Questions and Observations

Free Markets, Free People

A short quiz …

Who is one of the only groups successfully fighting ISIS and consistently winning?

If you said the Peshmerga or the Kurds, give yourself a point.

What should we, the US, be doing because the Peshmerga is, in fact, winning engagements regularly against ISIS?

Well the smart thing, and something a leader would do at a minimum, would be to help them in any way we can and supply them with the weaponry they need.

If you said that, another point.

Now, the big question – are we doing that?

If you said “no” you get 3 out of 3.  If you said we’re actually working against that, you get a bonus of 1 point.

Yes, according the the Telegraph, we’ve been active in blocking needed heavy weapons shipments to the Kurds:

The Peshmerga have been successfully fighting Isil, driving them back from the gates of Erbil and, with the support of Kurds from neighbouring Syria, re-establishing control over parts of Iraq’s north-west.

But they are doing so with a makeshift armoury. Millions of pounds-worth of weapons have been bought by a number of European countries to arm the Kurds, but American commanders, who are overseeing all military operations against Isil, are blocking the arms transfers.

One of the core complaints of the Kurds is that the Iraqi army has abandoned so many weapons in the face of Isil attack, the Peshmerga are fighting modern American weaponry with out-of-date Soviet equipment.

At least one Arab state is understood to be considering arming the Peshmerga directly, despite US opposition.

The US has also infuriated its allies, particularly Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Gulf states, by what they perceive to be a lack of clear purpose and vacillation in how they conduct the bombing campaign. Other members of the coalition say they have identified clear Isil targets but then been blocked by US veto from firing at them.

“There is simply no strategic approach,” one senior Gulf official said. “There is a lack of coordination in selecting targets, and there is no overall plan for defeating Isil.”

Another in a long litany of failures by this administration.  We have both the means and a reason to supply the Kurds with the weaponry they need, and yet ….

As mentioned yesterday, Jimmy Carter is right.

Failure of leadership.

Again.

~McQ

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Economic Statistics for 1 Jul 15

Motor vehicle sales weakened in June, dropping -3.4% from May, but were still strong at a 17.2 million annual rate.

Challenger reports that Layoff announcements rose to 44,842 in June from 41,034 in May, well up from an unusually low 31,434 in June 2014. 

ADP estimates that private payrolls rose a larger-than-expected 237,000 in June, against analysts’  expectations for 220,000.

Construction spending rose a solid 0.8% in May, well above the the analysts’ expectations of a 0.5% gain.

The PMI Manufacturing Index fell -0.4 points to 53.6 in June, indicating some slowing economic growth.

The ISM manufacturing composite index for June showed some acceleration in manufacturing, rising 0.7 points to 53.5.

Gallup’s U.S. Job Creation Index remained high in June, unchanged from the May reading at 32.

Gallup’s Payroll to Population Rate rose 1.0% to 45.5% in June, the highest rate since 2012.

The MBA reports that mortgage applications fell -4.7% last week, with purchases down -4.0% and refis down -5.0%.


Dale’s social media profiles:
Twitter | Facebook | Google+

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

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

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

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.


Dale’s social media profiles:
Twitter | Facebook | Google+

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

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

 

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

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.


Dale’s social media profiles:
Twitter | Facebook | Google+

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Buy Dale’s Books!