To quote Dick Cavett
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The New York Times has put together a very well done county by county interactive on the vast array of military eqquipment finding it's way into the weapons cache of your local police force.
Might make you wonder just exactly who it is they're gearing up for.
Click the image below for this fine bit of work from The New York Times.
Bout time those guys did some actual reporting.
So, I’m sitting here in front of my screen fooling around on Linkedin instead of paying the bills, when I see that Pulse has recommended a piece penned by some guy in the investment business, titled American’s Sour Mood on the Economy Doesn’t Square with the Fact.
I know this has been the chronic theme proffered by the professional shills appearing on your TV set morning, noon and night for some time now. I had been getting pretty good at ignoring them.
At first I was doing a pretty good job of ignoring this guy as well.
But finally ….. I succombed …..
So in order to rebut this guy, I start to pull together some updated versions of charts I have collected in the past, and in so doing, I stumble across a Quartz piece titled Seven Charts That Leave You No Choice But To Feel Optimistic About The US Economy, and just that quick …..
As almost always, clicking on the charts will link you up to the piece from which they were taken.
The Headline Unemployment Rate is hovering just above 6%.
The formula for calculating the rate of unemployment is as follows;
Unemployment Rate = Number of Unemployed / Total Labor Force.
Total Labor Force = Number of Employed People + Number of Unemployed People.
An unemployed person for purposes of the above calculation is defined by the Bureau of Labor Statisics as follows: a person who had no employment during the reference week, was available for work, except for temporary illness, and had made specific efforts to find employment some time during the 4 week-period ending with the reference week. Persons who were waiting to be recalled to a job from which they had been laid off need not have been looking for work to be classified as unemployed.
So, people are counted as unemployed for purposes of calculating the rate of unemployment only if they are in the labor force. And as such, unemployed workers who have quit seeking work are no longer counted for purposes of calculating the unemployment rate.
As you can see below, labor force participation is in decline, if not freefall.
"What do it mean?"
If you have quit looking for work in favor of going on disability, you no longer count in the calculation.
And the total number of them that have gone on disability is going nowhere but up.
People who have gone on disability are for the most part not looking for work and thus counted as part of the labor force.
Fewer people in the labor force means ..... lower unemployment for purposes of calculating the headline number.
A significant percentage of the improvement in the rate of unemployment is directly attributable to the increase in "disabled" Americans.
Maybe there are more people on disability because we now provide help to people with honest disabilities that we have overlooked or ignored before.
But it strikes me that there might be more to it than just that.
In case you were wondering how the unemployed are able to afford eating?
Nope, that's old news.
Food lines are passe' as they are very bad for the fiction that all is well with the economy.
Our modern food lines are much improved as they are far less obvious to the naked eye.
But wait a minute. What about all those jobs the Obama Administration has created?
I'm not impressed yet.
Mostly because ...
But why so few full time jobs and so many part time jobs?
To be crude about it, it's mostly because part time workers are cheaper, and sales suck.
But, there is some good news, car sales are back.
Car sales as reported in the press tend to be wholesale numbers.
Dealer inventories are also up dramatically.
GM isn’t alone when it comes to this issue, as unsold inventory abounds all over the world regardless of manufacturer.
Definitely click on the photo below for a pretty quick, little piece on automobile manufacturers channel stuffing their supply system.
Oh well, that’s good news for me as I have to buy a car for a boy soon.
I’m thinking there should be some good deals on cars this fall.
Anyway, stocks are on fire, business must be good.
Except, the balance sheet of the Federal Reserve Bank has expanded nearly dollar for dollar with the increased value of the S&P 500.
As has margin debt for NYSE member firms.
Well, it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure this one out.
Corporate management is adding debt in order to buyback shares and in so doing are driving the surge in the stock market.
“But why would they do that?” You might well ask.
Management is compensated for increasing market cap rather than for running a profitable entity.
All you need to know about “Corporate America” in one chart.
Oh, and by the way, CEOs now earn on average, from 273 to 331 times the average worker’s pay depending on how you calculate stuff.
Form your own opinion.
I got mine.
Because we’re a mite out of practice, we’re gonna ease into this thing today with some simple stuff.
President Obama continues to block the Keystone Pipeline project.
And yet, Canadian oil exports to the United States continue to expand.
How’s it getting there?
Wait a minute ..... where have I seen a chart like this before?
Of course, it looks just like Michael Mann/Al Gore's famed "Hockey Stick" chart!
Oh well, at least the profits were real ..... in both cases.
Silly political reporters spent a couple days arguing about “ugly politics”, the “Green” wing of the Democrat Party and how they are killing jobs all over the country.
Your Uncle Roany, cynic that he is, is inclined to consider a different possibility and wonders who owns the Rail Cars delivering all that oil.
Mostly, it’s the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad.
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railways is 22% owned by Berkshire Hathaway since 2009.
You might have noticed that shipments of oil by rail took off big time in 2010.
Speaking of rich guys, Berkshire Hathaway’s largest shareholder is of course Warren Buffett.
Who, as an aside through Berkshire Hathaway, also bought a 1% interest in Suncor, a huge player in the Canadian Oil Sands just last summer.
In the interest of full disclosure, your Uncle Roany is about to get back into COS.
Speaking of oil, Russia is about to end up with about as much Ukraine as Putin feels like having despite the best efforts of the Neocon/Lib imbeciles running amok over at the CIA/State Department, as Europe will cave on the issue, leaving the pathetic little man in the White House with even more egg on his face than usual.
Here are the only two pieces of information you need in order to discern the fate of Ukraine.
If you’re wondering where the world’s proven oil reserves reside now days, here’s your answer.
Not much has changed in a while.
Not much has changed on the consumption side either, except that China continues to expand it's consumption.
Along with it's pollution problems.
That's all for now.
To quote Tony Kornheiser,
From Zero Hedge which remains our first read of the day.
The photo to the right is that of State Department Spokesperson Jennifer Psaki. Enjoy the following exchange between Jennifer and Associated press reporter, Matthew Lee during the Q&A following Ms. Psaki's announcement of the State Department's launch of the Third Annual "Free The Press Campaign", in which the Federal Government of the United States of America highlights "journalists or media outlets that are censored, attacked, threatened, or otherwise oppressed because of their reporting."
JENNIFER PSAKI: One more announcement for all of you: With World Press Freedom Day around the world on May 3rd, the department will launch its third annual Free the Press campaign later this afternoon in New York at the U.S. U.N. mission. Beginning on Monday and all of next week, we will highlight emblematic cases of imperiled reporters and media outlets that have been targeted, oppressed, imprisoned or otherwise harassed because of their professional work. The first two cases will be announced by Assistant Secretary -- Assistant Secretary Tom Malinowski later at the -- at U.S. U.N. And we invite you of course to follow Tom at Twitter, who has -- on Twitter who, as you all know, was just confirmed several weeks, @Malinowski and to keep up with human rights issues on DRL's website.
With that --
Q: Sure. Just on that, reporters who are, what, harassed? I'm sorry --
MS. PSAKI: Targeted, oppressed, imprisoned or otherwise harassed.
Q: Otherwise harassed. Does that include those who may have been targeted, harassed, imprisoned and otherwise whatever by the United States government?
MS. PSAKI: I'm --
MS. PSAKI: I think you're familiar with our Free the Press campaign, Matt, but --
Q: Fair enough. So it does not include those who might have been harassed by --
MS. PSAKI: We highlight, as we often do, where we see issues with media freedom around the world.
Q: Right, I understand. But you would say that you don't -- the U.S. does not believe that it has a problem with press freedom, or if it does, that it's not nearly as severe as the problems in other countries.
MS. PSAKI: We do not. I think we can look at many of the problems --
On media press freedom?
Oh. Go ahead. And then we'll go to you, (Paul ?).
Did you have another question on media press freedom, or --
Q: If I could just go back to the overall, in general, the administration does not regard attempting to prosecute American journalists as an infringement of press freedom?
MS. PSAKI: I'm not sure which case you're -- what you're referring to.
Q: Well, there's several cases that are out there right now. The one that comes -- springs to mind is the James Risen case, where the Justice Department is attempting to prosecute. I just want to be clear. I'm not trying to --
MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, I --
Q: I just want to know if you regard that as an infringement on press freedom or not. And I suspect that you do not, but I want to make sure that that's the case.
MS. PSAKI: As you know, and I'll, of course, refer to the Department of Justice, but the leaking of classified information is in a separate category. What we're talking about here, as you all know and unfortunately we have talk about on a regular basis here, is the targeting of journalists, the arrests, the imprisonment for simply exercising their ability to tell the story.
Q: Right. I understand that. And we're all, I'm sure, myself and all my colleagues, we're very appreciative of that.
But the reporters in question here have not leaked the information; they simply published it. So is it correct, then, that you don't believe -- you don't regard that as an infringement of press freedom?
MS. PSAKI: We don't. I don't have anything more to say on that case.
MS. PSAKI: Do we have a new topic?
Your government at work.
One unarmed Ukrainian woman stops an entire column of tanks with one hand.
Her left hand at that.
While not entirely sure just exactly what that means,
I think that one has to be impressed with a man so dialed in to his mind, body and spirit that he felt death coming well enough in advance to get off a quick note about it.
Click on the photo for a pretty good Wikipedia primer on this powerful little man.