Stop Perpetuating War by Exalting Its Sacrifices
A reminder upon the death of U.S. Army Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler, the first American to die in combat in Iraq since 2011.
In the great 1964 antiwar film, The Americanization of Emily, the protagonist, Charlie Madison (James Garner), says what Americans desperately need to learn: "We perpetuate war by exalting its sacrifices." This is worth contemplating as we see pictures of the flag-draped coffin bearing the body of U.S. Army Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler, the first American to die in combat in Iraq since 2011 and the first since Barack Obama launched his illegal and unconstitutional war against the Islamic State.
Wheeler, a Delta Force member, was killed last week during a raid in northern Iraq to free 70 prisoners of the Islamic State. He was "advising and assisting" a Kurdish force, Secretary of War Ash Carter said, but joined the charge when the Kurds met resistance.
Curiously, President Obama says no U.S. "combat troops" are in Iraq, but it is evident that troops don't have to be designated "combat troops" to engage in combat. Carter says U.S troops will conduct "such missions directly, whether by strikes from the air or direct action on the ground."
Imagine if Obama had committed actual combat troops! As Gayle Tzemach Lemmon writes in The Atlantic,
George Orwell would have understood—war is peace, and combat is noncombat.
Carter lauded the "sacrifice and decisive action of this courageous American in support of his comrades...." He continued: "This American did what I’m very proud that Americans do in that situation. He ran to the sound of the guns, and he stood up, and all the indications are it was his actions and that of one of his teammates that made the mission successful."
Much will be said in the coming days of Wheeler's heroism and courage in face of grave danger. That he risked his life to save a large group of prisoners held by Islamic State barbarians is obvious. But the point is he should not have been anywhere near Hawijah, Iraq. He should have been at home in the United States, along with the rest of his colleagues. Instead he was in a U.S.-created hellhole serving the imperial ends of hack American politicians and generals. Some people call that "serving his country."
Wheeler's death will be highly useful to the Obama administration and jingoists at large in assuring a war-wary American public that U.S. intervention in the Middle East is not only right but also an opportunity for individual noble acts. And therein lies the danger—for by portraying war as an occasion for virtue, the politicians romanticize evil and lure innocents into it.
As "Charlie Madison" put it,
It's not war that's insane, you see. It's the morality of it. It's not greed or ambition that makes war: it's goodness. Wars are always fought for the best of reasons: for liberation or manifest destiny. Always against tyranny and always in the interest of humanity.... It's not war that's unnatural to us, it's virtue. As long as valor remains a virtue, we shall have soldiers. So, I preach cowardice. Through cowardice, we shall all be saved.
Charlie had no time for military "leaders" who later say that war is hell:
I don't trust people who make bitter reflections about war.... It's always the generals with the bloodiest records who are the first to shout what a Hell it is. And it's always the widows who lead the Memorial Day parades.... We shall never end wars by blaming it on ministers and generals or warmongering imperialists or all the other banal bogies. It's the rest of us who build statues to those generals and name boulevards after those ministers; the rest of us who make heroes of our dead and shrines of our battlefields. We wear our widows' weeds like nuns ... and perpetuate war by exalting its sacrifices.... May be ministers and generals who blunder us into wars, but the least the rest of us can do is to resist honoring the institution.
This piece originally appeared at Richman's "Free Association" blog.
His death has raised the question of how an American could have died in combat when America, at least according to President Barack Obama and his national security leaders, is not at war.ReplyDelete
“We have this capability. It is a great American strength,” Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said Friday at the Pentagon of special-operations raids like the one this week. But he insisted those raids are not the same as the U.S. military “assuming a combat role.”
“Americans are flying combat missions, thousands of combat missions, over Syria and Iraqi territory. There are Americans involved in training and advising Iraqi security forces around the country. We do not have combat formations there the way we had once upon a time in Iraq, or the way we have had in years past in Afghanistan,” Carter said.
Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook had been blunter on Thursday: “Our mission in Iraq is the train, advise and assist mission. This was a unique circumstance. … This was a support mission in which they were providing support to the Kurdistan Regional Government. U.S. forces are not in an active combat mission in Iraq.”
But before Carter left the podium on Friday, he offered this explanation for why he couldn’t reveal more details of Wheeler’s actions: “This is combat. Things are complicated.”
Paul Krugman has taught them nothing: Republicans would tank the economy again, given another chanceReplyDelete
The stimulus prevented a second Great Depression, a new report shows. What would've helped more? An even bigger one
The idea that George W. Bush “kept us safe” has rightly been exposed to ridicule recently by Donald Trump. But Bush also failed miserably on another front: keeping us safe economically, as he presided over the biggest economic catastrophe since the Great Depression — and his presidency was already an economic disaster before that, per Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz.
On this second front, the GOP blame-shifting centers on Obama, in order to virtually erase the epic market failure from history. Just as Bush is supposed to get a pass for 9/11, while getting credit for “keeping us safe” afterwards, he’s also given a pass for the housing bubble and the financial crisis which gave us the Great Recession, so that all blame can be focused on Obama, who supposedly made things worse with his “job-killing” policies.
In the real world, empirically-based economists know this is ridiculous. In the third quarter of 2010, for example, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the stimulus bill “increased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.6 million.” This was typical of CBO reporting of the impact the stimulus had, but the totality of policy responses was much broader than that, and a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities by economists Alan Binder of Princeton and Mark Zandi of Moody Analytics updates their earlier work in 2010 to first provide a comprehensive overview and then draw lessons for the future.
On the first point, Zandi told a conference call briefing, “In its totality it was a resounding success,” adding, “That sounds a little odd,” because of how bad the recession was. “It was indeed a great recession, a very painful time, we’re still not completely free of it,” he said. But it could have been so much worse. “If not for the policy response, the recession would have been, as Alan is fond of saying, the Great Depression 2.0.”
More specifically, the paper estimates that, without that response:Delete
The peak-to-trough decline in real gross domestic product (GDP), which was barely over 4 percent, would have been close to a stunning 14 percent
The economy would have contracted for more than three years, more than twice as long as it did
More than 17 million jobs would have been lost, about twice the actual number
Unemployment would have peaked at just under 16 percent, rather than the actual 10 percent
The budget deficit would have grown to more than 20 percent of GDP, about double its actual peak of 10 percent, topping off at $2.8 trillion in fiscal 2011
Today’s economy might be far weaker than it is — with real GDP in the second quarter of 2015 about $800 billion lower than its actual level, 3.6 million fewer jobs and unemployment at a still-dizzying 7.6 percent.
That alone should be enough to silence right-wing critics of government activism in general, but of course it won’t be. “I know there are still denialists who think the economy would have been just great in 2009-2010 if the government just left it alone, but I doubt they will read the Blinder-Zandi paper,” economist Dean Baker told Salon. Baker, the co-director of the Center for Economic Policy Research, is one of a handful of economists who warned of the financial crisis before it occurred (none of whom, significantly, relied on standard macro-economic models). “For everyone else,” Baker said, “you’re left asking, ‘What is this really telling us?’”
“Denialist” is an apt description. A 2010 paper by Adam Kessler in the Real-World Economics Review, “Cognitive dissonance, the Global Financial Crisis and the discipline of economics” examined the views of economists opposed to Obama’s stimulus at the time, believers in lassez faire (BLF) who signed a letter from the Cato Institute to that effect, as opposed to economists in general. Kessler theorized that BLF responses to the crisis and ensuing recession could be explained in terms of cognitive dissonance, saying that, “Cognitive dissonance theory predicts that when real-world events ‘disconfirm’ deeply-held beliefs this creates psychological discomfort in persons and they will respond by means of distortion and denial.”
BLFs naturally tend to believe that free markets work perfectly well and thus when they don’t government must be held to blame, in denial of what has just occurred. Kessler queried this group of BLFs and a sample of economists from the American Economics Association, asking about their views were on 10 possible causes of the Great Recession. One possibility was the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), which requires banks to reinvest in communities they serve which have traditionally been redlined (called “assessment areas” under the law). As the paper’s abstract explains:Delete
The notion that the CRA is a major cause of the crisis apparently has great resonance among the BLF but is demonstrably false. Among other results, 46 percent of the signers of the letter believe that the CRA was one of three top causes of the crisis compared to 12 percent of the “other” economists. I conclude that the BLF exhibit symptoms to cognitive dissonance.
There are a variety of lines of evidence against the CRA hypothesis, (some in the paper, more here and here) most strikingly the fact that “Only 6 percent of high-priced loans to low-income borrowers or in low-income neighborhoods by lending institutions that fall under the CRA legislation were made in their CRA assessments areas.” Far more money was put at risk elsewhere, most of it by institutions not covered by the CRA. “The CRA did it” is an economic denialist narrative, every bit as much as “sunspots did it” is a global warming denialist narrative. Both are easily refuted by data — data which denialists simply choose to ignore.
Still, aside from the denialists who will ignore this new study, there are some who could benefit — journalists, for one, who are constantly exposed to floods of denialist claims about the economy, the torrent of blame that Republicans constantly heap on Democrats, despite the well-established fact that Democrats are overwhelmingly better for the economy. Thus, at the very least, this study provides a very different, and refreshingly fact-oriented, framework for thinking about economic policy.
The paper has two distinct purposes, Zandi explained. First, “to assess the policy response, in its totality, to the great recession,” a reprise of their earlier work but with the passage of time, “a lot more data points and better tools, better models.” Second “to tease out from our results … what we’ve learned” both to prevent future crises to the extent possible, and beyond that to ensure “that policymakers take the right lessons from what we’ve just experienced, so that they can respond to that crisis in a more effective way, and ensure that we don’t suffer the same kind of economic pain that we did.”Delete
As the paper explains, the policy response had three distinct aspects: financial stabilization (epitomized by TARP), fiscal policy (the stimulus and other programs) and monetary policy (most notably, quantitative easing), but the combination of these policies was much more successful than any of them would have been in isolation. “The policy response is more than the sum of the parts,” Zandi said, and in the report, they wrote “Fiscal and monetary policy interactions are large, that is, fiscal stimulus measures enhance the power of monetary/financial stimulus measures substantially — and vice versa.”
On the first aspect, Zandi said, “The most important point coming out of this effort is that stabilizing the financial system — in a sense bailing out the banking system and the financial system more broadly — was a necessary condition for stabilizing the economy, and jump-starting an economic recovery. Without that effort, without stabilizing Wall Street, so to speak, it would have taken a lot longer for Main Street to find the bottom and to get up and running.”
On the second aspect, fiscal policy, Zandi said, “lots of moving parts here, very controversial, but I think our work clearly shows that the fiscal stimulus efforts, the temporary increase in government spending, cuts in taxes, were very effective.” Most notably, “The Recovery Act, the most controversial stimulus, passed in February of ’09 was very instrumental in ending the recession, jump-starting a recovery. The recession ended only a few months after the Recovery Act, in June of ’09, and the first job increases began a year later, in February 2010, so I don’t think that’s any accident.”
Some of other policy efforts may have been more of a mixed bag, but Zandi said it was a “very important point, that when you’re in crises, it’s important to try lots of things. Some things will work, some things won’t, at least as well. But it is important and vital to be creative in the policy response.” Indeed, this is precisely the attitude that FDR took in digging the country out of the Great Depression.Delete
As for the third aspect, monetary policy, most notably zero interest rates, and quantitative easing [QE], it was “also very controversial,” Zandi said, “but I think, again, our work shows quite clearly that QE was very much a net positive for the economy.” He acknowledged there were “certainly some downsides, and the script on this is still being written,” but countered “At least up to this point in time it’s clear that it did help to lower long-term interest rates, support asset prices and support economic growth, and we go through that in some detail.”
Zandi concluded by noting “There were some efforts that fell short of expectations,” including “policy leading up to the crisis,” and housing policy in response to it. But considered as a whole, he clearly considered it a remarkable success.
Blinder then took up the second main purpose of their study, the question about lessons learned. He began with a warning: “If you’re in a key policy maker’s chair when something like this or remotely like this happens, you’re faced with titanic levels and varieties of uncertainty. So it’s not just like there’s a menu you pick up, and chose, this is what you do in circumstance 27.”
But if not a menu, he did have advice, starting with “The biggest, biggest lesson,” to draw: “It makes sense for policymakers to err on side of too much, rather than too little. So, that’s a bigger stimulus rather than a smaller stimulus, that’s more QE rather than less QE, and a whole variety of things like that, knowing that you don’t know the perfection point, the exact amount that will be just enough to cure the problem, and not too much to create some other problems. The benefits to risks are very asymmetric.”
As a corollary, he said, it was “a big mistake … to do a thing today that will make it harder for the next round, the net group of policymakers to . . . . . . . . . .
Ash made a pretty good comment there about the old bitching about the government keeping its hand off our MediCare.ReplyDelete
It's also true that big government can lead to really big war.
Some sort of intelligent balance is needed, Gentlemen.
Also, really big religion - I'm sure Rufus would agree - with its slogans and madness - is a really bad idea.Delete
Big cities, too, like say Los Angles......
Big forests are good though...
Big rock concerts are a bad idea.....
Big personal wealth....maybe, it depends......
Big hard on......that depends too, on the circumstances, and intent....
It all depends....
NBC Online national poll: Trump and Carson tied at 26, Ted Cruz third with 10 percent
Finally, I’ll just say this – because this is really what drives this whole thing. It is absolutely true that criticizing the actions of the State of Israel is not in itself anti-Semitism. Israel is as subject to criticism and condemnation as any other nation on earth.ReplyDelete
But you cannot understand Israel’s actions without understanding the pervasive, unrelenting, hate that surrounds that outpost of civilization. From Hezbollah rockets made in Iran, to BDS sanctions made in Berkeley and Santa Monica, the attacks on this country and its people cannot be understood without getting to the bedrock essence of the nasty, petty, small and mean-spirited emotion that drives anti-Semitism.
And that emotion is Envy.
I still ask, "What is Deuce's interest in Iran?"
Simple. It could be the most important strategic partner that the US could have in the ME, bar none. Obversely, it could be advantageous for Russia or China to try and be the same.Delete
Israel is worthless as an “ally”. Turkey is duplicitous and the Saudis are dangerous and are only a coup away from disintegrating.
Iran should never have been treated the way it has by the US. It was a mistake and it is fixable.
That is still no excuse for oppressing the Palestinians and taking their land.Delete
I have never thought Deuce had any particular interest in Iran other than as a regional player in the middle East. His exploration of the region has piqued his interest in it's long history. Maybe he has a dated a Persian woman as well - so what?
There may be a love swoon of a personal nature but we haven't heard much of it lately.....would be interesting to know where that stands....might as well be bold and open and forthright in all things......since meeting my Niece I have been much more interested in things Hindu and in India.Delete
The other interest is Iran is a big threat to Israel,,,,,,they could destroy Israel when they get the weapons......this is suicide of course, but their 'theology' praises it......scary...
Why anyone would be against Israel is beyond me......when on thinks of suicide bombers one does not think of Jews.....or, Swiss or English or Swedes or Hindus....
This implies a hatred of Judaism and who knows where that might come from......it doesn't make any sense particularly given the history of this people...
This video is for you Ash.Delete
I remember the first time I heard the world “Palestinian.” I was thirteen years old. The 1972 Munich Olympics were coming to an end,...
I was only ten at the time.
But I'll never forget my hatred of the "Palestinians"
Remember when they cheered the Twin Towers?
Maybe he has a dated a Persian woman as well - so what?Delete
I was just wondering, since I didn't receive an answer the first time I asked.
AshSat Oct 31, 01:48:00 PM EDTDelete
That is still no excuse for oppressing the Palestinians and taking their land.
There is no excuse of the arabs to oppress the Jews for a thousand years and take their lands.
Hebron, Jerusalem, Bethlehem all Jewish towns before the invading arabs tole the lands...
BTW what right do you have living in Canada oppressing the natives and stealing their lands?
Carson is a remarkable candidate.ReplyDelete
He doesn't have much money, not much of an organization......first time out of the gate......and he is right at the head of the race in one of the two biggest political parties in the West......people like his style......not a showboat.....but comes over as really sincere....he will begin to be mercilessly attacked.......skeletons is the closet......?......doesn't look so yet......I hope not......it's hard to attack one's brain surgeon
Go Ben Carson for President
Id vote for anyone currently posting at the Elephant Bar over Hillary.Delete
Christ, you mean we would have to give you a cabinet post?Delete
I’ll bite: Ambassador to India.
What could possibly go wrong?
I’d rather Viceroy to Hindu Kush. That should get rid of you once and for all.Delete
Peace out. I have dinner with an exotic erotic babe. Eat your hearts out muthafuckas.
Time for me to feed animals before heading to work some overtime.ReplyDelete
Why does the Palestinian Not have the right to kill the invader that has taken their homes, and fields?ReplyDelete
Because they are, in fact, invaders themselves.Delete
They stole lands that were not theirs. But by your logic?
They should be killed.
Should native Americans have the right to kill Deuce for taking their homes and fields?
No, they are residents of Israel.Delete
Their citizenship denied by an apartheid regime
Neil Irwin, a writer for the NYT Upshot section, had an interesting debate with himself about the likely future course of the economy. He got the picture mostly right in my view, with a few important qualifications.ReplyDelete
First, his negative scenario is another recession and possibly a financial crisis. I know a lot of folks are saying this stuff, but it's frankly a little silly. The basis of the last financial crisis was a massive amount of debt issued against a hugely over-valued asset (housing). A financial crisis that actually rocks the economy needs this sort of basis.
If a lot of people are speculating in the stock of Uber or other wonder companies, and reality wipes them out, this is just a story of some speculators being wiped out. It is not going to shake the economy as a whole. (San Francisco's economy could take a serious hit.)
Anyhow, financial crises don't just happen, there has to be a real basis for them. To me the housing bubble was pretty obvious given the unprecedented and unexplained run-up in prices in the largest market in the world. Perhaps there is another bubble out there like this, but neither Irwin nor anyone else has even identified a serious candidate. Until someone can at least give us their candidate bubble, we need not take the financial crisis story seriously.
If we take this collapse story off the table, then we need to reframe the negative scenario. It is not a sudden plunge in output, but rather a period of slow growth and weak job creation. This seems like a much more plausible story.
As Irwin notes, the rising dollar and weak economies of U.S. trading partners are reducing net exports for the country. This is likely to be a drag on growth through the rest of this year and well into 2016. Non-residential investment growth has slowed to a crawl, and with a lot of vacant office space in many markets (look around downtown DC), it may slow further. In spite of all the whining about people being unwilling to spend, consumption is actually quite high relative to disposable income.
This doesn't leave much to drive growth. We have been stuck at a weak pace of just over 2.0 percent for the last five years. This has been associated with decent job creation only because of the collapse of productivity growth over this period. It is reasonable to think that growth may slow further. If slower growth were coupled with even a modest uptick in productivity growth (e.g. to 1.5 percent), it could bring job growth to a halt.
This would leave us with an indefinite period of labor market weakness. The unemployment rate may not go up much, but we will make no headway towards bringing the employment to population ratio back to a more normal level. And most workers would continue to see their pay stagnate.Delete
We got a piece of evidence supporting this bad story yesterday when the Labor Department released the Employment Cost Index (ECI) for the third quarter. Instead of the prospect of rising wages, that has folks at the Fed worried, the ECI showed wage and compensation rates slowing from earlier in the year. Over the last year, total hourly compensation has risen 2.0 percent, with wages rising 2.1 percent. There is zero evidence here of any acceleration.
Debating the Economy with Neil Irwin? - CEPR
Anyhow, a story of slow job growth and ongoing wage stagnation would look like a pretty bad story to most of the country. It may not be as dramatic as a financial crisis that brings the world banking system to its knees, but it is far more likely and therefore something that we should be very worried about.
Armstrong Williams Acknowledges Ben Carson Had 'Contract' With Supplement MakerReplyDelete
Just Another Lying Grifter
'The GOP Circus: Truth-Defying Feats'ReplyDelete
The GOP Circus: Truth-Defying Feats, by Rick Perlstein: ...Step right up! Be amazed, be enchanted, by the magic GOP unicorn-and-rainbow-producing tax cut machine!
It takes a lot of energy to sustain a lie. When enough people do it together, over a sustained period of time, it wears on them. It also produces a certain kind of culture: one cut loose from the norms of fair conduct and trust that any organization requires in order to survive as something more than a daily, no-holds-barred war of all against all. A battle royale. A circus, if you prefer.
And the act in the center ring? The Amazing Death Spiral. One performer does something so outrageous that anyone else who wishes to further hold the audience’s attention has to match or top it––even if they know it’s insane. Listen to the warning of the one guy who dares grab the ringmaster’s microphone and say that if this keeps on going everyone will end up dead. That’s what poor old John Kasich did.
Hear him cry about his “great concern that we are on the verge, perhaps, of picking someone who cannot do this job. I’ve watched people say that we should dismantle Medicare and Medicaid. . . . I’ve heard them talking about deporting 10 or 11 [million] people from this country. . . . I’ve heard about tax schemes that don’t add up.”
And what happened to him? Read the snap poll from Gravis research. Only 3 percent of Republicans thought he won the debate. (First place was Trump with 26.7; second was Rubio with 21.1; third was Cruz with 17.3; and fourth was Ben Carson with 12.5.) Only 2.4 percent said they would vote for Kasich for president. When the clowns are running the show, of course it’s going to be in disarray.Delete
David Brooks says not to worry if candidates are lying about their economic plans, they are just exaggerating to make themselves more attractive to conservative voters (they couldn't possible be lying about who their true allegiance, could they?):
"At this stage it’s probably not sensible to get too worked up about the details of any candidate’s plans. They are all wildly unaffordable. What matters is how a candidate signals priorities. Rubio talks specifically about targeting policies to boost middle- and lower-middle-class living standards."
Paul Krugman is, shall we say, unconvinced:
...My experience is that the best way to figure out a candidate’s true priorities — and his or her character — is to look hard at policy proposals.
"My view here is strongly influenced by the story of George W. Bush. Younger readers may not know or remember how it was back in 2000, but back then the universal view of the commentariat was that W was a moderate, amiable, bluff and honest guy. I was pretty much alone taking his economic proposals — on taxes and Social Security — seriously. And what I saw was a level of dishonesty and irresponsibility, plus radicalism, that was unprecedented in a major-party presidential candidate. So I was out there warning that Bush was a bad, dangerous guy no matter how amiable he seemed."
"How did that work out?Delete
So now we have candidates proposing “wildly unaffordable” tax cuts. Can we start by noting that this isn’t a bipartisan phenomenon, that it’s not true that everyone does it?
Hillary Clinton isn’t proposing wildly unaffordable stuff... And proposing wildly unaffordable stuff is itself a declaration of priorities: Rubio is saying that keeping the Hair Club for Growth happy is more important to him than even a pretense of fiscal responsibility. Or if you like, what we’ve seen is a willingness to pander without constraint or embarrassment.
Also, his insistence that the magic of supply-side economics would somehow pay for the cuts is a further demonstration of priorities: allegiance to voodoo trumps all."
At a more general level, I’d argue that it’s a really bad mistake to wave away policy silliness with a boys-will-be-boys attitude. Policy proposals tell us a lot about character — and the history of the past 15 years says that journalists who imagine that they can judge character from the way people come across on TV or in personal interviews are kidding themselves, and misleading everyone else.
"What matters is how a candidate signals priorities." Yes, and the priority seems to be lying is okay to get what you want. That's a great trait to have in a president who might fact the decision to send our kids to die in a war he or she wants. Oh wait.
David Brooks Praises Marco Rubio for Pushing 20-Year-Old Ideas on Welfare ReformReplyDelete
Published: 30 October 2015
We all know how hard it is for folks like David Brooks, living in remote corners of Washington, to find out about changes in public policy. Therefore, it wasn't surprising to see him praise Marco Rubio, Brooks' favored candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, for a welfare reform proposal that was put in place almost 20 years ago.
The context was the installation of Paul Ryan as speaker and Brooks' perception that Rubio has emerged as the likely Republican presidential nominee. Brooks see both as promising conservative leaders.
The 20-year-old proposal that Brooks sees as a new idea is the plan to:
"...convert most federal welfare spending into a 'flex fund' that would go straight to the states."
Brooks may be too young to remember, but this proposal was at the center of the 1996 welfare reform in which TANF, the main government welfare program, was transformed into a block grant.
It turned out that block granting did not work very well. While some states did respond to the increased need for TANF in the last recession by increasing funding, many did not. This is the reason why programs are run by the federal government or with rules set by the federal government.
This is not the only item on which Brooks is apparently unfamiliar with the evidence. He also tells readers:
"As Oren Cass of the Manhattan Institute has pointed out, there are two million fewer Americans working today than before the recession and two million more receiving disabilities benefits."
Accordiing to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we actually have 4 million more people working today than before the recession, but the 2 million increase in disability beneficiaries is approximately correct, although the implication that it is due to more people opting not to work is completely wrong. The vast majority of this increase was due to the aging of the baby boomers into the peak disability years and the increase in the normal retirement age to 66. (Disability beneficiaries stay on disability insurance until they reach the normal retirement age.)
Since these factors were known before the recession, the Social Security Trustees were able to predict in their 2007 report that the number of disability beneficiaries would be 1.8 million higher in 2015 than in 2006. One item that the Trustees may not have incorporated into their projections was the tightening of state worker compensation program eligibility requirements. As a result, many people who might have otherwise been getting worker compensation benefits are instead collecting disability benefits.
The characterization of Speaker Ryan as a forward looking moderate is also questionable. He has repeatedly advocated extreme positions that are far outside of the mainstream of both parties. He has called for privatizing Social Security and Medicare and shutting down the non-military portion of the government by the middle of the century.
galopn2Sat Oct 31, 02:50:00 PM EDTReplyDelete
Why does the Palestinian Not have the right to kill the invader that has taken their homes, and fields?
Who determines who's lands it is?
By your logic any native American should have the right to kill anyone they choose...
But they lost that war... DIdnt they?
The fake nationalistic people that now calls themselves "palestinians" are historic losers.
They can't even have a name in their own language since there aint even a P in it...
No the Fakistinians is the cherry on top of the failed arab nationalistic endeavor.
SO ends a century of western nation building with the complete collapse of almost every "arab" nation (and their fake borders), mass death and brutality amongst the warring clans of arabs...
back to the past...
Might makes right? Is that how it goes? The Nazis had the power to drive the Jews from historic Teuronic lands, kill them, take their property and ethnically cleanse them from existence?ReplyDelete
The Jews collapsed and were only saved when another invading force defeated the Huns?
You are an ignorant silly fool.
The fake Jews from Europe made claims to lands that had been settled by others for a millennium and now justify anything because they can?
So you as an American can destroy the native lands? Drive them into camps? kill them take their property and ethnically cleanse them?Delete
Love the "fake Jews from Europe" line..
hey deuce, even if you were correct, and you are not...
It doesn't excuse what the arabs did to the Jews of the middle east, the jews that have lived in the area of 3000 years.
can you make up a spin on that?
Regardless of your opinions, the WORLD recognized Israel and the Jewish people's homeland.Delete
The arabs? the Fakistinians? they LOST the wars they started...
Now they are hacking each other to death...
can't but see the justice in that....
put that in your pipe and smoke it..
SO according to Rufus and Deuce the Jews are fair game to be murdered by the arabs...ReplyDelete
Cause they stole their lands...
But turnabout if fair play...
The Jews should have the right to kill those that stole their homes too?
899/900th of the middle east were ethnically cleansed of Jews by the arabs..
do we have your approval and support to kill those arabs (and their offspring) for the theft of Jewish lands?
come on asshole we are waiting...
or is this something that only jews are held to as a standard?
as you live as a squatter on the natives lands of Pennsylvania.....
You are the fool.ReplyDelete
Case in point:
The greatest modern military on the planet, supported by the largest economy and 315 million people have created enemies that did not exist before George W. Bush’s invaded Iraq in 2003. The ME gets worse daily. The damage done is still not known but it will be and the American people at some stage will have had enough and end the crusade.
With all the resources possible, the US has made things worse than anyone could have imagined and you really believe that Israel, stripped of US support is going to survive and thrive? You are delusional.
The seven million Israelites have proportionately created more enemies in the 1.5 billion Islamic World. Israel is dead man walking.
The US only needs to come home. You on the other hand are fucked.Delete
America is more of an illegal colonial project than Israel in every way shape and form.Delete
Just how badly fucked?ReplyDelete
BBC WORLD SURVEY RANKS ISRAEL NEAR BOTTOM IN GLOBAL POPULARITY
By Aaron Goldstein on 5.24.13 | 12:36PM
According to the BBC’s Annual Country Ratings World Survey, Israel is the fourth least popular country in the world. It ranks ahead of only Iran, North Korea and Pakistan.
Germany ranks as the world's most popular country with Canada in second.
Upon closer scrutiny, many of the countries surveyed are in the Muslim world: Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan and Indonesia. Only 1% of Egyptians have a positive view of Israel.
Other countries surveyed outside the Muslim world have had a long history of anti-Semitism: Russia, Germany, Poland, France and the United Kingdom. Indeed, 72% of UK respondents have a negative view of Israel which is the highest total in Europe.
Sadly, Canada and Australia did not fare much better with mostly positive responses of 25% and 16%, respectively.
Many countries with little contact with Israel viewed the Jewish State in negative terms. Only 3% of Japanese surveyed indicated they had a positive view of Israel.
The United States was the only country where more than 50% of those surveyed had a positive view of Israel. Several sub-Saharan African countries had generally positive views of Israel - Ghana (44%), Kenya (42%) and Nigeria (35%). Perhaps Israel's airlift of Ethiopian Jews during the famine in the mid-1980s could be responsible for this enduring goodwill or possibly its good relations with the newly independent Southern Sudan. Unfortunately, these countries are the exception to the rule.
Sadly, the world's oldest hatred endures with no signs of dying.
...and that poll was taken before the last Israeli assault on Gaza.ReplyDelete
Good luck with that.
Oh my the world doesn't like Israel...Delete
Gee since when?
Oh well, I guess nothing has changed...
But then again? Who gives a flying fuck?
The last israeli "assault" on gaza was a response to the savages of gaza's assault on Israel and Israelis..
get used to it..
if you bite a jew? expect to be relieved of your head...
Now the good news?
The world sits by as the arabs and moslems, iranians and russians are killing each other..
Funny Deuce edited out this part of the article:Delete
However, Israel was also listed on the list of most favorable countries. Israel was in 8th place on the favorable list, between South Africa and South Korea. On the list of countries favored by the British, Israel had a 1-point rise between 2012 and 2014.
Thus, it could be gathered that while there is a community in Britain that remains supportive of Israel, the unfavorable feelings towards Israel are growing more rapidly.
Funnier by the day.
A look at when the study was conducted could point to the reason behind the rise in negative sentiments – the findings were gathering in August of 2014, following the IDF's Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.
more distortion from Deuce..
Oh and the world?ReplyDelete
Where were they 60 years ago when the jews were being put in the death camps?
Oh I know..
that's why there is a Israel now and the IDF, so when pricks like Hamas or Fatah want to cut the hearts out of our children? We can fight back....Delete
might not make us popular?
But who cares about popularity...
Rather be alive...
Get this message thru your heads.
Popularity? Is a joke.
Deuce, do you fear the jew? the IDF?
Are you fearful that if Iran tries to complete a nuke Israel will nuke it 1st?
Does that make you tremble?
Does the fact that millions in gaza hate Israel and the Jews and still will not do anything to improve their living standards all to devote their energy to murder jews fill you with pride?
Deuce, a simple message...
Living well is a great revenge...
I suggest those that hate the Jewish state no use anything invented by or innovated by Jews or Israel.Delete
With only one third of Palestinians satisfied with the Gaza War accomplishments and only one third satisfied with the performance of the reconciliation government, half of Gazans say they are thinking about emigrating and the largest percentage believes that Israel came out a winner in the battle at FIFA. Nonetheless, Ismail Haniyeh and Hamas would win the elections in Gaza Strip while Abbas and Fatah would win in the West Bank.ReplyDelete
4-6 June 2015
These are the results of the latest poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip between 4 and 6 June 2015.
I've been sitting here, on my phone, video-chatting with my daughter, and watching my Grand-son in Mississippi put a puzzle together.ReplyDelete
Times are a'changin'.
The 21st. Century is going to be a hoot - if you're on the right side of history.
If you need to operate out of sight - maybe, not so much.
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
To those that hate the Israeli?ReplyDelete
DON'T use anything from this company...
WELCOME TO NETAFIM USA
NETAFIM DRIP/MICRO IRRIGATION PRODUCTS
Drip irrigation efficiently uses water resources to improve crop yields and nurture beautiful landscapes. We are the world’s number one provider of drip irrigation solutions and offer a comprehensive line of drip/micro irrigation products for Agriculture, Landscape & Turf, Greenhouse & Nursery, Mining and Wastewater applications.
Netafim™ is an Israeli pioneer of drip and micro-irrigation products for agriculture, greenhouse, landscape and mining applications. The company's offering includes drippers, dripperlines, sprinklers and micro-emitters. Netafim also manufactures and distributes crop management technologies, including monitoring and control systems, dosing systems, and crop management software. Netafim holds an over-30% share of the global drip irrigation market, and is recognized as the world-leading provider of drippers and dripperlines. The company recorded revenues of over $800 million in 2014.
Starve you bastards.... Starve...
Stockholm Industry Water AwardDelete
2013 Netafim, Israel For its "remarkable achievements, helping farmers across the world to ‘grow more with less,' which directly contribute to a more water- and food-secure world."
Hey that qualifies as a HELP the the USA for it's security...
Solar window is ‘green’ game-changer
A new solar window from Israel can generate power, reduce energy consumption and let in daylight, promising a green revolution to the construction industry.
Rufus... PLEASE don't use this product...
Rufus, listen to Wio. Don’t use it.Delete
Game changer, my ass. The product is a dud and has been eclipsed by transparent undistorted glass that does the same thing cheaper at a third of the cost and has far wider application.
How do I know. I visited the Dutch inventors at the Delft in Holland . They used the Pythagoras product to demonstrate the superiority of their project.
Pythagoras put up some sample units in the Sears Tower in Chicago and it was rejected.
Rufus... PLEASE don’t use this product...
Oh, I almost forgot, LOL
Please provide a link.
Unless sit's super top secret and you are not allowed...
Look it up yourself. Solar glass is one of core technological interests.Delete
In an April 7, 2010, article he wrote that Harry Truman perpetrated "the most atrocious act of terrorism in world history when he annihilated the civilian populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki." Scheer has repeated this assertion on the radio program Left, Right & Center.
Keep trying. I’m sure you will find at least one thing that answers the $100 billion question. What has Israel ever done for the US that qualifies them as invaluable ally.ReplyDelete
Keep it simple Use the starting date 8 June 1967 when Israel killed 34 American seamen.
HOW THE ISRAELI ATTACK ON AN AMERICAN SHIP UNFOLDED
National Security Agency documents recount the hours leading up to, during and after the attack on the USS Liberty by Israeli forces that killed 34.
EVENTS OF JUNE 8, 1967
6 a.m. An Israeli reconnaissance plane spots an unidentified ship 70 miles west of Tel Aviv.
9 a.m. A second Israeli reconnaissance plane spots an unidentified ship 20 miles north of El-Arish. Liberty's position is plotted on a map in green, designating a "neutral ship."
10:55 a.m. A naval liaison officer at Israeli Air Force headquarters informs Israeli Naval Headquarters that the previously unidentified ship is an "audio-surveillance ship of the U.S. Navy" named Liberty.
11 a.m. The acting chief of Israeli naval operations orders removal of Liberty from a plot table because he is no longer certain of its position.
11:30 a.m. The Israeli Navy receives an erroneous report that El-Arish is being shelled from the sea.
12:05 p.m. Three motor torpedo boats (MTBs) are ordered to proceed toward El-Arish.
THE ATTACK ON THE LIBERTY
1:56 p.m. Two Israeli Mirage III aircraft, followed by two Super Mystere aircraft, begin their attack on the Liberty.
2:14 p.m. The chief Israeli air controller in Tel Aviv tells the controller who is directing the attack on the Liberty that the ship is "apparently American."
2:20 p.m. The Israeli naval commander orders the commander of the Torpedo Boat Division to attack the Liberty. At almost the same time, the Naval Operations Branch orders: "Do not attack. It is possible that the aircraft have not identified correctly." The commander of the Torpedo Boat Division says he never got any order to cease the attack, although the deputy commander says he passed the message to the commander.
2:24 p.m. Liberty sights three MTBs 4-5 miles away and closing fast.
2:26 p.m. Liberty raises its largest American flag, the "Holiday colors."
2:27 p.m. Three torpedo boats begin strafing the Liberty and launch their six torpedoes.
2:28 p.m. Five torpedoes miss the ship, but one strikes the Liberty's right side, leaving a 39-foot hole.
2:29 p.m. Starting time for an NSA tape of Israeli communications after the attack. A previous tape, which presumably would have captured the air and torpedo attacks, is missing.
3:07 p.m. Israeli helicopters sent to rescue Liberty crewman from the sea arrive and "orbit" the heavily damaged vessel.
3:12 p.m. The helicopters' communications with the ground are intercepted by an American aircraft circling high above the scene. One helicopter pilot reports that he sees an American flag flying from the Liberty's mast.
3:16 p.m. An Israeli ground controller orders the helicopters to return to El Arish
Sources: National Security Agency documents, Tribune reporting
An Israeli military court of inquiry later acknowledged that their naval headquarters knew at least three hours before the attack that the odd-looking ship 13 miles off the Sinai Peninsula, sprouting more than 40 antennas capable of receiving every kind of radio transmission, was "an electromagnetic audio-surveillance ship of the U.S. Navy," a floating electronic vacuum cleaner.Delete
The Israeli inquiry later concluded that that information had simply gotten lost, never passed along to the ground controllers who directed the air attack nor to the crews of the three Israeli torpedo boats who picked up where the air force left off, strafing the Liberty's decks with their machine guns and launching a torpedo that blew a 39-foot hole in its starboard side.
To a man, the survivors interviewed by the Tribune rejected Israel's explanation.
Nor, the survivors said, did they understand why the American 6th Fleet, which included the aircraft carriers America and Saratoga, patrolling 400 miles west of the Liberty, launched and then recalled at least two squadrons of Navy fighter-bombers that might have arrived in time to prevent the torpedo attack -- and save 26 American lives.
J.Q. "Tony" Hart, then a chief petty officer assigned to a U.S. Navy relay station in Morocco that handled communications between Washington and the 6th Fleet, remembered listening as Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, in Washington, ordered Rear Adm. Lawrence Geis, commander of the America's carrier battle group, to bring the jets home.
When Geis protested that the Liberty was under attack and needed help, Hart said, McNamara retorted that "President [Lyndon] Johnson is not going to go to war or embarrass an American ally over a few sailors."
McNamara, who is now 91, told the Tribune he has "absolutely no recollection of what I did that day," except that "I have a memory that I didn't know at the time what was going on."
The Johnson administration did not publicly dispute Israel's claim that the attack had been nothing more than a disastrous mistake. But internal White House documents obtained from the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library show that the Israelis' explanation of how the mistake had occurred was not believed.
Except for McNamara, most senior administration officials from Secretary of State Dean Rusk on down privately agreed with Johnson's intelligence adviser, Clark Clifford, who was quoted in minutes of a National Security Council staff meeting as saying it was "inconceivable" that the attack had been a case of mistaken identity.
The attack "couldn't be anything else but deliberate," the NSA's director, Lt. Gen. Marshall Carter, later told Congress.
"I don't think you'll find many people at NSA who believe it was accidental," Benson Buffham, a former deputy NSA director, said in an interview.
"I just always assumed that the Israeli pilots knew what they were doing," said Harold Saunders, then a member of the National Security Council staff and later assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern and South Asian affairs.
"So for me, the question really is who issued the order to do that and why? That's the really interesting thing."
The answer, if there is one, will probably never be known. Gen. Moshe Dayan, then the country's minister of defense; Levi Eshkol, the Israeli prime minister; and Golda Meir, his successor, are all dead.
Many of those who believe the Liberty was purposely attacked have suggested that the Israelis feared the ship might intercept communications revealing its plans to widen the war, which the U.S. opposed. But no one has ever produced any solid evidence to support that theory, and the Israelis dismiss it. The NSA's deputy director, Louis Tordella, speculated in a recently declassified memo that the attack "might have been ordered by some senior commander on the Sinai Peninsula who wrongly suspected that the LIBERTY was monitoring his activities."
Ah when you can't talk about today?Delete
go back to the LIBERTY
Your blindness is amazing.Delete
And is now moped into a cartoon character..
You have lost any and all credibility on this issue.
There is nothing “cartoony” about your team killing my team.Delete
BUT, THERE IS MORE (PAT ATTENTION ISRAEL FANS: THIS LETTER WAS WRITTEN IN 1990) :ReplyDelete
Source: Liberty News
The Newsletter of the USS Liberty Veterans Association
Issues 3 & 4 Volume 8/March-June 1990
Comments: During this time period the USS Liberty issues were featured in the Sentinel. Research with the paper and the Keene, New Hampshire public library did not show that the article was actually printed in the letters to the editor. However, the Liberty Newsletter confirms it was written and sent to the paper.
Thursday, April 19, 1990
Letter to the Editor
Keene, New Hampshire
I recently received the “Liberty News,” published by the USS Liberty Veterans Association, featuring the 1989 months long exchanges in your paper relating to the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty. At this late date, I’d like to throw in my two cents on a topic brought up by two letters critical of the Sentinel and not answered by your supporters.
The two letters stated that Israel had paid “reparations” to the wounded and next-of-kin of those killed and to the U.S. for the damage to Liberty. I take exception to that. I will explain that Israel didn’t pay one thin dime.
U.S. TAXPAYERS PAID ALL THAT WAS PAID!
An arrangement was agreed to by Israel only after U.S. aid to Israel was increased from $13 million in Fiscal Year 1967 to a whopping $76.8 million in Fiscal Year 1968. That aid increase took care of negotiations for the crew, dead and wounded. These payments were made with U.S. Government checks in late Spring, 1968.
Israel then refused to pay for the LIBERTY damage. The United States government then increased the aid to Israel to $121.7 million for FY 1969. The new negotiations began and Israel agreed to pay $7.6 million damages for the $40 million ship…which was sold for less than $200,000.00 as scrap. But Israel DID NOT PAY as promised when U.S. aid was cut to $71 million for FY 1970, even though that was still five times the U.S. aid of 1967. And the bill remained unpaid (and not deducted from the increased U.S. aid).
With the election of Ronald Reagan in November of 1980, Israel was unsure of how good a friend to Israel Reagan would be. “A bird in the hand,” so to speak and Israel initiated new USS LIBERTY damage negotiations with ‘old friend’ Jimmy Carter. In December, 1980 the state Department announced that Israel had agreed to pay a total of $6 million for the LIBERTY in three payments over the next three years. A State Department official was quoted (as saying), “The book is closed on the USS LIBERTY.” That was 10-1/2 years after Israel had agreed to pay $7.6 million. No interest was to be paid by Israel. Even this last agreement was not kept per the agreement. It was reported in 1988, five years after Carter’s agreement should have been paid off, that Israel had finally paid the last installment.
Between the attack by Israel on the LIBERTY in 1967 and the “last payment,” some $45 billion is U.S. (U.S. taxpayer money) has been given to Israel by ‘bought’ U.S. politicians. Any payments were deducted from ever increasing U.S. aid to Israel.
$45 billion by 1990 to our invaluable ally.ReplyDelete
1/2 a month of quantitative easing..Delete
KEEP PAYING ATTENTION TO THE REST OF THE LETTER WRITTEN IN 1990ReplyDelete
But that is not the end of the story.
To give money to Israel, the U.S. must first borrow the money and pay interest on that borrowed money. The money and the interest become part of our FEDERAL DEBT, now more than THREE TRILLION DOLLARS. We, the U.S. taxpayers, are today paying interest on the FIRST DOLLAR in aid given to Israel in 1949 and all in between.
Using U.S. treasury interest tables on “interest rates we have paid,” year by year, to borrow money through 1983 and using 10 percent (1984-1990), AID TO ISRAEL WITH INTEREST COMPOUNDED ON THE PRINCIPAL AMOUNTS TO AN ABSOLUTE MINIMUS COST TO U.S. TAXPAYERS OF $128.138 BILLION (ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-EIGHT BILLION, ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-EIGHT MILLION DOLLARS).
All aid to Israel is now in GRANTS, never to be repaid. And unlike aid to other countries that receive their aid quarterly, Israel is given all their aid at the start of each of our Fiscal Years, thereby costing United States taxpayers an additional $50 million or so in interest each year. And aid to Israel is not subject to any cuts if budget cuts are made necessary by the Gramm-Rudman Act.
No, Israel did not pay reparations for the USS LIBERTY nor to the wounded and the next of kin of those killed as Fred Slavic and four others stated in their letters. Even United States aid to Egypt is to pay Egypt for its peace with Israel.
Gip D. Oldham, Jr.
6008 E. University Boulevard
Dallas, TX 75206
Drip, Drip, DeipReplyDelete
Yep, 360,000 dead in syria, 550,000 dead in iraq, tens of thousand in lebanon, sudan, yemen, libya..Delete
drip drip drip the iranians are doing quite nicely in murdering those you claim to support...
drip drip drip
Deuce, a simple message...ReplyDelete
Living well is a great revenge...
Israel is indeed living well and large. But they are always running to the toilet when the bill is presented on the table.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.Delete
LBJ, the man that lied us into a war that killed 58,000 US troops, does anyone doubt him capable of lying about actions that killed 34 more?
Hillary just shot part "Benghaiz on ion weekend.Delete
Some shot up the WTT, twice in fact.
Someone also launched that missile over f New Yeork Harber.
Someone ought to be held to account.
Deuce needs to have "The Bond Car" as a call if fitted with Israeli made lazor defense devices......Delete
Spud, call 911 and pop an aspirin. You appear to be having a stroke.
Turkish voters are going to the polls in parliamentary elections that could end more than a decade of single-party rule by the Justice and Development party (AKP).
Voting stations around the country opened on Sunday morning in the snap elections, which were called by the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, after negotiations to form a coalition with the opposition following an inconclusive vote in June fell apart.
Turkey election 2015: are you voting?
Now the divisive figure of Erdoğan, accused by critics of authoritarianism, repression of his opponents and suppression of press freedom, is front and centre in polls that could put an end to what his critics say are ambitions to consolidate the power of his office and transform Turkey from a parliamentary system into a president-led republic...
Parliamentary elections in June saw the ascendance of the HDP. Though it had won the largest share of the vote, the AKP had to try to form a coalition with its opponents. Talks foundered and Erdoğan – who opponents say had hoped the success at the polls would aid his ambition of rewriting the constitution to establish himself as an all-powerful executive president – called fresh elections.
Opponents fear that if the AKP gains additional seats in the new election it will encourage Erdoğan to further stall government formation and even to call for a third round of elections in an attempt to secure enough dominance over the legislature to form another single-party government...
Indonesia is Burning. Why Isn't Anyone Talking About IT?
Perhaps the greatest natural disaster of the century is happening right now and no one is talking about it.
A great tract of Earth is on fire. It looks as you might imagine hell to be. The air has turned ochre: visibility in some cities has been reduced to 30 metres. Children are being prepared for evacuation in warships; already some have choked to death. Species are going up in smoke at an untold rate. It is almost certainly the greatest environmental disaster of the 21st century – so far...
[Where are the environmentalists?]
What I’m discussing is a barbecue on a different scale. Fire is raging across the 5,000km length of Indonesia. It is surely, on any objective assessment, more important than anything else taking place today. And it shouldn’t require a columnist, writing in the middle of a newspaper, to say so. It should be on everyone’s front page. It is hard to convey the scale of this inferno, but here’s a comparison that might help: it is currently producing more carbon dioxide than the US economy. And in three weeks the fires have released more CO2 than the annual emissions of Germany...
Nor do the greenhouse gas emissions capture the impact on the people of these lands. After the last great conflagration, in 1997, there was a missing cohort in Indonesia of 15,000 children under the age of three, attributed to air pollution. This, it seems, is worse...
It’s not just the trees that are burning. It is the land itself. Much of the forest sits on great domes of peat. When the fires penetrate the earth, they smoulder for weeks, sometimes months, releasing clouds of methane, carbon monoxide, ozone and exotic gases such as ammonium cyanide. The plumes extend for hundreds of miles, causing diplomatic conflicts with neighbouring countries...
[Why is it Happening?]
Why is this happening? Indonesia’s forests have been fragmented for decades by timber and farming companies. Canals have been cut through the peat to drain and dry it. Plantation companies move in to destroy what remains of the forest to plant monocultures of pulpwood, timber and palm oil. The easiest way to clear the land is to torch it. Every year, this causes disasters. But in an extreme El Niño year like this one, we have a perfect formula for environmental catastrophe...
Governments ignore issues when the media ignores them. And the media ignores them because … well, there’s a question with a thousand answers, many of which involve power. But one reason is the complete failure of perspective in a de-skilled industry dominated by corporate press releases, photo ops and fashion shoots, where everyone seems to be waiting for everyone else to take a lead. The media makes a collective non-decision to treat this catastrophe as a non-issue, and we all carry on as if it’s not happening...
But that doesn’t really capture it. This catastrophe cannot be measured only in parts per million. The fires are destroying treasures as precious and irreplaceable as the archaeological remains being levelled by Isis. Orangutans, clouded leopards, sun bears, gibbons, the Sumatran rhinoceros and Sumatran tiger, these are among the threatened species being driven from much of their range by the flames. But there are thousands, perhaps millions, more...
Without looking, 90% of the exploitation will be by China for product export.Delete
Indonesian women make up almost half of the 300,000 migrant domestic workers employed in Hong Kong. They provide crucial services to local households and the community, freeing their employers for work. This report reveals how recruitment agencies in Indonesia and Hong Kong are complicit in trafficking migrant domestic workers to Hong Kong. Effective regulation of recruitment practices in both territories and better access to redress mechanisms in Hong Kong are critical first steps towards ensuring that Indonesian migrant domestic workers are free from the risk of forced labour.
Likely true, but...
Our leverage is weak, but there are some things we can do. Some companies using palm oil have made visible efforts to reform their supply chains; but others seem to move more slowly and opaquely. Starbucks, PepsiCo and Kraft Heinz are examples. Don’t buy their products until you see results.
On Monday, Widodo was in Washington, meeting Barack Obama. Obama, the official communiqué recorded, “welcomed President Widodo’s recent policy actions to combat and prevent forest fires”. The eco-apocalypse taking place as they conferred, which makes a mockery of these commitments, wasn’t mentioned.
Governments ignore issues when the media ignores them...
From the WaPo,
Obama’s choices on wars reflect a delicate balancing act
The new Syria deployments are a testament to the tug between the president’s war doctrine and his war reality: After vowing to end two wars, he now faces the prospect of leaving office with ground forces deployed in three combat zones.
They are all...well, you know..., it's just a matter of degree.
On Friday, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that Turkey had bombed the Kurdish YPG fighters twice. He said that they had tried to move west of Kobane in a quest to unite the three Kurdish enclaves of northern Syria along the Turkish border, which, Davutoglu said, would not be allowed.ReplyDelete
It is possible that the public announcement that US troops would embed with the YPG was in part intended to warn Turkey against further bombing of latter.
What is really odd is that the US intends to use Incirlik Air Force Base in Turkey to support the YPG and its Arab allies in their fight against Daesh in Raqqa. How did Washington get Ankara to agree to that?
The US troops will be substantially east of Kobane, but in any case the only external power involved in Syria that might inadvertently bomb US troops is Turkey, not Russia.
In Iowa, a humbled Jeb Bush pledges to be a better candidate
FBI returns to 9mm rounds, once shunned as ineffective
The popularity of Israel is well reflectrd in the crushing of Sodastream in the markets of the US.ReplyDelete
Their retail sales have collapsed, along with their stock value.
While their major competitor in the retail market surges along, with a product that is not technologically superior.
The BDS Movement scored, big time, when they targeted Sodastream.
Keep telling yourself that...Delete
Meanwhile the the people hurt most by the changing marketplace and the so called BDS pressure?
Speculators and the Palestinians.
SodaStream - An Underappreciated Opportunity
Oct. 19, 2015 10:06 AM ET | About: SodaStream International (SODA)
Disclosure: I am/we are long SODA. (More...)
SodaStream shares have been slammed as revenues declined.
However, the company is not a fad and growth in the refilling business shows that.
Trading at $15, the stock is a compelling value and could more than double within 2 years.
It must have been painful to be a SodaStream (NASDAQ:SODA) shareholder for the past two years. The stock has done nothing but go down, as the company reported declining sales for the second straight year. Investing, however, is not about the past and market sentiment has moved this stock to a level that is too cheap to ignore.
After all the company is still profitable and, as I demonstrate in this article, the number of users of its products continues to grow. Yet there is this perception that this company is a fad. Is it a fad? Has this company seen its best days?
Let's start with the product. There are many who seem to believe that SodaStream is about making pop sodas and other sugary drinks at home. However, SodaStream is not about making Coke or Pepsi at home. It is about carbonating water at home using SodaStream machine. In fact majority of users, 60%, do indeed use it exclusively to carbonate tap water and only 7% create sodas (see Bloomberg's interview with the CEO). As a regular user of SodaStream for the past 3 years, my reasons to use it are simple:Delete
Saves money (cheaper than buying bottles in store)
Convenient (no need to lug bottles home)
Good for environment (less plastic/glass waste)
SodaStream is the only product I know on the market that allows me to carbonate water at home. With SodaStream, I can control the level of carbonation and whether I want to flavor my water. The competitors to SodaStream, such as the new Keurig Kold, don't use CO2 cylinder and instead achieve carbonation with single-use pods. However, with pods I can't see how one can control either level of carbonation or how much flavor to add. The cost of machines and pods are another reason why Keurig Kold will have no appeal to me or to any other SodaStream user.
So, how does SodaStream make money of me? Simply from CO2 cylinder that I exchange every couple of months for the new one at the nearest store that provides exchange for about $20. Unlike the reports in the press, dealing with CO2 canisters is not a hassle, especially when the alternative is lugging cases of soda water home from the store. If the company is a fad, then there must be less people using SodaStream products over time. However this is not the case. Look at the chart of quarterly sales of CO2 refills (all data from SodaStream quarterly reports):Delete
The sales of refills are going up in a straight line with an average increase of 230k units/quarter. This really shows that the user base is growing. Some consumers use more, some less, but on average an active user (in my estimate) would need to replace a canister about once every 2 months or 6 times a year. In the last 4 quarters, the company sold 25.6 million canisters.
How much revenue does this segment represent? The exchange of old canister for new costs around $15-20 and I believe the net revenue to the company is somewhere between $6 and $10. Taking the midpoint of $8 represents the revenue of about $200 million LTM. Compare this with total revenue of $443 million LTM. The difference is the sales of SodaStream machines and flavor syrups, which have been erratic as the charts below show:
It is easy to see that decline in overall sales in the last two years was primarily due to the decline in sales of soda maker kits and flavors units. If the sales of refill canisters represent how many people are actually using SodaStream machine, then the sales of soda makers are akin to the rate of adoption of SodaStream technology. Once you buy a SodaStream machine, you don't need to buy another one. Has SodaStream saturated the market with its machines? Not by a long shot. Based on the number of refills sold, I estimate that the number of users is somewhere between 5-10 million, a drop in the ocean compared to the total worldwide carbonated water market. I do suspect, however, that sales of soda makers will not reach their previous high of 4.4 million in 2013 and will stay in range of 2 to 3 million. I believe what is most important for SodaStream is to continue to increase the user base, which will in turn drive sales of refills, flavor units and other merchandise.Delete
What I like about SodaStream is that with passing time the higher proportion of revenue will come from the stable refilling business and less from volatile soda maker kit sales. It is not hard to envision that the refilling business within couple years would bring close to $300 million in sales alone. If you add in revenue from flavors/syrups and soda makers even at current depressed levels, the total revenue may very well exceed the previous 2013 peak of $563 million.
Moreover the company has almost 50% gross margin, but in the last two quarters spent 36% of revenue on sales and marketing. With higher percentage of refill revenue in the mix I believe gross margin will go up and the marketing expense will go down. There is likely a significant upside to the EPS estimates. The company is expected to earn about $1 EPS in 2016. In 2013, the company recorded about $2 EPS and I believe the company will exceed that within a year or two. Applying 15 P/E multiple, my target is $30/share.
Moreover, there are other catalysts that I believe will propel SodaStream valuation higher:
The company is in a midst of a turnaround that puts more emphasis on healthy water with bubbles as opposed to pop soda maker. The marketing push may accelerate sales in the next few quarters. There is a clear trend away from fountain drinks and more towards healthy flavored water. SodaStream will benefit from this trend.
The partnership with PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP) is interesting, because PepsiCo may acquire SodaStream. Ironically, it would help if Keurig Kold somehow caught on with consumers, which would prompt PepsiCo to take an action.
The major risk to SodaStream is if more users start using alternatives to its CO2 canisters. The SodaStream canisters can't be refilled by another company because of the proprietary thread on the canister itself. However, some users have come up with creative solutions such as using paintball tanks with the adapter that fits into the SodaStream machine. If this practice catches on, this will eat into revenue on the refills business. However, there are risks with refilling tanks with CO2 that may not be a food grade (industrial CO2 is less pure). I don't foresee that the regular consumer will bother with this to save a few bucks, but it is a certainly a risk to the SodaStream business model.
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Sodastream ? Provides thousands of jobs and SALARIES, pays taxes and tens of thousands of resellers make money of the sales of the products..Delete
Such a example of BDS?
Jack you are delusional, as usual. I'd suggest cutting back on the pot you smoke...
sodastream's market capitalization has collapsed.
The decline in value started with the BDS campaign against the company.
If that is not the cause of the collapse in market capitalization, then the company must be severely mismanaged.
The severe decline in US retail sales is indicative of terrible management or a successful BDS campaign.
You have assured us that the management of Soadastream is totally competent. Their products, first rate.
If that is true, the only alternative cause of the decline in retail sales, the BDS campaign.
The collapse of market capitalization, a derivative of both the BDS campaign and the falloff in retail sales.
The decline in retail sales and the collapse of the stock value, there has to be a reason for it.
Poor management of the company or a successful campaign by the Boycott Divest Sanction movement.
Either one suits me.
Reality does dictate that your calling the stock undervalued, at a price nearly double what it is today, was a poor market call.
An interesting article the jut exemplifies the realities of Fleming vs Nestor, the mot important SCOTReplyDelete
US decision that mos taxpayers have never heard of.
Social Security is not, and never was, a defined benefits package, it is just another Federal welfare program, subject to the whims of Washington politicos.
Deuce writes: The seven million Israelites have proportionately created more enemies in the 1.5 billion Islamic World. Israel is dead man walking.ReplyDelete
And would be accurate in his assessment.Delete
The Ashkenazi Crusade will soon have run it's course ...
Israel being a representation of the apartheid regime now running the country.Delete
The land will remain, the regime will fall.
As has occurred in South Africa.
The denial of political rights to millions of people will not have longevity.