Things read &/or heard here and there that may interest you or strike your fancy…
Click on the images and links to find out what our grapevine holds…
In America’s two-party political system, political parties rely on primary elections and caucuses to nominate candidates for general elections. Political parties provide resources to the candidates they nominate, including endorsements, social contacts, and financial support. Consequently, attaining a party nomination by winning a primary election or caucus is a necessary step to becoming a major election candidate. Primaries are held on different dates in different states and give national candidates an opportunity to campaign to smaller audiences than during the general election. The candidate who wins each state vote is granted a certain number of delegates,depending on the state’s size, and the candidate with the most party delegates becomes the party’s general election nominee. Not every election is preceded by a primary season, but most major races, such as presidential and congressional races, use primaries to narrow the field of candidates.
Primaries began to be widely used in the United States during the Progressive Era in the early 1900s. The impetus behind establishing them was to give more power to voters, rather than allowing behind the scenes political maneuverers to choose major candidates. In modern elections, primaries are seen as beneficial to both voters and parties in many ways – voters are able to choose between a range of candidates who fit within a broader liberal or conservative ideology, and parties are able to withhold support of a candidate until they have demonstrated an ability to gain public support.
Primary rules vary by state, as does the importance of their outcomes. Primaries may be classified as closed, semi-closed, semi-open, or open. In a closed primary, only voters who are registered with the party holding the primary are allowed to vote. In other words, registered Republicans can only vote to choose a candidate from the Republican field, and Democrats can only vote in the Democratic primary. In a semi-closed system, voters need not register with a party before the election, therefore independent voters may choose to vote in either the Democratic or Republican primary. In an open primary system, voters can vote in either primary regardless of affiliation. Open primaries are the most controversial form in American politics. Supporters argue that open primaries give more power to the voter and less to the party, since voters are not tied to voting for a party that does not produce a good candidate. Critics, however, argue that open primaries will lead to vote raiding, a practice in which party members vote in the opposing party’s primary in an attempt to nominate a weak candidate.
Whereas primaries follow the same polling practices as general elections, caucuses are structured quite differently. In nominating caucuses, small groups of voters and state party representatives meet to nominate a candidate. Caucuses vary between the states in which they are held, however, generally they include speeches from party representatives, voter debate, and then voting by either a show of hands or a secret ballot . Like primaries, caucuses result in state delegates being allocated to a particular candidate, to nominate that candidate to the general election. The vast majority of states use primaries to nominate a candidate, but caucuses are notably used in Iowa, which is traditionally the first state to vote in the primary/caucus season. Since Iowa is first, it has a large impact on the primary season, as it gives one candidate from each party an advantage as they move into other state votes. Due to its small population and the small-scale, intimate structure of its caucuses, Iowa is notorious for allowing lesser- known candidates to do unexpectedly well.
Source: Boundless. “Primaries and Caucuses.” Boundless Political Science. Boundless, 14 Oct. 2015. Retrieved 30 Jan. 2016 from https://www.boundless.com/political-science/textbooks/boundless-political-science-textbook/campaigns-and-elections-8/presidential-elections-63/primaries-and-caucuses-353-10863/
As many in the USA seem to be developing an infatuation with the economic ‘know-how’ of European countries, I would like to submit to them this article I have read recently and which discusses the subject at hand. It always helps to put things into perspective especially before making decisions that involve a whole nation and its future. May the text enlighten you and ease your reflections on the matter.
As even CBS notes, according to UNICEF, which is probably the source of Sanders’s factoid, the US has lower childhood poverty rates than Greece, Spain, Mexico, Latvia, and Israel, all of which are OECD countries or regarded as peer countries. The US rate (32.2 percent) is also more or less equal to the rate in Turkey, Romania, Lithuania, and Iceland. See page 8 of this report.
So, while Sanders probably doesn’t even know what he means by “major country” it’s clear that the US is not an outlier among OECD-type countries, even by UNICEF’s own analysis.
We get much more insight, though, once we have a look at what UNICEF means by “poverty rate.” In this case, UNICEF (and many other organizations) measure the poverty rate as a percentage of the national median household income. UNICEF uses 60% of median as the cut off. So, if you’re in Portugal, and your household earns under 60% of the median income in Portugal, you are poor. If you are in the US and you earn under 60% of the US median income, then you are also poor.
The problem here, of course, is that median household incomes — and what they can buy — differs greatly between the US and Portugal. In relation to the cost of living, the median income in the US is much higher than the median income in much of Europe. So, even someone who earns under 60% of the median income in the US will, in many cases, have higher income than someone who earns the median income in, say, Portugal.
Here are all the median incomes (according to the OECD’s household income comparison statistic called “median disposable income.”) When adjusted for purchasing power parity, the statistic allows us to make incomes comparable across countries that use different currencies and have different costs of living. This takes into account taxes, and social benefits paid to households. So, let’s use it to compare (the Y axis is in “international dollars”):
We see immediately that income is higher for US households than most of the other countries. What about that high poverty rate, though? Well, we find that the poverty level in the US is still higher than numerous countries’ median income level:
The green bar is the US income at poverty levels. So, this tells us that a person at 60% of median income in the US still has a larger income than the median household in Chile, Czech Rep., Greece, Hungary, Portugal, and several others. And the poverty income in the US is very close to matching the median income in Italy, Japan, Spain, and the UK.
Keep in mind that we’re using median income here, and not GDP per capita, which means this isn’t being skewed up by a small number of mega-wealthy households. So while the US may have a rather high poverty rate, we find that being poor in the US is similar to (at least in terms of income) being a median household in many other countries, including the UK and Japan.
So, yes, the US has a higher poverty rate than many other countries, but the standard of living available to a person at poverty levels in the US is higher than it is to a person at poverty levels in places like the UK, Spain, Italy, France, Japan, New Zealand, and others. Here are all countries at the 60% of the national median:
The relationships between the countries are the same as in the first graph, but the income levels are all lower. But again, here we see that the median incomes for people at poverty levels are higher in the US than in other countries.
Thus, the fact that the US has higher poverty rates says very little about the actual living standards of the poor. The poor have higher incomes in the US in real terms in most cases. The countries that should really give us concern are the countries that have high levels of poverty and low median incomes. In this graph, we see childhood poverty levels (on y axis, according to the UNICEF report) compared with income levels for those below 60% of median (x axis, according to the OECD):
The countries in the top left side of graph — Greece, Mexico, Israel, Spain, Italy, Ireland, UK, and Portugal — are the ones that have the least to offer the poor. These are countries with low median income and even lower incomes for the poor (of course). Those countries with high incomes — such as the US, Switzerland, Norway, and Australia — have much higher incomes. So while there are more poor in the US (relatively speaking) the incomes of those poor are much higher in the US, and even higher than the median income of other countries in many cases. In other words, even if the poverty rate in Greece were zero percent, all those non-poor median Greek households would be poorer than a US household at the poverty line.
Also, given that the OECD’s measure here attempts to take into account income from social benefits, we can’t just say “well, those European incomes may be lower, but they get more in social benefits.” That is not true for these numbers. Social benefits included, Americans have higher incomes at both the median level and at the poverty level, when compared to most other countries.
This further illustrates the problem with speaking about poverty in terms of percentages of the median or as a percentage of total wealth. These comparisons are used to highlight inequality, but the fact is that the US (which has more inequality) offers higher incomes for those at poverty level. Is it better to be equal in Portugal or unequal in the US? One can be “equal” in Portugal, but it will mean a standard of living well below that which can be attained in the US at poverty levels.
Note on the OECD numbers: the median disposable-income numbers are found here at the OECD stats web site. They are then divided by the PPP conversion factor for private consumption found here. Wikipedia has also already done this calculation and listed the values here.
It’s difficult to find median income numbers that can be compared across different countries, but for a second source, we can consult the Gallup survey data. Gallup has compiled its own data on median incomes based on self-reported household income from all sources. So, theoretically, this would include social benefits payments as well. The numbers here are higher than the OECD numbers because they do not appear to take into account the impact of taxes. So, without taxes factored in, the high-tax Scandinavian countries, for example, look wealthier in this comparison than they do in the OECD comparison. Nevertheless, there are some similarities overall:
In this case, the US median income is still higher than most countries in the group, but while the US ranked 4th place in the OECD survey, it ranks 6th place here. (Switzerland, oddly, is not included in the Gallup survey.)
If we reduce the US to 60% of its median level, and leave the rest alone, we find that the US, at poverty level, still comes in above or roughly equal to 15 other countries in the group. So, by this measure too, the poverty level in the US beats the median level in numerous European countries.
SOURCE: Mises Institute – Austrian Economics, Freedom, & Peace
Apple, Google, and Facebook have announced they are investing billions of dollars in new technology that promises to unleash a massive supply of fuel.
Enough fuel, in fact, to power the entire globe for over 36,000 years.
Des centaines pour ne pas dire des milliers de varis réfugiés existent dans ces camps mais aussi, il faut avouer que certains dans ces camps ne sont pas des réfugiés.
Un individu travaillant dans ces camps m’a confié que quand ils ont appris que La Première Dame de la République aussi bien que le Premier Ministre allaient venir visiter les camps, que eux aussi ont vite couru pour établir des tentes de fortune au cas où (YOUN KOB PRAL TOMBE), ils en profiteraient aussi pour dévaliser l’Etat Haïtien de quelques milliers de Gourdes. Des vrais salauds qui veulent s’enrichir sur le dos et la misère des vrais réfugiés et ce n’est pas tout.
Malheureusement pour une famille d’abolocho réfugiés, 3 ont trouvé la mort avec le choléra, le père et 2 des enfants, seul la mère a été sauvée.
L’’Etat Haïtien avait fait son travail afin de faciliter les réfugiés à regagner leur famille mais dans la médiocrité. 10,000 GDS a été verse Par l’Etat Haïtien afin de rapatrier chaque famille de réfugiés mais d’après les témoignages reçus, seulement 3,000 GDS ont été reçus par le chauffeur qui devrait les rapatrier par camion, les autres 7,000 GDS ont été empoché par un corrompu et nul ne pouvait citer son nom car les réfugiés ne l’ont jamais rencontré.
Le chauffeur qui devrait ramener certains de ces réfugiés a empoché beaucoup de 3,000 gdes. et a abandonné les réfugiés à Thiotte en leur disant que l’argent n’était pas suffisant et le résultat est que ces réfugiés ont remboursé chemin à pieds et sont retourné dans les camps.
Jusqu’à notre arrivée, du chlore était fourni aux réfugiés pour lutter contre le choléra et certains ont établis leur petits affaires de vente d’eau pour continuer à se procurer de l’argent sur le dos des réfugiés. Les plantes et les animaux ne sont pas susceptibles de stocker le chlore. Cependant des études en laboratoire ont montré que l’exposition répétée au chlore dans l’air peut affecter le système immunitaire, le sang, le cœur et le système respiratoire des animaux.
Le chlore provoque des dommages environnementaux à des concentrations faibles. Le chlore est spécialement nocif pour les organismes vivant dans l’eau et le sol aussi bien que pour l’être humain qui en absorbe constamment avec des fortes doses.
Vous qui lisez ceci, je vais y retourner bientôt pour continuer le travail et je vous exhorte à ne plus taire la voix de votre conscience. On s’est bien goinfré pendant la Thanksgiving, on va encore s’empiffrer pour Noël et le nouvel An avec des cadeaux, etc. pendant que nos frères haïtiens mangent de la poussière et meurent dans la misère et la honte.
Le pire est de vous voir aller tous à l’église, prier Dieu tout en ayant des cœurs en pierre et complètement indifférent à la misère des autres. Sachez que la vie est une roue qui tourne, en 1942 des milliers de Japonais se sont retrouvé dans les camps de concentrations aux USA pendant la guerre parce qu’ils étaient Japonais et tous ils étaient des innocents et je préfère de ne pas en parler des camps de concentrations Allemands où 6 millions ont été assassinés et tous parce qu’ils étaient des juifs.
Aujourd’hui, Haïti, n’étant pas en guerre, se retrouve avec des camps de réfugiés parce qu’ils sont noirs et d’origine Haïtienne et tous dans la diaspora, ouvrez vos yeux, même si vous avez un passeport américain, canadien, français, mexicain, etc. même minimes, vos chances d’aboutir dans un camp comme celle ci existe.
Ce n’est que le commencement de ce que j’ai vu et à vous raconteur avec preuves à l’appui car pendant mon séjour, des journalistes allemands étaient présents avec leur camera coûtant $10,000 à filmer et à documenter mais pas un seul journaliste haïtien n’y était.
Je vous convie bien humblement à contribuer à cette démarche qui nous regarde tous en tant qu’êtres humains qui apprécient et considèrent cette chose sacrée qu’est la vie.