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Tidbits Political Quotations
To Accompany the November 15, 2017 edition of Tidbits           
Bob Jensen at
Trinity University

USA Debt Clock --- ubl

In September 2017 the USA National Debt exceeded $20 trillion for the first time ---

How Your Federal Tax Dollars are Spent ---

To Whom Does the USA Federal Government Owe Money (the booked obligation of $20+ trillion) ---
The US Debt Clock in Real Time --- 
Remember the Jane Fonda Movie called "Rollover" ---
One worry is that nations holding trillions of dollars invested in USA debt are dependent upon sales of oil and gas to sustain those investments.

To Whom Does the USA Federal Government Owe Money (the unbooked obligation of $100 trillion and unknown more in contracted entitlements) ---
The biggest worry of the entitlements obligations is enormous obligation for the future under the Medicare and Medicaid programs that are now deemed totally unsustainable ---

How Americans Get Health Insurance ---


Sometimes the grass is greener on the other side because it's been fertilized with more bullshit.


Shoot for the space in between, because that's where the real mystery lies.
Vera Rubin


Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
T.S. Eliot

There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.
Leonard Cohen

Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.
Margaret Wheatley
Even conversations that are not politically correct.

Why, we grow rusty and you catch us at the very point of decadence --- by this time tomorrow we may have forgotten everything we ever knew. That's a thought isn't it? We'd be back to where we started --- improvising.
Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (Act I)

It's hard to beat a person who never gives up.

Babe Ruth, Historic Home Run Hitter
What's sad is to witness what Syria has become because nobody will give up.

And "because they're nonstate actors, it's hard for us to get the satisfaction of [Gen.] MacArthur and the [Japanese] Emperor [Hirohito] meeting and the war officially being over," Obama observed, referencing the end of World War II. 
President Barack Obama when asked if the USA of the future will be perpetually engaged in war.

We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. 
Joseph Campbell

If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking. 
George S. Patton

If you don't know where you're going, you might not get there.
Yogi Berra

Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.
Henry David Thoreau

Late Night Comedy Has Become Hate Speech ---

Would Any Decent Person Want to Kill an Elephant ---

Fossil fuel emissions hit record high after unexpected growth: Global Carbon Budget 2017 ---

The Atlantic:  Global Poland and the Uncontrollable Fury of Europe's Far Right ---

These are the sexual assault allegations against Bill Clinton ---

Teacher Absenteeism and Other Factors Killing Public Education in India ---

New Farm Subsidy Programs Were Supposed to Save Money; Instead They've Cost Billions (100%) More Than Predicted ---
Jensen Comment
The CBO has to be the worst cost estimator in the history of the world. This makes me suspicious of the alleged "independence" of the Congressional Budget Office.

The Economist Magazine
Cutting emissions (even drastic cutting) will not be enough to keep global warming in check ---

Truth in Accounting founder and CEO Sheila Weinberg discusses the findings of TIA's new report on the city of Chicago's financial condition ---
Jensen Comment
Chicago's unpaid bills are mounting just like the mountain of unpaid bills of the State of Illinois is rising above the clouds. For example, physicians and hospitals are refusing services of government employees who cannot pay cash out of their own pockets.
Truth in Accounting Homepage ---
Financial State of States ---
Financial State of States (including Chicago) ---

Because Chicago doesn't have enough money to pay its bills, it has a $37.4 billion financial hole.

One out of every20 Americans is a millionaire, but the USA is not the world's richest nation ---

Inside Trump’s Cruel Campaign Against the U.S.D.A.’s Scientists ---

Interview with Nobel economics laureate Jean Tirole in London on 19 October 2017 ---
Jensen Comment
I think this is naive about the integrity of regulation. Eventually the government foxes guarding the henhouse eat the eggs and the chickens.

State-by-State Guide to Taxes on Retirees --- |
Thank you Ed Scribner for the heads up

The New York Times
Say It Together: Top Incomes Are Being Driven By Capital ---

Mexican heroin is flooding the US, and the Sinaloa cartel is steering the flow ---

The New York Times: What if Ken Starr Was Right About Bill Clinton?

The Values That ‘Values Voters’ Care About Most Are Policies, Not Character Traits ---

So far, the details about how China Energy will invest nearly $84 billion in West Virginia — the biggest of several deals totaling $250 billion signed by Trump in China — are scant ---
The liberal press does not want to talk about these deals.

Sacramento Sex Scandal Offers Lessons About Hypocritical California Politics ---

The SEC eased up on enforcement actions against public companies in the second half of fiscal year 2017 ---

Egypt to construct world’s largest seawater desalination plant ---
Israel and Saudi Arabia successfully desalinated sea water for years

The New Yorker:  Can Carbon Dioxide Removal Save the World?
It may be impossible to manage and it may also be impossible to manage without.

A Tesla driven in the U.S. Midwest produces 226g of carbon dioxide per kilometre over its lifecycle. That's higher than some total output by traditional combustion engine models when accounting for charging electricity and manufacturing processes ---
Jensen Comment
This will change as electricity generation entails less carbon pollution. However, this also ignores the more serious environmental hazards of lithium battery production, use, and disposal.

Jet fuel from sugarcane? It’s not a flight of fancy ---

Coffee grounds to help power London's buses ---

Time Magazine:  Sexual Harrassment Plagues the California State Legislature ---

Does Sexual Harassment Training Work? Here's What the Research Shows ---
Jensen Comment
Most likely training is far less effective than starving lawyers seeking lawsuit opportunities. Lawsuit risk is especially effective in changing policies of employers.

In 1998, Democrats mixed up infidelity with abuse of power, and gave Clinton an undeserved pass ---

IRS Scandal That Never Ends:  Lois Lerner is Lying Again
Jensen Comment
Lois Lerner confessed and apologized for illegally targeting Tea Party groups for political reasons while she was an IRS administrator. The" possible" scandal us that the White House under President Obama requested that she break the law.

Joggers in Sweden Can Now Ask for Armed Police Escort for Protection ---

After Hurricane Harvey hit, Islamist activist Linda Sarsour put out a call for donations. But instead of the money going to hurricane victims, it was actually being directed to the Texas Organizing Project Education Fund. TOP is a spinoff of ACORN ---

Hawaii:  With occupational licensing rules that benefit favored friends, state governments raise barriers to prosperity for millions and raise costs for the rest of us ---

The New York Times:  We Can’t Trust Facebook to Regulate Itself ---

Coulter: History of Sex in America Part 1 ---

Who are the Sufis and why does IS see them as threatening?

Norway no longer welcomes refugees ---

India Bargains for Countries to Open Borders to Indian Immigrants ---
Racists are in for a big surprise when they see what happens to immigration after Brexit ---

Stanford:  How Washington Gave Insiders an Edge on IPOs ---
Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates ---

California's pension fund looks to shift blame and avoid (union) responsibility:  CalPERS is never going to state the obvious: "We know these massive, underfunded pensions are not sustainable, but we're going to do everything possible to push the problem into the future and blame everyone else for the problem." ---

NAACP calls for ‘state of emergency’ to close achievement gap in SF schools ---

How Congress Keeps Its Sexual Harassment Hush Money Secret ---

The Times:  Sexual predators 'were protected in Congress cover-up'---

Why are women in New Delhi, India’s capital city, choosing to go to worse colleges than men, despite the fact that they score higher than them on college entrance exams? Part of the answer, according to her research, is to avoid sexual predators ---

The Founder of the World Wide Web is Pessimistic About Its Future ---
Note that the WWW is not the same as the Internet that preceded it by two decades. However, Tim Berners-Lee's fears about the WWW extrapolate to the Internet in general. The Internet will not cease to exist but it will increasingly be used for dark purposes.
Bob Jensen's threads on the history of computing, the Internet, and the WWW ---

Congress is still scrambling to find ways to pay for its tax cut, so perhaps it should pay closer attention to last month’s news that George Soros had transferred $18 billion of his fortune to a private charity that he controls. There it will be sheltered from the Internal Revenue Service forever. This may be the single biggest tax dodge in U.S. history, yet no one on the right or left seems to have raised an eyebrow.

When Public Scholarship Is a Crime ---

The Times:  It's OK to beat your wife, says Islamic school book ---

Sex, Drugs and the Public Library ---

How Congress Keeps Its Sexual Harassment Hush Money Secret ---

. . .

Under public pressure, the Office of Compliance, which acts as the House's rough simulacrum of a human resources department, released documents showing it had paid out $17 million since 1997 to settle a variety of workplace claims, including sexual harassment.

The details of those settlements, including their nature, are confidential. Claimants are required to sign a nondisclosure agreement to begin the lengthy mediation process.

Continued in article

There are over 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States, but Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen says that half are bound for bankruptcy in the next few decades ---

Jensen Comment
This is misleading without an analysis of Professor Christensen's explicit and implicit assumptions. For example, financially distressed colleges and universities will look to alternative operations and financing models that are not analyzed by Christensen. Also, much depends upon changes in the way education is financed. For example, New York taxpayers are now providing free education to students who did not previously qualify for full funding of their diplomas. Financially distressed universities like the University of Illinois are turning more and more to cash-paying foreign students.

There are, however, financial distresses that need attention. Colleges and universities that dug themselves deeper into low-interest debt in the past decade will have a rude awakening if and when that debt must be rolled over with higher interest debt. The demand for traditional diplomas may decline at competency badges/certificates become increasingly accepted in employment markets.

Bob Jensen's threads on higher education controversies ---

Harvard:  With access to millions of anonymous tax records, Raj and his team at the Equality of Opportunity Project have powerfully confirmed what many have long feared about declining upward mobility in America ---

Between Sinew and Spirit: Are You a Body with a Mind or a Mind with a Body?
by Maria Popovich

. . .

In the book adaptation, the parable makes the same point in slightly more refined language:

Once upon a time there was a Chinese farmer whose horse ran away. That evening, all of his neighbors came around to commiserate. They said, “We are so sorry to hear your horse has run away. This is most unfortunate.” The farmer said, “Maybe.”

The next day the horse came back bringing seven wild horses with it, and in the evening everybody came back and said, “Oh, isn’t that lucky. What a great turn of events. You now have eight horses!” The farmer again said, “Maybe.”

The following day his son tried to break one of the horses, and while riding it, he was thrown and broke his leg. The neighbors then said, “Oh dear, that’s too bad,” and the farmer responded, “Maybe.”

The next day the conscription officers came around to conscript people into the army, and they rejected his son because he had a broken leg. Again all the neighbors came around and said, “Isn’t that great!” Again, he said, “Maybe.”

The farmer steadfastly refrained from thinking of things in terms of gain or loss, advantage or disadvantage, because one never knows… In fact we never really know whether an event is fortune or misfortune, we only know our ever-changing reactions to ever-changing events

Continued in article

The Atlantic:  Political Corruption Enters a New Golden Age ---

Federal prosecutors didn’t have a great day on Thursday. In Newark, New Jersey, a judge declared a mistrial in the case of Senator Bob Menendez, the Democrat who was accused of taking gifts from a donor in exchange for government favors. The jury was deadlocked, though one member said 10 of the 12 jurors were in favor of acquittal.

Meanwhile, a short train ride away in Manhattan, another federal judge declared another mistrial, this time in the case of Norman Seabrook, a former New York City correction officers’ union chief who was on trial for funneling members’ pension funds into a high-risk investment scheme in exchange for kickbacks. That jury also deadlocked.

Even if neither Menendez nor Seabrook broke the law, neither situation feels good. Menendez and Salomon Melgen were good friends; Melgen paid for private jet flights and vacations for Menendez; and Menendez intervened on Melgen’s behalf in government, for example by calling diplomats to try to help Melgen’s girlfriends get visas to the United States. The question was whether these were illegal official favors bought and paid for by Melgen’s gifts, or were simply favors.

Seabrook, meanwhile, was accused of taking a cut in exchange for sending pension funds to a high-risk investment fund. Jurors couldn’t decide, but Seabrook’s high-rolling lifestyle, on a $300,000 salary, and his role as a crucial impediment to reform at New York’s deeply troubled Rikers Island prison, didn’t require court adjudication.

Prosecutors say they will try Seabrook again; it’s unclear whether Menendez will face another trial, though the 10-2 deadlock can’t be encouraging to the government. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday called for a Senate Ethics Committee probe of Menendez. “Senator Menendez was indicted on numerous federal felonies,” McConnell said in a statement. “He is one of only twelve U.S. senators to have been indicted in our history.”

If both men go free, however, they will be the latest examples in an emerging trend: People around the world, and Americans in particular, seem to be living through a golden age of corruption.

One could date the trend inside the U.S. to June 2016, when the Supreme Court overturned the corruption conviction of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. It’s not that the justices found that McDonnell hadn’t done the things for which he was convicted; it’s that they decided that his favors on behalf of a friend who gave him more than $175,000 in gifts didn’t constitute legal corruption. As my colleague Matt Ford explained, the McDonnell decision played a key role in the Menendez case, with the judge nearly throwing the whole case out because of the Supreme Court’s verdict.

Since then, prosecutors have been stymied over and over. As U.S. attorney in Manhattan, Preet Bharara made his name racking up corruption convictions for major New York state politicians, including Sheldon Silver, the Democratic speaker of the New York State Assembly, and Dean Skelos, his Republican counterpart in the State Senate. In March, President Trump fired Bharara, despite having previously told him he would stay on. In July, Silver’s conviction was overturned, and two months later, so was Skelos’s.

The moment is not restrained to the U.S.—it is international, or perhaps more rightly transnational. Earlier this month, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists revealed a tranche of documents they called the Paradise Papers, a follow-up to the blockbuster 2015 Panama Papers. But in comparison, the Paradise Papers seemed to land with much less impact. That’s not because the behavior described in the Paradise Papers is necessarily less egregious; perhaps the problem is that the public is so news-saturated that fatigue prevented greater focus.

The documents implicated Queen Elizabeth II in dubious investments in the Cayman Islands, a notorious tax shelter. Apple, having remonstrated that it was not hiding its cash “on some Caribbean island,” devised a scheme to hide its cash on Jersey, an island in the English Channel, instead.

Wilbur Ross, the secretary of commerce, came out looking especially bad. When he entered the Trump administration, Ross kept an investment in a shipping company with close ties to the Kremlin and a Vladimir Putin crony facing sanctions. He disclosed the existence of the investment partnership during the confirmation process, but not that the partnership was invested in the shipping company. Forbes, which had long featured Ross on its list of the richest people, announced that having reviewed new documents it no longer believed he was even a billionaire.

Continued in article

Donna Brazile's Bombshell ---

Jensen Comment
What the corruption in the Clinton and Trump families sadly demonstrates is that corruption is no longer a scandal that keeps you from rising to the top in USA government.


Towns in California Praying for Code Violations
Minor Violations Lead to Massive Prosecution Fees in Two California Desert Towns ---

Rising Wage Inequality in Germany: Increasing Heterogeneity and Changing Selection into Full-Time Work

ZEW - Centre for European Economic Research Discussion Paper No. 17-048

44 Pages Posted: 11 Nov 2017

Martin Biewen

University of Tuebingen; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Bernd Fitzenberger

Humboldt University of Berlin - School of Business and Economics

Jakob de Lazzer

Humboldt University of Berlin

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 2017


This study revisits the increase in wage inequality in Germany. Accounting for changes in various sets of observables, composition changes explain a large part of the increase in wage inequality among full-time workers. The composition effects are larger for females than for males, and increasingly heterogenous labor market histories play an important role. Furthermore, we find strong effects of education for males and strong effects of age and experience for females. Changes in industry and occupation explain fairly little. Extending the analysis to total employment confirms the basic findings, while revealing substantial negative selection into part-time work.

Keywords: Wage Inequality, Reweighting, Composition Effects, Germany

The New Yorker Writes About a "Small" Iowa Town:  Leave or Stay
In a small town in Iowa where the American dream lives on, residents wonder whether to resolve conflicts or fulfill their longings by moving away or staying put ---

Jensen Comment
Note that Orange City featured in this is a relatively large Iowa town in a state filled with towns having less than 1,000 residents. There were many "thriving" Iowa towns back in the days when they were surrounded by small family farms of 80-160 acres. When I grew up in the 1950s on both a farm and later in town farmers did not have to invest heavily in equipment, and most farmers were still supplementing a small tractor with horses and mules. At harvest time threshing machines moved from farm to farm, thereby making it unnecessary for every farmer to own a threshing machine. Now making a living on 240 acres is a marginal operation given the nearly $2 million needed for enormous tractors, combines, sprayers. planters, tanks, etc. There's no profit in raising a few cows, sheep, chickens, and turkeys that are now raised in enormous containment feeding operations holding thousands or tens of thousands of animals.

When the families sold off their small farms to bigger farms there were fewer and fewer customers shopping in small Iowa farm towns. Many downtown stores were boarded up or torn down and town schools closed to become part of every larger school districts covering multiple towns. Jobs dried up in the small towns such that residents that wanted to stay either could not find and work or could only find part-time work at minimum wage --- not a living wage for a family.

One of the things that shocked me is that there was almost no market for the big two-story house my grandfather built in Swea City around 1900. The solid oak-paneled house had four bedrooms plus a den along with a living room, dining room, big kitchen, and den. When I returned for a visit to Swea City in the 1960s this well-maintained house with a big porch could be purchased for less than $10,000. In Des Moines such a house would be priced at well over $100,000. The thing is that Des Moines has a viable economy with over 200,000 residents and many career opportunities to work in town. Swea City has around 500 residents, most of whom are retired farmers who choose living in Swea City because of the cheap housing. But they have to drive over 30 miles to larger towns for shopping since the grocery stores, the clothing stores, the hardware stores, the drug stores, etc. are now boarded over in Swea City. There are very few jobs available today in Swea City, Iowa.

What caused the demise of small Iowa towns like Swea City?
 Firstly, it was the demise of the small family farms that used to surround the towns with a customer base. Second, it was the change in professional services where professionals like physicians and lawyers now prefer to no longer be sole-practitioners serving a small community. Now professionals prefer to be in medical clinics and multiple-partner law firms located in larger towns and serving smaller communities from a distance. What medical school graduate or law school graduate wants to set up a one-person practice in Swea City, Iowa? Thirdly, it was changing roads and vehicles. In the 1960s Iowa knocked the curbs off its narrow highways and straitened out the sharp curves such that the trip from Swea to the larger Algona now takes about 30 minutes for shopping rather than upwards of an hour that it used to take in the 1930s. Plus in the 1930s drivers sometimes had to stop once or twice to put patches on inner tubes of flat tires. In the 21st Century it's relatively rare to have a flat tire driving from Swea City to Algona.

The economic sacrifice made to raise a family in a small Iowa town is highly correlated with the size of the town coupled with other factors such as having an area college and hospital in the town and commuting distance to a larger town for jobs. Orange City featured in the above article has over 6,000 residents making it a relatively large Iowa town. But it's also remotely located such that not many residents want to commute elsewhere for jobs. That makes the above article somewhat interesting since there are some economic opportunities in Orange City for those who want to remain and raise their families in Orange City.

Bob Jensen's Memories About Growing Up in Iowa

·         Short story entitled My Glimpse of Heaven:  What I learned from Max and Gwen

Sequel:  About My Grandfather Dourte with a link to  Hierogliphe's ancestry
A short story about my grandfather Christian Granville Dourte

·         Short story entitled Mrs. Applegate's Boarding House (with Navy pictures)

POLICY: The War On Pain Doctors gets to the big time ---

NY Times Op-Ed columnist John Tierney (the guy who is the replacement for long-time conservative columnist William Safire) has written two excellent articles; one on the war on patients and one on pain doctors — basically exposing the DEA for the corrupt, vicious organization that it is. I’m very glad that this issue is getting off the more limited pages of the anti-drug war crowd’s blogs and into the mainstream.  I have posted about this on THCB plenty of times, but it’s great that it’s getting more mainstream.  What’s tragic is how bad things have become before the major media in this nation has noticed at all.

If you are in the least interested in this issue — and if you are about health care and/or freedom you should be — I urge you to visit the Pain Relief Network site, to see Radley Balko’s excellent posting on the Karen Tandy, the head of the DEA’s pathetic response to his earlier article, to see Ron Libby of Cato’s long article on the subject.

And finally, why has the AMA not gotten involved? This is a national medical disgrace (so much so that my venerable surgeon father has sent money to William Hurwitz MD’s appeal fund).

The New York Times
Punishing Pain ---

Bob Jensen's health care messaging ---

Democrats:  Are You Sure You Want Medicare (plus universal "free" nursing care) for All?
Jensen Comment
If done well it will cost more than the entire USA Federal budget with exploding future inflation expenses.

Harvard:  5 Ways U.S. Hospitals Can Handle Financial Losses from Medicare Patients ---

Surprise! How Obamacare is beginning to look a lot like Medicaid ---

Data USA (community demographics, such as Medicare reimbursements by county) ---
Deloitte played a major role in developing this database on poverty, health, and many other data categories

Bob Jensen's threads on health coverage are at



Bob Jensen's Tidbits Archives --- 

Bob Jensen's Pictures and Stories

Summary of Major Accounting Scandals ---

Bob Jensen's threads on such scandals:

Bob Jensen's threads on audit firm litigation and negligence ---

Current and past editions of my newsletter called Fraud Updates ---

Enron ---

Rotten to the Core ---

American History of Fraud ---

Bob Jensen's fraud conclusions ---

Bob Jensen's threads on auditor professionalism and independence are at

Bob Jensen's threads on corporate governance are at 


Shielding Against Validity Challenges in Plato's Cave ---

·     With a Rejoinder from the 2010 Senior Editor of The Accounting Review (TAR), Steven J. Kachelmeier

·     With Replies in Appendix 4 to Professor Kachemeier by Professors Jagdish Gangolly and Paul Williams

·     With Added Conjectures in Appendix 1 as to Why the Profession of Accountancy Ignores TAR

·     With Suggestions in Appendix 2 for Incorporating Accounting Research into Undergraduate Accounting Courses

Shielding Against Validity Challenges in Plato's Cave  ---
By Bob Jensen

What went wrong in accounting/accountics research?  ---

The Sad State of Accountancy Doctoral Programs That Do Not Appeal to Most Accountants ---


Bob Jensen's threads on accounting theory ---

Systemic problems of accountancy (especially the vegetable nutrition paradox) that probably will never be solved ---

Bob Jensen's economic crisis messaging

Bob Jensen's threads ---

Bob Jensen's Home Page ---