Expert: Actual Unemployment Rate Above 37 Percent

Wall Street adviser David John Marotta used a memo to inform his clients of his belief that the actual unemployment rate of those not working is above 37 percent rather than at 6.7 percent as claimed by the Federal Reserve.  In addition, according to Paul Bedard Tuesday, he believes the so-called “Misery Index” is above 14, not at 8 as claimed by the government.

Read more about it at the Washington Examiner.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Union Members Shoot Selves in the Twinkies®

Twinkies® survived through more than eight decades, through good times and bad, but the junk food icon just couldn’t survive the reckless and destructive policies of Barack Obama and the mindset of the bakers union people who support him.  A news release from the Hostess Brands website tells the sad tale.

Hostess Brands is Closed.

We are sorry to announce that Hostess Brands, Inc. has been forced by a Bakers Union strike to shut down all operations and sell all company assets. For more information, go to hostessbrands.info. Thank you for all of your loyalty and support over the years.

HOSTESS BRANDS TO WIND DOWN COMPANY AFTER BCTGM UNION STRIKE CRIPPLES OPERATIONS

Friday, November 16, 2012 at 7:00AM

Irving, TX – November 16, 2012 – Hostess Brands Inc. today announced that it is winding down operations and has filed a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court seeking permission to close its business and sell its assets, including its iconic brands and facilities. Bakery operations have been suspended at all plants. Delivery of products will continue and Hostess Brands retail stores will remain open for several days in order to sell already-baked products.

The Board of Directors authorized the wind down of Hostess Brands to preserve and maximize the value of the estate after one of the Company’s largest unions, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM), initiated a nationwide strike that crippled the Company’s ability to produce and deliver products at multiple facilities.

On Nov. 12, Hostess Brands permanently closed three plants as a result of the work stoppage. On Nov. 14, the Company announced it would be forced to liquidate if sufficient employees did not return to work to restore normal operations by 5 p.m., EST p.m., Nov. 15. The Company determined on the night of Nov. 15 that an insufficient number of employees had returned to work to enable the restoration of normal operations.

The BCTGM in September rejected a last, best and final offer from Hostess Brands designed to lower costs so that the Company could attract new financing and emerge from Chapter 11. Hostess Brands then received Court authority on Oct. 3 to unilaterally impose changes to the BCTGM’s collective bargaining agreements.

Hostess Brands is unprofitable under its current cost structure, much of which is determined by union wages and pension costs. The offer to the BCTGM included wage, benefit and work rule concessions but also gave Hostess Brands’ 12 unions a 25 percent ownership stake in the company, representation on its Board of Directors and $100 million in reorganized Hostess Brands’ debt.

“We deeply regret the necessity of today’s decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike,” said Gregory F. Rayburn, chief executive officer. “Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member workforce and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders.”

In addition to dozens of baking and distribution facilities around the country, Hostess Brands will sell its popular brands, including Hostess®, Drakes® and Dolly Madison®, which make iconic cake products such as Twinkies®, CupCakes, Ding Dongs®, Ho Ho’s®, Sno Balls® and Donettes®. Bread brands to be sold include Wonder®, Nature’s Pride ®, Merita®, Home Pride®, Butternut®, and Beefsteak®, among others.

The wind down means the closure of 33 bakeries, 565 distribution centers, approximately 5,500 delivery routes and 570 bakery outlet stores throughout the United States.

The Company said its debtor-in-possession lenders have agreed to allow the Company to continue to have access to the $75 million financing facility put in place at the start of the bankruptcy cases to fund the sale and wind down process, subject to U.S. Bankruptcy Court approval.

The Company’s motion asks the Court for authority to continue to pay employees whose services are required during the wind-down period.

For employees whose jobs will be eliminated, additional information can be found at hostessbrands.info. The website also contains information for customers and vendors. Most employees who lose their jobs should be eligible for government-provided unemployment benefits.

Bob McCarty is the author of “Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice,” a nonfiction book that’s available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com. His second book, “The CLAPPER MEMO,” is set for release this fall.

Small Missouri Town Loses Some of Its ‘Magic’ (Update)

A story that bears many similarities to the one involving Solyndra, the Fremont, Calif., “green energy” company that received $500 million in federal loan guarantees shortly before filing for bankruptcy, is taking place in tiny Moberly, Mo.

Founded in 1866, Moberly is a town that, according to the city’s website, seemed to spring from the prairie overnight in 1873, earning it the title, “The Magic City.”  One-hundred-thirty-eight years later, the city of almost 14,000 lost a little bit of its magic when a start-up newspaper founded by Janet Morales closed its doors.

The reasons behind the newspaper’s demise are troubling.

Morales, 54, founded The Moberly (Mo.) Mirror & County Observer after working three years at the long-established daily newspaper, the Moberly Monitor-Index, as a news reporter. Unfortunately, her newspaper venture would end also — in April 2011 — after she caught flak for having had the gumption to ask local officials questions about an economic development project Gov. Jay Nixon (D-Mo.) announced July 9, 2010, would bring 612 jobs to the community.

That economic development project involved Mamtek International, a sucralose-production company that needed a U.S. location for a new facility where it would use a new “green” approach to make its artificial sweetener/sugar substitute, Sweet.Zero™.

While officials in Moberly were working hard to attract the company, Morales was asking questions about the project.  Unfortunately, those on the receiving end of her questions — namely senior officials at Mamtek — did not appreciate a snoopy reporter asking questions, according to Morales.  And that’s when, in July 2010, her troubles began.

Her troubles increased after the Moberly Chamber of Commerce held a meeting of its board in November 2010.   Soon after the meeting, she said,  business owners in town began pulling their ads and revenue for her newspaper began to dry up.

Like any good journalist who encounters resistance, Morales began digging deeper and looking elsewhere for answers.  After all, the details “just didn’t add up.”

Following the loss of revenue, Morales opted to close The Mirror the following spring — but not before mailing every Moberly resident a copy of its final issue that explained about the Mamtek company and the speed — 72 days! — with which it was welcomed to town, about the potential conflicts of interest that existed among Moberly officials and about the questions concerning the validity of the Mamtek company, especially concerning its plant in China.

The Mamtek site construction in March 2011 (Photo: The Moberly Mirror)

The Mirror’s original website was shut down the day of the mailing, but a new one — http://www.TheMoberlyMirror.com –  was quickly set up.  There, Morales’ Mamtek stories — published March 31 under the headline, Mamtek & the Mirror Experience — were posted so everyone could read them and have access to the information.

Six months later, the Moberly officials who didn’t like answering Morales’ questions find themselves having to answer even tougher questions on the heels of news that Mamtek failed to make a $3.2 million bond payment and has named Peter Kravitz, an attorney well-known in restructuring and liquidation circles, as its interim president.

Today, as the promised economic boom appears to have gone bust and the city of Moberly appears to be on the hook for more than $37 million in bond payments, there is a very narrow silver lining for most Missouri taxpayers.

According to a Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune report Tuesday, Missouri Department of Economic Development Director David Kerr said the public should be comforted that no state tax money — more than $17 million worth — has been actually applied to the project.  Better still, no federal stimulus dollars appear to have gone to Mamtek.

Conversely, there’s no silver lining for the job-hungry Missourians in Moberly.

UPDATE 9/19/11 at 9:27 a.m. Central:  A source in Moberly tells me that St. Louis Post-Dispatch business reporter Tim Logan is in Moberly, purportedly to investigate whether or not there is any China Hub connection to the Mamtek deal.  If you’re not familiar with the China Hub deal, read this Show-Me Institute account featuring the views of economists from St. Louis University and the University of Missouri.  I’ll keep my eyes on this one.  ALSO, a Central Missouri publication reports the city of Moberly might not be on the hook for the Mamtek bonds.

UPDATE 9/19/11 at 9:55 a.m. Central:  The Mamtek website is down.  See screenshot, too.

UPDATE 9/19/11 at 3:37 p.m. Central:  Mamtek has “little cash…”.

UPDATE 9/21/11 at 4:09 p.m. Central:  According to this report, the “wheels” for this deal began turning in the Missouri state capitol.

UPDATE 9/22/11 at 6:54 a.m. Central:  Three days later, here’s the story by Tim Logan of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

UPDATE 9/23/11 at 4:06 p.m. Central:  Ahh, there was a China connection after all — sort of.

UPDATE 9/28/11 at 9:10 a.m. Central:  New company formed, reportedly to restart project.

UPDATE 10/01/11 at 2:26 p.m. Central:  On her Facebook page today, Janet Morales shared her thoughts about an article — I think she was referring to this article — in the Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune:

Major mistakes in the latest Tribune story about the Mirror as those of you who went to elementary school with me know. Tribune said Mirror made accusations it didn’t. CT reporter admitted mistakes said he was too busy working on the next story. Website is www.themoberlymirror.com The Mirror does not back down from anything in those March 30, 2011 stories. Only corrections as I look over old emails is merchant didn’t “strongly indicate” they would pull advertising. They DID pull advertising. As to the meeting when we were told not to ask questions, that, too, is documented in emails – July 22. Citizens of Moberly know the Mirror printed the truth, as recent events have proven.

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Thousands Flock to Job Fair in Atlanta

It’s a rare occasion when I link to an ABC News item, but I simply couldn’t resist sharing the video below that accompanied an article showing the impact of the poor leadership of President Barack Obama and Congress:  Yesterday, some 5,000 people showed up at a job fair in Atlanta sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus.

Two-hundred and eighty-thousand people are looking for work in the Atlanta area, where the unemployment rate is at 10.5 percent, according to the report.

Wow!  Hope and change?  Vote wisely in 2012.

If you enjoy this blog and want to keep reading stories like the one above, show your support by using the “Support Bob” tool at right. Follow me on Twitter @BloggingMachine. Thanks in advance for your support!

Barack Obama Launches 2012 Campaign

President Barack Obama made it official Sunday, using the YouTube video below to announce he will see a second term as the worst president in U.S. history.

The video above — which is ripe for parody and sarcasm — appears just below data entry fields within which each visitor to BarackObama.com is asked to supply an email address and zip code in response to the question, “ARE YOU IN?” I decided to expand on that question with some of my own which appear below.

Are you in more debt? If so, thank Obama.

Are you in unemployment? If so, thank Obama.

Are you in foreclosure? If so, thank Obama.

Feel free to share the graphics above, and help defeat Obama in 2012.

If you enjoy this blog and want to keep reading stories like the one above, show your support by using the “Support Bob” tool at right. Thanks in advance for your support!

Pipeline ‘Matter of Critical National Interest’

One can hardly blame leaders of the nation’s oil and natural gas industries for feeling the need to be aggressive when it comes to combating the Obama Administration’s all-out war against fossil fuels exploration.  Today, officials at the American Petroleum Institute called on the U.S. Department of State to approve the Keystone Pipeline Project as soon as possible “as a matter of critical national interest.”

The pipeline, which would be built by TransCanada Corporation, would be part of a pipeline system bringing oil from Alberta’s oil sands region in Canada to U.S. refineries, according to an API news release.

“Not only is this a chance for the White House to strengthen U.S. energy security and help plan for the nation’s energy future,” said Cindy Schild, API’s refining issues manager, “but it’s also an opportunity to take a specific, public and dramatic action in support of creating new U.S. jobs.  TransCanada estimates that this project will create 13,000 organized labor jobs and hundreds of thousands of additional jobs.”

Canada’s oil reserves are second only to Saudi Arabia, and America imports more oil from Canada than from all Persian Gulf countries.  In addition, more than 342,000 new U.S. jobs are likely to be created between 2011 and 2015 because of Canadian oil sands development, according to a study by the Canadian Energy Research Institute.

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Tea Party Movement Goes Global (Update)

Little did CNBC reporter Rick Santelli know how far his message would carry after he issued a call for a Chicago Tea Party from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Feb. 19, 2009.  After spreading across the United States during the past 23 months, it appears that a grassroots movement, similar to the Tea Party Movement Santelli helped launch, has reached the Arab World and beyond.

In recent days, citizens in Albania, Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia, among others, have taken to the streets to protest against oppressive government regimes that have brought mass poverty and discontent.  Along the way, people have died, leaders have fled.

As shown in the video below, a Tiananmen Square kind of moment took place in Egypt yesterday as a lone protester stood in front of a water-cannon truck.

Though it’s difficult to draw side-by-side comparisons of the causes of unrest in foreign lands and those that spurred the Tea Party Movement at home, the concept that too much “Big Government” ideology — excessive taxation, recklessly spending and insurmountable levels of debt — invites inflation, skyrocketing food and fuel prices and high unemployment.

Like we’ve seen abroad, it could lead to rioting in the streets — the kind one oil industry executive predicted on this blog almost two years ago: a real worst-case scenario.

To avoid such calamity, Americans must communicate with their lawmakers at every level of government to ensure they get the message.  Fixing our government and our economy will require them to use sound reasoning skills to make extremely difficult decisions, but those decisions must be made if we are to save this great nation from ruin.

God bless America!

FYI: If you enjoy this blog and want to keep reading stories like the one above, show your support by using the “Support Bob” tool at right. Thanks in advance for your support!

UPDATE 1/30/11 at 8:51 p.m. Central: Though it remains unclear as to what kind of government will take over in Egypt post Mubarak, signs are beginning to point toward bad actors like the Muslim Brotherhood and agents from Iran and Syria helping to stir things up in North Africa.  Therefore, I must make clear that my use of “Tea Party” throughout this post might constitute a bad choice of words.

UPDATE 1/30/11 at 9:59 p.m. Central: The CNN video below supports what I said in the update above.

UPDATE 2/1/11 at 9:58 a.m. Central: I’m not alone.  Fox News Channel’s Jim Angle just used the Tea Party comparison to end a segment on Egyptian citizens’ use of high-technology and social networking tools during the recent unrest there.