Archive | April, 2017

The Entertainment Presidency

By Rosie Gray

The conventional wisdom is that Donald Trump didn’t get much done in his first 100 days in office. His signature campaign promises—the Muslim travel ban, the border wall—are no closer to fruition than they were when he took office. He has not figured out a way to work with Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare. Despite an appearance of perpetual activity—a flurry of executive orders, leaks to the media about the inner workings of the West Wing—and a real win in nominating and confirming new Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, this White House hasn’t made much of an impact policy-wise.

All of this adds up to an impression akin to the sound of a balloon deflating. “I’ve got an entirely conventional view of this: He’s done basically nothing,” said one Washington conservative who speaks to Trump.

But there are ways in which the presidency matters that have little to do with policy or legislation. Where Trump has unquestionably had an impact, both as a candidate and now as president, is in the shifting of culture and the breaking of political norms. Trump changed the rules of how people can run for office; his ability to steamroll his way through gaffes and scandals, disregard for the infrastructure and leadership of his party, and lack of any experience in government didn’t prevent him from winning the presidency. His victory has thrown decades of political conventional wisdom out the window.

Trump never “pivoted,” as candidates are supposed to do when they win their party’s nomination and begin campaigning in the general election. And he has continued to not pivot as president, even despite pundits breathlessly observing him “becoming president” on the night of his first speech to a joint session of Congress. Despite the presence of moderating influences in the White House who …read more

Via:: The Atlantic



Government Has Allowed Corporations to Be More Powerful Than the State

Both Republicans and Democrats are responsible for letting corporations run roughshod over all attempts at regulation.

In his book, Disaster Capitalism: Making a Killing Out of Catastrophe, author Antony Loewenstein documents how the most vulnerable people on the planet are being turned into dollar signs on a scale never seen before in history. The book explores how corporations make money from disasters through detention centers, militarized private security, aid profiteering and destructive mining.

Both Republicans and Democrats are responsible for letting corporations run roughshod over all attempts at regulation. (Photo: Pixabay / Flickr)

Disaster, poverty and misfortune have become great ways to make a fortune. From Afghanistan to Haiti, Pakistan to Papua New Guinea, the United States to the UK and from Greece to Australia, journalist Antony Loewenstein uncovers how companies cash in on or­ganized misery in Disaster Capitalism: Making a Killing Out of Catastrophe. Order your copy by making a donation to Truthout today!

The following is a Truthout interview with Antony Loewenstein, the author of Disaster Capitalism: Making a Killing Out of Catastrophe.

Mark Karlin: Naomi Klein praises your book effusively. How were you galvanized by her book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism?

Antony Loewenstein: I’ve long been interested in the intersection between politics, money and conflict. My early years as a professional journalist in Australia from 2003 were spent focusing principally on Israel/Palestine, immigration and the Iraq war. In every case, this revealed dark forces making money from misery.

I was inspired by a book, such as Iraq, Inc.: A Profitable Occupation by Pratap Chatterjee, on private contractors in Iraq. I investigated the private companies and nations making huge profits from warehousing mostly Muslim refugees in remote Australia (and also in the Pacific). Increasingly, Israel was successfully selling its …read more

Via:: Truthout



The Gentrification-to-Prison Pipeline

(Image: Lauren Walker / Truthout)

(Image: Lauren Walker / Truthout)

“By telling my own story — a story shared by the many working-class Detroit residents who were forcefully displaced through the brutal “redevelopment” of the city’s Cass Corridor area — I hope to shed some much-needed light on how the capitalist profit motives that drive gentrification are a core cause of mass incarceration in this country,” writes incarcerated author Lacino Hamilton.

(Image: Lauren Walker / Truthout)(Image: Lauren Walker / Truthout)

This story is the fifth piece in the Truthout series, Severed Ties: The Human Toll of Prisons. This series dives deeply into the impact of incarceration on families, loved ones and communities, demonstrating how the United States’ incarceration of more than 2 million people also harms many millions more — including 2.7 million children.

When I was asked to write something “personal” about being sentenced to a prison term of 52 to 80 years, and the time I have served thus far, I was torn. During the last 23 years of having to always chase after something, hide something and hold my ground against something or someone, I have always shied away from autobiographical ways of speaking and writing about this real-life nightmare. But I believe personal stories like mine are important because they give a human face to the pain and misery of imprisonment experienced by incarcerated people as a whole.

It’s a failure of both local and national media, as well as institutions of higher learning, that an essay such as this is even thought to be necessary. Our society has massively launched onto a path of caging and torturing an unprecedented number of men, women and children, and …read more

Via:: Truthout



Between Orwell and Huxley in the Age of New Authoritarianism

To read more articles by Henry A. Giroux and other authors in the Public Intellectual Project, click here.

“Collective opposition is no longer an option, it’s a necessity.” This was the impassioned call-to-action made by McMaster University scholar and public intellectual Henry Giroux during a recent lecture in which he described what he calls the “vindictive chaos” of politics in the United States, comparing Trump’s America to the dystopian worlds of George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. “The body of democracy is on life support and the wounds now being inflicted upon it are alarming. This certainly raises questions about what role educational institutions should take in the face of impending tyranny,” says Giroux. “At the heart of such efforts is the question of what education should accomplish in a democracy under siege.” The talk featured in the video was part of a special event hosted by McMaster University.

…read more

Via:: Truthout



Why Do So Many Americans Think Democrats Are Out of Touch?

By Clare Foran

If Democrats want to regain the power they’ve lost at the state and federal level in recent years, they will have to convince more voters they can offer solutions to their problems.

That may be especially difficult, however, if voters think the party and its representatives in government don’t understand or care about them. And according to a recently released poll, many voters may, in fact, feel that way. The Washington Post-ABC News survey, released this week, found that a majority of the public thinks the Democratic Party is out of touch with the concerns of average Americans in the United States. More Americans think Democrats are out of touch than believe the same of the Republican Party or President Trump.

A single poll shouldn’t be given too much weight on its own, but the results arrive at a time when Democrats are trying to understand what went wrong last year, and what they need to do to win over voters. The results raise questions over why exactly the public thinks the party is so out of touch.

“This should be a huge wake-up call,” said Tim Ryan, the Ohio congressman who made an unsuccessful bid post-election for House minority leader. “Having two-thirds of the country think that your party is in la-la-land, that’s a bombshell. That should wake everybody up,” the Rust Belt Democrat who represents a state that Trump won and has argued the Democratic Party needs to improve its brand said, “and we should, as a party, be woken up already by the fact that people took a chance on Donald Trump.”

There is nuance to the results of the survey. A closer look at the numbers shows that while a majority of Americans believe the Democratic Party is out of touch, most Democrats do not, though that’s …read more

Via:: The Atlantic



The Sanctuary Movement and Women's Rights: Sister Struggles

People gather in Washington Square Park in Manhattan on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2017. (Todd Heisler/The New York Times)

The sharing of strategies is a first step in recognizing that in fact, these two movements — both reinvigorated by Trump’s election — should be explicitly joined: The push for women’s rights must also be a push for sanctuary. If we do not think about them together, we risk not adequately addressing important forms of discrimination and exclusion.

People gather in Washington Square Park in Manhattan on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2017. (Todd Heisler / The New York Times)

On May 1, International Workers Day, immigrants will join many from the labor movement by striking, marking a “day without immigrants.” While this is a strategy that has been used every May Day since 2006, this year, it is also part of a larger struggle for sanctuary, countering Trump’s explicitly racist and restrictive immigration policies.

On March 8, women borrowed this tactic to mark International Women’s Day. They called for “a day without women” to protest Trump’s sexist and homophobic policies.

The sharing of strategies is a first step in recognizing that in fact, these two movements — both reinvigorated by Trump’s election — should be explicitly joined: The push for women’s rights must also be a push for sanctuary.

As a recent Texas case poignantly shows, the struggles against gender-based violence and deportation are very much connected. On February 9, immigration officials arrested Irvin González, a transgender woman originally from Mexico, at a courthouse where she was seeking a protective order against an abusive boyfriend. She was charged with illegal re-entry to the US and is now facing up to a decade in federal prison on immigration charges. The backlash was swift. Women’s rights advocates rightly argue that her arrest sends a message to domestic violence survivors that they should not seek help if …read more

Via:: Truthout



Trump, the GOP and the 100-Day Dump Truck Wreck

Donald Trump speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.

Donald Trump speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, on February 24, 2017. (Photo: Gage Skidmore / Flickr)

These clowns own the whole federal government from soup to nuts, and their response to laying hold of such a rare prize has been to light their own neckties on fire every time they get near the furnace. By 2018, most GOP House members will probably vote against themselves, just so they can flee the town and the next two years.

Donald Trump speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.Donald Trump speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, on February 24, 2017. (Photo: Gage Skidmore / Flickr)

Growing up in New England, you see some wild stuff in wintertime. A flock of chubby cedar waxwings, 50 strong at least, swarming into a withered cherry tree to strip every last old berry off the branches. A pair of bobcats like oiled smoke disappearing into the woods with the snow hissing down. An old upright piano standing sentinel in a shoveled-out Brighton parking spot announcing a defiant mine. One memory stands out above all, however: A huge dump truck filled with gravel gone sideways on an icy hill, sliding slowly, almost gracefully toward its inevitable crunching doom as its engine howls in futility.

I think of that truck today, and feel like I have a good understanding of what it must be like to be a Republican in 2017.

Sarah Palin made famous the “How’s that Hope and Change thing working out for ya?” line during the Obama administration. One hundred days into the Trump …read more

Via:: Truthout



Why Launching a War Against North Korea Would Be Immoral

By Daniel Lombroso

Most American presidents of the 20th century understood that preventive war is immoral and dangerous. But, in the past two decades, striking first has become an accepted foreign policy strategy of both Democrats and Republicans. In this short video, Atlantic writer Peter Beinart argues that Americans need to relearn the wisdom of the past: that preventive war threatens world peace.

…read more

Via:: The Atlantic



The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: 99/1,461

By Elaine Godfrey

Today in 5 Lines

Congress passed a short-term spending bill, averting a government shutdown on the day before President Trump’s 100th day in office. During a speech to the National Rifle Association in Atlanta, President Trump promised an end to an “eight-year assault” on Second Amendment rights. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson encouraged the international community to enforce sanctions on North Korea and said that “all options for responding to future provocations must remain on the table.” The U.S. economy grew by just 0.7 percent in the first quarter, the lowest rate in three years. The 2017 White House Correspondents’ Dinner will take place on Saturday, but instead of attending, Trump will hold a rally in Pennsylvania.

Today on The Atlantic

  • Status Update: As Donald Trump prepares to mark his 100th day in office, the White House is scrambling to reach for accomplishments “to placate the president, and pad his record.” This, combined with Trump’s public criticism of the milestone, is a sign of an administration in panic-mode. (McKay Coppins)

  • Trial on the Bayou: Vann R. Newkirk II unpacks a little-known legal battle between black voters in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, and state officials looking to circumvent voting-district requirements established by the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

  • The French Election in America: If France had the same electoral system as the United States, Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate in the French presidential election, might have won the first round of the country’s election. This difference complicates the media narrative of a Western populist wave. (Uri Friedman)

  • Trump’s First 100 Days: April 29 will mark President Trump’s 100th day in office. Catch up on all our coverage here.

Follow stories throughout the day with our ) and Candice Norwood (@cjnorwoodwrites)

…read more

Via:: <a href= class="colorbox" title="The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: 99/1,461″ rel=nofollow>The Atlantic



Q of the Week: What Are Your Favorite Moments From the WHCD?

By Elaine Godfrey

The White House Correspondents’ Dinner has been a D.C. tradition since 1921, with journalists and administration officials coming together once a year to eat, drink, and roast the current president. President Trump won’t be attending this year’s dinner, which takes place on Saturday, but he did attend in 2011, when then-President Obama made a few jokes at Trump’s expense. This week, we asked our Politics & Policy Daily readers to share their favorite moments from past dinners. Here’s what they said:

Miguel Velez remembers Obama “roasting Trump while Seal Team 6 was on its way to Bin Laden.”

Nancy Alpern found it particularly funny when President Obama joked that Michelle has the right to “bare arms” after the first lady was criticized for frequently wearing sleeveless clothing.

Nora Cregan recalls a joke from comedian Cecily Strong in 2015: “Let’s give it up for the Secret Service … the only law enforcement organization in the country that will get in trouble if a black man gets shot.”

For Fran Koenig, and several other readers, the most “stunning and shocking” moment from past dinners was when Stephen Colbert roasted former President George W. Bush in 2006:

Howard Cohen commented that Colbert’s routine seemed to go “over so many heads in the room; especially the mainstream media in attendance who did not quite ‘get it.’” Steve Ross remembers “how pissed the National Press Club was about those remarks,” which “highlighted how close the national press corps had gotten to the seats of power.”

But for Stephen Carter, the best jokes came in 2005, when Laura Bush had a chance to speak:

I was never a fan of George W.—never voted for him. But, Laura did more to humanize him that night than any thing he ever did as president. And, he could laugh …read more

Via:: The Atlantic


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