Questions and Observations

Free Markets, Free People

Economic Statistics for 26 Jul 16

The Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey rose from -7.0 to 0.4 in July.

New home sales in June were much higher than expected, at a 592,000 annual rate that is 25% higher than a year ago.

The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index fell -0.1% in May, but remains 5.2% higher than a year ago.

The PMI Services flash number for July fell -0.4% to 50.9.

The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index fell -0.7 points to 97.3 in July.

The Richmond Fed Manufacturing index jumped from -7 to 10 in July.

The State Street Investor Confidence Index fell -7.7 points to to 98 in July. 

Redbook reports that last week’s retail sales growth slowed to 0.4% on a year-ago basis, from the previous week’s already weak 0.6%.

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Awaiting Act II of the charade called “democracy”

Act II, of course, being the Democratic National Convention where the fix was in from the beginning for the chosen son, or in this case witch.

Everyone expected the RNC to be a circus, but this particular convention promises to take the cake.  Thus the 4 mile fence they’ve built around the venue to keep the plebs at a distance.

So, Democratic voters, you really thought you had a role in all of this?  Bwaahaaahahaha.  You hadn’t a chance of deciding.  Your vote was simply part of the stage props necessary in the attempt to keep the facade of “democracy” alive.  The Superdelegates picked long before the first vote was cast had already decided the contest.  You were window dressing.

And I have to tell you, I am loving the Wikileaks DNC email dump.  Latinos are part of the “Taco Bowl” constituency.  Just shut up, grab a burrito and vote for Hillary.  They’ll ignore you later.

Meanwhile, it appears “Clinton, Inc.” is having a pre-move in sale:

The documents, which were circulated among top DNC officials in April, could raise legal questions for the party, says Ken Boehm, the chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, a government watchdog group.

“The disclosed DNC emails sure look like the potential Clinton Administration has intertwined the appointments to federal government boards and commissions with the political and fund raising operations of the Democratic Party,” Boehm told The Daily Caller.

“That is unethical, if not illegal.”

The claim now circulating is the DNC server was hacked by Russia.  But Hillary’s server?  As safe as the gold in Ft. Knox, rest assured.

What a world we live in.  We have two of the worst candidates – that’s right, there is no “lesser of two evils” this time – running for a job in which they’ll each try to outdo the current worst president the US has ever suffered under.

As for the profession of “journalism”, you know what to expect:

At the beginning of the Republican National Convention last week, NBC Today co-host Matt Lauer confronted presidential nominee Donald Trump about dialing down the intensity of the passions percolating at the event. “Would you be willing to make a pledge to speak to everyone involved in this convention and say, ‘Please tone down the rhetoric’?” Lauer urged. “Can you say to the people who are going to take to that podium this week, ‘No personal attacks, no vitriol, keep it civil?”

The irony there is that political journalists themselves, Lauer included, have become as inflammatory as the politicians they lecture about incivility. In the aftermath of last month’s Orlando terrorist massacre at a gay nightclub, for example, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper badgered the increasingly offended Attorney General of Florida interminably about her stance on gay marriage. More recently, Fox News’ Shepherd Smith berated Gov. Bobby Jindal for using the “divisive” phrase “All lives matter.” CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, who wears her biases as openly as her keffiyeh, hammered away contentiously at British MP Daniel Hannan for nine minutes over the recent Brexit vote.

Screw it.


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Economic Statistics for 21 Jul 16

Existing home sales rose 1.1% in June, to a solid 5.570 million annual rate. Sales are up 3.0% on a year-over-year basis.

The Conference Board’s Index of leading Economic Indicators rose 0.3% in June.

The Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey fell from 4.7 to -2.9 in July.

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index rose from -0.51 to 0.16 in June.

The FHFA House Price Index rose 0.2% in May. The index is up 5.6% on a year-ago basis.

Initial weekly jobless claims fell 1,000 to 253,000. The 4-week average fell 1,250 to 257,750. Continuing claims fell 25,000 to 2.128 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell -1.8 points to 42.9 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $8.8 billion last week, with total assets of $4.480 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $7.7 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $25.0 billion in the latest week.

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Setting history straight

This. A black man recounts history … real history, not the fable that sustains the left and Democrats today:

I did my bit today. I sat with the OR resident leftists- a couple of hearts on their sleeves white folks who keep telling me how horrible Republicans are and why I should agree with them that religious people are the source of every problem in the world, and that American police love to kill black people.

Well, this black man let them have it. I walked them through the history of the Republican party, the speeches and writings of Frederick Douglas… and I was just getting started. I told them who founded the KKK, and which states in the South were for segregation and which party their governments belonged to. I kept going, indices of economy, family stability, education of black people in America and how that has declined since welfare. Some idiot in the corner piped up about how blacks in WW2 were not educated and welfare and the 60’s had changed all that. Well, I happen to have a picture of a Tuskegee P51 Mustang as my laptop wallpaper…. I waded in with their glorious history. I spoke of the honour and character of the American “Negro” at the height of segregation and contrasted that with the black lives matter hooligans today. I quoted excerpts from Martin Luther King’s speeches and contrasted them with those of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.

It was dead quiet. And then, I put on my Texas operating hat… and walked out, but not before saying.. “next time I’m in the tea room… we can really talk about the state of the American black.. and who exactly is to blame for his current state.”

It has always troubled me that blacks in America, for the most part, and this guy being an obvious exception, don’t know the history of the left or Democrats.  They love to talk about the Bull Conner’s of the world without recognizing or perhaps realizing that Conner led the Alabama delegation at the Democratic National Convention in 1948. They laud the Civil Rights legislation of the ’60s but never seem to understand that Democrats filibustered it and 100% of the Republicans voted for the bills.  It was Republican Dwight Eisenhower that sent in the 101st Airborne soldiers to desegregate Little Rock schools and Democrat Orval Faubus that stood in the school house door barring the way.

They apparently don’t know that the first Republican (and many subsequent Republicans) from the post-Civil War south elected to Congress was … black.

Yet when this is brought up, it is all simply waved away with this popular myth of the Democrats being the black’s best friend that has somehow taken root among much of the black population.

I’m also old enough to remember something that struck me about the black civil rights protesters that Dr. Martin Luther King led.  Their dignity. And it was their dignity and the honor they showed throughout the horrendous process they endured that won over so much of the white population at the time.

Unfortunately this entitled bunch who call themselves Black Lives Matter lack both dignity and honor. They spend their days alienating those their grandparents spent their time and energy winning to their cause.  They have no idea what racism, as endured by their grandparents, really was like. Instead their fascists.  They take perceived slights as grounds for destructive protests even while many of the leaders of the movement lead entitled lives at some the the nation’s most prestigious institutions of higher learning.  They’re led by professional race-baiters and the same type of people who founded the KKK and tried to block civil rights legislation in the ’60s, but are ignorant of that apparently.  They don’t understand that they’re both expendable and being used to further the political agenda of people who really don’t care about them.  They’re sort of like the Palestinians of the Arab world, with the Democrats being the Arabs.

So this fella did do his bit today.  Good for him.  And apparently it stopped the usual suspects cold in their tracks.  Facts are powerful especially when their wielded outside the echo chamber I’m sure those he addressed usually reside in.

We need more like him spreading the facts in the liberal enclaves who’ve helped keep blacks “in their place” for decades.  Time to break out.  Hope he keeps this up.


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Ironic and encouraging

And that’s despite this administration doing everything in its power to impede this:

Hydrocarbon trade between the Middle East and the United States has historically been something of a one-way street, as petrostates have made billions selling off their prodigious oil reserves and Qatar has solidified its position as the world’s largest exporter of liquified natural gas (LNG). But the American shale revolution is shaking up the status quo, and two recent shipments of LNG have recently punctuated that shift. . . .

A decade ago, the United States was busy building massive, costly LNG import facilities along its Gulf Coast. What a difference ten years and an energy revolution can make, as those import projects have been idled in favor of export terminals, where workers are chilling America’s substantial stores of shale gas into liquid form and sending them off to ports around the world. The first shipment went to Brazil, but since then cargoes have made their way to Europe and, now, the Middle East.

Like its oil counterpart, the global LNG market is well supplied at the moment, with Qatar and Australia already exporting larger and larger volumes while the United States looks to become a major player in the coming years as more export terminals come online. It’s a buyer’s market, too, as prices have steadily come down both as a result of contracts that have included linkages to oil prices (which are today less than half of what they were two years ago) as well as sluggish demand coupled with surging supplies.

Selling LNG to Kuwait and Dubai won’t suddenly make the Middle East beholden to U.S. suppliers, but it does signal an important and ongoing change in global energy dynamics. And, as more Middle Eastern countries look to derive less of their electricity from costly and relatively inefficient oil-fired power plants, LNG demand should rise in the region. If and when that happens, there will be plenty of producers here in the United States willing to step up and subvert the traditional energy flows between the Middle East and America.

Capitalism, risk taking and innovation are the reason this is happening.  Government was an impediment because government was sure it had a better way, despite the evidence to the contrary.

Government picking the “winners and losers” in an economic situation is simply another form of socialist tyranny, where it acts as though it is the owner of the means of production and rewards the industries it backs while finding ways to punish those in disfavor.  Thankfully, at least in this case, government – specifically the Obama administration – has been out maneuvered by the shale industry and it’s favored industries have all but gone bust.

More irony – the administration tries at every opportunity to take credit for the hydrocarbon boom in the US.


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Observations: The QandO Podcast for 15 Jul 15

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There’s a coup in Turkey, and we don’t know how it’ll turn out…but probably badly. Another terrorist attack occurred in Nice, France. Also, Driving While Black is a real thing, but some people just need to be shot by cops. Oh, and we should distribute income better.

 This week’s podcast is up on the Podcast page.

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