Blogs | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/Blogs/2010/10/node/80471 http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en The Conservative Tax Borg Has Finally Absorbed Donald Trump http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/conservative-tax-borg-has-finally-absorbed-donald-trump <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The <em>New York Times</em> reports that Republican leaders are alarmed at <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/01/us/politics/republicans-wary-of-donald-trumps-populist-tone-on-taxes.html?hp&amp;action=click&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;module=first-column-region&amp;region=top-news&amp;WT.nav=top-news&amp;_r=0" target="_blank">one particular aspect of Donald Trump's popularity:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>In recent weeks, Mr. Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on American companies that put their factories in other countries. He has threatened to increase taxes on the compensation of hedge fund managers. And he has vowed to change laws that allow American companies to benefit from cheaper tax rates by using mergers to base their operations outside the United States.</p> <p>Alarmed that those ideas might catch on with some of Mr. Trump&rsquo;s Republican rivals &mdash; as his immigration policies have &mdash; the Club for Growth, an anti-tax think tank, is pulling together a <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_trump_tired.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">team of economists to scrutinize his proposals and calculate the economic impact if he is elected.</p> </blockquote> <p>First things first: Trump and the Club for Growth have been feuding ever since Trump entered the race. The Club says it's because Trump had previously supported universal health care and a one-time tax on individuals worth more than $10 million. Trump says it's because the Club tried to shake him down for a $1 million donation and he refused to give it to them. The truth is&mdash;oh, who cares what the truth is? It's just another Trump feud.</p> <p>Anyway, Trump repudiated his wealth tax idea a long time ago, but he <em>has</em> supported (a) a progressive income tax, (b) closing loopholes for hedge fund managers, (c) tariffs on companies that move factories to Mexico, and (d) corporate inversions. But wait! In his interview with Sarah Palin, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oeju2SG7UMA" target="_blank">Trump inched closer to Republican orthodoxy on taxes:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>We have to simplify our tax code. You have hedge fund guys that are paying virtually no tax and they're making a fortune....Now you can go to a fair tax or a flat tax, but the easiest way and the quickest way, at least on a temporary basis, is simplification of the code: get rid of deductions, reduce taxes.</p> </blockquote> <p>OK. So Trump definitely wants to eliminate the carried interest loophole that allows hedge fund managers to pay very little in federal income tax. But he's no longer opposed to a flat tax. It's just that on a "temporary" basis he wants to broaden the base and reduce rates. This is as orthodox as it gets.</p> <p>As for the tariffs on companies that move to Mexico, that's just bluster not to be taken seriously. And reining in corporate inversions is a pretty bipartisan goal. It would presumably be part of a corporate tax overhaul that would end up being revenue neutral.</p> <p>On taxes, then, Trump has all but caved in. The only serious part of his schtick that's no longer garden variety Republican dogma is his desire to close the carried interest loophole. And even this is small potatoes: it would raise about $300 million per year, which could easily be offset by a tiny tax cut somewhere else. There's really nothing left for even Grover Norquist to dislike.</p> <p>So no worries! Trump is becoming fully absorbed by the Republican borg on taxes. Aside from the Mexico stuff, which is just campaign trail bombast, there's nothing left that would raise net taxes or offend conservative sensibilities in any way. Whew.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 31 Aug 2015 18:12:12 +0000 Kevin Drum 283056 at http://www.motherjones.com This Week's Great Showdown: Denali vs. McKinley http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/weeks-great-showdown-denali-vs-mkinley <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>So the big news this weekend was President Obama's decision to change the name of Mt. McKinley back to Denali. As near as I can tell, the only people who truly care about this are:</p> <ul><li>Alaskans</li> <li>Ohioans</li> <li>Mountain climbers</li> <li>Trivia buffs</li> </ul><p>Of these, Alaskans are pro-Denali; Ohioans are proudly pro-McKinley; mountain climbers have been calling it Denali for years already; and trivia buffs are almost certainly pro-Denali since they love it whenever something changes that allows them to pedantically correct other people.</p> <p>So far&mdash;to my pleasant surprise, I admit&mdash;there's been very little complaining about how Obama is&mdash;again!&mdash;bending to the forces of political correctness and identity politics by kowtowing to the icy cold branch of the native American community. But the week is young and the easily outraged are probably still rubbing the sleep out of their eyes. Give them time.</p> <p>For the time being, though, the pro-McKinley side has only the Ohioans, who have been battling Alaskans over this for decades. Ohioans are mighty defenders of William McKinley, proud son of Niles, Ohio. So proud, in fact, that one of their own renamed Denali to Mt. McKinley in 1896 merely because McKinley had just been <em>nominated</em> for president. Alaskans probably had no idea this was even happening, and in any case they weren't yet a state and could do little about it. <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_denali_campbell.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">They finally tried to officially reverse this power grab in the 70s, <a href="http://www.adn.com/article/20141221/denali-dilemma-can-dan-sullivan-get-mount-mckinley-renamed" target="_blank">but sneaky Ohioans took advantage of a loophole</a> to prevent the US Board on Geographic Names from acting. That ended yesterday when Obama decided to rename American's highest peak himself.</p> <p>The obvious solution to all this is to rename Ohio's tallest mountain. Unfortunately, Ohio is flat and has no mountains at all. <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campbell_Hill_%28Ohio%29" target="_blank">Its highest point is Campbell Hill,</a> topping out at a pedestrian 1,550 feet. They could rename it McKinley Hill&mdash;unless, of course, that would outrage the descendants of Charles D. Campbell&mdash;but that's quite a comedown from the majesty of Denali, as the pictures on the right show.</p> <p>What to do? Nothing much, I suppose, except for Ohio's congressional delegation to rant and rave about Obama's unilateral power grab etc. That's fine. Hometown pride demands no less. Even at that, though, I have to give props to Rep. Bob Gibbs for <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/08/denali-mount-mckinley-alaska-portman" target="_blank">this masterpiece of outrage:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>I hope my colleagues will join with me in stopping this constitutional overreach. President Obama has decided to ignore an act of Congress in unilaterally renaming Mt. McKinley in order to promote his job-killing war on energy.</p> </blockquote> <p>Constitutional overreach? Sure, whatever. That's garden variety stuff by now. But how does removing the name of America's 25th president advance Obama's job-killing war on energy? Inquiring minds want to know.</p> <p>As for the political implications, all you need to know is this: Alaska has three electoral votes. Ohio has 18 and is routinely a critical swing state. You may draw your own conclusions from this.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 31 Aug 2015 16:51:20 +0000 Kevin Drum 283046 at http://www.motherjones.com Ohio Republicans Are Freaking Out About the Denali Name Change http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/08/denali-mount-mckinley-alaska-portman <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Sunday, President Barack Obama announced that the highest peak in North America, Alaska's Mount McKinley, would formally be changed to its Athabascan name: Denali. This makes a lot of sense. The mountain was known as Denali long before a gold prospector dubbed it McKinley after reading a newspaper headline in 1896, and it's been officially known as "Denali" in Alaska, according to the state's board for geographic names, for about a century. The state, and its Republican legislature, has been asking Washington to call the mountain Denali for decades. And for decades, the major obstacle to getting this done has been Ohio, McKinley's home state.</p> <p>We need not spend much time discussing Ohio in this space, but suffice it to say that Ohioans are a very proud, if sometimes misinformed, people, and the birthplace of mediocre presidents won't just take the marginalization of those mediocre presidents lying down. It will fight! To wit, the state's congressional delegation has decided to show off that old Ohio fighting spirit by condemning the decision in sternly worded press releases and tweets. Here's GOP Sen. Rob Portman:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">This decision by the Administration is yet another example of the President going around Congress (4/5)</p> &mdash; Rob Portman (@senrobportman) <a href="https://twitter.com/senrobportman/status/638159098043871232">August 31, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Pres McKinley was a proud Ohioan, and the mountain was named after him, as a way to remember his rich legacy after his assassination (2/5)</p> &mdash; Rob Portman (@senrobportman) <a href="https://twitter.com/senrobportman/status/638158882796343296">August 31, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>No it wasn't! McKinley was assassinated in 1901. It was named McKinley in 1896, by some random gold prospector who had just returned from the Alaskan Range to find that the governor of Ohio had won the Republican presidential nomination. This is like naming the highest point in the continent after Mitt Romney. Is Portman suggesting that the fix was in as early as 1896? Did <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leon_Czolgosz" target="_blank">Czolgosz</a> really act alone? Was <em>Teddy Roosevelt</em> in on it? My God! Congress did pass a law in 1917 formally recognizing McKinley as the mountain's name, but that was really just paperwork.</p> <p>Let's see what else they've got:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Boehner stmt: naming continent's highest mt 4 McKinley was "testament 2 his great legacy" including Ohio govship, victory in Spanish-Am War</p> &mdash; Julie Davis (@juliehdavis) <a href="https://twitter.com/juliehdavis/status/638333122447310849">August 31, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>The Spanish-American War hadn't happened yet in 1896&mdash;William Randolph Hearst <a href="http://www.pbs.org/crucible/frames/_journalism.html" target="_blank">wouldn't start that</a> for another two years! OK. Here's GOP Rep. Bob Gibbs, all but engraving his sternly-worded response on obsidian:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">My full statement on <a href="https://twitter.com/POTUS">@POTUS</a> ignoring an Act of Congress and changing the name of Mount McKinley. <a href="http://t.co/nsLLOiUBU8">pic.twitter.com/nsLLOiUBU8</a></p> &mdash; Rep. Bob Gibbs (@RepBobGibbs) <a href="https://twitter.com/RepBobGibbs/status/638172773995687936">August 31, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Job-killing name change!</p> <p>I haven't seen this much loathing directed at Denali <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/08/i-cant-stop-reading-these-one-star-yelp-reviews-national-parks" target="_blank">since the last time I went on Yelp</a>.</p></body></html> MoJo Obama Top Stories Mon, 31 Aug 2015 15:36:47 +0000 Tim Murphy 283031 at http://www.motherjones.com Waiting For Number 34 http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/waiting-number-34 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>President Obama has the support of 31 Democratic senators for his Iran nuclear deal. So naturally we're now beginning to ponder the <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2015/08/26/who-wants-to-clinch-the-iran-deal/" target="_blank">truly important stuff:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>It looks increasingly likely that the nuclear agreement will survive its congressional trial&nbsp;&mdash; even opponents are starting to accept that seeming inevitability.</p> <p>Which leaves just one question: Who will be the deal-clinching senator No. 34?</p> </blockquote> <p>Quite so. Who will be the history maker? Or, if you prefer, the final nail in the coffin of treachery? <em>This</em> is what truly matters.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 31 Aug 2015 15:34:41 +0000 Kevin Drum 283041 at http://www.motherjones.com Black Employees at a Trump Casino Were Reportedly Removed Whenever the Donald Arrived http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/08/trump-casinos-black-employees <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>It was only recently that Republican presidential candidate and front-runner Donald Trump said he'd be willing to physically <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/08/donald-trump-calls-bernie-sanders-weak-sharing-stage-black-activists" target="_blank">fight</a> Black Lives Matter activists if they interrupted him on stage. Now, a <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/09/07/the-death-and-life-of-atlantic-city" target="_blank">new report from the </a><em><a href="http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/09/07/the-death-and-life-of-atlantic-city" target="_blank">New Yorker</a> </em>relays an alarming account of how black employees at one of Donald Trump's Atlantic City properties were routinely kept from view when the real estate magnate came to town. From writer Nick Paumgarten:</p> <blockquote> <p>I met a bus driver named Kip Brown, who worked the Port Authority route, up and back each morning, for Academy Bus Lines. He had been at Academy for fifteen years and was No. 3 in seniority, out of seventy drivers in the region. As ridership has fallen, Academy has been cutting back on its schedule. The number of visitors arriving by bus is an eighth of what it was a quarter century ago. In the spring, Brown, just forty-seven, retired.</p> </blockquote> <blockquote> <p>Now he was looking for work as a livery driver. Brown also used to work in the casinos, at the Showboat, bussing tables, and at Trump&rsquo;s Castle, stripping and waxing floors. "When Donald and Ivana came to the casino, the bosses would order all the black people off the floor," he said. "It was the eighties, I was a teen-ager, but I remember it: they put us all in the back."</p> </blockquote> <p>For more on how Trump feels about "<a href="http://gawker.com/the-collected-quotes-of-donald-trump-on-the-blacks-1719961925" target="_blank">the blacks</a>," head over to <em>Gawker's</em> decidedly nasty collection of quotes.</p></body></html> Mixed Media 2016 Elections Race and Ethnicity Mon, 31 Aug 2015 15:03:04 +0000 Inae Oh 283021 at http://www.motherjones.com Robert Kagan Thinks America's Problem Is Too Little War http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/robert-kagan-thinks-americas-problem-too-little-war <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Over the weekend<sup>1</sup> Robert Kagan wrote an essay in the <em>Wall Street Journal</em> titled <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/robert-kagan-why-the-u-s-wants-to-avoid-conflict-1409942201" target="_blank">"America's Dangerous Aversion to Conflict."</a> That seemed....wrong, somehow, so I read it. Mostly it turned out to be a tedious history lesson about the run-up to World War II, <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_war_kuwait.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">basically a long version of the "Munich!" argument that conservatives make every time we fail to go to war with somebody. But there was also this:</p> <blockquote> <p>President George H.W. Bush and his national security adviser, Brent Scowcroft, sent half a million American troops to fight thousands of miles away for no other reason than to thwart aggression and restore a desert kingdom that had been invaded by its tyrant neighbor.</p> <p>....A little more than a decade later, however, the U.S. is a changed country. Because of the experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, <strong>to suggest sending even a few thousand troops to fight anywhere for any reason is almost unthinkable.</strong> The most hawkish members of Congress don't think it safe to argue for a ground attack on the Islamic State or for a NATO troop presence in Ukraine. There is no serious discussion of reversing the cuts in the defense budget, even though the strategic requirements of defending U.S. allies in Europe, Asia and the Middle East have rarely been more manifest while America's ability to do so has rarely been more in doubt.</p> </blockquote> <p>This is one of the tropes that conservative hawks haul out with tiresome predictability, but it's flat wrong. Even now, when Americans have every reason to be skeptical of military action in the Mideast, poll after poll shows a surprising acceptance of it. Whether the subject is Iran, Syria, or ISIS, it's plain that many Americans are already primed for military action, and many more can be talked into it pretty easily. The United States has fought half a dozen major wars in the past quarter century, and the surprising thing isn't that we've gotten war weary. Quite the contrary: the surprising thing is that we're plainly ready to keep it up given the right incentive.</p> <p>Kagan's argument is also dishonest in a couple of common ways. First, he argues that sending "even a few thousand troops" anywhere is now unthinkable. This is nonsense. Over the past few months we've already sent a few thousand troops to fight ISIS, and this has barely raised a peep even from liberals. There <em>is</em> an aversion to sending a hundred thousand ground troops to fight ISIS and starting up another full-scale war and occupation of Iraq. If Kagan objects to that, fine. But that's what we're talking about, and Kagan should own up to it.</p> <p>Second, after spending several paragraphs singing the praises of our military response during the Cold War, Kagan bemoans our unwillingness to send troops to Ukraine. But again, that's nonsense. During the Cold War, we fought plenty of proxy wars but never, never, never sent troops to fight the Soviets directly. Not in Hungary. Not in Czechoslovakia. Not in Afghanistan. If Kagan wants us to be <em>more</em> belligerent toward Russia than we ever were toward the old Soviet Union, that's fine too. But he needs to say so, rather than subtly rewriting history.</p> <p>Kagan, like so many other hawks, is intent on pretending that the threats we face today are as dangerous as any in the past century. But that's simply not true. World War I, World War II, and the Cold War were almost unimaginably greater threats to the world than a few minor territorial grabs by Vladimir Putin, a civil war in Syria, and the takeover of a chunk of Iraq by a ragtag group of delusional jihadists. Pretending otherwise does Kagan's reputation no favors.</p> <p><sup>1</sup>Actually, Kagan wrote this over a weekend <em>in 2014</em>. I'm not really sure why it popped up during my perusal of the <em>Journal</em> last night. But I suppose it doesn't matter: Kagan would likely say the same thing today that he did a year ago.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 31 Aug 2015 15:00:59 +0000 Kevin Drum 283036 at http://www.motherjones.com Apple Hates Me. I Hate Them Right Back. http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/apple-hates-me-i-hate-them-back <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_apple_logo.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">Apple has never allowed ad-blocking software on the iPhone or iPad. This is one among many reasons that I ditched both. Not because I hate ads all that passionately, but because it's an example of the obsessive corporate control Apple maintains over its environment. But it's <em>my</em> iPad, dammit. If I want a different virtual keyboard, why can't I get one? If I want access to a file, why does Apple forbid it? If I want ad-blocking software, why should Apple be allowed to stop me?</p> <p>Apple is still a serial offender on this front, but apparently they've decided to relent on ad-blocking software. As usual, though, <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/apples-ad-blockers-raise-tensions-1440974849" target="_blank">there appears to be a deeper story here:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The next version of Apple&rsquo;s mobile-operating system, due out as early as next month, will let users install apps that prevent ads from appearing in its Safari browser.</p> <p>....<strong>Apple says it won&rsquo;t allow ad blocking within apps,</strong> because ads inside apps don&rsquo;t compromise performance as they do on the browser. That distinction serves Apple&rsquo;s interests. <strong>It takes a 30% cut on money generated from apps,</strong> and has a business serving ads inside apps. What&rsquo;s more, <strong>iOS 9 will include an Apple News app, which will host articles from major news publishers.</strong> Apple may receive a share of the revenue from ads that accompany those articles.</p> </blockquote> <p>The basic lay of the land here&mdash;assuming the <em>Wall Street Journal</em> has this right&mdash;is that Apple's move is aimed at Google, which makes most of its revenue from browser ads. Conversely, it doesn't hurt companies like Facebook much, since they have dedicated apps. In the big picture, this motivates more and more companies to build Apple-specific apps, since those will become more lucrative over time. And it helps Apple's bottom line since it gets a cut of the revenue. Plus it annoys Google.</p> <p>So here's the lesson: Apple is happy to allow users more control over their devices as long as it also happens to benefit Apple. If it doesn't, then tough.</p> <p>This is why I generally loathe Apple. Obviously all companies are run in their own self-interest, but Apple carries this to absurd lengths. Say what you will about Microsoft, but they've never pulled this kind of crap on their customers. If I buy a Windows machine, I can do pretty much anything I want to it.</p> <p>Needless to say, lots and lots of people couldn't care less about this, and Apple has made a ton of money catering to them. But I care. Whether it's because Steve Jobs insisted on the one perfect way of using a computer, or because Apple's accountants want to limit customers' choices in order to maximize corporate revenue, Apple has never cared much about allowing me to choose how <em>I</em> prefer to use a computer. That's not thinking different. It's how IBM operated half a century ago. And it sucks.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 31 Aug 2015 02:08:43 +0000 Kevin Drum 283016 at http://www.motherjones.com Hair Update: Short Wins By a Landslide http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/hair-update-short-wins-landslide <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>So what does the commentariat think on the hair front? Here's a smattering of comments from folks who like my new, shorter hair:</p> <blockquote> <p>DM: Makes you look quietly studly and stoic.</p> <p>JS: The short look, with the T-shirt, is hot. You'll just have to get used to the idea that you're going to turn female heads when you walk into a restaurant.</p> <p>EVC: Even without the tattoos, you look so much more hip and bad-ass. It's a good look.</p> <p>CLD: It's like Johnny Depp in Black Mass, it's the new look.</p> <p>SG: Clean, cool, contemporary. And it makes you look ten years younger.</p> <p>RS: As a personal finance professor, I like that you can have your wife cut it with at home electric hair clipper package; it's easy at that length!</p> <p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_kevin_head_mohawk.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">LD: It's more interesting, less like an insurance salesman from the '50's.</p> </blockquote> <p>And here's a smattering of comment from the one person who likes my old, longer hair:</p> <blockquote> <p>JD: Your old hair is so cute. And you might as well enjoy it while you can, because, face it, the day will come when it will all go away anyway. Dad did not have much hair at your age.</p> </blockquote> <p>Well....but Dad didn't have much hair by the time he was 30, either. I plan to take after my maternal grandfather, who kept his hair into his 90s. In any case, the new hair wins by about 487 to 1. But let's face it: the vote was rigged from the start. Nobody was going to vote for that old hair. Besides, if I were sporting a polka-dot mohawk you guys would all vote for it. Don't lie. You know you would.</p> <p>So that's that. Short hair wins. However, it turns out that none of your votes counted anyway. Marian voted for the new hair, and she outvoted all of you. Funny how that works.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sun, 30 Aug 2015 15:25:04 +0000 Kevin Drum 283006 at http://www.motherjones.com The Internet Is Making Us Sicker http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/internet-making-us-sicker <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The placebo effect, as we all know, is the mechanism by which we sometimes feel better even when we're given meds that later turn out to be sugar pills. The mere expectation that we will get better somehow helps us actually get better. The most eye-popping example of the placebo effect is probably <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/doctors-are-human/2011/06/01/AGTU4LGH_blog.html?wprss=ezra-klein" target="_blank">this one here.</a></p> <p>But there's also a dark side to this. I don't know if it has an official name, so let's call it the anti-placebo effect.<sup>1</sup> Basically, it means that your mind can invent miserable side effects from taking medication merely because you know that certain side effects are possible. <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/30/health/new-alternatives-to-statins-add-to-a-quandary-on-cholesterol.html" target="_blank">Take cholesterol-lowering statins, for example:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>At the Mayo Clinic here, Dr. Stephen L. Kopecky, who directs a program for statin-intolerant patients, says he is well aware that middle-age and older adults who typically need statins may blame the drugs for aches, pains and memory losses that have other causes. <strong>He also knows his patients peruse the Internet, which is replete with horror stories about the dangers of statins.</strong></p> <p>Yet he, like other doctors, also thinks some statin intolerance is real despite what clinical trials have shown. The problem: In the vast majority of cases, there is no objective test to tell real from imagined statin intolerance.</p> </blockquote> <p>So there you have it: the internet is making us sicker. Does it make up for this by also making us healthier? I have my doubts. It is a spawn of evil.</p> <p>And no, you still can't take mine away. However, this is one of the reasons why I've avoided reading about multiple myeloma on the internet. I figure it's unlikely to help, and might very well hurt.</p> <p><sup>1</sup>Turns out it's called the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nocebo" target="_blank"><em>nocebo effect</em>.</a> How about that?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sun, 30 Aug 2015 14:37:02 +0000 Kevin Drum 283011 at http://www.motherjones.com Soon We Will All Be Little More Than Organic FedEx Packages http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/soon-we-will-all-be-little-more-organic-fedex-packages <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Saturday the <em>New York Times</em> ran this headline: <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/30/us/politics/christie-proposes-immigrant-tracker-similar-to-fedex.html" target="_blank">"Christie Proposes Tracking Immigrants Like FedEx Packages."</a> We are, of course, supposed to be scandalized by this. After all, if "anchor babies" is dehumanizing to immigrants, surely treating them <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_fedex_packages.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">like FedEx packages is nothing short of brutalizing. The article goes on to explain:</p> <blockquote> <p>Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey said on Saturday that if he were elected president he would combat illegal immigration by creating a system to track foreign visitors the way FedEx tracks packages. Mr. Christie, who is far back in the pack of candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, said at a campaign event in New Hampshire that he would ask the chief executive of FedEx, Frederick W. Smith, to devise the tracking system.</p> </blockquote> <p>Uh huh. This is, of course, part of the Trump-inspired "can you top this" game of being tough on illegal immigration. That's a bit of a yawn, though, since we went through the same thing during the 2012 primaries. What's more interesting is that Christie's schtick is Trump-inspired in an entirely different way: pretending that business people can be slotted effortlessly into government positions where they'll kick some free-market ass and get our government moving again. Trump started this by claiming that he'd send Carl Icahn over to China because he's a "killer" and would quickly put the Chinese in their place. Now Christie is following suit.</p> <p>So what's next?</p> <ul><li>Hillary Clinton says she'll hire Bill Gates to run Obamacare.</li> <li>Ted Cruz says he'll get the Koch Brothers to whip the EPA into shape.</li> <li>Ben Carson says he'll ask Warren Buffett to run the IRS.</li> <li>Scott Walker says that Jeff Bezos is the man to fix the GSA.</li> <li>Bernie Sanders says he'll pick Oprah Winfrey as his education czar.</li> <li>Jeb Bush says he'll bring in Sergei Brin to run the CIA.</li> <li>John Kasich says he'll nominate Mitt Romney to get the VA on track.</li> </ul><p>Who else would be able to fix up an inept government agency in a few months? Or maybe it should be the other way around: Are there any government agencies that <em>couldn't</em> be reformed in short order by the right kind of steely-eyed business leader?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sun, 30 Aug 2015 13:00:09 +0000 Kevin Drum 283001 at http://www.motherjones.com Health Update http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/health-update <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Ha ha. Just kidding. It will be several months before we know how effective the new chemo meds are. However, I can tell you that (a) so far I'm suffering no side effects, (b) my routine lab tests are all fine, and (c) I feel pretty good. I'm sleeping OK, my energy level is nearly back to normal, my stomach has finally recovered, and my hair is growing back.</p> <p>And speaking of hair, that's the real purpose of this post. My hair has now grown back to the point that I have a decision to make: keep it as is, or let it grow to its old length? It's not like my old hair was any great shakes, but still, after 55 years you get accustomed to things. On the other hand, the new do does have advantages. Easy upkeep. No worries about wind or hat hair. Cheaper haircuts.</p> <p>Comparison photos are below. Anyway, feel free to vote in comments. Old hair or new?</p> <p><img align="left" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_kevin_head_2004.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 4px 5px 60px;"><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_kevin_head_2015_0.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 5px 4px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sun, 30 Aug 2015 00:52:49 +0000 Kevin Drum 282981 at http://www.motherjones.com Inflation Is Low? Let's Tighten Monetary Policy Anyway. http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/inflation-low-lets-tighten-monetary-policy-anyway <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer comments on <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/feds-fischer-good-reason-to-think-u-s-inflation-will-move-higher-1440865560" target="_blank">inflation and monetary policy:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The Federal Reserve&rsquo;s No. 2 official said <strong>there is &ldquo;good reason&rdquo; to think sluggish U.S. inflation will firm and move back toward the U.S. central bank&rsquo;s 2% annual target,</strong> touching on a significant assessment facing the Fed ahead of its September policy meeting.</p> <p>....When the time comes to raise rates, Mr. Fischer said, &ldquo;we will most likely need to proceed cautiously&rdquo; and with inflation low, &ldquo;we can probably remove accommodation at a gradual pace. <strong>Yet, because monetary policy influences real activity with a substantial lag, we should not wait until inflation is back to 2% to begin tightening.</strong>&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>A lot of people think the big problem with Fischer's statement is the first bolded sentence. There's been "good reason" to think inflation will increase for a long time. And yet it hasn't. Why are we supposed to believe that this year's good reason is any better than previous ones?</p> <p>That's fair enough. But I think the real problem is in the second bolded sentence: Fischer is intent on tightening monetary policy well <em>before</em> inflation shows any sign of hitting 2 percent. This illustrates a serious asymmetry in the Fed's decisionmaking. If inflation goes below the 2 percent target, they're willing to wait things out. But if it shows even the slightest sign of maybe, someday going a few basis points above the 2 percent target, then it's time to tighten. The net result of this is that inflation won't average 2 percent. It will swing between 1 and 2 percent, maybe averaging 1.5 percent or so.</p> <p>That's a bad thing, and it's especially bad if, like me, you think our inflation target should be more like 3-4 percent anyway. But that's the way it is.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_pce_2006_1H2015.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 5px 10px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 29 Aug 2015 23:42:34 +0000 Kevin Drum 282996 at http://www.motherjones.com Question of the Day: With Friends Like This.... http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/question-day-friends <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_trump_iowa_state_fair.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">Last month, Donald Trump said he didn't consider John McCain a war hero because "I like people who weren't captured." <a href="http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/elections/presidential/caucus/2015/08/26/leaked-emails-show-iowan-sharply-criticized-trump-before-joining-his-campaign/32432755/" target="_blank">Who said this afterward?</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Mr. Trump's remarks were insulting to me as a veteran and as a person whose family sacrificed for 25 years as I missed anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, Christmases and Easters....I was offended by a man who sought and gained four student deferments to avoid the draft and who has never served this nation a day &mdash; not a day &mdash; in any fashion or way.</p> <p>....Why should I not be suspicious of an individual who was pro-choice until he decided to run for president? Why should I not be suspicious of a person who advocates for universal healthcare? Why should I not be suspicious of someone who says he hates lobbyists and yet has spread millions of dollars around to Republicans and Democrats to enrich himself? Why should I not be suspicious of someone who cannot come to say that he believes in God, that he has never asked for forgiveness and that communion is simply wine and a cracker.</p> <p>....[Trump] left me with questions about his moral center and his foundational beliefs....His comments reveal no foundation in Christ, which is a big deal.</p> </blockquote> <p>If you answered Sam Clovis, the conservative Iowan who is now Trump's national campaign co-chair, give yourself a gold star! The <em>Des Moines Register</em> says dryly that this raises questions about whether Clovis was motivated to join Trump's campaign "less by ideology and more by the promise of a big paycheck from a business mogul who has said he is willing to spend as much as a billion dollars to get elected."</p> <p>I guess it does. You really think that might have been in the back of Clovis's mind?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 29 Aug 2015 20:12:38 +0000 Kevin Drum 282991 at http://www.motherjones.com GOP Hauling Out Tired Old Weapons to Sink Iran Deal http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/gop-hauling-out-tired-old-weapons-sink-iran-deal <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The <em>Wall Street Journal</em> reports that as the Iran deal looks increasingly impossible for Republicans to defeat, they're thinking of <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/foes-try-new-ways-to-attack-obamas-iran-nuclear-deal-1440802995" target="_blank">new ways to undermine it <em>after</em> it goes into effect:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>As their chances dim, they are preparing to push a rash of new legislation for the fall to increase sanctions on Tehran for its role in supporting terrorist organizations and militant groups active across the Mideast, which could cause Iran to back out of the deal. These politicians also are devising new ways to target the finances of Tehran&rsquo;s elite military unit, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.</p> <p>....The fresh sanctions push has the potential to put the White House and leading Democrats, such as the party&rsquo;s presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, in a quandary. Those supporters of the deal could later face a tough decision over whether to back increased sanctions against Iran.</p> </blockquote> <p>It's possible that Republicans can scrounge up enough Democratic support to overcome a filibuster and force an Obama veto on some of these measures. But I assume they don't really care about that. Obama's coming up on his last year in office and probably doesn't care much if he has to veto a few bills. Rather, as the <em>Journal</em> suggests, this is just normal election-year game-playing. Republicans want to introduce bills that will force Hillary Clinton to take a stand that will hurt her no matter how she responds. Oppose the sanctions and she's a Hezbollah lover. Support the sanctions and she's an AIPAC stooge.</p> <p>There's nothing very original about this. Both parties do it whenever they can, and if Hillary Clinton is even a half-decent politician she'll be able to maneuver her way through without any big problems. As long as Republicans don't threaten to shut down the government over this, it probably won't be a very big deal.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 29 Aug 2015 19:00:18 +0000 Kevin Drum 282986 at http://www.motherjones.com Palin Ponders the Infinite: Does the Lamestream Media Ever Ask Hillary About Her Favorite Bible Verse? http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/palin-ponders-infinite-does-lamestream-media-ever-ask-hillary-about-her-favorite- <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><iframe align="right" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="258" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/Oeju2SG7UMA" style="margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;" width="400"></iframe>Huh. I almost forgot about the Palin-Trump lollapalooza. But it's all on YouTube, and it was pretty boring. Palin's word salad was subpar and it was just the same-old-same-old from Trump. My favorite part was this bit from Palin:</p> <blockquote> <p>So you get hit with these gotchas, like most conservatives do. For instance, asking what's your favorite Bible verse. And I listen to that going, what? Do they ask Hillary that?</p> </blockquote> <p>Indeed they do! On August 27, 2007, in a nationally televised debate, Tim Russert asked every Democrat on the stage to <a href="http://www.cfr.org/elections/democratic-debate-transcript-new-hampshire/p14313" target="_blank">share their favorite Bible verse:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>RUSSERT: Before we go, there's been a lot of discussion about the Democrats and the issue of faith and values. I want to ask you a simple question.</p> <p>Senator Obama, what is your favorite Bible verse?</p> <p>OBAMA: Well, I think it would have to be the Sermon on the Mount, because it expresses a basic principle that I think we've lost over the last six years.</p> <p>John talked about what we've lost. Part of what we've lost is a sense of empathy towards each other. We have been governed in fear and division, and you know, we talk about the federal deficit, but we don't talk enough about the empathy deficit, a sense that I stand in somebody else's shoes, I see through their eyes. People who are struggling trying to figure out how to pay the gas bill, or try to send their kids to college. We are not thinking about them at the federal level. That's the reason I'm running for president, because I want to restore that.</p> <p>RUSSERT: I want to give everyone a chance in this. You just take 10 seconds.</p> <p><strong>Senator Clinton, favorite Bible verse?</strong></p> <p><strong>CLINTON: The Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I think it's a good rule for politics, too.</strong></p> <p>RUSSERT: Senator Gravel?</p> <p>GRAVEL: The most important thing in life is love. That's what empowers courage, and courage implements the rest of our virtues.</p> <p>RUSSERT: Congressman Kucinich?</p> <p>KUCINICH: I carry that with me at every debate, this prayer from St. Francis, which says, Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, and I believe very strongly that all of us can be instruments of peace. And that's what I try to bring to public life.</p> <p>RUSSERT: Senator Edwards?</p> <p>EDWARDS: It appears many times in the Bible, What you do onto the least of those, you do onto me.</p> <p>RUSSERT: Governor Richardson?</p> <p>RICHARDSON: The Sermon on the Mount, because I believe it's an issue of social justice, equality, brotherly issues reflecting a nation that is deeply torn and needs to be heal and come together.</p> <p>DODD: The Good Samaritan would be a worthwhile sort of description of who we all ought to be in life.</p> <p>RUSSERT: Senator Biden?</p> <p>BIDEN: Christ's warning of the Pharisees. There are many Pharisees, and it's part of what has bankrupted some people's view about religion. And I worry about the Pharisees.</p> </blockquote> <p>Hillary Clinton's choice wasn't very original, I admit, but neither was Obama's. Biden, as usual, provided the most entertaining answer: "I worry about the Pharisees." I guess we all do, Joe. In any case, the lamestream media had no problem asking, and the Democrats all had no problem answering. See? It's not so hard.</p> <p>What's <em>your</em> favorite Bible verse? I'd recommend Mark 12:38 "Beware of the scribes." I think Palin would agree that it's good advice for any era.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 29 Aug 2015 16:37:47 +0000 Kevin Drum 282976 at http://www.motherjones.com Quote of the Day: "Love, Fidelity, Devotion, Sacrifice and Family" http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/quote-day-love-fidelity-devotion-sacrifice-and-family <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>This is becoming a favorite prologue to wedding vows <a href="http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-couples-justice-kennedy-20150828-story.html" target="_blank">across the nation:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_same_sex_marriage.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">two people become something greater than once they were.</p> </blockquote> <p>That's from Anthony Kennedy's majority opinion in <em>Obergefell vs. Hodges</em>, which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. At the time, Antonin Scalia mocked Kennedy's writing for its "straining-to-be-memorable passages," and it turns out he was more right than he knew. Both gay and straight couples around the country have begun incorporating it into their wedding ceremonies:</p> <blockquote> <p>The night the high court's ruling was announced, Sandy Queen of Weddings by Sandy called Craig Lamberton and David Ermisch, whose wedding she was performing in Rockville, Md., the next morning. She suggested including Kennedy's opinion in their ceremony.</p> <p>The couple immediately agreed. "We thought it was perfect," said Lamberton, an administrative officer at USAID. He and Ermisch, a cartographer at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, have been together 15 years.</p> <p>....She isn't the only one. "Honestly, in the 14 years I've been ordained, there has not been a passage that struck a chord as quickly as Justice Kennedy&rsquo;s statement," said the Rev. Pamela Brehm of Berks County, Pa. "Perhaps there may never be another quite so touching."</p> </blockquote> <p>Who knows? This may just be a passing thing. But if it's not, Anthony Kennedy could end up as the most famous Supreme Court justice of the early 21st century, quoted in hundreds of marriage ceremonies every day. Kinda nice.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Interactives Sat, 29 Aug 2015 15:35:58 +0000 Kevin Drum 282971 at http://www.motherjones.com Here Is a Video of Sarah Palin Interviewing Donald Trump. It Is Bonkers. http://www.motherjones.com/contributor/2015/08/starts-chanting-kiss-kiss-kiss-kiss-kiss-kiss-kiss-kiss-stops-chanting <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Hahahahaha.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Oeju2SG7UMA" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> Contributor Education Top Stories Donald Trump Sarah Palin Sat, 29 Aug 2015 14:01:39 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 282966 at http://www.motherjones.com Judges Give NSA More Time to Suck Up Your Data http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/08/dc-appeals-court-lifts-injunction-against-nsa-bulk-collection-program <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>A federal appeals court in Washington, DC, on Friday <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/08/28/us-usa-court-surveillance-idUSKCN0QX1QM20150828" target="_blank">tossed out</a> an injunction over the National Security Agency's bulk collection of millions of American's phone records, but left open the question of whether the program itself is legal.</p> <p>From&nbsp;<a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2015/08/court-overturns-injunction-against-nsa-bulk-data-collection-program-213123" target="_blank"><em>Politico</em></a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>The three appeals court judges assigned to the case splintered, with each writing a separate opinion. But they overturned a key ruling from December 2013 that critics of the NSA program had used to advance their claims that the collection of information on billions of calls made and received by Americans was illegal.</p> <p>That ruling, issued by Judge Richard Leon in Washington, sent shockwaves across the legal landscape because it was the first in which a federal court judge sided with critics who questioned the legality of sweeping up data on vast numbers of phone calls--nearly all of them completely unrelated to terrorism.</p> <p>The new decision Friday from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit did not kill the lawsuit brought by conservative gadfly Larry Klayman. The appeals court voted, 2-1, to allow the lawsuit to proceed in the district court, but the judges left doubts about whether the case will ever succeed.</p> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 24px;">In June, Congress</span>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/senate-passes-house-bill-overhauling-nsa-surveillance-program-1433277227" target="_blank">phased out</a> the NSA's controversial program with the passing of the USA Freedom Act. The new law&nbsp;forced the NSA to obtain private phone records for counterterrorism&nbsp;investigations on a case-by-case basis through a court order.&nbsp;After the&nbsp;law <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/senate-moves-ahead-with-retooling-of-us-surveillance-powers/2015/06/02/28f5e1ce-092d-11e5-a7ad-b430fc1d3f5c_story.html" target="_blank">mandated</a>&nbsp;a six-month transition program for the new program, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/30/us-usa-security-nsa-idUSKCN0PA2G220150630" target="_blank">ruled</a> that the NSA could continue its existing bulk collection program&nbsp;through November.</p> <p>The American Civil Liberties Union <a href="http://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/07/14/aclu-slams-secretive-court-renewing-illegal-bulk-surveillance/" target="_blank">has also filed</a> an injunction to&nbsp;block the program, arguing that the surveillance court should not have reinstated the program after a federal appeals court in New York <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/05/nsa-bulk-metadata-collection-federal-judge" target="_blank">found it to be&nbsp;illegal</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Civil Liberties Tech Top Stories Fri, 28 Aug 2015 19:18:37 +0000 Edwin Rios 282901 at http://www.motherjones.com Friday Cat Blogging - 28 August 2015 http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/friday-cat-blogging-28-august-2015 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>This is how we roll around here in August: stretched out to maximum length for maximum cooling power. Plus it might lure someone over to give Hilbert a tummy rub. Pretty often it does, in fact.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hilbert_2015_08_28.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 40px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 28 Aug 2015 19:00:11 +0000 Kevin Drum 282931 at http://www.motherjones.com "Political Correctness" Is Mostly Just Code For Not Insulting People http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/political-correctness-mostly-just-code-not-insulting-people <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>S.E. Cupp says that Donald Trump's rise can be laid at the feet of liberal political correctness. <a href="http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2015_08/tell_us_what_you_really_mean_b057337.php" target="_blank">Ed Kilgore isn't buying:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Is that the source of all this hysteria? Conservative media accounts of random college speech code incidents and the occasional dumb move by a school principal? Something that <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_political_correctness.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">affects maybe a tenth of one percent of the population?</p> </blockquote> <p>Well....maybe. When it's on a 24/7 loop on Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, it probably seems like an epidemic. I can see it raising a lot of hackles. But let's continue:</p> <blockquote> <p>I'm sorry, I don't buy it. The Trump supporters and proto-Trump supporters I know are upset by things like having to listen to Spanish-language messages on customer service lines, not being able to call women "chicks" without someone frowning at them, and having to stop telling racist jokes at work. That's what "political correctness" is code for: having to worry about the sensitivities of people who were invisible or submissive not that very long ago.</p> <p>If Cupp is right and I'm not, then let's all cooperate in convincing Republican politicians and conservative pundits to stop using the term "political correctness" and come right and and tell us what the beef is about. Is it really "trigger warning" requirements at scattered liberal arts colleges? Or is it this whole new world we're in where people have to question old habits? When Ben Carson calls inhibitions about torturing terrorism suspects "political correctness," it's pretty clear he's yet another apostle for the Church of the Day Before Yesterday, when America was never wrong and dissenters kept their mouths shut.</p> </blockquote> <p>I could do with a little less speech policing from all sides, frankly. It gets a little tiresome sometimes. Still, the truth is that Ed is right: for the vast, vast majority of us, it leaves our lives entirely unaffected as long as you can avoid flat-out slurs against women, blacks, gays, Jews, and so forth. Really, that's about 99 percent of it. Is that really so hard?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 28 Aug 2015 18:41:51 +0000 Kevin Drum 282926 at http://www.motherjones.com Man Is the Irrational Animal http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/man-irrational-animal <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Mark Kleiman points out that most of us need to hold more or less rational beliefs about our professional lives. "Even people whose stock-in-trade is deception&mdash;con artists, stockbrokers, lobbyists&mdash;have to observe the rules of arithmetic when it comes to totting up the take." <a href="http://www.samefacts.com/2015/08/elections/52349/" target="_blank">But that's only half the story:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Most of the time, though, people aren&rsquo;t at work, and much of what they think and talk about has little if any relevance to practical decisions in their own non-working lives. Freed of the need to think rationally, most people seem to prefer the alternative.</p> </blockquote> <p>Yep. This is why, say, it costs nothing to claim that evolution is nonsense and shouldn't be taught in schools. For the 99.9 percent of us who don't work in fields that require it, evolution doesn't affect our daily lives in any way at all. Believing or not believing is affinity politics and nothing more. This explains how Donald Trump gets away with being a buffoon:</p> <blockquote> <p>The deepest mistake is to regard someone who acts as if he doesn&rsquo;t give a damn whether anything he says is true, or consistent with what he said yesterday, as stupid....As far as I can tell, Donald Trump simply isn&rsquo;t bothered by holding and expressing utterly inconsistent beliefs about immigration, or for that matter denying obvious facts in the face of the crowd that witnessed them. And it doesn&rsquo;t much bother most of his voters, either....And if we deal with it by imagining that Trump, or Trump voters, are &ldquo;stupid,&rdquo; we&rsquo;re going to make some very bad predictions.</p> </blockquote> <p>We forgive a lot in people we like. Liberals forgive Hillary Clinton for her lawyerly and incompetent defense of her email practices. Trump fans forgive the fact that he makes no sense. But forgiveness is a virtue, right? I guess that makes Trump's supporters the most virtuous folks on the planet.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 28 Aug 2015 17:55:00 +0000 Kevin Drum 282921 at http://www.motherjones.com Sarah Palin: No Bible Verses for You! http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/sarah-palin-no-bible-verses-you <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Great news! <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/08/sarah-palin-interview-donald-trump" target="_blank">Sarah Palin will be interviewing Donald Trump</a> at 10 p.m. Eastern on her brand new show, <em>On Point</em>, which started Monday and airs on the One America News network. It will be the greatest, classiest, rogue-iest interview ever!</p> <p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_sarah_palin_on_point.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">Wait. What's that? You don't get OAN on your cable system? Me neither. Bummer. Maybe it'll be on Palin's Facebook page eventually.</p> <p>What makes this whole thing a little weirder than even the normal Palin weirdness is that she announced her upcoming interview with a standard-issue blast on the lamestream media for asking Trump a gotcha question about his favorite Bible verse. "By the way," she writes, "even with my reading scripture everyday I wouldn't want to answer the guy's question either... it's none of his business; it IS personal." What makes this weird is that Palin has been happy to talk about this before. For example, <a href="http://billygraham.org/story/sarah-palin-draws-strength-from-scripture/" target="_blank">in this interview:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>In dealing with her daily challenges, Palin leans on the Bible verse that says, &ldquo;God hasn&rsquo;t given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power and might and a sound mind.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>That's 2 Timothy 1:7 (close enough, anyway), and Palin has mentioned it on other occasions too. It really does seem to be one of her favorites. So why is this suddenly so personal that she doesn't think anyone should have to talk about it? Are we now all keeping our favorite Bible verses a deeply held secret?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 28 Aug 2015 17:38:23 +0000 Kevin Drum 282911 at http://www.motherjones.com It Turns Out That Those "Full and Unedited" Planned Parenthood Videos.... Aren't http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/it-turns-out-those-full-and-unedited-videosarent <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>I gave up on the Planned Parenthood sting videos a long time ago. It's pretty obvious there was no criminal behavior unmasked, or even any unethical behavior.<sup>1</sup> The claims of the producers never matched the reality of the videos, so I stopped watching when new ones came out.</p> <p>But Sarah Kliff soldiered on! She not only watched them all, she watched the full, unedited versions. And she discovered something after reading a forensic analysis of the videos from Planned Parenthood: they aren't actually full and unedited. The folks who ran the sting claim that they did nothing more than edit out bathroom breaks, <a href="http://www.vox.com/2015/8/28/9217323/planned-parenthood-tapes-edited" target="_blank">but Kliff isn't buying it:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Take the first example I wrote about here, the meeting with the Texas Planned Parenthood clinic where the tape appears to jump forward a half-hour. In that case, nobody suggests a bathroom break. There's no change in meeting; when the video jumps forward, they're still sitting in the exact same seats.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the longer videos show lots of small-talk footage that isn't especially relevant to the argument over fetal body parts. I know because I watched all of it. There are moments in a car, where directions are being given and all the camera footage is totally blurry, where people stand around in hallways, where they talk about the relationship between caffeine and headaches. Those moments weren't cut from the tape &mdash; and it's hard to know what would make those different from the bathroom breaks and other moments deemed irrelevant to the audience.</p> </blockquote> <p>I guess we need a chant for this. <em>Release the video! We demand to see the bathroom breaks! Explain the timestamps!</em> Or something. As far as I'm concerned, Planned Parenthood has long since been exonerated in this episode, so I don't really need to see anything. But I am curious about just what they decided to leave out.</p> <p><sup>1</sup>Standard caveat: If you think abortion is murder, then everything on the video is unethical and immoral.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 28 Aug 2015 16:52:07 +0000 Kevin Drum 282906 at http://www.motherjones.com Have Plans Tonight? Cancel Them. Sarah Palin Is Interviewing Donald Trump. http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/08/sarah-palin-interview-donald-trump <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Fed up with media bullies attacking Donald Trump's purported Bible fanaticism, Sarah Palin announced she will be interviewing the GOP front-runner and <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/28/politics/donald-trump-church-member/index.html" target="_blank">nonactive church member</a> for what's sure to be a circus of a conversation. In a Facebook post today, the former vice presidential candidate and <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/06/fox-news-has-apparently-had-enough-sarah-palin" target="_blank">fired</a> Fox News host explained her plans:</p> <center> <div id="fb-root">&nbsp;</div> <script>(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.3"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script><div class="fb-post" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/sarahpalin/posts/10153596970878588" data-width="500"> <div class="fb-xfbml-parse-ignore"> <blockquote cite="https://www.facebook.com/sarahpalin/posts/10153596970878588"> <p>WTH, LAMESTREAM MEDIA! STAY OUT OF MY BIBLEWTH? Lamestream media asks GOP personal, spiritual "gotchas" that they'd...</p> Posted by <a href="https://www.facebook.com/sarahpalin">Sarah Palin</a> on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/sarahpalin/posts/10153596970878588">Friday, August 28, 2015</a></blockquote> </div> </div> </center> <p>What exactly is One America News? Unclear, but here's <a href="http://www.oann.com/wheretowatch/" target="_blank">how to access it. </a></p> <p>It's all happening.</p> <p><em><strong>Update: </strong></em><a href="http://www.motherjones.com/contributor/2015/08/starts-chanting-kiss-kiss-kiss-kiss-kiss-kiss-kiss-kiss-stops-chanting" target="_blank">Here is a link to the interview.</a></p></body></html> Mixed Media 2016 Elections Media Top Stories Donald Trump Fri, 28 Aug 2015 16:41:52 +0000 Inae Oh 282891 at http://www.motherjones.com Blaming Culture Is a Liberal Thing? Seriously? http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/blaming-culture-liberal-thing-seriously <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/423221/hypocrisy-culture-kills-crowd-charles-c-w-cooke" target="_blank">Over at <em>National Review</em>,</a> Charles Cooke writes about the gruesome murder of WDBJ reporters Alison Parker and Adam Ward on Wednesday:</p> <blockquote> <p>As I have written over and over again during the last few years, I do not believe that we can learn a great deal from the justifications that are forwarded by public killers....Mine, however, is not the only view out there. <strong>Indeed, there is a sizeable contingent within the United States that takes the question of what murderers purport to believe extremely seriously indeed.</strong> It is because of these people that we had to examine &ldquo;toxic masculinity&rdquo; in the wake of the Isla Vista shooting....[etc.]</p> <p>....Half-joking on Twitter, the <em>Free Beacon&rsquo;s</em> Sonny Bunch reacted to this news by observing that, &ldquo;instead of going on a killing spree, this guy should&rsquo;ve gotten a columnist gig at the <em>Guardian</em>.&rdquo; As with all humor, there is some truth at the root of this barb....For what reason is this <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_jesus_moral_decay.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">guy exempt? Why do we not need to have a &ldquo;national conversation&rdquo; about hypersensitivity?</p> <p><strong>The answer, I imagine, is politics, for this instinct seems only to run one way.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Generally speaking, I agree with Cooke. Crazy people are always going to find something to justify their worldview, and they're going to find it somewhere out in the real world. The fact that any particular crazy person decides to have it in for the IRS or Greenpeace or women who laughed at him in high school doesn't mean a lot. It only becomes meaningful if some particular excuse starts showing up a lot. Beyond that, I even agree that the culture of hypersensitivity has gotten out of hand in some precincts of the left.</p> <p>That said....is Cooke kidding? This instinct only runs one way? After the Columbine massacre in 1999, <a href="http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/stories/1999/05/12/gingrich/" target="_blank">Newt Gingrich denounced</a> the "liberal political elite" for "being afraid to talk about the mess you have made, and being afraid to take responsibility for things you have done." Conservatives have been raising Cain about the pernicious effects of Hollywood liberalism, video games, and the decline of religion for decades. Hysteria about the counterculture and liberal moral decay goes back at least to the 60s. I could go on endlessly in this vein, but I don't want to bore you.</p> <p>Complaining about the effects of liberal culture&mdash;whether on shooters specifically, crime more generally, or on all of society&mdash;has been a right-wing mainstay for as long as I've been alive. The left may be catching up, but it still has a ways to go.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 28 Aug 2015 16:11:19 +0000 Kevin Drum 282896 at http://www.motherjones.com