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Monthly Archive: March 2008

Mar 17 2008

The propaganda machine-3: The third tier pundits’ role and purpose

(For previous posts in this series, see here.) In my previous post in this series, I described the kinds of arguments put out by some of the better-known third tier pundits. You can probably discern a characteristic common to all of them. They start by identifying an enemy (people or ideas) and then throw everything …

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Mar 14 2008

Dog whistle politics

In an article written in 2000, William Greider said something that really stuck in my mind: “An enduring truth, a wise friend once explained to me, is that important social change nearly always begins in hypocrisy.” This is very true. When we look back at the improvement in our attitudes to race and gender, at …

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Mar 13 2008

More on bubble economics

Dean Baker (co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC) argues that the US is heading towards a recession, if not already in one, and he says that the main cause is the collapse of the housing bubble and not the spending on the Iraq war, though that is not helping …

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Mar 12 2008

The propaganda machine-2: Examples of third tier pundit work

(For previous posts in this series, see here.) One does not have to go very deep to understand why third tier pundits are not worth spending much time on. In making my criticisms of them, I have to confess that I do not take the time to read these people’s books, so readers will have …

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Mar 11 2008

Technology guerilla warfare

One of the interesting things about technology is the way that it creates a kind of arms race between those who quickly adopt new technologies and those who feel that it impinges on their own freedom and want to thwart them. We know, for example, that the radar guns used by traffic police have spawned …

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Mar 10 2008

The propaganda machine-1: The third tier pundits

When I was interviewed recently on Blog Talk Radio about my 2005 posts about the people I call third tier pundits and the baleful influence that they have on political discourse, I didn’t really have the time to go more deeply into how it is that they got to play the particular role they currently …

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Mar 07 2008

The phony Social Security crisis-4: What needs to be done

(For previous posts in this series, see here.) While Social Security is not in a crisis, it does require periodic adjustments to make it work, as the economy and demographics of the population change. It can be made solvent with minor tinkering at the edges such as removing entirely the cap on payroll tax income …

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Mar 06 2008

The phony Social Security crisis-3: More realistic views of the alleged ‘crisis’

(For previous posts in this series, see here.) In deciding whether Social Security is in trouble or not, it is important to bear in mind different measures. Let us start by assuming that no changes at all are made in the system and that current projections for future demographics hold for the next fifty years. …

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Mar 05 2008

The phony Social Security crisis-2: Double talk on Social Security

(For previous posts in this series, see here.) We currently see this curious double-talk taking place about the US bonds that form the assets of the Social Security trust fund. When trying to scare people about Social Security, people in this administration talk about the bonds in the trust fund being ‘worthless’ pieces of paper. …

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Mar 04 2008

Some campaign thoughts

Today is voting day in the Ohio, Texas, Vermont and Rhode Island primaries, and is as good a day as any to discuss the nature of the race. This day is being breathlessly marketed as a crucial, decisive, make-or-break day, just like the Potomac primaries day before that, or Super Tuesday before that, or the …

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