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Politics and policy are overwhelmingly dominated by what I call the Very Serious People — people who insist that deficits are our most pressing problem, that high unemployment must be a matter of inadequate skills, that low marginal tax rates on the rich are essential for growth. Behind the conventional wisdom of the VSPs lies a vast mass of power and prejudice. As Ezra Klein once pointed out in connection with Alan Simpson, the influence of the deficit scolds is so great that by and large the press abandons any notion of objectivity and simply assumes that the VSPs are right and what they want is good. And against all this power of conventional wisdom — which is often, by the way, at odds with basic economic analysis and the preponderance of evidence — you have … a handful of progressive economics bloggers. Paul Krugman

I’m too busy laughing. And I think some in New York are going to laugh even harder when they try to unleash some civil disobedience, Lenin style, and some New Yorker who understands the horrors of war all too well picks up a two-by-four and teaches them how very effective violence can be when it’s applied in a firm, pre-emptive manner. Megan McArdle

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In a perfect world, the most well-informed and intelligent among us would be leading the government and creating unselfish legislation. But human nature makes that option literally impossible. So why compare our current government to one that is impossible? We might as well compare our government to the system at Hogwarts in which the best wizard is in charge. That’s just as impossible as a fair government run by elites. As citizens, our only protection from the abuse of government power is the skill and objectivity of the watchdog press. How’s that working out so far? Scott Adams

I don’t know what these news organizations fear from calling torture what it is. But I can guarantee it’s not as bad as what was done to those prisoners or to the reputation of the United States of America. If we can’t even call the torture by its real name it’s hard to see why the government won’t see this as just another semantic debate and do the same thing if they feel it’s “necessary.” I guess much of the news business feels it’s immune from that sort of thing but the rest of us should worry. If the US government has officially defined deviancy down to the point where torture is no longer torture, you have to wonder where it might end? After all, the world is full of danger. Who knows who they might think they need to “interrogate” with “enhanced methods” next time? Hullabaloo

The wealthy 0.01% minority who rule over the 90% majority understands that the future of their system depends on convincing or paying off 9.99% of the population who become the opinion leaders, the managers, the foremen, the supervisors, the small businessmen and the other shock troops of the system. The rich are like the pathetic men who frequent red-light districts — they must pay for it — and the right wing columnists/celebrities/media hacks/researchers do it for money, often working in the political equivalent of brothels, called think tanks. The choices offered young writers, journalists and academics who aspire to earn a decent living at their craft are not great today. There are many more opportunities to voice opinions supporting the system than to criticize it. Capitalism’s Intellectual Prostitutes

Glenn’s [Greenwald] in this position of being a reporter trying to put out material that came from a whistle-blower, and now they’re both essentially in exile. It’s crazy. If the press corps that existed in the ’60s and ’70s had seen this situation, they’d be rising as one and denouncing the government for it… Matt Taibbi

As robber baron Jay Gould said, “I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half.” Today’s uber rich have done Gould one better by getting the lower orders doing their dirty work by undermining each other for free. Why So Little Media Coverage of How the Rich Are Becoming Richer and the Middle Class Wages are Being Squeezed?

At some point over the past 40 years, the bedrock principle of journalistic objectivity became twisted into the craven idea of false equivalency, whereby blatant falsehoods get reported simply as one side of an argument and receive equal weight with the reported argument of the other side. There is no shortage of explanations for the press’s abdication: intimidation at the rise of Fox News and other propaganda operations; a deep confusion about the difference between hard-won objectivity and a lazy, counterfeit neutrality; and the poisonous effects of the postmodern axiom that truth, especially in politics, is a relative thing, depending on your perspective in a tweet. Whatever the explanation, today’s journalism has trashed the tradition of fearless, factual reporting pioneered by Walter Lippmann, Edward R. Murrow and Anthony Lewis. CONTRARY BRIN

Now we know how much it takes to buy PBS programming: $3.5 million. It might even be less, but $3.5 million is a proven amount that will induce the soi disant public broadcasting network to fall all over itself and violate multiple written, supposedly sacrosanct policies, to produce shows with a story line consistent with the express aims of a right wing foundation. PBS Pimps Itself Out to Billionaire Who Campaigns Against Pensions for Gov’t Employees to Produce Scaremongering Series About Government Pensions

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