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The right wingnuts that listen to the likes of Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh, and Fox News live in a slanted, biased, racist, fantasy world.


Facts sometimes get in the way of their opinions.




Last updated: November 3, 2014


By David Payne


"Healthy third-quarter growth of 3.5% plus an upward revision of second-quarter growth confirm that economic momentum is back on track. In the fourth quarter and into 2015, growth should continue at a 3% rate. Consumer confidence has been gaining strongly. Hiring is on the rise, job openings are at a near record level, and layoffs are scarce (indicated by a very low rate of initial unemployment claims since May). Motor vehicle sales are still on an upward trend, though the really strong gains are probably over. Spending on consumer services, such as recreation, is likely to strengthen as incomes rise. Odds are health care spending will pick up as consumers and providers get used to the new rules. And spending on utilities will stabilize once energy prices stop falling.


And there’s more potential for an upside surprise than a downside slide. As job growth returns and consumers feel more secure, more-robust income and spending increases may well be triggered, pushing growth over the 3% mark. Even if the momentum isn’t great enough for that to happen in 2015, it’s a good bet that it will be by 2016. At the same time, there’s a smaller risk that rising interest ratesicon1.png next year will have a mild depressive effect, knocking a half a percentage point or so off annual 2015 growth. If that did happen, growth would slip from the expected above-average pace of better than 3% to a simply average rate of 2.5%. For now, however, we expect that the likely increase of a half percentage point in rates won’t have much impact on GDP growth. The other downside risk -- a lengthy slowdown in Europe’s growth -- would hurt U.S. exports. But again, the impact on the broader economy would probably be minimal."

Source: Kiplinger's

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Americans believe things



And those things aren't true, according to an Ipsos-Mori poll that put the USA second-from-the-top in the race to see who's the most ignorant, preceded only by Italians.


What untrue things do Americans believe? Basically, that their country is overrun by teenaged mothers (perceived: 24%, actual: 3.1%), murderers (perceived by 70% as rising, in reality down by more than 50% since 1992), unemployed people (perceived: 32%, actual: 6%), and Muslims (perceived: 15%, actual: 1%).


Of course, Brits are also incredibly ignorant. As Kottke notes, the fact that the press in both countries is obsessed with welfare, teenaged pregnancies, murders and Muslims, this is probably not that surprising.



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Perceptions are not reality: Things the world gets wrong



In Great Britain we get a lot of things very wrong…


1. Teenage pregnancy: the British think one in six (16%) of all teenage girls aged 15-19 give birth each year, when the actual figure is only 3%.

2. Muslims: we hugely over-estimate the proportion of Muslims in Britain – we think one in five British people are Muslims (21%) when the actual figure is 5% (one in twenty).

3. Christians: in contrast, we underestimate the proportion of Christians - we think 39% of the country identify themselves as Christian compared with the actual figure of 59%.

4. Immigration: we think 24% of the population are immigrants – which is nearly twice the real figure of 13%.

5. Ageing population: we think the British population is much older than it actually is – the average estimate is that 37% of the population are 65+, when it is in fact only 17%.

6. Voting: we underestimate the proportion of the electorate that voted in the last general election - the average guess is 49% when the official turnout was much higher at 66%.

7. Unemployment: we think nearly 24% of the working age population are unemployed when the actual figure is much lower at 7%.

8. Life expectancy: we overestimate our life expectancy by three years, thinking the average for a child born in 2014 will be 83 years, when the actual estimate is 80 years.

9. Murder rates: we are however one of the best informed countries on the murder rate: 49% saying it is falling (which is correct), and only 25% think it is rising


But the rest of the world is just as wrong…


1. Teenage birth rates: on average, people across the 14 countries think that 15% of teenagers aged 15-19 give birth each year. This is 12 times higher than the average official estimate of 1.2% across these countries. People in the US guess at a particularly high rate of teenage births, estimating it at 24% of all girls aged 15-19 when it’s actually 3%. But other countries with very low rates of teenage births are further out proportionally: for example, Germans think that 14% of teenage girls give birth each year when it’s actually only 0.4% (35x the actual figure).

2. Muslims: people across just about all countries hugely overestimate the proportion of their population that are Muslim: the average guess across the countries is 16% when the actual proportion is 3%. For example, on average people in France think 31% of the population are Muslim, when the actual figure is only 8%. In Australia the average guess is nine times the actual proportion: people estimate it at 18%, when the actual proportion is only 2%.

3. Christians: in contrast, majority-Christian countries tend to underestimate how many people count themselves as Christian. In the 12 majority-Christian countries in the survey, the average guess is 51%, when the actual proportion counting themselves as Christians is 61%. This includes countries like the US where people think 56% are Christian when official data shows it is 78%.

4. Immigration: across the 14 countries, the public think immigration is over twice the actual level – the average guess is that 24% of the population was born abroad, when the actual figure is 11%. This includes some massive overestimates: the US public think 32% of the population are immigrants when the actual is 13%; in Italy the public think 30% are immigrants when it’s actually 7%; and in Belgium the public think it’s 29% when it’s actually 10%.

5. Ageing population: we think the population is much older than it actually is – the average estimate is that 39% of the population are 65+, when only 18% are. Italians are particularly wrong on this – on average, they think nearly half the population (48%) are 65+, when it is actually 21%.

6. Voting: every country in the study underestimates the proportion of the electorate who voted in their last major election. The average guess is that 58% voted, when in fact 72% did. The French in particular are too pessimistic about the extent of democratic engagement: estimating that only 57% of the electorate voted in the Presidential election, when in fact 80% did.

7. Unemployment: people tend to greatly overestimate the extent of unemployment in their countries. The average guess is 30%, when the actual figure is 9%. This includes some huge overestimates, for example in Italy, where the average guess is that 49% are unemployed, compared with an actual rate of 12%.

8. Life expectancy: this is one area where on average we have a much better grasp of reality. Across the 14 countries, the average life expectancy for a child born this year is estimated to be 80 years, when across these countries as a whole it’s actually 81 years.

However, there is still a wide range between countries: people in South Korea are too optimistic, expecting the average life expectancy to be 89 years, compared with an actual of 80 years; but Hungarians are too pessimistic, only expecting 68 years, when the average is predicted to be 75 years.

9. Murder rates: 49% of people across the countries think that the murder rate is rising and only 27% think it is falling - when in fact in all countries in the study, the murder rate is actually falling. The British are the most likely to have an accurate view of murder rate trends: 49% think it’s falling and only 25% think it’s rising.







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Legal Pot in the US Is Crippling Mexican Cartels



Marijuana has accounted for nearly half of all total drug arrests in the US for the past 20 years, according to the FBI’s crime statistics. And according to the Department of Justice (DOJ), a large portion of the US illegal drug market is controlled directly by Mexican cartels. The DOJ’s National Drug Intelligence Center, which has since been shut down, found in 2011 that the top cartels controlled the majority of drug trade in marijuana, heroin, and methamphetamine in over 1,000 US cities.


Now, those cartels and their farmers complain that marijuana legalization is hurting their business. And some reports could suggest that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is more interested in helping to protect the Mexican cartels’ hold on the pot trade than in letting it dissipate.


Seven Mexican cartels have long battled for dominance of the US illegal drug market: Sinaloa, Los Zetas, Gulf, Juarez, Knights Templar, La Familia, and Tijuana. While some smaller cartels operate only along border regions in the Southwest and Southeast, giant cartels like Sinaloa have a presence on the streets of every single region.


The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that pot farmers in the Sinaloa region have stopped planting due to a massive drop in wholesale prices, from $100 per kilo down to only $25. One farmer is quoted as saying: “It’s not worth it anymore. I wish the Americans would stop with this legalization.â€


VICE News talked to retired federal agent Terry Nelson, a former field level commander who worked to prevent drugs from crossing the southern border. Nelson said that before medical marijuana and state legalization in Washington and Colorado, about 10 million pounds of pot were grown in the US every year. But 40 million pounds came from Mexico.


Exact numbers on illegal drug trafficking are always hard to pin down, due to the black market nature of distribution and sales.


“Is it hurting the cartels? Yes. The cartels are criminal organizations that were making as much as 35-40 percent of their income from marijuana,†Nelson said, “They aren’t able to move as much cannabis inside the US now.â€


In 2012, a study by the Mexican Competitiveness Institute found that US state legalization would cut into cartel business and take over about 30 percent of their market.


Former DEA senior intelligence specialist Sean Dunagan told VICE News that, although it’s too early to verify the numbers: “Anything to establish a regulated legal market will necessarily cut into those profits. And it won’t be a viable business for the Mexican cartels — the same way bootleggers disappeared after prohibition fell.â€


DEA chief of operations James Capra told senators this January that legalization "scares us" and is "reckless and irresponsible." And the agency is continuing to crack down on marijuana.


Given the DEA’s historic relationship with the Sinaloa cartel, and the agency’s fury over legalized marijuana, it almost seems like the DEA wants to crush the legal weed market in order to protect the interests of their cartel friends. Almost.


“The DEA doesn’t want the drug war to end,†said Nelson, when asked about a possible connection between the agency’s hatred of legal pot and its buddies in Sinaloa. “If it ends, they don’t get their toys and their budgets. Once it ends, they aren’t going to have the kind of influence in foreign government. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but where there’s smoke there’s probably fire.â€


The Sinaloa cartel came to prominence in January when the “Fast and Furious†scandal surfaced, in which it was revealed that DEA agents ignored Sinaloa drug shipments and essentially granted immunity to cartel criminals in exchange for information.


The decade long relationship between Sinaloa and the DEA was detailed in the court testimony of Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, also known as “El Mayito.†El Mayito, son of Sinaloa leader Ismael “El Mayo†Zambada, told a Chicago court that DEA agents offered him deals in exchange for ratting on rival cartels and Colombian drug lords.


In addition, the lawyer for Sinaloa cartel, Humberto Loya-Castro, told El Universal that DEA agents promised not to prosecute Joaquin “El Chapo†Guzman Loera, whose high-profile arrest earlier this year by Mexican authorities came as a shock to many.


A 2011 letter from DEA head Michele Leonhart in response to an investigation by the federal oversight committee severely downplayed the agency’s connection to Fast and Furious, stating that it was mainly an operation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) that the Phoenix DEA office assisted. El Mayito’s testimony tells a far different story.


Dunagan was stationed in Mexico for two years working on DEA operations. He didn’t see an obvious connection between the Fast and Furious and the DEA’s US pot crackdown, but he did say that handling informants is “a really messy business.â€


“There is a temptation sometimes to prioritize a certain cartel or informant,†Dunagan said. “And cartels know that. They exploit the relationship to provide information on their competitors. It creates these perverse incentives — you are investigating what your informant is telling you, not what they are doing.â€





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I was against it before I was for it. Rabid flip flopper on this issue.


I don't use it.

I do have peers that use it. And I don't like to be around them when they do. Too goofy behavior.


I'm against alcohol too. Too many lives close to ruin with this drug. But that battle has already been fought in the US of A.

It's legal. It's taxed both federal and state. And with sales taxes - local in some places.


I'm against tobacco too. But legal and taxed.


I don't see news stories of cartels selling illegal alcohol or tobacco. Yes, some local bootleggers and some street sellers of cigarettes purchased from other states and sold on streets of states with higher state taxes. But few and far between.


I'm against casino gambling. Here is an addiction that can wipe out one's financial reserves. I've seen casinos from Wisconsin to Louisiana to Arizona.

So way not in every state. Take the tax money.


So why not copy the Colorado model. License it, monitor it, and take the tax money.

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On another economic topic.


My peers in Florida.


Seems like there is a housing boom going on presently.

Home prices have risen dramatically and some are selling for higher then asking price.


So where is the bad economic news there?

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My wages, the cost of a gallon of milk, the cost to put my kids through college, the cost of the mortgage to pay for those homes that are selling for more than they're worth, the loss of my insurance benefits while the monthly cost goes up, the loss of jobs of my co-workers while the employer rakes in more profits, etc. I could go on and on........

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