PIGMEN WIN AGAIN

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Posted on 15th December 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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“The real owners are the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians, they’re an irrelevancy. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the statehouses, the city halls. They’ve got the judges in their back pockets. And they own all the big media companies, so that they control just about all of the news and information you hear. They’ve got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying ­ lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else.”  - George Carlin

After the disgusting example of politicians of both spineless parties bowing down before Wall Street, the military industrial complex and corporate interests this weekend with the passage of a bloated pig of a spending bill totaling $1.1 trillion, how can anyone not on the payroll of the vested interests not admit there is only one party – and it serves only the needs of the wealthy business interests. Obama, champion of the common folk, signed this putrid example of political corruption and corporate capture of the American political system. For all the believers who voted for the red team in the November mid-terms, this is what you got – a bipartisanship screwing of the American people.

The entire episode has been nothing but Kabuki Theater. Both parties have proven to be  puppets marching to the tune of Wall Street moneyed interests, while further entrenching the status quo by voting to allow more corporate influence over the election process. Each side of the aisle allowed just enough dissent to make it appear they might not reach an agreement. But at the end of the day Pelosi, Boehner, Reid and McConnell joined hands and gave it to the American public good and hard. And of course we had the candidates for president in 2016 Warren and Cruz playing to their constituents with speeches and maneuvers designed to make them look like fighters for the common man. It was nothing but a show, as they did nothing substantive to stop the bill from passing.

What this entire debacle has proven is that voting doesn’t matter. Your vote is meaningless. Political parties are nothing more than a front for the vested interests. The corrupt politicians are bought and sold by Wall Street and corporate interests. The bills are written by lobbyists for the vested interests. When a spending bill is over 1,700 pages, the purpose is to obscure, hide and insert provisions that will benefit those with money to influence the process at the expense of average Americans. None of the perpetrators in Congress actually read this bill. The public had no say regarding this bill. If this is what bipartisan cooperation looks like, I’ll take gridlock. The system has been so completely captured by those pulling the wires, they no longer even pretend to care what we think. They keep winning and care not about the consequences of their ruthless despicable pillaging.

Politicians decry money in politics when they are paraded onto the mainstream media talk shows. They profess to be men and women of the people, fighting for our rights. So how do they go about getting money out of politics? They dramatically expand the amount of money wealthy political donors can inject into the national parties, drastically undercutting the 2002 landmark McCain-Feingold campaign finance overhaul. A wealthy donor who could only give a maximum of $32,400 this year to the Democratic National Committee or Republican National Committee can now give ten times as much – a total of $324,000. Do you think these wealthy donors might have ten times more influence over government policies, laws, regulations, and tax codes? Do you think these donors are contributing these funds to fight for the rights of average Americans making $50,000 per year? This change just further entrenches the rich vested interests. Your vote just became even more meaningless.

The most outrageous provision in the spending bill is Wall Street putting the American taxpayer on the hook for when their $250 trillion of derivatives of mass destruction blow up the worldwide financial system again. Elizabeth Warren, playing her part in this farce, feigns outrage, knowing it will pass anyway:

“Mr. President, Democrats don’t like Wall Street bailouts. Republicans don’t like Wall Street bailouts. The American people are disgusted by Wall Street bailouts. And yet here we are five years after Dodd-Frank with Congress on the verge of ramming through a provision that would do nothing for the middle class, do nothing for community banks, do nothing but raise the risk that taxpayers will have to bail out the biggest banks once again. You know, there is a lot of talk lately about how Dodd-Frank isn’t perfect. There is a lot of talk coming from CitiGroup about how Dodd-Frank isn’t perfect. So let me say this to anyone listening at Citi —I agree with you. Dodd-Frank isn’t perfect. It should have broken you into pieces. If this Congress is going to open up Dodd-Frank in the months ahead then let’s open it up to get tougher, not to create more bailout opportunities.”

Senator Warren does hit at the heart of the matter. The Too Big To Fail banks should have been made too small to matter after they created the 2008 worldwide financial collapse. Congress should have reinstated Glass Steagall, the insolvent Wall Street banks should have been liquidated or sold off piece by piece, and the American taxpayer shouldn’t have had to pay one dime. Instead, those banks became bigger, more powerful, more arrogant, and more reckless. And now they are writing the laws supposedly regulating them. Regulatory capture at its finest.

Dodd-Frank was already a behemoth mess of a law, written by bank lobbyists, and so complex it was always destined to fail. The law that set up America’s banking system in 1864 ran to 29 pages; the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 went to 32 pages; the Banking Act that transformed American finance after the Wall Street Crash, commonly known as the Glass-Steagall act, spread out to 37 pages. Dodd-Frank was 848 pages long. One of the few beneficial sections of the law was the provision that  required banks to “push out” their derivatives trading into separate entities not backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Essentially, this provision prohibited the Too Big To Trust Wall Street Banks from using the deposits of customers to gamble on derivatives, with no capital behind the gambling. Any Wall Street bank that wanted to trade derivatives had to do it in non-insured subsidiaries, and when these trades blew up in their faces, the banks would be solely on the hook. They prefer the they win you lose method.

This spending bill included language written directly by Citigroup and inserted by the politicians in the back pocket of Jamie Dimon and the rest of the Wall Street cabal. Dimon showed no shame as he personally called lawmakers to insist they pass this bill with the gutting of Dodd Frank. Wall Street bankers can now gamble with the deposits of their clients with impunity generating obscene insider profits, and when they inevitably blow up the financial system again the American taxpayer will be on the hook for the losses. In a shocking development, the members who voted for the spending bill had received vastly more political contributions (bribes) than those who voted no. Simon Johnson, former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund and a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, concisely sums up the goal of this provision:

“It is because there is a lot of money at stake. They want to be able to take big risks where they get the upside and the taxpayer gets the potential downside.”

And there will be downside. Like Captain Renault in Casablanca, Jamie Dimon and the rest of the Wall Street CEOs will be shocked to find there has been gambling going on in their upstanding institutions of finance, as they cash their $10 million bonus checks. The markets are already overvalued, built on a foundation of debt, and rigged by the Wall Street scumbags. They make Bernie Madoff look like an upstanding citizen. It seems awfully coincidental this provision was inserted into the 1,700 page bill just as the markets have begun to tremor. Wall Street wouldn’t be preparing for another earthquake, would they? The fact that Obama signed this bill is a reflection of him being a spineless toady figurehead, doing the bidding of the ruling class.

The Republicans have run against Obamacare since the day it was passed in 2009. They have threatened to overturn it, de-fund it, and scale it back. This spending bill fully funds Obamacare just as it was passed. Dozens of Republicans voted for a spending bill that fully funds the program they despise. Obama recently subverted the U.S. Constitution once again with his latest executive order allowing illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S. and enjoy our wonderful welfare system. The Republicans were morally outraged and their response was to fund Obama’s executive order to the tune of $2.5 billion. There’s $948 million for the Department of Health and Human Service’s unaccompanied children program — an $80 million increase. The department also gets $14 million to help school districts absorbing new immigrant students. And the State Department gets $260 million to assist Central American countries from where of the immigrant children are coming.

So much for principles, ethics, and courage. You see bipartisanship in Congress means that one side will agree to fully fund the welfare state as long as the other side will fully fund the warfare state, while both sides do whatever Wall Street instructs them to do. Neither side cares that the National Debt increases by $2.5 billion per day. That’s what the Fed is for. The neo-cons in the Republican party were happy, as their dreams of World War III come closer to fruition. There’s $1.3 billion for a new Counterterrorism Partnership Fund; $5 billion for military operations to combat the Islamic State, including $1.6 billion to train Iraqi and Kurdish forces (I thought we already trained them once before); $500 million for a Pentagon-led program to train and equip vetted Syrian opposition fighters; $810 million for ongoing military operations in Europe, including requirements that at least $175 million is spent in support of Ukraine and Baltic nations. And you were worried about Defense cuts. The military industrial complex will never allow their profits to decline. If we run out of real enemies, we just make them up out of thin air – ISIS, or go back to the Cold War playbook and declare Russia to be an imminent threat to our safety and security.

Despite running $800 billion actual (not the BS reported deficits) annual deficits, the political hacks of the ruling party still funnel $3.1 billion per year to Israel, $1.3 billion to the dictator in Egypt, and $1 billion to our puppets in Jordan. This hyper-interventionism in the affairs of countries around the globe, either through military intervention, supplying arms, overthrowing elected leaders, or funding dictators has destabilized the entire world. Russia is not the aggressor on the world stage, as portrayed by the mouthpieces for the state in the mainstream corporate media. The American empire has created the conditions for havoc, disarray and war to flourish. Someone will ultimately do something stupid and the fury of hell will be unleashed across the globe. And it is our fault.

You’ll be happy to know the trucking industry still has some pull in Congress. Their drivers will be allowed to work 82 hours per week, versus the far too restrictive 70 hours per week. When you are driving your economy car on the interstate and that 18 wheeler is barreling down on you from behind, thank Congress when the drowsy dude behind the wheel is working his 81st hour of the week. And if you were a hard working middle income blue collar worker in businesses such as trucking, construction and supermarkets and were promised a pension, tough luck. Hidden inside the bill was a haircut for pensions. This provision allows the promised pension benefits of up to 1.5 million workers and retirees to be cut. It affects the pooled pension plans — called multi-employer plans — of mostly union workers across a bunch of companies, where it looks like the plans won’t be able to cover full benefits in coming decades.

Could it be any clearer that we are nothing but lowly peasants and the aristocracy inhabiting the protected luxury skyscrapers suites in New York City and the government buildings in Washington D.C. have nothing but contempt and scorn for our plight, as they gorge themselves like pigs at the trough of working people’s wealth? They use taxes and inflation to siphon your savings and earnings, rig the markets so they always win, write the laws to favor themselves, and use the mass media and the police surveillance state to crush dissent, control the message and intimidate the masses. The ruling class fears the masses and continues to prepare for a coming conflict. Within the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2015, passed this week, was written a new section that grants the executive branch virtually unlimited access to the communications of every American.

Sec. 309 authorizes “the acquisition, retention, and dissemination” of nonpublic communications, including those to and from U.S. persons. The section contemplates that those private communications of Americans, obtained without a court order, may be transferred to domestic law enforcement for criminal investigations.   Sec. 309 provides the first statutory authority for the acquisition, retention, and dissemination of U.S. persons’ private communications obtained without legal process such as a court order or a subpoena. The administration currently may conduct such surveillance under a claim of executive authority, such as E.O. 12333. However, Congress never has approved of using executive authority in that way to capture and use Americans’ private telephone records, electronic communications, or cloud data.

The majority of American people still believe they live in a democracy where their vote matters. Sadly, they are living in a delusional fantasy world, as they actually live in a corporate fascist welfare/warfare surveillance state run by one party of vested corporate interests. Until consent is withdrawn and the pigmen are violently confronted, nothing will change. The existing social order will be swept away within the next fifteen years as this Fourth Turning reaches its bloody conclusion. You may think we are all equal under the law, but Orwell knew that some are more equal than others. Can you distinguish the pigs from the men?

“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”  ― George Orwell, Animal Farm

“Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.”H.L. Mencken 

WTF Chart Of The Day: Explaining The Surge In US Retail Sales

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Posted on 11th December 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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My main article confirmed again with the latest government lies, propaganda and manipulations.

Tyler Durden's picture

Confused at how such awesome retail sales headlines can lead to the kind of weakness we are seeing in stocks now that Lending Club’s IPO has started trading? Wondering why bonds are now lower in yield on the day in the face of ‘proof’ that the US consumer is back? Wonder no more, as STA Wealth Management’s Lance Roberts points out, November’s seasonal adjustment for retail sales was – drum roll please – the 3rd largest on record… so maybe, just maybe, the ‘market’ is seeing through that pure riggedness, wondering about the huge surge in continuing claims, and agog at the blowout in credit spreads and collapse in crude…

 

Seriously?!! The 3rd largest November seasonal adjustment on record… why? and remember retail sales only beat by 0.1ppt!

 

Speechless, yet?

Well look at this…

 

Rigged much?

 

Charts: STA Wealth Management and Bloomberg

SHOULD YOU BELIEVE WHAT THEY TELL YOU OR WHAT YOU SEE?

80 comments

Posted on 11th December 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Sometimes I wish I could just passively accept what my government monarchs and their mainstream media mouthpieces feed me on a daily basis. Why do I have to question everything I’m told? Life would be much simpler and I could concentrate on more important things like the size of Kim Kardashian’s ass, why the Honey Boo Boo show was canceled, the Victoria Secret Fashion Show, whether I’ll get a better deal on Chinese slave labor produced crap on Black Thanksgiving, Black Friday, or Cyber Monday, fantasy football league standings, the latest NFL player to knockout their woman and get reinstated, Obama’s latest racial healing plan, which Clinton or Bush will be our next figurehead president, or the latest fake rape story from Rolling Stone. The willfully ignorant masses, dumbed down by government education, lured into obesity by corporate toxic packaged sludge disguised as food products, manipulated, controlled and molded by an unseen governing class of rich men, and kept docile through never ending corporate media propaganda, are nothing but pawns to the arrogant sociopathic pricks pulling the wires in this corporate fascist empire of debt.

I’m sure my blood pressure would be lower and my mood better if I just accepted everything I was told by my wise, sagacious, Ivy League educated, obscenely wealthy rulers as the unequivocal truth. Why should I doubt these noble, well intentioned, champions of the common folk? They’ve never misled us before. They would never attempt to use two highly publicized deaths as a lever to keep black people and white people fighting each other and not realizing all races are now living in a militarized police surveillance state supported by the one Party. They would never use their complete control over the financial, political, judicial, and media organisms to convince the masses that voting for one of their hand selected red or blue options will ever actually change anything. They would never engineer the overthrow of a democratically elected government, cover up the shooting down of an airliner, and attempt to blame their crimes on the leader of a nuclear power in their efforts to retain a teetering global empire. They would never overthrow or wage economic warfare on countries that don’t toe the line regarding the continued dominance of the petrodollar in global commerce.

Sadly, I’m cursed with a mind that questions everything and trusts no one in authority or associated with the status quo. It’s the reason I don’t read newspapers or watch mainstream media television entertainment propaganda, disguised as news. It’s the reason I will never vote in a national election again. The lesser of two evils is still evil. I’m skeptical of every piece of data fed to the sheep by the government apparatchiks working for the state. The faux journalists being paid millions by one of the six corporations controlling the media and dependent upon the government, Wall Street bankers, and mega-corporations for their advertising revenues regurgitate whatever they are told by those pulling the purse strings. The mainstream media are nothing but propaganda peddlers for the Deep State and truth telling is prohibited in their world of deception, debt, and denial. Their job is to sustain, enhance, and further enrich the status quo by engineering consent through what they report and what they do not report. The true ruling powers who operate in the shadows behind the scenes are men of power, wealth, status and education who truly believe they are better equipped to consciously manage and manipulate the public mind to achieve their ends. They are disciples of the Edward Bernays School of deception, manipulation and propaganda.

“If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it? The recent practice of propaganda has proved that it is possible, at least up to a certain point and within certain limits.” Edward Bernays

The Nazis were pikers compared to the technologically savvy Madison Avenue maggots and Silicon Valley snakes who mold the opinions, tastes, and beliefs of the iGadget addicted, vapid, unintelligent, unquestioning, zombie-like masses who beseech to be led, told what to do and what to believe. A vast swath of the population don’t read books or even know how to read above a grade school level. They couldn’t write a coherent paragraph if their life depended upon it. But they can twitter, text, Instagram, and facebook at the speed of light. Try walking down any street in an American city without some iGadget distracted oblivious moron bumping into you. The addicting nature of today’s technology is being used by the ruling elite to monitor, control, and make you respond the way they choose.

Facebook, corporate media organizations, quasi-government organizations, and the NSA are creating a corporate totalitarian state where the slaves willingly sacrifice their privacy, liberty and freedom for mindless entertainment and distractions. The 21st Century totalitarian state captures your political beliefs, daily activities, habits, interests, spending behaviors, organizational associations, love life, pictures, psychological makeup, and fears from your own postings on the internet. With the right algorithms they can uncannily predict how you will react to different situations and messaging. They can also uncover threats to the status quo. Under the guise of keeping you safe from terrorists they are actually ferreting out subversives and radicals who refuse to conform to their idea of a good citizen slave. We will all be subject to our own Room 101.

Dan Kaplan in his recent article about Facebook as a tool for totalitarianism lays out the extreme threat to our future:

Today’s totalitarian demands a more subtle way to influence cultural and political sentiment. But if you got your hands on an algorithmically filtered newsfeed? One that could control the stories people see every day and influence their emotions across geographic, political and economic lines? You’d be in business.

But then there was the mood-influence study that scandalized us for a couple of weeks this year. Facebook changed the tone of content showing up in people’s feeds to test the impact it could have on their moods. The results, not too surprisingly, suggested that Facebook has the power to manipulate sentiment at scale.

Given how easy it is to scare people about the scary-seeming-but-actually-low-risk Ebola, and how dumb we all get when we are afraid, it is not crazy to think that under the wrong circumstances — like one or two more mass-scale terrorist attacks on major cities — modern democracy gives way to something akin to 1984.

If Big Brother were to seize the reins of power, sure, he’d use the cable news the way it’s being used today. But Facebook’s data maw, targeting power and sentiment-manipulation capabilities would be far more insidious. Whether this is what we become or not comes down to the future we choose to build.

The saddest part of this episode of mass delusion, mass confusion, and mass media collusion is that even though we are moving towards Orwell’s totalitarian vision of society, thus far, technology, triviality and an unending array of distractions have lured the masses into passive preoccupation with egotistical pleasures. We’ve been persuaded to love our servitude while drowning in a sea of irrelevance, diversions, and trifles. We continue to amuse ourselves to death while forging our own chains of debt and yielding to the direction of an all-powerful welfare warfare surveillance state that promises to protect us from phantom threats while actually abolishing our rights, freedoms, and liberties. No coercion necessary. We have been trained to love our servitude.

“A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.” Aldous Huxley – Brave New World

Arrogance, Desperation, Lies & Truth

 “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” - Aldous Huxley

The level of data massaging by the government and their co-conspirators on Wall Street and in the corporate media is a futile attempt at a happy ending that will never come to fruition. The intensity and relentlessness with which the state and its quasi-state minions attempt to paint a false picture of economic recovery is equal parts arrogance and desperation. The arrogance is a function of successfully pulling off the greatest heist in world history from 2003 through 2008 with no adverse consequences, no criminal charges, no penalties for their crimes, and more power and wealth than they had prior to 2003. The only way to stop sociopaths is to throw them in jail or kill them. In our dystopian paradise of greed, they were rewarded with trillions in rescue packages by their cohorts in crime at the Federal Reserve and in Congress. They’ve paid themselves billions in bonuses for gorging at the Federal Reserve trough of QE and ZIRP. The desperation is borne from the fact that after $7.5 trillion of debt added by the Federal government and $3.5 trillion of debt created by the Federal Reserve since 2009, the Greater Depression for average Americans deepens by the day.

The men pulling the strings behind the scenes are drunk with power and their hubris allows them to believe their own infallibility and blinds them to the dire consequences for our country when their debt Ponzi scheme fails. But, as we grow ever closer to the day of reckoning, they will use every means at their disposal to paint a positive picture, regardless of the facts and reality for the average person. The examples of twisting, distorting and outright lying about the economic reality of our times are endless. These are some of the major false storylines peddled by our benevolent corporate fascist leaders:

The BLS reported 321,000 jobs added in November and the unemployment rate at 5.8%. Jobs are plentiful, based upon these statistics.

A skeptical critical thinking individual might ask a few questions or point out a few inconvenient facts the government purveyors of propaganda might not want us to ponder:

  • The non-manipulated, non-seasonally adjusted number of jobs in November FELL by 270,000. The BLS added 600,000 jobs as an adjustment to achieve the headline grabbing result.
  • If the jobs market is so good, why is the labor participation rate at a 30 year low of 62.8%?
  • Since 2007 the number of working age Americans has risen by 17 million, while the number of employed has risen by less than 1 million, but the unemployment rate is about the same.
  • Why would almost 14 million working age Americans leave the labor force since 2007 if the economy is booming and jobs plentiful, with 1.2 million leaving in the last 12 months?
  • Why would payroll tax receipts be flat with last year if millions of new jobs have been created?
  • If the country has really added 8 million jobs since 2010, how could real median household income FALL by 2.3%?

According to the government reported figures, the economy hasn’t been this strong since 2007. GDP has supposedly grown at greater than 4% over the last two quarters.

Anyone who is sentient knows consumer spending accounts for 68% of GDP. Capital investments that lead to long term prosperity continue to decline as a percentage of GDP from 20% in 2000 to 16% today. We’ve chosen consumption and financialization over savings and investment. This fact leads to some observations:

  • If GDP has actually grown by 20% since 2008 how does this correlate with a 6.9% decline in real median household income?
  • GDP has been goosed by a $69 billion increase in government spending, with the majority going to the military industrial complex. ISIS has been a godsend for our GDP and arms dealer profits.
  • GDP was increased retroactively by $500 billion last year based on a new way the government accounts for intangibles.
  • The surge in consumer expenditures over the last two quarters has been in the purchase of services. The higher costs for Obamacare are a boon for GDP. Are they a boon for your bank account?
  • The trade deficit has fallen as exports of petroleum products have temporarily provided a boost to GDP. The collapse in oil prices will reverse that trend rapidly.

According to the quasi-governmental mouthpieces at the Conference Board, consumer confidence is near a 5 year high, reflecting what should be robust spending.

So we are told by the representatives of corporatism that we are confident about the economy and the future. How does that measure up to the facts on the ground:

  • Black Friday weekend sales collapsed by 11% versus the previous year. As the pundits tried to blame it on on-line sales (10% of total retail sales), Cyber Monday also proved to be a dud.
  • If the average person is confident about the future and happy with their economic circumstances, why did they just vote to throw out the bums in November?
  • If consumers are confident, why have real retail sales, excluding subprime debt goosed auto sales, been flat for the last three months and up only 1% in the last year?
  • If consumers are so confident, why are credit card balances still $138 billion BELOW where they were in 2008? If all these new jobs are being created why is credit card debt lower than it was in mid-2010? Maybe consumers are so desperate they are using credit cards to pay utility and tax bills and not using them for frivolous Chinese crap at big box retailers.
  • The increased spending at grocery stores and restaurants is driven by food inflation, not foot traffic. Discretionary spending at furniture, electronics, and sporting goods stores is flat.
  • Department store sales continue to fall. Sears and JC Penney teeter on the verge of bankruptcy. Delia’s is liquidating and Radio Shack isn’t far behind. The major chains have completely stopped building new stores. The great bricks and mortar unwind relentlessly plods forward. In addition, online growth is stalling as states implement sales taxes.

According to the government, the deficit was ONLY $483 billion in 2014.

This is a real doozy. Obama has been touting how he has cut the deficit through his wise management of the budget. This is where government accounting is used by apparatchiks to mislead the public and obscure the truth. A few pertinent facts are always left out by the politicians touting deficit reduction:

  • Because of the budget impasse in 2013, the Federal government stopped updating the national debt on a daily basis, but we know from when they started counting again, the debt went up by $2.3 billion per day. Therefore, the national debt on October 1, 2013 was approximately $17.038 trillion. On October 1, 2014 the national debt was $17.875. Therefore, the national debt went up by $837 billion in 2014. Just a smidge higher than the reported deficit of $483 billion.
  • Interest is not paid on reported deficits. It’s paid on the national debt, so the massaged, manipulated and made over deficit is meaningless. The national debt was always slightly higher than reported deficits, but in the last few years the deviation has grown to a Grand Canyon size.
  • The deficit number has been artificially lowered by nothing other than accounting entry hocus pocus. The Federal Reserve increasing its balance sheet to $4 trillion out of thin air creates approximately $80 billion of phantom interest profits that are paid to the Treasury. Why don’t they increase their balance sheet to $40 trillion and eliminate deficits all together?
  • The biggest accounting scam is Fannie and Freddie. Just as the Wall Street banks have created fake profits through accounting entries regarding future losses, Fannie and Freddie have gone the extra mile in helping fake deficit reduction. These bloated insolvent government run pigs required a $187 billion taxpayer bailout in 2009. Amazingly, when you allow criminals to value their assets at whatever they choose, phantom profits flow like honey.
  • These two horribly run institutions of fraud “generated profits” of $129 billion in 2014 which were “paid back” to the Treasury. That is four times more than Apple or Exxon’s profits during a non-existent housing recovery. Why are their stocks trading at just over $2 per share if they are generating vastly more profits than they were in 2007 when their stocks were north of $70 per share? It’s because the profits are fake. Everyone knows it, but the Federal Deficit is reported $129 billion lower because these insolvent entities pretended to pay the taxpayer back. Accounting entries do not reduce deficits. Spending less than you generate in revenues reduces deficits.

According to the government, we’ve experienced a strong housing recovery since 2010.

The supposed housing recovery storyline continues to be beaten like a dead horse by the Wall Street media (CNBC) and the shills at the NAR. Anyone with a functioning brain (eliminates CNBC bimbos, hacks, and Ivy League economists) can see there has been no real housing recovery:

  • The 24% rise in home prices (Case Shiller Index) since the 2012 low has been nothing more than a Wall Street hedge fund/Federal Reserve scheme to elevate prices and make Wall Street bank balance sheets less insolvent. Wall Street banks withholding foreclosures from the market while Wall Street hedge funds (Blackstone) use free money from the Fed to buy up housing and rent it out to former homeowners has enriched the .1% while destroying the dream of home ownership for millions.
  • The percent of first time home buyers remains near record lows, while speculators, flippers, hedge fund managers, and rich Chinese businessmen make up a record number of purchasers. The fact this is a fake housing recovery is proven by mortgage applications to purchase a home sitting at 1995 levels and 30% below 2009 recession lows. Maybe the fact real median household income is also at 1995 levels, real wages keep declining, and labor force participation is at 1978 levels has something to do with real people not being able to purchase a home.

  • Even with the artificial hedge fund demand, existing home sales are lower than 2013 and languishing at 1999 levels. They are still 25% below 2005 levels, despite the lowest mortgage rates in history. New home sales are a disaster, with no appreciable increase in two years. Apartment construction has far outpaced single family housing construction. After a five year housing recovery, new home sales languish at levels seen at the bottom of our last six recessions. New home sales are 65% below the 2005 peak and at levels seen in the early 1960’s when there were 130 million less people living in the country.

According to the corporate media, the auto market is hitting on all cylinders with annual sales of 16.4 million, the highest since 2006.

Pretending to sell automobiles to people without the means to pay you for the automobile is always a good business idea. Of course, when you have Ally Financial and the rest of the Wall Street banking cabal doling out 7 year 0% loans and subprime auto loans like candy, it’s easy to move inventory. The temporary boost to GDP by issuing more bad debt always works out in the long run. Right?

  • If the auto business is booming why have GM profits fallen from $9.2 billion in 2011 to $5.4 billion in 2013, and on course to fall to $4 billion in 2014? Record levels of channel stuffing produces sales gains, but no profits. Why is their stock 25% below its 52 week high and lower than it was in 2010 when it was IPO’d after being rescued by Obama?
  • If the auto business is booming why are Ford’s profits falling by 35% versus last year and lower than they were in 2010? Why is their stock price 16% below its 52 week high and still 20% below its 2010 price?
  • Auto loan debt is at an all-time high of $950 billion, up 33% since 2010 when the Fed, Wall Street, and the political class in the fetid D.C. swamp decided they needed new debt bubbles in auto loans and student loans to jump start our moribund economy.
  • There are 65 million auto loans outstanding, and the average debt now stands at $17,352. Over 30% of auto “sales” are actually leases. The rest are financed over an average of 65 months. Virtually all new car sales are nothing more than 3 to 7 year rentals. It’s amazing what easy money from the Fed can produce.
  • Over 31% of all new auto loans this year were to subprime borrowers. They now account for 36.5% of all outstanding auto loans. You become a subprime borrower by defaulting on previous debt obligations. In a shocking development, auto loan delinquencies surged by 13% in the last quarter, with subprime loan delinquencies skyrocketing by 18%. When has issuing billions of debt to subprime borrowers ever caused problems before?
  • Only a University of Phoenix African Studies major is more of a subprime risk than the millions of ecstatic Escalade drivers cruising around our urban ghetto paradises. The average student loan debt is now $33,000. Until the Obama administration went Keynesian, student loan debt was primarily in the private sector. When Obama entered the White House total student loan debt was $620 billion and delinquencies totaled $50 billion. There are now $1.3 trillion of student loans outstanding, with the Federal government accounting for $830 billion and guaranteeing a large portion of the rest. Delinquencies have skyrocketed to $125 billion, as another taxpayer bailout beckons.

According to the corporate mainstream media pundits, the plunge in oil prices from $100 per barrel to $61 per barrel is unequivocally good for the economy. The shale oil boom has worked its magic and happy times are here again.

Sometimes you have to wonder whether the highly educated spokesmodels on the corporate mainstream media are really as vacuous and clueless as they appear or whether they are just paid to look pretty and mouth the corporate line. They seem incapable of comprehending the unintended consequences of various events. The collapse in oil prices is one of those events.

  • There is no doubt that lower oil prices will lower the price of gas for the average American. Estimates say they will save $368 per year, which can be spent elsewhere. The highly paid shill economists who declare this will boost spending seem to be math challenged. Retail sales figures include gas stations. What isn’t spent there will be spent in another category, most likely healthcare or groceries as prices in both areas continue to escalate. It’s a zero sum game. No new spending will occur.
  • The worldwide supply of oil has only increased marginally over the last few years. The U.S. shale boom has been offset by declines elsewhere (Libya, Iran, Mexico). The reason for the collapse is the same reason for the 2009 collapse – worldwide demand is contracting. Europe is in a depression. Japan is in a depression. Russia’s economy is contracting. China is decelerating rapidly. The U.S. demand is flat. The implications of another global recession after five years of central banks printing trillions of fiat currency are alarming to say the least.
  • The cost to extract shale oil and transport it to a refinery capable of processing it is high. Honest analysts will tell you that a price of $70 to $80 is required to breakeven. Most companies don’t build breakeven into their plans. Bakken shale oil sells at a discount of about $14 per barrel due to the difficulty of extraction, transport, and processing. It is now selling for $47 per barrel. The number of permits for new rigs fell by 40% in November when oil was still selling for $75 per barrel. Do you think permits for new wells will fall at a price of $61 per barrel? Capital spending by the energy industry accounted for 33% of all capital spending in the last few years. I’m sure some other industry will pick up the slack. Right?
  • It seems the shale oil boom has resulted in a few jobs being created since the 2010 recession trough. In fact the states where fracking is prevalent have accounted for all the job growth in the nation. I wonder if a shale oil bust will have any employment implications. There are 9.3 million jobs related to the energy industry across the country. The plunge in oil prices created by Saudi Arabia in the 1980s created a depression in Texas which contributed to the S&L crisis. This plunge will reveal who has been swimming naked in the high yield bond market and derivatives market.

These are just a few examples among a multitude of lies. Others include: stocks aren’t overvalued, gold isn’t money, inflation is good for you, and ISIS terrorists are an imminent threat to your way of life. Every feel good story fed to the masses by the oligarchs running this shitshow we call America is no different than the propaganda doled out by other infamous totalitarian regimes throughout history. We believe things because we’ve been conditioned to believe them. The crony capitalist oligarchs are intelligent enough to invent theories to explain how the world should work, but not intelligent enough to interpret their models correctly. When they act on their theories (Keynesianism), their actions appear to be those of a lunatic. Despite all evidence refuting their theories, their arrogance and hubris lead them to destruction. The collective insanity of this world is almost too much for a rational thinking person to grasp. The extremely wealthy men operating in the shadows will use every means at their disposal to retain power, enhance their wealth, and crush dissent.

“Being a card carrying member of the privileged class means never having to say I’m sorry, much less ‘not guilty.’  Power is doing what you want when you want, and consequences are for everyone else. Or perhaps these titans of modern industry and the halls of power are at heart just good natured bumblers, who in a genuine belief destroy lives and crash economies, while pursuing insane ideological assumption put forward by vested interests, all the while stuffing their pockets, and crushing all dissent with the political skills of a Machiavelli and the ruthlessness of Al Capone.” – Jesse

The two party system is nothing but a ruse designed to keep the people believing they have a say in how things are run in this country. Both parties support the military industrial complex. Both parties support the militarization of police forces around the country. Both parties support the mass surveillance of its citizens. Both parties do the bidding of their rich corporate and special interest benefactors. Both parties favor deficit spending for eternity. Both parties believe the government should expand its role in our everyday lives. Both parties do the bidding for and protect the Wall Street interests who really run this country. No more proof is needed than what has occurred over the last five years, as criminal Wall Street bankers were rewarded for their malfeasance with trillions of dollars from taxpayers and their puppets at the Federal Reserve. While we were allowing ourselves to be distracted, amused, entertained, and indebted, the oligarchs were busy conducting a silent coup.

“Let’s be clear about this, the oligarchs are flush with victory, and feel that they are firmly in control, able to subvert and direct any popular movement to the support of their own fascist ends and unslakable will to power.

This is the contempt in which they hold the majority of American people and the political process: the common people are easily led fools, and everyone else who is smart enough to know better has their price. And they would beggar every middle class voter in the US before they will voluntarily give up one dime of their ill-gotten gains.

But my model says that the oligarchs will continue to press their advantages, being flushed with victory, until they provoke a strong reaction that frightens everyone, like a wake-up call, and the tide then turns to genuine reform.” – Simon Johnson

The oligarchs have had a good run. The system cannot be reformed from within. The corruption runs too deep. The system is broken and can’t be fixed. There is no doubt in my mind that a collapse approaches which will make 2008/2009 look like a walk in the park. The anger, blame and retribution will sweep away the existing social order and replace it with something new. It will be up to the people to decide what happens next. We were warned two centuries ago by a wise man. Hopefully, we’ll get a 2nd chance.

“However political parties may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.” George Washington

 

Something Doesn’t Compute: Inside The BLS Jobs Data

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Posted on 7th December 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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The juxtaposition could not be more fitting with all that is transpiring at this moment in economic history. On Monday, the headlines were filled with, Black Friday Fizzles as Sales Tumble 11% and ‘Black Friday’ Fades as Weekend Retail Sinks 11%. Then the “employment” report comes out and now the headlines are, More Jobs and Higher Wages: U.S. Recovery Starts to Hit Home and Hiring Surge Gives U.S. Expansion a Lift Into 2015. The problem is one of mutual exclusivity as both narratives are totally inconsistent with each other even when factoring any kind of shift in consumer buying patterns.

The shopping trend is itself a statistical creation, but one with more raw and basic grounding in actual outcomes. The Establishment Survey is, to put it mildly, one of the most adjusted and calibrated (not to mention revised) figures in the economic calendar. That is especially true of its inclusion of a statistical process called “trend/cycle analysis” and that supposition’s close relation to the plucking model of economic cycles past (and way in the past now). You can obviously tell from just that initial formulation where my sensitivities and inclinations take my analysis.

The problem starts and ends with our current economic circumstances, particularly as it looks nothing like historical experience with other business cycle occurrences. We are conditioned to think these economic statistics are good indications of actual economic condition, but that only applies if the future (or the current) looks like the past where these “rules” were all developed.

The former head of the BLS, who was in that position until 2012, told the New York Post last year exactly that:

All parts of Washington’s data-collecting machine adjust to smooth out the bumps caused by the seasons of the year. But the recession that started five years ago was so severe and the recovery so anemic that the seasonal adjustments have been thrown off.

I would add that I don’t believe it is just seasonal adjustments have been affected, but that it goes deeper to their very benchmarks (the Establishment Survey really only measures variation). To use a sports analogy, baseball statistics were thrown way off comparing the game in the 1960’s to 1980’s and early 1990’s to the steroid era that followed. The game never changed, nor did how the statistics were calculated, but the players sure did (especially the hitters). It becomes impossible to use a single suite of statistics to compare pitchers in, say, 1977 vs. their counterparts in 1997.

If there was the best run of job growth and payroll expansion in “years” then that should show up someplace else, and in the most important figures. You would expect that at the very least payroll taxes would be extremely robust because you can’t have a job without paying taxes (allegedly).

ABOOK Dec 2014 Payrolls Individual Taxes

There are tax law and rate changes to consider when comparing tax receipts from one fiscal year to the next, but overall these conform closely to combined observations about growth – with the notable exception of 2014. That becomes even more stark when observing the breakdown between individual withheld and non-withheld.

ABOOK Dec 2014 Payrolls Individual Taxes WH

How can there be the same growth rate in withholdings in 2014, which includes FICA, as 2011? The tax cut “stimulus” of a reduced FICA rate applied in FY 2011 but not in 2014, meaning that holding all variables constant, as economists like to do, the economy or payroll expansion in 2014 must be lower or reduced compared to 2011 which wasn’t all that great. In fact, receipts from withheld income in 2008 were just shy of the same 4% seen in 2014, which is also seriously below the 6.7% average from 2005-07.

In non-withheld income the picture is even worse. This segment composes individual taxes paid to the treasury by quarterly estimates. Because of the nature of income driving estimated payments, this segment of individual taxation is rather sensitive to the economy.

ABOOK Dec 2014 Payrolls Individual Taxes Not WH

Again, you see the pattern at about what you would expect of the Great Recession “cycle.” The problem is that 2014 showed only 7% growth, or just a bit more than half of 2007 and not much better than 2008. In other words, tax receipts, which are actual dollar figures unadjusted by statistical conventions, are not matching the Establishment Survey or the unemployment rate. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest we have just witnessed the best jobs market in decades; rather to the contrary, the pace of taxation is looking quite sparse and paltry.

That, of course, leads to the usual conversation and presentation about the payroll statistics for the latest month. Again, the labor force does not match the “narrative” either, instead quite corroborative of tax receipts.

ABOOK Dec 2014 Payrolls LFABOOK Dec 2014 Payrolls LF Oct 2012ABOOK Dec 2014 Payrolls Since Oct 2012

I think at this point, if you think the economy is growing and poised upon a major breakout that nothing here will change your mind. Supposition works in both directions, and rightly so. But anyone that looks at these payroll reports and views them the least bit skeptical, especially how it doesn’t, like the election, match individual perceptions, then there is much to be said about statistical systems where data series diverge significantly.

ABOOK Dec 2014 Payrolls Volatitity

I find it extremely odd and troubling that starting with January 2013, the Establishment Survey started moving in nearly an exactly straight line (benchmarks are important). That observation is made more curious by a memo that was just sent out by the Census Bureau to its field offices (the BLS crunches the numbers, but contracts out with the Census Bureau to actually conduct the surveys).

These harsh conditions were disclosed in the agreement attached to an Oct. 1 memo — both of which were obtained by The Post — from William Hatcher, associate director of field operations. The memo itself didn’t get to workers until mid-November, according to sources.

In the memo, Hatcher tells workers that Census wanted to maintain its “unblemished reputation for producing quality data.”

In other words, they were told that there would be penalties for cheating on the surveys, which apparently is tied to suggestions of a rash of field workers completing surveys for people never actually surveyed. The reason for doing so, spelled out by the New York Post, is that compensation is tied to a 90% completion rate.

Again, make of that what you will, but I think that this all more than suggests that even the most mainstream of statistics need proper skepticism and thus corroboration. The mystery of Black Friday was not that people were too busy working to shop as might have been the case if the payroll report was as “unblemished” as under past economic circumstances of the plucking model, or something close to it. More simply, I think the ability of these statistics to produce close correlations with other facets of economic monitoring and accounting has been seriously compromised at least by the disparity in data sets and perhaps even more nefariously.

Oil prices and yield curves would certainly concur, as would a huge swath of the electorate in the developed world (with emerging markets none too enthused about all this assumed robust US growth either).

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This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Alhambra Investment Partners – We Are Different.. To view original, click here.

ANOTHER BLS BULLSHIT REPORT

60 comments

Posted on 5th December 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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This shit just never grows old. The blaring headlines about amazing job growth are everywhere. Of course, the BLS issues two survey simultaneously. They interview some businesses and then they seasonally adjust the data and then add phantom jobs through their birth death excel spreadsheet “adjustment” and there you have it – 321,000 new jobs in one month. I guess that’s why so few people showed up on Black Friday to spend their new wages.

Well guess what? The unemployment rate didn’t drop. It seems their other survey paints a slightly different picture. They aren’t blaring this headline:

4,000 NEW JOBS ADDED, WHILE UNEMPLOYED SURGES BY 115,000

If you don’t believe me go to their website:

http://www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cpseea03.htm

Here are the facts jack:

  • The number of employed grew by 4,000, while the number of unemployed grew by 115,000.
  • Another 69,000 Americans supposedly left the labor force because things are so good.
  • The labor participation rate and employment to population ratio remains at 30 year lows.

  • The working age population grew by 2.3 million in the last year, while 1.2 million left the labor force, resulting in a miraculous decline in the unemployment rate from 7.0% to 5.8%.
  • Nothing says economic recovery like full-time jobs falling by 150,000 and part time jobs going up by 77,000

  • Nothing like a decline in employment of 169,000 for 16 to 24 year olds to improve the outlook of the nation.

If these government reported fantastic employment figures aren’t a lie, then why isn’t the Federal Reserve increasing interest rates. Wages supposedly surged by 0.4% in one month. That is an annualized rate of 5%. Sounds inflationary to me. I await Grandma Yellen’s announcement of an interest rate hike any moment now. Right?

Sound of crickets.

Government reported data is like the American dream. You’d have to be asleep to believe it.

 

321,000 jobs added to economy in November

By Jeffry Bartash

Published: Dec 5, 2014 8:52 a.m. ET

Biggest gain since 2012; unemployment rate unchanged at 5.8%
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — The U.S. added 321,000 new jobs in November — the biggest gain since early 2012 — to extend the strongest streak of hiring in several decades. Virtually every industry was hiring and many of the new jobs were higher paying ones.

Hiring was also revised up by a combined 44,000 in the prior two months

The nation’s unemployment rate, meanwhile, held steady at 5.8% as more people entered the labor force in search of work, the Labor Department reported Friday.

Here Is Why Americans Are Suddenly $80 Billion “Poorer” (In Some Government Spreadsheet)

4 comments

Posted on 26th November 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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The government is a fucking joke. If the unemployment rate has really plunged from over 10% to under 6% in the last few years, how can disposable personal income be so pitiful?

The government statistics fed to the sheep and unquestioningly reported by the six mega-media outlets are nothing but, lies, propaganda and bullshit.

Open your eyes to see the truth. Look at the decaying office buildings, strip malls, and small manufacturers as you drive our decrepit roads. Look at your own financial situation. Are you better off than you were in 1999? I doubt it. Are you experiencing too little inflation? Is your paycheck going up at a rate higher than the true rate of inflation?

The US Titanic is sinking and you are locked below deck, while the .1% head for the lifeboats and the MSM band plays on.

Tyler Durden's picture

The final major datapoint of the day was the Consumer Income and Spending data from the US Dept of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, the same outfit that yesterday shocked everyone with just how much better US GDP was. Well, today, we learned just where the offset came from. Because while on the surface, both income (+0.2%) and spending (+0.2%) missed expectations of a 0.4% and 0.3%, respectively…

… it was the revised data that the US department of data fudging once again showed why it has long since surpassed China.

Behold what is perhaps the most important data series in all of US eco: Disposable Personal Income. We say behold, because there are some rather massive variations between what the BEA reported a month ago, and what it reported today, as relates to all the data issued since March. To wit:

Essentially, the just reported Disposable Persona; Income print of $13.109 trillion as of the end of October, is where according to the old, unrevised data US houshold income was some time in August. Whatever happened to two months of income?

Which brings us to the other all important number: the personal savings rate. At just reported at 5.0%…

… something strucks us: this number was reported at 5.6% last month.

And sure enough, since Disposable Personal Income flows into personal savings, net of outlays, it was clear that American savings would be dramatically impacted as a result of the massive data revision.

Sure enough, this is how the US personal savings rate looked like based on the old and just revised data.

 

And, the punchline: US savings in absolute terms, an $80 billion decline in savings from the old September print and the latest, post-revision.

So there you have it: in order to “suggest” that the US economy had grown by a far greater than expected run-rate, the BEA was forced to revise away personal income, and “assume” these had instead been invested in the US economy, in the form of a surge of durable goods purchases. Sure enough, while both incomes and savings tumbled, spending magically surged:

So if that “statistical” amount of money you thought you had saved in the BEA’s savings.xls spreadsheet just dropped by 10%, fear not dear Americans: it was all used for a good cause: to fabricate a much stronger than expected Q3 GDP number.

Source: BEA

60 MINUTES INFRASTRUCTURE REPORT WAS CORPORATE PROPAGANDA

16 comments

Posted on 24th November 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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I rarely if ever watch 60 Minutes, as they have been kissing Obama’s ass since before he was elected in 2008. They are part of the left wing media and are now a joke when it comes to investigative journalism. Last night it came on after the football game I was watching and the opening story was about the infrastructure crisis in this country. I thought I’d give it a chance. After five minutes of propaganda, mistruths, false story lines and interviewing an ultimate insider hack lobbyist for corporate America, I turned on a more realistic truth telling show – The Simpsons.

Every time a politician or media pundit opens their mouth about infrastructure you know they are lying. Democrats and Republicans are equally guilty of misleading the public about this issue. They know the sheep aren’t paying attention and will believe their bullshit. The mantra is always the same. We’ve neglected our roads and bridges and now they are dangerous. The Federal government must do something about this crisis. They need more money. Somehow we managed to not spend any money on our highways for the last 30 years. The politicians and the media insist we need a trillion dollar infrastructure plan to save our highways and bridges. Amazingly, these politicians and media outlets are supported by contributions and advertising revenue from the corporations who would benefit from a massive infrastructure bill.

The reason our roads suck isn’t because there isn’t ENOUGH money. It’s because politicians chose other things to spend OUR money on. Here is the deal. The states spend in excess of $200 billion per year on their highways. The Feds spend another $50 billion of your money on roads. Most of these funds are extracted from your pocket through gasoline taxes and tolls at the State and Federal level. How come $250 billion per year isn’t enough? The Keynesian morons like Krugman and Larry Summers are sure a multi-trillion dollar infrastructure plan paid for with your money will stimulate the economy and save America. If I recall, the $800 billion Obama porkulus infrastructure program was about shovel ready jobs. How did that work out? The fact is the federal government is only responsible for 140 thousand miles of road or 3.4%, largely roads in national parks, military bases and Indian reservations. Roads are a State and local issue. Local governments are responsible for maintaining and improving 3.17 million miles of road or 77.5% of the total. State highway agencies are responsible for 780 thousand miles of road, or 19.1%.

There are 4 million miles of roads in the U.S., with only 2.6 million miles that are paved. We are paying almost $100 per mile per year. The Federal Highway Administration tracks the state of repair on 892,163 miles of major highways that are eligible for federal aid. In 2012, the latest data available, the FHWA found that 182,872 miles, or 20.5%, were in poor or mediocre condition and needed repaving or even more substantive repairs.  The nation’s Interstate Highways are in relatively good condition, with only 1.8% of rural miles and 5.0 percent of urban miles in poor or mediocre repair. Other highways, however, are in much worse shape, particularly in urban areas where more than one third of all arterial and collector miles are in poor or mediocre condition.

The Federal Highway Administration‘s 2013 National Bridge Inventory shows that 146,598, or 24.2%, of the nation’s 605,471 bridges are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. This includes 63,207 structurally deficient bridges (10.4%), which are safe to use but need significant maintenance or repair to remain in service, and 83,391 functionally obsolete bridges (13.8%) which may be in good repair but fail to meet current design standards, such as lane width, shoulder width or overhead clearance and thus need to be upgraded when they are replaced. In recent years, state and local highway agencies have been investing heavily in bridge maintenance and repairs. As a result, bridge conditions have been improving. Between 1998 and 2012, the number of deficient bridges fell from 29.5% to 24.2%. The improvement was concentrated in structurally deficient bridges, which declined from 16.0% of all bridges to 10.4%.

The roads I travel every day have been under some form of construction for the last six years. There is no lack of activity on roads and bridges in the U.S. If $250 billion per year isn’t enough than politicians shouldn’t have pissed their budget funds away on worthless education initiatives, free school lunches, outrageous government worker pension plans, free shit for the masses, tax breaks for mega-corps, and a myriad of other wasteful corrupt spending. Every State and local government in the country is required to have a balanced budget. As a homeowner, I know that as my house ages things will break and need to be replaced or repaired. Everyone knows this will happen. It isn’t a shock. I’ve lived in my house for 19 years. I’ve had to replace my garage doors, windows, front door, back door, hot water heater, faucets, lighting, sump pump, washer, dryer, stove, dishwasher, TVs and many other household items. I have always anticipated these things in my budget and made sure I could pay for them.

Politicians who run our State and local governments know the expected life of highways, water pipes, sewer pipes, utilities, public buildings, and all the other infrastructure they are required to maintain on behalf of the citizens. They do a budget every year that must balance and be approved. It is they who have purposely chosen to not set aside enough money to maintain the infrastructure. They have chosen to spread the money to their benefactors in the corporate world or the union sector. This is not a crisis for the country. This is a failure of government at every level. Instead of focusing on the terrible management of taxpayer funds, 60 Minutes interviews Roy LaHood (former Secretary of Transportation) who declares that Congress needs to dramatically increase spending and taxes for infrastructure. Everyone wants MOAR.

LaHood sells himself as a noble patriot co-chairman of Building America’s Future, a bipartisan coalition of current and former elected officials that is urgently pushing for more spending on infrastructure. The faux journalists at 60 Minutes fail to reveal that LaHood has two other jobs that deal with infrastructure. LaHood is Senior Advisor to Meridiam Infrastructure, a private equity underwriter (PEU) specializing in infrastructure and Senior Advisor to law firm DLA Piper, a lobbying firm for infrastructure companies. The guy is a whore for corporations that would benefit from your taxpayers being pissed away on bloated construction projects.

Here is the reality of our infrastructure crisis:

  • Gas taxes and tolls were supposed to pay for highway maintenance. Now general tax revenues are also being funneled to union contractors and no bid contracts which make every infrastructure project 30% or more over priced.
  • At least 25% of federal gas tax funds are diverted to non-highway uses including maintaining sidewalks, funding bike paths, and creating scenic trails. Congress allocates highway money to truck parking facilities, safety incentives to prevent operation of motor vehicles by intoxicated persons, grants for anti-racial profiling programs, magnetic levitation trains, and dozens of other non-road activities.
  • Money allocated to public transit in our urban kill zones has increased by 1,000% since 1978 and ridership is flat to down in most cities. The cities have the worst streets and the Democratic leadership has funneled their budgets to government and teacher’s unions, along with free shit for their voting constituents. They could have spent their budgets on 100 year old sewer pipes and water pipes that burst on a daily basis, but that wouldn’t get them votes.
  • There are dozens of PA Dept of Transportation executives sitting in prison today. It is the most corrupt agency in PA and probably in all the other states. Kickbacks for contracts is rampant. Every construction job is a union job. The union premium is 30%. But, at least they are slow. No bid contracts and payoffs add another 20% to every infrastructure project. Politicians do nothing about this. It’s the game. They need jobs when they leave office. Ask Roy LaHood.

60 Minutes is nothing but another propaganda outlet for the vested interests. They don’t want the system to change. They just want more of your money. The entire Infrastructure Crisis Storyline is a scam.

“It is a popular delusion that the government wastes vast amounts of money through inefficiency and sloth. Enormous effort and elaborate planning are required to waste this much money.”  ― P.J. O’Rourke, Parliament of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government

MH17: more proof that the Ukies did it

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Posted on 14th November 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Via Vineyard of the Saker

 

MH17: more proof that the Ukies did it

The Russian newspaper MK has obtained a screenshot of the recording of a civilian Russian radar screen in Rostov – just east of the Russian-Ukrainian border.  This is what is shows:


What this image shows is 20 minutes of recording of the airspace before and after the shooting down of MH17.  The course of MH17 is shown in purple while the numerous little blue “T” shaped objects in the circle show the radar return of one or, possibly two, aircraft which either do not have a transponder or which have not switched it on.  Either way, since we know that the Novorussian Resistance did not have aircraft, and since we know that the Ukrainians have denied that they had any aircraft anywhere near this area at that time, and since we know that had this been a Russian aircraft the US/NATO AWACS and satellites would have picked it up and presented this damning proof a long time ago we can come to the only possible conclusion:  the Ukies and their US/EU patrons are lying, the aircraft seen on the radar are Ukrainian, no Buk missile was involved in the shooting (though I personally believe that one was used to cue the Ukrainian aircraft to MH17) and that MH17 was shot down by a combo of gun and missile fire from one or two Ukrainian aircraft.

The Saker

PS: by the way, if a civilian radar needs a return signal from a transponder to get the identity, altitude and speed of an aircraft, military radars do not.  Since I am quite sure that the Russians also had plenty of military radars in the region, I am equally sure that, just as the US and NATO, the Russian military also has the ironclad proof that the Ukies did it in the form of radar track recordings.  Whether they will ever present such proof or not (and I am sure that they would prefer not to) or whether they will only generate such “leaks” from civilian sources as the one today in MK instead is unclear to me.  I guess it depends on what the AngloZionist propaganda says.