Saturday, October 31, 2015

China's nine-dash-line claim in the South China Sea will finally get its day in court

But China won't be there to defend it.

From the story here in The Diplomat:

On Thursday, October 29, the Permanent Court of Arbitration awarded its first decision in the The Republic of Philippines v. The People’s Republic of China. The court ruled that the case was “properly constituted” under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, that China’s “non-appearance” (i.e., refusal to participate) did not preclude the Court’s jurisdiction, and that the Philippines was within its rights in filing the case. In short, Thursday’s decision means that the Permanent Court of Arbitration rules in the Philippines’ favor on the question of jurisdiction. With the jurisdictional issue resolved, the case can move forward to evaluating the merits of the Philippines’ legal assertions in the South China Sea. ...

First, and most vexing for China, is the status of Beijing’s nine-dash line claim in the South China Sea. Manila argues that the nine-dash line is an excessive maritime claim and not in line with the entitlements for coastal states under UNCLOS. With jurisdiction question resolved, we can look forward to China’s nine-dash line getting its day in international court (although, notably, without China taking part to defend it). China has kept the scope of its nine-dash line ambiguous under formal and customary international law, but once the Court decides on the matter, its ability to maintain ambiguity will be limited.

Second, based on the first point, that the nine-dash line is an excessive claim, the Philippines is arguing that China’s occupation of various features in the Spratly Islands is illegal.

The New York Times criticizes Republican tax plans, pretending revenues are needed to cover spending

"All of these candidates deny fiscal reality. In the next 10 years, revenues will need to increase by 40 percent simply to keep federal spending even, per capita, with inflation and population growth. Additional revenues will be needed to pay for health care for the elderly, transportation systems and other obligations, as well as for newer challenges, including climate change. And interest on the national debt will surely rise because interest rates have nowhere to go but up."

Who is the Times trying to kid?

Revenues have never been needed to cover expenditures and they know it, and rarely have covered expenditures. Expenditures will continue to grow whether the Times or the Republicans like it or not. They are baked into the cake of the legislation that drives them. The only way to fix that is to rescind the legislation or modify it, with its built-in cost of living increases and added population coverage assumptions.

This country has run minor annual surpluses in just twelve years since 1939, doing nothing but slowing down our present arrival at $18.2 trillion in debt.

Spare us the histrionics.

The heavy hitters when it comes to spending are:

  • HHS ($1 trillion, 91% of which is Medicare and Medicaid)
  • Social Security ($.96 trillion)
  • Defense ($.59 trillion, protecting the world without reimbursement)
  • Treasury Dept. ($.57 trillion, $.4 trillion of which is interest on the debt overspending)
  • Veterans ($.16 trillion, which does such a good job veterans die waiting for appointments)
  • Agriculture ($.14 trillion, over half of which is the food stamp program).

Together those six account for 88% of federal spending, and the Times dares the Republicans even to think about reforming Social Security and Medicare, calling instead for higher taxes.

Meanwhile there's plenty else to cut just by axing all the other departments which account for the remaining $.48 trillion making up the 2015 fiscal outlay total of $3.9 trillion.

Let's start with the Education Dept., $76 billion, then International Assistance Programs, $22 billion.

Ka-ching! Ka-ching! You're 20% of the way there, just like that.

See how easy that was?

Friday, October 30, 2015

Latest IBD poll reverses Trump to up 11 points to 28% from 17% last time, Fiorina down 6, Kasich down 3, Bush down 2

US Senate passes House sequester buster, budget and debt ceiling package this morning at 3:00 AM

They do nothing most "weeks", which run from Tuesday to Thursday, and then ram utter crap through in hours. Bunch of goose poopers.

From the story here:

"The bill cleared on a 64-35 vote, with just 18 Republicans joining all Democrats in backing the bill. ... The debt deal had already cleared the House on Wednesday, as part of a rush by Republican leaders to get it done as quickly as possible, leaving little time for scrutiny. The 144-page deal was written late Monday, and the final Senate vote came at 3 a.m. Friday, meaning it was sped through in less than 100 hours."

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Just 79 Republicans voted for new budget, blowing sequestration caps, lifting the debt ceiling to March 2017, and attempting to decide all spending for two years, a complete rout of the conservatives

The Roll Call vote is here, taken at 5:21 PM yesterday, before today's activities electing Ryan.

Boehner voted for it after engineering it. So did Kevin McCarthy, Paul Ryan, Fred Upton, Steve Scalise, Peter King, and Kevin Brady among others.

I note Peter Roskam voted No.

The story is discussed here.

A complete travesty abdicating spending responsibility just like Cromnibus, but worse. 

Ryan did not vote for Speaker this morning, nor did Webster, but Nancy Pelosi voted . . . for herself!

Outgoing Speaker Boehner voted for Ryan.

The Roll Call is here.

The only Democrat not voting was Meeks.

The Blue Dog Democrat Cooper who got one vote to be the new Speaker was the guy who voted for Colin Powell! Being a good guy, unlike Pelosi, Cooper had to vote for someone other than himself, so Colin Powell it was. And it sure as hell wasn't going to be Pelosi now was it?

Freedom Caucus caves, Paul Ryan elected Speaker of the House

Ryan received 236 votes for the Speakership on the floor of the House this morning, Nancy Pelosi 184. 432 votes out of 435 were cast. I'm assuming Boehner, Pelosi and Ryan didn't vote.

The Republican Caucus in the House numbers 247 in the 114th Congress. The Democrats 188.

Story here.

45 Republicans voted against Ryan yesterday in caucus, but today Florida Republican Dan Webster received just 9 votes of the 12 cast for candidates other than Ryan and Pelosi (Webster voted for himself?).

Blue Dog Democrat Jim Cooper (TN), Democrat John Lewis (GA) and Colin Powell (!) each received one vote.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Rand Paul's warped view of unfunded liabilities

"Your grandparents had too many kids."

No Rand, we didn't have enough.

Libertarian moron.

Huge flipflop tonight by Ben Carson on oil subsidies and ethanol

Said he was wrong to propose taking away oil subsidies to support others, never mentioning he originally meant Iowans and their ethanol back in April. Now he's supposedly against helping any industry.

So Carson finally gets ahead in the polls in Iowa pledging to boost ethanol at big oil's expense and then throws Iowa under the bus.

Breathtaking. The guy's a liberal at heart. 

Paul Ryan, who voted for CROMNIBUS, is just fine with the budget deal and the cowardly Freedom Caucus will still support him for Speaker

Paul Ryan, quoted in Politico, here:

"[U]nder new management we are not going to do the people's business this way. We are up against a deadline — that's unfortunate. But going forward we can't do the people's business (this way). As a conference we should've been meeting months ago to discuss these things to have a unified strategy going forward."

Sure, sure Paul. It'll be business as usual under you, too.

To Paul Ryan, conservatism means preserving Medicare for future generations, no going back on gays in the military, et cetera et cetera et cetera.

Under Paul Ryan's "conservatism", if you lose, nothing will EVER be rolled back. And that includes the spending.

His expressions of outrage are simply red meat thrown to his Neanderthals.


Ben Carson used tissue from aborted fetuses in medical research

Politico had all the gory details of Ben Carson's very complicated anti-abortion position here in August.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Gallup says Tea Party support hits low of 17%, peak support was in November 2010 at 32%

Polling results here.

The unending fascination of Sarah Palin for little Democrat minds

Dunderhead Democrat Party hack William Daley is stuck on stupid.

Here he is in full flutter in WaPo, like a moth drawn to a lightbulb, typing "The GOP’s dysfunction all started with Sarah Palin". It proves nothing but that it takes a dunderhead to know a dunderhead. The GOP has failed, he says, to distance itself from this simpleton who flunked Newspapers 101, and her ilk. Reading it one wonders when Democrats will distance themselves from ignoramuses like Bill Daley, but then you realize they're all ignoramuses. Where would they go?

Certainly not Chicago.  

Bill Daley, it must remembered, comes from the same Democrat family which presided over the decades long ruination of the finances of that once great city, and with it of the state. The place is now so bankrupt it can't even pay lottery winners. Those who can flee the state, do. Illinois ranks first in America for out-migration in 2014. These nincompoop Daleys are the same people who seriously thought they could afford to host the Summer Olympics next year, forgetting how all those $100,000+ pensions for unionized teachers can really add up. As it is Chicago's bonds have this year achieved junk status, despite the highest sales taxes in the nation and the highest property taxes of any state, save New Jersey. The place is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy because of perennially spendthrift Democrats.

In charge of the Department of Commerce under Bill Clinton, Bill Daley long ago proved his own incompetence. The man couldn't even manage to find a staffer at the Bureau of Economic Analysis to give him the correct figure for year 1900 gross domestic product in a 1999 speech commemorating the invention of the metric under FDR. Daley was only off by an order of magnitude and fifty years at the time, saying the year 1900 $20 billion economy was actually $300 billion in size, a level which it did not reach . . . until 1950! Bill Daley only ran the place. You'd think he could at least get its monthly claim to headline fame right.

But Democrats have good reason to forget the size of things, especially GDP. After all under them it took eleven long years to restore the 1929 $100 billion economy back to its size, in 1940. And presently the chief Democrat holding a veto pen in one hand and a copy of Rules for Radicals in the other is on schedule to produce the very worst GDP record since that Great Depression.

At least Sarah Palin has learned a few things along the way since her quixotic candidacy, for example rejecting the appropriateness of bailouts and crony capitalism. Democrats on the other hand have learned nothing, and only keep repeating the mistakes of the past.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

She's YUGE!

Big mistake: Donald Trump says he's 100% in favor of ethanol

The Donald, quoted here on September 22nd:

'Trump said that he supports the RFS at Iowa’s Faith and Freedom Forum, “I am totally in favor of ethanol, 100 percent.” This is the first time Trump gave his stance on the topic publicly.'

So far this only amounts to Trump supporting the current Renewable Fuel Standard signed into law by George W. Bush in 2005, but that's still bad policy. Ethanol is inefficient as a fuel, bad for engines and does zero to reduce carbon emissions. It diverts corn from animal feed, driving up the cost of food supplies from beef, pork and poultry, and from corn added to other products. Ethanol also makes it more lucrative to put more and more land into corn production than would otherwise be the case, potentially stressing the environment.

Arguably Ben Carson's success in Iowa over Trump in part has to do with Carson's pledge to push for 30% ethanol fuel blends, a tripling of the current standard.

The crony capitalism involved with ethanol is YUGE, making Iowa more important politically than it otherwise would be were it not for federal gasoline dictates:

"Iowa produces nearly one-third of the nation’s ethanol and nearly half of Iowa’s corn goes into ethanol production, according to the Iowa Corn Growers Association.

"Iowa’s renewable fuels industry, which includes biodiesel production, supports 47,000 jobs and accounts for $5 billion of the state’s gross domestic product, according to the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association."

That's about 3.2% of 2014 Iowa GDP.

Nebraska estimates Iowa production capacity at 25% of the nation's capability, ahead of Nebraska in second at 13%. Illinois, Minnesota, Indiana and South Dakota round out the top six, who all exceed the 1 billion gallon level of capacity per year. At 10.8 billion gallons of available capacity, the top six states produce almost as much as they can at 10.6 billion gallons, over 70% of total national production.

A number of the current crop of Republicans running for president is more or less opposed to ethanol:

"Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former New York Gov. George Pataki and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio have all expressed interest in eliminating or phasing out the ethanol mandate that requires a certain percentage of ethanol in transportation fuel."

Trump's position may reflect a conviction that he generally needs to be supportive of ethanol in these states to win them in the general election even though it appears Carson has outbid him in the primary season.

Maureen Dowd names Hillary the Valkyrie of Libya intervention, accuses her of negligence

Here, still pining for Joe:

'When you are the Valkyrie who engineers the intervention, you can’t then say it is beneath you to pay attention to the ludicrously negligent security for your handpicked choice for ambassador in a lawless country full of assassinations and jihadist training camps. ... [T]here were 600 requests from J. Christopher Stevens’s team to upgrade security in Benghazi in 2012 and 20 attacks on the mission compound in the months before the Sept. 11 siege. ...There were no call logs of talks between Stevens and Clinton, and she said she could not remember if she ever spoke to him again after she swore him in in May. “I was the boss of ambassadors in 270 countries,” she explained. But Libya was the country where she was the midwife to chaos. And she should have watched that baby like the Lady Hawk she is.'

But of course the Valkyrs picked who should die in battle, and who should live. In addition to picking Gaddafi, Hillary also picked four Americans.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Trump doesn't get why Carson is ahead in Iowa citing religion when it's support for ethanol giving Carson the leg up

Trump, quoted here:

'“I love Iowa, and I honestly believe those polls are wrong,” he said. “I’m a Presbyterian, I’m a great Christian.”'

Forty percent of Iowa corn gets diverted to ethanol production, without which food prices would drop as feed prices normalize. All of which would mean harder times for Iowans.

Carson wants to add ethanol infrastructure and increase its share in gasoline to 30% instead of the current 10%:

'“Therefore, I would probably be in favor of taking that $4 billion a year we spend on oil subsidies and using that in new fueling stations" for 30 percent ethanol blends, he added.'

If Trump were smart he would exploit the unpopularity of ethanol with the American people revealed in polling to marginalize Carson nationally on the issue, but that will never sway Iowa voters tied to ethanol for their livelihood, sort of like preaching against gambling in Vegas.

Trump can afford to lose Iowa, and probably will.

He should move on.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Obama Injustice Department closes IRS investigation without bringing charges against anyone

Reported here:

'"We found no evidence that any IRS official acted based on political, discriminatory, corrupt or other inappropriate motives that would support a criminal prosecution," the letter [to Congress] stated.'

Rush Limbaugh doesn't understand the number one reason Ben Carson is doing so well in Iowa


Crony capitalism in nutty Iowa: Nearly 40% of Iowa's corn ends up as ethanol, not feed, driving up food and fuel costs

Since 2010-2011, Iowa has produced an average of 12.7 billion bushels of corn, with an average of 5 billion bushels going to ethanol production, as reported here.

It is estimated food prices would fall 13% by repealing the Renewable Fuel Standard signed by George W. Bush in 2005. Ethanol also reduces MPG by 25%, is bad for engines and does nothing to reduce carbon emissions.

Republicans should kill ethanol! 

45 minutes after blaming Benghazi on a video, Hillary e-mailed Chelsea to say it was terrorism

She lies like a rug, like the rest of Obama's vermin.

Kim Strassel lays it all out, here:

'At 10:30 on the night of the attack, Mrs. Clinton issued a statement about the violence, blaming the video. ... Here’s what the Benghazi committee found in Thursday’s hearing. Two hours into Mrs. Clinton’s testimony, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan referred to an email Mrs. Clinton sent to her daughter, Chelsea, at 11:12 the night of the attack, or 45 minutes after the secretary of state had issued a statement blaming YouTube-inflamed mobs. Her email reads: “Two of our officers were killed in Benghazi by an Al Queda-like group.” Mrs. Clinton doesn’t hedge in the email; no “it seems” or “it appears.” She tells her daughter that on the anniversary of 9/11 an al Qaeda group assassinated four Americans. ... The next afternoon, Mrs. Clinton had a call with the Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Kandil. The notes from it are absolutely damning. The secretary of state tells him: “We know that the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack—not a protest.” And yet Mrs. Clinton, and Ms. Rice and Mr. Obama for days and days continued to spin the video lie.'

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Recent Republicans who won the Iowa caucus but not the presidency

Gerald Ford, 1976
GHW Bush, 1980
Bob Dole, 1988
GHW Bush, 1992
Bob Dole, 1996
Mike Huckabee, 2008
Rick Santorum, 2012

Boston Herald bloviates against Trump, defends Bush for DHS, DNI and Patriot Act

“The FBI and the CIA and various agencies were not talking to each other,” Trump said. They didn’t like each other, they were jealous of each other, and a lot of things skipped through.”

All true. But who was the one man to successfully tackle that problem, to propose and get passed legislation to create a Department of Homeland Security, a director of National Intelligence, the Patriot Act?

That would be George W. Bush.

Oh yeah, creating another huge, unwieldy and costly bureaucracy which is unanswerable to the public, spies on its citizens, routinely lies to Congress and botched Hurricane Katrina response was a real resume enhancer for George W. Bush.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Jim Webb abandons ship, Joe Biden abandons ship . . .

. . . it's all on Hillary to scuttle now.

Biden won't be a candidate in 2016

Announcing it live right now on the radio.

"Honey, it's going to be OK."

Yes, it will.

The thing about the Bush clan

Four years of George Herbert Walker Bush gave us 8 years of Bill Clinton.

Eight years of George W. Bush gave us 8 years of Barack Obama (in progress).

And you people seriously want us to consider !Jeb?

For the record Ben Carson has been a Republican for less than a year, Trump a conflicted Republican for 17 years

Story here.

Obviously Ben Carson has not been a conviction politician.

Donald Trump registered as a Republican in New York in 1987 (under Reagan), 2009 (under Obama) and 2012 (under Obama). In 1999 (under Clinton) he had switched to the Independence Party, in 2001 (under Bush) to the Democrat Party, and in 2011 (under Obama) he affiliated with no one, according to this source.

So that's seventeen years (12 + 2 + 3) as a Republican, two as an Independence Party member, eight as a Democrat, and one year unaffiliated.

Obviously Donald Trump is a conflicted Republican, but can't possibly be described as an Obama Democrat, if anything just an anti-Bush Democrat. 

Hey Paul Ryan grow up already!

Trump pulls 32% and +10 in latest ABC/WaPo poll, climbs to 27.2 and +5.9 in Real Clear Politics poll average

Caroline Baum should be Treasury Secretary: She knows there's no reason even to think defaulting on the debt is possible

. . . unlike the rogues running the place currently, who are playing chicken with the full faith and credit of the US government.

Once again Caroline Baum cuts through the silliness and explains that there's plenty of revenue to pay what must be paid, here:

'The U.S. Treasury can’t cover all its monthly payments with incoming monthly revenue. But it can avoid default . . .. In any given month, the tax revenue flowing into the Treasury far exceeds interest payments — by a lot. Last month, for example, the Treasury took in $365 billion in tax receipts and made $21 billion in interest payments. For fiscal 2015, which ended Sept. 30, those figures are $3.2 trillion in tax receipts versus $402 billion in net interest. The U.S. government’s ability to service its debt — the principal can be rolled over — should not be an issue. But Treasury has made it one, claiming in 2011 and 2013 that it lacks the authority to prioritize debt payments, something households do all the time. ... [I]n written communications with the House Financial Services Committee in May 2014, the Treasury admitted that it would be “technologically capable” to prioritize debt payments.'

Monday, October 19, 2015

Paul Krugman, comedian: The Danes aren't melancholy

'Nor are the Danes melancholy: Denmark ranks at or near the top on international comparisons of “life satisfaction.”'

Denmark also ranks at or near the top for antidepressant use. 

(chart source)

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Real Clear Politics peels away older polls, Trump rises but lead narrows, expect fresher inputs this week

It's not just the satellite data showing a pause in global warming

The land record kept by NOAA does too. The decadal trend is actually slightly negative since January 1997: -0.19 degrees F per decade.

The warming models predict neither a pause let alone such a decline.

It's significantly warmer in Michigan, but it's nothing to get hysterical about

This graphic from Climate Central showing Michigan annual average temperature increasing 0.622 degrees F per decade 1970-2011 is pretty amazing.

I went to NCDC's Climate at a Glance page and reproduced that same result for myself just to verify it (0.6 degrees F per decade).

But one has to ask, Why confine results to 1970-2011 (the terminus ad quem for the study, published in 2012, was 2011) when you can easily go back to 1895 and get a per decade trend result for a much larger sample?

The change in average temperature on a per decade basis for the whole available sample period 1895-2014 produces 0.2 degrees F per decade in Michigan, three times less per decade than for 1970-2011 alone. The result is identical also through 2011. Despite the significant warming since the year 2000, the long term trend remains unmoved and the current period of warming may actually have run out of gas.

Michigan average temperature is increasing 0.2 degrees F per decade 1895-2014

I thought it would be interesting to use the length of the sample period in question (42 years) and go back to the beginning of the record in 1898 and look at each 42 year period from then going forward to 1973 (which takes you through 2014) to see if there are any periods of decadal warming trend comparable to +0.6 degrees F per decade in 1970-2011. I chose 1898 to avoid some gaps in the record in some places in prior years in Michigan.

The results are graphed below.

It turns out there are five 42-year periods showing temperature trend of +0.5 degrees F per decade on the left side of the graph, beginning in 1903, 1912, 1914, 1915 and 1916. (Students of the Dust Bowl beginning in 1930, take note, as also those studying economics. Weak GDP of the era may be associated with warmer climate, as it also seems to be now.)

These correspond to six 42-year periods showing temperature trend of +0.5 degrees F per decade on the right side of the graph, beginning in 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964 and 1973.

If that were all that were to it, there would be no discussion of global warming today, despite the consecutive nature of the recent examples. The two data sets are almost a wash.

What is remarkable about the more recent data is the presence of four 42-year periods of +0.6 degrees F decadal trend (beginning in 1967, 1968, 1969 and 1970), and four of +0.7 degrees F (beginning in 1965, 1966, 1971 and 1972), all in conjunction with the +0.5 degrees F periods. It's a trifecta of warming data.

Still, overall the results show that there are two distinct periods where the decadal trend is consistently +0.2 degrees F or above: the 27 years from 1898 to 1924, and the 20 years from 1954 to 1973. In the former the average of the decadal uptrend is +0.3555 degrees F per decade. In the latter the average of the decadal uptrend is +0.4950 degrees F per decade. Clearly the latter period, contemporary with us, is significantly warmer than the former, by 39%, about which some of us have become hysterical.

The antidote to this is the trough of downtrend years in the middle of the graph which coincides with the period of the global cooling hysteria of the late 1960s and 1970s. The 42-year trend record went negative for 1928-1969 and stayed negative to flat until the period 1946-1987, nineteen years straight, twenty if you count the flat period 1927-1968. Year after year, the 42-year trends ended -.1 degrees F decadal trend or -.2. Many climate scientists predicted the return of an ice age while unbeknowst to them the seeds of a warming era were already germinating.

The record shows how quickly things can turn, for example 0.5 degrees F in trend in just seven years from 1923 to 1930, from above trend on net to well below it.

The decadal trend fell by a whopping 50% between 1917-1958 and 1918-1959, from +0.4 degrees F to +0.2.

More recently the decadal trend fell by 28.5% between 1972-2013 and 1973-2014, from +0.7 degrees F to +0.5. (It's entirely within the realm of possibility that decadal trend could revert to normal by the close of 2017.)

There was just one similar abrupt change to the upside. Between 1964-2005 and 1965-2006 the decadal trend shot up 40% from +0.5 degrees F to +0.7.

Otherwise the record shows incremental change in the trend from year to year, 0.1 degree F up or down at the most.

Don't be surprised when you see it.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Trump is averaging 23.6% in Real Clear Politics poll average, in first by +4.0

Surprise, The New York Times thinks Denmark, the land of the drunk, mean and discriminatory, is just wonderful!

Here, lying through its teeth, as usual:

'[Hillary] also said, “We are not Denmark.” Nope. Not by any stretch. Denmark has a slightly higher tax load on its citizens than the United States. But it also has budget surpluses, universal health care, shorter working hours, and was recently rated by Forbes magazine as the best country in the world for business.'

Hm, the same place as this:

"Yeah yeah, I’m being too harsh. Every country has problems, Denmark’s are just different from the ones I grew up used to. Overall, Denmark is quiet, introverted and socialist, my three favorite things. Also, if I ever want to spend a weekend being drunk, mean and discriminatory, at least now I know where to go."

The Danes lately excel at being in hock, in addition to being drunk, mean and discriminatory:

"Danish households owe their creditors 321 percent of disposable incomes, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. That’s the highest ratio in the world and a level that’s prompted warnings from both the OECD and the International Monetary Fund to rein in borrowing. Danish authorities have argued that households aren’t at risk thanks to high pension and household equity levels."

Denmark has the top tax rate in the OECD in 2014, 60.4%, ahead of Sweden (56.9%), Portugal (56.5%), and France (54.5%). The rate for the US is listed at 46.3%.

Denmark's top tax rate is 30% higher than in the US. That's what The New York Times means by "slightly higher".

Denmark not coincidentally is a global frontrunner in depression and mental illness. It consumes 84 antidepressant doses per day per 1000 of population, second only to Iceland (101 doses).

Bernie Sanders call your office: The poor have higher incomes in the US in real terms in most cases

Bernie Sanders' debate claims about poor US children are eviscerated here by an adherent of Austrian economics:

"Thus, the fact that the US has higher poverty rates says very little about the actual living standards of the poor. The poor have higher incomes in the US in real terms in most cases. The countries that should really give us concern are the countries that have high levels of poverty and low median incomes. ...  Greece, Mexico, Israel, Spain, Italy, Ireland, UK, and Portugal -- are the ones that have the least to offer the poor."

Friday, October 16, 2015

Obamacare's been fabulous . . . for investors in healthcare company stocks

Story here:

"Since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act took effect two years ago in the rockiest of rollouts, American health-care companies outperformed every industry in the U.S. Taken together, they are the best collection of stocks among worldwide peers."

Profiteering off of human misery is standard operating procedure in the United States of Crony Capitalism.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Bush W-2 employment 2004-07 narrowly beats Obama's 2011-14

Bush gains in W-2 employment:

2004 1.7 million
2005 2.2 million
2006 2.3 million
2007 1.7 million

total  7.9 million

Obama gains in W-2 employment:

2011 1.0 million
2012 2.2 million
2013 2.2 million
2014 2.4 million

total  7.8 million

The first six years of Bush:    5.8 million
The first six years of Obama: 2.8 million

Rush Limbaugh thinks the 46 million on food stamps are the U-3 "counted" unemployed, many of whom actually can and do work

Yesterday, here:

"Today, there are 46 million Americans unemployed, and 94 million not working. Now, these 46 million people, these are the counted unemployed. This is the U-3 number. The counted unemployed represent 14% of the population."

Limbaugh somehow gets this convoluted mess from here, which he cites but which clearly states the 46 million are those on food stamps, not the U-3 "counted" unemployed:

"The reason you don’t see huge lines of people waiting in soup lines during this Greater Depression is because the government has figured out how to disguise suffering through modern technology. During the height of the Great Depression in 1933, there were 12.8 million Americans unemployed. These were the men pictured in the soup lines. Today, there are 46 million Americans in an electronic soup kitchen line, as their food is distributed through EBT cards (with that angel of mercy JP Morgan reaping billions in profits by processing the transactions). These 46 million people represent 14% of the U.S. population." 

In the latest Employment Situation Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for September, those actually counted as unemployed are listed at 7.915 million (2.5% of the population) and the not counted as unemployed at 1.9 million:

"In September, the unemployment rate held at 5.1 percent, and the number of unemployed persons (7.9 million) changed little. Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons were down by 0.8 percentage point and 1.3 million, respectively. (See table A-1.) . . . In September, 1.9 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by 305,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)"

U-3 is not a number in millions as Limbaugh says but a rate, the percentage of the labor force which is unemployed (7.915 million / 156.715 million), namely 5.1%.

Limbaugh doesn't understand that lots of employed people get food stamps. Individuals grossing up to $15,312 annually can still qualify for assistance.

Almost 49 million individuals made up to but not more than $15,000 annually in 2014.

The unemployed in Sept. 2015 numbered 7.9 million

U-3 is a percentage

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Why Trump is doomed

Ed Rogers, here:

"Clinton can talk about the issues, and Trump can’t."

Democrat debate audience gave Hillary just 17 votes out of 233, coming in third behind Sanders the overwhelming winner and O'Malley

From the story here:

"Not everybody voted, but when it was all over, Bernie was the big winner, with 139 votes. O'Malley came in second with 67 votes."

Democrats win by circling the wagons while Republicans stage circular firing squads

Bernie Sanders rallied around Hillary Clinton tonight over her e-mail problems, admitting it wasn't in his political interests to do so. The two of them almost made love on stage. The crowd went nuts.

Democrats understand the principle: don't help your enemies, help your friends.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Democrat debate was all about fixing America after two failed terms of a Democrat president

If you don't think FOX and the WSJ are polling to undo Trump then you probably don't believe that Bush and Ayotte planted Batchelder in Trump's audience

Story here.

Only the Rupert Murdoch owned polls show Trump and Carson neck and neck, otherwise Trump averages +8.75 and the libertarian IBD poll is clearly a lying outlier

Conservative news sarcasm alert: 97% of those 94.6 million not in the labor force aren't lazy bums after all

They're the 92 million who are in high school, college, and graduate school full-time, or who are raising the kids at home, or are disabled, or are over 65 years of age, retired and drawing Social Security.

Just 3% don't fit into any of those categories, or about 2.8 million people, that's it.

These are the  truly "marginally attached" who aren't counted as unemployed.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says about them:

"These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey."

The BLS estimates they number 1.9 million in September. This analysis puts them about a million higher than that. Both can't be right but the margin of error is only 1%.

The government's estimate is close enough, I'd say.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Trump's success teaches that Republican voters are not libertarian ideologues

So says John Reid, here:

'Yet if the Trump’s enduring success has taught us anything [it] is that Republican voters are not libertarian ideologues. He recognizes that politics is about “Who, whom?”'

Rush Limbaugh sticks up for the traditional family against National Review and Kevin Williamson

And Williamson is stung by it, here.

Rush is right. National Review used to be a conservative magazine. Now it's a libertarian one:

"This all took place [says Williamson] in the context of a discussion of Mississippi governor Phil Bryant’s boneheaded remarks about working mothers. It was conventional-wisdom stuff — that children do better when the mother is at home rather than working outside it — and, as is very often the case, the conventional wisdom is wrong here."

Not alienating potential voters is more important to libertarians than defending what is right.  

Conservative news sarcasm alert: 2% of those 94.6 million lazy bums not in the labor force who eat but don't work pursue graduate degrees full-time

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Young "journalist" recently making $5,600 a month actually believes it's cheaper to eat out

Seen here:

'Technology has had a hand in widening the wealth gap and eliminating much of the middle-class since this industry shift began decades ago. But with the other hand, tech scoops up and delivers old promises of middle-class life and delivers them to the new poor. It’s cheaper to eat out, to shop, to entertain yourself, and to obtain consumer technology that makes all those things even more convenient, even on just $21,000 a year. A knowledge economy is sometimes referred to as “an economics of abundance, not scarcity.” It’s really an economics of scarcity with the appearance of abundance.'

Uh huh. She spends more time tweeting (14x/day) than researching, thinking or cooking, otherwise she'd know a single person can eat like a king three times a day for less than $3,500 a year simply by shunning food prepared in restaurants, fast food eateries and delicatessens and cooking entirely for oneself at home. Alcohol and toilet paper included. At $12.75 twice a day it costs $9,300 a year to eat out, once a day over $4,600. And you have to use the public sandpaper.

Spending a minimum of 22% of income on food for just one meal a day is crazy, and way too close to the housing component which should never exceed 28-32% of income.

Kids these days.

It's Trump, Carson, CRUZ and Rubio in latest CBS poll, Trump firmly in lead with 23.7% in Real Clear Politics poll average

The Detroit News calls the libertarian Freedom Caucus "brats", wants Boehner back at least temporarily

"Too many House Republicans have taken their eyes off the prize. Rather than craft a patient strategy to position themselves as the party of adult leadership in a broken Washington, they have become battling brats intent on mounting quixotic fights they can’t win in the interest of proving their conservative cred."

The Freedom Caucus is doing what libertarians customarily do to Republicans in election contests

Keep them from getting elected, and advance Democrats to power. It's their reason for existing.

When are Republicans finally going to say enough is enough and throw them out?

Conservative news sarcasm alert: 13% of those 94.6 million lazy bums not in the labor force who eat but don't work stay home to raise the kids

10.4 million mothers and 2 million fathers stayed home to raise kids in 2012

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Conservative news sarcasm alert: 11.5% of those 94.6 million lazy bums not in the labor force who eat but don't work are disabled working-age people

Average age of a car on the road climbs from 11.4 years in 2014 to 11.5 years in 2015

IHS Inc. reported here at the end of July:

SOUTHFIELD, Mich.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The combined average age of all light vehicles on the road in the U.S. has climbed slightly to 11.5 years, based on a snapshot of vehicles in operation (VIO) taken Jan. 1 of this year, according to IHS Automotive, a global provider of critical information and insight to the automotive industry and part of IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS).

I know. Mine average 13 years old.

floats like a butterfly . . .

. . . stings like a bee, when you stick it

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Biased polling: Libertarian leaning polls have Trump averaging 20%, the others 25%

IBD 17
WSJ 21

Average 20

PEW 25
FOX 26
CNN 24

Average 25

The girly men at National Review still feel like Trump attacked them

Lowry and Ponnuru, here, who think Megyn Kelly, Carly Fiorina and Rosie O'Donnell make a "whole pattern":

'Trump’s discarded wives and his habit of making gross sexual insults of women also make it easier for liberals to campaign against Republicans’ supposed “war on women.” Perhaps one or two of Trump’s comments were not as disgusting as they have generally been taken to be: Maybe he didn’t mean to suggest that Fox anchor Megyn Kelly asked him tough questions because she was menstruating. But look at the whole pattern — his repeated attacks on her as a “bimbo,” his slam of Carly Fiorina’s face, his description of other women as pigs — and it’s clear that these bits of ugliness are not gaffes so much as a way of life.'

What a couple a pussies. No one who goes off on three men automatically becomes a man-hater. Men do it all the time, and so do women. But "discarded wives" gives it all away. They were no more discarded than any other gold digger is discarded. Women always take the side of the women.

Besides, the Megan Kelly and Carly Fiorina examples are weak. In the one case Trump artlessly hunted for the ages old idiom "seeing red" and came up short (and isn't everything he says equally artless?), and in the other the source for the story is as suspect as suspect can be but people who are purportedly conservative are still prepared to buy it? Predisposed to buy it is more like it. Carly Fiorina's success with this fake story among Republicans tells you all you need to know about the Republican Party, and Carly Fiorina.   

Rosie O'Donnell, on the other hand, has a big fat target on her back for a reason, and deserves everything she gets.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Trump in first by 5.5 in latest RCP average, IBD poll is first at Real Clear since July which Trump hasn't won

As usual the UK Daily Mail screws it up, shows old Hurricane Sandy loop from 2012 hitting New York, calls it Joaquin

You've got the wrong loop, fellas. Joaquin is headed out to sea, as your own graphic shows.

Video here, where they also report:

"Hurricane Joaquin, however, has become less of a threat to the United States as forecasts show the storm curving into the Atlantic and weakening in the upcoming days." 

Imagine that! Joaquin "has become less of a threat" even though they show video of it slamming into Staten Island! The damn thing's headed toward Bermuda you morons!

You can always count on The UK Daily Mail to cover a story, you just can't count on it to get it right.

I hereby nominate it for A Grauniad.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Grand Rapids, Michigan, September 2015 average temperature anomaly: +4.4 degrees F

September 2015 was 4.4 degrees ABOVE normal on average in Grand Rapids, Michigan, dropping the cumulative anomaly for the year to -18.2 degrees F from -22.6 degrees F through August.

It was a beautiful, warm, dry and very sunny September. Rainful was 2.02 inches below normal at 2.26 inches.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Sean Hannity the hypocrite: Shocked Rand Paul criticizes Ted Cruz while the three of them have ripped fellow Republicans for years

Well, I say "fellow Republican" advisedly. What they are is libertarians, and put three libertarians in a room, or 300, all you'll get is dissension.

Sean Hannity isn't a Republican, by his own admission, but likes to play in its sandbox. Rand Paul is self-consciously "purple", imagining that right and left can be united as libertarians as opposed to remaining separated as conservatives and liberals. And Ted Cruz' behavior in the Senate makes him a RINO, at least from the RINOS' perspective.

Audio here.

The libertarian wing of the Republican Party would rather spend its time eating one other than uniting to fight Democrats.

They can't agree on anything, can't function as members of a party, and will never be able to run a country, except into the ground.

Trump's lead in first is actually up 35% in the last USAT/Suffolk poll

When you compare Trump's performance in the last USA Today/Suffolk poll to the previous one by USA Today/Suffolk in July, he's actually up by 6 points in first place, going from 17% to 23%, or up 35%.

Since the July poll, Bush, Huckabee, Paul, Christie, Santorum, Perry and Walker (who are both out now) have all together given up 22 points to Fiorina, Carson, Kasich, Graham, Rubio and Trump, on top of 11 additional points added to those front runners from fewer undecideds in September.

In the averages in yellow, note that Trump has improved his overall lead in first by 1.2 points, or almost 21%.

In the USA Today poll, Trump's lead in first has gone from +3 to +10, up 233%.

Freedom Caucus cracks up at lightning speed proving they've never had any credibility

  • They oust Boehner on Friday but have no one to put forward
  • They organize to fire Kevin McCarthy before he even wins the speakership while admitting they have no one to put forward
  • They hold Planned Parenthood hearings but aren't prepared for their much better prepared foes
  • Kevin McCarthy gives Boehner a B- but gets an F out of the box by handing Hillary a talking point on Benghazi

And it's only Thursday morning