Posts by Nick Cassella

Daily Clips: February 15, 2017

Daily Clips: February 15, 2017

Are we headed for another Watergate? It’s been a long time, but remember this: The road to Watergate and the resignation of Richard Nixon began in April 1969, three months after his inauguration, when the president ordered Mr. Kissinger to wiretap members of his own staff in an effort to stop embarrassing leaks of secret information. One thing led to another until the commander in chief was athwart the Constitution. It’s been barely three weeks since the Trump team took office, and a distinct aroma has started wafting out of Washington, what Mr. Kissinger is said to have called “the odious smell of truth.” Welcome to the new dark ages, where only the wealthy can retire : The important thing to remember, however, is that none of this is as “inevitable” as the politicians would have us think. Many societies have an ageing population. But not all of them are willing to shove a frail 75-year-old back into a cut-throat service economy. That’s a specialism of societies that have embraced the utter madness of neoclassical economics, such as the UK and the US. Reichert votes against releasing trump taxes : What a guy. Monopolies are worse than we thought: There’s now evidence that market concentration could also be hurting workers , by decreasing the share of national income that they receive. It’s probably making inequality worse . Tweet of the day: finally asked at end of news conference about his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence, Trump mouths "thank you" — John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) February 15, 2017

Daily Clips: February 14, 2017

Daily Clips: February 14, 2017

Ding, dong Michael Flynn is gone:  Valentine’s Day just got a whole lot better. The relentless pace of automation:  Yesterday, the Civic Skunk Works gang was talking about the automation crisis and the threat it represented to low-income workers. This MIT piece on automation would have come in handy during our discussion (that was filled with more generalities than we would have liked). Yellen’s testimony today:  Over at Crossing Wall Street (an investing/economics blog) there is a full breakdown of her Monetary Policy Report. The left needs to move beyond resistance: After all, at some point, the newly activated masses aren’t just going to want to protest against things, they will also want to be for something. As they start looking around for concrete alternatives, the Democrats are the only thing on offer. All the energy and effort of the Bush era gave us the neoliberal stagnation of Obama. Alex Jones being Alex Jones:  This is, verbatim, what he said on air. Prosperity makes monsters, adversity makes men. And every metric shows it: Un — off the chart depression, off the chart cancer, off the chart obesity, off the chart everything bad. And then you look at the controllers, who know all this and they’re trying to make it worse because — I used to think it was [unintelligible] said this, that they were doing all this because they were in competition with thinkers. No, no, no, no, no. Tweet of the day: Income inequality isn't the half of it: The racial wealth gap is stupefying. pic.twitter.com/7e8QLmJbfX — Lydia DePillis (@lydiadepillis) February 14, 2017

Daily Clips: February 13, 2017

Daily Clips: February 13, 2017

Tweet of the day: And Reuters may have scored the still of the day. #TrudeauMeetsTrump pic.twitter.com/yLok2wd1LZ — Mike Gibbs (@Mikeggibbs) February 13, 2017 Seattle property taxes would rise under GOP school-funding plan, state McCleary analysis shows: The average Seattle homeowner would see an overall property-tax increase of $628 in 2019, the OFM says. That is more than twice as high as the estimated average increase of $250 given by Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia, the chief Republican budget writer, when he introduced the plan. Inslee, Democratic lawmakers look to protect data for immigrants, refugees in Trump era: Democratic officials in states like California, New York, Massachusetts and Oregon also are pushing to shield state data from the federal government. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown this month announced an executive order to keep state agencies from assisting the federal government in deportations or creation of a Muslim registry. Burger King, Tim Hortons owner’s profit more than doubles:  Soooo does that mean that Burger king can improve their minimum wage from $8.12 an hour?

Daily Clips: February 10, 2017

Daily Clips: February 10, 2017

Trump’s stupid frickin’ wall is going to cost $21.6 billion and take 3.5 years to build: President Donald Trump’s “wall” along the U.S.-Mexico border would be a series of fences and walls that would cost as much as $21.6 billion, and take more than three years to construct, based on a U.S. Department of Homeland Security internal report seen by Reuters on Thursday. Trump admin reportedly plans to delay the ‘Fiduciary’ rule for 180 days: On Feb. 3, President Donald Trump ordered the Labor Department to review the fiduciary rule—a move widely interpreted as an effort to delay or kill the regulation. Marathon Pharmaceuticals to charge $89k for Muscular Dystrophy drug:  The free market, everyone. Tweet of the day: SEE YOU IN COURT WHERE WE ALREADY ARE BUT A DIFFERENT COURT SHUT UP NO YOU'RE STUPID! — Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) February 10, 2017  

Daily Clips: February 8, 2017

Daily Clips: February 8, 2017

Progressives, keep it simple and take credit: This is an incredible piece of work from Democracy Journal. It highlights many of the concerns and frustrations I have had with the Democratic Party in my young life; namely, all our policies are really complicated and we are terrible at selling them to the American people. How to Make America Greater: More Immigration:  Inclusion=prosperity. Dodd-Frank Rollback May Fall Short of G.O.P. Hopes: And only Congress, which passed Dodd-Frank, can make major changes. Most tweaks will need the backing of 60 senators, and Republicans fall short by eight votes. Liberal lawmakers are mobilizing against them. On Monday, Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, held a news conference decrying President Trump’s efforts to “put Wall Street first.” Seattle City Council votes to cut ties with Wells Fargo over Dakota Access Pipeline lending:  A small victory, but one that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Who uses Obamacare in WA? People from Trump country:   The Washington counties with the highest use rate of the state exchange are rural: Adams, Okanogan and Yakima. They’re east of the Cascades and they voted for Donald Trump. Tweet of the day: The history of patriarchy in three short sentences. #ShePersisted pic.twitter.com/b7x0yhtTvN — Louise Doire (@LouiseDoire) February 8, 2017

Daily Clips: February 7, 2017

Daily Clips: February 7, 2017

More trouble for Andrew Puzder: The Secretary of Labor nominee hired an undocumented worker—an inconvenient truth for a president who is staunchly against illegal immigration. Puzder supposedly told the Trump team about this “flag”. “Based upon what I’ve learned,” [Senator] Alexander said in a statement, “since Mr. Puzder reported his mistake and voluntarily corrected it, I do not believe that this should disqualify him from being a Cabinet secretary.” Such logic seems…flawed. Simply because someone reported a mistake and “voluntarily corrected it” that means they should be absolved of all moral and political backlash? Trump’s H1-B Visa Crackdown Threatens Cutting-Edge U.S. Medicine : Scientists warn the Trump administration of an impending “crisis in science”. Repealing Obamacare could kill more people each year than gun homicides:  24,000 lost lives is an estimate provided by Vox. California and Trump are going to battle:  The “sanctuary state” takes on the president. Tweet of the day: Obama just posed for the "I'm GREAT!" pic you'd petty post after a breakup. pic.twitter.com/DkmjF6CgTJ — Encyclopedia Black (@luckyturner) February 7, 2017

The Democratic Party Needs a Change in Messaging

The Democratic Party Needs a Change in Messaging

Earlier this year, Harvard professor Michael Sandel spoke at the World Economic Forum . I happened to stumble upon his interview this weekend, and ever since watching it I’ve not been able to get it out of my head. During the Q&A, Sandel was asked to give advice to the flailing Democratic Party, which to his mind, has become far too technocratic in their political messaging. Although the interviewer pressed him to provide bumper sticker policies like “Make America Great Again”, Sandel shrugged off this fascination with abbreviation. “Philosophers are not good at snappy slogans,” he admitted to the audience and then proceeded to show what good philosophers actually do: speak at length. During this fifteen minute back and forth, he presented four political themes which Democrats need to reassess in order to win again. The first theme he addressed was a need for promoting a sense of national community that was directed towards “a shared common life, restoring public places, public institutions, and class mixing.” Sandel thought Democrats all too often revert to speaking only to urban, elite communities. To take away the conservative movement’s control and manipulation of patriotism, Democrats must develop their inclusive narrative in a way that leads to solidarity, not in a frame designed to end conversations, such as one which frames one side as “progressives” and the other side as deplorable “racists”. The second theme is one we here at Civic Skunk Works spend a lot of time fretting over: the meaning and dignity of work. “Work is a way of making a living, of generating an income,” Sandel stated, “but is that its only purpose? Or does it confer meaning and identity?” We would argue (and so does Sandel) that Democrats should never, ever think of work as solely an economic concern. We know that “ since many of us spend the majority of our waking hours at work, work is a major source of dignity in our lives .” To give the average
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Daily Clips: February 6, 2016

Daily Clips: February 6, 2016

Manufacturing accelerates in the US for a fifth straight month:  Very impressive. Dismantling Dodd-Frank: An excellent read on how regulations are slowly and methodically taken apart by special interests. There was one paragraph that particularly caught my interest, however, I’m not sure whether there is any merit to the point being made. Read for yourself: For example, Trump owes $364 million in commercial loans to Deutsche Bank, his biggest private lender. Deutsche Bank is simultaneously negotiating a fine with the Justice Department over bubble-era abuses in the mortgage-backed securities market. Trump’s Justice Department could pursue a bigger fine and more punitive treatment of executives unless Deutsche Bank renegotiates the president-elect’s debt. 97 tech companies support legal challenge to Trump’s entry ban:  We’re less than a month into this administration. Jeez. Here’s how 2018 midterms could be undermined:  Just in case you were getting a little bit too optimistic about the future of our country. Tweet of the day: If judge Gorsuch is not willing to publicly condemn Trump's "so-called judge" attack, then he disqualifies himself for SOTUS. — Nick Hanauer (@NickHanauer) February 5, 2017

Daily Clips: February 3, 2017

Daily Clips: February 3, 2017

A tyrant’s ghost in the White House: The fate of the republic may hinge on how much Trump decides to emulate the slaveholding, Indian-hating, Constitution-violating man staring at him from that portrait in the Oval Office. Jackson is too close for comfort. David Brooks is clearly not a fan of multiculturalism: But now the [American] myth has been battered. It’s been bruised by an educational system that doesn’t teach civilizational history or real American history but instead a shapeless multiculturalism. Shapeless multiculturalism? What? Trump is going to go after Dodd-Frank: U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday will scale back major regulations that resulted from the financial crisis, directing a review of the Dodd-Frank Act and putting the brakes on a retirement advice rule. Tweet of the day: Here is @AGOWA brief asking judge to block #ImmigrationOrder https://t.co/pb2pq7yxId And Trump admin response: https://t.co/8cXirJ1ZPf — Jim Brunner (@Jim_Brunner) February 3, 2017

Daily Clips: February 2, 2017

Daily Clips: February 2, 2017

Tweet of the day: Do you believe it? The Obama Administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 2, 2017 House Republicans Vote to End Rule Stopping Coal Mining Debris From Being Dumped in Streams : Deregulation! Productivity slows to 1.2 percent rate in Q4 : Meanwhile, “labor costs rose at a 1.7 percent rate, up from a tiny 0.2 percent gain in the third quarter.” Fear, American style: Here’s what I learned about Fear, American Style: The worst, most terrible things that the United States has done have almost never happened through an assault on American institutions; they’ve always happened through American institutions and practices. These are the elements of the American polity that have offered especially potent tools and instruments of intimidation and coercion: federalism, the separation of powers, social pluralism, and the rule of law. All the elements of the American experience that liberals and conservatives have so cherished as bulwarks of American freedom have also been sources and instruments of political fear. In all the cases I looked at, coercion, intimidation, repression, and violence were leveraged through these mechanisms, not in spite of them. (You can read an article-length version of the argument here .)