Thursday, July 30, 2015

Kerry's disrespectful mocking stance on Israel, and Congress

It is to Kerry's credit that he pressed the Iranian government to stop calling for the destruction of Israel, and, in somewhat restrained language, informed it that chants of "Death to America" are not helpful.

Apparently he was unsuccessful. One wonders if Kerry was chagrined that on the very day the deal was signed, the supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called publicly for death to America.

Kerry's disrespectful mocking stance on Israel, and Congress - The Commentator

read more

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Iran Deal Gives Ayatollahs More Money Than USA Has Given to Israel Since 1948

Iran Deal Gives Ayatollahs More Money Than USA Has Given to Israel Since 1948
Dave BlountJul 28, 2015
Some complain about the massive amount of aid the USA has given to Israel over the decades. No worries; Barack Hussein has made up for all of it:

The Iran deal will provide Iran with a cash windfall as sanctions are eased and assets are unfrozen. The total amount is estimated to be as high as $150 billion. If so, the Iran deal would give more cash to Iran than the $124.3 billion U.S. has given in total aid to Israel since 1948.

US aid has allowed Israel to survive as a tiny island of civilization surrounded by vociferously hostile Muslims who want to destroy it. We'll see what even more money allows the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism to do.

It's amazing how a single president can undo all the works of all previous presidents, and still have so much time for golf.

... read more

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Who's out of touch?

Isn't it ironic that the two leaders in the polls are also the two richest in the contest...?
Trump and Clinton both have more money than Romney, who it was said was out of touch with the middle class because of his money.
Ha! Irony indeed.

If you want candidates with a middle class tally of assets, go with Sanders and Rubio

Monday, July 27, 2015

Recession Warning: Durable Goods New Orders falling 5 months in a row

Durable Goods new orders has now fallen 5 months in a row (after revisions) flashing a orangey/red recession warning.


After 2 weak months, Durable Goods bounced more than expected in June (+3.4% vs +3.2% exp) - though non-seasonally-adjusted dropped 3.1% MoM. But ex-Transports remain deeply in recession territory.

EPA Said Global Warming Unproven To Obtain A Legal Ruling For Their Climate Regulations

Scalia is right: CO2 is not a polutant!

EPA Said Global Warming Unproven To Obtain A Legal Ruling For Their Climate Regulations |l

Dr. Tim Ball

Courts will not sit in judgment of scientific disputes. A lawyer told me it becomes "your paper" against "my paper" and courts argue they're not qualified to make the required scientific judgments. This is a reasonable position and causes some to advocate for "scientific" courts, but that is not normally necessary. Application of the scientific method of hypothesis, skeptical analysis, publication, and peer review, do the job. It is precisely the failure of these applications that cause false climate science to exist. Because of the court's position, including the US Supreme Court, they are vulnerable to exploitation. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) used the vulnerability to achieve a political goal. It seems that proof they did it deliberately is in the position they took about global warming. In the EPA machinations to establish regulatory and bureaucratic control over CO2 they had to argue that global warming was unproven.

Here is the orchestrated scenario, based on a form of argument proposed by White House Science Advisor John Holdren, in the book EcoScience, Population, Resources, Environment. Writing about action on the false claim of overpopulation he said,

Indeed, it has been concluded that compulsory population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger the society.

He says, "it has been concluded", but who reached the conclusion? He did. Who decides when the crisis is "sufficiently severe"? He does. Not only do you build the straw man, but you also control the fire.

It is possible the EPA arranged for Massachusetts and a few other states to file a petition against them for failing to regulate CO2 as a harmful substance. Of course, it was the EPA who determined it was a harmful substance. The EPA rejected the responsibility, and that led to a series of legal actions. The EPA wanted the case to end up before the US Supreme Court. Here are the Facts of the Case. (You can listen to the oral arguments at the web site).

Massachusetts and several other states petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), asking EPA to regulate emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that contribute to global warming from new motor vehicles. Massachusetts argued that EPA was required to regulate these "greenhouse gases" by the Clean Air Act – which states that Congress must regulate "any air pollutant" that can "reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare."

EPA denied the petition, claiming that the Clean Air Act does not authorize the Agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Even if it did, EPA argued, the Agency had discretion to defer a decision until more research could be done on "the causes, extent and significance of climate change and the potential options for addressing it." Massachusetts appealed the denial of the petition to the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and a divided panel ruled in favor of EPA.

The EPA argued the Clean Air Act does not authorize them to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. It is here they had to argue that the information is insufficient about global warming to reach a conclusion and requires more research. They said they had the authority not to act.

…the Agency had discretion to defer a decision until more research could be done on "the causes, extent and significance of climate change and the potential options for addressing it."

This contradicts the certainties of the IPCC. Their Summary For Policymakers (SPM) written specifically for agencies like the EPA, states.

Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions have increased since the pre-industrial era, driven largely by economic and population growth, and are now higher than ever. This has led to atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide that are unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years. Their effects, together with those of other anthropogenic drivers, have been detected throughout the climate system and are extremely likely to have been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.

IPCC defines Extremely Likely as 95-100%. It appears either the EPA believes their statement to the Court is true or the IPCC is wrong, or they misled the Court.

Analysis of the Supreme Court conclusion provides some evidence.


By a 5-4 vote the Court reversed the D.C. Circuit and ruled in favor of Massachusetts. The opinion by Justice John Paul Stevens held that Massachusetts, due to its "stake in protecting its quasi-sovereign interests" as a state, had standing to sue the EPA over potential damage caused to its territory by global warming.

This argument uses the IPCC bias that warming is only a cost – there are no benefits. It was the argument Patrick Michaels made well recently before the Committee of Natural Resources.

The Court rejected the EPA's argument that the Clean Air Act was not meant to refer to carbon emissions in the section giving the EPA authority to regulate "air pollution agent[s]". The Act's definition of air pollutant was written with "sweeping," "capacious" language so that it would not become obsolete.

This outcome is precisely what the EPA wanted. They acted to lose and thus have the power of the US Supreme Court to justify their action.

Finally, the majority ruled that the EPA was unjustified in delaying its decision on the basis of prudential and policy considerations. The Court held that if the EPA wishes to continue its inaction on carbon regulation, it is required by the Act to base the decision on a consideration of "whether greenhouse gas emissions contribute to climate change."

Now the Court provided the second leg the EPA sought. They must act because CO2 is both a pollutant and is causing climate change.

The dissenting opinions are revealing.

Chief Justice Roberts's dissenting opinion argued that Massachusetts should not have had standing to sue, because the potential injuries from global warming were not concrete or particularized (individual and personal).


Justice Roberts apparently knows enough about global warming to realize the impact on Massachusetts is not easy to determine and speculative.

Justice Scalia's dissent argued that the Clean Air Act was intended to combat conventional lower-atmosphere pollutants and not global climate change.


Justice Scalia correctly identified the difference between pollution and climate change. This indicates he knows CO2 is not a pollutant.

It was not difficult for the EPA to mislead the Justices because they avoid sciences cases. Also, the Justices were hampered because the public didn't know that the case was primarily a decision of Administrative Law.

Federal administrative law primarily concerns the powers and procedures of Federal administering agencies in relation to the public (but usually not in criminal matters).

Consider these comments by the Justices in their conclusion. They manifest the confusion exploited by the EPA.

Although we have neither the expertise nor the authority to evaluate these policy judgments, it is evidence that they have nothing whatever to do with whether greenhouse gas emissions contribute to climate change.


Despite that the Justices wrote,

On the merits of contrary to EPA's position, we hold that the Clean Air Act's sweeping definition of air pollutant unambiguously covers greenhouse gases.

It doesn't matter how "sweeping" the definition, no greenhouse gas is a pollutant. Then the Justices apply Administrative Law.


We need not and do not reach the question whether on remand, EPA must make an endangerment finding, or whether policy concerns can inform EPA's actions in the event that it make such a finding.

We hold only that EPA must ground its reasons for action or inaction in the statute.


So there it is. In future court cases and in the public forum we can cite the EPA argument to delay any action,

until more research could be done on "the causes, extent and significance of climate change and the potential options for addressing it."

The courts are correct not to involve themselves in scientific disputes when it is a legitimate scientific issue. The difference, as I pointed out to the lawyer, is that in climate science, it is "our paper" against "their paper", but "their paper" is created with falsified, corrupted and manipulated data. The case becomes one of illegalities, not science, and that is in the jurisdiction of the court and easy for anyone to understand and judge.

Ready for Oligarchy

The choice is clear. There is none.

Virginia and Florida have both been overrun with immigrants, virtually guaranteeing the next president will be a Democrat.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Rodham at the Lemonade Stand

Do you have a permit? Do you pay them $15/hour? How about workman's comp?

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Technology today

"All this technology today is making us antisocial." Photo source (1946, NYC):

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Obama's Minimum Wage Utopia Just Hit A Brick Wall

You should join Caitlin Jenner, become a single mom, and reap the federal benefits...

Obama's Minimum Wage Utopia Just Hit A Brick Wall

Jul 22, 2015

Who could have possibly seen this coming? Almost three years we first detailed how America has become an entitlement nation where "work is punished." It appears President Obama is about to discover this first hand as his populist 'raise the minimum wage' strategy is showing yet another major unintended consequence. On the same day as New York acts to mandate a $15 minimum wage for fast food workers, Seattle's $15 minimum wage law - which is supposed to lift workers out of poverty and off public assistance - has hit a snag. As Fox News reports, evidence is surfacing that some workers are asking their bosses for fewer hours as their wages rise – in a bid to keep overall income down so they don't lose public subsidies for things like food, child care and rent. So not only is work 'punished' it is now 'disinentivized by mandate' as part-time America toils amid ever-rising costs of living.


As we previously explained,

This isthe painful reality in America: for increasingly more it is now more lucrative - in the form of actual disposable income - to sit, do nothing, and collect various welfare entitlements, than to work.


This is graphically, and very painfully confirmed, in the below chart from Gary Alexander, Secretary of Public Welfare, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (a state best known for its broke capital Harrisburg). As quantitied, and explained by Alexander, "the single mom is better off earnings gross income of $29,000 with $57,327 in net income & benefits than to earn gross income of $69,000 with net income and benefits of $57,045."



We realize that this is a painful topic in a country in which the issue of welfare benefits, and cutting (or not) the spending side of the fiscal cliff, have become the two most sensitive social topics. Alas, none of that changes the matrix of incentives for most Americans who find themselves in a comparable situation: either being on the left side of minimum US wage, and relying on benefits, or move to the right side at far greater personal investment of work, and energy, and... have the same disposable income at the end of the day.

And so, as Fox News reports, it is no surprise that the sudden gains in income from a government-mandated $15 minimum wage would tip some over the edge of their handouts entitlement... and thus dicincentize work altogether...

Seattle's $15 minimum wage law is supposed to lift workers out of poverty and move them off public assistance. But there may be a hitch in the plan.


Evidence is surfacing that some workers are asking their bosses for fewer hours as their wages rise – in a bid to keep overall income down so they don't lose public subsidies for things like food, child care and rent.


Full Life Care, a home nursing nonprofit, told KIRO-TV in Seattle that several workers want to work less.


"If they cut down their hours to stay on those subsidies because the $15 per hour minimum wage didn't actually help get them out of poverty, all you've done is put a burden on the business and given false hope to a lot of people," said Jason Rantz, host of the Jason Rantz show on 97.3 KIRO-FM.


The twist is just one apparent side effect of the controversial -- yet trendsetting -- minimum wage law in Seattle, which is being copied in several other cities despite concerns over prices rising and businesses struggling to keep up.


The notion that employees are intentionally working less to preserve their welfare has been a hot topic on talk radio. While the claims are difficult to track, state stats indeed suggest few are moving off welfare programs under the new wage.


Despite a booming economy throughout western Washington, the state's welfare caseload has dropped very little since the higher wage phase began in Seattle in April. In March 130,851 people were enrolled in the Basic Food program. In April, the caseload dropped to 130,376.


At the same time, prices appear to be going up on just about everything.


Some restaurants have tacked on a 15 percent surcharge to cover the higher wages. And some managers are no longer encouraging customers to tip, leading to a redistribution of income. Workers in the back of the kitchen, such as dishwashers and cooks, are getting paid more, but servers who rely on tips are seeing a pay cut.


Some long-time Seattle restaurants have closed altogether, though none of the owners publicly blamed the minimum wage law.


"It's what happens when the government imposes a restriction on the labor market that normally wouldn't be there, and marginal businesses get hit the hardest, and usually those are small, neighborhood businesses," said Paul Guppy, of the Washington Policy Center.

*  *  *

As we previously concluded, with more than half of welfare spending going to working families...

The irony here seems to be that because companies would rather spend their money on raises for "supervisors" and on stock buybacks which benefit the very same supervisory employees who are likey to own stocks (and which artificially inflate the bottom line), everyday taxpayers just like the ones who can't get a raise end up footing the bill via public assistance programs. The companies meanwhile, get to utilize nice little tricks like corporate tax inversions in order to avoid paying their share of the assistance handed out to the very same employees they underpay.

Obama's Minimum Wage Utopia Just Hit A Brick Wall

Who could have possibly seen this coming? Almost three years we first detailed how America has become an entitlement nation ... read more

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

More Chidren Live In Poverty Now Than During Crisis

As USA Today reports,

About 22% of children in the U.S. lived below the poverty line in 2013, compared with 18% in 2008, the foundation's 2015 Kids Count Data Book reported. In 2013, the U.S. Department of Human and Health Service's official poverty line was $23,624 for a family with two adults and two children.

For all the back-patting exuberance over manipulated record high stock prices and record periods of illusory job gains, it appears the administration and its Obamanomics forgot one important thing - the children! As USA Today reports, a higher percentage of children live in poverty now than did during the Great Recession, according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation released Tuesday.

"Where you grew up is similar to where you end up when you're an adult," Bloome said. "That helps perpetuate racial segregation."

Obamanomics? More Chidren Live In Poverty Now Than During Crisis
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Monday, July 20, 2015

Re: That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind

I was there! And I had my camera.

On Mon, Jul 20, 2015 at 11:07 AM, <dude> wrote:
I watched it on tv!

On Mon, Jul 20, 2015 at 10:17 AM, <I> wrote:

46 years ago today!

Iowa poll: Scott Walker cracks 20 percent, leads nearest contender by almost 10 points

Iowa poll: Scott Walker cracks 20 percent, leads nearest contender by almost 10 points

That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind

46 years ago today!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Hillary Clinton Made More than Bernie Sanders’ Net Worth in One Speech


Hillary Clinton Made More than Bernie Sanders' Net Worth in One Speech


Hillary Clinton is trying to make history by becoming one of the oldest and richest Americans to be elected president in the modern era. Bernie Sanders, despite being embarrassingly poor by comparison, is also running for the Democratic nomination.

How rich is Hillary Clinton? Well, in addition to earning (along with Bill) more than $30 million since 2014, Hillary earned more than Sanders' entire net worth in one speech sponsored by telecom giant Qualcomm.

Sanders reported a net worth of $330,507 in 2013. In October of 2014, Hillary earned $335,000 to speak at a Qualcomm event in San Diego. The tech company, which has donated generously to the Clinton Foundation, has also lobbied the federal government to approve the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. Sanders is firmly opposed to the agreement; so are labor unions and liberal heartthrob Elizabeth Warren. Hillary, meanwhile, has repeatedly failed to take a position, despite having praised the agreement on numerous occasion during her time as secretary of state.

Several months after the Qualcomm speech, Clinton was paid $150,000 to address the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, an institution that has been the subject of multiple U.S. investigations, and has been accused of helping Enron commit fraud by misleading investors. Clinton's total haul for those two speeches alone ($485,000) is greater than Marco Rubio's reported net worth ($443,509 in 2013).



0bama-lain secures peace for our time. #Iran

Chamberlain-esq, haha

jon gabriel (@exjon) tweeted at 2:41 AM on Tue, Jul 14, 2015:
Obama secures peace for our time. #Iran

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Bernie Sanders: Real Unemployment Rate is 10.5%

Bernie 2016!  He's right you know.

Bernie Sanders: Real Unemployment Rate is 10.5%

Sanders says rate ignores those who have dropped out of the labor force
Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders / AP

July 8, 2015 3:14 pm

Presidential candidate and self-identified socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) expressed his concern over Americans who have dropped out of the labor force, saying "real unemployment is 10.5 percent," at a presidential campaign rally in Portland, Maine, the Daily Caller reported.

"When you talk about the economy, we also have to have an honest assessment of unemployment in America," said the senator. "Once a month the government publishes a set of figures, and the last figures they published said that official unemployment was 5.4 percent."

"But there is another set of government statistics and that says that real unemployment, if you include those people who have given up looking for work and the millions of others who are working part-time 20, 25 hours a week when they want to work full-time, if you add all of that together, real unemployment is 10.5 percent," said Sanders.

Sanders also focused his remarks on youth unemployment, citing unemployment rates for 17 to 20 year olds.

"But let me tell you something that is even more frightening and is an issue that we don't talk about at all," he said. "That is the tragedy in this country of youth unemployment."

"And I don't care if no one else talks about this issue, we will talk about this issue and here's why," Sanders continued. "For young people, who have graduated high school or dropped out of high school who are between the ages of 17 and 20 if they happen to be white, unemployment rate is 33 percent. If they are Hispanic—unemployment rate is 36 percent. If they are African-American—real unemployment rate for young people is 51 percent."

"In other words what we are doing is turning our backs on an entire generation of young people who want to get a job, they want to earn some income, they want get out of their homes—they want to become independent and we are not allowing them to do that," he said.

The Obama administration often touts the nation's official unemployment rate, which measures the percentage of those in the labor force that does not have a job but has actively looked for one in the past four weeks.

On July 2, 2015, when the latest unemployment numbers were released from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), President Obama praised the economy in his remarks to the University of Wisconsin.

"Now, this morning, we learned that our businesses created another 223,000 jobs this month," said Obama. "And the unemployment rate is now down to 5.3 percent. Keep in mind, when I came into office it was hovering around 10 percent. All told, we've now seen 64 straight months of private sector job growth, which is a new record."

Many, like Sanders, disagree that the unemployment rate tells the whole story, as the measure doesn't account for those who have dropped out of the labor force.

Gallup CEO Jim Clifton has called the unemployment rate a "lie" and said it is misleading.

"There's no other way to say this," said Clifton. "The official unemployment rate, which cruelly overlooks the suffering of the long-term and often permanently unemployed as well as the depressingly underemployed amounts to a big lie."

Watch the cyber war in realtime...

Is This What The First World Cyber War Looks Like: Global Real Time Cyber Attack Map

Tyler Durden's picture
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 07/08/2015 12:42 -0400

After a series of cyber failures involving first UAL, then this website, then the NYSE which is still halted, then the WSJ, some have suggested that this could be a concerted cyber attack (perhaps by retaliatory China unhappy its stocks are plunging) focusing on the US. So we decided to look at a real-time cyber attack map courtesy of Norsecorp which provides real time visibility into global cyber attacks.

What clearly stands out is that for some reason Chinese DDOS attacks/hackers seem to be focusing on St. Louis this morning.

Whether this is related to the series of suspicious cyber failures today, is so far unclear, although if there is a connection at least there is a way to keep track of the first global cyberwar in real-time.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Athens on the Potomac | Ricochet

Link below for the whole article. ..

It's an imperfect analogy, but imagine the green is your salary, the yellow is the amount you're spending over your salary, and the red is your MasterCard statement.

The chart is brutally bipartisan. Debt increased under Republican presidents and Democrat presidents. It increased under Democrat congresses and Republican congresses. In war and in peace, in boom times and in busts, after tax hikes and tax cuts, the Potomac flowed ever deeper with red ink.

Our leaders like to talk about sustainability. Forget sustainable — how is this sane?

Yet when a conservative hesitates before increasing spending, he's portrayed as a madman. When a Republican offers a thoughtful plan to reduce the debt over decades, he's pushing grannies into the Grand Canyon and pantsing park rangers on the way out. While the press occasionally griped about spending under Bush, they implore Obama to spend even more.

When I posted the earlier version of this chart, the online reaction was intense. A few on the right thought I was too tough on the GOP while those on the left claimed it didn't matter or it's all a big lie. Others told me that I should have weighted for this variable or added lines for that trend. They are free to create their own charts to better fit their narrative and I'm sure they will. But the numbers shown above can't be spun by either side.

All of the figures come from the U.S. Treasury and math doesn't care about fairness or good intentions. Spending vastly more than you have, decade after decade, is foolish when done by a Republican or a Democrat. Two plus two doesn't equal 33.2317 after you factor in a secret "Social Justice" multiplier.

If our current president accumulates debt at the rate of his first six-plus years, the national debt will be nearly $20 trillion by the time leaves office. That is almost double what it was when he was first inaugurated.

Like many Americans, I haven't had the privilege of visiting Greece. Unfortunately, Greece will be visiting us unless we change things and fast.

Athens on the Potomac | Ricochet

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Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Hillary Clinton Lives the High Life While Unpaid Staffers Struggle to Survive

It's good to be rich! She and Bill have 4 mansions worth a combined $40 million, and way more that Mitt Romney in combined assets.

Meanwhile Marco Rubio has maybe twice what I have in assets, hardly rich - assuridly middle class

Who's out of touch?

Hillary Clinton Lives the High Life While Unpaid Staffers Struggle to Survive
BY: Andrew Stiles

The Hillary Clinton campaign likes to brag about its frugal ways, but this austere philosophy is not applied consistently. Campaign manager John Podesta may take the bus every now and then, but the Clinton campaign is more than happy to pick up the rent tab for Hillary's personal office in Manhattan and to shell out for a private jet to make sure Hillary doesn't have to interact with any commoners before giving a speech on social inequality.

Meanwhile, the campaign has developed a fondness for unpaid interns, and is increasingly hesitant to pay even experienced employees who have previously held paid positions on Democratic campaigns. Some have dared to speak out, demanding to be paid, to be saved from squalor. The campaign's refusal to value its employees is causing problems for the flock of young staffers who are trying to find living quarters near the campaign headquarters in Brooklyn, where rent prices are so high that even their wealthy parents are reluctant to foot the bill. The New York Times reports [emphasis added]:

For decades, idealistic twenty-somethings have shunned higher-paying and more permanent jobs for the altruism and adrenaline rush of working to get a candidate to the White House. But the staffers who have signed up for the Clinton campaign face a daunting obstacle: the New York City real estate market…

The wealthy donors who contribute to Mrs. Clinton's campaign have proved more comfortable cutting a check than opening their TriBeCa lofts and Upper East Side townhouses to strangers. And Mrs. Clinton's campaign prides itself on living on the cheap and keeping salaries low, which is good for its own bottom line, but difficult for those who need to pay New York City rents.

The lack of affordable housing has put an added burden on the Clinton campaign to play a Craigslist-like role in finding staffers a place to sleep, whether it's pairing them with roommates or pleading with supporters for a spare room.

The tidbit about the donors stands out, because it's so unlike elite liberals to prefer "helping the cause" in ways that confer social status as Right Thinking People (e.g., writing a check) without the personal inconvenience (e.g., hosting an intern). Some of them apparently declined out of concern that letting campaign staffers stay in their luxury Manhattan residences would violate campaign finance laws. (It wouldn't.) Others have been more generous, sort of [emphasis added]:

Scott Murphy, a former congressman representing the area outside Albany, hosted Josh Schwerin, 29, a press aide on the campaign who previously worked for Mr. Murphy, in his Upper West Side co-op before the campaign started.

Mr. Schwerin got what used to serve as a maid's room. "You could touch both walls if you were on the air mattress, and the bathroom was through the kitchen, so he didn't have a lot of privacy," Mr. Murphy said. "But," he added, "it was in line with what he paid for it." (Which was, of course, nothing.) 

Per the Times, the unpaid staffers who are fortunate enough to find their own housing end up shelling out $1,700 a month for a room with no windows. The campaign has turned to the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce for guidance on housing opportunities, the most affordable of which happen to be in less fashionable neighborhoods. Alas, the chamber "has not made much progress in convincing staffers to consider these less gentrified neighborhoods."

Suffering such indignities might make sense for these youngsters if they were working (unpaid) for a principled liberal candidate such as Bernie Sanders, who actually agrees with President Obama's admonition that "at a certain point, you've made enough money." But they're not.

©2015 All Rights Reserved

Hillary Clinton Lives the High Life While Unpaid Staffers Struggle to Survive | Washington Free Beacon

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Friday, June 26, 2015



At least one American Senator is willing to speak truth to power.

Republican presidential contender Ted Cruz attacked Chief Justice John Roberts and other members of the Supreme Court in unusually harsh terms Thursday, referring to them as "rogue justices" and "robed Houdinis" after a 6-3 decision to uphold President Barack Obama's health care law.

Cruz, a Texas senator, did not mention any current high court members by name in remarks on the Senate floor. But his speech included a thinly veiled reference to Roberts, part of the court majority that upheld tax credits that defray the cost of coverage for lower-income individuals nationwide.

"These justices are not behaving as umpires calling balls and strikes. They have joined a team," the Texas lawmaker said.

At his Senate confirmation hearing a decade ago, Roberts said, "I will remember that it's my job to call balls and strikes and not to pitch or bat."

Cruz also said the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist — whom Roberts succeeded — "would be filled with sorrow at what has become of the Supreme Court of the United States."

...He said the decision was "judicial activism, plain and simple," and said the court spoke for "nakedly political reasons ... They are lawless, and they hide their prevarication in legalese."

While Cruz did not explain his reference to "robed Houdinis," Harry Houdini was an early 20th-century magician who specialized in escaping from jails, straitjackets, coffins and other seemingly inescapable surroundings...

During its original framing, the Constitution was intended to represent a straitjacket on the federal government.

The bounds have been slipped. The American Republic is no more.


... read more

Thursday, June 25, 2015

#SCOTUScare is scary -- glad 0bamacare is gone though

A guy walks into the doctor's office, says: Doc, I've got this terrible pain, it's eating away my wallet, the doctor says: yeah, I know, mine too, it's a condition called #SCOTUScare, pretty scary, huh?

The most amusing part of the SCOTUS decision is Justice Scalia's dissenting opinion. Here are some of the highlights:

* * * Worst of all for the repute of today's decision, the Court's reasoning is largely self-defeating. The Court predicts that making tax credits unavailable in States that do not set up their own Exchanges would cause disastrous economic consequences there. If that is so, however, wouldn't one expect States to react by setting up their own Exchanges? And wouldn't that outcome satisfy two of the Act's goals rather than just one: enabling the Act's reforms to work and promoting state involvement in the Act's implementation? The Court protests that the very existence of a federal fallback shows that Congress expected that some States might fail to set up their own Exchanges. So it does. It does not show, however, that Congress expected the number of recalcitrant States to be particularly large.

* * * Faced with overwhelming confirmation that "Exchange established by the State" means what it looks like it means, the Court comes up with argument after feeble argument to support its contrary interpretation. None of its tries comes close to establishing the implausible conclusion that Congress used "by the State" to mean "by the State or not by the State."

* * * Today's opinion changes the usual rules of statutory interpretation for the sake of the Affordable Care Act.That, alas, is not a novelty. In National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, 567 U. S. ___, this Court revised major components of the statute in order to save them from unconstitutionality. The Act that Congresspassed provides that every individual "shall" maintain insurance or else pay a "penalty." This Court, however, saw that the Commerce Clause does not authorize a federal mandate to buy health insurance. So it rewrote the mandate-cum-penalty as a tax. The Act that Congress passed also requires every State to losing all Medicaid funding. This Court, however, saw that the  Spending Clause does not authorize this coercive condition. So it rewrote the law to withhold only the incremental funds associated with the Medicaid expansion. Having transformed twomajor parts of the law, the Court today has turned its attention to a third. The Act that Congress passed makes tax credits available only on an "Exchange established bythe State." This Court, however, concludes that this limitation would prevent the rest of the Act from working as well as hoped. So it rewrites the law to make tax credits available everywhere. We should start calling this law SCOTUScare.

* * * Perhaps the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will attain the enduring status of the Social Security Act or the Taft-Hartley Act; perhaps not. But this Court's two decisions on the Act will surely be remembered through the years. The somersaults of statutory interpretation they have performed ("penalty" means tax, "further [Medicaid] payments to the State" means only incremental Medicaid payments to the State, "established by the State"means not established by the State) will be cited by litigants endlessly, to the confusion of honest jurisprudence. And the cases will publish forever the discouraging truth that the Supreme Court of the United States favors some laws over others, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to uphold and assist its favorites.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Abbott & Costello Explain The Unemployment Situation

Sometimes you just have to laugh!!

h/t Feral Irishman via Jim Quinn's Burning Platform blog,

COSTELLO:  I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America  .
ABBOTT: Good Subject.  Terrible Times.  It's 5.6%.
COSTELLO:  That many people are out of work?
ABBOTT: No, that's 23%.  
COSTELLO: You just said 5.6%.
ABBOTT:  5.6% Unemployed.
COSTELLO:  Right 5.6% out of work. 
ABBOTT: No, that's 23%.
COSTELLO: Okay, so it's  23% unemployed.
ABBOTT: No, that's 5.6%. 
COSTELLOWAIT A MINUTE. Is it 5.6% or 23%? 
ABBOTT: 5.6% are unemployed.  23% are out of work. 
COSTELLO: If you are out of work you are unemployed. 
ABBOTTNo, Congress said you can't count the "Out of Work" as the unemployed.  You have to look for work to be unemployed.
ABBOTT: No, you miss his point.
COSTELLO:  What point?
ABBOTTSomeone who doesn't look for work can't be counted with those who look for work. It wouldn't be fair. 
COSTELLO: To whom?
ABBOTT: The unemployed.  
COSTELLO: But ALL of them are out of work.  
ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work. Those who are out of work gave up looking and if you give up, you are no longer in the ranks of the unemployed. 
COSTELLO: So if you're off the unemployment roles that would count as less unemployment?
ABBOTT: Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!
COSTELLO: The unemployment just goes down because you don't look for work?
ABBOTT: Absolutely it goes  down. That's how it gets to 5.6%. Otherwise it would be 23%.

COSTELLO: Wait, I got a question for you. That means there are two ways to bring down the unemployment number?  
ABBOTT: Two ways is correct.
COSTELLO: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?
ABBOTT: Correct.
COSTELLO: And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?
ABBOTT: Bingo.  
COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier of the two is to have people stop looking for work.
ABBOTT: Now you're thinking like an Economist. 
COSTELLO:  I don't even know what the hell I just said!  
ABBOTT: Now you're thinking like a Politician.

Now it’s serious: No more “Dukes of Hazzard” toys with the Confederate flag on the General Lee [feedly]


"Bo." "Yeah, Luke?" "Y'ever wonder why we don't have any black friends?" This is "progress," I suppose, but not until the Duke boys are finally caught will we truly be able to declare victory over the Confederacy. One of the most iconic pop-cultural images of the Confederate flag — atop the famous "General Lee" car […]

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Corporations Win Again: Senate Passes Obamatrade Fast-Track Bill

Corporations Win Again: Senate Passes Obamatrade Fast-Track Bill

Fast-track authority is being sought in the Senate this week for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), along with the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) and any other such trade agreements coming down the pike in the next six years. The terms of the TPP and the TiSA are so secret that drafts of the negotiations are to remain classified for four years or five years, respectively, after the deals have been passed into law. How can laws be enforced against people and governments who are not allowed to know what was negotiated?

The TPP, TiSA and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (or TTIP, which covers Europe) will collectively encompass three-fourths of the world's GDP; and they ultimately seek to encompass nearly 90 percent of GDP. Despite this enormous global impact, fast-track authority would allow the President to sign the deals before their terms have been made public, and send implementing legislation to Congress that cannot be amended or filibustered and is not subject to the constitutional requirement of a two-thirds treaty vote.

While the deals are being negotiated, lawmakers can see their terms only under the strictest secrecy, and they can be subjected to criminal prosecution for revealing those terms. What we know of them comes only through WikiLeaks. The agreements are being treated as if they were a matter of grave national security, yet they are not about troop movements or military strategy. Something else is obviously going on.

The bizarre, unconstitutional, blatantly illegal nature of this enforced secrecy was highlighted in a May 15th article by Jon Rappoport, titled "What Law Says the Text of the TPP Must Remain Secret?" He wrote:

It seems like a case of mass hypnosis. . . .


Members of Congress are scuttling around like weasels, claiming they can't disclose what's in this far-reaching, 12-nation trade treaty.


They can go into a sealed room and read a draft, but they can't copy pages, and they can't tell the public what they just read.


Why not?


If there is a US law forbidding disclosure, name the law.


Can you recall anything in the Constitution that establishes secret treaties?


Is there a prior treaty that states the text of all treaties can be hidden from the people?

To Congressmen who say they cannot reveal what is in a treaty that will adversely affect the lives of hundreds of millions of people, Rappoport says:

Wrong. You're lying. You can reveal secret text. In fact, it's your duty. Otherwise, you're guilty of cooperating in a RICO criminal conspiracy.

A Corporate Coup d'État

What is going on was predicted by David Korten in his 1995 blockbuster, When Corporations Rule The World. Catherine Austin Fitts calls it a "corporate coup d'état."

This corporate coup includes the privatization and offshoring of the judicial function delegated to the US court system in the Constitution, through Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions that strengthen existing ISDS  procedures.

As explained in The Economist, ISDS gives foreign firms a special right to apply to a secretive tribunal of highly paid corporate lawyers for compensation whenever the government passes a law to do things that hurt corporate profits — such things as discouraging smoking, protecting the environment or preventing a nuclear catastrophe. Arbitrators are paid $600-700 an hour, giving them little incentive to dismiss cases. The secretive nature of the arbitration process and the lack of any requirement to consider precedent give wide scope for creative judgments – the sort of arbitrary edicts satirized by Lewis Carroll in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

To date, the highest ISDS award has been for $2.3 billion to Occidental Oil Company against the government of Ecuador over its termination of an oil-concession contract, although the termination was apparently legal. Under the TPP, however, even larger and more unpredictable judgments can be anticipated, since the sort of "investment" it protects includes not just "the commitment of capital or other resources" but "the expectation of gain or profit." That means the rights of corporations extend not merely to their factories and other "capital" but to the profits they expect to receive. Just the threat of a massive damage award for impairing "expected corporate profits" could be enough to discourage prospective legislation by lawmakers.

The Trade in Services Agreement adds additional barriers to proposed legislation.  TiSA involves 51 countries, including every advanced economy except the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). The deal would liberalize global trade in services covering close to 80% of the US economy, including financial services, healthcare, education, engineering, telecommunications, and many more. It would restrict how governments can manage their public laws, and it could dismantle and privatize state-owned enterprises, turning those services over to the private sector. It would also block the emerging trend to return privatized services to the public sector, by limiting or prohibiting governments from creating or reestablishing public utilities and other "uncompetitive" forms of service delivery.

It seems that the TPP, TTIP and TiSA are not about the sort of "free trade" that would free local businesses to sell abroad. They are about freeing international corporations from the government regulation necessary to protect the economy, the people, and the environment. They are about preserving privatized monopolies and preventing competition from the public sector. And they are about moving litigation offshore into private arbitrary tribunals – the sort of tribunal that might have lost Alice her head, if she had not awakened from her bizarre dream.

Monday, June 22, 2015

AP photographer pretending a gun’s pointed at Ted Cruz’s head

What if the AP or Fox News did this kind of positioning with 0bama?
Can you imagine the outrage from the left - cries of RACISM.
This proves the Mainstream Media bias!

"The images were not intended to portray Sen. Cruz in a negative light." - yeah right.

This is bias — a similar shot involving Hillary Clinton or, god forbid, Barack Obama is unthinkable — but I wonder which strain of bias it is. .@AP photo lines pistol up with Senator, 2016 candidate @tedcruz's brain

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Great economics lesson!

 Hurricanomics: Keynesian Stimulus Or Captain Facepalm
by Jared "The 10th Man" Dillian via Mauldin Economics,

An old friend from the Coast Guard visited me over the weekend. He is retired and now works as an emergency planner.

If there's one thing government folks do, it is plan. But many times I've seen plans go out the window when emergency strikes and people start to improvise. Or maybe the planned-for emergency never materializes. Maybe you get a different emergency you didn't plan for. The anarchist in me says that plans are useless. But I agree that it's good to think about these things ahead of time.

So my friend and I got to talking about hurricanes, which is a specialty of his. He told me that no hurricane has ever scored a direct hit on my piece of the South Carolina coast (I live just a few yards away from the beach). Hurricanes have hit north of me and south of me, but in the recorded history of hurricanes, none have ever hit here, at least, not a direct hit by one of the big ones.

I'm not sure if that makes me feel good or not. If my house did sustain a direct hit, smell you later.

But it got me thinking about when I was working at Lehman Brothers in 2004, when Hurricane Katrina hit. Were you active in the markets back then? If so, you probably remember that stocks ripped to the upside, particularly energy and construction companies that would have to repair all the damage. Of course, the insurance stocks got killed.

I was 30 years old back then and not really steeped in economic thought. None of us were. We were traders, not philosophers. But we were all sitting around wondering why the stock market was ripping when the hurricane was clearly going to wipe out a huge city. Made no sense.

My answer was that the winners from Katrina were probably publicly traded, while the losers weren't.

But does anybody win from a hurricane in the first place?

The Parable of the Broken Window

You may have heard of the "Broken Window Fallacy," where a boy throws a rock through a storefront window, breaking it. The shopkeeper must hire the glazier to come fix the window. He pays him 50 bucks, thereby stimulating business in town.

Everyone sees this and says, "Gee whiz, a kid breaks a window and suddenly there's 50 bucks in circulation. Hey kid, why don't you run around town and break the rest of the windows?"

If this sounds familiar, it's because you've heard it before—from an economist named Frédéric Bastiat.

Bastiat basically comes up with the ideas of opportunity cost and unintended consequences simultaneously, when he observes that if the shopkeeper did not spend 50 bucks to fix his window, he might have spent it on something else more productive. What, we don't know. But we can assume that he knows best how to spend the 50 bucks, at least better than the kid who broke his window.

Bastiat is one of the forefathers of libertarian/Austrian economics, and he often talked about the things that are unseen in finance. A good example is the minimum wage debate, which we talked about briefly in last month's issue of Bull's Eye Investor.

The layman thinks if you raise the price of labor to $15/hour by fiat—yay, people are making $15! But generally what happens is that some people will see their wages drop to $0/hour, because the bossman had $150 to spend on labor to begin with, and he can either hire 20 people at $7.50/hour or 10 people at $15/hour.

If you think the bossman should somehow operate at a loss to accommodate everyone at the higher wage, then we can have a nice discussion on the role of profit in society.

Bastiat is the reason I come to work every day, because there are so many people who have believed, and will always believe, that you can fix the price of something at x just because 51% of the voters said so.

Keynesian Stimulus

One of the great tragedies of the financial crisis was the $780 billion we shelled out for the giant stimulus package. Wow, was that bad, for a lot of reasons.

I remember driving around and getting stuck in construction and seeing these stupid signs everywhere:

So back to Bastiat, why was the stimulus bad? We spent $780 billion basically paving the same roads over and over again. It was one step up from digging holes and filling them back in. And just like in the broken window example, sure, some people got rich off it.

But what would the taxpayers have done with $780 billion, aside from paving roads? Probably some pretty interesting stuff. Possibly they could have thought of better things to do with it than paving roads.  Even if they had saved it, that's $780 billion less the government would have had to borrow, which would have lowered interest rates and increased credit availability for private borrowers.

The counterargument is that if you go back to the 1930s when we did all this Keynesian stimulus (the Hoover Dam, etc.), that it worked in getting us out of the Great Depression. Did it? Maybe it made the depression worse. You can't go back in time and not have the Keynesian stimulus and see what happens.

In US history classes over the years, FDR has generally gotten credit for ending the depression, but more and more scholars are beginning to challenge that idea.

Captain Facepalm

I think these things are pretty obvious. I can't figure out why people have such a difficult time seeing them. I can't figure out why Nobel Prize winners can't see them.

Any economic intervention, no matter how slight, causes unintended consequences. There are things that you cannot see, that the planner cannot anticipate. There are also easy ones. If you cap the price of a good, there will be a shortage. If you put a floor on it, there will be a surplus.

If you make it hard for people to trade swaps, you might reduce liquidity and push people into other, potentially more risky products.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Change in US Civilian Employment since Dec 2007

Bureau of Labor Statistics: 3 times more foreign-born workers added since Dec 2007


Rand Joins Tax Debate With Flat-Rate Proposal

Kentucky senator Rand Paul has introduced a tax reform proposal that promises to "blow up the tax code" and replace it with a flat tax on individual and business income. Here's Paul introducing his proposal in the Wall Street Journal:

Some of my fellow Republican candidates for the presidency have proposed plans to fix the tax system. These proposals are a step in the right direction, but the tax code has grown so corrupt, complicated, intrusive and antigrowth that I've concluded the system isn't fixable.

So on Thursday I am announcing an over $2 trillion tax cut that would repeal the entire IRS tax code—more than 70,000 pages—and replace it with a low, broad-based tax of 14.5% on individuals and businesses. I would eliminate nearly every special-interest loophole. The plan also eliminates the payroll tax on workers and several federal taxes outright, including gift and estate taxes, telephone taxes, and all duties and tariffs. I call this "The Fair and Flat Tax."

In addition to the flat rate on all income, Paul's plan would remove all deductions from the code except those for mortgage interest and charitable donations. "The first $50,000 of income for a family of four would not be taxed," he writes. "For low-income working families, the plan would retain the earned-income tax credit."

Paul says he developed the plan with the helps of Stephen Moore of the Heritage Foundation, flat-tax advocate Steve Forbes, and economist Art Laffer. He also says the Tax Foundation estimated the plan would add 1.4 million jobs and 10 percent to GDP over ten years.

How The GOP Could Win Pennsylvania

How The GOP Could Win Pennsylvania

With nearly a million untapped voters in the redder counties of Pennsylvania, we really don't know what the GOP's ceiling actually looks like.
By Brandon Finnigan

Hello, party leaders, potential candidates, lifelong donors, and long-suffering base voters. It's me, the guy who constantly asks about Pennsylvania. The guy who drives people to muting me on Twitter because I won't stop talking about Pennsylvania. Who is already showing flashcards of Collar Counties to his seven-week-old son.

Recently, I received an email from a follower of the Decision Desk, the gist of which was asking me, yes or no, do I really believe the Keystone State is winnable.

Well, here's my answer: Yes.

Yes, this state, which hasn't gone for a Republican president since H.W. Bush in 1988, is absolutely winnable. But not for the reasons often cited (its eroding partisan voting index, older demographics, etc). In fact, the thing has driven me along in my obsessive quest for the great beast east of Ohio is an article Nate Cohn, now with The New York Times, but then with The New Republic, wrote on the eve of the 2012 election: "Romney has a problem in Pennsylvania: Math." This passage, in particular, has stuck with me for three years:

It's easy to understand why Romney would invest in Pennsylvania. Like Missouri or North Carolina for Democrats, Pennsylvania is what I call a 'spreadsheet state.' When you start plugging in favorable numbers for the traditionally disadvantaged party, it's too easy to get up to 48 percent of the vote, or even more. But those final hundred thousand votes are incredibly difficult and require something extraordinary.
I think I found it. But before we get to that, let's review the problem with Pennsylvania.

Why Republicans Lose Pennsylvania
When the Republican Party last carried the state, it did so on the backs of massive support from suburban Philadelphia. In the City of Brotherly Love, Bush I managed to snag a third of the county vote (219,053 votes, if you are one of those guys who like to quote vote totals to strangers on the street). With 20-plus margins in Montgomery, Chester, Delaware, and Bucks, why in heavens was the state a two-point squeaker?

When the Republican Party last carried the state, it did so on the backs of massive support from suburban Philadelphia.
Because metropolitan Pittsburgh was union blue. Westmoreland County went to Dukakis by 11 points, Washington by almost 25 points, Allegheny by 20, and so on. The margin Dukakis had out of the Western third of the state was greater than the margin he enjoyed in Philly.

It seems almost inconceivable now. President Clinton and candidates Al Gore and John Kerry would go on to secure the western Pennsylvania vote, albeit by smaller margins as the years went on. Even President Obama managed to barely carry the metro area in 2008. He lost it—a first for a Democrat since 1972—to Mitt Romney in 2012. However, he no longer needed it: he had the Collar.

Thanks to a blend of suburban moderate rejection of conservative candidates, wildly successful voter drives by Democrats, and the lack of incentives for county party offices to pump out a presidential-level effort, the four counties mentioned with 20-plus margins in 1988 have trended Democratic for the last 30 years.

Bucks showed some promise in 2012, voting more in Romney's favor than it had for President Bush in 2004, perhaps a reflection of Romney's last-ditch visit there late in the campaign. Chester seemed to be reverting more to its pale-red nature (it went to Romney by around 500 votes) too, but in general, the cerulean hue of southeast Pennsylvania remained in the last election.

Meanwhile, things went from lopsided to laughable in the city of Philadelphia. Remember that vote total of H.W.'s in 1988? Now, cut that in half. The number you are left with is still larger than what Romney managed to eke out of it. President Obama enjoyed a monstrous 492,000-vote edge there. With the terrible trends in the eastern third, surely, it makes sense for Republicans to just throw in the towel here. Put down the harpoon. Go home. Forget about the great white whale.


Things Are Looking Up for the GOP
Republican fortunes brightened notably in the western third of the state, and this has been happening for far longer than President Obama has been on the scene. One of the frequent assumptions I encounter is that the white, blue-collar Democrats that still dominate the region are voting on race now but will pounce on a Clinton. Yet Republicans have made incredible gains, and enjoyed a nice swing in voter registration out there beyond just these last six years.

Local Republican efforts and the presence of third-party groups like Americans for Prosperity has paid off quite well in the west.
This was happening from 1988 through 2004, with Bush improving in 2004 on his 2000 numbers, and his 2000 numbers improving on his father's numbers in 1992. It may have accelerated under the current president, but the trend has been there for some time. As mentioned earlier, President Obama became the first Democrat in decades to lose the Pittsburgh media market outright. The state is no longer "Pittsburgh and Philadelphia with Kentucky in-between," as James Carville once summed it.

Local Republican efforts and the presence of third-party groups like Americans for Prosperity has paid off quite well in the west, and with similar demographics in northeastern Pennsylvania (albeit poorer), there is still room to grow with this particular group. This is hardly enough to carry the state, of course: Pittsburgh is slowly aging, its population declining compared to the sustained growth in the state's eastern third. More would be needed to offset the gamma-ray burst of Democratic votes emanating from Philadelphia.

So, what about independent voters? Well, that's a problem, because Pennsylvania has very few of them. While still writing for The New York Times, Nate Silver showed how a greater preponderance of nonpartisans in a state would make it more likely to swing. It is why Romney, McCain, Bush, and every other presidential contender spends so much focus on places like Iowa and New Hampshire: if they can convince the mushy middle, conventional wisdom says they're halfway home. But I have a counter-argument.

Democrats Have Been Getting Out There
Committed partisans are the most reliable participants in elections, and often vote more than 90 percent of the time with their stated party. Independents, on the other hand, are mostly lying (a huge portion of them are simply disaffected Democrats or Republicans who, when pressed, would likely vote for the party they "left"), and when truly independent, are incredibly unreliable as a bloc from cycle to cycle. If they are the true "pox on both houses" types, and that terribly undecided, they may not even bother to vote. To win a major election, greater emphasis must be placed on finding, registering, contacting, and turning out new voters.

To win a major election, greater emphasis must be placed on finding, registering, contacting, and turning out new voters.
This is exactly what Democrats did throughout the country after 2004, and they certainly gave Pennsylvania a good one-over. From 2000 to 2014, Democratic and third-party efforts tipped the scales of registration even further to the Left, expanding the blue team's edge over Republicans by almost 650,000 voters. President Obama received more votes in 2012 than Sen. John Kerry did eight years prior, even with a drop-off from his 2008 high, a testament to his team's incredible turnout operation.

Despite that sizable shift, the actual impact on elections from 2000 to 2012 was miniscule: the president's margin in the Keystone in 2012 was only about 105,000 votes wider than Gore's had been. How does his performance over Gore's stack up with other states he carried?

In Virginia, the margin swung by over 379,000 from 2000. In Colorado, 283,000. Wisconsin, 218,000. Iowa, 88,000. Nevada, 89,000.

Let's not forget that Romney spent a fraction in Pennsylvania of what he had spent in all of these states. Only Colorado and Virginia would wind up closer for him, by fractions of a point in the former and a point-and-a-half in the latter. The state has been just sitting there, despite its bluing Philly 'burbs, with very little focus by the national party on registering voters and developing an effective GOTV. It is infuriating.

The Secret Is Unregistered Voters
So is there a path to winning the Keystone? As I said before, yes. The secret lies not with the current number of registered voters, where Democrats dwarf Republicans by a cool million, but in the number of citizens of voting age not registered. Finding them and goading them into registering won't be easy, but they aren't a rare breed: per current registration figures provided by the Department of State, and the Census estimate of current voting-age population, there are more than 1.6 million such untapped voters residing here. Heck, some of them may have already registered once before, but it lapsed.

Attesting to the sheer power of that Democratic voter drive that started a decade ago, only 14 percent of them reside in Philadelphia or Allegheny County. A clear majority, 62 percent to 38 percent, of this untapped mass resides in counties that went to Romney. I broke down the numbers and converted it into a simple diagram, where the counties have been re-sized (or outright eliminated if they failed to clear even half a percentage point) according to how big a share of the untapped vote they account for:

We cannot assume these voters are natural Republicans just because they reside in friendlier counties (ex: back to Cohn's 2012 article, Berks County has a sizable Hispanic population now). It als

How The GOP Could Win Pennsylvania

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

What's The Real Unemployment Rate In The US? 25% to 40%

Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

By my reckoning, roughly 60% of the civilian work force is fully employed and 40% are marginally employed or unemployed.

Officially, the unemployment rate in the U.S. is 5.6%, meaning 5.6% of the work force is temporarily out of a job and actively seeking another one. This low number reflects nearly full employment, as 3% to 4% of the work force is typically in the process of quitting/being laid off and finding another job.

Typically, periods of nearly full employment are economically good times, as household income is bolstered and employers have to pay a bit more to hire workers when the labor market is tight.

But these do not feel like good times for most households, despite the low unemployment rate. Earnings are stagnant for 90% of the work force, and employers are only paying a competitive premium for workers in very select fields (programmers adept at Python and mobile user interfaces, etc.)

This creates a cognitive dissonance between the low official unemployment rate and the real economy, which is behaving like an economy with much higher rates of unemployment, i.e. sluggish hiring, stagnant wages, difficulty in finding jobs, and very little pressure on employers to pay more for typical jobs.

Let's start by trying to calculate the work force--the number of people who could get a job if they wanted to. This isn't quite as straightforward as we might imagine, because the two primary agencies that compile these statistics use slightly different categories.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) calculates the civilian noninstitutional population as everyone 16 and older who is not in active-duty military service or in prison. The BLS reckons this to be about 250 million people, out of a total population of about 317 million residents: Household Data (BLS)

The BLS subtracts 93 million people who are not in the labor force, leaving about 157 million people in the civilian work force--roughly half the nation's population.

Of these, 148.8 million have a job of some sort and 8.6 million are unemployed.

The Census Bureau calculates the civilian noninstitutional population as everyone who is not in active-duty military service or in prison. (You can download various data on the U.S. population on this Census Bureau website: Age and Sex Composition in the United States: 2012. I am using Table 1 data.)

The Census Bureau places the civilian noninstitutional population at 308.8 million in 2012. Since roughly 4 million people are born and 2.6 million die in the U.S. each year, we can adjust this upward by roughly 3.5 million to bring it up to date (mid-2015) to 312 million.

About 74 million people are 17 and younger, and 36 million are 68 and older. Given that the full-benefit retirement age for Social Security is pushing 67, I am using 67 as the cut-off for the work force rather than the traditional 65.

This is of course a squishy calculation, as many people retire at 62 and others work beyond the age of 70. But given the strong employment trends of the over-65 cohort, I think it fair and reasonable to include everyone between 18 and 67 in the work force.

Subtracting 110 young people and retirees leaves a civilian work force of around 200 million people. Let's then subtract those who can't work or choose not to work for conventional reasons. There are roughly 8 million people on permanent disability and several million more at any one time on temporary disability, so let's subtract 10 million disabled.

Next, let's subtract stay-at-home parents. Since there are 20 million children under the age of 5, let's reckon 20 million adults will on average choose to leave the work force to care for their children full-time.

Should this number be 40 million? What about home-schooling? Given the possibilities for part-time, home-based and free-lance work, I am reluctant to conclude everyone caring for or schooling their children cannot possibly earn some income. But let's consider adding another 10 million adults who may be caring for their families (seniors as well as children) at home full-time.

While it may seem as if every other hipster in town is a trust funder, i.e. a person who draws upon inherited wealth and doesn't need to work, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data reports less than 2 million people draw substantial incomes from trusts. Since even those with unearned income can still perform work, I include trust funders in the work force.

If we subtract 10 million disabled and 30 million stay-at-home parents, we have a work force of around 160 million--not far from the BLS number of 157 million. If we use a smaller number of full-time stay-at-home parents, then perhaps the work force is closer to 170 million.

The BLS calculates what it calls labor force participation rate--63% of the total civilian noninstitutional population is in the labor force.

The next issue is what we reckon qualifies as a job. In general, the BLS and the Census Bureau count anyone with earned income as employed. The BLS reckons 148.8 million people have jobs, but this includes 23 million people who earn less than $5,000 annually. The Social Security Administration (SSA) states that 155 million people reported taxable income, which includes not just earnings (wages and salaries) but distributions from retirement funds, IRAs, etc. that are taxable. Wage Statistics for 2013.

The question boils down to this: should we count someone who earns $1,000 a year as employed? How about someone who earns $5,000? At what point does an income enable a person to support himself/herself? Should we place those earning incomes far below a living income in the same category as those with full-time jobs/incomes?

This is where I part company from the government agencies' classification of any earned income in any amount as qualifying as a job. If I am a consultant earning less than $5,000 annually, clearly I cannot support myself on this income. If I earn $2,500 annually in part-time free-lancing, this is at best 10% of poverty-level income for a household in a low-cost region; in a high-cost region, it is perhaps 5% of poverty-level income.

The BLS attempts to define a broader definition of under-employment and unemployment in its categoryU-6 Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force: this is 10.8% of the work force.

Depending on how we calculate the work force, and if we count everyone with any earnings as employed, we get an unemployment rate of somewhere between 5.6% and 12.5%. If we use the BLS's metric for including under-employment, this is in the range of 10% to 15%.

Common sense suggests that we calculate employment/unemployment based on earnings, not just any income in any amount. If we reckon that only those with earnings of $15,000 or more annually (roughly speaking, full-time work at minimum wage) are fully employed, then the numbers change dramatically.

The $15,000 annual earnings are also a rough benchmark of self-supporting households: two wage-earners making $15,000 each would have a household income of $30,000--enough to get by in much of the country.

About 50 million people earn less than $15,000 annually. This includes roughly 10 million self-employed and 40 million with part-time jobs or other sources of earned income. This suggests that only 100 million of the 160 million work force are fully employed in the sense of not just having a job but making enough to be self-supporting.

There are many caveats resulting from the way that government social welfare is not included in earnings: thus a household might have two part-time wage-earners making very modest sums monthly who are getting by because they qualify for Section 8 housing, SNAP food stamps, Medicaid healthcare, school lunch programs, and so on. These programs enable the working poor to support a household despite low earnings.

Should we include those depending on social welfare programs as fully employed?

By my reckoning, roughly 60% of the civilian work force is fully employed and 40% are marginally employed (i.e. earning less than $15,000 annually) or unemployed. Since full-time workers even at minimum wage earn close to $15,000 annually, I think it is fair to use that as the cut-off for fully employed. The BLS counts 121 million people asusually work full-time, but given only 100 million workers earn $15,000 or more, this doesn't add up unless we include self-employed people earning very little who are counted as full-time workers.

Based on income, I set the fully employed rate at 60%, and the marginally employed/unemployed rate at 40%. If we accept the BLS's 121 million full-time jobs (which once again, this doesn't make sense given even minimum wage full-time jobs earn $14,500, and 50 million people report earnings of less than $15,000), we still get a marginally employed/unemployed rate of 25%: work force of 160 million, 121 million fully employed.

These numbers align much better with the real economy than the official unemployment rate of 5.6%. It's nonsense to count everyone earning a few hundred or few thousand dollars annually as being employed in the same category as full-time workers or those earning $15,000 or more annually.

What's The Real Unemployment Rate In The US?