Politics

30 Years after Reagan, U.S. Middle Class Screwed Again by Bullshit “Trickle Down” Economic Theory

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“There are two ideas of government,” William Jennings Bryan declared in his 1896 “Cross of Gold” speech. “There are those who believe that if you will only legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous their prosperity will leak through on those below. The Democratic idea, however, has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous their prosperity will find its way up through every class which rests upon them.”

That was more than three decades before the collapse of the economy in 1929. The crash followed a decade of Republican control of the federal government during which trickle-down policies, including massive tax cuts for the rich, produced the greatest concentration of income in the accounts of the richest 0.01 percent at any time between World War I and 2007 (when trickle-down economics, tax cuts for the hyper-rich, and deregulation again resulted in another economic collapse).

Yet the plain fact that the trickle-down approach has never worked leaves Republicans unfazed. The GOP has been singing from the Market-is-God hymnal for well over a century, telling us that deregulation, tax cuts for the rich, and the concentration of ever more wealth in the bloated accounts of the richest people will result in prosperity for the rest of us. The party is now trying to pass a scam that throws a few crumbs to the middle class (temporarily — millions of middle-class Americans will soon see a tax hike if the bill is enacted) while heaping benefits on the super-rich, multiplying the national debt and endangering the American economy.

In the 1920s, Republicans were in full control of the federal government and used that power to pursue their objective to “make the well-to-do prosperous.” It didn’t “leak through on those below.” In that decade, the mass-production American economy became dependent on mass consumption. For it to work, the masses need a sufficient share of the national income to be able to consume what is being produced.

Republican policies in the ’20s instead pushed to concentrate more of the income at the top. Nine decades later, Republicans are rushing to do it again — and they are sprinting toward an economic cliff. Another round of Government of the People, by the Republicans, for the super-rich will be catastrophic. The American people must call a halt before it’s too late.

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2017/11/30/im-a-depression-historian-the-gop-tax-bill-is-straight-out-of-1929/ 

 

SEO

Penalized for writing about a technical suggestion for SEM users of Google?

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Geesh! I wrote a blog post last week about what I thought was a rather clever article about what I presumed might be “Preferred” Google abbreviations in NAPS (Name, Address, Phone) usage across the Web. In fact, I’m taking a very difficult Data Analysis (DA) nanodegree with Udacity and in my Data Wrangling project I strongly suggest in it that we Data Analysts should use consistent abbreviations when doing Search Engine Marketing, etc. and data cleanup. One of our tasks is to clean up street names in a large dataset taken from Open Street Mapping (OSM). Thus, the abbreviation idea for street name cleanup. My point: Standard abbreviations will actually reduce computing time across the planet. Haha. Maybe.

Well, my PeterBakke.com site that contained the aforementioned blog got hammered. It tumbled from page 1 SERP to Page 6 SERP with no end in sight when searching for “Peter Bakke,” c’est moi. Perhaps the word “Google” appeared too many time in my post and Google penalized me for keyword stuffing. Or perhaps Google thinks people writing about Google are pandering.

In any case, I’m also learning about machine learning [ML aka AI] in my nanodegree and the Google search engine is certainly a global example of ML. C’est la vie.

SEO

Preferred Google Street Mapping Abbreviations

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So, if you are a search engine company, say, Google, and you have data centers all across the planet and a significant amount of the work that those data centers do is to parse text (and I mean LOTS of text) every microsecond of every day, then you could see why search engines might want to have standardized abbreviations so that text can be processed in a uniform and efficient way. Thus, I suggest the idea of preferred Google street mapping abbreviations (see example table of abbreviations at bottom of this post).

Google Data Center / Google
                                                   Google Data Center / Google

After all, using standard abbreviations means that search engines need to process fewer characters which means less processing time and less processing time means fewer resources used with less cost. Catch the drift here? It may not seem like much to mere humans to save a few characters in a text string containing a long form street name versus a short form street name. However, multiply all that work, as Carl Sagan would say, “by billions and billions,” and then you might just generate some tangible savings.

The new mantra for digital marketers and SEOs is to “make search engines happy,” which really means making the AI search bots ‘happy.’  The simple act of standard abbreviations could help the job of savvy digital marketers.  Afterall, the difference in SERP position A versus position A could be significant. Could one signal for better ranking be a uniformly abbreviated business NAP everwhere in cyberspace? (See “NAP” at bottom of this page.) Who knows? It’s worth a try.

Finally, simply imagine, if you can wrap your mind around it, the teraflops you’ll be personally responsible for saving in a lifetime by abbreviating everything, everywhere, uniformly. Perhaps we digital marketers could single-handedly affect global warming by reducing extra heat entering the atmosphere from data centers that we are saving from executing all those extra teraflops… all of this by merely shortening “Street” to “St” or “улица” to “ул.”

Happy abbreviating, everyone. 🙂

Pete Bakke, PMP, Data Analyst, Digial Marketer

Tucson, AZ.

Google Mapping

Abbbreviation

Alley : Aly
Apartment : Apt
Arcade : Arc
Avenue : Ave
Basement : Bsmt
Beach : Bch
Bend : Bnd
Bottom : Btm
Boulevard : Blvd
Branch : Br
Building : Bldg
Bypass : Byp
Camp : Cp
Causeway : Cswy
Center : Ctr
Circle : Cir
Court : Ct
Cove : Cv
Creek : Crk
Crossing : Xing
Crossroad : Xrd
Drive: Dr
East : E
Expressway : Expy
Field : Fld
Freeway : Fwy
Front : Frnt
Gateway : Gtwy
Hangar : Hngr
Harbor : Hbr
Haven : Hvn
Heights : Hts
Highway : Hwy
Island : Is
Junction : Jct
Lake : Lk
Lane : Ln
Lobby : Lbby
Meadow : Mdw
Mill : Ml
Mount : Mt
Mountain : Mtn
Northeast : NE
Northwest : NW
North : N
Office : Ofc
Parkway : Pky
Place : Pl
Plain : Pln
Plaza : Plz
Point : Pt
Ranch : Rnch
Rapids : Rpds
Ridge : Rdg
Road : Rd
Room : Rm
Route : Rte
Southeast : SE
Southwest : SW
Skyway : Skwy
South : S
Space : Spc
Spring : Spg
Square : Sq
Station : Sta
Street : St
Suite : Ste
Summit : Smt
Terrace : Ter
Trace : Trce
Trail : Trl
Trailer : Trlr
Turnpike : Tpk
Valley : Vly
View : Vw
Village : Vlg
Wharf : Whf
Well : Wl
West : W

Hats off to : Acceptable Google Maps NAP  [NAP = Name Address Phone, not places you take a nap.]

Quotes

Favorite quote about the power of children’s imagination – by Arthur Rackam

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“I can only say that I firmly believe in the greatest stimulating and educative power of imaginative, fantastic, and playful pictures and writings for children in their most impressionable years – a view that most unfortunately, I consider, has its opponents in these matter-of-fact days. Children will make no mistake in the way of confusing the imaginative and symbolic with actual. Nor are they blind to decorative or abstractly designed treatment in art, any more than they are to poetic or rhythmic form in literature. And it must be insisted on that nothing less than the best that can be had, cost what it may (and it hardly can be cheap), is good enough for those early impressionable years when standards are formed for life. Any accepting, or even choosing art or literature of a lower standard as good enough for children is a disastrous and costly mistake. ” – Arthur Rackham

                    Sangreal by Arthur Rackham
Journalism

Professional Journalism may be our only way to defend this mess we call Democracy

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Professional journalism is the only thing [it seems] between us and the terror of fake news and George Orwell’s predictions like DoubleThink and pronouncements from “The Ministry of Truth.” Journalists must keep doing their job, please, please, please. We need you so badly in this alternative universe we find ourselves in. Also very happy to see a “small” newspaper in WV win a Pulitzer – how fantastic is that. Any newspaper could be next.  Remember that light can be the greatest disinfectant for shady politicians and half-truths.

The Pulitzer Prize gold medal award 한국어: 퓰리처상 ...
The Pulitzer Prize gold medal award (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

http://www.pulitzer.org/winners/eric-eyre

Politics

When the U.S. Government Lies, Democracy Dies

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1960 may have been the year when public trust in the United States government began its long, fitful descent into the dark abyss of mistrust in which we now find ourselves.

George Orwell's 1984 Doublespeak is alive and well - Peter Bakke
Orwell was on target with 1984

Strangely, the U.S. government’s slide towards the dark side of deceit might have begun in the modern era with a straight-shooting president:  Ike.

President Dwight Eisenhower was a war hero. He had commandeered the Allied invasion of Fortress Europe to defeat Nazism. In the spring of 1960, he was closing out his second term as president.

Then the unexpected happened.

In May, Eisenhower was informed by his national security advisors that a CIA U-2 spy plane piloted by Gary Powers had disappeared somewhere over central Soviet Union. The president was assured that Powers could not possibly have survived such a catastrophic failure [or shoot down] and that the plane itself was certainly demolished.

This rationale gave just enough room for a CIA-inspired fantasy to cover up that the US was frequently intruding far into Soviet airspace.

Eisenhower was reluctant to lie to the American public about the true nature of the mission, but he went along with the lie based on the advice of his senior aides.

He related to the world that the aircraft was simply used for weather research and it had accidentally strayed deep into Soviet territory. A hasty, but rather elaborate cover up was put into motion.

Imagine Eisenhower’s fury and embarrassment when Nikita Khrushchev joyfully exposed the U.S. President’s lies to the world. The Soviet Premier presented not only the remains of the U-2 spy aircraft but placed on public trial the spy pilot Gary Powers for good measure. It turns out that the CIA’s best and brightest had pretty much gotten everything wrong.

Eisenhower was reportedly prepared to resign over the ensuing international and domestic political debacle.

Fast forward. During interceding decades, other U.S. government lies have been exposed and variously debated. Recall the questions surrounding the Tonkin Gulf incident which was used as a casus belli for U.S. involvement in the Vietnam “conflict.” Recall Watergate’s famous phrase, “What did the president know and when did he know it.” Ditto Bill Clinton’s sexual scandals and deceits. And more recently, we are forced to endure countless unsubstantiated Trump claims, including that millions of illegal votes were cast in the 2016 election, all for Hillary Clinton. The list goes on. Daily.

We are now  infected with the bacillus of government mistrust and hypocrisy at the highest levels of governance. Doubt and skepticism are poisoning our representative democracy at its roots.

The daily Kabuki of White House spokesman Sean Spicer sailing blithely through dense fogs of equivocation is enough to drain any optimist of hope. Information free briefings are daily offerings made by our duly elected government. Left, right or center, all the obfuscations and deflections contribute to the truth carnage.

Be they federal, state, or local officials – professional prevaricators are corrupting one of the primary underpinnings of democratic rule: public trust in what our elected officials, and their spokespersons, say, write and plainly mean.

Seventy-five years ago George Orwell wrote, ”The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world.” His ominous observation could have been written yesterday. It rings true today and should serve as an alarm for democracy defenders planet-wide.

We find ourselves today wading through an Orwellian miasma  of “fake” news and “alternative” facts. As responsible citizens and news organizations try to right the ship of truth in these storm tossed times, let us remember what Ike eventually did back in 1960. He publicly admitted to the American people that he had lied.

Today, if only our government officials, too, could be big enough and bold enough adhere to objective truths and admit when untruths are spewed dangerously into public discourse.

And better yet, let us hope that our government representatives simply stop lying.