Questions and Observations

Free Markets, Free People

Even Jimmy Carter thinks Obama the worst president

Still laughing about this one:

“On the world stage, I think [Obama’s accomplishments] have been minimal,” Carter said. “I think he has done some good things domestically, like health reform and so forth. But on the world stage, just to be objective about it, I can’t think of many nations in the world where we have a better relationship now than when he took over.”

Carter declined to blame Obama for the U.S.’s dismal foreign policy outlook, stating simply that circumstances “have evolved.” However, he did state that the U.S. had suffered a reversal of fortunes in foreign policy since Obama took over from President George W. Bush.

“I would say the U.S.’s influence and prestige and respect in the world is probably lower than it was six or seven years ago,” Carter said.

Ya think?!  At the moment I’d say our “influence and prestige and respect” in the world is at its lowest since the turn of the century — the last century.

Carter, often sighted as the worst foreign policy president we’ve ever had … until Obama … is probably feeling a little frisky now that it is apparent even to him.

He’s bound and determined to ensure his “next to last” position in the “worst president” category now that Obama’s position as the worst seems assured.

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 30 Jun 15

Redbook reports that last week’s retail sales weakened to 1.6% on a year-ago basis, from the previous week’s already-weak 1.7%.

The S&P Case-Shiller home price index rose 0.3% in April, with a 4.9% year-over-year increase.

Chicago’s PMI sample remains surprisingly depressed, at a June index of 49.4, the 4th contractionary reading (sub-50) of the last 5 months.

The Conference Board’s June Consumer Confidence Index Jumped 6 points to 101.4.

The State Street Investor Confidence Index 6.2 points to 127.0 in June, mainly on confidence from US investors.


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SCOTUS is a political branch, not a legal one

I pretty much agree with Andrew McCarthy:

Already, an ocean of ink has been spilled analyzing, lauding, and bemoaning the Supreme Court’s work this week: a second life line tossed to SCOTUScare in just three years; the location of a heretofore unknown constitutional right to same-sex marriage almost a century-and-a-half after the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment; and the refashioning of Congress’s Fair Housing Act to embrace legal academe’s loopy “disparate impact” theory of inducing discrimination.

Yet, for all the non-stop commentary, one detail goes nearly unmentioned — the omission that best explains this week’s Fundamental Transformation trifecta.   Did you notice that there was not an iota of speculation about how the four Progressive justices would vote?There was never a shadow of a doubt. In the plethora of opinions generated by these three cases, there is not a single one authored by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, or Sonia Sotomayor. There was no need. They are the Left’s voting bloc. There was a better chance that the sun would not rise this morning than that any of them would wander off the reservation.

Indeed, if there is any speculation it centers mostly around Justice Kennedy and now, of all people, Roberts.  There’s not much of a doubt on any case that comes before the court as to how either the liberal bloc or the conservative bloc will vote.  Up for grabs, apparently, are only two votes.  And you can expect absolutely tortured verbiage and logic from those two (and others who believe in a “living Constitution”) in order to justify their vote.

Elizabeth Price Foley wants to lay it off on liberals:

Leftists believe that “law is politics,” so they’re not particularly interested in how they get there: What matters, to the political left, is simply getting there.  The ends justify the means

But we all know why Thomas, Scalia, Alito and, oh yeah, Roberts, ended up on the Supreme Court.  The conservatives believe “law is politics” just as much as the left – they just haven’t been as successful at it recently.  There is a reason there are veritable political wars about who gets appointed to the highest bench in the land.  This isn’t some sort of scoop.

It’s a pity though.  You expect politics in Congress, which is why it’s reputation is so … low.  You want a statesman in the presidency.  And you expect justice and law from the judiciary.

Instead, we have nothing but politics from all three.

And they wonder why the people’s view of government is at a nadir?

We all know what “politics” means … and it has nothing to do with integrity, justice, the law, statesmanship or what is best for the citizenry.

~McQ

 

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Economic Statistics for 25 Jun 15

Personal income rose a sharp 0.5% in May, while consumer spending rose 0.9%. The PCE Price Index rose 0.3%, overall and 0.1% at the core. On a year-over-year basis, the PCE Price Index is up just 0.2%, while the core rate is 1.2%.

The PMI services index is down sharply in June’s flash reading, falling to 54.8, vice 56.5 in the final May reading.

The Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index rose in June, but still remains in negative territory at -9, compared to May’s -13.

Initial weekly jobless claims rose 3,000 to 271,000. The 4-week average fell 3,250 to 273,750. Continuing claims rose 22,000 to 2.247 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 1.7 points to 42.6 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $7.2 billion last week, with total assets of $4.495 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $8.5 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $29.5 billion in the latest week.


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Because we (SCOTUS) want it that way

Apparently they’re no longer a judicial body which weighs the arguments, compares them against the law and finds for the intent of the Constitution.  Or said another way, the real Constitution is dead – long live the “living Constitution” that is full of goodies for which others pay.

How do I know this?  Easy:

Chief Justice Roberts wrote that the words must be understood as part of a larger statutory plan. “In this instance,” he wrote, “the context and structure of the act compel us to depart from what would otherwise be the most natural reading of the pertinent statutory phrase.”

Or said another way, to hell with law and the Constitution, the 6 of us have decided this is a good thing and we’ll read it any way we want too.  Pay up, suckers.

I saw where someone said the court finally moved left.

Folks the court moved left 10 years ago with Kelo.

It’s just taken a while for some people to realize that.

As the delegates left the building, a Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got?”

With no hesitation, Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.” Not a democracy, not a democratic republic. But “a republic, if you can keep it.”

And, we couldn’t.

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 24 Jun 15

The final revision to 1st Quarter GDP was to a -0.2% annualized decline, while the GDP Price index was revised to 0.0%.

Corporate profits in the 1st Quarter were revised down slightly to $1.891 trillion, up a year-on-year 9.0% from the initial report of 9.2%.

The MBA reports that mortgage applications rose 1.6% last week, with purchases up 1.0% and refis up 2.0%.


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