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marmar's Journal
marmar's Journal
December 19, 2015

The Predictability of Political Extremism

The Predictability of Political Extremism
Posted on December 19, 2015 by Lambert Strether

The usual pattern

Alan de Bromhead, Barry Eichengreen, and Kevin O’Rourke write that the danger of extremism is greatest where depressed economic conditions are allowed to persist. Using data covering 171 elections in 28 countries between 1919 and 1939, the authors show that what mattered was not the current growth of the economy but cumulative growth or, more to the point, the depth of the cumulative recession. One year of contraction was not enough to significantly boost extremism but a depression that persisted for years was.

Kevin O’Rourke writes that in August of this year, the inevitable happened: our current recovery was overtaken by that of the interwar period.

Figure 1: World industrial output in the Great Depression and in the Great Recession

Manuel Funke, Moritz Schularick, and Christoph Trebesch write that far-right votes increase by about a third in the five years following systemic banking distress. This pattern is visible in the data both before and after WWII and is robust when controlling for economic conditions and different voting systems. The gains of extreme right-wing parties were particularly pronounced after the global crises of the 1920s/1930s and after 2008. But similar patterns can also be found after regional financial crises, such as the Scandinavian banking crises of the early 1990s. The authors also identify an important asymmetry in the political response to crises – on average, the far left does not profit equally from episodes of financial instability.

Figure 2: Far-right vote shares after financial crises

Francesco Trebbi, Atif Mian, Amir Sufi write that political polarization systematically increase around financial crises. Voters become more ideologically polarized. Government coalitions become weaker in terms of both vote shares and seat shares. Opposition coalitions become larger. Party fragmentation increases across the board. In his 2003 statistical analysis of the success of extreme eight parties in Western Europe between 1970 and 2000, Matt Golder finds that unemployment has no effect on right wing populist votes when the number of immigrants is low: it is the interaction between economic hard times and the presence of immigrants that boosts extremism.

Using data on OECD countries from 1970 to 2002, Hans Peter Grüner and Markus Brückner find that a one-percentage-point decline in growth leads to a one-percentage-point increase in the vote share for right-wing or nationalist parties. Declining growth rates reduce incentives of poor individuals to shy away from extreme policy platforms. Redistributing away from specific groups is more tempting when there is little prospect for improvements in the future. ......................(more)


December 19, 2015

Governor Animal House

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R) was forced to apologize on Friday after audio surfaced of her admonishing police officers who tried to disband a hotel party she was attending.

Three audio recordings obtained by several local media outlets feature staff at the El Dorado Hotel in Santa Fe, New Mexico, calling police in the early hours of Dec. 13 to ask them to kick noisy people off the hotel premises after complaints from other hotel guests.

“We have guests that have been partying in their room,” Shelly Garcia at the El Dorado front desk told the Santa Fe police dispatcher. “They’ve been warned already and they are still not quieting down.”

Garcia told police that the rowdy guests had been throwing bottles off their hotel room balcony. .............(more)


December 19, 2015

'9 to 5' Turns 35, and It's Still Radical Today

from Rolling Stone:

'9 to 5' Turns 35, and It's Still Radical Today
A generation after '9 to 5,' screenwriter Patricia Resnick reflects on sexism in Hollywood and how most Americans would kill to work 9-to-5 today

December 19th marks 35 years since the release of 9 to 5, the cult comedy that brought together Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin with Dolly Parton in her film debut as Miss Doralee Rhodes, a kind-hearted secretary who fantasizes about lassoing her "sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot" boss and roasting him on a spit.

Tomlin stars as Violet Newstead, a working widow and mother of four who's passed over for promotions despite her obvious qualifications. The project was conceived of by Jane Fonda, who was inspired by the work of Karen Nussbaum, an old friend from the anti-war movement and founder of 9to5, an organization still in the business of advocating for working women. Fonda cast herself as the uncharacteristically mousy Judy Bernly, a nervous divorcee who can't figure out who she is, never mind how to run the copy machine. Sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot boss Franklin Hart Jr. is played to smarmy mustachioed perfection by Dabney Coleman.

The plot of 9 to 5 feels nothing short of radical, even (and perhaps especially) today. Mr. Hart spends his days harassing Doralee by telling her she's much more to him than "just a dumb secretary." He lies about sleeping with her, and purposefully knocks pencils on the floor so she'll lean over and pick them up. He insults Judy, and bullies Violet by demanding she fix his coffee. After learning she lost out on a promotion to a man she trained, Violet confronts Mr. Hart. "Spare me the women's lib crap," he replies.

Mr. Hart is soon made to pay. After a coworker gets canned for comparing salaries — technically a protected activity since the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 — Violet, Judy and Dolly head to the bar to drown their sorrows in birdbath-sized martinis, smoke a joint and spin revenge fantasies about their boss. The next day, Violet accidentally stirs rat poison into Mr. Hart's coffee. Hijinks ensue, and eventually they kidnap him. ....................(more)

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/9-to-5-turns-35-and-its-still-radical-today-20151218#ixzz3umrtlIMw

December 19, 2015

The gun industry’s biggest threat is Obama leaving office

(MarketWatch) The stock market has been flat this year, but one sector has had a notably different experience in 2015.

If you’re into gun stocks, then Merry Christmas to you: Smith & Wesson SWHC, -1.07% has more than doubled in market value, while Sturm, Ruger & Co. RGR, +0.46% has jumped two-thirds. Both saw sharp gains last week in the wake of President Obama’s speech on terrorism, a good chunk of which was devoted to guns.


By now, the pattern is familiar: A terrible shooting. A movie theater. A schoolroom full of children. A church. The president comes into the briefing room, and we scribble down his words of sorrow, of indignation — and pleas for Congress to do something. He goes back to the Oval Office. Gun sales surge. A few weeks, or even days later, the cycle repeats.

Each time, the president reaffirms his support for the Second Amendment. One typical comment, from 2011: “The Second Amendment in this country is part of our Constitution, and the president of the United States is bound by our Constitution,” he said. “So I believe in the Second Amendment. It does provide for Americans the right to bear arms for their protection, for their safety, for hunting, for a wide range of uses.”

But the firearms industry doesn’t buy it. Manufacturers and the industry’s powerful lobbying arm, the National Rifle Association, are convinced that Obama’s secret strategy — even with just a year to go in his second and final term — will still emerge: to somehow take away the very guns he says we have a right to own. NRA chief Wayne LaPierre has warned for years that “lip service” to gun owners “is just part of a massive Obama conspiracy to deceive voters and hide his true intentions to destroy the Second Amendment during his second term.” And: “With no more elections to worry about, get busy dismantling and destroying our firearms’ freedom, erase the Second Amendment from the Bill of Rights, and excise it from the U.S. Constitution.”

Dismantle and destroy? With both the House and Senate dominated by Republicans, Obama would be lucky to get a resolution honoring the Girl Scouts through Congress. After the Sandy Hook school massacre in 2012, he couldn’t even get the Democratic-controlled Senate to support expanded background checks. ................(more)


December 19, 2015

Hasty, Fearful Passage of Cybersecurity Bill Recalls Patriot Act

(The Intercept) Congress easily passed a thinly disguised surveillance provision—the final version of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, or CISA— on Friday, shoehorned into a must-pass budget bill to prevent a government shutdown before the holidays.

Born of a climate of fear combined with a sense of urgency, the bill claims to do one thing—help companies share information with the government to heed off cyber attacks—and does entirely another—increases the U.S. government’s spying powers while letting companies with poor cyber hygiene off the hook. It’s likely to spawn unintended consequences.

Some critics felt its passage was in some ways eerily similar to when the USA Patriot Act, one of the most expansive surveillance bills in recent U.S. history, was made into law shortly after September 11, 2001.

In both cases, Congress had little time to even read the bills, making it inevitable that many would vote without being fully informed. And the result is the same—increased power and less accountability for the intelligence community. ...........(more)


December 19, 2015

"Unintended" my a** ..... John Roberts is a corrupt POS

Earlier this year, a Supreme Court justice took action in a case where he had an unintended conflict of interest.

Actually, that happened twice this year. One of the incidents involved Justice Stephen Breyer, and you might have heard about that, because it led the court to make public a letter explaining the ordeal.

The other incident involved Chief Justice John Roberts, and you may not have heard about that one, because it just came to light this week. Back in October, Roberts participated in the consideration of an appeal involving Texas Instruments -- a company in which Roberts or one of his family members holds stock worth up to $250,000, according to his latest financial disclosure form.

Fix the Court, a nonprofit that lobbies for more transparency and accountability at the high court, first discovered Roberts' oversight and published the findings on its website Friday. ..............(more)


December 19, 2015

‘Wolf of Pharma Street’ Holds Up Unwelcome Mirror to Industry

(Bloomberg) Martin Shkreli, the pharmaceutical CEO arrested on securities fraud charges this week, may have made drug price increases notorious in the U.S. But his strategy of finding an old drug, raising its price, and taking the profit is one that’s increasingly common among a new breed of drugmakers.

Disdaining a business model dependent on expensive research and development, companies like Shkreli’s Turing Pharmaceuticals AG, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., Rodelis Therapeutics and others have taken advantage of inefficiencies in the U.S. health-care system. Old drugs can be sold at much higher prices if the owner is willing to push the boundaries of what the market will bear. Turing, for example, took a decades-old drug, Daraprim, and raised the price to $750 a pill from $13.50.

Shkreli was arrested Thursday in New York on charges related to hedge funds he ran and his old drug company Retrophin Inc. He has denied the charges, which aren’t related to drug pricing. Turing declined to comment. The company announced Friday that Shkreli has resigned as CEO.

“Shkreli has become the Wolf of Pharma Street -- he’s basically come to represent everything that was bad and wrong with pharma,” Art Caplan, a medical ethicist at New York University, said by phone. And while Shkreli may be reviled, said Caplan, “he’s not doing anything in terms of prices that other companies haven’t done.” .................(more)


December 19, 2015

TYT: Bernie Sanders Raising Massive Cash WITHOUT Corporate Donors

Published on Dec 17, 2015

New numbers are out from the Bernie Sanders campaign, and they bern… The campaign has now collected over two million separate contributions. The media is all but ignoring him, but it’s not slowing down his small donor base. Cenk Uygur, host of the The Young Turks, breaks it down.

"With voting in the first presidential nominating contests just weeks away, Bernie Sanders is trying to make a push before the end of the year.

His campaign announced that he has surpassed 2 million donations. The only other person to do that at this point in a presidential campaign was Barack Obama in 2011. (Clinton had 600,000 donations from 400,000 donors through the end of the third quarter — end of September.)

Sanders has been raising the bulk of his money in small donations — 71 percent of his donations were $200 or less in the third quarter. Clinton, on the other hand, has relied on larger donors — 74 percent of contributions to her campaign were $1,000 or more, according to numbers from the Campaign Finance Institute.”*


December 19, 2015

TYT: DNC Screws Bernie Sanders Campaign After Voter Data Breach

Published on Dec 18, 2015

Controversy on the Democratic primary campaign trail! The Bernie Sanders campaign has been locked out of accessing it's own voter information by the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The Sanders 2016 campaign responded by filling a lawsuit against the DNC. Some are calling for DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz to resign, citing a possible conflict of interest because of her work for the Clinton campaign in the past.

Cenk Uygur, Ben Mankiewicz and John Iadarola of The Young Turks discuss.


December 19, 2015

I just find it amazing that supporters of a candidate whose campaign in 2008.....

......resorted to racist dog whistling and every other lowbrow tactic in the book......

Published on
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
by CommonDreams.org

The Clinton Smear Campaign Against Obama
by Stephen Zunes

Unable to find much that Barack Obama himself has said or believes that is particularly alien to the thinking and values of most Americans, Hillary Clinton and her supporters in the media have chosen instead to engage in a campaign of guilt-by-association.

Not surprisingly, right-wing media pundits and prominent Republicans have thrown their weight behind Clinton's efforts, taken advantage of the New York senator's attacks to smear the likely Democratic presidential nominee. For example, North Carolina Republicans are readying a television ad on the eve of that state's primary which includes a photo of Obama and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright together, a video clip of Wright making incendiary comments, with a voiceover telling voters that Obama is "just too extreme for North Carolina."

Clinton's guilt-by-association campaign has even moved to additional degrees of separation. For example, before tens of millions of viewers of the April 16 debate in Philadelphia, Clinton again brought up Obama's alleged "relationships with Louis Farrakhan," despite Obama's repeated and unequivocal denunciations of anti-Semitic statements and other controversial actions by the Black Muslim leader. The apparent extent of Obama's alleged "relationship" with the Nation of Islam leader which prompted Clinton's charge was that a magazine for which Obama's pastor's daughter serves as publisher granted an award to Farrakhan in honor of a successful program he had set up to rehabilitate ex-convicts.

During that same debate, Clinton went so far as to link Obama with the radical Palestinian Islamist group Hamas because the "pastor's pages" section of the weekly bulletin of the church Obama attended once included -- as part of a series of opinion pieces reprinted from various newspapers around the country -- an op-ed column from the Los Angeles Times written by a Hamas leader. Though Obama had already categorically condemned the decision to reprint that article, Clinton told the tens of millions of viewers that "we have a choice who we associate with and who we apparently give some kind of seal of approval to," such as the pastor who -- in Clinton's typically hyperbolic version of events designed to discredit her rival -- was guilty of "giving the church bulletin over to the leader of Hamas."

Hillary Clinton has even attacked Obama for having served on the board of the Chicago anti-poverty group known as the Woods Fund at the same time as former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers. Ayers, who was never convicted of any crime, is now a distinguished professor of education at the University of Illinois-Chicago and served as a former aide to Mayor Richard M. Daley. Clinton apparently saw it as irrelevant that, at the time of Ayers' involvement in the Weather Underground, Obama was just eight years old and living nearly ten thousand miles away in Indonesia. ..................(more)


........... are running around carping about ethics.

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