Posts by Nick Cassella

Takeaways From “The Kids’ Table” Debate

Takeaways From “The Kids’ Table” Debate

The first GOP debate of the night has come and gone. Thankfully, Fox Business spared us all by making the “kids table” debate shorter than usual. Here are some of my takeaways: As Paul Constant predicted earlier this morning , Chris Christie clearly came off as the best candidate of the bunch. He never took the bait on any of Bobby Jindal’s (numerous) attacks and instead took every opportunity to bash Hillary Clinton. And when I say bash Hillary Clinton, I really mean give her a good verbal beat down. The language he employed against her was nothing short of venomous. Rick Santorum had some seriously awful answers. For the entire debate, he seemed to be on the brink of angrily snapping at someone or something. At one point,  he flat-out yelled into the microphone . It appeared Howard Dean-esque and all very desperate. I’d be surprised if he is a candidate come January 2016. Bobby Jindal came into this debate with a clear game plan: Distinguish himself as a “government-cutting conservative” and portray the others in the debate as “tax and spend liberals.” In fact in a couple of instances, he insinuated that the Republican party was failing as a national party because they are too liberal on policy issues. The moderators were once again feckless and weak. At one point the candidates were asked to name a Democrat they respected and not one of the men on stage answered the question.  It was quite revealing that they couldn’t even name a Democrat they admired. What’s worse, the moderators didn’t even jump in and get them back on track. The phrase “government picking winner and losers” was repeated at least three times by Chris Christie and also from Rick Santorum. It’s an empty platitude, but it clearly must poll well with Republican voters, otherwise they wouldn’t have used it so liberally (pun intended).

Daily Clips: November 10th, 2015

Daily Clips: November 10th, 2015

Thousands of workers who were shorted on overtime pay are headed to the Supreme Court:  Today, SCOTUS plans on hearing oral arguments “in a crucial case that could tighten the rules dictating how workers and consumers band together in the first place.” Labor groups and low-wage worker advocates are in support of the workers, “while the Chamber of Commerce and other major business lobbies have lined up behind [Tyson Foods].” I wonder which side is trying to advance justice and economic fairness. The GOP’s uniquely embarrassing vetting season: Michael Gerson is one of those conservative thinkers liberals should take seriously. While his solutions are often different than what I propose, at least he recognizes the problems (a step that evades many Republican talking heads). In his latest column, Gerson talks about the never-ending vetting process which has descended upon the GOP clowns. He wonders if Trump, specifically, cannot be undone by the normal probing, asking “How do you hold Trump to performance standards when part of his appeal as an outisder is a blustering, appalling ignorance of policy?” Democrats push for automatic voter registration: While Republicans try to make it as hard as possible to vote, Democrats are looking for ways to expand voter registration and by proxy, voting turnout. “With automatic voter registration, we can not only make our electoral system more modern and fair, but bring 51 million American citizens – most of whom are disproportionately poor, young and minority – permanently into the political process,” said senior advisor to iVote, Hari Sevugan. It frightens me that this message of inclusion would actually be opposed by one of our major political parties. But such is life in America. As this article points out, in 2012 only 53.6 of the voting age population cast ballots in America. That’s inexcusable. Atheists shouldn’t be president, according to Ted Cruz:  Here’s an interesting article which looks at the public perception of atheists, and the results are depressing (if you are a godless heathen, of course). Predictably, the US public have
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Daily Clips: November 9th, 2015

Daily Clips: November 9th, 2015

The war against Exxon Mobil:  A truly awful piece from Robert Samuelson. A champion of the big-guy, Samuelson defends Exxon, saying that environmentalists are wasting their time going after the big oil company for misleading the public on climate change. How should we address this situation instead, you ask? Samuelson doesn’t bother to give us any alternatives: The larger problem is the inherent difficulty of doing something significant about global warming. Fossil fuels supply four-fifths of primary global energy. To stabilize atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, fossil fuel emissions need to go to about zero. How is that going to happen? He then goes onto say that environmental advocates who say that Exxon knew about the harmful effects of climate change “are essentially proposing that the company be punished for expressing its opinions.” How ridiculous. What is it with right-wingers and falling back on the whole “corporations are people” dogma? This isn’t an issue relating to freedom of expression. It’s an issue of lying systematically to the American people. They have every right to lie to us, but they also have every right to be held accountable. Rubio and his immigration retreat : The Washington Post’s editorial board has some harsh words for Senator Marco Rubio and his “craven flip-flop” when it comes to immigration polices. They ask “is he so politically pliable and ideologically biddable that he will say anything, and take any stance, to shield himself from the ugly nativism Donald Trump has tapped among Republican primary voters?” Tomorrow’s GOP debate moderators:  After the Republican presidential candidates moaned about the liberal-ness of the CNBC debate, expect Maria Bartiromo, Neil Cavuto, and Gerard Baker to lob softball questions for the entire night. Vox provides individual breakdowns of these moderators. Here’s a scary video for you:

Daily Clips: November 6th, 2015

Daily Clips: November 6th, 2015

POTUS rejects Keystone pipeline: It’s been a long time coming, Mr. President! Obama explained his decision by saying, “America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change. Frankly, approving this project would have undercut that leadership.” Environmental activists across the country will be celebrating because of this news and rightfully so! On the flip side, Republicans are reacting like you’d expect them to: The Obama Admin's politically motivated rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline is a self-inflicted attack on the U.S. economy and jobs. — Jeb Bush (@JebBush) November 6, 2015 We will not give up and the House will continue to fight for the priorities of the American people. #KeystoneXL https://t.co/7p2Egbhj7t — Rep. Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) November 6, 2015 Economy adds over 270,000 jobs in October:  What a month for the US economy. According to Politico, “The size of the labor force grew, wages rose at a faster pace and a broader measure of joblessness that includes discouraged workers — which Republicans love to cite as an indicator — also fell to its lowest point since 2008.” Due to the strength of these numbers, it appears like a Fed rate hike will occur next month. Ben Carson admits to fabricating his West Point scholarship:  Dr. Carson, welcome to the media scrutiny which accompanies a front-runner. It appears that America’s favorite sleepy doctor lied about being given a “full scholarship” to America’s prestigious military academy. How presidential. Baby boomers are what’s wrong with America’s economy:  I usually do not like articles which assign blame to an entire generation, but Jim Tankersley produces a very convincing argument here. He contends that baby boomers “soaked up a lot of economic opportunity without bothering to preserve much for the generations to come” and have “left its children and grandchildren with some bones to pic through and a big bill to pay.” Thanks Mom and Dad!

Trickle-down economics is as old as Plato

Trickle-down economics is as old as Plato

For over three decades, Americans have been fed a lie. Through reinforcement and repetition, from stump speeches to cable news, Americans have become convinced that economic prosperity originates from the vaunted “job creators.” We have been warned that any attempt to regulate or tax these individuals would lead to economic ruin. As a result, we have seen everyone around us accept trickle-down theory as the best way to ensure economic growth. The theory is simple. It’s persuasive. But it’s also not true. Rest assured, this isn’t the first time the powerful have lied in order to justify their authority. Over a millennia ago, Plato came up with a very similar concoction in his Republic. Plato needed a clever way to justify the inevitable class differences in his ideal society, so he came up with “the noble lie.” This lie was also designed to be simple and persuasive. It would lead people to believe that the rulers of the land had literal gold within them, while the lower classes merely possessed iron and bronze. Plato suspected that this noble lie would become so embedded into the collective narrative of the society that even the rulers themselves would come to believe it. While Plato’s noble lie sought to legitimize the political rulers in his society, trickle-down proponents have tried to legitimize the economic rulers in American society. In essence, trickle-down economics has made us believe that the proverbial “gold” of our economy resides within the rich. And although lies can be well-motivated, the falsehoods of trickle-down economics and the misguided policies which have followed it have established a deeply exclusive type of capitalism.  These lies are neither imagined nor are they irrelevant to how our politicians have shaped economic policies since the late 1970s. As Nick Hanauer wrote in Democracy Journal in 2013, “ [t]he picture you have in your head about how the world works absolutely determines what you think is possible or beneficial. ” Consequently, a
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Daily Clips: November 5th, 2015

Daily Clips: November 5th, 2015

DEA chief: medical marijuana is a “a joke.” Science: No, it’s not:  By now, you should know that the US government classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, right up there with heroin. Our government is f***** up like that. The current DEA chief believes pot has no medical value, yet as Ezra Klein highlights, positions “like his increasingly fly in the face of science – and may actually put people’s lives at risk when adopted as the government policy.” Red states get redder, blue states get bluer:  EJ Dionne takes a big picture look at the 2015 elections, noting the good and bad takeaways for Democrats. He reminds progressives that, “Democrats swept to victory in three open seats on Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court” while also winning mayoral contests in Indiana and North Carolina. According to Dionne, the “one large lesson from Tuesday is that the red parts of the country are getting even redder while the blue and some of the purple parts get bluer. We are still two Americas.” US jobless claims rise; third-quarter productivity posts surprise gain:  The US Labor Department said that productivity increased only at 1.6 percent this last quarter, while manufacturing productivity grew at its quickest pace in over four years. Reuters claims that “economists blame softer productivity on a lack of investment, which they say has led to an unprecedented fall in capital intensity .” Swing states are swinging left:  Bloomberg provides a nice set of graphics which show that six battleground states are trending liberal and Democratic. The future appears bright(er) for progressives.

Daily Clips: November 4th, 2015

Daily Clips: November 4th, 2015

Voters say yes to Seattle’s big ask for transportation:  At this point in time, 56.5 percent of Seattle voters approved of Proposition 1, which would spend $930 million over nine years “on streets, safety, transit and pedestrian and bicycling routes.” Mayor Ed Murray campaigned hard for this plan and told campaign supporters that because of Prop 1’s passage “Seattle will get moving again.” Seattle’s campaign finance reform wins; first in country:  It appears the voters of Seattle read our endorsement of Initiative I-122 ! According to the Seattle Times, I-122 “took a 20 percentage-point lead in first-day returns, which makes Seattle the nation’s first jurisdiction to try taxpayer-funded “democracy vouchers.” Woman called 911 on  man carrying rifle. Dispatch told her open carry allowed it. He then killed 3 people:  Infuriating. A top comment on Reddit reads: “If she wanted the police to respond then she should have said “a black man carrying a rifle.” The cops would be there in 2 secs.” Which leads me to the next headline… Half of black millennials know victim of police violence:  And these results were brought together over the past decade, well before the “Black Lives Matter” movement started. In a 2009 survey, 54.4 percent of black millennials answered yes to “Have you or anyone you know experience harassment or violence at the hands of police?” In comparison, only one-third of white millennials said yes.  

Daily Clips: November 3rd, 2015

Daily Clips: November 3rd, 2015

TODAY IS ELECTION DAY. IF YOU HAVEN’T VOTED YET, DO SO NOW! Obama rips into 2016 GOP field:  Here’s the antagonistic President Obama we know and love! Ever since he won in 2012, it’s been fantastic to see Obama take the gloves off. For those of us who remember the timidness of his first four years, rhetoric like this shows he isn’t afraid to point out the lunacy of his rival party. At a fundraising event in New York, the president did just that: Have you noticed that everyone of these candidates say, ‘Obama’s weak. Putin’s kicking sand in his face. When I talk to Putin, he’s going to straighten out.’ Then it turns out they can’t handle a bunch of CNBC moderators at the debate. Let me tell you, if you can’t handle those guys, then I don’t think the Chinese and the Russians are going to be too worried about you. Republicans trust Trump on economy and nukes. No, we’re not joking:  This is a really, really scary headline. Consider these findings for a second: Donald Trump is the Republican candidate most trusted to manage the economy, deal with foreign leaders and serve as commander in chief…On the question of whether voters trust the candidates to manage the economy, 59 percent said “yes” to Trump. How can these voters be so stupid? The Tax Foundation found that Trump’s tax plan “would end up reducing tax revenues by $10.14 trillion over the next decade” and would help out the super-rich more than middle-class Americans. David Brooks writes a sanctimonious article, again: I fear that David Brooks is no longer a political columnist. Every column of his seems to be a self-help lecture on the failings of modern society and how David Brooks can get you out of this decay. Just read this: People who do that may instinctively be seeking higher forms of pruning: being impeccable with your words, parsimonious but strong with your commitments, disciplined about your time, selective about
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Daily Clips: November 3rd, 2015

Daily Clips: November 3rd, 2015

TODAY IS ELECTION DAY. IF YOU HAVEN’T VOTED YET, DO SO NOW! Obama rips into 2016 GOP field:  Here’s the antagonistic President Obama we know and love! Ever since he won in 2012, it’s been fantastic to see Obama take the gloves off. For those of us who remember the timidness of his first four years, rhetoric like this shows he isn’t afraid to point out the lunacy of his rival party. At a fundraising event in New York, the president did just that: Have you noticed that everyone of these candidates say, ‘Obama’s weak. Putin’s kicking sand in his face. When I talk to Putin, he’s going to straighten out.’ Then it turns out they can’t handle a bunch of CNBC moderators at the debate. Let me tell you, if you can’t handle those guys, then I don’t think the Chinese and the Russians are going to be too worried about you. Republicans trust Trump on economy and nukes. No, we’re not joking:  This is a really, really scary headline. Consider these findings for a second: Donald Trump is the Republican candidate most trusted to manage the economy, deal with foreign leaders and serve as commander in chief…On the question of whether voters trust the candidates to manage the economy, 59 percent said “yes” to Trump. How can these voters be so stupid? The Tax Foundation found that Trump’s tax plan “would end up reducing tax revenues by $10.14 trillion over the next decade” and would help out the super-rich more than middle-class Americans. David Brooks writes a sanctimonious article, again: I fear that David Brooks is no longer a political columnist. Every column of his seems to be a self-help lecture on the failings of modern society and how David Brooks can get you out of this decay. Just read this: People who do that may instinctively be seeking higher forms of pruning: being impeccable with your words, parsimonious but strong with your commitments, disciplined about your time, selective about
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Daily Clips: November 3rd, 2015

Daily Clips: November 3rd, 2015

TODAY IS ELECTION DAY. IF YOU HAVEN’T VOTED YET, DO SO NOW! Obama rips into 2016 GOP field:  Here’s the antagonistic President Obama we know and love! Ever since he won in 2012, it’s been fantastic to see Obama take the gloves off. For those of us who remember the timidness of his first four years, rhetoric like this shows he isn’t afraid to point out the lunacy of his rival party. At a fundraising event in New York, the president did just that: Have you noticed that everyone of these candidates say, ‘Obama’s weak. Putin’s kicking sand in his face. When I talk to Putin, he’s going to straighten out.’ Then it turns out they can’t handle a bunch of CNBC moderators at the debate. Let me tell you, if you can’t handle those guys, then I don’t think the Chinese and the Russians are going to be too worried about you. Republicans trust Trump on economy and nukes. No, we’re not joking:  This is a really, really scary headline. Consider these findings for a second: Donald Trump is the Republican candidate most trusted to manage the economy, deal with foreign leaders and serve as commander in chief…On the question of whether voters trust the candidates to manage the economy, 59 percent said “yes” to Trump. How can these voters be so stupid? The Tax Foundation found that Trump’s tax plan “would end up reducing tax revenues by $10.14 trillion over the next decade” and would help out the super-rich more than middle-class Americans. David Brooks writes a sanctimonious article, again: I fear that David Brooks is no longer a political columnist. Every column of his seems to be a self-help lecture on the failings of modern society and how David Brooks can get you out of this decay. Just read this: People who do that may instinctively be seeking higher forms of pruning: being impeccable with your words, parsimonious but strong with your commitments, disciplined about your time, selective about
+ Read More