Wednesday, July 27, 2011

America is "bust".

Uncle Sam is Not to Proud of Congress, or the President .
"They have spent themselves in debt , and now every hard working American , young , and old will suffer." - Uncle Sam

The finances of the world’s biggest economy are showing increasing signs of distress. At the end of June, US borrowings stood at a record $14 trillion: more than the total for the eurozone as a whole. Is America bust?
Its debt burden is still a smaller proportion of its economy than many European countries (just under two thirds of GDP, as opposed to 115 per cent of GDP in crisis-stricken Greece, and over 70 per cent in Germany and France). But the US deficit is nowhere near its peak: the IMF estimates that, on present policies, debt will reach 95 per cent of GDP by 2020 and, as its ageing population needs more spending on health and social security, it could hit 135 per cent by 2030 and continue to rise thereafter.
President Obama is promised  to halve the budget deficit by 2013 and stabilize it at just over 70 per cent of GDP by 2015. But the first date is just three years away and no one knows quite how that will be achieved. While countries across Europe are announcing austerity packages—Spain is cutting €15bn, Germany €80bn—the US administration’s instinct is to spend its way out of recession. Obama failed to persuade the rest of the G20 about the benefits of increasing spending in the face of the global crisis, yet he is also having little success in persuading people at home of the need for austerity. A key test will come at the end of the year when the tax cuts of the Bush era expire. Obama wants to keep them for all but the rich; the doves think they should be continued for everyone and the hawks say they should not only be abandoned but accompanied by swingeing tax rises.
For the moment, a bit of profligacy is no bad thing. As one of the few western countries that still has the wherewithal to keep spending, the US has been a big component of the global recovery. The IMF pays tribute to the “strong and effective macroeconomic response” of the US authorities, which means “the recovery has proved stronger than we had expected.”
Its assessment may have been premature. Recent data from the US has been relentlessly disappointing: in July, American businesses cut their employees by 131,000, the second monthly fall in a row. And the US Federal Reserve spooked the markets with its warning that the pace of recovery had slowed and was likely to remain modest, and pledging to maintain its $2 trillion support package.
That may make investors start to question their sanguine attitude to the ballooning deficit. While government bonds in countries like Greece and Spain have plunged in value, sending yields (investor-speak for the interest rate divided by the price at which the bonds trade) soaring to more than 12 per cent in Greece, the US is still seen as a safe haven: its treasury bonds have actually risen in value, pushing yields down to around 1 per cent, despite the ballooning deficit.
Can it continue? Ken Rogoff, the Harvard professor whose book This Time it is Different is the definitive analysis of the history of financial crises, accuses the US of storing up trouble for itself by using a trick called “playing the yield curve”: taking advantage of the fact that the rates for short-term borrowing are lower than for longer-term debt. About half of US debt matures in the next three years, a far higher proportion of short-term debt than it has had at any time in the past, and a far shorter maturity profile than other economies: the average for Britain, for example, is 14 years. And it’s worth remembering that the Greek crisis was triggered by the need to refinance short-term borrowings, forcing the country into its crisis €110bn bailout and €35bn cuts package.
No one expects the US to need such a bailout, but the huge amount of debt which will need to be refinanced in the next three years means it is vulnerable to a “buyers strike” should investors decide there are better opportunities elsewhere, or to demand higher yields for the increased risks of the rising deficit. Much depends on the attitude of the Chinese, who currently hold around half of all US debt. So far, they have shown no inclination to stop buying it, but the risks that the appetite could wane are already evident. China is moving gradually to a free float of its currency, ending the dollar peg, which could eventually cut the supply of dollars to its export earners.
It also means the US is missing the opportunity to lock into long-term rates which, while higher than short-term ones, are still very low by historical standards. As this stand, a small rise in interest rates could have a big impact. Jim Leaviss, heads of retail fixed interest at fund managers M&G points out that a 2 per cent rise in interest rates across all maturity levels could push the US interest bill from the current, “troubling” 17 per cent of revenues to around 33 per cent. That, says Leaviss “could put economic recovery at risk.”
Such a hike in rates looks unlikely in the near future. Even the most hawkish of economists think that interest rates will stay low for at least another year to keep the recovery going. That recovery, and the tax revenues it will generate, is vital to keep the faith that the US will be able to deal with its deficit. But Rogoff points out that, judging by historical standards, the higher the budget deficit, the lower economic growth tends to be: his rule of thumb is that, at a deficit of 30 per cent of GDP, growth will average 3.7 per cent; at more than 90 per cent—which the US will reach this year—it falls to 1.7 per cent.
With Europe still in turmoil and doubts about the sustainability of the recovery in Asia, America’s status as a safe haven may not change any time soon. Analysts at Barclays Capital argue that the dollar’s status as a reserve currency means it can run far bigger deficits than other countries. Without that status, the US’s credit rating would already been downgraded from AAA to AA, the same as Spain. But as long as its currency remains more than half the world’s reserves—currently it is 60 per cent —a downgrade looks unlikely.
Yet the more it increases spending and delays tax rises, the bigger the problems being stored up for the future. Sooner or later, financial markets will want to see some evidence that the US is not only aware of its deficit problem, but has the will and wherewithal to deal with it.

Is August 2nd really the debt limit deadline? Despite multiple statements from President Barack Obama and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner that the government will not be able to meet all of its obligations after that date, a new UBS report sets the real deadline perhaps a week later.
"UBS analysis suggests (the U.S.) Treasury has the funds to make all payments until about August 8th - 10th," wrote Chris Ahrens, head of interest rate strategy for the firm in a note obtained by The Wall Street Journal.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Glad the Potter Films are done?

I was certainly glad when the Harry Potter films ended .

I don't want to be mean . I am sure that saying something about the Potter Films , and Books might stir an ire .I did not care for the books . I bought over time Volumes 1 through 7 contributing every dollar and every pound , euro to the craze that Mrs.JK Rowling's created.

Sure the "books" did get Children to "read" . Finally , there was a book children were reading . Rowling's magic sure enough placated the educational world with new heights for children s books . However a cleave eye could see right through the looking glass. The Harry Potter Books were not intended for children , yet were marketed for children . It's Vary much like the 'Twilight" saga about werewolves and vampires appealing to young teen age girls. The Potter films were a over zealous marketing scam in some way . The Books and the films are vary different if you compare them . There are a number of bits along the seven books that Harry Potter was Lord Voldermort's son , though never indicated in the first book , that Harry's parents were killed by Lord Voldermort . Rowling borrowed from every occult symbol to wrap Harry in . Harry's scar on his forehead for instance was Voldermort's mark on Harry . Books 1 through 7 don't exactly say how old Harry was when he was left on the Door step of his adapted parents  as an Orphan , but each book seemed like a initiation . The First Volume introduced us to Hogwart's school , with a bunch of "mysteries" all about Harry that carried over into the 5 book .Personally, I’m not that much a fan of the books. I think Rowling has a fabulous imagination and created something fun and entertaining that will probably be with us for decades, but I fail to see what all the hype is about. The books are truly poorly-written, her phrasing is awkward, and the woman just has no sense of style.Another problem I have with the books is that while she spends gads of time developing all these wonderful side-characters that her titular protagonist goes unnoticed, and gradually more annoying with each book. The more time she spent painting her lush, magical world and it’s fun people (I loved Luna, and I loved Dumbledore, and Mad-eye, and Voldemort was such a fascinating antagonist) the more Harry, Hermione, and Ron looked like assholes!I hate whiny, negative people in the real-world. I’m not going to read about them for six-hundred plus pages.

Harry Potter created hysteria among religious fundamentalists  burning the books , or of  course it was part of the marketing of the books . Schools in America took the Potter stuff vary seriously as much as they did in United Kingdom . They started to incorporate the Harry books into their curriculum , teachers sat and read the books to students . There were Halloween parades in schools where Harry Potter themes ran . I don't think some of the children cared .Harry Potter films influenced children's  attire as well , most moms seemed to done Harry Potter hair cuts to their boys . Particularly eye glasses sold with a Potterish flare.
For the Movie industry  , and Mrs. Rowling's it translated into huge Millions . All the actor's grew up rather fast between each film  , two of them have already acted in plays and movies that show nudity.

Here's a few bits on Harry's Family tree. Lord Voldermort is related to Harry Potter in case any one has really read the books.

Note: The names 'Thomas' and 'Mary' Riddle are taken from the films and the Potter Family is not shown.
Salazar Slytherin
The Peverell Family

Thomas Riddle
Mary Riddle
Marvolo Gaunt


Tom Riddle Sr.
Merope Gaunt
Morfin Gaunt


Tom Marvolo Riddle

Harry Potter

Any way . I hoping that there are no More Harry Potter films . On the last film . Hogwarts Academy is blown to bits , destroyed   . Harry is all grown up . Who knows ? If in the UK you bring James Bond back , sure enough Harry Potter will emerge in one form or another.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Congress is really Smoking!

The strongest lobby is Tobacco , congress is really smoking it's way into gridlock.
With the release of The  latest report, Tobacco Money in California Politics, Contributions by tobacco companies in California compared to contributions by other special interests
Tobacco industry contributions in California compared to contributions in the other 49 states
Tobacco Money in California Politics shows that tobacco interests spent $9.3 million in the 2009-2010 election cycle on lobbying the California Legislature and contributions to members of the California Legislature, state constitutional officers, candidates for these offices and to political committees.  There are highlights documents available that detail the major findings on tobacco industry spending for the 2009-2010 election cycle and the past decade (2001-2010).
As you read about the massive amount of money that the tobacco industry has spent over the years attempting to influence elected official s and voters in California, it is important to keep an eye on the future.  Sometime during the next election cycle (2011-2012), California voters will have the chance to vote on the California Cancer Research Act (CCRA), which would raise the state’s tobacco tax by a dollar per pack with revenues allocated to cancer research and tobacco control.  Judging by the spending habits of tobacco companies on past tobacco tax ballot initiatives, they are likely going to spend tens of millions of dollars to try and defeat the ballot initiative.  In fact, they have already spent more than $1.9 million on the opposition campaign and the CCRA doesn’t even have a proposition number or an election date yet.  Any guesses on how high they go this time – $50 million, $75 million?

See url :
Two studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association find a "consistent and strong relationship" between lawmaker's voting records on tobacco issues and the amount of money they receive from tobacco lobbyists (Stephen Moore, Sidney M. Wolfe, Deborah Lindes, Clifford E. Douglas, "Epidemiology of Failed Tobacco Control Legislation," Journal of the American Medical Association, Oct. 19, 1994, p. 1171-1175; Stanton A. Glantz and Michael E. Begay, "Tobacco Industry Campaign Contributions Are Affecting Tobacco Control Policymaking in California," Journal of the American Medical Association, Oct. 19, 1994, p. 1176-1182).
Taking data from the Federal Election Commission, authors Moore, Wolfe, Lindes and Douglas compare member's votes on tobacco control legislation with the total amount of money received from the top ten tobacco political action committees (PACs) and members of the board for tobacco companies. Those members receiving the most money from tobacco lobby organizations are as much as 42 times more likely to support tobacco's position.
The average donation was $2,943 per member of the House between 1991 and 1992 and $11,593 per member of the Senate between 1987 and 1992. Donations between January 1991 and December 1992 for both houses totaled $2.4 million.
Using regression analysis, which can be used find links between seemingly unrelated items, the authors found that the greater the amount of money received by a member, the less likely that member was to support tobacco control.
"Tobacco industry contributions to members of the U.S. Congress strongly influence the federal tobacco policy process," the authors wrote in their conclusion. "Unless this influence is diminished through a combination of members refusing tobacco money and campaign finance reform, this process of contributing to death by thwarting tobacco control will continue to claim hundreds of thousands of lives a year."
The ten tobacco lobby organizations whose contributions were monitored by the authors were: R.J. Reynolds, Phillip Morris, U.S. Tobacco Executives, Inc., Pinkerton Tobacco Company, Brown and Williamson Tobacco, the Smokeless Tobacco Council, the Tobacco Institute, the Cigar Association of America, the American Wholesale Markerters Association, and Universal Leaf Tobacco Company.
The Tobacco Institute responded by saying that the American Medical Association PAC donates almost twice as much to members of Congress as tobacco lobby organizations do.
The second study in JAMA by Glantz and Begay finds a similar pattern in the voting behavior of members of the California legislature.

Gang of Six plan

How in any reality can sucking trillions of dollars in spending going to help our long term debt? Everyone who has a voice in this from congress to the media to the presidential lemmings needs to go to their local college bookstore. find the freshman economics section. buy the textbook and READ IT! learn about the multiplier, the production function and the fallicy of comparing a stock(our debt) to a flow(GDP).
The Gang of Six plan unveiled to senators on Tuesday punts on key details, including exactly how it would reform Social Security and Medicare, according to a detailed outline obtained by The Hill.
The plan adopts a two-track approach: a $500 billion down payment and a later reform bill generating an additional $3.2 trillion in deficit reduction. That later bill is largely left up to committees of jurisdiction, and they are only required to meet specific savings targets.
On healthcare entitlements, the plan would seek to hold the growth of spending to GDP plus 1 percent per beneficiary, but it largely leaves it up to committees to decide how to achieve the savings.
The plan would be held at the Senate desk until a Social Security fix is found, and if that fix does not get the 60 votes required, the rest of the deficit plan is voided. The reform must ensure 75 years of solvency for Social Security, according to the Gang of Six, but how to achieve that is left up to the Finance Committee. If Finance cannot agree, a group of 10 senators — five from each party — can bring a reform bill to the floor.
A $500 billion immediate down payment would be achieved through discretionary caps imposed through 2015, by instituting a new measure of inflation known as the chained Consumer Price Index (CPI), freezing congressional pay and selling federal property.
The down payment would also repeal The Class Act, a long-term-care insurance plan.
Chained CPI would cause Social Security benefits and tax deductions to be lowered, the use of which has been loudly opposed by seniors' lobbying groups. To address senior concerns, the plan exempts Supplemental Security Income from the shift for five years and provides a minimum benefit equal to 125 percent of the poverty line for five years.
Part One of the plan would also require the Government Accountability Office and Labor Department to find a new way to administer unemployment insurance.
For Part Two, the plan would require committees of jurisdiction to report bills within six months. The Finance Committee would be charged with legislating a permanent “doc fix” and fully offsetting the cost of healthcare savings. It would also be required to find an additional $202 billion in healthcare saving.

Among other committees, Armed Services would be required to find $80 billion in cuts from the Pentagon budget, while Agriculture would be required to find $11 billion in savings while protecting food stamps. The plan also requires medical malpractice reform, a nod to the GOP.The Budget Committee would be left to decide discretionary caps after 2015 and before 2021.
Finance would be required to reduce tax rates to three tax brackets of rates: of 8-12 percent, 14-22 percent and 23-29 percent. The current top marginal rate is 35 percent.
The corporate tax rate would be between 23 percent and 29 percent, and tax reform would cease taxation of oversees profits. *
Sens. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) back the Gang plan and are hoping to get 60 senators to support it within the next few days. The framework could be attached to the debt-ceiling compromise.

*"Finance would be required to reduce tax rates to three tax brackets of rates: of 8-12 percent, 14-22 percent and 23-29 percent. The current top marginal rate is 35 percent.

The corporate tax rate would be between 23 percent and 29 percent, and tax reform would cease taxation of oversees profits."

This is madness. Lowering the tax rates to deal with deficits? Let's just get out the leeches to cure disease.

Corporations get everything they want, and the middle class loses the benefits it's paid for (which has been lent to the rich via transfers to the general fund over the years, at great interest rates).

The deductions that are cut will be those designed for the middle class, not the rich (who deserve tax breaks). I'd bet my life on it.

The gang of six will finally finish off the middle class. Congrats, boys.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Sluth's Truth.

the fictional journalist from Doonesbury by Garry Trudeau.
In the scene, Hedley is speaking at a journalism school graduation ceremony.
From what I remember, the caption above his head read something like: “Remember kids, in journalism there are no winners, only survivors.”
Ian Spiegelman remembers how the culture of Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post made him “pretty uncomfortable.”
“There were people you were not supposed to mess with,” says the former reporter for the gossipy Page Six, if they were “friends” of executives at the Post or its parent company, News Corp. At the same time, “word would come down through your editor, ‘This is someone we should get, should go after.’ The people high up had people they just didn’t like.”
Amid the mounting revelations of sleazy tactics at Murdoch’s London newspapers, media analysts are questioning whether comparable misconduct may have occurred at his American news outlets. There is no evidence of anything like the phone-hacking scandal that has rocked British politics and prompted Murdoch to shutter the News of the World.
But a scandal that tarnished the Post five years ago carries echoes of a brass-knuckled style of journalism that resonates a bit louder today in the wake of the Murdoch mess across the Atlantic.

“There was a kind of thuggishness,” says Jared Paul Stern, a former Page Six contributor at the center of the controversy. He says Murdoch was on the phone with Post Editor in Chief Col Allan “all the time. He was down in the newsroom. I can’t imagine anything of that scale could go on and him not know about it.” Allan and a Post spokesman have not responded to requests for comment.
Neither Spiegelman nor Stern is a choir boy. Spiegelman was fired for sending a nasty email with antigay slurs to someone who had crossed him. Stern left after being caught asking a billionaire businessman for money in exchange for keeping negative information about him out of the paper.
But what they describe in interviews with The Daily Beast suggests that they were not just renegades but part of a newsroom environment in which some questionable practices may have been tacitly approved. And it’s worth recalling that News Corp. initially tried to cover up the London hacking by blaming it on a rogue reporter acting on his own.
In a 2007 affidavit, Spiegelman said “accepting freebies, graft and other favors was not only condoned by the company but encouraged as a way to decrease the newspaper’s out-of-pocket expenses…and that News Corp. attorneys had been instructed to ‘look the other way.’” There was a policy of “favor banking,” the affidavit said, “practiced on a much larger scale by Rupert Murdoch.” In 2001, Spiegelman said in the document, “I was ordered to kill a Page Six story about a Chinese diplomat and a strip club that would have angered the Communist regime and endangered Murdoch’s broadcasting privileges” as he was trying to get Beijing’s approval for his satellite-television service.
At the time, Howard Rubenstein, a spokesman for the Post, called the allegations “a tissue of lies” and a “disgrace.”
The affidavit also said that in 1997 a local restaurant owner who was frequently mentioned in Page Six had $1,000 sent to Richard Johnson, then the gossip page’s editor. The Post confirmed this, with Allan quoted as saying that Johnson had made “a grave mistake” and had been reprimanded.
Joe Francis, producer of the “Girls Gone Wild” video series and a fixture on Page Six, also threw a bachelor party for Johnson at his Mexican estate estimated to cost $50,000.
In the Daily Beast interview, Spiegelman said Page Six staffers were showered with so many free gifts that the leftovers were put “on a cubicle shelf behind our backs for anyone to take away.” He said the money-losing Post “would go crazy” if reporters submitted expenses for, say, a visit to the Hamptons, so they would accept free trips: “Everyone knew, that was what you do.”
Allan, the editor at the time, “knew all about the culture. It was his paper,” Spiegelman said.
When celebrities criticized the Iraq War, Spiegelman added, he was told to remind readers of their show-business projects “in case they feel like boycotting.”
In similar fashion, Stern says the troops regularly received marching orders. “For a long time the Clintons were targets,” he said. “You couldn’t get enough dirt on the Clintons. Then Bill Clinton made a rapprochement with Murdoch, sucked up to him in the run-up to Hillary running” for the Senate in 2000.
“Then one day it was, ‘You can’t write anything bad about the Clintons.’ We had to kill stuff all the time. It filtered down from Murdoch. In the meetings we’d be told, ‘No way, mate.’”
Some Australians who were friendly with the Murdoch family, such as actress Nicole Kidman, “had a free pass,” Stern said.
It was Stern’s entanglement with supermarket magnate Ron Burkle that brought many of these allegations to light, and prompted Spiegelman’s affidavit.
Burkle, dubbed a “party-boy billionaire” by the tabloid, was concerned about what he regarded as unfair coverage, some of it by Stern. A meeting was arranged, Stern encouraged him to become a source for the column, and an associate bought $5,700 worth of shirts from Stern’s clothing line, a sideline he had developed. Stern later sent a Burkle staffer an email saying the mogul “certainly has the means” to stop unfavorable stories, which Burkle took as an extortion threat.
Sources later confirmed that Burkle, working with federal law enforcement, had secretly videotaped Stern in subsequent meetings demanding a $100,000 payment and $10,000 monthly stipend in return for ending negative mentions of him in Page Six. Stern said he’d been set up, the Post suspended him, and a News Corp. executive called the episode “highly aberrational.”
When prosecutors declined to bring charges, a spokesman for Burkle said he had “followed the government’s instructions” in an effort to “stop the publication of false reports” about him. Burkle did not respond to an email Tuesday.
“I walked into the trap that he set,” Stern says now. “He wanted to get back at Murdoch and the Post and found a way to do it through me. I kind of took a bullet for all this stuff.”
None of this, of course, reaches the level of hacking people’s phones. But with Sen. Jay Rockefeller now urging the FBI to investigate possible News Corp. misconduct in the United States, the spotlight is certain to fall on some of Murdoch’s American media properties.
Spiegelman offered a rumination about Murdoch’s company in a follow-up email:
“It's interesting that so many of Rupert's top editors and VPs are not citizens of the countries to which he dispatches them helter skelter. You need not be a xenophobe to pause at the fact that so many of his papers and cable news outlets in London, NY and, now, DC, are largely run and organized by strangers from strange lands—South Africa, Australia, New Zealand...
“News Corp VPs are nationless. It doesn't matter where you put them—they are plugged into their own, floating nation…namely News Corp. You don't always see them, but they are always hovering between the editor-in-chief and Rupert, and their loyalties remain not with any country or system of laws. Imagine the kind of pressure such a misty, loyalty-free menace could put on a reporter who actually lives where he lives and whose life is there. You want to know if this London poison is likely to have spread to New York? Yeah. But don't blame London.”
A recent Reuters story caught my eye: It details, courtesy of unnamed sources, some pretty outrageous workplace practices that were apparantly rampant in the newsroom prior under its former editor, Rebekah Brooks.
“It was the kind of place you get out of and you never want to go back again,” one ex-reporter is quoted as saying.
The article goes on to state that journalists who worked there in that period described “an industrialized operation of dubious information gathering, reporters under intense pressure attempting to land exclusive stories by whatever means necessary, and a culture of fear, cynicism, gallows humour and fierce internal competition.”
“You became a survivalist,” one man said, no doubt prompting my Doonesbury flashback.
(Click here to read the complete Reuters article.)
What the article doesn't say is that the office practices alleged by former News of the World staff were not isolated to that newsroom.
A colleague of mine at the Vancouver Sun worked for several grueling weeks at another London-based paper about six years ago and described similar scenarios.
He was among a small army of nervous reporters employed on short-term contract at the daily paper. No one was given a desk, and every Friday temp workers were marched in front of an editor to find out if they still had a job come Monday.
Internal competition was vicious and the fear of being fired so real, my co-worker said he was afraid to go to the bathroom in case he missed a phone call. He didn't trust his colleagues to give him any messages.
Worse, he said, was a lack of basic journalistic ethics at the newspaper. Fudging quotes and skewing stories to present a particular political viewpoint was not uncommon.
He found it all pretty depressing, and, listening to his stories, so do I.
Just what's coming next in the News of the World drama is anyone's guess. Already the scandal has claimed the careers of some of the highest ranks of the newspaper's executive and London police, with its tentacles reaching now into Britain's Parliament.
One life has been lost: Sean Hoare, the former News of the World journalist who blew the whistle on the extent of phone hacking, was found dead in his home on Monday.
Police said his death was “unexplained”, but do not at this stage suspect foul play.
Hedley's words of wisdom to that fictional journalism class of yore never seemed so relevant.

It's High Stakes Poker in Washington.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says there's no way to give Congress more time on lifting the debt ceiling. "The eyes of the world are on us," he said.Note Geithner's eyes, he is frustrated .

Dueling Democrats and Republicans have squared off in past similar talks over shrinking federal budget deficits. From President Ronald Reagan vs. Democratic House Speaker Tip O'Neill, to President Bill Clinton against Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, the head-banging ritual is a time-honored tradition. And it hasn't always been pretty, as the government shutdowns of 1995-96 attest.
In the end, in the past, they always reached a compromise, with both sides accepting spending cuts and tax increases they didn't like. But this time just might be different. The staggering amount of current debt and this year's deficit of $1.5 trillion reach a new order of magnitude. Pressure from tea party Republicans to reject any rise in taxes has upped the stakes and complicated current talks.
All these factors make it wholly uncertain whether a deal to raise the debt limit can be reached by Aug. 2, when the government will begin defaulting on its debt obligations - a development that could spawn chaos in financial markets around the world and kick the U.S. economy back into deep recession.
"The threat of having economic repercussions from not getting anything done is larger now," said Roberton Williams, senior fellow at the bipartisan Tax Policy Center. "We haven't faced the issue of default in the past. Simply not passing a budget so the government can't do anything, which is what we had in 1995 when the government shut down, is very different from 'You can't borrow any money. You can't pay off what you owe people.' "
Credit markets
Much of the concern focuses on higher interest rates that will come if the government defaults. But Bruce Bartlett, a former Treasury official during the Reagan and first Bush administrations, said that's a trivial problem compared to the possibility that credit markets could freeze up as they did in the early 2008 days of the recession. "And that's a realistic possibility that cannot be dismissed," Bartlett said.
Republican refusal to consider tax increases only increases the chances, he said.
"It just seems like there's no middle ground," Bartlett added. "I just don't see where the compromise comes from that allows the debt limit to increase."
Not since the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, when Clinton raised taxes on high earners, increased fuel taxes and created the 35 percent top tax rate for corporations, has Republican opposition to tax increases been so unified and unyielding.
Back in 1993, every Republican in Congress voted against the so-called deficit reduction act, claiming it would cause another recession just as the nation recovered from the 1990-91 recession.
GOP rhetoric against the legislation was memorable.
"They will remember who let loose this deadly virus into our economic bloodstream," former Rep. Robert Michel of Illinois, the House Republican leader, said of the plan.
"The Clinton tax plan will spur inflation, lose jobs, increase the deficit and hurt our economic growth," Rep. Wally Herger of California protested.
Former Ohio congressman and current Ohio governor John Kasich said he'd "have to become a Democrat" if the Clinton tax plan worked.
The doom-and-gloom predictions were all wrong. The 1993 plan helped usher in the nation's longest period of uninterrupted economic expansion, climaxed by four straight years of budget surpluses.
Williams said the incident shows that trying to attribute or predict U.S. economic performance based on one factor such as tax increases simply doesn't work. "There've been times when we've raised taxes and the economy has done well, and we've had times when we've raised taxes and the economy has not done so well," Williams said.
President George H.W. Bush found that out in 1990, when a recession and a bulging federal deficit forced him to violate his 1988 campaign "Read my lips: no new taxes" pledge. By signing the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990, Bush raised individual income tax rates and Medicare taxes, and phased out personal exemptions for five years.
The economy didn't tank, but it didn't thrive, either, and the political fallout sparked a revolt among the GOP's anti-tax conservative wing. Pat Buchanan challenged Bush's renomination and helped inflame the party's division. Business mogul Ross Perot mounted his third-party candidacy, which split Republican votes and helped Clinton get elected in 1992.
Reagan's tax increases
The elder Bush probably hoped his tax plan would find the same grudging acceptance as Reagan's. "The Gipper," revered by today's Republicans as a conservative icon, signed nearly a dozen tax increases over his final seven years in office to reduce deficits after he had cut taxes deeply in 1981.
Experts still dispute how much the so-called "Reagan boom" years of 1983 to 1989 - when the economy grew as unemployment and inflation dropped - were the product of the 1981 tax cuts or the subsequent tax increases, which helped tame the deficit.
Either way, the fact that Reagan, an anti-tax movement icon, saw fit to raise taxes to reduce federal deficits offers an example that even staunch conservatives can change their stripes if the situation warrants.
"Cutting spending has the same effect on the economy as raising taxes," Williams said. "And if you argue that raising taxes is a bad thing from an economic perspective, you should equally argue that cutting spending will do the same thing."
Today's Republicans, of course, don't see it that way. They want to cut federal spending deeply, but are aghast at tax increases.
Bartlett said George H.W. Bush's political demise convinced Republican leaders that tax increases are political suicide.
"And I don't know that they're necessarily wrong," he said. "At some point the American public is going to have to shift their attitudes (about tax increases), but the (Obama) administration has done nothing to bring them along."

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Demagogues & Doom's Day.

Divisiveness has turned Congress into a morass . The debt -Ceiling  is America's run-away monster . It may not be Obama's  fault , but he inherited it , and  Obama dragged his feet with it . While pressure was mounting for two years , the signs of a bad economy finally put debt talks on the table. Reading about Washington's debt-limit shenanigans does a good enough job raising any  blood pressure. But some fleshing out in the latest edition of the Washington Spectator has me in a rage. We already know that the US went from a surplus to the mess we're in largely because George Bush created two wars and a prescription drug plan and cut taxes rather than raising them to pay the bills. In his Spectator article "Debt, Demagogues, and Deficits," editor Lou Debose adds these tidbits:

  • Bush's first tax cut resulted in $1.3 trillion in revenue losses over 10 years.
  • During the Bush years, Congress - run by Republicans - raised the debt limit eight times, one of them by nearly $1 trillion - "the largest increase ever requested," writes Dubose. The reason the limit needed to be raised? The Bush tax cuts and the unfunded drug plan.

Dubose cites a story told by Bush's first Treasury Secretary, Paul O'Neill, who was fired two years into his job. According to O'Neill, when the Bush administration decided it would seek a second tax cut, he warned that it would have a serious effect on the budget deficit. Vice President Dick Cheney, writes Dubose, "cut him off." Cheney's words: "You know, Paul, Reagan proved deficits don't matter. We won the mid-terms. This is our due."And by the way, as Dubose and others have noted, if Congress were to just let all of the tax cuts expire, the debt crisis would evaporate.Few people in Congress, of course, are willing to propose letting those cuts expire - not even for wealthy individuals. And not even for corporations who are using loopholes (perfectly legal, as writer David Cay Johnston reminds us) to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.  August 2nd  is sure to come , and soon we might be surprised on who is going to sit down and get this mess cleaned up . What a country.!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Obama's bombshell..................

If there’s a government shutdown, "people don’t get their Social Security checks."

President Obama ratcheted up pressure today on Republicans to reach a deal to increase in the debt limit, telling CBS News that seniors’ Social Security checks might not get paid August 3 if the ceiling isn’t raised. Check it out.
President Obama  also ripped  the ante in the ongoing debt-ceiling debate Tuesday, telling CBS News that without raising the ceiling, he can't guarantee that Social Security checks will be sent Aug. 3.
"I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3 if we haven't resolved this issue. Because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it," Obama said. 
White House press secretary Jay Carney refused to speak on the interview, which is set to air Tuesday night, but he agreed that if the Aug. 2 deadline to raise the ceiling isn't met, "we can't guarantee if there were a default that any specific bill would be paid."

Hearing this makes me suspect that Obama is up to something , and it may backfire on him with severe backlash with the stock-market .If the Government defaults on August 2nd , he will have to be blamed . I personally did not like what Obama said , he is fueling the fear mongering by scaring seniors . It also shows what great pressures Obama is under by dragging the weight of the elderly under his feet with such a threat . Whatever the case Obama may have not been truthful . I have here provided a fact check.


With President Barack Obama and Congressional Republicans on a potential collision course over the federal budget, the possibility of a government shutdown is closer than it’s been in years.

Shutdowns occur when appropriations bills expire and Congress and the president are at an impasse. A shutdown typically prevents federal agencies from carrying out any functions deemed non-essential.

A shutdown last occurred in the mid 1990s, when President Bill Clinton squared off against a new Republican majority in the House and Senate. That led to two shutdowns -- one for five days in November 1995 and the other for 21 days from December 1995 to January 1996.

During the past 15 years, lawmakers and the president, despite frequent turbulence, have always managed to come to an agreement on funding bills. But the streak could come to an end this year.

At a Feb. 15, 2011, press conference, a reporter asked Obama whether he was willing to work with Congressional Republicans "to avoid a government shutdown?"

Here’s part of Obama’s answer:

"We’ve got to be careful. Again, let’s use a scalpel; let’s not use a machete. And if we do that, there should be no reason at all for a government shutdown. And I think people should be careful about being too loose in terms of talking about a government shutdown, because this has -- this is not an abstraction. People don’t get their Social Security checks. They don’t get their veterans payments. Basic functions shut down. And it -- that, also, would have an adverse effect on our economic recovery. It would be destabilizing at a time when, I think, everybody is hopeful that we can start growing this economy quicker."

A reader asked us to explore whether it was true that Americans won’t get their Social Security checks if the government shuts down.

First, some background about the laws that govern shutdowns, from a recent briefing paper by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.

The Constitution (Article I, Sec. 9) says, "No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law." This is reinforced by the Antideficiency Act, which stems from an 1870 law and which has been revised significantly over the years. That act prohibits federal officials from spending money before an appropriations measure has been enacted, though exceptions exist for "emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property."
But when looking at the fate of Social Security during a government shutdown, there’s an important wrinkle to remember.

Social Security is a mandatory program supported by a trust fund. As such, Social Security benefits aren’t appropriated -- and thus aren’t directly subject to the restrictions of the Antideficiency Act. However, the Social Security Administration’s operational employees are paid through appropriated funds. So the real question is whether a shutdown would prevent those employees from going to work, and if so, whether that would mean the payments wouldn't be sent.

A 1981 attorney general's opinion protects the right of at least some Social Security workers to carry out necessary functions -- and that’s essentially what happened during the 1995 shutdowns.

According to Social Security's official history on its website, 4,780 employees remained at work at the start of the four-day shutdown, while the other 61,415 were furloughed. But this cut "significantly impacted the Agency’s service to the public," the account said, and on the second day, additional employees were recalled to work.

The second shutdown -- which lasted three weeks, the longest in history -- could have brought even more severe consequences. But the agency deployed 55,000 employees and operations remained close to normal. (Experts told us it’s possible that the agency could get by with fewer employees today than in 1995 because today, many Social Security benefits are paid electronically.)

So, in 1995, the bottom line was that checks went out pretty much as they were supposed to. Does that mean they will if there’s a shutdown this year?

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney addressed the question during his Feb. 24, 2011, press briefing. Asked by a reporter why checks might not go out in 2011 like they did in 1995, Carney suggested that at least some beneficiaries may not be able to receive adequate customer services during a shutdown due to workers being furloughed.

"The president was pointing out some of the consequences, the potential consequences of failing to act, of failing to prevent a shutdown," Carney said. "And some recipients, new retirees, new applicants might not receive their checks. If retirees have questions about their checks, if they didn't get their check in the mail, if they had a change of address, all those things could prevent them from getting their checks. So there are, obviously, consequences that directly affect people who are recipients of Social Security benefits."

This statement -- which is noticeably more nuanced than Obama’s original comment -- comes close to the assessments of experts we spoke to. They told us it’s likely that payments will once again be made -- but there’s no guarantee. As CRS put it, while "past experience may inform future OMB and agency decisions," past precedents on activities and personnel "would not necessarily hold for any future shutdown."

Experts told us that there is enough of a gray area that it’s impossible to say with certainty that checks will go out during the next shutdown.

The president and Congress "could decide whether to send out Social Security checks in the event of a shutdown," said Alice Rivlin, who headed OMB under Clinton. "Congress could mandate that enough workers be declared 'essential' to get the checks out or the president could decide to take that action—or not."

John Palguta, a former federal official who is now vice president for policy at the Partnership for Public Service, agreed, saying that it’s "probable" that Social Security payments will continue, but added that "it’s not an iron-clad guarantee."

So at the very least, we believe there’s considerably more uncertainty on this issue than Obama stated in the news conference. While Obama had said that if there’s a government shutdown, "people don’t get their Social Security checks," the reality is that the law provides significant leeway for employing federal workers to carry out Social Security functions during a shutdown, which allowed most checks to go out in 1995.

On the other hand, making that approach work depends on the president utilizing his authority, and on Congress not blocking him from carrying it out. It’s also possible, as Carney suggests, that depending on the number of Social Security employees assigned to work, certain customer services may become unavailable during a shutdown, such as checks not going out to new beneficiaries or those with address changes.

Ultimately, the law and history suggest that it’s likely that checks will go out, though it’s not a certainty. On balance, we rate Obama’s statement Barely True.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Unemployment, what is really wrong.

Unemployment, what is really wrong.

Chart shows 11 years of jobless increases , can't blame all on Obama  ?
'Abysmal' Jobs Report a Blow to Obama

NEWS papers drape the bad News , but Pres. Obama blames :

President Obama addressed the increasing unemployment rate Friday morning, stating that the latest jobs report confirms "what most Americans already know."
"We still have a long way to go and a lot of work to do to give people the security and opportunity that they deserve," he said.
Recent natural disasters, spikes in gas prices, and state and local budget cuts have contributed to the down economy, Obama listed. He also noted that more than 2 million new private sector jobs were added over the past 16 months but that the recession "cost us more than 8 million."

Obama want's you to boycott ATM machines , will you do that?

There's really is one problem by looking at the above chart from the Department of Labor Statistics . The surge in unemployment began in 2008.  I am trying not to point the finger at Obama , but something has slipped . The stimulus money was supposed to save jobs , and create jobs . Was that Obama BIG plan? Throwing darts on Obama alone is just not the problem . He's a symptom.  He's failed to act .  He did not blame NAFTA . Obama blamed ATM’s today for his record unemployment rate… Because we all know ATM’s were just introduced since he took charge of the economy.FOX Nation reported: President Obama explained to NBC News that the reason companies aren’t hiring is not because of his policies, it’s because the economy is so automated. … “There are some structural issues with our economy where a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers. You see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM, you don’t go to a bank teller, or you go to the airport and you’re using a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate.”
Look at NAFTA first, over the last decade America sent millions of jobs overseas :
NAFTA requires limits on the safety and inspection of meat sold in our grocery stores; new patent rules that raised medicine prices; constraints on your local government’s ability to zone against sprawl or toxic industries; and elimination of preferences for spending your tax dollars on U.S.-made products or locally-grown food. In fact, calling NAFTA a “trade” agreement is misleading, NAFTA is really an investment agreement. Its core provisions grant foreign investors a remarkable set of new rights and privileges that promote relocation abroad of factories and jobs and the privatization and deregulation of essential services, such as water, energy and health care.
Remarkably, many of NAFTA’s most passionate boosters in Congress and among economists never read the agreement. They made their pie-in-the-sky promises of NAFTA benefits based on trade theory and ideological prejudice for anything with the term “free trade” attached to it Rob Scott at the Economic Policy Institute has released a new study estimating 683,900 U.S. jobs have been displaced due to the rise in the trade deficit with Mexico after NAFTA was enacted. It serves as a grim warning of what could come if Congress were to approve the Korea FTA, which is based on the NAFTA model. Scott breaks down the job displacement by industry and congressional district, illustrating how workers across the country have been harmed as the deficit with Mexico skyrockets.

As Scott notes, corporate lobbyists and administration officials pushing the Korea FTA today sound just like pro-NAFTA government officials back in the early 1990's before NAFTA devastated U.S. manufacturing jobs. Once again they are claiming that a NAFTA-style trade agreement will create thousands of jobs, but this new study is a wakeup call to anyone who views their claims as believable.

Scott highlights the fact that the industrial structure of U.S. trade with Mexico and South Korea are very similar, which portends NAFTA-like job loss if the Korea FTA were to be implemented. The U.S. has huge trade deficits in electronics and motor vehicles and parts with both Mexico and South Korea, and the U.S. International Trade Commission predicts that the U.S. trade deficit in these products will dramatically increase if the Korea FTA were to enter into force.

Daniel Griswold over at the Cato Institute challenged the results of the study, claiming that the study's method of computing job losses is flawed. Proponents of unfair trade may rail against the methodology that Scott employs now, but what did they think of it when they were trying to prove that NAFTA would be a boon for workers before it passed? They embraced it. Gary Hufbauer and Jeffrey Schott, leading NAFTA proponents at the Institute for International Economics, released a study in 1993 predicting that the annual U.S. trade balance with Mexico would improve by $9 billion due to NAFTA, leading to a net increase of 171,000 U.S. jobs. To estimate the increase in the number of jobs, they used same method as Rob Scott used in his latest NAFTA study and applied it to their prediction of the change in trade flows after NAFTA, although their study did not break down jobs geographically.* Perhaps FTA proponents have changed their minds about the method merely because it now reveals all those claims about NAFTA job gains went up in smoke after NAFTA was actually enacted.

Griswold then goes on to belittle the magnitude of the job displacement estimated by the study, comparing it to the 15 million jobs that are created and destroyed annually. It's a silly comparison, because the 15 million figure deals with turnover, whereas Scott's study deals with the changes in the total number of jobs displaced by trade with Mexico at two different points in time, i.e. the net change after all the turnover has completed. 683,900 jobs is a lot of jobs, especially to those workers who have seen their jobs offshored due to unfair trade policy.

*The only significant difference between the studies is that Hufbauer and Schott used estimates from a 1992 Department of Commerce study of the number of jobs supported in each industry by each export commodity to Mexico, for which there is no similar recent data. Scott used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on the jobs supported by a given quantity of goods produced in the United States by industry, which gives results similar to the Department of Commerce data..

My Question are all the Numbers right? Maybe................................

 The addition of 18,000 jobs is effectively a loss, since the economy must generate about 125,000-150,000 jobs a month to keep pace with the expansion of the work force population.

The employment numbers are far worse than expected. Many economists had expected a gain of over 100,000 jobs last month and thought the unemployment rate would remain at 9.1 percent.
Meanwhile, job increases recorded in previous months were revised downward to 25,000 in May and 217,000 in April.

Obama has 'time' , and to reflect and  act , and MAYBE reverse NAFTA trade agreement .

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Case-Y in Point.

Casey Anthony from photo , dressed for the part.
Young single mom goes parting around leaves her toddler daughter alone at home , she drowns in the pool accidentally . Then another media frenzy begins , and ends in another American legal flop. 
Let's go back and think . Have we seen this before on the News about a young mother who by child neglect  (either kills her offspring )  .  Here is speculation. , she  ( CASEY ) tries  to hide the fact that her daughter may have drowned,  makes it look as if her little girl was kidnapped by a stranger . Dump's her body in the woods. Casey goes on a wild party spree for 33 days. We all have  heard these stories before ?  .  I am not disputing any thing what I've read about the Case. This only shows that Casey was nothing but a dumb 'party girl' . If she did it , the above scenario could be true .  There is a whole lot of evidence of that on the media with photo's videos of her showing off her life style to the world . The now infamous  tattoo with the Italian words "Bella Vita" -Tattoo artist testified that Anthony seemed happy when she got tattoo that means "good life" . The Legal the Defense of Casey was as weak as water . Vary Much like the O.J trial of memory . Yes there was evidence that O.J beat his wife , but oh no the glove did not fit and so ........... The Prosecution's own evidence was just as lame . They only showed in an unprofessional matter because they were out to get CASEY.  Based more on the  media frenzy of accusation . As BAD as CASEY is , the Prosecution chose to use evidence of her lifestyle as a rebel to link Casey to Caylee's death.  The circumstantial evidence , the duct tape was not probably tested with any DNA from Casey . The report of the 'smelly' trunk in the car should have alerted the authorities to use cadaver dogs  . With all else it seems that the system botched it.
 CASEY was already tried by the MEDIA . " She is GUILTY" .

 The Verdict made a fool of the Media . Including Nancy Grace, whose nightly show slammed with speculation tabloid style that there was evidence , and evidence that leaked by the media may have made it easier  for the jurors to condemn. Yet it did just the opposite.It seemed that the Prosecution from the start was on the wagon to condemn Casey to chair from the beginning with out looking for alternative methods of punishment .
T he verdict shocked many legal commentators and trial-watchers who had long assumed that Ms. Anthony would be convicted and perhaps sent to Florida’s death row.
But the jury of five men and seven women, who heard testimony in the month-long trial and deliberated nearly 11 hours, viewed the case differently. The relatively quick not guilty verdicts are an apparent rebuke of the government's case, which lacked any direct evidence of Anthony's involved in the death of her daughter, Caylee. Despite this lack of evidence the state pushed for a possible death sentence.

The state "failed" otherwise to provide any evidence that Casey did it. Jury verdict:
First DEGREE Murder-not guilty
Aggravated Child Abuse-not guilty
Aggravated Manslaughter-not guilty
FOUR counts of lying to Law Enforcement -GUILTY .

Case in point  :

After all, we know exactly as much as we need to pass judgment on Casey Anthony: We know that this is not how the CSI episode ends. We have not waited weeks and months to see her spend four years behind bars for lying to law enforcement. We came out baying for blood.. Yet in the Middle there was innocent blood spilled , that of the little girl.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Southern California Pushes for Secession

On July 4th , many states face huge budget deficits . Some solutions come out of desperation . For California , a state with huge deficits that have gone bust over the decade . Many counties are losing money to support a massive state payouts .

A new push to divide the Golden State in two could make Southern California the 51st state. "Our state legislature that is supposed to be making laws and being respected, imposes laws that aren't even lawful," Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone told Los Angeles ABC station KABC-TV. "So I think our state is California gone wild."Stone is proposing that 13 Southern California counties secede from the state, dividing California into a north and south region ‘It has to change,’ he added..
Stone said the new state would consider having a part-time legislature, shifting more power to local government and having a reasonable sales tax.
He is now proposing to hold a public meeting to get feedback from officials and the public on the idea.‘Are there challenges?’ he said. ‘Absolutely. But the destruction of California has to stop and we don’t know what we can accomplish unless we sit down and consider the possibilities.Fellow Riverside County Supervisor Bob Buster called the split-state proposal a ‘crazy distraction.’‘We should begin to get our own budget balanced, which we haven’t done yet, and put in place some of the reforms we need in this county before we try and go and restructure the government in the great state of California,’ he told the Press-Enterprise.‘The temperature has gone up in Riverside County and it seems Supervisor Stone has gotten too much sun recently,’ he added.
"I don't want to just duplicate the problems that we already have in our existing state of California," Stone told the Press-Enterprise, adding that if other counties are interested in seceding, "We would welcome them."
Many criticized Stone's plan, including Riverside County Supervisor Bob Buster, who called it crazy.
"[Stone] makes a lot of good points," Fresno County Supervisor Debbie Poochigian said, according to the Press-Enterprise. "I understand his frustration, but I'm not sure dividing up the state is the answer."
Lauritzen said that over next several months Stone hopes to bring representatives from the other counties together for a symposium on his secession idea.
"We're certainly not saying it would be easy. There are lots of questions," Lauritzen said to ABC News. "But we have reached a point where this discussion just needs to take place."
Both the state legislature and Congress would have to sign off on any plan to split California in two, so even if the other counties like the idea, seceding won't be easy.

Comment from a Latino living in Los Angele us: 
I have to take a bite out of this . The Most southern part of California is mostly ( almost) Hispanic . Most Latino's are Democrat This secession jabber is nothing but a hope of Republicans to take hold of a region-turned-State which historically consists of right-leaning counties. What they are not calculating properly is that the number of Hispanic voters in the region is decidedly on the rise. And us Hispanics in California (or, should I say "The Californias") tend to lean lefty.Also, the whole "protect our borders" line is already a bit too tired. There's no stopping the influx of immigrants, legal or otherwise. (And keep in mind that for every undocumented immigrant into the State, we have 7 fully legalized newborn or immigrated residents in the the plain.)Hispanics already constitute 37% of the State's population, and the Southern portion of the State holds the majority of us. I'm not too sure a seating GOP professional really wants to shift the power balance in this region of California to the Dems, silver platter and all.Dream on, Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone, dream on..