Sunday, February 7, 2016

CRUZ DIRTY TRICKS

Dirty Tricks (Note Added February 07, 2016 to Cruz)
 
Donald Trump claimed that Cruz stole the Iowa election and he might well have as he pulled two dirty tricks right before and during the caucuses.  The first and most mild one is:
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is defending a campaign mailer that Iowa’s secretary of state says misrepresents election law.
(1)The mailer bills itself as a “voting violation” notice and tells the recipient it’s been sent due to “low expected voter turnout in your area.” It then grades the recipient’s voting history and that of several neighbors, citing public records.
..........................................................................
 Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate says in a statement that there’s “no such thing” as an election violation related to voting frequency and that insinuating otherwise is “not in keeping in the spirit of the Iowa Caucuses.”
It is not clear to me that this notice benefited Cruz except that expect he sent to to districts or more elderly people where he thought he might benefit.  It has been said that the names and the number of elections they have missed do not track and that the notice is just made up.*

(2)Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Wednesday accused rival Ted Cruz of stealing a victory in the Iowa caucuses and called for another vote or nullification of Cruz's win.
Trump had gone into Monday's caucus voting ahead of the Texas senator by 5 percentage points in a key poll but Cruz ended up winning, four points ahead of the New York billionaire.
"Ted Cruz didn't win Iowa, he stole it," Trump (@realDonaldTrump) tweeted. "That is why all of the polls were so wrong and why he got far more votes than anticipated. Bad!"
..........................................................................  
Trump, who finished second behind Cruz, lit up Twitter on Wednesday with a series of posts saying the outcome was tainted because the Cruz campaign had deliberately spread misinformation about Trump's stand on Obamacare and an erroneous report that Ben Carson was dropping out of the race.**
........................................................................
 "The press is reporting that Dr. Ben Carson is taking time off from the campaign trail after Iowa and making a big announcement next week," the Cruz email read, according to CNN. "Please inform any Carson caucusgoers (sic) of this news and urge them to caucus for Ted Cruz."

I wonder what dirty tricks Cruz has planned for New Hampshire?

 * http://nbc4i.com/2016/01/31/ted-cruz-campaign-sends-iowans-notice-of-voting-violation
** http://www.reviewjournal.com/politics/elections/trump-ted-cruz-stole-iowa-caucuses

Friday, February 5, 2016

JOB GROWTH, PRIVATE SECTOR, ADP, JANUARY 2016

According to ADP, the last three months of job growth exceeds by quite a bit from the beginning quarter of 2015.*
Medium-sized firms, with 50 to 499 employees, represented the largest contributor with 82,000 jobs, while companies with more than 500 workers added 44,000, just half December's total.
Professional and business services was the leading sector with 44,000, followed by trade, transportation and utilities [35,000) and construction [21,000]. The 13,000 jobs from goods producers represented a sharp decline from the 30,000 in December.*
The government rate for U-3 is much lower at 151,000.  I do not make an effort to resolve the difference between the two measures, but my impression is that the ADP rate is usually higher than the government rate.  Also the early government rate is skewed by the "birth-Death" model that guesses on new businesses and is really a rather rough estimate.  The value for it given next month can easily differ by 40,000; however

Another measure is the Vacancies/Unemployment Number (See Figure below):**

Note that the value of V/U recently is somewhat higher than before the Great Recession (but not higher than the 1990s high).

* http://www.cnbc.com/2016/02/03/private-payrolls-up-205k-in-january-vs-195k-est-adpmoodys.html
** http://www.cnbc.com/2016/02/05/but-whats-the-real-unemployment-rate.html

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

WORKFORCE PARTICIPATION RATES (BY YEAR)

The decline in workforce participation uin the U.S,. is unique among develoed countries:*  Though Sweden went though a period of workforce participation in decline, in recent years it has begun to increase again.  But in spite of it all, Sweden has the highest workforce participation.   Spain that at one time had the lowest workforce participation went through a period of rapid increase, but the rate has flattened in recent years.  You can see in the figure, however, that the U.S. is unique among these countries in having a rapid decline in workforce participation since about 1998.

Among men age 25-54, the workforce participation rate started to decline as far back as the late 1970s, but the women's participation rate climbed until the late 1980s when it too started to decline.  Though the decline started before the Great Recession, it has picked up steam since.  No one seems to have any ideas as to why this is happening.  One might suppose, however, that the stagnation of workers salaries may be having an effect.  How are the dropouts making their way?  Perhaps there is a return to one worker families or people are working on the side (e.g working individually out of their homes), but no one knows.

 
 * http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2015/06/26/the-u-s-stands-out-on-labor-force-participation-rates/

Thursday, January 28, 2016

LEAD POISIONING AND FLINT, MICHIGAN, WATER

I hear a lot of hysteria about lead in Flint.  They say things like "You can't shower in bottled water."  Well, lead is not a skin poison* so showering or baths should be no problem unless you drink the shower or bath water.  When I was a child, we were told not to drink water from the hot water tap because it might contain lead.  Apparently a lot of the plumbing in Flint is very old and probably needs to be replaced anyway.  Modern plumbing uses PVC pipe and other plastic tubing in the homes.

Lead in blood does not have a long half life so just switching to bottled water should rapidly deplete lead in the blood.  For a more permanent basis, lead and iron removing filters work well although not all filters remove lead so you need to check.

If that is not fast enough, then there is chelation therapy that works well using agents like EDTA.**  Curiously EDTA at least used to be found in commercial salad dressing to preserve flavor.  This strips all the heavy metals from your body, including essential ones.  It may also be found in shampoos, body washes, deodorant and skin creams.***

The two main repositories of lead in the body are bones and kidneys.  Bone is the major repository so children growing bone can take on a large lead burden that then leaks out later in life.  A colleague of mine came from South Africa, and he found the lead in his blood had the isotopic composition of South African lead that is very distinctive. The effects of lead on the brain are above my pay grade and I refer you elsewhere.****

I heard on the Rachel Maddow show (where the Flint, Michigan, water-lead problem was brought to public attention), that a large part of the Flint water system has water standing in pipes averaging only about a day whereas in another large part it stands for an average of six days and is the area with the highest blood lead levels.  She recently held a Town Hall in Flint (http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/michigan/flint-water-crisis/2016/01/27/rachel-maddow-flint/79424440/)  In addition to lead poisoning, it is now suspected of causing legionnaires disease.
Calcium Disodium EDTA
Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, or simply known as EDTA, is a preservative found in many foods including sodas, sandwich spreads and sauces. EDTA is also found in many cosmetic products including shampoos, body wash, deodorant and skin creams. EDTA may cause allergic reactions, asthma attacks, skin rash and possible kidney damage. Studies have also found that sustained intakes of calcium disodium EDTA can lead to essential mineral depletion in dogs. - See more at: http://naturallysavvy.com/eat/harmful-food-additives-in-salad-dressing#sthash.1BO09aeT.dpuf
Calcium Disodium EDTA
Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, or simply known as EDTA, is a preservative found in many foods including sodas, sandwich spreads and sauces. EDTA is also found in many cosmetic products including shampoos, body wash, deodorant and skin creams. EDTA may cause allergic reactions, asthma attacks, skin rash and possible kidney damage. Studies have also found that sustained intakes of calcium disodium EDTA can lead to essential mineral depletion in dogs. - See more at: http://naturallysavvy.com/eat/harmful-food-additives-in-salad-dressing#sthash.1BO09aeT.dpuf
Calcium Disodium EDTA
Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, or simply known as EDTA, is a preservative found in many foods including sodas, sandwich spreads and sauces. EDTA is also found in many cosmetic products including shampoos, body wash, deodorant and skin creams. EDTA may cause allergic reactions, asthma attacks, skin rash and possible kidney damage. Studies have also found that sustained intakes of calcium disodium EDTA can lead to essential mineral depletion in dogs. - See more at: http://naturallysavvy.com/eat/harmful-food-additives-in-salad-dressing#sthash.1BO09aeT.dpuf

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_poisoning
** If you have to know, EDTA stands for Ethylene-Diamine-Tetra-Acetic acid
*** http://naturallysavvy.com/eat/harmful-food-additives-in-salad-dressing
**** http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/neuro/neuro00/web2/Patel.html

Monday, January 25, 2016

BULLS AND BEARS ON THE STOCK MARKETS

Saul Williams of Motley Fool has a very nice article on Bull and Bear markets.*  A few excerpts are below.  He also present two figures from Yardeni Research that show the details of the figure reproduced below that show the details. I recommend you read the full article.  How long the current downturn occurs and how deep it ends up going remains to be seen, of course.  The beginning of it is unique.

...between 1965 and the end of 2015 the S&P 500 underwent 27 corrections of 10% or more (numbers were rounded to the nearest integer). 
........................................................................
...we spend more time in rising markets than we do during periods of correction. This is more of an extension of the prior point that corrections, while not uncommon, tend to happen quickly and be over with. Only with rare exception (the 2000-2002 correction, which lasted 915 days, and the 2007-2009 correction, which went on for 510 days) do corrections last a prolonged period of time.

But here's the most important thing to note: The S&P 500 reclaimed the lost value in every single instance involving a correction of 10% or more. That's 27 corrections of at least 10% (again, rounded up) since 1987, and every single one of those corrections wiped out by a bullish rally at some point. Sometimes it takes just weeks to wipe out the effects of a correction, or as you can see with the dot-com bubble of 2000, it took a good seven years for long-term investors to be vindicated once more.
(Click on figure to enlarge)

* http://www.fool.com/retirement/general/2016/01/18/the-only-chart-that-matters-during-a-stock-market.aspx

Friday, January 22, 2016

CRUZ - II

In my recent post on Cruz, I have included an excerpt* of the following: In his effort to get the evangelical vote, he has appeared at one meeting where the chairman gave an impassioned rant about how the bible says gays should be killed (though not now because they should be given a chance to repent.).  Cruz gave no criticism of the pastor who did this.

And it gets worse.  Now Cruz has been endorsed by "Pastor" Mike Bickle (of the International House of Prayer in Kansas City) who says things like:  I believe that one of the main pastors, as a forerunner to the Harlot movement, it’s not the Harlot movement yet, is Oprah. and Bickle says that "the most famous [heaven-sent] hunter in recent history is a man named Adolf Hitler", and has claimed that Jews collectively are "under the discipline of God because of... perversion and sin."**  Cruz says, "Heidi and I are grateful to have his prayers and support."

* http://stopcontinentaldrift.blogspot.com/2016/01/cruz.html from http://www.thestranger.com/blogs/slog/2015/11/06/23118593/christian-pastor-calls-for-execution-of-gays-at-event-attended-by-ted-cruz
** http://www.charismanews.com/politics/54652-ihop-s-mike-bickle-endorses-ted-cruz-for-president
 http://askanatheist.tv/2011/07/13/harbinger-of-the-antichrist-thy-name-is-oprah/

REVOLT OF THE REPUBLICAN GREAT "UNWASHED"

A large segment of the Republican "base" is the disaffected white wage earner (the so-called great unwashed in that they have only finished high school or maybe not even that) and another is the "Sit down and shut up!" crowd like Chris Christie that can be quite wealthy.  Exactly why the white working class is Republican, I have no idea because the party, well, hates them and thinks they are overpaid.  Even their hero, Donald Trump, has said at least a couple of times that the American worker's wages are too high compared to the rest of the world.  For some reason they forgive him for this although their wages have been essentially stagnant for 25 yrs. But every two to four years they stroke the wage earner's ego by telling them they are the "Real Americans" and the "Backbone Of The Country."

My guess as to why the white wage earners are disaffected from their natural ally, the Democratic Party, is that they feel the Democrats pay too much attention to women, African Americans, Hispanics, and homo sexuals who have taken many jobs from them.

The rreal problem is, however, two fold.  First there is the off-shoring of jobs and the second is automation.   There is also sort of third problem where jobs have been turned over to the consumer to do.  Some examples of this are "letting your fingers do the walking" on the telephone, pump your own gas,  auto-checkout outs at grocery stores and typing your own stuff (disappearance of clerk typists) among others.  To some extent these disappearing jobs are automated, but it is still the consumer that does any work required. Wages must be less then the costs of automation, and their wages will decrease until they approach some sort of equilibrium with low wage countries moderated by the costs of shipping, the price of natural gas, etc.*  Neither party seems to have an answer to this.

So I think that the disaffected white wage earner doesn't have a party anymore, although I suspect they would do better with the Democratic Party than the Republican Party.

But an interesting thing has happened in that the disaffected white wage earner now has sort of a champion who talks like they talk and the "Sit down and shut up" crowd likes it also.  These two groups are trying to take over the Republican Party.  Time will tell if they succeed, but for now the Republican "establishment" doesn't know what to do and I'm not sure the Democratic establishment does either.

* http://stopcontinentaldrift.blogspot.com/2010/10/dumbing-down-of-america-if-you-listen.html