Friday, March 13, 2015

(Jeb Back on the Bench?)  Nearly At ‘Full Employment’? 10 Reasons Why The Unemployment Numbers Are A Massive Lie   (What Was Won In Selma 50 Years Ago Being Lost Today)

The Cuban date changer for president? You better sit down, kids. (Notice how the Koches are in love with all the Repub Gov learned dummies candidates.)

My buddy at No More Mr. nails this one, and although several of us have also noticed this recently, he should get the credit for a brilliant exposition of how power works today and who will benefit (probably to our country's democratic demise).

Wish someone would nail the rest of these dodos. (Underlining added for emphasis - Ed.)

I think Jeb Bush is in trouble. The richies who essentially own the Republican Party want to settle on an electable presidential candidate; for a while Jeb looked good on paper, but, alas for the richies, ordinary voters are still allowed to vote in elections, and GOP primary voters simply aren't buying what Jeb is selling. The "Wall Street Journal"'s "Washington Wire" is not even trying to put the best possible face on this:

The last few months have not been good for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush when it comes to Republican primary voters.

The number of GOP primary voters who say they “could see” themselves supporting Mr. Bush fell to 49% in the latest "Wall Street Journal"/NBC News poll, down from 63% in December – a 14-point decline. It was the biggest drop by far among any of the Republican potential candidates that were measured in both surveys, and suggests troubles ahead for him
This gets a Drudge link, as does a story from "National Review"'s Eliana Johnson titled "Insider Buzz Grows for Marco Rubio" ("Rubio ... now has many of the party’s top donors looking at him in a way they weren’t even a month ago"):

Johnson's story quotes an unnamed Republican operative saying that "people are having second thoughts about [Scott] Walker," so maybe his fifteen minutes are over (in terms of donor interest if not in terms of voter interest). And if Rubio's getting donor buzz and a glam photo at Drudge, while Jeb's poll woes are being trumpeted at the "Journal," I think that's a sign that the cash might not be flowing quite as freely to Bush in the future.

And gosh, why would the richies be taking a new look at Rubio? Let's let Jonathan Chait explain:

Last year, Marco Rubio defined himself as the Republican presidential candidate who was primarily concerned with the middle class. He gave speeches about poverty. He gave speeches about the struggles of the middle class. It wasn’t working terribly well. So Rubio has updated his tax plan, the old version of which gave a big tax cut to the rich, so it now gives an absolutely gargantuan tax cut to the rich. The new Rubio is hobnobbing with members of the Koch family and other billionaires, and, reports Eliana Johnson, they really like the cut of his jib:

At the American Enterprise Institute’s annual donor retreat in Sea Island, Ga., one attendee says Rubio got rave reviews from a crowd that included several billionaires. And in late January, the senator impressed the libertarian-leaning crowd at the Koch brothers’ donor conference in Palm Springs, Calif., and came out on top of an informal straw poll conducted there.
Rubio “now has many of the party’s top donors looking at him in a way they weren’t even a month ago,” she reports. Johnson credits “his knowledgeable presentations and obvious political talent,” though it is also possible Rubio’s new promise to abolish all taxes on capital gains, dividends, and estates may have enhanced his appeal.
Yeah, I would say that's "also possible."
As Chait explains, the updated version of the tax plan Rubio has cooked up with Utah senator Mike Lee would transfer money from the poor to the rich and explode the deficit, so it's pretty much the dream plan for the fat cats. (They don't hate deficits or debt - in fact, deficits and debt are useful, because they can then be blamed on reckless spending mandated by those awful liberal Democrats. If an all-GOP federal government passes a budget like this, expect massive cuts in social programs to follow in short order.)

I was assuming that Rubio's candidacy was dead on arrival, but now I think it's Jeb who's in trouble. Rubio still has to deal with suspicions of his past support for immigration reform, but GOP primary voters are used to voting for recanters (McCain on immigration and campaign finance reform, Romney on universal health care and abortion rights). Jeb has been looking as if he won't recant on all sorts of issues. Rubio will. So keep a wary eye on him.

One can only hope for change, intellectual change at this point, in the American voter.


Speaking of dreamers . . . Remember Christopher Hitchens' brother Peter?

I should have paid more attention to the famous words ‘F*** the EU!’ spoken by the USA’s Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, in a phone call publicised to the world by (presumably) Russian intelligence. The EU isn't half as enthusiastic about following the old eastern road as is the USA. Indeed, it's a bit of a foot-dragger.

The driving force in this crisis is the USA, with the EU being reluctantly tugged along behind. And if Mr Friedman is right (and I think he is), the roots of it lie in Russia’s decision to obstruct the West’s intervention in Syria.

Perhaps the key to the whole thing (rather dispiriting in that it shows the USA really hasn’t learned anything important from the Iraq debacle) is the so-called ‘Wolfowitz Doctrine’ of 1992, named after the neo-con’s neo-con, Paul Wolfowitz, and summed up by Professor Sakwa (p.211) thus:  ‘The doctrine asserted that the US should prevent “any country from dominating any region of the world that might be a springboard to threaten unipolar and exclusive US dominance"’.

. . . How odd that we should all have learned so little from the Iraq debacle. This time the ‘WMD’ are non-existent Russian plans to expand and/or attack the Baltic states. And of course the misrepresentation of both sides in the Ukrainian controversy is necessary for the portrayal of Putin as Hitler and his supporters as Nazis, and opponents of belligerence as Nazi fellow-travellers. The inconvenient fact , that if there are Nazis in this story , they tend to be on the ‘good’ side must be ignored. Let us hope the hysteria subsides before it carries us into another stupid war.
- Putin is Hitler?

Yeah, Putin's the problem in Ukraine.


And another missed moment in the history of the downfall of the USA USA USA!!! ?

Never give up, and never give in to fear.
All I can share with you is that the above sentence, out of the essay below, has been what's motivated me for over 20 years. But it's wearing pretty thin right about now. Thank you so much to all who've donated to my efforts during my largely uninterrupted unemployment bout (although I have applied for thousands of jobs which seemed promising at first yet never quite seemed to materialize). You've been my main reason for continuing.

Nearly At ‘Full Employment’? 10 Reasons Why The Unemployment Numbers Are A Massive Lie

By Michael Snyder, on March 8th, 2015

On Friday, we learned that the official “unemployment rate” has fallen to 5.5 percent. Since an unemployment rate of 5 percent is considered to be “full employment” by many economists, many in the mainstream media took this as a sign that the U.S. economy has almost fully “recovered” since the last recession. In fact, according to the "Wall Street Journal," some Federal Reserve officials believe that “the U.S. economy is already at full employment“.

But how can this possibly be?  It certainly does not square with reality.  Personally, I know people that have been struggling with unemployment for years and that still cannot find a decent job.  And I get emails from readers all the time that are heartbroken because they are suffering through extended periods of unemployment.  So what in the world is going on?  How can the government be telling us that we are nearly at “full employment” when so many people can’t find work?  Could it be possible that the government numbers are misleading?

It is my contention that the official “unemployment rate” has become so politicized and so manipulated that it is essentially meaningless at this point.  The following are 10 reasons why…

#1 Since February 2008, the size of the U.S. population has grown by 16.8 million people, but the number of full-time jobs has actually decreased by 140,000.

#2 The percentage of working age Americans that have a job right now is still about the same as it was during the depths of the last recession.  Posted below is a chart that shows how the employment-population ratio has changed since the beginning of the decade.  Does this look like a full-blown “employment recovery” to you?…

Employment Population Ratio 2015

#3 The primary reason for the decline in the official “unemployment rate” is the fact that the government now considers millions upon millions of long-term unemployed workers to “no longer be in the labor force”.  Just check out the following numbers

The number of Americans participating in the labor force has been on a decline for the past few years. Nearly 33 percent of the Americans above age 16 are not part of the workforce, the highest number since 1978. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report issued recently has found 92,898,000 Americans above age 16 not a part of the labor force of the country as on February 2015.

When President Obama took over the office in January 2009, nearly 80,529,000 Americans were not a part of the labor force. The number has increase by nearly 12 million over the last few years.
#4 Over the past couple of years, the labor force participation rate in this country has been hovering near mutli-decade lows

The labor force participation rate hovered between 62.9 percent and 62.7 percent in the eleven months from April 2014 through February, and has been 62.9 percent or lower in 13 of the 17 months since October 2013.

Prior to that, the last time the rate was below 63 percent was 37 years ago, in March 1978 when it was 62.8 percent, the same rate it was in February.
#5 When you add the number of “officially unemployed” Americans (8.7 million) to the number of Americans “not in the labor force” (92.9 million), you get a grand total of 101.6 million working age Americans that do not have a job right now.  Does that sound like “full employment” to you?

#6 The quality of our jobs continues to decline
.  Right now, only 44 percent of U.S. adults are employed for 30 or more hours each week.

#7 Millions upon millions of Americans have been forced to take part-time jobs because that is all they can find, and wages for American workers are at depressingly low levels.  The following numbers come directly from the Social Security Administration

- 39 percent of American workers make less than $20,000 a year.
- 52 percent of American workers make less than $30,000 a year.
- 63 percent of American workers make less than $40,000 a year.
- 72 percent of American workers make less than $50,000 a year.

#8 The average duration of unemployment for an unemployed worker is still about twice as long as it was just prior to the last recession.

#9 Most Americans feel as though the Obama administration has done little to nothing to help the middle class.  Just consider the following poll numbers

According to a new poll by the Pew Research Center, Americans see government policies under the Obama administration as having mostly benefited wealthy people, large corporations and financial institutions.

Seventy-two percent of respondents said government policies have done little or nothing to help the middle class, and 65 percent said they have done nothing to help the poor. Sixty-eight percent said the policies have done nothing to help small businesses.
Meanwhile, 45 percent said the policies have done a “great deal” to help large banks and financial institutions, 38 percent say they have helped large corporations, and 36 percent say they have helped the wealthy.
#10 If the unemployment rate was calculated honestly, we would all be talking about the horrific “unemployment crisis” that we were currently enduring.  According to John Williams of, the real unemployment rate in the United States right now is above 23 percent.

Our politicians and the mainstream media are attempting to convince us that everything is just fine.

But what they are telling us simply does not match the cold, hard reality on the streets.

And since the talking heads on television are proclaiming that we are nearly at “full employment”, that just makes millions upon millions of Americans that can’t seem to find work no matter how hard they try feel even worse than they already do.

If jobs are “easy to get”, then those that are chronically unemployment must have “something wrong” with them.  That is the message that we are being given.  If the mainstream media says that unemployment has gone way down, then anyone that is still unemployed must be really “lazy”, right?

When you are unemployed for an extended period of time, it can really suck the life right out of you.  It can be really tempting to believe that you are viewed as a failure by your family and friends.  And for the government to lie to us like this just makes things even harder.

If you are unemployed and can’t find a job right now, I want you to understand that you are caught in the midst of a long-term downward economic spiral which is going to get a lot worse.
When the government tells you that we are in a “recovery”, they are lying to you.
And when the government tells you that things are about to get a lot better, they are lying to you.

Everyone has times in their lives when they get knocked down.

The key is to always get back up and to never, ever stop fighting.

Yes, we are facing some really hard economic times.  But that does not mean that your life is over.  Never give up, and never give in to fear.  Just do what you can with what you have today, and tomorrow get up and fight with everything that you have got.

The truth is that the best chapters of your life could be just around the corner.

Just don’t sit back and wait for the government to save you
.  If you are waiting for the government to save you, then you are going to be deeply disappointed.

I've always admired Len Pitts, Jr.

What a trooper.

His voice should not be minimized at this historic moment in which our country needs to take a sober appraisal of our true progress.

What Was Won In Selma 50 Years Ago Being Lost Today

By Leonard Pitts Jr.

March 07, 2015

Miami Herald
First, they sang "God Will Take Care of You."

Then they walked out of Brown Chapel to a playground where they organized themselves into 24 groups of 25 each and set out marching. Their route out of Selma took them onto Highway 80, which is carried over the Alabama River by a bridge named in honor of Confederate general and Alabama Ku Klux Klan leader Edmund W. Pettus.

It was about 2:30 on the afternoon of Sunday, March 7, 1965.

At the foot of the bridge, the marchers were met by Alabama state troopers. Some were on horseback. Major John Cloud spoke to the marchers through a bullhorn. “It would be detrimental to your safety to continue this march,” he said. “And I’m saying that this is an unlawful assembly. You are to disperse. You are ordered to disperse. Go home or go to your church. This march will not continue. Is that clear to you?"

He gave them two minutes to comply. Just over one minute later, he ordered troopers to advance.

They moved toward the marchers, truncheons held waist high, parallel to the ground. But something seemed to overtake them as they pushed into the demonstrators. The troopers began to stampede, sweeping over unarmed women, children and men as a wave does a shore.

Teargas filled the air. Lawmen on horseback swept down on fleeing marchers, wielding batons, cattle prods, rubber hoses studded with spikes. Skin was split. Bones were broken. The marchers were beaten all the way back into town. A teenager was hurled through a church window. On the bridge, the cheers and rebel yells of onlookers mingled with the shrieks of the sufferers and became indistinguishable.

Thus was the pavement of the freest country on Earth stained with the blood of citizens seeking their right to vote.

By rights, this 50th anniversary of those events should be an unalloyed celebration. After all, the marchers, fortified by men and women of good will from all over the country, eventually crossed that bridge under federal protection, marched for four days up Highway 80 and made it to, as the song says, glory. They stood at the state capital in Montgomery and heard Martin Luther King exhort them to hold on and be strong. “Truth crushed to Earth,” he thundered, “will rise again!”

The Voting Rights Act was signed into law. And African Americans, who had been excluded from the ballot box for generations, went on to help elevate scores of citizens who looked like them to the mayor’s office, the governor’s mansion, the White House.

So yes, this should be a time of celebration. But the celebration is shadowed by a sobering reality.

In 2013, the Voting Rights Act was castrated by the Supreme Court under the dubious reasoning that its success proved it was no longer needed. And states, responding to a nonexistent surge of election fraud, have rushed to impose onerous new photo ID laws for voters. When it is observed that the laws will have their heaviest impact on young people, poor people and African Americans — those least likely to have photo ID — defenders of the laws point to that imaginary surge of fraud and assure us voter suppression is the furthest thing from their minds. How can it be about race, they cluck piously, when the laws apply to everyone?

Of course, so did grandfather clauses, poll taxes, literacy tests and other means by which African-American voting rights were systematically stolen for decades and a Whites Only sign slapped onto the ballot box. It is disheartening that we find ourselves forced to fight again a battle already won. But the events of half a century past whisper to us a demand for our toughness and faith in the face of that hard truth. They remind us that, yes, injustice is resilient.

But truth crushed to Earth is, too.

Leonard Pitts Jr. won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2004. He is the author of the novel, Before I Forget. His column in the "Miami Herald," runs every Sunday and Wednesday. Email Leonard at or visit his website at

Kudos, Len.

Warnings to everyone else.

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