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.
- June's total assumed 185,000 people at work who probably were not. The government could not
identify them; it made an assumption about trends. But many of the mythical jobs are in industries
that have absolutely no job creation, e.g., finance. When the official numbers are adjusted over the
next several months, June will look worse.
- More companies are asking employees to take unpaid leave. These people don't count on the
- No fewer than 1.4 million people wanted or were available for work in the last 12 months but were
not counted. Why? Because they hadn't searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey.
- The number of workers taking part-time jobs due to the slack economy, a kind of stealth
underemployment, has doubled in this recession to about nine million, or 5.8% of the work force. Add
those whose hours have been cut to those who cannot find a full-time job and the total unemployed
rises to 16.5%, putting the number of involuntarily idle in the range of 25 million.
- The average work week for rank-and-file employees in the private sector, roughly 80% of the work
force, slipped to 33 hours. That's 48 minutes a week less than before the recession began, the
lowest level since the government began tracking such data 45 years ago. Full-time workers are being
downgraded to part time as businesses slash labor costs to remain above water, and factories are
operating at only 65% of capacity. If Americans were still clocking those extra 48 minutes a week
now, the same aggregate amount of work would get done with 3.3 million fewer employees, which means
that if it were not for the shorter work week the jobless rate would be 11.7%, not 9.5% (which far
exceeds the 8% rate projected by the Obama administration).
- The average length of official unemployment increased to 24.5 weeks, the longest since government
began tracking this data in 1948. The number of long-term unemployed (i.e., for 27 weeks or more)
has now jumped to 4.4 million, an all-time high.
- The average worker saw no wage gains in June, with average compensation running flat at $18.53 an
- The goods producing sector is losing the most jobs -- 223,000 in the last report alone.
- The prospects for job creation are equally distressing. The likelihood is that when economic
activity picks up, employers will first choose to increase hours for existing workers and bring
part-time workers back to full time. Many unemployed workers looking for jobs once the recovery
begins will discover that jobs as good as the ones they lost are almost impossible to find because
many layoffs have been permanent. Instead of shrinking operations, companies have shut down whole
business units or made sweeping structural changes in the way they conduct business. General Motors
and Chrysler, closed hundreds of dealerships and reduced brands. Citigroup and Bank of America cut
tens of thousands of positions and exited many parts of the world of finance.
Tuesday, 14 July 2009 at 16h 41m 15s
Dennis Kucinich is the man
here for the archived webcase of the House Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee
Hearing : "Examining the Single Payer Health Care option."
Dennis tears David Gratzer, M.D. a big hole in his you-know-what.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Dr. Gratzer, you’ve tried to make the case for rationing in Canada - worse
than it is in the U.S. Do you know what Statistics Canada - the analogue to the U.S. Census - says
the median wait time is across Canada for elective surgery?
Dr. David Gratzer: Why don’t you inform us,sir?
Kucinich: It’s four weeks. And what does Statistics Canada say the median wait time for diagnostic
imaging like MRIs is?
Gratzer: I could tell you the Ontario government recently looked at that for…
Kucinich: It’s three weeks.
Gratzer: … for cancers, was six months.
Kucinich: It’s three weeks. How many uninsured are there in Canada?
Gratzer: Probably relatively few.
Kucinich: That’s right, none or very few. How many medical bankruptcies are there in Canada?
Gratzer: Depends on how you define medical bank..
Kucinich: None or very few. How many insured Americans go without needed care due to high cost of
health care which is due to health insurance companies?
Gratzer: (Pause) Am I allowed to answer, or are we just going to continue to…
Kucinich: If you have an answer, you can answer. But if you don’t, I’ll answer. What’s your answer?
Gratzer: Go for it, sir.
Kucinich: What’s your answer?
Gratzer: Why don’t you answer your question, sir?
Kucinich: What’s your answer?
Gratzer: My answer…
Kucinich: How many insured Americans go without needed care due to the high cost of health care
which is due to health insurance companies?
Kucinich: The witness isn’t responding.
Gratzer: The witness is delighted to speak further on those statistics and other statistics, but you
keep cutting me off, sir.
Kucinich: You respond, if you have an answer. You didn’t give an answer to the other one.
Gratzer: I don’t want to be led down a garden path. If you’d like to ask me a question, I’d be…
Kucinich: You’ve shown a garden here to members of this committee and to the audience. There’s
another side to this picture you don’t seem to be aware of even though you want to be an expert on
Canada. Can you provide us with an answer on this one about America?
Gratzer: My position is respectable, and I dislike your comment, sir.
Kucinich: Do you have an answer? How many insured Americans, insured, go without needed care due to
high costs of health care due to health insurance companies?
Kucinich: He has no answer. Well what the answer is is that it’s one out of every four. So we’re
trying to make a case here that somehow Canada is in a mess, but we’re not focusing on the fact that
in the United States there are people who aren’t getting needed care, and this gentleman has
expected us to believe that rationing is worse in Canada. I don’t know how we can buy that. Now if
single payer is so bad, maybe the gentleman - the doctor - can explain to us why sixty percent of
U.S. doctors want it according to the peer-reviewed Annals of Internal Medicine, April, 2008.
Don't you just love how this rat-sucker doesn't answer the question and tries to blame Dennis when
he can't provide an answer that proves his ignorance.
More than 50% of all personal bankruptcies is due to high Medical bills. AND, of all those who
declare bankrupcy due to high Medical bills, 75% HAD HEALTH INSURANCE.
Monday, 13 July 2009 at 21h 39m 59s
Small business lovers they are not
Here are two quotes I got from thinkprogress.org representing the most recent Republican red herring : taxing
people over $350,000 will hurt small businesses and stunt the engine of growth we need to get out of
this bad economy. But let them speak for themselves:
Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ): At least 55 percent of the income that would be generated by this
surtax directly hits the entrepreneurs that run these small businesses. It would be a job killer.
Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA): Half of those people [who would have to pay the tax] derive
their income from small businesses, half of those people are making the decision about whether to
hire Americans or not.
What a bunch of stupid morons? So slavish are they to the multinationalist corporate agenda that
they disguise pathetic attempts to pursue that agenda as taking up the cause of the poor little guy.
It's shameful really.
beginning in 2011, the plan would target all income over $350,000 a year for families and
$280,000 a year for individuals. The surtax would start at 1 percent, rise to around 1.5 percent for
families earning more than $500,000, then step up again, to around 3 percent, for families earning
more than $1 million.
From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “only 1.9 percent of filers with any
small-business income are projected to face either of the top two income tax rates in 2009.”
From people who file most of their income from their own business, “more than half have income
below $30,000 and 80 percent make less than $100,000.”
Fifty eight percent of all small-business owners say they’re having a hard time keeping up with
the cost of health care and the percentage of businesses with fewer than 200 employees that offer
insurance fell to 59 percent last year, “down from 66 percent as recently as 2002, according to the
Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.”
In other words, 98% of all small businesses will not be affected by the surtax used to pay for the
health care plan that includes a public option. All small businesses will however be assisted by
relieving them and their employees the exorbitant cost of the current byzantine system of
health-care insurance premiums.
These mouth pieces are bought. They expect to enjoy a lavish retirement after they leave their time
spent as corporate public servants. Go look up Senator Kyl's past transactions
with shady land deals in Arizona.
We are talking about a maximum of only 3% on the income you earn after your first $1,000,000. This
means that if you earn 1.2 million, you only pay 3% on the 0.2 million (200,000) -- 1.5% on the
500,000 and 1% on the 150,000 , which is a total of 6000 + 7500 + 1500 = $15,000.
That's only an extra 1.25% for families that earn 1.2 million a year.
One point twenty-five percent.
And yet the Republican's are screaming. Do these people have any sense of how to govern, invest in
national infrastructure, manage a socio-economic system, or even (cough) how to pay the bills? If we
don't reduce the Health care expenses by 50% in the next decade, we will have a very unhealthy
population wasting money on poor health care outcomes that would have been better spent investing in
infrastructure and paying down the national debt.
All businesses have to periodically restructure their business model if they hope to survive. In
some cases the government has to create laws and institutions to achieve what is in everyone's best
interest. The insurance companies have become predatory on the social system, a cancer that is
soaking up resources while the patient is only getting worse. They are like the doctors of the
middle ages who must bleed their patients to rid them of the evil spirits that are no doubt causing
the sickness. They get to cherry-pick the healthiest clients and find reasons to deny coverage to
the less than healthy citizens. They get to decide what they will pay for and how much they will
pay. They get to devise extraordinary methods of bureaucratic paper shuffling in order to decrease
their financial obligations as much as possible. They even get laws enacted or rewritten, and have
judges in their pocket who liberally interpret appeals in their favor.
All of this involves costs. Costs to the lives of the sick who are not taken care of until the time
they show up on a stretcher in the ambulance to the emergency room. Costs to the court system which
clog up the machinery of justice with cases that would not be necessary if citizens did not have to
take huge insurance companies to court in order to make them obey the law. Costs to businesses, and
individuals above and beyond the health insurance premiums and co-payments and drug expenses,
because nothing regulates the entire network at all. Each of the pieces (the hospital, the doctors,
the insurance companies) has to separately obtain a positive difference between revenue and
expenses, while at the same time treating patients who have any variation of insurance and/or
ability to pay.
The goal of the current state of the health care system is not to achieve a minimum cost to have the
healthiest population. That goal can only be attempted by cutting the insurance companies out of
the system, or at least providing a public option and forcing them to accept any client so that they
will have some of that real free market competition.
Otherwise -- in my not so humble opinion -- nothing will change.
Monday, 13 July 2009 at 20h 43m 21s
Insurance company ex-executive says government insurance is okay
Wendell Potter, the former head of Corporate Communications at CIGNA, is interviewed by Bill Moyers.
He says this ...
We shouldn’t fear government involvement in our health care system. That there is an appropriate
role for government, and it’s been proven in the countries that were in that movie.
Sheldon Whitehouse is a Senator
from Rhode Island. Throughout his career he has consistently been a voice against the insane
corporate takeover of government. Do a google on his name and a few youtube videos will pop up that
you can watch.
He is on the committee which decides who goes to the Supreme Court. Today was the first day of the
confirmation meeting for Judge Sonia Sotomayor. Senator Whitehouse gave an incredible speech. Click here for the full text of the the opening statement by Senator Whitehouse.
Here's a snippet:
In the last two and a half months, my Republican colleagues have talked a great deal about judicial
modesty and restraint. Fair enough to a point, but that point comes when these words become slogans,
not real critiques of your record. Indeed, these calls for restraint and modesty, and complaints
about "activist" judges, are often codewords, seeking a particular kind of judge who will deliver a
particular set of political outcomes.
It is fair to inquire into a nominee's judicial philosophy, and we will have serious and fair
inquiry. But the pretence that Republican nominees embody modesty and restraint, or that Democratic
nominees must be activists, runs counter to recent history.
I particularly reject the analogy of a judge to an "umpire" who merely calls "balls and strikes." If
judging were that mechanical, we wouldn't need nine Supreme Court Justices. The task of an appellate
judge, particularly on a court of final appeal, is often to define the strike zone, within a matrix
of Constitutional principle, legislative intent, and statutory construction.
The "umpire" analogy is belied by Chief Justice Roberts, though he cast himself as an "umpire"
during his confirmation hearings. Jeffrey Toobin, a well-respected legal commentator, has recently
reported that "[i]n every major case since he became the nation's seventeenth Chief Justice, Roberts
has sided with the prosecution over the defendant, the state over the condemned, the executive
branch over the legislative, and the corporate defendant over the individual plaintiff." Some
umpire. And is it a coincidence that this pattern, to continue Toobin's quote, "has served the
interests, and reflected the values of the contemporary Republican party"? Some coincidence.
Tuesday, 10 March 2009 at 19h 19m 55s
Sorry about the lapse
I realize itz been a few weeks since I've made a comment or posted something. I'm still in somber ecstasy over the Obama
But at the same time I look out at the minions who are handling this crisis and wondering just how willing the status quo will be
to confront the underlying nature of the real crisis that folds before us. The real crisis is the limitations that the Amercan
economy has upon the real world. Americans might own some part of the assets that underlie the corporations of the world, but
the productive basis and the location of the resources and factories in the global economy is not innately favorable to the United
States. Indeed wealth (in the form of capital production) has been vacating the US over the last 40 years.
The manner of growth over the last 40 years has been due to the cost savings by migrating from high cost, highly regulated
to low cost, no regulation regions. This has been justified on the grounds of some angelic "principle" called the free market,
is incorrect. It's called short-sided greed. Transplanting the capital basis of wealth from one nation to another enables a
momentary savings, but shows up 30 years later as an asset depletion. There are many different types of devices and
units of basic hi-tech construction that have to be imported because they aren't made in America anymore -- which now
entrepreneurial industry who have to pay more now than they initially saved 30 years ago.
These same folks are now running the conventional wisdom circuit of the media, talking about what they are supposed to have
learned or what they didn't realize, and it's all a bunch of bullshit. They were stupidly egotistical and selfish. And they still are.
End of story.
Monday, 2 February 2009 at 18h 9m 21s
A note on my fantasy baseball strategy
Over the last 3 years, I have played 6 games of fantasy baseball, 2 games per year. One is a weekly league, the other is for the
whole season. Both are 5 x 5 roto leagues (AVG, HR, Runs, RBIs, SB & W,SV, ERA, STRIKEOUTS, WHIP). I have been fortunate to
win first place in 5 out of the 6 times. I lost in the weekly league last year, and placed 3rd after making it to the 2nd round of the
This my drafting strategy. Draft your entire infield and one outfielder for your first 5 picks. Pick the best available. I usually save
the outfielder for the 5th pick unless one of maybe 4 elite outfielders are around. Depending on the talent available, the 5th pick
might be the position that has the most depth. I pick the best starting pitcher there is by round 6. Then I'll either pick another
hitter -- if a few of the elites are still around -- or the best reliever for round 7. Round 8 is outfielder number 2. Round 9 and
10 are then pitchers. The 11th and 12th pick become 2 more outfielders. Then I alternate pitcher , hitter until round 15 or 16
when I pick the first catcher. After that I pick the best potential player available, whether pitcher or hitter, until the end of the
The value of pitching, and starters in particular tends to get overrated, but only because a higher percentage of pitchers have
high variability from year to year. More pitchers experience spikes in their numbers (both good and bad) from year to year than
hitters. Pitchers also get injured more often than hitters, and remain disabled longer -- hitters very rarely have Tommy John
surgery for instance. Hitters are more consistent and less disabled for longer time spells as a group: the standard deviation is
much lower. More hitters can actually play hurt and be successful than pitchers. Likewise, more pitchers rise up and perform
better than expected than hitters. So you can take a chance and wait to set your pitching staff, whereas, after the top 100 hitters
leave the board, the percentage of the next 200 who remain that will pop to the top 100 is not as high as it would be for
This is why pitchers who remain consistent for 2 or more years are so valuable. Look how many of the top twenty pitchers in the
major leagues are recent arrivals, and how few of them have been there more than 2 years. Using Lindy's 2009 magazine as a
reference, I count only 10 or 11 out 20, and 12 or 13 out of the top 30. Now compare this ratio with the top 50 hitters and you
will see the ratio is 80% ( about 40 out of 50.)
Of course, if Johan Santana and probably Sabathia are still around by round 2, you grab them. Otherwise, I don't pick a pitcher
until round 6, after grabbing the infield and getting at least one elite outfielder.
Thursday, 29 January 2009 at 19h 14m 5s
The two false tenets of Libertarian philosophy
There are two false economic notions that I would like to address in this essay. I think the sad permissiveness of these false
notions limits the scope of our economic understanding, inhibits our ability to comprehend our nation’s economy, and restricts
or distorts the available policy choices.
1) "tax cuts" used to "incentivize" investment is better than government directly funding various investment projects.
2) the idea that nurturing "self-interest" creates the best society for all.
These are tenets of the modern neo-classicists called Libertarians. Their main appeal however is essentially a distaste for "big
government." As the theory goes, since Government is either despotic or corrupt (or both), letting people make "individual
choices" becomes perceived as more free and pristine, or less tainted by the sodden hand of government. Thus "tax cuts" as an
economic policy becomes better than government investment. The evil corrupt government will just waste the money on things
from which only a few people will benefit, and people know best how to spend their own money.
But listen carefully to this dualistic philosophy. One extreme is attainable only by avoiding its opposite extremity -- the
avoidance of government investment "makes possible" independent, free actions by citizens who have a little more money in their
pocket. This leads inevitably towards the desire to exterminate the "bad" in order to enjoy the unmitigated "good." Rather than
viewing the cosmos as a composite mixture, this philosophy divides into 2 unbalanced camps, believing in the virtue of the
individual above and beyond all else without recognizing that no one is independent of society, that no individuality occurs
without feedback, guidance, and influences. People are even expected to "self-regulate" naturally according to some hyperactive
versions of this paradigm.
Society is composed of individuals, it is true. That some individuals, by their nature, exert an influence on culture, technology,
economic and political leadership is inescapable. However, this will be and is true no matter what type of government or
economic philosophy gets applied. Human beings are genetically wired and instinctively capable of producing talented,
intelligent, and charismatic individuals regardless of the nature of government. To base an economic policy solely upon the
desired end of nurturing individualism is actually quite useless because Individualism, or lack thereof, is a political question, not
an economic question.
Giving individuals more money through "tax cuts" in order to sponsor "demand" is not effective. Individuals will spend or save
their money according to their own whims, and are widely dispersed in addition to being asynchronous in time. There is no
aggregated focus for the funds that are involved in the "tax cuts". Once the profits filter up through the businesses benefiting
from the spending, these profits are not guaranteed to be invested in any other way then by the demands of the investors.
Although possible, the influence of some "superstar" CEO's "vision" on investment strategy buts against a long history that has
proven time and again mankind's tendency to view short-term gain over the expense of long-term gain. Individuals quite often
do not act towards something they cannot envision, and very few person's are disciplined enough to maintain focus for a very
long term vision. Thus a very small percentage of the "tax cuts" winds up in the hands of these very few. The vast amount of
funds is used up merely supporting short term consumption.
Only by direct government investment does all of the money get spent on a specific investment infrastructure. Citizens might
have a few extra dollars in their pocket, but they won't get high-speed rail interconnectivity throughout the nation unless
government begins to directly fund the 10 to 15 projects across the country that this policy would take. This initial investment is
too large for any private firm to make, because the horizon of such a project is longer than 20 years, and the profitability of such
a project is too small. There are quicker, safer ways to make money. However, enabling fast, cheap long-distance transportation
within the United States is an undeniable social benefit that will pay for itself much as the national highway system did.
This was true about the creation of the national railroad system, the national telephone system, the electric grid, the internet,
and every other massive long-term investment that has occurred. Railroad companies were given free land and subsidized bond
financing. The eventual national railroad system that evolved through a series of state railroad commissions would never have
gotten built otherwise, because there were too many competing fiefdoms, each corrupting the state officials and fleecing the
public with high costs. Once the frontier of massive federal lands (confiscated from the Indians and Spanish) shrank by the early
1900's, government needed to rely on income and wealth taxes to be able to afford it's function in society. Larger and more
concentrated populations demanded collective decisions and approaches to problem solving.
The needs of a populations is paid for by taxes. Instead of pretending we can cut the budget and continue to borrow profusely
from foreign nations, we should simply pay for the previous years tax bill. If taxes need to be raised, then create a simple
progressive formula that increases everyones burden according to their ability to pay. The necessity of a government proactively
making the collective investments is fundamental. Society as we now know it would not have come to fruition without the
concerted aggregate strength of the larger society represented by government. It is true that the halls of government can be
corrupted, but only until such corruption is rooted out, and not without the aid of other members of government or citizen
involvement. By contrast, a corrupt aristocracy is practically inescapable, as our forefathers once knew. We have forgotten their
wisdom I'm afraid.
"Tax cuts" are a very inefficient investment strategy. The economic policy of "tax cuts" only creates an elite wealthy class at the
expense of the socio-economic infrastructure. The very wealthy will gradually use their large tax cuts to pay for their own
societal comforts at the expense of investments needed by society. Paying for private police, yachts, private schools, and private
jets does nurture a sector of the economy, but these "investments" do not spread to the society as a whole. Over time, about 2
or 3 generations or 60 years, the system grows more economically stratified, until 90% of the people are poor, 9.9% are middle
class, and 0.1% are very rich. Even while all those individuals made their own choices and exercised free independent decisions.
Human societies will drift towards aristocracy and plutocracy. This is what the writers of the Constitution all debated and
understood. The document they created was their attempt to avoid this historical trend.
Monday, 26 January 2009 at 19h 51m 14s
Woodward assesses the Bush Presidency
This comes from Bob Woodward, one of the 2 Washington Post reporters infamous from the Nixon Watergate years. One week
ago, Mr. Woodward assessed the lessons learned from the Bush Presidency.
Presidents set the tone. Don’t be passive or tolerate virulent divisions.
The president must insist that everyone speak out loud in front of the others, even — or especially — when there are
A president must do the homework to master the fundamental ideas and concepts behind his policies.
Presidents need to draw people out and make sure that bad news makes it to the Oval Office.
Presidents need to foster a culture of skepticism and doubt.
Presidents get contradictory data, and they need a rigorous way to sort it out.
Presidents must tell the public the hard truth, even if that means delivering very bad news.
Righteous motives are not enough for effective policy.
Presidents must insist on strategic thinking.
The president should embrace transparency.
[SOURCE:Bob Woodward | Washington Post | 18 January