Good News, Jobless Claims Rise

In a nutshell, the propaganda wing of the West Wing is still saying ‘the economy is now on a sustainable growth path.’ New unemployment claims rose 18,000 last month. And the four-week average of unemployment claims is 410,750.

The number of people continuing to receive unemployment benefits fell by 47,000 to 4.1 million in the week ending Dec. 25, the department said. That doesn’t include millions of long-term unemployed who are receiving extended benefits from the federal government . . . {emphasis added}


Bad weather can also make it harder for laid-off workers to apply for benefits.

So I guess we can expect more. But hey

[A]pplications are far below their peak during the recession of 651,000, reached in March 2009.

All of which sort of belies the headline of the story. “Jobless claims rise, but positive trend intact; Economist: The jobs market, ‘the recovery’s caboose, is starting to catch up‘”

In their mind, the fact that there was only 410,750 new jobless claims last week is good news.

Considering the retail industry is reporting disappointing results in December, there isn’t going to be a whole lot of hiring going on any time soon. This is because the retail industry depends on the last 6 weeks of the year to turn the loss they carry all year into what they expect will be their year-ending profit. Thus the term Black Friday. This year, we had a Black Friday in name only, because if the ink is in the black, it isn’t to the point that any hiring will be going on until next Christmas season. Compounding the business climate is that fact that the FUD Factor is still alive and well. Another not insignificant condition that forces businesses take the cautious route.

Don’t worry, be happy.

Russia Says Nyet To START

Turns out, not surprisingly, the problem with the START treaty as voiced by most Republicans and people who can read was confirmed by none other than the Russian DUMA. This presents a problem for President Obama, who championed the passage of the treaty in the Senate last month and insisted that the linking of defensive missile systems to offensive missile systems was not in the legal and binding part of the treaty.

Russia was not fooled. Instead, it appears that the President has made the U.S. look like the fool for his dancing around the issue like he did. The Russian DUMA insistes that limits on US missile defense capabilities are a central element to the treaty.

The State Duma plans to confirm the link between the reduction of the strategic offensive arms and the restriction of antimissile defense systems’ deployment in the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), signed between the US and Russia, Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the Duma Committee on International Affairs says.

“During the ratification of START in the US Congress the American lawmakers noted that the link between strategic offensive armed forces and antimissile defense systems is not juridically binding for the parties. They referred to the fact that this link was fixed only in the preamble of the document. Such an approach can be regarded as the US’ attempt to find an option to build up its strategic potential and the Russian lawmakers cannot agree with this,” Kosachev says.

We will deal with these interpretations. The first thing is that our American colleagues do not recognize the legal force of the treaty’s preamble. The preamble sets a link between strategic offensive arms and defensive arms. The second thing is an attempt to interpret certain provisions of the treaty unilaterally.

The Russian lawmakers insist that all the chapters of the treaty including the preamble are legally binding, which is a common norm of international law. It is not lawful to take certain provisions and to give them unilateral interpretations like the American senators do, Alexei Arbatov, a member of the Carnegie Scientific Council, says.

There is a plausable explanation as to why President Obama treats the preamble to the START treaty the way he does. It is for the same reason he doesn’t much like our own Constitution. The document he refers to as ‘a charter of negative liberties.’ To most people, including the new majority party, the Preamble to the United States Constitution is a statement of the Constitution’s fundamental purposes and guiding principles.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Dittos for the preamble to the START treaty. It sets the ‘purpose and guiding principles’ for nuclear arms control. In the last two years, we have witnessed all kinds of extra-constitutional legislation and actions taken by President Obama and his then majority party. Well, with one exception. They have taken one part of the Preamble, ‘promote the general Welfare,’ to use as a blank check for their redistribution of wealth ideas. The rest of it is only relevant when they want it to be.

In the final analysis, like other major legislation on his plate, the President put his priority on passing legislation for the sake of passing it, regardless of its effects. The desperation of a failing community organizer manifested itself in the emergency, ‘the sky is falling,’ need to pass START  so he could boast about how he made the world safer. Meanwhile, Russia and the world are laughing at us. And him.

Link: Surprise: Russian Duma To Codify Missile Defense Language in New START