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For Labor Day

  1. G. Gilbert Yule
    September 3, 2012 at 7:27 am

    Nice! As a life-long, now retired, union worker I thank you and those that labor everywhere. Happy Labor Day all!

  2. Mitch
    September 3, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Thanks Eric,

    Pete Seeger is a great example of how easily happiness and work for justice can go together.

    It’s hard for me to imagine the alternate universe in which Ayn Rand and Rand Paul joyfully sing, “I’m sticking to myself, yeah, I’m sticking to myself. I ain’t afraid, cause I’m getting what I’m worth.”

  3. fennell3@suddenlink.net
    September 3, 2012 at 8:40 am

    Thank You Erik! A perfect way to begin my day! Peace, Sista Soul

  4. Utah Phillips
    September 3, 2012 at 8:53 am

    Imagine Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson singing Joe Hill’s “The Preacher and the Slave” refrain like I did:

    You will eat by and by
    In that glorious land in the sky, way up high
    work and pray, live on hay,
    And you’ll have pie in the sky when you die (that’s a lie)

  5. Plain Jane
  6. Eric Kirk
    September 3, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    If defendants could have been acquitted by DNA evidence back then, we would have been deprived of this ballad. Not that there haven’t been plenty of other victims over the decades.

  7. Sirius
    September 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    On this Labor Day let us remember that the virulently anti-union Walmart invaded our town, aided and abetted by our local Quislings, and the Walmart now sits on the sacred site where good union men were murdered by anti-union thugs and the EPD because they had the temerity to strike.

  8. Eric Kirk
    September 3, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    PJ – Even Labor Day itself it seems. Check out this Eric Cantor tweet suggesting that today is the day we should recognize ….. employers!

    Today, we celebrate those who have taken a risk, worked hard, built a business and earned their own success.

  9. September 3, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    The fix is in; Mitt Romney has won the election. Goodbye America, we hardly knew ya.

  10. jr
    September 3, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Movie Dad: What makes you believe that the fix is in?

  11. Eric Kirk
    September 3, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    Calm down M.D. Excluding Rasmussen, Romney got no bounce from his convention so far. And despite having the suppression law upheld, Romney and the Koch superPACs have essentially pulled out of Pennsylvania. It’s far from over.

  12. jr
    September 3, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    Eric: Any reason(s) why Romney and the superPACs have pulled out of Pennslyvania?

  13. Eric Kirk
    September 3, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    According to the reports, they’re not seeing any changes in the polling despite some heavy advertising, so they want to expend their resources elsewhere. Unless there’s something to change the dynamics, they may be giving up on the state.

  14. Mitch
    September 4, 2012 at 7:48 am

    I’ve come to half-fantasize, half-believe that the Republicans have been brilliantly executing on a decades long plan to skew vote turnout their way. The method is to be as deceitful as possible while spreading the misleading meme “they all do it.” Everyone in politics spins, but the Obama campaign has been nothing at all like the Rove campaign in its malicious disregard for the truth. But I wonder if Rove doesn’t have internal proof that he can generalize voter disgust after causing it.

    The result is to turn away from voting precisely the sorts of people who would be more likely to vote on the Democratic side of things — young voters, idealistic voters — while retaining those who vote because their church or boss tells them to or because they see direct tax savings from a particular candidate’s win.

    I don’t see any other reason that the Republicans would feel so comfortable with their big lie approach.

    Incidentally, I recently found out that it’s illegal to pay anyone to go to the polls in a Federal election (just to vote, even a blank ballot, not to vote for or against anyone or anything). The reason should be obvious: payments would attract more poor people to the polls than wealthy. It’s legal in California-only elections, but not in federal. In federal elections, you’re not allowed to influence turnout except negatively, with hundreds of millions of dollars of negative advertising. So you can anonymously spend $50 per voter in an in-play state to lie about a candidate’s record and show them in ominous black and white, but you can’t offer $50 directly to anyone who goes to the polls in that same state.

  15. September 4, 2012 at 8:47 am

    Erik you are so naive sometimes. I say he’s been crowned by the powers-that-be based on the actions, or should I say: non-actions of the democrats. The lies that were spewed out at the convention have been left to stand. The democrats are playing the same game they always play. That is, rolling over completely to the republicans on every issue. Of course they are playing along with the decision to have Romney/Ryan be the winner. They’ve done this in the congress and the senate over and over. Do they stand up and point out the lies? No they don’t. Because they all belong to the same party, the party of the rich. If Wall-Street say’s Romney is the winner, then he is the winner. Do you see the democrats putting up any kind of real fight? No. Just like with every issue that has come up that might possibly aid the working people, the democrats have folded before the “fight” even began. They all live in the same gated communities. Their kids all go to the same schools. They all work for the betterment of their own class and anything to the contrary is just theater.
    I’ve heard that tired old argument about the “differences” between the rich republicans and the rich democrats and it’s all bullshit.
    Romney could in reality be 70 points behind Obama in the polls, but they are doing the same thing they did in 2000 and 2004; they are setting the stage. They are giving the false impression that it’s “neck’n’neck.” These “Grand-Manipulators” have outright ownership of the media that is feeding whatever “reality” it wants to the citizenry. And take a good look at what the “citizenry” looks like these days. Has there ever been a more ignorant, hateful, stupid, selfish, greedy bunch of Know-Nothings in power on the Earth? Some traitor who has stolen tens of thousands of American jobs gets up an spouts a bunch of platitudes and the “citizenry” carries him on their shoulders. No wonder the rich have no respect for American people, what a bunch of fools. They sell themselves into slavery for empty promises and the empty fantasy that someday they too will have the power to crush their neighbors and enrich themselves.
    There are no democrats with power doing a damn thing for the working man. They’ve betrayed the unions. They’ve betrayed the poor and in the final analysis, they’ve betrayed the country.
    So please spare me your propaganda about how much better the democrat “Good-Cop” is than the republican “Bad-Cop.”
    I say this with all due respect to you, I appreciate your efforts. But I have to disagree with you, and with Jake Pickering (who I also respect greatly.) The “Great Pendulum”, regardless of which way it happens to be swinging, does nothing but cut us all down.

  16. Manuel labor
    September 4, 2012 at 9:20 am

    In 2008 President Obama received more Wall Street money than any candidate in history, and he still relies on Wall Street bundlers for his sustenance. For all his class rhetoric, miscreant Wall Streeters, particularly big ones, have evaded big sanctions and the ignominy of jail time.

    Obama enjoys great support from the financial interests that benefit from government debt and expansive public largesse. Well-connected people like Obama’s financial tsar on the GM bailout, Steven Rattner, who is also known as a vigorous defender of “too big to fail.”


  17. tra
    September 4, 2012 at 10:59 am


    I certainly agree that at the national level, broadly speaking, both major parties serve the interests of Wall Street, the military-industrial complex, agribusiness, and the police state / prison-industrial complex, and that in those (and other) important areas, the Big Picture differences between the Republicans in D.C. and the Democrats in D.C. are, indeed, somewhat marginal.

    But for many millions of Americans, the on-the-ground effects of Republican policies would make more than a marginal difference in their lives:

    * If you’re a woman who needs an abortion, the difference between the Democratic policy of allowing women to safely and legally get that procedure, and the Republican policy of criminalizing abortion, even in cases of rape or incest, is not going to be a marginal difference.

    * If you’re a low-income senior citizen, the difference between having guaranteed Medicare coverage, as opposed to what amounts to a coupon to help you buy insurance IF you can afford it, could be the difference between a decent life in old age, and a life of pain and suffering, and/or premature death.

    * If you are in love with someone of the same sex, then being being allowed to marry the love of your life, versus being banned from marrying them, could be the difference between feeling accepted and valued by society, and feeling rejected and devalued.

    From tax policy to unemployment benefits, to health coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, to the auto-industry rescue, to energy policy, to relative spending on military vs. social needs, I could go on and on about how these “marginal” differences add up to very real differences in peoples’ everyday lives.

    Yes, there’s much to complain about in today’s Democratic Party, especially at the national level. But anyone who claims that there are no real differences between the Democratic agenda and the Republican agenda must ignore the reams of evidence to the contrary. What today’s political landscape proves is that it’s possible for two parties to both be on the wrong side of many issues, and yet one of those two parties can still be much, much worse than the other.

    As a practical matter, it looks like Obama will probably win by a large margin in California, so whether you and I stay home, or vote for a third party, probably won’t make any difference in the outcome. But there are many states in which the race could conceivably come down to a relatively small number of votes, in which case folks who are fed up with corporate-sponsored Democrats and corporate-sponsored Republicans, will have to decide whether they are willing to cast their vote for the “lesser of two evils,” or whether they want to withhold that vote in protest, even though doing so will inevitably increase the liklihood of the “greater of two evils” prevailing.

    of course those who choose to believe that there is no “greater” or “lesser” in that equation are conveniently letting themselves off the hook — but doing so requires ignoring the very real, very negative effects that giving greater power to the Republicans would have on those who are most vulnerable, including children, seniors, women, minorities, and the poor.

  18. High Finance
    September 4, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Tra, you’re full of baloney.

    Abortion. Sure it is in the plank but there isn’t any serious thought of a constitutional amendment. The worst that could happen is that it goes back to the states.

    Medicare. You do know that Obama has passed a $700 + billion dollar cut to Medicare in order to pay for Obamacare don’t you ?

    Obama has failed. He himself said that if he couldn’t fix the economy in his first term he would be a one-term president. Despite TRILLION dollar plus stimulus to the economy we are saddled with 23 million unemployed or underemployed workers.

  19. Eric Kirk
    September 4, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Medicare. You do know that Obama has passed a $700 + billion dollar cut to Medicare in order to pay for Obamacare don’t you ?

    That’s not really true, and you know it. When you say “cut to Medicare” you’re implying that it’s a cut to benefits, and that’s just not the case. The problem is that the accusation is simple, and the response is very complex. It’s why Romney’s team has no problem lying about it, along with other issues. Yes, the fact checkers will ring his clock, but most of the undecided voters will never read the fact checkers. They will be inundated with superPAC money ads. Will enough voters see through it? We’ll find out.

  20. Eric Kirk
    September 4, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Obama enjoys great support from the financial interests that benefit from government debt and expansive public largesse. Well-connected people like Obama’s financial tsar on the GM bailout, Steven Rattner, who is also known as a vigorous defender of “too big to fail.”

    I’m a pretty big critic on Obama on your score, but he also has union support and whatever Rattner’s failings they did in fact save GM.

  21. anonymous
    September 4, 2012 at 11:58 am

    By not having a television and hardly ever tuning in a commercial radio station, I have not heard a single political ad in over 15 years. I would urge others to do likewise.

  22. tra
    September 4, 2012 at 11:59 am


    Abortion: The anti-abortion zealots don’t need a Constitutional Amendment, just another vote or two on the Supreme Court.

    Medicare: The Republican plan was to cut the same $700 + billion, and also turn it into a voucher program, with no guaranteed benefits.

    Obama doing some things I’m not crazy about and not doing (or not being able to do) some things I would have preferred, doesn’t cause me to ignore the fact that what the Republicans offer is, in my opinion, much, much worse. As should be obvious, that’s basically the main point of my 10:59 comment.

  23. Plain Jane
    September 4, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Isn’t it surreal to hear HiFi complaining about reducing the cost of Medicare? That it does so without cutting any patient benefits is remarkable. Of course, a healthier populace due to everyone having health care will reduce health care costs forever.

    This is ust like all the complaints from the righties about Obama not ending the wars, not closing GITMO, cutting expenses of Medicare, etc. Sometimes it feels like I’m down the rabbit hole.

  24. Amy Breighton
    September 4, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    As “tra” points out, the elites of both parties seasonally distract the little people with renewed threats to Medicare, abortion, marriage rights for all, etc, while neither party offers popular legislation to end usurious interest rates, to use the collapse to return the Glass-Steagall Act or use the “Citizen’s United” ruling to return our Fairness Doctrine, campaign finance reform, public-funded elections, reestablish reasonable Tariffs, end offshore tax havens; job exports; bailouts; illegal wars; our unsustainable dependence upon unregulated foreign-resource and child-labor extraction; the promise to catchup to the other industrialized nation’s that are rapidly developing Green Economies; the uninsured cancer epidemic bankrupting millions; the trillian$ in outstanding student loans…and on, and on…

    Quick test: Ask your friends and family members why they don’t register, or abstain from voting! Many intuitively understand that the game is rigged, most are grossly uninformed on the big issues by a silent media. Eligible, non-participants represent the majority in U.S. elections.

    Barring a national epiphany, voting can still make a difference on the local level…where democratic leaders couldn’t muster more than 6 volunteers against right-winger Rex Bohn.

  25. High Finance
    September 4, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Today’s headlines about what Obama HAS accomplished.

    The National Debt topped $16 TRILLION dollars today.

    Today there is a record 46 MILLION people on Foodstamps.

    Announced today the Democrats have dropped all mentions of God from their platform.

    You must be proud PJ.

  26. tra
    September 4, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    So we should elect Romney and Ryan, who promise to double down on the same policies that exploded the deficit, and crashed the economy during the Bush years? Uh, no thanks. I’ll take the slow improvement that Obama’s tenure has brought, over a return to (and increase of) the disastrous policies of the Bush’s tenure, which is what Romney and Ryan have promised to deliver.

  27. Eric Kirk
    September 4, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Announced today the Democrats have dropped all mentions of God from their platform.

    Oh no!!

  28. September 4, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    tra :

    Obama doing some things I’m not crazy about and not doing (or not being able to do) some things I would have preferred, doesn’t cause me to ignore the fact that what the Republicans offer is, in my opinion, much, much worse.


    I would also think that an unassailable fail mark and down time on the current Republican ways would bring a sensible opportunity for some fresh (or remembered responsible) ones to appear.

    People talk about Obama automatically now carrying California. What about the congressional seats to make it more possible to use the next years?

    What else we could have beyond the current quandary, including what Moviedad describes? Well, that possibility feels interesting. A continued steady move forwards on general issues wouldn’t hurt to be building more reality to it, no?

  29. Eric Kirk
    September 4, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    There’s a quote going around that’s attributed to Chris Rock: “If you vote against Obama because he can’t get stuff done, it’s like saying, “‘this guy can’t cure cancer. I’m gonna vote for cancer.'”

  30. Eric Kirk
    September 4, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    Barney Frank tonight, from TPM:

    Appearing on CNN during the opening night of the Democratic convention, retiring longtime Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) argued that his party was willing to help President Bush weather the 2008 economic crisis — unlike Republicans, who he said refused to lift a finger to assist President Obama when he needed them.

    “The problem there is that assumes even if he wasn’t doing health care, the Republicans would have been less obstructive on jobs. I’m afraid that’s not the case,” said the congressman, when asked if President Obama squandered too much capital on health care reform.

    “Unfortunately, from the very beginning — look, look at the contrast. George Bush came to us on the Democratic side in late ’08 and said, we’re in a crisis, we need your help — and we gave it to him, very openly, very fully. Then Obama comes in to try to deal with the terrible situation he inherited from bush and the republican media went into full partisan attack. [Senate Republican Leader] Mitch McConnell announcing his number one goal was to defeat the president. I don’t think in the end the timing, unfortunately, would have helped a great deal.”

  31. High Finance
    September 5, 2012 at 8:28 am

    What “slow improvement” is that Tra ?

  32. tra
    September 5, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    It is a matter of historical fact that Bush and his congressional allies enacted dramatic tax cuts for the rich, which they claimed would spur job growth. It is also matter of historical fact that when Bush left office, unemployment had nearly doubled, and that, as a result of both the Bush tax cuts, and the onset of the recession, tax revenues were dwindling just when they were most needed. So it should be no surprise that the Bush recession left quite a hangover, both in terms of mounting unemployment, and in terms of growing public debt –no honest observer could claim otherwise.

    When Bush left office, unemployment was 7.8 % and rising rapidly, quickly reaching 8.3% by the end of Obama’s first month in office, and then gradually slowing, reaching a peak of 10% a few months later. It is now back to about 8.3%. More jobs are being created than are being lost every month. That is a clear improvement over the Bush era, when millions more jobs were lost than created, and the rate of losses was increasing.

    And when you look a little deeper, it turns out that private-sector jobs are actually growing at a faster rate than the overall jobs numbers might imply, since the loss of public-sector jobs due to budget cutbacks ha partially offset the new private-sector jobs. (Now one might think Republicans would be pleased with the fact that public sector jobs are declining, and being replaced with private-sector jobs — after all, isn’t that what they want to happen? But when their purpose is to paint a (false) picture of Obama as a private-sector job-killer, the facts just don’t line up with the narrative. So, out with the facts and on with the narrative.)

    To me, the idea of handing the reigns of power back to the same kind of people, with the same kind of ideologies and policies that held sway during the disastrous Bush presidency — and in some cases even more extreme versions of those failed policies — that just seems like an utterly absurd response to being less-than-satisfied with the current pace of the recovery.

    It’s as if someone told me that they had cracked their skull as a result of banging their head against a concrete wall, and that they were angry that it was taking some time to heal, and that in response their plan was to return to the same wall and just bang their head against it again — but this time, they’re going to bang it twice as hard.

  33. September 5, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Yes, tra, but Romney’s white.

  34. tra
    September 5, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    I’m sure that has no effect at all.

  35. tra
    September 5, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    Private sector job gains and public sector job losses, for the U.S. and for Ohio, since March 2010:


  36. tra
    September 5, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    Bill Clinton answers the question “are we better off today than 4 years ago?”

    “Are we better off than we were when he took office, with an economy in free fall, losing 750,000 jobs a month? The answer is yes.”

    Pretty hard to argue with that — unless, of course. you just ignore the facts. Not surprisingly, the first story I clicked on — a Fox News story — had simply edited out the part about how we were losing 750,000 jobs a month when Obama took over. Typical Faux News, and shows how weak the Republicans’ arguments really are. They can barely win an argument with an empty chair, so it’s no surprise that their allies in the right-wing media feel the need to obscure this simple fact that Clinton reminded us of tonight.

    Because if the Republicans were forced to own up to the fact that it was their own president and party who caused the unemployment rate to more than double, who sent the deficit skyrocketing, and failed to prevent the massive financial meltdown and bank crisis that threw us headlong into the most severe economic downturn since Great Depression — if they were forced to own up to these spectacular failures of their own ideology, their own policies, and their own leaders, then all they would be left with is the laughably lame complaint that Obama and the Democrats haven’t cleaned up the enormous mess left by the Republicans fast enough, so we should put the mess-makers back in office and double down on their failed policies.

  37. Just Watchin
    September 6, 2012 at 6:10 am

    When your pillar of truth is the guy who wagged his finger at the camera and said “I did not have sexual relations with that woman”, well, it speaks for itself.

  38. Plain Jane
    September 6, 2012 at 7:05 am

    When the party you support tries to impeach a president over a lying about a BJ ((gentlemen don’t kiss and tell) but the people still favor him by 69%, well, that speaks for itself as well.

  39. September 6, 2012 at 8:17 am

    It’s hard for some people to understand that, when public facts are cited, the veracity of the public facts is independent of the history of the person doing the citation.

    These days, many wingers consider facts and opinions to be pretty much the same thing, and choose theirs based on which team they support, forgetting that they can check facts themselves, or read reports by fact checkers. People’s lazy refusal to do that is a big part of the problem facing the country.

    Yes, Clinton lied about his blowjob. Romney lies about fucking the country over. I’ll take Clinton.

  40. September 6, 2012 at 8:49 am

    This morning I was reminded of why I just can’t support KHSU. Their continual broadcast of the propagandists at NPR, is an affront to the sensibilities of Humboldt County listeners. In talking about the blatant lies told with relish at the RNC, the narrator would only refer to the incident as: “…the alleged distortion of facts.” and: “…he was accused of misrepresenting the facts.” The guy was caught red-handed. But the media is supported and outright owned by corporations who have made it clear they want a more “Business-Friendly” administration. Now how, after the president OK’d a trillion dollar bailout for those criminals, who then used their ill-gotten gains to go after home-owners, can be called anti-business is beyond my feeble mind. But of course, the truth doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter to the good-cop, and it doesn’t to the bad-cop. But why is my university spending thousands of donated dollars a month to disseminate the “talking-points” and “factual-manipulations” of the wealthy-corporate-Elites?
    There’s a reason we get “Coky Roberts” and we don’t get: “Dave Standcliff” Dave is going to say what he wants to say, not what he thinks his pay-master wants him to say. And that is something KHSU is not going to allow.
    It’s not my intention to turn this into a promotion of KMUD. But damnit! At KMUD we hear dissent! If there was really such a thing as “Public Radio” on NPR stations; then we would be hearing Jake Pickering, Dave Standcliff, Libertarians, local republicans, hippies, fools and tools. But at least we wouldn’t be spoon-fed dishonest reports from so-called “Reporters” who sold their ethics to the ruling-class a long time ago.
    This has served the “New American Centurions” very well. We now have people living on social security with major health issues, voting into office those who vow to end Social Security and eliminate any form of public health care.
    So sick of the game.
    Just think of the federal, state & local news programs that could be generated with the funds being spent on national propaganda.
    Until working people gain control of the “Public” airwaves, they will never be represented or respected on the air. Except on KMUD, which has to struggle, work and beg for every dollar.

  41. Amy Breighton
    September 6, 2012 at 11:43 am

    “So we should elect Romney and Ryan, who promise to double down on the same policies that exploded the deficit, and crashed the economy during the Bush years?” (“tra”).

    Obviously, the important subtleties of tyranny are completely lost on the other half of America that never votes. Until democrats everywhere decide to triple-down on educating and registering voters, we are left to “hope” that citizens can retain their Medicare, civil liberties, and abortion rights. Meanwhile, every measurable indicator of the economy, environment and society continue in free-fall regardless of which brand of razor blade we slit our throats with every 4 years.

  42. tra
  43. haroldjackamyjim
    September 6, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    “Excuse me, ma’am, did you know that it doesn’t matter who you vote for because either way you’re just slitting your own throat? Now, would you like to register to vote?”

    (Gee, I’m having a hard time finding anyone who wants to register to vote…I wonder why?)

  44. Amy Breighton
    September 6, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Interesting link tra.

    It took the NAACP, La Raza and a union to do what the democrats should have started in earnest a generation ago when voter-registration began its rapid decline. They’re targeting 4 million potential voters which is more than enough to swing any national election today, leaving behind the vast majority of America’s non-participants.

    This issue is just another extreme, unbelievable, and disgraceful irony in America that, somehow, national media completely ignores.

  45. tra
    September 6, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    “They’re targeting 4 million potential voters…leaving behind the vast majority of America’s non-participants.”

    The NAACP / LaRaza / union effort does not have unlimited resources, so they need to start somewhere.

    And it’s not like the Democrats don’t try to register voters — they do. But, again, this takes resources, and resources are not unlimited. But, in a way, I think I more or less agree with you, in the sense that I feel that a lot more of the resources that the party and its candidates are able to marshal, should be mobilized to educate and register and turn out voters, as opposed to spending such a large amount of those resources on TV ads, etc.

    The hard part for Democratic leaders and candidates is that spending less on advertising would allow Republicans to outspend the Democrats on advertising even more than they already do, and that being even more heavily outspent on the airwaves may mean that Republican candidates win more elections in the short-term.

    The unlimited SuperPac spending has made this whole problem even worse, leaving Democrats scrambling to try to compete in the advertising-dollars race. I do think that there’s a legitimate case to be made that the Democratic party will never succeed in that effort, and that therefore the party and its supporters might as well just give up on trying to achieve anything like advertising-dollars parity, and instead put much more of their efforts into grassroots voter education, registration and mobilization efforts.

  46. September 6, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    tra :
    And it’s not like the Democrats don’t try to register voters — they do. But, again, this takes resources, and resources are not unlimited. But, in a way, I think I more or less agree with you, in the sense that I feel that a lot more of the resources that the party and its candidates are able to marshal, should be mobilized to educate and register and turn out voters, as opposed to spending such a large amount of those resources on TV ads, etc.

    It makes every bit of sense, tra, as always, in something like balance as you mention.

    Also, it’s a direct and honest response to the long-term gerrymandering, and recent ‘must show difficult id’ attempts.

  47. September 6, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    moviedad, definitely see your point of feeling about this.

    For my money, NPR has been smarmy for many years, and for that alone can’t much listen to them.

    The additional underlying factor here may be libel law. It’s legally difficult to say point blank that someone lies, at least I think it is.

    What you can do is as some larger voices have done: bring out publicly vocal ‘fact checkers’. You are allowed to dispute facts freely.

    Done well, thinki it can accomplish the purpose, and possibly better than accusation can — you’ll know the reasoning on that.

  48. Eric Kirk
    September 6, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    Barring a horrible jobs report tomorrow, I’m going out on a limb and prediction that Obama wins the popular vote by three percentage points and the electoral college by about 100. If the report tomorrow is bad, it’s up in the air. But if you put aside the stupidity around the platform, this was probably the most effective convention since the Republican convention of 1984.

  49. High Finance
    September 7, 2012 at 8:23 am

    There was another horrible jobs report. Obama is done.

  50. Plain Jane
    September 7, 2012 at 8:27 am

    If the voters are thinking, the Democrats will take over the House and give Obama the help required to heal this country. If they blame Obama for the GOP obstruction, they’ll soon regret it and things will get ugly fast.

  51. September 7, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Yeah, yeah; Romney’s jobs record is much better. The only problem with it is they’re all in China.

  52. Eric Kirk
    September 7, 2012 at 8:40 am

    It’s not that bad actually. Unemployment rate dropped two percent. There will be a lot of discussion as to why, but the “gut voters”:undecided probably won’t be paying much attention to them.

    My prediction stands. Obama by 3 percent, with a large electoral college spread. Romney and the Koch-funded superPACs just pulled out of Pennsylvania and Michigan. It’s all about Ohio, Virginia, and Florida now.

    Fortunately, the Republicans have put up a very lame candidate.


  53. Eric Kirk
    September 7, 2012 at 8:49 am

    You know what’s particularly ironic is that all of the job losses of late are in the public sector. Private sector jobs have increased every month for the past three years. This is exactly what Republicans say they want – less government, more capitalism. The problem – the biggest load on the economy at this point – tax cuts. We’re at the lowest rate, at least for the upper half, in over a century. It’s a problem for a modern economy.

  54. Plain Jane
    September 7, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Off topic, but Counterpunch has a very interesting article about how Romney avoided the draft while cheerleading the draft and the war. He was even more craven than GWB.


  55. janelle
    September 7, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Any word on what type of private sector jobs, level of pay and benefits, being created?

  56. High Finance
    September 7, 2012 at 10:19 am

    Eric, the unemployment rate dropped two tenths of one percent not 2 percent.

    But that one statistic is misleading because it only counts the people activily looking for work and not all the unemployed. Since somewhere around 150,000 new people enter the job market every month and only 99,000 new jobs were created it is apparent that a lot of people dropped out discouraged.

    Many say that the true percentage of unemployed & underemployed workers is close to 23 percent.

  57. Just Middle Finance
    September 7, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Bush, Cheney, and the Banksters had nothing to do with the economic situation President Obama inherited. We are going to keep blaming Obama for everything. Additionally, we are going to beat the drums loudly about an imaginary socialist agenda the President has for his second term, thus setting up the conservative opposition to oppose President Obama at every turn through the second term. We got the cash, we got the property, we got the bailout, and we own the politicians. Get used to it!

  58. Anonymous
    September 7, 2012 at 10:56 am

    The carpenters aren’t rebuilding the house fast enough, so let’s turn it back over to the arsonists who burned it down in the first place.

  59. September 7, 2012 at 11:08 am

    The “Right” has no interest in America’s well being, much less the well being of the Americans themselves. They have no problem getting into bed with China if it means they can defeat people here who oppose their Anti-American policies. There’s a word for it, but it gets used so much its lost much of its power.

  60. Eric Kirk
    September 7, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Many say that the true percentage of unemployed & underemployed workers is close to 23 percent.

    Many also say that Bigfoot walks the Six Rivers Forest.

  61. jr
    September 7, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Eric: Are you saying that 23 percent is too high a figure or two low? I have heard that the actual unemployment rate is about this figure.

  62. Eric Kirk
    September 7, 2012 at 11:54 am

    I suspect that it’s far lower given the amount of consumer spending over the past year, particularly with regard to durable goods. And the recent housing starts. There’s a recovery in process, but because manufacturing has been gutted over the past 20 years, it’s slow as we convert an economy to one based on educated skill. We don’t know what to do for the men with only a high school diploma. Building infrastructure would be a temporary fix, but we need to make something that we can sell to other countries. Hard to do.

    Had they passed the jobs bill last year, we would probably see an unemployment rate a point lower. I suspect that if Romney manages to pull out a win, we’ll see a stimulus package passed even larger, but it’ll all be in military industry spending – much like Reagan circa 1983.

  63. tra
    September 7, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    I’m not sure what source (or orifice) HiFi consulted for his figure of 23%, but of course you can will come up with a higher joblessness figure when you also include “underemployed” workers (those who want full-time work, but can only find part-time work, or can only find work that makes poor use of their skills and training). Of course if you’re going to compare apples to apples, you’d have to look at the moldy crapapples served up by the Bush administration, under the same failed economic policies that Romney and Ryan promise to double-down on.

  64. tra
    September 7, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    As Clinton pointed out in his speech, when Bush left office the country was losing 750,000 jobs per month. We are now gaining about 100,000 jobs per month. Which is better, plus 100,000 or minus 750,000? Most people can do the math.

  65. Amy Breighton
    September 7, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    “Yeah, yeah; Romney’s jobs record is much better. The only problem with it is they’re all in China.”
    (moviedad #52).

    I remember when the U.S. had a national media that would kill for ironies like that….they would have eclipsed Romney’s campaign back in January.

  66. Eric Kirk
  67. September 8, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Well, Eric, now we see what the polls look like when the sides get equal convention coverage.

    We’ll soon see what the polls look like when Citizens United starts in earnest, and the real players invest in the election.

  68. High Finance
    September 9, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    Are we gaining “100,000 jobs per month” Tra.

    According to what I read today, in July there were 142,220,000 jobs and in August there were 142,101 job a LOSS of 119,000 jobs.

    Yet the feds tell us there were 96,000 new jobs created ? Is this the New Math ?

  69. Amy Breighton
    September 10, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    “Maybe voters really are more sophisticated than they used to be.”

    Baring a catastrophic catalyst, it would take a miracle for the minority of voters to alter the corrupt U.S. political status-quo without the participation of the majority who are non-voters.

  70. Eric Kirk
    September 10, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    High Finance :

    Are we gaining “100,000 jobs per month” Tra.

    According to what I read today, in July there were 142,220,000 jobs and in August there were 142,101 job a LOSS of 119,000 jobs.

    Yet the feds tell us there were 96,000 new jobs created ? Is this the New Math ?

    Both the unemployment rate and the job creation numbers are ascertained by surveys. It’s hard for me to evaluate what you read yesterday. I didn’t read it.

  71. Anonymous
    September 10, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    “The broader CPS employment measure fell by 119,000”

    Aug was 142,101,000 and July was 142,220,000


  72. tra
    September 10, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Both numbers are from “the feds,” HiFi, namely the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    The 96,000 new jobs created figure is from the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey, also known as the “payroll survey,” where they survey employers. The figure of 119,000 jobs lost is from the Current Population Survey (CPS) also known as the “household survey.”

    The advantages of the household survey (which yielded the -119,000 jobs number for August) are that it includes farm workers and the self-employed. Its main disadvantage is that it is much more volatile and less reliable. The payroll survey (which showed +96,000 jobs for August) is much less volatile and considered more reliable, but does not include farm workers and the self-employed.

    Since the surveys use different definitions and methodologies, it is not unusual for their findings to differ significantly, and sometimes give the appearance of being contradictory.

    This article does a pretty good job summarizing the two BLS surveys:


  73. tra
    September 10, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    For more detailed information on how these two surveys are conducted, how employment and unemployment is defined in each, and so on, go to the BLS website:


    Read the note on “Sampling error” on Page 5:

    “The payroll survey has a much larger sample size than the household survey. The payroll survey’s active sample covers approximately 486,000 business establishments of all sizes, representing about one-third of total nonfarm employment. The household survey is much smaller at 60,000 households, covering a very small fraction of total employed persons. Over-the-month changes in the household survey employment are therefore subject to larger sampling error, about four times that of the payroll survey on a monthly basis. When looking at short-term trends in either survey, especially over-the-month changes, it is therefore essential to assess the statistical significance of the change. (The sizes of the over-the-month changes in employment needed to be statistically significant are shown on page 4.)”

    Scrolling back up up to Page 4, you will find that the household survey employment numbers would have to have decreased (or increased) by at least 436,000 jobs in order to be statistically significant with a sample of the size that is used for that survey (in other words in order to conclude that the change was real, and not just statistical “noise”). The apparent loss of 119,000 jobs doesn’t even come close. In other words, the number you are citing is essentially meaningless. Which is why that’s not the number that economists and (responsible) news organizations pay attention to. By contrast, the net gain of 96,000 jobs that the payroll survey showed IS above the number (90,900) that is required to be statistically significant in a sample of the size used for that survey.

    Bottom line: The figure of 119,000 jobs supposedly being lost is completely unreliable, from a statistical point of view, whereas the figure of 96,000 jobs supposedly being gained IS reliable, from a statistical point of view. Neither is likely to be totally accurate (and both are revised later), but the +96,000 figure is likely to be much closer to the actual number.

    Yet right-wing media and websites are trumpeting the -119,000 figure as if it were a meaningful number. Is this because those citing the figures are ignorant and/or mathematically-challenged, or because they know full well that they are relying on a completely meaningless number but are doing so anyway because it fits their “Obama is wrecking the economy” narrative and they feel confident that their audience is biased and/or ignorant and/or mathematically-challenged enough that they can get away with it? Probably some of both.

  74. What Now
    September 10, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    Good post, TRA.
    unfortuantely, attempting to to deal with a factual and concrete basis with Highly ‘Fried is akin to attempting to train barnyard animals to sing madrigals. He’s used to the spoon fed saccharine pablum of fuzzy Fox News Florida math.

  75. tra
    September 10, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    Those are the two Bureau of Labor Statistics surveys. There is one other major survey worth noting: The ADP National Employment Report, which measures private-sector employment, based on actual payroll data . So, what did this one show?

    ROSELAND, N.J. – September 6, 2012 – Private-sector employment increased by 201,000 from July to August on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the latest ADP National Employment Report® released today. The ADP National Employment Report, created by Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP®), in partnership with Macroeconomic Advisers, LLC, is derived from actual payroll data and measures the change in total nonfarm private employment each month. The estimated gain from June to July was revised up from the initial estimate of 163,000 to 173,000.

    U.S. Nonfarm Private Employment Highlights – August 2012 Report:

    • Total employment: +201,000
    • Small businesses:* +99,000
    • Medium businesses:** +86,000
    • Large businesses:*** +16,000


  76. tra
    September 10, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    So, going back to comparing apples to apples, instead of apples to moldy pumpkins, the fact remains that employment was plummeting after 8 years of Bush, and recovering substantially after 3 1/2 years of Obama. According to the ADP report, private-sector job growth is rising even faster than overall employment. So, tell us again why we should opt for Romney and Ryan, who promise to double-down on the same kinds of economic and tax policies that held sway under the Bush administration?

  77. High Finance.
    September 11, 2012 at 10:05 am

    The point is Tra, the economy is not improving and is on the verge of going in the reverse. If you think the employment picture is “recovering substantially” then I worry about your judgement.

    Another point you have completely missed, I am not comparing “apples to moldy pumpkins”. The CPS figures are comparing August CPS to July CPS, apples to apples. Even you admitted the CPS figures are more accurate in that they include farm workers & the self employed. Really Tra, your posts of last night are exceptionally weak. You are capable of better than that.

    After the election the mainstream media will stop being an Obama cheerleader and start reporting the true state of the economy. Even idiots like What Now will wake up.

  78. tra
    September 11, 2012 at 10:40 am

    No, HiFI the CPS figures are most certainly not “more accurate.” You could say that they are “broader,” or more “inclusive” than the CES, but the CPS figures are not nearly as accurate, as the BLS itself makes very clear in their documentation.

    And what part of “not statistically significant” do you not understand? As I pointed out above, (6:12 comment) the month-to-month change in the CPS (household survey) figure you quote is nowhere near being a large enough number to be statistically significant, whereas the CES (payroll survey) number IS large enough statistically significant.

    Meanwhile, you completely ignore the ADP report, which is based on actual payroll data for private sector jobs.

    The bottom line is that you have presented no valid basis for arguing that the economy is “not improving” or “on the verge of going in the reverse,” or that the employment picture is not recovering. Instead, what you have done is to choose to believe the statistically INsignificant change in the more volatile and less reliable CPS survey, which has a much smaller sample size, instead of the statistically significant change in the less volatile and more reliable CES survey, which has a much larger sample. And then you completely ignore the third survey, based on actual payroll data, which (not surprisingly) agrees with the trend shown in the CES survey.

    So you can believe what you choose to believe, but doing is in contradiction with the only reliable evidence that is available. Just goes to show that the religious nuts are not the only part of the conservative base that engages in “magical thinking” to justify their political preferences. It appears that many (so-called) economic conservatives are just as willing to take a “faith-based” approach to mathematics. You can bow your head, avert your eyes from the facts, and fervently believe that 2+2=5, but in the real world, it never does.

  79. Just Middle Finance
    September 11, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Bootstraps! Make your own jobs like Hi Fi and I do and you won’t need to go to Wal*Mart begging for a paycheck. You think we have that crap in our houses? The whole “unemployment rate” debate is just that, a debate, for both parties to kick around for the election hoping to use this issue for their own advantage. Meanwhile back at the ranch, jobs are being exported faster than the private sector and public sector can create jobs. Get used to it, you’re going to be competing with Central American children for jobs unless you pull yourself up by your bootstraps and inherit a gas station like I did.

  80. High Finance
    September 11, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    I will bookmark your post #79 and remind you of it next winter when the media & you catch on to what is really happening to the economy Tra.

    Obama has spent $5 trillion dollars on stimulating the economy and has failed completely.

    Do you have anything intelligent to add Factless ? Ever ?

  81. Eric Kirk
    September 11, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    5 Trillion? Boy, I don’t remember that one!

    The economy is actually picking up fairly well, as we are finally getting some movement in the housing industry which is usually the forerunner, but the problem is that we have permanently lost a huge chunk of jobs suited for high school educated men. That’s going to be a problem for a long time. Maybe they can all move to China?

  82. tra
    September 11, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    “I will bookmark your post #79 and remind you of it next winter when the media & you catch on to what is really happening to the economy Tra.”

    Fair enough. At least you’ve stopped pretending you have any real evidence that we’re losing jobs at this time. If the evidence looks different next winter (or for that matter at any time) I promise that I will have no problem acknowledging it. But I think it’s more likely that it’ll end up being a test of whether you’re willing to do likewise, or whether you’ll just keep ignoring the most reliable evidence available, just because it contradicts your beliefs, while embracing any evidence that seems to buttress your beliefs, even if that evidence is known to be unreliable. I guess we’ll see.

    “Obama has spent $5 trillion dollars on stimulating the economy and has failed completely.”

    Only if you think that reversing the trend of massive job losses that was taking place when Bush left office, and turning that around to where we have added 4,166,000 more private sector jobs since October 2009, somehow counts as “failed completely.”


  83. tra
    September 11, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    In the meantime, I think you’ll really enjoy this this piece from the Daily Show, in which Larry David lampoons Obama, saying his slogan should be “Obama 2012: It could have been worse.” Enjoy:


    And I’m down with that. Only problem is, I think the Republican’s slogan should be “GOP 2012: At least as clueless as the Bush crowd, but now with 25% more wingnuts.”

  84. High Finance
    September 12, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    It is hard to believe that some people have their minds so firmly closed that they believe the political tripe about this being a improving economy.

    Even you understand the official unemployment rate of 8.3% is baloney. It does not account for the discouraged workers who have given up, does not account for the underemployed and while you discount the “broader” CPS figures you have acknowledged the official government figures do not count farm workers or the self employed. 23% is probably a more accurate picture of what is going on.

    The number of homes under water is massive and the only reason they aren’t being foreclosed on is because the banks don’t want that many more units on the market at once underming further the drop in home prices.

    And this is AFTER five TRILLION dollars in federal goverment stimulus dollars in the last four years and massive influx of money into the economy by the Federal Reserve.

  85. Just Middle Finance
    September 12, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Thanks to Fox and other conservative voices, people are arguing weather or not the economy has improved under President Obama and how it would fare under a Romney administration. Thankfully, people are not talking about Trillion dollar bailouts for the only segment of Americans who increased their wealth during the Great Recession. Thankfully people are not talking about America’s deteriorating infrastructure. Thankfully people are not talking about the continuing exportation of American jobs. And thankfully people are not talking about the costs of Endless War. This way, the true Americans, the Republicans, can have another opportunity to bring the glory of trickle down economics back to America and we can dump Obama’s Grand Socialist Dream.

  86. tra
    September 12, 2012 at 1:30 pm


    Apparently, you’re still misunderstanding even the basics. The narrower-but-more accurate CES (the payroll survey) and the broader-but-less-accurate CPS (the household survey) are BOTH “official government figures.” Both come from the same outfit, the Bureau of Labor statistics. The links I provided above describe how these surveys differ and why they sometimes yield (seemingly) conflicting results. They also show that the change in the CPS figures is not even close to statistically significant, and is therefore completely unreliable. So it’s a “broader” measure, but one that showed no statistically significant change. The third report, from the private payroll firm ADP, is based on actual payroll data, and is the only one of the three sets of numbers that is not an “official government figure.” And the ADP report found that there were approx. 210,000 more private sector jobs in August than in July.

    Yes, the “real” number of unemployed + underemployed + discouraged workers is always higher than the basic unemployment rate calculated by the BLS. That was just as true in the Bush years, and in every previous administration. It was true at the point where Bush was leaving office and jobs were being lost at a massive rate, it was true at the depths of the Bush hangover in 2009 when the “official” unemployment rate peaked at 10%, and it’s true today. So what? If you have any evidence that the “real” unemployment rate, including underemployed workers and discouraged workers, is higher now than it was last year, or two years ago, or three years ago, well, let’s see it. Asserting (or implying) that it is so does not make it so, no matter how many times you repeat the assertion or implication.

    And of course you still haven’t said where you got your alarming-sounding figure of 23% “real” unemployment — as far as I can tell you’re just plucking it out of thin air. If you do have some source for that estimate, let me know what it is, how that number was arrived at, and how that current number compares to the same number at the point where Bush left office, and at the point when Obama’s stimulus program began to take effect (fall of 2009). Then we might have something meaningful to talk about. But if you’re just going to use made-up numbers (as I suspect the 23% figure is) and/or numbers that are known to be volatile and unreliable and which represent alleged changes that aren’t statistically significant anyway (the July-August change in the CPS figure) then there really isn’t anything left to talk about. At that point I have little choice other than to conclude that your mind is “firmly closed” to any data that doesn’t fit your theory.

  87. Anonymous
    September 12, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    “Even you understand the official unemployment rate of 8.3% is baloney. It does not account for the discouraged workers who have given up, does not account for the underemployed and while you discount the “broader” CPS figures you have acknowledged the official government figures do not count farm workers or the self employed. 23% is probably a more accurate picture of what is going on.” (Post #85).

    Obviously, we had to wait until a democrat was in office before a right wing republican would dare to utter the words, “underemployed”, “discouraged workers”, and the “erred official figures” of the uncounted, disenfranchised masses!

  88. High Finance
    September 12, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    You’ll have to google just like I did to see the people citing the 23% figure.

    I am tired of you Obama cheerleaders.

  89. Anonymous
    September 12, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    High Finance is right, we need to return to the programs that worked against record unemployment, FDR’s job programs that trained and employed tens of millions!

    The point is, that these statistical-truths were not that different back when Bush-cheerleaders kept their traps shut!

    I’m tired of you hypocrites.

  90. tra
    September 12, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Googling “23% Unemployment” I come up with a bunch of websites and one Fox News report, all quoting one guy, John Williams, and his “Shadow Government Statistics” website. Williams “estimates” that “real” unemployment is 23%, but does not provide any information on how he comes up with that “estimate.”

    So one guy pulled a number out of his ass, a bunch of right-wing websites and a Fox News report threw it out there, and you swallowed it whole. This bit of fiction apparently passed undigested through your system like a seed through the gut of a cow, and in your incontinent rush to defend your unsubstantiated claims, you deposited it here in a steaming pile.

    Thanks for clearing that up.

  91. Just Middle Finance
    September 13, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Hi Fi is absolutely correct Fox News said unemployment was 23% +/- and Rush Limbaugh said this, even several prominent Republicans have discovered that Americans are indeed unemployed and have been talking about this. Just Google this like Hi Fi told you and you will see Hi Fi is always right.

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