Saturday, August 30, 2014

Obama's 'No Strategy' Comment Is Not A Gaffe

Having served in the military, I am quite sure that our Pentagon has multiple strategies developed to deal with the Islamic State terrorists in Iraq and Syria.  But, I am also quite sure that many of those options include varying levels of "boots on the ground".  Of course, having "boots on the ground" is politically anathema to this, our forever anti-war President. Therefore, Obama wasn't lying when he said that we have "no strategy" for dealing with the Islamic State.  In his mind there is no strategy that is yet acceptable.


Obama's no 'strategy yet' comment on ISIS in Syria sparks a political uproar:

Friday, August 29, 2014

3 Negative ObamaCare Stories That Have Been Buried By Other Headline Grabbing News

In the last three weeks, the news cycle has been consumed with Hamas/Israeli fighting, the Islamic State in Iraq, and the rioting/looting in Ferguson, Missouri.  But, in just the last three weeks some very disturbing reports regarding ObamaCare were released.  All of which were largely ignored by the national media.

The first negative ObamaCare report came from Fox News on August 7th.  According to a Congressional study, as many as 25 million uninsured may escape being forced to buy insurance under threat of penalty because of a series of hardship exemptions that were implemented by an Obama executive order.  To put that into perspective, that's more than half the 30 million Americans who currently don't have insurance which seriously negates the primary goal of ObamaCare, which was to get every American insured.  It also means that the projected tax revenue for not having insurance is greatly overstated; resulting in higher deficit spending and a further breaking of the President's promise that ObamaCare wouldn't add one penny to the national debt.  Additionally, the uninsured are typically the so-called invincibles:  A younger and healthier group of individuals who typically think they won't get sick and don't need insurance.  Now, if these people aren't in the exchanges, then the cost of everyone's rates will go up because there won't be enough young and healthy insured to offset the higher cost of covering the older and sicker patients.

In another report, Aetna -- our third largest health insurer -- stated that they expected to lose 30% of those who first signed up for ObamaCare by the end of this year. This is because those enrollees have either never paid for their insurance in the first place or have just stopped paying.  If this is indicative of a national trend then, the 8 million signup number -- that Obama so proudly claimed -- is actually closer to 5-1/2 million.  And, remember.  5 million lost their insurance last fall because of ObamaCare.  So, net-net, this means that there was only a 1/2 million increase in the number of truly insured.

Lastly, there was this story from Forbes. The accounting firm of PriceWaterhouseCooper looked at the projected 2015 rate increases for the exchanges in 29 states and found that the average increase is 7.5%.  In about a third of those 29 states, the rate increases are all in the double digits; with highest being Indiana at 15.4%.   In another study, the Wall Street Journal reported that 10 states were seeing rate hikes of between 8.5% to as much as 22.8%.  Then, too, a National Bureau of Economic Research report said that ObamaCare has pushed premiums up by 28% this year and, in another study by the Manhattan Institute, the jump in insurance rates was calculated to be 49%.  The bottom line is simply that ObamaCare is not slowing the cost increases of insurance as our President has claimed.  Even if the average rate increases are only 7.5%, that's almost 4 times the 2% rate of inflation so far this year.

All together, the above paragraphs paint a disastrous picture for ObamaCare.  One that probably won't be told because it is being buried by so much other bad news in the world.


Millions of uninsured Americans exempt from ObamaCare penalties in 2016, report finds:

ObamaCare Enrollment Is Shrinking, Top Insurers Say:

Obamacare's Death of a Thousand Rate Hikes:

Current US Inflation Rates: 2004-2014:

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Business Of Global Warming Is Being Threatened By No Global Warming?

Make no mistake about it, global warming is a going business for a lot a scientists who make a lucrative living off of research funding.

However, for 18 years, despite a near 20% rise in atmospheric CO2, the "warming" trend has abated.  Of course, this fact scares the "bejesus" out of all those scientists that would profit from global warming/climate change research. As a result, teams of scientists have been busily and hastily trying to prove that it still exists but, something else must be temporarily hiding it; with TEMPORARILY being the operative word.  Truly, the haste is based on the fact that, if they can't prove global warming to be real, governments and institutions may stop funding research into what, right now, looks to be a myth.

In the past, we have heard that the excessive burning of coal by China and India are responsible for the hiatus in global warming.  If so, why are we trying to abolish coal-fired power production?  We should be using more coal to save the planet.  Shouldn't we?

Some others say there is no pause. Ira just a fabricated story by climate deniers. While another study blames the presence of stratospheric water vapor.  Almost monthly, there seems to be a new reason for the delay hitting the streets as news.  Who would have thought that there were so many reasons (39 and counting).  If the reasons are real, then global warming -- or cooling -- must be a lot more complex than simply blaming an increase in man-made CO2. Further, with so many reasons for a warming pause, it's a little hard to swallow the bull that global warming is a settled science.

Now, comes another study that again disproves that the "no pause" claims are wrong. The good news is that warming will return in just 15 years or, maybe,  a few years longer.  So, guys, don't be putting your wallets away on the research.  Warming will be back with a vengeance. That is, as soon as the current thirty year cycle of cooling is over with.

Yes, it's true.  So say two scientists at the University of Washington.  They claim that warmer and heavier higher-salinity water in the Atlantic Ocean is making a beeline for the bottom of the ocean and, thus, taking warmer air temperatures along with it.  Of course, their theory completely ignores other thermocline activity that might be taking place in the other oceans and that could mitigate the cooling in the Atlantic. Things like the warm-water appearance of El Nino in the Pacific which is just now starting and believed to be increasing due to global warming.

But, hell. Who knows?  Mother Nature is one wild and crazy gal. Who would have thought that Antarctic ice would be at record levels in the midst of warmth; albeit paused, but still high, or that there would be the start of glacial formations in Scotland where such formations have never been reported before.

If the thermocline theory is correct, then the UN's International Panel on Climate Change needs to adjust the computer models to take into account the work of these two scientists at U of W.  All their "by 2100" global warming prediction models are now all well overstated.  That's because those models don't take into account the fact that global warming will take a thirty-year pause every thirty years.  So, in essence, all the  dire predictions will take twice as long to materialize than predicted.  Maybe, now, we can spend half as much money per year in fighting global warming since it seems we have a lot more time.


Professor blames the ‘pause’ in global warming on ‘the massive burning of coal in China and India’:

Global Warming Pause Linked to Sulfur in China:

More Evidence There Is No 'Pause' in Global Warming:

Atlantic Ocean responsible for global warming hiatus: Scientists:

Frequency of extreme El NiƱos to double as globe warms:

‘Warming Interrruptus’ – Causes for The Pause:

39 Excuses For Warming Pause and Counting:

Surprise! Glaciers appearing in Scotland:

Global warming computer models confounded as Antarctic sea ice hits new record high with 2.1million sq km more than is usual for time of year:

Monday, August 25, 2014

Why Ferguson Has Calmed

Some say that Attorney General Eric Holder's visit to Ferguson was the calming factor that was needed to stop the violence; and, coincidentally, the violence did subside on the very evening of his visit.  But, Holder's visit only insured an ongoing investigation and not a quick arrest and prosecution as the angry crowds had wanted. Others think that Governor Nixon's statement of "vigorously prosecuting"  Officer Darren Wilson was an indication that he is presumed guilty and will ultimately be convicted of killing Michael Brown, though any court proceedings are still a long way off and, if the officer is found to have used force pursuant to protecting himself, no conviction will be issued.

Personally, I think that the violence stopped because most of the reasons inciting it were found to be false.

Initially, the news media told us that an unarmed teenager (no age given) was shot by a white cop.  The story was soon embellished by the media and people like Jesse Jackson. We were told that the teen was on his way to his grandfather's house and was simply shot for refusing to get out of the street.  Other accounts had him being shot in the back while running away.  There also was the story that a tussle occurred in the squad car when the 6'3" and nearly 300 pound Michael Brown was pulled into the car (apparently, through the window) by a police officer.  Then as one shot was fired inside the car, Brown tried to get away but soon surrendered by raising his arms in the air; and, still, the cop executed him with multiple shots.

Finally, instead of the emotionally charged story outlined above, we started to get a clearer picture of what actually occurred.

First, we found out that, minutes before the shooting, Brown had committed a "strong arm" robbery for some Swisher Sweet Tipped Cigarillos; literally muscling the clerk backwards who was nearly a third shorter then he was.  While not mentioned in the news, I am sure that anyone who was drug-wise understood that those "Swishers" could be used to make "blunts" (hollowed out cigars that are filled with marijuana and which, sometimes, can mask the smell of the cannabis).  Then, there were the photos of Michael Brown giving the "Bloods" gang signs.  Again, not reported by the national media, most likely in an effort to protect the innocent persona already projected on Brown.

We also were told by the Ferguson Police Chief, that Officer Wilson did not know that Brown was suspected in that robbery.  But, I am quite sure that Brown, himself, thought Wilson was looking for him. That belief, alone, may have escalated his emotional response and caused him to attack Wilson (inside the police car) as Brown may have feared arrest

When the Brown family autopsy results were released, there were no wounds in the back.  Marijuana  was found in his blood stream.  Remember those Swishers? The fatal shot was on the top of  Brown's head; perhaps suggesting that Brown was charging the police car as nearly a dozen witnesses reported.  Of the four shots in the arm, three suggest that his hands were not up in a surrendering fashion, and the multiple arm shots also suggest that Officer Wilson was trying to stop Brown and not kill him. 

Lastly, we found out that Wilson was beaten severely in his face and suffered an orbital fracture to his eye socket; thus, confirming that there could have been a fight initiated by Brown in an attempt to get the officer's gun.  However, there are now reports that a fracture to the eye socket didn't occur but, instead,  severe bruising to one-side of Wilson's head.  A friend of Wilson's said that Brown bum-rushed him and that officer Wilson seriously thought that he was acting like he was on something.   Of course, the "something" won't be known until the final toxicology results are in.  Certainly, it would have to be more than pot to make Brown act in such a bullish fashion against an armed policeman.

The bottom line is that we won't know for weeks what the results of all the investigations are and what the Grand Jury will rule.  But, the innocence of Michael Brown, simply on his way to Grandpa's house, is now in question and could be the real reason why the city's violence has calmed.


Pictures: Michael Brown Flashing Gang Signs:

Video: Michael Brown Strong Arm Robbery:

Michael Brown's autopsy: What it can (and can't) tell us:

Police officer who shot Michael Brown did NOT suffer a broken eye socket but he did go to hospital with a swollen face after deadly altercation:

Friend of Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson: Brown ‘Bum Rushed’ And ‘Punched Him In Face’:

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Obama's Not Really The President... He Just Plays One On TV

Increasingly, the nation's media has become critical of President Obama's in-your-face dedication to golfing, fundraising, vacationing, and White House galas, while the world is on fire. 

Last week's TV appearance regarding the beheading of journalist James Foley was one of the strongest examples.  His tone and tenor seemed Presidential and thoughtful.  Yet, minutes later, he was back on the golf course at Martha's Vineyard, high-fiving, fist-bumping, and yukking it up with his golfing buddies, as this picture from the U.K. Daily Mail clearly shows:

In response to this behavior, the White House released a statement that basically said that playing golf helps clear the President's mind. Apparently it does.  Because it's really, really hard to see any concern on the face of this President over the death of James Foley, Hamas' killing of 18 suspected traitors, the Islamic State's war in Syria and Iraq, the Russian movements against Ukraine, the rioting in Ferguson Missouri, and all the other upheavals that should have his attention. And, that's the problem.  From our world-wide foes to our allies and friends, that picture, and the timing of it, reveals a lack of sincerity, concern, and focus.  It makes one think that his TV appearance and his expressed concern over James Foley's death was just a show.  Just another prepared and well-delivered speech, orchestrated for the television audience.  But, as always, actions speak louder than words.

I think most of us would agree that the President in never off the job because he always has staff and advisers around him with world-wide communications capability at the ready.  But, this picture sends the wrong kind of message.  Most importantly, it tells our enemies, like Putin and the Islamic State, that they have nothing to fear from this guy who is supposedly this nation's President.


How many times has Obama golfed and fundraised since he’s been president?:

New York Times: A Terrorist Horror, Then Golf: Incongruity Fuels Obama Critics:

CBS New York:  President Obama Plays Golf After Making Somber Statement On Beheaded American Journalist James Foley:

Fox News: Obama Slammed for Golfing Minutes After Remarks on Foley Execution:

Daily Mail: 'Leisure activities are a good way for release and clearing of the mind': White House defends Obama golfing just minutes after addressing nation about James Foley's beheading – as John Kerry goes SAILING:

Friday, August 22, 2014

Blaming the House Republicans On Immigration Reform Isn't Working Mr. President

In an effort to deflect responsibility for the current unaccompanied child border crisis, President Obama has tried to lay the blame at the feet of the House Republicans for not passing the so-called "comprehensive" immigration reform bill.  However, apparently, Americans aren't buying the latest Obama blame-game tactic (as noted by the results of the latest Gallup poll):

By more than two-to-one, they are critical of the President for his handling of immigration; with a 4-year high in those disapproving of his actions or inaction; depending on your particular political viewpoint. There's a problem with this poll.  It really doesn't tell us if people are upset with the President for not taking more action by executive order or for not working with Congress.  But, the sudden jump in his disapproval rating from 55% to 65% does seem to track with the current parent-less child entries from Central America.  For that reason, I think it seems to indicate that Americans feel that, once again, the fault lies with Obama.


American's object to Obama's handling of immigration:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Missouri Gov Calls For 'Vigorous Prosecution' Of Cop

Sadly, it appears that Darren Wilson, the police officer involved in the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, is probably not going to get a fair trial.

When you have a sitting governor of the State of Missouri calling for a 'vigorous prosecution' of that officer, long before any charges have even been filed, it speaks volumes, either rightly or wrongly, about what is likely to happen to Wilson.  Basically, the Governor, by his words, has already charged him with murder.  Add to this, the fact that a Grand Jury has been convened in record time while separate investigations are still underway.  And those investigations are sorely needed because, as it stands right now, there are no consistent eye witness accounts of what actually happened that day. In fact, it has been reported that a dozen witnesses agree that Brown actually charged the police car before the shooting.

With all that, one can easily conclude that the railroad tracks are being quickly laid to convict Wilson in an effort to simply stem the rioting.

Illegal rioting and looting should not be a reason to set aside the very principles of our legal system where an accused receives a fair and impartial trial with equal justice under the law. The Governor's words surely have tainted the jury pool should Wilson be brought to trial.


Missouri gov calls for 'vigorous prosecution' of Ferguson shooting case:

Grand Jury to Probe Ferguson Teen’s Death:

FBI Investigating Ferguson Police Shooting of Teen Michael Brown:

‘A dozen witnesses’ say Ferguson teen attacked cop before shooting:

Shooting Accounts Differ as Holder Schedules Visit to Ferguson:

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My David Gregory Prediction Finally Comes True

In December of 2008, I wrote a blog entry in which I said this about David Gregory and his recent appointment as the host of Meet the Press:
"I think, like the entire direction of NBC, "Meet the Press" will slowly (maybe even quickly) go downhill. Gregory is certainly not of the class of those who came before him."
Now, 4-1/2 years later, "Meet the Press" has seen 20-year lows and, well, David Gregory is on his way out.

When I made that prediction in 2008, I didn't have a crystal ball.  All I knew is that NBC, by appointing Gregory, had overtly decided to abandon the down the middle reporting that was the hallmark of Tim Russert and, instead, take the show to the political left.   In doing so, they were sure to lose conservatives, like myself, who had appreciated years of Russert's fairness.  At the same time, centrists as well, would probably abandon the show once they realized that the reporting was too far left.  Couple this with the fact that a guy like Gregory would do everything possible to protect and not criticize a sitting liberal Democrat President and, it is no wonder they lost audience.  After all, the show's name is "Meet The Press" with the implication that the press would ask the expected hard-hitting questions.  But, that's not where this show has gone.

The current speculation is that Chuck Todd will replace Gregory.  Todd too, is a lefty; just not as far left as Gregory, and unless the production staff takes "Meet the Press" to the center it isn't going to make much of a difference in ratings.


Cutting Through The Fog: December 3, 2008: David Gregory and "Meet the Press":

'Meet The Press' Gets Some Of Its Lowest Ratings In Over 20 Years:

Playbook: Chuck Todd likely to replace David Gregory on 'Meet the Press':

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Operations In Iraq: 4 Presidents Spanning 24 years and Counting

Thanks to Michele Hackman at the Wall Street Journal, the following graphic is the most concise but informative overview of the United States actions in Iraq.

Monday, August 18, 2014

With The Death Of A Teenager Comes The Death Of Ferguson, Missouri

On either a social or economic basis, rarely does a community ever recover from racially motivated rioting and looting.

What little trust that existed between a predominately white police force and a predominately black community has to have been eroded even further; meaning that, possibly many of the current white police are going to move elsewhere, resulting in a loss of good and experienced officers.  And, equally good officers aren't going to want to come to Ferguson because of its reputation.  Those that remain, fearing another Michael Brown situation, will be less aggressive towards crime in the city.  Ultimately, the town will become less protected and crime rates, already higher than the national average, will increase.

Some shop owners and other businesses may also move on.  As a result, the already high 13 percent unemployment rate will only rise

If Ferguson follows the pattern of other communities that saw rioting in the 1960's, then both whites and blacks will decide to leave the city.  But, the combination of the town's reputation and the fact that many may want to leave, will seriously depress home prices.  Home values in the communities where there was rioting in the 1960's saw a drop in values from 14 to 20%.

The longer the looting and rioting persist, the more damage will be done, but, even now, the damage to the future of Ferguson might be quite severe.  Left behind by all those outsiders who helped foment the anger and rage.


The Consequences of the 1960's Race Riots Come Into View:

Ferguson, MO Crime and Crime Rate:

Ferguson, Mo. Emblematic of Growing Suburban Poverty:

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Ferguson Missouri Shooting: We Need Calm Not Violence

On the Monday following the shooting of an unarmed 18-year old black male by a white cop, I was listening as an angry black male called into a radio talk show.  His simplified accounting of what happened in Ferguson, Missouri was that the police officer involved, shot Michael Brown because he and another black man wouldn't get out of the street. Sadly, this is how the situation in being portrayed and this can only inflame the community further.  Certainly, the mere presence of Al Sharpton in Ferguson only intensifies the anger because, if he's there, its assumed that the shooting must have been a racist act.

Then, Jesse Jackson felt obligated to write an opinion piece for USA Today entitled: 'There's a Ferguson' near you' where, in the very first sentence, he writes:
"Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old African American male in suburban Ferguson, Missouri, who had just graduated from high school and planned to start college, has joined a long line of blacks, especially black males, who have recently been gunned down, wrestled down and killed by white men and/or white police officers who claim "reasonable fear" or "self-defense" as their defense."
So,  again, racism is being implied in the Ferguson shooting, Additionally, there is also the implication that blacks are being shot at random by both white men and white cops.

The first problem with all of the above is the accounting of the event.  From the Cafemom website, here is the most concise report of what is currently known to have happened:
"Apparently, around noon on Sunday, an officer approached Brown (who was walking to his grandmother's home, according to his parents) and another man. As the cop exited his vehicle, one of the men allegedly pushed him back in the car and assaulted him. During the struggle, a shot was fired inside the car. As Brown left the scene, the officer shot him about 35 feet way. The report noted that several shots were fired from the cop's gun. "
To me, this seems to be a more logical explanation of what happened than the belief that Brown was simply shot for not getting out of the street. Then too, the real truth may lie somewhere in between and only a thorough investigation will uncover the facts.

The other problem I have is Jesse Jackson's implication that there is a "long line of blacks" being killed by white cops and other white men claiming "reasonable fear" or "self-defense" as their defense.  The problem with that claim is that statistics don't support it.  First, a decades long study found that 94% of all black deaths as victims of shootings were committed by other blacks.  The remaining 6% is made up of not just whites but, also, Hispanics.  So, if Mr. Jackson has a problem with blacks being killed, it should be directed at his own ethnic community.

Additionally, in 2011 it was determined that there were a total 1,146 officer involved shootings that year.  Of that there were 607 deaths.  When taken against a base of roughly 780,000 officers in the U.S., that's less than two-tenths of one percent of all officers who where even involved in any shooting and less than one-tenth of one percent that were involved in a shooting death.  Now, what is true is that about half of those deaths were black. But, then too, one out of every three black men is expected to be involved in a crime that results in imprisonment during thei lifetime.  So, with the higher rate of criminal activity, there is also going to be a higher rate of officer involved shootings and deaths.

What Mr. Jackson also neglects to mention after he tells us of Ferguson being 70% black, is the fact that violent crime in that St. Louis suburb is 25% higher than the national average and total crime is 58% higher.  Yet, the police force is relatively small compared to the national average.  This fact alone serves to keep tensions high between the police and the community, and the higher percentage of lawlessness is probably why there is all the looting and violent protests.

We need black leaders to stop stirring the pot and fomenting violence.  We need calm to allow the investigation to go forward and determine the truth.  If it is true that the officer killed without cause then, let him be tried in our courts for murder.  If he isn't brought to justice; only then should the likes of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson get involved.


Cop Shoots & Kills Unarmed Teen for Reason Many Aren't Buying:

Jesse Jackson: There's a 'Ferguson' near you:

A Black Man is Killed in the U.S. Every 28 Hours by Police:

The Trayvon Martin Killing and the Myth of Black-on-Black Crime:

Police Involved Shooting Statistics: A National One-Year Summary:

The Top 10 Most Startling Facts About People of Color and Criminal Justice in the United States:

List of countries by number of police officers:

Ferguson, Missouri Crime Stats:

Ferguson, MO Crime by Year and Type:

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Like Obama Used Bush As A Punching Bag, So Will Hillary Use Obama

For years, President Obama has blamed his predecessor, George W. Bush, for everything that was wrong when he took office and for everything that continues to be wrong while he's been in office.  Just recently he took another shot at Bush for not having a SOFA (Status Of Forces Agreement) in Iraq; resulting in a complete withdrawal of troops and, subsequently, giving rise to the ISIS problem we have today.  Of course, Obama had 3 years to come to a SOFA before troops had to be totally removed from Iraq in 2011.

Now, enters Hillary Clinton as a 2016 candidate.  In a recent interview with Atlantic magazine, she summed up Obama's foreign policy as simply "Don't do stupid shit."  Then she went on to further criticize him by saying: “Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.”  Further, she blamed Obama's laid-back policy in Syria for the rise of ISIS in that country and its spread to Iraq.

So, there you have it.  Obama blames Bush for ISIS and Hillary blames Barack, and there are still over 2 years before the 2016 election. With all the problems associated with the current administration, Hillary has a whole quiver full of arrows she can aim at the President in order to distance herself from him before 2016.


Obama adjusts Iraq narrative, now blames Bush for troop withdrawal:

Is Hillary Clinton Right to Criticize Obama's Foreign Policy?:

Hillary Clinton Criticizes Obama on Syria Policy:

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Get Paid Minimum Wage: Stay At Minimum Wage

One of the downsides of raising the minimum wage is stagnation.  In other words, if you dramatically raise it, employers will be less likely to give their workers raises in any succeeding years.  Therefore, as each year passes without an employee getting an increase, that employee will see their earnings decline in real terms when measured against inflation.

To prove this point, we need only look at the number of minimum wage workers that existed before  they started to increase it in late-July of 2007.  In that year, there were only 267,000 workers earning a minimum wage.  In 2010, after raising it by a total of 40% in three successive years (2007, 2008, and 2009), the number of minimum wage workers rose to 1.8 million, and this wasn't because more jobs were being created.  Actually, 2010 saw the height of post recession unemployment at nearly 10%.  So, instead, the increase in the number of minimum wage earners was a direct result of those workers not getting increases.  Today, the latest 2013 data shows that there are still 1.5 million minimum wage workers; suggesting that only about 300,000 of those 2010 workers (about 16%) were able to successfully increase their incomes.

The conclusion.  Let's stop increasing the minimum wage by leaps and bounds every few years.  It is much better to index it to inflation on an annual basis than to keep using it as an election year campaign tool such as this year's current push by Obama and the Democrats to raise it another 40+% to $10.10 an hour.  That way, workers won't become discouraged with not getting regular increases in their salaries.  This fact is clearly evidenced by all the picketing that has taken place this year against fast food chains like McDonald's and retailers like Wal-Mart.


Characteristics of a Minimum Wage Worker:

After Years of Waiting, Millions of Workers Are About to Get a Raise:

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Real Story of Unemployment and the Economy In America

Every month, we get an accounting of the overall unemployment rate.  Last month, the number moved up slightly to 6.2% from June's 6.1%.  All-in-all, that number seems reasonable; given that we were at nearly 10% unemployment in 2011. As a result, many Americans feel that unemployment is not a big problem anymore.

However, out of that top-level 6.2%, there are some very disturbing facts.

First, many of our major cities are still suffering.  Take Chicago, for example. That city's unemployment rate is at 8.4% or 35% higher than the national average.  Los Angeles sits at 7.6%.  Cleveland is at 8.5%,  and Detroit -- still in bankruptcy -- is at a whopping 14.5%.

The two cities that depend on gaming and leisure revenues -- Las Vegas and Atlantic City -- are still on the high side of unemployment; indicating that Americans don't have the ability to resume vacationing at these pre-recession, entertainment hot spots.  In Las Vegas, the unemployment rate is still 7.6%.  Atlantic City is almost double that, and worse than Detroit at 14.9%, and we are now seeing once high-trafficked casinos closing for lack of visitors.

The bottom line is that many of our major cities have high rates of unemployment because, quite frankly, their economies haven't recovered.  All three of the major metropolitan areas -- New York, Los Angeles and Chicago -- are struggling to keep their heads above water, and at least 20 more smaller cities such as Oakland, Fresno, and Harrisburg could see themselves in bankruptcy court very soon.

So, when I hear that President Obama is going to "pivot" to the economy and how well it's doing under his watch, I know that he's only able to do so because many Americans only hear the top line numbers every month and too many of those will falsely think it's the truth.  But, this country -- now 5 years since the recession ended -- is still in a world of hurt; and, that's a story that is definitely not being told.


Chicago Unemployment Rate:

Los Angeles Unemployment Rate:

Cleveland Unemployment Rate:

Detroit Unemployment Rate:

Las Vegas Unemployment Rate:

Atlantic City Unemployment Rate:

Casinos no longer golden for Atlantic City:

3 huge cities flirting with bankruptcy Staggering under pension obligations and debt, any of these could follow Detroit into court:

20 Cities That May Face Bankruptcy After Detroit:

Obama pivots to economic legacy:

Monday, August 11, 2014

Obama's Lawless NLRB Hits McDonald's With Pro-Union Rulling

In another effort to increase unionization, the primarily Obama appointed National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has struck a labor negotiations blow to any McDonald's restaurant franchises. In its recent ruling, the NLRB claimed that as a franchiser, McDonald's is actually a "joint employer"; meaning that they are responsible for the wages and working conditions of all those operations in the U.S.  Therefore, they are being forced to collectively bargain with all labor; rather than have a small group of employees collectively bargain with an independent franchisee.

The problem with this ruling is simply: one of reason.  The NLRB claims that its decision is based on 43 cases that have had poor labor relations "merit" since 2010; roughly 10 cases per year.  McDonald's combined corporate and franchise owned employment is almost one-half million workers in the U.S.   So, 43 cases out of 500,000 employees is an infinitesimal percent of those yet-to-be-litigated labor violations (0.086%).  Further, the vast majority of those cases dealt with the 90% of restaurants that are independently owned. 

As McDonald's has noted,  their corporation makes no decision as to who is hired, fired, or paid in any of its franchises.  While they have a say as to what the buildings, equipment, and operations must entail, they has no input beyond that.  Pricing for products is independently determined by each of its franchisees. Each sets its own pay scales (assuming they are within federal and state laws) and also files and pays taxes independently.  It is the independent payment and collection of taxes and the private issuance of paychecks which undermines the NLRB claim that McDonald's is, somehow, a "joint employer". 

This is just another case where the left thinks they can break the dam and create mass unionization by going after the biggest.  In the past, the NLRB went after Boeing for moving manufacturing of the 787 to a non-unionized plant in South Carolina.  It's the reason that there have been so many attempts at trying to unionize the nation's largest retail employer Wal-Mart.  And, now, with the McDonald's decision, Obama, the NLRB, and the unions think they can end up unionizing all fast food operations in the country if they could only force it on the big guy, McDonald's.

As with most of what the President has done, this too will be found lawless when its constitutionality  is invalidated by the courts.  This is the same reason the Boeing decision was withdrawn in 2011 and it will be the reason that this decision, too, will ultimately be dropped or negated in law.


NLRB goes after McDonald’s and franchise systems everywhere:

McDonald's Ruling Sets Ominous Tone for Franchisers:

NLRB withdraws Boeing complaint:

George F. Will: Illegitimate NLRB ignores the rule of law:

Friday, August 8, 2014

Is Obama's Al Qaeda 'JayVee' Comment Coming Back To Haunt Him?

Just 7 months ago, when asked about the black Al Qaeda flags flying over Falluja, Iraq, the flip Obama said this:
“The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a JayVee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.”
Well, specifically, the group flying those flags was ISIS/ISIL or as they are simply known today: the Islamic State or IS. Today, that supposed 'JayVee' team has much of eastern Syria and the north-northeastern area of Iraq under their control. Now their threatening American lives and starving Christian religious groups who are trapped on a mountain. So, we are forced to bomb IS in Iraq in order to protect Americans and non-Muslims who's lives are being threatened.  As usual, the President appears to look at the world through his personal pair of rose colored glasses.  As a result, he is repeatedly caught off guard by growing crises; whether they be in the Ukraine, Libya, Syria, Gaza or, now, with IS in Iraq.  

The "JayVee" statement clearly reveals why this President is so weak when it comes to foreign policy.  The latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, shows only 36% of those polled (nationally) give Obama a thumbs up on foreign policy.  Most think of him as a failure.


Obama on Al Qaeda Groups: ‘If a Jayvee Team Puts on Lakers Uniforms, That Doesn’t Make Them Kobe’:

Poll: Obama sinks on foreign policy:

U.S. will use airstrikes to avert genocide in Iraq, Obama says:

Jimmy Carter On Gaza: Still Clueless After All These Years

Former President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, is probably the only president who has been so overtly pro-Palestinian.  He proved that quite clearly in his 2007 book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid".  Of course, one could easily conclude that, if Carter is pro-Palestinian, he must be anti-Israeli; especially if you look at how his book is written and how it negatively portrays the Israelis; and, at the same time, ignores the past hostile actions of the PLO and the Palestine National Authority.  So, it is no wonder that Mr. Carter saw fit to write an op-ed that lopsidedly slams Israel for the current Gaza crisis.

First of all, he lays the heaviest blame for the Gaza conflict on Israel.  His ridiculous argument is that Israel has suffered less causalities.  Of course, Carter completely ignores the fact that Israel's retaliatory actions are in response to more than 2000 rocket attacks; aimed carelessly into civilian populated areas.  And, if Israel didn't have such an extensive alert and shelter system and a highly accurate anti-missile system, they too would have suffered heavy casualties.  Further, Carter also seems to ignore the fact that Hamas has intentionally positioned rocket launchers in heavily populated areas; knowing full well that there would be high causalities and heavy damage covering entire neighborhoods.  Now, normally, such a one-sided and sustained loss of life and property would be a reason for Hamas to stand down and stop its rocket attacks, but, high casualties and property loss is exactly what they want.  Hamas wants empty-headed people, like Carter, to side with them against Israel in the court of public opinion.

Then, the former President argues that the Gaza strip barricade should be torn down; allowing the free-flow of Palestinians and goods across the Gaza/Israel border.  Again, ridiculous.  The only reason  the barricade even exists is because of the terror attacks the PLO had previously conducted against Israel by coming across that border.  Now, with Hamas, as active as it is, there is even more reason to control it.  If Israel did open the border, it would open itself up to the free flow of terrorism.  Carter obviously can't see that or, perhaps, wants actually wants increase terrorist attacks against Israel.

In the final key element of his op-ed, he says that Israel should accept Hamas as a legitimate political element of the Palestine people.  Well, maybe Carter should read the 1988 Covenant (Charter) of Hamas.

First, there is this statement:
"'Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.'"  

And, then there's this:
"'[Peace] initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement. Those conferences are no more than a means to appoint the infidels as arbitrators in the lands of Islam. There is no solution for the Palestinian problem except by Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are but a waste of time, an exercise in futility.' (Article 13)".  

So, in essence, if Israel was to accept Hamas, as Carter would suggest, it would be signing on to its own obliteration and accepting that Hamas will never sign any peace agreement between the Palestinians and the Israelis. 

The bottom line is that Carter is an anti-Semite.  His blind-eyed op-ed is just more proof of this.


Washington Post:  Jimmy Carter, Palestinian Sympathizer:

U.K. Daily Mail: 'This is a humanitarian catastrophe': Former president Jimmy Carter says 'there is no humane or legal justification' for the way Israel has attacked Gaza:

1988 The Covenant of Hamas: Key Points:

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Whoopi: The "CDC" Will Keep Us Safe As Ebola Victims Return To U.S.

According to Whoopi Goldberg,  the "CDC and all these doctors" will keep us safe from the spread of Ebola in the U.S. as the infected Americans return home.  Her comments were in response to a Donald Trump tweet that questioned the decision to bring the two stricken doctors back to the U.S.

The last thing Whoopi should have done is mention the CDC (the Center for Disease Control).  In the last two months there has been some very dangerous mishandling of deadly viruses by the CDC. First, as many as 75 workers may have been exposed to live anthrax spores at their high level, bio-security facility in Atlanta.  Just a stone's throw from the same facility where the Ebola victims will be housed. Then, there was the case of deadly smallpox vials found in a storage room accessible to just about anyone, at what was never a high level contagious disease facility.  In addition, several vials of deadly Bird Flu were found to have been mislabeled as containing a more harmless flu strain.

For sure, Whoopi's intent, is to once again protect the President and her liberal belief that big government can do no wrong.


CDC mishaps show live flu viruses are nothing to play with:

Anthrax exposure a risk for as many as 75 US scientists, CDC says:

Forgotten vials of smallpox found in government storage room:

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: The July Jobs Report

The Good:

Obviously, the good was that 209,000 jobs were created.  Additionally, 119,000 people rejoined the workforce rather than sit home or waste time trying to find a job that was impossible to find.  This month broke a long standing trend of people leaving the workforce.  As a result, a long-term trend of a falling labor participation rate was reversed with that rate rising from 62.8% in June to 62.9%.  Most notably, the number of people forced to take a part time job because there was no full time work fell by 129,000.  People 55 years and older continue to beat the general population with an unemployment rate of 4.5%.  This simply proves that older Americans are willing to work longer and that employers are more willing to hire the older worker because of their experience and dependability.

The Bad:

The unemployment rate went up from 6.1% to 6.2%. This is not as bad as it sounds because it was primarily driven by people re-entering the workforce.  This is typical of a recovering employment situation where discouraged workers start looking for work again; rather than not be counted as part of the workforce and not part of the calculus for the unemployment rate.  The U-6 unemployment rate continues to remain high at 12.2% and went up again this month.  Many consider this the true unemployment rate because it does not "exclude" discouraged workers.

The Ugly:

While teen (16-19) unemployment was lowered this month, it still stands at a horrible 20.2%.  But, the ugly fact was that Black teen unemployment rose again this month from 33.4% (last year) to July's 34.9%.  Simply, employers are more willing to employ older adults than hire the less experienced teens.  The high Black teen unemployment shows that small businesses still haven't recovered in the minority neighborhoods of our major cities. High teen unemployment is one of the fallouts from increasing the minimum wage because older adults are more likely to compete with teens for entry level, minimum wage jobs.  Long term, this could result in a highly unemployable subset of workers who gained no experience during these lean years of high teen unemployment.  It could also result in increased income inequality in the years going forward.


Employment Situation Report for July 2014:  Above data from Tables A-1, A-2, A-9, A-10, and A-15:

Old Workers Hit New Record High As Jobs For Key 25-54 Age Group Slide By 142K:

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Dumb CNN Poll? Romney Beats Obama

On July 27, CNN released the results of a head-to-head poll indicating that, if an election were held today, Romney would beat Obama by 53% to 44%.  This was a big change from the actual Obama win of 51% to 47% in the 2012 presidential election.  Immediately, the supporters of the President jumped all over this poll as being stupid and immaterial because there is no way that the 2012 election will ever be rerun.  Nor, is there any way that Romney's imagined performance could be judged against the actual crises that Obama is being forced to handle at this particular juncture in his second term.

But, the focus on the Romney portion of the poll is a diversion away from something else it also reveals.  In a head-to-head Romney versus Hillary contest, Hillary beat Romney 55% to 42%.  Whether or not this gives some insight into the 2016 election, should both Hillary and Romney decide to run, is anyone's guess.  What it does show, through deductive reasoning, is that Obama loses significantly to both Romney and Hillary.  Obviously, if Romney beats Obama and Hillary beats Romney, we can also assume that Hillary would beat Obama and, a result, it reveals that Obama, today, would lose against two past competitors.  That speaks volumes about the poor opinion that Americans now have about the President's performance. In other words, buyer's remorse. For that reason, the poll is not dumb, but  fairly enlightening; especially when you consider that Obama can't beat a fellow Democrat.


CNN Poll: Romney tops Obama but loses to Clinton:

Washington Post: Mitt Romney leads President Obama — and other ‘dumb’ polls:

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Obama's Executive Order To Give Illegals Amnesty May Backfire On Democrats In The Fall

President Obama and the Democrats feel they are on the winning side of immigration reform; and, they believe that Republican inaction on the issue will only cause losses for them in the Fall.  That belief is based on recent polling of a cross-section of all Americans.  In addition, it now appears that Obama may sign an executive order which could give as many as 5 million of the 11 million illegal aliens some form of amnesty.  Of course this comes after more than 5-1/2  years of doing nothing.  Proving again that the President's only reason for this action is the upcoming mid-term elections.

The problem with Obama doing this on his own is that, while American's want reform, the last thing they want is amnesty.  In fact, a July 18-20 CNN/ORC poll showed that 51% (35% Democrats, 49% Independents, and 76% Republicans) wanted the most extreme level of reform, with not only the border being shutdown but with people being deported.  This is up 41% from a similar January 2014 poll.  Even Democrats have moved towards supporting deportation, with their number going up from 27% in January; indicating that the current flow of unaccompanied children has soured the entire country on any easing of access to our southern border.

Even worse, in a 2013 Latin Opinion Poll, most Hispanics (60%) in this country don't want amnesty given unless the border is shored up, and they also favor increased enforcement.  56% said illegals shouldn't get any Federal benefits and also, of those polled, 64% said e-Verified should be used to screen illegal immigrants when applying for work.

So, if Obama does provide amnesty to nearly half of all the illegals, it just might backfire on him.  Instead of solidifying the Democrat/Hispanic vote, it may in fact cause an angered and increased turnout against Democrats.  Even by Hispanics. Just in the same way that the passage of ObamaCare swung the House of Representatives from Democrat to Republican control in 2010.  This time, the Senate would fall victim of the President's lawless, executive order.  Of course, this is just my opinion.


Rep. Gutierrez: Obama Could Grant Amnesty To 5 Million People By Himself:

Two New Polls Show Continued U.S. Support for Immigration Reform:

CNN/ORC Poll on Immigration. July 18-20, 2014 (page down for specific poll):

Federation For American Immigration Reform: Illegal Immigration and Amnesty Polls: