Sunday, April 07, 2013

Various Matters

John Kerry is condemning another terrorist attack as being “cowardly” because… Well, I’m not sure what makes such an attack an act of cowardice when the attacker is willing to die in the attempt to inflict harm on his enemy. Contrast that with drone pilots who kill people while sitting in a chair several thousand miles distant from harm’s way. Something about pots and kettles comes to mind.

I’m certainly not applauding, or even condoning, terrorist attacks and I can think of many uncomplimentary adjectives that can be applied to describe them. I just don’t think that “cowardly” is one of them.

Interesting the way reporters, or editors, select facts from two different reports for their headlines as they say that the economy “added 88,000 jobs” while unemployment “fell to 7.6%” last period. The former is from the Establishment Report, which doesn’t state unemployment rates, and the latter is from the Household Survey, which provides employment numbers in addition to unemployment rates.

The employment numbers from the Household Survey did not get reported, however, because they conflicted with the Establishment Survey, as they usually do for a number of reasons. Instead of an increase of 88,000 jobs, the Household Survey reported that 206,000 fewer people were employed.

I don’t think it matters much which one you believe, as they are probably both inaccurate. Both numbers are taken from rather limited samples, extrapolated using abstruse mathematical formulas to represent the entire population, and then are “seasonally adjusted.” Defenders of the numbers dispute my “limited sample” claim, saying that 50,000 respondents is not “limited,” but I submit out of 313 million people 50,000 is but tiny sample.

We could use actual numbers, of course, since employers file tax withholding statements every two weeks, but the government won't do that because of "privacy concerns." Right. And I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I can make you such a deal on.

The big picture is, our population increased by 2,252,500 in the past year, while it added only 1,256,000 new jobs. That is not a pretty picture.

Once again we have organizers planning a nationwide rally to draw attention to the plight of people who have come to this country illegally and who have not been granted an opportunity to become citizens despite violating our law by their very presence. The organizers say that they intend “to show that there are many people who are our neighbors, our co-workers who are suffering because of the nation’s broken immigration system.”

No, they are suffering because they are in violation of the law and are hiding from law enforcement officials. Perhaps we should hold a similar rally in sympathy with drug dealers, who are suffering from having to hide in the shadows and live lives of desperation because the law is trying to throw them in jail. Or legalize drugs to "bring them out of the shadows?"

Europe is declining into disaster, and we are hooting about our recovery. Do we really think that we are not going to be affected by the world economy? Carl Sagan once made a comment about "when our critical facilities are in decline, and we are unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true." I think we have arrived at that point.

The only thing that is "recovering" is the stock market, and the reason for that is simple and has nothing to do with the "working class." The Fed is buying $85 billion of bonds per month, using money that it is creating out of thin air. It is not buying those bonds from working people who will spend it on goods and services, it is buying them from investors who will simply reinvest the money. Where are they going to invest it? Well, there is no place other than the stock market.

So the Fed is printing money which is being pumped into the stock market, and the rest of the economy is continuing to drown.

1 comment:

bruce said...

Warfare via remote control, like using drones is a way of minimizing casualties and losses, which is a perfectly acceptable military tactic. It would be similiar to a remote controlled IED, for example. Used against a military target that can fight back is not really a cowardly attack, they are using what personnel, materials and tactical advantages are available to them.

One aspect to the cowardly part is that it is not a battle with an armed enemy, they are killing unarmed civilians who are trying to help not harm. Okay, that is our definition of help, and theirs is likely opposite; insomuch that it runs counter to their traditions.

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I'm sure no one is truly neutral or altruistic in reporting job numbers, and taken within a narrow scope or with caveats, go ahead and use those. In a larger picture, there are still a lot of people unemployed, and not very many jobs available to them. And not much has changed in the last few years and I'm not holding my breath that anyone or anything will change that. And I do NOT believe anything that politicians say about "creating jobs" - it's a buzzword for them, nothing more.

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I'm not particularly sympathetic to the immigrants "plight". And I thnk it's annoyingly arrogant of them to knowingly be illegal and then claim discrimination or suffering or whatever, and then demand a way to become citizens. What arrogance!

Every country has a right to control it's borders and set immmigration and citizenship laws. ANd most a re more strict than us and are often harsher in enforcing it.

No, I don't like to see families broken up, but they made that choice and they knew it had the chance to bite them at some point. If the children are minors or something, then it harder on them, especially if they have no knowledge of the customs of the home country. Those that have known nothing else since infancy /young age are for practical purposes americanized in all but name.

Here's a concept: make them legal in some way (temporary resident alien, renewable every 5 yrs or something) and not necessarily citizenship right away. That way they are "out of the shadows", don't have a permanent "get out of jail free" card and don't get the perks that people that followed the rules get (at least right away).

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Europe is having problems, and I'm not convinced we really have a "recovery". Too much is intertwined nowadays, and if Europe &/or China have problems, we are not insulated from it.

Stock market increasing is great... if you have money to buy stocks or are lucky /smart /rich enough to have owned them already. Where's the jobs and salaries to make the money available to buy them?

Oh, right... we have a "jobless reovery".

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