Monday, November 30, 2015

The Futility of the Paris Climate Talks

Starting on November 30th, world leaders convened in Paris at the behest of the United Nations to come to some agreements on countering Climate Change.  The semi-stated goals of those talks are as follows:
  • Reduce green houses gases by 20 to 45% by 2030.
  • Agree to limit global temperatures to no more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2030.
  • Wealthy countries should agree to redistribute $100 billion of their own wealth a year to poorer countries so they can contribute to the fight in global warming.
So, that's all that's needed to save the world!

The problem with the above is that it contradicts past statements made by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which is made up of 2000 scientists.  As reported by the -- one of the San Francisco Chronicle's online news sites -- the IPCC believed the following 11 years ago:
  • It's already too late to stop extreme global warming because it would take 50 to 100 years to reverse the amount of CO2 already in our atmosphere.
  • To avoid extreme global warming, the world must act now by reducing CO2 levels by 50% to 70%.
  • A 2 degree Celsius rise would cause extreme and catastrophic weather events throughout the world.
  • A new focus should be on preparing the world on the inevitability of our global warming fate.
Obviously, there is an extreme disconnect between what was said 11 years ago and the stated goals of this year's Paris talks.  In the Paris talks the earth's temperatures would be allowed to rise to the catastrophic levels of 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.  Instead of a recommended 50% to 70% reduction in CO2, the Paris' goal is between 20% to 45%. Also, it should be pointed out that, as of 2015, the world is supposedly already at 1 degree Celsius+ above pre-industrial temperature levels.

In my opinion, getting the world to abide by whatever the Paris attendees try and agree on, will be a lot like herding cats.

Some might achieve or even exceed the targets while many others won't.  There's a long time between now and 2030.  Recessions, war, changes in political leadership and governments can easily alter a county's priorities away from focusing on global warming.  And, there will always be corruption.  Poorer countries, run by despots and receiving climate change funding, will never see those monies applied to the cause.  Instead the funds will be diverted to corrupt leadership.  Already, Latin America is asking for reparations from rich countries for any damage done to their countries.  Even if its unable to prove it was caused by global warming.

I think Paris will, in retrospect, turn out to be an exercise in futility.  Just as the original global warming initiative in Kyoto, was a farce.


Paris climate summit: world leaders told to iron out differences before talks end:

Warming set to breach 1C threshold:

SFGate: It's much too late to sweat global warming / Time to prepare for inevitable effects of our ill-fated future:

LatAm hands climate bill to rich world at summit:

The global warming dividend: Canada abandons Kyoto Protocol to protect its lucrative oil reserves:

Bush Taunts EU Over Missed Kyoto Targets:

Kyoto Protocol, 10 years later: Did deal to combat greenhouse gases:

Friday, November 27, 2015

Ben Carson's Jefferson and the Constitution Comment

During a recent interview on C-Span, Dr. Ben Carson said this: "Jefferson seemed to have very deep insight into the way that people would react and tried to craft our Constitution in a way that it would control people's natural tendencies and control the natural growth of the government.".

Almost immediately the American media jumped all over Carson, because at the time the Constitution was being drafted, Jefferson was serving in France as a U.S. minister.  The political left was even more vicious in their attacks.

But, here's the thing.  Jefferson didn't have to be in this country to have provided input into the crafting of the Constitution.  He simply corresponded with those drafting it.  For example, the Library of Congress makes this comment about a letter sent to Madison in 1787 after reading a draft of the Constitution:
"Thomas Jefferson's December 20, 1787, letter to James Madison contains objections to key parts of the new Federal Constitution. Primarily, Jefferson noted the absence of a bill of rights and the failure to provide for rotation in office or term limits, particularly for the chief executive. During the writing and ratification of the constitution, in an effort to influence the formation of the new governmental structure, Jefferson wrote many similar letters to friends and political acquaintances in America."
We know, today, that a Bill of Rights was added as the first ten amendments which defined personal freedoms and limited the scope of government. So, Jefferson's input was influential. The only mistake that Carson made was in saying Jefferson "tried to craft" which implies that he was the actual author of the Constitution.


Carson flubs Thomas Jefferson's role in the Constitution:

Ben Carson Doesn't Know Who Wrote The Constitution:

Library of Congress: Thomas Jefferson:

United States Bill of Rights:

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Bad News: ObamaCare May Be Terminally ILL

Just recently, the healthcare insurance giant, United Healthcare announced that it may leave the ObamaCare exchanges at the end of 2016; claiming losses as the reason.  Now, ask yourself: If the nation's largest insurer can't operate successfully in the exchanges, then how can smaller companies survive?  Well that question can be easily answered by something called the "Risk Corridors" provision of ObamaCare.

Under the Risk Corridors provision, insurers are given protections for extreme losses in the first three years of their operation in the exchanges (2014, 2015, and 2016).  What this means is, if an insurer loses 3% in profits, that insurer absorbs those losses completely.  However, if those losses exceed 3%, but are less than 8%, the federal government will compensate the insurer for 50% of the losses. If they are greater than 8%, the federal government will cover 80%.  Similarly, if an insurer's profits are more than 3% but less than 8%, the insurer must hand over 50% of those profits to the feds.  Over 8%, the insurer can only keep 20%.

This year, it was reported by Health and Human Services that, in 2014, the insurers are owed $2.87 billion dollars for losses, while the government is only owed $362 million in excess profits.  This is a clear indication that insurance under ObamaCare is a losing proposition.  The fact that United Healthcare is complaining about losses so late in 2015, means that the trend of 2014 had continued for United again this year.

A further indication of extreme losses comes from the fact that, of the 23 co-op insurers that were established by the Obama Administration at a cost of $2.5 billion dollars to provide competitive pricing and wider acceptance by doctors, 2 last year and 12 this year have gone belly up, leaving tens of thousands struggling to find new insurers who would include their existing doctors. For example 200 critically ill cancer patients who were being treated at Sloan Kettering, were left with no other insurer who would cover the cost that hospital was charging when their New York co-op went bankrupt.

Lastly, the fact that insurers are struggling to keep above water is reflected by the rate increases they submitted for approval by the state regulatory authorities.  In July, the New York Times found that the insurers were asking for increases of between 20 and 40 percent.  But, apparently, those increases had been disapproved and set substantially lower.  That ls because Health and Human Services only recently announced that rates will only go up an average of 7.5% for next year.  That means that the insurers might be exposed to losses of anywhere between 12.5% to 32.5% which will, again, be covered partially by the Risk Corridors provision.

Simply, as ObamaCare goes into open enrollment for 2017 and as the Risk Corridors support ends, there might not be an insurer left to sell in the exchanges.  And, if any are left, it will be too expensive for anyone to afford to buy or maintain coverage unless the insurance is heavily subsidized by the federal government.  At that point, ObamaCare will just implode.

Of course, you can expect Democrats to keep ObamaCare alive by wanting to extend or expand the Risk Corridors program.  After all, you can't just leave millions of people without any further insurance.  If that happens, it will just be a matter of time before a single-payer, fully government funded and controlled, health insurance program will come to be.  Something the Democrats have wanted from the very beginning.


United Healthcare may pull out of the exchanges: What does this mean for Obamacare?:

Risk Corridor Claims By Insurers Far Exceed Contributions (Updated):

Even If You Like Your Obamacare Co-Op Insurance, You Probably Can’t Keep It:

Health Insurance Companies Seek Big Rate Increases for 2016:

Obamacare premiums to rise an average of 7.5% for benchmark plan:

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Have U.S. Sales Of Electric Cars Peaked?

In the years 2010 and 2011, Americans only bought a total of 17,425 electric vehicles (EV's).  The following year, 3 times that amount were sold; putting another 52,607 on the road.  In 2013, that number was almost doubled to 97,507.  But in 2014, Americans only bought 25,542 more EV's than they did the year before; bringing the total sales for that year to 123,049.  Even so, that number represented 38% of all worldwide sales of EV's.  

However, 2015 is a completely different story.  In the first 10 months of this year, only 92,347 cars were sold.  Compared to the same period in 2014, this represents a decline of 8,018 vehicles  sold; year-to-date.   Also, America's 38% of all sales in 2014 fell to just 25% of the worldwide sales in 2015.  So, obviously, the slowdown is isolated to this country.

While a one-year decline doesn't make a trend, it could be the beginning of one.  That reality is reinforced by the fact that the growth in American EV sales has been slowing each year.  Certainly, as an all-around vehicle, electric cars are pretty impractical with limited range. Couple that with the knowledge that you have to find a place to charge them whenever you run their batteries down. Another reason may be that the price of gas has fallen from $3.76 a gallon in May of 2014 to the lowest price since 2006 at $2.39 in October of this year.

It will be interesting to see if the decline of sales continues.  Also, when it comes to saving the planet, putting less than 400,000 cars on the road since 2010 is hardly a "green" winner in a country that has more than 254 million passenger cars.  Additionally, the tax payers are on the hook for nearly $3 billion federal dollars since 2010 from handing out $7,500 subsidies to just 383,000 buyers of EV's; mostly a bunch of wealthy environmentalists.  $3 billion dollars is a hollow effort to save the planet.  Further, when people decide to trade-in their old EV's, they find that they take a big financial hit  since there is little demand for used ones.  There's no rebate and the fact that someone might have to replace a very expensive lithium ion battery is quite a turnoff.


Monthly Plug-In Sales Scorecard:

Electric Vehicle Incentives:

U.S. Retail Gasoline Prices:

Passenger vehicles in the United States:

Resale Prices Tumble on Electric Cars:


Monday, November 23, 2015

Why Radical Islam Exists and May Never Be Defeated

This is the seed of radical Islam:

Thousands of Madrassas (schools) like this exist around the world; starting in the 1970's.  In them, children are generally taught to take the Qur'an literally in a brand of austere Islam called Wahhabism.  For all too many, this is the only education they will ever receive.

While there are numerous verses in the Qur'an that teach peace and tranquility, there are many that don't.  Those that don't are based on the belief that there can only be one god in the world and his name is Allah; and that there can only be one religion in the world and that is Islam.

So, these children are taught that "unbelievers" (infidels) -- which, by the way, include modern day secularized Islamics -- must either be converted to fundamental Islam or be killed or enslaved.  Thus, they are taken back to the earliest days of Islam under the Prophet Muhammad.  A time when the Prophet, himself, spent the last 10 years of his life as a military commander in his effort to spread Islam through wars against Christians, Jews, and Pagans.

What should concern us all is the depth to which these Madrassas have radicalized Islam. In France, for example -- there are "No Go Zones" where the French government does not intervene and where Muslims are left to govern and educate themselves, and where support for ISIS is the highest of all other European countries.  27% of 18 to 24 year-olds, and 22% of the 25 to 34 age group support ISIS.

Simply, it is impossible to stop the radicalization unless the Madrassas are shutdown. 


Wahhabism: A Saudi Time Bomb:

The Quran's Verses of Violence:

KORAN commands to kill infidels:

Military career of Muhammad:

Muslim conquests:

What ISIS Really Wants - The Atlantic: Sharia Law Muslim 'No-Go' Zones in France:

27% of Young French Muslims (1.62 million) back the Islamic State, poll finds:


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Just 8 Out of 10,000 Syrian Refugees To Repeat Paris Terror Attack

It took only 8 terrorists to kill more than 129 people and wound 3 times that many in the attacks at 7 sites in Paris on November 13.  Yet, despite this, President Obama still plans to initially immigrate 10,000 Syrian refugees.  In addition, 72 Democrats want him to accept 100,000.  With those numbers, the odds that 8 terrorists could hide in plain site are extremely high.  In fact, I'm sure that ISIS isn't so dumb that they wouldn't take advantage of the refugee influx to the U.S. as a means to do us serious harm.  Is that the risks that the President is willing to take on behalf of our "values"?  Tell that to the families of those who may die or be wounded because of his flawed actions.

Obama and those Democrats better hope there isn't another Paris-like attack (or worse) on our soil before the 2016 election cycle.


At Least 129 Dead, More Than 350 Wounded in Paris Terror Attack:

President Obama Calls Rejection of Syrian Refugees a "Betrayal of our values":

72 House Democrats ask Obama to take in 100,000 Syrian Refugees:

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Obama's False Argument On Syrian Refugees

While in the Philippines, Obama spoke out against those Republicans who would close our borders and block Syrian refugees from coming into this country.  While doing so, he falsely implied that the GOP is "scared of widows and 3-year-old orphans".  No, Mr. Obama, the GOP are instead afraid of the potential fighting age men who might harm Americans in the same fashion as in the Paris massacre.  To that point, I present this picture of Syrian refugees entering Serbia:

I see two women and one child in this picture.  The majority are men who could very well do harm to Americans.   But, we also know from the Paris attack that one of the eight terrorists was a woman.

Are we supposed to believe that all 20,000 refugees, that are coming to the U.S. under Obama's directive, will be properly vetted?  Think about that.  Are we to assume that Bashar al-Assad has provided us with birth records and arrest records for all these people? I don't think so.  What are we going to do? Have them check a box indicating that they aren't a terrorist.

Don't forget.  This is the same Obama Administration whose FBI interviewed the Boston Marathon bombers and Fort Hood shooter and didn't see them as threats.


Obama Chides Anti-Refugee Politicians for Being 'Scared of Widows and 3-Year-Old Orphans':

Source of Image above: Alvand, 18, from Syria takes a selfie with his friends as they walk along a railway track after crossing into Hungary from Serbia last week. (Marko Djurica/Reuters):

FBI agents interviewed bombing suspect in 2011 -

Fort Hood Shooting: FBI Ignored Evidence Against Nidal Hasan for Political Correctness:


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The ISIS Name Game

Years ago, pop-singer Prince changed his name to a symbol which had no translation.  So, the media started to refer to him as the "Artist formerly known as Prince".  Well, when it comes to referring to the terrorist group formerly known as ISIS, confusion also reigns.  This is because the acronym doesn't translate well into English.

Most people, including the media, use the acronym ISIS thinking that it means the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria".  But the last "S" really stands for al-Sham (a borderless area called "Greater Syria" which includes Syria).  ISIS itself, prefers to call themselves the Islamic State or "IS" as declared by their current religious leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.  In doing so, any concept of border limitations is removed.

Our President, and most of his minions, prefer the acronym "ISIL" or the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant". But "Levant" is a variant of the Arabic "al-Sham" and much more restrictive of the geographical area that al-Sham implies.  Also, by taking the last "S" meaning Syria out of "ISIS", some believe the intention is to avoid focusing on the mess he created in Syria by not taking the lead to take down Assad.

John Kerry, on the other hand, is much more free swinging.  Sometimes he uses the term "ISIS".  Other times, when being a good Obama soldier, he sticks to "ISIL".  But, increasingly he refers to "ISIS" as "Daesh" which is actually a closer English interpretation of the original name "al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham".  The trouble with "Daesh" is that it can also mean things that can be insulting.  Thus, al-Baghdadi has banned the use of the term throughout his so-called Islamic State.  To al-Baghdadi, its use it and lose your tongue.  So, when Kerry and French President Hollande use Daesh, they are intentionally (I hope) insulting ISIS.

Lastly, the Iraqi government has started to refer to ISIS as "dookh" which stands for "Dawlat Al Islamiya Al Khalifa".  However, this, too, is considered an insult because it is closely related to the Arabic word meaning "confused".  As if things weren't already confusing.

Anyway, we're at war with some acronym that rapes, kills, beheads, throws gays off buildings, destroys irreplaceable antiquities, takes down a Russian aircraft, attacks Paris, and threatens to attack Washington D.C..  I think that if the world wants to collectively defeat these bastards, it should at least come together on a single name for the enemy.


Why is John Kerry referring to ISIS as "Daesh"?:

John Kerry defends Syria strategy ahead of peace talks:

Words matter in ‘ISIS’ war, so use ‘Daesh’:

Militants in Iraq and Syria are trying to re-create a nation that never existed:

Obama's Use Of ISIL, Not ISIS, Tells Another Story:

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant:

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Obama's Delusional War Against ISIS

In a press conference at the G20 summit, President Obama touted the fact that we have dropped 8,000 bombs against ISIS.  According to Mother Jones those 8,000 bombs are a result of 17 sorties a day; releasing 60 bombs each.  Just hours before the Paris terrorist attack, Obama said his actions in Iraq and Syria have "contained" ISIS.

But, understand that, compared to other wars, 17 sorties a day is simply a pinprick.  In the 13 years that we were directly engaged in the Vietnam war and before that war was "Vietnamized" in 1973 and we ceased all direct action, we conducted 1.9 million sorties.  That's an average of 400 air attacks per day.  Yet, we still weren't able to win.   On average, the daily count of bombs dropped was 1400.

Believing that dropping 60 bombs a day is containing ISIS is delusional. By the way, containing is not defeating.  Obama continues to believe that ISIS is on the "run" and Al Qaeda is on the path to defeat.  Really?


Obama Criticized for Claim That ISIS Is 'Contained' - ABC:

What Kind of Bombing Campaign Against ISIS Do Republicans Want?:

General Statistics-- Vietnam:

Feinstein Breaks With Obama, ISIS Is not "Contained":

Obama: ISIS Is On The Run, Al Qaeda is defeated - YouTube:

Monday, November 16, 2015

Free College and Student Loan Forgiveness?

Last week, college students across the country rallied, demanding free public college tuition and the erasure of all student loan debt.  Obviously, they'd gotten their cue from socialist Democratic candidate for President, Bernie Sanders.  Their simple solution to pay for this is to tax the richest 1% at 90%.  Thus, the lowest paid 1%-er would be left with $34,400 after a 90% income tax was collected against his/her $344,000.  Less than that when state taxes are also applied.  But, that's only fair in their minds.  After all, why should a senior law partner and Harvard graduate be paid more than a high school dropout garbage collector?

However, my biggest problem with "free" college is the fact that we already graduate too many college students who never fully utilize the degrees they have.  In a study conducted by the New York Federal Reserve,  one-third of all college graduates will never work at a job in which the degree they earned was a requirement; including all too many jobs that require no degrees.  And, for recent graduates, those under 27 years of age, that underemployment rate jumps to 45%.

According to the same study, of those underemployed, 45% will spend their working life in non-degreed but good paying jobs.  15% will never achieve a good paying job.  And, another 15% will spend their lives working part time.

To put it bluntly, these protesting students are asking the tax payers to pay for a full third of degrees that are, at times, more like hobbies than productive  or job creating.  For example, 63% of the people working in the Leisure and Hospitality industry have a degree, but are working in jobs that don't require one.

There's another side to this story as well.  American college students don't always dedicate themselves to a degree program.  From another study covered by U.S. News, we have this chart:

While lack of funding may be the case for some, most of the low on-time graduation story has to do with students making bad choices or not being prepared for college.  Twenty percent of all new undergraduates lose time towards their degree by having to take at least one remedial course.  Delays in graduation are also caused by changing majors or by losing credits due to transferring to another school.  Also, too many students prefer not to take a full course load in any given semester.  Or they simply  dropout for a variety of reasons not necessarily related to money.  Also, lets not forget that another study found that 30% of high school seniors, moving on to college, are doomed to flunk out.

In my opinion, making college free, will only exacerbate the problems outlined above.  College should not be a "right" as some would say. In fact, the goal should be to reduce college enrollment by focusing on better qualified students enrolled in degree programs that have a realistic chance of getting them a good paying job.  Does anyone really believe that the fastest growing degree program in this country should be in the fields of parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies?  31,667 degrees were earned in the last 10 years; most will never be used as originally intended. 


Students across U.S. march over debt, free public college:

Lowest Income For Top One Percent:

New York Federal Reserve:  Are Recent College Graduates  Finding Good Jobs?:

Most College Students Don't Graduate On Time:

20 Surprising Higher Education Facts:

Over 30% Of High School Seniors Are On Track To Flunk Out Of College:


Friday, November 13, 2015

Not Approving Keystone Actually Puts The Environment At Greater Risk

OK, I get it.  Obama wants to play into the hands of the environmentalist lobby by rejecting the Keystone XL Pipeline; arguing that there is no strategic or economic advantage to allowing the project to go forward.  Apparently, the environmentalists seem to think that if the pipeline isn't approved, Canada will just stop producing its tar sands oil that would have to be carried by that pipeline, and the world will be saved from global warming.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Canada isn't going to walk away from billions of dollars in revenue per year and all the jobs that would provide.  The reality is that they will just keep extracting the oil and will continue to do what they have already been doing over the last 7 years while Keystone was in limbo.  That means that their oil will increasingly transverse our country by rail.  A fact that resulted in record train oil spills in 2014; causing millions to be spent for cleanup; assuming it can actually be cleaned up.

Additionally, Canada already has plans to sell its oil internationally, since the U.S. has been dragging its feet on Keystone.  Despite what environmentalists seem to think, that oil will be used to provide fuel for an ever-increasing number of the world's gasoline-powered automobiles. 

So, essentially our own environment may suffer from increased rail oil spills,  and the  atmosphere will probably suffer from less effective refining in other countries. 

Lastly, the argument that Canada's tar sands oil is extremely dirty is another lie that was used to kill Keystone.  The U.S. actually extracts and refines even dirtier oils in places such as California and Alaska.

Between oil spills and less effective refining, the U.S. and world environments are actually at greater risk than they would be with the Keystone pipeline. 


Obama’s Keystone Rejection Strengthens His Hand at Climate Talks:

Oil Train Spills Hit Record Level in 2014:

Canadian tar sands crude heads to Bay Area refineries:

Exclusive Map: The Tar Sands Pipeline Boom:

How clean is our ‘dirty’ oil? You’d be surprised:

Thursday, November 12, 2015

U. of Missouri Football Team Established A Dangerous Precedent

When the University of Missouri (aka Mizzou) football team decided to never take the field again until the President of the University Tim Wolfe was removed, it may have changed college football's role in campus politics forever.

Tim Wolfe's sin was that he presided over a predominately white campus where there  was a belief that racism and other sexual orientation biases were not being addressed.   How severe these charges were, I don't know.  Also, I don't know if these allegations are typical of life at other colleges and universities in the country.  Nor, do I know if there was truly inaction on the part of the university's President and administrative staff. But, whatever the case, football teams around the nation now know the power they can wield.

For that reason alone, expect more college football strikes in the future. Strikes for all varieties of grievances that can really hurt a university because of the steep revenues each college gets for their televised games.  Understand that the Mizzou football team generates nearly $85 million in annual revenues. 

Ultimately, colleges may be forced to pay their football players to avoid strikes.  When income is at stake, players will be less likely to walkout in mass.  Just my opinion.


How the Missouri football team just took down its university president:

University of Missouri president and chancellor step down amid race row:

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Australia Doomed To Be A Third-World Country. Really?

What never ceases to amaze me is the fact that so many supposedly top scientists can keep making outlandish predictions that never come true, and yet they continue to get the attention of world-wide media.  One such scientist is ecologist and former Stanford professor Paul Ehrlich. 

Recently, the global-warming alarmist Ehrlich essentially said that Australia is “working to become a third-world country” through its economic dependence on mining natural resources for export and its reliance on coal mining.  And, that "gut feeling" prediction will come in the next 50 years.

The problem with Ehrlich is that he has made all too many predictions that never come true.  His biggest fail was his early 1970's prediction:
“Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”
Of course we didn't lose the nearly billion people in ten years that this award winning ecologist predicted.  In fact, since then, the population has doubled; and while there is starvation in the world and an estimated 10 million people die each year from it, the world is nowhere close to the 100 to 200 million deaths per year.

He also predicted that by the year 2000, the British Isles would become an impoverished bunch of islands with 70 million starving people.

In my opinion, Ehrlich and his outrageous predictions should never be so easily accepted as fact; especially when it comes to all the dire claims being made about global warming and climate change.  Unfortunately, in Ehrlich's case, the media eats his "bull sh*t" up and his fellow scientists keep piling on the accolades.


Paul Ehrlich: Australia will become a “third world country” if we don’t abandon Mining:

Paul Ehrlich:

What the New York Times Didn’t Learn from Paul Ehrlich’s Population Bomb Fizzle:

Paul Ehrlich still prophesying doom, and still wrong:

Seven Big Failed Environmentalist Predictions:

Embarrassing Predictions Haunt the Global-Warming Industry:

How many people die each minute from starvation?:

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Hillary Is Not Invincible Against Republicans

Among Democrats and Republicans, alike, Hillary Clinton is assumed to have a lock on the  Democratic nomination for President.  What is not so clear is whether or not she could beat whoever the Republicans match her up with.

As of this writing, Clinton only beats two potential Republican candidates in the average national polls at Real Clear Politics: Donald Trump by 2.2 point margin and Marco Rubio by just 6-tenths of a percent.  Understand, both these leads are within the margin of error of around 3 points.  Also understand that these leads are a result of a single NBC News/Wall St. Journal poll conducted from 10/25 to 10/29 that heavily skewed the numbers in favor of Hillary Clinton. For example, this is a screenshot for the Real Clear national match-up between Hillary and Marco Rubio:

Here's the screenshot for Clinton versus Trump:

Note: Click on either image to enlarge for clearer viewing

Among all other Republicans, Hillary loses; with Ben Carson leading with a 5.2 point spread win.

It is almost a year away from the Presidential election and a lot could happen.  But, the belief by many Democrat pundits that Hillary will get the nomination and win the election isn't that certain.


Real Clear Politics: 2016 Presidential Polls:

Monday, November 9, 2015

Melissa Harris-Perry and the term "Hard Worker"

In a discussion with former Bush-Administration appointee, Alfonso Aguilar, MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry took umbrage to his calling Paul Ryan a hard worker by saying:
"I want us to be super careful when we use the language “hard worker,” because I actually keep an image of folks working in cotton fields on my office wall, because it is a reminder about what hard work looks like."
 I am not going to say that slaves picking cotton was not hard work. But, it was only very hard work for 1 to 2 months out of the year during the harvesting of a cotton crop that took 200 days to develop. Also, slaves did not have exclusivity to hard work.  Thousands of children worked up to 18 hours a day, 6 days a week, for as little as a dollar a day, before child labor laws banned the practice in the early 20th century.

Before mechanization,  coal miners worked long hours, 6-days a week, with pick and shovel in wet and damp conditions inhaling soot that would eventually kill them with "black lung" disease just so Americans could heat their homes and locomotives could move products across the country.  They weren't slaves.  They worked very hard to house, clothe, and feed their families.  For them, it was survival.  Slaves, on the other hand, were provided with food and shelter by their owners.

Following the abolition of slavery, black sharecroppers, for the most part, single-highhandedly worked segments of those same fields that were once "picked" by slaves.  They did so on their own because they could not afford to pay anyone else to help them. That was hard work done in order to survive.

These are just examples of how Americans worked hard to build the country without slavery.  Whether it's working steel mills and lumber yards or keeping the general store open 6 days a week, 12 hours a day, slaves did not have a lock on hard work.  It is terrible that slavery tarnished this country's past, but it doesn't exist any more and Melissa Perry should move on and look at the positive side of what has happened since then.

Even as a kid growing up in the 1950's and 1960's, I have witnessed tremendous changes taking place in race relations.  But, Melissa Harris Perry, who was born in 1972, has no recollection of that.  She chooses to hold on to the hostility and bitterness of those unable or unwilling to move forward.


MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry redefines ‘hard worker’:

A History of Child Labor:

Typical Planting & Harvesting of Crops:


History of coal miners:


Friday, November 6, 2015

Tarantino's Misguided Attitude Toward Cops

In this country, the arrest rate per 100,000 residents is 3888.2.  That means that over 2-1/2 million arrests are made each year.  In making those arrests, a police officer never knows if the person being arrested will attempt to kill him/her or not; even during a routine traffic stop.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics,  nearly 20% of all inmates in state prisons were armed at the time of arrest.  For federal prisoners, the rate is 15%.  Often, the decision whether or not to use deadly force is made in a split second.  And yes, there will be mistakes, and unarmed people will die.  Whether its a young boy with an air gun that had its normally identifying orange tip removed or, a woman pulling out a cell phone at the wrong time.

So, here are the stats on police killings as of this writing.

According to a website run by The U.K. Guardian called 'The Counted', through November 15th, a total of 964 persons were killed by U.S. police in 2015.  20% of those (190) were unarmed at the time of their death.  Also understand that we don't know the circumstances surrounding those 190 deaths and whether or not the police personnel causing them were found to be guilty of murder, or whether or not the deaths were deemed accidental or justified. For example, 47 of those 190 deaths were as a result of being tasered; a supposedly non-lethal tool for cops to use when someone is resisting arrest.

To me, Quentin Tarantino's charge that cops are "murderers" is totally unfounded.  Given the number of times the police have had to arrest someone committing a crime -- 2-1/2 million times -- the number of unarmed deaths-by-cops is extremely small.  This proves that U. S. cops are showing relative restraint before using deadly force.  And, where is  the gratitude from Tarantino for the 2-1/2 million arrests made while enforcing the law, putting themselves in jeopardy,  and keeping people safe?


Pressure is on Tarantino to apologize for calling cops murderers:

The Counted: Numbers Killed By Police:

Fatal shooting of teen with toy gun was reasonable, experts say:

Uh Oh! Not Again! Unarmed Black Woman Shot to Death by Police in Georgia!:

Arrest Rate in U.S.:

Bureau of Justice: Firearm Use by Offenders:

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Occupy Movement Is Alive and Well For Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton

In 2011, the news was filled with coverage of protests by the "Occupy Wall Street" movement driven by the concept of income inequality. The demonstrations were directed towards the top one percent of income earners.  Since then and recently, there has been nary a word about "Occupy".  That is until Hillary and Bernie began running for President. While not actually declaring themselves members of "Occupy", their words say otherwise.  Bernie, the consummate socialist, would tax the top one percent at 90%.   Hillary, after seeing the following chart by the far left Economic Policy Institute, said that top one percent should be "toppled":

Click on Chart to Enlarge

Of course, what Hillary Clinton was aghast at was that, since 1979, the income of this country's top one percent grew by 153.6%, while those at the the bottom only saw a growth of 17.1%.  Thus, she is implying that the wealthy got that way by suppressing the wages of the working poor.

Now a few points about that chart.

Most of the growth in the top one percent's earnings occurred in the years that Hillary's husband, Bill Clinton, was President (January 1993 to January 2001).  Since his leaving, that group has basically saw-toothed its way sideways; being significantly hurt in 2000 and 2008 by recessions. Also, the recovery to the 150% mark was much faster under Obama than it was under Bush.  Clearly, the top once percent seem to benefit from Democrat Presidents.

But, who are these so-called one percenters and why have their incomes grown so rapidly.

Most people seem to think that the one-percent crowd is made up of millionaires and billionaires.  But understand that this country has about 10 million people whose net worth is over a million dollars; or, about 3 percent of the population.  We have approximately 1745 billionaires; representing just 2 one-thousandths of a percent of our population.

The reality is that, according to the IRS, the top one percent are individuals or families with incomes just over $380,000; and, the average pay of all the one percenters is less than $1 million at $717,000.  Just 235,000 tax returns in 2009 were for people and families making over a million dollars a year.  8,274 returns were for those making $10 million and above.  There really aren't a lot of extremely rich tax returns being filed.

So, why has the one percent's incomes grow so rapidly?

Well, we have a lot of people that are being paid drastically increasing annual incomes over the last few decades.  The average NFL player in 1969 was making just $25,000.  If adjusted for inflation, that would be a little above $156,000 today.  Yet, the average NFL salary is now $1.9 million dollars.  An average NBA player is at $5.15 million.  A major league baseball player: $3.2 million. Rapper Jay-Z has an annual income of $56 million. Kanye West $30 million.  Both Celine Dion and Britney Spears earned $15 million a year each from just their Las Vegas shows.  The 31 year-old Mark Zuckerberg is worth $41.7 billion for creating a premier social media site called Facebook.  Bill Gates is the richest man in the world with a net worth of almost $80 billion for co-founding Microsoft.  And the list goes on.

The growth of wealth spans all areas of the economy.  At the same time, tax policies, government regulations, and a decline in education has driven the high paying jobs off- shore.


Average America vs the One Percent - Forbes:

How Much Money Do The Top Income Earners Make?:

Average Pro Player Salary:

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Big Minimum Wage Lie: Raising It Will Reduce Poverty

Most on the political left, believe that raising the minimum wage will lift millions out of poverty, and that by doing so, government spending on welfare, food stamps, and other poverty related paid-benefits will also decline.  One liberal estimated that low wages are costing tax payers $153 billion a year.

Until 2014, it had been impossible to prove or disprove that assertion. The last time the minimum wage was raised in the years 2007-2009, we were in the midst of the so-called Great Recession where thousands lost their jobs causing the poverty rate to rise.

However, in 2014, there was no recession.  In fact, the unemployment rate fell from 6.7% in December of 2013 to 5.6% in December of 2014; the lowest rate since before the Great Recession.  The economy grew at the fastest rate ever (2.4%) in the last 8 years.  On top of that, 13 states entered the new year with minimum wages that were higher than the current federal wage of $7.25 an hour.  Washington, Oregon, and California led the pack with wages over $9 an hour. So, with all that, it would only be logical to believe that poverty would be reduced.

Unfortunately, the number of people in poverty actually rose by a half million in 2014 to 46.7 million. This after having fallen in 2013 from a high of 48.8 million in 2012.  But, more importantly, California, which has the highest poverty rate in the nation of nearly 24% and which has 20% of all those in poverty in the United States, saw their poverty rate also rise; despite a $9 minimum wage.

While I could name several reasons why this happened, the facts speak for themselves.  13 States raising the minimum wage didn't reduce poverty one iota.  In fact, poverty increased in what was supposedly a good year for the economy and jobs.

In 2015, the number of states with higher-than-federal minimum wage rose to 29.  It will be interesting to see if poverty rises again when the info becomes available in the fall of next year.


Raising The Minimum Wage To $10.10 Could Lift Nearly 5 Million Out Of Poverty:

2014:  13 states raising pay for minimum-wage workers:

Americans are spending $153 billion a year to subsidize McDonald’s and Wal-Mart’s low wage workers:

Unemployment Rates by Month:

 California’s Housing Costs Hurt Economy, Increase Poverty, Report Finds:

U.S. 2.4% Economic Growth In 2014 Strongest Since Recession:

Poverty: 2000 to 2012:

2104: Typical American family earned $53,657 last year: Poverty Remains High:

Census Bureau: California still has highest U.S. poverty rate:

State Minimum Wages | 2015 Minimum Wage by State:


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Obama Releases Thousands of Drug Offenders

In what is the largest single-release of inmates in the history of the Federal prison system, Barack Obama has authorized the early release of 6,000 convicted drug offenders on or shortly after October 30th, in an effort to show his resolve to reform the harsh penalties for drug offenses in this country.

What most don't know about this sleight of hand by President Obama, is that 3,400 of these prisoners had already gotten their tentative release and had already done additional service in a halfway house prior to full release.  Another 1,700 were illegals and will be turned over to Immigration & Customs Enforcement for deportation.  As a result, they probably won't serve any further prison time for the drug offenses they committed here. This leaves only 900 who are truly being released back into the U.S. population without serving time in a halfway house.  Statistically, this means that 49% of those 900 will re-arrested and will back in Federal prison sometime in the future.

But, what the hell.  Making it "look" like the President is really doing something about reform is what it's all about.  Forget the fact that if you make it to a Federal penitentiary for a drug-related crime, it wasn't for being caught with a bag of weed at a traffic stop.  It means that you were engaging in the manufacturing, trafficking, or interstate selling of drugs, and had been arrested by the FBI or DEA or turned over by the state's attorney general for a conviction under Federal law.  That fact has nothing to do with the decriminalization of drug offenses that have clogged up our state prison systems.  But, Obama has no control over the states, so, the only thing he can do is use  his pen to dump a bunch of big-time drug people out of the Federal prison system.


6,000 drug offenders to be released from prison Friday:

US prisoner release: Nearly 6,000 drug inmates to go free: