along with the TNR piece yesterday, Chauncey wants to blame “white American culture” for all ills and broad-brush it as “so violent”.

An amazingly silly list designed to inflame and blame with this following:

Once and again, white privilege is the power to be the ultimate individual where one’s actions and behavior rarely if ever reflects on the collective character of white people en masse. By comparison, Black and brown Americans, Muslims, Arabs and the Other more generally are routinely subjected to group punishment and demonization.

I can say for one that this disgusting excuse for a human being that killed those innocent victims in the Charleston church does not at all reflect on my character nor the character of most whites I know.  But then, neither does Chauncey Devega represent most blacks I know either.  They, like me, want to stop violence like this from happening to anyone for any reason.  They know hate lives in some – on both sides of the color line.  But they’re also bright enough to know that condemning whole races for the acts of an aberrant few is both futile and inflammatory.  And “inflammatory” is not a way to begin any discussion or actions aimed at solutions.

But hey, when demonizing and politicizing, broad statements of collective guilt are to be expected from those more interested in condemnation and blame than solutions.

Chauncey just provides the grist to prove the point.  Of course Chauncey wasn’t the first to politicize it though:

In a press briefing early Thursday afternoon, Obama said the massacre should spark national introspection about the availability of guns. That it took place in a black church also “raises questions about a dark part of history, he said.

“I’ve had to make statements like this too many times,” Obama said. “Communities like this have had to endure tragedies like this too many times. Once again, innocent people were killed because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun.

Way to be a leader sir, and pull the people of the nation together in the wake of this tragic event.

2016 can’t get here soon enough.

~McQ

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I get so freaking tired of this sort of nonsense

And, of course, this bit of pop-psychology comes from none other than The New Republic:

Ultimately, Rachel Dolezal’s story seems like a story about fear. It expresses the fear all white Americans have, or should have: fear of acknowledging our own cultural history as creators of trauma and inflictors of abuse; fear of acknowledging the guilt inherent in this narrative, and, even more staggeringly, taking on the task of alchemizing guilt into something useful. Dolezal’s story also expresses, in its most redemptive moments, the love and respect she truly seemed to have for African-American culture—and the weakness that allowed her to see it not as a culture she wanted to use her white privilege to advocate for, but as a shelter in which she could hide from herself.

This is gob-smackingly stupid and wrong-headed.  My cultural history has nothing in it that has me cast as a creator or inflictor of trauma and abuse. So I don’t fear anything of the sort.  And I certainly don’t accept anyone trying to invent a history that does. However, the history of my larger culture is fraught with it … but here’s a newsflash, so is the history of every other “culture” – many more than mine!  I had nothing to do with that.  The culture in which I abide today is one which, for the most part, cherishes truth and shuns a fraud, seeks peace and harmony and asks to be left alone to live their lives without government interference or the interference of SJWs.  I am and always have been for equal opportunity for everyone.  I treat all people as equals to me. So don’t try to heap on my head the abuses of the past.  It is the practice of con-artists, like Al Sharpton – lay the old guilt trip which, once established, allows the con to leverage advantages for themselves. We’re smarter than that – no sale!

As for Dolezal, in simple words, she is a consummate fraud.  A con.  My culture doesn’t celebrate frauds or cons.  It shuns and shames them.  It also doesn’t try to explain away their criminality or immorality by trying to place the blame on others.  It points at and criticizes the perpetrators of fraud!

And this:

Who are we allowed to become? Children growing up today are likely to believe they can be anyone they want to be, and parents and teachers have grown fond of the phrase “Whatever you are, be a good one.” The emerging narratives of transgender children dovetail perfectly with this philosophy, children whose parents do not force them into a lockstep performance of the gender they were assigned at birth have become visible members of society. Yet the increased presence of transgender issues in our national conversation has prompted some to wonder—with or without their tongue in cheek, or in check—whether this is merely a sign of the times, a side effect of the chaos of modern life. If you can be born male and “become” female, some argue, then can’t you become anything else you want? And if you can be transgender, then can’t the label “transracial” apply, just as legitimately, to someone like Rachel Dolezal?

Who are we allowed to “become”?!  We can “become” anyone we want within reason when it comes to making something of ourselves.

That some have decided to “become” something other than they are in terms of gender or race may impress the fools and other wannabes in our society, but it doesn’t at all impress anyone who can reason and understands how reality works.  You can “claim” to be a walrus, I imagine you can even “become” one with enough makeup, big tusks and a body suit.

But here’s a news flash – you’re not a freaking walrus.  You are still a wannabe.  The only difference between you and Dolezal is the level of fraud she perpetrated on others.  She was malicious in her fraud, a walrus wannabe would just be a bit sad.

For the wannabe walrus, I’m sorry, I don’t “accept” your claim.  Why?  Science.

Same with Dolezal.  While it isn’t at the level of Dolezel’s fraud, it is a fraudulent claim.

Call me intolerant if you wish … I really don’t care.  In fact I embrace the term given the level of asininity it takes to “accept” this nonsense.

You are what you freaking are.  Whether or not you’re mentally defective or unstable is an unknown.  But that doesn’t change what you are – genetically, racially, sexually or physically.

If you have a problem with that, you need to get over it and quit trying to normalize your delusions.

~McQ

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