Follow the Monetization

Loss of advertising revenue has compelled the MSM to up the ante on monetization of their opinions; which used to pass for “news.”

Without the drive to capture internet eyeballs the whole phenomenon of “click bait” wouldn’t exist, and fake news would be less pervasive and less hysterical.

Fake news wouldn’t disappear, we had plenty of it before AlGore invented the internet. I noted a few of the modern practitioners here, mentioning Walter Cronkite, Jayson Blair, Stephen Glass, Dan Rather and Walter Duranty.

If the internet has accomplished nothing else, it has truncated the loop in which “journalists” get fired or resign for blatant lying. Of those mentioned above, it took quite a long time for them to be expelled from the fellowship.

Some never were. The NYT hasn’t given back Duranty’s 1932 Pulitzer. Dan Rather is still out there claiming he was right about Dubya’s service in the National Guard. Water Cronkite still invokes reverence among the naive.

OTOH, CNN’s Eric Lichtblau, Thomas Frank, and Lex Haris were fired or resigned within hours of their lies.

Thanks to Donald Trump for his assistance in provoking the MSM liars to self-identify. And thanks to AlGore for his invention, though that’s yet another fake news meme.

I’d also credit Google, since they’re the primary entity eating the MSM advertising revenue, but Google’s bias is even more pervasive and harmful than the MSM’s.

No dog food for you!

The United States spends 44% more each month than it receives in tax revenue. Failure to raise the debt limit therefore means an immediate 44% cut in expenditures. Then we must make choices about what spending has to be cut.

The Weekly Standard provides an example of the choices that could be made:

[It is projected that] there will be $172 billion in federal revenues in August and $307 billion in authorized expenditures. That means there’s enough money to pay for, say, interest on the debt ($29 billion), Social Security ($49.2 billion), Medicare and Medicaid ($50 billion), active duty troop pay ($2.9 billion), veterans affairs programs ($2.9 billion).

That leaves you with about $39 billion to fund (or not fund) the following:

Defense vendors ($31.7 billion)

IRS refunds ($3.9 billion)

Food stamps and welfare ($9.3 billion)

Unemployment insurance benefits ($12.8 billion)

Department of Education ($20.2 billion)

Housing and Urban Development ($6.7 billion)

Other spending, such as Departments of Justice, Labor,
Commerce, EPA, HHS ($73.6 billion)

You can get all the cuts you need right there in the last 3 items. DoE, EPA, and HUD can simply be disbanded and their assets sold. HHS can be cut in half.

However, the President announced today he is unsure he wants to pay Social Security recipients if the Republicans don’t tack a trillion dollar tax increase on top of Obamacare. He said he might choose to take away the dog food Republicans have been force feeding to Grandma:

I cannot guarantee that those [Social Security] checks go out on August 3rd if we haven’t resolved this issue, because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it.

Mr. President, be serious. At the end of 2010 the Social Security Trust Fund had a surplus of 2.6 trillion dollars. So, even if we decided not to pay Social Security out of the general fund, as was demonstrated above that we could, you could just cash in some government bonds. What?! Social Security payouts are just another form of interest on our debt?

Well, then, I guess you are right, we’d better pay the foreign creditors first.

PS, It’s true we couldn’t immediately defund DoE, EPA, HUD and HHS. in exchange for their demise we should raise the debt limit enough to give give all the employees a severance package and cover an orderly winding down of their operations before the 2012 elections. Disbanding BATFE will pay the interest on that.

"How could such smart people do so many stupid things?"

Maybe because they, umm… aren’t smart?

Michael Barone on what’s gone wrong for the smartest President ever.

The same people who directed the campaign that defeated Hillary Clinton and routed John McCain, a campaign that raised far more money and attracted far more volunteers than any before it, have within a year come up with a legislative program that is crashing in ruins and that, to judge from recent polls, has left the Democratic party weaker than I have seen it in almost 50 years of closely following politics.

RTWT.

People have been telling me Obama is smart because of the way he ran his campaign, but no one can now contend that Obama provided leadership or management to that campaign. They would have to explain how and to where those qualities have vanished.

If the campaign appeared to be “smart,” it appeared so because the candidate was clueless. If Obama is smart, then a clueless ideological committment is the only benign explanation for his persistent advocacy of horrible policies. If he is not clueless, he is a liar. Of course, he could be both.

During the campaign many people told me Obama’s inexperience would be OK, because he would surround himself with smart, experienced people. If the people around him are smart and experienced, we must wonder about the utility of those characteristics to governance.

Politicians and the consequences of lying

From The Belmont Club, The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes.

Robert Reich has been widely quoted in the news and blogs lately, citing a 2007 speech he delivered at UC Berkeley in which he is supposed to have said of health care reform that:

  • Younger people should pay more
  • Healthier people should pay more
  • Older people should just die- they’re “too expensive”
  • There should be “less innovation” in medical technology
  • You should not expect to live longer than your parents.

That is largely going to be interpreted as the “hidden truth” that the MSM doesn’t want you to know and to a certain extent it is, but not in the way the casual reader may understand it. Robert Reich was once my teacher and I knew there had to be more to it than that, and so I went to the source: …

RTWT You’ll need to to appreciate the following.

The post suggests that what Reich was saying was “telling the truth is electoral suicide.” I think this is demonstrably naive. The idea that telling the truth is electorally irrelevant seems a lot closer to reality.

Put it this way, Barack Obama told us the truth over and over again and it was much clearer and starker than a thousand page cap-and-tax bill; “So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.” Other truths he told us: “The Supreme Court, tragically, never spoke on redistribution.” or, “Judge me by the people who surround me.” or, “What I really favor is a single-payer health care system.”

Even now, when he says, “If you want to keep your health care plan, you can,” it’s true. The unspoken implication that makes that so is, “It’s just that it will bankrupt you or your employer.”

On the evidence, I’m afraid politicians telling the truth actually doesn’t matter much. Most American voters don’t listen.