Friday, May 01, 2015

Friday Water Cooler

"Suicide hotline, please hold." (

48% of Americans now say they belong to working or lower class (

U.S. is now a world leader in child poverty ( And also ranks behind 37 other countries for child mortality.

Does democracy still exist in the United States? Not according to Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, who used data from over 1,800 policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002 to find that democratic outcomes essentially don't happen, except by accident:
Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism.
Bottom line, Big Money runs the show now. But we all knew that, right?

Hillary Clinton is the most admired woman in America, for the 13th year in a row ( Obama, likewise, blows away the Pope as the most admired man in America.

"The IMF now believes that it massively understated the damage that spending cuts inflict on a weak economy." Paul Klugman, The Austerity Delusion ( Not just a Greek problem.

Speaking of the IMF (and Big Money running the show): In 2009, former IMF chief economist Simon Johnson wrote a magnificently lucid, balanced assessment of the oligarchy problem in the United States. Not in Russia; the United States. The Quiet Coup ( richly deserves to be read and re-read.

Hillary Clinton is among those who very much need to read and understand the Simon Johnson article. She also needs to reconcile her populist mutterings (about wanting to topple the 1%, etc.) with the fact that five out of ten of her all-time largest campaign contributors are Wall Street firms: specifically, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Lehman Brothers.

As I said at the top: Big Money runs the show.

Crappiest Clickbait Story of the Week Award goes to Mashable for How self-publishing on LinkedIn can elevate your professional profile, which cheerfully and uncritically regurgitates accepted wisdom without adding a single original thought to the topic. It has to be an ad, right? I mean, this "article" is so deep up LinkedIn's ass it's unbelievable.

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