Wednesday, December 17, 2014

ROLLED HIM AGAIN

When President Obama came to office, he thought that he could get together with the opposition and work out deals.  He slowly found out that to get 20% of what he wanted, the Republicans had to get 80% of what they wanted.  Worse, then they would beat him over the head with his compromises, i.e. delaying the end of the tax cut for the wealthy.  Finally the President realized he was being rolled.

So he then adopted a confrontational approach with the result that little got done.  Perhaps the biggest thing was when he stood up to the House about their threat to shut down the government, which they did.  Something I found to be odd was how important people felt about the National Parks, Monuments, etc. being closed.  At any rate, the government reopened at a considerable cost to the government.  Nearly as important was the "sequester" that he thought were so draconian that surely congress would act to avoid them, but they didn't and the automatic cuts began.  Well, at least the DOD budget was cut a bit.

Now to fund the Federal government through next September, the President has agreed to incredible compromises.  One awful one lessens regulation of financial derivatives.**  Another allows political parties to  get an order of magnitude more money from individuals.**  Rolled him again.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015_United_States_federal_budget
** http://news.yahoo.com/sound-smart-2015-appropriations-bill-161002683.html;_ylt=A0LEVvztpJFUSnYAODEPxQt;
http://crfb.org/blogs/budget-gimmicks-cromnibus-bill

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

TORTURE

In my classification there are two types of torture: physical pain and mental pain.  The worst type is physical pain.  It seems hypocritical of us to try enemies for physical pain like water boarding and then do it ourselves and say it legally is not torture.  Physical pain is torture.

Mental torture includes things like sleep deprivation which has been said to get the best results.  Our enemies have used it and we adopted it.  I'm not sure it is a crime.  I would tend to say it isn't.  I don't know what long term damage it does to the recipients.

People speculate on how more modern parts of war - like drones - will be viewed in 10 years, largely because of collateral damage.  It is naive to think that using group troops instead of drones would result in no collateral damage or even less collateral damage.  Plus how many of our troops are you willing to sacrifice to get the target?  I  support drones, but not indiscriminately.  If in 10 years it is decided that they should be illegal, then so be it.

It is incredible to think that war should be done in a surgical manner involving only military personnel.  War is messy and violent.  In WW-II, how would you classify the Dresden and Tokyo fire bombings and the Hiroshima and especially Nagasaki* atomic bombs.  Such events were not made against military targets but in an attempt to break the will of civilians and their leaders.

* It seems like we dropped it because we had it.

Friday, December 12, 2014

YET MORE GOOD NEWS ON THE ECONOMY

Seems like every day we get more good news on the economy.  The latest is that the Thompson Reuters/University of  Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index is at an 8 yr high at 93.8, (the highest since January of 2007).  The final November reading is 88.8, also good.  Consumer expectations came in at 86.1 (the highest since January 2007) from 79.9, and the gauge on economic conditions rose to 105.7 from 102.7 (the highest since February 2007). "Expected wage gains rose to their highest level since 2008, and consumers voiced the most favorable buying attitudes in several decades," survey director Richard Curtin said in a statement." (http://www.cnbc.co/id/102263893?trknav=homestack:topnews:8)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

CONTINUED GOOD NEWS ON ECONOMY

...November’s wage growth marked the fourth time this year that wages have grown at least 0.3% in a month, and there hasn’t been a single month that recorded falling wages. That phenomenon hasn’t happened since at least 2008. Wages have remained stagnant for years for a variety of reasons. The financial crisis, and the ensuing spike in unemployment, forced many Americans to take a job–any job–to get back on their feet. Many took jobs they were overqualified for and agreed to take a pay cut just to get back into the workforce. The unemployment rate fell but wages hardly budged. But something might be changing, albeit slowly, that is causing the wage shift.*

The economy has seen a net gain of more than 6 million full-time jobs since the official end date of the 2007-09 recession, which was in June 2009. The economy has witnessed a net increase of just 311,000 part-time jobs over the same period, according to Labor Department figures**.

The increase in full-time jobs seems to be contrary to politicians saying that most new jobs are part-time.

The best places to live are in the Northeast and Midwest. The only "Southern" state to be in the top tire of the good list is Virginia if you still classify it as a Southern State.

Seven years after the credit bubble burst, just two of the 12 countries that went through systemic financial meltdowns in 2007 and 2008 have reclaimed enough ground to reach their previous peaks in per-capita GDP: the United States and Germany. And Germany isn’t looking so hot these days, given that it’s teetering on the edge of deflation.***

* http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2014/12/05/are-wages-finally-snapping-back/
** http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2014/12/05/november-jobs-report-how-many-new-jobs-are-actually-full-time/?mod=djemRTE_h
*** http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/catherine-rampell-how-the-us-economy-got-its-mojo-back/2014/12/01/6831e8e0-79a1-11e4-9a27-6fdbc612bff8_story.html?wpisrc=nl-opt

Saturday, November 29, 2014

FERGUSON, MO, POLITICS

It seems weird to me that more blacks in Ferguson, MO, aren't in the local politics.  I'm sorry to say that it looks like Ferguson residents don't care until some tragedy happens.  See the following quotes:

Ferguson’s population is two-thirds African-American, yet the mayor, five of the six City Council members and nearly the entire police force are white.*
......................................................................................
It’s true that Ferguson’s municipal elections schedule doesn’t encourage turnout. These elections take place in April, far from the traditional voting day in November. They also occur in nonpresidential years, when turnout by minorities and young people traditionally drops. In the most recent municipal election, only 12 percent of registered voters — white, black or otherwise — cast ballots. Voters can change those dates.*
......................................................................
At Brown’s funeral, a family member called on mourners to make themselves heard at the polls. But only 204 residents of Ferguson registered to vote from the time of the fatal shooting to the Oct. 8 registration deadline for voting this year — only 204 in a city of 21,000 people.*

*http://www.shreveporttimes.com/story/opinion/columnists/2014/11/26/ferguson-voting-matters/19536643/

Friday, November 28, 2014

MAJORITY NOW SAY THINGS GOING WELL


According to a CNN/ ORC International poll conducted Nov. 21-23 [2014] of 1,045 adults, 52 percent of people said things are going well, including 8 percent who said they were going very well. This compares to 48 percent who said things are going badly, including 33 percent who said things are going pretty badly, and 15 percent who said things are going very badly.*

This is in contrast to August and November polls of 2011 when only 24-28% said things were going either fairly well or vary well and September, October, and December polls of 2010 when 25-29% said things were going fairly well or very well (less than 1% doing very well).  The worst month since 2005 was the November 2008 poll where only 16% said that thing were fairly well (less than 1% very well).

We've come a long way, Baby.

The best poll year was 2000 when January polls were 80 and 81% doing fairly well or very well (all time best starting in 1974) to  a LOW of 72% in June!  Let the good times roll.  Oh, for those bubble years!

* http://webmailb.juno.com/webmail/new/5?session_redirect=true&userinfo=8b254f2f4f26b1dc56d8fe41da329a7b&count=1417202894&cf=SP2&randid=771484870

Sunday, November 23, 2014

GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE IN 5 MIN.

A source has come to my attention that exlpains global climate change in various time limits.  I present under 5 min. here: http://www.howglobalwarmingworks.org/in-under-5-minutes-ba.html