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The best, and ultimately only constructive approach to analyzing an administration's policies is through primary sourcing: Read or watch remarks from public officials or official documents directly and analyze them in context, rather than relying upon the interpretations of secondary, tertiary, etc. commentators.  Criticism that isn't strictly about public perception or the lack of action on something should be traceable back to an actual statement or document by the officials being criticized, with the occasional exception of investigative journalist work depending on clandestine information.  This way we avoid the formation of closed epistemic bubbles based on interpretations of interpretations of interpretations, etc.  

Moreover, criticism based on an absence should definable by noting what is present, so that we avoid the trap of just assuming that lack of coverage equals lack of action.  You can say, "This is what they are doing, but they should be doing more of...so and so," rather than asserting absence without qualification.  Criticizing absence as a qualification on a statement of presence demonstrates knowledge of policy whereas the mere assertion of absence may simply indicate lack of publicity or attention to that publicity.

Let's look at some examples of these two principles, primary sourcing and absence-as-qualification.  Suppose a reporter asked the President what he thought of Ray Kelly in the context of the search for a new DHS director, and the President praised Kelly without specifically committing to him as a candidate for the job.  A primary-sourced criticism would recognize the context of the statement, and could criticize the praise of Kelly's existing job without attempting to construct any sort of narrative out of it.  Criticizing Ray Kelly's prior performance would still serve to reduce the hypothetical possibility of his running DHS, but would not create any false or misleading narratives about what the President has said.  

A contrary example would be a blogger who posts an angry response to the story, saying that it's outrageous the President would be considering Ray Kelly for DHS.  This response does not have its facts straight, and misinforms the reader.  And that's just the beginning of the problems that arise from it, because some readers may be inclined to take it one step further and deduce more from it than even that blogger is willing to say.  For instance, if Ray Kelly is being considered, then the President must support racial profiling - a claim that's only possible if one were not aware of the Justice Department's efforts to fight it, and if one were so inclined to dismiss everything the President has ever said on the subject.

So instead of criticizing the President for giving undeserved praise, the criticism may now focus on something that is not only not so - that Ray Kelly is being floated for DHS by the President - but something even further, that is preposterous on its face - that he supports racial profiling.  No one along the line needs to be actively seeking to destroy the President, but because no one steps back and examines what's being said critically, it just proceeds into irrational and unhelpful territory.  So reality-based criticism requires either primary sources or critical thinking in examining secondary or tertiary ones.

Now consider some examples of the absence-as-qualification approach.   Say I don't think the President is doing enough on Subject X.  First of all, why am I focused on the President in the first place?  Have I looked at Congress and thought about where the breakdown in the process is occurring that's resulting in the negative situation, or am I just unconsciously focusing on the President because he's more prominent than hundreds of less recognizable politicians?  So that's the first question to ask.  

Then the second question is, do I think he personally isn't doing enough, or that appointees aren't doing enough?  We've all heard "the buck stops here," but that's a slogan, not a civics lesson.  Real institutions are made up of many people and authority is never absolute.  So the question is, are the appointees not doing enough, is the President not doing enough, or are both not doing enough?  If an appointee is not doing enough, is their performance poor enough that they should be fired?  If not, what role do you think the President should be playing in changing that appointee's behavior?  Same question for the other two possibilities.  

Thirdly, why exactly do I think the administration isn't doing enough on Subject X?  Is it because news sources I listen to aren't reporting on it, because another commentator has asserted that they aren't, or is it because I follow the issue closely through primary sources and have not seen what I want to see in the remarks and specific policies of these institutions and leaders?  If it's because it's not getting coverage, then that is the only thing to be criticized on that basis - that the administration isn't getting it out there, not that they're not doing great things.  But that, of course, has to be qualified by the recognition that the White House Press Office doesn't dictate media coverage (unless they're Republicans, of course, because then they have a friendly relationship with the ownership).  In other words, there's not a lot to go on if that's the basis.

If the reason I think the administration isn't doing enough is because some other blogger said so, well, the same standards of logic apply to that blogger as to me, so if all they're doing is responding to lack of coverage or going by what a third commentator said, that's no different.  It's just commutative fallacy.  So exercise critical thinking: Are the key claims sourced?  Are the sources credible?  Does the content in the source justify the claims being made about it?  Are there absolute primary sources that can determine exactly what is and is not the case - e.g., a video of a press conference?  Do the claims agree with that material?  Do they leap to conclusions not supported by it?  Do they directly contradict it?  Etc.

And if the reason I think they're not doing enough is because I'm familiar with what they are doing, then I need to explain that.  If Subject X is clean energy, then I need to talk about the federal government's clean energy programs so that I can talk about what it is they don't do.  If Subject X is the social safety net, I need to be conversant in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and various other programs on various levels of government and discuss what's going on with them rather than just repeating some vague impression I get from commentators about what's going on or some unsubstantiated assertions about it.  Perfect knowledge is neither required nor possible, obviously, but proficient understanding of programs and their administration is worth cultivating.  

Most importantly, apply standards of evidence consistently.  If all it takes to believe X is a mere assertion, by what logic or principle do you demand absolute proof of the contrary to discard X?  In other words, whatever level of evidence it took to believe something, that's the level of evidence that should be reasonable to stop believing it.  Reality-based politics does not hold any set of claims to be ends in themselves requiring a greater (or infinite) level of evidence to abandon than to believe - it is not a faith-based exercise.  

Occam's Razor is indispensable to principled progressivism, as is a sense of proportionality in understanding how government works.  The unelected Republican House majority is why we haven't had any economically stimulative legislation in two years, just as Senate Republicans are why we can't pass gun control supported by 90% of Americans.  The Legislative is the branch where laws originate, and the legitimate role of a President is basically a gatekeeper, cheerleader, and top-level implementer for that process, so we know what we have to do to move forward - win in 2014.    

Gravity pulls things down, and in politics it pulls them rightward because that's the nature of the right-wing political viewpoint: Entropic.  Degenerate.  Progress is only made through careful appreciation of the facts of a situation and thoughtful approaches to changing it pursued with diligent work.  There's no secret formula for democracy, no spiritual mystery - it's just work, honesty, and being more concerned with making things better than with rationalizing why they're bad.    

12:28 PM PT: Wow.  Somebody HR'd this.

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Comment Preferences

  •  But who has time for study and research when (7+ / 0-)

    there are falmes to write and you can be an Internet Dickwad?

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 07:39:06 AM PDT

    •  Post is a crock of sh*t from the opening sentence! (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo, Timaeus, TheMomCat, Nattiq
      The best, and ultimately only constructive approach to analyzing an administration's policies is through primary sourcing: Read or watch remarks from public officials or official documents directly and analyze them in context, rather than relying upon the interpretations of secondary, tertiary, etc. commentators...
      Translation: One must accept everything our government states at face value, since everything else is questionable, no matter what facts support the reality that much of what we hear coming out of D.C. is pure, unadulterated propaganda.

      And, diarist, no matter how extensively they're presented with facts, is at the front of the line when it comes to calling anyone that questions the validity of their baseless statements and/or White House's actions and comments about virtually anything, a conspiracy theorist or a follower of Alex Jones or worse.

      Same shit. Different day.

      Diarist fails to accept that virtually everything they state on this subject is disjointed and twisted opinion--and, historically, when they attempt to support their feeble arguments with links/facts, they're GROSSLY deceptive, too--and has very little to do with "facts" of any sort, whatsoever!

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 08:31:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The word for the day is: LOGORRHEA.... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        corvo, Timaeus

        ...held over from yesterday due to popular demand!

        "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

        by bobswern on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 08:33:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  13 long paragraphs. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bobswern, Garrett, 3goldens

          The last one starts with this:

          Gravity pulls things down, and in politics it pulls them rightward because that's the nature of the right-wing political viewpoint: Entropic.  Degenerate.  Progress is only made through careful appreciation of the facts of a situation and thoughtful approaches to changing it pursued with diligent work.
          That outwardly resembles English, but it has no real meaning.  It is like machine-generated gobbledegook.

          It may not be very confrontational, but it certainly is STRANGE.

          The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.-Bertrand Russell

          by Timaeus on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 08:49:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe not so strange? (4+ / 0-)
            The writer either has a meaning and cannot express it, or he inadvertently says something else, or he is almost indifferent as to whether his words mean anything or not. This mixture of vagueness and sheer incompetence is the most marked characteristic of modern English prose, and especially of any kind of political writing.

            George Orwell, Politics and the English Language

            I see the paragraph as a plain old #3.
            •  Bingo. Excellent response. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Garrett

              The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.-Bertrand Russell

              by Timaeus on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 09:34:31 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  The essay you link to is fascinating. It's (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Garrett

              been a long time since I read that.  Here are Orwell's rules of clear writing from the end of that essay:

              (i) Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

              (ii) Never use a long word where a short one will do.

              (iii) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

              (iv) Never use the passive where you can use the active.

              (v) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

              (vi) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

              I would add, as a corollary to (iii) I suppose:  remove almost all adjectives and adverbs and remove almost all words like "very," "really," etc.

              I'm good about following those rules in legal writing, but not so much when blogging.

              The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.-Bertrand Russell

              by Timaeus on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 09:54:45 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  And what is your sourcing on this? That is the (7+ / 0-)

        question.

        Bloggers?  First hand reports?  Personal opinion?  Secondhand reporting?

        Do you do YOUR OWN research or do you immediately go to a source whose opinion you agree with?

        Example:  The administration says something.  A diary is immediately published with many links to screeds using sourcing from x pundits who are against the administration to interpret what the administration said.

        The diarist does no independent research, but rather parrots OTHER PROPAGANDA.

        I think that is the point this diarist is trying to make.

        "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

        by zenbassoon on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 08:59:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nailed it. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          alain2112, virginislandsguy, sviscusi

          People go out on the internet looking for sources that agree with them, and then post them.
          Which of course, there's nothing wrong with that, but people who read those diaries should be aware of it.

          “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

          by skohayes on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 10:37:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Oh, so THAT'S why (10+ / 0-)

    the Overton Window is moving to the right:

    Gravity pulls things down, and in politics it pulls them rightward because that's the nature of the right-wing political viewpoint
    There for a wild, exciting decade, it always appeared that "leadership on the Left" had something to do with that shift as well. Or The General Population, because we all know America is such a right-wing country...

    This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

    by lunachickie on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 07:41:06 AM PDT

      •  i think her point (11+ / 0-)

        is that gravity doesn't pull politics in any direction. peope do. and given that people are much more liberal on the issues (even as they don't consider themselves to be liberal) than is the politics, things have moved to the right not because of some natural force, but because there isn't enough effort from the politicians of the supposed and sometimes left.

        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

        by Laurence Lewis on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 07:53:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Looking at history (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Diogenes2008, Reggid, poco

          we can say that there is a sociological gravity, and that it tends toward concentrations of wealth and power (i.e., the right) when not checked by diligent effort.  In fact, even when it is checked by diligent effort, the "gravity" causes the formation of new tactics to undermine and move around progressive policies.

          •  depends (4+ / 0-)

            we could go the historical discontinuity route and say that things concentrate and then explode.

            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

            by Laurence Lewis on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 08:05:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  But the explosion does not reverse the trend (4+ / 0-)

              but merely punctuates it, again in the absence of diligent effort to the contrary.  Non-homeostatic (i.e., explosive) politics always ultimately serves gravity.  Jacobinism and totalitarian Communism just reiterated the excesses of monarchy and capitalism in new and more hypocritical forms.

              Then there are "bifurcation" phenomena, like the alliance of plebs with Emperors with the latter trading a constant food supply in return for absolute power in all other political matters.  I wouldn't call that situation progressive or liberal despite the social welfare aspects of the bread allotment.

              •  not necessarily (4+ / 0-)

                i tend to think that the more violent the revolution, the more violent and repressive the new government. relatively peaceful revolutions have been more successful.

                the bifurcation phenomenon is why some radical leftists hated the new deal- they thought it defused a more revolutionary dynamic. but yes- from dostoyevsky to burgess, it's a recurrent theme that people will trade freedom for food and quiet.

                in this country, things have generally moved forward, although on economic issues, the overall trend has been backward since reagan.

                The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                by Laurence Lewis on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 08:24:20 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes, I agree with that. (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Laurence Lewis, Dragon5616, Reggid

                  Peaceful or at least humanely-fought revolutions are not explosive, but gestalten.  They come together and release creative energy rather than destructive energy.  They involve diligent effort rather than cathartic violence.

                  I would say that bifurcation phenomena only apply to undemocratic situations, because otherwise it's just a normal compromise between civilized people rather than a Faustian bargain between a tyrant and a mob.  The left erred in seeing the New Deal as diffusive - actually Communism was a bifurcation reaction, and people like Stalin and Mao were basically pharaohs.  Things like the New Deal were the right approach and still are.

                  We can restore economic progress, but we have to start with ourselves and our local communities.  There was a recent diary about a small town bucking the trend of small government idiocy that really illustrated that.  

                  That was how the New Deal began - not as an arbitrary federal-level program, but as a copycat to numerous state-level and local programs that had been going on since the Teddy Roosevelt administration.  America was progressive locally and on the state level well before it trickled up to the feds.

                  •  but when the new deal was established (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Troubadour, 3goldens

                    it was swift and large. and it received all the usual criticism. but millions were put to work, quickly. that first 100 days was amazing. and i would say the bifurcation phenomenon does take place in ostensible democracies. that was burgess's point.

                    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                    by Laurence Lewis on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 08:53:47 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Bifurcation in democracies takes the form (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Reggid

                      of right-wing populism, but that's not a major problem in the United States where the right is plutocratic.

                      Part of what made the New Deal possible was that they were able to start from scratch: There was no huge, preexisting infrastructure that had to be greatly reformed or expanded.  The federal government went from being a small, conservative fantasy to being involved overnight, and I'm sure that was very exciting.  It's a different matter to redirect existing, large institutions to be more effective.

          •  I take an evolutionary approach to it (0+ / 0-)

            There are various survival strategies in any environment. Some environments encourage the development of certain strategies and then those strategies become dominant. But those strategies often have by-products that produce significant changes in the environment; changes that are often inimical to the previously successful survival strategy.

            Shorter version: success breeds its own destruction.

        •  Remember the Push-Me Pull-You (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Laurence Lewis, corvo

          from Dr. Doolittle?

          Yeah, that too, sort of ;))

          This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

          by lunachickie on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 08:03:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  There WAS effort from the Liberal elite - (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          corvo, lunachickie, 3goldens

          unfortunately in the wrong direction.

          Their policies towards labor and the poor actually helped to move the Overton Window towards the right. I would argue that this could only have been done with Democrats in a position of power. The people have been betrayed.

          •  the political system (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Troubadour, skohayes, 3goldens

            is deliberately structured to protect those with wealth. always has been. the constitution was so designed. i would say things have moved in a better direction, in fits and spurts, but since the reagan era things have mostly moved backward. i'm not sure "betrayed" is the right word. manipulated, duped, distracted, and taken advantage of all seem appropriate terms.

            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

            by Laurence Lewis on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 08:15:30 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  The Overton Window naturally gravitates (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dragon5616, Reggid

            towards the viewpoints of those with the greatest resources to expound on their views - it only moves back to a more complete perspective through diligent effort and conscious action.  Part of the way to achieve that is to exercise individual critical thinking so that biases are understood and information pieced together properly.

            •  The Overton Window is basically a construct (0+ / 0-)

              of propaganda and manipulation of the uncritical 'masses' which make up the majority of the electorate.

              The right has understood it's power since the term was first coined. Billions have been spent by right wing think-tanks and organizations such as ALEC in the last 30 years.

              it only moves back to a more complete perspective through diligent effort and conscious action
              I've seen precious little showing that it is moving back towards the left. Many were hoping Obama would accomplish that. Unfortunately, he has not only continued to allow it to move towards the right, he has actively helped it, with only a few exceptions such as gay rights.
    •  Modern conservatism = limit to evolution (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dragon5616, Troubadour

      Tribalism had its uses during the ages when human society was limited to the individual band, that is, the millennia of human prehistory before agriculture.  Male dominance rituals are certainly not restricted to human beings.  Fearing the outsider was reasonable when the outsider was, by definition, not subject to the social controls of the band, i.e., was an outlaw by definition.  Hierarchy is also a common feature of animal groupings -- two housepets will determine quickly just who is the alpha and who is the beta.  (If they're dogs, you're the alpha and they contend for the beta slot).  

      So, at its heart, modern conservatism is a form of atavism, a reversion to our prehistoric, pre-human nature.  We are hard-wired to be modern conservatives, except for the sexual norms so often preached and less-often practiced.  Never mind that we can foul our own nests, trigger a mass extinction or commit global thermonuclear suicide in an hour.  Never mind that "the Other" is never more than 48 hours away by plane and helicopter.  

      That many modern conservatives are creationists beggars irony.  For if we were created beings raised above the animals and just a bit below angels, why then pursue policies that are fitted for prehuman ancestors and packs of canids or felids or primates?

      "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

      by Yamaneko2 on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 08:41:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Overton Window (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      virginislandsguy

      Is it really moving to the right?

      LGBT issues?
      taxes?
      military?

      It seems to me it is moving to the left.  On LGBT issues at least it seems hard to see how anyone would even attempt to argue that point.  As ACA gets implemented and baked in, the Overton Window on health care surely will move/is moving to the left.   Maybe you can argue on specific issues that it is moving right, but in total I think it is moving to the left.  I think it naturally moves toward whatever party has the presidency.  

      •  Moving on social issues (0+ / 0-)

        is great. However, that's about all that moves "left" regularly, and even then, the right fights it tooth and nail, claiming "the country isn't ready".

        I disagree that it moves toward whichever party holds the office of POTUS, unless you conclude that Mr. Obama is not very "left" on things like "the economy" and "banking" and "America's relations with other countries".

        Which he isn't...

        This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

        by lunachickie on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 11:19:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  actions speak louder than words (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, Claudius Bombarnac, Nattiq

    Even official words.

  •  It's not what he's not doing, it's what he's doing (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, PhilJD, kyril, 3goldens, Nattiq

    I didn't ask him to increase Social Security, I'm just mad as hell that he want to cut it.  He doesn't need Congress NOT to cut Social Security.   And I KNOW what C-CPI means.  He's the one who figured no one would read the fine print and look up the definition.

    I didn't ask him to open the floodgates on the Surveillance State.  He doesn't need Congress NOT to spy on me.   And who's trying to keep the whole thing secret?  How can we become informed citizens when we're treated like 18 month old children?

    He's the one who chose those priorities.  LESS Social Security and MORE Surveillance, hidden in the fine print so the children don't find out.

    •  What are you talking about? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Reggid, virginislandsguy
      •  The pain and lies hidden in the fine print (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        corvo, kyril, 3goldens

        It's Obama who cleverly tells us he's going to strengthen or reform or tweak Social Security.  So I just cut this from the WH web site now.  He tells you he is going to strengthen Social Security.  To most people that means better.  He tells you he is not going to cut CURRENT BASIC benefits.  That tells you 2 things.  He is not opposed to cutting FUTURE BASIC benefits and frankly I didn't realize that he was actually in favor of cutting FUTURE BASIC benefits.  But it also tells you that for CURRENT retirees he's only going to preserve the BASIC benefit which is where C-CPI and other changes come into play.  

        I despise the deceit.  He is the one who is putting out this propaganda to disguise his true intentions.  He's the one who expects you to get an advanced degree in government budgeting to figure out what he's going to do to you in the fine print.  He's not going to SLASH your benefits.  He's not a Social Security Jack the Ripper.  No he's more of a Boston strangler.  

        The President is committed to protecting and strengthening Social Security—and securing the basic compact that hard work should be rewarded with dignity at retirement or in case of disability or early death.  That’s why he has called on Congress to work on a bipartisan basis to preserve Social Security as a reliable source of income for American seniors and as a program that provides robust benefits to survivors and workers who develop disabilities.  He believes that no current beneficiaries should see their basic benefits reduced and he will not accept an approach that slashes benefits for future generations.
        •  The complete page has some interesting quotes. (4+ / 0-)

          Here it is, BTW:

          http://www.whitehouse.gov/...

          It begins with a quote from the President's 2011 SOTU address:

          To put us on solid ground, we should also find a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations. We must do it without putting at risk current retirees, the most vulnerable, or people with disabilities; without slashing benefits for future generations; and without subjecting Americans’ guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market.
          That sounds like a pretty concrete commitment, as does the part you quoted that "he will not accept an approach that slashes benefits for future generations."  Trying to quibble with the meaning of "slash" in order to interpret this statement as being deceptive seems like a stretch, to say the least.
          •  That's right. Not slashing, but (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Claudius Bombarnac, 3goldens

            whittling away at them a bit.  What a relief!

            Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

            by corvo on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 09:19:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  It is deceptive (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            3goldens

            He has proposed the Chained CPI. This is fact. It is in his budget proposal.

            Now, it is vaguely possible, through some form of convoluted reasoning, to pretend that CCPI is not a 'cut' to present Social Security recipients - that it's just a reduction in the rate of growth. I don't agree, because I think Social Security benefits should be valued based on their buying power rather than their dollar value, and I think CCPI lags behind the real growth in cost of living for retirees, so in real terms I believe it is a cut.

            But leaving that aside, when considering future retirees, all of our benefits are in the future. The only meaningful way to value our benefits is to look at the expected future value of those benefits. Which means that CCPI is indisputably a cut. It will result in us receiving less money than we otherwise would have. That is a factually, mathematically true statement. Future retirees will receive less Social Security under CCPI than under the current system, and Obama has proposed CCPI, so Obama has proposed cutting Social Security for future retirees.

            It doesn't matter what he claims to want in non-binding public statements. What matters is what he has actually proposed to congress. He wants to cut Social Security. Period.

            "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

            by kyril on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 09:32:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That sounds awfully convoluted. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Reggid
              The only meaningful way to value our benefits is to look at the expected future value of those benefits. Which means that CCPI is indisputably a cut.
              So are Republicans correct when they argue that slowing their rate of tax cutting is a tax increase?
              •  The current law is the status quo. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                3goldens

                One evaluates future changes relative to the status quo.

                If the Republicans managed to pass into law a provision that automatically cut taxes permanently by X% every Y years, then any change that reduced X or increased Y would be a tax increase. A highly defensible one, but yes, it would be a tax increase.

                If, on the other hand, as is currently the case, they simply attempt to cut taxes every few years, then no, preventing them from doing so is not a tax increase. The status quo tax projection for a given year is the currently-projected tax rate for that year under current law, not under some fantasy scenario where Republicans get everything they want.

                "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

                by kyril on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 10:14:17 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Primary sourcing is propaganda (16+ / 0-)

    What you are describing is precisely what is wrong with American media.  The notion that political debate should stem from political leaders grants them undue power.

    The only fair evaluation of an administration is by studying the outcomes of its policy, and its reaction to national or international events.  That's it.  It doesn't matter what they say.  It matters what they do or don't do.

    The media has learned the age old truth about the way people process information.  We are more interested in the way things feel, than in what things are.  If you wish to sell a product, make sure your customer has an emotional connection to it.

    This is not journalism, however.  This is turning government into a reality show for idiots to yell at.

    •  So you don't think that commentary specifically (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dr Teeth, Dragon5616, FG, Reggid

      about what political leaders are doing should be rooted in what they're actually doing?

      The only fair evaluation of an administration is by studying the outcomes of its policy, and its reaction to national or international events.
      That's the only fair evaluation of the effectiveness of an administration, absolutely - as long as the judgment occurs in context.  But when the subject isn't effectiveness, but the facts of what specific policies are or are not, then I don't see how facts are dispensable.
      We are more interested in the way things feel, than in what things are.
      That's something to be aware of and guard against in ourselves.
      •  In that case, I recommend that the NSA is used (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        corvo, Dr Teeth, Troubadour, 3goldens

        to find that out.

         

        "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

        by LaFeminista on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 08:16:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The NSA is being sued. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LaFeminista, Reggid
          •  Now you have made my NSA monitor sad. (4+ / 0-)

            "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

            by LaFeminista on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 09:12:32 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's okay. No way our court system (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              LaFeminista

              will get in the way of the NSA.

              Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

              by corvo on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 09:19:54 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Not to worry. NSA knew they were being sued (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              LaFeminista, 3goldens

              and by whom well before it was made public. BTW, they found some interesting background information on the plaintiffs that may be pertinent to the lawsuit.

            •  It's fun to pretend someone finds any of us (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Reggid

              that threatening.  Sadly, we're not even censored in China.  

              •  Very few here are "threatening" - at this time (0+ / 0-)

                But there are some here that warrant watching. We don't want events to get out of hand (such as another OWS) and escalate to the violence we've seen in other nations. It is within blogs such as DKos where some of these ideas can be nurtured and fomented so it's best to keep an eye on them.

                Forewarned is forearmed. The security of the state is paramount for the safety of the people, especially during times of economic stress.

                •  Then there's paranoia (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  virginislandsguy

                  that the government is collecting all this information and somehow using it against us. We'd need to employ half the population of the US just to collate it into some sort of usable database, and the other half to analyze it.
                  You've got several different private companies tracking your information as well- like the so-called petitions everyone signs that are used for donor information and email lists.
                  If you're worried about privacy, hanging out on a well known liberal blog isn't exactly the way to go about it.

                  “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

                  by skohayes on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 10:49:40 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  "Collect it all" - never know when it will come (0+ / 0-)

                    in handy.

                    BTW, who still believes the post 9/11 surveillance/security state is just about terrorism? We are talking about hundreds of billions of dollars and some of the greatest insults to the rule of law and the constitution since the founding of America.

                    If you're worried about privacy, hanging out on a well known liberal blog isn't exactly the way to go about it.
                    Wouldn't one be more concerned about hanging out at a militant right-wing blog. I would expect that the US government would be very supportive of liberal blogs.
      •  Division of Labor (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        corvo, 3goldens

        There is nothing wrong with abstracting the actions of government for consumption.  Of course this should be done responsibly, but the average person has other things to do.

        We elect politicians to do their jobs, while we do ours.  It isn't our responsibility to sift through their excuses or to show them deference.

        If things get unfair for them, remember it is a hell of a lot rougher for the rest of us.

    •  It's been that way for quite some time (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo, Dr Teeth

      "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

      by LaFeminista on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 08:08:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Only if the primary source is a singular source (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dr Teeth

      Primary sources can come from lots of people, including people who are opposed to government actions.

      For example, I would consider Snowden to be a primary source.

  •  I got as far as (7+ / 0-)
    The best, and ultimately only constructive approach to analyzing an administration's policies is through primary sourcing
    At which point I thought, "As soon as I take what I learn from a primary source and say anything about it online, my analysis is instantly no longer a primary source, and thus, by this logic, instantly not a constructive approach.  Further, no one can repeat what I said, unless they too first read the original source, and than said they had absolutely no difference of viewpoint on it than I do."

    This is like saying 'every scientist must use only original clinical trial data, there is absolutely no constructive value in using survey journal articles that compare and contrast multiple trials, because they are not the actual original papers they analyze'.

    •  Bad premise. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo, PhilJD, kyril
      only constructive approach
      This eliminates all kind of analysis including cost/benefit analysis, efficay, etc., etc., etc...
    •  That's not my point at all. (7+ / 0-)

      Secondary sources are useful as long as they're treated as what they are - someone's interpretation of facts rather than the direct material itself.  Critical thinking is key.

      •  Well, this comment I can mostly agree with, with (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Troubadour, Dragon5616

        the caveat that often secondary sources pull in direct info from primary sources, merely to study one particular aspect of the issue.  You can certainly argue that you lose the contextual aspects that way, but I think that if parts of policy have bad outcomes to start with, they're usually not going to be any better when put into the policy as a whole.

        •  I've experienced too many instances where (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dragon5616, virginislandsguy

          examining things in context totally changed their interpretation.  So a secondary source is useful for motivating pursuit of the primary source to see what's going on, but if we stop at someone else's interpretation, we're basically just delegating consciousness.  

          That becomes a problem when the person we're depending on is depending on someone else too, and they in turn are also doing so, and so on - and it becomes a kind of rabbit hole that may lead to some careless mistake or oversight along the way.

          It's happened to me more than once that I've chased down commentary that literally led back to nothing.  Someone misstated something, which led to faulty conclusions being drawn, which led to deductions being made that built an entire elaborate ecosystem of false beliefs.  And people get defensive when you show that to them.

    •  If someone uses *your* analysis as the foundation (0+ / 0-)

      ...for further discussion then they are no longer using primary sources.

      It's like a game of telephone. Each layer of commentary adds a layer of interpretation which, of necessity, means an increasing level of bias in those interpretations.

      Commentary on commentary can be useful, but ultimately you need to go back to primary sources if you hope to have a more complete picture of what is really going on.

  •  A Confrontational Negative Comment (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP

    A lot of people are busy with work and other activities. Thus, they rely on the news, political commentators and other trusted sources (such as polical parties and labor union endorsements) for their information and interpretation of what's happening in the world.

  •  Does this insistence on primary sourcing, (5+ / 0-)

    which is reasonable enough on its face, also extend to DKos diarists and posters?

    If the President can only be fairly evaluated on what he actually says and does, not on a larger narrative extrapolated from his speech and actions, does the same hold true here?

    When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

    by PhilJD on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 08:06:58 AM PDT

  •  There is no privileged way in which (4+ / 0-)

    to view a President or any act in life.   (And by that I am talking philosophically -- not about white privileged).  In other words, people see events through the prism of their own experiences and beliefs and will differ in opinions on those events.   Evidence and logic is useful to have a conversation, but even there people will differ.  

    It's okay to have a plurality of views on issues, including on President Obama.  

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 08:18:05 AM PDT

  •  How can you tell when a politician is lying? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, undercovercalico

    Never mind... You've probably already heard that joke.

    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

    by HairyTrueMan on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 08:38:53 AM PDT

  •  this is amazingly arrogant (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    undercovercalico

    You actually believe that how you perceive things is "the truth"

    I sing praises in the church of nonsense, but in my heart I'm still an atheist, demanding sense of all things.

    by jbou on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 12:08:17 PM PDT

  •  I don't know (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    undercovercalico

    I probably would have chilled out with a glass of wine and watch Mel Brooks movies for a couple days before I posted another diary, but that's just me.

    I've seen some hardboiled eggs in my time, but you're about twenty minutes

    by harrylimelives on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 12:39:35 PM PDT

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