Category Archives: In The News

June Unemployment = Cold Porridge

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the monthly employment situation for June this morning and a mixed top line almost hides some really scary internals.

The headline numbers were that June added 223k jobs which, by government counting standards, dropped the unemployment rate to 5.3%.

Black unemployment still leads all other demographics at 9.5%.

Some important revisions to the April and May numbers were announced as well. April was reduced from +221,000 to +187,000 jobs and May revised down from +280,000 to +254,000 – a 60k job reduction in total.

With the revisions in place, and supposing that June takes a similar 30k reduction, June appears to show a drop from May and only a slight increase from May.

The jobs increases came mainly in the areas of healthcare, retail and professional services with smaller gains in transportation and warehousing. But 71,000 jobs were lost in the mining sector mainly due to petroleum price-driven reduction in drilling rig counts and continued losses in coal mining due to over-regulation.

The remaining internals show an incredible weak jobs market where no wage inflation is likely any time soon.

People of working age that actually had jobs in June dropped by 432,000 people which dropped the labor force participation rate to 62.6% – the worst showing since October of 1977 (remember 1977?) This drop is not a one-time-off thing – May saw the labor force drop by almost the same amount. The reduction is illustrative of a jobs market that is not keeping up with graduation rates and those coming of age to work.

An area of concern is youth employment stayed at 18.1% despite the overall unemployment rate decrease. Are more adults taking jobs traditionally held by teenage workers?

A look at underemployment reveals another concern. The number remains steady at 6.5 million. That’s almost 7 million people that have taken part-time work that would rather have a full-time job. This likely continues to provide pressure on the underskilled and youth workforce.

The remainder of the drop in the labor force is likely due to those just giving up on finding work. Boomers will just retire and take their social security. Younger workers have been flocking to disability if they can get it.

While the headline numbers fit the “Goldie-locks” – not too bad, not too good – scenario, the internals look like pure, cold porridge.

Greece’s Tsipras tries another head-fake, EU finmins say .. nope

Alexander TsiprasThe last few hours of financial news coverage has been a frenzied love fest over Greek Prime Minister’s supposed capitulation to all EU bailout requirements – except, he didn’t.

Yesterday, Greece defaulted on 1.6billion euros in debt payments owed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and has been stubbornly refusing the demands of European Central Bankers and European Union ministers to structurally reform its economy.

It’s being reported that Tsipras sent a letter to EU ministers giving in to all their demands with just a few “minor” amendments.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras wrote to European leaders and the International Monetary Fund late Tuesday, accepting most of the conditions they had attached to releasing more cash, a European official told CNNMoney.

Accepting “most of the conditions” isn’t the same as being “prepared to accept all bailout conditions” as the Telegraph  and Financial Times used in headlines this morning.

Tsipras faces considerable difficulty in his own country as the games of kick-the-can down  the road, truth or dare, poker and “Let’s Make a Deal” but without numbers on the doors all fail to convince European and IMF leaders that Greece is serious.

Every move Tsipras has made has been to delay and reduce any re-payments to the IMF and ECB. Not because he doesn’t want to pay them back, but because Greece has no functioning economy and, without structural reforms, will never be able to pay the loans back.

The changes Greece requested are hundreds of millions of Euros apart from the requirements the creditors placed upon them. German Financial Minister Wolfgang Schäuble expressed disdain saying that Greece’s changes “aren’t basis for serious measures”.

This week, Tsipras announced a referendum to allow each and every Greek citizen to vote on whether to accept the bailout conditions from the EU/IMF.

A “no” vote basically ends all discussions with the EU, ECB and IMF and Greece is on its own. Grexit, or the exit of Greece from the EU, is a foregone conclusion.

A “yes” vote means Tsipras gives in to 100% of the conditions of the bailout, implements the required austerity measures and gets billions to fund his broken financial system. It also signals a lack of confidence in his strategy, tactics and ability to lead the government.

A referendum is the purest form of democracy – the people directly voting on policy. But, pure democracy has a problem: mob rule. Mob-rule means that emotions and hysteria take the place of sound leadership. It is the reason that America was founded as a representative Republic, not a democracy. Tsipras may be about to discover that failing at his own hand.

Polls are increasingly turning against the anti-austerity government. As Greeks get a taste of Tsipras brand of economic justice, they are finding out that it doesn’t sound anything like he promised. Empty ATMs, pensioners not getting paid, goods becoming unavailable, vendors only accepting cash and soon – economic collapse.

Greek’s prime minister is simply trying to instill enough faith in his government to survive the referendum he demanded. He needs a “no” to claim victory – although for only a short time.

In a comment to parliament this morning, Tsipras tried to convince the nation that he’s not capitulating. “It is true that we are seeking an honest compromise with our lenders but don’t expect an unconditional agreement from us.”

European leaders have already notified Greece’s prime minister that if he wants to restart the conversation, he needs to cancel this Sunday’s referendum. Otherwise, they’ll have to wait for the result to see where the purely democratic vote takes the small nation.

ISIS terror cell and plot uncovered – five arrested

A fifth suspected member of a reported Islamic terror cell in New Jersey has been arrested.

As Independence Day approaches, the terror warnings increase and reports are surfacing that ISIS seems to be in a last-minute push to radicalize a few more members.

Alaa Saadeh - NJ Terror suspectOne such recruit – Alaa Saadeh – was arrested on Monday. He is suspected of being part of a plot to blow up a pressure cooker bomb at a prominent New York land mark.

Saadeh is being charged with providing material support to a terrorist organization and witness tampering.

Saadeh had cased at least one target, the George Washington Bridge, with plans to detonate a pressure cooker bomb similar to the one used in the Boston Marathon attack.

Samuel Topaz and Munther Omar Saleh were arrested earlier this month in the New York/New Jersey area and five total terrorism-related arrests have been made in the last few weeks in that same area.

The sudden swath of arrests comes as U.S. law enforcement ramps up in response to increased Islamic terror warnings.

ISIS social media activity has greatly increased ahead of the fourth and in concert with a Muslim holy month.

ISIS has directed all able Muslims to “murder the enemy” during the holy month of Ramadan. Brutal attacks in Tunisia, France and Kuwait last week were attributed to the Islamic terrorism directive and many more such lone wolf attacks are expected.

Global support for ISIS may be much bigger than previously known, according to a new report that found as many as 42 million Muslims around the world have positive feelings about the black-clad army of barbarians that established a so-called caliphate in Syria and Iraq last year.

“To have this number of people with this level of sophistication acting in such a close geographic area in such a compressed period of time – we have to, I think, assume the worst” said U.S. Representative Peter King (R-N.Y.). “I would say that this is the most serious level of threat that I’ve seen since September 11th [2001],” King added.

NYC police disarmament activists to burn American flag tomorrow

 A group calling themselves “Disarm the NYPD” posted a Facebook event calling on New Yorkers to come burn the American flag with them tomorrow night.

Last week, we created an event called “Burn the American Flags”, which has invoked quite a reaction from people, both…

Posted by Disarm NYPD on Monday, June 29, 2015

The group views the flag as a symbol of oppression and the Disarm NYPD home page gives some background for their movement:

Racism and violence have been mainstays of the police since their inception, but in recent years awareness of the abhorrent behavior of the police—punctuated by the callous murders of unarmed black people—has incited rebellions all over the United States. The rebellions in Ferguson and beyond mark the genesis of a new political reality in America. The role of the police in poor communities cannot be obscured any longer. The police are a political/military entity bestowed with the authority to kill undesirable people with impunity. This is the reality of the situation. Disarm the NYPD will immediately act to end this reality. Disarm the NYPD has two immediate organizational goals. We will disarm the police of their guns and we will disarm them as a viable political/military entity in the neighborhoods they occupy

Their vision statement (below) sounds more like the now-defunct occupy movement than anything else:

Disarm the NYPD’s long term goal is the establishment of a new political and social reality in NYC. We intend to organize councils that will become the main political bodies in our communities. Instead of government representation, we would like to organize a political life in the city where people can collectively make decisions. With this arrangement, we intend to make the police obsolete.

Obama changing overtime law – workers to suffer (again)

arrogant_obamaPresident Obama has decided to change the overtime ceiling from $23,600/year to over $56,000/yr – but it won’t have the affect he promises.

Currently, salaried workers making more than $23,600 per year are exempt from the overtime pay rate which requires that employers pay them 1.5 times their pay for each hour over 40 hours.

According to Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, the President has already sent an order to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review that would almost double that limit. The OMB report will likely be glowingly in-favor of Obama’s proposal.

Obama’s plan is to make more employees eligible for overtime or push them up to a new ceiling. Unless someone is already close to the new ceiling, neither will happen.

The economy has been struggling to create wage inflation, so what could be wrong with the president’s idea? Won’t it increase wages?

Ummm, no. The only thing that can create wage inflation is a tight labor market and, despite Obama’s claims, the market isn’t even close to that.

First, employers aren’t seeing the economic boom progressive demand-side economics were supposed to produce. Cash for clunkers, shovel ready projects, stimulus, stimulus II, night of the living stimulus and more have all failed to create the booming economy of yesteryear.

Second, oppressive taxes and regulations make it much more expensive for employers to hire or even retain existing employees. Obamacare, skyrocketing energy prices and silly rules like this make it impossible to compete.

Employers will examine the rule, do the math and realize that they can neither afford to raise essential personnel to $56k nor pay them 1.5x their pay. Instead, they will trim back operations or send them overseas. *Gasp* you say?

U.S. regulations already make it favorable to build factories, offices and distribution overseas. Add this stupidity to TPP and just like NAFTA, there won’t be any work left for Americans in America.

This and TPP might just crush middle-income earners into the ground.

But maybe that’s the point .. the President is kinda’ running out of time to fundamentally transform the nation.

WTH Weekly -06-28-15 – the week in review

Continuing the WTH (“what the heck” happened) series, this week we look at Obama’s Iran capitulation, a rocket explodes,Greece implodes, single payer closer than thought, gay marriage and concealed carry, Obamacare subsidies, flags of our forefathers, Jindal enters the race and more!

Shockingly, Obama isn’t serious about the Iran nuclear talks. Today, reports surfaced that Obama has given into Iran’s demands and that the deal can progress even if the Iranians never submit to inspections. Trust, but verify is now trust, and hope. But, we’ve been there already.

Unless you’re in the Foreign Exchange (forex or FX) investing community, you may not be paying attention to the collapse of Greek society. Capital controls, bank runs, money flight, you name it. Greece is in trouble. But have you evaluated America’s similar situation?

SpaceX Flacon 9 explodesNext up, Elon Musk’s SpaceX project has suffered its first cargo loss after several failures in recent months. The video shows a perfect flight, until about the 2:30 mark. It goes so terribly wrong so very fast.

Many predicted that Obamacare was not intended to save anyone money on healthcare, but instead be a bridge to a single-payer system. Well, voila, recent merger propositions and changes in the marketplace are making it happen – whether you’ve noticed or not.

ACLU-logoHow in the heck are gay marriage and concealed carry linked? Thank the Supreme Court! The decision on Obergefell v. Hodges said that same-sex couples have a constitutionally protected right to marry and that all states must recognize that right. Some in the pro-gun community are saying that the reasoning used to protect gays should extend to those that bear arms in a concealed manner. In other news, now that gay marriage is law of the land, the ACLU has decided that it no longer supports religious freedom. #eyeroll

The Supreme Court had more great news – Obamacare’s subsidies are legal even if someone gets insurance from the federal exchange. Somehow the justices got confused by the “natural wording” of the law. Now, we all get to pay for something the law was not intended to fund. Greece anyone?

Flags of our FathersIn the wake of the South Carolina shooting by captured psycho Dylann Roof, liberal groups have decided that the Battle Flag of the Northern Virginia Army is to blame. Charlie Daniels makes an intelligent and reasoned argument why they are doing nothing more than making a straw man argument against a piece of cloth. Some are even pointing at the Duke’s of Hazard’s “General Lee” as a new symbol of hate. yeah, a 1969 Dodge Charger with a Virginian Battle Flag painted on it signifies Jim Crow laws and segregation … or something.

Finally, Lousiana Governor Bobby Jindal has entered the race for the GOP nomination for president. A pointedly Christian announcement speech made it clear that he’s ready for prime-time, but is he ready for mainstream?

Report: Obama gives in – no inspections of Iranian nuke facilities required for deal

Israel National News (Arutz Sheva) is reporting that the P5+1 led by the United States has capitulated to Iran’s demand that no inspections of nuclear facilities take place.

President Obama has been working to record another controversial accomplishment for his legacy – the Iranian nuclear weapons program negotiations.

A centerpiece to the Obama position has always been that inspections would be required for any deal to take place and that he would only accept a deal including this provision.

Iran has a history of cheating on sanctions and IAEA regulations on nuclear weapons development. Without inspections, the question to the value of the president’s negotiations is seriously in question.

Saying that the only deal he would sign off on would be a “good deal,” the President was expected to follow a “trust, but verify” paradigm as was central to the Nuclear START treaty with Russia decades ago. Instead, the President appears to be accepting of any deal, as long as he can claim credit for having secured the agreement.

National Healthcare Insurers on Path to Merge from Five to a SINGLE PAYER

Many, including CDN, projected that consumer choice would become greatly limited after the imposition of Obamacare – this month is proving all of themhospital room right – and more.

The Economist published an article detailing the turmoil healthcare insurers are experiencing. The remedy they seek is to eliminate competition in an impossible marketplace:

A similar consolidation among health insurers was also predicted. But since the new insurance exchanges set up under Obamacare only went into operation last year, it has taken until now for it to be clear how big the merger wave may be. The largest insurer, UnitedHealth, has approached the number three, Aetna. The second-largest, Anthem, is trying to buy the number five, Cigna—which on June 21st rejected Anthem’s $47.5 billion bid. And the number four, Humana, has been looking at selling itself to either Aetna or Cigna.

Reduced competition is terrible for consumers. Prices inflate wildly and products/services become harder to get.

Once the healthcare marketplace is reduced to UnitedHealth, Anthem and Aetna, United and Anthem will fight over Aetna until just the two remain. With certain politicians in place, United will be allowed to acquire Anthem and there will just be one – a single payer.

It will be so much easier for progressives to regulate a single insurer into oblivion instead of dealing with a herd of cats all doing their own things. A behemoth like UnitedHealth needs the money the government gives it just to survive the weight of Obamacare. If UH doesn’t do what the government wants, that money is gone. And then – it will be gone anyway.

Once UnitedHealth becomes a figment of history, someone has to step in to save the imaginary “working class.” Gosh, who will that be?

Welcome to government healthcare. The crazy predictions from years ago are coming true and there will be no push back. People will just be happy to be getting “free” healthcare – no matter how unavailable or substandard it is.

Justices Give Gays Right to Marry – More Cases to Come

supreme-court-gay-marriage_mtIn a narrow 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court of the U.S. (SCOTUS) ruled that same sex couples have the right to marry in all 50 states.

The ruling not only extends the right to marry to same-sex couples, but also requires all states to recognize gay marriages and civil unions carried out in other states.

Justice Kennedy sided with the liberal side of the court and wrote the decision. Chief Justice Roberts authored the dissenting opinion. The full text of their opinions on same-sex marriage can be found HERE.

President Obama offered his comments in a Rose Garden speech this morning where he said that “the laws of our land are catching up to the fundamental truth that millions of Americans hold in our hearts: when all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.” [See the full speech here]

The case being decided, Obergefell v. Hodges, asked the court to answer two questions – are states required to license a marriage to same-sex couples and do states then have to recognize same-sex marriage licenses from other states. The court answered yes to both heavily citing the 14th amendment.

While the court decision forces state governments to license gay marriages, where those ceremonies take place could become another court case.

The Coalition of African-American Pastors and other Christian church leaders held a press conference yesterday where they expressed how the court’s decision contradicts tenets of their faith and moral law.

At a press conference in Memphis, Tennessee, held in the Church of God in Christ’s historic Mason Temple, Rev. Bill Owens, president and founder of the Coalition of African-American Pastors (CAAP), said, “If they rule for same-sex marriage, then we’re going to do the same thing we did for the civil rights movement. We will not obey an unjust law.”

“The politicians and the courts have tried to take God out of this country,” he continued. “This country was founded on Godly principles. We will not stand back and be silenced.”

cakeRecently, small business owners in the wedding industry have been cyber-bullied, boycotted and in some cases taken to court over their choosing to opt-out of servicing gay weddings. Photographers and cake makers have listed religious conflicts and moral differences for choosing not to take on the same-sex clients. One such photographer had a case make it to the Supreme Court only to have the court refuse to rule on it.

So the question remains – will pastors, priests, photographers, bakers and others that typically facilitate and service a wedding be forced to do so against their own belief systems?

More SCOTUS cases are likely on exactly this issue.

Majority Decision in King v. Burwell Eviscerates Separation of Powers

According to the Fabian socialist-based government in George Orwell’s 1984, war is peace and freedom is slavery.

And according to the democratically-conscious Chief Justice John Roberts Supreme Court, a fee is a tax and state means federal.

The Court’s 6-3 ruling in King v. Burwell upholding the legality of subsidies in states that refused to set up a federal exchange is hardly shocking in consideration of National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, but it is nevertheless disheartening.

Even as Jonathan Gruber’s important role in the construction of the legislation becomes more evident, the Court bent over backwards to accommodate the legislature’s supposed oversight in using imprecise language.

Gruber, of course, revealed the unspoken secret of the law- that is was written so states that failed to set up exchanges would be taxed without receiving any of the benefits, a scare tactic meant to raise the specter of public anger and force Republican governors into complying:

Roberts, however, in affirming the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that the subsidies were legal, went to great lengths to ignore the public record of fact and accommodate the stated intent of the administration, claiming in his opinion:

“we must respect the role of the Legislature, and take care not to undo what it has done. A fair reading of legislation demands a fair understanding of the legislative plan. Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter.”

There is absolutely no legal rationale in this decision; there is instead sycophantic sophistry. Yet, the Court’s decision to interpret the Act in a way that clearly goes beyond the plain language of the statute does not respect the role of the Legislature; it supersedes it, continuing a precedent established by the decision to call the individual mandate a “tax,” despite the clear insistence by the Obama administration that this was not the case.

The Court’s decision by itself is troubling, but the majority’s rationale is even more so because it is a complete evisceration of the separation of powers and vastly re-interprets the meaning of judicial review, which was established as the primary responsibility of the Court in Marbury v. Madison.

There has been much talk of the King v. Burwell ruling being purely about statutory interpretation. This was obliterated by the centrality of Congressional intent to Robert’s ruling.

But, the Court’s guidance by statutory interpretation is in itself problematic. In Federalist 78, Alexander Hamilton explained the necessity of the chief judicial body being guided by the Constitution above other duly enacted laws:

“A constitution is, in fact, and must be regarded by the judges as, a fundamental law. It, therefore, belongs to them to ascertain its meaning, as well as the meaning of any particular act proceeding from the legislative body. If there should happen to be an irreconcilable variance between the two, that which has the superior obligation and validity ought, of course, to be preferred; or, in other words, the Constitution ought to be preferred to the statute, the intention of the people to the intention of their agents..”

The original intent of the judicial branch, as laid out by Article III and further defined by Marbury v. Madison, is strict Constitutional interpretation. Its articles and clauses are the lodestone for the justice’s rationale. But the introduction of case law and precedent caused the Court to drift away from its purpose.

The Court’s two rulings upholding the ACA are a tidal wave, pushing the power of the justices into new territory. They have invested themselves with interpretive powers that too closely mimic those given solely to the legislature.

But then, maybe James Madison was merely imprecise in his language when he laid out the carefully delineated system of checks and balances in the Constitution.

 

About Those Silly Lines for Texting Students at UVU

Utah Valley University decided to create “traffic lanes” for students so intently staring at their phones while walking that they would otherwise likely run into someone or something.

Texting traffic lines on stairs

Matt Bambrough, UVU’s creative director, told the United Press International: “When you have 18- to 24-year-olds walking on campus glued to their smartphones, you’re almost bound to run into someone somewhere; it’s the nature of the world we live in. But that isn’t the reason we did it — we used that fact to engage our students, to catch their attention and to let them know we are aware of who they are and where they’re coming from. The design was meant for people to laugh at rather than a real attempt to direct traffic flow.”

As a simple joke, it’s barely funny. The real entertainment value comes from imagining the people who might fill each of these lanes.

Clearly, the left one is too narrow. Walker are likely talking with friends, walking to a class with a study partner, classmate or otherwise taking in the surrounding world.

The middle lane could have gained some real estate as well. Most runners run alone, but many like to run with a buddy.

The right lane.. they could have narrowed. One, anti-social, non-observant college student could easily fit while walking alone to their next destination .. or into a fountain.

New Era Companies Increasingly Rejecting Gun Rights

Whether its because they’re based in a liberal bastion or bending to political pressure, next gen companies are increasingly adopting gun-unfriendly policies.

A few years ago, GE (GE Capitol) stopped providing 90-day same as cash financing for firearms sales. Marisa at RAM Arms in Durham said that the change forced them to choose between loan shark-like credit companies and offering layaway only. RAM Arms chose layaway.

Most credit card companies won’t underwrite a firearms business. Gun stores, gun ranges and firearms instructors are considered high-risk.

Physical_Bitcoin_by_Mike_Cauldwell_(Casascius)Some gun stores and manufacturers have turned to next-generation funding sources like Coinbase, a bitcoin processor, to help run their businesses. Now, Coinbase has authored a policy that prevents them from dealing with firearms companies. Their excuse? The regulatory environment… seriously? Is bitcoin regulated … at all?

Uber drivers aren't likedPayment isn’t the only way next-gen businesses are attacking gun rights. Even after a gun-carrying Uber driver saved the lives of several people, Uber has decided to initiate a policy preventing drivers or passengers from carrying firearms. If you carry, take a cab because competing ride service Lyft has had a similar policy in place for some time..

None of the changes make sense. They aren’t driven by changes in federal law or regulation. They aren’t centered in logic. More-than-likely, these actions are the result of pressure from Bloomberg’s “Moms against everything” groups and inaccurate reporting in the mainstream media.

What the Heck Happened This Week (WTH Weekly) – 6-19-15

Brian Williams to MSNBCLying former anchorman of NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams, found a home at MSNBC. In other news: MSNBC’s credibility as a news source remains unchanged.

Dylann Storm RoofYoung man on a prescription drug known to cause violent behavior murders 9 people in South Carolina. News focuses on race, the weapon and the confederate flag. No one seems to think there’s an issue with the prescription drug known to cause violent behavior. Next up: baseball bats and how they kill.

Texas decided that it should probably keep its gold a little closer. Following the lead of states like Utah, the Lone Star State has decided that gold might be better than U.S. dollars. Texas could soon issue currency backed by gold. No way the federal government will ever copy that success story.

Obamatrade took another step towards reality as the House of Representatives passed Trade Promotion Authority (TPA.) If you enjoy working in manufacturing, hopefully you speak Chinese, Filipino, Spanish or Vietnamese – or are sleeping with a Senator.

She's either a giant Q-Tip or preparing to become a human cannonball.

She’s either a giant Q-Tip or preparing to become a human cannonball.

Rachel Dolezal made national headlines after it was discovered that she had dishonestly claimed to be black. The left stood behind her saying things like “she’s black because she says she is.” Everyone else thinks another liberal just went off the reservation. Rachel has resigned her NAACP post and she’s been voted off Spokane’s Police Oversight Commission (we aren’t currently sure if tiki torches and a council were involved.) Hey, is MSNBC looking for a new host?

720Donald Trump threw his hat into the ring as a candidate for President in the 2016 election  citing his wealth and fame as qualifications. It shouldn’t be long until Gordon Ramsay, Kim Kardashian and Camille Grammer all join the crowded GOP candidate field. In other news, the Republican National Committee is considering a debate format similar to “The Bachelor” to help narrow the field. Group date anyone?

 

Obama Visibly Irritated – Unable to Use SC Murders to Reign in Gun Rights

In a Thursday afternoon press conference, President Obama displayed extreme irritation that he will be unable to use the South Carolina murders of 9 people to diminish the second amendment.

The President took time to recognize the tragedy for what it is – a murderous rampage by a troubled young man against black people in a historic church. Then, following the progressive script to let no crisis or tragedy go to waste, he disparaged the current political climate and admitted that it would be unlikely that he could change the nation’s gun laws using these murders as a call-to-action.

It is in our power to do something about it.
I say it recognizing the politics in this town foreclose a lot of those avenues right now, but it would be wrong for us not to acknowledge it, and at some point it’s going to be important for the American people to come to grips with it and for us to be able to shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively.

Thursday morning, Dylann Storm Roof killed a group of people attending a prayer meeting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Downtown Charleston, SC.

Roof had been previously arrested on two occasions for drugs and trespassing. A classmate has told reporters that Dylann was an abuser of prescription drugs like Xanax.

Just hours after the murders, Roof was captured in North Carolina by state troopers. He surrendered without incident.

While the President can’t use this tragedy to promote an anti-gun agenda, he can take some comfort as this story will likely overshadow the House vote on Obamatrade today. There will be no deluge of phone calls to representatives as the media just won’t notice the vote.

**Update – Fast-Track (TPA) has passed the House, now back to the Senate where it will likely pass.**

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