Monthly Archives: January 2016

Report Card: Just A Reminder What Obama Has Meant To The Democrats

Results matter!  Not a very good report card for Obama’s two terms to date.


U.S. House
U.S. Senate


Note: click on the year to link to source


Governorships: a loss of 10 statehouses to Republicans

U.S. House: a loss of 68 seats to Republicans

U.S. Senate: a loss of 12 seats to Republicans


It’s purchase lasix internet amazing what Obamacare has done for Republican fortunes.

NAFTA Has (and the TPP Will) Destroy U.S. Jobs

NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) has had a devastating effect on American workers.

How do we know this?

The BLS keeps labor force numbers tracking the changes in the American workforce over time for a historical perspective.

NAFTA negotiations started under President George H. W. Bush in 1990 and was signed into law by President Clinton on December 8, 1993.

NAFTA (as law of the land) took effect on January 1, 1994.

Continue reading NAFTA Has (and the TPP Will) Destroy U.S. Jobs

So the Seattle Times has taken to lying?

published January 30, 2016 at the Keep America At Work blog

In these boom times of Seattle technology, one of the biggest challenges has been filling available tech jobs, as the demand for workers exceeds the supply of candidates. “It’s definitely a candidate’s market,” says one recruiter.

There are an awful lot of qualified Americans who are not even considered for these jobs.

That is point one.

Continue reading So the Seattle Times has taken to lying?

Foreign-Born New Hires Outpace Native-Born

by Bud Meyers, published January 31, 2016

Job creation from January 2007 to December 2016

= 3,070,000 Foreign-born workers added / Source: St. Louis Federal Reserve (FRED) Foreign born workers
+ 2,358,000 Native-born workers added / Source: St. Louis Federal Reserve (FRED): Native born workers
= 5,428,000 Total net jobs added to labor force over the past 9 years*

* The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows 6,031,000 net jobs were added to the labor force from January 2007 to December 2015 — for a difference of 603,000 more jobs than what FRED shows. (See the table further below.) According to FRED, the U.S. had 712,000 more foreign-born workers added to the labor force over the past 9 years than native-born workers. So even if the difference were added to native-born workers, foreign hires still exceeded native hires.


Monthly Jobs added to Labor Force

Continue reading Foreign-Born New Hires Outpace Native-Born

The Great Potential of Poor Americans And How Plutocrats Just Want Them to Go Away

by Paul Buchheit, published January 25, 2016 at Common Dreams

n this Jan. 9, 2016 file photo, Michigan State Representatives Shelton Neeley, left, and Phil Phelps, right, address people during a rally to talk about the water crisis in Flint, Mich. Ever since the full extent of the Flint water crisis emerged, one question has loomed above all others: Would this have happened in a wealthier, whiter community? (Photo: Sean Proctor/The Flint via AP, File)

There’s plenty of evidence to support the work ethic of poor people.

Almost 63 percent of America’s work-eligible poor are working. Many of the remainder are plagued by a real unemployment rate that is two to five times higher than the official rate, as Congress has continually thwarted job creation proposals.

Immigrants comprise 13 percent of the population, but make up 28 percent of the small business owners.

Poor families don’t waste money. Two-thirds of their income is consumed by housing, food, transportation, health care, and insurance.

A study of 18 European countries found “increasing employment commitment as social spending gets more generous” — in other words, dividend payments encourage people to work harder, rather than the other way around.

Congress Ignores the Value of Average Americans

Continue reading The Great Potential of Poor Americans And How Plutocrats Just Want Them to Go Away

The Peace Speech

The commencement address presented at American University by President John F. Kennedy on June 10, 1963 (written by Ted Sorenson)

kennedy speech
JFK: 1963 American University Commencement Speech

Watch it here.

Full text:

President Anderson, members of the faculty, board of trustees, distinguished guests, my old colleague, Senator Bob Byrd, who has earned his degree through many years of attending night law school, while I am earning mine in the next 30 minutes, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

It is with great pride that I participate in this ceremony of the American University, sponsored by the Methodist Church, founded by Bishop John Fletcher Hurst, and first opened by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914. This is a young and growing university, but it has already fulfilled Bishop Hurst’s enlightened hope for the study of history and public affairs in a city devoted to the making of history and to the conduct of the public’s business. By sponsoring this institution of higher learning for all who wish to learn, whatever their color or their creed, the Methodists of this area and the Nation deserve the Nation’s thanks, and I commend all those who are today graduating.

Professor Woodrow Wilson once said that every man sent out from a university should be a man of his nation as well as a man of his time, and I am confident that the men and women who carry the honor of graduating from this institution will continue to give from their lives, from their talents, a high measure of public service and public support. “There are few earthly things more beautiful than a university,” wrote John Masefield in his tribute to English universities — and his words are equally true today. He did not refer to towers or to campuses. He admired the splendid beauty of a university, because it was, he said, “a place where those who hate ignorance may strive to know, where those who perceive truth may strive to make others see.”

Continue reading The Peace Speech

Charter Schools: The End of Public Education As We Know It?

by Rosemary Jenkins, published January 17, 2016 at L.A. Progressive


Have you noticed the gradual creep of the charter school movement—the slippery slope meant to take over free public education as we know it and transform our schools to elitist institutions?

It touts itself as the best way to educate our children but it defies the principals upon which our public education system has been built (commencing all the way back to the early tradition of free public schools espoused by our leaders during the American Revolutionary period).

Sure, many charters boast high scores, but those results are often skewed because at-risk children, those with a variety of disabilities, many from dysfunctional backgrounds, and others are far too often not part of most charter programs—deliberate “exclusions” that at first blush help make the charters, particularly the independent ones, look so good.

Continue reading Charter Schools: The End of Public Education As We Know It?

Americans more likely to get hit by Lightning than Terrorism, but 51% Fear It

by Juan Cole, published January 16, 2016

By Peter Certo | (Foreign Policy In Focus) | – –

One in 3.5 million: That’s your annual risk of dying from a terrorist attack in the United States, at least according to Cato analyst John Mueller. Rounded generously, that comes out to roughly 3 one-hundred thousandths of a percentage point, or 0.00003 percent.

And this, according to a recent Gallup poll cited by The New York Times, is the percentage of Americans “worried that they or someone in their family would be a victim of terrorism”: 51.

So that’s 51 percent of Americans who think a terrorist attack against themselves is sufficiently likely to warrant their personal concern, versus a 0.00003 percent chance it might actually happen. If you’ll forgive my amateur number crunching, that means Americans are overestimating their personal exposure to terrorism by a factor of approximately 1.7 million.

It’s no wonder people play the lottery.

A public mood that overestimates the risk of terrorism by upwards of 2 million times, you might imagine, is a pretty significant headwind for a presidential administration that — with a few notable exceptions, like the surge in Afghanistan and the free-ranging drone war — has generally sought to wind down the full-blown militarized response its predecessor took to terrorism.

But more militarization, particularly in the Middle East, is exactly what this insanely distorted threat perception would seem to demand. With Americans more fearful of terrorism than at any time since 9/11, it’s no wonder Republican presidential candidates like Ted Cruz can call for bona fide war crimes like “carpet-bombing” Syria — and then revel in applause rather opprobrium.

In a more rational world, it would be easy to explain away the problem by arguing that the risk of terrorism in the U.S. is actually quite small, while the human costs of yet another ill-considered military intervention in the Middle East could be enormous. But the politics of terrorism are anything but. “As a society we’re irrational about it,” said a former administration security official quoted by the Times. “But government has to accept that irrationality rather than fight it.”

Gawker‘s Hamilton Nolan drew a less charitable conclusion from those comments: “The public is too dumb to hear the truth about terrorism.” Continue reading Americans more likely to get hit by Lightning than Terrorism, but 51% Fear It

New Study: TPP Will Cost U.S. 448,000 Jobs

Published January 21, 2016 at Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University

Trading Down: Unemployment, Inequality and Other Risks of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

by Jeronim Capaldo and Alex Izurieta with Jomo Kwame Sundaram
GDAE Working Paper 16-01
January 2016

Download the Working Paper

Download the Executive Summary

Proponents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP), the trade and investment treaty recently agreed by the United States and eleven Pacific Rim nations, emphasize the prospective economic benefits, with economic growth increasing due to rising trade and investment. Widely cited projections suggest GDP gains for all countries after ten years, varying from less than half a percentage point in the United States to 13 percent in Vietnam.

In this GDAE Working Paper, the authors employ a more realistic model that incorporates effects on employment excluded from prior TPP modeling. They find that benefits for economic growth are more limited, and they are negative in some countries such as the United States. More importantly, they find that TPP would lead to losses in employment and increases in inequality. This is true particularly for the United States, where GDP is projected to fall slightly, employment would decline, and inequality is projected to increase as labor’s share of income falls.

Continue reading New Study: TPP Will Cost U.S. 448,000 Jobs

New estimate: Iowa Medicaid savings below projections

by Jason Clayworth, published January 21, 2016 in The Des Moines Register

Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 12.07.20 PM
Iowa Department of Human Services fiscal manager Jean Slaybaugh testified in October about Iowa’s Medicaid program. (Photo: Jason Clayworth/The Register)

Gov. Terry Branstad’s plan to privatize Medicaid will save the state millions of dollars less than the figure on which lawmakers based this year’s budget, documents obtained by The Des Moines Register show.

The revised estimate shows a savings of $36.6 million in the first six months. That’s nearly $15 million less than was previously projected.

The latest report — and the only one to date that provides a cost-savings estimate — was completed on Oct. 30. That is 23 days after Iowa Department of Human Services Fiscal Manager Jean Slaybaugh testified in court that a $51.3 million six-month savings projection was based upon a midpoint of estimates provided by multiple experts, some of whom predicted that privatization would save the state no money.

Agency officials, however, were unable to document how they arrived at that number or identify any of the multiple experts they said they consulted in the process.

The new document was prepared by Milliman, a Seattle-based actuarial firm the state regularly uses to calculate projected costs and savings. It was provided to the Register after Branstad mentioned it during his meeting with the newspaper’s editorial board earlier this month, saying  the savings would top $102 million a year.

Continue reading New estimate: Iowa Medicaid savings below projections