Posts by Nick Cassella

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
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Daily Clips: November 2nd, 2015

Daily Clips: November 2nd, 2015

DO NOT FORGET TO VOTE! IT IS YOUR CIVIC OBLIGATION. US manufacturing slows; construction-spending at 7 year high:  Reuters reports that US manufacturing activity slowed for the fourth straight month. Manufacturing accounts for 12 percent of the economy and has “been slammed by business efforts to reduce an inventory overhang and slowing demand overseas.” Paul Krugman looks at how the economy fares under Democratic leadership:  Krugman points out that Hillary Clinton is “completely right about the record: historically, the economy has indeed done better under Democrats.” But he wonders why this doesn’t stop Republican candidates from “claiming that his [or her] tax plan would produce a huge growth surge – a claim that has no basis in historical experience.” Krugman concludes that this is because “modern conservatives generally live in a bubble into which inconvenient facts can’t penetrate.” He’s not wrong. Middle-class tax increases? Robert Samuelson believes both Republicans and Democrats are duping the American people into believing their tax policies. Samuelson argues that “both parties have constructed rationales for avoiding middle-class tax increases” because they would be “highly unpopular.” He decries the fact that both parties’ tax plans will ultimately be insufficient in supporting the US government. He notes that Republican tax plans will “lose gobs of tax revenues…The loss over a decade is $10 trillion for Trump’s package, $2.4 trillion for Rubio’s and $1.6 trillion for Bush’s.” He then says that Democratic plans won’t raise enough money by “soaking the rich.” In this way, both plans are inadequate. While that is certainly true, it sure does sound like the Democratic plan would be a lot better. One party has a tax plan that won’t raise enough money and the other party has a plan that will lose a lot of money…and Samuelson equally has a problem with both? Huh? Republicans shoot themselves in foot with Latinos, again: Republicans hate to be confronted with individuals who disagree with what they believe, so they have decided to pull “out of their only scheduled debate”
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Daily Clips: October 30th, 2015

Daily Clips: October 30th, 2015

This Republican field has achieved full “Palinization”: So says Charles Pierce, who argues that the “Palinization of conservative rhetoric is now complete.” By this, he means that candidates can avoid any serious policy questions by simply saying “Liberal media!” While the 2012 field was “a completely undisciplined wing nut buffet,” Pierce argues that 2016’s current crop “is spinning even further out of control.” Why is Hillary so eager to leave big issues in state hands?  Marijuana, the death penalty, immigration, same-sex marriage…you name it and Clinton “has adopted a stance of convenient federalism, deferring to the states rather than choosing to nudge them in the right direction.” Too true. I pointed towards her pragmatic progressivism yesterday with regard to capital punishment , saying that, in general, it’s a good strategy for getting the presidential nomination. However, Beutler warns her that “if she isn’t willing to get out in front of contentious state-based concerns, I imagine many of those efforts will falter or stagnate on her watch.” Bernie Sanders’ not-so-radical marijuana idea: This week, Bernie called for the US federal government to lift its prohibition on the devil’s lettuce. Unlike Hillary (as we mentioned in the above article), the Vermont Senator must be applauded for his unfaltering leadership on messy issues. But these “radical ideas” are actually quite mainstream. As this article notes, “when Americans are polled on specific issues, majorities tend to agree with him on matters from taxation to family leave.” 1 in 2 working Americans make less than $30,000 a year:  Nothing to say here. We must do all we can to change this pathetic reality.