“Two Turkeys” This Week!

There’s much to taste this morning as the headlines seem to indicate a slow cooking of the world’s goose prior to the long weekend, such as it is with storms and such.

For one thing, the Israelis are seriously pissed about the US going off and making what may be a massive mistake in allowing the Iranians to become a nuclear power because that is likely to set off a regional nuclear race.

While that may be grand for some of the US firms which could land big engineering and construction jobs in the future, it also makes the world a much more dangerous place to live since the more bombs there are, the more likely they are to be misused at some point.  And even minus warheads,  are we supposed to be dumb enough not to have noticed Fukushima.  Think Iran will be better plant operators?

While the NY Times is selling this under the headline of “Obama signals shift from military might to diplomacy” the other angle to it is to look up how well Lord Chamberlain would have done with an appeasement policy toward Hitler.

If the answer “Doesn’t seem to work too well…” doesn’t come to mind right away, a refresher on the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, or the  militarization of the Rhineland may help.

Every now and then, a President has to take a stand against countries that have become fixed on expansionist or megalomaniacal objectives.  Truman on Korean, Kennedy on Cuba.

Despite the abject failure of appeasement, which runs from the school yard bully all the way to the Middle East/present-day, not everyone sees the need to draw lines and take hard action.  And some, perhaps even members of congress, I would expect would be appalled at the presidential slack-handedness on Iran sanctions.

Give ‘em an inch and they’ll take what?

Hardly much mention of this, what in the heat of the PR campaign, but you did notice the Washington Institute pointed to what looks like an imperial presidency/rule by decree in their report “Sanctions Relief for Iran without Congressional Approval…”  I know…tisk, tisk…don’t let a little thing like the frigging LAW stand in the way of an agenda, right?

While it is true that former heads of Israeli security outfits (Shin Bet and Mossad) are hesitant to call for an outright attack, the deal with Iran might have included more checks and less opportunity for under the table development.

We’re left to wonder whether media was doing its job.

Our current president is presiding over a messy set of realities.  While Iran, essentially gets to skate with 7-loopholes, our Fearless Leader is busy orchestrating the roll-out of even more Draconian police state tools here at home, such as the FBI’s facial recognition system now set to go national.

And while “locking down America” continues, the long-running battle in Afghanistan to draw a line is ending with what looks like quick capitulation is coming.  So terrorists, those bent on world domination, and heroin poppy growers are a bigger threat than Americans?  I must have misplaced my fluoride treatments and ViceGrips.

Meanwhile, the inept LameStreamMedia haven’t figured out that in a country which already doesn’t have enough jobs, the LAST thing we need is wide open immigration to bring in even more people to take the government doll, which will require more taxes, while existing residents are left to fight over an ever-smaller piece of the pie. 

Fantastically, the Obama crew is still trying to perp this hoax over on the sheep, aided and abetted by media that won’t ask hard questions.  Here’s one: “Where’s the jobs gonna come from?”

Is there an appeasement policy with Mexico and the cartels we haven’t been told about, too? Is there a “right to squander” clause I missed?

Even if ALL of these facts escape you, there’s “Almost 80-million with employer health care plans who could have their coverage cancelled” reports Fox News.  We expect the liberalistas to attack Fox for reporting it, not the ugly facts of the healthcare roll-out disaster itself.

A CNN poll out this morning notes more democrats are fading into the sunset for 2014 thanks to healthcare, which is somehow not surprising.

But the good news – such as it is – is that Americans now live in a “two turkey” nation.  One’s in the oven.  And without prompting, let’s see who can figure out where the other one is, shall we?

Still In the Wings

A fresh round of U.,S, mortgage troubles is about to show up.

And while we’re making the gravy, how about a fresh impasse on the new federal budget, too?  There’s some momentary happy talk here, but we heard that wax and wane before the last shutdown, too, if you’ll recall.

More after this…

Let’s Blame the Shut Down (again)

If you’re on the edge of your seat for my pithy (or pissy?) remarks on Housing Starts, you can keep sitting rather uncomfortably because of this from Census:

The Census Bureau’s monthly New Residential Construction indicator includes statistics on building permits, housing starts and housing completions. On November 26 at 8:30 a.m., the Census Bureau will release estimates of housing units authorized by building permits in September and October. However, the release of new housing unit starts and housing unit completions will now be released on December 18, 2013.

So, we wonder, how long can the shutdown (where only 17% of government was impacted) be blamed for delays in statistical report?  Who knows.

What we can share is the building permits report:

Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in October were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,034,000. This
is 6.2 percent (±0.8%) above the September rate of 974,000 and is 13.9 percent (±1.1%) above the October 2012 estimate of 908,000.
Single-family authorizations in October were at a rate of 620,000; this is 0.8 percent (±0.9%)* above the September figure of 615,000.
Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 387,000 in October.

The lapse in federal funding affected the data collection schedule for the Survey of Construction, the source of data on new housing
units started and completed. Accurate data collection for September and October could not be completed in time for this release. Data
on housing units started and completed in September, October, and November 2013 will be released on December 18, 2013.

Yeah, sure, whatever…five year high, but its mostly on apartments and who makes the dough on those?  Not the renters, that’s for damn sure.

Futures pointing about flat and oil was up a tad, along with gold and silver.

Profiteering on Student Loans?

The story in the Detroit Free Press under the headline “Federal government books $41.3 billion in profits on student loans” certainly deserves a read…whether you have a student loan, or not.

As always, this gets down to a matter of how the costs (and profits) are calculated…and the Government Accountability Office is trying to sort that one out.

But that may not be the end of it.  Remember Walter Burien?  He’s the fellow who sniffed out how government (lots of levels to this) keeps essentially two sets of books.

One set – the one in the press all the time – is called the “budget.”  But that’s just how much money government plans to spend. 

The reality can be wildly different and is only revealed when you read annual comprehensive annual financial reports (CAFRs).

This difference between “budget and actual” is critical and there’s a good write up on it at Wikipedia here.

So in the back of your mind, when you read how the Dept. of Ed. isn’t calling back the Detroit Free Press, the answer may be that taxpayers are usually only exposed to the budget (planned) income and expenses.  The reality (actual versus planned) can be widely different.

Just so’s you know…

Monsters of the Deep

Worth reading is a report out of  CBS-Miami of a bizarre sea creature caught off Miami Beach.

Since this is a deep water (>1,000 feet) fish, we wonder if there’s some kind of secret message about quakes, since Oarfish and others are associated with quakes…

Trust in Robots?

Turns out the more like humans robots can be made to appear, the less likely humans are to trust them.

Curious, huh?  Are politicians robots, one wonders?

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