Department of How Stupid Do They Think We Are?
We can see the positioning and the messaging on the Democratic side beginning to take shape for the 2016 elections. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren with nods to Thomas Piketty and various economists have stepped forward to offer the themes of salvation for the middle class, moderating the extremes of inequality in American society, and doing something real about jobs and wages.
Clinton World seems to be responding, not yet with forthright statements from Hillary Clinton, but recently with articles by stalwarts of neoliberal Clintonism (and veterans of the Obama Administration) such as Larry Summers and Peter Orszag, expressing concerns about inequality and proposing measures to alleviate it, even including increased taxation on the wealthy. Read more about Will We Ever Get Change if We Keep Electing People Who Represent Special Interests?
I'm starting to sense a consensus congealing:
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who is considering a 2016 presidential bid, said on Sunday it would require 10,000 American "boots on the ground" to stop the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Syria.
Coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria won't destroy the group, but do help in some regard, Graham said on CBS's "Face the Nation."
Tuesday night Obama set up a 2015 agenda that Glen Ford in “State of the Union 2015: Lethal, Predatory, Delusional” asserts would have been a modest and easy win in 2009 and 2010 when the Dems dominated both houses, but hasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell with a Republican Congress.
In 2009 and 2010 Obama fed us, the citizens who put him into office, to the proverbial wolves, or as Ford lists them, “bankers, Wall Street, private insurers and Big Pharma.”
Ryan Lizza's write up of Jim Webb is so bad it is embarrassing.
In his senatorial race, Webb did well not only in northern Virginia, which is filled with Washington commuters and college-educated liberals, but also with rural, working-class white voters in Appalachia.
For those who came in late, in 2003 or so there were basically two voices pointing out how insane the Bush administration was; you had to be there, and if you were, you remember how amazing it was to find a voice of sanity. One such voice was Krugman, for which he still deserves huge credit, in my book; and the other was Dan Froomkin, who ran a blog, in the days when blogs were new, that was quite literally the only reason to read WaPo, where it appeared. Read more about Froomkin points out McClatchy laying down a marker on ISIS
Ferguson, Missouri has been turned into a war zone.
The police use inappropriate force, such as tear gas and rubber bullets, to overwhelm and intimidate residents who are legitimately protesting a police murder of a fellow, unarmed resident.
There is also a “keep moving” rule constantly imposed on residents and journalists on the sidewalks of Ferguson. It is not a real law but nevertheless was and still is constantly spouted by the police. This “rule” is anti the First Amendment and now being challenged by the ACLU. Read more about Ferguson, Front Line of Anti-Constitution & Class Warfare
BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!! That's what they said in 2008! Can't they at least have the common human decency to invent new fake rhetoric? Read more about "Holder: 'Change is coming' after police shooting"
Facebook runs "emotional contagion" experiment on 600,000 users, without their informed consent, by manipulating their news feeds
We show, via a massive (N = 689,003) experiment on Facebook, that emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness. We provide experimental evidence that emotional contagion occurs without direct interaction between people (exposure to a friend expressing an emotion is sufficient), and in the complete absence of nonverbal cues.
Still plugging away covering a country on the other side of the world. Why? Because the Generals always want to turn off the Internet. They tried it in Egypt, along with cellphones (the reistance moved to flyers); they tried cutting off twitter in Turkey (it failed); and now they've tried it Thailand. Perhaps they may try it here! Of course, in Egypt the United States demanded that Egypt turn the Internet back on, but with what we know, I would bet that the NSA was ticked that it suddenly didn't have an surveillance data. That would probably be the NSA's view on shutting down the Internet in this country, so again, the methods the Thai generals use -- they are very adept at nudging their subjects with a light touch -- will be of interest to the powers that be; managing the Internet is so much more effective than simply turning it off! (And provides plenty of jobs for the boys, too, which the Thai Army knows very well.
So here's a twitter history of the junta's Facebook shutdown; think of the history as providing signs and portents you might want to watch the skies for. (Note that the Thais are heavy duty social media users; IIRC, the Bangkok airport was knocked from its perch at the top of Most Instagrammed Location Worldwide by a humongous Bangkok shopping mall. Social media, for good or ill, meshes well with the sociability and conviviality and sense of fun that are such distinctive features of Thai culture, so it's not at all surprising that Thais got ticked with the junta turned it off. No selfies! And we can back that up with data!
Hilarious. And sad. MT @RichardBarrow: Thai army takes control< 433 RT's 7-Eleven closes 10pm < 623 RT's FB blocked in Thailand < 970 RT's
— Greg (@BkkGreg) May 28, 2014
Anyhow, remember hearing the word "junta" a lot in the news when I was a kid; how thoughtful of the Thai Generals to make junta thing once more. Even if some might feel that word a bit heavy-handed. Even if the word is not the heavy handed thing:
— Pekka Oilinki (@oilinki) May 28, 2014
First, that was fast! So , why? Read more about Thai junta experiments with turning off Facebook (and remedies for that)
The New York Times and Dave Leonhardt's Upshot section made a big splash a few days ago by reporting on a study showing that the Canadian middle class had caught the US middle class in median income and likely surpassed it since. The study is based on an effort to measure median income per capita after taxes, and its results are presented as something truly significant.
However, I think the study is biased in that in median income per capita after taxes, it selected the wrong measure. What is needed is a measure of income or affluence that takes account of the value of cross-national variations in Government benefits delivered to the middle classes. Since the United States has lower taxes than most comparable nations, but delivers much less in safety net and entitlement benefits, it's pretty clear that the measure used in the study reported on by The Times overestimates the real median income of the US middle class in comparison with the middle classes of other comparable nations and provides a misleading impression of the relative affluence of the American middle class. Read more about Did Canada's Middle Class Just Get More Affluent Than the US's, or Did that Happen Long Ago?
From the Times's FiveThirtyEight killer, The Upshot:
If you want to understand the 2014 midterm elections, remember this simple fact about American politics: There just aren’t that many swing voters.
Although the president’s party almost always loses seats in midterm elections, the size of the 2010 “shellacking,” to borrow President Obama’s description, created the impression that many voters had changed their minds about the president, his policy goals or his ability to get the country back on the right track between 2008 and 2010.
But only a small percentage of voters actually switched sides between 2008 and 2010. Moreover, there were almost as many John McCain voters who voted for a Democratic House candidate in 2010 as there were Obama voters who shifted the other way. That may be a surprise to some, but it comes from one of the largest longitudinal study of voters, YouGov’s Cooperative Campaign Analysis Project (C.C.A.P.), for which YouGov interviewed 45,000 people at multiple points during 2011 and 2012.
The results clearly show that voters in 2010 did not abandon the Democrats for the other side, but they did forsake the party in another important way: Many stayed home.
In other words -- lambert extrapolating here -- the 2010 result was the price Obama's rump faction of Democrats paid for 2008. (If Corrente is in any way representative, an open question, that's certainly true.) Read more about Horse race: "Swing voters" vs. "voter drought" narratives
We seem to be reliving the 2008 campaign, so I thought I'd put up the talking points I use when Democratic loyalists play their trump card: "But Ralph Nader!"
Gore lost the Presidency because:
1. He followed Beltway conventional wisdom and ran away from Clinton's record even though Clinton's polling was very high;
Lately, Republicans have been riding the hobby horse of charging the President with being a dictator. Well clearly he is not that, or he would have had them imprisoned, or worse, a long time ago. On the other hand, the President's hands are far from clean when it comes to activities like illegal surveillance of Americans, drone strikes without due process, collusion of the Government with local authorities to repress Occupy exercising its rights of free speech and assembly, and failure to enforce the law with reference to torture of prisoners, and control frauds in the FIRE sector.Have I covered everything, or did I forget something?
Regardless, everything I've covered are anti-democracy activities that Republicans, apparently, have no problem with. On the other hand they're mightily concerned about the what they think is the President's “extremism” in increasingly relying on Executive Orders to get some of his objectives accomplished. Their faux outrage over this, centers around the claim that the President has issued an unusual amount of Executive Orders during his time in the Presidency. Read more about Executive Orders: A Fair Ranking of Presidents from Least Active to Most Active
What if lawmakers put forward a federal budget plan to tax big financial institutions, enact a healthcare public option and increase spending to put millions of Americans to work on badly needed infrastructure projects?
They did. You just didn't read or hear much about it.
Why abolishing the corporate income tax is good for American workers
Editor’s Note: Our regular Social Security columnist Larry Kotlikoff is taking a week off from answering your Social Security questions. This week, he’s addressing readers’ concerns with his call in the New York Times to abolish the corporate income tax.