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Gender: Female
Member since: Sun Sep 11, 2016, 01:18 AM
Number of posts: 10,173

About Me

Be true, be brave, stand. All the rest is darkness.

Journal Archives

Finland: Basic Income experiment authorized by Parliament starting Jan 9th

Well done Finns

"Finland’s Ministry of Social Affairs and Health drafted the legislative proposal for the experiment in August, and submitted the proposal to Parliament after hearing public opinions on the draft proposal. The proposal elicited some controversy, in part due to the relatively small size of the basic income (560 EUR) as well as the choice of sample population, which will consist only of recipients of the country’s unemployment benefits. However, the basic design of the experiment remains unchanged: a random sample of 2,000 individuals, drawn from current working-age beneficiaries of unemployment benefits, will receive an unconditional basic income of 560 EUR per month for a two-year period. (Brief responses to the objections are included in the most recent version of Kela’s report on the experiment.)

The primary objective of the experiment is to assess whether an unconditional basic income promotes employment. Experimenters will compare the employment rate among basic income recipients to that within a control group of individuals who continue to receive traditional unemployment benefits. As Kela’s website states, the Finnish government is interested in basic income due to its potential to “reduce the amount of work involved in seeking financial assistance” and “free up time and resources for other activities such as working or seeking employment”. The experiment will also provide data used to estimate the cost of implementing a nationwide basic income."


He was just kidding!

Gingrich Says Trump's No Longer Interested In 'Drain The Swamp'

Newt Gingrich said Wednesday that Donald Trump’s “drain the swamp” catch phrase was “cute” but that the President-elect now disclaims it.

During an interview with NPR’s “Morning Edition” Wednesday, host Rachel Martin asked if the former House speaker had been “working in the swamp, to use Donald Trump’s language.”

“I’m told he now just disclaims that. He now says it was cute, but he doesn't want to use it anymore,” Gingrich said, referring to the phrase. “I'd written what I thought was a very cute tweet about ‘the alligators are complaining,’ and somebody wrote back and said they were tired of hearing this stuff.”

Later, Gingrich added: “I personally, as a sense of humor, like the alligator and swamp language, and I think it vividly illustrates the problem, because all the people in this city who are the alligators are going to hate the swamp being drained. And there's going to be constant fighting over it. But, you know, he is my leader and if he decides to drop the swamp and the alligator I will drop the swamp and the alligator.”

On Monday, Gingrich drew scrutiny for asserting during an interview on “The Diane Rehm Show” that Trump would be able to simply pardon members of his family who broke anti-nepotism laws by working in his administration. Richard Painter, who was President George W. Bush’s chief White House ethics lawyer from 2005 to 2007, responded that “If the pardon power allows that, the pardon power allows the president to become a dictator.”

Martin asked Gingrich about the presidential pardon on Wednesday. Gingrich defended his comment by arguing that the Constitution “gives the president of the United States an extraordinarily wide grant of authority to use the power of the pardon. I'm not saying he should. I'm not saying he will.


We're being primed to accept his outrageous BS as normal, so that when he does what he really intends, it'll be dismissed as "normal"

The Rules for Rulers

CGP Grey's vids are always interesting ( the channel is worth following too)

lol, no I won't stop saying it..You did share a great link and the study looks interesting but..

there are a couple of reasons Germany, for example, lost less jobs than we did, despite increased automation - note they also lost jobs but at a lesser pace. ( Btw Germany, Sweden and Korea are all strongly unionized)

The culture in Germany is different to ours - here, our business approach is to place too much stock in shareholder value, which is great for profit in the short term but terrible for sustained wealth creation. This culture permeates our approach in everything - and contributed to spending and lending habits and ultimately the crash..The problem in the U.S is that we don't invest in human capital, prioritising profit above all else. The two quotes here are from articles that explain it better than I could:

Illustrating Germany for contrast:

Germany set about enacting a range of comprehensive economic reforms to increase the competitiveness of Germany’s economy throughout the 2000s, including making its tax code more competitive, articulating The High-Tech Strategy for Germany, increasing investment in apprenticeship programs, increasing investment in its Fraunhofer network focusing on investments in industrially relevant applied R&D, and during the Great Recession introducing the Kurzarbeit (short-time work) program. Kurzarbeit helped German companies respond to the drop in global demand engendered by the Great Recession not by firing workers outright (as was too often the case in the United States), but by cutting their work to part-time and using the remaining time to retrain/reskill them (through a program collaboratively funded by German industry, labor unions, and state and federal governments) and so when global demand recovered German firms were fully staffed, and with a workforce reskilled to leverage the technologies and manufacturing processes of the future. And of course, Germany is not alone; many more of America’s competitors—including Japan, Korea, Holland, Taiwan, and even China—worked feverishly throughout the 2000s to bolster their science, technology, and innovation ecosystems that underpin the competitiveness and innovation potential of their private sector enterprises."

We didn't adopt much of those strategies. "Competitiveness at a crossroads" explains it all in detail:


"international firms became less invested in “the commons”—shared resources such as pools of skilled labor, supplier networks, an educated populace, andthe physical and technical infrastructure on which U.S. productivity and competitiveness depend.

This is where the elites failed - the problem wasn't Globalization , per se, but our rapacious, opportunistic response to it, and failure to mitigate its harmful effects, particularly on the middle class:

"How did America respond to pressure on its middle class? Unfortunately,our society did not mobilize to invest so that the middle class could compete in the global marketplace. Instead, America and Americans maintained an illusion of growing prosperity. Abetted by lenders and government institutions, consumers with stagnant incomes borrowed more to buy houses and fund consumption.

Government itself made unsustainable promises to the middle class, pledging to cover more healthcare expenses of future retirees, to employ more individuals in government jobs, and to pay generous pensions to many in the public sector, while reducing effective tax rates across the board between 1980 and 2010. These promises, coupled with a deep recession and two wars, have left government finances in a fragile state.

As debts and unfunded liabilities have risen, federal, state, and local government expenditures that support long-run growth in productivity and competitiveness—on items such as infrastructure, training, education, and basic research—have stagnated or fallen as a portion of GDP. Moreover, a resulting need to make tough, unpalatable choices has contributed to paralysis in our political process."

Addressing some of those harmful effects was all over the democratic platform this year - however protectionism and demonizing trade deals will not solve it - this is a management problem and a culture problem which requires creative solutions across the board - not demonizing trade deals, not pushing protectionism and acknowledging that the manufacturing sector is changing.

No, I'm not here for this...

The more we forgive those who refuse to see us as people deserving respect, the more we assist in normalizing dehumanizing behavior


"McGraw.... stated, “I’m not going to say you were wrong or I’m wrong,” but he actually decided to fully commit to sidestepping any form of qualitative atonement. In his mind and his words, the offense of flying his former Golden Glove fists into the face of an unsuspecting Black man was of equal sin to that Black man simply existing in a shared space with him. That sort of problematic thinking should not be rewarded by a round of applause in a court of law, and it definitely should not be repaid in absolution."

"I am completely over the idea that Black folks strength is predicated in how much oppressive abuse we can absorb. I’m done with believing that people who intentionally harm us due to our melanin are deserving of forgiveness without conducting their own introspective moral review. I wholeheartedly refuse to provide exculpation without recompense."

Forgiveness is wasted on someone who will not acknowledge why their actions were harmful. The social expectation that we be passive and kind and peaceful in the face of injustice is a tool to quiet dissent against the greatest harms inflicted on us - and it dehumanizes us.

And Rakeem is not to blame here, Rakeem did the polite thing given the circumstances.

But to frame this as a reconciliation moment, like many in the M$M did, is the wrong thing to do.

Framing an embrace as an apology helps nothing. All this charade does is erase the ugly, and feeds the self indulgent delusion that we can "come together" without introspection from those who inflict hurt on us.


Trump's Pick for Budget Director Isn't Sure the Government Should Fund Scientific Research


If confirmed by the Senate to lead the Office of Management and Budget, Mulvaney, a deficit hawk who recently spoke before a chapter of the right-wing-fringe John Birch Society, would be in charge of crafting Trump's budget and overseeing the functioning of federal agencies. One thing he seems to believe the budget and the agencies should not be funding is research into diseases like the Zika virus.

Two weeks before Congress finally passed more than $1 billion to fight the spread of Zika and its effects, Mulvaney questioned whether the government should fund any scientific research. "[D]o we need government-funded research at all," he wrote in a Facebook post on September 9 unearthed by the Democratic opposition research group American Bridge. Mulvaney appears to have deleted his Facebook page since then.

If there wasn't a trend to Trump's cabinet picks I would be less worried, but all of them believe in regressive, anarcho-capitalist "the market will solve it" principles.

And we're screwed anyway: Trump already wants to scrap climate change research.

If Mulvaney guts funding, and you're an epidemiologist whose area of expertise is vaccines, and you don't depend on funding from pharmaceutical companies to avoid conflict of interest, you're screwed.

Our Government research agencies are the bedrock for R&D, gutting agencies will see us lose ground to China and Russia, and affect researchers or all stripes directly.


I know it can't just be me..

All these beautiful desperately-trying-to-understand pieces about white angst and anger and I'm here sitting like.. really?

All my grandparents have ever known is holding their noses when they vote, same with my parents. We're accustomed to weighing our options and figuring out who will seek our interests, and in some cases constantly disappointed.

Time you point out black angst though, the commentary switches to "black anger" and BLM are often as framed as "terrorists"

I mean really ask yourself how Trump gets away with having a white nationalist as his top adviser while Obama was excoriated for his friendship with jeremiah wright.

The hypocrisy and double standard stinks to high heaven.

On Progressive Politics: Its the Strategy, Stupid

On the eve of the Electoral College Vote when, for all my criticisms of the Electoral College , I hope the Electors remember their duty and responsibilities as *originally* conceived, I thought about how the Conservative agenda continues to survive in spite of most Americans preferring and depending upon policies that have been the hallmark of the Democratic agenda over the last 60 years.

So why hasn't conservatism been dumped into the bin of History as it should be?

Let's admit that on the left we have always "made perfect the enemy of good", shunning our allies who don't past the "political purity" test, and losing ground as a result. We cannibalized ourselves in 2000. We cannibalized ourselves again this year where the stakes were higher. The GOP must be laughing at just how easy it is to get the Left to turn on itself. Some have bought hook, line and sinker the canard that the Democratic Party and the Republican Party are both the same - well now they'll see what "being the same" looks like with a GOP controlled congress and President.

This doesn't mean I can't criticize Hillary or the Democratic Party, I can do so easily, but the stakes were high this time around. So I don't blame Hillary - Hillary's agenda was the most progressive of any Democratic President ever. However purposefully crapping on a supposedly imperfect candidate had its effect. The false equivocation with her and Donald Trump had its effect. Congrats Progressives who made this happen, pat yourselves on the back. So many got distracted with #JillNotHill ( How did that work out ??) Undermining the eventual nominee , hitting at an incumbent establishment - well let's all enjoy the new establishment and all the pain it will wrought..because it was all worth it! After all the Republican Party and the Democratic Party are BOTH THE SAME/ sarcasm

We fail because our strategy fails over and over again and we should feel bad. That should be the lesson this year. But it won't be , because already the DNC Chair fight is shaping up to be - once again - all about purity politics, another opportunity to name-call and cast doubt on those who have worked hard for our causes instead of insisting that the two men in the running lay out their plan for us to retake congress. But by all means, let's keep learning all the wrong lessons by tearing each other down!

So I'll leave it to this writer to put in words all the rage I feel, what I see as some bitter truths we need to confront:

"The second CNN and FOX News called the election for Donald Trump, the engines that power the cottage industry of political second-guessing were fired up. Within minutes, a steady stream of simplistic hot takes began flying off the assembly line. This was especially true in the progressive areas of politics and punditry. Headlines like, “What The Democrats Got Wrong,” and “Progressives Need To Completely Reevaluate” were put together like a game of Mad Libs. Not wanting to be left out of the buzz of the twenty-four-hour news cycle, many elected Democratic officials jumped in and manned a station hoping to be promoted to pundit manager when the dust settled from the inevitable finger pointing and layoffs. The most common response from these opportunistic progressives has been, “Democrats need to learn how to talk to and attract working white class voters.” Senator Bernie Sanders has been one of the most adamant proponents of this strategy. He and every single progressive taking this tack are pushing a defective product. Don’t buy it! The problem is not the product or the message. The problem is too many progressives are complete idiots when it comes to politics and political strategy."

"If you win enough, then, and only then, can you begin to change the system and rules. To whine about the system not being fair when you don’t have the base and ability to change it will get you nowhere fast and keeps conservatives in power. This isn’t smart. In fact, it is outright stupid".

"“Progressives have no one to blame but themselves for the lack of a progressive government and policies. No one. They bitch and moan about not having FDR-like progress but refuse to give Democratic Presidents FDR-like majorities in Congress. They bitch and moan about the government failing them but they don’t do anything about making sure the party that hates and wants the government to fail from getting and wielding power. They pursue idealistic policy ideas without building the political infrastructure necessary to implement them. [bToo many have a fucked up political and moral calculus where they think a candidate who supports their causes 75% of the time is the same as one who supports them 0% of the time. Most of all, too damn many progressives refuse to acknowledge their role in all of this and make any changes. If you claim to be a progressive and your top priority isn’t keeping conservatives out of government, then you are as much the problem as conservatives for the government we have.”]

The point is to keep Conservatives out of Government. (Repeat 100x)


Why we cannot abandon I.D Politics - Yep, another thread about it, because it's critical.

Since there are still threads about social justice vs economic justice , I'll just add my final two cents.

So, on the evening of the election, conservatives , those who pander to the worst of their politics and even some well-meaning Liberals, came out with critiques of "identity politics" . Which was all very strange, since Trump's victory was unimpressive. You might come away thinking - after hearing these people ( some of whom have based their careers on critiquing political correctness and identity politics) - that there was some kind of populist uprising in favor of Trump.

Except there was no such populist uprising.

Trump is a Minority President, his win made possible by just under 80,000 votes across three states. All sorts of theories abound about the motivations driving voters whose numbers could barely fit a large stadium. And our candidate decisively won the popular vote - yes this matters. In a parallel universe, where we didn't have an Electoral College with electoral votes unevenly dispersed, the result might have been different. And it's because the loss was so thin, we're in danger of learning all the wrong lessons from this election.

This danger is the real possibility that we end up striking at the heart of Liberalism. Any attempts to temper our message with conservative criticisms about identity politics should be rejected outright. The strength of Liberalism lies in its core tenets of freedom and justice, and when any particular group suffers disproportionately under State Power, addressing those concerns strengthens Democracy for All through the changing of laws and the striking down of discriminatory practices.

Liberalism is the driving force behind every fair society where the right to self-determination is sacred. We are the vanguards of democracy,we should be proud to be so and we should understand the motivations of those who would try to destroy the soul of Liberal principles:

"Let’s begin by making clear that identity politics isn’t really the name of a new phenomenon. Relative to an Old Left expectation that economic classes are the fundamental lines of political division, the New Left of the 1960s and 1970s associated with the civil rights movement, with American Indian politics, and with women’s and gay liberation seemed anomalous. But there was never any reason to believe the Old Left’s story in the first place, least of all in the United States where a large proportion of the country had almost always been governed by a political coalition defined by white identity politics.

There is something particularly absurd in the post-election morality plays that say “whites [or white Christians, or white Christian men] have now learned how to do identity politics and how to vote like an aggrieved ethnic group, because that’s what other groups have been doing all these years.” White identity politics is a constitutive fact of American politics, and if an election in which the Republican got the normal share of the white vote counts as white identity politics in action, well, that suggests a deep problem, but it doesn’t suggest a new problem.

White identity politics has moreover been a constitutive fact of the illiberal expansion of state power. The effect of some of the oldest instances of this are still with us, as is seen in the recent struggle over placing the Dakota Access Pipeline on lands that were reserved to the Sioux nation in an 1851 treaty that was subsequently violated but never voided. The effects of the decades-long white welfare state and the redistributive subsidizing of white wealth accumulation through housing policy are very much still with us in the wealth gap between whites and blacks, to say nothing of the enduring effects of racially discriminatory housing and urban policy on the shape of American cities. But the most currently politically salient effect of white identity politics as a source of state power is the combination of policing, imprisonment, crime policy, and drug policy."


"But a revitalized liberalism must be a vital liberalism, one with energy and enthusiasm. The defense of liberal principles—freedom of speech and religion, the rule of law and due process, commerce and markets, and so on—has to happen at least in part in the political arena. In that arena, in liberal politics, we’ll always depend on the passionate and self-conscious mobilization of those who are the victims of state power and domination.

Lilla insists that liberalism is founded on principles that all could share, and that liberal politics should “speak to the nation as a nation of citizens who are in this together and must help one another,” then appeals to FDR, one of the architects of the white welfare state and the imprisoner of Japanese-Americans, to drive the point home.

As political scientist Ira Katznelson has documented, Roosevelt’s ability to bring the New Deal into existence depended on active complicity with southern white identity politics—an easy and tempting thing to do for those who are too convinced that their political goals represent neutral and universal political truth.

Political fights aren’t won with universal principled arguments alone, and pretending that they are is often a mask for the identity politics of the staatvolk. As citizens of a liberal state trying to preserve it, we need to be able to hear each other talking about particularized injustices, and to cheer each other on when we seek to overturn them. Members of disadvantaged minorities standing up for themselves aren’t to blame for the turn to populist authoritarianism; and their energy and commitment is a resource that free societies can’t do without in resisting it."


Nuff said.

Some will say the Russians didn't force Americans to vote either way, but they are wrong.

Putin is a former counter-intelligence officer of the KGB and KGB fingerprints are all over this. And why would Putin back Trump? Not only because of Trump's own Russian connections , but his hopeless susceptibility to flattery - Yet another useful Putin fool in a growing list of useful Putin fools.

The meddling was done with a specific purpose to HURT OUR CANDIDATE ...

-by spreading disinformation or "Dezinformatsiya."- This ruled online from false memes, to fake stories which were shared tens of thousands more times than the snopes , factcheck.org and politifact articles desperately trying to keep up with their fact checking. Then the factcheckers were attacked as "liberal" and "clinton media stooges". All the articles had a common theme - Obama, and by extension Clinton, are part of the "evil" American establishment and need to be destroyed. Every fake conspiracy theory got traction, shared by the gullible and ignorant.

-by hacking clinton staffers and leaking campaign emails: bound to be embarrassing - as David Axelrod mused in a tweet after the first dump. The DNC was specifically targeted. Assange was only too happy to oblige and ignored basic curation and journalistic standards with a massive dump which he, via his organization, turned into memes and "ads". Our media had to report on the dump and were sometimes just as reckless- with no 2nd, 3rd or 4th hand verification. And so we saw the second massive attack - against our journalistic standards.

Zeynep Tufekci noted

"Whistle-blowing, as Mr. Ellsberg did, is a time-honored means for exposing the secret machinations of the powerful. But the release of huge amounts of hacked data, with no apparent oversight or curation, does the opposite. Such leaks threaten our ability to dissent by destroying privacy and unleashing a glut of questionable information that functions, somewhat unexpectedly, as its own form of censorship, rather than as a way to illuminate the maneuverings of the powerful.

The victims here are not just Mr. Podesta and the people in his contacts list who are embarrassed or compromised. The victim of leaks of private communication is the ability of dissidents to function in a democracy.

Demanding transparency from the powerful is not a right to see every single private email anyone in a position of power ever sent or received. WikiLeaks, for example, gleefully tweeted to its millions of followers that a Clinton Foundation employee had attempted suicide; news outlets repeated the report.

Wanton destruction of the personal privacy of any person who has ever come near a political organization is a vicious but effective means to smother dissent. This method is so common in Russia and the former Soviet states that it has a name: “kompromat,” releasing compromising material against political opponents. Emails of dissidents are hacked, their houses bugged, the activities in their bedrooms videotaped, and the material made public to embarrass and intimidate people whose politics displeases the powerful. Kompromat does not have to go after every single dissident to work: If you know that getting near politics means that your personal privacy may be destroyed, you will understandably stay away."


-by hacking into registration databases ( reported in October I believe) which could have possibly led to the purging of votes...

This is fucking serious, don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
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