Daily Archive: 03/02/2015

Mar 02 2015

Tantrum in a Tea Bag

What is instructive about this is the factual denialism.  Just as fresh water Hayek inspired rattle shaking Shamen dispute the proven reality of Keynes in the macro world (and similar to the problem classical Physics has with Quantum equations appalling record of being predictively correct despite being counter-intuitive) so it is in the micro manipulated world of Mr. Market which has the galling indecency not to realize that the sky is falling despite the urgent claims of Rupert Murdoch Henny Penny.

Wall Street Journal Upset That Wall Street Isn’t Upset About Net Neutrality

by Mike Masnick, Tech Dirt

Fri, Feb 27th 2015 10:34am

A few weeks ago, after it was more or less confirmed that the FCC was going forward with full Title II reclassification of broadband, we noted that the stocks of the big broadband companies actually went up suggesting that Wall Street actually knows that reclassification won’t really impact broadband companies, despite what they’ve been saying publicly. Perhaps this is partly because those same companies have been telling Wall Street that the rule change won’t have an impact.

However, for the Wall Street Journal — which has become weirdly, obsessively, anti-net neutrality — this is an abomination. The newspaper has spent months trying to whip everyone into a frenzy about how evil net neutrality is, using some of the most blatantly wrong arguments around. Just a few days ago, the WSJ turned to its former publisher, now columnist, L. Gordon Crovitz to spread as much misinformation as possible. This is the same L. Gordon Crovitz who a few years ago wrote such a ridiculously wrong article on the history of the internet that basically everyone shoved each other aside to detail how he mangled the history. He, bizarrely, insisted that the government had no role in the creation of the internet. Crovitz also has a history of being wrong (and woefully uninformed) about surveillance and encryption. It’s difficult to understand why the WSJ allows him to continue writing pieces that are so frequently factually challenged.

Actually, it’s not difficult at all.

In this latest piece, Crovitz suggests that Ted Cruz didn’t go far enough in comparing Obamacare to net neutrality, arguing that net neutrality is even “worse.”



The paper of record for Wall Street, which normally likes to suggest that markets are “right” about everything, is absolutely positive that the markets are wrong about this. And it’s furious. It has an article demanding that broadband investors need to “wake up” to what’s happening with net neutrality.



At the end of the article, the WSJ pretends that maybe the reason why stocks are up is because investors expect that the broadband players will win an eventual court battle, but that seems like wishful thinking on multiple levels. Let’s go with Occam’s Razor on this one. The market is up because everyone knows that Title II won’t make a huge difference at all for the prospects of broadband companies. Multiple Wall St. analysts have been saying this for months, as have the big broadband companies to the analysts themselves.

La, la, la, la, la.

Mar 02 2015

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Trevor Timm: The Isis war resolution debate resounds with doublespeak

We’re more than six months into an illegal war and hardly anyone in DC seems to care.

Congress continued to half-heartedly debate an ISIS war resolution this week, as the Senate held a hearing on the Obama administration’s proposed language for a three-year ISIS war that it belatedly wrote only a few weeks ago – after several months and thousands of bombs had been dropped in both Iraq and Syria. Sen. Bob Corker, meanwhile, says he his committee might get around to holding another hearing in a couple weeks. But he’s in no rush.

It’s hard to figure out who is more to blame for the embarrassing damage both branches of government are currently doing to both the War Powers Act and the Constitution: a Congress that is too cowardly to take a stand, or an administration that insists it doesn’t matter what Congress does, they’re going to keep bombing Iraq and Syria for years either way.

Christine Lagarde: Fair Play — Equal Laws for Equal Working Opportunities for Women

Leveling the legal playing field for women holds real promise for the world — in both human and economic terms. Unfortunately, that promise remains largely ignored and its potential untapped. In too many countries, too many legal restrictions conspire against women to be economically active to work.

What can be done to remove these barriers? A new study (pdf) done by IMF economists seeks to answer that question.

The bottom line? It’s about a fair, level playing field.

Despite some progress over the past few years, gender-based legal restrictions remain significant. Almost 90 percent of countries have at least one important restriction in the books, and some have many.

These range from the requirement for women to seek their husband’s permission to work, to laws that restrict women’s participation in specific professions. Others constrain the ability of women to own property, or to inherit, or to obtain a loan.

Paul Krugman: Walmart’s Visible Hand

A few days ago Walmart, America’s largest employer, announced that it will raise wages for half a million workers. For many of those workers the gains will be small, but the announcement is nonetheless a very big deal, for two reasons. First, there will be spillovers: Walmart is so big that its action will probably lead to raises for millions of workers employed by other companies. Second, and arguably far more important, is what Walmart’s move tells us – namely, that low wages are a political choice, and we can and should choose differently. [..]

But labor economists have long questioned this view. Soylent Green – I mean, the labor force – is people. And because workers are people, wages are not, in fact, like the price of butter, and how much workers are paid depends as much on social forces and political power as it does on simple supply and demand.

What’s the evidence? First, there is what actually happens when minimum wages are increased. Many states set minimum wages above the federal level, and we can look at what happens when a state raises its minimum while neighboring states do not. Does the wage-hiking state lose a large number of jobs? No – the overwhelming conclusion from studying these natural experiments is that moderate increases in the minimum wage have little or no negative effect on employment.

Charles M. Blow: CPAC: Hackneyed and Hollow

I never know how to set my expectations for the Conservative Political Action Conference, also known as CPAC.

I try to approach it with as much of an open mind as I can muster, understanding that I am at odds, fundamentally, with many conservative principles and conservatives’ views about the role, size and scope of government, but also realizing that apart from a debate setting, this may be the best place to take the temperature of, and hear from, the broadest range of conservative leaders.

I still think, perhaps naïvely so, that people can be ideologically opposed but intellectually engaged, that a good idea makes the best bridge.

So I do my best to follow the speeches – from afar (thank you, live streaming!) – and wait to hear something that jolts my consciousness or challenges my sense of things.

But once again this year, I was disappointed.

There remains in the Republican Party, as evidenced by the speakers at this event, a breathtaking narrowness of vision and deficit of creative thought.

Robert Kuttner: Is Hillary a Sure Thing in 2016?

You hear two competing stories about Hillary Clinton and the Democrats in 2016. According to the first, she has a lock on the nomination and the election.

Hillary is sure to win the nomination, because there are no other plausible candidates, especially if Elizabeth Warren doesn’t get in. And Clinton begins with a overwhelming money advantage.

She wins the election because the Electoral College gives Blue states something close to a majority even before the campaign starts. The Republicans would have to run the table of every possible state. But the Republicans are deeply divided, with the candidates who appeal to the base far to the right of the general electorate. And the GOP Congress is rapidly alienating most moderate voters.

Game, set, match to Hillary, correct? Well, not so fast.

John Limbert: Netanyahu’s supporters (and critics) don’t really care what he says to Congress

There is a remarkable parallel between denunciations of Binyamin Netanyahu’s March 3 speech to Congress and of a possible nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1. Those who condemn the former haven’t heard it; and those who condemn the latter haven’t seen it.

Of course the fights are not about the contents of either a possible nuclear agreement or a future Netanyahu speech. The Israeli Prime Minister could outdo Demosthenes in eloquence. It won’t matter, because the political symbolism of the event will overshadow his words. Likewise a nuclear agreement with Iran could be one of history’s most creative settlements between adversaries. To its opponents, however, that will not matter either.

What matters is the existence of a speech or a nuclear agreement, not their content. The fact that Iran and the P5+1 may negotiate their way to an arrangement in which both sides can claim achievements will represent to its opponents (both in Tehran and Washington) a disaster. When both sides see the other as infinitely duplicitous and dishonest, anything they agree to, must in some unfathomable way contain a trick to cheat US. How, the argument goes, can one reach any agreement “with such people”?

Mar 02 2015

TBC: Morning Musing 3.2.15

I have 3 articles for you this morning!

First, a brief history on how we got today’s conservatives:

It’s Worse than Scott Walker and Ted Cruz: Secrets of Conservatives’ Decades-Long War on Truth

Make no mistake: the attack is deliberate.

The Enlightenment blossomed in the wake of the religiously-inspired Thirty Years War of the seventeenth century, when thinkers horrified by the war’s carnage set out to break the fetters of superstition and tradition that had prompted the strife. Descartes, Hobbes, Hume, Jefferson and other thinkers advanced the idea that if people could listen to reasoned arguments, weigh them against evidence and choose the soundest ones, progress would follow. The Enlightenment revolutionized science, culture and politics, and gave rise to the modern world.

Enlightenment ideals prompted America’s founding and reigned for generations as Americans searched for the best ways to manage the economy, changing demographics and international conflict. But in the 1950s, the idea of progress through reason presented a problem for wealthy businessmen. They hated New Deal legislation because it regulated business and protected workers. The boom years of the 1920s had been good ones for them, and they believed that the continued success of their enterprises depended on their complete control over their businesses and the workers they employed. They believed that government meddling in their affairs would disrupt natural economic laws. And with their downfall would come the downfall of the entire American economy, and with it, the nation.

Jump!

Mar 02 2015

On This Day In History March 2

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

March 2 is the 61st day of the year (62nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 304 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1836, the Republic of Texas declares its independence as in a nation from Mexico.

Formed as a break-away republic from Mexico by the Texas Revolution, the state claimed borders that encompassed an area that included all of the present U.S. state of Texas, as well as parts of present-day New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming based upon the Treaties of Velasco between the newly created Texas Republic and Mexico. The eastern boundary with the United States was defined by the Adams-Onís Treaty between the United States and Spain, in 1819. Its southern and western-most boundary with Mexico was under dispute throughout the existence of the Republic, with Texas claiming that the boundary was the Rio Grande, and Mexico claiming the Nueces River as the boundary. This dispute would later become a trigger for the Mexican-American War, after the annexation of Texas by the United States.

Establishment

The Republic of Texas was created from part of the Mexican state Coahuila y Tejas. Mexico was in turmoil as leaders attempted to determine an optimal form of government. In 1835, when President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna abolished the Constitution of 1824, granting himself enormous powers over the government, wary colonists in Texas began forming Committees of Correspondence and Safety. A central committee in San Felipe de Austin coordinated their activities. In the Mexican interior, several states revolted against the new centralist policies. The Texas Revolution officially began on October 2, 1835, in the Battle of Gonzales. Although the Texians originally fought for the reinstatement of the Constitution of 1824, by 1836 the aim of the war had changed. The Convention of 1836 declared independence on March 2, 1836, and officially formed the Republic of Texas.