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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Friday, May 02, 2014

Still no Jobs Recovery | Benghazi | Senate GOP Push For Tougher Sanctions On Russia

Today in Washington, D.C.:
The Senate is not in session today.  It will reconvene at 2 PM on Monday. At 5:30 on Monday, the Senate will vote on confirmation of Nancy Moritz, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Tenth Circuit and Peter Selfridge to be Chief of Protocol.

Last night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) filed cloture on S. 2262, and energy efficiency bill sponsored by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH). Yesterday, the Senate confirmed two Maryland district judges and voted 64-32 to confirm Janice Schneider as an Assistant Secretary of the Interior.

The House reconvened at Noon for four minutes. No other activities. The House is in recess until Noon on Tuesday, May 6, 2014.

DOL's Bureau of Labor Statistics released its "o'hum" April 2014 employment report today.  They reported that "Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 288,000, and the unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage point to 6.3 percent in April. . . . In April, the unemployment rate fell from 6.7 percent to 6.3 percent, and the number of unemployed persons, at 9.8 million, decreased by 733,000. Both measures had shown little movement over the prior 4 months.."

When looking deeper than the 6.3% unemployment, you find a troubling number. More than 800,000 Americans have left the job market – bringing the total participation number down to 62.8 from 66% in September 2008. The DC Democrats are doing a victory dance while folks across the country are giving up hope.

Img via Investor's Business Daily
Investor's Business Daily explains that this is the longest jobs recession since WWII. In short – while you see the Democrats parade these numbers around saying the “stimulus worked,” please consider some pushback with the numbers.

Erika Johnson at Hot Air details: "Economists were expecting good news from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly jobs report today, and in some ways, they got it: The topline unemployment rate fell to 6.3 percent, the lowest level since September of 2008 ... But lest we forget, the labor force participation rate in September of 2008 was 66 percent; this month, another 806,000 people dropped out of the labor force, leaving the participation rate right around its new-normal low of 62.8 percent. That means that just about 92,594,000 Americans are not in the labor force right now. Sure, the U-3 unemployment rate has dropped, but the employment-population ratio hasn’t really budged at all."

She concludes, "The net number of employed Americans actually fell by 73,000. Yes, this job report is an improvement over a lot of the trends we’ve been seeing in the past few years, but that’s hardly a metric worth celebrating — we’re still nowhere near our pre-recession unemployment or labor force participation rates. Stay tuned for the White House’s ritual spin-doctoring/endzone dancing."

Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens also responded to the latest jobs numbers: "The unemployment rate dropped by 0.4 percent, but that is owed almost entirely to 1 million people leaving the labor force. 73,000 jobs were lost, according to the Bureau's household survey. This is not a good report. We're not creating jobs, and the only reason the rate dropped is because so many people gave up looking for work. This coupled with weak first quarter growth calls into question continued stimulus policies by the Federal Reserve, and Obama's regulatory stranglehold on job creators."

Patrice Lee, Director of Outreach at Generation Opportunity, a national, non-partisan youth advocacy organization representing 18-29 year olds, responded: "False promises mean very little when we are faced with unemployment numbers in the double digits and crippling student debt. We don't want slogans, we want jobs. Only 37 percent of young people approve of the president's handling of the economy. Thirty-one percent approve of his handling of the federal budget deficit. We recognize that our unsustainable deficits and skyrocketing national debt hurt our ability to grow the economy and create opportunity." Generation Opportunity issuing revised Millennial Jobs Report for March. The data is non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) and is specific to 18-29 year olds:
  • The effective (U-6) unemployment rate for 18-29 year olds, which adjusts for labor force participation by including those who have given up looking for work, is 15.5 percent (NSA). The (U-3) unemployment rate for 18-29 year olds is 9.1 percent (NSA).
  • The declining labor force participation rate has created an additional 1.932 million young adults that are not counted as “unemployed” by the U.S. Department of Labor because they are not in the labor force, meaning that those young people have given up looking for work due to the lack of jobs.
  • The effective (U-6) unemployment rate for 18-29 year old African-Americans is 23.3 percent (NSA); the (U-3) unemployment rate is 16.6 percent (NSA).
  • The effective (U-6) unemployment rate for 18-29 year old Hispanics is 16.1 percent (NSA); the (U-3) unemployment rate is 9.5 percent (NSA).
  • The effective (U-6) unemployment rate for 18-29 year old women is 13.1 percent (NSA); the (U-3) unemployment rate is 8.3 percent (NSA).

Bengahzi returns to the forefront with recent new information on what appears clear that fraudulent claims were made by representative of the White house and reported by Susan Rice on Sunday morning talk shows  that the death of a U.S Ambassador and others were due to a spontaneous reaction to a video.as teh result of a video. People also want to know what the U.S did not respond to the attack with military force. After more than two years of stonewalling from the Obama administration, House Speaker John Boehner has confirmed that he will appoint a Special Committee to investigate Benghazi.

President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed the possibility of new sanctions on Russia over Moscow’s actions in Ukraine at a joint press conference today. More action is exactly what’s needed and the Obama administration’s measures so far have fallen far short of anything that might actually deter Russian President Vladimir Putin

As The Washington Post editors wrote earlier this week, “Vladimir Putin’s assault on Ukraine has been relentless and increasingly reckless: Forces working with Russian personnel in eastern Ukraine are torturing and murdering opponents and holding international observers hostage. In contrast, President Obama’s response has been slow and excruciatingly measured. New U.S. sanctions announced Monday fall well short of the steps that senior officials threatened when the Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine began three weeks ago. No wonder that, even as he announced them, Mr. Obama expressed skepticism that they would work. “We don’t expect there to be an immediate change in Russia’s policy,” a top aide told reporters. This official acknowledged that the United States could take steps that would impose “severe damage on the Russian economy” but was holding them back. The obvious question is: Why would the United States not aim to bring about an immediate change in Russian behavior that includes sponsorship of murder, torture and hostage-taking? Mr. Obama said the sanctions, aimed at business cronies of Mr. Putin and their firms, are ‘calibrated’ to ‘change his calculus.’ As in the failed attempt to change the calculations of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the White House is assuming that a ruler engaged in wanton aggression can be gently steered to an off-ramp with half measures. The strategy was worth trying after the Ukraine crisis began in late February, but the Russian president, like Mr. Assad, has made a mockery of the administration’s diplomacy, blatantly ignoring the agreement accepted by his foreign minister in Geneva 11 days ago. . . . By choosing not to use the economic weapons at his disposal and broadcasting that restraint to the world, Mr.Obama is telling Mr. Putin as well as other potential aggressors that they continue to have little to fear from the United States.”

The Wall Street Journal editors agreed, pointing out how Russia essentially shrugged the latest round of sanctions off. “The U.S. and European Union imposed more sanctions on Russia Monday, and both the ruble and Moscow stock index rallied, the latter up 1.5%. The markets didn't take this response to the Kremlin's war on Ukraine seriously, and neither will Vladimir Putin. . . . Sanctions only make sense if they cause enough economic pain to make Russians begin to question the wisdom of Kremlin imperialism. Otherwise they make the West look weak and disunited. This is exactly what Mr. Putin is counting on, and so far he's been right.”

The Journal reported Wednesday, “Frustrated with President Barack Obama’s reaction to Russian action in Ukraine, a group of Republican senators said Wednesday they will introduce legislation outlining a more muscular response. ‘What we’ve seen from the administration is a lot of rhetoric,’ Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, the top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, said on the Senate floor Wednesday morning. The White House has been dealing ‘with the situation after something bad has already occurred,’ he said.”

So, CBS News noted, “Nearly half of Senate Republicans are cosponsoring a bill they say would strengthen the U.S. response to Russia for with tougher sanctions against banks and energy companies, moves to strengthen NATO and direct military assistance for Ukraine. The bill was introduced Wednesday by Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Corker has been among a group of Republicans who have critiqued the administration's recent move to increase sanctions on people and businesses but stop short of targeting entire sectors of the Russian economy.” The WSJ adds, “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) and GOP Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Marco Rubio of Florida and Dan Coats of Indiana, among others, are expected to support the bill. It was not immediately clear if any Democrats would back the legislation.”

CBS described the bill: “The legislation would impose immediate sanctions on four Russian banks tied to the destabilization of Ukraine (Sberbank, VTB Bank, VEB Bank and Gazprombank) as well as the Gazprom, Novatek and Rosneft energy monopolies, and Rosoboronexport, the major Russian arms dealer. . . . The bill would also seek to strengthen NATO by increasing both U.S. and NATO support for the Polish, Estonian, Lithuanian and Latvian armed forces, and requiring the president to speed up implementation of a missile defense system in Europe. Additionally, the legislation authorizes $100 million in direct military assistance to Ukraine, including anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons and small arms . . . . It provides authority for the U.S. to export natural gas to all World Trade Organization members, encourages U.S. investment in eastern European energy products, and limits Russian access to advanced U.S. oil and gas technologies, which all serve as an attempt to reduce the influence Russia has over Eastern Europe as the major, and often sole, supplier of energy resources.”

At a press conference with fellow Republicans announcing the bill, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said, “We’ve just been deeply disappointed in the rather tepid, ineffective response of the Administration to the Russian aggression. And so within our conference there developed a view that we ought to try to come together behind a proposal which hopefully could push the Administration in a different direction in a way that would be more effective in making certain the Russians understood that this kind of aggression would not go essentially unreponded to."

Tags: Jobs Recovery, unemployment, Benghazi, Senate GOP, Push For, Tougher Sanctions, On Russia To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
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