The sheer number of patents in the U.S. is fueling frivolous litigation and drastic action is needed to make patents more difficult to obtain and easier to invalidate, U.S. Circuit Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit said Tuesday. > more ... (0 comments)
Seems as though liberals are panicking about “poll trutherism,” i.e. the Republican belief that the polls are systematically and intentionally slighting Romney. They see this as some kind of way of delegitimizing the election in advance, laying the groundwork to seeing Obama as “His Accidency,” part ii.
I must admit I find this a strange thing to panic about, and not just because Republicans are going to do all that stuff anyway and poll trutherism is only a hook to hang that particular hat on. I find the entire episode pathetic, more so than the usual “media bias” complaint. At least with that, if you say “media” people think network news and big-time newspapers like the New York Times, East Coast institutions that have lots of wealthy, famous people employed at them. Making a case that these folks are elites is easy. Making the case that they’re biased at this point in favor of liberals is much more difficult at this stage, but there was probably enough of a kernel of truth to it at one point to make it stick and it’s been a reliable attack from the right for decades. It’s just built into how people think. Anyway, it’s not hard to make them into a villain to some portion of the electorate just with those things alone.
Pollsters, though, aren’t elites or celebrities. My guess is that, to the extent that anyone even thinks about them, they think of nerdy people in glasses spending most of their time crunching numbers on a computer screen (no offense!). Hardly anyone has a “relationship” with them in the way that they might have one with an anchor or an editorial writer (the only exception is the exceptionally self-serving Scott Rasmussen, whose pro-GOP slant has gotten ridiculous–did you know that America fell in love with Mitt Romney after hearing his 47% comments? It’s true, says Ras!). Anyway, the basis for this kind of conspiracy just isn’t there because there’s not much of a readily available “other” to tie these guys to, and the facts don’t add up. How could this be interpreted as anything other than panic or desperation in the eyes of the public? My guess is that this will backfire on the GOP, Democrats are going to feel emboldened by the blood in the water that this tactic clearly exposes, and the silliness of the charge reduces the GOP from Bond Villains to Scooby Doo Villains (“If it weren’t for you meddling pollsters, my plan would’ve worked!”), not what any political party wants. I suspect that the power-obsessed Villagers of D.C. will just roll their eyes at the whole thing.
Admittedly, the GOP is very adept at playing the victim. But making the “aggressor” such a powerless and, ultimately, irrelevant group isn’t going to work. If you want to play the victim, you need to cast the aggressors as real assholes, opposed to Mom and Apple Pie and the American Way and baaaaaaaaaaase-ball and all the rest. Republicans have done that to a lot of different people, but this is like trying to turn shoe salesmen into America’s greatest menace. Not gonna happen.
As previous polling has shown, voters in the new survey are overwhelmingly opposed to Ryan’s medicare plan. Here’s how pollsters described it, in what they called a “neutral description of the Republican’s proposed changes to Medicare”:The budget proposed by Republicans in Congress would generate much of its savings by making changes to Medicare. For anyone who is now fifty-five or over, traditional Medicare benefits would not change, but for everyone else, Medicare would be turned into a voucher program. This would mean that instead of the government paying doctors and hospitals directly for treating seniors as Medicare does now, the government would provide vouchers to help seniors buy their own private health insurance policy.The results? Just 38% support the plan and 54% oppose it. According to the groups, that opposition shoots up after voters are given some political messaging “about the substance of Republicans’ proposed changes to Medicare.”
The stampede for the exits from the Paul Ryan Kill Medicare Party has been quite a sight to behold. Not just because of all the delicious infighting that it’s causing, but also because the GOP’s desperate new scapegoat (i.e., Medicaid) is also shaping up to be a seriously counterproductive electoral punching bag:
[A] new poll shows that the American public’s distaste for Ryan’s proposal doesn’t stop at Medicare. According to a new Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 60 percent of those polled prefer the keep Medicaid — the federal heath insurance system for the poor — “as is,” as opposed to Ryan’s detrimental block grant program. Indeed, more than half want to see no reductions in Medicaid spending at all because of “a strong sense of the program’s importance.” Indeed, many said they had benefited or knew people who had benefited from the program directly:
Support for maintaining the current program may be due at least in part to the public’s personal connections to Medicaid and a strong sense of the program’s importance. About half of Americans say they or a friend or family member has received Medicaid assistance at some point, and a similar share say the program is important to their family.
Barack Obama’s popularity rise has come to North Carolina. For the first time since December of 2009 PPP finds more voters in the state approving than disapproving of him, at a 49/47 spread. [...] Mitt Romney comes the closest to Obama this time, trailing 47-44. Mike Huckabee is next, with a 49-45 deficit. Newt Gingrich is down 50-44 and and Sarah Palin as usual fares the weakest of the GOP hopefuls trailing Obama by nine points at 50-41. It’s safe to say Republicans have no chance at taking back the White House next year without winning North Carolina. Obviously the election is 21 months away but the President’s resurgence here is a very bad sign for the GOP.
The Republican PartyYes, the Democratic Party is viewed as 6 points more extreme than the Republican Party and only 1 point less extreme than the teabaggers.
Too extreme 36%
Generally mainstream 58%
Mixed/Neither (vol.) 4%
No opinion 3%
The Democratic Party
Too extreme 42%
Generally mainstream 53%
Mixed/Neither (vol.) 3%
No opinion 2%
The Tea Party Movement
Too extreme 43%
Generally mainstream 41%
Mixed/Neither (vol.) 6%
No opinion 10%
So here we have a party that is attempting to dismantle the legal and governmental structure of the state as it has existed in the US for in some cases 45 years, in others 75 years, or in still others a century; a party in its soul despises the separation of church and state, which goes back 230 years; a party whose official, for-the-record document this year hardly even acknowledges that non-white Americans exist; et cetera. And it is less extreme than the other party?This really brings up what I’ve found to be a key failing within both capitalism and democracy: INFORMATION.
For background — and at least in theory — capitalism and democracy are supposed work best when consumers/citizens possess a substantial amount of factual information about the products they are shopping for and the candidates for whom they may vote. The thinking goes that the less factual information these consumers/citizens have, the more susceptible they will be to artificial and inefficient distortions in the system brought on by businesses/candidates manipulating the ignorant into making irrational choices (and vice versa).
The biggest problem with this “information” dynamic in a democracy is that most people self-interestedly view civic life as a one-way street of rights flowing to them — i.e., “I have my rights; Government: go protect them” — with little to no attention paid to the equally important counterpart of rights, which are responsibilities.
I think we can all agree that one of most fundamental and important responsibilities for a person living in a democracy is to vote. But what goes along with that responsibility? Leaving aside the fact that a shameful amount of people fail even to vote, let us also give mind to the millions of people who do vote but do so without fulfilling an equally important set of responsibilities, e.g., seeking out factual information and becoming informed on the issues.
It’s polls like this, and the thinking it engenders in me, that makes me wonder why I even bother to care about the political realm anymore. I view it as my civic responsibility to speak out about all of this bullshit — but if we’re just going to be perpetually ruled by the carnival barkers, patent medicine hucksters and timeshare salesmen who get elected by blissfully ignorant voters that are too lazy to learn about key facts*, what’s the point!?
P.S. And by the way, if I hear one more well-meaning person react to criticism of the American voter similar to what I wrote above with something like, “Oh, but they’re busy! And have families and kids and soccer and PTA!”, I’m going to go postal. To him I say: Seeking out and finding factual information on politicians is not that hard and takes very little time on The Intertubes. Not only that, there are a lot of people with lives that are WAY fucking busier than yours who still manage to stay informed. Stop copping excuses and go find some facts, you whiny fucker!
P.P.S. And c’mon, how many countless hours do the aforesaid “busy” Americans waste obsessing over their local sports teams and/or gobbling up all the celebrity gossip they can get their hands on?
* E.g., The 47% of Americans who think that Obama signed the big bailout bill, not Bush.
Wow, what a shocker. We now find out that most of the people that are ginned up about the Islamic community center in downtown NYC are primarily driven not by “sensitivity” for the white Christian victims of 9/11, but by blatant anti-Muslim bias:
We now have clear evidence that there’s a direct link between public anti-Islam sentiment and public opposition to the construction of Cordoba House, a.k.a. the “Ground Zero mosque.”As John Cole put it in his “Another Entry From The “No Shit” Department” post:
The evidence can be found in the internals of the new Washington Post poll on Islam and the planned center, and it was provided to me by Post polling director Jon Cohen. The numbers directly contradict the claim by opponents that public opposition to the project is not linked to broader anti-Islam sentiment, and is only rooted in a desire to be sensitive to 9/11 families or to respect Ground Zero as hallowed ground.
The poll’s toplines show that 66 percent of Americans oppose the Islamic center. Separately, a plurality, 49 percent, has generally unfavorable views of Islam.
But it’s the intersection of these numbers revealed in the internals that proves the point.
Here’s the rub: According to the internals sent my way, opposition to the “Ground Zero mosque” is overwhelmingly driven by those with an unfavorable view of Islam:
* Fifty-five percent of those who have favorable views of the religion say it should be built.
* Meanwhile, among those who have an unfavorable view of Islam, an overwhelming 87 percent say the project shouldn’t be built, with 74 percent strongly opposed.
In other words, bigotry is the motivating force behind the anti-mosque sentiment. I’m shocked to learn this.But yet the mainstream media will churn on and on in its “all sides have something valid to say” charade.
And the wheel of imperial decline rolls downward, ever downward…
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