Sunday, February 2, 2014

Political  Calculations

Last week, news that China's economy is slowing down contributed to investor fears in world stock markets, sending equity prices lower. Not trusting Chinese GDP statistics, which have long been considered to be off target, we turned to the data that the U.S. Census Bureau reports on the value of trade between the U.S. and China to get a clearer picture of what's going on within China's economy.

Our chart below shows the exchange rate adjusted value of the year-over-year growth rate of trade between the two nations from January 1986 through November 2013, the most recent month for which that data is available at this writing:

Year Over Year Growth Rate of U.S.-China Trade, January 1986 - November 2013
At first glance, it would appear that China's economy is actually accelerating strongly, with China pulling in a dramatic increase of goods produced in the United States.

That first glance may be somewhat deceiving however, because the U.S. goods that China is pulling in such dramatically higher quantities are predominantly soybeans, where U.S. farmers recently harvested a record bumper crop. The unexpectedly large harvest boosted U.S. GDP in the third quarter of 2013 through its impact on U.S. inventories, and may continue to boost U.S. GDP again in the fourth quarter of 2013 in the form of increased exports.

And it would appear, predominantly to China, which is the top foreign market for U.S. soybeans. Through 5 December 2013, China had increased its year-over-year purchases of U.S. soy by 33%. The U.S. is second behind Brazil as an exporter of soybeans to China, and China is the world's largest importer of soybeans.

Digging deeper into the trade data however, we found that the value of U.S. exports to China in November 2013 could have been even larger if not for a $396 billion decline in transportation equipment, primarily aircraft, exported by the U.S. to China during the month. In 2013, U.S.-based Boeing delivered over one-fifth of its annual production of 648 commercial aircraft to China-based air carriers, so November represented somewhat of an off month for this trade category.

What that indicates then is that China's economic consumption is growing more rapidly than its official GDP statistics would suggest, as it would appear that the Chinese government's efforts to promote more domestic consumption are producing the desired results. China's reported GDP is lower because the nation's domestic investment spending has declined while Chinese consumption of imported goods has increased. Both factors would be negative contributors to China's reported GDP, which are being offset by increased consumption spending.

That increase in China's imports may be due in part to the Chinese government's 26 July 2013 edict to 1,400 domestic producers in 19 of the nation's industries to curb their "excess" production capacity by the end of September 2013. If Chinese demand for the affected products did not similarly decline, that would account a good portion of the nation's increase in its imports since mid-summer 2013.

For our analytical method for measuring the relative health of the U.S. and Chinese economies, the upshot of all this is that our method will likely overstate the strength of China's economic growth until the rebalancing of the Chinese economy has stabilized.




Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. China / U.S. Foreign Exchange Rate. G.5 Foreign Exchange Rates. Accessed 26 January 2014.
U.S. Census Bureau. Trade in Goods with China. Accessed 26 January 2014.
Our imperially inclined President is already acting on the promise he made during his State of the Union to take unilateral “action” outside of the normal legislative process. And at the top of his non-legislative agenda is the reformation of American retirement.

Utilizing his oratory prowess and an executive memorandum, the President is promising to give Americans a new way of saving for retirement… Or something like that. Maybe “oratory prowess” was a bit of an overstatement. It turns out that his teleprompter was never taught about avoiding double negatives – let alone triple and quadruple negatives:

Click on link to see and hear Obama's latest stumble...

"Now, I'm hoping that Congress goes along with this, but I'm not going to wait for Congress. I could do more with Congress, but I'm not going to not do anything without Congress, not when it's about the basic security and dignity of American workers."
Well… Good. Now we’re all confused. It’s nice that we have a leader who can unite us. (What happened to his fantastic oratory skills? Was the teleprompter set on “stutter”?) He’s “not going to not do anything without Congress.” The point was still clear, despite the obfuscatory wording. Our all-powerful Campaigner-in-Chief will not wait for the legislative wheels of Constitutional government to be set in motion.

So what is he signing into non-law? Obama has directed his Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew, to create a new savings bond called the “MyRA”. (Cute name. It rings of Orwellian double-speak given that the MyRA will be a government program.) With mildly more competent sentence structure than before, the President outlined his cure for America’s retirement woes:

“And we're calling it "MyRA." Not IRA -- MyRA.”
Thank you, Mr. President. I get it. You replaced the “I” in “IRA” with the word “My” to make me feel like I have ownership over the money I invest in this governmental financial instrument. Very clever.

“And what it is, it's a new type of savings bond that we can set up without legislation that encourages Americans to begin to build a nest egg.” 
Wait! We’re creating a new savings bond!! And to think I was planning on not saving anything until I started collecting Social Security. Quick! Where do I sign up! (My kingdom for a sarcasm font.)

“Workers can contribute through automatic deductions…” 
Am I supposed to be excited that the Treasury Department will allow me to “invest” with the same technological tools that allow me to subscribe to Netflix?

“MyRAs are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States Government.” 
Oh, that makes me feel good. Anyone know if S&P is planning on downgrading the US again?

“[You] can keep the same account even if [you] change jobs.”
Oh good! So if you like your retirement, you can keep it.

“And it's affordable. You can open an account with as little as $25. You can contribute as little as $5 at a time.”
Because nothing helps build a comfortable retirement more than occasional $5 contributions to a government savings bond.

The Administration’s push to portray some gimmicky treasury bond as the solution to America’s retirement woes, only highlights the White House’s comically incompetent leadership on fiscal issues. The real problem, aside from Mr. Obama’s dependence on an apparently glitchy teleprompter, is far deeper than an insufficient choice of treasury bonds. Artificially low interest rates, declining household wealth, income stagnation, and an abysmal jobs market are far more painful to the retirement prospects of American workers than anything Treasury can singlehandedly address. The President’s adoption of extra-legislative gimmicks only serve to illustrate the leaderless incompetence of this White House.

It is becoming more apparent that the remainder of Obama’s tenure will be a hopeless mess of legislative gridlock, and executive politicking. The MyRA is nothing more than the first of many attempts to convince the American people that Obama will dictatorially go around Congress for “the greater good” of the nation. Or, as the President put it, he’s “not going to not do anything without Congress”.

Pakistan Taliban leader: what matters is enforcement of Sharia, “whether through peace or war”

/ Jihad Watch
Sharia is the goal of jihad groups the world over. They want to establish Islamic states governed by Islamic law. Non-Muslims who advocate accommodation to Sharia are aiding in this endeavor.

Their female and non-Muslim descendants will not remember them fondly.

“TTP wants enforcement of Sharia: spokesman,” from Dawn, January 31:
MIRAMSHAH: The objective of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is enforcement of Sharia in the country, according to its spokesman Shahidullah Shahid.
Talking to Dawn from an unspecified location on Thursday, he said what mattered was enforcement of Sharia, “whether through peace or war”.
He expressed satisfaction over the formation of a four-member team by the government for talks with the outlawed TTP.
He said that a session of the central Shura of the TTP had been in progress since Wednesday on the government’s offer.
The spokesman said in a statement that the TTP had taken the government decision seriously and the Shura would present its point of view to the nation in a few days.
He said his organisation believed in serious and meaningful dialogue and paid respect to the emissaries in the past.
He denied that Maulana Fazlullah was not in favour of talks and said that the entire organisation was united under his leadership and obeyed his decisions.

Maybe this time, Egypt and Israel will be attacking Gaza together?

From Bare Naked Islam


Israel threatens to invade Gaza after Iron Dome intercepts multiple rockets over Eilat, launched by al-Qaeda-linked terror group, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, the same group behind the four bombing attacks on Cairo last week which killed or injured more than 100.


Times of Israel  The Israeli military may invade the Gaza Strip and topple its Hamas government if rocket fire on Israel continues, Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said Saturday. 
Speaking at an event in Kfar Saba, Steinitz said that though missile attacks have decreased over the past two years, Israel cannot tolerate renewed rocket fire at its territory.


“If the continuation of rockets from Gaza continues, we will have no choice but to go inside [Gaza] in order to eliminate Hamas, and allow the Palestinian Authority to regain control of the Gaza Strip,” Steinitz said.  “Israel heavily retaliates to any [rocket] fire, and will continue to do so,” he added. 

Page 5 graphic-1444899

An al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group that operates in the Sinai and Gaza, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, claimed responsibility for Friday’s attack. The group said in a statement that the rocket attack was prompted by “the cooperation between Egypt and Israel and the bombing of Gaza residents.” Israel launched airstrikes against targets in the Gaza Strip early Friday morning in retaliation for a rocket fired at the southern city of Netivot. “Nothing will stop us from our objective of fighting you and hurting you,” the Sinai-based terror group said.

IronDome-e1391320465487RELATED STORIES/VIDEOS:



Can you believe this sh*t!

Samantha Lewthwaite aka the White Widow: YouTube screenshot/ABC News  
How will you celebrate World Hijab Day today?

That’s right. It’s World Hijab Day.

Sort of like Christmas and Thanksgiving rolled into one for lovers of Muslim head coverings, World Hijab Day offers a formalized opportunity to proselytize about veils.

The World Hijab Day website offers a wealth of information about this festive day. The plan is for women who don’t wear Islamic headscarves to step into “the shoes of a hijabi for one day,” thus fostering “awareness of what the hijab is about.”

The site strongly emphasizes — with CAPITAL LETTERS EVEN — that some women — only some, of course — “do CHOOSE to wear it, that a hijab is not automatically an indication that a woman is being oppressed.”

The “Q & A” page provides additional insight. As it explains, women — “sisters” – can participate by donning hijabs “wherever they might be on February 1st.”

You don’t need to be a Muslim to be a part of the fun. “This event is for women of all faiths.”

If you don’t own your very own hijab, don’t fret. “Grab your most favorite scarf and use it” instead.

The Daily Caller feels compelled to issue a word of warning here: Be careful out there in the modern, consumer-driven world with scarves and hijabs of all kinds. (RELATED: Montreal woman killed after scarf gets caught in escalator)

Participants can involve their “non-Hijabi/non-Muslim friends” by asking them to take part and even by spending “the whole day with them by educating and helping them put on the hijab.”

The run-up to this year’s World Hijab Day has only received a smattering of press coverage in the United States thus far.

The Salt Lake Tribune compares the event to “Mormon Pants Day” and notes that New York resident Nazma Khan founded the Hijab Day website says “as a means to foster religious tolerance and understanding.”

Khan’s Facebook page is subtitled “Stunning Hijab” and it is bursting with photos of — wait for it — hijabs.

Press coverage has been a bit more extensive in other countries.

For example, in Saudi Arabia (where every day is World Hijab Day), the Saudi Gazette features World Hijab Day in the form of a first-person account by a young woman in France who proudly wears her hijab against all odds.

“I remember when I was in school; my heart broke each day when I had to show my hair. I felt naked,” explained the author, Fatima. “I now study journalism in Paris. I am the only hijabi in my university. To get the same results as the others, I have to work two, three, and four times harder; finding internships and asking people for an interview, wearing the hijab.”
Failures on the international front and the media remains silent 
By: Diane Sori

While the alphabet media has been focusing their attention on spoiled brat Justin Bieber, Michelle's 50th birthday nonsense, overpaid drugged-out sports figures and Hollywood trash...the Middle East is smoldering as Barack HUSSEIN Obama continues to fuel the flames that even Egypt getting its first snow in over 100 years cannot put out...sarcasm intended.

"It is the Assad regime's responsibility to transport those chemicals to facilitate removal. We expect them to meet their obligation to do so,"

- Obama mouthpiece Jay Carney

And so yet another...of many...Obama failures on the international front has come to pass as Syria to date has surrendered less than 5% of its chemical weapons and will miss next week's deadline to send its stockpile abroad for destruction as they agreed to last September. Now almost two months behind schedule, Obama's red line to Syria has just been buried in the to the deal that stopped him from launching bombing raids against Bashar al-Assad's government forces seems to be falling apart...just like all the Middle-East deals that have the mark of Obama on them.

Syria agreed to turnover their chemical weapons under strict time guidelines, and while some were surrendered, only two cargo shipments have left the port in Latakia, each carrying about 15 tons of said weapons totaling just 4.1% of the roughly 1,300 tons al-Assad reported to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) when the deal was reached.

Obviously, al-Assad is stalling in turning over those weapons (you know the very same chemical weapons that Saddam Hussein moved to Syria), but when you come up against the man who leads from behind...if you call what Obama does holds the upper hand for just like the Iranians who manipulated the deal reached in Geneva to their has done the same. Knowing Obama will NEVER hold true to his word to bomb or re-sanction them if they dare to violate said agreement, I could also safely bet that in the end NOT all the weapons will be turned over as Obama's continued talk of giving diplomacy more time actually gives al-Assad the chance to 'hide' some weapons away. This weakness in Obama will be used to al-Assad's advantage.

And as al-Assad laughs at and plays Barack HUSSEIN Obama for a fool what of Egypt... Obama's ultimate Arab Spring fiasco. A few days ago Obama's good buddy...ousted Muslim Brotherhood puppet President Mohamed Morsi...was in court charged with participating in and possibly being one of the masterminds behind a prison break that involved more than 20,000 inmates during Egypt's 2011 revolution which removed Hosni Mubarak from office. Morsi and131 co-defendants, including senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders, are being charged with trying to “destroy the Egyptian state and its institutions."

Hmmm...shouldn't Barack HUSSEIN Obama be charged with the same thing here in America...I mean he did basically render Congress irrelevant and politically impotent in his State of the (Dis)Union address...and that translates into his destroying our system of checks and balances as he crowned himself king on national television. It's just too bad Boehner and the rest of our cowardly and spineless Congress doesn't see that. But I digress...

In addition to the prison break charges, Morsi also faces four different sets of charges relating to the killing of opposition demonstrators last November, and charges in relation to espionage and insuring the judiciary. And in the time since Obama's compadre was hauled off to jail, Egypt has seen the worst bloodshed in recent memory as Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood supporters and foreign (as in al-Qaeda) terrorists conduct an ever-growing number of attacks on both the country's security forces and on Egypt's Coptic Christian population...which by the way I hear NOT a peep about from our 'supposed' Christian president. Thankfully, the Egyptian military has been cracking down big time on these subversives under the banner of a "war against terrorism"...a war Barack HUSSEIN Obama basically turns a blind eye to...especially (I believe) being a terrorist in his own right...Muslim Brotherhood supporter...and maybe card-carrying member...that he is.

And adding insult to injury, Obama must be besides himself as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair (himself NOT fond of Obama) recently announced his support for Egypt's new military interim government and strongly urged other world leaders to do the same. And after meeting with those military leaders, including newly anointed Field Marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sisi...the very man who led the overthrow of Morsi...Blair is in full support of el-Sisi becoming Egypt's next president. And el-Sisi becoming president...which most expect he would just icing on the cake for el-Sisi cannot stand Barack HUSSEIN Obama and rightfully blames him for aiding in Morsi's running amok.

And now in addition to the Middle East there are increasing tensions between the U.S.and Russia. All Reagan had accomplished in ending the Cold War, Barack HUSSEIN Obama has heated up again, as recently come to light was a story that the in Obama...has informed our NATO allies that Russia tested a ground-launched cruise missile. Testing of this sort was prohibited by the 1987 treaty banning medium-range missiles that was signed by Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, yet Obama and his people couldn't wait to stir the pot with Russia, especially since Vladimir Putin of late has emasculated Obama countless times...both in public and in writing (remember his letter to the NY Times). During the Bush years, Putin tested NOTHING of the sort, possibly out of a combination of fear of reprisal and respect for President Bush as a leader of men. But now with Obama in office, Putin knows Obama talks he'll do this or he'll do that...just look at Syria for example...but it's all talk and NOTHING more as Obama is weak of character and backs down time and again when challenged, always saying we need to give diplomacy more of a chance.

Yeah good old kumbaya diplomacy...just look how well diplomacy has NOT worked out anywhere in the world where Barack HUSSEIN Obama...or Hillary 'What Does It Matter' Clinton or John 'Swiftboat' Kerry...has had a hand in it. Now with Obama at the helm of the U.S. once former allies shy away from us for fear he will stab them in the back just as he did and continues to do to Israel. And thanks to Obama's total ineptitude as an international player, much of the world now sees America as “weaker, less significant, and more or less confused.” Remember, pre-Obama, the western nations rallied behind the U.S. when it came to international matters...just look at all the nations who stood behind GWB when we went into Iraq...but Obama is a laughing stock that is easily played by our enemies simply because they know that he does NOT have America's interests at heart.

And as the saying goes, "elections have consequences" but now in today's volatile world those consequences affect NOT only our country but the nations of the world as well... consequences built and owned by Barack HUSSEIN Obama himself. But hey, let's focus on spoiled out of control teenage pop singers, drug addicted sports figures and Hollywood wannabes, and the woman who turned 50 but still doesn't seem to look at herself in a mirror before she goes out in public representing our country...after all, the alphabet media deems them the important news stories of the day.'s all so terribly sad...