Questions and Observations

Free Markets, Free People

Meanwhile, in Europe …

All is going as planned … well, at least as George Soros has planned:

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban accused billionaire investor George Soros of being a prominent member of a circle of “activists” trying to undermine European nations by supporting refugees heading to the continent from the Middle East and beyond.

“His name is perhaps the strongest example of those who support anything that weakens nation states, they support everything that changes the traditional European lifestyle,” Orban said in an interview on public radio Kossuth. “These activists who support immigrants inadvertently become part of this international human-smuggling network.”

Of course, Orban is under intense attack for trying to protect his nation’s sovereignty by keeping these uninvited refugees from flooding his country.  And one of the activist who have decided that nation states are “obsolete” is George Soros.  In fact, he doesn’t even bother to deny it:

Soros said in an e-mailed statement that a six-point plan published by his foundation helps “uphold European values” while Orban’s actions “undermine those values.”

“His plan treats the protection of national borders as the objective and the refugees as an obstacle,” he said in the statement. “Our plan treats the protection of refugees as the objective and national borders as the obstacle.”

And, of course, we all suspect his hand in the illegal immigration crisis the US faces as well.

Don’t you love it when someone, unilaterally and without consultation, decides somethings obsolete and then does everything in his or her power to undermine that established norm?

I mean, who are you anyway?  The “little people”, of course, and per Mr. Soros’ philosophy, he exists to make decisions for you.  After all, the rabble doesn’t know what’s best for them, do they?


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Economic Statistics for 2 Nov 15

Gallup’s US Consumer Spending Measure reports that, in October, Americans’ daily self-reports of spending averaged $92, up $4 from September. 

October’s PMI Manufacturing Index rose a full point to 54.1. This seems to be counter to the various recent Fed surveys.

The ISM Manufacturing index is barely positive at 50.1 for October, and contradicts this month’s PMI.

Construction spending, led by housing, rose o.6% in September, and is up 14.1% from September, 2014.

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Another closet totalitarian speaks out

This is one that you have to read to believe.  It is one of those irredeemably stupid people and two time losers that helped Obama to two terms.  Of course you won’t be particularly surprised that she is the director of Women and Gender Studies at The College at Brockport – whatever that is.  Apparently she and her family ate off of Obama placemats prior to 2008 and were pretty sure that this was the guy who could change the world, stop the seas from rising and deliver the utopia that includes “free stuff” and world peace.  Then reality set in, sort of, and the goodie bag wasn’t delivered as promised, the seas ignored him and world peace was even more illusory than before his ascension.   But they still BELIEVE!

Today, I write this letter with a bleeding heart. I admire Obama. But he has let me down. I am disappointed because his presidency could have done more for our country, and sadly, the many taken lives who cannot read this essay. I still worry about urgent social tensions facing our nation, and I recognize their ongoing complexities in policy and legislative action. But gun violence can be averted. Can our country ever be free from senseless gun-crime?

Firearm possession should be banned in America; President Obama can orchestrate this directive. His presidency can be remembered as a remarkable turn in United States history where a progressive leader forever changed the landscape under which we live and work. This is his legacy. To establish gun control laws in America that will reduce high levels of male violence and usher in a culture of peace and civility.

Barack Obama is the president of the United States. He can change the country. He can do it today. I believe in him.

Ye gods.

Gun violence can be averted by banning guns?  One would assume then that knife violence, sword violence, club violence and fist violence  can all be “averted”- if we “ban” all those things.  Because we know that as soon as a law is passed, and all those are banned, it will “usher in a culture of peace and civility”.  Because … every violent male will put those things aside and become a part of … what?

Would anyone actually want to be a part of this woman’s world?  She’s all for taking things away from you. In fact, she lobbies for it.  And my guess is she’d be fine if the things were taken away from you violently in the name of her utopia. You know, whatever’s necessary.  After all, that’s what government is for, right?

As with most progressives, she’s anti-freedom, a closet totalitarian and has an anti-male bias so strong it colors everything she says or does.

And she votes.


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Economic Statistics for 29-30 Oct

Real GDP in the 3rd Quarter of 2015 rose a disappointing 1.5% annualized, while the GDP Price index rose 1.2%.

September’s pending home sales index fell -2.3% to a reading of 106.8.

Both personal income and spending rose 0.1% in September, while the PCE Price Index fell -0.1% overall, and rose 0.1% less food and energy. 

The employment cost index for the 3rd Quarter of 2015 rose a sizable 0.6%, but the year-on-year rise is unchanged at 2.0%.

The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index fell -2.1 points to 90.0 in October.

The Chicago PMI surged 7.5 points from September and 6.0 points over consensus to 56.2 in October.

Initial weekly jobless claims rose 1,000 to 260,000. The 4-week average fell 4,000 to 259,250. Continuing claims fell 100,000 to 2.144 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell -0.7 points to 42.8 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet fell $-12.0 billion last week, with total assets of $4.489 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $0.9 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply fell by $-7.6 billion in the latest week.

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Stray Voltage


Thought you might enjoy this.

No surprise here:

“Hundreds of immigrant families caught illegally crossing the Mexican border told U.S. immigration agents they made the dangerous journey in part because they believed they would be permitted to stay in the United States and collect public benefits, according to internal intelligence files from the Homeland Security Department.”

Now where would they ever get such an idea?

Hey, wait, didn’t Obama promise “no boots on the ground” in Syria?

The U.S. plans to send a small team of Special Operations forces to Syria as boots-on-the-ground advisers to rebel groups, according to military sources.

President Barack Obama has authorized “fewer than 50” Special Operations forces to deploy to northern Syria, The Associated Press reported.

I’m sure there will be massive anti-war protests this weekend because of this broken promise and escalation in Syria.

Yup, and pigs will fly …

Apparently we don’t have time anymore to debate important things  like a national budget in the Senate:

Forced by opponents to hold votes after midnight, GOP leaders held the support of just enough Republican and Democrats to give final Congressional approval to a two year bipartisan budget deal, as lawmakers backed away from a possible U.S. government default.

You see, now they have to read it to find out what’s in it.  How, you ask?  How does this happen?  Well, here’s a clue: 18 Republican Senators voted to shut off debate on the two year budget deal.  Among them McCain, McConnell and Graham.  And establishment Republicans wonder why no one on the right is particularly interested in any of them becoming President.

Finally, a reminder.  Ahmed says:



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So, what do you think?

I find this observation by Joel Kotkin to be interesting:

Generational politics pose both risks and rewards for each party. A Trump candidacy may excite older voters and many younger white voters, but the cost among a pro-immigrant, heavily minority millennial voting bloc could prove damaging over the longer run.

Democrats, too, face risks, particularly if they continue on the path of radical wealth redistribution and draconian climate change regulation. Although still strong, support for Obama has been steadily weakening since 2008. Millennials are the only age group to still approve of President Obama’s record, but by only 49 percent, not exactly a ringing endorsement.

The future may be determined by the extent that millennials feel that Democratic policies inhibit their ability to move up economically. Younger millennials, having grown up during a weak economy under a progressive president, are notably more conservative than older ones, notes a recent Harvard study.

They increasingly share some attitudes with conservatives, having become notably more deeply distrustful of many of the nation’s political institutions. Nearly half describe themselves as independents, far more than any other age group.

To be sure, mllennials will likely stay more liberal than boomers (about as many are conservative as liberal), but they could shift further to the right once they enter their 30s and start earning a living.

Independent is a pretty flexible label and hides a lot of biases that might otherwise put them solidly in one camp or the other.  But the realities of life do indeed have a tendency to temper idealism.  As you grow older, you realize how little your priorities for what you earn matter to government.  You are simply a cash cow to them and they’ll use force to make you pay your “fair share” … as defined by them.

When you begin to get into your career and raise a family, and watch as your priorities in life become second to the government’s you have a sort of epiphany.  Most, at least, begin to pay a little more attention to what is happening via government and begin to drop the youthful silliness that marks their adolescent and college years (colleges are incubators of silly ideas … see past 7 years).   You begin to see government for what it really is … a “legalized” and ever expanding protection racket.  Something that, if Paulie ran it in the neighborhood, would be illegal because it would be considered extortion.  But then, if you disagree with government and refuse to pay the protection money, what happens?

These are the things … just some among many … that begin to dawn on people as they get older.  And it usually pushes those with the ability to reason, to the more fiscally conservative, smaller less costly side.

Of course, some never get it, and they’re the type that elected this idiot in the White House and will vote for Hillary Clinton (or Bernie Sanders and then Hillary Clinton).

They will never understand that there is nothing free in the world, most of the problems we are “scared” with originate with government (and that government is NOT the answer) and simply have no problem with their freedom being limited if it is limited by the “right people”.

However, as you read this blurb, you see something that should clue you into why we’re in this shape.  And it isn’t millennials.  It’s boomers.  They defy the point I’m trying to make (“about as many are conservative as liberal”) with about half remaining in fantasy land.  Of course, they also lived in the golden age of the US in terms of total wealth.

So I dispute the belief expressed by the author that millennials will “likely stay more liberal than boomers.”  Perhaps socially, as in social issues.  But in pocket book issues, they’re hardly found the living easy.  And the big government help they were told was so necessary and good isn’t at all panning out like promised.

Is there any wonder the Democrats are insistent on importing new voters, legally or not?

But are millennials “game changers” like Kotkin contends?

Frankly I don’t really see any generation as “game changers” at the moment.  But you may disagree.


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Economic Statistics for 28 Oct 15

The MBA reports that mortgage applications fell -3.5% last week, with purchases down -3.0% and refis down -4.0%.

September’s deficit in international trade in goods declined to $-58.6 billion from August’s $-67.2 billion. Exports rose 3.1% and imports fell -2.5%.

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

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Economic Statistics for 27 Oct 15

Durable Goods order fell again in September, down -1.2% overall, with ex-transoportation orders down -0.4% and core capital goods down -0.3%. On a year over year basis:
Durables: -3.0%
Ex-Transportation: -5.1%
Core capital goods:  -7.3%

The Case-Shiller home price index rose a slight 0.1% in August, and is up 5.1% on a year-ago basis.

The PMI services flash reading for October fell -1.2 points to 54.4.

The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index fell sharply from 103.0 to a worse than expected 97.6 in October.

The Richmond Fed’s Manufacturing Index rose from -5 to a still-negative -1 in October. All five regional Fed economic activity reports are negative.

The State Street Investor Confidence Index slipped -1.7 points, but remained healthy at 114.3.

Redbook reports that last week’s retail sales rose to 1.5% on a year-ago basis, from the previous week’s 1.3%, as slow improvement continues.

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Germaine Greer states reality – chaos and vilification ensue

One thing about getting old is you’re less tolerant of BS, no matter what the stripe. That’s especially true if you’re one of the women who helped define modern “feminism”.

Germaine Greer, the 76-year-old author of “The Female Eunich,” is making waves by lambasting the idea that Caitlyn Jenner may be honored by Glamour Magazine as “Woman of the Year.” Jenner isn’t a woman, says Greer. He’s just attention-starved and seeking to steal the limelight from the women in the Kardashian family.

He hasn’t actually had to endure what feminists depict as the true horrors of womanhood, such as being cursed with what Greer delicately characterizes as a “big, hairy, smelly vagina.”

When told that such comments are hurtful to the transgender community, Greer doubled down. “Try being an old woman. For goodness sake, people get hurt all the time, I’m not about to walk on eggshells.”

Now frankly, I think much of “feminism” is BS. And especially the phase it is now in. Feminism, as I see it, helped start this movement toward the “cult of the victim”.

All that being said, it is hilarious to see what is happening with the Jenner thing. I happen to agree with Greer – he’s an attention seeking whore living among the ultimate attention seeking whores and he wants more of the attention.

So how does this sort of nonsense (not the repudiation of Greer but the “Jenner thing”) gain traction? The usual suspects are involved:

Our insatiable media must find new ground to break in tantalizing the public and normalizing what was once considered aberrant behavior. Cultivating a live-and-let-live attitude isn’t enough; alternative lifestyles must be celebrated as not only equal but superior to the boring, oppressive traditions that have dominated until now.

Indeed, it is the so-called “cool kids” who dominate the culture wars because the dominate the media and entertainment industry. Who are the “cool kids”? Well, they’re those who don’t want to be judged on their aberrant behavior or actions and thus try to normalize them by shouting down and vilifying anyone who stands up for more traditional lifestyles.

To this point, they’ve been mostly successful in their methods. But there’s always a time in any sort of movement such as this that lines begin to be crossed. Lines where it is obvious even to those who support the cause generally where they can see that “the emperor has no clothes”. Jenner provides one of those moments and Greer calls the “cool kids” out on it.

Reaction? See above. In a petition begun to keep her from speaking at Cardiff University in the UK, Greer is vilified with feminist code language for “dirty, rotten traitor” to the cause:

“Greer has demonstrated time and time again her misogynistic views towards trans women, including continually misgendering trans women and denying the existence of transphobia altogether.

“Trans-exclusionary views should have no place in feminism or society.

“Such attitudes contribute to the high levels of stigma, hatred and violence towards trans people – particularly trans women – both in the UK and across the world.”

So there. The fact that Jenner doesn’t possess that big, old smelly defining thing, nor has had to live with it disqualifies her as a “woman” in Greer’s view. But we’re dealing with post-modern feminism now. And that’s whatever the radical feminists say it is. Greer is no longer welcome in that club.

And I’m laughing my rear end off.


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