Weekly Rundown: December 5th, 2016
Quote of the Week
“We are told that the United States is deeply divided today. If only it were true…The American welfare state’s largest budgets are immune from abolition or even major revision: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. The Pentagon’s budget is immune. The budgets of the spy agencies are immune, if they are even discussed.” — Gary North on the lack of real divisions among Americans regarding government expenditures that make up over 80% of the budget. According to North, real change follows significant budgetary changes. And outside of tax cuts, there haven’t been significant budget cut proposals that could foreshadow real change.
Trump in 140 Characters
Flag Burning…Trump’s latest tweet directed his ire towards protesters burning the American flag. Trump tweeted that any person burning a flag should face consequences, such as possible imprisonment and/or loss of citizenship. Although most don’t support the protestors acts, there are simple solutions to flag burning that don’t require a constitutional amendment. If the flag is private property and is stolen and desecrated, then that is already a crime. An if a flag is burned in a public space, the flag-burners could be charged with arson and/or fines, if not given prior permission.
Carrier to Stay…Carrier reached a deal with President-Elect Trump to keep over 1000 jobs in Indianapolis. The company had planned to move those jobs to Mexico before The Art of the Deal author gave them an “offer they couldn’t refuse”. As more details emerge then we will be able to judge the merits of the deal. Was a deal promised, such as tax cuts for corporations that would benefit all businesses equally? Or was it a case of “special interest crony capitalism” with politicians picking and choosing recipients of corporate welfare, just like the Obama administration did with Solyndra? $7M reasons for Carrier to stay are detailed here.
Just Another Wall Street Banker…Trump’s just named Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, is a second generation Goldman Sachs banker. Trump’s pick for the post may not engender much confidence in his motto “Drain the Swamp”, but the pick did have an interesting idea proposing US treasuries with 100 years to maturity. Currently, the longest maturity date for US government bonds are set at 30 years. With US interest rates and bond yields at historical lows, the ability to lock in historically low rates for 100 years gives the US government breathing room on financing programs such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and endless Militarism around the world. Hopefully, the US government decides to cut its military adventurism abroad and allow for a younger generation to opt of a welfare system that won’t be around for them.
Devil’s in the Details…The unemployment rate fell to 4.6% for November marking the lowest number of unemployed since August 2007. Another number receiving less attention were the 95 million Americans who are not considered as part of the labor force, another record. Economists may say that there are more retirees and that some of those not counted are “discouraged” and have stopped looking for work. But with 41% of people near retirement age having little to no savings, common sense dictates that many of those “discouraged” workers don’t really have any job options. They are unemployed.
An Inconvenient Truth
Falling Temperatures…Advocates of anthropogenic Global Warming, aka the belief that Humans are the main contributors causing Global Warming, point out that global temperatures have been on the rise. But according to stunning new NASA satellite data, global temperatures have fallen by more than 1 degree celsius-the largest decline on record due to the end of El Nino. Do humans affect the climate? Certainly. But is human activity the main contributing factor? I’m skeptical. Factor in that NASA satellite images are revealing that the Sun-the Earth’s largest source of warmth in the Universe-has hit its lowest level activity since 2011. Some are saying it could push the Earth into a mini ice-age.
This Week in Sports
Giving Up on Thursday…The NFL has seen a small ratings resurgence over the past few weeks now that the Presidential election has concluded, but there were enough warning signs to make the NFL nervous about its future. Atop the NFL’s concerns were oversaturation. Factoring in the NFL’s continued presence in London on Sunday, NFL games are being played on Thursday, all-day Sunday and Monday. As a result, the NFL has talked about scuttling Thursday night games and the early morning London games.
ESPN on the Decline…If the Nielsen ratings are true, ESPN lost over 550K subscribers during the last month. This follows a previous loss of 621K. Curiously, other ESPN channels not measured by Nielsen haven’t seen large declines. Those channels were ESPNU, ESPNEWS, and SEC network. Some media analysts are placing the subscriber loss on the network’s push towards more opinionated shows, such as Around the Horn, First Take, Pardon the Interruption, and His & Hers. Add in larger amounts of cord-cutters and ESPN may have a big-league subscriber issue to game plan for.
Primed to Win…Amazon is said to be exploring an expansion into adding live sports programming to its Prime streaming services. Amazon may not be able to add the most popular sport like the NFL and NBA to its offering, but it plans on start small with live sporting events that major networks aren’t utilizing, such as Surfing and Soccer. Amazon is also said to be beefing up an expansion of their streaming video service to rival Netflix.
A Sailor’s Guide to Earth…A retired Navy veteran and surging country music star, Sturgill Simpson, has some choice words for those flag waving neocons, foreign policy “experts”, and “Masters of War” in his new album, “A Sailor’s Guide To Earth.” Sturgill’s “Call To Arms” chastises those in favor of endless war and his lyrics gives voice to the majority of Americans who want peace and the troops back home. Sturgill Simpson is a must listen.
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