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May 18 2011


May 07 2011

4910 4e16 500
via Calculated Risk Chart Gallery

Employment: A dirty little secret and more graphs | 2011-05-06

by CalculatedRisk on 5/06/2011 01:25:00 PM

First, anyone who adds (or subtracts) the Not Seasonally Adjusted (NSA) birth/death model numbers from the headline SA payroll employment is clueless. Someone sent me this "analysis" today: "... you exclude the 62K from McDonalds hirings, and 175K from the Birth Death Adjustment, and end up with.... +7K jobs". That is complete nonsense. The key issue with the birth/death model is it misses turning points; otherwise it is an important part of the monthly estimate.

Second, I was reminded of a "dirty little secret" when I read Paul Krugman's column this morning. Krugman wrote about how the "D.C. economic discourse is saturated with fear" of "invisible monsters", but that no one seems to care about the very real plight of the millions of unemployed.

Actually it really isn't much of a secret that Wall Street and corporate America like the unemployment rate to be a little high. But it is "dirty" in the sense that it is unspoken. Higher unemployment keeps wage growth down, and helps with margins and earnings - and higher unemployment also keeps the Fed on the sidelines. Yes, corporations like to see job growth, so people have enough confidence to spend (and they can have a few more customers). And they definitely don't want to see Depression era unemployment - but a slowly declining unemployment rate (even at 9%) with some job growth is considered OK.

I just want to be clear: I don't think 9% unemployment is OK. It is pretty $%^# far from OK. (think Marsellus Wallace in "Pulp Fiction" for my non-G rated reaction). I'm amazed that unemployment isn't the key topic in D.C., but the unemployed don't make political contributions. (Ok, enough rant).

Here are a few more graphs based on the employment report ...

Reposted bykrekk krekk
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May 06 2011


May 04 2011



The gentle hopes of Hamid Karzai and Hillary Clinton – that the Taliban will be so cowed by the killing of Bin Laden that they will want to become pleasant democrats and humbly join the Western-supported and utterly corrupt leadership of Afghanistan – shows just how out of touch they are with the blood-soaked reality of the country. Some of the Taliban admired Bin Laden, but they did not love him and he had been no part of their campaign against Nato. Mullah Omar is more dangerous to the West in Afghanistan than Bin Laden. And we haven't killed Omar.

Iran, for once, spoke for millions of Arabs in its response to Bin Laden's death. "An excuse for alien countries to deploy troops in this region under the pretext of fighting terrorism has been eliminated," its foreign ministry spokesman has said. "We hope this development will end war, conflict, unrest and the death of innocent people, and help to establish peace and tranquility in the region."


Robert Fisk: If this is a US victory, does that mean its forces should go home now? | Commentators - The Independent - 2011-05-04
Reposted byiranelectionkrekk

May 03 2011

May 02 2011

China: Exposing Internet Surveillance Abroad

The U.S-China Human Rights Dialogue did not have any concrete consensus last week. While the U.S government questioned Chinese government's crackdown on dissent, oppression of religion and expression freedom, Chinese leaders condemned Washington's hypocritical attitude, in particular the killing of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Moreover, western countries' double standard in Internet governance, has also provided excuses for the Chinese government to justify the development and surveillance of the Internet. The State Council Information Office has recently issued an instruction requesting all websites

to continue effectively organizing positive on-line guidance related to the development and surveillance of the Internet.  Regarding the related special topic, “Exposing Internet Management Abroad,” during the May Day period all websites are requested to continue implementing the requirements by prominently placing this topic on website front pages. 

Below are a list of headlines and links to the articles in the special issue, “Exposing Internet Management Abroad”:

UK Internet governance: The government takes the lead to impose self-regulation

The USA reinforces Internet governance through legislation.

The development of Chinese Internet unveils the lie of U.S accusation against Chinese Human rights condition.

People's Net: The U.S.A's double standard on Internet Governance

The U.S human rights record: Strict restriction on the Internet

Google and the US CIA joint hand in monitoring the Internet

Indonesia: Internet blacklist to restrict the distribution of celebrities' sex video

Asian countries work together for a legal framework to keep the Internet in order

The Internet leaks privacy: Protection of privacy should be taken into account

French Internet governance bill (HADOPI): Prevention and Punishment in managing the Web

The U.S bill gives president emergency control of Internet

网络非化外之地 诽谤构罪也刑罚
The Internet is not barbaric space, defamation will be punished

Reposted bykrekk krekk

May 01 2011

Sachs: The Global Economy’s Corporate Crime Wave

Jeff Sachs says rich countries should not be "pointing the finger at poor countries" over corruption:

The Global Economy’s Corporate Crime Wave, by Jeffrey D. Sachs, Commentary, NY Times: The world is drowning in corporate fraud, and the problems are probably greatest in rich countries – those with supposedly “good governance.” Poor-country governments probably accept more bribes and commit more offenses, but it is rich countries that host the global companies that carry out the largest offenses. ...
Hardly a day passes without a new story of malfeasance. Every Wall Street firm has paid significant fines during the past decade for phony accounting, insider trading, securities fraud, Ponzi schemes, or outright embezzlement by CEOs. ... There is, however, scant accountability. ... When companies are fined for malfeasance, their shareholders, not their CEOs and managers, pay the price. ...
Corporate corruption is out of control for two main reasons. First, big companies are now multinational, while governments remain national. Big companies are so financially powerful that governments are afraid to take them on. Second, companies are the major funders of political campaigns in places like the US, while politicians themselves are often part owners, or ... beneficiaries of corporate profits. ...
Even if governments try to enforce the law, companies have armies of lawyers to run circles around them. The result is a culture of impunity, based on the well-proven expectation that corporate crime pays. ...
So the next time you hear about a corruption scandal in Africa or other poor region, ask where it started and who is doing the corrupting. Neither the US nor any other “advanced” country should be pointing the finger at poor countries, for it is often the most powerful global companies that have created the problem.
Reposted from02myEcon-01 02myEcon-01

April 27 2011



In a recent NYT, David Brooks reports the mood of the large majority of Americans – majority as large as the majority of Russians sharing that mood. He does it under a saying-it-all title: “The Big Disconnect”:

The current arrangements are stagnant but also fragile. American politics is like a boxing match atop a platform. Once you’re on the platform, everything looks normal. But when you step back, you see that the beams and pillars supporting the platform are cracking and rotting.

This cracking and rotting is originally caused by a series of structural problems that transcend any economic cycle: There are structural problems in the economy as growth slows and middle-class incomes stagnate. There are structural problems in the welfare state as baby boomers spend lavishly on themselves and impose horrendous costs on future generations. There are structural problems in energy markets as the rise of China and chronic instability in the Middle East leads to volatile gas prices. There are structural problems with immigration policy and tax policy and on and on.


On Dsyfunctionality of the Global Elites | Zygmunt Bauman - Social Europe Journal - 2011-04-27

March 22 2011


Middle East News, Iraq, Iran current affairs | Pepe Escobar - Asia Times Online - 2011-03-12

Ten years ago, on the road in AfPak before and after 9/11, the volume of choice in my backpack was a French edition of Gilles Kepel’s Jihad. Night after night, in many a mud brick house and amid endless cups of green tea, I slowly came to embrace its key thesis: that political Islam was in fact going down, not up.

On one side, we had outfits like al-Qaeda, self-designated vanguards bent on waking the Muslim masses from their slumber to unleash a global Islamic revolution; they were in fact Muslim versions of the Italian Brigate Rosse and the German Rote Armee Fraktion.

On the other side, we had Islamists like the ones from the Turkish Justice and Development Party, ready to immerse themselves into Western-style parliamentary democracy, betting on the sovereignty of the people, not Allah’s.

At the height of the "war on terror" - with those B-52s bombing Tora Bora without knowing that Osama bin Laden had already escaped to Pakistan - the tendency in the West was to lump most, if not all Muslims as deranged jihadis.

I agreed with Kepel that "clash of civilizations" was nothing more than a silly, shoddily researched concept instrumentalized by the neo-conservatives to legitimize their "crusade". But that needed some corroboration from history.

Ten years later, one may finally say that Kepel’s analysis was spot on. Hardcore Islamism, al-Qaeda-style, is a Muslim box-office disaster. For all its myriad declinations - in Iraq, in the Maghreb, in the Arabian Peninsula - al-Qaeda is no more than a desperate sect, destined to the dustbin of history as much as those Western-backed dictators a la toppled Tunisian president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali and Egypt's former president Hosni Mubarak who used to be the pillars of the Western struggle against radical Islam.

Kepel today directs the program of studies on the Mediterranean and the Middle East at the legendary Political Sciences school in Paris. In an article for Italian daily La Repubblica, he seals for good the victory of Islam as democracy over Islam as "revolutionary" vanguard. The money quote:
"Today the Arab peoples have emerged from that dilemma - squeezed between Ben Ali or bin Laden. They have now re-entered a universal history that has seen the fall of dictatorships in Latin America, the communist regimes in Eastern Europe, and also the military regimes in non-Arab Muslim countries such as Indonesia and Turkey."


February 28 2011

Play fullscreen
YouTube - Der Hass auf den Westen von Jean Ziegler (~ interviewt letztes Quartal 2009)
Reposted fromdo-panic do-panic

February 27 2011

John Pilger: Behind the Arab revolt is a word we dare not speak (Nasir Khan blog)

... treatment of the alleged whistleblower Bradley Manning and its pursuit of WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange. “Way back when George and Tony decided it might be fun to attack Iraq,” he wrote, “I said something to the effect that fascism had already begun here. I have to admit I did not think it would get this bad this quickly.” On 16 February, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton...

Source : Nasir Khan blog

Explore : Cinema, Crises and conflicts, Directors, Fine Arts, World

Reposted fromsigalonleaks sigalonleaks
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