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Peterson/CBO Beat for Austerity Goes On!

Recently, I've been writing about oligarchs advocating for entitlement cuts and austerity. I've discussed attacks on entitlement benefits for the elderly from Abby Huntsman (of MSNBC's The Cycle) and Catherine Rampell (a Washington Post columnist), both the children of well-off individuals. These posts have come in the context of the English language release of Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century, and the more recent pre-publication release of a study by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page using quantitative methods and empirical data to explore the question of whether the US is an oligarchy or a majoritarian democracy. They conclude:

”What do our findings say about democracy in America? They certainly constitute troubling news for advocates of “populistic” democracy, who want governments to respond primarily or exclusively to the policy preferences of their citizens. In the United States, our findings indicate, the majority does not rule -- at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes. When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the U.S. political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it.”

With this as a backdrop, today I want to de-construct a recent statement by Michael A. Peterson, President and COO, of one of the centers of American oligarchy, the Peter G. Peterson Foundation (PGPF), and the son of the multi-billionaire Peter G. Peterson, commenting on the CBO's Report earlier this month, on its updated budget projections for 2014 - 2024. Read below the fold...

transcriber's picture

Scott Horton interviews The Other Scott Horton on the White-House-CIA-torture-and-homicide complex

Other Scott Horton: Well, and conversely, Dianne Feinstein in the speech she gave, she said, you know, “This is a death of the republic sort of issue.” And that may sound melodramatic. It’s absolutely correct. Writers about these issues going back to people like Max Weber writing at the end of World War I, he said basically the test of whether a republic stands up in the modern age includes whether the Parliament, whether Congress exercises mastery over state secrecy. If they don’t do that, and then they don’t perform or discharge their oversight function, you’re not a democratic form of government. That’s the bottom line here.

Podcast here, transcript below the fold. Read below the fold...

Horse race: How many Correntians are there, really?

I don't mean our tiny readership, obviously, but people who, when presented with the 12-Point Platform, would go "Heck yeah! But does it go far enough?" There's no polling done on such a question, for obvious reasons, but this article in The Cook Report could provide a proxy:

Anyone who knows me well knows I am usually eyeing the oven for the next fresh batch of in-depth public-opinion data from Democracy Corps, a partnership between legendary Democratic strategists Stan Greenberg and James Carville that just celebrated its 15th anniversary. It gets even better when the two team up with Resurgent Republic, cofounded by veteran GOP pollster Whit Ayres, as they did to craft a national survey of 840 likely 2014 voters (including 50 percent reached on cellular phones) conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. The survey was conducted March 19-23 for NPR, and it probed voters' attitudes on the Affordable Care Act, the state of the economy, and their choices in November.

And now the important part:

On the basic question "Do you support or oppose the health care reform law that passed in 2010, also known as the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare?" 51 percent said they opposed it and just 47 percent said they supported it. But, as Carville and Greenberg point out, on the follow-up question to opponents which read, "Would you say you oppose the health care reform law because it goes too far … or because it doesn't go far enough?" 7 percent picked "doesn't go far enough," theoretically bringing die-hard opposition to the ACA down to 44 percent.

Hmm. Why do Carville and Greenberg assume that single payer advocates aren't part of the "die-hard opposition" to ObamaCare? (To answer my own question: Because career "progressives" polluted the discourse with "the public option" magic zombie sparkle pony.) Read below the fold...

Obama Didn't Get Memo re False Flag Anti-Semitism Leaflet?

Let’s address just one more of the latest US foreign policy fresh hells before it, too, disappears into the American citizenry’s memory hole among so many other Orwellian scenarios from both Bush and Obama regimes.

One more willful, false flag for propaganda and provocation operation, this time on the part of the illegitimate junta in Ukraine and the western imperialism addicts going for “full spectrum dominance”, both groups willing to chance a nuclear war with Russia. Yes, that is right! Read below the fold...

Horse race: "Swing voters" vs. "voter drought" narratives

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 below the fold...

If Larry Summers were worried about Thomas Piketty, he'd be awake

Our dysfunctional elites

A story plucked from the flow (and not the first and doubtless not the last of what's rapidly becoming a formula). Gawker:

Leaked Emails Detail "Secret" Frat's Antics With Drugs, Cops, and Sex
They're staffers for influential congressmen and PACs. They work at top international banks and consulting firms. Also, they claim to hit women, lie to cops, chase ass, trade pills and hard drugs, and pour "so much champagne on bitches titties." These are the email confessions of a banned fraternity.

Late last week, someone leaked a 70-page trove of racy emails and texts between the brothers of the Epsilon Iota chapter of Alpha Tau Omega,

In the documents, which run from 2012 to earlier this year, members detail how they swapped LSD, Adderall, and pot among each other; how they surreptitiously interacted with the "bitches" from AU's recognized sororities to get laid and get legitimacy; how they covered up allegations of beating women, rape in their house, and raucous party trouble that drew police attention; and how they generally acted as stereotypes of bad brothers in a problem frat.

"A driving factor of this fraternity is our mysterious reputation," one member tells the others on email. "However if we lose this we will lose a distinguishing factor that we have over other fraternities and attractiveness that we have over future rushes and the bitches."

Lovely! And then there's this: Read below the fold...

transcriber's picture

Jonathan Landay on the CIA torture report; April 11 interview

...quote unquote "facts"...
...quote unquote "intelligence"...
...quote unquote "committed suicide"...

Well, it's the CIA. McClatchy's Jonathan Landay looks back on recent reporting on the CIA torture report and other things in this interview from April 11. Podcast here, transcript below the fold. Read below the fold...

Common Household Remedies Request

Sadly, installing OS Mavericks, even if it did blow a ton of system stuff away, did not solve my "kernel panic on restart" issue, although I get a different error screen. Read below the fold...

Re-entry...

It's still too cold at night here to turn the heat off. So, with my vastly over-specified woodstove going, I've managed to make my own little Bangkok in the kitchen. Read below the fold...

Horse race: Clinton vs. Warren

It will be fascinating in a horrid sort of way to see the New Yorker pivot to whoever the next Democratic candidate is. John Cassidy:

For more than a year, ever since leaving the post of Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has been playing the game of being in but not officially in the 2016 Presidential contest. This strategy has accomplished what it was clearly intended to do: freezing the race and deterring any other top-level Democrats from entering it, while protecting Clinton from the additional media scrutiny and Republican attacks she would have faced if she had already declared her candidacy.

Standard operating procedure for a "front runner." It would be funny, also in a horrid sort of way, if Clinton became "The First Woman to be Front Runner, Twice, and Never President." Because being annointed the front runner is like being put on the cover of Sports Illustrated. (One thing I don't know: Whether the pack outright hate Clinton the way they hated her in 2008. While people as shallow and hateful as the political class would find it easy to bring it again, somehow I doubt it, for two reasons: First, whatever else one might think of Clinton and the 2008 campaign, she didn't crack under immense pressure, and she had the stones to "stay the course."* Second, Clinton's supporters and Clinton, supposing them to be independent, have shrewdly capitalized on her "take no shit" persona.) Cassidy continues: Read below the fold...

Democrat left fake for the midterms occasionally may have real benefits

I'm happy (some) people unjustly imprisoned may get out of prison, but check the weasel wording, which I've helpfully underlined:

President Barack Obama is preparing to make much broader use of his power to grant commutations to non-violent drug convicts who have served long sentences, Attorney General Eric Holder said in a video released Monday.

“The White House has indicated it wants to consider additional clemency applications, to restore a degree of justice, fairness, and proportionality for deserving individuals who do not pose a threat to public safety,” Holder said. “The Justice Department is committed to recommending as many qualified applicants as possible for reduced sentences.” ...

“There are still too many people in federal prison who were sentenced under the old regime — and who, as a result, will have to spend far more time in prison than they would if sentenced today for exactly the same crime,” the attorney general said.

Holder said the Justice Department is setting new criteria that will allow its Office of the Pardon Attorney to consider applications from a wider variety of convicts. In addition, the attorney general said that office’s staff would be bolstered, “potentially” [note the quotes; even Politico spots the weasel wording] with dozens of new attorneys to deal with the expected wave of applications.

So far, Obama has been extremely restrained in his use of the clemency powers, granting only ten commutations in more than five years in office

So, this move has nothing to do with Obama's personal inclinations or political philosophy; it's midterm posturing, plain and simple. Read below the fold...

NY Common Core test questions include product brand names

Well, this is disgusting:

'Why are they trying to sell me something during the test?' Grade-school students baffled as brands including Nike, iPods and Barbies appear in exam papers
Nike, Barbie and iPod were among the more famous brands to have appeared in a recent New York Common Core standardized English test taken by more than a million students in grades three to eight. Other brands included Life Savers and Mug Root Beer.

Outraged parents have demanded an explanation for why specific brand names were used in the tests - with some suggesting they've become little more than just another way of advertising to young children.

But New York state education officials and the test publisher insist the brand references were not paid product placement and just happened to be contained in previously published passages selected for the tests.

"Just happened." Read below the fold...

My talking points on "But Ralph Nader!"

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;

2. Florida gamed the voter rolls (and the Democrats didn't stop them, naturallement). More here.

3. 308,000 FL Democrats voted for Bush. Read below the fold...

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