Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Yes, someone in the Media finally says it…It’s the REPUBLICANS!

 

I have been wondering for a while, when would the media start pointing out that it’s no longer Trump. It is the Republican party. Well, finally.

She asked THE question that needed to be asked: How Long are we going to let him go?  Not that his party would hear her.  Even Joe is cringing at hearing it.  Too Bad Joe!

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Moscow Mitch was hoping the fever would break

The closing remarks of Moscow Mitch McConnell statement before the vote to spare Donald John Trump his presidency.

He was talking about “factional fever” that the “framers” referred to as a concern for majorities acting in a partisan manor.  And yet, here we are.

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Digital technology as used in today’s campaigning

I just read the this article: Trump’s Digital Advantage is Freaking out Democratic Strategist.   It is a NYT’s opinion piece.

I know and have known about the use of collecting our data to sell us stuff.  The concern for me is that there is almost no way for an individual to stop having their self tracked and mined any more based on this article.  What is worse though than just having it used to sell me stuff is having it used as what clearly has become psych ops.  We are clearly in the subliminal suggestion pathway to influencing personality.

Steven Livingston, a professor of media and public affairs and director of the Institute for Data, Democracy and Politics at George Washington University, has been tracking this sub rosa electioneering in the current election cycle.

Livingston described “these digital shadow campaigns” as “analogous to and perhaps an actual digital manifestation of ‘dark money’ influence campaigns.” In addition, he continued,

Overwhelmingly, these pages and groups do not have ownership declarations or Facebook verifications. We simply do not know what other digital properties might be operated by common sources with the groups. There is money being spent but we don’t know the sources. It is unaccountable spending.

The article notes the difference in expenditures on digital processes between the Trump and Clinton campaign (it was big) and that the Trump campaign has been developing obstructive since. This is the point I present my political ad: Time for the 1% who are still on the left to start spending their money to combat the money infrastructure the right has built.  I’m talking to you Bloomberg and Steyer instead of for office.

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Anand Giridharadas in a Dutch interview: Their Parliament’s Finance Committee called him

I found this interesting.  Mr. Giridharadas was invited to discuss his perspective regarding his themes of his book Winners take all.  He was invited by the Dutch Parliament’s Finance Committee to discuss his book.  All 6 parties showed up.  All had been given the book prior and several had read it.   This is a link to the entire 1.5 hour presentation via Youtube.

One of his points that I found most interesting was at 7:13 of the discussion, during his introduction he points out the role the Dutch system has played as a tax shelter inhibiting nation’s like the US to adequately tax.  He notes, that the Dutch have a history of being very egalitarian with their governing approach, but their status as a tax haven is “exporting oligarchy to other countries”.   His assement of the experience of presenting to the committee was that it was a group that was actually interested in learning.   The above link to his twitter documents his thoughts on the experience.

What I am posting here is a link to an interview he did prior to the meeting with the Netherland’s VPRO TV.   A public broadcaster.  Mr Giridharadas position if that we need to stop buying into the economic elite’s position that they are the ones who can solve our problems.  This is especially poignant when they are the ones who captured the economy via government, remaking it in their image thus creating the problems they now profess only they can fix.  Enjoy.

(I tried embedding the video but it just kept disappearing, thus the link.) (Dan here…video after the fold)

 

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If you are a conservative, you have no memory. Jonathan Turley

I learned a long time ago at much personal expense, that there is a personality type which function within reality, but only in the present moment of reality.  That is, what ever I say now has no bearing or relationship to what I just said or what I am about to say.  I will deny what you thought you heard.  If that is not enough, I will qualify it but…it has no bearing on what you believe I am saying.  You can just never know and ultimately have no conversation that resolves.

It’s as if they can time shift.  You can just never know and ultimately have no conversation that resolves.

That is what I believe we are witnessing today with the republican party.  They are not protecting Trump.  They are protecting an image they believe in at the moment fully dependent on what they believe is the reality which as I noted is only for the fleeting moment.

Being today was the day for debate club at the House Judiciary committee, and one Jonathan Turley is the republican witness as to what is or is not impeachment, I thought it is only proper preparation to have gone back and see what he has stated in the past.  Sadly, it is apparent that none of the Democratic members did this simple activity in preparation.

I give you Mr. Turley on with Keith Olbermann during the Bush years regarding torture and surveillance the constitution and presidential power.

This clip is most telling as to his sincerity testifying today.

 

But, here he is regarding the president’s ability to continue a war even if congress cuts off funds.  It’s a constitutional question in which he defends congress.  When asked, he responded: No.  It’s as simple as that.

Last and more relevant for today’s presentation, here is Mr Turley regarding Bush regarding the Constitution as just a piece of paper.  That is, Bush thumbing his nose at the law.   And note how Mr. Turley lists those in the administration that have run into legal conflicts.

“First of all, this president and his theory of power, is now I think so extreme, that its unprecedented.  He believes that he has the inherent authority to violate federal law.  He has said that…that he could in some circumstances order federal officials to violate federal law…Frankly I’m not to sure what he thought he was swearing to when he took the oath to uphold the constitution and our laws.  I’ve never seen a president who is so uncomfortable in his constitutional skin. ”

“Unfortunately, civil liberties don’t swing back like other issues.  Civil liberties is a very precious commodity.  When you lose them, it tends to run out of your hand like sand. Its hard to get it back, and that’s one of the dangers here.  That presidents, when they acquire power rarely return it to the people.   And so, we have to be very concerned.  This country is changing in a very significant way…We’re really at a point where the president is arguing about his own presidential power in ways that are the antithesis of that constitution and the values that it contains.”

Today he’s defending all that he protested against while on with Keith Olbermann.  No memory.  Only in the moment.  What I say now has no relation to what I said or what I’m about to say.

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Just because we are where we are today. Conservatives without Conscience

Being that I have lots to say and have not had time to formulate it into posts I figured I would just start here.  2006.  Do watch it.  He tried to warn us.   But hey…Now the news media is being threatened too and they are concerned.


Figure 1

I keep coming to these words: But don’t ask me what I think of you
I might not give the answer that you want me to”
Ooh, well

One question for MSNBC who now puts on David Jolly regularly as the non-republican republican: Why has MSNBC not  put John Dean on?

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Mind F*K, Cambridge Analytica

I am posting this Fresh Air interview of Christopher Wylie and his book about Cambridge Analytica here because I strongly feel that the subject matter is not getting enough attention.

The way the technology Mr Wylie worked with was applied by Cambridge should be viewed as being as dangerous as any weapon humans have devised.  I realize some will say I’m being hyperbolic.  Have at it.

I remember being taught, even in school, how to understand the goals and effects of advertising including the means by which subliminal messaging works.  It’s banned in some places, sort of regulated in the US.  I was taught to be aware when watching TV.  When we look at the progression of communication, the written word leaves the emotional interpretation to the reader and their personal life experiences as reference for understanding the author’s message.  The ability to add a picture opened up a means for the author to be more specific in the message being presented. With the advent of recorded sound, even more specificity could be had via tonal inflections.  But, when video came around, there was little room for the recipient of the message to not “get” the message.  Jerry Mander wrote about this in his book: 4 Arguments for the Elimination of Television.  More relevant today with the consolidation in the industry of broadcast.  Watch his 9 minute talk and then read on.  Today it’s the internet I believe that has replaced the TV.

Yet, even with the ability of video, the message was broadcast widely hoping to catch the few receptive.  Not anymore.  Data is the issue.  There is the ability to build a digital you. Not the physical image of you, but you the person as lived via you brain.  Your mind is digitally catalogued.  You could say we have found the fountain of youth.  Unless your data is destroyed, you will now live on for all eternity.

Cambridge Analytica is a tail of technology in the hands of “the evil genius”.   As you will hear in Mr. Wylie interview, the development of the data processing was for the purpose of finding those who could be “radicalized” and then reach them before that might happen.  Along comes Steve Bannon, a big money backer and the machinery gets turned on society.  The intention was to target those who could be incited to anger and then incite that anger.  Specifically mentioned is the Alt Right type personalities.

This technology is using all we know about how the brain/mind works and turning the knowledge on society for selfish want.  Imagine how miserable, hurt, depressed, angry you have to be to want to move the world to be as you are?  That’s Bannon.  I’ve known people like this first hand.  “I hurt and I want you to hurt”.  This is consensus building without those targeted even being aware their consensus is manufactured.  This is power beyond the threat of nuclear war.  The goal is not to mold everyone.  The goal is to mold enough such that serenity within society can not exist for the likes of Bannon.  For others it is just power for one’s purpose.  In the end, it is the ultimate tool of selfishness.

The company no longer exists.  The machinery still exists and is still being used as a weapon.  Defensive or offensive is a matter of one’s ideal/ideology of life.   This goes beyond elections.  I touched upon this a bit in my post looking at the phrase “Rat Race” and how it’s not a commonly appreciated concept anymore.   The present process of “normalizing” or the idea of moving the Overton Window.

Or, it could be the ultimate tool for selflessness.  But, we’er not even thinking about that question are we?  Oh well, I guess the “free market” will solve it for us…Don’t ask me what I think of you, I might not give the answer that you want me to.

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The Truckers are not happy

I’ll just post this link and let it speak for itself.

Truckers voted for Trump in droves. Now they say his trade war is ‘killing’ their ability to make a living.

Its starts wtih:

Morris Coffman has been a truck driver for 35 years. And he’s been a conservative for even longer than that — his whole life.

“That said,” Coffman told Business Insider, “[Trump] is absolutely a moron. His idiotic ideas will tank the economy even further.”

Truckers, like Coffman, lean conservative. A Verdant Labs analysis of Federal Elections Commission data found that nearly three-quarters of truck drivers are Republican — one of the most conservative jobs in America, along with surgeons and farmers.

 

Maybe they should have been listening to music instead of talk radio while driving.

There is this headline also:

At least 2,500 truck drivers have lost their jobs in 2019 as the transportation ‘bloodbath’ unfolds. Here’s the full list of bankrupt trucking companies.

A tough lesson this group of salt of the earth, heartland breed American citizens are learning.  I hope they are learning.

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Income Inequality (I’m tooting my own horn)

I’ve been on the beat of income inequality since I started blogging here.  My theory: We changed the way we make money from one of making it from producing (polishing rocks into tools) to one of making money from money.  When you can make money from moving money, you don’t need to compete.  Just buy back your stock, just collect rents, just get your tax cuts.

The World Bank has a new report out on Inequality 2018.   I want to direct you to a chart that appears on page 7.

World Bank Inequality 2018 Report Chart

Now, here is one half of the chart I posted December 7, 2007.

Income vs Consumption 1963 to 2005

Notice the approximate time of the crossing over of the Bottom 99%’s income vs the Less chained Personal Outlay?  Look at that top chart from the World Bank. Notice the date?

I will tell you, that the 2 dates coincide with one other number.  15%.  That is the share of income I calculated at the time of crossing over of my chart for the 1%.  All of this was done using Saez’s data.   One more chart.  The other half of my December 7, 2007 posting.

Income vs Consumption 1929 to 1962

This is the first half of my data for that December posting.  Notice what happens around 1942.  At that crossing over, the top 1% share of income falls below 15%.  Coincidence?

Prior to 1942, we were coming out of the Great Depression.  The relationship of the 3 lines in my chart prior to 1942 look to be the same as after 1996.

One other thing to notice, around 1988.  The share of income for the 99% fell below disposable income.  Prior to this since 1942 it was riding even to sometimes above the disposable income.  You know what happened in 1988?  Two years past the 1986 tax law with the reduction of the top tax rates, reduced to 3 brackets and changes made to be able to pay more with stock shares.  Prior to that, it became legal in 1982 for companies to buy back stock.

We changed how we make money and no one is pointing this out as to why the nation is in such a mess.  It won’t matter if we bring back manufacturing.  It won’t matter if we raise the minimum wage.  Neither of these things will make the full change we want such that we revert back to post 1942/pre 1988.  We have to change the way we make money.

One last thing I wish those running for president would point out: Taxes are not bad.  They are not the problem.  How we are spending the money is the problem.   You know, spend it so we are actually building nations/public capital instead of letting the current capital be sucked dry!

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