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Memo to Self: Do Not Run for Office


This document confirms every worst suspicion that people tend to have about campaigns.

Mark Leibovich, New York Times Magazine

Thanks to Evergreene Digest reader Wayne Hornicek for this contribution.

mag-17Politics-t_CA0-articleLarge.jpgAugust 12, 2014 | Last month, Eliana Johnson of National Review gained access to a 144-page memo that was prepared by a team of political strategists working for the senate campaign of Michelle Nunn, the Georgia Democrat. Nunn, the daughter of Sam Nunn, the state’s longtime senator, is running against David Perdue, a Republican, to succeed Saxby Chambliss, who is retiring. While I am obviously not smart enough to be a “political strategist” — otherwise I would be paid more — it strikes me as advisable to keep a document like this under wraps, especially when it is so brutally self-critical in places (saying, among other things, that voters might dismiss Michelle Nunn as being a “lightweight,” “too liberal” and “not a ‘real’ Georgian”). Already the document has become fodder for Twitter ridicule and at least one attack ad.

But one campaign’s embarrassment can also yield a windfall of public edification. And the Nunn memo, as it has come to be known in political wiseguy circles, offers a glimpse into the calculations and absurdities that drive modern campaigns. The paper contains no campaign-killing outrages or instances of great malpractice — except that the press got hold of it, and as we learn from the “press plan” section of the memo, “many reporters see their job as getting the candidate to ‘reveal’ what their ‘true’ inclinations” are. And now we have those inclinations in all their glory.

Mark Leibovich, author of “This Town,” is the the New York Times Magazine’s chief national correspondent.

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Cornel West: “(Obama) posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit."

  • Exclusive: Cornel West talks Ferguson, Hillary, MSNBC -- and unloads on the failed promise of Barack Obama
  • We ended up with a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency”
  • A Strange, Soulless Man And His Utterly Failed Presidency

Thomas Frank, Salon

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/cornel_west2.jpg Cornel West (Credit: Albert H. Teich via Shutterstock

Sunday, Aug 24, 2014 | Cornel West is a professor at Union Theological Seminary and one of my favorite public intellectuals, a man who deals in penetrating analyses of current events, expressed in a pithy and highly quotable way.

I first met him nearly six years ago, while the financial crisis and the presidential election were both under way, and I was much impressed by what he had to say. I got back in touch with him last week, to see how he assesses the nation’s progress since then.

Thomas Frank is a Salon politics and culture columnist. His many books include "What's The Matter With Kansas," "Pity the Billionaire" and "One Market Under God." He is the founding editor of The Baffler magazine.

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A Strange, Soulless Man And His Utterly Failed Presidency, John Chuckman,

  • We perhaps can never know what has motivated Obama’s behavior as President.  Is he, as some in his own party have suggested, simply not up to the job? (Or) is he merely responding to the fact of the awesome power of America’s unelected government? 
  • The Leader Obama Wanted to Become and What Became of Him


Unemployment up in 30 states, still no extended unemployment benefits


  • Extended Unemployment Compensation (EUC) stalled in Congress
  • The Struggle for Survival of the Long-term Unemployed

Staff, Fight Back! News

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dreamstime_s_25243651.jpg?1387399457August 22, 2014 | Unemployment rates ticked upwards in 30 states, according to an Aug. 18 report from the federal government’s U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Ohio, Maryland and South Carolina had the largest job losses. Mississippi has the country’s highest unemployment rate, at 8%. Meanwhile, Congress is in recess until September.

About 3 million workers have lost long-term jobless benefits since emergency unemployment insurance was allowed to lapse in late December 2013. At the time, Democratic leadership failed to insist on including extended unemployment compensation (EUC) in the budget compromise. That gave Republicans veto power over attempts in Congress to restore the program.

Fight Back! News exists to build the people's struggle! We provide coverage and analysis of some of the key battles facing working and low-income people.

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The Struggle for Survival of the Long-term Unemployed, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

  • Are the Long-Term Unemployed on the Margins of the Labor Market?
  • Part 1: It’s Still Bad for the Long-Term Unemployed
  • Part 2: The unemployment insurance graveyard
  • From high hopes to low wages: What happened to the American Dream?

The U.S. government’s creeping war on journalists



  • A new poll reveals that three quarters of reporters agree the public isn't getting the information it needs.
  • The Presidency and the Press

David Sirota, Salon

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barack_obama.jpgBarack Obama (Credit: AP/Susan Walsh)

Thursday, August 21, 2014 | As states move to hide details of government deals with Wall Street, and as politicians come up with new arguments to defend secrecy, a study released earlier this month revealed that many government information officers block specific journalists they don’t like from accessing information. The news comes as 47 federal inspectors general sent a letter to lawmakers criticizing “serious limitations on access to records” that they say have “impeded” their oversight work.

The data about public information officers was compiled over the past few years by Kennesaw State University professor Dr. Carolyn Carlson. Her surveys found that 4 in 10 public information officers say “there are specific reporters they will not allow their staff to talk to due to problems with their stories in the past.”

David Sirota is a senior writer for the International Business Times and the best-selling author of the books "Hostile Takeover," "The Uprising" and "Back to Our Future." 

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The Presidency and the Press, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

  • A  toxic relationship
  • Part 1: Nixon Is Gone, but His Media Strategy Lives On
  • Part 2: How Obama Administration-Controlled Media Is Used to Avoid Scrutiny from the Press