Whose “Scandal?”


One of the real take-downs of Republican ideology is “Scandal,” the weekly tv show of intrigue, shadows, and brief bursts of light that is more intriguing, riveting, and less frightening and hate-filled than the empty promises (5 years!) of Republicans on jobs and growth. Scandal’s darkest character is also one of the smartest; the insider’s outsider who never whines or flinches the way Paul Ryan does when he’s called to task. Scandal is about flaws and heroes exposed; the GOP story, in contrast, covers up hidden agendas.

scandal

In those agendas, Benghazi and deficits are isolated and emboldened until they take the air from the room and the present is enlarged without progress. Income for the wealthy soars upward as wages fall. Inflation is a red herring that distracts from the debt ceiling threats. Power is increased by the suffering inflicted by cuts. Mississippi pretends we have health care for all. Jindal skips the death panels and uses dying to increase hospital profits as he claims public savings. The schemes are too twisted to sustain popularity. Boehner and the pundits need a little quiet time.

In contrast, “Scandal” deals in simple, straight-forward dirt. Exactly what we face as a nation and what we elected Barack Obama to fix. The Zen master who knows stillness gathers strength.

With All Deliberate Speed


Theosophy has a principle that makes sense of Boehner’s confused trackbacks: “as above, so below.” So below: Ignore the federal legislators, especially the House; look at the states controlled by Republican legislatures. Look at the speed and extreme bills they churn out; at the midnight meetings and manipulation of the legislative process. Count the procedural and rules flaunted and broken. Examine the purpose of each bill. Their erosion of constitutional rights, especially voting, is overturning democracy. Their policies on education are transferring public money to private charters without improvements in students’ learning or test scores. Every example can be traced to expanding power; limiting and restricting individual opportunity, especially for women and children; eliminating services for the ill an the elderly; and rewarding the goals of private corporations to take over private funds by tax breaks, ending regulation, or transfers of public funds.

LemonLA
The Boehner-led House is a giant noise machine that distracts attention from the raw seizures of power in the states. This is not a democracy that works for all.

~Walter, thank you for reminding us how quickly we are losing our rights at the state and local level. This is where the real battle is and the Republicans have a huge financial advantage because groups like Americans for Prosperity are willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to elect candidates to promote their draconian agenda. It funds the candidates and then their legislative arm, ALEC, takes over, writing the laws that truly are destroying our democracy. 

They are taking over the country from the bottom up. We will be paying for the 2010 election outcomes far into the future. We have to work hard to avoid a similar outcome in 2014.

A Reader’s View


When we suffered the greatest attack on US soil since Pearl Harbor on 9/11 no one was fired and the Bush Admin and the Republicans fought against ANY investigation. When one was finally made, it spent less money and than they spent on the investigation into Bill Clinton’s sex life.

Last year, a consulate was attacked, as ANY consulate could be at any time, and now the party that stripped $300,000,000 from embassy security is bickering about whether the words used in the rose garden were “act of terror” or “terrorist attack.” THIS, ladies and gentlemen, is how the Republicans’ chronic false equivalency continuously drags the American political debate into the gutter of mundane minutia for political purposes. In addition to 9/11, American embassies and consulates were attacked 12 TIMES during the Bush Administration — with no peep from the Republicans about it.

This is the Republican modus operandi — to grandstand every American loss for political purposes, but when crap hits the fan on their watch, they call anyone who criticizes them “un-American.” ~Reductio Ad Absurdum

One American weighs in .  .  .

Economic Highlights from the Cleveland Federal Reserve


    • The Employment Situation

  • Nonfarm payrolls rose by 155,000 in December, in line with its 2012 average gain of 153,000. Revisions to the previous two months’ estimates added 14,000 in sum, but that includes a shift in the composition away from government payrolls toward the private sector. Government payrolls were revised down by 24,000 over the previous two months, and slipped 13,000 further in December. On the other hand, private nonfarm payrolls were revised up by 38,000 over October and November (interestingly, a little more than half of that upward revision came from the construction sector). Private nonfarm payrolls rose 168,000 in December, slightly above its average monthly gain during 2012 of 159,000. In December, most broad industry groups outpaced their respective near-term trends, with payroll gains in healthcare (up 45,000), leisure and hospitality (up 31,000), and construction (up 30,000) leading the way. The gain in construction employment comes on the heels of some relatively volatile swings (down 10,000 in November and up 25,000 in October), which is usually a sign of measurement issues. Nonetheless, over the past three months, construction payrolls are averaging a 15,000 increase, compared to a measly 2,000 average for 2012 as a whole.

    There were a couple of other interesting employment swings in December. First, manufacturing payrolls rose 25,000 in December, its strongest monthly performance since March, and have steadily increased since hitting a low point (shedding 16,000) in September. December’s factory employment increase was broad-based. Durables employment rose a little over 11,000 (roughly 5,000 of that was autos-related), and nondurables rose roughly 14,000. The other interesting swing came from retail trade payrolls, which fell 11,300 in December, after an increase of roughly 110,000 over the previous two months. Much of this weakness stemmed from a 19,000 decrease in employment at clothing and accessories stores in December (after an increase of 30,000 in November). Given the time of year, this pattern is suggestive of some seasonal adjustment issues. Turning to the household side of the report, the unemployment rate remained at 7.8 percent in December (November’s original unemployment rate estimate of 7.7 percent was revised up to 7.8 percent as the Bureau of Labor Statistics updated their 2012 seasonal factors for the household survey). The labor force participation rate was steady at 63.6 percent, and the employment-to-population ratio was virtually unchanged at 58.6 percent (about where it began the year).

    • New Home Sales

  • The pace of new single-family home sales fell 7.3 percent from November to December, but have risen 8.8 percent since December 2011 to a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 369,000 units. Regionally, the Northeast experienced the sharpest monthly decline of 29.4 percent, but also the largest annual increase of 20.0 percent. The monthly supply of new single-family homes rose to a 4.9 month supply at the current sales pace. Meanwhile the median sales price rose 1.3 percent for the month and 13.8 percent over the past 12-months. Overall, there were an estimated 367,000 new single-family homes sold throughout 2012, which is a 19.9 percent increase above the 2011 figure of 306,000 units.
  • 01.22.2013
      • The Employment Situation

    • Nonfarm payrolls rose by 155,000 in December, in line with its 2012 average gain of 153,000. Revisions to the previous two months’ estimates added 14,000 in sum, but that includes a shift in the composition away from government payrolls toward the private sector. Government payrolls were revised down by 24,000 over the previous two months, and slipped 13,000 further in December. On the other hand, private nonfarm payrolls were revised up by 38,000 over October and November (interestingly, a little more than half of that upward revision came from the construction sector). Private nonfarm payrolls rose 168,000 in December, slightly above its average monthly gain during 2012 of 159,000. In December, most broad industry groups outpaced their respective near-term trends, with payroll gains in healthcare (up 45,000), leisure and hospitality (up 31,000), and construction (up 30,000) leading the way. The gain in construction employment comes on the heels of some relatively volatile swings (down 10,000 in November and up 25,000 in October), which is usually a sign of measurement issues. Nonetheless, over the past three months, construction payrolls are averaging a 15,000 increase, compared to a measly 2,000 average for 2012 as a whole.

      There were a couple of other interesting employment swings in December. First, manufacturing payrolls rose 25,000 in December, its strongest monthly performance since March, and have steadily increased since hitting a low point (shedding 16,000) in September. December’s factory employment increase was broad-based. Durables employment rose a little over 11,000 (roughly 5,000 of that was autos-related), and nondurables rose roughly 14,000. The other interesting swing came from retail trade payrolls, which fell 11,300 in December, after an increase of roughly 110,000 over the previous two months. Much of this weakness stemmed from a 19,000 decrease in employment at clothing and accessories stores in December (after an increase of 30,000 in November). Given the time of year, this pattern is suggestive of some seasonal adjustment issues. Turning to the household side of the report, the unemployment rate remained at 7.8 percent in December (November’s original unemployment rate estimate of 7.7 percent was revised up to 7.8 percent as the Bureau of Labor Statistics updated their 2012 seasonal factors for the household survey). The labor force participation rate was steady at 63.6 percent, and the employment-to-population ratio was virtually unchanged at 58.6 percent (about where it began the year).

    • 01.04.2013