Safe For Work Links To Kill Time At Work

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Happy Friday! Where to start, where to start? How about a Political Parrots teaser?

While there are questions about what President Trump’s transition team knew and when – now we know what Vice President Pence is busy working on. By the way “transition team” is code for Vice President Mike Pence. Bloomberg

Speaking of Pence…Did Sixpence None the Richer write the most 90’s song ever?

Millennial Musings:

Breaking News: Baby Booms are more entitled than…well…everybody. Here’s the proof. Marketwatch

Did the Great Recession divide the Millennial generation? The StarTribune thinks so.

Now you too can avocado-toast shame your Millennial wife. USA Today

Student loan shenanigans, the auto industry is reeling and Goldman Sachs puts out a dire warning this week:

The Department of Education estimates that more than eight million federal student loan borrowers have entered default — described as failing to make payment on their debts for at least 12 months. Marketwatch

NPR looks at U.S. Government Officials Playing Hardball On Student Loan Defaults.

Ford Motor will cut 10% of it’s salaried workers and auto sales dropped nearly 5 percent in the first quarter of 2017. CBS News asks, Why?

Goldman Sachs says that a “correction”, which is code word for everyone loses shit or a collapse of housing prices – is most likely to happen in 4 countries over the next 5 to 8 quarters.

Pop Goes the Culture:

Soundgarden’s first show was with a New York band called Three Teens Kill Four; its second was with the Melvins and Hüsker Dü.  Sadly, with the passing of Chris Cornell there won’t be another show for Soundgarden. Kim Neely interviewed Cornell and bandmates for Rolling Stone in 1992 – and it’s a nostalgic walk down memory lane – drenched in PBR, flannel and rock and roll.

Another reason why sports ball stadiums are a bad idea: Publicly Funded, Billionaire Handouts, Easy Political Gimmick , and Slave Labor. Seriously, fuck the World Cup. Deadspin.com

As if you needed another reason to hate Big-Pharma – they’re infiltrating daytime soap operas…for marketing purposes of course. Vox.com

Star Trek is coming back to small screen:

Political Parrots: 

Remember that crazy guy from the GOP Convention last summer? No, the other one. Nope, not that one. David Clarke is now (apparently/presumably ((Assuming his ties to Russia don’t come to light in the next 7-10 days)) joining the Department of Homeland Security.  Here is a list of horrible incidents connected to him. Fusion

Can former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn ignore a congressional subpoena? Vice.com

The creator of fake news has died. The Ringer

Larry Wilmore talks to Bernie Sanders and asks: Is the Democratic Party a progressive party? The Ringer

News From The Front:

Nathan Bowe asks: Is child care, child protection getting lost in political dust? Dl-Online.com

Now relax and watch:

 

Local Man Excited Encyclopedic Knowledge of Clinton Scandals Once Again Politically Relevant

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WABASSO, MN — Firing up the wireless transistor radio duct-taped to the roof of his Bobcat skid-loader, local man and long-time conservative talk radio enthusiast Bruce Haldorson, is optimistic that his extensive knowledge of 1990’s Clinton Administration scandals will propel him back into political relevancy. Haldorson, who subscribed to the the Wall Street JournalLimbaugh Letter, and American Spectator from 1994 to 1999, looks forward to fervidly espousing his contention that the Clintons got away with tens—if not hundreds—of criminal acts during the 1990s. “A lot of people forget that Slick Willy sold nuclear secrets to the Chi-Coms for campaign contributions,” Haroldson, who once sold food stamps to fund a trip to Dayton Beach in 1995. “Thanks to Donald Trump we’ll finally have an open discussion about Hill and Bill’s involvement in Troopergate, Travelgate, Whitewater, the Vince Foster murder, Filegate, Pardongate, and Able-Danger, and I’ll be able to participate fully at the local Cenex station.” Haroldson went on to assert that Chelsea Clinton’s real father is actual Hillary Clinton’s former law partner Web Hubbell, while repeatedly asserting that Secretary Clinton is actually a “crypto-lesbian.”

“The Boomers Strike Back”, Clinton vs. Trump it is.

 

by Troy M. Olson

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Remember Old Economy Steve? Meme courtesy of those lazy millennials and their sarcasm-as-a-defense-mechanism mindset.

It’s settled folks. The 2016 Presidential Election is between Hillary Clinton (D) and Donald Trump (R). Yes, I’m aware that the Democratic Party still has two candidates vying for the nomination, while both Ted Cruz and John Kasich dropped out a few weeks ago. However, no matter how hard #BernieOrBust folks or other groups try to show you otherwise, the Democratic Primary has been over for some time. For me personally, it was over when Bernie Sanders did not win Iowa. He was over a little bit more when he could not delve into the Nevada unions enough to gain a victory there, although like Iowa, it was close. While admittedly, my Super Tuesday predictions were a little too pessimistic for Bernie, it was still under where he needed to be.

He and his supporters have ran a solid and mostly clean campaign that has focused on the issues, pulled Hillary to the left on many important issues facing the country, and in the process made her a better candidate. Unfortunately, all of the old rules of left-right-center are out this cycle. The Republican Party has decided to nominate real estate mogul, reality TV star, and professional bomb thrower, Donald Trump.

And when I say the Republican Party I mean the lower and medium income white working class voters of the Republican Party has chosen him. As Carson and others have stated all cycle, the establishment of the Republican Party laughs at most of their supporters behind closed doors and has since about 1981. What we did not know as a country is that the Democratic Party now does that too and has for the past twenty years or so. Citizens United, money corrupting our political process, redistribution of wealth and the concentration of it in the hands of the very, very few have not happened in a vacuum. I hate to break it to some party hacks, but the Democratic Party is responsible for these things too. They are responsible because they have endorsed it. You see, back in 1992 when Bill Clinton became the first Democratic President in twelve years, the party tacked to the center and rebranded themselves the “New Democrats.”

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Kleiner Mann Joe Blue Collar, Was Nun?: The Way Forward for Those Who Don’t Care About The Heritage Foundation’s Agenda

By Carson Starkey

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Darren McCollester | Getty Images

Hans Fallada’s “Little Man, What Now?” was first published in 1932. Johannes Pinneberg, the protagonist, faces constant economic anxieties, petty humiliations, and social disillusionment in post-World War One Germany. He travels through a broad range of emotions, but most of all, he feels disconnected and abandoned…abandoned by faceless, uncaring “leaders.” As he sees it, somebody should be looking out for him. He doesn’t hold grandiose, sophisticated ideas about public policy, history, economics, or politics. He wants a steady job, a place to live free from his repulsive mother-in-law, affordable healthcare for his wife Emma, and food for his son Horst. He’s not angry about socialism, trade unionism, or fascism. He’s angry that self-declared “serious” people in government can’t or won’t protect him from avoidable misery. A fair number of scholars assert that the book acts a broad explanation for the future political success of fascism in Germany. Johannes Blue Collar wasn’t obsessed with waging expensive, seemingly endless warfare or subjugating everyone that disagreed with him politically. He just wanted to pay his bills and maintain some measure of human dignity. Of course that was true in 1932. It has been true throughout the course of human history. It’s true today. Which brings us to Joe Blue Collar in contemporary America and his broad interest in, if not sympathy with, Donald Trump.

What has been most intriguing, in my view anyway, about the rise of Trumpism (broad, detail-free populist declarations about making America great) are the reactions among Establishment or respectable conservatives. “Establishment conservatives” has come to mean Republican Party voters that favor millionaire welfare checks, eternal warfare with Muslims, and racial segregation without the burden of supporting a politically inexperienced, orange-skinned, toupee-adorned grifter who plies shoddy products at Macy’s. Now that Trump is going to be the Republican presidential nominee, respectable conservatives are melting down in highly public, Mel Gibson-esque spectacles that reveal the ugly yet honest ideological foundations of American conservatism. Respectable, establishment conservatives claim to care about intellectually serious matters like Supreme Court nominees, small government, or fiscal restraint…although no evidence exists to support the contention that those same conservatives have ever worried about such matters in the past three quarters of a century, unless we mean preserving low tax rates for rich people or criminalizing the existence of non-white people. No, what rankles self-proclaimed grown-up conservatives about Trump is that he’s giving away the inside game by verifying an uncomfortable suspicion that Heritage Foundation “scholars” have always attempted to suppress during campaigns. That is, most self-proclaimed conservative voters don’t care about the Ayn Rand agenda. While abolishing taxation, dissolving social insurance, and building Pax Americana are important causes to people who work at The Wall Street Journal, all that Jane or Joe Blue Collar care about relates to making financial ends meet. Which makes conservative aristocrats angry bordering on hysterical.

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The Greater Recession: Millennials and Housing

by Troy M. Olson

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“Demographics are destiny.”

Despite spending most of my adult life in the public, academic, and non-profit sectors of the economy, at least until recently, I actually grew up a child of the private sector—the housing industry to be specific. Between housing services and residential investment, the housing industry makes up about 17-18% of GDP. If you’ll recall back before the worst of the financial crisis in the fall of 2008 (an event that ensured a landslide victory for President Obama if that wasn’t assured already), you’ll remember that the housing bubble burst due to credit default swaps and too much subprime lending to those who could not afford to keep up with those payments. While we may magnify the “special” characteristics of our recent human experiences, what happened from 2007 to 2009 is neither particularly special, nor great, but incredibly common. The housing industry is nearly always the first part of the economy to slow down just before a recession hits, and it is also the first to recover from the worst effects of a recession.

In 2009, when most of the country was in the midst of the worst of the recession, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (aka, the near-trillion dollar Economic Stimulus Package) confirmed two things: one, it helped keep companies like the one my Dad has worked for his entire adult life from having to lay off workers (both manual labor workers in the plant, and some office staff), and two, it confirmed that despite the pronounced ideologies of many American politicians during Boom-town days, when things get tough—everyone becomes a Keynesian.

I start with the housing industry and my connection to it because I know for sure that real work was being done, jobs exist, houses need to be built, set, and buttoned up, etc. I know from my entire life’s experience that those in housing services are hard working members of the real economy. The story we all remember from the last recession is the story of the financial services sector of the economy, characterized best by the continued rise and fall and bail-out story of Wall Street.

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You have Twelve Days until Your Parents Become Trump Supporters

by Allan Branstiter

Yep, your yoga-loving parents are about to become vocal Trump apologists.

 

If you’re like me, your parents are conservative-to-moderate Republicans. Over the past 10 years or so, they may have mellowed out a bit from their heady days of door-knocking for Barry Goldwater, voting for the nominally anti-war Richard Nixon, and restoring American greatness during the Reagan Revolution. Sure, they voted for George W. Bush over John McCain in 2000, but they did so because the former was prayerful and compassionate, while the latter was a RINO. They may have even voted for Obama in 2008 because of lingering distrust of McCain and a newfound discomfort with Sarah Palin. These days they’re sending a few news articles about how ridiculous Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are in a strained attempt to create rare moments of inter-generational political concord within your family.

Friends, I hate to tell you this, but that moment is gone. Your parents—those sweet compassionate, thoughtful, moderate, and reasonable people who’ve only recently expanded their horizons by experimenting with yoga, tai chi, single-source coffee, and hybrid cars—are twelve days from becoming full-blown Trump supporters. The day after the March 15th primaries, Donald Trump will secure enough delegates to become the Republican nominee. And rather than fight him, your parents will do everything they can to see him elected to the presidency.

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Millennials Will Destroy Everything You Love: Totems of Diversity

Millennials were the chosen generation. It was said that they would destroy the old social order, not join it. They were to bring equality to the world, not leave it in darkness. This is Part Two of one Millennial’s cynical take of the Leftist potential of his generation.

by Allan Branstiter

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It is a truth universally acknowledged that Millennials, as a single generation, are the most diverse generational cohort in American history (20 percent are Non-white Hispanic, 14 percent are African American, and 6 percent are Asian). Almost 40 percent of Millennials are bilingual, and a whopping 71 percent say that they appreciate the influence of other cultures on American life. Observers often note the demographic diversity of our generation when attempting to explain what makes us uniquely liberal as a whole.

As I mentioned in Part One of this series, I question the intrinsic liberality of our generation. Whereas Part One sought to undermine the notion that Millennials are rejecting capitalism as a generation, Part Two seeks to explore the racial dynamics of our generational cohort. In the end, I argue that while Millennials are diverse and culturally aware, these traits do not inevitable lead to racial harmony and justice.

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Millennials Will Destroy Everything You Love: Socialists of Fortune

Millennials were the chosen generation. It was said that they would destroy the old social order, not join it. They were to bring equality to the world, not leave it in darkness. This is Part One of one Millennial’s cynical take of the Leftist potential of his generation.

by Allan Branstiter

Group of young people using laptop and plotting the destruction of your hopes and dreams.
Group of Millennials using laptop and plotting the destruction of your hopes and dreams.

It’s 2016 and the importance of the Millennial vote in this election cycle has been the subject of many discussion, especially as it relates to the rise of Bernie Sanders. Pundits have pointed to Sanders’s strong support among Millennials to explain how a self-identified democratic socialist from a state of little consequence could emerge as a  legitimate threat to Hillary Clinton’s coronation as the Democratic presidential candidate. Prior to last year, most Americans knew Sanders as the crazy socialist who sometimes appeared on the Sunday morning political shows to decry the Democratic party’s failure to take legislation far enough to the left. How could this pinko, they think to themselves, challenge THE MOST POWERFUL POLITICAL MACHINE IN AMERICA for the presidency?

Their answer? Those dang moon-bat lefty Millennials are embracing socialism as their preferred alternative to the excesses of modern American capitalism. To many, our generation is seen as either refreshing upstarts who are injecting much needed energy into a tired political process, or ungrateful usurpers who do not appreciate the meaning of fortitude and hard work. I’m here to tell you that Millennials are neither the spiritual saviors of the American left, nor are they fully opposed to capitalism or social inequality. As a result, Democrats should not take their support for granted, and Republicans should not discount the appeal of conservatism among Millennials.

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Iowa Results: What They Do Not Mean

by Troy M. Olson

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Disclaimer! The following will have some harsh truths for U.S. millennials.

Earlier in the week I talked about what the Iowa results mean, and previewed what they don’t mean. I do not take pride in the following observations, but must go forward anyway. I hope I’m wrong, but here it goes.

What the Iowa results do not mean:

That Bernie Sanders should be considered the favorite and/or that Hillary Clinton is in trouble.

Bernie Sanders is still very much the underdog (and should relish that role) even after Iowa, and will continue to be after his clear victory in the upcoming New Hampshire primary. The delegate tie and Bernie outperforming (what are often wildly inaccurate primary polls to begin with) his poll numbers does not fundamentally change the race. For the month of January, Bernie has pulled in 5 million more dollars than Clinton, and he has pulled to within 2 points (it was 31 in December) in one poll released since Monday.  There is no denying Bernie has had a good week and will have another good one following New Hampshire.

I’ve seen plenty of joy and jubilation, especially from my favorite American generation since my grandparents, the Millennial generation, on various social media sites. What I am also seeing is plenty of generational and other demographic splits occurring within the Democratic Party. Which leads me to the first key reason why Bernie still has no more than a 5 percent chance of being the Democratic Party nominee: demographics.

The Bernie coalition is not the Obama coalition. Rather, it is the Obama coalition minus non-white Democratic Primary voters. President Obama was not leading among African-American voters in the lead up to Iowa in 2007-08. The difference though, Obama wins by eight points in Iowa and has many voters who were considering or favorable toward him, come on over from Hillary’s side after the clear victory on January 3, 2008, which proved Obama’s electability. I do not believe Bernie has had this breakthrough among Democrats, yet.

Bernie has injected some important issues into the campaign. For instance, probably the most important issue of our time, economic inequality. However, Hillary has also been talking about that issue the entire campaign, diluting Bernie’s ownership over it. While Obama had the Iraq War vote that worked to his advantage, especially with younger voters, Bernie has not talked about foreign policy nearly as often as Obama did in ’08. More important, too many voters have unfortunately put the foreign policy misstep that was the Iraq War out of their mind and into the dustbin of history. This another unfortunate weakness to his candidacy. He has been right on nearly every foreign policy issue of our time, while Hillary has often been wrong. However, his focus on economic issues and the growing uncertainly in the minds of middle and working class voters over their futures, have put foreign policy discussions to the back burner in comparison.

Bernie simply cannot be the nominee with huge margins of under-40 white people. His demographic diversity will need to expand if he is to have any chance. With his current voter demographic profile, his three best states are Vermont, New Hampshire, and Iowa. It is incredibly easy to write-off victories in his home state, its more moderate twin NH, and a gentlemen’s tie in Iowa.

His financial advantage lately will help him compete with Hillary’s universal name recognition in large states like New York, California, Illinois, or mid-range states with big media markets like Minnesota, Colorado, etc. However, Obama was able to capitalize and two things that Bernie does not have going for him in 2016. One, the two David’s (Plouffe and Axelrod) do not work for Bernie, and two, he is positioned as the “angry” candidate in the race and Americans historically go with the more “optimistic” candidate. Not saying Hillary has cornered the “optimistic” candidate angle either, she hasn’t. Marco Rubio has a good chance to be that candidate though.

In addition, the primary calendar favors Hillary, not Bernie at their current voter makeup. In 2008, as long as Obama survived Super Tuesday, he was well positioned to take a significant delegate lead. In 2016, Bernie has very few states that could give him enough delegates to survive the SEC-heavy Super Tuesday states. Even in states like CO and MN, caucus states where organization gives you a heavy advantage, polling (albeit inaccurate and two weeks old) has given Clinton sizable leads. One could argue Bernie has already made up that ground and can win both CO and MN, and other small to mid sized caucus states, but he doesn’t need to just win those states, he needs to win by a landslide. Remember, this is a delegate race. The Obama campaign knew that early on, and Hillary’s campaign was lead by cynical pollster, Mark Penn in 2008, who prioritized the “inevitability” narrative. While her inner circle hasn’t learned all the lessons from their 2008 primary defeat, they have learned enough lessons. The 2016 Hillary organization on the ground is considerably better, and there have been nearly zero super delegate or establishment defections from her camp. While Obama was not winning in super delegates at this stage in the race eight years ago, he had at least some of them won over. He was acceptable to a large number of establishment Democrats. The “establishment line” toward Obama in 2008 was “wait your turn.” The line toward Sanders in 2016 is “use your indoor voice.”

That Donald Trump is done. 

As long as Trump holds onto his lead and wins the NH Primary, he is still very much in the race because of his near-universal name recognition. Name recognition, or name ID, is the universal rule of political campaigning. Above even party ID, because name ID accounts for primary as well as general election campaigns. People are more likely to support people they know or people they think they know. Those in the public or quasi-public figures are already known. Trump is definitely a celebrity candidate. However, Ronald Reagan, Al Franken, and others before him prove that this can be largely to your benefit, especially if you prime the waters with your political opinions in public long before you enter the political fray.

Like Sanders on the left, Trump has successfully positioned himself as the “angry” candidate, which has become more and more palatable on the right over the years. Unlike Sanders however, his “anger” is fueled by cultural and social hysteria more than economic concerns, although economic reasons may very well contribute to the feelings of his supporters. Sanders’ anger his been decidedly economic and class-based, reminiscent of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s attacks on “economic royalists.” Trump’s campaign has been utterly devoid of substance on the issues, lacks a vision for where the country is supposed to go and how it gets there, and has been mostly filled with insults of other people and candidates, boasting of his poll numbers, critiques of the country as a whole, and appeals to the lowest common denominator typically found in the comment section. Once again, I think this lack of substance would only matter on the left, where a certain amount of hope, optimistic, and vision is always required in an ideal Presidential candidate. On the right, in an age where book-burners are controlling more and more territory that the GOP establishment used to claim as their own, anything is still possible. As mentioned in the previous post, Rubio should now be considered the favorite, but do not count Trump out for good. A solid win in NH or a win period, could change things. Keep in mind that Trump probably wins (although still underperforms slightly) if he doesn’t pull the “no-show at the debate” stunt.

And finally, the number one thing the Iowa results do not mean…

That the establishment of both parties, and therefore the Washington D.C. to Wall Street nexus is in trouble.

As of today, Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio are the favorites to match up in the General Election in 2016. In a time when so much digital ink is spilled showcasing how much anger their is directed toward the establishment, they are still very much winning, and are likely to win in 2016.

If any party’s establishment is cracking a bit, it’s on the GOP side. On the Democratic side, DWS is party chair, Chuck Schumer is scheduled to be permanent minority leader, and the DCCC has no viable plan to gain seats back in Congress or rebuild state parties. Someone who has spoke a lot about party-building on the stump is Hillary Clinton. However, it does not get more establishment than her. The difficult task in the years to come for a rebuilding Democratic Party will reconciling the Boomer establishment with the ascendent and numerous, but still relatively powerless Millennials and Generation X. If the quasi-generational battle between the Millennial candidate, Bernie Sanders, and the Boomer establishment candidate, Hillary Clinton is any indication, this is still the Baby Boomers party. Unlike GOP, which is under-going that generational leadership transition as we speak, and doing so in an era where only the White House stands between them and complete power of all levels and branches of Government in the United States.

This is why I cannot reconcile what I see as happening in the near-future with the in-fighting and irrational enthusiasm and shilling of either the Bernie-Millennials or the Hillary-Boomers. The Democratic Party is in deep, deep trouble. And the folks at “Agreeing Loudly,” like most Millennials, are powerless to stop it.

Are We Overlooking Generation X?

Forget the Boomers and Millennials, this is the Gen-X Election Cycle

by Allan Branstiter

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During Marco Rubio’s triumphal bronze medal speech in Iowa he used the word “generation” seven times in less than a minute. I couldn’t help but wonder what generation he was trying to speak to. Rubio’s speech was more or less the rehearsed “New American Century” schtick he’s been polishing since last year, but last night speech was notable to me because it was an odd Frankenstein of Boomer sanctimony, Millennial idealism, and (more importantly) Gen X cynicism.

Boomer v. Millennial gets a ton of airtime these days (see: Weber, Meacham, Nentl, et al.), but this leads me to wonder if we are overlooking Generation X’s more silent influence over the 2016 Republican primary campaign? Let’s make the (wholly unscientific) case:

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