Questions and Observations

Free Markets, Free People

No surprise here: Half of Americans see government as a threat

One of Mr. Obama’s stated campaign goals was to make big government “cool” again.  If the latest Gallup poll is to be believed, he and his administration have done precisely the opposite.

Almost half of Americans, 49%, say the federal government poses “an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens,” similar to what was found in previous surveys conducted over the last five years. When this question was first asked in 2003, less than a third of Americans held this attitude.

The reasons vary but the top four are telling:


Gallup does a bit of equivocating in its analysis, but finally makes a fairly obvious point about its results:

Still, the persistent finding in recent years that half of the population views the government as an immediate threat underscores the degree to which the role and power of government remains a key issue of our time. As a case in point, a question in this same survey asked Americans to name the most important problem facing the nation, and found that issues related to government were the most frequently mentioned. Plus, numerous other measures show that the people give their government some of the lowest approval and trust ratings in the measures’ history.

In the age of terror, citizens are finally waking up to what its cost in freedom has been.  They’re finally beginning to notice that government has grown much more powerful, intrusive and costly.  There seems to be more corruption and cronyism.  They’ve also noticed it has become much less responsive and efficient.  In fact, in many areas it is downright inefficient and broken.  If you look at the top 4 reasons though, it’s the intrusiveness of government that has most people worried.

The survey deals with government as a perceived threat and it is clear, since 2003, that perception has grown by 19 points from 30% to 49%.  That’s significant and, if I had to guess, will only go higher in the last part of the Obama administration.

The man who planned to make government “cool” again, as he has with so many of his other plans, has failed.   In the long run, that’s a good thing.


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Using the Pope to propagandize “climate change”

The newest Pope has found he has many detractors.  He’s been called a Peronist, Marxist and Communist. He’s also been accused of issuing statements on subjects he has no apparent knowledge.  But when all is said and done, he is the head of the still powerful Catholic Church.  And that is very useful to the President of the United States.  So Mr. Obama plans on using Pope Francis’ visit to the US to again propagandize climate change by attempting to use the authority of the Catholic Church (i.e. Pope Francis) to sway the masses.

The pope has been a prominent supporter of actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that many scientists blame for causing the Earth’s temperature to rise, causing more floods, droughts and other catastrophes.

Francis has framed climate change as a moral issue. Obama will likely use the pope’s time in Washington to draw attention to the challenge of global warming, and the need for putting away political differences in support of actions to reduce emissions.

The pope will also address a joint session of Congress following talks at the White House. In that address, he is expected to underscore points he made earlier this year in issuing his climate change “encyclical,” which outlines his thoughts on the issue of global warming. In the encyclical, he advocates for reductions in manmade emissions from fossil fuels.

But so far, “climate change” has been a political bust for Obama.  The US public is unenthusiastic about the subject, and certainly not buying into either the urgency or the sweeping changes he’d like to see his administration put in place.  Even US Bishops aren’t enthusiastic about the subject of “climate change”.

Obama, however, has declared “climate change” (the newest code phrase for “man-made global warming”) as one of the top priorities of his administration.  The problem is, it has no political traction.  So the job of Pope Francis, whether he knows it or not, is to be a source of traction.  His job is to give the administration a sort of “divine” blessing in its pursuit of “solutions” as well as serve as a propagandist for the cause to a still powerful segment of the US population.

You can expect him to fulfill his role, science be damned.

All of this is conveniently happening prior to the big December UN sponsored climate control talks in Paris. The obvious intent is to gain some momentum from the Pope’s visit even if real science has killed most of the momentum the alarmist side had prior to the discovery of fudged numbers, model inaccuracy and questionable “science” they used to support their hypothesis.

Expect Obama to ignore the evidence as well, and to embrace the Pope’s presentation as the “real deal”.

Who says the US can’t do propaganda?


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Totalitarian “science”

If you’re wondering how desperate the climate change alarmists have become check this out:

The science on global warming is settled, so settled that 20 climate scientists are asking President Barack Obama to prosecute people who disagree with them on the science behind man-made global warming.

Scientists from several universities and research centers even asked Obama to use the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to prosecute groups that “have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change, as a means to forestall America’s response to climate change.”

RICO was a law designed to take down organized crime syndicates, but scientists now want it to be used against scientists, activists and organizations that voice their disagreement with the so-called “consensus” on global warming. The scientists repeated claims made by environmentalists that groups, especially those with ties to fossil fuels, have engaged in a misinformation campaign to confuse the public on global warming.

“The actions of these organizations have been extensively documented in peer-reviewed academic research and in recent books,” the scientists wrote.

A reminder to all those on the side of “consensus” and support these idiots:

In the Catholic world prior to Galileo’s conflict with the Church, the majority of educated people subscribed either to the Aristotelian geocentric view that the earth was the center of the universe and that all heavenly bodies revolved around the Earth, or the Tychonic system that blended geocentricsm with heliocentrism.

Nothing is new under the sun (no pun intended).  In fact:

Pope Paul V instructed Cardinal Bellarmine to deliver this finding to Galileo, and to order him to abandon opinion that heliocentrism was physically true.

Of course that didn’t happen, did it?  The result?

The sentence of the Inquisition was delivered on 22 June. It was in three essential parts:

  • Galileo was found “vehemently suspect of heresy”, namely of having held the opinions that the Sun lies motionless at the centre of the universe, that the Earth is not at its centre and moves, and that one may hold and defend an opinion as probable after it has been declared contrary to Holy Scripture. He was required to “abjure, curse and detest” those opinions.[74]
  • He was sentenced to formal imprisonment at the pleasure of the Inquisition.[75] On the following day this was commuted to house arrest, which he remained under for the rest of his life.
  • His offending Dialogue was banned; and in an action not announced at the trial, publication of any of his works was forbidden, including any he might write in the future.[76]

We now have a new group hoping to get the same results as the Inquisition.   Of course as Galileo was eventually proven to be correct, modern science likes to heap disdain on the scientists of the day for not figuring it out themselves but, instead, just going along with the “consensus”.  Yet here we are where the alarmist “consensus” is whining like they did in Galileo’s day and asking for the same result.

That’s NOT science, its religion.

The group of totalitarian cry-babies above want to use the government force to force their hypothesis (and it is nothing more than that) on others.  Meanwhile, argument after argument they’ve made have fallen to real science.  Arctic and Antarctic ice levels.  No warming for decades.  Etc.

This is simply an infantile tantrum asking “Big Daddy” to make those kids laughing at them stop.

This group should be publicly shamed and shunned.  They’re no more “scientists” than I am a Martian.


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Economic Statistics for 17 Sep 15

Housing Starts fell -0.3% in August to a 1.126 million annual rate, while permits rose 3.5% to a 1.170 million annual rate.

The nation’s current account deficit for the 2nd Quarter of 2015 was $109.7 billion vs a revised $118.3 billion in the first quarter.

The Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey joined the Empire State survey in negative territory, falling from 8.3 to -6.0 in August.

The Federal Open Markets Committee left interest rates unchanged today, with a Fed Funds target rate of 0% to 0.25%.

The FOMC’s economic predictions for the US economy foresee substandard annual GDP growth of 2.0% to 2.6% for the next three years. 

Initial weekly jobless claims fell 11,000 to 264,000. The 4-week average fell 3,250 to 272,500. Continuing claims fell 26,000 to 2.237 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell -1.2 points to 40.2 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $9.6 billion last week, with total assets of $4.488 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $6.6 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $1.3 billion in the latest week.

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Economic Statistics for 16 Sep 15

The MBA reports that mortgage applications fell -7.0% last week, with purchases down 4.0% and refis down -9.0%.

Consumer prices fell -0.1% in August, while the core CPI rose 0.1%. On a year-over-year basis, the CPI is up 0.2% overall and 1.8% at the core.

The NAHB’s Housing Market Index rose 1 point to 62 in September, a near 10-year high.

Net foreign demand for long-term US securities plunged in July, down to just $7.7 billion, from $103.1 billion in June.

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First they came for the beer …

You have to wonder when the real backlash is going to begin … if ever.  But until then, these people are going to push the West until finally the West pushes back.  For example, a petition is being circulated and the following letter was sent to the City Council of Munich, Germany:

Dear City council of Munich,

I am writing this letter to bring to your attention something that I and many Muslims believe is unfair and requires attention.

I would like to inform you that the Oktoberfest is an Intolerant and Anti-Islamic event. We tried to ignore the event, but there too many Un-Islamic acts done at the Oktoberfest. Such as alcohol consumption, public nudity etc.

We understand that the Oktoberfest is a yearly German tradition, but we, Muslims, can not tolerate this Un-Islamic event, because it offends us and all Muslims on the earth.

We are requesting the immediate cancellation of the upcoming Oktoberfest event.

We also believe that the Oktoberfest might also offend all the Muslim refugees coming from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan. The cancellation of the Oktoberfest event will help refugees not to forget their Islamic history. Thank you for your attention to this matter.


Morad Almuradi

Now, obviously, a tradition that has been going strong since 1810 isn’t likely to be cancelled anytime soon.  What’s interesting about this letter is its effrontery.  And note too that it is Saul Alinsky fueled.  Focus on the words used – “tolerate”, “offends”, “unfair”.  Using the West’s own rhetoric against it.  Of course, it seems obvious after you read the letter the irony must be “Un-Islamic” too.

But in the West, most folks would say, “hey, if you don’t like it, don’t attend, don’t drink and don’t get nude”.  That’s apparently the Western notion of “tolerance”.  But apparently the Muslim notion of tolerance is vastly different. They want the whole affair canceled because it is “Un-Islamic”.  And whatever they determine to be “Un-Islamic” can’t coexist with them, it must be banned.

Syrian refugees are flooding Germany as we speak.  Already Islam is not only large but real in Germany.  At some point, when enough Muslims are of voting age, it will use Germany’s democratic institutions to elect its own to the government.

Given their apparent intolerance, it won’t be pretty if they do.

And, ironically, I think we’ve seen this movie in Germany before.


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Economic Statistics for 15 Sep 15

Well, I’m back from vacation, so I guess I’ll start doing the economic stuff again. There were no economic releases yesterday, so I guess I got an extra day off from it. Anyhoo…

Retail sales rose 0.2% in August with sales ex-autos up 0.1% and sales ex-autos and -gas up 0.3%. All were slightly below expectations.

The Empire State Manufacturing Index remains at meteor-crater-low levels for the second month in a row, up only 0.75 points in September to -14.67.

Redbook reports that last week’s retail sales rose to a still-soft 1.7% on a year-ago basis, from the previous week’s 1.3%.

Industrial Production fell -0.4% in August, while capacity utilization in the nation’s factories fell -0.4% to 77.6%. Manufacturing production fell -0.5%.

Business inventories rose 0.1% in July, though a 0.1% rise in sales left the stock-to-sales ratio unchanged at a hefty 1.36, versus 1.29 a year ago.

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