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Three Easy Pieces

I always say I’m going to make these short because I’m in a hurry but I really am this morning so I apologize in advance if there is even less editing than normal.

Here are three easy pieces that were brought to my attention by some of our commenters. (note to self: add attribution later) These are relevant because they exemplify the danger that accompanies our clueless, homogenous, upper middle class, ivy league educated class of journalism. If Trump wins in the fall, they are to blame, for various reasons.

1. ) Matt Taibbi wrote his “Why I’m voting for <insert name of anyone not named Hillary Clinton>” piece recently. It was predictably awful in the typical white male grad student way that we have all come to know and loathe. How old are you, Matt? 46? Ahhh, it all makes sense now. Matt is pushing up against the age where he could easily be mistaken for one of those old, uncool Clintonistas who don’t know how to use snapchat and has no energy. The horror! Who will ask him to share a latte, cater to his every tantrum demand or fluff his ego to make him feel like he’s 23 again? Someone might think he’s not creative class anymore. Well, we can’t have that, can we Matt?

OMG, do his readers know he’s FORTY SIX??

The rebuttal to Matt’s piece by Trevor LaFauci, titled

Honest and Unmerciful: An Open Letter to Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone Magazine

is dead on. Actually, LaFauci is nicer to Matt than he deserves. But Matt is in that class of people who think that people like us are “silly”. You know, concerned with parties playing games with rules and caring about who actually runs the country and with how much experience. Stuff like that.

{{rolling eyes}}

2.) Jill Abramson gave an interview to Glenn Thrush at Politico. Audio warning: Abramson has a voice that is very hard to listen to. That’s not a sexist comment. It’s just the truth. She admits that Hillary gets more scrutiny than other candidates. She feels that the left demands more purity from Hillary than the other candidates. We went over that yesterday. Also, see Matt Taibbi’s piece of work. On second thought, don’t read Matt’s piece of work. It’s silly.

At the end of this interview, Glenn says he has found that his colleagues actively avoid writing positive pieces about Clinton and anyone who writes a positive piece is mocked by his or her peers. THIS I completely believe. It’s middle school all over again in most newsrooms. It’s the most honest admission I have heard from a journalist in 20 years. The problem is, who’s going to be the first one to stop doing it? And what makes these journalists believe that voters will eventually come around to Clinton when she’s been made to look like a pathological liar and phony compared to Donald Trump?

3.) Gene Lyons blasts the Bernie Bros for recirculating old Republican memes about the Clintons. But it’s this part that really burned my oatmeal:

Following upon a posting by the invaluable Kevin Drum that shows job openings and salaries rising, consumer optimism improving and gasoline prices way down, Bernstein adds that as “the Obama years haven’t resulted in recession, soaring inflation or a foreign misadventure with major American casualties — in other words, anything that produces serious political reaction.

This is where journalists are missing the mark. It has not been a great recovery out here. It’s been bloody miserable. The jobs that are replacing our careers are part time, contractor, hourly, poorly paid and with fewer benefits. If you have never had to buy an Obamacare policy off the exchanges, you have no idea how loathed they are and how much resentment they are creating. And I am a liberal Democrat. You will never catch me at a Trump Rally.

There’s more to come on the economic front when the new overtime rules go into effect, dumping an estimated 3.2 million people out of the professional class of workers to become hourly drones while their employers tie themselves into knots trying to avoid paying overtime. Just wait until those stories start flowing out during an election year. Or will the Kevin Drums of the world just not cover that in the belief that everything is hunky dory?

Out of touch does not begin to describe the media. No wonder people are angry. You guys are twits.

 

18 Responses

  1. […] Source link […]

  2. I think making the case that things are “hunky dory” really doesn’t help but things are better than they were a number of years ago. but that is not saying there isn’t room for improvement.

    • I think that depends on where you were then and where you are now.
      In my case, I am not doing very well in the new normal and I am hardly the only one in my cohort.
      The president’s cheering squad is vastly underestimating the impact of their decisions. And like I said, the change in overtime law is going to push more people down the ladder than lift them up. Wait and see.

      • The Democrats’ only real argument is that everything would be even worse with a Republican President, which, alas, is true. 😦

        • The difference between sucky and extra sucky is lost on the people on the wrong side of the sucky/non-sucky dividing line.
          This is what the journalists and campaign consultants are missing. They aren’t living it.

          • If the government admits to X% rate of unemployment, you can safely assume the true rate is 1.5X%, or even 2X%. 😦

          • I’m not saying that the unemployment rate hasn’t come down. I’m saying the jobs that have come back are suboptimal.

          • Yes; the statistics fail to consider the quality of the jobs, counting only their quantity.

      • Definitely depends on the person for sure and the area too. Here in GA we have been languishing in the top ten for UE in years but what can you say? The GOP controls everything and have been nothing short of a disaster for the state but people keep voting them in. It’s like people here in GA have just flat given up.

      • After twenty-six MONTHS of unemployment as a 50+ year old woman, I just last month started working again. The salary is a 20% paycut from three years ago, and the job is still listed as temporary, and it has no benefits. I spend $777/month on health care, and my 401k has decreased by over $100,000 between market losses and living expenses (including almost $11k last year, which I then had to pay 10% penalty and income taxes on because to pay that I had to withdraw 401k money).

        In other words, even though I’m cautiously optimistic right now, the past two years have destroyed my future. Yeah, ask me how happy I am.

  3. RD, do you have an article link, or your own editorial, further explaining this quote “There’s more to come on the economic front when the new overtime rules go into effect, dumping an estimated 3.2 million people out of the professional class of workers to become hourly drones”

    I heard about the new OT rules as a news headline, don’t know much about the topic. My impression it was actually 1 of the rare actually good 0bama implemented policies, like say the Iran Deal or mileage/hr min standards on future US cars. My impression was that employers, including retail/restaurants, were abusing low wage “managers”, say paying a low $30-40K “exempt” “salary” & forcing 70+ hr workweeks “since you are ‘management’ “. This is bad enough when say STEM employers take this, but at least the job is a desk job, is interesting/less routine/involves thinking, & pays better, even recent college grad STEM jobs. It must be real bad for these low salary retail mgr type workers. So now at least, said workers making under $50.4K salary (the new minimum to not get OT), will get workweek reduction to 40 hr weeks at the same salary, or will at least get paid 1.5X rate on the 41st+ hr worked. This could also boost some actual hiring in the job market, e.g OrigMgr working 70 hrs now works 40 hrs for the same salary, & NewHireMgr2 is a PT worker getting 30 hrs or a new FT worker.

    Again, I concede I may be missing something here, if so what is it?

    • It’s a real problem. Sounds great in theory. In reality, overtime doesn’t actually happen. It’s a demotion for workers on the upper end because employers will give these employees fewer responsibilities and less time to carry out what their remaining responsibilities are.

      There are sites out there that describe what happens at the upper end of the salary cutoff which is now $50440. I’m afraid that people who think this is a great thing for workers currently making half that amount are missing what is happening to workers that are making close to the upper limit. There is no overtime. Period. So this is necessarily a demotion for them.

      • Could you describe a concrete example yourself, or reference a story on this website you referenced? I just don’t understand the case/example of where it could be anti-worker. Before lower “salary” (under $50.4K) worker/”manager” was possibly subject to overwork abuse at 50 or even 70 hr workweeks, be “always on call” to their mobile phone, etc. Now said workers only have to work 40 hrs. So for an employer to have the right to “overwork abuse”, they must pay at least the moderately “high” (recall median US adult income ~$30K) salary of $50.4K (ala Microsoft infamous slogan, “we have flex hours! pick whichever 80 hours you like!”). Now the other faction of lower under $50.4K “salaried” workers whose employers did NOT overtime abuse, and actually worked 40 hrs/wk, nothing changes for them in terms of hours worked & pay received per week.

        If the job responsibilities degrade, because the prior job required working 41-70+ hrs/wk to “only” 40 hrs, I’d argue that if the job is such significantly responsible, the employer should being paying this $50.4K minimum. Or said “super responsible” worker perhaps can delegate some tasks to a more junior worker & prioritize their 40 hrs on the “most responsible” tasks?

        Keep in mind that some (if not a majority) of workers affected by this, are in jobs where this is a physical component to the work. For instance, 1 such guy could be (my speculation) a manager/worker at an Aldi retail store I’ve shopped at. This guy was skinny, and looked in good health & also ~35 yrs old. He mentioned how he stopped exercising at his gym after starting to work at Aldi, because he was exhausted after his shift. One day he took his pedometer, & was amazed to find that during his shift, he walked 15 miles (stocking shelves, etc). I’d argue this another pro-worker pro-health reason for this new law: if an employer wants the “right” to unlimited OT, they must pay the mild “premium” of $50.4K+ for it. I’d guesstimate there is a health risk (repetitive motion, etc) to working physical job for over 40 hrs.

        Shout out the Union workers from ~100 yrs ago that fought for & achieved the 40 hour work week. IMHO there is wisdom in the notion, & workers that exceed 40 hrs should at least receive the mild “premium” of $50.4K

        • My friend, you are failing to imaginate. The repercussions are real. I can’t give you more info that that right now. But you can do a google search on ‘new overtime rule demotion’ and easily pull up the information you are looking for.
          It is going to hit people who are already in salaried professions that are mainly technical desk jobs and are entry level-ish.
          It is real.
          No, there’s no overtime for these people. They will simply be asked to not work after 40 hours. Sounds great if you do piecework. Not great in practice and ruinous to the career.
          Did I mention there would be no overtime under any circumstances? At all? Also, hourly people don’t usually get bonuses.
          So, to recap: hours prematurely cut whether work is done or not, NO OVERTIME, no bonuses. In other words, less time to demonstrate a professional “sure I’ll stay an extra hour to get this done” attitude, and a genuine, honest to god reduction in benefits with NO OVERTIME.
          I’m sorry, did I forget to mention NO OVERTIME???

          • “My friend, you are failing to imaginate”

            RD, you are failing to describe a concrete specific anecdote, even a theoretical worker if not a genuine worker “case study”

            “salaried professions that are mainly technical desk jobs and are entry level-ish”

            Perhaps such a worker, now “only” have to work 40 hours a week at a job that pays under $50.4K, if they desire to, could use the “extra” “free time” to work to gain extra experience & skills, on independent project(s) such as free & open source (FOSS) software or research projects, study an extra university course, etc. In many cases, this might help such a worker gain a $50.4K job with the risk of unlimited unpaid OT (“Microsoft 80 hrs style”), more so than whatever incremental extra experience from the extra unpaid OT said “technical desk” worker was getting above the 40 hrs of weekly experience they are still getting.

            Keep in mind that other occupations that require a BS or higher degree, such as medical professionals (nurses (BS), physician assistant (MS), physicians (professional degree), etc) AFAICT are usually compensated for working OT hours. I am going off of anecdote, but it seems representative. I know a physician assistant that works at 2 different clinics, where she is paid by the patient appointment as an independent contractor, e.g. basically paid by the hour. I know a nurse that works at a hospital emergency room, where his union contract he works over, ensures he is paid overtime hours if he works them. In the nurse’s case, it is a physical job (his example of doing CPR “on top of” a 600 lb obese man), so I’d surmise that similar to the Aldi manager, this new OT rule is also pro-worker health (limits repetitive motion injury risk, etc).

            Why is it that for 1 faction of US workers with a BS+ education level, health professionals, are paid for OT hours, why a 2nd faction, STEM workers, are subject to unlimited unpaid OT risk? I suggest it has more to do with worker negotiating/bargaining power (often enabled by union) difference, than inherent nature of the work requiring OT hours, or certain occupations being “inherently more deserving”, etc.

            For cases that involve legitimate need for long hours AND are non-physical desk job, I’d support allowing a worker to bank the OT hours as paid vacation. For instance, if a STEM worker has to work 60 hours for 10 weeks, in order to facilitate a client contract deadline established by a clueless salesperson & project manager, that worker gets 5 weeks of extra paid vacation for this extra 200 hours worked.

            fw, an economist at economist Dean Baker’s CEPR think tank, advocates the new OT law as pro-worker
            http://cepr.net/publications/op-eds-columns/new-overtime-rules-right-a-wrong

            PS Baker may be the best USian economist, having a track record of being correct in predictions & statements. Baker said there was a stock market bubble in 1999 & thus sold his stock. Baker said there was a housing market bubble in 2004, & thus sold his house in DC & instead rented, despite being middle aged & with a family.

            Contrast this with the failed rightwing neoliberal DLC B Clinton/0bama economists like Larry Summers, who lost much of the Harvard endowment as Harvard President by mistakenly thinking his job was a hedge fund speculator, which it wasn’t AND he sucked at, with massive losses, being anti-Glass Steagall, and being anti a significant FDR-style stimulus in 2009 to recover from the 2008 Great Recession.

            Yet somehow, “experienced” H Clinton lacks the judgement to hire good track record economist like D Baker & hires serial failure, yet “in the Neoliberal Establishment Club” economist like Larry Summers.

          • Is your email address accurate? I tried to send you a reply but it bounced back. Update your email to a real address and I’ll give you the info you want. No one will see the email address but me.

  4. Media Matters has a piece about the print and broadcast news media up :
    http://mediamatters.org/blog/2016/03/29/seven-years-late-media-elites-finally-acknowled/209590

    I’m thinking they have realized just what these past 25 years of journalistic malfeasance have brought about and are going to be doing some mea culpas to retain what little credibility they have left.

  5. http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2016/03/29/susan_sarandon_is_perfect_spokeswoman_for_neverhillary.html

    great article. Sarandon’s position is disgusting however she was the Nader representative and thus allowed Bush to win so this is same old same old for her

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