Friday, February 3, 2012

Quick Hits - February 3, 2012 UPDATED

Several big stories are dominating the airways this Friday, but within these stories are things to consider which are not being reported or examined in a comprehensive manner.

The first big news item is the announcement that January 2012 saw a major jump in jobs, with 243,000 jobs being created in January driving the official unemployment rate to 8.3% from 8.5%.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics also revised upwards the numbers of jobs created in both November and December of 2011 by 60,000.  The liberal mainstream media, and the President, are touting these numbers as a clear sign that the US has entered a 'robust' economic recovery.  A sign of a growing economy will only strengthen the President's re-election possibilities.

The thing is, we need to look at these numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics with a number of grains of salt.  The Heritage Foundation highlights some of the challenges with the latest numbers..
For millions of Americans, last month’s strong job growth is a bright spot that they unfortunately cannot see. While the unemployment rate has fallen to 8.3 percent, it fell from lofty heights that lasted far too long. And even at 8.3 percent, 12.8 million Americans remain unemployed, and the high unemployment among women, teenagers, whites, and Hispanics remained steady. What’s more, the number of long-term unemployed — which stands at 5.5 million — remained relatively unchanged, meaning that 42.9 percent of Americans have been out of work for 27 weeks or more. On top of that, there were 1.1 million “discouraged workers” in January — meaning that they’re sitting on the sidelines not looking for work because they believe no jobs are available.
 The Wall Street Journal takes a deeper look into the data behind this unemployment drop and notes..
The employment gain wasn’t immediately obvious to some observers because of a quirk in this month’s report. Every January, the Labor Department readjusts its data to account for changes in the population. The tweaks are especially significant in years like this one that take into account a new decennial census.

This year, the population adjustment makes it look like the employment-population ratio didn’t change from December to January. In reality, the ratio improved by 0.3 percentage points. The gains were just masked by the population adjustments.

But this is still not quite calling it as clearly as it needs to be called.  At Zero Hedge, the call is clearly made...
A month ago, we joked when we said that for Obama to get the unemployment rate to negative by election time, all he has to do is to crush the labor force participation rate to about 55%. Looks like the good folks at the BLS heard us: it appears that the people not in the labor force exploded by an unprecedented record 1.2 million. No, that's not a typo: 1.2 million people dropped out of the labor force in one month! So as the labor force increased from 153.9 million to 154.4 million, the non institutional population increased by 242.3 million meaning, those not in the labor force surged from 86.7 million to 87.9 million. Which means that the civilian labor force tumbled to a fresh 30 year low of 63.7% as the BLS is seriously planning on eliminating nearly half of the available labor pool from the unemployment calculation.

As they say, seeing is believing...

Looks like the climate change hockey stick, eh?

Given the subjective nature of these numbers, they can be 'gamed' to promote whatever meme that is needed - and in this case it looks as if the main meme is to support the re-election of President Obama by creating the impression that his policies are resulting in a robust economic recovery and that jobs are being created on a large scale.  But if jobs are being created on such a large scale, why is the Labor Force Participation Rate so damn low?

Throughout the balance of the time before the November Presidential elections, we're going to be spun that the economy is improving.  But if the economy is improving...
If the economy is getting better, then why did new home sales in the United States hit a brand new all-time record low during 2011?

If the economy is getting better, then why are there 6 million less jobs in America today than there were before the recession started?

If the economy is getting better, then why is the average duration of unemployment in this country close to an all-time record high?

If the economy is getting better, then why has the number of homeless female veterans more than doubled?

If the economy is getting better, then why has the number of Americans on food stamps increased by 3 million since this time last year and by more than 14 million since Barack Obama entered the White House?

If the economy is getting better, then why has the number of children living in poverty in America risen for four years in a row?

If the economy is getting better, then why is the percentage of Americans living in “extreme poverty” at an all-time high?
The President, his campaign advisers, and his supporters in the MSM know that perception can drive reality.  They are going to work to set the perception that the economy is rapidly improving under the progressive agenda and trillion dollar deficits.  The problem is that many Americans are feeling the reality of the anemic economy.  Will the spin change how people are feeling?

Another major kerfuffle grabbing the attention of the media - and bloggers - is the dust-up caused by the decision by the Susan G. KomenKomen saying their decision was based on politics - not as the Komen officials said, related to non-political reasons...
During a conference call with reporters this afternoon, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure CEO Nancy Brinker and President Elizabeth Thompson revealed the main reason why the Planned Parenthood abortion business lost its funding. It doesn’t do mammograms.

“It was nothing they were doing wrong,” Brinker explained. “We have decided not to fund, wherever possible, pass-through grants. We were giving them money, they were sending women out for mammograms. What we would like to have are clinics where we can directly fund mammograms.”

She added, later in the day on Twitter:, saying the money “will be invested in programs to serve low-income, uninsured and underinsured women.”
After the firestorm of bile and hyperbole from the left against Komen raised serious pressure, SGK Race for the Cure announced this morning that they will restore their grant funding to Planned Parenthood.

UPDATE - According to a Komen board member, it is not certain or clear that the Foundation is restoring their grant funding to Planned Parenthood....
As some were quick to point out, the statement put out by Komen doesn’t really clarify whether Planned Parenthood will actually continue to get money from the group. The original rationale for barring Planned Parenthood was that it was under investigation (a witch-hunt probe undertaken by GOP Rep Cliff Stearns). Komen said today that the group would “amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political.”

Does that mean Planned Parenthood will get Komen grants in the future?

I asked Komen board member John Raffaelli to respond to those who are now saying that the announcement doesn’t necessarily constitute a reversal until Planned Parenthood actually sees more funding. He insisted it would be unfair to expect the group to commit to future grants.

“It would be highly unfair to ask us to commit to any organization that doesn’t go through a grant process that shows that the money we raise is used to carry out our mission,” Raffaelli told me. “We’re a humaniatrian organization. We have a mission. Tell me you can help carry out our mission and we will sit down at the table.”

That seems reasonable - require all seeking grants to apply for the grants, demonstrate how the interests of the two organizations coincide, and then Komen will determine if and to what amount they will grant the applicant organization.

The gentlemen at Powerline not only hit the nail on the head with their observations about this firestorm, but also echo my own thoughts and concerns about the actions behind this...
We noted here the other day how the leftist climateers are pressuring the American Meteorological Association to submit to climate orthodoxy. But an even more revealing case is the way the left is reacting to the decision of the Susan G. Komen Foundation to discontinue most of their funding for Planned Parenthood. The left has gone into full denunciation and outrage mode. Feminist organizations went directly to DefCon1. The Komen Foundation’s website has been hacked. Board members are being pressured to resign.

The Komen Foundation, which focuses exclusively on breast cancer, decided to stop most of their funding because Planned Parenthood doesn’t offer mammograms in most of its locations. Komen said it will continue funding some PP clinics that do offer mammograms. Instead of respecting the foundation’s fiduciary decision, the left attacked the organization’s chair, Nancy Brinker, because she’s a Republican, and a friend of the Bush family. (Amazing how much power the Bush family seems to have now that it is out of office.)
The Komen Foundation is a private entity.  They should be able to decide to whom they will grant funds to without outside interference.  However, when they decided to no longer fund Planned Parenthood, they were assaulted and castigated by the hard left.  The thugs came out and bullied the Komen Foundation to reverse it's choice to how they wish to spend their funds.  It's nothing but base thuggery.

If someone didn't like the Komen Foundation decision, and is a donor to the cause, then stop your donations.  That is your right - just as it is the right of the Foundation to determine how, when, and to whom it will grant funds.  But with the deranged thugs of the left, rights only apply to them - not their targets.  Actions like this just confirm who the real fascists are.

The other aspect of this that is contemptible is the efforts to mask and paint the what Planned Parenthood is - and their mission.  It's far less majestic than the left would like us to be - and far closer to the vision and philosophy of Malthusian eugenics advocated by it's founder, the reprehensible Margaret Sanger.  The connection of this organization to the progressive 'vision' as a major cog in that wheel is proved by the vehemence and speed of the attacks on the Komen Foundation.

In the third major event of the news cycle is the appearance of Attorney General Eric Holder before a House committee yesterday in the expectation that he would provide more information about the DoJ's Operation Fast and Furious program to supply guns from the US to Mexican drug cartels.  As expected by many, Holder demonstrated..
...more dancing, more denials, more arrogance and contempt towards Congress… Amazing how Holder’s subordinates knew nothing about an ongoing operation (for over a year) which consumed manpower and resources, but were experts on a minor program which was shut down by the Bush administration more than two years earlier.
Holder’s entire defense in these hearings is that he didn’t know anything about the tactics being used. So why did the prepared remarks of Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske’s announcement of a new Obama administration Southwest Border Strategy contain this sentence:
we have to collect, analyze, and disseminate vast quantities of information, invest the time in complex investigations, use all of the legal investigatory tools available to us, and conduct operations such as controlled deliveries of drugs, money, and weapons which enable us to see deeply into drug trafficking organizations.
Curiously this one sentence didn’t make it into Kerlikowske’s spoken remarks as recorded on a conference call with Holder and Napolitano that June (2009), but the document still exists (though it was removed from the White House website for some reason). But this one document proves that controlled deliveries of weapons (i.e. allowing guns to walk across the border) was part of the new border strategy from the beginning.

Throughout the questioning, Holder did little more than whine and try to misdirect the hard questioning by the Committee Republicans..
You know, I mean, really, is that the way in which you want to be seen, you want to be known? You know, I should be held accountable for, certainly, my role in whatever I did or didn’t do in connection with the supervision of Fast and Furious, but I’m attorney general of the United States and I should also be accountable and perhaps even given some credit — imagine that — given some credit for the things that this Justice Department has done under my leadership, whether it deals with national security, revitalized antitrust, revitalized civil rights enforcement effort. And so one has to balance all of these things.

Hmm, like the politicizing of the DoJ, the corruption at the DoJ, the racism at the DoJ, the attacks on Voter ID, the attacks on Arizona over its illegal immigration legislation, or providing guns to drug cartels to create a meme to gin up public support for more gun control - as the Democrats on the Committee pushed for yesterday?

Hot Air asks if AG Holder needs to walk the plank or be pushed.  It's clear that the Holder DoJ is more interested with politics and an ideological dogma than being in charge of Department of Justice that is supposed to uphold US laws.  It's also clear that his Department has an active cover-up underway and has on numerous occasions lied to Congress.  Holder himself has lied to Congress under oath, similar to what got Scooter Libby convicted.  Holder needs to go now.

Speaking of Voter ID and voter fraud, a Florida television station has done a little investigating in Florida around a type of voter fraud that is very commonplace...
Two elections supervisors are taking action after an NBC2 investigation uncovers flawed record keeping and human error allowing people who are not citizens of the United States to vote.

No one knows how widespread this problem is, because county election supervisors have no way to track non-citizens who live here.

So NBC2 did something election officials never thought to do, and found them on our own.

“I vote every year,” Hinako Dennett told NBC2.

The Cape Coral resident is not a US citizen, yet she’s registered to vote.
NBC2 found Dennett after reviewing her jury excusal form. She told the Clerk of Court she couldn’t serve as a juror because she wasn’t a U.S. citizen.

We found her name, and nearly a hundred others like her, in the database of Florida registered voters.
I guarantee this same fraud is happening in your community too.  I've seen it first hand in Los Angeles County  (hit the read more below to see the story...).

US Secretary of Defense is saying that Israel may strike Iran's nuclear development program in an April to June, 2012 timeframe.

Meanwhile, Iran's Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Khamenei continues to ratchet the hate towards Israel...
“The Zionist regime is a real cancerous tumor that should be cut and will be cut, God Willing,” Ayatollah Khamenei underscored.

Sounds like people that can be negotiated with, right?

(I'm still working on a post regarding Panetta's announcement re Afghanistan as well as an update on the Euro crisis - both should be posted over the weekend.)

On This Day in History

Happy 75th Birthday today to my Dad!!

1917 - In a 2 hour address before a Joint Session of Congress, President Woodrow Wilson announces that the US is breaking diplomatic relations with Germany - a major step towards the US declaration of war which will take place in April.

1924 - Former President Woodrow Wilson dies in Washington DC

1950 - Klaus Fuchs is arrested for providing atomic bomb secrets to the Soviet Union

1959 - 'The Day the Music Died' - Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. 'The Big Bopper' Richardson are killed when their chartered small aircraft crashes in a Mason City, Iowa cornfield.

The big election in 2003 in California was the recall election of Democrat Governor Grey Davis.  The state's fiscal condition was grim - and the tax / spend policies of Davis pushed enough people to support a recall petition.  This was a polarizing battle - that of the right / moderates who were against more taxes and spending versus the Davis progressive / hard left defenders.

Groups worked hard to register new voters to participate in the recall vote.  One group, a far left progressive group, had an area set-up at a local mall to register shoppers to vote.  While in the mall, I was approached by a person from this group and asked if I was registered to vote. 

I said no I was not registered to vote - and that I couldn't register as I was not a US citizen.

The person told me that my citizenship status was immaterial to being registered to vote, as long as I lived in California, I was entitled to vote...and handed me a registration card with the Democrat Party already selected as the party affiliation I was to register with. 

Since I was in within a few months of being naturalized, I knew very well that not only would I be committing voter fraud if I registered, but doing so could also end my naturalization efforts.  But I also wanted to have a little fun with the person.

So I pointed out to the person the party was already selected and asked for a new card to allow me to register as a Republican.

The worker, shocked, said abruptly, 'You can't do that'.  When I insisted she walked back to her booth and ignored me. 

I called the LA County Registrar to complain about this groups work to promote voter fraud - but I know nothing was done about the complaint.
This was the only time I did complain.  I must have been approached a half dozen times by register to vote drives over the three years between my arrival in California and my naturalization.  All by left / pro-Democrat groups who all said that the threshold to be able to vote was not citizenship, but my residency in California.  I am convinced that this was not only standard operating procedure, but that many many votes cast in California elections are done by those not legally entitled to vote. 

Have they made a difference?  I don't know - but that's not really the point is it.

We need Voter ID laws and a real effort in all 50 states to clean up the existing voter registration rolls.

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