Blogs | Mother Jones Mother Jones logo en Friday Cat Blogging - 29 July 2016 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Let's give Hopper the spotlight again. She deserves two weeks in a row, doesn't she? Here she is in one of her favorite places: plonked down against my arm when I'm lying on the couch. I do this frequently, using my tablet to peruse the web for news in order to minimize my time at the desk. The less time at the desk, the better my arm and wrist feel.</p> <p>Needless to say, perusing the web on my tablet is a lot easier when there's not a cat plonked on my stomach, but them's the breaks. She usually doesn't stay very long. Unfortunately, when she leaves, Hilbert often takes her place. Blogging is a tough life.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hopper_2016_07_29.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 15px 0px 5px 35px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 29 Jul 2016 18:45:18 +0000 Kevin Drum 310526 at The Seattle Minimum Wage Experiment: Mixed Results So Far <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>I've mentioned before&mdash;only half jokingly&mdash;that I'm happy to see other people experiment with a $15 minimum wage. It's the best of all worlds: it provides us with test beds to see what happens, but if it's a disaster it won't affect me personally.</p> <p>Seattle was one of the first to do this, and as a first step they raised their minimum wage to $11 about 18 months ago. It's probably still too early to draw any sweeping conclusions about what happened, but we do have some preliminary results from the Seattle Minimum Wage Study Team at the University of Washington. Their basic methodology is to compare Seattle with surrounding regions (plus a composite "Synthetic Seattle") to see how it compares. <a href="" target="_blank">So what have they found so far?</a></p> <ul><li><strong>Wages up.</strong> For starters, they spend a surprising number of pages confirming that, yes, wages went up. Apparently Seattle employers are complying with the law. However, the Seattle economy has been booming recently, so it's hard to know how much of the increase is due to the minimum wage law and how much would have happened anyway thanks to the tight job market. They conclude that the law was responsible <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_seattle_minimum_wage.jpg" style="margin: 30px 0px 15px 30px;">for an average hourly increase of 73 cents among workers who were previously making less than $11.</li> <li><strong>No impact on availability of jobs.</strong> But what about jobs? Did the number of low-wage jobs go down? Yes it did&mdash;but less than in areas that <em>didn't</em> increase their minimum wage: "The half-percentage-point reduction in persistent jobs at these businesses between mid-2014 and late-2015 is actually a positive development, as these businesses contracted more slowly than usual in the historical record. We find the exact same pattern in Synthetic Seattle, <em>suggesting that the minimum wage had little or no net impact on the number of persistent jobs.</em>"</li> <li><strong>Hours worked decreased.</strong> How about hours worked? Did low-wage employers reduce their hours? Yes: "We estimate that hours per employee declined between 7.5 and 9.9 over a quarter, or 35-40 minutes per week."</li> <li><strong>Employment decreased.</strong> How about employment of low-wage workers? Unsurprisingly, it went down: "While these low-wage workers increased their likelihood of being employed relative to prior years, this increase was less than in comparison regions. We estimate that the impact of the Ordinance was a 1.1 percentage point <em>decrease</em> in likelihood of low-wage Seattle workers remaining employed."</li> <li><strong>No effect on business closures.</strong> Did more establishments go out of business? Not really. It was a wash: "For single-location establishments that paid more than 40% of the workers less than $15 per hour at baseline, we find a slightly larger negative impact of 1.0 percentage points. Yet, this modest increase in business closure rates was more than offset by an increase in the rate of business openings....The net effect is an estimated 0.9 percentage point increase in business openings as a result of the Minimum Wage Ordinance. This increase in both business closures and business openings perhaps should not come as a surprise. A higher minimum wage changes the type of business that can succeed profitably in Seattle, and we should thus expect some extra churning."</li> </ul><p>Bottom line: wages went up, but employment went down. This is about what you'd expect. However, I'm a little unclear on how to reconcile this employment decrease with the finding that the number of persistent jobs didn't change. Perhaps there was a decrease in seasonal or intermittent jobs? It will probably all become clearer in future reports.</p> <p>Needless to say, the real test will come over the next few years, as the minimum wage climbs to $15.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 29 Jul 2016 18:32:17 +0000 Kevin Drum 310521 at Horrible North Carolina Voting Law Struck Down <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Rick Hasen reports on an appellate court decision rejecting North Carolina's horrible 2013 voting law. Most importantly, they rejected it by <a href="" target="_blank">clearly finding discriminatory intent on the part of the legislature:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>A partially divided panel of 4th Circuit judges <strong>reversed a massive trial court opinion</strong> which had rejected a number of constitutional and Voting Rights Act challenges to North Carolina&rsquo;s strict voting law, a law I had said was the largest collection of voting rollbacks contained in a single law that I <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_nc_voting_rights.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">could find since the 1965 passage of the Voting Rights Act....<strong>This decision is the third voting rights win in two weeks.</strong></p> <p>....The 4th Circuit goes out of its way to commend the trial court for its carefulness and thoroughness (something I noted in my own analysis). But &ldquo;In holding that the legislature did not enact the challenged provisions with discriminatory intent, the court seems to have missed the forest in carefully surveying the many trees....<strong>Although the new provisions target African Americans with almost surgical precision, they constitute inapt remedies for the problems assertedly justifying them and, in fact, impose cures for problems that did not exist.</strong> Thus the asserted justifications cannot and do not conceal the State&rsquo;s true motivation.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>In previous cases like this, we've seen courts uphold restrictive voting laws on the grounds that they're partisan, not racist. If Republicans want to try to restrict likely <em>Democrats</em> from voting, that's OK. Alternatively, if you can't show any outright racial animus, then the law isn't discriminatory. The court rejected both arguments:</p> <blockquote> <p>Later there is this key part: &ldquo;Our conclusion does not mean, and <strong>we do not suggest, that any member of the General Assembly harbored racial hatred or animosity toward any minority group.</strong> But the totality of the circumstances...&shy;cumulatively and unmistakably reveal that the General Assembly used SL 2013-381 to entrench itself....<strong>Even if done for partisan ends, that constituted racial discrimination.</strong>&rdquo;</p> <p>....Here is the key language on why the 4th Circuit found the district court clearly erroneous on the intent question: &ldquo;The district court failed to take into account these cases and their important takeaway: <strong>that state officials continued in their efforts to restrict or dilute African American voting strength well after 1980 and up to the present day</strong>....These cases also highlight the manner in which race and party are inexorably linked in North Carolina....The district court failed to recognize this linkage, leading it to accept &lsquo;politics as usual; as a justification for many of the changes in SL 2013-381. <strong>But that cannot be accepted where politics as usual translates into race-based discrimination.</strong>&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>This is tentatively good news. "Tentative" because I assume the next step is the Supreme Court. Will they uphold the 4th Circuit's decision to strike down North Carolina's law, or will they ignore the obvious and pretend that this is, indeed, just politics as usual?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 29 Jul 2016 17:11:43 +0000 Kevin Drum 310501 at Is Donald Trump Really Ahead By 7 Points? Really? <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Here's the lead story in <a href="" target="_blank">this morning's <em>LA Times</em>:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Donald Trump has gotten a significant boost from his party&rsquo;s nominating convention last week; now, Hillary Clinton will try for her own....In Trump&rsquo;s case, the post-convention bounce started to show up in a significant way on Sunday in the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Daybreak tracking poll of the presidential race. The boost continued to build <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_lat_poll_2016_07_29.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">for several days and <strong>Trump now holds a 7-percentage-point lead, 47% to 40%.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>This has already been disappeared from the front page of the web edition, perhaps out of sheer embarrassment. The problem it represents is a widespread one: because this poll is sponsored by the <em>Times</em>, they give it big play and act as if no other poll of the race exists. In fact, it's a major outlier. The other three most recent polls (Rasmussen, CBS, CNN) basically show the race tied.</p> <p>This is a bad media habit. They like to hype their own polls without telling their readers what other polls say. It's understandable, but in this day and age it's also inexcusable. The <em>Times</em> has almost certainly badly misled its readers here.</p> <p><strong>POSTSCRIPT:</strong> And one other thing. Even in the LAT poll, Trump is up 46.7 percent to 40.6 percent. That's a 6-point lead, not a 7-point lead.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 29 Jul 2016 15:46:41 +0000 Kevin Drum 310481 at The "War on Cops" Is a Right-Wing Invention <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><a href="" target="_blank">From Andrew McCarthy:</a></p> <blockquote> <p><strong>The War on Cops Continues</strong></p> <p>Several news services are reporting that one San Diego police officer has been killed and another badly wounded (but expected to survive) after a driver they pulled over late Thursday night opened fire on them. The suspected shooter is in custody. After an intensive manhunt in the city&rsquo;s Southcrest neighborhood, the police department has indicated that they believe the shooter acted alone.</p> </blockquote> <p>Can we stop this? It's horrible when a police officer is killed, but it's the nature of the job. Sometimes criminals open fire on cops. On average over the past decade, <a href="" target="_blank">about one police officer is killed by gunfire every week.</a></p> <p>The mass shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge recently were especially horrible, but I hope we're not going to go through this "war on cops" nonsense on a weekly basis, whenever some gangbanger somewhere takes a shot at a police officer. Let's keep a clear head about this stuff.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 29 Jul 2016 15:10:14 +0000 Kevin Drum 310466 at Chart of the Day: GDP Growth Was Lackluster in Q2 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><a href="" target="_blank">Real GDP grew by only 1.2 percent in the second quarter.</a> Political scientists everywhere are now rushing to plug this number into their models in order to come up with new estimates of who will win the election in November.</p> <p>Long story short, consumer spending was healthy, but business and residential investment was horrible. Fixed investment was down 3.2 percent and residential investment was down a whopping 6.1 percent. Apparently the new housing market has screeched to a sudden halt.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_gdp_2016_q2.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 15px 0px 5px 20px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 29 Jul 2016 14:44:56 +0000 Kevin Drum 310461 at 4-Star General Opens Up a Can of Whup-Ass on Donald Trump <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Hoo boy. Tonight is national security night at the Democratic convention. Retired General John Allen just gave a stemwinder of a speech delivered in the tones of a drill sergeant and about as hawkish as anything you've ever seen at a Republican convention. As Paul Begala put it, he opened up a huge can of whup-ass on Donald Trump. Allen's speech came right after a very good speech from the father of a Muslim soldier who died in Iraq, and right before a speech by a Medal of Honor winner. The convention floor was practically shaking for all three.</p> <p>Given Donald Trump's wishy-washy attitude toward military intervention, the Democrats have really stolen the national security mantle from the Republicans, who own it outright in most years. From an electoral standpoint, this is obviously great for Democrats. From an overseas intervention standpoint, it might be a little scary. It's great to steal the GOP's thunder, but do we really want to encourage Hillary Clinton's already hawkish instincts?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 29 Jul 2016 01:43:30 +0000 Kevin Drum 310446 at Japan Still Can't Figure Out How to Avoid Deflation <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>No matter what it does, the Bank of Japan just can't seem to generate any inflation. The BOJ meets on Friday to decide on its next move, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe <a href="" target="_blank">upped the ante yesterday</a> by announcing a large spending increase <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_japan_usa_gdp_per_working_age_adult.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">prior to the meeting. He hopes to get the BOJ to coordinate more monetary easing with his stimulus package, something that might finally push inflation up.</p> <p>So what's going on, anyway? Obviously I don't know, but the whole thing is peculiar because Japan's economy has actually done reasonably well since the Great Recession. As the chart on the right shows, real GDP per working-age adult has grown about as much as it has in the United States.</p> <p>Why have I carefully shown GDP growth this way? Because Japan's population is shrinking: over the past two decades, the number of working-age adults has declined from 86 million to 78 million. This means that GDP will shrink too. But that's pretty meaningless. Obviously a lower population means a lower GDP. What you want to know is how much economic activity you generate per person.</p> <p>So if economic growth is OK, why the inflation problem? Perhaps it's inevitable when a population shrinks and ages. If retired workers are too cautious to increase their spending, then stimulus is working against a huge headwind&mdash;and one that gets bigger every year as the population ages even more.</p> <p>But it's not as if everyone doesn't know this already, and even so nobody can figure out quite what Japan needs to do to avoid a deflationary spiral. <a href="" target="_blank">Maybe helicopter money will be next?</a></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 29 Jul 2016 01:31:45 +0000 Kevin Drum 310436 at Does America Really Want the Most Qualified Candidate Ever? <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Here is President Obama last night, <a href="" target="_blank">after singing the praises of Hillary Clinton:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>That&rsquo;s the Hillary I know. That&rsquo;s the Hillary I&rsquo;ve come to admire. And that&rsquo;s why I can say with confidence there has never been a man or a woman more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as President of the United States of America.</p> </blockquote> <p>I wasn't too thrilled with this bit of Obama's speech. Not because I want to get into an argument with <a href="" target="_blank">conservatives</a> about just how qualified Hillary really is, but because it seemed wrong for the moment. The conventional wisdom says that Americans are angry and want an outsider, somebody who will shake things up. Being the most qualified person ever is exactly the opposite of that. If Americans really are angry with the status quo, this was precisely the wrong way to sell her.</p> <p>A little later in the speech Obama used the hoary old "in the arena" passage of Teddy Roosevelt fame. But if he was going to use it at all, this is the place he should have done it. Hillary has been <em>in the arena</em>, fighting all her life, while Trump has spent his life on the sidelines, bickering away and inventing feuds with other B-list celebrities. Experience is what underlies this difference, but it's a more positive way of making the point, and a more negative way of portraying Trump's lack of experience.</p> <p>Oh well.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 28 Jul 2016 19:17:51 +0000 Kevin Drum 310381 at Yes, We Should Raise the Minimum Wage <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Donald Trump, having discovered that raising the minimum wage is popular, has suddenly jumped on the bandwagon. He now claims to favor raising the federal minimum wage to $10 per hour. I will leave it to you to decide if you believe him.</p> <p>Trump's flip-flopping aside, James Pethokoukis has a few points to make. <a href="" target="_blank">Here's the first one:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>As Scott Winship has argued, using the proper inflation adjustment would mean a roughly $8.50 modern minimum to match its 1968 level. And the current minimum is pretty much what the average minimum was from 1960 to 1980 before its steady decline during the 1980s. So a jump to $10, much the less $15 Democrats want, is a pretty big jump. What&rsquo;s more, government-mandated wage floors are particularly problematic in a big country like America where living costs vary greatly by region.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="" target="_blank">In 1968 the minimum wage was $1.60.</a> If you adjust for inflation, that comes to $11.08. So why does Scott Winship say it only comes to $8.50?</p> <p>The answer has to do with which inflation measure you use. If you use the usual CPI indicator that gets reported in the news every month, inflation has risen 6.9x since 1968. If you use the PCE indicator, it's only gone up 5.3x. So which is correct?</p> <p>I don't have the chops to adjudicate this, and anyway, the real answer is: it depends. They both have advantages and disadvantages depending on what you're interested in. However, without getting into all the gory details, I want to make a couple of points.</p> <p>First, CPI measures only money that <em>consumers</em> spend. PCE measures everything, including business expenditures. The place where this makes the biggest difference is healthcare spending. Consumers generally spend a fairly small amount on medical care (copays, deductibles, etc.) with the vast bulk being covered by <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_pce_cpi_weights_0.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">insurance or the government. As a result, <a href="" target="_blank">medical expenses account for about 6 percent of the CPI index, but a whopping 20 percent of the PCE index.</a></p> <p>But if medical spending accounts for a bigger percentage of the PCE index, something else must be lower. It all has to add up to 100 percent, after all. As it turns out, there are several differences in weighting, but the biggest by far is housing. Primary shelter accounts for only 15 percent of the PCE index, but 33 percent of the CPI index.</p> <p>So which is more accurate? Again, it depends on what you're interested in. But without making any sweeping statements on one side or the other, I'll say this: for the poor, CPI is almost certainly more accurate. I can't prove this with the BLS survey numbers used to construct the CPI, since the accuracy of those numbers is precisely what we're arguing about. But consider two things:</p> <ul><li>The poor do, in fact, say that they spend about 40 percent of their income on housing (compared to about 30 percent for the middle class and above).</li> <li>Common sense suggests that this is right. Do you really think that a family earning $25,000 spends only $300 per month on rent? Likewise, do you think they spend $5,000 per year on medical care?</li> </ul><p>It's hardly conceivable that the PCE weights are anywhere near representative of the real-life expenditures of the poor, and these are the people who are affected by the minimum wage. In particular, housing prices are a big expense for the poor, and housing costs have <a href="" target="_blank">increased 7.4x since 1968.</a></p> <p>I'm generally loath to play too many games with inflation measures, since you can very quickly get into a quagmire of cherry picking just the bits and pieces that help your argument. But in this case, it really does seem clear: in the case of the minimum wage, the lived experience of the poor over the long term is much closer to the CPI than to the PCE. A minimum wage of $10 would get us back to roughly where we were in the late 60s and early 70s. Is there really a good reason we shouldn't do that?</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_bls_food_shelter.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 15px 0px 5px 35px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 28 Jul 2016 18:26:26 +0000 Kevin Drum 310371 at Donald Trump Caught Using Apple Macbook <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Donald Trump participated in a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" yesterday:</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">90 minutes, 13 questions: What Trump said in his Reddit AMA <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Yahoo News (@YahooNews) <a href="">July 28, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></blockquote> </blockquote> <p>The subgroup that sponsored the AMA is almost literally a white supremacist site, but I guess no one cares about that any more. Just Donald being Donald. Rick Hasen notes something even more damning:</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-cards="hidden" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">I thought Trump called for boycott of Apple products (<a href=""></a>). but he's doing Reddit AMA on Macbook <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Rick Hasen (@rickhasen) <a href="">July 28, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></blockquote> </blockquote> <p>Let me guess. It was "a friend's" Macbook? I'll bet Trump has been eating Oreos too. And watching HBO. And getting mocha lattes from Starbucks. When will the media rip the veil off this hypocrisy?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 28 Jul 2016 16:27:00 +0000 Kevin Drum 310351 at Hillary Clinton Tells the Truth! <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hillary_yankees.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">Here is Gail Collins a couple of days ago in a big profile of Hillary Clinton with the ironic subhead, "How is it possible that we still don&rsquo;t really know the most famous woman in America?" She's describing Hillary's <a href="" target="_blank">2000 run for the Senate in New York:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>She had trouble with the carpetbagging issue. At one point, Clinton attempted to woo the locals by claiming that although she&rsquo;d been brought up as a Chicago Cubs fan, she had always rooted for the Yankees because people need a team in each league. This was contradictory to every law of Midwestern fandom, which holds that no matter what else you do, hating the New York Yankees is a central principle of life.</p> </blockquote> <p>Hillary Clinton is indeed a guarded person. That said, perhaps the reason we don't know her is because of reporting like this. Collins doesn't quite say that Hillary was lying, but that's the pretty obvious subtext. It's what nearly everybody thought at the time.</p> <p>There's only one problem: Hillary really was a fan of both the Cubs and the Yankees. And she really was a big baseball fan as a kid. <a href="" target="_blank">Bob Somerby collects the evidence today.</a> Here's a childhood friend reminiscing about her in 1993, six years before New York was even a twinkle in Hillary's eyes:</p> <blockquote> <p>"We used to sit on the front porch and solve the world's problems," said Rick Ricketts, her neighbor and friend since they were 8. "She also knew all the players and stats, batting averages&mdash;Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle&mdash;everything about baseball."</p> </blockquote> <p>And this, in a 1994 story about a White House party for documentarian Ken Burns when he released "Baseball":</p> <blockquote> <p>"That was a great swing," Burns told her. "Did you get some batting practice before the screening, just to warm up?" Mrs. Clinton, who as a kid was a "big-time" fan of the Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees and "understudied" Ernie Banks and Mickey Mantle, smiled.</p> </blockquote> <p>How about that? Hillary was telling the truth the whole time. Hard to believe, isn't it?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 28 Jul 2016 16:14:14 +0000 Kevin Drum 310346 at Tough Times at Fox News <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>The <em>New York Times</em> reports on <a href=";action=click&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;clickSource=story-heading&amp;module=first-column-region&amp;region=top-news&amp;WT.nav=top-news&amp;_r=0" target="_blank">hard times at Fox News:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Megyn Kelly and her co-hosts [at the Democratic convention], including Bret Baier and Brit Hume, have not been speaking during commercial breaks, according to two people with direct knowledge of the anchors&rsquo; interactions, who described the on-set atmosphere at Fox <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_fox_news_glass.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">News as icy. During ads, the hosts are often absorbed with their smartphones.</p> <p>....Employees say there is a continuing split inside the network, with one camp of old-guard Fox News loyalists &mdash; some of whom owe their careers to Mr. Ailes &mdash; upset at his ouster. Some are resentful toward Ms. Kelly for cooperating with lawyers brought in by the network&rsquo;s parent company, 21st Century Fox, to investigate Mr. Ailes&rsquo;s behavior. (About a dozen women have reported improper behavior by Mr. Ailes to investigators.)</p> <p>Another contingent inside Fox News is equally dismayed by the responses of stars like Kimberly Guilfoyle, Greta Van Susteren and Jeanine Pirro, who were quick to publicly defend Mr. Ailes after he was accused of harassment in a suit filed by the former anchor Gretchen Carlson.</p> </blockquote> <p>And the pressure really seems to have <a href="" target="_blank">gotten to Bill O'Reilly:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>"I think the time has come now, where this whole network is going to have to band together, all of us, and we&rsquo;re going to have to call out the people who are actively trying to destroy this network, by using lies and deception and propaganda. We're going to have to start to call them out by name, because that's how bad it's become," he said.</p> <p>...."Jesse Watters goes on the floor of the Democratic convention, and some photographer comes up and starts swearing at him and cursing at him right in his face? This is provocation," he continued. "These people are doing this. They want me dead, Bolling, literally dead."</p> <p>Bolling responded to O'Reilly, "I&rsquo;m not sure they want you dead."</p> <p>"Oh they do, believe me," O'Reilly said.</p> </blockquote> <p>Poor Bill. I think he revels in the notion that we all want him dead. It would be a shock to his ego to find out that most of us just want him to go away.</p> <p>As for Jesse Watters, he's been ambushing liberals for years, but he and O'Reilly both complain mightily whenever someone tries to do the same to him. If being yelled at is the worst that happens to him, he should count himself lucky.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 28 Jul 2016 15:26:28 +0000 Kevin Drum 310341 at My 17-Word Democratic Convention Speech Roundup <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Tonight's speech roundup:</p> <ul><li>Michael Bloomberg: Trump is a con man.</li> <li>Tim Kaine: Trump is a liar.</li> <li>Joe Biden: Trump is a sociopath.</li> <li>Barack Obama: Trump is an asshole.<sup>1</sup></li> </ul><p>Decisions, decisions. Who's right?</p> <p>Whatever else you think of it, the Democratic convention sure has had a strong lineup of speakers. Even Bloomberg, who's a little stiff on the podium, was pretty good tonight. Biden and Kaine were both sociable and folksy, and Obama, as usual, was inspirational. We'll see how the public responds to all this, but it's hard to see how the Democrats could have done much better in the prime time hour than they have over the past three days.</p> <p><sup>1</sup>My translation from the original Obamish.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 28 Jul 2016 04:00:57 +0000 Kevin Drum 310331 at Here's a Bit of Mid-Convention Entertainment For You <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Here's a bit of miscellaneous entertainment for you as you watch the convention&mdash;or even if you don't:</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">I'm a little surprised it isn't bigger news that Trump is doing an AMA in a literal white supremacist forum. Sign of the times I guess.</p> &mdash; Adam Hyland (@therealprotonk) <a href="">July 28, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Bill O'Reilly defends his slavery remarks: George Washington gave his slaves meat <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Media Matters (@mmfa) <a href="">July 28, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Sort of remarkable (and handy for Bloomberg's speech) that Trump filed for more foreign workers *this month* <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Ben Smith (@BuzzFeedBen) <a href="">July 28, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></blockquote> </blockquote></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 28 Jul 2016 02:05:52 +0000 Kevin Drum 310316 at Chart of the Day: Donald Trump's Deficit Busting Budget Plan <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>I know no one cares about this because it's boring policy stuff and no one takes any of Donald Trump's policy suggestions seriously in the first place, but I'm trying to fill the time while the B-listers natter on at the Democratic convention. I was disappointed that Jerry Brown didn't do a better job, but California already has all the great weather, so I suppose I can't complain that we don't have all the great convention speakers too.</p> <p>Anyway, here's the Committee for a Responsible Budget on what the national debt would look like under <a href="" target="_blank">President Trump vs. President Clinton:</a></p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_cfrb_trump_vs_clinton.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 15px 0px 15px 10px;"></p> <p>According to the CFRB, Hillary Clinton has proposed $1.4 trillion in new spending and $1.2 trillion in revenue increases to pay for it. Pretty close! Donald Trump's proposed budget, by contrast, is about $10 trillion out of whack.</p> <p>On the bright side, the top 1% get their taxes <a href="" target="_blank">reduced by about 12 percentage points.</a> So it's all good.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 28 Jul 2016 00:21:02 +0000 Kevin Drum 310301 at Donald Trump's Top Ten Giveaways to Vladimir Putin <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>The number of pro-Putin positions that Donald Trump has taken has assumed quite remarkable proportions. He:</p> <ol><li>Wants to reduce America's commitment to NATO and reorient its activities to the Middle East. This is perhaps Vladmir Putin's greatest foreign policy desire.</li> <li><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_trump_russia.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">Says America has no moral standing to complain about human and civil rights violations.</li> <li>Welcomed Russia's incursion into Syria.</li> <li>Considers Putin a great leader.</li> <li>Would consider eliminating sanctions against Russia and recognizing their annexation of Crimea.</li> <li>Wants to weaken American ties to its allies by insisting that he will walk away from them unless they pay us more for our military protection.</li> <li>Never mentions Russia in his otherwise endless litany of countries that are taking advantage of us.</li> <li>Opposes sending arms to Ukraine.</li> <li>Is pro-Brexit.</li> <li>Isn't sure he would defend the Baltics if Russia attacked them.</li> </ol><p>Have I missed anything? I probably have. It's hard to keep track.</p> <p>Most of these are defensible positions on their own. I don't support sending arms to Ukraine, for example. Plenty of conservatives are pro-Brexit. And plenty of lefties would like to see us reduce our military footprint worldwide.</p> <p>But even if you personally agree with an item or three on this list, the whole thing adds up to something unprecedented for an American candidate for president. Donald Trump considers America at odds with virtually the entire world. He's based his entire campaign on this. At various times he's mentioned China, Mexico, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, and the entire Pacific Rim. But never Russia. On the contrary, his list of positions toward Russia is basically Vladimir Putin's dream foreign policy. For a guy suffering under crippling sanctions, a tanking economy, low oil prices, and a demographic time bomb, Donald Trump is offering him everything he could possibly want. And what does Trump want in return? For Russia&mdash;and only for Russia&mdash;he wants nothing.</p> <p>As much as I loathe Putin, I'm not among those who now think Mitt Romney was right when he listed Russia as our #1 geopolitical threat. Conservative fearmongering on the subject leaves me cold. Nonetheless, this list is not a coincidence. There's something behind the scenes guiding it. But what?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 27 Jul 2016 16:59:19 +0000 Kevin Drum 310216 at Trump asks Russia For Help Beating Hillary Clinton <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Donald Trump reaches out to his buddy Vladimir Putin for help:</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">"Russia, if you're listening, I hope you find the 33,000 emails that are missing. I think you'll be rewarded mightily by our press!" WTF WTF</p> &mdash; Josh Barro (@jbarro) <a href="">July 27, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Trump just asked Putin to help him beat Clinton<br><br> We have fallen through the looking glass</p> &mdash; Ron Fournier (@ron_fournier) <a href="">July 27, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">What the fuck? WHAT IN THE FUCKING FUCK??!! <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Daniel Drezner (@dandrezner) <a href="">July 27, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Setting aside every other level of craziness here, &ldquo;Russia, if you&rsquo;re listening&rdquo;&mdash;that clip will be in an ad.</p> &mdash; Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) <a href="">July 27, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">I didn't think Trump could get any more pro-Putin but now he is saying he might lift sanctions &amp; recognize Crimea annexation. Unbelievable.</p> &mdash; Max Boot (@MaxBoot) <a href="">July 27, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Quite a Trump news conference:<br> -I want to work with Russia<br> -Russia, please, please find Hillary&rsquo;s missing emails<br> -I wouldn&rsquo;t go to France</p> &mdash; Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) <a href="">July 27, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></blockquote> </blockquote> <p>Just another day in Trumpland.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 27 Jul 2016 15:20:12 +0000 Kevin Drum 310196 at There's Little Support for ISIS in the Arab World <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>A trio of researchers set out to measure the support for ISIS in <a href="" target="_blank">five Arab states:</a></p> <blockquote> <p><strong>The findings were stark: not many Arabs sympathize with the Islamic State.</strong> The percent agreeing with the Islamic State&rsquo;s goals range from 0.4 percent in Jordan to 6.4 percent in the Palestinian territories. The percent agreeing with the Islamic State&rsquo;s use of violence range from 0.4 percent in Morocco to 5.4 percent in the Palestinian territories. The percent agreeing that the Islamic State&rsquo;s tactics are compatible with Islam range from 1.0 percent in Jordan to 8.9 percent n the Palestinian territories.</p> </blockquote> <p>That's surprisingly&mdash;and gratifyingly&mdash;low. Good news.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 27 Jul 2016 15:13:58 +0000 Kevin Drum 310191 at Does Russian Money Keep Donald Trump Afloat? <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><a href="" target="_blank">The president speaks:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Obama said Russian President Vladimir Putin might prefer Republican nominee Donald Trump over his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, because the business magnate has &ldquo;repeatedly expressed admiration&rdquo; for the Russian leader in the past.</p> <p>&ldquo;I am basing this on what Mr. Trump himself has said,&rdquo; the president said. &ldquo;And I think that &mdash; Trump's gotten pretty favorable coverage &mdash; back in Russia.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>The president&rsquo;s comments add considerable heft to mounting evidence that Russian hackers were behind the DNC hack. Obama said that the FBI is still investigating the origin of the hack, but he acknowledged that &ldquo;experts have attributed this to the Russians.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>It's one thing when a campaign manager or some campaign surrogates say that Vladimir Putin is working to help elect Trump. It's quite another when the president says it. That automatically makes it news. And Trump himself is making things worse. <a href="" target="_blank">Asked by <em>Newsweek</em>,</a> "Do you, or any of your business units have outstanding loans with Russian banks or individuals?&rdquo; his spox said "Mr. Trump does not have any business dealings in/with Russia." Then Trump tweeted this:</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia.</p> &mdash; Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="">July 26, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></blockquote> </blockquote> <p>The evasiveness of this answer is pretty obvious. Nobody cares all that much if Trump has business in Russia, they care whether Russian money funds his business here&mdash;which might explain why he's so friendly to Russian interests. He has very carefully avoided answering that question. That's a bad sign since he would normally just lie about it. He must know that evidence of his reliance on Russian money is out there.</p> <p>Trump's tax returns would tell us the answer, of course, but Trump has declined to release them, unlike every other presidential candidate of the past few decades. Maybe now we know why.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 27 Jul 2016 00:06:30 +0000 Kevin Drum 310156 at Democrats and Republicans Have Mirror Image Race Problems <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>On Sunday, Chuck Todd asked Donald Trump about former KKK grand wizard and famous white nationalist David Duke:</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-cards="hidden" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Would Trump support a Dem over David Duke? "Depending on who the Democrat is, but the answer would be yes." <a href="">#MTP</a><a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Meet the Press (@meetthepress) <a href="">July 24, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></blockquote> </blockquote> <p>"Depending on who the Democrat is" doesn't seem like a very strong repudiation of Duke, does it? Apparently Trump is still playing footsie with the racists. On Tuesday, <em>New York Times</em> reporter Maggie Haberman asked about Trump's reply to Todd:</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-cards="hidden" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Trump team warns me that if I continue to "waste our time" on Duke q's, they will allocate "resources" elsewhere <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) <a href="">July 26, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></blockquote> </blockquote> <p><a href="" target="_blank">And here is longtime Republican policy wonk Avik Roy:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;Conservative intellectuals, and conservative politicians, have been in kind of a bubble,&rdquo; Roy says. &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve had this view that the voters were with us on conservatism &mdash; philosophical, economic conservatism. <strong>In reality, the gravitational center of the Republican Party is white nationalism.</strong>&rdquo;</p> <p>....He expands on this idea: &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a common observation on the left, but it&rsquo;s an observation that a lot of us on the right genuinely believed wasn&rsquo;t true &mdash; which is that <strong>conservatism has become, and has been for some time, much more about white identity politics than it has been about conservative political philosophy.</strong> I think today, even now, a lot of conservatives have not come to terms with that problem.&rdquo;</p> <p>Trump&rsquo;s politics of aggrieved white nationalism &mdash; labeling black people criminals, Latinos rapists, and Muslims terrorists &mdash; succeeded because the party&rsquo;s voting base was made up of the people who once opposed civil rights. &ldquo;[Trump] tapped into something that was latent in the Republican Party and conservative movement &mdash; but a lot of people in the conservative movement didn&rsquo;t notice,&rdquo; Roy concludes, glumly.</p> </blockquote> <p>The problem for Republicans is simple to describe: it's not that their leaders are racist, but that they've long <em>tolerated</em> racism in their ranks. They know this perfectly well, and they know that they have to broaden their appeal beyond just whites. But they're stuck. If they do that&mdash;say, by supporting comprehensive immigration reform or easing up on opposition to affirmative action&mdash;their white base goes ballistic. In the end, they never make the base-broadening moves that they all know they have to make eventually.</p> <p>For Democrats, the problem is the mirror image. Bashing Donald Trump and his supporters for their white nationalism helps with <em>their</em> base, but it's the worst possible way to attract working-class whites who might be attracted to traditional Democratic economic messages. Once you say the word "racism," the conversation is over. Potentially persuadable voters won't hear another word you say.</p> <p>As long as this remains the case, Democrats will routinely win the presidency because their non-white base is growing every year. But Republicans will routinely win the House&mdash;and sometimes the Senate&mdash;because way more than half of all congressional districts are majority white. Result: endless gridlock.</p> <p>I wish I knew the answer.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 26 Jul 2016 18:46:58 +0000 Kevin Drum 310111 at White Men Liked Mitt Romney Better Than Donald Trump <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Here's a fascinating comparison of the 2012 and 2016 presidential elections via Stuart Stevens. I'm not sure what the source is&mdash;someone's PowerPoint presentation, perhaps&mdash;but I assume the data was transcribed correctly. <a href="" target="_blank">Here it is:</a></p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_2012_2016_election_comparisons.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 15px 0px 15px 50px;"></p> <p>This is based on one poll, and it's pre-convention. Still, it sure explodes a lot of myths about Donald Trump. He's doing <em>worse</em> among white men than Mitt Romney and much worse among white women. He's doing slightly better among the middle-aged, but far worse among the elderly. And he's doing <em>better</em> among blacks.</p> <p>On the non-surprising front, he's doing far worse among Latinos. Obama won them by 44 percent, while Clinton is winning them by 62 points. I wonder why?</p> <p>This doesn't show how Trump is doing specifically among blue-collar white men (those with no more than a high school diploma), but I wonder if he's really as popular among this demographic as everyone thinks? Or, in the end, is he just going to perform in a pretty standard Republican way, but just a bit worse?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 26 Jul 2016 17:06:44 +0000 Kevin Drum 310096 at We Need Smarter Bears <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><a href="" target="_blank">Over at John Cole's place,</a> everyone is watching the Katmai Park live bearcam. So I watched too, and it's clear that Katmai Park needs a smarter breed of bear. I watched for a few minutes, and during that time I saw a couple of dozen salmon leap up the falls in the foreground while the adorable young bear just stood around in one spot oblivious to the fact that all the fish were elsewhere, laughing at him. I feel certain this is a metaphor for something, but I can't quite think of what. Help me out.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_bearcam.jpg" style="margin: 15x 0px 15px 5px;"></p> <p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_bearcam_2.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;"><strong>UPDATE:</strong> Victory! (For the bear, anyway. Not so much for the salmon. But I'm rooting for my fellow mammal.) This must be a metaphor for yet something else. Perhaps that bears know more about being bears than I do? It may have taken a while to snatch breakfast from the jaws of defalls, but then again, what does a bear have besides time? It's not as if he needs to finish up fast so he can get back to Judge Judy.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 26 Jul 2016 16:02:58 +0000 Kevin Drum 310076 at Democrats Are Running an ISIS-Free Convention <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Jim Geraghty <a href="" target="_blank">reviews the Democratic convention:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>In the past eleven days, we&rsquo;ve seen five terrorist attacks in Europe: a truck attack in Nice, a suicide bomber in Ansbach, an attack with an axe on a train in Wuerzburg, a machete attack in Reutlingen, and a priest&rsquo;s throat slit in Rouen, France.</p> <p><strong>Not one speaker addressed ISIS or Islamist terrorism last night.</strong> Democrats formulate their governing plans in a happier, peaceful, imaginary world.</p> </blockquote> <p>It <em>is</em> a little odd. Obviously Democrats aren't going to go down the apocalyptic path that Republicans did, but destroying ISIS really would make the world a better place. You'd think someone might mention this. And yet, when Scott Pelley asked Hillary Clinton on Sunday what she most wanted to accomplish as president, <a href="" target="_blank">she said this:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Well, I care most about getting the economy working for everybody.... rebuilding the ladders of care....race and discrimination....immigration reform....gun safety.</p> </blockquote> <p>During this whole laundry list, I was talking to the TV: "Say ISIS. Say ISIS. Say ISIS." But she never did. And to my surprise, nobody commented on this the next day, not even conservatives (at least, none of the ones I read). Eventually, though, it's going to become a little too obvious if no speaker ever says anything about it. Maybe Bill Clinton will mention it tonight. Or one of the military folks on Wednesday or Thursday. Somebody should.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 26 Jul 2016 15:18:08 +0000 Kevin Drum 310066 at Party Unity Finally Comes to the Democrats <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>This is annoying. I feel like I ought to have something to say about tonight's festivities, but I don't, really. The A-listers (Michelle Obama, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders) all gave good speeches. Bernie held nothing back, giving a full-throated endorsement of Hillary Clinton that showed him in his best light. Earlier in the day there had been some booing when Hillary's name was mentioned, but it seemed to die out as the night wore on, and in the prime time hour that was all most <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_michelle_obama_convention.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">people saw, it was pretty much all sweetness and light. If the object was to show off a united Democratic Party to the nation, I'd say that Team Hillary did it.</p> <p>On the other side of the aisle, Donald Trump was doing his usual: doubling down on whatever he's been criticized about recently. In this case it was NATO: "We have to walk," <a href="" target="_blank">Trump said.</a> "Within two days they're calling back!...They will pay us if the right person asks. That&rsquo;s the way it works, folks." Republicans were almost universally appalled. During the Democratic speeches, Trump spent his time tweeting out his usual juvenile zingers. There's no point in highlighting them, though. It was just the workaday Trumpiness that I suspect even his fans are starting to get bored of by now.</p> <p>And...that's about it. Party unity proceeds apace among Democrats, while puerile insults continue apace in Trumpland. Tune in again tomorrow.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 26 Jul 2016 04:29:48 +0000 Kevin Drum 310051 at