Iran Releases American Shipmen That Were Seized

13 Jan 2016

Something strange about this whole event. The presence of cameras and videos, and the quick release of the people without incident… sounds like some sort of propaganda effort. It just seems staged to me.

Kerry Thanks Iran: Troops Were Well Taken Care Of, Peacefully Resolved Due To Nuclear Deal

KERRY: I want to thank the Iranian authorities for their co-operation and quick response. These are always situations that everybody here knows have an ability, if not properly guided to get out of control and I’m appreciative for the quick and appropriate response of the Iranian authorities. All indications suggest or tell us that our sailors were well taken care of and provided with blankets and food and assisted with their return to the fleet earlier today. And I think we can all imagine how a similar situation might have played out three or four years ago and in fact, it is clear that today this kind of issue was able to be peacefully resolved and officially resolved and that is a testament to the critical role that diplomacy plays in keeping our country safe, secure and strong. And that is really at the core of what I am here to talk about today.

The Iranians are friendly. They fed them and kept them warm and let them go peacefully. They aren’t mean and nasty.

Diplomacy keeps our country safe? I would like to know what level of diplomacy was used.


2016 State of the Union Transcript and Comments

13 Jan 2016

Obama’s Final State Of The Union: Full Replay And Transcript

In his intro, he states…

Our unique strengths as a nation — our optimism and work ethic, our spirit of discovery, our diversity, our commitment to rule of law — these things give us everything we need to ensure prosperity and security for generations to come.

The administration instructed Border patrol to not arrest lawbreakers from other countries. The administration traded Taliban commanders for one deserter without Congressional notification. He taped a fundraising video at the White House, which is illegal. In other words, he is not committed to the rule of law.

I could nitpick at a bunch of little things, but I am going to go with a big picture view as he attempted to do. Here are his four big issues.

First, how do we give everyone a fair shot at opportunity and security in this new economy?

Second, how do we make technology work for us, and not against us, especially when it comes to solving urgent challenges like climate change?

Third, how do we keep America safe and lead the world without becoming its policeman?

And finally, how can we make our politics reflect what’s best in us, and not what’s worst?

The answer to a fair shot at opportunity and security in the new economy is education, benefits, and protections. The little people need more of a voice.

Technology working for us? Biden will head effort for curing cancer. He wants to continue to change the type of energy we use. He also wants to build a 21st century transportation system.

Keeping America safe? We need to protect Americans and go after terrorists. Do not take over countries and rebuild them. We will go alone when protecting our people, but work with other countries on global issues. Reject any political targeting of race and religion.

Better politics? Trust other citizens, be willing to compromise, change current congressional redistricting, reduce money in politics, easier for people to vote, stay active in public life.

What wasn’t mentioned? Government debt, gun control, mass murder events similar to what occurred in San Bernadino, taxes

There seems to be nothing new here. The agenda is very basic. He tries to jab at his opponents here and there while checking the boxes of items Democrats favor. Some of the assertions made were questionable. On the whole – this is a political show and if you missed it, it’s OK – it is what we have heard for eight years.

Iran Seizes Two Navy Vessels

12 Jan 2016

Pentagon: 2 US Navy boats held by Iran but will be returned

The crew of two small Navy craft are being held by Iran, but American officials have received assurances from Tehran that the crew and vessels will be returned safely and promptly.

U.S. officials said that the incident happened near Farsi Island, situated in the middle of the Persian Gulf. They say it stemmed from some type of mechanical trouble with one of the boats, causing them to run aground. The troops were picked up by Iran.

Secretary of State John Kerry, who has forged a personal relationship with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif through three years of nuclear negotiations, called Zarif immediately on learning of the incident, according to a senior U.S. official.

Kerry “personally engaged with Zarif on this issue to try to get to this outcome,” the official said.

With friends like these, who needs enemies?

REAL Labor Statistics

12 Jan 2016

I am unsatisfied with the methods used to report employment, unemployment, the workforce, etc.

I hear reports of 5% unemployment, but from what I see in real life, that 5% number is inaccurate. We get these nonsense “U” numbers that are bogus. Plus they publicize seasonally adjusted numbers, but not the non-adjusted real numbers. The point is that these numbers do nothing to indicate what the real unemployment is.

So I went to the BLS website, and just started collecting some numbers to see if anything stood out. And I have found a group of numbers that when put together, gives more of a feel for what is really happening with jobs. In other words, despite the media claims that unemployment is down – it really is going up. And if we all just observe the climate of the U.S. right now, we can tell that employment is not where it has been prior to the 2008 economic crash.

The numbers come from this page from the Bureau of Labor. I am using the total population of everyone 16 and over, the number of people employed, the number of people unemployed (these two numbers combined are the total workforce), and the number of those out of the workforce. The numbers in the table are averages for the entire year.

Before I get to today’s numbers, here’s an example. The best numbers from the chart are from the year 2000. What was happening in 2000? There was Bill Clinton, the Republican Congress, and Welfare Reform. People had to get out and work before their welfare benefits expired. So here are the numbers. (Pop = population; wf = work force)

Total Population non-Institution (16+) – 212,577,000
Employed – 136,891,000 (64.4% pop; 96.0% wf)
Unemployed – 5,692,000 (2.7% pop; 4.0% wf)
Out Of Workforce – 69,994,000 (32.9% pop)

What do we get? First, the 4.0% of the workforce that’s unemployed is the U-3 number that is publicized. But with regards to the population, 35.6% of the people are truly unemployed. Most of those people are not participating in the workforce for various reasons… retirement, homemaker, rich enough to stay home, sponging off of others, etc. 2.7% of the population are actively pursuing employment. 64.4% of the population working is our high water mark. So now you have an idea how this works. Now I am going to give you three sets of numbers.

Total Population non-Institution (16+) – 215,092,000
Employed – 136,933,000 (63.7% pop; 95.3% wf)
Unemployed – 6,801,000 (3.1% pop; 4.7% wf)
Out Of Workforce – 71,359,000 (33.2% pop)

Total Population non-Institution (16+) – 217,570,000
Employed – 136,485,000 (62.7% pop; 94.2% wf)
Unemployed – 8,378,000 (3.9% pop; 5.8% wf)
Out Of Workforce – 72,707,000 (33.4% pop)

Total Population non-Institution (16+) – 233,788,000
Employed – 145,362,000 (62.2% pop; 94.2% wf)
Unemployed – 8,924,000 (3.8% pop; 5.8% wf)
Out Of Workforce – 79,501,000 (34.0% pop)

These are the numbers that involve the Bush presidency. What do we see? We had the 9/11 attacks in 2001, and we see how the unemployment percentage jumped up, but not the out of workforce percentage. But from 2002 thru 2008, things remained constant with regards to the percentages. Notice the population is continually increasing with these numbers. Also notice this… those out of the workforce on a percentage basis went up 1.1% from 2000-2008.

Here’s some data from the Obama presidency.

Total Population non-Institution (16+) – 235,601,000
Employed – 139,877,000 (59.3% pop; 90.7% wf)
Unemployed – 14,265,000 (6.1% pop; 9.3% wf)
Out Of Workforce – 81,659,000 (34.6% pop)

Total Population non-Institution (16+) – 247,947,000
Employed – 146,305,000 (59.0% pop; 93.8% wf)
Unemployed – 9,617,000 (3.9% pop; 6.2% wf)
Out Of Workforce – 92,025,000 (37.1% pop)

I put in the 2009 data to show the immediate effects of the 2008 economic crash that occurred in the last quarter of that year, and we can see the unemployed percentage among the population went up 2.3% from 2008. Now the media’s U-3 number (unemployment percent among the workforce) took a higher percentage jump from 5.8% to 9.3%, but we will see how using the workforce as a reference is a fallacy.

Look, in 2014, the media trumpets that unemployment is down to 6.2%… yay. Wait… those out of the workforce have ballooned up to 37.1% of the population. Those not working at all are at 41% of the population, the highest since 1983.

This to me is a much more realistic reading on unemployment. We can expect a certain percentage of the population is not working. The year where the most people were employed, 35.6% of the population was not working, and the overwhelming majority of those were considered as those not looking for work.

One more thing. If you want to know if we have bounced back from 2008… the media’s U-3 says 2008 was 3.8%… 2014 was 3.9%. However, look at the raw numbers. Between 2008 and 2014, there is an increase of less than one million people employed… while those out of the workforce increased by more than 12 million people. Enjoy the economic recovery, folks.

British Healthcare System Broken… Doctors Striking

6 Jan 2016

This is what we want here… government health care, right?

Britain’s Health Care: So Bad, Doctors Don’t Even Want To Practice There

Angry over pay and working conditions, British doctors are threatening to go on strike next week. This is the sort of disaster that can happen only when physicians are government employees.

From 2008 to 2012, more than 8,000 doctors left Britain. The Financial Times said that they had grown tired of working “extensive ‘goodwill hours’ and coming in on days off.” Younger doctors were feeling they had been “abused by the long hours” they put in.

It’s not just the job that’s causing doctors to look for a way out, either. Britain’s health care professionals have also become disillusioned by the government’s poor standard of care.

The government is not an expert at anything. They should not be handling health care.

Previous Accounts Of Gun Acquisitions

6 Jan 2016

Obama measures wouldn’t have kept guns from mass shooters

In Aurora, Colorado, and at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., men undergoing mental health treatment were cleared to buy weapons because federal background checks looked to criminal histories and court-ordered commitments for signs of mental illness. The Obama administration is making changes in that realm by seeking to plug certain Social Security Administration data into the background check system and by helping states report more information about people barred from gun possession for mental health reasons.

The suspect in a shooting at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, should have been flagged at the time, but errors and delays cleared the way for his purchase.

Read the article for more details on other shootings.

President Obama’s Gun Control Measures Ineffective Against Jihad

6 Jan 2016

The Hidden Message behind Obama’s Gun Control Proposals

From the speech…

“Fort Hood, Binghamton, Aurora, Oak Creek, Newtown, the Navy Yard, Santa Barbara, Charleston, San Bernardino. Too many,”

A couple of good points made by the author.

Two of those mass shootings (Fort Hood and San Bernardino) were perpetrated by jihadis motivated by fundamentalist Islamic ideology — while the others (not all very mass) were the work of common criminals and/or (to be blunt) nutcases.

Why is this important? It should be obvious that gun control legislation of any sort is absolutely irrelevant to jihadis.

But the laws would affect law abiding citizens. Here’s the other point.

…the president persists in lumping the jihadis together with the nut cases and criminals in the other shootings.

Equating Fort Hood (once risibly called “workplace violence” — imagine the pressure put on the Pentagon for that) and San Bernardino with these other mass killings is a deliberate attempt to obscure an uncomfortable reality or, as Al Gore terms it, an inconvenient truth.

Both of these points are valid, and point to a consistent theme of President Obama minimizing people of Islam committing these crimes.