Paternalism News

  • Russia's Addiction: How Oil, Gas, and the Soviet Legacy Have Shaped a Nation’s Fate : How Oil, Gas, and the Soviet Legacy Have Shaped a Nation’s Fate    ( Clifford G. Gaddy and Barry W. Ickes, 2019-01-28)
    Brookings Institution Press 2019 240pp. Get Notified When the Book is For Sale Why oil and natural gas are at the center of Russia’s economy and politics Russia’s dependence on its oil and gas is much deeper than generally recognized. Large parts of the economy that Russia inherited from its Soviet predecessor cannot survive without continuous infusions of value from the oil and gas sectors. The privatization of those sectors in the 1990s transferred their ownership to a small number of oligarchs, who promptly plunged into self-destructive internal warfare, putting their companies and the fate of millions of Russians at risk. In Russia’s Addiction, Clifford Gaddy and Barry Ickes describe how Vladimir Putin forced the oligarchs to end their strife and compelled them to share their oil and gas wealth with the rest of society. They argue that the system Putin implemented to manage the nation’s oil and gas resources has been the key to his power in Russia. But they ask the important question: What will happen to this system, and to Russia, when Putin is gone?  Clifford Gaddy, an economist specializing in Russia, is a senior fellow in the Foreign Policy program’s Center on the United States and Europe. He is a co-founder and senior scientific advisor of the joint Russian-American Center for Research on International Financial and Energy Security, based at Penn State University. Gaddy is the co-author of the recently released second edition of Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin (Brookings, 2015). Barry W. Ickes is a professor of economics and associate head, Department of Economics, The Pennsylvania State University. Ickes is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution; director of the Center for Research on International Financial and Energy Security, Penn State; chair of the Research Committee, New Economic School in Moscow; and president of the American Friends of the New Economic School in Moscow. ABOUT THE AUTHORS Clifford G. Gaddy Barry W. Ickes Ordering Information: {9ABF977A-E4A6-41C8-B030-0FD655E07DBF}, 9780815727705, $30.00 Add to Cart         
  • Dilemmas of a Trading Nation : Japan and the Trans-Pacific Economic Order    (Mireya Solís, 2019-01-28)
    Brookings Institution Press 2019 180pp. Japan is at a critical moment in determining its trade policy as it strives for renewed economic growth Its economy still struggling after two decades of low growth, Japan now faces a difficult moment as it confronts this ongoing challenge to economic renewal. Tokyo could deploy a proactive trade policy to help it rise again as one of the world's greatest trading nations. It could also, at the same time, attack the structural problems that have hindered its economic competitiveness and kept it from becoming a leading voice in the drafting of rules for this century's global economy.  Or, it could do nothing and remain shackled to the domestic political constraints that have kept it from playing a central role in international trade negotiations. In Dilemmas of a Trading Nation, Mireya Solís describes how Japan's economic choices are important for the United States, as well.  The two nations are the most important members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the trade agreement concluded in 2015 intended to spur trade in the world's fastest-growing economic region.  The arrest of Japan’s economic decline, the credibility of America’s resolve to remain a Pacific power, and the deepening of the bilateral alliance are all influenced significantly by the outcome of the TPP agreement. But the domestic politics of trade policy have never been as unwieldy as policymakers across the Pacific aim to negotiate ever more ambitious trade and to marshal domestic support for them. Dilemmas of a Trading Nation describes how, for both Japan and the United States, the stakes involved in addressing the tradeoffs of trade policy design could not be higher. Mireya Solís is the Philip Knight Chair in Japan Studies and Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, where she specializes in Japan’s political economy, foreign policy, and Asia-Pacific trade integration. Her previous books include Banking on Multinationals: Public Credit and the Export of Japanese Sunset Industries, Competitive Regionalism: FTA Diffusion in the Pacific Rim (co-edited), and Cross-Regional Trade Agreements: Understanding Permeated Regionalism in East Asia (co-edited). ABOUT THE AUTHOR Mireya Solís Ordering Information: {9ABF977A-E4A6-41C8-B030-0FD655E07DBF}, 9780815729198, $32.00 Add to Cart         
  • Dream Hoarders : How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What to Do about It    (Richard V. Reeves, 2019-01-28)
    Brookings Institution Press 2019 220pp. America is becoming a class-based society. It's now conventional wisdom to focus on the excesses of the top 1% — especially the top 0.01% — and how the ultra-rich are hoarding income and wealth while incomes for most other Americans are stagnant. But the more important, and widening, gap in American society is between the upper middle class and everyone else.  Reeves defines the upper middle class as those whose incomes are in the top 20 percent of American society. Income isn't the only way to measure a society, but in a market economy it is crucial because access to money generally determines who gets the best quality education, housing, health care, and other necessary goods and services.  As Reeves shows, the growing separation between the upper middle class and everyone else can be seen in family structure, neighborhoods, attitudes, and lifestyle. Those at the top of the income ladder are becoming more effective at passing on their status to their children, reducing overall social mobility. The result is a fracturing of American society along class lines, not just an economic divide. Upper-middle-class children become upper-middle-class adults. These trends matter because the separation and perpetuation of the upper middle class corrode prospects for more progressive approaches to policy. Various forms of "opportunity hoarding" among the upper middle class make it harder for others to rise up to the top rung. Examples include zoning laws and schooling, occupational licensing, college application procedures, and the allocation of internships. Upper middle class opportunity hoarding, Reeves argues, results in a less competitive economy as well as a less open society. Inequality is inevitable and can even be good, within limits. But Reeves argues that society can take effective action to reduce opportunity hoarding and thus promote broader opportunity. This fascinating book shows how American society has become the very class-defined society that earlier Americans rebelled against — and what can be done to restore a more equitable society.   Richard V. Reeves is a senior fellow in Economic Studies, co-director of the Center on Children and Families, and editor-in-chief of the Social Mobility Memos blog. His research focuses on social mobility, inequality, and family change. Reeves appears regularly on radio and television as a political commentator, and writes for a variety of publications including the New York Times, The Atlantic, The Guardian and The Observer. He is also a regular contributor to the online 'Think Tank' section of the Wall Street Journal. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Richard V. Reeves Ordering Information: {BE4CBFE9-92F9-41D9-BDC8-0C2CC479A3F7}, 9780815729129, $24.00 Add to Cart         
  • Teacher diversity gaps hit close to home for nearly everyone    (Michael Hansen, Diana Quintero, 2017-10-22)
    Last month, we kicked off a series focused on diversity in the public teacher workforce with an article looking at patterns and trends in the diversity gap across locales, school sectors, and teacher generations. This analysis showed, among other things, that the diversity gap is not monolithic, but varies across different places. We extend this…         
  • 'The Deuce,' Season 1, Episode 7 review: "Au Reservoir"    (By Alyssa Rosenberg, 2017-10-22)
  • Introspection gives us the empathy to give those who oppose us a second chance—even the racists    (Egberto Willies, 2017-10-22)
    Like most men, I grew up being sexist and homophobic. It did not help that it was part of the culture of the Latin American country I am from. My path away from homophobia deserves a whole article of its own. But most importantly, my path to becoming a feminist (and gay rights activist) makes me a much more empathetic person toward racists and others I am diametrically and morally opposed to. This may sound strange, but hear me out. I became a feminist soon after I entered the University of Texas at Austin. It was an intellectual realization that women as a class, like many other groups (blacks, Asians, gays, etc.), were discriminated against. I understood that the systemic nature of said discrimination resulted in the economic and power disparity between men and women. Recently, I read a post from my Facebook friend Jim Rigby that really spoke to me. Listen guys, I understand your resistance to what women are saying this week about the prevalence of male abuse of women, but there is a gift in this for you if you can find the courage to set aside your defenses and hear what is being said. I remember my own painful awakening to MY role in the patriarchy- sitting in training classes at the Rape Crisis Center decades ago. I remember the temptation to co-op the conversation making it about MY discomfort with the conversation instead of what was happening to women. I remember resisting the statistics. I remember, after that training, speaking to colleges and high schools where the males CONSISTENTLY tried to shut down the conversation by presenting the experiences of women as though they were nothing more than personal criticisms of men. I certainly remember a fraternity at U.T. shutting down my talk on rape prevention by shouting "f*ck you, f*ck you." To recognize how I had been taught to see women as objects and how I had been conditioned by the culture to "fix" women and to try to stay in control, without even realizing it, was not easy. I, personally, could not THINK my way out of patriarchy. I kept finding flaws in what was being said. I did not realize I was using my own sexist interpretations of my life to measure the justice claims of women. Eventually, I had to GRIEVE my way out of patriarchy. I had to die to my false hyper-masculinity. I had to learn to stop trying to control and fix others. I had to die to my false bravado, and be born into the ambiguities of my deeper humanity. Like alcoholism, undoing male privilege is a life time struggle, but the reward of being fully human is worth every tear.
  • The point McCain and Bush made is much bigger than Trump    (Fred Hiatt, 2017-10-22)
    Democracy is in danger, and President Trump is making it worse.
  • The most popular parlor game in Washington: Who will replace Tillerson?    (Josh Rogin, 2017-10-22)
    The two top contenders to be the next secretary of state offer different paths forward for the State Department.
  • Confused about the budget? Here’s a quick rundown.    (Robert J. Samuelson, 2017-10-22)
    Five points to consider as Congress debates the federal budget.
  • What Trump did to Kelly shows how far we have fallen    (E.J. Dionne Jr., 2017-10-22)
    To see a patriot humiliated in the Frederica Wilson spat is a reminder of our increasing political squalor.
  • Raining rats and lap dogs    (By Ann Telnaes, 2017-10-22)
  • Sessions’s plan for immigration courts would undermine their integrity    (Editorial Board, 2017-10-22)
    Evaluating immigration judges based on how quickly they resolve cases could undermine their integrity.
  • Watch what Duterte does, not what he says    (Editorial Board, 2017-10-22)
    The Philippine president says he will scale back an extrajudicial campaign that has killed thousands. Let’s hope he means it.
  • Why is Va. treating its students — especially its black students — like criminals?    (Editorial Board, 2017-10-22)
    A QUAINT idea about school discipline is that students who are unruly and disobedient, or who get in minor scrapes or hallway shoving matches, will be dealt with sternly by teachers and principals. If...
  • Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker succumbs to 'Whataboutism'    (Mark E Andersen, 2017-10-22)
    At work, many of us are expected to multitask. As parents, we often have to have eyes in the back of our heads just to keep up with what the kids are doing. As human beings, we are capable of focusing on more than one thing at a time—it’s in our nature. Unless, of course, you are a GOP politician and want to stick your nose somewhere it does not belong, as is the case with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who was apparently missing the limelight since he lost the title of worst Republican in government.  By now everyone knows that the reason we are seeing NFL players protest during the national anthem is because of the racial injustice and disparities that continue to exist in our nation. As has been written before, this is in no way disrespectful to the flag, or to veterans. Of course, Republicans being Republicans, they have to make a big stink about anything that is their outrage of the week (or in this case, year). Scott Walker is no exception. This past week, the attention-starved governor wrote a letter to the NFL and the NFLPA.  Speaking up for what you believe in is a profoundly American idea, but disrespecting our flag, and the men and women who have fought to protect and defend our country, is not American in the slightest.It is time for players in the NFL to stop their protests during the anthem and move on from what has become a divisive political sideshow. Instead, I encourage them to use their voices and influence to take a stand against domestic violence.  Where to begin with this? First I have to state that as a veteran, I do not need Scott Walker to speak for me. I am perfectly fine with NFL players kneeling during the national anthem. I do have a problem when people in power seem to think they can force people to stand and show respect to the flag. That is nationalism, and it has never worked out well.  Secondly, we can focus on more than one fucking thing at a time.
  • Psychologists strive to do good work    (2017-10-22)
  • The Peace Cross should be allowed to stand    (2017-10-22)
  • The case against special judicial deference in immigration and national security cases    (By Ilya Somin, 2017-10-22)
  • It is time to claim our human rights    (Susan Grigsby, 2017-10-22)
    In my mind’s eye, I can see the last legitimate president dealing with Harvey Weinstein and other men of his ilk. In my imagination, I can see him briskly approaching the podium, his stone-faced sober mien hiding the anger that is just beneath. His daughter was an intern for the Weinstein Company. But he knows that it is not just Malia, or someday Sasha, who was at risk, but that all women are at risk. And that makes him angry.  In a tightly controlled voice, President Obama announces the formation of a presidential commission on sexual assault in the workplace, headed by Vice President Joe Biden, who in 1992 secured passage of the Violence Against Women Act, along with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Labor Secretary Tom Perez. Their task will be to examine the existence and prevalence of demands for sexual favors in exchange for employment, advancement, or other benefits.  The commission will be spend at least six months gathering testimony from men and women around the country who have encountered sexual demands in the course of their employment or during their attempts to obtain employment. At the end of that time they will assemble the data and their policy recommendations into a report on the status of sex in the workplace. It is hoped that the report can assist our legislators in passing the laws that will serve to make places of employment safer for women. Okay, so that didn’t—and sadly, can’t—happen. Instead, we have a man in the White House who does not give a damn about us. Except as objects for his gratification: the assaulter in chief.
  • Sunday wrap    (By Jennifer Rubin, 2017-10-22)
  • Want to increase black turnout? Make the fight for voting rights a core campaign issue    (Ian Reifowitz, 2017-10-22)
    If Democrats want to win elections—which is how we’ll be able to make positive changes and make America a more just place—we need to connect the dots. Two articles came out this week about black voters. One looked back to voter suppression in 2016, while the other was about black turnout in upcoming elections this fall. In order to achieve those electoral victories, we need to link these two subjects. Mother Jones has a terrific piece of journalism by Ari Berman, who has been focused for some time on voter suppression, and who wrote a book on the struggle for voting rights since the passage of the Voting Rights Act. His article highlights the experience of Andrea Anthony, an African-American woman who should have been able to cast her vote last fall in Milwaukee, but was stymied by that state’s draconian voter ID laws, which were passed by Republicans with the specific intent of suppressing the votes of poor and minority voters. A backer of the law, former state senator and now-Congressman Glenn Grothman, said openly that the law would help Republicans win elections: “and now we have photo ID, and I think photo ID is going to make a little bit of a difference as well.” After talking about Ms. Anthony’s story, Berman examined the broader data her story represents and concluded that there was enough voter suppression in Wisconsin to throw the state from Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump. Yes, there were other factors, and without Comey it wouldn’t have even been close enough to matter. But there was Comey, and it was close enough to matter. And voter suppression swung the state.
  • We now know that America is truly a racist nation    (Frank Vyan Walton, 2017-10-22)
    We now know that America is truly a racist nation. The question is: What can we do about it? It really can’t be denied anymore that America is rife with racism, even though there are a great many people deeply invested in the argument that all of America’s racism is in the past. When Barack Obama became president, many said that we had reached a “post-racial” age where the sins and recriminations of the past were now behind us, where now that one African-American man had managed to ascend to the most powerful position in the world, there were no longer any excuses or significant barriers to personal prosperity for all. Other than one’s own weakness of will and poor choices, there was no reason to complain, no reason to strive to improve ourselves as a nation, and no changes that need to be made. Everything was fine—or so we were told. Yet less than one year into the next administration we’ve had a race riot led by neo-Nazis and neo-Confederates take over an major American city, which injured dozens and killed activist Heather Heyer. Since the election there have been plenty of additional examples which show the racial animosity in America is growing, not receding. It’s not just that these bigots did what they did in Charlottesville, it’s that it largely happened because the police stood down and let it happen, instead of keeping opposing protestors away from each other. It’s not just that we have a few racists here and there: it’s that we seem completely unable to develop any effective strategies for identifying them, for opposing them, and for minimizing their influence and impact. Consequently, our racism issues are getting worse—and that seems, frankly, to be happening by design.
  • The New York Times sacks Bill O'Reilly. Again.    (By Erik Wemple, 2017-10-22)
  • Republican defense of Russian election interference is starting to sound like an either oar excuse    (By Tom Toles, 2017-10-22)
  • Let's not staff a White House with generals ever again    (By Jennifer Rubin, 2017-10-22)
  • Polls: Media offer fake news, but news from Trump seen as phoniest of all    (Sher Watts Spooner, 2017-10-22)
    With conclusions that should surprise no one, a new poll reports that most people in the country admit to being duped at one time or another by a false report or conspiracy theory masquerading as news. But the majority of Americans in this poll said the biggest source of fake news is none other than the administration of Donald J. Trump. A survey of more than 1,000 Americans by the education company StudySoup asked respondents to judge news outlets on whether they were considered trustworthy. The study also asked respondents to evaluate whether they had been taken in by false news stories and whether they believed a list of claims that included several false stories. There was an expected partisan divide on what was judged believable and what was not trusted. In this project, we set out to reveal which news outlets Americans trust most, and which they consign to the fake news category. Going further, we studied how many citizens actually believe theories that have been roundly debunked. Our findings demonstrate just how polarized the state of news is in the present, and how facts are an increasingly endangered species in our discourse. Polls about media often show a variety of conclusions, often based on political affiliation. A new Politico/Morning Consult poll showed that 46 percent of Americans think the media make up stories about Trump (which Trump immediately took to Twitter to brag about). But another poll by the Newseum showed a boost in perceptions about the media: 43 percent of Americans say news outlets try to report the news without bias, an improvement from only 23 percent in 2016 and 24 percent in 2015. Trump constantly attacks legitimate news organizations as fake news. But the StudySoup survey showed that nearly 60 percent of Americans consider what they’re being fed from the Trump White House as the real fake news. No surprise there, as the Washington Post count of Trump’s accumulated lies topped 1,300 by mid-October.
  • Puerto Rico: Symbols and songs from the island of Borikén    (Denise Oliver Velez, 2017-10-22)
    As the desperate post-Maria crisis in Puerto Rico continues and worsens, support efforts for our beleaguered fellow citizens often use the Puerto Rican flag as a logo. Wherever you find Puerto Rican Americans, whether on the island or mainland, you will see Puerto Rican flags alongside the United States flag. The flag is one of many symbols of Puerto Rican identity and is probably the most important, for a variety of historical reasons. The island we know of today as Puerto Rico, which Christopher Columbus dubbed “San Juan Bautista,” was originally named Borikén, in the language of its inhabitants who were Taino-Arawak. It then became a Spanish colony. Christopher Columbus arrived at Puerto Rico in 1493. He originally called the island San Juan Bautista, but thanks to the gold in the river, it was soon known as Puerto Rico, or "rich port;" and the capital city took the name San Juan. Soon, Puerto Rico was a Spanish colony on its way to becoming an important military outpost. Puerto Rico began to produce cattle, sugar cane, coffee and tobacco, which led to the importation of slaves from Africa. As a result, Puerto Rican bloodlines and culture evolved through a mixing of the Spanish, African, and indigenous Taíno and Carib Indian races that shared the island. Today, many Puerto Rican towns retain their Taíno names, such as Utuado, Mayagüez and Caguas. Over the years numerous unsuccessful attempts were made by the French, Dutch, and English to conquer the island. To guard against these incursions, the Spanish constructed the many forts and ramparts still found on the island. Puerto Rico remained an overseas province of Spain until the Spanish-American war, when U.S. forces invaded the island with a landing at Guánica. Under the Treaty of Paris of 1898, Spain ceded Puerto Rico (along with Cuba, the Philippines and Guam) to the U.S. Puerto Ricans have continued to use the original Taino name to identify themselves. Puerto Ricans refer to themselves as Boricuas or Borinqueños, as well as using Puertorriqueños.
  • Distinguished pol of the week    (By Jennifer Rubin, 2017-10-22)
  • Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: The politics of being above politics    (Greg Dworkin, 2017-10-22)
    xThis is when military officers present themselves as above politics - but using that itself as a political stance, to be beyond criticism /2— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) October 21, 2017 NY Times: Kelly, in Defending Trump Call, Holds Up Military as an Elite Class After his remarks, Mr. Kelly permitted only those reporters who knew families of dead service members, called Gold Star families, to ask questions. Phil Klay, a Marine veteran and the author of “Redeployment,” a collection of short stories about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, said he had little problem with most of Mr. Kelly’s remarks, but took umbrage at his restrictions on the questioning. “If the problem is that most Americans aren’t engaged, then saying that only those who are engaged can ask about this, then that is deeply counterproductive,” Mr. Klay said in an interview. “This is deeply critical to us as a nation, and war is a huge part of what this country does.” xIf you think journalists should never challenge statements of generals, I’ve got a great documentary series for you https://t.co/4QuzXyw0OX— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) October 20, 2017
  • Sunday Open Thread    (By Greg Sargent, 2017-10-22)
  • Nuts & Bolts: The DNC meets in Las Vegas    (Chris Reeves, 2017-10-21)
    Welcome back, Saturday Campaign D.I.Y.ers! For those who tune in, welcome to the Nuts & Bolts of a Democratic campaign. Each week we discuss issues that help drive successful campaigns. If you’ve missed prior diaries, please visit our group or follow Nuts & Bolts Guide. This series has been focused on how to build and develop campaigns and successful activism efforts. A few times a year, though, I break from that to talk about the inner workings of the party, and to help people understand how things work. A more informed Democratic base is good for all of us; and in an era where outside forces love to manufacture over the top drama and rancor, sometimes cutting through all the noise can be helpful. This week we’re in Las Vegas, as the DNC holds our Fall meeting. With a lot to be discussed—and a lot already discussed online, let’s get into it and discuss what happens at these meetings! DNC meetings are, like many state and local functions, divided into groups, caucus, council as well as ancillary organizations. No organization has a larger impact on ASDC than the state parties, and as a result of this, every DNC meeting features a second meeting that normally starts earlier hosted and held by ASDC—the Association of State Democratic Chairs. These meetings are aimed at discussing how to better improve practices by our state parties, local outreach efforts, and a free exchange of information between state organizations about best practices. Ken Martin, current chair of ASDC and chair of the Minnesota Democratic Party, has called each meeting hosted by ASDC this year thus far with a similar tone: we cannot take for granted Democratic wins in 2018; we cannot assume that Trump’s bad behavior nets us wins, we must work as hard as we have ever worked in order to guarantee good results. “Don't get ahead of overconfident in the slightest” he tells his first audience. Martin, who took over for New Hampshire chair Ray Buckley, kicks off what many see as the DNC main event on the Wednesday, with DNC member functions beginning on Thursday. DNC member functions will always begin with councils, caucus, and informational programming. Members are free to attend or participate in the functions they find worthwhile. Each council or caucus provides regional opportunities at leadership as well as national opportunities for leadership should someone decide to take those tasks on.
  • This week in creepy science: Halloween edition    (Steven Andrew, 2017-10-21)
    Interviews with people who were brought back from the brink of death combined with some basic neurophysiology lead to a rather macabre conclusion: in some cases it may be possible to perceive, feel, and perhaps even think after you are technically dead, or so close to being dead there’s little difference. Which sounds perfectly horrible, just in time for tricks and treats: A significant number of participants in the study report being aware of their surroundings during the period in which they were pronounced dead. Though most were unable to recall specific memories, 39 percent of the study’s participants could describe “a perception of awareness.” A small percent say they were also able to hear full conversations, even see things happening around them. Lest you think these accounts a hoax, medical professionals and staff who were present at the patient’s time of death were also able to verify these stories. Since the brain might still have a few networks capable of firing, as it goes not-so-gently into that final goodnight, it might be able to zing out a few thoughts that would allow you to, in effect, know you are dead. So yeah, thanks, science. Less intense: here’s a couple of dozen spooky-fun ideas geared more toward kids and science for Halloween. Ten years ago this month here on Daily Kos, written for Halloween: Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite! There’s another creepy deal called Cotard’s delusion where patients aren’t actually dead or even dying, but they’re convinced beyond any hope of logical argument that they are walking corpses. A related condition is referred to as depersonalization disorder. Then there’s the opposite: the human who doesn’t know it’s alive, but acts the part. A really good golem wouldn’t be stumbling around with its arms outstretched. It would behave as if it knew it was alive while having no actual self-awareness. This hypothetical creature is known as a philosophical zombie.
  • Ed Gillespie opposes almost every reasonable gun-safety measure imaginable    (Editorial Board, 2017-10-21)
    In Virginia’s governor race, Northam favors basic gun-safety rules; Gillespie does not.
  • Sessions should know prosecuting hate crimes against transgender people isn’t enough    (Editorial Board, 2017-10-21)
    Sending Justice help to Iowa is a good step, but it’s less than half the battle.
  • Trump shouldn’t repeat Obama’s mistake in Iraq and Syria    (Editorial Board, 2017-10-21)
    The Russia-Iran-Assad maneuverings in the region make easy extraction an impossibility.
  • This week in the war on workers: Millions of women lack legal protection from the Harvey Weinsteins    (Laura Clawson, 2017-10-21)
    Sexual harassment and assault has been in the headlines, thanks/no thanks to serial offender Harvey Weinstein, and many reasons have been offered for why women wouldn’t or couldn’t come forward. Bryce Covert offers an additional one: actresses have no federal protections against workplace sexual harassment, and they’re not alone.  Any who were working on a Weinstein film were almost certainly classified as independent contractors, not regular employees. And that means that the anti-discrimination and sexual-harassment protections of federal law didn’t apply to them. [...] Workplace discrimination and harassment based on sex are prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which outlaws “employment practice[s] [that] discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” If an employee feels she is being harassed at work, she can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the first step in taking legal action. But the catch is that she has to be an employee for Title VII protections to apply. Independent contractors, temp workers, and those employed by contracting companies are not covered under the law. “Title VII has to be related to employment,” explained Catherine Ruckelshaus, program director at the National Employment Law Project. Anyone who’s not a traditional employee can’t easily bring claims under it. “The more attenuated you get from an employment relationship, the harder it is under Title VII.” That means that not just actors and other movie industry workers but truck drivers and Uber drivers and home healthcare workers and an increasing number and type of workers lack protections.
  • View from the Left: John Kelly now just a tool of the 'deranged animal' in the White House    (Kerry Eleveld, 2017-10-21)
    When Donald Trump heard the words he spoke this week to a grieving pregnant widow repeated back to him, even he seemed to grasp how horrific they were. “Didn't say what that congresswoman said—didn't say it at all," Trump charged Wednesday, his arms crossed defiantly at a White House meeting. "She knows it and she now is not saying it." She, otherwise known as Rep. Frederica Wilson of Florida, was indeed still saying it—that Trump had called the family of fallen soldier Sgt. La David Johnson to say, "he knew what he signed up for ... but when it happens, it hurts anyway." And in Trump’s days-long campaign to discredit the congresswoman’s account, he even claimed he had "proof" that she was wrong. Since White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders later told reporters there was no recording of the call, the only "proof" left would have to come from the other people listening on both ends of the phone line—Trump's aides on one side and friends and family of the widow, Myeshia Johnson, on the other. Guess what? They both confirmed Wilson's account. When the White House sent chief of staff John Kelly into the briefing room on Thursday to quell the fury Trump had stoked over the last several days, he didn't refute Wilson's story. Instead, Kelly gave an explanation for why Trump had delivered the words Wilson said he did, an apparent attempt by Trump to parrot what Gen. Joe Dunford had told Kelly in 2010 when Dunford informed Kelly that his son had been killed in action in Afghanistan. "He said, Kel, he was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed. He knew what he was getting into by joining that 1 percent. He knew what the possibilities were, because we're at war," Kelly said, recalling that day in 2010 when one of his closest friends showed up on his doorstep in his dress blues to relay the news. "When he died he was surrounded by the best men on this Earth: his friends. That's what the president tried to say to four families the other day." Kelly's poignant explanation, along with his assertion that such a moment between a president and the family of a fallen soldier, however clumsy, should be "sacred," might have been a moment of national reprieve—an invitation to ponder our common humanity and check our jabs at one another. Might have been. Except that Kelly entirely shattered that opportunity by launching a broadside attack on Rep. Wilson that not only proved to be riddled with lies, but also undercut his entire premise that we as a nation needed to restore a lost sense of decency. In one breath, Kelly yearned for a return to certain sacred ideals while in the next breath he slandered a congresswoman in service of providing cover to his commander in chief—the originator of this entire race to the bottom on Gold Star families. In other words: Do as we say, not as we do.
  • The NFL dispute isn't the first time Trump has weaponized the American flag against a community    (Kerry Eleveld, 2017-10-21)
    When Donald Trump decided to accuse NFL players protesting police brutality of "disrespecting" the American flag, it wasn't his first turn with using nationalistic jingoism to divide a community against itself for his own benefit. In fact, the case of a 70-foot flagpole he illegally erected at one of his golf courses in 2006 likely served as a dry run for the way he has weaponized the American flag against people of color in his ongoing attack on First Amendment rights.   NPR's Embedded podcast takes us back to the war Trump waged in the mid-aughts against a California city where he was building the new golf course. It will surprise no one to learn that in the process of developing his course on the stunning bluffs of Rancho Palos Verdes along the southern California coast line, Trump did everything from publicly calling a respected attorney an "obnoxious asshole" to telling homeowners with properties lining his links that their houses looked "like shit." Trump also sued the local public school in a dispute over how and when he would pay the district for the land parts of his course occupied. But it was the dispute over a flag pole he erected against city code, dwarfing everything else in sight, where Trump used patriotism to turn neighbor against neighbor in a cozy town of about 40,000 residents. Here's an excerpt from the story reported by several NPR journalists: We're taking a left on a road called Trump National Drive—you're looking out over this completely unobstructed beautiful view of the ocean and of Catalina and there is one thing that sticks up ... the American flag, a 70-foot flag pole. [...] There's sort of here in Ranchos Pales Verdes an absolutist view—like, nothing over a certain height. Don't block anybody else's views. In the 1980s they passed a law basically that said, if you're going put up anything over a certain height that could conceivably disrupt someone else's view then you have to go to the city and get a permit because people's views are so important to them and so important to the value of their properties. Now what Donald Trump would say, and has said is, I don't think you need a permit to put up the American flag. That was his entire argument. Even when he refused to pay the $10,000 fee to have the flag pole assessed by the City Council, he said, "Since when do you have to pay to put up the American flag?" A flag that also happened to be the "size of a studio apartment ... towering 54 feet over the city's 16-foot limit on ‘accessory structures.’"
  • Ghoulish Trump hopes for four appointments to the Supreme Court    (Joan McCarter, 2017-10-21)
    Here's a thing to fuel your nightmares all the way through Halloween: Trump reshaping the Supreme Court. He's absolutely giddy at the prospect that by the end of his first term, he might have four Supreme Court appointments. One—Neil Gorsuch—is already done. Anthony Kennedy, he predicts, will retire? The others, he has reportedly told insiders? "Ok," one source told Trump, "so that's two. Who are the others?" "Ginsburg," Trump replied. "What does she weigh? 60 pounds?" "Who's the fourth?" the source asked. "Sotomayor," Trump said, referring to the relatively recently-appointed Obama justice, whose name is rarely, if ever, mentioned in speculation about the next justice to be replaced. "Her health," Trump explained. "No good. Diabetes." "It's all about the numbers for him," one source told Axios. And he's doing his level worst to rack up those numbers. President Donald Trump has nominated 50 candidates to lifetime appointments to the federal bench — including a man who asserted transgender children were evidence of "Satan’s plan," one deemed unqualified by the American Bar Association and a handful of prolific bloggers. […] "The judge story is an untold story," Trump said Monday at a news conference with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. "When you think about it, Mitch and I were saying, that has consequences 40 years out, depending on the age of the judge, but 40 years out." So there's your nightmares laid out for the remainder of your existence. Trump—and Republican Senate leaders—aren't even giving lip service to the idea that men and women in line for a lifetime appointment should be actually qualified. The only qualifications they need are a willingness to vow obeisance to the NRA and the Koch brothers and the Susan B. Anthony Society and every extremist group who would be happy dispense with every constitutional amendment but the Second. There really is nothing more important in our political, social life, than the courts. Every aspect of our lives—the most personal life and health decision 50 percent of the population will make, our clean air and water, our right to not be mowed down by a maniac with assault weapons, or to have clean air to breathe and water to drink and a planet to live out our lives on—is dependent upon a federal judiciary which would safeguard it. There's only one option for Democrats. Stop as many of his horror shows as they can, by whatever means they must.
  • John Kelly’s politics of grief in the public sphere    (Quinta Jurecic, 2017-10-21)
    We are seeing something terribly intimate made public and political — which, of course, is exactly what Trump has done in feeding this controversy.
  • ICE to open new, privately run detention facility in Texas    (Steven Andrew, 2017-10-21)
    Interstate 35 runs down through Texas like a stone version of the lower Colorado River. From north to south, the first major metropolis it runs through is ruby red Dallas-Ft. Worth, then through redneck country 200 miles or so further down before drifting into progressive Austin and San Antonio, and ending another 150 plus miles to the south in a nice border town called Laredo. Somewhere in the San Antonio region, ICE plans to build a new detention center—and word is it will be operated by a for-profit prison outfit: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is planning to open another detention center in South Texas for people apprehended entering the country illegally. The Austin American-Statesman reports the agency this month asked private companies to submit preliminary proposals for a new facility along the Interstate 35 corridor housing adult detainees. There are already a number of such detention centers operating south of San Antonio. The request for proposals indicates ICE is open to new construction or the renovation of an existing facility. It would house about 1,000 beds. ICE says it can't comment on pending contracts. The details such as they are appeared in the traditional paper version of the Austin American-Statesman on Monday, Oct 16, 2017.  The article speculated the company in question was most likely to be one of the big two: either the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) or the GEO Group, formerly known as Wackenhut Securities. But the Austin newspaper also stated that ICE has not returned their calls asking for confirmation or more information. The article has not yet appeared in the Statesman online. Civil rights advocates (and anyone else with half a brain) consider for-profit prisons a terrible idea, for a number of good reasons. This is an industry that profits most when more people are detained or convicted, and like any other business, it’s one that further maximizes profit in part by cutting expenses in the form of labor costs, accommodations, and other inmate care to the absolute bare minimum. It’s bad enough when the detainees or convicts are U.S. citizens with inalienable rights; the mind reels at what a for-profit prison might get away with when detaining undocumented immigrants who have little in the way of legal protection—especially in the Trump era.
  • Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Trump and Kelly dig themselves deeper into a hole    (Greg Dworkin, 2017-10-21)
    It’s clear General Kelly got it wrong. That’s not in dispute. But doubling down on the inaccuracy is an awful look for the WH, and apologizing for their screw-ups (including getting the role of Rep. Wilson wrong) is beyond their ability, apparently. WaPo: The challenge is that the Miami Herald said Kelly's retelling of the 2015 event  is inaccurate. And the Sun-Sentinel published a video showing that Kelly misrepresented Wilson's speech. Wilson was appalled by Kelly's attack. “I feel sorry for General Kelly,” she said on CNN. “He has my sympathy for the loss of his son, but he can't just go on TV and lie on me. “I was not even in Congress in 2009 when the money for the building was secured, so that's a lie. How dare he!” xHuckabee doubles down on the lies and says it's "highly inappropriate" to disagree with a Marine 4 Star General. pic.twitter.com/OiVHSeHP1d— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) October 20, 2017
  • Open Thread    (By Greg Sargent, 2017-10-21)
  • Open Thread    (By Greg Sargent, 2017-10-21)
  • No John Kelly, women should not be seen as ‘sacred’    (Ruth Marcus, 2017-10-20)
    The chief of staff’s heartfelt speech about fallen soldiers took a jarring turn.
  • Both political parties may be doomed    (David Von Drehle, 2017-10-20)
    Technology’s direct access has kneecapped the GOP and Democrats. We may miss them.
  • Dear Donald    (Kathleen Parker, 2017-10-20)
    George W. Bush’s speech was a thinly veiled admonishment of our bully in chief.
  • Planning for the future is impossible. It’s also this man’s job.    (George F. Will, 2017-10-20)
    Two prominent economists are locked in a bitter fight, and the political stakes are high.
  • Cheers and Jeers: Rum and Resistance FRIDAY!    (Bill in Portland Maine, 2017-10-20)
    Hispanic Federation Fund for Puerto Rico Relief Link - From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE… Late Night Snark: The Clown Show Rolls On “We could be reaching a whole new level of angry Trump because a report says people close to the president say he is ‘unstable,’ ‘losing a step,’ and ‘unraveling.’ … So why is he unraveling? Well, he reportedly told his longtime personal security chief, ‘I hate everyone in the White House!’ Mr. President, I know exactly how you feel.” ---Stephen Colbert “Trump is basically like an old Christmas sweater. He’s unraveling and you have to pretend you like him in front of your grandmother.” ---James Corden ”President Trump: the silver lining for anyone who died in 2015.” ---John Oliver ---Michelle Wolf, The Daily Show “[Harvey] Weinstein is apparently going to Europe for ‘sex rehab.’ He doesn’t need sex rehab. He needs a specialized facility where there are no women, no contact with the outside world, metal bars, and it’s a prison.” ---Colin Jost, SNL “It was reported that North Korean hackers stole a number of military documents from South Korea including a plan to assassinate Kim Jong Un. Though all the plan says is: ‘Wait for diabetes.’” ---Michael Che, SNL C’mon down and splash. The kiddie pool is positively glorping with pumpkin spice pudding. Your west coast-friendly edition of Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]
  • I’m a sexual assault survivor. #MeToo is incredibly isolating.    (Katharine Viles, 2017-10-20)
    I don’t owe anyone my story.

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