“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, May 02, 2016

Where Do We Go From Here?

Trump’s Anti-Neocon Foreign Policy——-In Line With Ike, Nixon And Reagan

Whether the establishment likes it or not, and it evidently does not, there is a revolution going on in America.

The old order in this capital city is on the way out, America is crossing a great divide, and there is no going back.

Donald Trump’s triumphant march to the nomination in Cleveland, virtually assured by his five-state sweep Tuesday, confirms it, as does his foreign policy address on Wednesday.

Two minutes into his speech before the Center for the National Interest, Trump declared that the “major and overriding theme” of his administration will be — “America first.” Right down the smokestack!

Gutsy and brazen it was to use that phrase, considering the demonization of the great anti-war movement of 1940-41, which was backed by the young patriots John F. Kennedy and his brother Joe, Gerald Ford and Sargent Shriver, and President Hoover and Alice Roosevelt.

Whether the issue is a trade, immigration or foreign policy, says Trump, “we are putting the American people first again.” U.S. policy will be dictated by U.S. national interests.

By what he castigated, and what he promised, Trump is repudiating both the fruits of the Obama-Clinton foreign policy and the legacy of Bush Republicanism and neoconservatism.

When Ronald Reagan went home, says Trump, “our foreign policy began to make less and less sense. Logic was replaced with foolishness and arrogance, which ended in one foreign policy disaster after another.”

He lists the results of 15 years of Bush-Obama wars in the Middle East: civil war, religious fanaticism, thousands of Americans killed, trillions of dollars lost, a vacuum created that ISIS has filled.

Is he wrong here? How have all of these wars availed us? Where is the “New World Order” of which Bush I rhapsodized at the U.N.?

Can anyone argue that our interventions to overthrow regimes and erect democratic states in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen have succeeded and been worth the price we have paid in blood and treasure, and the devastation we have left in our wake?

George W. Bush declared that America’s goal would become “to end tyranny in our world.” An utterly utopian delusion, to which Trump retorts by recalling John Quincy Adams’ views on America: “She goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy.”

To the neocons’ worldwide crusade for democracy, Trump’s retort is that it was always a “dangerous idea” to think “we could make Western democracies out of countries that had no experience or interest in becoming Western democracies.”
We are “overextended,” he declared, “We must rebuild our military.” Our NATO allies have been freeloading for half a century. NAFTA was a lousy deal. In running up $4 trillion in trade surpluses since Bush I, the Chinese have been eating our lunch.

This may be the rankest heresy to America’s elites, but Trump outlines a foreign policy past generations would have recognized as common sense: Look out for your own country and your own people first.

Instead of calling President Putin names, Trump says he would talk to the Russians to “end the cycle of hostility,” if he can.

“Ronald Reagan must be rolling over in his grave,” sputtered Sen. Lindsey Graham, who quit the race to avoid a thrashing by the Donald in his home state of South Carolina.

But this writer served in Reagan’s White House, and the Gipper was always seeking a way to get the Russians to negotiate. He leapt at the chance for a summit with Mikhail Gorbachev in Geneva and Reykjavik.

“Our goal is peace and prosperity, not war,” says Trump, “unlike other candidates, war and aggression will not be my first instinct.”

Is that not an old and good Republican tradition?

Dwight Eisenhower ended the war in Korea and kept us out of any other. Richard Nixon ended the war in Vietnam, negotiated arms agreements with Moscow, and made a historic journey to open up Mao’s China.

Reagan used force three times in eight years. He put Marines in Lebanon, liberated Grenada and sent FB-111s over Tripoli to pay Col. Gadhafi back for bombing a Berlin discotheque full of U.S. troops.

Reagan later believed putting those Marines in Lebanon, where 241 were massacred, to be the worst mistake of his presidency.

Military intervention for reasons of ideology or nation-building is not an Eisenhower or Nixon or Reagan tradition. It is not a Republican tradition. It is a Bush II-neocon deformity, an aberration that proved disastrous for the United States and the Middle East.

The New York Times headline declared that Trump’s speech was full of “Paradoxes,” adding, “Calls to Fortify Military and to Use It Less.”

But isn’t that what Reagan did? Conduct the greatest military buildup since Ike, then, from a position of strength, negotiate with Moscow a radical reduction in nuclear arms?

“We’re getting out of the nation-building business,” says Trump.

“The nation-state remains the true foundation for happiness and harmony.” No more surrenders of sovereignty on the altars of “globalism.”

Is that not a definition of a patriotism that too many among our arrogant elites believe belongs to yesterday?


  1. Yeah, after he NUKES ISIS, and goes back and gets the Oil.

    He's a babbling buffoon.

    1. I remember you telling us that you cannot "nuke" the oil, but rather just the surface...


  2. What can labor productivity tell us about the U.S. economy?

    By Shawn Sprague

    This fact might strike some as surprising: workers in the U.S. business sector worked virtually the same number of hours in 2013 as they had in 1998—approximately 194 billion labor hours.

    1 What this means is that there was ultimately no growth at all in the number of hours worked over this 15-year period, despite the fact that the U.S population gained over 40 million people during that time, and despite the fact that there were thousands of new businesses established during that time.

    And given this lack of growth in labor hours, it is perhaps even more striking that American businesses still managed to produce 42 percent—or $3.5 trillion—more output in 2013 than they had in 1998, even after adjusting for inflation.

    One might wonder how such a large amount of additional output came into existence, given that American workers did not put in any more hours of work in this most recent year than they had 15 years earlier. One thing can be said for certain: the entirety of this additional output growth must have come from productive sources other than the number of labor hours. For example, businesses may increase output growth by investing in faster equipment, hiring more high-skilled and experienced workers, and reducing material waste or equipment downtime. In these and other cases, output may be increased without increasing the number of labor hours used. Gains in output such as these are indicative of growth in labor productivity over a period.

    This issue of Beyond the Numbers focuses on labor productivity and the corresponding changes in output and labor hours data in the context of historical and business cycle periods; a case study of the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009 is provided as an example of using labor productivity data to analyze cyclical changes in an economy.


    Bureau of Labor Statistics

    1. .

      Just skimmed the article and noted that BLS does, in passing, touch on the issue of income inequality as associated with the gains in productivity. And some others factors can be implied such as slow job growth and stagnant wages.

      What I didn't see was anything that clearly defines shifts within the types of jobs or a definition of gains in output when it comes to services. How is output defined when it comes to services? Does an ATM bring more actual 'output' to individuals or to the banks?

      The term business sector includes all non-farm business activity minus government, non-profits, and individual households. I'm assuming that the IT revolution in the 1990's created a massive increase in productivity in the service industry. I'm wondering how that output is defined and determine. If household gains are excluded in the BLS numbers, I assume an ATM and the resulting loss in labor hours is considered a plus in outputs for the bank but what does it do for GDP if you have a whole series of clerks losing their jobs?

      The reason for the questioning is that we currently have an oversupply situation with lagging demand. It is easy to argue that things are getting cheaper and assume that has to be better 'on average' but is it really better given the other 'negatives' the productivity gains have wrought and how the savings have been allocated?


  3. Evidence that voters aren't angry about the economy after all

    Updated by Matthew Yglesias on May 2, 2016, 9:20 a.m. ET @mattyglesias

    With many Americans voting for Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders, we've been treated to millions of words worth of takes about the strands of populist discontent that fuel anti-establishment politics. Still, the fact remains that most people aren't voting in the primaries. And most of the Democrats who are voting are voting for Hillary Clinton. And most of the Republicans who are voting aren't voting for Trump. And every poll shows Clinton beating Trump head-to-head.

    How to explain this paradoxical result whereby mass discontent with the economy will lead to a reaffirmation of establishment control?

    John Sides offers one provocative theory — maybe most people aren't really upset.

    He cites the long-term data from the University of Michigan's Index of Consumer Sentiment, which is a nice instrument because it's relevant to politics without being directly about politics, and it turns out that people feel okay about the economy (I've added a horizontal line to allow for easy visual comparison).

    a very nice chart

    This paints a kind of banal picture of the public's view of things.

    These are not the best of times. People feel gloomier than they did during the sustained boom of the 1960s or the go-go growth of the late-'90s. But they feel much better than they did during the Great Recession or the first couple of years after it.

    By historical standards, this is the kind of public sentiment that has almost always led to the incumbent party retaining power. The exception was 1968, when people had a lot of non-economic complaints with the Johnson administration.

    There are certainly other public opinion indicators out there that indicate a more restive public (the right track/wrong track numbers come to mind), but the overall political system actually seems to be trending toward a complacent outcome, which is exactly what the Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index suggests we should expect.

    Obviously an average is an average (it is worth noting that the positive trend is evident for all income groups), and in a big country you can still have enormous pockets of anger and discontent alongside an overall atmosphere of placidity. In most domains that aren't politics, attracting a passionate minority following is a perfectly good business strategy. It's a great way to secure ratings for a television show, for example, whether it's The Apprentice or The Sean Hannity Show. But in politics you need a majority, and it doesn't seem to be the case that the majority is feeling some historically anomalous level of economic discontent.

    1. .

      RCP Average:

      Obama Job Approval -- Economy

      Approve: 47.3

      Disapprove: 47.0


  4. .

    Comparing Trump to Clinton it is hard to tell if one is worse than the other; however, what we do know is that the devil you know IS NOT better than the devil you don't know.

    Trump appears to be a miserable human being. The only good thing about him is that most of his most egregious proposals would be stymied by either Congress or the courts. This would apply mostly to domestic issues. On foreign policy and trade, he would have more latitude to act more on his own, and here the good things he suggests he would do counteract the stupid.

    I wouldn't vote for him but I can see why some might. And then you have the others, the many resident of the box and northwestern Idaho, who will vote for him expecting him to actually do all the crazy stuff he promises.


    1. Quirk wrote:

      "On foreign policy and trade, he would have more latitude to act more on his own, and here the good things he suggests he would do counteract the stupid."

      I disagree. On trade he seems intent on erecting barriers to trade with the rest of the world. On the middle east he has come out black and white with Israel good and ISIS evil. He has promised to get rid of ISID. His China seas ramblings appear incoherent. What good things has he proposed in your view? He certainly is adept at criticizing, like us all.

    2. .

      On trade he seems intent on erecting barriers to trade with the rest of the world.

      Correct me if I am wrong, Ash, but I have never (not hyperbole) seen you say a single negative word about trade agreements, any trade agreements and IMO there is plenty to argue about in most. The TPP and the one currently being negotiated with the EU (forget the initials) are perfect examples. We could get into the details but we have done that before. Trump has argued for 'fair trade'. Your definition of that is obviously different than mine.

      On the middle east he has come out black and white with Israel good and ISIS evil.

      With regard to Israel I disagree with those issues he is discussing that go against longstanding US policy such as Jerusalem. On the other hand, he has proposed an even-handed approach to the Israeli-Palestinian content and has offered to do 'what he could' to help resolve it although he also realistically said that may be impossible.

      With regard to ISIS, are you saying they are not evil?

      He has promised to get rid of ISID.

      I'm assuming you are referring to ISIL rather than the International Society for Infectious Disease. On ISIS, he is probably being overly optimistic but what do you expect any presidential candidate to say?

      His China seas ramblings appear incoherent.

      Sorry, not familiar with the ones you are talking about.

      What good things has he proposed in your view?

      The end of nation building.

      Demanding other countries pay appropriately for their own defense and quit sucking at the US tit.

      Going to war only when American interests are truly involved.


    3. .


      ...the American teat.

      (In case, Doug is lurking.)


    4. I am, generally, in favor of free trade. Trump has suggested that NAFTA be changed has he not? The basics of NAFTA are solid in my view - the basic premise that you must treat foreign firms as you treat domestic firms is a good one. There is a problem with enforcement and dispute resolution. Weakening or abandoning that agreement would be harmful to the US economy as export/import with Canada and Mexico is a large contributor to US prosperity. US tax laws are in great need of reform. Corporate inversions (i.e. Burger King merging with Tim Horton's) are a product of problematic US tax law (taxing on world wide income for example). This is not a factor of free trade.

      I personally haven't spent much time becoming versed in TPP trade issues but in general it appears to be trying to expand the area of countries that have relatively 'level' playing fields and that is a good thing in my view. If you revert to protectionism you increase the role government plays in business decisions and that is ta bad thing. Sure you want regulation but that regulation should have broad application as opposed to simply national.

    5. With respect with the ME, sorry I meant to type ISIS not ISID. I am sorry the befuddled you.

      Yes, ISIS, at least as portrayed in western media, is evil. There is a lot of evil in the world. The question is what to do about it. Trump seems pretty clear that he will do what it takes to take out ISIS. I think this is mistaken. I don't think it can be done other that in the manner that Al Queda has been defeated by calling them ISIS. No they aren't equivalent but much of the problem in the middle east is sectarian. It is shades of grey with ISIS being pretty damn dark. I don't think the US can offer a military solution to this problem. Trump appears to think differently. The US will WIN, and WIN beautifully!!

    6. oh oh....

      "I am sorry "that" befuddled you."

      happy now :)

    7. With respect to militarily sucking at the US teat - hey it is you guys walking about bellowing and spending billions and billions so you can bellow more while getting to shoot off a few of those beauties as well. Thanks for protecting us all from the evils of Saddam. Since Iraq couldn't pay for the job Sweden should.

    8. "Yes, ISIS, at least as portrayed in western media, is evil. There is a lot of evil in the world."


      A perfect example of why you are so aptly thought a smug asshole, SMUG.

    9. Which reminds me, yet once again, how you have truly earned, and richly deserve, a good severe non lethal mugging, SMUG !

    10. "at least as portrayed in the Western media"

      Jeeesus Fucking Christ !

    11. You slitherer, they kidnap, for one small example, 50 or so 8,10,12,14 year old school girls and take them off to sexual slavery and it's "at least as portrayed in the Western media".

    12. .

      With respect with the ME, sorry I meant to type ISIS not ISID. I am sorry the befuddled you.

      Given the context, Trump, surely you can see where your statement lacked precision. I was left to decide between two equally possible alternatives. One that you put up a typo or two that Trump had said he planned to get rid of the International Society for Infectious Disease and I had missed it.


    13. :))

      That Trump character, he's tough to nail down.

    14. The China Seas thing I was referring to was the Chinese conflict with Japan over islands and China's building of an Island. Trump talked of arming up Japan. On trade in that region I just happened on a bit at the NYTimes on it:

      Experts Warn of Backlash in Donald Trump’s China Trade Policies

    15. .

      Trump has suggested that NAFTA be changed has he not? The basics of NAFTA are solid in my view - the basic premise that you must treat foreign firms as you treat domestic firms is a good one.

      Here we disagree. And I am not speaking strictly about America. There is a saying "Trade is the engine that lifts all yachts but not many boats." NAFTA elevated corporatism and TPP would sacrifice nationalism at the altar of that same corporatism.


    16. Most every business is run as a corporation as one form or not aren't they? From the small local grocer to the factory farm to the chip makers - they are corporations, LLC's ect. Yes, Corporations act in their interest and not the national interest. The role of government is to set the ground rules for how those corporations are allowed to act. It isn't all a bed of roses, granted, as corporations have large influence over government (especially in America) but the role of these trade agreements is to regulate corporate/economic behavior.

    17. This comment has been removed by the author.

    18. .

      The role of government is to set the ground rules for how those corporations are allowed to act. It isn't all a bed of roses, granted, as corporations have large influence over government (especially in America) but the role of these trade agreements is to regulate corporate/economic behavior.

      Agreed. However, why do you think there are protesters rioting in Europe over TTIP? Why do you think Trump, Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren are screaming about TTP?

      On TTIP, some of the biggest complaints on it are...

      1. Investor-State Dispute Resolution

      This procedure would allow companies to sue foreign governments over claims of unfair treatment and to be entitled to compensation. Critics say the measures undermine the power of national governments to act in the interests of their citizens. For example, they warn that tobacco giants could use the procedure to challenge restrictive regulations, citing a case in Australia, where Philip Morris Asia used a 1993 trade agreement with Hong Kong as the basis for a legal move to stop a change to packaging.

      2. Food standards

      Critics also worry about the impact on food standards, arguing that the EU has much stricter regulations on GM crops, pesticide use and food additives than the US. They say the TTIP deal could open the EU market to cheaper products with poorer standards.

      3. Intellectual Property and Privacy

      In 2012, after a widespread protest, the European Parliament rejected a multilateral agreement to harmonise and step up anti-counterfeiting law. Protesters had claimed the agreement threatened privacy by encouraging surveillance of personal data. Some critics have suggested proposals in TTIP on intellectual property could have a similar effect to the proposed anti-counterfeiting measures.

      4. Financial services

      After the 2008 financial crash, the EU and US embarked on different programmes of reform to the regulations governing banks and other financial institutions. The TTIP deal would attempt to harmonise those regulations. Critics say TTIP could weaken the rules governing banks by diluting the tougher reforms adopted in the US.

      Naturally, those negotiating the treaty argue this is all a tempest in a teapot.

      Frankly, given a choice of trusting my economic and personal well being to someone it would likely be Elizabeth Warren long before Obama or Cameron.


    19. .

      Your last point is exactly what Trump is talking about. These agreements, TPP and TPIP being the latest examples, are negotiated in secret and the latest trend is to give the president 'fast track' authority which means he negotiates a deal and then gives Congress a limited time to read and debate the deal and then they must accept the deal despite any flaws or reject it along with 5 years of negotiations and start over again. Is any one party going to stick to their own president on a signature event that took half a decade to negotiate? Is the GOP going to reject it when it helps line the pockets of their main contributor, Wall Street?

      TPP is like the Iran Nuclear Deal. Obama's presidency is winding down and he will sell out anyone or any constituency he has to in order to get done before leaving office just the same as the Iran deal. Then later, someone one like Kerry will again be bemoaning that 'They are not living up to the spirit of the agreement'.

      If you don't know how these things work by now you are truly naïve. Anything the parties can't agree on they put in some general language that anyone can interpret any way they want. Trade deals, peace treaties, the Israeli-Palestinian agreement. Their argument if questioned is that the language gives them flexibility to address any problems they haven't anticipated.

      Then when it all falls apart, all parties agree that the other party isn't reading the agreement the way it was intended.


    20. .

      Ash, you have said you don't know about TPP and I am not trying to be smart when I say the arguments you are making seem to come from a college macro economics course.

      If you are interested in TPP, I would suggest you delve into it a little before slamming Trump on the issue.

      These are the first 3 links I got when I googled 'Problems with TPP'. They outline the broad issues opponents of the plan have with it. Fell free to pull up article talking about how great it is too, and decide for yourself.

      Note, the second link has some excellent supplemental links too that refer to some of the leaked info.

      5 Problems With the Trans Pacific Partnership

      Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): More Job Offshoring, Lower Wages, Unsafe Food Imports

      Ten Critical Problems with the Trans-Pacific Partnership


  5. .

    On the main article above, I think ol' Pat is rewriting history a bit in his praise of Reagan's foreign policy.


  6. This, of course, is to be taken with a whole rucksack full of salt; however,

    Florida poll: Republican ‘brand damage’ bolsters Clinton

    Whether it’s Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, the Republican presidential nominee looks like a sure loser to Hillary Clinton in Florida because of the Republicans’ lack of popularity with crucial voting blocs in the state, according to a poll conducted last week by the business lobby Associated Industries of Florida.

    Clinton would wallop Trump by 49-36 percent if the election were held today and she’d best Cruz 48-39 percent, according to the poll of 604 likely Florida voters.

    “In this critical swing state, it is clear to us that Republicans continue to suffer substantial brand damage amongst all segments of the ascending electorate (younger voters, Hispanics & No Major Party voters) and this presidential campaign has clearly exacerbated these attitudes,” Ryan Tyson, a Republican who serves as the group’s vice president of political operations, wrote in a memo to his members.

    Because Florida is the most populous swing state in the nation, with 29 Electoral College votes, a Florida victory by Clinton would almost guarantee . . . . . . .

    Florida drubbing

  7. Nothing actually wrong with balloon logging in theory, Doug, it just doesn't seem to work out so well in practice. I can't give the a,b,c's of what the problems are though.

    Elephant logging has been around for time out of mind.

    Thank God the USA has honest and energetic entrepreneurs like Quirk to bring the benefits of the ancient practice to our Western lands.

    Thinking of such, one can surely say:

    "The USA is not finished yet"

  8. Video: 'Dreamers' flip off Trump supporters, shout expletives at passing cars...
    'Hillary' A Dirty Word On College Campuses...
    Trump's 'unpredictability' alarms Dems....Drudge

      CARLY FALLS OFF STAGE....Drudge Headline

      Heh, Carly falling off a stage is a perfect image of the quickly approaching end of the Cruz Campaign.

    2. CRUZ DAD: 'I Implore Every Member of Body of Christ to Vote According to Word of God'...Drudge

      Exactly what we don't need in the White House, the believing son of a thrumping bible thumping theologically bonkers - though not as bad as the moslems - illiterate fool.

      This approach to governance is unlikely to win over the Types Rufus of USA, needless to say.

      Given a little time, and some shock therapy, Ruf might actually settle in and grudgingly accept The Donald.

      Thankfully, The End Times for Camp Cruz arrive tomorrow.

  9. PENNSYLVANIA: ACA Medicaid expansion breaks 625K in first year!

    Brainwrap @ Daily Kos

    1. Latest ObamaCare rate hike increase news -

      Obamacare's Looming Rate Hikes a Headache for Democrats: Paul Demko, Politico

      Whatever happened to that $2500 dollars we were all going to save that Gruber promised us ?

    2. Daily Kos....bwabwabwa

  10. 11 ISIS members including prominent leaders killed in Karma District

    ( Anbar – The leadership of al-Hashed al-Shaabi in Anbar Province announced on Sunday, that 11 members of the so-called ISIS, including prominent leaders were killed in the cleansing battles of Karma District east of Fallujah(62 km west of Baghdad).

    The commander of the 1st regiment in Karmat Fallujah brigade, Colonel Mahmoud Mardi Jumaili, said in a press statement received by, “The joint forces carried out a military operation to cleanse the areas of Subaihat, al-Maamil and Albu Jassim in Karma District, killing 11 ISIS members including prominent leaders.”

    Jumaili added, “The security forces were able to identify a number of ISIS leaders, who were killed in the cleansing battles.”


  11. Obama retired:

  12. RCP rolling poll now has Trump up 10% over Cruz in Indiana.

    Camp Cruz is going to be dismantled tomorrow.

    I'll be happy to no longer suffer to hear his damn whining voice.

  13. Obama budgets $17,613 for every new illegal minor...
    More than Social Security retirees get!
    Gruesome, Slashing Killer Is An Illegal Alien...DRUDGE

  14. Wonderful large sign being carried by four protesters amarching at some anti-Trump rally -

    "Whomever they vote for -

    We are Ungovernable !"

    whooooorah, re vo LUU tion re vo LUU tion

    rah rah rah

    Somewhat along this line of thought see:

    May 2, 2016

    Donald Trump, a Rabbi, and Plato Walked Into a Bar…

    By Stuart Schwartz

  15. Strikes in Syria

    Attack, ground-attack and fighter aircraft conducted seven strikes in Syria:

    -- Near Hawl, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

    -- Near Shadaddi, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL staging areas and two ISIL vehicles.

    -- Near Raqqah, a strike destroyed an ISIL crane.

    -- Near Mara, three strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed six ISIL fighting positions.

    Strikes in Iraq

    Attack, ground-attack and fighter aircraft conducted 18 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Baghdadi, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

    -- Near Fallujah, four strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units, destroying two ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL heavy machine gun, an ISIL weapons cache, five ISIL tunnel entrances and four ISIL bunkers, and denying ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Habbaniyah, a strike destroyed an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL bunker, 12 ISIL boats an ISIL fuel truck and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Hit, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL mortar system.

    -- Near Kirkuk, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units, destroying three ISIL vehicles, two ISIL tunnel systems, three ISIL assembly areas and an ISIL command-and-control node and deniying ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Kisik, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL tunnel system and two ISIL mortar systems.

    -- Near Mosul, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and an ISIL financial center, destroying an ISIL mortar system and suppressing an ISIL mortar position.

    -- Near Qayyarah, a strike destroyed an ISIL mortar system.

    -- Near Sultan Abdallah, a strike destroyed two ISIL machine guns and two ISIL mortar systems.

  16. American Workers Are the Happiest They’ve Been in a Decade

    We keep hearing about how crummy American workers have it — lost jobs, stagnant wages and persistent economic insecurity.

    No doubt those trends are true and have affected millions of families…and yet a new survey by the Society for Human Resource Management finds that American workers are actually feeling pretty good. In fact, job satisfaction is at its highest level in 10 years, according to the annual report released this month.

    The study was small, as it only surveyed 600 full-time and part-time workers. Still, it found that 37 percent of employees said they are “very satisfied” with their job overall and 51 percent called themselves “somewhat satisfied.” Combined, that 88 percent is up two percentage points from last year.

    The report attributes the uptick in employee satisfaction to the improved economy. “Organizations may have found themselves being able to reintroduce incentives and perks that had been reduced or eliminated as a result of the Great Recession,” it says.

    {great (simple) chart}

    Another potential contributing factor is that unhappy workers now have the financial security to look for another job. Instead of sticking it out at a miserable job, employees can find work that they enjoy doing without worrying as much about taking a financial hit.

    Workers themselves say a few factors are key in determining whether or not they’re satisfied with their jobs. Being treated respectfully topped the list, with two-thirds of employees saying that was very important to them compared to 63 percent who said compensation was important to their job satisfaction. Getting paid still matters, though — it climbed to second on the list from fourth last year. Benefits and job security were also top concerns.

    But even as job satisfaction is higher, that doesn’t mean employees are going to stay put. About 45 percent of employees say they’re likely or very likely to look for a new job elsewhere within the year.

    fiscal times

  17. Good News on the Mortgage Delinquency front:

    Black Knight Financial Services (BKFS) released their Mortgage Monitor report for March today. According to BKFS, 4.08% of mortgages were delinquent in March, down from 4.66% in March 2015, and the lowest since March 2007. BKFS also reported that 1.25% of mortgages were in the foreclosure process, down from 1.68% a year ago.

    This gives a total of 5.33% delinquent or in foreclosure.

    Press Release: Black Knight's Mortgage Monitor: Home Price Increases Muting Affordability Gains from Low Interest Rates; Refinanceable Population Grows to 7.5 Million
    Today, the Data & Analytics division of Black Knight Financial Services, Inc. released its latest Mortgage Monitor Report, based on data as of the end of March 2016. This month, in light of mortgage interest rates falling by approximately 35 basis points (BPS) since the start of 2016, Black Knight examined how these lower rates have impacted home affordability. Calculating principal and interest payments based on a fixed-rate mortgage with a 30-year term and 80 percent loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, Black Knight examined how much per month it would cost a borrower to purchase the median-priced home at the national and state levels. All else being equal, interest rate declines would save borrowers significant money on such a purchase, but as Black Knight Data & Analytics Senior Vice President Ben Graboske explained, rising home prices are muting – and in some areas, completely cancelling out – the positive impact declining rates would have on home affordability.

    "Excluding home price movement, the interest rate decline since the start of the year would save borrowers approximately $44 a month when purchasing the median-priced home nationally," said Graboske. "However, when you factor in estimated home price appreciation (HPA) – the most recent Black Knight Home Price Index Report for February showed annual HPA at 5.3 percent – those monthly savings fall to just $18. ”


    Calculated Risk - some cool charts included

  18. Replies
    1. I'm wondering if this $100 million dollar horse might have some Arab money behind it, given the last name....

  19. Driverless cars 'could encourage sex behind wheel'....DRUDGE

    I suggested Quirk should go driverless car but obviously hadn't thought the problem through thoroughly.

  20. California GOP (SUSA): Trump +34

    1. KABC California: Trump 54, Cruz 20, Kasich 16

  21. What's wrong with Balloon Logging?

    1. Cost, unreliability of wind flows, environmentalists with rifles.....

    2. Actually they tried to move logs out from the Idaho forests over to the mills in Montana with blimps.

      I will look for an article.

      Haven't heard anything more about it is why I think they gave up on the idea....

    3. I was thinking of tethered balloons to get lift them from the canyons to the nearest logging road.
      ...but thinking about how big a balloon it would take to lift a tree, the winds, not to mention the freaking Helium supply...
      Not a good bet.

    4. Damn vanishing post syndrome again ....

      Try this (couldn't find one about blimps) -

      Horses have been used but they can only pull logs, not lift them like Quirk's elephants.

  22. 1 Trillion additional debt in the six months since budget was passed.

    Rufus and Krugman will explain why that is in fact a wonderful thing.

    1. Workers in USA have never been happier.

      Even part time workers.

      Never been happier.

      According to Rufus.

    2. After bragging that she's going to put 'lots' of coal miners and coal companies 'out of business' Hillary is now saying she supports coal.

      Hillary now says wants to see coal prosper....DRUDGE

      Rufus will support her on both positions.

      Coal miners have never been happier, whether they are in business, or out of business.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. Trump is not Presidential.
      An acolyte of Rev Wright who laughs at POTUS being called the N word is.
      Rufus tells us so.

    5. I have an idea that Hillary Clinton doesn't give a damn about coal miners one way or the other.

      I think the only thing she gives a damn about is herself.

  23. Deficit for last 6 months (Oct. 1 thru Mar. 31)


    The full fiscal yr. deficit last yr. was almost exactly the same as the Oct. - Mar. number.

    Treas. Gov

  24. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said he had talked to Obama about Wilmore's use of the word and said the president told him "he appreciated the spirit of Mr. Wilmore's expression Saturday night."

    "I'm confident that Mr. Wilmore used the word by design. He was seeking to be provocative," Earnest said. "Any reading of his comments made clear that he was not using the president as a butt of a joke."



    Huge rate increases before election day....DRUDGE


  26. Ignorant, hateful, and continually yanked around by drudge, and American thinker -

    what a hell of a way to go through life.

    1. I try to put up simple headlines so that you might have a chance to understand, Rufus, you ignorant hateful fool, reading the Daily Kos as you do, and that idiotic Huffington Post.

      What a hell of a way to go through life, always yanked around by emotions with never a thought in one's ancient Rufian skull.....

    2. That is an irritating and lazy writing technique. Please show a little more creativity.

    3. One must match the lesson to the level of comprehension of the recipient.

      In the case of Rufus, a Drudge headline is about right.

  27. Rasmussen: Trump 41, Hillary 39

    1. .

      Back to the box with ya.

      And take that rapscallion Doug with ya.


    2. .

      That was to allow you to breath.


  28. Rufus responded!

    The Senate passed “The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015” with a vote held in the early morning hours of Friday, Oct. 30. Obama signed it on Monday, Nov. 2.

    At the close business on Oct. 30, 2015, the total federal debt was $18,152,981,685,747.52. By the close of business on April 28, 2016—the latest date for which the Treasury has published the number--the total federal debt was $19,186,207,744,589.55.
    The $1,033,226,058,842.03 increase in the debt in the six months since then equals approximately $6,828 for each of the 151,320,000 persons whom the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated had a full or part-time job in the United States as of this March.

    1. Daily:

    2. Debt per taxpayer:

      $ 161,000

    3. .

      When Obama came into ofice, total debt was a little over $10 trillion.

      But hey, it's only money.


    4. When Obama came into office we were losing 900,000 jobs / month,

      and we were within a whisker of the 2nd. Great Depression.

  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

  30. While waiting for the republicans to pass the debt ceiling legislation the government had to borrow money from its own operating accounts, but the money had to be replaced immediately.

  31. This comment has been removed by the author.