Here are a few long reads for today:
Michael Tomasky has taken to the NY Review of Books to speculate about A New Populism in the Democratic Party. He sees signs of the party “soft-shoeing” its way leftward:
For example, the Center for American Progress (CAP), under its new president Neera Tanden, has pushed “middle-class” or “middle-out” economics as the left’s alternative to supply-side, trickle-down economics. The idea of middle-out economics is that the government, instead of investing in the top 2 percent by means of tax and other privileges, should instead invest in the broad middle through a number of left-leaning policy choices from which the bounty would radiate out to all sectors of the society. These would include a much higher minimum wage, paid family leave, and improvement of decaying infrastructure. Obama’s Knox College speech on inequality is one expression of the middle-out view in the way it ties middle-class investment to growth.4 CAP has been pushing the White House to take up these arguments, not the other way around.
John Podesta, CAP’s former president, helped launch a new think tank, the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, devoted specifically to issues related to inequality. Podesta is now a White House counselor, which gives these issues respected representation in debates in the Roosevelt Room and the Oval Office.
This is all a welcome shift in emphasis, but of course it doesn’t mean that populist policies are going to become reality anytime soon. There is opposition to them within the Democratic Party and its broader policy solar system. Not nearly as much as there once was; the radical rightward shift of the Republican Party has, perhaps inevitably, moved the Democratic center of gravity leftward. But the opposition to populism continues.
This is intriguing to think about. Certainly I think that plenty of Americans feel the impact of income inequality, even if most of them can’t quite articulate why they are running so fast to be so far behind. And as Tomasky notes, pretty much everything Elizabeth Warren has to say about how the system has its thumb on the scales for wealthy corporations and people is incredibly compelling an d popular. Bill Clinton’s achievement was to plug Democrats into the corridors where the wealthy corporations and people live AND write checks for campaigns. Populism is going to be about getting the thumb off of the scales for the people who need it least and put it back on the middle class scale, where long term financial growth and security live. And I wouldn’t bet that Hillary would take this up, either.
Have you been binging on the new season of House of Cards? (Are you done yet?) How was the streaming experience of that for you? I’ve heard plenty of folks noting (if not outright complaining) about alot of buffering issues while watching Netflix recently. It seems that there might be a reason for some of that perception:
And that drop isn’t uniform across internet service providers (ISPs), as this chart from The Wall Street Journal shows. The slowdown has been particularly egregious for customers of Verizon, one of the country’s largest ISPs due to its FiOS fiber-optic broadband service.
Nobody’s really accusing Verizon of outright “throttling” Netflix service — that is, treating streaming movies differently from say, news articles once they’re in the Verizon pipeline — but it appears Verizon has found other ways to slow down Netflix traffic without, technically, violating its stated commitment to net neutrality.
Verizon and other large ISPs are in a long-running dispute with Netflix over whether the movie-streaming powerhouse — the single largest user of internet bandwidth, followed by YouTube — should pay extra for its heavy usage, and how. Verizon wants to charge Netflix outright — a big reason it successfully sued the Federal Communications Commission to overturn its net-neutral Open Internet rules.
Google Fiber announced that it is expanding into 30+ more cities this week. Please Google, come to Wilmington!
How Dark Money Flows Through the Koch Network. This is not so much of a read as it is an incredibly informative infographic that shows how Koch Brothers money gets funneled to their various mouthpieces. I can’t copy the graphic here,because it is interactive, but do go and see how another group of wingnuts are trying to buy your government. Recipients of Koch money include the US Chamber of Commerce, Club for Growth and a variety of tea party groups. So that whole grass roots thing for teajhadis — that can die a death now, right?