Jobs, Jobs, And More Jobs

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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jobs under the magnifying glasss

This post is about jobs.

You might have guessed that from the title.

Not the late Steve, the other kind.

During the past months America has been creating approximately 200,000 jobs. At least that’s what the official figures are saying. It has helped to indicate the underlying strength of the economy, led to official unemployment figures of 5.5% and propped up the USD on the foreign exchange markets.

And no one is questioning any of it.

It’s as if it’s really real.

Again it’s all a question of what you do with the numbers.

unemployment

The May 2015 figure for the labor force is 157.5 million. That is the figure the government uses to calculate it’s unemployment rate of 5.5%.

That’s what they call the ‘U3’ number. U3 is the official unemployment rate.

But there is also a ‘U5’ number that includes discouraged workers and all other marginally attached workers; and a ‘U6’ number that adds on those workers who are part-time purely for economic reasons.

Don’t ask me what happened to ‘U1’ or ‘U4’ because I don’t know. However ‘U2’ is a very successful pop group from Dublin, Ireland.

u2 image

The problem is that the “official” unemployment rate (U3) does not count discouraged workers who have settled for part-time jobs or have given up looking altogether because they believe there are no jobs out there for them.

There are about another 7.5 million or so people who were not considered ‘unemployed’ because they were employed part-time for economic reasons. Those people are also called involuntary part-time workers – working part-time because their hours were cut back or because they were unable to secure a full-time job.

If you include those individuals, (the U6 number), you get a very different figure for the nation’s unemployment rate. Unlike other jobs figures, the U6 rate actually got worse in June.

So the real unemployment rate is well in excess of 12%, more than double the official figure.

But it is even worse than that.

The economy is growing, BUT it is growing slowly, and it is growing from a very low base caused by the financial crisis that the banksters brought upon us with their fraud and greed.

In that light, an increase of 200,000 jobs or so each month is basically just replacing some of the millions of jobs lost during the bank-caused recession, not creating ‘new’ jobs as such. In other words we’re just slowly getting back to where we were.

The forecasts aren’t optimistic either. If and when the workers laid off during the recent recession find new jobs and we get to what the government calls full employment, the labor force is forecast to grow at a rate of only 0.5% for the rest of this decade. At 0.5%, we grow at a rate of about 66,000 a month — nowhere near 200,000. Next decade it’s even worse, at 0.2%.

government bureaucrats

Add to that the fact that a great number of the jobs being created are government bureaucratic jobs that cost the country money, not real jobs that produce wealth for the country and you can see that there is little for the politicians to crow about.

As I noted in my post on Wednesday, with statistics you can ‘prove’ anything. Take any government figures with a great big pinch of salt.

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Wonder When They’ll get Round To Making Blogging Illegal?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Dennis_Hastert

While he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, the former Speaker, Dennis Hastert, used his political power and connections to enrich himself. No shocks there. He is just one among many politicians who routinely do likewise.

But unlike most of the others, Hastert was charged by the Feds with five felonies, each of them carrying a minimum of five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

But, before you get the wrong idea and start to cheer, Hastert’s use of political leverage for personal gain has nothing to do with the charges against him.

What he did when in office was merely corruption and we live in a corrupt political system that those in charge like to call ‘democracy’.

No, Hastert has apparently committed a far worse crime than political graft. And it wasn’t anything to do with the leaks doing the rounds that he had been paying off a high school student for alleged sexual abuse decades ago. He hasn’t been charged with anything related to that either.

Instead, he has been pursued and indicted for the heinous crime of

…wait for it…

“structuring” cash withdrawals from his bank accounts so as to avoid federal bank reporting requirements, and lying to the FBI about what he was doing with his money.

handcuffs dollar

Now, I could care less what they do to a corrupt politician like Hastert. There is a certain irony that he has been caught by a law that he probably helped to create.

But the problem is that many of us could be similarly indicted simply because most of us don’t even know we are committing a crime in the first place.

Stupid bureaucrats have enacted so many laws in recent years, using misleading cover titles such as ‘money laundering’, ‘terrorist threats’, or ‘national security’, that they have turned millions of law-abiding people into de facto criminals, without them even knowing it.

The piece of invasive and unnecessary legislation that Hastert has been caught breaking is the ‘Bank Secrecy Act of 1970’, which makes it compulsory for U.S. banks to file a “currency transaction report” for deposits or withdrawals of more than $10,000 in currency. Banks suspicious of specific transactions are further required to file a “suspicious activity report.”

If the banks don’t capitulate to this government nonsense then they face penalties. This means that the banks comply, over-zealously so as not to ever infringe the regulations – which many of them don’t even understand. Now as a matter of routine they report ALL large cash transactions as suspicious, whether they really are or not.

Hastert didn’t intend or commit any money laundering, fraud or tax evasion. But the authorities don’t care about that. He had a legal and legitimate agreement in place with another individual and he withdrew his money in smaller amounts because he didn’t want this private arrangement to become public knowledge. The Justice Department even admits as much. But the authorities don’t care about that either.

So why have they charged Hastert when they know he really did nothing wrong apart from infringe on a stupid law that was never intended to catch the likes of him?

They did it to terrorize the rest of us.

Soviet control

What most western governments are about nowadays is control. The type of control that used to pervade communist states in the Soviet era. They want to criminalize ordinary people by making trivial and harmless acts into major felonies.

Woe betide you now if you want to spend you own money or transfer it to someone else. It’s your money, you earned it, you saved it up, but touch it in a way not specified by the government and you’re in Federal Court, you criminal bad person you!

All these spurious and unnecessary laws give government law enforcement agencies the ability to punish anyone at any time because there are so many regulations that everyone is in breach of something.

Wonder when they’ll get round to making blogging illegal?

Think I’m joking???

Blogging illegal? Close up of wooden gavel at the computer keyboard

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They Got Away With It AGAIN!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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banks admit forex manipulation

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Last week several of the ‘BIG’ banks – you remember, the ones that are too big to let go bust – were fined in the region of $5.7 billion for illegal manipulation of the currency markets.

The usual suspects were included, J P Morgan, Citibank, Barclays  and RBS all pleading guilty – but only after they were sure what the medicine they would be getting would be.

It’s a huge amount of money, there’s no denying that. And losing it will make the banksters hurt a bit. But only a bit.

And that’s the problem.

Yet again the United States government has failed to bring these criminals to justice after more of their deliberate fraud and theft.

In other words, they let them get away with it AGAIN!

Major Banks

Now, if I walk into a branch of, for example, Citibank and try to steal the money that their customers have deposited with them for safe-keeping, I would be videoed, photographed, and if I was lucky enough to get out of the premises, pursued by the police and even the FBI for as long as it took to capture me.

And I couldn’t have any complaints because that’s the way it should be. Thieves should be sought out, captured and after due process thrown into jail.

However, if I am a bankster, have good government contacts, and ply money and favors to those in government, then I am treated very differently.

big banks get out of jail free

I can embark on insider trading (which is essentially what the banksters were doing when they were illegally manipulating the currency markets), I can sell loans to people that clearly can’t afford them, then take their houses away or sell on their debt wrapped up in a ‘AAA’ bundle to my richer customers, and after all that steal even more of the money my customers have entrusted to me by awarding myself and my collaborators big bonuses that none of us have earned or are entitled to.

In this scenario am I pursued by the police and FBI?

Nope.

Am I thrown in jail to be the bitch of Skull-cracker Jones or Scarface Smith?

Nope.

Will I have to personally pay back the money I stole?

Nope, again.

So what will happen to me if I am a bankster?

At worst I will get a slap on the wrist and told not to do it again. Even though recent history has proved that this is no deterrent and I will do it again at the first opportunity I get.

And, of course, I don’t have to personally pay the government’s fine no matter how big it may be. Instead my company has to cough up on my behalf.

Not that the company is much bothered either because when it runs out of money it goes back to the government which hands it back at least the value of the fine and usually much, much more.

Think this system is fair?

Neither do I.

jail the banksters

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What Do Creflo Dollar And Me Have In Common?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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creflo dollar

I hope there aren’t too many things that Creflo Dollar and I have in common. But the one thing that I am sure of that we do have in common is that neither of us own a $65 million private jet. (We’d probably both like to but that’s a whole different story.)

Creflo, if you don’t know already, is one of those despicable TV preachers who spend 99.9 percent of their time trying to swindle money out of gullible and stupid people who think he is really a ‘man of God’.

This pastor’s latest attempt to enrich himself at the expense of his congregation was just as blatant piece of greed and fraud as I’ve come across.

He wanted $65 million.

Nothing wrong with that, if he was going to spend it building a hospital wing, feeding the poor, housing the homeless, or some other equally good works.

But Creflo wanted the $65 million to buy himself a private jet, and a pretty swanky one come to that.

creflo-dollar-airplane

I know what you’re thinking.

I thought the same.

But it turns out that Creflo didn’t want the jet for personal gain, although he would end up owning it and using it.

Oh, dear me no, not at all.

Creflo just wanted to use the private jet to transport food to the starving peoples of the world. Oh yes, and to save the lives of Christians being persecuted in the Middle east.

Personally, if these were indeed the reasons for wanting an airplane, I’d have set my sights on something a little more modest and of the cargo, rather than the luxury passenger, variety. You can pack a heck of a lot more boxes of food into an empty cargo fuselage than you can into one crammed with plush leather reclining seats, plama TV screens, beds, drinks cabinets and all the other luxury fittings you can find in a bespoke Gulfstream private jet.

It didn’t work of course. Thankfully.

It transpired that not even the type of gullible Americans who watch this kind of TV trash fell for Creflo’s obvious display of greed and self-agrandisement. After disappointing results and adverse publicity the web page soliciting donations for the private jet disappeared – and so did Creflo.

For a while, that is.

But he came back and when he did he had the usual religious scammer’s excuses all lined up. The reason for his disappearance was because he was “talking with God” – not the real one of course, but his own personal version, the one who only told him what he wanted to hear.

And his fake god told Creflo that his scam to get himself a private jet had failed because the ‘forces of evil’ had interfered with his plans and set out to discredit him.

one of Creflo Dollar's cribs
one of Creflo Dollar’s modest little cribs

 

It’s a pity they hadn’t got to work on Creflo before now. Before he was able to scam his supporters out of enough money to buy him a million dollar home in Atlanta, another $2.5 million home in Manhattan, a Rolls-Royce motor car, and just enough money to buy one private jet back in 1999.

I wish we had heard the last from people like Creflo.

But somehow I doubt it.

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My Nose Is Itchy, I Wonder Why. Maybe The Facts Will Tell Me.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Itchy or not it’s time for another fact day.

This selection includes music, movies and Mexican general elections.

So hopefully something for everyone.

Enjoy.

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facts 02

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Earth’s seasons are not due to our proximity to the sun,

but rather due to Earth’s 23.4 degree tilt on its axis.

 earth's tilt on axis

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Did you know that in Romania many people believe

that when your nose is feeling itchy,

it means that someone wants to kiss you.

In some other countries the superstition says

that an itchy nose is a sign that

you are going to be angry later.

Take you choice which to believe, or both, or neither.

 itchy nose

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When you are trying to listen to someone in a noisy situation,

use your right ear because it picks up words better,

while your left ear is better at picking up sounds and music.

 listening

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Famous people who served during World War One (WWI)

include the writers A. A. Milne, creator of Winnie the Pooh,

JRR Tolkien, author of Lord of The Rings,

sculptor Henry Moore, and the actor Basil Rathbone.

 

Basil Rathbone WWI
Basil Rathbone WWI

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Although it is commonly said and believed that

lightning doesn’t strike in the same place twice,

the fact is that it can and does.

Lightning tries to find the fastest path to the ground,

and therefore tall buildings, trees, and such are at the

greatest risk because the higher the object,

the more likely it is to be struck.

 lightning striking tree

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The most subscribed channel

on YouTube is ‘Music’.

 YouTube music channel

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In the Mexican general election of 1988,

during the count the government claimed

that the computers had crashed.

Although the early results showed that

Cárdenas was winning comfortably,

when the computers were “repaired,”

his political opponent, Salinas, had supposedly

eked out a narrow victory.

Years later, a former president of Mexico,

Miguel de la Madrid, admitted to the New York Times

that the 1988 general election had been rigged

to make the Institutional Revolutionary Party win,

and that three years after the election,

all ballots were burned in order to

remove all evidence of the fraud.

 Mexican flag

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The techniques used for pyramid

construction developed over time;

later pyramids were not built

the same way as earlier ones.

 techniques used for pyramid construction

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 In the H G Wells novel entitled “The World Set Free”,

written at a time when little was known

about the power of radioactive elements,

he predicted that a city-destroying atomic bomb

would destroy lives in the future.

Years later the atomic bomb was launched

through the Manhattan Project and eventually

dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima,

causing radiation sickness and deaths years after.

 The World Set Free by H G Wells

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In 1929, German surgeon Werner Forssmann

examined the inside of his own heart by

threading a catheter into his arm vein.

This was the first cardiac catheterization,

a now common procedure.

 cardiac catheterization

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The chef was one of the male survivors

from the Titanic disaster,

and his survival is credited to the amount

of liquor he drank right before going underwater,

which kept his body temperature up.

 Titanic chef survivor

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Marijuana is known to increase

appetite and food consumption.

Pigs in Bhutan are fed cannabis to make

them hungrier and consequently fatter.

 Pigs in Bhutan are fed cannabis

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Vodka is the world’s most popular liquor by a huge margin,

with about 5 billion liters consumed every year.

 stolichnaya vodka

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Cocoa trees can live up to 200 years but they only

produce usable cocoa beans for about 25 years.

 Cocoa trees

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In the famous movie Psycho,

Alfred Hitchcock used Bosco chocolate syrup

for blood in the legendary shower scene.

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A Round Of Applause For Ms Fleischmann, I Think.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Alayne Fleischmann

Alayne Fleischmann was someone who I though did not exist.

Yes, it’s a slightly odd name, but that’s not what I mean.

She’s a real person, she does exist, although many on Wall Street and in the government wish she did not.

You see Alayne Fleischmann is a an honest lawyer.

Not only an honest lawyer, but an honest securities lawyer.

And not only an honest securities lawyer, but an honest securities lawyer who worked for a bank.

I know, it’s hard to believe isn’t it?

But it’s true.

Eight years ago Ms Fleischmann was employed by J P Morgan Chase Bank as a deal manager, a position that allowed her to see the crooked activity, fraud in other words, that was going on at the bank, particularly in regard to mortgage securities.

jp-morgan-chase-bank-logo1

She has been effectively ‘gagged’ for many years by confidentiality agreements, hordes of lawyers acting for the banks, and by government organizations that were supposedly investigating the fraud but which were in fact just trying to get it pushed under the carpet as soon and as quietly as possible.

Now Alayne Fleischmann is blowing the whistle, not just on the fraudulent activity of the banks but on the massive cover-up that followed it.

In doing so she is just confirming what anyone who has been paying attention already knew to be true, namely that the government has allowed the banks to buy their way out of criminal charges and jail time by paying multi-billion and multi-million dollar fines, fines that may sound large to you and I but which to them are a small fraction of the money they stole.

Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission report

The Department of Justice, Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, SEC, and more have been pretending to investigate and bring the culprits to book. In effect they have done very little.

So I think a round of applause is in order for Ms Fleischmann. She won’t make much of a dent in the corrupt system, the corruption is so ingrained that I doubt if anyone could do that. But at least she came through with her honesty intact and that is a hell of a lot more than can be said of the banksters or the politicians and political appointees who were supposed to be going to make things right.

 

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Playing With Statistics

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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It’s Sunday so time for another Sunday Sermon.

There’s a famous quote from US President Abraham Lincoln that goes something like, “you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time”.

On the face of it Lincoln’s words seem rather clever and profound – and true. And so they are.

Up to a point.

But what Lincoln didn’t say (and he was a politician after all) is that you don’t have to fool ALL of the people ALL of the time.

What you have to do is fool them long enough to do what you need to do – for example, in the case of a politician, to get yourself elected.  

 

graph Miss Universe

Which brings me to statistics.

Because the best people in the world at playing with statistics are politicians and governments.

Some people believe everything they are told. Others call the figures governments produce ‘disingenuous’ which is being very kind. And some don’t believe a word or a number that they produce. (Take a wild guess at which camp I am in.)

Government statistical results are in effect lies. You can’t call them that – although I just did – because they can find figures to back up what they say, it’s just that they choose the figures that tell the story they want to promote and ignore all the rest that tell a different story.

For example, to get on to one of my favorite rant subjects, there is a thing which I am sure most of you have never heard of called the ‘Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program’ or ‘SIGTARP’ for short.

When the government is challenged about what is has been doing to bring to justice the banksters, who stole and recklessly gambled away our money, they can quote you a statistic or two saying that over the last few years, SIGTARP has put over 100 senior bank executives in jail, each of whom was convicted of stealing from taxpayers.

Although that fact is ‘technically’ or ‘statistically’ true, what they don’t tell you is that the people they have gone after and convicted are all small time crooks, guilty of small time frauds that are seldom above $1m or $1.5 million in value.

All the super crooks who embezzled hundreds of $ billions and almost brought down the entire financial system aren’t even being seriously pursued. More than six years into the SIGTARP investigations there are literally still hundreds of billions of outstanding ‘loans’, from banks including Citi, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America.

They can quote figures all day long to try to mislead the people and make themselves look good, but a few small time crooks thrown in jail for stealing a million or two dollars here and there isn’t ever going to make much of a dent in the $ billions that were stolen. The politicians know that as well as anyone.

Perhaps Mark Twain’s “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics,” might have been a better quote!

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