Saturday, June 29, 2013
Friday, June 28, 2013
The report is here.
We're still stuck at 2004-2005 levels.
Adjusted for population, 1995 levels.
We are not traveling like we were accustomed to travel in the past.
Posted by a countryman at 5:57 PM
The story was reported here in May:
"For decades, states have been offering benefit checks to the unemployed for 26 weeks. During recessions, Congress typically steps in and offers extended benefits for up to 99 weeks. States are supposed to build up their unemployment accounts during good times by taxing employers, based on wages. But their tax rates vary. Prior to the recession, most states lowered taxes on employers. Between 1995 and 2005, 31 states reduced unemployment insurance taxes by at least 20 percent, according to the Tax Foundation. That brought contributions down to 0.65 percent of total wages from 2000 to 2009 — a record low, according to NELP [National Employment Law Project]. ...
"Thanks to the 2009 federal stimulus law, states were able to borrow money interest-free to make up their gaps. But now Washington wants its money back. States now owe the Treasury $29.8 billion. That amount has actually dropped from $37.3 billion back in November 2011. ...
"Employers pay unemployment insurance taxes based on wages — but not all wages. The federal government requires states to tax only the first $7,000 in wages, a standard that hasn't increased in 30 years. Some states, such as Oregon and New Jersey, impose taxes on more than $30,000 worth of wages. But the national average is about $13,000."
Posted by a countryman at 9:25 AM
That's still the suspicion of Keith Jurow, here, who maintains that the numbers on Long Island alone continue to put 35% there seriously delinquent, and in Chicago, and probably other major metros, a similar percentage:
"Is this situation also prevalent in other major metros? I'm working on that. Stay tuned."
"What this means is that the Greater Chicago metro looks rather similar to the shocking situation in NYC and Long Island. Here is my simple conclusion: When the banks finally begin to take action on these delinquent owners in the NYC and Chicago metro areas, home prices will start to collapse.
"Is this situation also prevalent in other major metros? I'm working on that. Stay tuned."
This state of affairs would seem to be the best explanation for continued Federal Reserve policies of near zero interest rates and quantitative easing, long after the panic of 2008. The housing crisis remains a banking crisis requiring extraordinary leniency toward banks to give them time to repair their balance sheets. The dead weight of non-performing mortgage loans remains the elephant in the American living room.
Posted by a countryman at 8:51 AM
Thursday, June 27, 2013
So says CNBC's John Carney, here:
What the CBO does get right is that return on invested capital is likely to increase under the bill. What this means is that the richest members of the economy will benefit from the bill even as the poorest members suffer. It will act as a sort of anti-Rawlsian law, delivering the greatest benefit to the best-off in society. Inequality will grow under this law, rather than shrink.
A former supporter of The Defense of Marriage Act just like former Pres. Bill Clinton who signed the law, Rep. Amash changed his position on it in 2010 saying government has no business defining marriage, changing his position just as Bill Clinton has now changed his, regretting his former support of the law, as reported here:
Early on in his career in federal politics, Amash was a self-described strong supporter of DOMA, which, until Wednesday, barred federal recognition of lawful same-sex marriages. Sometime in 2010, his campaign website was tweaked to replace that assertion with a more libertarian stance.
Rep. Amash should switch to the Democrat Party, and take Sen. Marco Rubio with him.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
While everyone was fixated on Supreme Court rulings involving homosexuality, the third and final report of GDP for Q1 2013 got buried in the avalanche. A good place for it, too, seeing how bad it was.
The BEA reported here:
Real gross domestic product -- the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States -- increased at an annual rate of 1.8 percent in the first quarter of 2013 (that is, from the fourth quarter to the first quarter), according to the "third" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter, real GDP increased 0.4 percent.
The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for the "second" estimate issued last month. In the second estimate, real GDP increased 2.4 percent. With the third estimate for the first quarter, the increase in personal consumption expenditures (PCE) was less than previously estimated, and exports and imports are now estimated to have declined (for more information, see "Revisions" on page 3).
Poor growth is entirely apropos to the situation. Preoccupied by our own narcissism, we aren't PRODUCING.
Posted by a countryman at 11:59 PM
A relatively diversified precious metals industry fund like VGPMX is starting to look like an attractive investment. The fund NAV has now fallen to within 4% of its March 2009 low of $10.04, trading at $10.47 last night. As a stock fund, however, I would expect this fund to take a further beating in a real stock market correction, which we have not experienced in quite a long time. Overall we are today only 5% off the current highs by broad market measures. One should keep in mind that this fund had once fallen to nearly $5 back in 1998 just before the long gold bull began. So you could get sliced and diced by the falling knives to the tune of 50% in a coming correction if you invest in this fund at current prices. That said, revisiting the March 2009 low certainly would make this fund very tempting from the long term perspective, seeing that between March 2009 and the highs in 2011 the NAV increased over 180%. The fund has the potential to make you a lot of money (NAV+685% 1998-2007), or hand you your hat when it's done with you (NAV-75% 2007-2009). The NAV is down 63% since April 2011.
Posted by a countryman at 8:47 AM
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Monday, June 24, 2013
The Senate immigration bill has one basic problem: Its desire to make illegal aliens legal with the sweep of a hand.
Forgiveness is fine in church, but America isn't a theocracy, and Jesus Christ isn't its Lord, unless you are willing to make thought-adultery and a host of other sins crimes, and turning the other cheek and loving your enemies civic duties. Hate crime legislation is already one sign we've gone over the deep end into this sort of thinking. We're the Christian antitype of Sufi Iran.
Amnesty makes a mockery of the rest of immigration law and a mockery of those who have obeyed it both in the past and now, just as it did in 1986. It is cheap grace personified, the epitome of Protestantism gone off the rails.
|The 10 Year Treasury falls off the cliff on Jun. 19|
It is well known from almost every speech given by Ben Bernanke that he views Fed policy much more modestly than most of us do. A recent example was his address to the Economic Club of New York in November (pdf here) in which he said once again that Fed policy is only one part of what must be gotten right to ensure economic recovery. Both the Congress and the Executive must cooperate in his view to produce tax and spending policies which will not jeopardize the full faith and credit of the United States nor continue to grow the long term debt relative to GDP.
Having been unceremoniously shown the door by an ungrateful, ignorant and politically bellicose president on Monday, June 17th, it should come as no surprise that Bernanke reacted the way he did on Wednesday, June 19th, doubling down on the "taper talk" of May 22nd. No one in Congress nor The White House has taken Bernanke seriously about the urgency of the long term fiscal situation since the onset of the crisis, and if they are not going to take the bull by the horns despite his patience, Bernanke can well be understood to have given up, taken his accommodative ball and gone home.
I don't blame him one bit.
Posted by a countryman at 9:52 AM
Sunday, June 23, 2013
Unfortunately, you won't read about the Federal Reserve's role in the run-up to the Great Depression from Roger Lowenstein's discussion of the creation of the Fed beginning on this date 100 years ago, here in The New York Times:
One of the plan’s most strident critics, Representative Charles A. Lindbergh Sr., the father of the aviator, predicted that the Federal Reserve Act would establish “the most gigantic trust on earth,” and that the Fed would become an economic dictator or, as he put it, an “invisible government by the money power.”
Savers know the dictator. Executive Order 6102 in April 1933 made them hand over their gold at $20.67 for an ounce only to learn in May the price per ounce was "raised" to $35. Savers now experience the same trick in a different form because they earn nothing for a lifetime of trouble due to ZIRP. It is not a coincidence that Lowenstein just leaves out the fact that one of the world's most gigantic busts occurred not 17 years after the creation of the Federal Reserve, just as it is not a coincidence that the current bust occurred not 10 years after Gramm-Leach-Bliley undid the banking reform of Glass-Steagall which had to be passed to fix what was wrong with Federal Reserve banking.
Particularly insidious is Lowenstein's use of the terms Fed "framers" and Fed "originalism" in discussing the Federal Reserve's origins, which had nothing to do with the framers of the constitution or the originalism which seeks to recover their lost ideas, ideas which were already long lost in 1913. Apparently those ideas still need to be killed.
Methinks the liberal doth protest too much of "ghosts".
During his interview with NBC's Gregory, Greenwald declined to discuss where Snowden was headed. That refusal seemed to prompt Gregory to ask: "To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn't you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?"
Posted by a countryman at 9:08 PM
Glenn Greenwald for the UK Guardian issues a blistering critique of the worst president in US history by almost every measure for his completely hypocritical violation of the 4th Amendment, here:
The irony is obvious: the same people who are building a ubiquitous surveillance system to spy on everyone in the world, including their own citizens, are now accusing the person who exposed it of "espionage". It seems clear that the people who are actually bringing "injury to the United States" are those who are waging war on basic tenets of transparency and secretly constructing a mass and often illegal and unconstitutional surveillance apparatus aimed at American citizens - and those who are lying to the American people and its Congress about what they're doing - rather than those who are devoted to informing the American people that this is being done.
When Republicans find themselves on the same side as former Speaker of the House Democrat Nancy Pelosi who says Edward Snowden is a criminal, it's a dark day for the republic indeed:
"He did violate the law in terms of releasing those documents," Pelosi said, drawing a thunder of boos from the crowd at the progressive conference. "I understand, I understand, but he did violate the law."
Oh yeah, one more thing. Don't forget that the Italians LOVED Mussolini too, until they didn't.
Saturday, June 22, 2013
Friday, June 21, 2013
The London PM fix yesterday was 1292.50, while the high water mark was 1895.00 on September 5-6, 2011. Compared to what can happen, it's been a relatively long, slow slide from the top.
The gold decline in 1980 went from 850.00 on January 21 to 481.50 on March 18, for a loss of 43.35% in just two months.
Posted by a countryman at 9:59 AM
Posted by a countryman at 7:52 AM
Thursday, June 20, 2013
|Jeffrey and George Osborne, twin brothers of different mothers|
Oops. World's smartest president strikes again, three times calling the British Chancellor of the Exchequer "Jeffrey" instead of "George". Who knew George moonlights as an R&B singer, stage name "Gideon"?
Oh, sorry Vladimir, I vaporized your Moscow by mistake. I meant Moscow, Idaho. My bad.
Posted by a countryman at 2:30 PM
I don't understand how you can support conservative Republican Sen. Marco Rubio's Senate immigration bill.
The bill undercuts the wages of working people by exempting people receiving legal status for the first time from the Affordable Care Act provisions. Employers will have added incentive to hire them at a lower cost instead of currently unemployed citizens.
I urge you to vote against the Republican bill. It is not in keeping with the Democratic Party's liberal ideals of equality.
Posted by a countryman at 10:56 AM
|ESL Meets Tu/Th/F 10AM-NOON For 3 Months|
If we can't round up millions of illegals to deport them, we are supposed to believe each one will show up multiple times for English classes? At a cost of $330 million?
The English as a Second Language class highlighted at the left, chosen at random, met for a total of 42 times between late January and early May in 2013.
That's only 462 million class sessions for 11 million illegal aliens.
Like that'll happen.
Posted by a countryman at 8:43 AM
The lowest price in Grand Rapids, Michigan as of this hour was $3.39/gallon, which is 20 cents below the current national average of $3.59. Just weeks ago we were paying $4.29/gallon in many places, with discount retailers like Sam's Club charging 20 to 25 cents per gallon below that. Refinery delays in Joliet, IL and Whiting, IN were to blame, combined with a refinery fire in late April in Detroit, MI, drying up supply.
Posted by a countryman at 7:06 AM
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Posted by a countryman at 10:02 PM
Posted by a countryman at 9:26 AM
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Which is why critics remain unpopular.
A CNN/ORC International survey released Monday morning indicates that 52% of the public disapproves of Edward Snowden's actions, with 44% saying they approve of the leaks by the former government contractor who worked for the National Security Agency. ...
Fifty-four percent of those questioned in the poll, which was conducted Tuesday through Thursday, say the government should attempt to bring Snowden back to the U.S. and prosecute him for his leaks.
Let that be a lesson to you would-be whistleblowers out there: "No good deed goes unpunished".
Apprehensions of illegal crossers have shifted big-time to Texas, and soared, up 55% from a year ago.
The New York Times reports, here, and here (notice the politically correct terminology "migrants", and the appeal elsewhere in the story to "scholars" who deny the Senate amnesty has anything to do with the new surge):
Several parts of the border, like one 25-mile stretch west of McAllen, are at times not being watched, so the number of migrants who cross from Mexico without getting caught is surging, too, three agents said in interviews last week.
“It’s really demoralizing because there’s so much traffic passing through here and we can’t do anything about it,” one agent said Friday while on patrol, asking that his name not be used because he was not authorized to speak publicly. “And when you try to do something and they won’t let you do it,” he added, having been ordered during recent shifts not to drive his truck, “it’s just really demoralizing.” ...
Mike Salinas, an alderman in La Joya, Tex., a tiny city on the Rio Grande, said border agents there were frequently outnumbered. Last week, a single agent tried to round up a group of 20, most of whom he watched scatter and get away.
“People are just crossing without fear,” Mr. Salinas said, recalling crowds right in his backyard in recent weeks.
Posted by a countryman at 9:20 AM
Monday, June 17, 2013
|Marco Rubio and friend|
Peter Kirsanow for West Virginia Gazette Dot Com, here:
"The immigration reform bill has the potential to make things even worse. Not only will the bill grant amnesty to 11 million illegal immigrants, it will act as a magnet for future illegal immigration and substantially increase the number of legal immigrants. It is conservatively estimated that the bill will result in 30 million to 33 million additional immigrants over the next 10 years."
Saturday, June 15, 2013
To which I say, excellent sense of smell.
Sen. Rand Paul panders on many issues, from abortion to right to work, and uses them to fund-raise, because that's what libertarians do: they have something to say about everything because the world does not conform to their ideology. It's why Obama also politicizes everything. There is no place where the light of his ideology does not pry.
If you thought the days of George Bush were over, where you fight ideology with a better ideology, you would be wrong. A spokesman for conservatism in politics eludes us still.
Friday, June 14, 2013
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!
“We need to register them as soon as possible, not just to keep the problem from getting worse, but we’re going to require them to pay a fine, and that’s the money that we are going to use to pay for the border security,” Rubio explained. “If we don’t get that fine money from the people that have violated our immigration laws, then the American taxpayer is going to have to pay for border security.”
Here's the most wildly optimistic estimate of total revenue from fees and fines on 11 million illegal aliens from The Christian Science Monitor: $2,000 per illegal over a decade. And good luck with that given all the work-arounds to fines and fees in the Senate bill. But, make the wild assumption you'll collect the full amount, and you get a paltry one time total of $22 billion.
The cost of security just on the Mexico border in 2012 was $11.7 billion according to BusinessWeek here. America is going to spend well north of $120 billion for border security over the next decade, and along comes Rubio telling us we need to flush the illegals out first before we secure the border in order to finance the security, otherwise the taxpayers will have to pay for it.
What a joke. We're going to pay for it anyway, big time.
In 2011 Republican Governor Rick Perry of Texas was quoted in The New York Times here saying a fence alone would cost $30 billion and a decade to build:
Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, claiming superior experience as the leader of the state with 1,200 miles of the border, advocated a more complex strategy, combining fencing and surveillance technology with “a lot of boots on the ground.” Mr. Perry said that building a border-length fence would take “10 to 15 years and $30 billion” and would not be cost-effective.
Whatever the answer is to illegal immigration, the Senate amnesty-first bill ain't it.
Thursday, June 13, 2013
George Will, here:
In the fall of 1996, at the [IL Senate] campaign’s climax, Democrats filed with the Federal Election Commission charges against [Al] Salvi’s campaign alleging campaign finance violations. These charges dominated the campaign’s closing days. Salvi spoke by telephone with the head of the FEC’s Enforcement Division, who he remembers saying: “Promise me you will never run for office again, and we’ll drop this case.” He was speaking to Lois Lerner.
After losing to Durbin, Salvi spent four years and $100,000 fighting the FEC, on whose behalf FBI agents visited his elderly mother demanding to know, concerning her $2,000 contribution to her son’s campaign, where she got “that kind of money.” When the second of two federal courts held that the charges against Salvi were spurious, the lawyer arguing for the FEC was Lois Lerner.
More recently, she has been head of the IRS Exempt Organizations Division, which has used its powers of delay, harassment and extortion to suppress political participation. For example, it has told an Iowa right-to-life group that it would get tax-exempt status if it would promise not to picket Planned Parenthood clinics.
When news broke last week that the government has been collecting the phone records of millions of Americans, President Obama said he "welcome(s) the debate" over whether his administration has struck the right balance between national security and privacy.
That's questionable. If Obama really wanted this debate, he could have begun it when he first took office and learned in detail what has been going on in the name of keeping Americans safe from terrorists. Instead, the administration has worked to keep citizens in the dark for four-and-a-half years, and members of Congress have repeatedly killed proposals to let Americans know more. The only reason there's a debate now is because it was started by a leaker.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Still can't spell, though.
The New York Times, here, which says Clapper is now in an awkward position (yeah, like being caught in flagrante delicto):
At the March Senate hearing, Mr. Wyden asked Mr. Clapper, “Does the N.S.A. collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”
“No, sir,” Mr. Clapper replied. “Not wittingly.”
Mr. Wyden said on Tuesday that he had sent his question to Mr. Clapper’s office a day before the hearing, and had given his office a chance to correct the misstatement after the hearing, but to no avail.
In an interview on Sunday with NBC News, Mr. Clapper acknowledged that his answer had been problematic, calling it “the least untruthful” answer he could give.
|We don't get no stinkin' ObamaCare|
So Philip Klein, here:
[I]f the immigration bill becomes law, some employers could effectively face incentives of hundreds of thousands of dollars to hire newly legalized immigrants over American citizens, because the immigrant workers would not qualify for Obamacare benefits.
As the implementation of Obamacare approaches, there have been many news reports about companies considering cutting back full-time workers to part-time, or taking other actions to get around the mandate penalties. The immigration bill would offer employers another way out – hiring fewer American citizens and more immigrants with provisional legal status.
Naw, that's not intentional. Just an unfortunate unintended consequence.
Posted by a countryman at 9:06 AM
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Millions of illegal aliens are about to get a pass for breaking the law, thanks to Marco Rubio and his fellow Republicans in the US Senate, while Edward Snowden is vilified as a traitor and has gone into hiding for blowing the lid on the spying tyrants those politicians are and hope to remain.
Don't forget. Paul Revere and company were considered traitors, too.
Posted by a countryman at 12:10 PM
|Tea Party center right, London Enemies list center left, Paul Revere in the middle|
Here's the link, see for yourself.
(Damn fools can't spell "equipment").
I imagine all that spy equipment comes in real handy right before they call in the boyz 'n girlz with the (illegal for the public) 14" barreled Remington 12-gauge shotguns they ordered in February 2010, here:
"The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) intends to purchase sixty Remington Model 870 Police RAMAC #24587 12 gauge pump-action shotguns for the Criminal Investigation Division. The Remington parkerized shotguns, with fourteen inch barrel, modified choke, Wilson Combat Ghost Ring rear sight and XS4 Contour Bead front sight, Knoxx Reduced Recoil Adjustable Stock, and Speedfeed ribbed black forend, are designated as the only shotguns authorized for IRS duty based on compatibility with IRS existing shotgun inventory, certified armorer and combat training and protocol, maintenance, and parts."
Hey! How’s it going? I’m all right.
My job is so shitty I wish could overthrow my boss. It’s like this oppressive regime where only true believers in his management techniques will stay around. I work marathon-length hours and he’s made all these changes that have made it the worst architecture firm to work at in Manhattan. Like he moved the office to the Financial District and fired my assistant. She was the only one who knew where the blueprints were! I need access to those blueprints to complete my job! F my life, right? And he keeps trying to start all these new initiatives to boost revenue, but seriously we just need to stick to what we do best. There’s only one true profit center. I seriously feel ready to go on strike at any second.
I just read this article about how these free radical particles can cause the downfall of good health and accelerate aging. These could actually cause death to millions of Americans. If these particles are flying around undetected everywhere, does that mean we’re all radicalized?
Have you seen the second season of Breaking Bad? I just finished it. I couldn’t believe that episode where they poison the guy with ricin! That was the bomb! I won’t say any more because I don’t want to reveal the earth-shattering events to come.
Oh! So I’ve been planning a big trip for the summer. I’m thinking of visiting all of the most famous suspension bridges in the United States. So probably like the Golden Gate Bridge, The Brooklyn Bridge, and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. I’m gonna bring my younger brother and I know he’ll want to go to bars, so I’m thinking of getting him a fake drivers license, but I hope that doesn’t blow up in my face.
Okay, I gotta run! I’m late for flight school. I missed the last class where we learn how to land, so I really can’t miss another one. Talk to you later!
Hillary's Reign Of Mayhem At State Besides Benghazi Deaths: Sexual Assault, Prostitution, Drug Dealing, And . . . Cover-Ups
Cover-ups? WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?!
CBS News, here:
'CBS News' John Miller reports that according to an internal State Department Inspector General's memo, several recent investigations were influenced, manipulated, or simply called off. The memo obtained by CBS News cited eight specific examples. Among them: allegations that a State Department security official in Beirut "engaged in sexual assaults" on foreign nationals hired as embassy guards and the charge and that members of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's security detail "engaged prostitutes while on official trips in foreign countries" -- a problem the report says was "endemic."'
These two hypocrites work hand in glove lying to the American people, here:
'Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the national intelligence committee, has ordered the NSA to review how it limits the exposure of Americans to government surveillance. But she made clear her disapproval of Snowden. "What he did was an act of treason," she said. ... The director of national intelligence, James Clapper, said in an NBC interview that he had responded in the "least untruthful manner" possible when he denied in congressional hearings last year that the NSA collected data on millions of Americans.'
Meanwhile America is full of servile bastards who are fine with being spied upon, and it is they who enable creeps like Clapper and Dianne Goldman Berman Feinstein Blum:
'[A] poll by the Pew Research Center, asking a more general question, said 56% respondents approved of the NSA surveillance program.'
|Pants on fire!|
Monday, June 10, 2013
Well, welcome to the party, but we've all got hangovers since like yesterday:
"We think investors with a longer-term outlook should tread carefully in financial markets," TrimTabs said in its widely followed weekly market analysis. "The Federal Reserve and its fellow central banks have succeeded in making almost every major asset class in the world overpriced."
Posted by a countryman at 9:39 PM
Because that's where he belongs with his now unconditional amnesty for illegal aliens:
"In most of his public appeals for the Gang of Eight bill, Rubio has stressed its enforcement provisions, saying that border security must come before immigrants are granted legal permanent resident status. What he has not stressed so much is the fact that the bill would legalize the 11 million almost immediately, after they have passed background checks and paid some sort of fine. That would happen before any new security measures are completed, or even begun."
Making 47 million people on food stamps just chopped liver, huh?
"And the modest encroachments on privacy that are involved in getting phone numbers or duration without a name attached and not looking at content, that on net, it was worth us doing."
Posted by a countryman at 1:56 PM
So said Rush Limbaugh just now.
Posted by a countryman at 10:51 AM