Dec. 6. The government released its jobs numbers today. E-pop, the number of those with jobs as a percent of the population, went back to 58.6% the same as it was two months ago (before the partial government shut-down). It’s still far below the 63 and 64 per cent numbers before the Great Recession. The “participation rate” went up a couple of clicks, also though it did not catch up to where it was in September. The cartoonist Ted Rall did a fine cartoon about the decline in recent years of the participation rate.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged at 4.1 million in November.
E-pop for whites is 59.3. E-pop for Blacks is 53.0. For both blacks and whites the number is almost a half percent less than last year.
For what it’s worth the official unemployment rate for whites is 6.2%. For blacks it’s 12.5%. As I’ve said many times before I don’t think the “official” rate shows how bad unemployment is, but the fact that the black rate remains double the white rate is scandalous. (and listen to a comment about that at blackagendareport.com)
On October 1st a respected meteorologist Eric Holthaus tweeted that after reading the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) “I just broke down in tears in boarding area at SFO [San Francisco airport] while on phone with my wife. I’ve never cried because of a science report before.”
He then decided he would stop being an airline passenger.
The new IPCC report stated that the evidence that humans have created global warming is a 95% likelihood. The body expects the rise in world temperatures to range from an awful 1.5 degrees Celsius to a catastrophic 4.5 Celsius. The IPCC is the foremost climate authority in the world and its findings are only made after hundreds of scientists and government officials agree.
Holthaus calculated that last year he travelled 75,000 miles by plane, mostly for climate projects, but also for vacations. He used a carbon footprint calculator developed at UC Berkely and he “found that if he stopped flying, his carbon footprint would go from being about double the American average to around 30 percent less than average.” So he’s going to stop.
Nov. 8. Possibly the “strongest storm ever”, Super Typhoon Haiyan, is roaring across the Philippines as this is written. It has “sustained winds of 315 kph (195 mph) and gusts as strong as 380 kph (235 mph),” according to CNN. That about double the wind speed of Hurricane Sandy. Another massive “storm of the century” which we hear about every few months it seems. The carbon criminals are pouring heat trapping gas into the air and the world climate is changing.
Tomorrow, Sat. Nov.9 groups will again picket TD bank, one of the biggest investors in the Keystone XL pipeline. If finished the pipeline will bring the dirties carbon rich fuel on the planet down through the U.S. to go on the world market. The New Haven picket will start at 11 a.m. across from the New Haven Green, where College meets Chapel St.
And then in six days a not to be missed meeting: Hear how we can stop using all fossil fuel in less than 20 years from a man who wrote a featured article about it in Scientific American.
Nov. 8. The government jobs numbers came out a few minutes ago. The business press is happy that there was an increase of 204,000 jobs. They had feared the government partial shut-down had really soured things.
They were expecting a lot few jobs. HOWEVER, there were a lot of other number worth noting. For instance the number of workers (the labor force) is down 720,000.
The best employment rate, e-pop, the number employed as a percent of the population took a big hit. It’s down a full 0.3% to 58.3%. That’s only 0.1% better than the bottom this decade which was 58.2% in June and July of 2011. So the true unemployment rate is up a lot.
November 1. The New York Times says millions of people are having their insurance plans dropped. Supposedly the insurance companies have no choice. The old plans don’t have the benefits required by the Affordable Care Act..
The Times talks about three cases. Charles Nance was offered a new policy at double the cost and three times the deductible. A second person, Dean Wright, will do better, saving $1,200 a year. The third person can’t use the ACA website to see what she can do.
That’s not what Obama told the people. Again and again he assured everyone that they could keep their old insurance plan if they wanted to. His people didn’t tell him companies would drop plans? Give me a break.
Provisions that hurt unionized workers, a website that doesn’t work, millions who lose their insurance. What a mess! Instead of calling it Obamacare call it Obamacare-less.
As I write this I’m listening this to Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! She says that Congress got notes about the Health Care website operation that showed that on its first day 4.7 million people went to the site, but after one day only 248 had enrolled.
There is a cure for all this, of course, single payer.
Nov. 2. The NYT printed this graphic which shows why this is a problem for millions of Americans.
Watch this Economic Uprising video of Glen Ford speaking at the Black Agenda Report seventh anniversary gathering at Harlem’s Riverside Church. The theme of the event was ““The Black Misleadership Class Versus the Movement and its Legacy.” Ford blasted newly elected New Jersey Senator Cory Booker as the essence of Black misleadership, showing the many ties of the current Newark mayor to corporate America.
More video and audio of the event coming over the next week.
Video interview with Jeff Tittel, Director of the Sierra Club in New Jersey, about the poor response to Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey. He had spoken at a press conference in Newark about problems CT and NJ residents were having with the corporation PSEG. Bridgeport, CT residents want PSEG to close its coal burning power plant in that city. More about that from TSVN.
Oct. 16 I said yesterday that Obama’s victory is saving his health care bill also freezes in the sequester. Agreeing with me is none other than Mitch McConnell the Republican Senator from Kentucky. Even though on the surface the Republicans gained nothing by the threat to drive the nation into default he said “But for today – for today – the relief we hope for is to reopen the government, avoid default and protect the historic cuts we achieved under the Budget Control Act.”
October 15. It was a scene straight out of “Les Miserables”. She hasn’t worked in two years and she was facing eviction so April Hare sold 18” of her auburn hair. Since this is 21st century America and not backward 19th century France the sale was done through a website, buyandsellhair.com. She sold her hair for $1,000.
In the U.S. people can legally sell hair, eggs, and breast milk. You can’t sell a kidney or part of a liver legally, but reportedly it’s done on the black market.
Bloomberg news reported this all in a piece today “Bodies Double as Cash Machines”. They quote a “market strategist” Nicholas Colas as saying this is a sign of the times, “It indicates that there are still a lot of people worried about their financial outlook”.
Bloomberg reports the Shady Grove Fertility Center said 13,000 women will apply this year to be an egg donor. That’s roughly a 13 percent increase from 2012. Breast milk. You can sell it for $5 an ounce.
In real terms wages have been dropping for years. Adjusted for price increases Americans are earning less than what they did in 1996. Of course, that doesn’t mean all Americans. Another article on Bloomberg talked about the Americans coming back into the French luxury housing market. Some are looking at homes in the 30, 40 or even 50 million euro range.
October 15, noon. I assume the Republicans and Democrats will work something out in the next few hours to prevent a debt default. Media reports say the deal will reject attempts to destroy Obama’s health care law and just fund the government for three more months, to January 15. This is called “kicking the can down the road”. Supposedly this is a big defeat for the Tea Party Republicans and the Cult of No Spending
But it’s more than that. The Budget Control Act of 2011, generally known as “sequestration” will take its second hit on January 15. Here’s a little background. Back in 2010 the new Republican majority in the House started alarming the public to a very scary monster, the growing amount the U.S.government owed in debt. Supposedly the world was about too stop lending to the U.S. and prices would rise like mad. (This never happened and the “world” is still buying U.S. Treasury bonds even though they pay very, very little in interest, but the panic propaganda was effective.). The Republicans were able to make “government debt” the issue of the day and Obama agreed to sign a law that set up a committee that would cut government spending. The kicker was, if the committee couldn’t agree, there would be automatic spending cuts for ten years. That was the “sequester”. Now no one actually wanted the mindless automatic cuts to go into effect. It was just supposed to be a club hanging over the heads of Congress to make them come up with “sensible” cuts.
Well, surprise, the committee never agreed and on March of 2013 the first cuts went into effect. The U.S. Congressional Budget Office estimated that the cuts will cost the country 750,000 jobs. (See how the cuts affected Sioux Indians on the Pine Ridge Internment Camp.) The next cuts will be made on January 15 of 2014.
Obama’s “win” on health care helps freezes in the sequester. Instead of what we really need, massive government public enterprises in climate industries that could employ millions, the government pledges to starve current programs and pull in another notch on Uncle Sam’s belt.
As you know instead of creating jobs the government is cutting them and trying to use Federal Reserve to get things moving. The Reserve is in charge of the money supply. For several years now it has been “printing” money and buying bonds to keep interest rates low. The idea is businesses will borrow the “cheap” money and expand and create jobs.
It hasn’t worked very well, but the official measure of joblessness (the unemployment rate) keeps on slowly falling. The head of the Reserve, Ben Bernanke, had said once the number goes below 7% he would stop buying bonds, but now he’s changing his mind because it’s impossible to pretend that the official unemployment rate really measures how bad the situation is.
For years unions were on record as calling for single-payer health care (Medicare for all). Their leaders knew that schemes that included private insurance companies would bite workers in the butt. However, the union chiefs believe in the Democratic Party above all. When a Democratic president insisted on ignoring single payer and pushed through a plan designed by the health insurance companies, the union chiefs meekly went along. Now years later when Obama’s health care plan is going into effect the union brass is raising the alarm, but to no effect.
The Forbes headline was “Obama To Labor Unions With Multi-Employer Health Plans: Drop Dead”. The pro-big business magazine was laughing at unions for pinning their hopes on the Obama to fix the ACA health care plan also known as mockingly as Obamacare.
Obama personally called Richard Trumka just before last week’s AFL-CIO convention in Los Angeles asking him to oppose any resolutions against the ACA. Trumka did what he said and a very mild resolution passed asking for fixes. In return labor got… a slap in the face.
Laura Gottesdiener has written a book “A Dream Foreclosed, Black America and the Fight for a Place to Call Home”. Here my interview with her about evictions and meet her Sept. 19 in West Haven, CT at the library (300 Main. St) at 6:30. It’s an 11 minute interview.
Michelle Alexander, author of “The New Jim Crow” stakes out new ground. “Yet here I am decades later, staying in my lane. I have not been speaking publicly about the relationship between drones abroad and the War on Drugs at home. I have not been talking about the connections between the corrupt capitalism that bails out Wall Street bankers, moves jobs overseas, and forecloses on homes with zeal, all while private prisons yield high returns and expand operations into a new market: caging immigrants. I have not been connecting the dots between the NSA spying on millions of Americans, the labeling of mosques as “terrorist organizations,” and the spy programs of the 1960s and 70s – specifically the FBI and COINTELPRO programs that placed civil rights advocates under constant surveillance, infiltrated civil rights organizations, and assassinated racial justice leaders. I have been staying in my lane. But no more.” Read her complete statement on Facebook.
and for those in the New Haven area news of an important event on Thurs. Sept. 19
It wasn’t billed as a march for Trayvon, far from it. The speakers weren’t prepared to demand that or much of anything else. But reports from the those attending said the greatest passion among those attending the civil rights march/demonstration in DC Saturday was the fact that 50 years after the ’63 demonstration a young black man could still not walk the streets without fear that a white man could not freely attack him.
What can you say of the official talks? Veterans of the great battles of the 1960′s were strictly limited to 2 minutes while Attorney General Eric Holder, Incarcerator in Chief, was given a half hour to speak. In 1963 there weren’t any politicians on the podium, but there were politicians galore there Saturday. The speakers were carefully chosen so that they wouldn’t say anything that might embarrass the Democrats. One exception was nine year old Asean Johnson who fired up the crowd giving it good to Rahm Emmanuel the Chicago Mayor for closing schools. Cornel West, the most prominent Black radical, told Amy Goodman weeks ago that he was absolutely not invited to speak.
Aug. 25 Mark Bittman printed a column in the New York Times called “The New Nuclear Craze” making some of the same criticism of the pro-nuke global warming folks I made last week and bringing up a few new issues.
He raises the issues of the dangers of uranium mining and the “vast amounts of water they use in the West”. The later is very timely as I write at a time when an immense fire threatens Yosemite and the power supply of San Francisco. A resident in a town near Yosemite says the trees nearby are as dry as the wood in lumber yards.
Bittman gets into the costs of various kinds of energy claiming the nuclear power plants only make money because the government give them enormous amounts of money to help them out. He say that renewables energy already makes money sense. In some areas he says solar is cheaper than nuclear.
“Some studies show that renewables can generate 80 percent of our electricity in 2050, using current technologies, while reducing carbon emissions from the electric sector by 80 percent.”
The interesting thng is that Bittman is no scientist or global warming activist. He’s the lead food writer for the New York Times magazine. It shows that the arguments against nuclear power are plain enough for everyone (including me).
and after reading the comments I add the remarks of Steven from Starr
by Stanley Heller
If anyone in the world could convince me of the need for nuclear power it’s James Hansen. The man deserves the highest prizes in the world for revealing to the world the utter gravity of the climate situation.
So when he talks about nuclear power I listen, but he hasn’t won me over.
In his book “Storms of My Grandchildren” he says nuclear power has to be part of the mix to replace coal and other fossil fuels. In February of 2013 Hansen released a video in which he says, “We’re going to have to have alternatives [to fossil fuels] and nuclear is the best alternative.” Now the date is important because it’s well after the Fukushima nuclear accident and Hansen speaks about it. He says, “We have much safer technologies than that old technology that existed then.” He says with the new methods reactors are “passively safe” meaning if there is a disaster like an earthquake “they’ll just shut down, they don’t require power to cool them”. He talks about “fast reactors” which he says leave a waste pile much smaller than older reactors and whose waste loses its radioactivity in decades not in thousands of years unlike waste from present reactors.
How many people have been evicted from their homes in the U.S. since the start of the Great Recession? I’ve asked a number of people. They first say they have no idea and then some said their wild guess was around 100,000.
The real number is far worse, staggering in fact. I heard about it on Democracy Now in an interview with Laura Gottesdiener who has written a book “A Dream Foreclosed: Black America and the Fight for a Place to Call Home”. She says ten million people were forced out of their homes! In an articled published on The Nation she reported that the ten million came from 4 million successfully foreclosed homes. I checked out her numbers and lo and behold in May of this year Core Logic, a property information company that’s on the New York Stock exchange, put out a report saying that 4.4 million homes were successfully foreclosed since September of 2008.
Some just quietly moved away like the folks in Michael Moore’s “Capitalism, a Love Story”. Others were evicted at gunpoint by police. Some homeowners got together with neighbors and resisted and some of them won. These inspiring stories are the actual focus of the book.