|Wednesday, 9 December 2009 at 1h 8m 30s|
Yea, I know
I realize that I have not been writing or commenting on this blog for the last 3 months. I could
say that it is because I've been busy, which is only partially true. The real answer is that I've
just not desired paying attention to the minutia and have preferred practicing guitar, taking walks
outside in the park, and reading a lot of books.
In a sense too, I am a bit disappointed at our system of government's inability to actually address,
or even understand the current crisis. The experts look at numbers and think they understand the
real society around them. Unemployment went down, the stock market is up, the average selling price
of a new home has stabilized for a few months. Woo-hoo, good times are around the corner.
Here's a number. It's called the average work hours per week by the paid per hour work force.
Since the early 1960's this number has dropped from 38 per week, to below 34 since 2001. Don't you
think the trend over 45 years is telling you something about what is happening more than a recent
trend over a few months, or a few years? All along the above graph, there are a number of intervals
where the graph increased upwards, nevertheless the trend was still down.
The Big Picture? This crisis is going to bankrupt the way government disperses social services, and
it will happen by forcing a plethora of cuts to the budget. The system of taxation will need to be
completely overhauled at the state and federal level, but this will not happen in time because of
the huge political risks at stake. It is easier to force draconian cuts to the social system then
it is to get corrupt, self-serving politicians to actually make long-term decisions in the best
interest of the people.
Unless the people organize and force the elites to change, the elites will take the path of least
resistance and convince themselves that they have no other choice because they are completely
oblivious about their own contribution to the problem.
|Tuesday, 24 November 2009 at 0h 58m 25s|
Even Europeans laugh
|Saturday, 21 November 2009 at 20h 35m 22s|
Click here for an animated display of the unemployment rate by county as it develops from 2007
to September 2009.
What strikes me is the huge increase across the entire United States over the last 4 months, as the
multimedia display at the link above shows. As I have said before, this
recession is transformational.
We have crossed the threshold of exporting jobs in the name of cutting costs for investment profits,
to the point that we have damaged the coherence of the the regional networks that govern the
economy. For example, California is more geared for trade with China, Vietnam, Indonesia, India,
and South America than California is with Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. These
investment profits earned by this reallocation of resources accrues to a very small fraction of the
general population, and the surplus does not re-invest in the local economy but gathers into
brokerage accounts to fuel further profit making investment "opportunities" in the foreign markets.
But don't worry. United Way and charitable donations will fill the gap, right?
|Wednesday, 12 August 2009 at 15h 31m 33s|
Harriet Miers, The Bush Nominee for the Supreme Court
You can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep, and the people upon whom they choose to
give great responsibility.
From Talking Points Memo's David
Kurtz at 08.12.09 -- 8:34AM
If you were White House counsel and someone from the White House political shop approached you, just
before the midterm elections, about intervening with the Justice Department to help out a
congressman from your party under criminal investigation, you would:
(a) Fire his ass on the spot.
(b) Drop kick him from the West Wing to a closet-sized office in the EEOB, never to be heard from
(c) Send a memo to everyone in the political office warning against any contacts with DOJ officials
regarding any ongoing investigations.
(d) Get the deputy attorney general on the phone and see whether you could get him to publicly
exonerate the congressman, then dutifully email back the political operative to report on how the
If you answered (d), you're qualified to be nominated to the Supreme Court.
In other words, Bush wanted someone who would willingly be a tool on behalf of a hidden agenda to
become a lifetime member of the Supreme Court making decisions about the Constitution and the Laws
of your freedoms and the Nation.
|Wednesday, 12 August 2009 at 0h 21m 5s|
The email filled with lies
I will never understand why people trust anonymously sent chain emails for any type of validity.
But the "stupids" apparently do. Either that, or the political thugs and opportunists seem to be
well versed about the content of such emails. Is this a coincidence?
The recent banter of lies about what the Health care reform legislation will do seems to stem from
the content of a recent chain email that was more than 40 pages long. The St. Petersburg Times has a pulitzer prize winning site called PolitFact that
analyzed the facts.
Also The Kaiser Family
Foundation compares the legislation current passed by out by the various Congressional Committees.
Jenny Tolbert is an independent health care analyst at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan
foundation that studies health care reform. She is quoted in the Polifact article above. Here's what
Jenny Tolbert says about the chain email :
"It's awful," she said. "It's flat-out, blatant lies. It's unbelievable to me how they can claim to
reference the legislation and then make claims that are blatantly false."
|Tuesday, 11 August 2009 at 17h 17m 53s|
So you think we are in the middle of a recovery and a bull market
Click here for 10
informative bullets that factually contradict that notion.
Here's the first three:
Before you join the euphoria, please consider these 10 sharp bubble-popping pins:
1. Structural unemployment is skyrocketing. Job Losses Moderate:
But structural unemployment worsened. The number of people who've been out of work longer than
six months soared by a record 584,000 to 5 million, accounting for more than a third of all
unemployment for the first time on record.
"Structural" is a polite way of saying there won't be any jobs for the long-term unemployed this
year, next year, or the year after that.
2. The jobless rate declined because the work force shrank. This is typical smoke-and-mirrors
statistics, courtesy of your Federal government: as people lose extended unemployment benefits, they
are classified as "discouraged" and are no longer counted in the "headline" unemployment number.
Unemployment fell by 267,000 to 14.5 million, while employment fell by 155,000. The labor force
declined by 422,000, which means the jobless rate declined because people dropped out of the work
force, not because they got jobs. The employment-participation rate fell from 65.7% to 65.5%.
3. Everyone seems to have forgotten we need to create 250,000 jobs a month just to stay even with
population growth. So while "only" 250,000 jobs were lost last month--never mind a big chunk of
employment was linked to the "cash for clunkers" giveaway--that means we're still 500,000 jobs short
of a return to a rising employment scenario.
[SOURCE: Charles Hugh
Smith | oftwominds.com | 10 August 2009]
|Tuesday, 4 August 2009 at 20h 29m 42s|
Unemployment by state
~hattip to Barry Ritholz.
Most of the nation has more than 7% U2 unemployment (black and purple). The most broad measure of
unemployment (including long-term unemployment and part-time workers unable to get full time) is
probably more than 11% in all those states.
This data also doesn't measure the disparity within each state between urban and rural regions.
|Monday, 3 August 2009 at 18h 5m 23s|
The Kenyan Birth Certificate Hoax
The principles of Right-wing conservatives consist of making up documents and faking citizen
upheaval. The latest uproar concerns a photograph of a document (not the actual document)
purporting to be the "authentic" birth certificate from the "Republic of Kenya".
BULLSHIT! Click here for the take down
As this works its way through the mediocracy, recall that Dan Rather was fired from CBS in 2004 when
certain typed memos appeared from the early 70's that discredited Dubya Bush's time spent
boozing, snorting, and sleeping around in the Texas Air National Guard.
|Sunday, 2 August 2009 at 18h 50m 45s|
Health care reform in 6 sentences
Paul Krugman does us a great service. He simplifies the current Health Insurance reform proposals.
The essence is really quite simple: regulation of insurers, so that they can't cherry-pick only
the healthy, and subsidies, so that all Americans can afford insurance.
Everything else is about making that core work. Individual mandates are a way to prevent gaming
of the system by people who don't sign up until they're sick; employer mandates a way to hold down
the on-budget costs by preventing a rush by employers to drop insurance; the public option a way to
create effective competition and hold costs down further.
But what it means for the individual will be that insurers can't reject you, and if your income
is relatively low, the government will help pay your premiums.
That's it. Any commentator who whines that he just doesn't understand it is basically saying
that he doesn't want to understand it.
[SOURCE: Paul Krugman | new york times | 1
Never underestimate the wiles and motives of the willfully ignorant.
|Saturday, 1 August 2009 at 22h 30m 20s|
Jonathan Alter Jonathan Swifts the Health Care Status Quo
This is excellent and informative. And funny. Here's a snippet:
I had cancer a few years ago. I like the fact that if I lose my job, I won't be able to get any
insurance because of my illness. It reminds me of my homeowners' insurance, which gets canceled
after a break-in. I like the choice I'd face if, God forbid, the cancer recurs—sell my house to pay
for the hundreds of thousands of dollars in treatment, or die. That's what you call a "post-existing
I like the absence of catastrophic insurance today. It meant that my health-insurance plan (one of
the better ones, by the way) only covered about 75 percent of the cost of my cutting-edge treatment.
That's as it should be—face cancer and shell out huge amounts of money at the same time. Nice.
I like the "lifetime limits" that many policies have today. Missed the fine print on that one, did
you? It means that after you exceed a certain amount of reimbursement, you don't get anything more
from the insurance company. That's fair.
Alter | Newsweek | 31 July 2009]