Category Archives: Current Political Affairs

The Tomb of Christ Jesus

Jesus Christ’s tomb opened for the first time in 500 years

For decades debate has raged over whether the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem really is the site of the most famous miracle of all.

The shrine is supposed to contain the tomb where Jesus Christ ’s body lay for three days after his crucifixion.

The tomb has been sealed in marble since at least 1555 – and possibly centuries longer – to protect it from pilgrims who kept stealing pieces as holy relics.

But over the preceding centuries the church had been destroyed and rebuilt so many times there were doubts about what it contained.

Now the tomb’s marble lid has been removed for the first time in five centuries – revealing a miraculous discovery.

There, unseen for half a millennium, was the limestone shelf where Christ’s body is thought to have been placed.

The researchers also discovered a second grey marble slab no one knew existed, engraved with a cross they believe was carved in the 12th century by the Crusaders.

Archaeologist Fredrik Hiebert of National Geographic, which was a partner in the project, says: “The most amazing thing for me was when we removed the first layer of dust and found a second piece of marble.

“This one was grey, not creamy white like the exterior, and right in the middle of it was a beautifully inscribed cross. We had no idea that was there.

Jesus Christ’s body is supposed to have laid in the tomb for three days after his crucifixion .
“The shrine has been destroyed many times by fire, earthquakes, and invasions over the centuries. We didn’t really know if they had built it in exactly the same place every time.

“But this seems to be visible proof that the spot the pilgrims worship today really is the same tomb the Roman Emperor Constantine found in the 4th century and the Crusaders revered. It’s amazing.

“When we realised what we had found my knees were shaking a little bit.”

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalems Old City .
It was opened in the presence of leaders from the Greek and Armenian Orthodox churches and the Franciscan monks, who share responsibility for the church.

Fredrik adds: “They let the patriarchs of the three churches go in first. They came out with big smiles on their face. Then the monks went in and they were all smiling.

“We were all getting really curious. Then we went in, looked into the tomb, and saw a lot of rubble. So it wasn’t empty, even though there were no artefacts or bones.”

Negotiations to open the tomb for vital repairs began in 1959 but all decisions must be agreed by a “status quo committee” of the three religious leaders.

The committee often struggles to agree, making any changes or repairs notoriously slow and difficult.

The key to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is kept by a Muslim family who have unlocked the building every morning for the last 500 years.

Fredrik says: “Everything has to be approved by the committee, so even changing a candle takes a long time.

“There is a ladder by the main entrance to the church that hasn’t moved in 240 years and they still haven’t reached a decision. It’s called the immovable ladder. So the fact we were finally allowed to carry out this work is a triumph of negotiation.”

The tomb attracts thousands of pilgrims every day so the team got less than three days to clean and explore it.

They used ground penetrating radar and thermographic scanners to record as much information as possible beforehand. It took 35 conservation experts 60 hours to remove the dirt, documenting every step.

They eventually found the limestone burial bed just hours before they had to reseal the tomb.

The team gathered so much data it will take months to analyse, after which they will have enough information to create a virtual reconstruction of the tomb that anyone can view. Fredrick says: “Often in archaeology the eureka moment doesn’t happen in the field.

“It comes when you get home and examine all the data you’ve collected. Who knows what that will tell us.

“Without bones or artefacts we’ll never be able to say for sure this was the tomb of Christ.

“That is a matter of faith. It always has been and it probably always will be.”


In the aftermath of a bitter and hard-fought election, the usual crowd of public commentators are struggling to pull themselves out of the mud pits in a vainglorious effort to show the entire world that they themselves were somehow poor victims of circumstance too; ha-ha-ho-ho-hee-hee! They tend to forget some of us have  indelible memories of them covered in mud and muck. And, being the self-appointed referees of what-happens-when, they have decided to call for national unity and healing; a magical coming together of wildcats and pit-bulls who mere weeks ago would have had no problem terminating each others existence in darkened allies, ( not counting the ugly protests in the vicinity of Trump Campaign Rallies – a shameful Leftist tactic borrowed from dead-and-gone former President and Destroyer of Venezuela).

Here’s another simple, universally true rule they tend to forget, and often:
Unless all parties are willing to acknowledge that they partook in the feeding frenzy, no healing, no coming-together lovefest orgy will take place. Just not happening.

Another important point of reconciliation – the Left consciously chose to ignore and misinterpret the rules laid down at the founding of this great country – THE US CONSTITUTION. Yes, the SUPREME LAW of the land. Absent the Constitution, we truly have nothing in common. “Common” implies the faithful subscription to the boundaries imposed on the government, and the faithful execution of the laws protecting individual freedom by the government.

I call attention to the two most important Constitutional Amendments that the LEFT has tried to trample:

  • 1st Amendment (free speech, freedom of religion, free press)
  • 2nd Amendment (the right to keep and bear arms)
  • Until the Left stops their unrelenting assault on our Constitutional Rights, we have as much chance of coming together and singing Kumbaya as a snowball’s chance in hell; simply not going to happen.
    A partial list of Leftists:
  • Liberals
  • Democrats
  • Progressives
  • Greenies
  • Socialists
  • Nazi-Sympathizers
  • Communist-Sympathizers

Proposition from the Left
The US Constitution is a “living document”no it is not. It is the supreme law of this nation. It is the possibly the single most idiotic concept ever pretended by the Left. The moment any law is deemed “living and ever-evolving” as the Left means, we are all in serious trouble. This is where I accuse the Left of adopting a Fascist/Communist concept that laws are subject to interpretation as the state deems expedient and necessary to the preservation of Statism.  In Communist China, their constitutional guarantees are subject to interpretation by the government. For example, freedom to worship is “guaranteed” in the Chinese constitution – unless some bureaucrat decides there is some unwritten exception.

You will notice the Left in America behave in precisely the same manner. The 2nd Amendment is the perfect example to illustrate this. You can find articles on this website about the 2nd Amendment, so there is no need to discuss this at length, but suffice it to say the Left has been relentless in their fanatical jihad to destroy it completely by cowardly and underhanded means. What about motive? History tells us the Nazis and Communists both employed civilian disarmament as the prelude to total and absolute control. The Left knows this, but will never, ever admit to it. Instead, they invent straw-man arguments that invariably collapse under logical scrutiny and dissection. Your modern-day Fascist pigs.



Beijing fires trade warning after Trump appoints China hawk


China has warned Donald Trump that “co-operation is the only correct choice” after the US president-elect tapped a China hawk to run a new White House trade policy office.

The appointment of Peter Navarro, a campaign adviser, to a formal White House post shocked Chinese officials and scholars who had hoped that Mr Trump would tone down his anti-Beijing rhetoric after assuming office.

Mr Navarro, a Harvard-trained economist and University of California Irvine professor, is the author of Death by China and other books that paint the country as America’s most dangerous adversary.

“Chinese officials had hoped that, as a businessman, Trump would be open to negotiating deals,” said Zhu Ning, a finance professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing. “But they have been surprised by his decision to appoint such a hawk to a key post.”

Adding to rising tensions between the two countries, the US Office of the Trade Representative yesterday put Alibaba, China’s biggest e-commerce platform, back on its “notorious markets” blacklist of companies accused of being involved in peddling fake goods.

China is preparing itself for US trade actions. China will respond with counteractions of its own

Hua Chunying, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, said Beijing would monitor the policy positions of the incoming US administration. “As two major powers with broad mutual interests, co-operation is the only correct choice,” she said on Thursday.

Speaking hours before the appointment of Mr Navarro, which was first reported by the Financial Times, China’s foreign minister Wang Yi told the People’s Daily, the ruling Communist party’s flagship newspaper, that China and the US faced “new, complicated and uncertain factors affecting bilateral relations”. He said the world’s two largest economies must respect each other’s “core interests”.

Cui Fan at the China Society of WTO Studies, a think-tank affiliated with China’s commerce ministry, warned that Beijing would respond to any unilateral action by the incoming Trump administration. “China is preparing itself for US trade actions,” he said. “China will respond with counteractions of its own.”

China has been scrambling to assess Mr Trump’s stance since he took a congratulatory phone call from Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen in early December, defying almost four decades of precedent. Under the “One China” policy, Washington has abstained from official interactions with the island, which Beijing regards as a “rogue province”.

Chinese diplomats have been setting up meetings with current and former US officials who focus on Asia to try to discern what Mr Trump is thinking. But many US experts have little contact with the Trump transition team, which is run out of Trump Tower in New York, complicating efforts to glean meaningful intelligence.

Related article
The highest level contact between China and the Trump team came last week when Yang Jiechi, the top Chinese foreign policy official, met Michael Flynn, the incoming national security adviser, in New York. While much of the Asia team remains unknown, Mr Trump is considering Matthew Pottinger, a former US marine and Wall Street Journal correspondent in China, for the top Asia adviser role in the White House.

Mr Trump’s recent rhetoric about China has given Beijing even more cause for concern. Since the call with Ms Tsai, he has publicly criticised China’s currency policies and island fortifications in the South China Sea. He has questioned Washington’s commitment to the One China policy, and also angered Beijing by alleging at the weekend that a Chinese warship had “stolen” a US navy submarine drone, which was later returned.

Mr Wang told the People’s Daily: “We will lead the way amid a shake-up in global governance and take hold of the situation amid international chaos. We will protect our interests amid intense and complex games.”

Last week, the US Federal Reserve raised interest rates and hinted at three more rises next year. The Fed move and expectations of tax cuts and infrastructure stimulus in the Trump administration are putting more downward pressure on the renminbi, which has been declining in value against the dollar as Chinese authorities struggle to contain capital flight.

He Weiwen, deputy director of the Center for China and Globalisation, added that Beijing could retaliate against US exports and restrict market access for US companies.

Additional reporting by Yuan Yang and Archie Zhang in Beijing

Twitter: @tmitchpk and @dimi

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COMMENTARY: Hold on…not so fast. The Left wasted no time implying that Trump’s win is somehow purely technical, and that the majority of Americans did not vote for him. A giant false narrative, given that felons, illegal aliens were encouraged and then allowed to cast their illegitimate votes in California anyway.  California is now a Fascist One Party rogue state where 100% of the political power is wielded by the Democrat Party.

It’s Official: Clinton’s Popularly Vote Win Came Entirely From California
Outside California, Hillary Clinton lost the popular vote by 1.4 million to Donald Trump. (

JOHN MERLINE12/16/2016

Democrats who are having trouble getting out of the first stage of grief — denial — aren’t being helped by the fact that, now that all the votes are counted, Hillary Clinton’s lead in the popular vote has topped 2.8 million, giving her a 48% share of the vote compared with Trumps 46%.

To those unschooled in how the United States selects presidents, this seems totally unfair. But look more closely at the numbers and you see that Clinton’s advantage all but disappears.

As we noted in this space earlier, while Clinton’s overall margin looks large and impressive, it is due to Clinton’s huge margin of victory in one state — California — where she got a whopping 4.3 million more votes than Trump.

California is the only state, in fact, where Clinton’s margin of victory was bigger than President Obama’s in 2012 — 61.5% vs. Obama’s 60%.

But California is the exception that proves the true genius of the Electoral College — which was designed to prevent regional candidates from dominating national elections.

In recent years, California has been turning into what amounts to a one-party state. Between 2008 and 2016, the number of Californian’s who registered as Democrats climbed by 1.1 million, while the number of registered Republicans dropped by almost 400,000.

What’s more, many Republicans in the state had nobody to vote for in November.

There were two Democrats — and zero Republicans — running to replace Sen. Barbara Boxer. There were no Republicans on the ballot for House seats in nine of California’s congressional districts.

At the state level, six districts had no Republicans running for the state senate, and 16 districts had no Republicans running for state assembly seats.

Plus, since Republicans knew Clinton was going to win the state — and its entire 55 electoral votes — casting a ballot for Trump was virtually meaningless, since no matter what her margin of victory, Clinton was getting all 55 votes.

Is it any wonder then, that Trump got 11% fewer California votes than John McCain did in 2008? (Clinton got 6% more votes than Obama did eight years ago, but the number of registered Democrats in the state climbed by 13% over those years.)

If you take California out of the popular vote equation, then Trump wins the rest of the country by 1.4 million votes. And if California voted like every other Democratic state — where Clinton averaged 53.5% wins — Clinton and Trump end up in a virtual popular vote tie. (This was not the case in 2012. Obama beat Romney by 2 million votes that year, not counting California.)

Meanwhile, if you look at every other measure, Trump was the clear and decisive winner in this election.


Number of states won:
Trump: 30
Clinton: 20
Trump: +10

Number of electoral votes won:
Trump: 306
Clinton: 232
Trump: + 68

Ave. margin of victory in winning states:
Trump: 56%
Clinton: 53.5%
Trump: + 2.5 points

Popular vote total:
Trump: 62,958,211
Clinton: 65,818,318
Clinton: + 2.8 million

Popular vote total outside California:
Trump: 58,474,401
Clinton: 57,064,530
Trump: + 1.4 million


China tycoon moves jobs to US, citing high taxes at home

Shanghai (AFP) – A Chinese auto glass tycoon has caused a stir by shifting part of his empire to the United States and setting up a factory in Ohio, citing high taxes and soaring labour costs at home.

Cao Dewang’s $600-million investment comes after Donald Trump threatened to declare Beijing a currency manipulator and slap 45 percent punitive tariffs on Chinese imports to protect American jobs.

The 70-year-old tycoon’s decision to open a glass factory in the eastern American state of Ohio in October — a rare case of jobs being exported from China to the US — triggered an outpouring of criticism on social media.

The phrase “Cao Dewang has escaped” became a hot topic, generating nearly 10 million views on the Twitter-like Weibo microblog and many comments urging China to “not let Cao Dewang run away”.

Cao’s Fuyao Glass Industry Group — a supplier to big names including Volkswagen and General Motors — claims to be the biggest exporter of auto glass in the world, reporting 2.6 billion yuan ($370 million) profits last year.

Cao defended himself in an interview with the Beijing News Wednesday, saying he “did not run and will not run. The centre of my business is in China because I’m Chinese”.

“I’m a business man and I’m doing business in the US,” he said. “I’m merely reminding the government” that taxes and labour costs are too high.

In an interview with the state-owned China Business News last week, Cao said the country was home to the “world’s highest taxes” and that the manufacturing industry suffered under taxes 35 percent higher than those imposed by the US.

Cao is a high-school dropout who began building his fortune as a salesman for a local glassmaker.

The Fuyao group owns production lines in nearly a dozen Chinese cities including the capital Beijing and the commercial hub Shanghai. It also has a factory in Russia, according to its website.

Defending Cao’s remarks, the Communist Party mouthpiece the People’s Daily said Thursday that the fact that “entrepreneurs dare to raise problems means (they) still hold confidence in China’s economy”.

Cao’s comments reflect “strong personal feelings” but they touch on “some of the deep conflicts and problems in China’s economy”, it said.


Electors are being harassed, threatened in bid to stop Trump

Electors around the country are being harassed with a barrage of emails, phone calls and letters — and even death threats — in an effort to block Donald Trump from being voted in as president by the Electoral College on Monday.

The bullying is overwhelming Sharon Geise’s tech devices, but not her resolve to support Trump.

The Mesa, Arizona, grandmother woke up Wednesday morning to more than 1,500 emails demanding she not carry out her legal duty to vote for the president-elect.

“They just keep coming and coming,” Geise told The Post, estimating she’s received more than 50,000 emails since the election. “They’re overpowering my iPad.”

Her answer: mass delete.

Despite the avalanche, she said, her decision to back Trump is stronger than ever.

“Obviously their minds are made up and they’re not going to change. I’m not either,” the soft-spoken Geise said.

Reports of GOP electors being badgered have been reported in numerous states, including Georgia, Idaho, Tennessee, Arizona, Utah and Michigan.

Like Geise, Republican Patricia Allen of Tennessee told The Post she’s been bombarded with 2,000 emails, 120 letters and five phone calls all urging her to switch and vote against Trump. But Allen, 74, said that despite the “siege,” she’s not budging.

“This has never happened before … Do you know how long it takes to delete all those emails every day?” she asked.

She’s also been solicited by a Harvard University group backed by constitutional law Prof. Lawrence Lessig, who has offered free legal aid to electors who change their vote.

“That borders on bribery,” said Allen. “Carried to this extreme, the day might come when an elector could be sold to the highest bidder.”

Lessig claims that 20 GOP electors are considering voting against Trump.

Even if true, that wouldn’t be enough to alter the outcome when the 538 members of the Electoral College gather to cast their official votes. Trump has 306 electoral votes, 36 more than the minimum required.

For Michael Banerian, a senior at Oakland University in Michigan and a Republican elector, the harassment comes with a dark side.

He said he’s been getting death threats via email, snail mail, Twitter and Facebook.

“Somebody threatened to put a bullet in the back of my mouth,” Banerian, 22, told The Post on Wednesday.

In Utah, a group called Democracy and Progress PAC placed full-page ads in Salt Lake City’s daily newspapers telling electors they are “not bound” to vote for trump, who won the state.

But the Desert News reported that under Utah law, Trump must receive all the state’s Electoral College votes, since he won the election in the state.

The paper said Utah’s six Republican electors are being inundated with emails pressing them not to support Trump.

One of them, Salt Lake County Councilman Richard Snelgrove, said there’s no way he’ll cave in to the pressure.

“No, Trump won the Electoral College fair and square,” he said.

The effort to deny the electoral vote to Trump was launched shortly after the Nov. 8 election.

The Clinton campaign came out in support of the effort Monday, backing an open letter from 10 Democratic electors to National Intelligence Director James Clapper calling for an intelligence briefing on what role Russian hackers may have played in the election.


More Central Americans are giving up on the U.S. and looking instead to a Mexican dream

Unable to find work and terrified by the street gangs that brazenly roamed the streets, Karen Zaldivar was one of tens of thousands of young people who fled Honduras in 2014.

Caught trying to slip across the U.S.-Mexico border, she was promptly deported.

Last year, Zaldivar set out again, but with a new destination: Mexico. She now lives in a small city just north of the Guatemalan border along with growing numbers of other Central Americans who have concluded that if they can’t reach the United States, the next best thing is Mexico.

“I decided to make a life here,” she said at a small open-air restaurant in Tenosique, where she works in the kitchen, frying fish. “It’s calmer, and safer.”

Estimates of how many Central Americans are living in Mexico are hard to come by, in part because some, like Zaldivar, have obtained forged Mexican identity documents. But statistics show more and more are staying legally by seeking political asylum or humanitarian visas.

Asylum applications in Mexico nearly tripled over three years, hitting 3,424 in 2015. Asylum requests this year are poised to be twice that, human rights advocates say, with most filed by Hondurans and Salvadorans.

I decided to make a life here. It’s calmer, and safer. — Karen Zaldivar, Honduran immigrant in Mexico

The number of migrants seeking to stay in Mexico pales in comparison to the droves heading to the U.S. — more than 400,000 people were apprehended at the U.S. southern border in the fiscal year that ended in September, most of them from Central America.

But the burden on Mexico and other countries is likely to increase if President-elect Donald Trump makes good on his promises to beef up border security and deport up to 3 million people living in the U.S. illegally.

Jaime Rivas Castillo, a professor at Don Bosco University in El Salvador who has studied the Central American diaspora, said faltering economies, as well as fear, drive migrants from their homelands. “There aren’t jobs for everybody, and people fear for their life,” Rivas said. “So they go look for other places to live, if not in the U.S. then in Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica or Nicaragua.”

Yessica Alvarado, 20, said she fled El Salvador last month after she was attacked on her way to nursing school by gang members angry that her grandparents had refused to pay an extortion fee.

“It’s hard getting to Mexico, but not as hard as getting to the U.S.,” Alvarado said.

On a recent afternoon, she sat on a sunny patio at a crowded Catholic migrant shelter in Tenosique chatting with a new acquaintance, a 27-year-old woman who escaped Honduras after her gang-member boyfriend beat her and threatened to kill her children. The shelter, La 72, was named for the 2010 massacre of 72 migrants in northeastern Mexico by members of a drug cartel.

Even with its long-running drug war and a sliding peso, Mexico boasts a degree of safety and economic stability not seen in Honduras and El Salvador, which are among the poorest and most dangerous nations in the world. The roots of the violence there can be traced in part to the mass deportation of Los Angeles gang members to Central America in the 1990s. Experts say those countries aren’t prepared to reintegrate large numbers of new deportees.

Javier Eduardo Ferrera, 23, was deported to Honduras from North Carolina in September after police discovered cocaine in the car that he was driving.

Six days after he was released in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa, Ferrera left for Tenosique. He didn’t feel safe in Honduras, but he also didn’t want to risk ending up in prison if he was caught illegally crossing the U.S. border. Immigrants who have been previously deported and are discovered again in the U.S. can be charged with a federal crime punishable by up to two years in prison — a sentence Trump has threatened to increase to five years once he is in the White House.

“Let’s wait and see whether Trump accomplishes his goals,” said Ferrera, as he unfolded a crinkled document that gives him the right to temporarily stay in Mexico while his request for a humanitarian visa is processed. “If I can’t be there, I’d rather be here.”

A sleepy city built along a muddy river in the oil-rich state of Tabasco, Tenosique has long been a way station for migrants heading north. “La Bestia,” the infamous cargo train that has taken the limbs and lives of many migrants clinging to its roof on their way north, rolls through town.

In the past, immigrants would spend only a few days in Tenosique, resting and waiting for the train, said teacher Gaspar Geronimo Gonzalez. “Now, many stay,” he said. Some families live in cinder-block shacks near the train station, while others sleep near the river. The town’s schools enroll well over 100 children from Honduras, who can be distinguished by their accents and Central American slang.

The migrants are staying despite Mexico’s own crackdown on illegal immigration.

After tens of thousands of Central American children started streaming to the U.S. border in 2014, generating headlines, President Obama responded by requesting money from Congress to help improve conditions in Honduras and El Salvador. More quietly, his administration pressured Mexico to dramatically step up its own border enforcement.

Parts of the southern states of Chiapas, Oaxaca and Tabasco now resemble border communities of Arizona and South Texas, with an influx of federal agents, militarized highway checkpoints and raids on hotels frequented by migrants.

The result?

Mexican authorities deported close to 200,000 people last year, and between October 2014 and May 2015, they detained more Central American migrants than the U.S. Border Patrol. Human rights advocates expect 2016 to be the year with the highest number of detentions and deportations yet.

Advocates have raised concerns about the treatment of migrants by Mexican immigration authorities, citing cases of extortion and abuse. They have also called on the Mexican government to slow deportations and approve more asylum requests. Last year, only 1,207 out of 3,486 were granted.

They say gang violence makes the current exodus from Honduras and El Salvador far different than previous waves of economic migration, and insist the U.S. and Mexico should recognize immigrants from those countries as refugees.

“What we need right now is a humanitarian response to the situation in Central America that recognizes an essential truth: that seeking refuge or asylum is not illegal,” said Geoff Thale, director of programs at an advocacy group called the Washington Office on Latin America. “It is a fundamental human right.”

Some in Mexico have questioned whether the country has the capacity to help Central Americans when it already is struggling to integrate hundreds of thousands of Mexican nationals deported from the U.S. in recent years. Many of them arrive in the country of their birth with little Spanish and face bureaucratic barriers to attending school and finding work.

Teofila Montejo De La Cruz, a 72-year-old woman in Tenosique, worries her Los Angeles-based son will be deported under Trump, and wonders if he will be able to find a job in Mexico if he has to come back.

Montejo has become known as a guardian angel for the Central American immigrants in Tenosique, giving them work in her restaurant and letting them sleep on the floor of her snack shop. But even she doesn’t believe large numbers of Central Americans should be able to stay permanently in Mexico.

“At some point, they have to go back to their own land,” she said.

For now, most people who pass through her shop have eyes only for America. Like Wilmer Mauricio Lopez, 19, and his two friends.

Lopez worked as a bus driver in Honduras but grew tired of being threatened by gang members strapped with guns “like policemen” who would corner him and say: “You’re either with us or we’ll kill you.” He fled to Mexico.

On a recent day, word spread through the shelter where he and his friends were staying that a northbound train was headed towards Tenosique. He said he knew that even if he reached the U.S., immigration agents might catch and deport him. “But I want to go and see what happens,” he said. “Only God really knows.”

He and his friends grabbed their few possessions and set off toward the tracks.

Twitter: @katelinthicum


Mexico instructs its embassy and consulates in the U.S. to increase measures to protect immigrants

‘Mexico is one big cemetery’: The search for the secret graves of ‘the disappeared’

Nearly 1 in 4 students at this L.A. high school migrated from Central America — many without their parents


Record 95,055,000 Americans Out Of The Labor Force

Record 95,055,000 Americans Out Of The Labor Force

While the unemployment rate dropped and the economy added another 178,000 jobs, the number of Americans out of the labor force hit a record high last month.

According to the Labor Department, 95,055,000 Americans were out of workforce in November, meaning they were neither employed nor had made an effort to find work over the previous month.

The level of Americans outside of the workforce last month — due to retirement, education, discouragement, or otherwise — represented a substantial 446,000 increase over the month of October.

The Labor Department added that in November there were 1.9 million Americans marginally attached to the labor force or people who looked for work at some point in the last 12 months but were not in the labor force. Among the marginally attached were 591,000 discouraged workers or those who are not looking for a job because they do not think there is a job out there for them.

In recent years relatively high numbers of Americans have been dropping out of the workforce. When President Barack Obama took office, 80,529,000 Americans were out of the workforce. That number has since grown by 14,526,000.

The workforce participation rate also dipped in November, hitting 62.7 percent, hovering around levels not seen since the 1970s.

Meanwhile the economy by other metrics appeared healthy. The number of Americans with a job grew to 152,085,000 — a record according to CNS News — and the unemployment rate dropped by 0.3 percentage point to 4.6 percent. Additionally the number of unemployed persons declined by 387,000 to 7,400,000.


Pentagon’s top tester: Littoral ships ‘have a near-zero chance of completing a 30-day mission’

The Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship program is behind schedule, hundreds of millions over budget, and incapable of conducting most of the basic missions it was intended to carry out. Senators on Thursday said they wanted to know why.

“Like so many major programs that preceded it, LCS’s failure followed predictably from an inability to define and stabilize requirements, unrealistic initial cost estimates, and unreliable assessments of technical and integration risk, made worse by repeatedly buying ships and mission packages before proving they are effective and can be operated together,” said Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., told Pentagon witnesses during a hearing.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was more blunt. “The process is completely broken. If you want this to stop, somebody needs to get fired.”

The current fleet of eight ships “have a near-zero chance of completing a 30-day mission, the Navy’s requirement, without a critical failure of one or more seaframe subsystems essential for wartime operations,” Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test And Evaluation.

“The miracle of the LCS didn’t happen,” said Paul Francis of the Government Accountability Office. “We are 26 ships into the contract and we still don’t know if it can do its job.”

Originally scheduled to begin service in 2008 at a cost of $220 million per ship, its cost has doubled to $478 million each. And although ships have been commissioned and deployed, they are yet to be equipped with the systems that would allow them to perform their primary missions, and won’t be until 2020.

When the LCS was conceived in 2004, it was envisioned as a state-of-the-art combat vessel with a revolutionary flatted hull design that would allow a speedier, more lethal ship designed to operate in the littoral (close to shore) regions. It would contain plug-and-play mission modules to take out surface threats, hunt mines or go after enemy submarines.

But senators say the ships have a dismal record of reliability because of frequent mechanical breakdowns, and can’t even defend itself.

While admitting substantial shortcomings in the performance of the ships, the Navy insisted it is on track to fix the problems.

“We are doggedly pursuing solutions that will improve operational availability of the ships and you have my assurance that these are never far from my mind,” said Vice Adm. Thomas Rowden, head of Naval Surface Force Pacific.

Francis said that while Congress also failed to exercise proper oversight on the program while it was spinning out of control, it still has a chance to inject some discipline into the next phase of the program by not approving a “block buy” of future ships.

“You are going to be rushed again, you are going to be asked to put in upfront approval of something where the design isn’t done, we don’t have independent cost estimates, and the risks are not well understood,” Francis said. “You’ll be told ‘it’s a block buy, we’re getting great prices, and the industrial base really needs this.'”

Francis recommended Congress not approve a block buy and instead demand that the Navy have a design competition in which it can downselect from two alternatives, and he further recommended hard questions be asked about whether continuing the program is worth the estimated $14 billion cost. Lockheed Martin and Austal USA are each building separate classes of the ship.

McCain admitted Congress was part of the problem. “We could have intervened more forcefully and demanded more from the Department of Defense and the Navy. We did not. But as long as I am chairman, this committee will.”

The GAO also found that once the LCS program matured, too much emphasis was placed on supporting America’s shipbuilding industry.

“Haven’t we done enough for the industrial base? Isn’t it time for the industrial base to come through for us? Can we get one ship delivered on time? Can we get one ship delivered with cost growth? Can we get one ship delivered without serious reliability and quality problems?”

Graham said the service secretaries and chiefs are responsible for knowing what’s happening with the big programs under their control. “Hopefully in the future, someone will be held accountable and get fired, if this happens again, and if nobody ever get’s fired, nothing’s gonna change,” Graham said.

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images-199% Muslim, 43,000 Somali refugees settled in US under Obama

The Obama administration resettled 8,858 Somali refugees in the United States last year, and nearly 43,000 during Obama’s eight years, a huge number that is now raising concerns after a Somali refugee led a one-man attack spree on the campus of Ohio State.

Like Syrian refugees, there is no adequate way to check the backgrounds of the Somalis, according to the head of the Center for Immigration Studies.

The Somali refugee numbers into the U.S. from the Department of Homeland Security and State:

— 2015, 8858.

— 2014, 9,000.

— 2013, 7,608.

— 2012, 4,911.

— 2011, 3,161.

— 2010, 4,884.

— 2009, 4,189.

The Center also reviewed other data Monday and told Secrets that some 97,000 Somali refugees have been resettled in the United States since 9/11. Of those, 99.6 percent were Muslim, and 28,836 (29.7 percent) were males between the ages of 14 and 50.

In a review of the numbers he reissued after Monday’s attack, CIS Executive Director Mark Krikorian said:

“We have no way of vetting people from any of the failed states of the Islamic world, whether Somalia or Libya or Yemen or Afghanistan or Iraq. The latter two actually we have more intelligence on, having ruled them for a number of years, but even that information is of limited use; we admitted two Iraqis as refugees who, we only discovered later, had been [improvised explosive device] makers back in Iraq. And the FBI fears dozens more such terrorists have been admitted as refugees.

“Oh, and we resettled nearly 9,000 Somali refugees last year.”

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner’s “Washington Secrets” columnist, can be contacted at