Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The #feelthebern Hashtag Mushrooms - JEB Making Comeback - Lucky Hillary Fades to Gray?  (Aren't Payroll Jobs Reports Just Propaganda Until Doomsday?)  Global Economic Turmoil Continues to Worsen in 2016

He never really went away.

You just thought he did.

Is JEB Making a Comeback? One Pollster Is Much More Convinced Than the Others.

I've felt from the first that it will be Bush v. ? (probably Clinton due to strength of campaign propaganda versus relatively ignorant camp followers).

They don't give up, you know.

No matter how foolish they look.

That's the perspective of the entitled.

And don't forget that he was the original Bush league choice.

His father, who may now be starting his last campaign (against death), deserves some serious attention as we enter yet another Bush political campaign season. Remember when all his sins were said (by his courtiers) to be canceled by his unfailing courtesy and attention to decorum?

It was the economy, stupid … and he was the stupid one. After the stock market crashed in 1989, HW sat on his hands, waiting for the recession to magically go away. As the invisible hand of the marketplace dithered and dawdled, the housing market crashed too. Millions lost their jobs. Countless businesses went under. Lots of misery, much of it avoidable. Much of which could have been mitigated with a little action from the Fed and a Keynesian stimulus package. He did little.

By the time he left, everyone, not least Wall Street traders, breathed a sigh of relief that there was going to be someone at the wheel going forward.
There were, of course, the wars. There’s his good war against Iraq, for which he gets credit for merely slaughtering Saddam’s army as they retreated down the “highway of death” and not going on to kill everyone in Baghdad, as his stupid bloodthirsty son tried to do. Mainly, the Gulf War is a plus because few Americans died in combat (some “war” dead were killed in forklift accidents). Still, it was a war that needn’t have been fought in the first place.

In a now largely forgotten episode, the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein — then a U.S. buddy — asked permission to invade Kuwait, which was “slant drilling” into Iraqi oilfields and undercutting OPEC cartel prices. It being August, all the big names were away on vacation, so Saddam took the word of a low-level drone at the State Department that everything was cool.

It wasn’t.

If Bush had been a decent manager — the kind of guy who arranges the deck chairs — he would have had better people handling his pet tyrants.

Then there’s the truly sorry invasion of Panama. No one remembers now, but this was Bush’s first personnel dispute with a dictator. General Manuel Noriega was getting uppity, HW decided to put him in his place, the Marines slaughtered thousands of Panamanians. Really, for no reason.

Certainly without justification. Noriega is still in a US prison, having spent more than two decades on trumped-up cocaine charges. Which you might care about. Noriega wasn’t a nice guy, right?

The trouble is, treating a sovereign head of state like a common criminal scumbag sets some bad precedents.

Now, when the US approaches guys like Syria’s Bashar Al-Assad to suggest that he leave office, he digs in his heels for fear of winding up in prison or worse. Back in the pre-Panama days, you could convince a guy like the Philippines’ Ferdinand Marcos to fly to Hawaii with a duffel bag full of bullion, so everyone could move on.

There’s the goose-gander thing. Why shouldn’t Assad be able to argue that Obama ought to be imprisoned for breaking Syrian law, like those against funding terrorist groups like ISIS?

Bush’s biggest boner may have been his hands-off approach to the collapse of the Soviet Union. Rather than help Russia and the other former Soviet republics come in for a soft post-socialist landing, as in China after Mao, Bush’s guys quietly rejoiced in the mayhem.

Clinton gave us “shock economics,” Yeltsin, mass starvation, the destruction of Grozny and the oligarchs — but Bush set the stage for a mess with which we, and more importantly the Russians, are dealing today.

Any way you look at it, George Bush Senior left the world worse off than it was.

The possibility that he may have been courteous to his minions and henchmen doesn’t change that.

And as for the real campaign (like how I turned that into funtime there?) . . . .

The #feelthebern hashtag has mushroomed online and even the Clinton juggernaut is beginning to get jittery and rather tetchy regarding its current status within the primary race. Now it is more important than ever to revisit Bernie Sanders and ask who it is that is being held up as the savior of the country, the counterweight to the lite or not-so-lite fascism of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz and the neoliberal corporate-marinated Clinton Dynasty. 
For Sanders supporters, of which there are many at this point, he is, however, the outsider who will bring decency back to the Democrats – a bastion of opposition to Hillary Clinton. For how can we hope and change the world if we would support Hillary Clinton? According to Bernie Sanders back in September (at the least), he would not consider an independent run for the presidency and will support whoever the eventual Democratic nominee is – which would be himself, or, obviously, Hillary Clinton.  
This is a rather aborted “political revolution” that Sanders calls for if the very forces he delivers campaign jeremiads against – the “billionaire class” and “Wall Street” and “the banks” – are the very ones who have bought and paid for the candidate that Sanders will support in the event of his primary loss.

What revolution is based on the foundation of “Defeat the enemy but support them when they defeat us”? Bernie Sanders fashionably uses the terms “revolution” and “socialist” before practically smashing any relevance these terms have ever held. For Sanders is not a socialist nor pushing “political revolution”. As BlackAgenda Report has continuously noted, he is merely “sheepdogging” left-progressive votes for the Democratic Party. He is not an independent nor beyond the accepted limits of a neoliberal Democratic Party, employing language that registers at “John Edwards” on the progressive-populism scale. 
. . . Obama’s famous 2008 slight that Hillary was “likeable enough” turns out not to be so true. On the campaign trail and on TV, Hillary is charmless. Which is why, the more Americans get to know her, the more of her supporters migrate to other candidates. She can’t up her personality game.
With the liberal/progressive base of Hillary’s party agitated at 1960s levels, she can’t explain away her conservative record. She’s never met a free trade deal or a war she didn’t like (See Diana Johnstone’s Queen of Chaos for the goods on HRC’s foreign policy blunders); millions of jobs and people are dead as a result.
She says she’s been fighting for progressive causes for years, but when? Where? Even on the micro-bore social “wedge” issues that her husband relied upon as president, she’s in trouble. Gays won’t forget her support of the Defense of Marriage Act. Straights think she’s a reed in the political wind.
But Hillary’s biggest flaw as a candidate isn’t policy. It’s her failure to internalize two truisms of politics 
Number one:  Candidates win by projecting an optimistic vision of the future. When she criticizes Bernie Sanders for advocating changes that would be hard to get through Congress and expensive to pay for — free college tuition, Medicare for everybody — she projects a radical pessimism that makes many ask, why not? Why can’t the country that invades everyone, that sent a man to the moon, provide the same social benefits as most other nations?
And number two:  Elections aren’t about the candidate. They’re about the people. This goes back to when tribes elected chiefs. Vote for me, and buffalo will rain from the sky! We’ll be fat! Water everywhere! That’s a winning campaign — not, hey, as the first elder from the Whatever Clan to become chief, I’d make tribal history and wouldn’t that be cool.
Obama didn’t win in 2008 by running as Future First Black President. He projected a sunny, winning disposition and a sense of the future we could buy into. Hope! Change! Yes We Can! Hillary’s campaign is all about her, not us.
That’s political suicide. 
(Ted Rall, syndicated writer and the cartoonist for ANewDomain.net, is the author of the book “Snowden,” the biography of the NSA whistleblower.)

As bad as things have been for those without good jobs (or good sources of income other than low-pay part-time/contract jobs), the statistics have just gotten worse.

Much worse.

I fear that no one will be able to dig us out without some type of major mischief going on at the lowest victim level.

Bernie will try at least.

If he gets the chance.

Against the incredibly lucky candidate who won 6 coin tosses on the same evening.


Hillary Clinton “won” the Iowa caucuses, in part because of 6 coin tosses all of which she won! Six precincts, at least, ended up with a dead tie between the two candidates. The tie was broken and a winner declared based on a coin toss in each case.
What are the odds of one of two candidates winning all six coin tosses if the outcomes are random, that is, if the tosses are fair, unbiased and with honest coins?
The calculation is so simple that a schoolboy or schoolgirl can do it. The formula is simply 1/2 raised to the power of 6 – that is, 1/2 taken six times and multiplied.
The probability of winning all six tosses by chance alone is 1/64. That is 0.016 or 1.6 in 100 or 1.6%. Not even 2%! In many areas of science including many areas of biology, one must demonstrate that the result of one’s experiments is unlikely to happen by chance alone. If the probability of getting the results by chance alone is less than 5%, the result reported is considered to be “significant,’ that is, not likely to be a chance finding. Such a result is publishable in highly respected journals.
Since the probability of the outcome in Iowa was 1.6%, it is quite unlikely, highly improbable that the coin tosses resulted from chance and were honest. And if the results did not occur by chance alone, then the coin tosses were manipulated, fixed! Why has no one in the mainstream media looked into this?
It is not unusual for results of an election to be questioned based on what the facts of the matter really are. For example some may claim that voting machines are rigged but others will say no. However, everyone agrees on the fact of the six coin tosses, and the simple calculation above is based on the fundamental laws of probability, i.e., counting. That gives the conclusion that the results were rigged very strong standing. At the very least, the probabilities demand a thorough investigation.

And what about those other questionable Iowa Results?*
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February 6, 2016

Are The Payroll Jobs Reports Merely Propaganda Statements?

Paul Craig Roberts

US economics statistics are so screwed up that they do not provide an accurate picture.
Consider the latest monthly payroll jobs report. According to the report, in January 151,000 new jobs were created. Where are these jobs? According to the report, 69% of the new jobs are accounted for by retail employment and waitresses and bartenders. If we add in health care and social assistance, the entirety of the new jobs are accounted for. This is not the employment picture of a First World economy.

According to the report, in January the retail sector added 57,700 jobs. Considering that January is the month that followed a disappointing Christmas December, do you think retailers added 57,700 employees? Such a large increase in retail employment suggests an expected rise in sales, but transportation and warehousing lost 20,300 jobs and wholesale trade added only 8,800.

Perhaps it is mistaken to think that employment in these sectors should move together. Possibly the retail jobs, if they are real, are part-time jobs replacing a smaller number of terminated full-time jobs in order that employers can avoid benefits costs. If this is the case, then the retail jobs are bad news, not good news.

The reported unemployment rate of 4.9% is misleading as it does not count discouraged workers. When discouraged workers are added, the actual rate of US unemployment is about 23%, a number more consistent with the decline in the labor force participation rate. In January 2006 the labor force participation rate was 66%. In January 2016 the labor force participation rate is 62.7%.

The government has a second official unemployment rate that counts short-term discouraged workers (discouraged for less than one year). That rate, known as U-6, is 10%, twice the “headline rate” which is always the U-3 measure that excludes all discouraged workers not currently looking for a job.

In his reports John Williams (shadowstats.com) explains that the jobs reported can be an artifact of seasonal adjustments. Perhaps a simple way of seeing the influence of seasonal adjustments is to compare the not seasonally adjusted jobs numbers for December 2015 and January 2016. These numbers are 144,112,000 jobs in December and 141,123,000 jobs in January, a decline of 2,989,000. However, with seasonal adjustments the January number rises to 143,288,000 and the December number falls to 143,137,000, producing a January jobs gain of 151,000.

Payroll jobs are the number of jobs, not the number of employed people. Many of the payroll jobs are part-time. In order to make ends meet, some people hold two or more part-time jobs. In contrast to the 143,288,000 reported payroll jobs, civilian full-time employment is about 123,000,000.

Another factor that distorts the jobs reports is the birth-death model. Based on John Williams’ expertise, I have often reported on this effort by the BLS to estimate the net of unreported jobs losses from business closures and the unreported jobs gains of new start-ups. Here is John Williams in his latest report on the January payroll jobs:

“Historically, an upside-bias process was created for payroll-employment reporting simply by adding in a monthly “bias factor,” so as to prevent the otherwise potential political embarrassment to the BLS of understating monthly jobs growth. The “bias factor” process resulted from such an actual reporting embarrassment, with the underestimation of jobs growth coming out of the 1983 recession.

“That process eventually was recast as the now infamous Birth-Death Model (BDM), which purportedly models the relative effects on payroll employment of jobs creation due to new businesses starting up, versus jobs lost due to bankruptcies or closings of existing businesses.

“Separately there is a preset upside bias, plus a presumed net additional “surplus” of jobs added
on to the payroll estimates each month as a special add-factor. In current reporting, the aggregate average overstatement of monthly employment change easily exceeds 200,000 jobs per month. These details and section shall be updated fully in the pending Supplement.”

The assertion that the US economy has been in recovery since June of 2009 is not consistent with the quantity and quality of the jobs reflected in the payroll jobs reports. The number of new jobs is not sufficient to prevent the labor force participation rate from declining, and the pay associated with the jobs is not sufficient to leave consumers with enough discretionary income to drive an economy based on consumption.

The financial presstitutes do not explore these issues. They merely report the numbers that the official releases emphasize and ask no questions about them. Therefore, the decline in American economic prospects receives no attention. The Federal Reserve can even report that half of American 25 year-olds live at home with their parents without causing alarm. They do this not from choice but from necessity. They simply cannot find jobs that pay enough to support an independent existence. You would think that this would be an issue of national concern.
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22 Signs That The Global Economic Turmoil We Have Seen So Far In 2016 Is Just The Beginning

By Michael Snyder
February 4th, 2016
As bad as the month of January was for the global economy, the truth is that the rest of 2016 promises to be much worse. Layoffs are increasing at a pace that we haven’t seen since the last recession, major retailers are shutting down hundreds of locations, corporate profit margins are plunging, global trade is slowing down dramatically, and several major European banks are in the process of completely imploding. I am about to share some numbers with you that are truly eye-popping. Each one by itself would be reason for concern, but when you put all of the pieces together it creates a picture that is hard to deny. The global economy is in crisis, and this is going to have very serious implications for the financial markets moving forward. U.S. stocks just had their worst January in seven years, and if I am right, much worse is still yet to come this year. The following are 22 signs that the global economic turmoil that we have seen so far in 2016 is just the beginning…
1. The number of job cuts in the United States skyrocketed 218 percent during the month of January according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
2. The Baltic Dry Index just hit yet another brand new all-time record low.  As I write this article, it is sitting at 303.
3. U.S. factory orders have now dropped for 14 months in a row.
4. In the U.S., the Restaurant Performance Index just fell to the lowest level that we have seen since 2008.
5. In January, orders for class 8 trucks (the big trucks that you see shipping stuff around the country on our highways) declined a whopping 48 percent from a year ago.
6. Rail traffic is also slowing down substantially.  In Colorado, there are hundreds of train engines that are just sitting on the tracks with nothing to do.
7. Corporate profit margins peaked during the third quarter of 2014 and have been declining steadily since then.This usually happens when we are heading into a recession.
8. A series of extremely disappointing corporate quarterly reports is sending stock after stock plummeting.  Here is a summary from Zero Hedge of a few examples that we have just witnessed…
9. Junk bonds continue to crash on Wall Street.  On Monday, JNK was down to32.60 and HYG was down to 77.99.
10. On Thursday, a major British news source publicly named five large European banks that are considered to be in very serious danger
Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, Santander, Barclays and RBS are among the stocks that are falling sharply sending shockwaves through the financial world, according to former hedge fund manager and ex Goldman Sachs employee Raoul Pal.
11. Deutsche Bank is the biggest bank in Germany and it has more exposure to derivatives than any other bank in the world.  Unfortunately, Deutsche Bank credit default swaps are now telling us that there is deep turmoil at the bank and that a complete implosion may be imminent.
12. Last week, we learned that Deutsche Bank had lost a staggering 6.8 billioneuros in 2015.  If you will recall, I warned about massive problems at Deutsche Bank all the way back in September.  The most important bank in Germany is exceedingly troubled, and it could end up being for the EU what Lehman Brothers was for the United States.
13. Credit Suisse just announced that it will be eliminating 4,000 jobs.
14. Royal Dutch Shell has announced that it is going to be eliminating 10,000 jobs.
15. Caterpillar has announced that it will be closing 5 plants and getting rid of 670 workers.
16. Yahoo has announced that it is going to be getting rid of 15 percent of its total workforce.
17. Johnson & Johnson has announced that it is slashing its workforce by 3,000 jobs.
18. Sprint just laid off 8 percent of its workforce and GoPro is letting go 7 percent of its workers.
19. All over America, retail stores are shutting down at a staggering pace.  The following list comes from one of my previous articles
-Wal-Mart is closing 269 stores, including 154 inside the United States.
-K-Mart is closing down more than two dozen stores over the next several months.
-J.C. Penney will be permanently shutting down 47 more stores after closing a total of 40 stores in 2015.
-Macy’s has decided that it needs to shutter 36 stores and lay off approximately 2,500 employees.
-The Gap is in the process of closing 175 stores in North America.
-Aeropostale is in the process of closing 84 stores all across America.
-Finish Line has announced that 150 stores will be shutting down over the next few years.
-Sears has shut down about 600 stores over the past year or so, but sales at the stores that remain open continue to fall precipitously.
20. According to the "York Times," the Chinese economy is facing a mountain of bad loans that "could exceed $5 trillion."
21. Japan has implemented a negative interest rate program in a desperate attempt to try to get banks to make more loans.
22. The global economy desperately needs the price of oil to go back up, but Morgan Stanley says that we will not see $80 oil again until 2018.
It is not difficult to see where the numbers are trending.
Last week, I told my wife that I thought that Marco Rubio was going to do better than expected in Iowa.
How did I come to that conclusion?
It was simply based on how his poll numbers were trending.
And when you look at where global economic numbers are trending, they tell us that 2016 is going to be a year that is going to get progressively worse as it goes along.
So many of the exact same things that we saw happen in 2008 are happening again right now, and you would have to be blind not to see it.
Hopefully I am wrong about what is coming in our immediate future, because millions upon millions of Americans are not prepared for what is ahead, and most of them are going to get absolutely blindsided by the coming crisis.
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*  A good scientist would, however, not rest with simply one set of results that satisfied the probability criteria outlined above. He or she would look for other observations that would shore up the conclusion and make it more convincing. Similarly we may ask whether there were other indications of cheating in the Iowa Dem primary. And indeed there were. As Justin Raimondo of Antiwar.com pointed out in his essay, “The Establishment’s Last Stand,” Democratic results went missing from nearly 100 precincts, which accounted for 5% of the vote according to the Sanders campaign. That 5% was more than enough to hand the race to Sanders. This led the Sanders to lament that the real results may never be known. And we should note that ballots have gone missing before in Iowa, notably in the 2012 Republican caucuses where Mitt Romney was falsely declared the winner.

Is it not strange that Hillary was so very lucky? It was very clear going into the polling that Sanders and Clinton were in a dead heat. Might we conclude that she and her supporters anticipating a tie in some precincts were prepared for a coin toss or to disappear some ballots, the latter having happened before in Iowa. Is Hillary’s reputation for honesty so sterling that we cannot possibly suspect that? You can answer that for yourself, dear reader.

But I will give you odds that Bernie won.

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