The number of people not in the labor force exceeded 94 million for the first time, hitting another record high in August, according to new jobs data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The BLS reports that 94,031,000 people (ages 16 and over) last month were neither employed nor had made specific efforts to find work in the prior four weeks.
The number of individuals out of the civilian work force represented a jump of 261,000 over July’s record of 93,626,000 people.
August’s labor force participation rate remained at the same level as the prior two months at 62.2 percent, the lowest level seen since October 1977 when the participation rate was 62.4 percent.
The civilian labor force also experienced a slight decline of 41,000 people, compare to July’s 157,106,000 people in the civilian labor force to 157,065,000.
In total 149,036,000 people were employed in August, 8,029,000 were unemployed, and 5,932,000 people who wanted a job.
Overall the Labor Department reported that the economy added 173,000 jobs in August. The unemployment rate was 5.1 percent, lower than July’s 5.3 percent.
A group of 14 Democrat senators has written a letter to President Obama urging him to “dramatically increase” the number of Syrian refugees being resettled into American cities and towns.
They say the U.S. needs to take in at least 65,000 Syrians as permanent refugees over the next year-and-a-half.
“While the United States is the largest donor of humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees, we must also dramatically increase the number of Syrian refugees that we accept for resettlement,” says the four-page letter to Obama, copied to Secretary of State John Kerry and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.
More than 3.5 million Syrians are registered with the United Nations as refugees, and the U.N. wants to assign about 350,000 of them to so-called “third-party countries.”
The 14 senators, led by Richard Durbin, D-Ill., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., cite the research of the Refugee Council USA to make their case for 65,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2016. RCUSA is the main lobbying arm of the nine agencies that contract with the federal government to resettle refugees in cities and towns across America.
The more refugees brought into the country, the more government grants doled out to the nine resettlement agencies. Among them are the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, Church World Service, International Rescue Committee and the National Association of Evangelicals’ World Relief.
More than 90 percent of Syrian refugees will be Muslim
Of the 843 Syrians resettled in the U.S. since the start of the Syrian civil war, 92 percent have been Muslim and about 7 percent Christian. Syria’s overall population is 90 percent Muslim and close to 10 percent Christian.
“The vast majority of these refugees are women and children, including two million children,” the letter states, using language similar to what Democrats used to justify the entry of some 60,000 unaccompanied alien children from Central America last year. “An entire generation of Syrian children is at risk.
“More than ten thousand Syrian children have been killed, and half of Syrian refugee children are not attending school, more than one-hundred thousand are working to support their families, and thousands are unaccompanied or separated from their parents.
“[W]e urge your Administration to work to accept at least 50 percent of Syrian refugees whom UNCHR [United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees] is seeking to resettle, consistent with our nation’s traditional practice under both Republican and Democratic Presidents.”
The letter also addresses the security concerns about accepting Syrians who may have ties to the various Islamic extremist factions fighting to overthrow and replace Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. Among them are ISIS, Jabat al-Nusra and the Free Syrian Army.
“We fully support your Administration’s efforts to ensure that any potential security concerns are addressed by strengthening security checks for refugees with the latest technology and information,” the letter states.
“Refugees are the most carefully vetted of all travelers to the U.S., with extensive biometric, biographic, intelligence, and law enforcement checks involving numerous agencies,” the letter says, parroting the U.S. State Department talking points about the quality of the screening process for refugees.
The problem with that argument, however, is that it has been debunked by FBI counter-terrorism experts who have openly admitted it is virtually impossible to screen Syrian refugees, precisely because U.S. agents don’t have access to reliable biometric and law enforcement data. As WND previously reported, Michael Steinbach, deputy assistant director of the FBI counter-terrorism unit, admitted at a hearing before the House Homeland Security committee on Feb. 11 that reliable records are not available in a “failed state” like Syria.
The House Homeland Security Committee was schedule to hold another hearing this week on the national security risks associated with the Syrian refugees, but that hearing was postponed Thursday until further notice.
The letter being sent to Obama makes the upcoming House hearing even more pivotal as the battle over this issue heats up on both sides of the aisle, with Democrats pushing for more Syrians and Republicans pushing for less.
‘A serious mistake’
Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, says resettling Syrian refugees in the U.S. is a “serious mistake” and should be stopped until safeguards are in place.
“We have no way… to know who these people are, and so I think bringing them in is a serious mistake,” said McCaul during a press conference Thursday.
McCaul said the U.S. has “no intelligence footprint or capability” inside Syria to ensure refugees mean no harm.
“We don’t have databases on these individuals so we can’t properly vet them,” he added, “to know where they came from, to know what threat they pose, because we don’t have the data to cross-reference them with.”
McCaul, who has visited Syrian refugee camps overseas, said that while there are “a lot of mothers and kids, there are [also] a lot of males of the age that could conduct terrorist operations.”
“That concerns me,” he added.
‘Give me your tired…’
The U.S. takes in more refugees than any other country by far. In the current fiscal year it has committed to accept 70,000 and some years it has been as high as 200,000. Almost all of the refugees coming to the U.S. are selected by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres.
Also playing against the Democratic senators argument is the recent string of arrests of Somali refugees and children of Somali refugees. Just last month six Somali young men were arrested and charged with trying to leave the country to fight for ISIS. Two of them used their college student loan money to pay for plane tickets to Turkey.
Dozens of others have gone to fight with al-Shabab in Somalia and still others have been arrested, charged and convicted of providing money or other material support to overseas terrorist organizations.
Somalia, like Syria, is a failed state where the U.S. has no military presence and no access to reliable law enforcement data.
“This issue has obviously come up before. We’ve had a bunch of people who have come in as refugees and committed terrorist acts, or tried to commit terrorist acts,” said Steven Camarota, director of research for the Center for Immigration Studies. “But I think the underlying question is, one, the ability to vet people from a war-torn country that had poor record keeping to begin with is virtually nonexistent now. There’s simply no way to know what people have done in the past from a country like Syria.
“All we know about Syria is that powerful and well-organized terrorist groups operate throughout the country,” he said.
Lessons learned or mistakes repeated?
Even if they could be adequately screened, experience proves that the children of Muslim immigrants are sometimes more in danger of being radicalized than their parents, Camarota said.
He points to numerous recent cases like that of Hoda Muthana, the 19-year-old daughter of Muslim parents who emigrated from Yemen more than 20 years ago and settled in Birmingham, Alabama. She left to fight for ISIS in November after being recruited over the Internet. Her parents have been “traumatized” by losing their oldest daughter, according to an article by AL.com.
The fact that some arrive as “children” is also no guarantee against radicalization. Some are radicalized in American mosques after they grow into teens and young adults.
That’s what happened to the Tsarnaev brothers, who carried out the Boston Marathon bombing. They came as asylum seekers as young boys with their parents from war-torn Chechnya.
“Unfortunately, a number of people who have come as refuges became radicalized after they arrived in the United States, including the Tsarnaev brothers. The younger brother, who just got convicted, was a young boy when he arrived with his family,” Camarota said.
“We’ve had a number from Somalia who have gone to fight for ISIS or al-Shabab who came to America at young ages,” he added. “Unfortunately, we’ve also seen a number of cases where people have been radicalized after they got here from Somalia.”
There is an alternative that low-immigration advocates such as Camarota say could be more effective in helping the plight of true refugees.
“We can help countries in the region resettle these folks, provide resources to countries like Jordan, and countries like Saudi Arabia, which is a rich country with lots of space,” he said. “And because they would be close to their home countries they could return once the war is over.”
Resettling refugees costs the American taxpayer $1.5 billion a year, and that does not include the cost of social welfare benefits. Unlike other immigrants, refugees immediately qualify for government benefits such as food stamps, temporary assistance for needy families, or TANF, subsidized housing and Medicaid health care.
“Instead, that money could be used to help a lot more people resettle in the Middle East region, making it more likely that their life would be less disrupted and they would be more likely to return home,” Camarota said. “We could help more people and make it more likely rather than bring a tiny number here at huge costs and bring these risks to national security.”
Clare Lopez, vice president for research and analysis at the Center for Security Policy, said taking in more Syrian refugees poses risks that must be balanced against humanitarian concerns.
“Welcoming more Syrian refugees to the U.S. would be a generous move to make, so long as they can be vetted to exclude any who identify with a jihadist ideology or worse yet, are jihadis themselves,” she said. “It would also make sense to be sure we select for those who will most easily assimilate to America’s Judeo-Christian-based legal system and Western-style democratic society.”
While the lobbying organization National Council of Refugees USA, refers to itself as nonprofit and bipartisan, refugee watchdog Ann Corcoran doesn’t buy it.
She said conservatives shouldn’t be fooled by the “church sounding names.”
“Looking at this list they all appear to be from the hard left,” said Corcoran, who follows the refugee movement at her blog, Refugee Resettlement Watch.
The senators’ letter closes by saying: “[I]t is a moral, legal, and national security imperative for the United States to lead by example in addressing the world’s worst refugee crisis of our time by greatly increasing the number of Syrian refugees who are resettled in our country. Thank you for your time and consideration.”
Gallup CEO and Chairman Jim Clifton doubled-down on his comments earlier in the week on the misleading Obama unemployment rate.
Obama says the unemployment rate is 5.6% which is very misleading.
Clifton went on America’s Newsroom today to explain the misleading government numbers.
“The number of full-time jobs, and that’s what everybody wants, as a percent of the total population, is the lowest it’s ever been… The other thing that is very misleading about that number is the more people that drop out, the better the number gets. In the recession we lost 13 million jobs. Only 3 million have come back. You don’t see that in that number.“
Via America’s Newsrooom:
The real Obama unemployment rate is above 10%
Yesterday on Meet the Press, Obama told Chuck Todd that he was not specifically referring to ISIL in his infamous JV quote from the New Yorker in January:
TODD: “Long way, long way from when you described them as a JV team. Was that bad intelligence or your misjudgment?”
OBAMA: “Keep in mind I wasn’t specifically referring to ISIL. I’ve said that, regionally, there were a whole series of organizations that were focused primarily locally, weren’t focused on homeland, because I think a lot of us, when we think about terrorism, the model is Osama bin Laden and 9/11.”
But Politifact disagreed and gave the above statement by Obama a big fat LIE after contacting the author of the New Yorker piece in which the quote was originally published:
Critics have maligned Obama’s “JV” remark in recent weeks as the Islamic State continues to wreak havoc throughout Syria and Iraq. The origin of the comment is a New Yorker profile of Obama by editor David Remnick. The New Yorker published Remnick’s profile on Jan. 27, 2014. In it, he wrote, “In the 2012 campaign, Obama spoke not only of killing Osama bin Laden; he also said that Al Qaeda had been ‘decimated.’ I pointed out that the flag of Al Qaeda is now flying in Fallujah, in Iraq, and among various rebel factions in Syria; Al Qaeda has asserted a presence in parts of Africa, too.”
Obama responded: “The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.” (For the nonsports fan, JV stands for junior varsity, and it usually means a high school or college’s secondary team.)
Remnick confirmed to PolitiFact that the interview took place on Jan. 7 and he was referencing a specific event that had happened just days before: the overtaking of the Iraq city of Fallujah on Jan. 3.
Al Jazeera America reported on Jan. 4: “On Friday, ISIL gunmen sought to win over the population in Fallujah, one of the cities they swept into on Wednesday. A commander appeared among worshippers holding Friday prayers in the main city street, proclaiming that his fighters were there to defend Sunnis from the government, one resident said.
Officials within the Iraqi government told the “Agence France-Presse that ISIL, the al Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, remained in control of parts of the two cities on Thursday,” according to NBC.
So when Remnick referenced an al Qaeda group taking over Fallujah, it’s clear whom he was talking about.
Obama said his JV comment “wasn’t specifically referring to ISIL.” He was not specifically asked about Islamic State, but it’s pretty clear this is the group that was being referenced in the conversation. The transcript backs this up, as do news events from the time of the discussion.
We rate the statement False.
And there it is. A big fat lie.
So first he blames bad intelligence and when that doesn’t work, he claims he was talking about something else.
Nearly six in 10 people disapprove of President Obama’s job performance in a new poll by The Associated Press, the highest rating recorded by the newswire.
According to the AP-GFK survey released Wednesday, 59 percent disapprove of Obama’s job performance, while 41 percent approve.
A similar poll released by the news outlet in January found 45 percent approved of him, while 53 percent disapproved.
Other recent polling has found Obama’s disapproval rating slightly lower, remaining in the low 50s. A CBS News poll Tuesday showed 50 percent disapproval, while Gallup has his disapproval at 52 percent.
In the AP poll, only 40 percent approve of Obama’s handling of international relations, a new low. The newswire notes that Obama’s handling of foreign policy is usually neutral.
Fifty-seven percent dislike his handling of the situation in Ukraine, where the Crimean region of the country voted this month to gain independence and join Russia.
The Obama administration has imposed sanctions on a number of Russian and Ukrainian officials who it found violated the sovereignty of Ukraine. Obama has also signed an executive order authorizing sanctions on some sectors of the Russian economy.
Fifty-four percent said they dislike Obama’s interaction with Russia.
The president is in Europe this week as he makes the case for continued condemnation of Russia’s moves, which the United States has described as a violation of international law.
About nine in 10 survey respondents support sanctions against Russia for its annexation of Crimea. The public is split on whether the sanctions should be strengthened or are about right.
Most people have no opinion on providing monetary aid to Ukraine. Twenty percent support it, while about 30 percent oppose it.
The poll surveyed 1,012 people in online interviews. It contains a 3.4-percent margin of error.
Vladimir Putin’s popularity is cresting again in his native Russia, according to the independent Levada Center. His approval rating now stands at 80%, with only 18% of Russians disapproving. The last time Putin was so popular in Russia was in 2008, after he won a war with Georgia and Russia’s oil sales were giving a huge boost to the economy.
Just 18% of the uninsured have bothered to go on an ObamaCare exchange website, according to a recent Gallup survey. And only 22% say they will buy an exchange plan next year.
That same week, a Reuters poll found that 56% of the uninsured oppose ObamaCare. Just 44% view it favorably. In other words, the uninsured are, if anything, more opposed to the law than are the public at large.
Given the mounting fury over millions of policy cancellations and the federal exchange website debacle, these findings garnered little public attention.
But they should.
They are evidence that, in addition to Obama’s “keep your plan” promise, he appears to have misled the public about the scale of the uninsured problem and ObamaCare’s ability to help. In fact, there’s increasing reason to believe that ObamaCare could actually swell the ranks of the uninsured next year.
‘Underlying Moral Basis’
When President Obama was selling the Affordable Care Act back in 2009, he repeatedly claimed that the “underlying moral basis” for reform was to help the uninsured.
“We are not a nation that accepts nearly 46 million uninsured,” he said in a June 2009 speech before the American Medical Association. Later that year at a town hall, he promised that “if you’re one of the nearly 46 million people who don’t have health insurance, you will finally have quality, affordable options.”
Just this Thursday, Obama said that “I’m not going to walk away from 40 million people who have the chance to get health insurance for the first time.”
But early indications are that the uninsured are unenthusiastic about the law meant to help them. Even those states running their own exchange websites – which generally have suffered fewer glitches than the federal Healthcare.gov site – have seen few people signing up.
In Maryland, which has 785,000 uninsured and was one of the first states to enthusiastically embrace ObamaCare, just 4,700 had enrolled as of Nov. 10, according to Avalere Health. Connecticut’s exchange has enrolled only 4,100, although it has more than 340,000 uninsured. Washington, D.C., home to 63,000 uninsured, has signed up just 300 people since Oct. 1.
Uninsured Figure Inflated
Experts have long known that the number of uninsured bandied about by reformers was misleading. But a careful look at the uninsured populations also reveals that ObamaCare may not help them much.
First, most uninsured spells are relatively short. A Congressional Budget Office report found that 71% regain coverage they’ve lost within a year, and almost half get it back in four months or less. Only 16% of those went more than two years.
Such short-term gaps will likely continue under ObamaCare, since people will still be prone to lose coverage between jobs, and can go up to three months without insurance and still avoid paying the mandate penalty.
In addition, the young and healthy are far more likely to be uninsured than any other age group. According to the Census Bureau’s latest report, more than 27% of those between 19 and 34 are uninsured, compared with 16% of those 45 to 64.
These are the “young invincibles” that Obama needs to sign up for ObamaCare to keep rates from spiraling upward. But those not buying relatively cheap insurance available today aren’t likely to pay more for it in the exchanges.
Census data also show that almost a quarter of the uninsured have household incomes of more than $50,000, which means that many of them won’t be eligible for ObamaCare’s tax subsidies.
What’s more, the official number of uninsured is exaggerated.
As many as 6 million who claim to lack coverage are actually enrolled in Medicaid, and another 4 million are eligible for Medicaid but haven’t enrolled, according to one analysis. And 9.5 million aren’t even U.S. citizens, according to the Census Bureau.
Combined, these groups account for 42% of the 46 million said to be uninsured. And none of them will benefit from ObamaCare.
The law is expected, however, to cover many currently uninsured through Medicaid in the 25 states that agreed to expand eligibility for that program. ObamaCare tried to force every state to sharply raise the Medicaid income threshold, but the Supreme Court ruled the mandate unconstitutional.
Even the White House has admitted that the 46 million figure was an exaggeration, saying at one point it was more like 30 million.
ObamaCare will still leave about 30 million uninsured by 2023 despite spending $1.8 trillion in subsidies, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
While ObamaCare may not do a very good job of covering the uninsured, it could very well increase their ranks.
By some estimates, 11 million people nationwide will have their individual policies canceled. In California alone – a state with 7 million uninsured – more than 1 million are getting cancellation notices, according to the state’s insurance commissioner.
And 40-plus million workers could find their rates leap upward because their employers had existing insurance policies canceled and had to buy more expensive ObamaCare-approved plans.
In other words, far more people could lose their current plans this year than are officially counted as uninsured. If only a fraction of these opt not to buy because of high costs – as many are telling the press they will – there could be millions more without insurance next year.
Need health insurance? The Obama administration has you covered. Simply dial 1-800-FUCKYO to reach the next available health-care provider.
Far from being a mistype, that’s the official number that Health and Human Services wants Americans to dial when seeking health care. Obamacare’s national call center really did list its number as 1-800-318-2596, helpfully spelling out President Barack Obama’s tendency to blatantly flip the bird in plain view.
After allowing for the lack of letters attached to 1 on a traditional American telephone keypad, the number spells out a clear message. For every duped voter, every young invincible weighing the cost of a penalty versus a newly tripled yearly deductible, every ailing old granny in a wheelchair (whom, remember, Paul Ryan wants to push off a cliff) who needs adequate and affordable health care, Obama’s message is:
1-800-3(F) 8(U) 2(C) 5(K) 9(Y) 6(O).
That’s 1-800-FUCKYO. Sadly, the Obama administration failed to swap the useless 1 for a more functional 8 to complete the heartfelt message, perhaps in consolation to former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s tragically shortened middle finger.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius launched a media campaign this week to propagandize the transformative health-care overhaul. She compared the sweeping, coercive law that gives government huge power over the health-care industry to an iPhone system update.
“Everyone just assumes, “Well, there’s a problem, they’ll fix it, we’ll move on,’” Sebelius said about Apple’s iOS updates. “And like many of their customers, I put the ‘new’ system on my phone and went on my merry way, but it was just a reminder that we’re likely to have some glitches. We will fix them and move on. Is this a sign that the law is flawed and failed? I don’t think so. I think it’s a sign that we’re building a piece of complicated technology. We want it to work. We want it to work right. We’ve got an incredible team working 24/7 to do just that.”
“Hopefully they’ll give us the same slack they give Apple,” Sebelius said, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The State Department has hired an alarming number of law-enforcement agents with criminal or checkered backgrounds because of a flawed hiring process, a stunning memo obtained by The Post reveals.
The background problems are severe enough that many of the roughly 2,000 agents in State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security can play only limited roles in agency efforts to police bad conduct and prosecute wrongdoers.
The problems in the bureau are the latest revelation in an exploding scandal that also involves accusations that members of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s security detail and those of the US ambassador to Belgium solicited prostitutes overseas.
A whistleblower charges that State tried to cover up multiple scandals by removing them from an inspector general’s report.
“Department intakes of new… officers since the hiring surge a decade ago have reportedly been flawed, with ‘mitigation’ of troubling histories including criminal matters,” according to a December 2012 memo to State Deputy Inspector General Harold Geisel from a team leader in the IG’s Office.
The memo goes on to state that the troubling backgrounds can pose a problem if the agents are needed to testify at trials to assist prosecutors.
“Too many people entering the [Diplomatic Security and Information Management] communities end up as subjects of [Special Investigation Division] investigations and HR adjudications, become Giglio-impaired and can play only limited roles thereafter,” according to the memo.
“Giglio” refers to a US Supreme Court case dealing with jury notification that witnesses have made deals with the government to induce testimony.
Some Diplomatic Security field offices “have major problems just waiting to be discovered,” the memo adds.
An IG spokesman said he couldn’t comment on internal documents, but State has said it prosecutes misconduct, and that the internal draft reports contain “unsubstantiated information.”
A 2012 letter to State’s labor-management negotiator from the union for foreign-service agents, also obtained by The Post, asserts a pattern of “questionable tactics and unprofessional conduct” by Diplomatic Security agents.
In one case, aggressive interrogation techniques by Diplomatic Service agents drove an employee to attempt suicide when accused of raping his maid in Bangkok, Thailand, the memo suggests. The employee maintained the sex was consensual.
But after “being told he would end up in a Thai prison, his wife would lose her job and his children would be pulled out of school, [the man] attempted suicide by jumping out of the 16th-story window at a hotel in Bangkok,” said the memo.
“Fortunately, he landed on a tarp on the 10th floor and sustained minor injuries.”“It depends on what team you’re on, whether they like you or not,” he said.
The man was flown back to Washington for in-patient psychiatric care, where the agents continued to harass him, the union charged. The rape charges were ultimately dropped.
The memo sites eight cases involving Diplomatic Security agents who resort to “false, misleading or incomplete statements in reports,” “privacy-act violations” or “lack of objectivity” in investigations.
Cary Schulman, lawyer for former IG investigator-turned-whistleblower Aurelia Fedenisn, said Diplomatic Security agents are “wrongfully overly pursuing some people” but letting other have a “free pass.”