New home sales in June plunged -6.8% to a 482,000 annual rate. Prices were also soft, at a median $281,800, down -1.8% year-on-year.
The PMI Manufacturing Index Flash for July came in at 53.8, which is very close to the final June reading of 54.0.
The Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index continues to show deep contraction, though it rose to -7 from -9 in July.
The Conference Board’s Index of Leading Indictors rose 0.6% in June, pushed higher by a surge in Housing Permits.
The Chicago Fed National Activity Index moved back into positive territory in June, rising from -0.17 to 0.8.
Initial weekly jobless claims fell a startling 26,000 to 255,000, a 42-year low. The 4-week average fell 4,000 to 278,500. Continuing claims 9,000 to 2.207 million. Auto retooling, and temporary layoffs, always make jobless claims a very tricky number in July.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index dropped -0.8 points lower to 42.4 in the latest week.
The Fed’s balance sheet rose $11.7 billion last week, with total assets of $4.544 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $12.0 billion.
The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $5.9 billion in the latest week.
We’re working really hard in the media to avoid discussing the elephant that Mohammad Abdulazeez rode going to his Chattanooga Islamic terrorist attack. Official government sources are working nearly as hard.
“It” let’s talk like ‘it’ wasn’t killing 5 men while we’re worrying about whether or not he was ‘radicalized’ or depressed or a wannabe member of ISIS.
There’s no evidence he was inspired by ISIS you see.
I’d like to suggest there was no evidence that Major Nidal Hasan was inspired by ISIS either if that’s a helpful guidepost to those who are trying to figure out what we can do to prevent people from killing when they think they will gain entry to paradise for killing.
Just because young Mohammad didn’t write “Dear Diary, today, inspired by the glory of ISIS and all they do in the name of Allah, I’m going to go and kill some American servicemen” doesn’t mean the cause isn’t pretty obvious.
He was a lone gunman according to the President, who avoided the word ‘Terrorism’ like he avoids making useful decisions.
The kid did mention ‘becoming a martyr’ didn’t he? And what exactly does that mean to some people who practice the religion of peace?
Short and sweet.
To the best of my knowledge there’s only one world-wide religion that rewards you for dying while killing others. Only one major religion where “becoming a martyr” is a matter of choice. Only one where you get rewards for killing unbelievers.
And based on the xplodidopes who blow themselves up in mosques, even killing ‘believers’ can get you a reward even if the only difference between you is believing the prophet rose at 6:00 AM every morning while they insist emphatically he didn’t rise until 6:10.
In Christianity, you kill yourself, and others, and you are NOT going to get the first class treatment when you get to Heaven’s gates. You are most certainly not going to get it if you slaughter innocents first and manage to get yourself killed in the ensuing battle with the forces of goodness and niceness.
Only Islam rewards you with paradise for killing others before your number comes up in the fight, even if you’re the one who started it.
But we need to know young Mohammad was doing drugs and alcohol. What we know is it makes him a lousy practitioner of Islam. What we can guess is it could be a factor in why he needed the martyr bonus package to buy his way to paradise.
He was ‘in debt’ – sure, after you drop somewhere on the order of (easily) $3000+ to buy an AK74, an AR-15 and a Saiga 12 semi-auto assault shotgun, plus the ammo to feed them, and spend time, and money, at a range practicing with them, yeah, you’ve gone a lot deeper in debt then when you couldn’t make that $380 monthly car payment. Now oddly enough, he didn’t have that additional debt, until after he’d returned from a trip to the Middle East. I’m sure there’s nothing unusual about that though. I came back from Fredericksburg Texas a couple weeks ago, and when I got back to Dallas I went out and bought Heffeweizen and German sausages, so maybe it’s a coming back from the Middle East thing to go out and buy weapons and ammo.
Finally, the day Mohammad decided he was ready to ‘commit suicide’, he set out to shoot, and kill, not just any unbelievers, no, he went off to shoot and kill members of the armed forces of the United States of America. He seems to have had a particular bone to pick with the Marines but obviously he’d shoot American sailors too. I suspect Army, Air Force or Coast Guard personnel who crossed his path would have made their way onto his kill list.
Now let’s pack up all those bits of information as we ponder why he did ‘it’.-
A follower of Islam, looking to achieve martyrdom, takes a trip to the Middle East for several months, comes back and buys several semi-automatic weapons of man killing caliber, buys ammo for them, practices with them and then attacks the recruiting offices of the United States military. In the process he dies, thus achieving his goal of martyrdom. Before his ‘suicide’ is complete he kills 5 American military personnel, largely unarmed (because he’s a brave warrior seeking paradise), until finally someone puts enough jacketed lead into his nasty little body to put him down like the diseased animal he was.
Should we CARE what motivated him? Isn’t it all about the outcome for progressive America?
I don’t care if he was depressed, taking pills, in debt, confused or having a bad beard day. He wasn’t a good boy, he killed other people for nothing more than being Americans, in uniform.
And he did it, specifically, because his religion taught him that dying while killing infidels would get him into heaven.
It’s NOT any more complicated than that.
Is it radicalized? is it terrorism? (yes, and yes).
Who cares, if it’s not, it’s still Islam.
Now go figure out how knowing it’s Islam will prevent the next follower of Mohammed who’s ‘depressed and in debt’ from attempting to do little shoe kissing pork eating Mohammad Abdulazeez one (or more) better.
The MBA reports that mortgage applications rose 0.1% last week, with purchases up 1.0% and refis down 1.0%.
The FHFA House Price Index rose 0.4% in May, with a year-over-year increase of 5.7%.
Existing home sales rose 3.2% in June, to a 5.49 million annual rate. Sales are up 9.6% over last June.
According to some, that’s exactly what is happening:
While no one is predicting that the Islamic State will become the steward of an accountable, functioning state anytime soon, the group is putting in place the kinds of measures associated with governing: issuing identification cards for residents, promulgating fishing guidelines to preserve stocks, requiring that cars carry tool kits for emergencies. That transition may demand that the West rethink its military-first approach to combating the group.
“I think that there is no question that the way to look at it is as a revolutionary state-building organization,” said Stephen M. Walt, a professor of international affairs at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. He is one of a small but growing group of experts who are challenging the conventional wisdom about the Islamic State: that its evil ensures its eventual destruction.
Granted, the tools it uses to establish and maintain control are terror and violence, however that’s not much different than hundreds of totalitarian regimes throughout history. And, at this point, it is in its first generation of “rulers”, which means they’re likely to be the most true to their warped “principles”. So corruption, pre se, isn’t yet a problem (they’re too frightened of their own organization to accept bribes, for instance).
Remember history, say the experts:
Drawing on parallels from history, experts say, the group’s violence can be seen in a different light. Mr. Walt mentioned the guillotine of the French Revolution, and the atrocities of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia and the Communist one in China — imperfect analogies, to be sure, but ones that underscored the violence and oppression that can precede creation of a revolutionary state.
Then there’s Pol Pot’s Cambodia. It finally failed, but the same formula was applied there.
The problem, of course, is this isn’t the way it had to be. Certainly the left will say “if that evil Bush hadn’t invaded Iraq, it wouldn’t be that way”. Well with people often disappearing into wood chippers in Saddam’s day, Iraq was already that way.
The problem, as we face it now, really comes down to ideology and neglect – squarely placed in this administration’s lap. Gen. Ray Odeirno, outgoing Army Chief of Staff, said as much in an interview:
But Odierno had pointed words on the rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria – suggesting it didn’t have to be this way.
“It’s frustrating to watch it,” Odierno said. “I go back to the work we did in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 and we got it to a place that was really good. Violence was low, the economy was growing, politics looked like it was heading in the right direction.”
Odierno said the fall of large parts of Iraq was not inevitable, reiterating concerns about the pace of the U.S. troop withdrawal there.
“If we had stayed a little more engaged, I think maybe it might have been prevented,” he said. “I’ve always believed the United States played the role of honest broker between all the groups and when we pulled ourselves out, we lost that role.”
But this administration wasn’t interested in staying longer regardless of the possible negative outcome of pulling troops from Iraq early. It had a campaign promise to fulfill, one of the few it ever has fulfilled. So it made routine SOFA negotiations impossible for Iraq to agree with, then blamed the lack of an agreement on Iraq and pulled our troops out before the job was done – giving ISIS the opportunity to rise.
Odierno made it clear that wasn’t the only problem we’ve let ‘rise':
“Two years ago, we didn’t think we had a problem in Europe. … [Now] Russia is reasserting themselves. We didn’t think we’d have a problem again in Iraq and ISIS has emerged.
“So, with Russia becoming more of a threat, with ISIS becoming more of a threat, in my mind, we are on a dangerous balancing act right now with capability.”
The answer to these problems? Cut the end strength of the Army so we’re even less capable.
Can’t you just feel it?
We’re in good hands.
My guess is most of us would agree that America seems to be in decline, but not for the reasons TIME magazine does. Much of the decline is centered in the politics and policies of the governing party.
But TIME is pretty sure that, given the study that they cite, the reason is … capitalism. Here’s the “it was great, but” reason:
“We looked at very broad measures, and at individual measures, too,” said co-author Hershey H. Friedman, a business professor at Brooklyn College – City University of New York. The most dangerous sign they saw: rising income and wealth inequality, which slow growth and can spark instability, the authors say.
“Capitalism has been amazingly successful,” write Friedman and co-author Sarah Hertz of Empire State College. But it has grown so unfettered, predatory, so exclusionary, it’s become, in effect, crony capitalism. Now places like Qatar and Romania, “countries you wouldn’t expect to be, are doing better than us,” said Friedman.
I wish those who opine about this sort of thing would begin to delink capitalism and “crony capitalism”. Because as soon “crony” is added, “capitalism” is no longer evident. Instead you have powerful corporate/social/political constituents helping write laws that raise bars to entry in a markets to impossible heights. You have the same entities suggesting regulations which have the same effect. Capitalism, in its barest essence, is a voluntary transaction between two free people which ends profitably for both. That’s it. When government begins intruding with regulations and laws designed to limit and protect certain constituencies, from corporations to unions, that’s not capitalism, whether you stick “crony” in front of it or not.
It is certainly cronyism. The government attacks, for instance, on Uber are rampant cronyism. They’re designed by government to protect an existing constituency that doesn’t like the competition (and has had a government granted monopoly for decades). Of course, in the end, it is the consumer – i.e. the citizen – who is hurt by this sort of cronyism.
And it appears that cronyism has gotten worse and worse over the past few years. So while America may be in decline, it isn’t because of capitalism.
It’s because of cronyism, government favoritism, or whatever catch word or phrase you wish to tag the phenomenon with. But leave capitalism out of it.
A new report by Avalere Health points out what an “improvement” ObamaCare has been:
[E]nrollees in ObamaCare plans have access to 34% fewer providers than those who buy a commercial plan outside the exchange. On average, it found, ObamaCare enrollees had 32% fewer primary care doctors and 24% fewer hospitals from which to choose.
Worse, ObamaCare plans covered 42% fewer oncologists and cardiologists than non-ObamaCare plans.
Yes indeed, what a deal. Couple that with sky-high deductibles (according to Health Pocket, average deductibles for the lowest cost Bronze Plan in ObamaCare are 42% higher than before the law was passed) and you’ve got a real winner on your hands. By the way, the average Bronze Plan costs around $3,500 a year and has a whopping $5,181 deductible to be paid.
Oh, and here’s the good news: “insurers are pushing double-digit premium hikes for 2016, some as high as 50%.”
So again, let’s ask, what good is insurance if you can’t find a doctor or it doesn’t pay a penny until you’ve paid your huge deductible (not to mention the premium) out of pocket? As should be obvious, for the most part it isn’t any good. Especially if you have a young, relatively healthy family. In that case, be prepared to pay for everything out of pocket.
Sounds like a pretty bad deal, doesn’t it? However, remember, if you don’t have insurance, well, the IRS will make sure to make life miserable for you.
Another example of the Democrats looking out for the middle/working class in this country.
The week may have been depressing, but there’s some fun car stuff at the end. It’s on the Podcast Page.
I missed posting yesterday, so this post will be a bit longer than most.
The Philadelphia Fed Surveys’s big jump in June was a one-time blip, as the July index fell to 5.7 from 15.2.
The housing market index was unchanged at 60 in July, but it is still the strongest reading since November 2005.
The Treasury reports that Net Foreign Demand for Long-Term US Securities jumped $93.0 billion in May on strong foreign interest in both US Treasuries and corporate bonds.
Consumer inflation rose 0.3% in June, with the core rate—less food and energy—up 0.2%. On a year-over-year basis, inflation is up just 0.1% overall, but up 1.8% at the core.
Strong demand for apartment units drove housing starts up 9.8% in June at a 1.174 million annual rate. Building permits, an indicator of future activity, jumped 7.4% overall to a 1.343 million rate.
The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index fell to 93.3 in July, from June’s reading of 96.1.
Initial weekly jobless claims fell 15,000 to 281,000. The 4-week average rose 3,250 to 282,500. Continuing claims fell 112,000 to 2.215 million.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell -0.3 points to 43.2 in the latest week.
The Fed’s balance sheet rose $12.3 billion last week, with total assets of $4.494 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $7.0 billion.
The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $12.6 billion in the latest week.