mountain train wallpaper, the sequester has consequences, marriage is something the working class can no longer afford

mountain train wallpaper

mountain train wallpaper

 

Apparently Rupert Murdoch only believes in hiring editorial board members who have no use for math, WSJ’s Stephen Moore: Devastating Sequestration Cuts Are A “Success” Free Of “Negative Consequences”. There are people in the world who do not have to take off their shoes to do simple math, and even more math wizards here.

Train concourse, Union Station, Washington, D.C. Between 1905 and 1910

Train concourse, Union Station, Washington, D.C. Between 1905 and 1910.

Love And Work Don’t Always Work for Working Class in America, Study Shows

The decline and disappearance of stable, unionized full-time jobs with health insurance and pensions for people who lack a college degree has had profound effects on working-class Americans who now are less likely to get married, stay married, and have their children within marriage than those with college degrees, a new University of Virginia and Harvard University study has found.

The research, “Intimate Inequalities: Love and Work in a Post-Industrial Landscape,” will be presented at the 108th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.

“Working-class people with insecure work and few resources, little stability, and no ability to plan for a foreseeable future become concerned with their own survival and often become unable to imagine being able to provide materially and emotionally for others,” said Sarah Corse, an associate professor of sociology in U.Va.’s College of Arts & Sciences and the study’s lead author. “Insecure work changes peoples’ non-work lives.”

The study was conducted through direct interviews and surveys with more than 300 working- and middle-class men and women in the U.S. The study participants were white, African-American, Asian, and Latino, between the ages of 18 and 70, and with a range of educational histories. They were married, single, divorced, cohabitating, and widowed, as well as non-parents and biological and adoptive parents.

The researchers found, generally, that educated middle-class workers are better able to recover from the destabilizing effects of insecure work than the working class, and therefore can seek and find stability in relationships.

“Marriage is becoming a distinctive social institution marking middle-class status,” Corse said.

People who are living in an unsecure and unstable situation have difficulty being trustful of possible partners because of the risk of betrayal, noted Harvard sociologist Jennifer Silva, Corse’s co-investigator, who earned her sociology Ph.D. at U.Va. They also find it difficult to meet material or financial obligations and may feel that the emotional and psychological commitment required by marriage is too great a demand on top of other challenges.

“Marriage has lost its relevance as a marker of adulthood,” said Silva, author of the book, Coming Up Short: Working Class Adulthood in an Age of Uncertainty, to be published in August by Oxford University Press.

People with college degrees, however, tend to work in stable jobs with better incomes allowing for the emotional and material commitment of marriage and having children within marriage. Middle- and upper-middle class people, as a result, express high expectations for their marriages, centering on self-fulfillment, deeply engaged parenting by both parents, and psycho-emotional awareness. They also “insure” themselves against marital complacency, conflict, and dissolution through private material and emotional “investments,” such as therapy and special “date nights,” Corse said.

According to Corse and Silva, wages for the non-college-educated have fallen dramatically in the United States as manufacturing work has been outsourced to other countries, greatly reducing the number of high-paying union jobs with good benefits.

Increasingly, the jobs available to those without a college degree are service-sector jobs, many of which are short-term and/or part-time and lack benefits, they said.

“These are foundational changes in the labor market for the working class and they broadly affect people’s lives,” they said. “Our interviewees without college degrees expressed feelings of distrust and even fear about intimate relationships, and had difficulty imagining being able to provide for others.”

College-educated middle-class workers, with material, cultural, and intellectual resources, are more resilient, however, when faced with the effects of possible insecure work in tough times, and therefore are more able to commit to marriage and to planning families.

In the U.S. almost everyone from people living in exclusive gated communities to people trying to get by on minimum wage and living with two roommates, describes themselves as middle-class. All these people might be middle-class culturally, but economically they are very far apart.

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the dawning

The Dawning

The Dawning, 1915. Arthur B. Davies, American, 1862-1928. Oil on canvas. An important work demonstrating an American artist’s experiment with Cubism.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Why I changed my mind on weed

I mistakenly believed the Drug Enforcement Agency listed marijuana as a schedule 1 substance because of sound scientific proof. Surely, they must have quality reasoning as to why marijuana is in the category of the most dangerous drugs that have “no accepted medicinal use and a high potential for abuse.”

They didn’t have the science to support that claim, and I now know that when it comes to marijuana neither of those things are true. It doesn’t have a high potential for abuse, and there are very legitimate medical applications. In fact, sometimes marijuana is the only thing that works. Take the case of Charlotte Figi, who I met in Colorado. She started having seizures soon after birth. By age 3, she was having 300 a week, despite being on seven different medications. Medical marijuana has calmed her brain, limiting her seizures to 2 or 3 per month.

I have seen more patients like Charlotte first hand, spent time with them and come to the realization that it is irresponsible not to provide the best care we can as a medical community, care that could involve marijuana.

While I was amazed at Dr. Gupta’s naivete at believing what the DEA had to say about marijuana, the more important point is that he is a generally highly respected media medical authority who had the courage and humility to admit he was mistaken.

Proserpine

Proserpine, 1874.  Dante Gabriel Rossetti (English – 1828-1882). Oil on canvas.  Rossetti was the founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848, along with William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais.

 

A New Look at Walker Evans’s ‘American Photographs’. I’m a big fan of Evan’s work. For better or worse much of it is romanticized by many modern viewers – the vintage clothing, the old cars and what is now referred to as urban ruin porn – run down houses of poor farmers and factory workers.

Let’s say Erin Burnett had a job as a structural engineer. She would have been fired long along for incompetence and criminal negligence after one of her buildings collapsed. Yet, since she is a well connected “journalist” she just keeps on getting a check every week,  CNN Benghazi Special Pushes Debunked And Deceptive Claims.

whistle blowers and the media, mermaids and radical fundamentalists

macro summer flower wallpaper

macro summer flower wallpaper

 

Top Ten Ways the Beltway Press Will Treat Gen. Cartwright Differently from Snowden

NBC reports that Gen. James “Hoss” Cartwright is under investigation as the source for David Sanger’s 2012 New York Times article revealing that the United States is behind the Stuxnet computer virus, which was used to infect computers at Iran’s Natanz nuclear enrichment facilities and at the Bushehr nuclear energy plants and delay their going hot.

No one will obsess about the exercise habits of Gen. Cartwright’s wife.
Gen. Cartwright will not be characterized as “a 63-year-old hacker.”
Gen. Cartwright will not be described as “nerdy” or “flaky.”
David Gregory will not ask that David Sanger be prosecuted for espionage because he aided and abetted Cartwright’s leaking.
We won’t get stories every day about where in McLean, Virginia, Gen. Cartwright is living.
Gen. Cartwright won’t be accused of being a spy for Iran.
No lurid stories will be rehearsed on the Sunday afternoon shows about Cartwright’s allegedly overly familiar relationship with a young female aide in 2009, with heavy innuendo as to what the episode said about his reckless character.
No FBI informants will be placed inside the elite Alfalfa Club in DC that Cartwright was known to attend.
Cartwright’s loyalty to the United States won’t be impugned by anchors or congressmen.
Dirt won’t be dug up on David Sanger’s private life in an attempt to discredit his reporting on Cartwright’s Stuxnet.

Regardless of what thinks about Mr. Snowden’s actions, the above is a strange facet of our media culture. While I disagree with with on a few things Noam Chomsky is right about how the media – that seems more Right of center than liberal or moderate – shapes and frames the news, thus how much of the public perceives events and people.

Mermaid by the sea ; woman by the sea

Mermaid by the sea ; woman by the sea. An illustration from Harper’s in  1877. I can barely read the text. Some of it is not very good poetry and some of it is humor. I thought of it after I read this story, Five reasons mermaids are impossible

The second is that were Nature somehow to fuse a fish butt onto a woman’s torso, how does said fusion creature make new creatures? Are mermaids parthenogens, mitotically producing new mermaids from some unseen orifice after being sown together from fish and people? You see, reproduction is a key element of being something that exists, that is alive. Animals gotta get it on, either with themselves or others of their species, to be here. An all-female human-fish mashup organism without sex bits, much less some way to lay an egg (fish style) or push out a baby (human style), isn’t gonna be able to do that. For a review, check out the comparative anatomy again. See?

One of those rare science articles that is fun to read. They wrote in in reply to a silly mermaid special on Animal Planet. They have so much silly stuff – mixed in with the good, on Animal Planet I would not have thought it worth bothering with. Though I do get that some people would seriously entertain the idea that half human-half fish creature could exist. And as long as we’re on the subject of a certain three letter word, Virginia Gov. Candidate Cuccinelli Asks Supreme Court to Revive Ban on Oral, Anal Sex.

But in 2004, when a bipartisan group of state Senators was trying to fix the sodomy law so that it would only apply to cases involving minors and non-consensual sex, Cuccinelli, then a state Senator, blocked the effort.

…As Mother Jones noted, some 90 percent of Americans would be felons if the Virginia law were to be applied nationally. Cuccinelli has remained mute as to whether he’s one of them.

We already put a lot of people in jail for spurious reasons, and do not put people in jail that might belong there. Perhaps some of us have a naive concept of what laws are for – to punish actions that hurt others. Ken Cuccinelli and his sycophantic followers think the law is about punishing people for doing things they find personally distasteful. That is a worm that can certainly turn. Many may find Ken’s bizarre and tyrannical politics distasteful.

 

forbes and their obamacare smear, the chartists and the advancement of liberalism

thunder storm wallpaper

thunder storm wallpaper

 

 Anatomy of a Bogus Obamacare Argument How an irresponsible Forbes writer distorted the debate

If you’ve ever tried to buy insurance on your own, you have a pretty good idea of how ridiculous Roy’s experiment was. If not, go and read Ezra Klein and Rick Ungar, who over the weekend pointed out each of the many flaws. Among the problems they identified: The prices a consumer sees on eHealthInsurance are classic “teaser rates”—in this case, available only to people who don’t have pre-existing conditions. A 25-year-old with a history of allergies, or diabetes, or repetitive stress injuries, or mental health problems, or any number of other common conditions could not have gotten that rate. In fact, that 25-year-old might not have been able to get insurance at all. “That’s not just comparing apples to oranges,” Ezra wrote. “It’s comparing apples to oranges that the fruit guy may not even let you buy.”

I’ve read the original Forbes piece. Avik Roy at Forbes ( a former Romney advisor) commits some fundamental errors both in terms of arithmetic, but he straw mans his detractors as well. Those who have kept up know that individuals – like a 25 year old healthy male buying insurance on his own, not a group plan from work, will likely see an increase in costs. Everyone who writes about insurance issues was aware of that. Saying that he has shocking news, is a way for Roy to get attention and straw man those who disagree. he also uses an odd example. Insurance individuals buy on their own, as opposed to group insurance, is the most expensive way to buy insurance. So few 25 year old healthy males that make an average income buy insurance on their own. If that male has any kind of medical history that even mildly suggests they might have medical problems, they are going to pay sky high rates if they can get insurance at all. If Obamacare had not been enacted everyone was looking at an average annual increase in premiums  – “Since 2002, employer-sponsored health coverage for family premiums have increased by 97%”. It looks as though Obamacare will bring down the average costs. No miracles, but some modest savings and a slow down in that ridiculous inflation rate Click over to link at top for some figures).

The Chartist Meeting on Kennington

The Chartist Meeting on Kennington Common, 10 April 1848. This print is from an original Daguerreotype. The Chartists (which consisted of various organization that fall under the general heading of the movement) took their name from a list of reforms called the “People’s Charter” in 1838.

The People’s Charter called for six basic reforms to make the political system more democratic:

A vote for every man over the age of 21;
A secret ballot;
No property qualification for members of Parliament;
Payment for MPs (so poor men could serve);
Constituencies of equal size;
Annual elections for Parliament.

While their crusade failed in the short term, many of their reforms were eventually adopted. 1848 was a momentous day in the history of liberalism.

May be never be forgotten, Remembering Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s (D-NJ) (1924-2013) Progressive Legacy

peter peterson and the hunt for the legendary liberal press

ice cream peaches wallpaper

ice cream peaches wallpaper

Why Does the NYT Refrain from Explaining the Predatory Motives of a Billionaire-Backed Think Tank?

One of the all-time greatest hits of right-wing pundits is the insistence on a “liberal bias” in the media. Journalist and historian Eric Alterman exposed this myth in his 2003 book, What Liberal Media? [3] yet it persists, often resulting in mainstream media outlets caving to a strategy known as “working the refs,” in which shrill cries of bias cause journalists and pundits to privilege right-leaning perspectives so they won’t be accused.

A disturbing example of this trend haunts the pages of the New York Times, in which the pernicious work of the decidedly right-wing Peter G. Peterson Institute is treated as ideologically unbiased while that of other organizations across the spectrum are consistently mentioned along with an ideological tag; often one designed to misguide readers on the actual nature of the organization’s agenda.

Let’s take a tour of the NYT archives.

When the Koch-backed Cato Institute is mentioned, the label “libertarian” tends to appear. An article [4] about Ben Bernanke’s stance on China’s currency undervaluation, for example, tells us that “speakers at a conference in Washington, organized by the libertarian Cato Insitute warned that the Fed’s monetary policy could lead to asset-price bubbles….” The ideological tag alerts the reader to take the assertion with a grain of salt. The obviously right-wing Heritage Foundation is usually tag-less and never characterized as “right-leaning,” but occasionally the term “conservative [5]” will appear when it is mentioned.

The Obama-supporting Center for American Progress is alternatively described as “liberal [6]” or “center left [7]” as in this article: “The center-left Center for American Progress opened in 2003 when the Democrats were in political exile.” The Institute for Policy Studies is called [8] a “left-leaning think tank in Washington.”

Third Way, a big money front group [10] whose governing board is totally dominated by Wall Street financiers, is absurdly characterized [11] as a “moderately left-wing think tank,” when in fact, as Bill Black has pointed out [12], it is dedicated to a right-wing agenda of shredding the social safety net and imposing self-destructive austerity on America.

Which brings us to the case of the Peter G. Peterson Institute, which backs Third Way. Pete Peterson, the founder and principal doner of this “policy center” is a conservative Republican billionaire who made his money as a Wall Street hedge fund manager and served as secretary of commerce under President Richard Nixon. He has devoted himself and his billions to promoting deficit hysteria and convincing the public that programs like Social Security and Medicare will destroy the economy. His economic policies come from the far right and his organization is dedicated to producing propaganda masquerading as serious research. He has a huge and well-paid staff (and one of them will be contacting me after the publication of this article attempting to brow-beat me into telling lies about their boss).

The mythology promoted by Peterson has done incalculable harm to America. His belief in the absurd efficient market theory, in which financial markets magically regulate themselves, has helped produce widespread and continuing fraud epidemics. He has consistently pushed austerity (based, as we now know, on the discredited research of Harvard economists Reinhart and Rogoff [13]) which has led to job loss, economic stagnation and untold misery for millions.

If there is an actual “Third Way”, splitting the difference between austerity and Keynesian stimulus spending, we had that. Not in the first year of the Obama administration, that was a conservative legacy budget, but from 2009 to 2012 we had austerity-lite. Peterson is not just your average dangerous ideologue, he is true social-Darwinist. he would probably tell the story differently, but Peterson is a good example of corporate welfare. he made his fortune riding on the back of the work, products and services produced by working class Americans. He bought and sold investment instruments based on the productivity of people who did actual work. because he sometimes sit at a desk for 14 hour hours over a spread sheet, he’ll claim he worked so very hard to make his money. In the age of the richest robber barons in history, we have a whole new definition of what constitutes work. So he doesn’t do physical labor, he produces an intellectual property or resource. Not really. We have several universities that crank out thousands of people every year that are as smart, if not smarter than Peterson. You have never used a program that Peterson wrote, used an engine he engineered, switched on a circuit he invented or walked on a sidewalk he paved. You have sent him part of your pay check. Because those at the top of the pyramid get a cut of every minute you work.

the intelligence merry-go-round, in the holder lied game learning the meaning of words

black and white desert sands

black and white desert sands

People Getting Dumber? Human Intelligence Has Declined Since Victorian Era, Research Suggests 

As for Dr. te Nijenhuis and colleagues, they analyzed the results of 14 intelligence studies conducted between 1884 to 2004, including one by Sir Francis Galton, an English anthropologist and a cousin of Charles Darwin. Each study gauged participants’ so-called visual reaction times — how long it took them to press a button in response to seeing a stimulus. Reaction time reflects a person’s mental processing speed, and so is considered an indication of general intelligence.

…In the late 19th Century, visual reaction times averaged around 194 milliseconds, the analysis showed. In 2004 that time had grown to 275 milliseconds. Even though the machine gauging reaction time in the late 19th Century was less sophisticated than that used in recent years, Dr. te Nijenhuis told The Huffington Post that the old data is directly comparable to modern data.

There was not a link to the original study in a journal called Intelligence so I cannot tell what kind of modern version of the  Hipp chronoscope ( they have an original pictured at the link)which  they used to measure reaction times. I enjoyed the article. I rarely go over to HuffPo anymore because they run 26 scripts by my last count. When you visit there you connect to everything from FaceBook to YouTube to four or more statistical counters. Your visit is way of saying use me. Most sites have gotten that way, but HuffPo, Slate, Salon, all the major news sites, are especially egregious. Anyway, back to that article. Reaction times have been a very important part of psychological testing for over a century. In some circumstances they can give the researcher a baseline. Those with especially acute cognitive skills, either because of health or heredity, will have poor reaction times. Though there are a few problems with relying on some version of the Hipp chronoscope.

Persistent discrepancies in the reaction time experiments also led to modifications in theory. Cattell speculated that discrepancies may be a sign of two distinct types of reactions – motor and sensory. In other words, subjects had different reaction times, depending on how they focused their attention – on the motor aspect of the response, or the sensory aspect of the stimulus. Baldwin took Cattell’s idea one step further by proposing that reactions depended on distinct memory types. Many of the experiments that went into Baldwin’s theory of “Types of Reaction” were conducted at U of T.

Cattell, McK. J. and Dolley, C. (1894). On Reaction-Times and the Velocity of the Nervous Impulse, Psychological Review, vol. 1; 159-168.

Baldwin, James Mark (1895). Types of Reaction, Psychological Review, vol. 2; 259.

Baldwin, James Mark (1893). New Questions in Mental Chronometry, Medical Record; 455.

At least three factors are affecting reaction times; motor skills, sensory perception and memory type. Quite a few people who have been described as geniuses have not had exceptional short term memory. And how about that 275 milliseconds? How did they determine that was statistically significant? There are 1000 milliseconds in a second. To calibrate a machine to slow down that much takes skills. That could be a statistical error. It could be accounted for by the temperature of the room during experiments now and those done over a hundred years ago. It could be because of modern environmental factors like a higher concentration of carbon in the air. The experiments were had to be done after the subjects ate – breakfast, lunch. Meals vary quite a bit from a 100 years past.

Statistically they might be on to something with the correlation between fertility and intelligence. Though in the article linked to they note in the abstract that environmental factors like education and income play a role. So probably too early to say with absolute certainty that smart people don’t have children because they’re smart. Only that there are strong indicators that either intelligence or advanced education have an effect on fertility. Dr. te Nijenhuis, who thinks humanity is getting dumber says the Flynn Effect, that says we’re getting a little smarter, is due to environmental factors like education. The Flynn testing uses averages of a standardized IQ test. Which is probably a better way to measure intelligence. If we needed a base line to determine knowledge, analytical skills and basic cognitive reasoning. I feel more comfortable with them than a chronoscope of any era. While this blog post is relatively meaningless in determining what constitutes below average cognitive abilities, people are tested to determine their eligibility for medical treatment,  for health benefits and to settle legal arguments involving estates and custody, etc. That said, IQ tests are probably not the last word on intelligence either, IQ tests are ‘fundamentally flawed’ and using them alone to measure intelligence is a ‘fallacy’, study finds.

Instead of a general measure of intelligence epitomised by the intelligence quotient (IQ), intellectual ability consists of short-term memory, reasoning and verbal agility. Although these interact with one another they are handled by three distinct nerve “circuits” in the brain, the scientists found.

“The results disprove once and for all the idea that a single measure of intelligence, such as IQ, is enough to capture all of the differences in cognitive ability that we see between people,” said Roger Highfield, director of external affairs at the Science Museum in London.

“Instead, several different circuits contribute to intelligence, each with its own unique capacity. A person may well be good in one of these areas, but they are just as likely to be bad in the other two,” said Dr Highfield, a co-author of the study published in the journal Neuron.

The research involved an on-line survey of more than 100,000 people from around the world who were asked to complete 12 mental tests for measuring different aspects of cognitive ability, such as memory, reasoning, attention and planning.

The researchers took a representative sample of 46,000 people and analysed how they performed. They found there were three distinct components to cognitive ability: short-term memory, reasoning and a verbal component.

Professor Adrian Owen of the University of Western Ontario in Canada said that the uptake for the tests was astonishing. The scientists expected a few hundred volunteers to spend the half hour it took to complete the on-line tests, but in the end they got thousands from every corner of the world, Professor Owen said.

The scientists found that no single component, or IQ, could explain all the variations revealed by the tests. The researcher then analysed the brain circuitry of 16 participants with a hospital MRI scanner and found that the three separate components corresponded to three distinct patterns of neural activity in the brain.

“It has always seemed to be odd that we like to call the human brain the most complex known object in the Universe, yet many of us are still prepared to accept that we can measure brain function by doing a few so-called IQ tests,” Dr Highfield said.

I was reading this essay in the NYT about The Big Bang TV series, I Love ‘The Big Bang Theory.’ And You Should, Too. Sheldon Cooper is a genius. You could safely build your space ship or particle accelerator based on his calculations, yet when it comes to life in general, he looks like an idiot compared to Penny – the supposedly dumb neighbor. With the exception of Leonard, all the nerds are irritating. They’re almost forced to be friends because most of the world can’t stand being around them for long. So that kind of intelligence doesn’t mean one is smart enough to change their life or make great decisions. In real life most scientists are not like cardboard cutouts of nerd stereotypes. I agree with this funny essay by M’s Walker on the feeling that many of us get. That either people are getting dumber or because there so many people there are just more dumb people. No science or statistics, just my sitting around the kitchen table theory. A certain percentage of the population has always been dull – whether it was the hills of China, the deserts of Egypt or the fjords of Northern Europe. Now there are more people on the planet than the sum total of people who have ever existed. So now the total number of knuckle draggers has reached historic proportions. With some vitamins and enough education, easy access to media, these less than bright folks can go out into the world – get elected to something, run powerful corporations and thus do a lot of damage. Including exploiting stupidity and making other people as dumb as they are. Making the total effect of their stupidity exponentially larger than their numbers.

New York at Night (Exchange Place from Broadway)

New York at Night (Exchange Place from Broadway). Gelatin silver print, 1934. By Berenice Abbott. This is from a museum site that had a thumbnail of this photograph,

Abbott planned this shot meticulously. To achieve the desired effect, she calculated that it would be necessary to take the photograph on the shortest day of the year when the sky was sufficiently dark, but when New York city workers would still be in their offices with lights burning. The architecture is defined by the patterns of lighted windows representing the thousands of individuals creating the energy of the city.

Fox News Whitewashes Reality To Smear Holder With Perjury Accusations

In fact, the statements are not “incongruent” whatsoever. Holder’s comments to the Judiciary referred to the possibility of prosecuting journalists for publishing classified information, but that is not the crime the Justice Department’s warrant accused Rosen of committing. DOJ investigators were concerned with Rosen’s solicitation of classified information, not any subsequent publication of it. Wired explained (emphasis added):

According to the affidavit (.pdf), FBI Agent Reginald Reyes told the judge there was probable cause to believe that Rosen had violated the Espionage Act by serving “as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator” in the leak. The Espionage Act is the same law that former Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning is accused of violating when he leaked information to the secret-spilling site WikiLeaks.

Holder or the DOJ got a warrant to trace and verify the source of the leak. Probably the responsible thing to do. Only in the over wrought imaginations of Fox News and Charles Krauthammer are getting a warrant and saying that he would not prosecute, like twins. Maybe it is just me, but being spied on as the result of a search warrant might bother me, but being served an arrest warrant for prosecution would have me claiming the walls. It could be because I know the difference, where as Fox and Chuck do not. OK, some of humanity is getting dumber and they seem to enjoy it.

spring tree leaves wallpaper, the conservative triangle of propaganda

spring tree leaves wallpaper

spring tree leaves wallpaper

 

Does anyone have the impression that the IRS singled out or “targeted” conservative groups seeking special tax status (501(c)4. If so, how did you get that impression. Did you read the New York Times or the Washington Post, watch ABC or the other networks. If you read this The Latest Lie: IRS Targeted Conservatives – it may change your mind. That article does have links to primary sources, including the report from the IG that everyone is using as absolute proof conservatives groups were targeted or denied the status they were seeking unfairly. Not one, not even one tea party group was denied the (501(c)4 status that deserved to have it. In fact some of the groups granted (501(c)4 status should have been denied because they were funneling more than 51% of their donations directly to advertising that advocated the election of certain candidates or the disposition of certain clearly partisan legislation. Why do we find ourselves in this bubble of misinformation. These major media outlets do not seem to have a liberal bias, according the well-known myth. On the contrary. The IG’s report (pdf), which many people have not bothered to read, trusting that the media would not get such a big story wrong. In the report it says that “For the 296 total political campaign intervention applications TIGTA reviewed as of
December 17, 2012, 108 had been approved, Final Report issued on May 14, 2013 28 were withdrawn by the applicant, none had been denied, and 160 were open from 206 to calendar days (some for more than to the Internal Revenue Service Acting three years and crossing two election cycles).” I’m not claiming the IRS is completely innocent ( the time delays seem unfair). Only that conservative groups were not signaled out. That perhaps some of the groups that gave up seeking 501 were conservative, but that is not that same as targeting. Some of them were liberal groups. Why are we not hearing from the media about liberal groups being subjected to the same basic litmus tests as conservative groups. Why are we not hearing that more liberal groups were denied 501 status than tea stain groups. This tsunami wave of sound bites has happened before. It is not a coincidence and no tin foil is required, it is not an especially secret conspiracy. Like the IG report on the IRS. People could read that. It does take some reading comprehension and analysis skills, but nothing a high school grad couldn’t handle. Yet we’re not reading the report, we’re hearing or participating in the echo of the media’s interpretation of the report,  Background: Democrats & The Netroots

The Triangle

Looking at the political landscape, one proposition seems unambiguous: blog power on both the right and left is a function of the relationship of the netroots to the media and the political establishment. Forming a triangle of blogs, media, and the political establishment is an essential step in creating the kind of sea change we’ve seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

[  ]…With a well-developed echo chamber and superior top-down discipline, the right has a much easier time forming the triangle. Fox News, talk radio, Drudge, a well-trained and highly visible punditocracy, and a lily-livered press corps takes care of the media side of the triangle. Iron-clad party loyalty – with rare exceptions – and a willingness of Republican officials to jump on the Limbaugh-Hannity bandwagon du jour takes care of the party establishment side of the triangle. The rightwing netroots, therefore, is already working within the triangle on most issues. Their primary strategic aim is to prevent the left from forming its own triangle, as occurred with Katrina. It’s a defensive posture, with the goal being the preservation of the status quo. Which explains why the right is profoundly hostile to dissent and why the pretense to libertarianism is common: “independent thinkers” don’t like to be seen as defending the powers that be.

The triangle construct also explains rightwing bloggers’ relentless attacks on the “MSM” and on anyone who contends that the media is conservative. In a nation dominated by shrill rightwing voices, with all branches of government in the hands of Republicans, and an ineffectual press corps, the “liberal media” myth is so absurd that it requires no rebuttal. But the right desperately needs to keep the media from doing what they did in the aftermath of Katrina: tell the unvarnished truth. They need to block the left from building the kind of triangle that Katrina generated, where outspoken left-leaning bloggers are joined by leading Democrats and reporters who have no choice but to describe the catastrophic results of Bush’s dismal leadership. The result in Katrina’s case is a major political crisis and a dramatic shift in public perceptions, a body blow to the long-standing conventional wisdom of Bush as a “resolute leader” and a protector.

Whereas rightwing bloggers can rely on their leadership and the rightwing noise machine to build the triangle, left-leaning bloggers face the challenge of a mass media consumed by the shop-worn narrative of Bush the popular, plain-spoken leader, and a Democratic Party incapacitated (for the most part) by the focus-grouped fear of turning off “swing voters” by attacking Bush. For the progressive netroots, the past half-decade has been a Sisyphean loop of scandal after scandal melting away as the media and party establishment remain disengaged.

Some people will dismiss conservative bloggers because of how unhinged they sound. Not just on any particular day or topic, but everyday they post. With Drudge at the top of that pyramid. At the level of Drudge and the next level down, his echo, new realities are created. So it goes with the IRS controversy, where tea stain group were not targeted and were not asked questions anymore silly than they asked liberal groups. Besides the conservative love of victim-hood this controversy serves their agenda. They get to funnel more money from more anonymous donors to groups getting special tax treatment, and in return they get more control over elections.