Friday's HOT MIC
Amusing to read all the reports of new new Syrian no-fly zones just negotiated by the ever-delightful Russians, Turks and Iranians. Somehow the true ruler of the Syrian skies got omitted. Somehow I don't think they're worried. Who do you think has the better, more experienced, more high tech airforce - these guys or the Russians?
Cinco de Mayo Greetings from the Daily Beast!
Ever since Paula's "slave to Chrome" comment this morning, I've had this Bryan Ferry earworm going.
But that's OK; it's an awesome earworm.
Private emails from the campaign of the leading candidate in France’s presidential election, Emmanuel Macron, have been posted online by an unknown source. The politician confirmed the leak in a statement, warning that this was, like other recent hacks, an attempt to interfere with the election and that fabricated content was mixed in with genuine emails.
“The ‘En Marche!’ movement has been a victim of a massive coordinated hacking campaign that is leading to leaks on social networks tonight,” read the statement issued by the campaign (TechCrunch’s translation). “The documents circulating were obtained several weeks ago in hacks on the personal and professional email inboxes of multiple people in charge of the movement.”
The emails were posted in a number of formats to Archive.org, then links to those files collected on a Pastebin page by someone using the handle Emleaks. A cursory examination of the documents by TechCrunch indicates a variety of content, from budget discussions, loan contracts, and so on. We are currently unable to verify these documents, but many are at least not obviously fake or modified, like some that have appeared as part of other politically motivated leaks.
A great deal of the emails are to or cc’ed to Cédric O, who is treasurer for Macron’s party En Marche, as well as consultant Pierre Person. This is a good indication that their accounts were specifically targeted, although others, including at least one Gmail account, appear to be represented.[...]
This timing is unlikely to be coincidental; releasing potentially damaging information (and damaging in that it was even able to be stolen) days before the election, and at a time when it cannot be officially discussed, is a fairly obvious attempt to affect its result.
It's not just the polls. There's another not-so-secret secret reason that LePen has less than zero chance against Macron in the French election: the stock market (aka la bourse). You'd have to be a pretty clueless investor not to have noticed the big jump in markets when Macron looked to be the big winner after the first go-round. That's not changing. I'm not clear on the percentage of French citizens who are invested in stocks -- here in the USA it's roughly 50% -- but it couldn't be that far off, even if somewhat less. People are just going to vote their pocket books -- duh -- whatever they think of the EU, immigration, etc. They pay for it eventually (or soon), but that's the way it is.
Mine own self, I confess I'm less depressed about this than I would have been a few weeks ago. When Marine made that statement denying French complicity in the Holocaust, I checked out. The apple had fallen close to the tree after all.
Speaking of the market, the percentage of Americans investing is down slightly. Reason: the millennials. They don't have the money. Tough luck for them, considering what's been going on since Trump was elected. The Nasdaq and the S & P hit all-time highs AGAIN today. Will that continue? Not forever, but maybe for long enough to make a killing. Bon chance!
Sorry, but I've got to beat this horse some more -- it might still be breathing.
This is coming from Avik Roy, whose ObamaCare criticisms have been right on the money since the law was just a gleam in Harry Reid's (now damaged) eye. Roy says that "Ryancare" got regulatory reform right, which is great. He also says that the bill does help to fix Medicare -- except for the parts it screws up. So that part is a mixed bag.
But then there's the big oops:
What Ryancare gets wrong: Health insurance tax credits
Unfortunately, the A-plus on the regulatory side is balanced out by a C-minus on the tax credit side. House Speaker Paul Ryan adamantly opposed a means-tested approach to providing financial assistance for premiums, instead insisting on a flat tax credit that remains the same if you’re at the poverty line or nearing six figures.
That approach means that million of low-income Americans in their fifties and sixties will be priced out of the insurance market, while millions of upper-income Americans who don’t need the help will get a big tax credit. Many of the people adversely affected by the AHCA are Trump voters whose favored candidate campaigned on “insurance for everybody.”
Furthermore, the Ryancare tax credit will trap millions in poverty, by slapping them with thousands of dollars in health insurance premiums should they make enough to no longer be eligible for Medicaid. That will discourage the poor from working and rejoining the economy.
On top of all that, Ryancare does nothing to reform the unlimited tax break for employer-based coverage that does so much to make insurance unaffordable for everyone. Indeed, the bill takes Obamacare’s “Cadillac Tax,” an imperfect reform in the right direction, and pushes it back to 2023.
I want you to reread one line: "That approach means that million of low-income Americans in their fifties and sixties will be priced out of the insurance market, while millions of upper-income Americans who don’t need the help will get a big tax credit."
Those older, low-income Americans are also a big part of the Trump coalition, and those "upper-income Americans who don’t need the help" consist of a lot of gentry liberals.
So Ryancare as-is hurts those who pegged their hopes on Trump last year, and helps those who think of those Trump voters as a bunch of mouth-breathing racists.
Maybe this can get fixed in the Senate or through reconciliation, but as of right now, Ryancare contains a pill that's just too big to swallow -- and a poison pill at that.
Your moment of climate wisdom:
The increasing irrelevance of TV ads is not news, but the growth rate of Facebook advertising shown here is something to behold:
As Facebook nears the five-year anniversary of its initial public offering, it's worth reflecting on how far it's come. In 2012, Zuckerberg's baby was the world's tenth-biggest seller of ads behind a bunch of traditional media companies such as CBS Corp. and 21st Century Fox Inc., according to Zenith Media. It has trounced almost all of them to rise to number two in the rankings, surpassed only by Alphabet Inc., the Google parent that dominates search ads.
Together Google and Facebook controlled one-fifth of the $543 billion spent on ads last year, up from 11 percent in 2012.