April 19, 2014

Sign, Signs … A $17 an Hour Sign?

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Immigration,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:32 am

Here’s one:

$17perHourSign0414

Wow, that’s impressive. Guess where it was found:

WalmartLogoOnBuilding

Huh? Walmart? Yep:

WalmartCaption0414

It’s very safe to say that $17 an hour to work at Walmart is a higher rate than virtually “any” city outside of North Dakota, not just “many.”

Some takeaways:

  • There’s opportunity for those whose personal circumstances allow it to better themselves simply by moving. Those who live in a high-unemployment area who could move without personal consequence and don’t really have no right to complain. If Wal-Mart’s paying $17 an hour, imagine what you can make at skilled jobs in North Dakota. (Yes, the cost of living in North Dakota has shot up, but don’t even try to argue that it’s twice that seen in other states.)
  • The law of supply and demand works. If there’s a shortage of workers, employers have to pay more to get them.
  • The law of supply and demand works in the other direction too. If Congress grants amnesty to millions of workers already here, and each of them therefore gets to bring in relatives, and more illegal immigrants arrive in anticipation of the next amnesty, wages will be stay low or go lower. The Wall Street Journal and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce may like that, and the Democratic Party may like the electoral majorities such a move will almost certainly guarantee, but the average American worker’s standard of living will deteriorate even more than we’ve seen already during six years of slack economic conditions.
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NewsBusted (041814)

Filed under: NewsBusted — Tom @ 9:04 am

Here we go:

Topics:
– Tax Day
– Tea Party Audits
– IRS
– Obama’s Tax Bill
– Mickey Rooney
– Obamacare
– Kevin Spacey
– Morning Joe
– Hillary Clinton
– Jane Pauley

Best Lines:

  • “Last Tuesday was Tax Day. So now that all the returns are in, let the Tea Party audits begin.”
  • “The three major networks failed to report on news claims that the IRS targeted Tea Party groups. Of course they did. ABC, NBC and CBS don’t want to get audited either.”
  • “The Obamas paid just over $98,000 in taxes this year. But that’s only because they were able to write off the 47 million Americans on Food Stamps as dependents.”
  • “Last week the ‘Morning Joe’ panel failed to name even one reason why Hillary Clinton was qualified to be President. President Obama immediately responded, ‘Like you need one?’”
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Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (041914)

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

This open thread will stay at or near the top today. Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow. Other topics are also fair game.

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Positivity: Abby Johnson’s Ministry Has Helped More Than 100 Abortion Clinic Workers Quit

Filed under: Activism,Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Life News:

April 14, 2014

There are a number of ways of stopping abortions — whether it’s legislation, with prayer, pregnancy centers providing positive alternatives, pro-life groups working to close abortion clinics or what former Planned Parenthood abortion clinic manager Abby Johnson is doing. Johnson is working to help abortion clinic staffers quit their jobs.

What if there were no employees to staff the abortion facilities across the nation. Countless unborn babies would be saved.

“A few weeks ago, we told you that we were very close to reaching our 100th abortion clinic worker. I’m so happy to announce that we have now reached that mark! We are actually at 101 workers who have joined our ministry! Thanks to all of you who have continued to pray for us and for the workers who have come to us for assistance! Just this week, we have been contacted by four workers who are looking for help. We are so honored that they trust us enough to contact us.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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AP Howler: Admin’s Good Friday Timing of Latest Keystone Pipeline Delay a ‘Surprise’

It either doesn’t take much to surprise Josh Lederman and Dana Capiello at the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, or they have very short memories.

The AP pair described the Obama State Department’s Friday afternoon statement (roughly 3:30 p.m., based on the “9 hours ago” result returned in a Google search on the document’s title at 12:30 a.m. ET) that it would “provide more time” for eight federal agencies involved to submit “their views on the proposed Keystone Pipeline Project” as a “a surprise announcement Friday as Washington was winding down for Easter.” It’s as if something like this has never happened before during the Obama administration. Well, yes it has.

(more…)

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April 18, 2014

Politico’s Nather: Obama Can ‘Spike the Football’ Because Obamacare ‘Is Beating Expectations’

David Nather at the Politico apparently wanted to make sure that those who don’t follow the news closely see a triumphant headline (“Obama Spikes the Football”) and a congratulatory opening paragraph at their computers, tablets, and smartphones.

Sure, the Politico reporter gradually threw in all kinds of qualifications after that, but his mission is largely accomplished: Cause those who don’t click through to believe that Obamacare is functioning as intended, and — especially in the headline — communicate the message that the debate about the statist health regime’s existence is really over. He can say that he did his job while at the same time keeping most people away from the more complicated reality. In that sense, Nather is right there with reporters at ABC and CBS who claim without verifiable evidence, as Rich Noyes at NewsBusters noted earlier this afternoon, that the program has achieved “a major milestone.” Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):

(more…)

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AP: After Years of Touting It, Dems Told Not to Say ‘Recovery’

In a Friday morning dispatch which comes off more as a set of election instructions from “Democratic strategists” than as a real news report, David Espo at the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, wanted to make sure that political operatives who don’t read boring pollster reports still get the message: Don’t use the word “recovery” during your fall campaign.

In the course of his missive, Espo falsely claimed that economic growth since the recession officially ended has continued unbroken, and failed to remind his audience that the party has trotted out “recovery” themes several times, only to see historically weak economic and employment results each time. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):

(more…)

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Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (041814)

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

This open thread will stay at or near the top today. Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow. Other topics are also fair game.

____________________________

Fantabulous “housing recovery” update:

The campaign to align staffing levels with mortgage production volume is continuing at Wells Fargo & Co., which has already cut thousands of mortgage jobs.

Mortgage Daily tracked more than 6,000 mortgage-related layoffs that took place during the fourth quarter at the San Francisco-based company.

Those layoffs were on top of 5,300 mortgage jobs that were eliminated in the third quarter at Wells Fargo.

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Positivity: Good Friday Gospel

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From The Gospel of Matthew 27:35-37, 45-53:

And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. And sitting down they watched him there; And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias. And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.

The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him. Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

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April 17, 2014

Initial Unemployment Claims (041714): 304K SA; Raw Claims Up 5.8% From Previous Week

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:58 am

Predictions: 

Seasonal adjustment factors:

  • Week ended April 12, 2014 — 104.6
  • Week ended April 13, 2013 — 101.9

Raw claims:

  • Week ended April 5, 2014 — 298,393 (before possible revision; Update: revised to 300,189)
  • Week ended April 13, 2013 — 359,415

For the predictions above to come true, raw claims will need to be 330,000 or lower (330K divided by 1.046 is 315K, rounded).

That’s way too easy. We really should expect a seasonally adjusted value of 287,000 or below, which would mean that raw claims came in at 300,000 or below, or just above what we’ve seen in raw claims during the past two weeks. It’s difficult to see why raw claims should come in any higher, unless conditions are deteriorating. So to be clear, a seasonally adjusted reading of 295K or higher should be seen as BAD news.

We’ll see here at 8:30 a.m. (Note: The Department of Labor began issuing the report in PDF format last week).

_______________________________

UPDATE: The DOL home page says 304,000, but the new report isn’t at the link yet.

HERE IT IS (the permanent link works):

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending April 12, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 304,000, an increase of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 2,000 from 300,000 to 302,000. The 4-week moving average was 312,000, a decrease of 4,750 from the previous week’s revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since October 6, 2007 when it was 302,000. The previous week’s average was revised up by 500 from 316,250 to 316,750.

… UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 317,701 in the week ending April 12, an increase of 17,512 (or 5.8 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected an increase of 16,022 (or 5.3 percent) from the previous week. There were 359,415 initial claims in the comparable week in 2013.

Well, the change in “the seasonal factors” doesn’t make sense. Both the week ended April 5 and the one ended April 12 were full, five-day, early-spring business weeks, and there really shouldn’t have been much change in raw claims from the first week to the second. But there was.

So, though the press surely won’t see it as such, this is a disappointment.

_______________________________

UPDATE: I haven’t mentioned this in a few weeks, and need to remind readers of it every so often, with a bit of an update.

“Covered employment,” or the number of workers who would be eligible for unemployment benefits if they were laid off or let go, peaked at 133.902 million at the end of 2008. After over five years of “recovery,” it’s currently 130.938 million, or 2.2% below that peak.

Given that private-sector employment is finally back to its pre-recession peak, this tells me that there has been a noticeable shift in the workforce towards people who aren’t eligible for unemployment benefits, i.e., temps and part-timers.

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Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (041714)

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

This open thread will stay at or near the top today. Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow. Other topics are also fair game.

__________________________

GM Risked Lives to Save 25 Cents Per Car — and the Obama administration’s stepchild wants to shield itself from accountability as a result of its 2009 bankruptcy subterfuge (“Oh, that was OLD GM, which is gone; we’re NEW GM”).

Really? If they’re so completely separate, then how about giving back the billions in corporate income taxes not paid because the Treasury Department allowed NEW GM to use OLD GM’s net operating loss carryforwards?

Even better idea — Let’s nuke this attempted defense, and see where it takes us:

… even if one were to believe that Old GM was somehow engaged in “fraud on the court” with respect to the ignition defect (overlooking the difficulty that the bankruptcy court was not a safety regulator and there is really nothing in the bankruptcy code or logic that requires extensive disclosure in a sale context about a liability that is not moving anywhere in the sale), it is hard to see how New GM could be tagged with the assumed fraud.

One has to demonstrate a “fraud on the court” to overcome a one-year “fraud by the seller” limitation on legal action. If it’s a “fraud on the court,” there’s apparently no time limit.

The problem with that defense is that NEW GM at the time of the bankruptcy was the government, which had exclusive control over the entire process, and arbitrarily doled out shares in the new company based on doing favors to its UAW employees and certain lenders and bondholders (while putting the screw to others).

If it can be shown in documentation or drawn out in sworn testimony that agents of the government (i.e., car czar Steve Rattner and his crew) knew about the ignition problem and did not disclose it to the court throughout the Chapter 11 proceedings … that sure looks like a “fraud on the court” to me. If so, NEW GM would and should indeed be “tagged with the assumed fraud,” and be forced to deal with the tort claims based on the problem it deliberately chose not to disclose.

Following logically from that, the “pump and dump” U.S. Treasury Department should be subject to a class action suit for waiting until it had fully exited GM to allow what its agents knew all along to finally see the light of day.

Also: At Huffington Post (!) — “So Much for the Great GM Bailout”

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Positivity: ‘I can’t leave my people’ — Priest killed in Syria hailed as martyr

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City, and Syria:

Apr 15, 2014 / 07:21 am

Days after Dutch priest Fr. Frans van der Lugt S.J. was murdered in Syria, a close young friend recalled his saintly life, noting both his personal holiness and extraordinary advances in Christian-Muslim relations.

Wael Salibi, 26, recalled how when the Christian area in Homs was taken over by rebels, 66,000 of the faithful “left their home, and just few of them stayed there. He was the only priest, he stayed in his church.”

“Just months before he died, he said ‘I can’t leave my people, I can’t leave my church, I am director of this church, how can I leave them?’” Salibi told CNA on April 11.

Salibi, who hails from the now-ravished city of Homs, grew up as a close friend and pupil of Fr. Frans, who was brutally killed on April 7. Days before his 76th birthday, an unknown gunman entered his church, beat him and shot him in the head.

For the past three years Syria has been embroiled in conflict which sprang up after citizens protested the rule of Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s president and leader the country’s Ba’ath Party.

Since then, the violence has morphed into a civil war which has claimed the lives of an estimated 140,000 people. There are currently 2.6 million Syrian refugees in nearby countries, most of them in Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey, and an additional 6.5 million Syrian people are believed to have been internally displaced by the war.

Currently a refugee living and studying in Rome, Salibi fled his city just a year and a half ago – following a two-week religious visit to Europe – after receiving a call from his mother telling him not to return.

Recalling his life growing up with the priest, Salibi explained that because Fr. Frans had been living and working in Syria since 1966, his family formed close ties with the priest, who would often visit after celebrating Christmas Mass in order to wish his father a happy birthday, and was at one point the spiritual director for his sister.

“This is what makes Fr. Frans special,” Salibi noted, “because he influenced thousands of people, and he remembered all people with little details, and he listened to others.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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April 16, 2014

Forget the Obama-Nixon Comparisons …

Filed under: Activism,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:59 pm

… because there is no comparison.

Nixon wanted the Internal Revenue Service to go after a small cadre of his enemies. The IRS refused to go along. Nixon could have sacked those who refused, and didn’t.

Barack Obama’s IRS, with the now clearly established knowledge of Eric Holder’s Justice Department, deliberately went after Obama’s mobilizing opposition, often by delaying and deliberately over-scrutinizing activist groups’ non-profit status applications, but sometimes by employing much more serious tactics, including coordinating multi-agency harassments of certain applicants’ businesses.

Now we know that the IRS also wanted DOJ’s help in criminally prosecuting opponents (links are in original; bolds are mine):

Judicial Watch has been chipping away at the IRS stonewall with Freedom of Information Act requests, and just released some new emails that show Tax Exempt Organizations director Lois Lerner was talking to the Justice Department about criminal prosecutions for the groups targeted by her organization.  She was also trying to get the Federal Elections Commission – where she used to work, under similar suspicions of politicized abuse of her authority – involved in the witch hunt.  Judicial Watch previously discovered that the IRS handed tax returns for conservative groups over to the FEC, an action of both questionable utility and dubious legality.

Read the whole thing.

Lest we forget, the IRS was being egged on by congressional Democrats, and the veneer of White House plausible deniability has for all practical purposes evaporated:

We now have a sitting Democrat congressman, Elijah Cummings, a sitting Democrat senator, Sheldon Whitehouse, the Federal Elections Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Internal Revenue Service all implicated in the scandal. Flax’s involvement puts the abuse squarely into the IRS commissioner’s office. But it takes an entity above all of those agencies to coordinate their actions. That entity can only be the White House.

Also, go here:

  • Judicial Watch — “JW Obtains IRS Documents Showing Lerner in Contact With DOJ about Potential Prosecution of Tax-Exempt Groups”
  • Doug Ross — ” IRS Leadership Conspired with Holder Justice Department to Imprison Political Opponents”

Ross’s reax:

… this horrifying scandal … makes Nixon look like a shoplifter at the Dollar Store.

We have a President, an Attorney General, a ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, the IRS, the FBI, and heaven knows what other alphabet soup agencies conspiring to jail political opponents. Our country has been reduced to something akin to Venezuela, only with craploads more debt.

That, my friends, is fascism, straight up.

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Another Anti-Brinkman ORPINO Mailing, and Two More Reasons to Vote For Him

Filed under: Activism,Education,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:04 pm

ORPINO (the Ohio Republican Party In Name Only) has sent out another mailer attacking 27th District State Representative candidate Tom Brinkman, claiming that he was named one of the most ineffective legislators or some such nonsense based on his previous State Rep record.

News Flash: ORPINO’s and the Columbus political establishment’s definition of “effective” is “going along with the ever-expanding and ever-encroaching bureaucracy.” Yeah, Tom Brinkman never was a part of that crowd. He opposed all tax increases on principle. In other words, like our Governor, he was Tea Party before there was a Tea Party. Unlike Governor Kasich, he hasn’t betrayed the Tea Party’s core principles.

So the mailer constitutes Reason #2 to vote for Brinkman and to fire Pete Stautberg, his incumbent opponent. (Reason #1 was the first mailer.)

Lest anyone believe I’m solely motivated by dislike of ORPINO (which as a practical matter is enough anyway for those who are pressed for time to do detailed research), I decided to look into the candidates’ positions on Common Core upon learning that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has courageously changed his formerly supportive stance (courageous because the pressure from the Jeb Bush-Bill Gates axis to just keep going along must have been intense). Jindal now opposes it.

Since excising Common Core from Ohio’s classrooms is a very important matter, I emailed the Brinkman campaign and asked where the candidate stands and where his opponent stands.

The candidate responded within a few hours:

I am against Common core.

My opponent is for Common Core.

Thank you for the inquiry.

Please contact me with any other questions.

Thanks.
Tom Brinkman Jr.

So there’s Reason #3.

On the off-chance that the Stautberg campaign doesn’t like being down 0-3, I would welcome their official response.

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No Press Story IDs Sentenced Former Bell, Calif. City Manager as a Democrat

In September 2010, Lachlan Markay at NewsBusters put up a post entitled “Eight Dems Arrested in Bell, CA ‘Corruption on Steroids’ – Not a Single Mention of Party Affiliation From Media.”

Almost four years later (!), reviews of search engine results and specific news stories on the sentencing of Robert Rizzo, the community’s former city manager, are again returning no mentions of the fact that Rizzo is a Democrat.

(more…)

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