IMT Episode #78

No one thought at this point in the 2016 election Trump had a chance. I’m thinking that lack of seriousness may be being repeated by the top contenders trying to outflank each other to the left.  Sure I want all that stuff but voting is a practical matter.  

Republicans vote with their heads, not their hearts. What will win in 2020 is the right mix of doable healthcare and economic reform that will bring Obama/Trump voters back into the fold and pull more disgruntled Republicans who find Trump’s ways as repulsive as we do but just won’t admit it in public.

This is a touchy issue sure to rattle diehard Progressives and that’s exactly my intention.  I’ve put my heart on the shelf until after the election. I hope the leading candidates can come to a consensus and worry more about what is needed to win the day on Election Day 2020 and less about being the Progressive du jour in an attempt to get money. I also hope some of the liberal media will stop attacking viable Democratic candidates who might not be their preference at this time. Fight Trump, not each other.

36 thoughts on “IMT Episode #78


    Companies and governments are gaining new powers to follow people across the internet and around the world, and even to peer into their genomes. The benefits of such advances have been apparent for years; the costs — in anonymity, even autonomy — are now becoming clearer. The boundaries of privacy are in dispute, and its future is in doubt. Citizens, politicians and business leaders are asking if societies are making the wisest tradeoffs. The Times is embarking on this months long project to explore the technology and where it’s taking us, and to convene debate about how it can best help realize human potential.

    This article is only available behind the paywall, not something that can be saved to a pdf. On it are tons of links to all the stories (so far) on the subject of protecting our privacy from today’s capitalism that thrives on surveillance.
    Permalink (behind paywall)

    How Capitalism Betrayed Privacy
    The forces of wealth creation once fostered the right to be left alone. But that has changed.

    For much of human history, what we now call “privacy” was better known as being rich. Privacy, like wealth, was something that most people had little or none of. Farmers, slaves and serfs resided in simple dwellings, usually with other people, sometimes even sharing space with animals. They had no expectation that a meaningful part of their lives would be unwatchable or otherwise off limits to others. That would have required homes with private rooms. And only rich people had those.

    The spread of mass privacy, surely one of modern civilization’s more impressive achievements, thus depended on another, even more impressive achievement: the creation of a middle class. Only over the past 300 years or so, as increasingly large numbers of people gained the means to control their physical environment through the acquisition of wealth and private property, did privacy norms and eventually privacy rights come into existence. What is a right to privacy without a room of your own?

    The historical link between privacy and the forces of wealth creation helps explain why privacy is under siege today. It reminds us, first, that mass privacy is not a basic feature of human existence but a byproduct of a specific economic arrangement — and therefore a contingent and impermanent state of affairs. And it reminds us, second, that in a capitalist country, our baseline of privacy depends on where the money is. And today that has changed.

    Read whole article (pdf)

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  3. Again Buttigieg comes in 3rd in a national poll behind Sanders and Biden. That’s a bit surprising but not as much as his being ahead of Beto. Why?

    I know what I think, I think it’s because Beto for all his strengths doesn’t sound sincere, he sounds like he’s playing a role and it just doesn’t convince me. Buttigieg has instant credibility and that’s what wins not just primaries but general elections.

    We’re Not Going to Take It Anymore
    We’ve given up too much control over our digital lives. We need a law to take some of it back.

    Two decades ago, at the dawn of the internet age, in an era before smartphones, before apps, before all manner of devices that monitor everything from your car-hailing practices to your dating preferences, the Sun Microsystems co-founder Scott McNealy made a startling claim:

    “You have zero privacy anyway,” he said. “Get over it!”

    The in-your-face concept had the benefit of being completely prescient and even an understatement. We are now the most data-generating, most uploaded, most share-crazy humans in the history of the world, which means we are also the most monitored, the most data-chomped and, definitely, the most exposed.

    Our information — much of it private — is the rocket fuel of the ever-expanding internet. Our data keeps it humming along, even as tech companies abuse that data with increasing frequency.

    So here’s an idea: Maybe we refuse to get over it. Maybe we start to grok what we have become, and think harder about the trades we are making for the convenience we get from our gadgets. And maybe we put in place some rules — rules that have real teeth — on big tech companies.

    Read whole article (pdf)

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  5. The Democratic Electorate on Twitter
    Is Not the Actual Democratic Electorate

    A detailed look at the voters with the numbers to decide the 2020 Democratic nominee.

    It has been my experience after pulling out of my Facebook echo chamber that there are fewer like minded Democrats that I previously thought. I freely admit I realized this before but was more likely to ignore it in the belief the rest of the left would always follow lockstep with the party regardless of the candidate for President.

    2016 was the beginning of the end of that belief and ever since I’ve been trying to understand better how that came to be and what has to be done to reconcile this inconvenient reality. This doesn’t mean I’m changing my strong liberal beliefs but it has made me adopt a “serenity prayer” mindset to change the things I can, accept the things I cannot but never say day and always push for future change.

    Note this study was done by the Hidden Times Project, a unabashedly centrist group, but that doesn’t bely all their data or the reality of the extremely broad liberal coalition in America.

    I think the better you know the real score, the better you can defend and further your position.

    Read whole article (pdf) Note: you’ll have to scroll to get to the article as it is another interactive online piece. Try the paywall version first.

    Permalink (behind paywall)

  6. Opinion
    How Radical Is Too Radical for 2020 Democrats?

    Or is that question beside the point in the Trump era?

    In 2016 Trump thumbed his nose at the GOP establishment and ran with scissors all the way to victory. In 2019 many Democrats are doing the same in the opposite direction.

    In these days of fractured demographics the pros and cons of tacking hard left require nuance and critical thinking. This poses a problem when then electorate is so emotionally charged and drastically divided.

    How many voters will be attracted to a radical left agenda versus how many will be repelled is where the answer lies. You need to read this article and make your own decision.

    Read whole article (pdf)

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  7. Tech Security

    A powerful spyware app now targets iPhone owners

    Thank Facebook, Google and some gambling and porn sites for this potentially massive breach of security

    Security researchers have discovered a powerful surveillance app first designed for Android devices can now target victims with iPhones.

    The spy app, found by researchers at mobile security firm Lookout, said its developer abused their Apple-issued enterprise certificates to bypass the tech giant’s app store to infect unsuspecting victims.

    The disguised carrier assistance app once installed can silently grab a victim’s contacts, audio recordings, photos, videos and other device information — including their real-time location data. It can be remotely triggered to listen in on people’s conversations, the researchers found.

    Read whole article

  8. Would ‘Medicare for All’ Save Billions or Cost Billions?
    Note to reader – This story is formatted on the website as “interactive” making it impossible to make a “pretty” pdf file. If you can’t get behind the paywall to see it. you will need to do some scrolling on the pdf file to get to the story in its “raw” form.

    How much would a “Medicare for all” plan, like the kind being introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders on Wednesday, change health spending in the United States?

    Some advocates have said costs would actually be lower because of gains in efficiency and scale, while critics have predicted huge increases.

    We asked a handful of economists and think tanks with a range of perspectives to estimate total American health care expenditures in 2019 under such a plan. The chart at the top of this page shows the estimates, both in composition and in total cost.

    In all of these estimates, patients and private insurers would spend far less, and the federal government would pay far more. But the overall changes are also important, and they’re larger than they may look. Even the difference between the most expensive estimate and the second-most expensive estimate was larger than the budget of most federal agencies.

    Read whole article (pdf)

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  9. Opinion
    Cancel Kirstjen Nielsen

    On Sunday evening, news broke that Kirstjen Nielsen was leaving her job as head of the Department of Homeland Security. The New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman tweeted that according to people close to Nielsen, one reason she hung on as long as she did was because “she was aware how awful life would/will be for her on the outside,” given her role in defending Donald Trump’s policies.

    Let’s make it so.

    Read whole article (pdf)

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  10. @Crank Bait:

    Where, exactly, is “their heads” when they support a despot who denigrates The Other?

    Other that being shoulder deep up their asses, their heads are full of one simple idea that simple solutions exist for complex problems and a despot like Trump is just the ticket to make it happen.

    How can you have a heart and vote for a Trump?

    I’m not saying they don’t have the capacity for love and caring or are some kind of “lesser deplorable”. I guess the heart I’m thinking of is a political heart which is only as good as what you choose to feed it.

    Republicans with the kind of heart I’m referring to have either left the party outright or are secretly voting for Democrats longing for the day when they can vote for a Republican they can respect. I suspect these are mostly older voters who remember the days of unanimous, or newly so, votes for Supreme Court justices and 9-0 decisions.

  11. chris: “Republicans vote with their heads, not their hearts.”

    The sweeping generalization notwithstanding, I would argue otherwise. If, by “Republicans,” you reference the rural electorate that is the GOP’s bread and butter, the notion that they are following the synapses of thoughtful cognition rather than an animalistic, tribal, reactionary, gut impulse is laughable.

    I assume that we agree that selling fear and hatred of The Other has long been the most successful method of rallying political support among the unwashed masses?

    Where, exactly, is “their heads” when they support a despot who denigrates The Other?

    Methinks Trumpism is heart, and gut, and the most base, most unthoughtful, most reactionary instincts of human beings who do not understand how they are being manipulated.

    The others, the GOP faithful, are marching behind a different drummer. They would support President Charles Manson so long as he won on a GOP ticket.

    There are other, more subtle, variations on the Pro-Trump theme but, for the most part there are only two: Rural conservatives and the GOP faithful.

    The rural goobers are not unique to the U.S.A. Look to the anti-immigration and nationalism in European countries. The bulk of it is supported by rural goobers.

  12. Getting back to the podcast topic, I feel like I have to repeat that I’m the kind of liberal who wants single payer healthcare, free tuition for state colleges and technical schools, social security where everyone pays their fair share and an income tax system that has the same requirement.

    The question that separates liberals is how and when do you get there? I feel very strongly the way we get there is from a groundswell of demand from the middle/working classes when the Democrats have the WH and majorities in Congress sufficient to pass the legislation.

    In order to get to that point we have to win elections, the most important now is the Presidency because that is the office that can sign it into law bypassing a veto override which can be impossible without super majorities in Congress and enough states to threaten a new Amendment if necessary.

    Obama talked about this in Berlin and he is right. We can’t afford any circular firing squads as the result of any candidate not passing some purity test.`. He knows that dramatic legislation to be passed is easier when voters are feeling safe and secure in the homes and jobs. You make repairs to the problem of income inequality and people immediately become more liberal in their views.

    Back to Videos
    Obama: Worried That Progressives Are Creating “Circular Firing Squad” With Purity Tests And “Rigidity”

    Click here if you don’t see the video above

    During an Obama Foundation town hall in Berlin on Saturday, former President Barack Obama said he was concerned that purity tests and ideological “rigidity” among progressives could weaken the American left.

    Read whole article

  13. @chris: It’s not hard to be critical about Bernie. He’s been around a long time and is very easy to define. That is his great appeal, people can “get” Bernie. But, that’s also his weakness because he’s been in the limelight a long time and I fear he will become perceived as a broken record.

    I agree with his campaign advisers asking him to open up but it’s going to be a challenge. Bernie reminds me of a line in the song “Momma Don’t Let Your Babies Growup to Be Cowboys” that goes:

    He ain’t wrong, he’s just different
    and his pride won’t let him
    do things that make you think he’s right

    It will make him appealing to more people if he opens up a bit, but even before that he has to cleanup his little tax controversy.

  14. Elizabeth Warren wants CEOs to go to jail when their companies behave badly
    Warren introduced a new bills to hold executives more accountable for corporate misconduct.

    Warren, 69, is outpacing her fellow 2020 Democratic rivals when it comes to major policy rollouts so far this election cycle. And a lot of her proposals are aimed squarely at corporate America and moneyed interests, whether that means breaking up farming and tech conglomerates, imposing a wealth tax, or overhauling American capitalism and corporate governance

    Read whole article

  15. The Favorite
    Can Bernie Sanders finally start acting like the one thing he’s never been?

    This time around, there is no need for Sanders to rationalize his candidacy—to argue that he wants to get off the back bench, shift the conversation to the left, or offer a protest option for those who can’t stomach the establishment. There is one goal—to win—and he will be judged as a success or failure by that single metric.

    Read whole article (pdf)

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  16. Today I’m a bit concerned how the liberal media is treating Pete Buttigieg. I don’ know why anyone would feel threatened by him. Maybe it’s the fact he’s only been on the trial and managed to raise $7M in that short time with no real 50 state team on the ground. It speaks to the voters habit of gravitating to the outsider and he makes it very easy to do with his clear way of speaking.

    I watched two segments on TYT yesterday and both spent most to the time downplaying his bona fides as if they were not relevant. It wasn’t as bad as Trump calling John McCain a failure but it is in the same vein and shouldn’t be something the liberal media does to a well meaning Democrat. It reminded me of what Fox News does poo-pooing the better qualities of Democrats as to render them moot.

    It really turned me off and I’ll rethink next year before I renew my membership. I know they are 100% Bernie supporters and that’s fine but they even mocked Buttigieg because he was a Bernie supporter also before he got into politics. I’m thinking now they were using a purity test.

    We need unity if we’re gonna get rid Trump we need a candidate that can do it. It’s too soon to tell about Buttigieg but he’s made a damn good start and doesn’t deserve resistance from the resistance.

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