September 18, 2014

Liz Warren: ‘It’s Fair’ to Worry About Jews Doing What Nazis Did to Them

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has become a darling of the left for being an early promoter of the “you didn’t build that” meme President Obama used during the 2012 presidential campaign, and for generally espousing positions to the left of Hillary Clinton.

The press rushed to Warren’s defense in 2012 when compelling evidence that she had used her barely present Indian ancestry to “cheat on affirmative action” to advance her academic career went public. So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that they have paid little attention to her recent outrageous attempt to establish her leftist bona fides as a harsh critic of Israel, seen in the video after the jump:

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Initial Unemployment Claims (091814): 280K SA; Raw Claims Down 12 Percent from Same Week Last Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:30 am

Predictions: I only found this one for a drop to 305,000 from 315,000 last week. Ah, here’s Business Insider with the same prediction.

The report will be here shortly.

HERE IT IS (permanent link): We have a major drop —

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending September 13, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 280,000, a decrease of 36,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 1,000 from 315,000 to 316,000. The 4-week moving average was 299,500, a decrease of 4,750 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 250 from 304,000 to 304,250.

UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 241,074 in the week ending September 13, an increase of 6,358 (or 2.7 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected an increase of 37,277 (or 15.9 percent) from the previous week. There were 272,946 initial claims in the comparable week in 2013.

The seasonal factors hardly changed from year to year (from 85.8 last year to 86.1 this year), so assuming all the raw claims rolled in, the seasonally adjusted drop appears to be legit. Given that August’s job additions were so disappointing, whether today’s news represents improvement or is evidence that employers are just hanging on to the people they have while not hiring additinal help is something that will have to wait two weeks for the jobs data.

The We the People Convention Is Saturday, Sept. 20!

Filed under: News from Other Sites,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:02 am

WTP2014LogoSaturday’s We the People Convention promises to be as strong as, if not stronger than, its previous annual events.

It will take place Saturday, September 20, 2014 from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM at:
Hyatt Regency
350 North High Street
Columbus, Oho 43215
Phone:(614) 463-1234

The event’s speakers are strong, experienced passionate leaders with successful track records. Chief among them are Richard Viguerie, Congressman Jim Jordan, Charlie Kirk (founder of Turning Point), Dr. Tim Johnson (founder of the Frederick Douglas Foundation) and Bill Norton of Tea Party Patriots.

For those running for political office, the Candidate Training track will be indispensable.

Yours truly has immovable conflicting commitments, including work on a exciting election-related project I plan to introduce in a couple of weeks. If you don’t have such commitments and want to get involved in achieving the most desirable electoral results this fall, you owe it to yourself to be there.

Tickets can be purchased here.

September 17, 2014

AP Falsely Claims This Year’s Reported Poverty Drop is ‘First Since 2006′

As been its habit since Barack Obama took office in 2009, the Associated Press has, whenever possible, considered the impact of news developments on the President and his party as far more important than what’s actually happening in the lives of real people.

The latest example is the wire service’s coverage of Tuesday’s Census Bureau report on income, poverty and health insurance coverage in the U.S. Nothing — not even fundamental accuracy, as will be seen shortly — was more important to reporter Jesse J. Holland, the AP’s “Race and Ethnicity writer,” than telling readers that a half-point fall in the poverty rate from 15.0 percent to 14.5 percent, constituted “a bit of encouraging news about the nation’s economy as President Barack Obama and Congress gear up for midterm elections.” The fact that the Obama Era has brought us levels of poverty not seen in 20 years — this year’s figure matches 1994′s — apparently doesn’t matter.

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Will Media Report How Obama Now Sees America As Exceptional — Er, ‘Unique’?

President Obama cited American exceptionalism at least ten times in his speech at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa today.

Early in his administration, Obama went out of his way to downplay the nature of U.S. exceptionalism, claiming that it was really no different than how any other nation’s citizens saw their own country’s uniqueness. So his speechwriters knew better than to use that word. But Obama cited how America is “unique” (read: superior) six separate times, and told his audience — and the rest of the world — that “when the world needs help, it calls on America.” Time’s Zeke J. Miller is one of the first among many who are choosing to ignore this change in posture, choosing primarily to obsess over whether U.S. ground troops will be called upon to quash the ISIS/ISIL threat.

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Largely Ignored Yesterday, Code Pink Disrupters Got Front-Page Photo Coverage in 2002

Both Old Media and Old Medea were at it again yesterday.

Old Medea is Medea Benjamin, the head of Code Pink, who led the disruption of a Senate hearing on ISIS and was eventually hauled away. Old Media demonstrated its double standards by giving Ms. Benjamin’s temper tantrum little attention. That treatment sharply contrasts with that seen in September 2002, when, with a Republican in the White House, a similar petulant Code Pink display received front-page photo coverage in three major U.S. newspapers.

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September 16, 2014

MSNBC’s Trymaine Lee Laments Missouri’s ‘Rapid Rightward Shift’

On Saturday, Trymaine Lee at MSNBC.com, who fancies himself as an “expert” on “race, poverty, and guns,” was aghast at the current “current social and political mess” in Missouri.

He wasn’t talking about glass-strewn streets of Ferguson or Show-Me State Governor Jay Nixon’s feckless, irresponsible handling of that situation. No, the real problem is the state’s “rapid rightward shift.” A cursory review of Lee’s “logic” reveals that what has really happened is that Democrats have long since left the center.

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Passages of the Day: On ‘Climate Change’

Filed under: Economy,Environment,Scams,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:47 am

From the New York Post:

Oregon-based physicist Gordon Fulks sums it up well: “CO2 is said to be responsible for global warming that is not occurring, for accelerated sea-level rise that is not occurring, for net glacial and sea ice melt that is not occurring . . . and for increasing extreme weather that is not occurring.”

Al Gore was right in one respect: Climate change is a moral issue — but that’s because there is nothing quite so immoral as well-fed, well-housed Westerners assuaging their consciences by wasting huge amounts of money on futile anti-global-warming policies, using money that could instead go to improve living standards in developing countries.

It’s all a bunch of globaloney.

September 15, 2014

What Coalition? (Robert Roll Commentary)

Longtime readers might remember Rob Roll, yours truly’s nephew, who submitted quite a few fine guest commentaries in 2011.

Rob has since graduated and obtained his Masters of Professional Practice in Accounting from Ohio Northern University, gotten married, has a full-time job with a CPA firm, and has passed the dreaded CPA exam. (Congrats on all those accomplishments!)

Published with his permission, here is Rob’s take on Barack Obama’s “broad coalition” to fight ISIS.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

What Coalition?

During his speech on Wednesday night, President Obama said that “America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat.” Who exactly will be in this coalition? According to a Wall Street Journal editorial, both Britain and Germany have come out and said that their militaries will not use force on ISIS targets. Another ally, at least on paper because of its membership in NATO, Turkey, has said that they will not allow us to use OUR OWN Air Force base located in Turkey for strikes against ISIS targets in Syria. Once again, who will be involved in the “coalition” the president talked about? The Saudis and other Middle East “allies”? Give me a break.

Do not get me wrong, I think that killing ISIS terrorists is a good idea, even if the US has to do it alone. But, I think that a bigger question needs to be asked here; How inept is President Obama in diplomacy when he cannot get our two closest allies (Britain and Germany) to help us with an operation whose goal (destroying ISIS) everyone seems to support? The fact that the UK will not be sending lethal force is especially odd considering that UK Prime Minister David Cameron has called ISIS a “clear danger to Europe” and said that the fight against Islamic extremists is a “generational struggle.” Prime Minister Cameron’s language when talking about ISIS has been more harsh than that of President Obama’s, even after Wednesday’s speech. Is it possible that Britain does not want to commit its troops because it thinks that the United States, with President Obama as Commander-in-chief, will not follow through?

Once again I ask, how inept at diplomacy is  President Obama? How far in over his head is John Kerry? How much damage did Hilary Clinton do to our relationships with our friends when she was Secretary of State? George W. Bush was at least able to build a small coalition to invade Iraq in 2003. That mission’s goal was a lot more controversial than the goal of destroying ISIS. It is incredibly ironic that all of this is happening under a president who was going to “restore America’s standing on the world stage.”

September 14, 2014

For Those Who Minimize the Reach of the Surveillance State

Filed under: Privacy/ID Theft,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:24 am

From WaPo’s Volokh Conspiracy blog:

… (It was an NCIS agent’s) “standard practice to monitor all computers in a geographic area,” here, every computer in the state of Washington

… The Navy … peeked into every computer in the State of Washington using the peer-to-peer file sharing program, “Gnutella.”

How much of this is routinely done without anyone’s knowledge, let alone oversight, outside of the government agencies involved?

Lots.

September 13, 2014

Politico Lead Story Asks If It’s ‘Time to Ditch the Star-Spangled Banner’

There is apparently no more important story or issue right now at the Politico than Ted Widmer’s question about our national anthem: “Is It Time to Ditch the Star-Spangled Banner?” It is currently the lead item at the web site, complete with a huge picture of the American flag. The “beheading by ISIL of a British aid worker” and Wisconsin’s court-granted ability to implement voter-ID in the fall elections are both apparently less important.

Widmer’s reasons to stop using the Star-Spangled Banner come down to the fact that Francis Scott Key was a slaveowner and that the song’s third verse refers to escaped American slaves who were fighting on the British side. He somehow forgets that the British didn’t outlaw slavery until 1833, 19 years after the 1814 Fort McHenry battle.

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Where Have We Heard This Before?

From a a Washington Post item (HT National Review’s Rich Lowry):

(Counterterrorism campaigns the U.S. waged in Yemen and Somalia) have met with success — a U.S. airstrike killed the leader of Somalia’s al-Shabab jihadist movement last week — but both campaigns have dragged on for years and involve far smaller and less-well-financed adversaries than the Islamic State. Although Obama promised a “steady, relentless effort” in a nationally televised address Wednesday night, he also said that “it will take time to eradicate a cancer like ISIL,” using a common acronym for the Islamic State.

Such a mission was not the U.S. military’s preferred option. Responding to a White House request for options to confront the Islamic State, Gen. Lloyd Austin, the top commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, said that his best military advice was to send a modest contingent of American troops, principally Special Operations forces, to advise and assist Iraqi army units in fighting the militants, according to two U.S. military officials. The recommendation, conveyed to the White House by Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was cast aside in favor of options that did not involve U.S. ground forces in a front-line role, a step adamantly opposed by the White House. Instead, Obama had decided to send an additional 475 U.S. troops to assist Iraqi and ethnic Kurdish forces with training, intelligence and equipment.

Recommitting ground combat forces to Iraq would have been highly controversial, and most likely would have been opposed by a substantial majority of Americans. But Austin’s predecessor, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, said the decision not to send ground troops poses serious risks to the mission.

Translation:

  • Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, won the war in Iraq.
  • His negligent foreign policy — with the apparent agreement of policy and defense team, which included Hillary Clinton — allowed the situation to decay so they could crow about withdrawing all troops in 2011 to win electoral point for 2012.
  • The situation is so bad that it really requires American boots on the ground to avoid turning into a slow-motion quagmire like Somalia and Yemen.
  • Obama doesn’t have the courage or integrity to recommit even a relatively small number of U.S. troops, because to do so would be a tacit admission that his Iraq withdrawal was premature.
  • Obama’s day-to-day perception by the left (which is WaPo’s definition of “the American people”) is more important than doing the right long-term thing.

So Obama will fight ISIS/ISIL the way LBJ and Robert McNamara did, refusing to turn our troops loose to do their jobs and achieve victory — a word the President’s smug, smart-alecky spokesperson can’t even define without having to find a dictionary first.

The longer ISIS/ISIL is a coherent force, the better are the chances that they’ll figure out a way to successfully pull off a serious strike on American soil.

September 12, 2014

Lowering the Bar

5.5 percent unemployment is now “full employment.” Horse manure.

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This column went up at PJ Media Tuesday evening Pacific Time and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Wednesday.

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When they can’t meet established performance standards, the left makes up excuses, lowers the standards, and, if necessary, revises history along the way.

In the economic realm, there’s hardly a better of example of this kind of deliberate responsibility avoidance than what has happened to the idea of “full employment.”

Full employment is supposed to occur when “all … who want to work and are allowed to work are able to find employment.”

The unemployment rate associated with full employment obviously can’t be zero, because there will always be people out of work who are voluntarily or involuntarily moving from one job to another.

What unemployment rate represents full employment? The architects of the Humphrey–Hawkins Full Employment Act of 1978 thought it should be 4 percent for Americans age 16 and over. That benchmark is what Richard Nixon used when presenting “full employment” budgets during much of his time in office. Yes, it was a gimmicky maneuver designed to make what were then seen as horrific deficits seem more palatable; but the rate did represent the predominant economic thinking at the time. While we’re in the neighborhood, I should note that the deficits incurred during the early 1970s, considered awful at the time, were chump change, even after accounting for inflation, compared to the $1 trillion-plus annual shortfalls seen during most of Barack Obama’s presidency.

Forty years later, communications have improved tremendously. Unfilled job listings are available within seconds at any number of web sites attempting to match employees with employers. Applicants send resumes online instead of through the mail. One would therefore expect that the full-employment unemployment rate would have fallen, or at the very least remained the same.

Thus, I was initially quite relieved on September 4 when I sat in on the ADP Employment Report conference call. Moody’s economist Mark Zandi, the report’s overseer, told his audience that he expects that the economy will continue to generate 200,000 or more private-sector jobs each month as far as the eye can see, and that this serendipitous consistency will bring the U.S. economy to full employment by the end of 2016.

He further clarified his prediction by optimistically forecasting that most of today’s workforce dropouts will get back into the game during that time, and that most of those who are currently working part-time but would prefer full-time jobs will find them. Those two assumptions were a bit hard to take, but it’s his conference call, and he can predict what he wants. (The next day’s employment report from the government, which showed only a 142,000 pickup in seasonally adjusted jobs, threw cold water on Zandi’s sunny optimism. He didn’t handle it well.)

But Zandi then noted that all of this would return us to full employment for the first time “in a decade.” That seemed odd.

This is where the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood from 2004 through 2007:

Unemployment2004to2007

Though the economy posted unemployment rates of 5 percent or lower for 31 consecutive months, including almost a year at or around 4.5 percent, it never got to what I had understood to be the commonly accepted definition of full employment for decades.

But Zandi said it did. So when the call opened up for questions, I asked him what he thought the unemployment rate would be at the end of 2016 when we hit full-employment nirvana.

I was stunned at the answer: 5.5 percent.

It gets worse.

When I asked him if this benchmark meant that we were somehow at more than full employment in 2006 and 2007, he said “yes,” contending that there was significant upward pressure on wages during that time. Does anyone remember that we had a seller’s market for labor throughout the U.S. in the mid-2000s? With rare exceptions in certain sections of the country, neither do I.

When I mentioned that his full-employment unemployment rate was quite a bit higher than I was used to seeing by about 1.5 percentage points, Zandi went further into the land of the absurd. He asserted that full employment was commonly regarded as 5 percent last decade — this 2007 article in the New York Times confirms that — but that the economic damage caused by the recession had upwardly moved that standard to 5.5 percent.

In other words, it’s Bush’s fault — apparently forever — that the rate is now a half-point higher. The economy fell, and it will never entirely get back up. You can’t make this garbage up. This permanent half-point upward move must have been discovered after the Obama administration was done promoting the idea that its 2009 stimulus package would lower the unemployment rate to 5 percent — by the middle of 2013. How convenient.

In a far more efficient communications environment, why did the accepted full-employment unemployment rate rise at all?

Part of the answer is that there are many people who believe that the increase never should have happened. That group, strangely enough, includes card-carrying liberals Jared Bernstein and Dean Baker. It also includes the folks at the American Institute for Full Employment. Its president, John Courtney, goes further. In an email, he specifically asserted his group’s belief that “full employment is below the 4%” Bernstein and Baker advocated in late 2013.

It’s hard to disagree with Mr. Courtney, given that a July 2014 table at the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics showed six states with rates below 4 percent. Only one of them, North Dakota, where the unemployment rate was 2.8 percent and starting wages at Wal-Mart can be as high as $17 per hour, is seeing significant wage pressure. This strongly suggests that the real-world unemployment rate at full employment is about 3.5 percent.

What has really happened is that the left-dominated establishment economics community has lowered the bar for full employment to avoid having to discuss the welfare state’s pervasive work disincentives and their own Keynesian policies’ utter failure to satisfactorily revive the job market.

How pathetic.

September 11, 2014

Josh Earnest ‘Didn’t Bring a Dictionary,’ So He Can’t Define ‘Victory’

A frequent tipster has informed me that on today’s episode of The Five on Fox News, Bob Beckel actually said that he likes current White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest better than his predecessor James Carney because Earnest “looks better.” Far be it from me to render a judgment on relative male handsomeness. But one thing I can say about Earnest is that, at certain times, when he gets a question he doesn’t like, he acts like a snotty teenager caught not having his homework ready.

One such incident occurred today. Rather than answer a question about how the Obama administration specifically defined victory over ISIL and what the idea of “destroying” it really means, Earnest … well catch the transcript of the first 30 seconds of the video found at (HT Real Clear Politics):

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D.C. 6th-Grade School Assignment: Compare Bush 43 to Hitler

Filed under: Education,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:10 pm

Haven’t brought out the “reasons to homeschool” graphic for awhile.

If I brought it out every time a government school did something stupid, I’d use it at least twice a day. So I try to be selective.

This one makes the over-the-top cut — by a mile:

D.C. Public Schools homework assignment asks 6th graders to compare Bush to Hitler

A D.C. public school gave a sixth grade class a homework assignment that required students to draw comparisons between former President George W. Bush and Adolf Hitler.

The assignment was given out this week at McKinley Tech Middle School in Northeast and has angered at least one parent who complained about the homework.

A copy of the assignment, made by the parent, instructs students to draw examples from two texts they were assigned and to fill in a Venn diagram with similarities and differences between the two men.

“Now that we have read about two men of power who abused their power in various ways, we will compare and contrast them and their actions. Please refer to your texts, ‘Fighting Hitler — A Holocaust Story’ and ‘Bush: Iraq War Justified Despite No WMD’ to compare and contrast former President George W. Bush and Hitler. We will use this in class tomorrow for an activity!” reads the text at the top of the assignment.

I should remind readers that the “No WMD” claim is an historically proven lie.

Plenty of irrefutable proof is herehere and here at previous BizzyBlog posts. Wikileaks documents, purloined by Bradley/Chelsea Manning, considered a folk hero by many on the left, also show that there WMDs in Iraq.

With that matter re-established, let’s bring the homeschooling graphic, originally created by the estimable Darth Dilbert at Return of the Conservatives, apparently updated from when I last used it, and shamelessly appropriated for the purposes of this post:

ReasonsToHomeschool2014