Questions and Observations

Free Markets, Free People

Economic Statistics for 17 Dec 15

The Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey fell back into negative territory again, facing 6 points to -5.9 in December.

The US current account deficit grew sharply in the 3rd quarter, to $-124.1 billion from a revised $-111.1 billion in the 2nd quarter.

The Conference Board’s Index of leading Indicators rose by 0.4% in November.

Initial weekly jobless claims fell 11,000 to 271,000. The 4-week average fell 250 to 270,500. Continuing claims fell 7,000 to 2.238 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 0.8 points to 40.9 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $9.2 billion last week, with total assets of $4.490 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $12.9 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $15.4 billion in the latest week.


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Stray Voltage

There’s a reason the GOP has become known as the “stupid party”. There’s a reason voters seem to be in open rebellion against establishment Republicans. If you are in the dark for reasons there are many, but if you need a couple recent ones, this 1.1 trillion budget deal that raises the deficit by billions of dollars, throws a lifeline to Obamacare, and apparently funds the climate deal might give you a clue.

What in the world does a majority in both houses of Congress do for the GOP if they’re simply going to capitulate to the Democrats and give them everything they want and the Republicans claimed they were against (and if you gave them the chance they’d show you … not). Is it any wonder that there’s a rebellion in the ranks? Keep it up GOP, and you’ll go the way of the Whigs.

And, in case you were wondering if what I said above is true, try this:

Hours after the mammoth spending bill dropped, Democrats are counting their triumphs, outlining conservative policy riders and priorities that were not included in the final spending bill.

A top Democratic Senate aide summed it up in a single tweet. Adam Jentleson, Minority Leader Harry Reid’s deputy chief of staff, wrote:

 

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Say, wasn’t that Paul Ryan guy supposed to be the bee’s knees when it came to budget stuff?  Pro Tip: When Harry Reid is celebrating, you did it wrong!

And then there is the Idiot-in-Chief, someone you can always turn too reliably to observe what being totally out of the loop looks like:

Flanked by his national security team, President Obama reassured Americans that there was “no specific, credible threat” against the country ahead of the holidays.

“We do not have any specific and credible information about an attack on the homeland,” Obama said today at the National Counterterrorism Center. “That said, we have to be vigilant.”

That’s always true when you don’t read or attend your own intel briefings.

And on the Social Justice Warrior front, WalMart doubles down on stupid while Martin Luther King rolls over in his grave:

Backlash is growing for the CEO of Sam’s Club after she discussed her dislike for dealing with white men on CNN.

BPR reported Sunday that the company’s black, female CEO Rosalind Brewer planned to call a supplier she met with because she was disgusted that his management staff was filled with all white males.

It was more important to Ms. Brewer that a staff be racially and gender diverse rather than the best people be picked for their jobs. A practice she admitted to CNN’s Poppy Harlow she practices herself.

The president and CEO of WalMart Stores Inc., who owns Sam’s Club, Doug McMillon said the company supports Ms. Brewer and added that they ask their suppliers “to prioritize the talent and diversity of their sales teams.”

“Roz [Brewer] was simply trying to reiterate that we believe diverse and inclusive teams make for a stronger business. That’s all there is to it and I support that important ideal,” he added in the statement.

Yup, it’s not about the content of one’s character or who might be the best person for the job, but instead the color or one’s skin or their sex.  Back to the 40’s WalMart, next you’ll be putting in “separate but equal” water fountains.

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 16 Dec 15

The Federal Open Markets Committee raised the Fed Funds rate target to 0.25%-0.5%, and the Discount Rate to 1.0%. This is the first interest rate increase in over eight years.

The Fed’s forecast for inflation and economic growth was released today. Subpar growth remains for as far as can be foreseen.

Rates

November housing starts rose 10.5% to a 1.173 million annual rate, while building permits rose 11.0% to a 1.289 million annual rate.

Industrial production fell -0.6% in November, while capacity utilization in the nation’s factories fell -0.5% to 77.0%.

The PMI Manufacturing Index Flash fell -0.9 points to 51.3 in November.

The MBA reports that mortgage applications fell -1.1% last week, with purchases down -3.0% and refis up 1.0%.


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Economic Statistics for 15 Dec 15

Consumer prices were unchanged overall in November, and rose 0.2% ex-food and -energy. On a year-over-year basis, the CPI is up 0.5%, and up 2.0% ex-food and -energy.

The Empire State Manufacturing Index rose more than 5 points, but remained negative at -4.59% for December.

Redbook reports that last week’s retail sales fell to 1.5% on a year-ago basis, from the previous week’s 1.9%.

The Housing Market Index fell -1 point in December, to 61.

Foreign demand for U.S. long-term securities fell by $-16.6 billion, primarily from the net $-50.2 billion sold by foreign investors.


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Finally recognizing a “sham”

No, I’m not talking about climate change this time. In fact, it has to do with a “sham” of the same sort of proportion. And, surprisingly, TIME’s person of the year said it:

The speech that followed, however, may have surprised supporters of her policies: “Multiculturalism leads to parallel societies and therefore remains a ‘life lie,’ ” or a sham, she said, before adding that Germany may be reaching its limits in terms of accepting more refugees. “The challenge is immense,” she said. “We want and we will reduce the number of refugees noticeably.”

Although those remarks may seem uncharacteristic of Merkel, she probably would insist that she was not contradicting herself. In fact, she was only repeating a sentiment she first voiced several years ago when she said multiculturalism in Germany had “utterly failed.”

Well, Germany isn’t the only place where multiculturalism has failed. In fact, I’d love to see someone point to a success. When, as she notes, the “ism” sets up parallel societies, it is bound to fail. A “foreign” or non-native culture that is allowed to coexist with the native culture has little reason or impetus to become a part of the society the native culture has created. Or, as we’ve talked about, “assimilate”. Instead the foreign is allowed to establish itself and its cultural principles in that parallel society. If allowed, it could obviously, at some point, supplant the native culture, especially if the native culture is shamed into being “tolerant” and allowing such a culture a foothold – especially if that culture is diametrically opposed to the native culture.

France and Germany have allowed that condition to develop and exist for years. And, as Ms. Merkel points out, it’s been an utter failure.

The US, on the other hand, hasn’t. It has always considered itself a “melting pot”, not a “salad bowl”. In one the ingredients melt and all become one. In the other, the ingredients all stay separate but “combine” to create a pleasing dish. Unfortunately, the “salad bowls” of France and Germany have instead created a balkanized state with a parasitic culture that has not only not assimilated, but refuses to assimilate. The results have been the parallel societies, each with different beliefs (of which only one shares the beliefs and principles of the native country) which are at violent odds with each other.

Or said another way, the results are not at all the result the “multiculturalists” claimed they would be.

But then what’s new?

In the meantime, after “utterly failing” in Europe (which now reaps the consequences of multiculturalism) with the “life lie”, they’re busy here trying to shame Americans into believing that such balkanization as that which is failed in German and France is, in fact, a good thing and that “coexistence” with separate, non-assimilated cultures, some of which are obviously more violent and reject our cultural principles, is a “good thing.”

And the ideological wars continue. In fact, did you know that using the term “melting pot” as I’ve done above is considered to be a “racial microaggression” now?

More of the word salad the left enjoys using to obfuscate the truth. The truth is that some cultures are inferior to others and citizens of nations have every right to expect those who wish to call their country home also embraces the native culture that has made the nation and people what they are today.

It’s not really that much to expect, is it? Especially when the alternative is a “sham”.

~McQ

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Would you invited a known killer who hated you into your house?

Yeah, me neither.  Yet, we have a group of people out there who are more than willing to take the chance of “inviting” known killers who hate us into the country.

As usual, the media and some pundits have turned a very gray area into stark black and white arguments.  You’re apparently for allowing open immigration to anyone or you’re a racist and a bigot if you opt to be selective.

What I’m talking about is the majority of the nation which is reasonably concerned that those who would kill us are seeking entry into the country without being screened and, if necessary, rejected.  This is characterized as “unAmerican”.  So, then, was Ellis Island where we rejected would be immigrants if they were sick or had criminal backgrounds, etc.

Andy McCarthy had this to say:

Let’s bear in mind that permitting immigration is a discretionary national act. There is no right to immigrate to the United States, and the United States has no obligation to accept immigrants from any country, including Muslim-majority countries. We could lawfully cut off all immigration, period, if we wanted to. Plus, it has always been a basic tenet of legal immigration to promote fidelity to the Constitution and assimilation into American society — principles to which classical sharia is antithetical. . . .

All important points, but the final point is most likely the most important.  McCarthy again:

Our constitutional principle of religious liberty is derived from the Western concept that the spiritual realm should be separate from civic and political life. The concept flows from the New Testament injunction to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s.

Crucially, the interpretation of Islam that is mainstream in most Muslim-majority countries does not accept a division between mosque and state. . . .

The lack of separation between spiritual and civic life is not the only problem with Islam. Sharia is counter-constitutional in its most basic elements — beginning with the elementary belief that people do not have a right to govern themselves freely. Islam, instead, requires adherence to sharia and rejection of all law that contradicts it. So we start with fundamental incompatibility, before we ever get to other aspects of sharia: its systematic discrimination against non-Muslims and women; its denial of religious liberty, free speech, economic freedom, privacy rights, due process, and protection from cruel and unusual punishments; and its endorsement of violent jihad in furtherance of protecting and expanding the territory it governs.

And that’s where we must draw the line.  If an immigrant wants to become an American, recognize the separation of church and state and embrace the constitutional principles which govern this country, I say “welcome”.  If not, I say, “don’t let the doorknob hit you in the ass as you leave”.

Of course, the left’s legacy of “multiculturalism” says we must respect different cultures and learn to live with them.  I say, no we don’t.  Why?  Because some cultures are destructive and some cultures are inferiors.  I know, not politically correct, but certainly reality based (something the left once tried to convince us was a description of their ideological grounding).

You would no more invite a killer that hated you and wanted to take over your house into your home than any other sane person.  There’s no reason why we shouldn’t apply the same principle to this country (and for those of you who don’t read carefully, that means we don’t keep out all Muslims, only those (of any religion or ethnic group) who refuse to recognize our Constitutional principles and won’t assimilate).

We don’t “owe” them anything.

~McQ

 

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