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Separating Fact From Hyperbole in the Russia Story

Good piece from Elizabeth Hamilton-Argyropoulos.


By fnord12 | July 19, 2018, 3:44 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link




Eyeing NJ incentives

A report on New Jersey's tax incentive programs:

The release of the report comes nearly five years after the state significantly overhauled its approach to economic development to boost job growth, which had been stalled in the wake of the Great Recession. Those changes included allowing companies and developers to get more generous tax incentives, while also reducing their requirements for investment and job creation.

But those new rules have been hotly debated since they were enacted in 2013, with critics raising the cost of the incentives as a primary concern. The new Rutgers analysis estimates the average annual per-job cost for the state's popular Grow NJ program has been $7,650 for a new job created, and $3,670 for jobs retained using the state incentives. But those estimates don't count projects in Camden, which is treated as an outlier in the analysis because the 2013 law made the city a top-priority economic-development zone with its own set of rules. The annual per-job average for Camden is $34,000, counting both new and retained jobs, according to the analysis.

...

The new analysis of the incentive programs comes out as Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, is awaiting the results of a comprehensive audit of the programs, which are soon up for renewal. It's widely expected that Murphy -- who has loudly criticized the way the incentive programs were administered during the tenure of his Republican predecessor, Chris Christie -- will want lawmakers to make a new round of changes, reflecting his policy goals.

...

...the authors point out those figures are generally on the high end of national benchmarks [even] if you don't count tax breaks that were used to lure companies to or keep them in Camden.

...

"It is not always clear that such projects would not have been pursued elsewhere in the state in the absence of the ERG grant, and the state benefits therefore may not necessarily constitute a net return to the state," according to the analysis.

...

On the residential side, the authors suggest making changes that would expand the places where developments could qualify for incentives, and it flags as questionable the use of some $25 million in residential credits on athletic facilities by Rutgers under the existing rules.

Murphy recently enacted huge incentives for Hollywood, which i think is extremely dumb, but it would be good to at least see him trim the incentives in other areas.


By fnord12 | July 19, 2018, 11:27 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link




In Camden, changes in policing for the better

This is good:

Every few months, the police chief here asks which officers wrote the most tickets.

Elsewhere, this might lead to praise, but in Camden -- where 40 percent of residents live below the poverty line, the murder rate compares to that of El Salvador and one of the most interesting experiments in American policing is underway -- Chief J. Scott Thomson sees aggressive ticket writing as a sign that his officers don't get the new program.

"Handing a $250 ticket to someone who is making $13,000 a year" -- around the per capita income in the city -- "can be life altering," Chief Thomson said in an interview last year, noting that it can make car insurance unaffordable or result in the loss of a driver's license. "Taxing a poor community is not going to make it stronger."

...

An early sign that Chief Thomson's message was taking hold among his officers came on Nov. 9, 2015, when a 48-year-old man walked into a Crown Fried Chicken, behaved menacingly toward customers and employees, brandished a steak knife and left. Outside, officers ordered him to drop the knife, according to video from police body cameras. But the man began walking away, slashing the knife through the air as he went.

For several minutes, the officers formed a cordon around the man and walked with him for a few blocks, trying to clear traffic ahead and periodically instructing him to drop the knife.

The crisis ended when the man did just that. Had the episode taken place a year before, "we would more than likely have deployed deadly force and moved on," Chief Thomson said.


By fnord12 | July 18, 2018, 9:38 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link




The fiscal hawk who cried wolf

Alexandra Scaggs at Financial Times (requires a free account):

A prime example of this can be found in the warnings from some fiscal hawks about how financial markets would be overwhelmed by the wave of government bonds needed to fund the stimulus. Seven months later, 10-year Treasury yields are hovering around 2.8 per cent.... Where are the storied bond vigilantes?

...

For their efforts, US lawmakers have now educated a generation in the risks of dogmatic opposition to government debt, and made austerity a more tangible threat to young Americans than harmful inflation. Small wonder then that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the self-described democratic socialist, was recently elected to represent New York in Congress. She has backed the increasingly popular view that restraints on a government's spending are primarily set by the amount it can borrow in its own currency without fuelling inflation -- not its annual tax revenues.

Some economists may find this perspective uncomfortably liberal, but it is not necessarily inaccurate. It acknowledges global demand for US Treasuries, which is a more honest depiction of the government's finances than a Treasury that is only capable of spending the amount it raises through tax revenues in any particular year.

Milton Friedman famously said inflation is "always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon". So those who argue that government borrowing causes an acceleration in inflation implicitly acknowledge that Treasuries more closely resemble money than a highly burdensome debt load.

Beyond that, when it comes to rising prices, more evidence is required to argue that wage-driven inflation hurts consumers. Particularly because it is shareholders whose companies' margins are dented by rising wages, and bondholders who get hurt by inflation regardless of its source.

Americans, particularly young Americans, are starting to question the assumptions that underlie some policymakers' categorical opposition to federal government borrowing. For those hawks who make politically motivated forecasts of doom for the US's fiscal health, it may be their own credibility that ends up paying a price.


By fnord12 | July 14, 2018, 10:35 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link




"U.S. Opposition to Breast-Feeding Resolution Stuns World Health Officials"

NYT:

A resolution to encourage breast-feeding was expected to be approved quickly and easily by the hundreds of government delegates who gathered this spring in Geneva for the United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly.

Based on decades of research, the resolution says that mother's milk is healthiest for children and countries should strive to limit the inaccurate or misleading marketing of breast milk substitutes.

Then the United States delegation, embracing the interests of infant formula manufacturers, upended the deliberations.

...The Americans were blunt: If Ecuador refused to drop the resolution, Washington would unleash punishing trade measures and withdraw crucial military aid. The Ecuadorean government quickly acquiesced.


By fnord12 | July 8, 2018, 3:17 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link




What the years are doing to the soil

I've blogged about the great nutrient collapse previously, but that article focused on crop varieties and (mainly) CO2 levels. This article focuses on the soil:

Broccoli. One of the most nutritious vegetables on the planet.   But 70 years ago, it contained twice the calcium, on average, and more than five times the amount of Vitamin A. The same could be said for a lot of our fruits and vegetables.   Why? How?  The answers lie in the soil and how Americans farm it. Over the last two centuries, U.S. population growth and food production methods have stressed and degraded our dirt.   Our soil is not as alive as it once was, and experts say that's a problem.  

By fnord12 | July 6, 2018, 5:57 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link




They Must Be Making Them A Lot Smaller Nowadays

Here is our ice cream maker (with a lemon included as a size reference):

And here are the warnings in the instruction manual:

Forget that there's no door to remove. Who are these miniature children who are able to fit into my ice cream maker? Why didn't Scientific American tell me about their existence?

Also, what the hell are people putting into their ice cream maker that would require the use of a flammable liquid to get it clean??? Tiny, tiny children, i presume.


By min | July 6, 2018, 4:54 PM | My stupid life | Link




Literally how it's supposed to work

"America's labor shortage is approaching epidemic proportions, and it could be employers who end up paying."

It's called "supply and demand".


By fnord12 | July 5, 2018, 2:43 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link




The victims no one thinks about

(I haven't actually read the article yet, on account of i'm too busy laughing.)


By fnord12 | July 5, 2018, 11:57 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link




Such a messed up system

New Jersey's new budget is more of a compromise than it should be (which, again, is so insane considering the government is made up entirely of Democrats), but one good thing is that we're joining 25 other states in enacting a policy called combined reporting. The move has apparently caught the "business community" by surprise, which is kind of delicious (this only affects multi-entity corporations, so the idea that it's a burden on small NJ-based businesses is ridiculous).

Here is the loophole that combined reporting closes:

In the trademark holding company scheme, a chain sets up a subsidiary in a state that does not tax certain types of income, such as Delaware, Michigan, or Nevada. Home Depot, for example, has a Delaware-based subsidiary called Homer TLC, Inc. The subsidiary, which consists of little more than an address, owns the company's trademark, and Home Depot stores in other states pay the subsidiary a hefty fee for using the trademark. Home Depot then deducts those fees as business expenses from its tax returns in those states. Meanwhile, because Delaware does not levy corporate income taxes on earnings from intangible assets such as trademarks, the profits are not taxed in that state either.

Often the subsidiary will also lend money to the rest of the corporation, enabling a second stream of profits to be transferred free of state taxes through the payment of interest on the loan.

Another method, the REIT scheme, has been widely used by large retailers, notably, Walmart.

Established in the 1960s by Congress, REITs are exempt from paying taxes on dividends paid to their investors. Chain retailers have taken advantage of this by setting up their own REITs (often called "captive REITs"), which own the land and buildings that house their stores. The chain then pays rent to the REIT and deducts the rent as a business expense from its state tax returns. The REIT's income is then paid back to the chain as a tax-free dividend.

The fact that all of this is even possible is a sign of how messed up our economic system is.

Update: I spoke too soon. This isn't fully in yet.

Final update: This issue is apparently too in the weeds for most of NJ's media, but the whining from NJ's Chamber of Commerce seems to indicate that it was included although this article indicates that the provision was "slightly modified... to include more specifics". Seems mostly like a win.


By fnord12 | July 1, 2018, 12:14 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link




DSA makes Yahoo News

I didn't dare click on the comments.


By fnord12 | June 30, 2018, 11:40 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link




Even ICE wants to abolish ICE

Agents Seek to Dissolve ICE in Immigration Policy Backlash


By fnord12 | June 29, 2018, 11:49 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link




Why didn't the media see AOC coming?

This is pretty good. The truth is that all candidates that qualify for the ballot should get coverage; it would go a long way to addressing the problems around campaign financing.

(I don't actually expect anything to change, though.)


By fnord12 | June 29, 2018, 12:15 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link




That would be awesome

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's victory is a great thing in and of itself, but if it resulted in Barbara Lee in a leadership position, it would be amazing.


By fnord12 | June 28, 2018, 12:01 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link




Chuck Schumer Is Secretly Sabotaging the Next Democratic President

Jonathan Chait is as right wing as you can get while still being technically a Democrat, and even he knows that Chuck Schumer is an idiot for fighting to keep the filibuster.


By fnord12 | June 28, 2018, 11:20 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link




Recap 84

Turtles Can Be Dragons, Too


By min | June 26, 2018, 10:45 PM | D&D | Link




Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Woot!

As a member of the DSA, her website is a laundry list of every blue-sky progressive policy: Medicare-for-all, housing and jobs guarantees, gun control, ending private prisons, abolishing ICE, and investment in post-hurricane Puerto Rico....

Ocasio-Cortez ran decidedly to the left of Crowley, but she also shook up how Democrats go about getting elected. Until now, Democrats have seen big money in politics as simply a deal with the devil that had to be made. Democrats are so often outspent by Republican mega-donors that they viewed courting big-dollar donors and corporations as part of creating a level playing field.

But if one of Democrats' top fundraisers and likely successor to Nancy Pelosi can be toppled, perhaps Democrats need to rethink that deal.

Or, for a sliiiightly different take:

In other good news, Bernie supporter Ben Jealous won the primary for governor of Maryland.


By fnord12 | June 26, 2018, 10:08 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link




Taxing the churches

The hastily passed Republican tax law continues to be full of surprises. I'm all in favor of this one, which means they'll probably "fix" it.


By fnord12 | June 26, 2018, 9:47 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link




The power of incumbancy

Looking at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's race, Eric Wimer has a write-up of the seemingly insurmountable benefits that an incumbent has against primary challengers.

Wimer focuses on tangible, hard power, but another factor is just inertia. Min and i recently volunteered for a progressive candidate in a local race on election day. I thought we'd be helping with GOTV efforts, making sure that identified supporters went to the polls. Instead we were asked to do last minute campaigning outside the polling stations (at least 100 feet away, of course!). We were willing to do whatever, but privately i thought that this was a dumb use of our time. Who hasn't already made up their mind by the time they went to vote? It turns out that the answer was... nearly everyone. Most people we talked to didn't really understand that the election was a primary - they just wanted to vote against the Republicans - or they hadn't thought about the local race at all. And everyone that we talked to was in agreement that the candidate we were supporting was on the right side of the issues (mainly, the tax abatements given to new buildings in the area, which not only reduce the amount of revenue going to the community, but take ALL of that money away from the school system). So we converted quite a few voters and it turned out to feel worth it. But of course we were only at one polling station for a part of the day. Our candidate was part of a group that was well organized and had a lot of active support and was on the right (and seemingly popular) side of the issues. But they didn't win against what felt to me like the zombie-like horde of people that just went out to automatically vote down the party line column. The structural advantages that an incumbent has are just huge.


By fnord12 | June 25, 2018, 12:51 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link




The Horde Never Ends

I thought i was done with my miniature painting, but a friend gave me a bunch of new ones. And i also had a few that i don't really have much use for - they don't fit in a fantasy setting and they're not really great for the Steampunk campaign either. But i figured i might as well paint them all.

First up are a duplicate pair that i wasn't that interested in. But i realized that i had a need for (vague spoiler alert for my players) some ebony golems, so i decided i could just be lazy.

Next is the most awesome figure of the batch. I went with a 1990s era glow-in-the-dark Ghost Rider cover for color inspiration.

This guy is pretty basic in terms of my painting choices, but he's a cool mini and i like the way his skirt came out.

Then we have some (cool looking) grunt monsters: two hobgoblins and a lizard man (who is either a bard flautist or using a blow dart).

And then we get to the non-sword & sorcery characters. First is this mechanical horror.

Then a Gorilla With A Gun Arm and a Lady Snake Eyes.

Finally some cool mechanical lizard-man looking thing with a flamethrower (i went with an Annihilus color scheme) and a Dwarf Pirate (who would be fine for D&D but for the gun).

Only two of these - the gorilla and the Dwarf - are from the Bones collection that started all of this, and having painted them i can really finally truly say that i'm done with that collection.


By fnord12 | June 21, 2018, 10:02 PM | D&D | Link




It takes a villain

I'm really hopeful about the activism that's been happening against Trump's ICE. Considering that Trump's ICE is only worse than Obama's by a matter of degree (a large degree, perhaps, but it's not a difference in kind), i wonder if having a bogeyman like Trump to unite against is at least a silver lining to his getting elected. Trump is revealing not just what the Republican party looks like with the mask off, but what the entire system really is. On the other hand, considering that everyone hated Bush's drone program and then forgot about it when Obama got elected, it may be that this is only temporary. What gives me hope is that the left nowadays has a larger infrastructure; e.g., the direct action against ICE has been led by groups like the DSA (see here, here) and is already more separated from the Democratic party than, say, the 2003 era blogosphere, which turned out to be largely partisan. But i don't think the left should become too separated from the Democratic party. Contra some in the DSA, i think it helps to have members challenging incumbent Democrats electorally (Donate to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez!) because that's the only kind of pressure they care about.

But anyway, thanks to Trump for being so cartoonishly evil that we can all unite against you for now.


By fnord12 | June 21, 2018, 9:47 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link




When the bar is very low

Wikipedia:

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, [Tomb Raider 2018] holds an approval rating of 49% based on 240 reviews, and an average rating of 5.4/10... At the time of its release, it was the best-reviewed live-action video game film in the history of the site, before being surpassed by Rampage a month later.

By fnord12 | June 14, 2018, 12:11 PM | Movies & Video Games | Link




Democrats love endless occupation

Democrats attacking Trump from the right regarding Trump's (really Moon Jae-in's) negotiations with Kim Jong-un. But now they're going a step further and actually proposing a bill:

The new legislation, from Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., would prevent Trump from withdrawing troops from South Korea unless...

Luckily, they are characteristically toothless in their legislation:

...unless the secretary of defense says it's in the interest of national security and that it would not undermine the security of allies in the region.

So unless Trump's secretary of defense opposes what Trump is doing, he can still do it.


By fnord12 | June 14, 2018, 11:53 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link




Publicly fund the research

I've long agreed with this type of thinking, but i like the way Dean Baker phrases things here:

In her Washington Post column Megan McArdle tells readers that we are making great progress in developing cures for cancer, but then she warns these cures can be very expensive...

The part missing from this story is that the reason these cures would be expensive is because of the government-granted patent monopolies that make them expensive. Without these monopolies, these therapies almost certainly would be cheap.

We do have to pay for the research, but at the point people are receiving these therapies the research has already been done. We are trying to recover these costs from people facing a potentially fatal disease. This situation is made even more perverse from an economic perspective since most often there are third party payers, either insurers or the government. So we will expect these people and/or their families to be spending time lobbying insurers or the government to pay for incredibly expensive treatments, which may or may not be helpful.

What a brilliant system!

The alternative is to pay for the research upfront. The government currently spends more than $30 billion a year on bio-medical research through the National Institutes of Health. We could triple this amount to replace the research that is now patent-supported. It can still be done through the private sector, even by the same companies. They would just be working under long-term contracts -- think of defense contractors...

In addition to having the benefit of all new therapies available at their free market price, which would almost always be cheap, this system would have the advantage that all the research results would be immediately available to other researchers (a requirement of funding) so that research could progress more quickly. In addition, this system would remove the incentive that patent monopolies give companies to lie about the safety and effectiveness of their drugs.


By fnord12 | June 6, 2018, 9:44 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link




Whatever's fair, pal

I'm not on the side of the Jackson estate here (i'm for as broad an interpretation of "fair use" as possible), but i do like them turning the table on Disney.

The complaint stresses that Disney is known for its strict copyright enforcement actions and a narrow view of copyright law's "fair use" doctrine.

"For example, just a few years ago, [Disney] sent DMCA takedown notices to Twitter, Facebook, and other websites and webhosts, when consumers posted pictures of new Star Wars toys that the consumers had legally purchased.

"Apparently, Disney claimed that simple amateur photographs of Star Wars characters in toy form infringed Disney's copyrights in the characters and were not a fair use," the state writes.

However, when the Estate urged Disney not to use any of its copyrighted works without permission, Disney's attorney used fair use as a defense. The company argued that it could legally use Jackson's copyrighted material since the broadcast was labeled as a documentary.


By fnord12 | June 1, 2018, 11:20 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link




They're still building them around here for some reason

Interesting article on the decline of office parks in New Jersey. I do kind of take umbrage at the idea that the decline is due to the preference of millennials and not the fact that there are no jobs and what jobs do exist are in New York.


By fnord12 | May 30, 2018, 10:08 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link




I liked Tesla better when they did power ballads

Elon Musk is bad.


By fnord12 | May 25, 2018, 3:18 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link




"The Collapse of Racial Liberalism"

This is good.


By fnord12 | May 25, 2018, 3:01 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link




Turns out Zuckuss was just really polite

He just didn't want to disturb the other bounty hunters while they were working.


By fnord12 | May 24, 2018, 1:23 PM | Star Wars & Ummm... Other? | Link




What I'm Hearing is I Should Be Taking More Naps

Link

When we rest, a brain region called the hippocampus becomes active, replaying recent events to transfer them from short- to long-term memory. During rest after the social task, the mPFC connected with the hippocampus, providing support for the idea these social regions have an important memory function. "One of the main reasons--or adaptive potentials--to take breaks, even short breaks throughout our day-to-day life, is to help us retain information longer and transfer it into long-term memory," Andrews-Hanna notes. "The Meyer study is the first to extend these findings to social information and our memory of other people."

Meyer says one real-world application of the study could be that people need to get more rest throughout the day. "I think this data highlights that it might not always be a bad thing to be distracted with this system [the default mode network]. It might be doing something important for us that's helping us learn about social information," she says. For example, "taking a break after a big meeting might help you learn whatever you just witnessed socially."



By min | May 24, 2018, 12:07 PM | Science | Link




Business Insider embarasses itself for Jeff Bezos

Watch this switcharoo:

Senator Bernie Sanders called out Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on Twitter on Tuesday, comparing the executive's wealth to the typical Amazon worker who makes a little over $28,000. While Bernie Sanders may have been making a point about workers' wages, Bezos' annual salary is likely much smaller than what most might expect.

Even the headline, Jeff Bezos' annual salary is a lot less than Bernie Sanders probably thinks, is garbage. Did Bernie say anything about salary? No, but he "probably thinks" something about Bezos' salary, so let's build a whole article around that to obfuscate around what Bernie says about Bezos' wealth compared to that of his workers.

You also have to love this line (currently being employed by Elon Musk stans as well) that a business owner doesn't draw a large salary from his company. No, he just hoards all the wealth the company is generating. Imagine thinking that saying that you can live your (lavish) life without drawing a salary is a defense against not treating workers fairly.


By fnord12 | May 24, 2018, 9:55 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link




Steve Sweeney is a Republican

Using New Jersey as an example, Jeff Stein says that "higher taxes on the rich may be easier to campaign on than to enact" and the Twitter conversation is just about how this is just a normal feature of our (weird) democracy even when one party controls all branches. But the real issue is that Steve Sweeney is a corrupt conservative who runs as a Democrat because he knows that's what he needs to do to win in New Jersey (same as New York's IDC). Which i guess also may be a feature of our (weird) democracy, but i feel like that context is missing from the discussion.

Stein did good with counteracting Sweeney's obvious nonsense, for what it's worth:

A spokesman for Sweeney, the state Senate president, said families earning over $1.1 million in New Jersey already face an average $738 tax hike under the GOP law, citing data from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), a left-leaning think tank...

"It is not logical to consider provisions that raise taxes on the rich, while ignoring provisions that cut their taxes," said Steve Wamhoff, ITEP's director of federal tax policy, in an email.


By fnord12 | May 22, 2018, 1:49 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link




"If people are truly surprised by this information and not just outraged..."

"...that means journalists, including Playbook's reporters, are failing at their job of informing Americans exactly how corrupt their political system is."

Libby Watson on why Politico Playbook (among others) can fuck right off.


By fnord12 | May 12, 2018, 10:57 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link




Burn it all down

In the midst of an article about the first victim of Jeff Sessions' attack on "black identity extremists" (aka the New COINTELPRO) comes this gem:

The FBI, [special agent Aaron] Keighley said, learned of the protest from a video on Infowars, a far-right site run by the commentator Alex Jones, known for spreading false news and conspiracy theories.

We need to build a whole new justice system from scratch. Departments and agents who get their intel from Infowars can't be redeemed.


By fnord12 | May 11, 2018, 12:35 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link




Happy Slip

Milwaukee lawyer Michael Brennan confirmed for U.S. Court of Appeals, ending long vacancy amid bitter partisan dispute:

Milwaukee lawyer Michael Brennan was confirmed for a key federal judgeship Thursday, filling the oldest appellate vacancy in the country but deepening a partisan schism in the U.S. Senate over judges...

...He was confirmed 49-46 with only Republican votes, over the objections of Democrat Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin's junior senator.

That has typically been enough to sink a nomination in recent years, because senators from both parties have enjoyed an effective veto over the selection of federal judges from their home states, a tradition known as the "blue slip."

Baldwin's GOP colleague from Wisconsin, Ron Johnson, used his blue slip power to block one of Democratic President Barack Obama's nominees for the same 7th Circuit seat that his party filled Thursday.

But with Republican Donald Trump now in the White House, GOP senators are effectively ending the veto power of home-state senators for nominations to the influential appellate courts, the second-highest rung of the federal judiciary.

Urging her colleagues this week to reject Brennan's nomination, Baldwin warned on the Senate floor that his confirmation will "send the message neither this nor future presidents needs to respect the role of home-state senators in the selection of judicial nominees."

Blue slips are garbage and any idiot could have seen that the Republicans would ditch them at the first convenient moment. The fact that Democrats honored them during Obama's administration (allowing this exact seat to go unfilled during all that time) is the real political malpractice.


By fnord12 | May 10, 2018, 3:46 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link




The sooner the US is made irrelevant, the better

Ryan Cooper on Trump's withdrawal from the Iran deal.

This sends a powerful signal to the rest of the world, most especially close U.S. allies: America is a deranged, crumbling basket case of a nation that can't be trusted to understand elementary logic or hold to its word, much less treat other nations with a modicum of decency or honor. The United States has become a rogue state.

...France, Germany, Russia, the U.K., and China are all still parties to the deal, and all of them still believe the agreement is holding. There is virtually no chance that diplomatic system will be able to be reimposed. Indeed, many Iranian elites have argued Iran should continue to stick to the deal despite the U.S. betrayal, if European powers will continue to uphold it.

...Trump is scheduled to try to negotiate a deal with North Korea soon which of necessity would look very much like the Iran deal. In fact, in addition to his Iran deal announcement, the president said Tuesday that he had dispatched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Pyongyang for a series of meetings with North Korean officials. But the only reason such a thing could possibly succeed now is if the Koreas and China have sufficient confidence in their own arrangements so as to make U.S. participation basically unimportant.


By fnord12 | May 8, 2018, 10:49 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link




"Democrats had assumed a defensive posture" being an evergreen statement

As someone who used to donate regularly to ACORN, a group that did great work, their demise and especially the Democrats' complicity in it has always pissed me off. Zach Carter and Arthur Delaney have put up an overview of that, arguing that it was an important turning point in our history.

(One new thing i learned is the role that Jon Stewart played, and i found more on that here.)


By fnord12 | May 5, 2018, 10:17 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link




Roundup is in everything

Monsanto has poisoned us all.


By fnord12 | May 5, 2018, 10:04 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link




The Future is Female

And also four-legged.


By min | May 4, 2018, 8:57 PM | Ummm... Other? | Link




What the hell kind of logic is this?

Elaine Kamarck previously argued for more superdelegates. Now she's defending the DCCC's interference in primaries on the grounds that uh, there weren't many black people in the districts.

Left-wing Democrats frequently argue about the need to mobilize the base as a reason to run progressive candidates. But the strongest part of the Democratic base consists of African-Americans, and among the districts the D.C.C.C. has intervened in, only two have African-American populations that are in the double digits, and the average African-American population in these swing districts is only about 7 percent... In those districts, the name of the game will be to turn out Democrats but also to move some white voters into the Democratic column.

Kamarck's general argument is equally incoherent but it seems to stem from the idea that political parties are private clubs and the leaders of those clubs ought to be able to do whatever they want with them because they are, er, "more concerned with electability than with ideological purity". Leaving aside the fact that the DCCC's track record on determining who is "electable" has been terrible, the real issue is that voters should get to vote for their candidates in fair elections. Voters can use whatever criteria they like - electability, purity, actual policy positions, whatever - in deciding who to vote for. But the elections should be fair. The quaint notion that political parties are private clubs is technically true thanks to a lack of foresight from the framers of the constitution, but we've been correcting that mistake over the years by making primaries more and more open, and Kamarck is weirdly invested in trying to undo that. What's ironic is that the same people who make the argument about the parties being private clubs will howl and scream when people vote for third parties, and will fight to exclude those parties from ballot access, debates, etc.. The two main parties are the only game in town, and they shouldn't be rigged by "party leaders".


By fnord12 | May 3, 2018, 9:20 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link



No need to stop here. There's plenty more SuperMegaMonkey where that came from.