about being liberal or conservative anymore y'all. That is a hype offered by the fascist whores who want to confuse the people with lies while they turn this country into an aristocratic police state. Some people will say anything to attain power and money. There is no such thing as the Liberal Media, but the Corporate media is very real.
They're usually not quite as transparently fraudulent as Fix The Debt, but all debt/deficit hawkery
is just a front for cutting taxes on rich people. No this doesn't make any sense, but it sounds
great to the likes of Dancing Dave so they get away with it.
Rich people want to steal the Social Security money. It's really that simple.
Despite being a person schooled in graduate level economics, Duncan Black keeps it real every single
time. Perhaps his knowledge of the insider monkish ritualism gives him confidence to call a turd a
piece of shit.
Of course, I suppose it helps that I also agree with him nearly 100% of the time.
[SOURCE:Clinton Black | Eschaton
blog | 28 November 2012]
Tuesday, 27 November 2012 at 18h 45m 28s
Outlining the Democratic approach to a
From a speech before the Center for American Progress, Senator Dick Durbin from Illinois outlined
his view of the Administrations ideas and intentions:
In addition to rejecting the privatization of Medicare or Social Security and the block
granting of Medicaid – a common tactic to reject the extreme view to provide space for more modest
but still damaging cuts – Durbin took Social Security almost entirely off the table.
Durbin said, regarding spending cuts on anti-poverty social programs, “Let me be clear: Those
cuts will not happen.”
Republicans would have to build the framework on taxes, which includes an increase in the top
marginal rates, before any Democrat will even begin to talk about social insurance programs.
He sought to line up with the Administration’s viewpoint that any changes to Medicare and
Medicaid can happen without cuts to benefits.
He also wanted to exempt infrastructure spending fully from any cuts. In fact, Durbin said that
any long-term deal would have to include short-term stimulus:“We can’t just cut our way out of
this deficit or tax our way out. We have to think our way out. We have to invest and work our way
Durbin also said that any deal would have to include a solution for extending the debt limit
[SOURCE:David Dayen | Firedoglake | 27
I will not offer any opinions at this time. I'm just passing along the information.
Monday, 26 November 2012 at 21h 0m 53s
It's the Low Wages, Stupid
A recent NY Times article by Adam Davidson points out that manufacturers screaming about not being
able to hire enough workers with the requisite skills are really just not willing to pay enough
money to attract the necessary talent.
Eric Isbister, the C.E.O. of GenMet, a metal-fabricating manufacturer outside Milwaukee, told me
that he would hire as many skilled workers as show up at his door. Last year, he received 1,051
applications and found only 25 people who were qualified. He hired all of them, but soon had to fire
15. Part of Isbister’s pickiness, he says, comes from an avoidance of workers with experience in a
“union-type job.” Isbister, after all, doesn’t abide by strict work rules and $30-an-hour salaries.
At GenMet, the starting pay is $10 an hour. Those with an associate degree can make $15, which can
rise to $18 an hour after several years of good performance. From what I understand, a new shift
manager at a nearby McDonald’s can earn around $14 an hour.
The secret behind this skills gap is that it’s not a skills gap at all. I spoke to several other
factory managers who also confessed that they had a hard time recruiting in-demand workers for
$10-an-hour jobs. “It’s hard not to break out laughing,” says Mark Price, a labor economist at the
Keystone Research Center, referring to manufacturers complaining about the shortage of skilled
workers. “If there’s a skill shortage, there has to be rises in wages,” he says. “It’s basic
economics.” After all, according to supply and demand, a shortage of workers with valuable skills
should push wages up. Yet according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of skilled jobs
has fallen and so have their wages.
In a recent study, the Boston Consulting Group noted that, outside a few small cities that rely on
the oil industry, there weren’t many places where manufacturing wages were going up and employers
still couldn’t find enough workers. “Trying to hire high-skilled workers at rock-bottom rates,” the
Boston Group study asserted, “is not a skills gap.” The study’s conclusion, however, was scarier.
Many skilled workers have simply chosen to apply their skills elsewhere rather than work for less,
and few young people choose to invest in training for jobs that pay fast-food wages.
[SOURCE:Adam Davidson | New York
Times | 20 November 2012]
UPDATE: 28 November 2012 ~ ~ ~ ~
This got me thinking, how much is this entrance wage of $10 an hour in an entire year? Or the top
wage of $18 an hour?
Assuming a 40 hours a week (big assumption) and that 50 weeks total wages are paid, minus the
various holidays, this is 2000 times 10 and 2000 times 18. $20000 a year low end and $36,000 a year
high end BEFORE TAXES ARE TAKEN OUT, which is probably close to 70% left -- that's $14,000 and
$25,000 a year after taxes.
1,350 to 2,083 per month. Depending on where you live, rent can start at $600 or $1200. With food
costs a minimum of $10 a day, that's another $300 a month. Assuming you can afford a car, there is
$100 a month insurance and gas that could be more than $100 (especially if you need the car to go to
work 5 days a week). At the low end with $600 rent, that's already over $1000.
This is not a lot of money. Try paying off $50,000 in student loans, especially when the loans have
6% interest. If you own a car, there is always $1000 of expenses extra per year. Tires, Oil
changes, Brakes cost money.
And if you want to raise a family, it's called POVERTY.
How outta touch are these employers? They complain that the country is lacking skills when they are
paying nearly poverty wages, and don't realize that only the lower 30% is applying because the upper
better educated and gets better jobs.
So you see, their paradigm is the real problem.
Monday, 26 November 2012 at 15h 24m 47s
Tom Ricks Rocks
In this Fox News interview with Washington Post journalist Tom Ricks, Tom Ricks says that Fox News
was "operating as a wing of the Republican Party." Then the interview ends.
But hey, at least they let him finish his sentence. Give the network at least that much credit.
Saturday, 24 November 2012 at 15h 5m 24s
The bill to end the cap on Social Security
Senator Begich of Alaska is trying to get a Bill passed that will, among other things, increase the
salary cap on social security taxes. Here's the skinny from Senator Begich's press release
Increases Benefits for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities. Currently, Social Security
benefits are adjusted by the Consumer Price Index for workers. However, costs and spending patterns
for seniors do not mirror those of the workforce. That is why Sen. Begich’s bill calls for adjusting
cost-of-living increases with a Consumer Price Index specifically for the elderly which was created
to more accurately measure the costs of goods and services seniors actually buy.
Lifts the Cap on High-Income Contributions. Current law sets a cap based on income at $113,700
for paying into Social Security. If an individual’s wages hit that total for the year, they no
longer pay into the program. Sen. Begich’s bill lifts the cap and asks higher income earners to pay
Social Security on all their earnings in order to increase the program’s revenue stream and extend
the overall solvency of the program.
Extends Social Security for approximately 75 years through modest revenue increases gradually
implemented over the course of seven years
The fight is on again. Bernie Sanders (one of the greatest Senators in the history of our nation)
has already gotten 29 Senators to sign a pledge to refuse to
make any cuts at all to Social Security. Every single one of them are Democrats. There is not a
single Republican signature, which represents the divide between the two political parties.
Republicans really don't care about Social Security. Either they are naive, or they are part
of the deliberate obfuscation.
Bernie Sanders is a Senator from Vermont, who is registered Independent. He is not a Democrat, nor
a Republican. Go to Bernie Sanders website
often and find out about the issues and Bernie Sanders. Or click here to read an article in Politico on 19 November 2012 where Bernie
Sanders makes his views known and states "We must not balance the budget on [the] poor, [and the]
Let's go through this again. Social security and Medicare are paid for by separate taxes, just look
at your paycheck. These
revenues are completely separated from the general revenues that the government raises through
income, corporate, and excise taxes. Whatever issues Social Security and Medicare might have
should not be commingled with
the issues of the national debt and budgetary deficit. The bonds (treasury bills) that are sold to
deal with the budget deficits are
not at all related to the funds that go into Social Security and Medicare. Anyone who says
otherwise is either ignorant or deliberately stupid.
[SOURCE:Gaius Publius | Americablog |19 November 2012 ]
Friday, 23 November 2012 at 10h 42m 33s
Really? On the Front Page.
On the Front Page of the Friday, 23 November 2012 Edition of the New York Times is the following
headline: "Jeb Bush in 2016? It’s Not Too Early for Chatter."
Are you fucking kidding me? The front page is a public relations organ of the establishment, and
already the establishment is promoting their favorite son. How many other person's wanting to be
President get this kind of help, the day after Thanksgiving ! The election isn't even a
[SOURCE:By JIM RUTENBERG and JEFF ZELENY | New York
Times | 23 November 2012]
And they call this "News" ? It's news to read what the opinions of the establishment are, and to
focus on selected nuanced details of but one scion of the American Oligarchy who has huge important
backers in the elite circles of finance and industry.
I'm beginning to think that the main Presidential candidates are selected, and then these two are
surrounded by a bunch of lesser quantities called "hopefulls" that give the two main candidates an
easy opportunity to separate themselves from the pack. And if that doesn't work out as planned (Jim
Dean in 2004, Ron Paul in 2008 and 2012) then the media acolytes help them look better and drive out
the "opposition" with non-sequiturs and ad-hominem attacks until they get the chosen conclusion.
Note to world: although it is true that Ron Paul enabled racism in his monthly info-zine, it
true that the Dean "scream" presaged radicalism and extremism that was thankfully avoided by the
nomination of John Kerry. Remember your history.
In the Times article, we get to hear all about good ol' Jebbie's current issues and family
situation. He married a women
born and raised in Mexico, so he'll be strong on the Latino vote, ya dig. And she's supposedly good
on education, just like Laura Bush was supposed to be good on Reaching out to the poor and
downtrodden. His Education Foundation also gets big grants from the right sort of people -- the
famous foundations (but mainly the funds) of Singer, Gates, and Bloomberg See he's a real down-home
family sorta guy, not just a fourth generation wall street and oil baron connected scion of billions
of dollars in net worth.
Hmm, what is this "Foundation for Excellence in Education" actually do? According to the web site :
Our mission is to ignite a movement of reform, state by state, to transform education for the 21st
Which is a translation for spending money to pursue the Educational agenda of the persons that fund
the Education foundation. And what is the sort of "Reform" the foundation desires?
Well, if you click on Reform news you can at least get an idea what types of "reform" are "news
worthy". And right now there is a lot of applause for states that are releasing "the A-F school
grading system." As regards Indiana,
Patricia Levesque, Executive Director of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, released the
following statement regarding Indiana’s A-F school grades:
“We applaud the State of Indiana for its continued commitment to meaningful education reform. By
providing a thoughtful and transparent accountability system through A-F school grades, the State
has taken an important step in raising expectations while helping struggling students.
[SOURCE:Foundation For Excellence in Education | 31
So apparently you raise "expectations" and help "struggling students" by giving the grades A thru F
to the schools. Really? Struggling students are going to do better by knowing their school got a
letter grade? And expectations are raised when a school gets a letter grade, because don't you know,the
fear of failing is what drives the teaching staff to teach their students?
Message to world: teachers are not motivated by the fear of failure.
This is called focusing on the wrong aspect of the problem without understanding the actual nature
of the problem. If students are struggling and expectations are low or not being raised, it's not
because their is a lack of school accountability. Good schools have systems in place and networks
of layered assistance that provide multiple outlets for student issues. Bad schools don't, and this
is almost always because of a combination of high staff turnover and low funding. A school with
limited funds can manage if the longevity of the staff is not affected.
And what isn't stated is the rubric used to assess these grades? What is being measured? What
are the weights given to each measurement? A good school can be made to fail if the grading rubric
is structured in a way to diminish the actual strengths of the school.
Which is why so many public
schools are in "program improvement" as a result of the Leave No Child Behind statutory
requirements. Most schools in "program improvement" got that way because of a few percentage
points, despite the reality that certain groups of students change every single year because of the
reality of student mobility, and thus swing the test results every year. Some schools are more
affected by student transience then others, but this isn't a problem that should cause a school to
go into "program improvement". Yet that's what the real agenda was, to create a loophole through
which the private charter school movement could find more gains. This was the true purpose of "Leave No
Child Behind", and they got the naive to buy into the trojan horse movement by using faux-grass
roots Foundations liek the Foundation for Excellence in Education as camouflage.
Then there's the "Common Core Standards" which is yet another round of setting standards that
apparently is going to update our school system, better prepare students for the future, and
to deliver new online assessments and for schools to build the technology infrastructure they’ll
need to use the assessments.
[SOURCE:Foundation For Excellence in Education | 18
So basically, this means that we'll be assessing the students and feeding data into a "technology
infrastructure". The agenda items of the Common Core are as follows:
Measure and report the quality of education,
Hold schools accountable for learning,
Incentivize student achievement,
Use technology to customize learning for every student,
Recruit and retain the best teachers, and
Expand choices for parents and students.
Be wary of this movement. Some of these agenda items will get more stressed then others, and the
rest is just
window dressing used to conceal the real objectives: to privatize the school system by
separating the upper level students from the rest of the pack -- sending them to "charter" schools
and leaving the public school system with the students who need the most and/or the most difficult
to teach. Agenda items 1, 2, 4, and 6 correlate highly with this objective.
Here's how it works. Measure the "quality" of the schools using a non-transparent and complicated
rubric, then when you hold the schools "accountable" you expand the "choices" for parents and
"incentivize" the upper level students by pushing them in charter schools thereby decreasing the
funds from the public school system. This creates a two-tiered system, but doesn't bring anymore
money or better quality, and also starts a new incentive structure because private firms have the
goal of profit as their only true agenda. But since "technology" will be customized for "every
student" the students who are left behind will have software packages and learning ritualization
that caters to their dysfunctionalism. Teachers will then be "recruited" and those who can survive
will be "retained" but notice nothing is said about "incentivizing" teaching or giving hard working
teachers pay raises. Nope, only the students need to be "incentivized".
The devil lives in the details people, and all of the minions and light bulbs surrounding this
mantra do not negate the reality of poison pill legislation.
Bill Clinton himself seems to take the issue seriously. Says so in the article.
Public opinion is managed. And this is how that works.
Tuesday, 20 November 2012 at 10h 33m 54s
In case you didn't understand
This is the link for the
social security website actuarial tables. These are used by all insurance funds to calculate the
expected disbursements of the insurance fund due to the reality that people don't all die at the
same age. Not all people will live the same amount of time past 65. Some people will die younger
than 65. The amount is variable, so essentially, some people add to the fund more than they ever
subtract, and others might subtract more than they added, but the idea is to keep the fund in
balance. This is what an actuarial table is.
Notice that at age 65, the average number of years left is 17.19 and 19.89 (for males and females.)
We can assume a normal distribution, so 50% will live less and 50% more. It's not like every one
is living 30 years after retirement. But you listen to the talking heads and read the
pseudo-journalists and that's what is implied.
Now the distribution isn't really normal. It's actually skewed, so that means that less than 50%
live longer than the average. And then we aren't taking out the rich, very healthy people who
won't be retiring on social security from the actuarial data.
There is nothing wrong with social security. I repeat. There is nothing wrong with social
security. There is no danger here that needs to be remedied by raising the retirement age, except
that now more people will die before they get to retire.
The issue of the retirement age is a "red herring". A bunch of bullshit that the vampires use to
snow the people while they bide their time inching closer to when they can finally transfer all that
pile of money into their own grubby hands. That's why this shit is made confusing. They wanna do
what Pinochet permitted to happen in Chile -- turn the state pension system into a private system,
and suck the money out with fees and other artificial shenanigans. In Chile, pensioners lost at
least 33% of their expected outcome, and a majority lost 50% or more because of the privatized
system. But financiers and insiders made a whole ton of money.
What really rubs me is when they add the committments from the trust fund to the national budget.
WTF. The government revenue from income and other taxes is completely separate from the taxes
raised for social security and medicare/medicaid. If income and corporate taxes go up or down
that will have no bearing on social security or medicare/medicaid -- because they are not funded by
income and corporate taxes. It's accounting 101.
They might be borrowing against the trust fund, but this is not much different than using your house
as collateral. You don't lose the house because you make the payments. And in this case, the
government is making interest payments that constitute less than 0.5% per month of revenue .
Imagine that for
a home owner, making 0.5% per month of income towards the interest payments on their house note. A
$40,000 per year worker pays a $200 interest payment (0.005 times 40000) per month. The only
difference is the government
is in no danger of defaulting at all, and selling bonds is not the same thing as getting a loan from
a bank. When investors buy bonds, if they want their money back, they sell it to another investor.
And also 71% of the debt is owned by United States citizens in one form or another . Only 29% is
foreign owned. This means that the interest payments are going to American retirement funds and
American citizens. This 71 percent of the 6% (4.26%) of the revenue that goes to pay interest
isn't going into an intangible hole. Thus the interest rate will not be highly influenced by
foreign financial events. The
Fed can just print dollar bills, and people will purchase the bonds that support the value of the
printing press. That's how it works.
Now why can't the corporate press and the politico talking heads say this? Because this is what
they do. The Washington Conventional wisdom is owned by the big money players, and distributed by
the jackals who do their bidding. Some are swooped up into the ignorance and others are duped by a
blind devotion to philosophical bias. But most are just playing the game, knowing that big money
awaits if they play the game correctly.
There might be some problems, but it's not a crisis.
Monday, 19 November 2012 at 20h 10m 50s
What's the difference between 5% and 4.5% ?
Large retailers could pay full-time, year-round workers $25,000 per year and still make a profit –
satisfying shareholders while rewarding their workers for the value they bring to the firm. A raise
at large retailers adds $20.8 billion to payroll for the year, or less than 1 percent of total
sales in the sector.
75% of large retailers are making more now then they were before the recession, but have not passed
on their increased well-being to their employees.
“If retailers pass half of the costs of a wage
raise on to their customers, the average household will see just 15 cents added to the cost of its
shopping basket on any trip to a large retailer.”
[SOURCE:Pat Garofalo | Think
Progress | 19 November 2012]
Saturday, 17 November 2012 at 12h 3m 25s
Allen West the champions of liberty and truth
Not even. Florida elections are just fucked up because of bad voting machines. This isn't
necessarily evidence of corruption, and the Board decided to recount all 8 days of early voting,
which is what the board should have done because the election is too close (.78 percent). This
isn't deliberately removing voters from the registration roles, the voting was just so close that
the innate irregularities make a difference.
But they will surely milk this for fund raising purposes.
Murphy beat West on Election Day by a little more than 2,000 votes, placing his win beyond the .5%
margin of victory trigger for an automatic recount
West, however, claimed there were voter irregularities and demanded a partial recount of
early-voting ballots. When the recount of the last three-days of early voting lowered Murphy’s total
by 667 votes and increased West’s results by 132, the incumbent’s lawyers demanded a full recount of
all eight days of early voting, the Palm Beach Post reported.
The county canvassing board admitted that 306 votes—mostly filled with write-in candidates—had been
uncounted, and that other votes had been ignored.
St. Lucie county has a population of 280,000.
Keep in mind who Allen West is
West, a retired Army colonel who left the military after firing off a gun near the head of an Iraqi
prisoner, was elected as part of the 2010 tea party wave. As one of the GOP’s few black elected
officials on the national level — and as a bombastic and incendiary commentator — West became a
frequent cable news guest. He spent $13.8 million, more than any other House member in 2012 but was
also a regular star of House Democratic fundraising appeals.
[SOURCE:MSNBC | | 17 November 2012]
[SOURCE:Kevin Robillard | Politico | 7
Friday, 16 November 2012 at 0h 14m 28s
The situation in Europe
Particularly unsettling yesterday were massive and widespread anti-austerity protests across Europe.
The strikes and demonstrations, some involving hundreds of thousands of people, hit more than 20
countries in the EU, disrupting airports and ports, closing roads and public transportation, and
shutting some essential services. The biggest protests were in Portugal, Spain, Greece, and Italy.
The union-led protests--called "European Day of Action and Solidarity"--were mostly peaceful, but
turned violent in Lisbon, Madrid, and Rome.
[SOURCE:Ed Yardeni | Dr. Ed's Blog | 15