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Opinion | How Racist Is Trump’s Republican Party?
March 18, 2020 | The New York Times | By Thomas B. Edsall
Mr. Edsall contributes a weekly column from Washington, D.C. on politics, demographics and inequality.

** “It Was All A Lie,”  by  Stuart Stevens
Is the modern Republican Party built on race prejudice, otherwise known as racism? Has it become...the “white grievance party”?.....President Trump is the natural outcome of a long chain of events going back to the 1964 election when Barry Goldwater ran for president as an opponent of the Civil Right Act passed earlier that year.......the Republican Party became over the last fifty or so years, a natural product of the seeds of race, self-deception, and anger that became the essence of the Republican Party. Trump isn’t an aberration of the Republican Party; he is the Republican Party in a purified form........ the Republican Party “espoused a core set of values: character counts, personal responsibility, strong on Russia, the national debt actually mattered, immigration made America great, a big-tent party.” ...And what is the truth? The Republican Party is “just a white grievance party.”......Stevens told me, “race is the original sin of the modern Republican Party:” "With Trump, the Party has grown comfortable as a white grievance party. Is that racist? Yes, I think it is. Are 63 million plus people who supported Trump racist? No, absolutely not. But to support Trump is to make peace with white grievance and hate."....there is difficulty in pinning down the meaning of racism and the distinction — if there is one — between being a racist and voting for a racist.....Important to note that  “not all racialized behavior and expressions stem from racial hatred or hating African Americans.”.... even though individual and group motives may not be racist, the outcomes achieved can be identical to the ones that racists would seek:
books  Donald_Trump  GOP  grievances  identity_politics  politics  race  racial_resentment  self-deception  Southern_strategy   
18 days ago by jerryking
Only inclusive power, not oil alone, will birth a future
Mar 02, 2020 | Kaieteur News | by Freddie Kissoon.
The 2011 regime didn’t walk that road. That leadership did not put itself inside the mind of the other half and try to understand how the other half saw it.
The other half didn’t want the 2011 dispensation to rule without bringing it on board.
In the 2015, the election results gave the winner 50.3 percent while the loser collected 49. 7percent. To call that that victory a narrow margin, may be far from an accurate description. That was an infinitesimally close finish.
The term that I use in these columns is one I picked up from cricket commentaries; “a coat of varnish.” The 2015 dispensation did not attempt to understand how the other half felt. The other half was not brought into the scheme of things. The other half resented the “coat of varnish” approach to power after 2015......Almost the entire nation sees the oil revenues as the beginning foundation of a sound, workable future. Count me out of that scenario. There were three high points of economic blossoming – Burnham- 1970 to 1978; Hoyte – 1987 to 1992; and Jagdeo – 2006 to 2011. In all three configurations the divided society saw one half that was left out of power-sharing disparaging the government of the day. Oil money is coming but will oil money erase the culture of ethnic suspicion, ethnic anger, winner-take-all politics, incestuous politics, preferential spending? My answer is no. Guyana’s future lies in power-sharing
elections  empathy  Freddie_Kissoon  Guyana  op-ed  PNC  politics  PPP  power_sharing  winner-take-all 
4 weeks ago by jerryking
After Israel’s election, the country is on a dangerous political path
April 10, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | by ERNA PARIS.

Erna Paris is the author of The Garden and the Gun: A Journey Inside Israel

In her final work, The March of Folly, the late historian Barbara Tuchman defined her subject as “the pursuit of policy contrary to public interest.” Her criteria for folly were threefold: An alternative course of action was available; the actions were endorsed by a group, not just by a particular leader; and the actions were perceived as counterproductive in their own time.

Among Ms. Tuchman’s far-ranging examples were the Trojan Horse and the American war in Vietnam. Were she alive today, she might have included the increasingly dangerous trajectory of Israeli politics.
Barbara_Tuchman  books  Israel  Israeli  politics  fallacies_follies  ethno­nationalism 
april 2019 by jerryking
Why further financial crises are inevitable
March 19, 2019 | Financial Times | Martin Wolf.

We learnt this month that the US Fed had decided not to raise the countercyclical capital buffer required of banks above its current level of zero, even though the US economy is at a cyclical peak. It also removed “qualitative” grades from its stress tests for American banks, though not for foreign ones. Finally, the Financial Stability Oversight Council, led by Steven Mnuchin, US Treasury secretary, removed the last insurer from its list of “too big to fail” institutions.

These decisions may not endanger the stability of the financial system. But they show that financial regulation is procyclical: it is loosened when it should be tightened and tightened when it should be loosened. We do, in fact, learn from history — and then we forget.....Regulation of banks has tightened since the financial crises of 2007-12. Capital and liquidity requirements are stricter, the “stress test” regime is quite demanding, and efforts have been made to end “too big to fail” by developing the idea of orderly “resolution” of large and complex financial institutions.....Yet complacency is unjustified. Banks remain highly leveraged institutions.....history demonstrates the procyclicality of regulation. Again and again, regulation is relaxed during a boom: indeed, the deregulation often fuels that boom. Then, when the damage has been done and disillusionment sets in, it is tightened again........We can see four reasons why this tends to happen: economic, ideological, political and merely human.

* Economic
Over time the financial system evolves. There is a tendency for risk to migrate out of the best regulated parts of the system to less well regulated parts. Even if regulators have the power and will to keep up, the financial innovation that so often accompanies this makes it hard to do so. The global financial system is complex and adaptable. It is also run by highly motivated people. It is hard for regulators to catch up with the evolution of what we now call “shadow banking”.

* Ideological
the tendency to view this complex system through a simplistic lens. The more powerful the ideology of free markets, the more the authority and power of regulators will tend to erode. Naturally, public confidence in this ideology tends to be strong in booms and weak in busts.

* Political

the financial system controls vast resources and can exert huge influence. In the 2018 US electoral cycle, finance, insurance and real estate (three intertwined sectors) were the largest contributors, covering one-seventh of the total cost. This is a superb example of Mancur Olson’s Logic of Collective Action: concentrated interests override the general one. This is much less true in times of crisis, when the public is enraged and wants to punish bankers. But it is true, again, in normal times.

Borderline or even blatant corruption also emerges: politicians may even demand a share in the wealth created in booms. Since politicians ultimately control regulators, the consequences for the latter, even if they are honest and diligent, are evident.

A significant aspect of the politics is closely linked to regulatory arbitrage: international competition. One jurisdiction tries to attract financial business via “light-touch” regulation; others then follow. This is frequently because their own financiers and financial centres complain bitterly. It is hard to resist the argument that foreigners are cheating.

* Human
There is a human tendency to dismiss long-ago events as irrelevant, to believe This Time is Different and ignore what is not under one’s nose. Much of this can be summarised as “disaster myopia”. The public gives irresponsible policymakers the benefit of the doubt and enjoys the boom. Over time, regulation degrades, as the forces against it strengthen and those in its favour corrode.

The cumulative effect of these efforts is quite clear: regulations erode and that erosion will be exported. This has happened before and will do so again. This time, too, is not different.
boom-to-bust  bubbles  collective_action  complacency  corruption  disaster_myopia  entrenched_interests  economic_downturn  financiers  financial_crises  financial_innovation  financial_regulation  financial_system  historical_amnesia  Mancur_Olson  Martin_Wolf  policymakers  politicians  politics  procyclicality  regulatory_arbitrage  regulation  regulators  stress-tests  This_Time_is_Different  U.S._Federal_Reserve 
march 2019 by jerryking
Why is America so bad at information wars?
JULY 18, 2018 | Financial Times | Gillian Tett.

In his new book Messing With the Enemy, Clint Watts, a former FBI agent, describes this exchange as the first “international-terrorist-versus-counter-terrorist Twitter battle”......One way to make sense of today’s extraordinary cyber battles with the Russians is to look at how jihadi groups developed such campaigns years earlier — not least because this oft-ignored parallel shows how the US government has done a poor job fighting its enemies in cyberspace. “America sucks at information warfare,” Watts laments. “Absolutely sucks.”.....US officials attempted to fight back against Isis’s social media campaigns. Watts reveals that in 2013 while at the FBI — and later as a security consultant — he engaged in a long Twitter duel with American-born terrorist Omar Hammami. Other US intelligence groups tried to develop psychological-operations campaigns to fight the extremists. Some of the experimental techniques used to profile social media users were later deployed in the ad-tech industry by companies such as Cambridge Analytica.

However, the US military was simply too bureaucratic, slow moving and rule-laden to match its enemies. And the country that seemed to learn the most from the social media extremists was Russia: Watts describes how he inadvertently witnessed Russian-backed groups populating American social media from the autumn of 2015 onwards, copying some of the tactics of the Islamists....Watts’s proposed remedy is just as startling: he believes that US government agencies are now so ill-equipped to fight in these type of social media wars that it is time for non-government groups to take the lead instead.....many leading figures in Silicon Valley furtively express similar views. Indeed, some appear to be quietly funding civilian “volunteers” to do exactly what Watts suggests: namely, hunt for ways to counter Russian attacks by infiltrating enemy cyber groups.

Who knows whether this type of grass-roots action will work, or how widespread it might be — everything is deeply murky in the arena of cyberspace and information wars.
Gillian_Tett  information_warfare  U.S.  security_&_intelligence  Twitter  al-Shabab  books  cyber_warfare  Russians  hackers  Russia  disinformation  persuasion  trolls  politics  delegitimization  destabilization  deception  infiltration 
july 2018 by jerryking
Steven Brill's "Tailspin": How My Generation Broke America
May 17, 2018 | | Time | By STEVEN BRILL.

From matters small – there are an average of 657 water-main breaks a day, for example – to large, it is clear that the country has gone into a tailspin over the last half-century, when John F. Kennedy’s New Frontier was about seizing the future, not trying to survive the present..............The Meritocracy’s ascent was about more than personal profit. As my generation of achievers graduated from elite universities and moved into the professional world, their personal successes often had serious societal consequences. They upended corporate America and Wall Street with inventions in law and finance that created an economy built on deals that moved assets around instead of building new ones. They created exotic, and risky, financial instruments, including derivatives and credit default swaps, that produced sugar highs of immediate profits but separated those taking the risk from those who would bear the consequences. They organized hedge funds that turned owning stock into a minute-by-minute bet rather than a long-term investment. They invented proxy fights, leveraged buyouts and stock buybacks that gave lawyers and bankers a bonanza of new fees and maximized short-term profits for increasingly unsentimental shareholders, but deadened incentives for the long-term growth of the rest of the economy.....[We need 'guardrails' against legal and financial excesses.]......Forty-eight years after Inky Clark gave me my ticket on the meritocracy express in 1967, a professor at Yale Law School jarred the school’s graduation celebration. Daniel Markovits, who specializes in the intersection of law and behavioral economics, told the class of 2015 that their success getting accepted into, and getting a degree from, the country’s most selective law school actually marked their entry into a newly entrenched aristocracy that had been snuffing out the American Dream for almost everyone else. Elites, he explained, can spend what they need to in order to send their children to the best schools, provide tutors for standardized testing and otherwise ensure that their kids can outcompete their peers to secure the same spots at the top that their parents achieved.

“American meritocracy has thus become precisely what it was invented to combat,” Markovits concluded, “a mechanism for the dynastic transmission of wealth and privilege across generations. Meritocracy now constitutes a modern-day aristocracy.”.....
Daniel_Markovits  baby_boomers  entrepreneur  income_inequality  politics  revenge_effects  Steven_Brill  political_polarization  fractured_internally  books  meritocratic  America_in_Decline?  elitism  lawyers  self-perpetuation  upper-income  inequality  privilege  the_best_and_brightest  tailspins  guardrails  the_American_dream  cultural_transmission  wealth_transfers  partisan_politics 
may 2018 by jerryking
The APNU+AFC Govt. and African Guyanese: After three years, no major Policy Initiative that targets Black Empowerment – Kaieteur News
May 13, 2018 | | Hinds' Sight with Dr. David Hinds.

Many African Guyanese believe that any criticism of this APNU+AFC government, especially by one of their own, is sinful. This is the very attitude that was exhibited by many Indian Guyanese when the PPP held office and which African Guyanese found revolting. But now, with their government in power, African Guyanese are behaving in the same manner. This hypocrisy by our ethnic communities is at the root of Guyana’s failure to move from the backward politics of colonial domination to a more enlightened politics that embrace equality of opportunity and national consensus as guiding principles. And this failure has impeded economic liberation from poverty and want, and kept us a poor, underdeveloped country.......Most African Guyanese live in the urban areas and in ancestral villages. But these spaces are hardly hubs of economic opportunities. Three years after its assumption of office, there is still no comprehensive Urban and Village renewal initiative. Many African Guyanese villages and communities don’t have markets, for example. Hence, there is little money circulation in those communities.
I know there are many who would say that Village and Urban Renewal are not government business. I beg to disagree. The poor state of those communities is a direct result of government policies, so the repair job must be initiated by government policy.
Afro-Guyanese  African_Guyanese_villages  David_Hinds  disempowerment  economic_empowerment  economic_development  economic_dynamism  economically_disadvantaged  equality_of_opportunity  ethnic_communities  Guyana  Guyanese  institutions  politics  revitalization 
may 2018 by jerryking
We cannot win if we do not like each other
May 6 2018 | Sunday Stabroek | by Ian McDonald.

When I was a schoolboy we had a games-master named Mr. Wilkinson who had served the College for all eternity. I suppose he must have been in his fi...
Guyana  Guyanese  partisanship  national_unity  factionalism  dissension  ethnic_divisions  politics  intolerance  incivility  mistrust  personal_animosity  personal_invective 
may 2018 by jerryking
How Vladimir Putin mastered the cyber disinformation war
February 18, 2018 | FT | by Andrei Soldatov.

outsourcing cyber disinformation campaigns has become a tactic used by Russia to create plausible deniability and lower the costs and risks of controversial overseas operations. Today, Kremlin-backed cyber campaigns have an unorthodox chain of command. It is one in which non-state actors — primarily businessmen with personal ties to important figures in the Kremlin — call the shots, not, as in western cyber operations, the electronic and signals intelligence gathering wings of the army and government agencies.
Vladimir_Putin  Robert_Mueller  indictments  Russia  disinformation  persuasion  trolls  politics  delegitimization  destabilization  deception  cyber_warfare  information_warfare  Kremlin 
february 2018 by jerryking
The temptation of Oprah Winfrey
January 10, 2018 | FT | by Edward Luce.

[Oprah Winfrey & Donald Trump] share a disqualifying trait: they are celebrities with no experience in politics. If Ms Winfrey is the answer to Mr Trump, what was the question?

I mean no disrespect to famous people. America invented the celebrity and nobody does it as well. But America also came up with modern democracy. The problem is that celebrity culture is taking over politics, which is a dead loss for governing.....But there is nothing in Ms Winfrey’s background that would equip her to tackle the future of work, or the rise of China. All a Winfrey administration would bring is personal brand destruction. What is at stake is America’s ability to govern itself sensibly. The US constitution was designed to exclude mob rule. The people should have their say — but with safeguards. It was set up precisely to stop someone like Mr Trump from taking over. The fact that many Americans do not know this underlines the point. The popular view is that the US was founded as a democracy. In fact, it was born as a constitutional republic. There is a big difference. America’s founding fathers feared the demagogue. Their system worked until 2016. Now it is in jeopardy.
speeches  Edward_Luce  Oprah_Winfrey  African-Americans  demagoguery  founding_fathers  women  celebrities  Donald_Trump  politics 
january 2018 by jerryking
John Doyle: This is no time to take a vacation from the news
AUGUST 21, 2017 | The Globe and Mail | JOHN DOYLE .

Today the volume of political news can be overwhelming, with crazy events amping up the news cycles ....There is genuine fatigue – and that's understandable – but it's wrong. The temptation is to twist all Trump-related news into one big tumbleweed of tedious acrimony and let it blow away. At this particular time of the year, a lot of people are on vacation and there is aversion to the ill-temper of it all. Best ignore the news, say many people....ignore it at our peril.....I was put in mind of the late Rob Ford, the former Toronto mayor.

Just a few years ago, in this neck if the woods, citizens of Toronto felt they were living in bewildering times. Analysis was beggared by the news as it unfolded – the Rob Ford fandango of revelations, accusations, apologies and freakouts. It was exhausting to watch, let alone cover it. Often, TV and print media covered the Ford situation by relying on the usual menu of some expert pontificating on the marketing and selling of politicians. This was comically useless in the Ford situation. There was no playbook. There were no rules. Does that ring a bell of recognition?....Mr. Ford held sway with his many supporters because, in part, he knew that in the digital age, a portion of the electorate only dips in and out of the news narrative. There's a bunch of people who don't know or care what's real and what's merely sensational half-truths or biased opinion – that became starkly evident during the Ford years in Toronto.

It's important not to be one of those people, not to give in to fatigue and tune out news coverage. If you paid close attention to the Ford phenomenon, you could see what was coming in the politics practised during the digital age. Rob Ford merely insulted the intelligence. Donald Trump is doing far worse than that. Pay attention.
John_Doyle  news  Rob_Ford  Donald_Trump  fatigue  politics  playbooks  pay_attention 
september 2017 by jerryking
Sage Advice From the ‘Gold Standard’ of White House Chiefs of Staff
JULY 30, 2017 | The New York Times | By PETER BAKER.

When a new White House chief of staff takes over, the smart ones check in with James A. Baker III, the only man to have occupied the office two different times for two different presidents and who is widely considered to be the gold standard.

Mr. Baker has plenty of advice from running the White House during Ronald Reagan’s first term and again at the end of George Bush’s presidency, but it usually boils down to this: “You can focus on the ‘chief,’ or you can focus on the ‘of staff.’ Those who have focused on the ‘of staff’ have done pretty well.”.....Mr. Kelly’s experience is in national security. “That’s a very different matter than someone who has to navigate all the crosscurrents of dealing with domestic politics, dealing with Capitol Hill and dealing with a president who just can’t throw his phone away and stop tweeting,”......Mr. Reagan’s selection of Mr. Baker may have been most surprising. No loyalist coming in, Mr. Baker had managed the campaigns of not one but two Republicans who had run against Mr. Reagan — Mr. Ford in 1976 and Mr. Bush in 1980. But Mr. Reagan believed he needed someone like Mr. Baker, a dealmaking pragmatist who could work both sides of the aisle, manage difficult personalities and assert his dominance among the staff while channeling the president.
White_House  politics  appointments  chief_of_staff  James_A._Baker_III 
july 2017 by jerryking
“Ratf**cked”: The Influence of Redistricting - The New Yorker
JUNE 27, 2016 ISSUE
DRAWING THE LINE
How redistricting turned America from blue to red.
By Elizabeth Kolbert
books  gerrymandering  politics  political_partisanship  political_polarization 
march 2017 by jerryking
The Feud That Sank Saigon
MARCH 3, 2017 | The New York Times | Sean Fear
VIETNAM '67
feuds  Vietnam  Vietnam_War  1967  history  politics  Saigon  disputes  rivalries 
march 2017 by jerryking
The Women Who Met Hillary, and Spotted a Future Political Star - The New York Times
DEC. 24, 2016 | NYT | By SUSAN DOMINUS.

Hilary Clinton started changing American political culture for women as far back as the early 1970s — not through a candidacy of her own, but through a series of small, but crucial, networking moves.

The number of women who laboured in basement meetings, in consciousness-raising groups, in boardrooms, in unions, in news organizations and in their own kitchens to expand possibilities for women are far too many to count....Prominent among those who did were a few key friends of Mrs. Clinton whom she helped find paths to the cause, including a Texan political player named Betsey Wright....I’m ushered in to the National League of Women Voters headquarters, and Hillary tells them, ‘This can be your youth director.’”

Ms. Piercy, representing the league, went on to attend the Republican and Democratic conventions in 1972, a key inflection point for female activists. “We realized that the only way we could be accepted as equals was to be in office,” she said. “But the parties were not interested in cultivating women. So we realized we would have to train them ourselves.”...while Mrs. Clinton was a law student supporting the presidential candidate Senator George McGovern in San Antonio, she met Ms. Wright, the person she thought could galvanize and prepare potential female candidates.....Ms. Wright had previously worked on individual women’s campaigns. Yet it was Mrs. Clinton who suggested that Ms. Wright move to Washington to spread her expertise, by joining Ms. Piercy and Ms. Griffith to work for what would become known as the National Women’s Education Fund, an unofficial training arm of the National Women’s Political Caucus, with no formal affiliation. “Hillary was saying they really did need to get somebody who understood local races,” Ms. Wright said. “And she strongly urged me to go.”....Wright created seminars and training sessions that taught women how to maneuver within the political process.

She also formed a powerful partnership with Ruth Mandel, who had recently created the pioneering Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. It was not just that they needed to train women, Ms. Mandel said; they needed to “help women overcome their own resistance to gaining political power in their own right.”...Wright knew that revolutions start with pragmatics: She created a training manual that the Education Fund and the Political Caucus relied on heavily for years, a guidebook that broke down the logistics of opinion polling, reaching the news media and recruiting a staff. The training sessions offered advice on every aspect of campaigning, including details specific to women.
Hillary_Clinton  politics  political_campaigns  discipline  political_infrastructure  institutions  politicians  institution-building  women  networking  training  consciousness-raising  grass-roots  inflection_points 
january 2017 by jerryking
My President Was Black - The Atlantic
By Ta-Nehisi Coates
Photograph by Ian Allen

JAN/FEB 2017 ISSUE
Ta-Nehisi_Coates  Obama  politics  retrospectives 
december 2016 by jerryking
Goodbye to Barack Obama’s world
November 27, 2016 | Financial Times | by: Edward Luce

But Mr Trump will not reverse America’s relative decline. The chances are he will drastically accelerate it. The global role that Mr Obama inherited — and tried, to some degree, to uphold — is now in tatters. It would be hard to overstate the epochal significance of Mr Trump’s election. The US-led international order as we knew it for 70 years is over. The era of great power politics is back. An ebullient Russia, led by the strongman Putin, and an increasingly confident China, led by the strongman Xi Jinping, will deal with a wounded America led by strongman Trump. The long-term trajectory is towards China. But the short-term drama will focus on Mr Trump’s dealings with Mr Putin. How they play out is anybody’s guess. But it will not be pretty. Europe will be the loser. So too will American prestige.
politics  farewells  Obama  Donald_Trump  America_in_Decline?  legacies  Obamacare  climate_change  international_system  Edward_Luce  strongman  China_rising 
november 2016 by jerryking
Representation: Edmund Burke, Speech to the Electors of Bristol
Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.
democracy  politics  speeches  Edmund_Burke  quotes  judgment  representation 
november 2016 by jerryking
What Ben Franklin Could Teach Us About Civility and Politics - WSJ
By STEVEN C. BULLOCK
Nov. 7, 2016

As Ben Franklin once said: "We must all hang together or assuredly we shall all hang separately.
Benjamin_Franklin  Founding_Fathers  politeness  civility  humility  politics  quotes 
november 2016 by jerryking
Why Hillary Clinton Needs to Be Two-Faced - The New York Times
By JONATHAN RAUCHOCT. 22, 2016
“Politics is like sausage being made. It is unsavory, and it always has been that way, but we usually end up where we need to be. But if everybody’s watching all of the back-room discussions and the deals, then people get a little nervous, to say the least. So you need both a public and a private position.”

Right. In politics, hypocrisy and doublespeak are tools. They can be used nefariously, illegally or for personal gain, as when President Richard M. Nixon denied Watergate complicity, but they can also be used for legitimate public purposes, such as trying to prevent a civil war, as in Lincoln’s case,
Hillary_Clinton  Campaign_2016  hypocrisy  doublespeak  politics 
october 2016 by jerryking
Ultra-rich man’s letter: “To My Fellow Filthy Rich Americans: The Pitchforks Are Coming” – TIP
Ultra-rich man’s letter: “To My Fellow Filthy Rich Americans: The Pitchforks Are Coming”

By NICK HANAUER | politico

You probably don’t know me, but like you I am one of those .01%ers, a proud and unapologetic capitalist. I have founded, co-founded and funded more than 30 companies across a range of industries—from itsy-bitsy ones like the night club I started in my 20s to giant ones like Amazon.com, for which I was the first nonfamily investor. Then I founded aQuantive, an Internet advertising company that was sold to Microsoft in 2007 for $6.4 billion. In cash. My friends and I own a bank. I tell you all this to demonstrate that in many ways I’m no different from you. Like you, I have a broad perspective on business and capitalism. And also like you, I have been rewarded obscenely for my success, with a life that the other 99.99 percent of Americans can’t even imagine. Multiple homes, my own plane, etc., etc. You know what I’m talking about. In 1992, I was selling pillows made by my family’s business, Pacific Coast Feather Co., to retail stores across the country, and the Internet was a clunky novelty to which one hooked up with a loud squawk at 300 baud. But I saw pretty quickly, even back then, that many of my customers, the big department store chains, were already doomed. I knew that as soon as the Internet became fast and trustworthy enough—and that time wasn’t far off—people were going to shop online like crazy. Goodbye, Caldor. And Filene’s. And Borders. And on and on.

Realizing that, seeing over the horizon a little faster than the next guy, was the strategic part of my success. The lucky part was that I had two friends, both immensely talented, who also saw a lot of potential in the web. One was a guy you’ve probably never heard of named Jeff Tauber, and the other was a fellow named Jeff Bezos. I was so excited by the potential of the web that I told both Jeffs that I wanted to invest in whatever they launched, big time. It just happened that the second Jeff—Bezos—called me back first to take up my investment offer. So I helped underwrite his tiny start-up bookseller. The other Jeff started a web department store called Cybershop, but at a time when trust in Internet sales was still low, it was too early for his high-end online idea; people just weren’t yet ready to buy expensive goods without personally checking them out (unlike a basic commodity like books, which don’t vary in quality—Bezos’ great insight). Cybershop didn’t make it, just another dot-com bust. Amazon did somewhat better. Now I own a very large yacht.

But let’s speak frankly to each other. I’m not the smartest guy you’ve ever met, or the hardest-working. I was a mediocre student. I’m not technical at all—I can’t write a word of code. What sets me apart, I think, is a tolerance for risk and an intuition about what will happen in the future. Seeing where things are headed is the essence of entrepreneurship. And what do I see in our future now?

I see pitchforks.

At the same time that people like you and me are thriving beyond the dreams of any plutocrats in history, the rest of the country—the 99.99 percent—is lagging far behind. The divide between the haves and have-nots is getting worse really, really fast. In 1980, the top 1 percent controlled about 8 percent of U.S. national income. The bottom 50 percent shared about 18 percent. Today the top 1 percent share about 20 percent; the bottom 50 percent, just 12 percent.

But the problem isn’t that we have inequality. Some inequality is intrinsic to any high-functioning capitalist economy. The problem is that inequality is at historically high levels and getting worse every day. Our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society. Unless our policies change dramatically, the middle class will disappear, and we will be back to late 18th-century France. Before the revolution.

And so I have a message for my fellow filthy rich, for all of us who live in our gated bubble worlds: Wake up, people. It won’t last.

If we don’t do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us. No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality. In fact, there is no example in human history where wealth accumulated like this and the pitchforks didn’t eventually come out. You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state. Or an uprising. There are no counterexamples. None. It’s not if, it’s when.

_h3218_w4866_m2_bwhite(Image: news.msn)


Many of us think we’re special because “this is America.” We think we’re immune to the same forces that started the Arab Spring—or the French and Russian revolutions, for that matter. I know you fellow .01%ers tend to dismiss this kind of argument; I’ve had many of you tell me to my face I’m completely bonkers. And yes, I know there are many of you who are convinced that because you saw a poor kid with an iPhone that one time, inequality is a fiction.

The model for us rich guys here should be Henry Ford, who realized that all his autoworkers in Michigan weren’t only cheap labor to be exploited; they were consumers, too. Ford figured that if he raised their wages, to a then-exorbitant $5 a day, they’d be able to afford his Model Ts.

What a great idea. My suggestion to you is: Let’s do it all over again. We’ve got to try something. These idiotic trickle-down policies are destroying my customer base. And yours too.

It’s when I realized this that I decided I had to leave my insulated world of the super-rich and get involved in politics. Not directly, by running for office or becoming one of the big-money billionaires who back candidates in an election. Instead, I wanted to try to change the conversation with ideas—by advancing what my co-author, Eric Liu, and I call “middle-out” economics. It’s the long-overdue rebuttal to the trickle-down economics worldview that has become economic orthodoxy across party lines—and has so screwed the American middle class and our economy generally. Middle-out economics rejects the old misconception that an economy is a perfectly efficient, mechanistic system and embraces the much more accurate idea of an economy as a complex ecosystem made up of real people who are dependent on one another.

Which is why the fundamental law of capitalism must be: If workers have more money, businesses have more customers. Which makes middle-class consumers, not rich businesspeople like us, the true job creators. Which means a thriving middle class is the source of American prosperity, not a consequence of it. The middle class creates us rich people, not the other way around.

On June 19, 2013, Bloomberg published an article I wrote called “The Capitalist’s Case for a $15 Minimum Wage.” Forbes labeled it “Nick Hanauer’s near insane” proposal. And yet, just weeks after it was published, my friend David Rolf, a Service Employees International Union organizer, roused fast-food workers to go on strike around the country for a $15 living wage. Nearly a year later, the city of Seattle passed a $15 minimum wage. And just 350 days after my article was published, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signed that ordinance into law. How could this happen, you ask?

It happened because we reminded the masses that they are the source of growth and prosperity, not us rich guys. We reminded them that when workers have more money, businesses have more customers—and need more employees. We reminded them that if businesses paid workers a living wage rather than poverty wages, taxpayers wouldn’t have to make up the difference. And when we got done, 74 percent of likely Seattle voters in a recent poll agreed that a $15 minimum wage was a swell idea.

The standard response in the minimum-wage debate, made by Republicans and their business backers and plenty of Democrats as well, is that raising the minimum wage costs jobs. Businesses will have to lay off workers. This argument reflects the orthodox economics that most people had in college. If you took Econ 101, then you literally were taught that if wages go up, employment must go down. The law of supply and demand and all that. That’s why you’ve got John Boehner and other Republicans in Congress insisting that if you price employment higher, you get less of it. Really?

The thing about us businesspeople is that we love our customers rich and our employees poor.

Because here’s an odd thing. During the past three decades, compensation for CEOs grew 127 times faster than it did for workers. Since 1950, the CEO-to-worker pay ratio has increased 1,000 percent, and that is not a typo. CEOs used to earn 30 times the median wage; now they rake in 500 times. Yet no company I know of has eliminated its senior managers, or outsourced them to China or automated their jobs. Instead, we now have more CEOs and senior executives than ever before. So, too, for financial services workers and technology workers. These folks earn multiples of the median wage, yet we somehow have more and more of them.

140624_fatcats_grid_1160
The Art of the Fat Cat A century and a half of soaking the rich—with ink.
By MATT WUERKER – (politico)

The thing about us businesspeople is that we love our customers rich and our employees poor. So for as long as there has been capitalism, capitalists have said the same thing about any effort to raise wages. We’ve had 75 years of complaints from big business—when the minimum wage was instituted, when women had to be paid equitable amounts, when child labor laws were created. Every time the capitalists said exactly the same thing in the same way: We’re all going to go bankrupt. I’ll have to close. I’ll have to lay everyone off. It hasn’t happened. In fact, the data show that when workers are better treated, business gets better. The naysayers are just wrong.

Most of you probably think that the $15 minimum wage in Seattle is an insane departure from rational policy that puts our … [more]
Accomplisher_Class  economics  feudalism  high_net_worth  income_inequality  middle_class  minimum_wage  politics  social_fabric  the_one_percent  via:enochko  worldviews 
september 2016 by jerryking
Culture of disrespect: What’s the minister’s remedy? - The Globe and Mail
LAWRENCE MARTIN
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Jun. 21, 2016

All of my colleagues in the Alberta Legislature deserve respect, including Premier Notley.”

There’s that word “respect” again. It’s everywhere, a lack of it being at the heart of most conflicts.

The social climate is much tamer in Canada than in the United States or in parts of Europe where parties of the far right flourish. But our society has been hit, too.

As Mark Kingwell wrote in The Globe and Mail on Saturday, rationalism is losing ground. Respect for fact, for truth, for evidence is on the wane. They no longer exert their traditional pull. Lose those anchors and what’s next?

As for the chief cause, many point to the unfiltered Internet world, which has given megaphones to the angry and unhinged. They are empowered like never before. The social climate is polarized. Thunder from the fringes silences the stable centre.
disrespect  politics  Lawrence_Martin  remedies  social_climate  rationalism  free_speech  political_satire 
june 2016 by jerryking
Trump is the GOP’s Frankenstein monster. Now he’s strong enough to destroy the party. - The Washington Post
By Robert Kagan February 25

Then there was the party’s accommodation to and exploitation of the bigotry in its ranks. No, the majority of Republicans are not bigots. But they have certainly been enablers. Who began the attack on immigrants — legal and illegal — long before Trump arrived on the scene and made it his premier issue? Who frightened Mitt Romney into selling his soul in 2012, talking of “self-deportation” to get himself right with the party’s anti-immigrant forces? Who opposed any plausible means of dealing with the genuine problem of illegal immigration, forcing Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to cower, abandon his principles — and his own immigration legislation — lest he be driven from the presidential race before it had even begun? It was not Trump. It was not even party yahoos. It was Republican Party pundits and intellectuals, trying to harness populist passions and perhaps deal a blow to any legislation for which President Obama might possibly claim even partial credit. What did Trump do but pick up where they left off, tapping the well-primed gusher of popular anger, xenophobia and, yes, bigotry that the party had already unleashed?
Obama  Campaign_2016  Donald_Trump  GOP  bigotry  politics  obstructionism 
march 2016 by jerryking
Blame the politicians, not Metrolinx, for UPX fiasco - The Globe and Mail
OLIVER MOORE AND ADRIAN MORROW
The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Feb. 12, 2016
UPX  Metrolinx  politics  Toronto  transit  white_elephants  politicians 
february 2016 by jerryking
Jeffrey Simpson: What Iowa can and can’t tell us - The Globe and Mail
JEFFREY SIMPSON
Why Rubio will likely win the nomination. But for the wrong reasons
SUBSCRIBERS ONLY
The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Feb. 03, 2016
Marco_Rubio  Campaign_2016  GOP  nominations  politics  Jeffrey_Simpson  candidates 
february 2016 by jerryking
U.S. politics: The time for laughter is over - The Globe and Mail
LAWRENCE MARTIN
Fort Lauderdale, Fla. — Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016
Lawrence_Martin  Campaign_2016  Donald_Trump  politics  middle_class 
january 2016 by jerryking
How to right the Conservative ship - The Globe and Mail
TONY CLEMENT
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015

Over time, Conservatives must not shy away from a broader suite of policy solutions as an alternative to what the Liberals and NDP have on offer. For example, can Conservatives have a distinctively conservative policy on poverty elimination? What is the Conservative vision regarding the relationship with indigenous peoples? How about an environmental policy that is consistent with Canadian values? Or Internet rights and responsibilities? Answers to these questions will require a good amount of consultation and discussion, and will require time and energy. But there is no reason why Conservatives cannot offer compelling alternatives to Liberal and NDP policies.

There are also critical issues facing the Conservative Party as an electoral machine. We must also do a better job of organizing and training in our Conservative ranks, and adapt far better to the new online world. Better social media presence is just the start of the effort. Community is now defined not only as what exists in our cities and towns but the virtual communities of the online world. Our volunteers must be motivated and welcomed. Feedback loops from the field must be taken seriously.

We must also not write off 100 or more electoral districts without a fight. I would like to see an organizational unit within our party, specifically charged with how to make hard-to-win ridings easier to win.
aboriginals  Conservative_Party  environment  hard_goals  Liberals  NDP  online_communities  organizational_capital  policymaking  political_infrastructure  politics  post-mortems  renewal  social_media  think_tanks  training 
december 2015 by jerryking
Ms. Wynne: Painting wasteful policies with a green brush won’t fool Ontarians - The Globe and Mail
CHRISTINE VAN GEYN
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Dec. 21, 2015

The cap-and-trade system for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases is a revenue plan couched in green language. It is a complex scheme that involves the government creating financial products called “carbon credits” that it then forces industries to buy and trade. Of course it requires the establishment of an enormous bureaucracy. The plan is projected to raise $2-billion in revenue for the government each year.
Ontario  Liberals  green  Kathleen_Wynne  cap-and-trade  environment  politics  policy  green_washing  carbon_credits 
december 2015 by jerryking
ATTENTION TO DETAIL by Dave Martins and The... - Dave Martins and The Tradewinds
the two biggest concerns for me are, in macro, the Indian/black ethnic division, and, in micro, the widespread tendency to accept or even encourage the sub-standard. For someone who has lived in the developed world, for two or three decades, that discinclination or disability to pay attention to detail in the various aspects of our life, is a jolt, and adjusting to that difference is very difficult because it confronts one daily. ....It is a detail, but we don’t seem to have yet understood in Guyana that the difference between good and excellent is always, absolutely always, in the details. Here, we praise the overall structure and seem oblivious to the pieces left hanging.
More pivotally, the lack is across the board. It is not just in the things we build. It is in the presentations we give, in the shows we stage, even in the way we drive. It is rampant in the media. Without fail, every day, there are punctuation errors, or declensions wrong, or verb/subject disagreements in our newspapers, and the lack of attention to detail in how we say what we say infects the broadcast media as well..... A friend of mine, with an awareness of the problem, says that this lack of attention to detail is now part of our cultural make-up; it is a condition of who we are and what we are. It is Guyana’s sociology in 2013. Cynical as that may be, it is a contention to consider....
Guyanese  Guyana  politics  limitations  detail_oriented  ethnic_divisions  quality  standards  substandard  developed_countries  Dave_Martins  shortcomings  developing_countries  pay_attention 
december 2015 by jerryking
A Wealthy Governor and His Friends Are Remaking Illinois - The New York Times
By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE NOV. 29, 2015

For an idea, just read Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" to get an idea of pre worker rights America. Or, even Charles Dickens would be useful here; like "Oliver Twist", "David Copperfield" or "A Christmas Carol".
moguls  politicians  politics  Illinois 
november 2015 by jerryking
Dear MPs not picked for cabinet: Get over it - The Globe and Mail
Nov. 04, 2015 | The Globe and Mail | BARRY CAMPBELL.

The political arena is not for the meek. There is much to learn and some of that is hard: how to create distance between brain and mouth so you are not the subject of an unfortunate headline and a nasty call from the Prime Minister’s Office; how to make everyone still like you even when you couldn’t do much to help; and how to be patient knowing that you can’t fix everything. Victories may be few and small, but still worth it.

You will learn from your caucus colleagues (each of whom thinks he or she is as smart and deserving as you) and learn how to give credit when it is due and when to keep your own counsel. Learn how to live to fight another day, how to speak at caucus meetings and be noticed (humour helps) and how to be a partisan loyalist and a relentless self-promoter without losing your soul and the still be the person who came to Ottawa to serve their country.

My advice is this: Your power will come through how well you develop and manage relationships – with the cabinet, your colleagues, Hill staff, civil servants and even the opposition. Your lack of an official portfolio means that you can be more objective and provide cabinet ministers with an unvarnished perspective they’ll appreciate (mostly).

Pick both your battles and causes carefully. Most important, pick an issue and be its voice. Make it yours. (or...use your political_capital wisely)
advice  appointments  Justin_Trudeau  politics  politicians  serving_others  political_capital  wisdom  humility  self-promotion  self-starters  House_of_Commons  influence  PMO  relationships  speaking_up  the_Cabinet 
november 2015 by jerryking
The new game | The Economist
Oct 17th 2015 |

America still has resources other powers lack. Foremost is its web of alliances, including NATO. Whereas Mr Obama sometimes behaves as if alliances are transactional, they need solid foundations. America’s military power is unmatched, but it is hindered by pork-barrel politics and automatic cuts mandated by Congress. These spring from the biggest brake on American leadership: dysfunctional politics in Washington. That is not just a poor advertisement for democracy; it also stymies America’s interest. In the new game it is something that the United States—and the world—can ill afford.
Asia_Pacific  China  gridlocked_politics  indispensable  influence  international_system  NATO  networks  network_density  network_power  political_power  Obama  Russia  South_China_Sea  strategic_alliances  superpowers  Syria  transactional_relationships  U.S.foreign_policy  politics  Vladimir_Putin 
october 2015 by jerryking
Why Canada’s shift to conservatism isn’t dead - The Globe and Mail
DARRELL BRICKER AND JOHN IBBITSON
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015
conservatism  Canada  Canadian  Federal_Election_2015  politics  John_Ibbitson 
october 2015 by jerryking
Jeffrey Simpson: For Tories, a long list of difficult questions - The Globe and Mail
JEFFREY SIMPSON

The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015

Having recently been centre stage, the Conservatives might be tempted to figure out quickly how best to return there. Nothing could be more counterproductive.

They should use their prolonged period of being marginal players to figure out what they should say when centre stage truly beckons again, because for now, and for the foreseeable future, the vast majority of Canadians don’t want to hear from or about Conservatives, so bitter is their memory of the Harper years....Leadership puts the proverbial cart before the horse. What the Conservatives need – this is the cart – is to ask themselves at length and in depth: Where did we go wrong? Was it just that we overstayed our welcome and “time for a change” defeated us?

Or was there something deeper about who we were, what we stood for, how we made decisions, how we communicated them to Canadians, how we related to other Canadian institutions such as provinces, the business community, aboriginals, the news media, officers of Parliament, the civil service, non-governmental groups?

Why were we at daggers drawn with scientists, civil servants, “experts,” journalists, the cultural community, even part of the business community (telecommunications, railroads)? Is that where we want to be as Conservatives?

How did we manage to fritter away about a fifth of the support we had secured in the 2011 election by voting day 2015? Why are we by far the least-favoured second-choice party, with the fewest number of people who would consider voting for us? Is it the correct strategy to try for a maximum of 40 per cent of the electors?
Stephen_Harper  Federal_Election_2015  Conservative_Party  introspection  Jeffrey_Simpson  politics  leadership  soul-searching 
october 2015 by jerryking
Calgary MP Michelle Rempel weighs Conservative leadership bid
Toronto businessman Mark Mulroney says he won’t run for the Conservative leadership – at least not for now. Calgary MP Michelle Rempel, on the other hand, is openly musing about a…
conservatism  Calgary  politics 
october 2015 by jerryking
The Republicans’ Incompetence Caucus - The New York Times
OCT. 13, 2015 | NYT | David Brooks.

The Republican Party’s capacity for effective self-governance degraded slowly, over the course of a long chain of rhetorical excesses, mental corruptions and philosophical betrayals. Basically, the party abandoned traditional conservatism for right-wing radicalism. Republicans came to see themselves as insurgents and revolutionaries, and every revolution tends toward anarchy and ends up devouring its own.
By traditional definitions, conservatism stands for intellectual humility, a belief in steady, incremental change, a preference for reform rather than revolution, a respect for hierarchy, precedence, balance and order, and a tone of voice that is prudent, measured and responsible. Conservatives of this disposition can be dull, but they know how to nurture and run institutions....Over the past 30 years, or at least since Rush Limbaugh came on the scene, the Republican rhetorical tone has grown ever more bombastic, hyperbolic and imbalanced....Politics is the process of making decisions amid diverse opinions. It involves conversation, calm deliberation, self-discipline, the capacity to listen to other points of view and balance valid but competing ideas and interests.

But this new Republican faction regards the messy business of politics as soiled and impure. Compromise is corruption. Inconvenient facts are ignored. Countrymen with different views are regarded as aliens. Political identity became a sort of ethnic identity, and any compromise was regarded as a blood betrayal.
right-wing  David_Brooks  GOP  conservatism  Tea_Party  dysfunction  root_cause  Rush_Limbaugh  radicalization  mindsets  messiness  politics  compromise  rhetoric  listening  self-discipline  conversations  partisanship  political_polarization  partisan_warfare 
october 2015 by jerryking
Is Solomon scandal the latest sign of a CBC celebrity culture? - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Jun. 10, 2015

Like so many other journalists in the tiny Ottawa bubble, Mr. Solomon seems to have confused what is ultimately a transactional relationship with friendship. But only a naive or egotistical reporter could think “people of great power” want to be their friend for their intellect or sense of humour.
celebrities  scandals  CBC  Konrad_Yakabuski  Evan_Solomon  politics  journalism  journalists 
june 2015 by jerryking
Infrastructure spending is no miracle cure - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Apr. 23 2015

In some circles, infrastructure spending is seen as a miracle cure to lift the economy, if not political fortunes. With rock bottom interest rates, proponents say now is the perfect time to ramp up spending on trains and subways in order to stimulate growth, relieve congestion and boost long-term productivity.

As with most economic strategies, however, the devil is in the execution....You can always find studies to buttress your claims that new infrastructure pays for itself by stimulating the economy and generating jobs during the construction phase while boosting productivity thereafter. But this is hardly true across the board. Does anyone believe the Sheppard subway line has made Toronto’s economy more productive? It’s a sinkhole whose operating costs are a drain on the rest of the transit system.

And what about Pearson Airport’s Terminal 1? It’s a cavernous monster that adds to passenger stress levels while subtracting from their productivity. Speaking of poorly conceived projects, the soon-to-open rail link between Pearson and downtown Toronto appears to rely on overly optimistic ridership projections.

In our infrastructure envy, we decry our subways, roads and commuter trains as second-rate. But proper scale and functionality are far more important than fancy architecture or expensive materials.
Konrad_Yakabuski  infrastructure  politics  debt  second-rate  Keynesian  scaling  functionality  UPX  interest_rates  sinkholes  low-interest  overoptimism 
april 2015 by jerryking
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