Archive for economy

GOP wrong again: Weekly jobless claims fall, budget deficit shrinks #BlameObama

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what you know, wrong

This is getting tedious, but a blog's gotta do what a blogs's gotta do. Republicans, you're wrong again. Wrongier than wrong. Wrong wrong wrong:

Via the Los Angeles Times:

The federal deficit continues to decline thanks to budget cuts and slower growth in Medicare costs, but lower than expected corporate tax revenues dimmed some of the improved outlook, according to a report Wednesday from the Congressional Budget Office.

And Benen piles on. More at the link:

This remains a basic budgetary truism that Republicans continue to resist. Indeed, last year, when top marginal rates increased on households making more than $400,000 a year, a variety of GOP lawmakers argued that this would likely cause the deficit to go up – as they saw it, higher taxes on the wealthy would slow growth, which would mean fewer jobs, which would mean fewer people paying income taxes, which would mean a larger deficit.

And we now know they were wrong – again – though this will probably do nothing to shake the Beltway perception of the GOP as the “fiscally responsible” party.

Let’s also note that the shrinking deficit – we’re seeing the fastest reduction since the end of World War II – is also one of the nation’s best-kept secrets. [...] [T]he reality is, we’re witnessing deficit reduction at a truly remarkable clip. Every conservative complaint about fiscal recklessness and irresponsibility in the Obama era is completely divorced from reality.

but wait there's more smaller

Per the most reliable news source in the whole wide world, Fox Biz, comes this upbeat news via a couple of email alerts:

The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits fell last week to 298,000 from an upwardly revised 299,000 the week prior. Economists expected claims to rise to 300,000 from an initially reported 298,000.

The Commerce Department reports the economy expanded at an annualized pace of 4.2% in the second quarter, higher than an original estimate of 4%, also beating expectations of 3.9%.

the more you know msnbc bergdahl

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Roads and bridges falling down, falling down, falling down...

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LondonBridgew384h202

Sing it with me, now!

Roads and bridges falling down,

Falling down,

Falling down!

Roads and bridges falling down!

Where is Congress?

Face it, America, not only is our infrastructure in a total state of disrepair, but our stellar lawmakers *coughGOPcough* make our roads and bridges look positively reliable.

Via the Los Angeles Times:

America's transportation infrastructure, once an engine of mobility and productivity, has fallen into such disrepair that it's become an economic albatross. Consumers shell out billions of dollars for extra car repairs every year. Insufficient and poorly maintained roads mean costly bottlenecks for businesses, which discourage expansion and hobble American companies competing in the global economy. [...]

A quarter of the country's 147,870 bridges are deficient or obsolete, according to a July report by the White House on infrastructure investment. [...]

[In East Greenwich, south of Providence, Rhode Island]... some of the supporting beams underneath were so beaten down by time and rainwater that they were "paper-thin." [...] All told, about a third of [California's] public roads are in bad shape, compared with 14% nationally.

Public safety, schmublic schmafety.

"Pro-life" my ass.

Here's a little flashback dedicated to Republican Congress members who obstruct infrastructure bills the way Fox obstructs truth in broadcasting:

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Great American Heroes

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Alan Grayson at Sexy Liberal 12-10-11 copy

Nicole Sandler with Congressman Alan Grayson at the Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour in Ft. Lauderdale, December 2011

Our first Great American Hero today is Congressman Alan Grayson. Although he represents Florida's 9th District, he really represents us all! Even in the time of the greatest gridlock in DC, Congressman Grayson - a member of the minority party in the House - has written more legislation and had more amendments passed than any other member, for two years running!

He joined me on the show this morning to talk about some of the work he's done since we last spoke. A sampling of his accomplishments follows:

On the NSA/surveillance/privacy front:

  • He’s passed legislation to protect encryption standards from the NSA 
  • He passed an amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations bill (H.R. 4870) to prohibit NSA from interfering or weakening encryption standards promulgated by NIST. Grayson called NSA’s subversion of NIST’s standards “extremely dangerous and noted that NSA’s efforts rendered everyone’s security vulnerable to exploitation. “It’s naïve to imagine that if you introduce a weakness into a system you will be the only one to use it. My amendment would address this issue by prohibiting the intelligence community [which includes NSA] from subverting or interfering with the integrity of any cryptographic standard,” he explained. The amendment passed unanimously and earned support from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the Sunlight Foundation, and others.
  • In a Science, Space, and Technology Committee markup he passed an amendment removing the statutory requirement for NIST to consult with NSA in developing encryption standards. The amendment allows NIST to continue to consult NSA when necessary. The Huffington Post called Grayson’s effort a “landmark amendment,” while ProPublica wrote that it“puts NSA on notice over encryption standards.” Access said the amendment would “help support data integrity by ensuring that the standards used to protect all internet users are not artificially weakened.” The Center for Democracy & Technology hailed it as a “positive step that will help to restore the credibility and scientific objectivity of NIST.”
  •   He’s pushing the FCC to protect the privacy of Americans’ phone calls, following a Newsweek report claiming that IMSI catchers, a relatively cheap device that impersonates cell phone towers, can intercept phone calls and text messages.
  • He’s been going after former NSA Director Keith Alexander, who stands to make millions off of his work in the cybersecurity sector. Read one of Grayson’s letters here. There’s been a good deal of coverage on this – for example here, here and here.

And in other areas:

Yes, I'd say "hero" is a perfect description. Find out more about Congressman Grayson and donate to help keep him working for us at CongressmanWithGuts.com.

Kelton-Sandler

Stephanie Kelton on The Nicole Sandler Show at Netroots Nation Detroit, July 2014

Our second hero today followed Congressman Grayson immediately on the show. Stephanie Kelton, Ph.D. is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She is also Editor-in-Chief of the top-ranked blog New Economic Perspectives .  

Today we spoke about the new buzz-term and heinous practice known as Corporate Inversion Taxes, as well as a bit about Modern Monetary Theory, why the US should carry debt and how to fix the economic mess we're in.

After hearing what she had to say, I asked her to run for office. Stephanie Kelton is, indeed, a hero who would serve us well in public office!

In the second hour of the show, I spoke with our regular Thursday morning heroes:

Amy Simon of She's History told us about Lily Ledbetter and her fight for paycheck fairness.

And Stephen Goldstein, author of The Dictionary of American Political Bullshit returned with another "No More Bullshit Minute." Today, we exposed the bullshit phrase, "According to a Recent Poll."

Tomorrow, we'll wrap the week with Florida's Judge David Young, discussing the recent rulings in favor of marriage equality and how to figure out who to vote for in judicial races. And for Flashback Friday, my 1996 interview with -and performance by- Sting! Talk to you then, Radio or Not!

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President Obama Met With Central American Leaders - Fvx Nation Freaks

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lobotomy

Oh would some power the giftie gie us, to see ourselves as others see us.

~ Robert Burns

screamnowjo0

When you get down, way, way  underneath whichever gratuitous level of bullshite the Regressive Right is forking up this month, you can spy the real issues that need addressing at our borders: key economic reasons.

Said issues are frequently buried under whatever red-meat frenzy is currently being spotted and hyped by the Fox Noise Hysteria Periscope and whomever Morning Schmoe chooses to add frothing from over at messnbc mornings.

Elizabeth Warren, for good reason a Progressive It Candidate, has been a vocal champion of the kind of action President Obama took this week … and that's why so many of us champion her.

Quick!

This thoughtful president chose not to suit up in combat gear, climb into a helicopter with a presumably-armed Governor-General Good Hair Perry and get his picture taken in staccato unison by photographers there to snap him … NOT the humanitarian crisis at hand.

It was an Obama decision:  pragmatic, active yet not drastic, and assumes that we have equal partners in these massive matters of bubbles, booms, recessions and the flow of humanity they attract, then throw back from our shores.

It also makes sense. Which is anathema to a Regressive Right held hostage by Palin, Hannity and Limpbaugh's Tea Party.

anti_fox_news_cap

The GOP is proven to be hideous at paying for things, only Obama and Clinton brought deficits down and got us out of conflicts, more than into them. The Right became hysterical in extremis when they realized they had blown the entire cookie jar on Defense and Terrorism and reacted with every xenophobic, self-serving iota of their fully loaded (shekels and bullets galore) selves … it must be communism!

Cuz … Putin.

Then Putin has the annoying and extremely untimely nerve to ratchet up the pissing contest that Reagan is credited by his fervent idolizers for having somehow 'won'.

The GOP decided to formally adopt Israel from sometime after Ron Ron's star peaked until their Rapture … surely, we must be in Armageddon now, gauging the shrill hysteria and panic over at Fvx Nation.

reagan obsolete

In the meantime, here's a surprisingly edifying few minutes from Morning Joe Schmoe -- there was a substantive look at what is happening at the borders, and why President Obama's hosting of the Central American leaders is significant on many fronts. From MSNBC.

And for your compare and WTF(??!!??) moment, here's how the delusional crew at Fox Noise responded to the sitting president doing something practical and statesmanlike by meeting with the leaders of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatomala.

[As always, complimentary Orvis waders and Method™ Antibacterial Troll Spray by the front door.]

Hannity, still high from his own trip to Texass, let Governor Good Hair Rick Perry rant at will.

The Journal Editorial Report, featuring WSJ's Paul Gigot, required three Fvx slash Wall Street Journal pundits to bash President Obama while giving Perry and Paul the Younger all kinds of love for their alleged Feck.

johnO

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Bikini Graph time! Sixth straight month of job growth, best since 1997! #BlameObama

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bikini itsy bitsy bikini graph job creation

Once again, it’s job creation time! Which means it's also time to bring back that sexy economic data source, the Bikini Graph! This time around, we learn that this is the sixth straight month of job growth, something that hasn't happened since 1997. That sound you hear is the GOP demanding President Obama's impeachment for allowing this to happen on his watch. Da noive!

bikini graph private sector Aug 2014

bikini graph overall Aug 2014

As always, red columns point to monthly job totals under the Bush administration, while blue columns point to job totals under the Obama administration.

Via Steve Benen at The Maddow Blog, more on the new report from Bureau of Labor Statistics, including how we added 209,000 jobs in July:

The overall unemployment rate ticked slightly higher to 6.2% – still hovering around a six-year low. (This is one of those times when an uptick is good news, not bad, since more people are entering the workforce looking for jobs.)

Once again, public-sector layoffs did not drag down the overall employment figures [...] All told, over the last 12 months, the U.S. economy has added over 2.57 million jobs overall and 2.48 million in the private sector. What’s more, July was the 53rd consecutive month in which we’ve seen private-sector job growth – the longest on record.

 At this point, with the year about half over, 2014 is currently on track to be the best year for U.S. job creation since 1999.

The Los Angeles Times has more:

The labor market extended its best streak since the late 1990s, posting solid job growth last month that lured more people back into the workforce. [...]

And the [unemployment rate] rise was for a good reason: The labor force grew by 329,000 last month as many people who had left the job market — and so weren't being counted in the unemployment rate — returned. That caused the labor force participation rate to inch up for the first time in five months, to 62.9%, from its lowest level since 1978. [...]

The economy grew at a robust 4% annual rate from April through June, the Commerce Department said this week... Personal income also increased 0.4% in June, the same pace as in May. And July was one of the best months in years for motor vehicle sales, automakers said Friday.

We're on our way. Unless, of course, the GOP decides to continue to block Democratic jobs and infrastructure bills... which is a given. It looks like we'll have to keep growing the economy and employment in spite of them.

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Going to Pot

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Nicole Sandler  RadioOrNot

On November 4, Florida may become the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana. I certainly never think of FloriDUH as a trend leader and, in this case, we'd be in the middle of the pack. But that's certainly better than dead last or bringing up the rear as is usually the case.

On the ballot on election day, Floridians will get to vote yes or no on constitutional amendment 2: Use of Marijuana for Certain Medical Conditions.

Although many groups and factions got together to make this dream a reality, United for Care led the charge in the petition drive, and garnered the almost 1 million signatures necessary to get the amendment on the ballot.

Ben Pollara, campaign manager for United for Care, joined me on the show this morning to talk about the amendment as we near the final test- the Nov. 4 elections!

A new Quinnipiac University poll shows sky-high support for the measure.

88 percent of voters support the legal use of marijuana for medical purposes, while 10 percent do not. Those attitudes were unchanged from May, but support was six percentage points up from November.

The levels of support among different demographic groups is surprising due to the great numbers.

quinnipiac mm FLWith such huge numbers, especially among the youth voters, Democrats, women and independents, you'd expect that the Democrats elected to represent Floridians would be on board too.

And most are. But not Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. The congresswoman from Weston who also chairs the DNC is at odds with her base, her party and her constituents.

Not only does she oppose Amendment 2, putting her in league with her Republican friends, but she was one of only 17 Democrats, mostly Blue Dogs or the equally reprehensible "New Dems," to vote against a measure to cut funds for Drug Enforcement Agency raids on medical marijuana operations in states where medical marijuana is legal.

When asked about her opposition to medical marijuana, Wasserman-Shultz was wishy-washy,

Wasserman Schultz, up for re-election in November, has criticized Florida's ballot initiative, saying it is written too broadly and does not ensure strong regulatory oversight.

"My view is that approval of the use of marijuana as a medical treatment should be handled responsibly and in a regulated manner that ensures its approval does not do more harm than good," she said on her website.

Perhaps someone should ask if her opposition to to ending marijuana prohibition is at all related to her support of the private prison industry.

[Wasserman-Schultz] initially called a town hall meeting to allow residents to voice their opposition and learn more about the project. After more than 250 people showed up to let CCA and the town council know they didn’t want a private prison, Wasserman, who had called the meeting, decided she would support the project.

Howie Klein, a regular contributor to this program, wrote about Wasserman-Schultz' cozy relationship with the private prison industry at DownWithTyranny back in 2012. Just sayin'.

Mike Rogers of Raw Story and Netroots Connect was on the show this morning, filling in for the vacationing Susie Madrak, and he stayed on for the Ben Pollara interview.

When the questioning got to Charlie Crist (who apparently supports Amendment 2, though his representatives haven't responded to numerous interview requests from me), Mike alluded to Charlie's wife not having much influence over him, as it's believed by most who have done any research on Crist's private life that he's a closeted gay man. (A bit of background here, should you care to go down that road.)

We certainly don't shy away from controversy here. I have no problem with whatever Crist does in the privacy of his bedroom, but when he works against the LGBT community and is ashamed of who he is, then I do have a problem. And yes, I'll be voting for Nan Rich in the gubernatorial primary.

Ellen Ratner called in with an update from the Talk Radio News Service, and let us know that she's headed back to South Sudan next week. Should you care to help the people there, visit the charity site Ellen put together, Goats for the Old Goat.

And finally, Anat Shenker-Osario joined me for the last segment of the show to tell us about a new study she published along with pollster Celinda Lake and the Center for Community Change: Redefining the way we talk about poverty.

You can and should read the brief of their findings here, check out Anat's book, Don’t Buy It: The Trouble with Talking Nonsense About the Economy, and listen to the interview. I find the topic fascinating!

We'll be back tomorrow with another show, talking about the over population of the planet with Stephanie Feldstein of the Center for Biological Diversity.

Plus Amy Simon with some fabulous female facts, and Stephen Goldstein with the "No More Bullshit Minute," and whatever else the day brings us... radio or not!

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Good economic news... again! Time to impeach! #BlameObama

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economic news recovery

With all the talk of impeachment and GOP lawsuits against President Obama these days, it seemed like a good time to add more fuel to the politically insane fires. Yes, once again we have upbeat economic news. What's a blogger to do? Why, publish the upbeat economic news, of course.

Let's start with a Fox Biz email alert headline, because I know how you rely heavily on every word uttered by Fox, the most reliable name in economic news:

U.S. Economy Grows at 4% Pace in 2Q

What?! Why I oughta. Please proceed, Fox Biz:

The Commerce Department reports the U.S. economy grew at an annualized pace of 4% in the second quarter, beating Wall Street expectations for a 3% rate.

Oh what do they know... Let's see what the big bad "librul media" has to say about all this good economic news. New York Times, I'm talkin' to you:

The United States economy rebounded heartily in the spring after a dismal winter, the Commerce Department reported on Wednesday, growing at an annual rate of 4 percent from April through June and surpassing economists’ expectations.

In its initial estimate for the second quarter, the government cited a major advance in inventories for private businesses, higher government spending at the state and local level and personal consumption spending as chief contributors to growth. Economists, who had been hoping for a full reversal of the first quarter’s decline, were cheered by the second quarter’s numbers. The consensus forecast for G.D.P. was 3 percent.

“Fantastic,” Douglas Handler, chief United States economist for IHS Global Insight Analysis, said of the second-quarter G.D.P. increase. The bigger-than-expected gain further cemented views that the decrease in America’s overall output during the first quarter was most likely a fluke tied in large part to unusually stormy winter weather and other anomalies.

Huhwha? "Higher government spending at the state and local level"?

Read it and weep, impeachers.

curses foiled again

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