Department of How Stupid Do They Think We Are?
Watching the evening news I caught a report by Andrea Mitchell on the Nuclear Security Conference that is now being held, appropriately enough, on April Fools Day. It is obviously part of a PR effort to build international support for our shiny new war on ISIS. Read more about Andrea Mitchell's April Fools Joke
“There’s definitely an elevated concern expressed in the cloakroom and members-only elevators, and other places, about the impact of a Sanders nomination on congressional candidates,” Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) said.
The TPP should be fought on all fronts, but due to the well known partiality of Republican lawmakers for TPP (as compared to Democrats), an intelligent strategy to destroy the prospects for TPP should target Republican constituencies with Read more about Japan's PM Confirms TPP => "unrestricted immigration"
Bill de Blasio, sensing, in his muddled way, some opportunity for influence or office -- presumably in a Clinton administration -- has rolled out a "Progressive" "Agenda."
Even though de Blasio's (shallow, mobile-friendly) web site qualifies the phrase "Progressive Agenda" with "to combat income inequality," media coverage frames it as a "progressive agenda," period, and since coverage was presumably driven by de Blasio's public relations effort, I'll assume de Blasio is putting forward a universal agenda he'd like all "progressives" to adopt.
If progressives do, they'll be selling working people down the river. But then you knew that. To show why, I'll compare the "agenda" to the 12-Point Platform in the form of a handy table, after first briefly describing the rollout.
Here's how Politico describes de Blasio's day on the Hill:
Bill de Blasio’s roadshow stopped in Washington on Tuesday, as the New York mayor unveiled a “Progressive Agenda” designed to guide Democratic candidates and lawmakers — but which many have read as a road map for Hillary Clinton.
Of course, since de Blasio is a "progressive" Democrat, the "agenda" is sloppy, unsystematic, and full of holes. In fact, a hack job, as even de Blasio's colleagues were not shy about pointing out:
De Blasio said the agenda was drafted by progressives who met at Gracie Mansion on April 2, and admitted it was still a work in progress, as some speakers pointed out omissions, such as public education and police accountability.
("Public education" is covered in the 12-Point Platform by point #7: "Free Public Education, pre-K-16." And "police accountability" is covered by #10: "End the Wars," which includes ending police militarization, and #9: "Enforce the Bill of Rights.")
More than a dozen progressive leaders spoke at the press conference beside de Blasio and signed the billboard next to the podium outlining the 13 progressive principles. Among the attendees were former Vermont Governor and DNC Chairman Howard Dean, Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, activist Al Sharpton, and Oakland California Mayor Libby Schaaf.
Oddly, none of the reporting seemed to list the actual 13 points (none of the sources above, and not CBS, not the Times, not HuffPo ), probably because -- as I found on the site -- the individual points aren't numbered, and they're poorly written. (Clearly, Correntians working together over many months are superior to progressives meeting at Gracie Mansion for a day. Shocker, huh?) For example, take the second bullet point in the group numbered (1) -- please:
• Reform the National Labor Relations Act, to enhance workers’ right to organize and rebuild the middle class.
This item combines a vague policy proposal ("Reform the National Labor Relations Act") with an even vaguer benefit ("to enhance workers’ right to organize and rebuild the middle class." See here for what Democrats mean when they say "middle class." ) Compare #4: "Job and Income Guarantee," which states the policy so crisply as to imply the concrete material benefit. You'll also notice that the 12-Point Platform benefits all workers, which reforming the National Labor Relations Act, laudable as that may be, does not.
Anyhow, enough background and parsing of words. Here's a table that outlines the differences between the hasty output of de Blasios's "progressives" at Gracie Mansion, and the 12-Point Platform: Read more about De Blasio's pathetically inadequate "Progressive Agenda" vs. The 12-Point Platform
Judy Miller is trying to defend herself, so this may be a good time to review the record.
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?