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Interesting! Week July 29
#1
Often overlooked, what all the media hype did to her:

Quote:In 2005, Lewinsky retreated. She moved to London to take the course in social psychology at the LSE. “It looked at identity, and what happens when your identity is threatened. A threatened identity can be something like getting divorced: you’re someone’s wife and now you’re not someone’s wife. Or losing a child: you’re a parent and now you’re not a parent.” Her plan after graduating was to get a job and lead “a much more private life, and move towards a more normal developmental path”. But she found that nobody would employ her. The stigma outweighed her qualifications and aptitude. She couldn’t even get volunteer work with a charity.

She drifted back to London and had coffee with her old LSE professor, Sandra Jovchelovitch. “She said to me, ‘Whenever power is involved, there always has to be a competing narrative. And you have no narrative.’ It was true. I had mistakenly thought that if I retreated from public life the narrative would dissipate. But instead it ran away from me even more.” That’s when Lewinsky realised she had to do something to de-objectify herself. The same words tend to come up again and again when I’ve asked shamed people to describe the most tumultuous aspects of the experience. One of those words is “objectification”. Being shamed feels like being a victim of identity theft. One minute you’re a private individual, working out who you are, your likes and dislikes. The next minute, you’re America’s premier blowjob queen.
Monica Lewinsky: ‘The shame sticks to you like tar’ | Technology | The Guardian

For all those scare mongers:

Quote:Also, some of these writers are saying that the debt is growing faster than the economy. This was true during the years of the Great Recession, but it’s no longer the case. The federal debt held by the public is now growing at about a 3 percent rate, while the economy is growing at about a 3.4 percent rate (these are both in nominal terms). In other words, the U.S. deficit is now perfectly sustainable.
America Isn't Going Broke - Bloomberg View

Media under threat from billionaires:

Quote:Gawker isn't the only publication to be targeted by a disgruntled billionaire. Last year, the liberal magazine Mother Jones defeated a defamation lawsuit filed by Republican donor Frank VanderSloot. Winning the lawsuit cost Mother Jones, a relatively small nonprofit organization, and its insurance company $2.5 million in legal fees. If VanderSloot's goal was to punish Mother Jones for writing an accurate but unflattering story about him, a loss was almost as good as a victory. His lawsuit sought $74,999 (staying just under the $75,000 threshold that would have allowed Mother Jones to move the case to federal court and away from an Idaho jury that might have favored the hometown plaintiff). So "winning" the lawsuit cost Mother Jones 30 times as much as the amount it would have had to pay if it had lost. What was really ominous was what happened after VanderSloot's loss. He "announced that he was setting up a $1 million fund to pay the legal expenses of people wanting to sue Mother Jones or other members of the 'liberal press.'"
Even Gawker haters should fear the strategy Peter Thiel is using to destroy Gawker - Vox
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#2
Quote:Strongly partisan voting patterns mean that we can expect another relatively close election in 2016 with the same set of swing states as in 2012 ultimately deciding the outcome. But they also mean that, given a normal presidential election turnout pattern, the Democratic nominee should have a slight edge simply because voters who identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party will probably outnumber voters who identify with or lean toward the Republican Party. According to a recent study by the highly respected Pew Research Center based on more than 25,000 interviews with eligible voters, during 2014 Democrats and independents leaning toward the Democratic Party outnumbered Republicans and independents leaning toward the Republican Party by a margin of 48% to 39%. While the Democratic margin is likely to be somewhat smaller among actual voters than among eligible voters, it should still be large enough to give the Democratic candidate an advantage. Moreover, the Democratic margin in leaned party identification could be pushed up a bit by the expected increase in the nonwhite share of the electorate between 2014 and 2016.
Larry J. Sabato's Crystal Ball » The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is the Other Party

One might wonder why these countries consistently score high on happiness scales. One reason seems to low poverty and relatively low inequality.

Quote:After Denmark, the next happiest nations last year were Switzerland, Iceland and Norway, followed by Finland, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden. The United States was 13th place, two spots higher than the previous year.
Danes, once again, take top spot in world happiness report - The Washington Post

Quote:The world would be a happier place if we were more equal, according to this year's World Happiness Report Update. For the first time since its publication in 2012, the World Happiness Report has focused on the measurement and consequences of inequality in the distribution of well-being among countries and regions.
Happiness gap is widening ‘significantly’: Global report
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#3
Perhaps Obama's foreign policy isn't the disaster that weakened America as his rightwing critics have it:

Quote:Mr Chollet argues that Mr Obama is misunderstood because he likes to play what the author calls the “long game”. The book portrays the president as trying to be Warren Buffett in a foreign-policy debate dominated by day traders. He has an unwavering view of what is in America’s long-term interests and refuses to be forced by impatient demands for action to intervene in ways that may be temporarily satisfying but have little prospect of success at acceptable cost. To this end, Mr Chollet argues that Mr Obama has formulated what amounts to a long-game checklist, a series of principles that should be applied to managing American power and making strategic choices.


For Mr Chollet this mix of cautious pragmatism and cool realism finds an echo in the approach of two Republican predecessors, Dwight Eisenhower and the first George Bush, whose reputations have grown considerably since their departure from office. Mr Chollet reckons that this president’s foreign policy will look pretty good too once hindsight kicks in.
Playing it long | The Economist
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#4
Pop quiz. What unites Republicans and Democrats? Before you'll answer nothing, you might wanna read this:

Quote:Donald Trump supporters shouted the name of the Wall Street bank at Ted Cruz’s wife Heidi last week in Cleveland, spitting out the words as though it were an epithet. (She worked there.) And the “Bernie or Bust” hecklers used the same “Goldman Sachs” chant against Hillary Clinton. (She gave paid speeches to bank employees). “It was truly amazing that Goldman Sachs was held up as a villain at both parties’ conventions,” William Goetzmann, a professor of finance and management studies at Yale University told MarketWatch.
The villain of both conventions: Goldman Sachs - MarketWatch
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#5
This is getting pretty bad:

Quote:Many Republicans are moving closer to Donald Trump's trade platform, breaking with decades of Republican orthodoxy on the issue.
Many Republicans are embracing Donald Trump's fierce trade rhetoric - Business Insider

It is pretty dumb, as trade really isn't the main cause for job losses or stagnating wages
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#6
Here is a reality check if ever there was one, the fear mongering of conservatives about Obamacare, which included stuff like:
  • Glenn Beck Predicted The Affordable Care Act Would Be The “Nail In The Coffin Of America,” “The End Of America As You Know It.”
  • Beck: Under Obamacare, The Government “Can Have Their People Come In” If They Think Someone “Maybe Shouldn’t Have A Baby.”
  • Rush Limbaugh: Obamacare Will Be “A Life-Threatening Bill” And “Human Beings Will Die Earlier Than Normal” Because Of It.
  • Limbaugh: “All Of Us Will Be Slaves” Under The Affordable Care Act.
  • Chris Baker: Under Obamacare, Overweight People Would Have To Go To Jail And Undergo “End Of Life Counseling” If They Don’t Lose Weight. 
  • CNBC’s Jim Cramer Predicted “Obamacare Will Topple The Stock Market.”
  • Fox’s Cal Thomas: “Euthanasia Is Coming.” 
When you read stuff back, we don't know whether to laugh or cry, reality, of course, is a whole different matter, for example:
  • In the first quarter of 2016, the uninsured rate among all U.S. adults was 11.0%, down from 11.9% in the fourth quarter of 2015. This marks a record low since Gallup and Healthways began tracking the uninsured rate in 2008. The uninsured rate has declined 6.1 percentage points since the fourth quarter of 2013
  •  the CBO initially found that, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, in the coming years, many Americans will be able to leave their full-time jobs -- by choice -- because of the available benefits. Much of the media interpreted this as evidence of the ACA hurting job creation and causing mass layoffs, but that isn't what the findings said at all. 
  • CMS: ACA Safety Net To Insure Americans Who Have Lost Insurance Is Working. Huffington Post reported August 13 that according to data released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), "almost half a million people have taken advantage" of Obamacare's safety net that provides "a fallback option to people who lose their health coverage during the year"
  • Gallup: People With ACA Plans “Are More Satisfied … With The Cost Of Their Health Coverage.”
  • Bloomberg: Economic Experts Say The ACA Is "Trimming The Nation's Medical Bill." 
All those doomsayers were wrong..

Of course, we have covered much more in our Obamacare forum
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#7
Sigh. Basically on issue after issue, the evidence disagrees with the rightwingers. We have already noted how trade isn't the great blue collar job destroyer that Trump claims it is (let alone that negotiating 'smarter' trade deals is a viable solution), but don't take it from us, here is the Wall Street Journal, no less:

Quote:Donald Trump has based a lot of his campaign in Pennsylvania on his tough stance against the North American Free Trade Agreement. But there isn’t much evidence that Nafta had a powerful impact on even the western, rust-belt part of the state. How is that possible? Whatever damage trade had done occurred mainly in the 1980s and early 1990s. By the time Nafta came into effect in 1994 and the China import surge took off in 2001, western Pennsylvania was far less vulnerable to imports. Pittsburgh was turning to hospitals and educational institutions for its resurgence, not manufacturing. And the recent natural-gas boom in the western part of the state wasn’t hurt by imports. Gas production boosted construction. Some of the gas is also being liquefied and aimed at the export market.
In Pennsylvania, Nafta’s a Campaign Issue. But It’s Not What Did the Damage. - Real Time Economics - WSJ
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#8
Meanwhile, in Florida..

Quote:News of the first homegrown cases comes during the seven-week summer vacation by Congress, which gaveled out of session before lawmakers could agree on a Zika funding package. It’s now been five months since President Obama requested $1.9 billion in funds to fight the virus, but partisan bickering over how to finance the spending package have quashed all hope of bill’s passing.

On Friday, Democratic lawmakers called for Congress to cut its recess short to pass the contested bill.
Gov. Scott, a Republican, has pushed Congress to pass the long-debated Zika bill for months, and wrote a letter to President Obama in June expressing his discontent.
U.S. Mosquitoes Are Now Spreading Zika, And Congress Still Doesn't Have A Plan To Stop It | ThinkProgress
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#9
We have some thoughts about regulation, see here (and the whole thread)
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#10
Something to keep in mind in November..

Quote:Since the job market bottomed out in January 2010, in the depths of the Great Recession, the U.S. economy has produced more than 14 million jobs. That's pushed the total level of payrolls some 5.7 million higher than when the recession hit in late 2007.
Obama's record on jobs versus five other presidents

Quote:For stock market investors, Democrats have clearly outperformed Republicans in the White House over the last 40 years. The Standards & Poor's 500 index rose 150 percent during the Clinton administration; under Obama, stock prices have been rising by 100 percent. (We're using Yale economist Robert Shiller's inflation-adjusted data.) Those gains compare with net losses of 45 percent under Bush II, gains of about 30 percent under Bush I, and a 50 percent gain under Reagan. Stock prices lost about 13 percent of their value during the Carter administration.
Grading the Obama economy, by the numbers
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