October 31, 2014

USA Today Poll: It Matters

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:38 pm

From USA Today, published Friday:

Poll: High anxiety, low expectations as election nears

Voters are rattled by the Ebola virus, braced for years of conflict against the terrorist group Islamic State and still worried about jobs, a nationwide USA TODAY Poll finds. Two-thirds say the nation faces more challenging problems than usual; one in four call them the biggest problems of their lifetimes.

And many lack confidence in the government to address them.

I haven’t seen the poll’s cross tabs, but, given that they report a 44% approval rating for the President, it seems that the pollsters tried pretty hard to find people who were upbeat.

The average person can influence things by getting informed, getting involved, and voting. The fact that midterm turnout is usually less than 40 percent is intensely disturbing, and needs to change, because “It Matters“:

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Landrieu Doubles Down on Racism, Sexism Excuses

Chris Houck at NewsBusters noted late Thursday that on that evening’s NBC Nightly News, incumbent Louisiana Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu told NBC’s Chuck Todd that President Barack Obama is unpopular in the South because the region “has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans” and thus “[i]t’s been a difficult time for the President to present himself in a very positive light as a leader.” Landrieu also said that “It’s not always been a good place for women to present ourselves. It’s more of a conservative place.”

Houck appropriately described the race-based portion of Landrieu’s lament as a “gaffe.” The Senator apparently disagrees, as she doubled down on both aspects of her “woe is me” remarks in a statement today. Politico’s James Hohmann waited an incredible 11 paragraphs to get into her embarrassing double-down:

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Weather Channel, or Politics Channel?

New Jersey Governor Christie rebuked a heckler during his visit to the area affected by Superstorm Sandy on Wednesday.

His rebuke is still a major headline item at … the Weather Channel. The headline (“Gov Loses It During Speech”) also makes a claim not supported by the circumstances, or Christie’s history of dealng with such critics:

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Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (103114)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.

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Positivity: The devil is no myth – he’s real and we must fight him, Pope says

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Oct 30, 2014 / 08:53 am

In his homily on Thursday, Pope Francis said that the devil is more than an idea, and in order to fight him, we must follow St. Paul’s instructions and put on the armor of God which protects us.

“In this generation, like so many others, people have been led to believe that the devil is a myth, a figure, an idea, the idea of evil. But the devil exists and we must fight against him,” the Pope told those present in the Vatican’s Saint Martha house for his Oct. 30 daily Mass.

He turned to St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, from which the day’s first reading was taken and in which the apostle warns against the temptations of the devil, telling Christians to clothe themselves with the armor of God so they can resist.

Pope Francis said that a Christian life requires both strength and courage, and needs to be defended because it is a constant battle with the devil, who tempts with worldly attractions, the passions and our flesh.

“From whom do I have to defend myself? What must I do?” he asked, saying that St. Paul tells us to “put on God’s full armor, meaning that God acts as a defense, helping us to resist Satan’s temptations. Is this clear?”

No spiritual or Christian life is possible without the need to resist temptation, the Roman Pontiff observed, explaining how our battle is not with small, trivial things, but rather with the principalities and ruling forces of this world, which are rooted in the devil and his followers. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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October 30, 2014

AP Wants Readers to Believe Fed’s QE ‘Is Over’ — With $4 Trillion in Holdings

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:41 pm

An unbylined “Q&A” column at the Associated Press yesterday began with the following false declaration: “The $4 trillion experiment is over.” That just isn’t so.

Maybe the Federal Reserve is done building up its debt holdings — that is by no means certain — but the “experiment” known as “quantitative easing,” or “QE,” won’t be over until the Fed fully unwinds those balances. In the meantime, it has unwarranted leverage over the stock and bond markets. Fed Chair Janet Yellen has what appears to be a de facto veto over Washington policies she doesn’t like should she decide to use her leverage in that manner. The rest of the AP item wasn’t much better, particularly how it wormed around the reality that if the Fed wishes to avoid winding down its balances, it’s going to have to keep buying Treasury and mortgage-backed securities as current holding mature:

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Some ‘Update’: Politico’s Burns Still Ignores Burke Bio Fail, Walker’s +7 Poll Lead

At NewsBusters yesterday, P.J. Gladnick justifiably went after the over-the-top hackery pervading Alexander Burns’s Politico story on how “Scott Walker limps toward 2016.” Burns bitterly criticized Walker’s “divide-and-conquer strategy,” and the governor himself as “confrontational” and (of course) “polarizing.”

Given that his column was allegedly updated this morning, I expected Burns to revise his writeup to react to two recent newsworthy campaign developments. Incredibly, he didn’t mention either.

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Is the Left Losing Its Iron Grip on the Black Vote?

Filed under: Economy,Immigration,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:59 pm

Their fear that they are is palpable.

____________________________________

This column went up at PJ Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Tuesday.

____________________________________

The left’s behavior in the months leading up to this year’s midterm elections reveals far more than mere anxiety about their results.

There is real concern that they might be losing their grip on African-Americans, their most reliable constituency.

They should be worried. African-Americans who, more than any other group, were promised “hope and change” in 2008 have seen plenty of reasons to lose hope, because the changes seen during Barack Obama’s first six years have done them serious harm.

Democrats have gotten used to counting on well over 90 percent of blacks voting in their favor. If that figure had come down to even 75 percent in the 2012 presidential election with those abandoning ship voting for Mitt Romney, Barack Obama’s 3.5 million popular-vote margin would have vanished.

One activist recently lamented that blacks “think the president is a savior.” Well, that’s what many blacks believe they were promised. This lady clearly thought so six years ago:

The guess here is that the woman interviewed still has to worry about putting gas in her car. Even after the recent fall in prices, it’s still almost twice as much per gallon as it was in late 2008.

Actually, to my surprise and surely the left’s chagrin, my guess was right. It turns out that in July 2014, the once euphoric Peggy Joseph was very disappointed in what had since transpired:

“(The) mortgage got worse and gas prices got higher.”

“During that time, we needed a change. But a change for the better, not for the worse.”

“The man behind the curtain is not who we thought or expected him to be.”

The black community’s suffering is deeply baked into the economic numbers.

Black employment per the government’s Household Survey has increased by 1.4 million since the recession officially ended in June 2009. The good news ends there. Unfortunately, analysts at Sentier Research, working with Census Bureau data, tell us that during that same period, black household income fell sharply, and by far more than in any other ethnic group:

SentierRaceAndEthnicityHHI5YrsEnding0614

Looking at household wealth, “virtually no progress has been made” in narrowing racial disparities. On average, almost everyone is poorer, and those who were poor already with less to lose have been hardest hit.

Speaking of being poor, the African-American poverty rate in 2013 was 27.2 percent. That’s a 2.5-point increase since 2008, and 1.4 points since 2009. At 12.3 percent, the white poverty rate in 2013 was less than half that of blacks, and had fallen to where it was in 2009.

It has long since become obvious that the left can’t credibly argue that their policies have provided African-Americans any kind of tangible economic benefit. This has forced them to resort to the politics of perpetual outrage.

This explains why the race-baiting industry, with fundamentally dishonest establishment press assistance, tried — and spectacularly failed on substance — to make a national case out of Trayvon Martin. It explains why they have turned Ferguson, Missouri into a virtual urban battleground. That effort, primarily an attempt to railroad a cop who was by most accounts defending himself against his attacker instead of letting the attacker kill him, also appears to be on track to fail.

The need for perpetual outrage also explains why the Obama administration continues to litigate against requiring identification to vote and to cast anyone who dares oppose them as presumptively racist. If anything, identification requirements aren’t strong enough, given recent evidence that tens or even hundreds of thousands of non-citizens are illegally voting.

But the merits of their bogus attempts at prosecution or their legal arguments really don’t matter. Only fanning the outrage does.

By their actions, the left is betraying its belief that the only way to keep African-Americans in a failed economy marching in lockstep on the liberal plantation is to deliver a continuous stream of disinformation supposedly showing that the system is irretrievably stacked against them.

Just wait until the plantation’s inhabitants figure out that the people doing the stacking are the very people who pose as their best friends.

Most people believe that President Obama’s deferral of unilateral — and unconstitutional — executive action on immigration was done to avoid a serious backlash in the midterm elections. I believe that it was primarily a targeted decision.

Allowing the euphemism known as “a path to legal status for millions of undocumented workers” will suddenly create a tidal wave of competition for low-paying jobs at law-abiding employers. Disproportionately low-skilled African-Americans are already having a hard enough time finding jobs. A much fiercer fight for low-paying jobs will keep wages depressed. If the Obama administration were to somehow get its way and enact a $10.10 per hour minimum wage, that would only leave more disgruntled job seekers on the sidelines.

I believe that Obama’s immigration deferral was largely done to keep black voters on the plantation this time around, and to buy Democrats some time to figure out how to brainwash those they are shafting. As a result, the party will probably keep or win a few House, Senate and gubernatorial elections which are currently too close to call but would have become certain losses without the immigration deferral.

Once Obama opens the immigration floodgates, the chances of a serious backlash in the black community, which has already endured so much and received so little in return, are far from small.

I sense an historic opportunity here to open up African-Americans’ hearts and minds. Are sensible, free-market, compassionate conservatives up to the challenge?

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3Q14 Gross Domestic Product Growth, First Reading: An Annualized 3.5 Percent (Two-Thirds From Govt. and Exports)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:57 am

From the Bureau of Economic Analysis:

Real gross domestic product — the value of the production of goods and services in the United States, adjusted for price changes — increased at an annual rate of 3.5 percent in the third quarter of 2014, according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the second quarter, real GDP increased 4.6 percent.

The Bureau emphasized that the third-quarter advance estimate released today is based on source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency (see the box on page 3 and “Comparisons of Revisions to GDP” on page 5). The “second” estimate for the third quarter, based on more complete data, will be released on November 25, 2014.

The increase in real GDP in the third quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), exports, nonresidential fixed investment, federal government spending, and state and local government spending that were partly offset by a negative contribution from private inventory investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decreased.

Business Insider predicted a reading of 3 percent.

Key components:

  • Personal consumption expenditures: +1.22-point contribution, down from 1.75 point in Q3.
  • Gross investment excluding inventories: +0.74-point contribution, down from 1.45 points in Q3.
  • Inventories: -0.57-point contribution; was +1.42 points in Q3.
  • Net exports: +1.32-point contribution, up from -0.32 points in Q3.
  • Government: +0.83-point contribution, up from 0.31 points in Q3. (Could we please can all the talk about “austerity”?)

I don’t have time for detailed analysis at the moment, but my gut reaction is that today’s reading will come down in future revisions because of recently reported marginal results in durable goods and other indicators.

Zero Hedge’s Sum-up: “Sharp Slowdown In Consumption, Pushed Higher By Government Spending Spree”

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Initial Unemployment Claims (103014): 287K SA; Raw Claims down 16% From Same Week Last Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:43 am

From the Department of Labor:

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending October 25, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 287,000, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 1,000 from 283,000 to 284,000. The 4-week moving average was 281,000, a decrease of 250 from the previous week’s revised average.

… UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 270,238 in the week ending October 25, an increase of 14,187 (or 5.5 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected an increase of 11,639 (or 4.5 percent) from the previous week. There were 325,326 initial claims in the comparable week in 2013.

Business Insider didn’t even bother with an expectations disclosure.

The seasonal adjustment factors for last week and the same week last year were virtually identical.

This week is in sync with previous weeks, with no apparent trouble signs.

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Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (103014)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.

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Positivity: Cardinal Parolin — Without its Christian roots, Europe won’t help the world

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Montecassino, Italy:

Oct 27, 2014 / 12:12 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The European Union could be significant and helpful in solving crises around the world, but its common effort should lie in its Christians roots which are somewhat forgotten, Cardinal Pietro Parolin said on Friday.

The Vatican’s Secretary of State spoke to CNA Oct. 24 during a visit to the Benedictine abbey of Montecassino. The event coincided with the appointment of a new abbot for the community, and its reorganization, and commemorated the 50th anniversary of Bl. Paul VI’s visit to the first community of the Order of St. Benedict.

When he visited Montecassino in 1964, Bl. Paul VI read his apostolic letter Pacis nuntius, proclaiming St. Benedict a patron of Europe and acknowledging the monk’s work in building a common European identity.

Cardinal Parolin lamented that 50 years later, it seems “there is no more wish for ‘Europe’ as there was 50 years ago.”

He underscored that the European Union could be one of the most important actors in the world arena, but added that it needs to “speak with one voice,” and look back to its common roots.

“I believe that Europe is suffering of the common loss of historical memory, which forbids us to remember where we hail from and what are the deep roots of this Europe.”

In his analysis of the Middle East situation and plight of Christian there given during the Oct. 20 consistory, Cardinal Parolin had also blamed on the international community – including the European Union – for having remained silent as the situation worsened.

“Europe should find one voice … we believe that the problems of the Middle East should be solved by the Middle Eastern countries, but we also believe that Europe can help those countries in their purpose, since we know that a big part of this conflicts comes from outside the Middle East.”

And Europe should “even more” give its contribution in “solving the Ukraine situation, trying to put together the interests of everyone,” Cardinal Parolin said.

The cardinal suggested that Europe’s inability to solve such problems as those in Ukraine and the Middle East stem from its tendency to remove its Christian roots from the public square. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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Rasmussen, With 75%-Plus ‘Wrong Track’ Results Among Everyday People: It Really Matters

Filed under: Activism,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:11 am

Rasmussen’s latest “right direction/wrong track” poll is consistent with previous weeks — consistent in saying that roughly three-quarters of those not in the Political Class believe that the country is on the wrong track:

Only roughly one-quarter of voters of all ages think the country is headed in the right direction.

Seventy-one percent (71%) of whites and 55% of other minority voters say the country is on the wrong track. Blacks disagree by a 43% to 38% margin.

The basis for the relatively high black dissatisfaction (considering their 93% support for President Obama’s reelection in 2012) could be an indicator that the left is losing its iron grip on the black vote. If so, that has to be considered a good thing. Everyone’s interests are better served when no one’s vote is taken for granted.

The money quote from Rasmussen:

Seventy-three percent (73%) of the Political Class believe the country is headed in the right direction, but 76% of Mainstream voters disagree.

What in the world is the Political Class — which, to remind everyone, consists of people in both major parties — smoking?

Dissatisfaction is not enough without voting to express it, which is why “It Matters“:

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October 29, 2014

AP’s Bauer Effectively Admits That Media Didn’t Vet Mary Burke

M.D. Kittle at Watchdog.org’s Wisconsin Reporter scooped everyone covering the Badger State Governor’s race on Tuesday when he reported that Democratic candidate Mary Burke’s resumé is not what her campaign’s web site says it is.

Burke’s campaign bio claims that she “played a central role in Trek’s expansion as the Director of European Operations.” Kittle found “multiple former Trek executives” who told him that, in Kittle’s words, she “was fired by her own family following steep overseas financial losses and plummeting morale among Burke’s European sales staff.” The real question to me is why it took until a week before Election Day to learn this.

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USAT Lists 7 ‘Things’ Middle Class Can’t Afford, Including Medical Care

On Saturday, Erika Rawes at USA Today’s Wall Street Cheat Sheet engaged in some impressive gymnastics as she discussed the middle class and identified seven things its members “can’t afford anymore” (the headline) or that “a larger percentage of people have trouble paying for” (the content).

It’s a sloppy list. One of the items — debt — isn’t a “thing” at all, but rather the result of buying too many “things” without paying for them. Rawes also managed to avoid citing any government policies or practices which might be contributing to the problem. It’s not like there’s a shortage of items in the past 6-1/2 years (since the recession as normal people define it began), or the past dozen (if you want to go back to where the housing bubble began to inflate in earnest), or even the past 25 (if you want to talk about roughly when the mad rush to have things made in Communist China began). One of the six legitimate “things” on the list is of far more recent origin (HT Political Outcast; bolds are mine):

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