"Net Neutrality" and "Internet Taxation" – How to Proceed?

Editor’s Note – “Net Neutrality” and “Internet Taxation” are hot topics once again and Obama is trying to force the concept through regulation by the FCC; he first mentioned the idea back in 2007. On one hand, his explanation sounds meritorious but once you look under the hood, some glaring issues emerge and opinions vary in several directions.

On the White House web site, Obama explains his take:

More than any other invention of our time, the Internet has unlocked possibilities we could just barely imagine a generation ago. And here’s a big reason we’ve seen such incredible growth and innovation: Most Internet providers have treated Internet traffic equally.

That’s a principle known as “net neutrality” — and it says that an entrepreneur’s fledgling company should have the same chance to succeed as established corporations, and that access to a high school student’s blog shouldn’t be unfairly slowed down to make way for advertisers with more money.

That’s what President Obama believes, and what he means when he says there should be no gatekeepers between you and your favorite online sites and services.

And as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) considers new rules for how to safeguard competition and user choice, we cannot take that principle of net neutrality for granted. Ensuring a free and open Internet is the only way we can preserve the Internet’s power to connect our world. That’s why the President has laid out a plan to do it, and is asking the FCC to implement it.

The problem is, some think he is trying to turn broadband ISP into a “common carrier” designation emanating from the law that created the FCC under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. If the ISP providers were classified in that manner, we could expect regulation like utilities instead of the free market place of ideas the internet has been from day one.

DeptInternet2

When has anything the federal government took control over benefited the economic engine of America? Many experts see the negatives of price controls, limiting interaction, squelching innovation, and generally fixing something that isn’t broken.

Regulations would determine what products and technologies providers can deploy, all ingredients for slowing down what has been growing so fast over the last twenty years.

Comfortably couching the moves under the terms “preservation” and “ensuring,” is what would really happen – a larger government, more controls, more taxes and a lot less capitalism. Or is it? Is this where the Government picks ‘winners and losers” again?

We cannot allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas. I believe the FCC should create a new set of rules protecting net neutrality and ensuring that neither the cable company nor the phone company will be able to act as a gatekeeper, restricting what you can do or see online. – Obama

Also at Breibart, they list the top seven reasons government-enforced net neutrality is an awful idea and we encourage you to read the details of the following list on their site:

  1. We Already Have Net Neutrality;
  2. Some Companies Take Up More Bandwidth Than Others;
  3. The Government Still Allows Discrimination In Traffic;
  4. Barriers to Entry Are Created;
  5. Technological Stagnation;
  6. Internet Taxes Could Happen;
  7. Content Restrictions From The Government

Each of these are important points and with Obama’s track record of selling “pretty” ideas with “safety” words that veil their true intent are legend, think ObamaCare to start. Additionally, we encourage you to listen to an interview at the WSJ on “Opinion: The Case Against Net Neutrality.”

But wait, there is another viewpoint at odds with detractors and Obama, “Under Obama, the FCC appears to have given up on the goal of maintaining an open Internet” and “word of the proposal leaked to the press and sparked an immediate backlash. One hundred and fifty leading technology companies, including Amazon, Microsoft, and Kickstarter, sent a letter to the FCC calling the plan a “grave threat to the Internet,” – this is from of all places, the Council on Foreign Relations.DeptInternet1

Despite the missteps so far, the administration still has a second chance to fix its Internet policy, just as it did with HealthCare.gov. Preferably working with policymakers of all stripes supportive of open markets, it should ensure that the FCC adopts rules that maintain the Internet as basic infrastructure that can be used by entrepreneurs, businesses, and average citizens alike — not a limited service controlled by a few large corporations.

In the arcane world of federal administrative agencies, that guarantee comes down to whether the FCC adopts rules that rely on flimsy legal grounds, as it has in the past, or ones that rely on the solid foundation of its main regulatory authority over “common carriers,” the legal term the U.S. government uses to describe firms that transport people, goods, or messages for a fee, such as trains and telephone companies. (It is worth reading in full.)

It is hard to wrap one’s head around it all, but to be sure, what is being said may not actually be what is intended from the White House so there are several ways to approach this, you be the judge.

Fortunately, one of the areas that Breitbart points out, “creating taxes on the internet” seems to be on the minds of a bi-partisan group of legislators to prevent that very thing in perpetuity. We also suggest watching a couple of funny videos on the “Department of the Internet” at TPNN.

Please read on:

Internet Taxation Bill Brings Lots of Love from Telecoms

Congress is once again considering whether (and how) to tax the ability of Americans to make late-night Amazon purchases in their underwear, and the companies most interested in the outcome have been generous to the lawmakers leading the charge.

Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) this week reintroduced the Internet Tax Freedom Forever Act. The bill, which has the support of 39 other senators, would make permanent Internet tax regulations that have been on the books since 1998. Wyden co-wrote the original legislation that year, and Congress has reauthorized the bill five times since then.

“For successful 21st century innovators and entrepreneurs, the Internet is their lifeblood,” Thune said in a statement. “We should be celebrating their success, not taxing the tools they use to achieve it.”

Obama-Department-of-the-Internet

The bill has two main components. First, local and state governments would not be able to levy taxes on Internet use — a condition already in place, although some states that already levied such taxes and were grandfathered in would lose that privilege. The other part of the legislation would allow local sales and use taxes to be collected on Internet commerce, but online sales could not be taxed differently from the way that goods sold in brick and mortar shops are taxed.

E-commerce as a percentage of overall retail sales in the United States has steadily risen since at least 2005, according to census data from the U.S. Department of Commerce. At the end of the third quarter of 2014, e-commerce sales came out to $78.1 billion (adjusted for seasonal variation), or 6.6 percent of total sales in the country. That’s a 16.2 percent hike compared to third quarter e-commerce sales in 2013.

Both Thune and Wyden received contributions from major telecommunication and e-commerce companies that lobbied on the version of the bill (also introduced by Wyden) that failed in the 113th Congress; lobbyists for the firms were contributors as well.

Six companies and associations that lobbied on the previous version of the bill made the top 100 donors to Thune’s campaign and leadership PAC coffers between 2009 and 2014. Lobbyists hired by those companies also gave to him. Individuals employed by AT&T and PACs associated with the company contributed the most, coming in at $43,000 (its lobbyists gave another $56,349).

The National Cable and Telecommunications Association pitched in $39,250 (lobbyists gave $70,280),Comcast gave $34,000 (lobbyists: $62,250), Time Warner gave $28,000 (lobbyists: $14,750), Verizon gave $27,500 (lobbyists: $43,500), and the American Hotel and Lodging Association gave $27,000 (lobbyists: $2,000).

Wyden also received contributions to his campaign committee and leadership PAC from organizations that lobbied on the bill previously. Since 2009, Ebay gave the most in the group with $24,100 (its lobbyists gave $6,500).

The online retailer is followed by Hewlett-Packard with $23,000 (plus  $16,000 from its lobbyists), Verizonwith $20,000 (lobbyists: $14,000), Comcast with $18,000 (lobbyists: $12,500),CenturyLink with $17,500 (lobbyists: $8,700), and Deutsche Telekom with $15,500 (lobbyists: $13,700).

In general, U.S. telecommunications companies lobbied more than any other industry on the version introduced in the 113th Congress. At the head of the pack was the National Cable and Telecom Association, which mentioned the bill 32 times in lobbying reports, followed by AT&T, Verizon, the U.S. Telecom Association, NetChoice, and Amazon.

The top four groups lobbying on the bill — all Internet-providing companies and their trade groups — spend massively on making themselves heard in Washington. NCTA paid $17.5 million in 2014 to lobby Congress and the federal agencies, while AT&T spent $14 million, Verizon $13.3 million, and the U.S. Telecom Association $5.5 million.

NetChoice, an association of e-commerce companies, and Amazon, the big dog in the e-commerce world, have been watching developments carefully as well. Amazon spent $4.9 million lobbying on a variety of issues in 2014, the most the company has spent on federal lobbying in a single year by far. NetChoice spent far less — more than $350,000 in both 2014 and 2013. But those numbers are a big jump from the organization’s first three years of lobbying; in 2012, it spent just $27,648.

al Qaeda frees six of its own, Houthis, Yemen – Iran big winner

Editor’s Note – With the closing of the United State’s embassy in Yemen this week, and the subsequent report that while leaving the Marines defending the staff and installation had to disarm prior to exiting the country, conflicting reports abound.

What it does show though, with alarming clarity, the Obama administration has yet another stark failure to its credit. But what is worse is the major gap in our ability to confront Al Qaeda, all while the Iranian puppets, the Houthis, gain yet another Middle East capitol comes under the Iranian orbit.FoxYemenMarines

But now the Pentagon is challenging that assessment:

The U.S. military has retained its ability to conduct counterterrorism operations inside Yemen, a Pentagon spokesman told Breitbart News.

“We still retain the [counterterrorism] capability [in Yemen],” asserted Marine Maj. Bradlee Avots, the Department of Defense (DoD) spokesperson, told Breitbart News Wednesday evening.

Breitbart News asked Maj. Avots whether the Pentagon was still able to fight Yemen-based terrorists such as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) after the takeover of the U.S.-backed government by Iranian-backed Houthi Shiites and the country’s ongoing descent into utter chaos.

Of course the State Department also denied the reports but we are not the only ones officially severing embassy ties to Yemen, as Saudi Arabia, Germany, and Italy have closed their facilities as well.PsakiKellyYemen

In a blistering [interview] on the Megyn Kelly show tonight, State Department spokesmoron Jen Psaki denied any order came from them for Marines to disarm during the American evacuation out of Yemen, but could not say who did. (Read more here.)

But in the process, al Qaeda is boasting that it freed some of its fighters as the article below outlines. This raises many questions and seems to challenge Washington’s assessments.

After a Yemeni army installation was captured by Sunni Al Qaeda, and the Shiite Houthis took our embassy, it is hard to imagine how our counter-terrorism efforts are not severely in jeopardy.

It also clearly shows that the Obama administration will ‘say or do anything, or not do things’ all in fear that an agreement will not be reached with Iran in the nuclear talks.

Al Qaeda freed 6 inmates in Yemen prison attack, officials say

By Jason Hanna and Hakim Almasmari, CNN

(CNN)Al Qaeda militants freed six of their fighters from a southern Yemeni prison during an attack on the facility Friday, just one day after the group took over a military camp in the same province, security officials said.

AQAP raises black flag over military camp it captured in Yemen on Thursday.
AQAP raises black flag over military camp it captured in Yemen on Thursday.

These attacks by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which has long clashed with Yemen‘s military, happened in the Arab nation’s Shabwa province, more than 100 miles to the east of the capital, which has been in political strife for weeks after minority Houthi rebels took over.

Also Friday, at least three more nations announced they were temporarily closing their embassies in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa because of deteriorating security conditions, including neighboring Saudi Arabia.

Three of the six militants freed in Friday’s prison attack in Shabwa had been sentenced to death, provincial security officials said.

Information about casualties, and details about how the attack transpired, weren’t immediately available.

A day earlier, AQAP took over a military camp at the Sabwa town of Baihan, about 110 miles east of Sanaa, after two hours of clashes with government troops, three local security officials said.

This gave AQAP control of all of the camp’s weaponry, the officials said.

Before the clashes ended, the camp’s commander called on tribal fighters to intervene. When those fighters arrived, a ceasefire was called so that the tribal fighters could help evacuate Yemeni troops — including dozens of injured — from the camp, a tribal leader said.

Saudi Arabia, Germany, Italy join others in closing embassies in Yemen

Saudi Arabia, Germany and Italy said Friday they were suspending their embassy operations in Sanaa — joining the United States and other nations that made similar moves earlier in the week.

Saudi Arabia evacuated its staff because of deteriorating security conditions following a recent takeover of the Yemeni capital by Houthi rebels, the Saudi Foreign Ministry and two Yemeni Foreign Ministry officials said.

One of the Yemeni officials said the Saudi evacuations happened Thursday.Untitled

German Embassy officials left Yemen on Friday morning, Germany’s Foreign Ministry said on Twitter. Italy’s decision follows “recent events in the country and the progressively deteriorating security conditions,” a post by Italy’s Foreign Ministry reads.

The United States, along with Britain and France, said this week that they moved staffers out of their embassies because of instability in Yemen, after Houthi rebels seized control of key government facilities, dissolved parliament and placed President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi under house arrest last month.

The Houthis — Shiite Muslims who have long felt marginalized in the majority Sunni Muslim country — are now the preeminent power in Sanaa. But different groups there have resisted the Houthis’ attempted takeover of national government institutions, particularly in the south, where there’s a long-running secessionist movement.

AQAP, a Sunni Muslim terror group, vowed to attack Houthi loyalists nationwide last year.

The United States has had a long relationship with Yemen’s leaders, working with them to target AQAP militants.

It’s not clear what the Houthis’ takeover of Sanaa means for U.S. anti-terrorism efforts, but the drone program there still appears to be active. A U,S. drone strike killed senior AQAP cleric Harith bin Ghazi al-Nadhari and three other people in Shabwa province on January 31.

Christiana – Climate Change, Remaking The World Economy

Editor’s Note – Who is the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary, Christiana Figueres and why does it matter?

Meet Chistiana – this abbreviated list of associations below will tell you a lot and her words place the capstone on why Obama, Susan Rice, and Kerry consider climate change so important and that ISIS is not an existential threat to the US. Guess what, its not about climate change, its about intentionally transforming the world’s economic development model.

“…a complete transformation of the economic structure of the world” – Christiana Figueres Qatar 2010

Christiana Figueres - Appointed Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2010
Christiana Figueres – Appointed Executive Secretary of the UN Framework
Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2010

Surprised? Here are those associations:

She is the type that drives and praises Obama, Susan Rice, and John Kerry. They align themselves with “junk science” to promote “junk economics” and that Agenda 21 crowd, now isn’t that a National Security Threat. Now you know why they say climate change is a bigger threat to our national security than ISIS.

UN Climate Chief: We Are Remaking The World Economy

By Michael Bastach at the Daily Caller

The United Nation’s climate chief says that reordering the global economy to fight climate change is the “most difficult” task the international body has ever undertaken.

12.15.14_kerry_at_cop20_peru_11dec2015_500px“This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model, for the first time in human history,” Christiana Figueres, who heads up the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, told reporters.

“This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for the, at least, 150 years, since the industrial revolution,” Figueres said.

Figueres’s remarks come ahead of a meeting in Geneva next week where delegates will pour over draft treaty texts that the U.N. hopes countries will agree to in December. She doesn’t expect global warming to be solved by one treaty, but was optimistic in will be solved in the coming years.

“That will not happen overnight and it will not happen at a single conference on climate change, be it COP 15, 21, 40 – you choose the number,” she said. “It just does not occur like that. It is a process, because of the depth of the transformation.”

The climate chief even held up President Obama as a shining example of steps countries can take to tackle global warming.

“The international community is quite grateful for the fact that in his second term, President Obama has turned his attention quite clearly and quite decisively to climate change,” Figueres told reporters.

“He has not only spoken about his commitment both to his national agenda on climate change, but also to the international process, and has been quite clear in his political leadership,” Figueres said, touting the EPA’s success cutting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.Susan Rice

The EPA will finalize rules to cut carbon emissions from new and existing power plants this summer. Critics of these rules say they will hurt the economy through job losses and higher energy prices. Supporters, however, say it will spur green energy development and set an example for other countries to follow.

Obama’s 2016 budget proposal boosts EPA funding to help it finalize emissions rules for power plants. The budget would also give the EPA $4 billion to reward states that reduce emissions even more than federal mandates require.

Figueres also cheered Obama’s agreement with China to reduce carbon emissions by 2030 and to give the U.N.’s climate fund a $3 billion boost.

“So for all of these reasons, certainly a very welcome leadership from the United States as a single nation,” Figueres said. “Countries can attain a certain level of emission reductions on their own, but they can do much more if they collaborate with each other, in particular with certain specific sectors.”

But while Figueres seems rosy about a deal, there are already signs of countries backing away from a tough international climate treaty.

France’s foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, told an audience at an event in New Delhi, India that a climate treaty should not hurt national economic growth.

“An agreement that would leave some countries to consider their growth hampered by its provisions will not be accepted,” Fabius said.


End Note – this article originally appeared on another blog, the Denise Simon Experience and was expanded for publication here.

 

Pierre Omidyar – The Lesser Known Soros Clone

Editor’s Note – We all know about Senator Harry Reid’s rants about the Koch Brothers and other big funding sources of Republicans, and we have all heard about the “Spooky Dude” George Soros and all his funding on the left.

But one thing is clear, not all sides are even remotely transparent on where the money comes from – ask the press, they can and do tell the world about the right, but few talk at all about the left until the left decided to take advantage of the “Citizens United” court decision, and we saw it in 2014’s elections.

Liberal billionaires are [were] leaving conservatives in the dust when it comes [came] to Super PAC spending during the 2014 election cycle, according to an analysis by the Sunlight Foundation.WarrenBuffetObama

It is the very billionaires who decried the 2010 Citizens United case who are now “taking advantage of the Supreme Court’s ruling,” writes the group.

Of course one of the leaders was Tom Steyer, a new name to most Americans who almost gave out famed right donors, the Adelsons. But what other transparency issues are there and who else is involved at these phenomenal rates?

Meet Pierre Omidyar, a Soros clone. His push of the liberal agenda is monumental as well. We bring this to your attention because one of the other Soros clones is Warren Buffet, a very rich, and secretive man when it comes to disclosures:

Warren Buffett is under fire from investment analysts who cover his $370bn company, Berkshire Hathaway, over the quality of its financial disclosures.

While Berkshire has grown to be the third-largest company on the US stock market, its quarterly filings reveal far less detail than companies of a similar size, according to the analysts, who all urged Mr Buffett to consider expanding disclosures, particularly about Berkshire’s large insurance businesses.

Let’s look at more clones from a publication last August and a report by the MRC and was reported by Matthew Boyle at Breitbart:

Hardly a day goes by without the media raising questions about the influence of powerful GOP megadonors, but five liberal billionaires have been pouring money into politics in recent years with nary a peep from the Fourth Estate, according to newreport from the Media Research Center’s Business and Media Institute and provided exclusively to Breitbart News.

The report studied five “clones” of famous liberal donor George Soros: former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, hedge fund manager Tom Steyer, and Soros’ own son Jonathan Soros.

Because of their massive wealth, MRC–a conservative group that works to expose liberal bias in media–says they have been able to shape and influence public policy and popular opinion with little scrutiny from the press.

Please read on about Pierre Omidyar, you probably know a lot about the other four:

Soros Clones: 5 Liberal Mega-Donors Nearly as Dangerous as George Soros

From Buffett to Bloomberg, top left-wing supporters give $2.7 billion to push a liberal agenda.

By Mike Ciandella – MRC Business Senior Analyst
Pierre Omidyar, founder and chairman of the board of eBay, speaks at the eBay Developer's Conference in Boston, Massachusetts, Wednesday, June 13, 2007. (Photo by JB Reed/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Pierre Omidyar, founder and chairman of the board of eBay, speaks at the eBay Developer’s Conference in Boston, Massachusetts, Wednesday, June 13, 2007. (Photo by JB Reed/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Born: June 21, 1967

Net Worth: $7.6 Billion

Foundation: Omidyar Network Fund, Democracy Fund

Rating: 2 out of 5

Media Outlets: First Look Media, Center for Public Integrity, Center for Responsive Politics, Sunlight Foundation

EBay founder and chairman Pierre Omidyar took the idea of funding the liberal media one step further when he built a media powerhouse all of his own. He used $250 million of his own money and created the news start-up First Look Media.

Omidyar staffed First Look with career liberal journalists from other outlets, including The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald and Slate’s Matt Taibbi. Greenwald’s liberal rants now have a prominent place at The Intercept, First Look’s online magazine. That was the only news-oriented part of the website up and running at the time of this report.

Jonathan SorosGreenwald was one of two journalists entrusted by Edward Snowden with the leaked NSA documents. (The other, Laura Poitras, also works at The Intercept.)

According to the outlet’s own website, The Intercept’s “short-term mission is to provide a platform to report on the documents previously provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.”

According to Greenwald, The Intercept launched earlier than originally planned due to an “obligation to the NSA documents to have a place to report them.”

Besides reporting on the Snowden documents, The Intercept promised to “move forward with what we believe is essential reporting in the public interest.”

Because of his connection to Snowden, Greenwald’s romantic partner, David Miranda, was temporarily held at London’s Heathrow airport in August 2013 under the U.K.’s Terrorism Act 2000. British authorities confiscated Miranda’s external hard drive containing “58,000 highly classified UK intelligence documents,” according to Greenwald’s then-employer The Guardian. Starting in June, 2013, Greenwald wrote a series of articles publicizing material from Snowden’s stolen files.

Omidyar prefers to keep his own politics quiet, but his funding revealed what his words didn’t. Through his foundation, the Omidyar Network Fund, he gave more than $213 million to liberal organizations – in addition to the $250 million he spent on First Look.

The liberal groups he funded included George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, the Tides Foundation (a foundation used to funnel liberal money anonymously to a variety of causes), as well as left-wing journalism groups like the Center for Public Integrity and the Center for Responsive Politics.

Another one of Omidyar’s pet projects was promoting the idea of a “post-political” world. At first, the idea of a world without political bickering might sound appealing, but Omidyar’s end goal was to limit political opposition to the majority.

Omidyar himself said as much in the announcement notice for the creation of his latest grantmaking operation, the Democracy Fund. In the January 2013 open letter, Omidyar repeatedly accused the Republican-dominated Congress of being run by “big donors and lobbyists,” as well as being “dominated by the demonization of opponents and deceptive political rhetoric.”

Partial List of Omidyar’s Donations Since 2004:

  • First Look Media: $250,000,000a - FirstLook copy_0
  • Sunlight Foundation: $20,505,184
  • Center for Public Integrity: $2,150,000
  • Open Society Foundation (London): $677,142
  • Tides Center: $501,000

Conclusion

George Soros doesn’t work alone. Despite liberal cries about conservative “dark money,” the left continued to be financed by an intricate network of dozens of millionaires, billionaires and foundations. This report highlighted only a handful of the most prominent members of this group.

The media coverage of these liberal donors was inexcusable. It was not the job of the media to promote or applaud partisan efforts, and it was negligent of them to ignore or bury connections between liberal policy initiatives and the liberals who funded them. Journalists were far more apt to cover conservative billionaires and their influence than they were to cover liberal billionaires.

As George Soros retires more and more from the political funding spotlight, liberal bankrollers like Buffett, Bloomberg, Steyer, Omidyar and the younger Soros were vying to take his place. And this report is just the tip of that iceberg. There are dozens of other millionaires, billionaires and political game changers on the left.

Several big liberal players were not included in this report, including Rob McKay, the Taco Bell heir and big campaigner for higher minimum wage laws; George Kaiser, the billionaire oil tycoon who invested heavily in Oklahoma politics; Drummond Pike, the creator of the highly influential Tides Foundation.

Methodology

For this Special Report, the MRC’s Business and Media Institute looked at 990 tax returns for foundations and nonprofits associated with Bloomberg, Buffett, Steyer, Omidyar and Soros. These tax returns are available through Guidestar and the Foundation Directory. All net worth amounts come from the Forbes Billionaires List.

George "Spooky Dude" Soros in 2010
George “Spooky Dude” Soros in 2010

To gauge the media coverage of these liberal donors, BMI looked for mentions of their names in Nexis transcripts for the morning and evening news shows on ABC, CBS and NBC from January 2001 to June 2014.

Recommendations for Journalists

The Business and Media Institute has the following recommendations for journalists who are reporting on political organizations, donors and funding.

  • Follow the Money: Liberal billionaires funded a wide range of political organizations and media groups. These groups were then considered authorities by major media outlets, including ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN. Instead, reporters should challenge the biases of these groups.
  • Treat Public Figures Equally: Media outlets are quick to report on funding by Charles and David Koch to conservative organizations, but they often completely ignore the wide range of funding by liberal donors. Among them, these five liberal donors are worth more than $109 billion dollars, and they aren’t alone.
  • Dig Into Backgrounds of Both Sides: The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics states that journalists should, “Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.” It is incumbent upon journalists to analyze the background and funding sources for groups and individuals on both ends of the political spectrum.

Gallup Gets It – U3 Unemployment Number is a 'Big Lie'

Editor’s Note – Think as you will which polling group leans left or right. It is not uncommon to see some on the left like the Daily Kos accuse Gallup of being a right-wing shill, yet others think Gallup leans left and is more trustworthy than Rasmussen.

Because Scott Rasmusson was seen in the company of Republicans on cruises and the like and they use different methodologies, the two more trusted polling groups, Gallup since 1935, and Rasmussen are always under question.

AP Photo/John Amis
AP Photo/John Amis

Our contention is they all are, especially in how they ask questions. Therefore most news outlets now lean to averages like at Real Clear Politics, but are they not also suspect?

In any case, it is with wonderment that Gallup’s CEO, Jim Clifton would write the following op/ed on the bogus nature of the U-3 unemployment numbers the administration relies on so heavily to promote how positive the trend is for reduced unemployment.

As we have been questioning and pointing out how archaic the old methods of defining unemployment have become, it is great to see a trusted group like Gallup actually come out and tell the world.

In fact, they report it as a breaking development. What has been obvious for years to those of us who understand such things and pay close attention, all under Obama, we are glad Gallup shed the scales from its eyes.

Our friends at Zero Hedge have been leading the way on exposing the bogus numbers coming from the administration, now maybe more in the main stream media will finally get the picture. Here are some of our posts on the subject, here, here, here, here, here, and here to cite just a few.

Untitled

Meanwhile, the labor participation rate continues to drop to 1970’s era levels. Want fries with that Mr. Clifton? With over 92 million people out of work, we thank Jim Clifton for pointing out the ‘Big Lie’ for us:

The Big Lie: 5.6% Unemployment

By Jim Clifton – Gallup.com

Here’s something that many Americans — including some of the smartest and most educated among us — don’t know: The official unemployment rate, as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, is extremely misleading.

Right now, we’re hearing much celebrating from the media, the White House and Wall Street about how unemployment is “down” to 5.6%. The cheerleading for this number is deafening. The media loves a comeback story, the White House wants to score political points and Wall Street would like you to stay in the market.

None of them will tell you this: If you, a family member or anyone is unemployed and has subsequently given up on finding a job — if you are so hopelessly out of work that you’ve stopped looking over the past four weeks — the Department of Labor doesn’t count you as unemployed. That’s right.

While you are as unemployed as one can possibly be, and tragically may never find work again, you are not counted in the figure we see relentlessly in the news — currently 5.6%. Right now, as many as 30 million Americans are either out of work or severely underemployed. Trust me, the vast majority of them aren’t throwing parties to toast “falling” unemployment.

The Big Lie

There’s another reason why the official rate is misleading. Say you’re an out-of-work engineer or healthcare worker or construction worker or retail manager: If you perform a minimum of one hour of work in a week and are paid at least $20 — maybe someone pays you to mow their lawn — you’re not officially counted as unemployed in the much-reported 5.6%. Few Americans know this.

Yet another figure of importance that doesn’t get much press: those working part time but wanting full-time work. If you have a degree in chemistry or math and are working 10 hours part time because it is all you can find — in other words, you are severely underemployed — the government doesn’t count you in the 5.6%. Few Americans know this.

There’s no other way to say this. The official unemployment rate, which cruelly overlooks the suffering of the long-term and often permanently unemployed as well as the depressingly underemployed, amounts to a Big Lie.

Jim Clifton - Gallup CEO
Jim Clifton – Gallup CEO

And it’s a lie that has consequences, because the great American dream is to have a good job, and in recent years, America has failed to deliver that dream more than it has at any time in recent memory.

A good job is an individual’s primary identity, their very self-worth, their dignity — it establishes the relationship they have with their friends, community and country. When we fail to deliver a good job that fits a citizen’s talents, training and experience, we are failing the great American dream.

Gallup defines a good job as 30+ hours per week for an organization that provides a regular paycheck. Right now, the U.S. is delivering at a staggeringly low rate of 44%, which is the number of full-time jobs as a percent of the adult population, 18 years and older.

We need that to be 50% and a bare minimum of 10 million new, good jobs to replenish America’s middle class.

I hear all the time that “unemployment is greatly reduced, but the people aren’t feeling it.” When the media, talking heads, the White House and Wall Street start reporting the truth — the percent of Americans in good jobs; jobs that are full time and real — then we will quit wondering why Americans aren’t “feeling” something that doesn’t remotely reflect the reality in their lives. And we will also quit wondering what hollowed out the middle class.

Jim Clifton is Chairman and CEO at Gallup.