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TomCADem

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Member since: Thu May 7, 2009, 11:59 PM
Number of posts: 16,091

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Vox - The truth about the Trump economy, explained

Excellent article that points out that the real change in the Trump economy, which largely continues if not lags the rate of growth under President Obama, is that conservative media is now celebrating the same fundamentals as signs of a great economy when just a few years ago the RW media was saying that the economy was failing under President Obama.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/1/30/16945146/trump-economic-record

Hillary Clinton struggled to articulate a boosterish case for the American economy during the 2016 campaign in part because of lingering patches of labor market weakness but largely because progressives have a more fundamental critique of the US economic situation.

The United States is the only high-income country to have millions of citizens who lack health insurance, has a relative child poverty rate that’s off the charts by the standards of other developed countries, has no guaranteed paid parental leave or paid vacation, and remains one of the world’s highest per capita emitters of greenhouse gases even as the world hurtles toward an environmental crisis. Under those circumstances, efforts to pitch the notion that “America is already great” end up falling flat not just — or even especially — with skeptical swing voters but with Democrats’ own base that yearns for transformative change to aspects of the American welfare state and of American political economy.

Republicans have no such qualms. The Republican Party donor class is very, very excited about high stock market valuations (which lead directly to huge payouts for top executives) and about corporate income tax cuts (which lead to high stock market valuations, and thus huge payouts for top executives) and thus are very glad to embrace the narrative that all is now well with the American economy. That gives an incumbent Republican presiding over decent growth an easy, uncomplicated pitch to make — things are good now, and they are good thanks to me.

It’s largely forgotten now, but back during the mid-aughts (a time of more rapid wage growth than what we saw in 2017, incidentally), it was commonplace in conservative circles to proclaim that we were living through a “Bush Boom” touched off by his game-changing tax cuts and deregulation. That story, obviously, eventually ended in tears, as a poorly supervised financial system channeled inequitably shared growth into an unsustainable pyramid of debt that eventually collapsed. But they were good times while they lasted.

Politico - Trump cuts to CDC worry health experts in NY - Smallest Budget in 20 Years

As the U.S. confronts the worst flu season in a decade, remember that Trump proposed a 17 percent cut to the CDC that would leave it its smallest budget in more than 20 years. But hey, we have to give the rich their tax cuts.

https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/albany/story/2017/05/23/trump-cuts-to-cdc-worry-health-experts-in-ny-112282

It's this kind of coordination that often goes unnoticed by the public even as it likely saves lives. The CDC is typically in the news during major outbreaks but it’s the day-to-day warnings, the data gathering and information sharing that have public and private health officials so concerned about Trump’s budget, which proposes to cut $1.2 billion from the CDC. The 17 percent cut would leave the CDC with its smallest budget in more than 20 years.

A president’s budget isn’t meant to pass as-is. It’s usually described as a set of guiding principles for Congress. This budget is no exception and while it won’t pass as it is currently written, Republicans in Congress can’t entirely ignore it either.

The budget includes a 17 percent cut to CDC’s global health programs, which track and respond to global outbreaks such as Candida auris. It also cuts roughly 10 percent from CDC’s office of public health preparedness and response. There is an $82 million cut for the center that works on vaccine-preventable illnesses such as influenza, and a $186 million cut from programs at CDC’s center on HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, sexually transmitted infections and tuberculosis prevention.

Tom Frieden, CDC director under former President Barack Obama and health commissioner under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, said on Twitter that the proposal was “unsafe at any level of enactment. Would increase illness, death, risks to Americans, and health care costs.”




Vox - This is the first real government shutdown under one-party government, ever

Trump and Republicans are making history again. While the media tries to paint a false equivalency between Republicans and Democrats, the fact of the matter is that Republicans control all three branches of government and Trump himself blew up the latest effort at bipartisanship.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/1/19/16911148/government-shutdown-unified-control

The government shutdown this weekend is the first time a true, honest-to-God shutdown has happened with a single party controlling the White House and Congress.

It’s true that Jimmy Carter and Democrats in Congress butted heads five separate times in 1977, 1978, and 1979, and couldn’t get their act together to fund the government (Carter was a bad president!). But that was before Carter’s attorney general issued guidance saying that when a funding gap like that exists, government functions must shut down.

Carter’s “shutdowns” didn’t lead to any federal employees being sent home and denied pay. Donald Trump’s will.

Republicans are already trying to blame the Democratic minority in the Senate for threatening to filibuster a spending bill that doesn’t include relief for DACA recipients — unauthorized immigrants who arrived as children and who had been protected by an Obama administration executive action that Trump has since revoked. The White House has even started calling it the #SchumerShutdown, after the Democratic Minority Leader.


Slate - Oprahs Real Message: It wasnt about her. It was about us. (Even Dems)

The amazing thing is how Oprah's speech has not only drawn criticism for the right, but also among some members of the "left" concerned that the speech was too good and might create momentum for Oprah to run for President. The speech recognized the need for individual citizens to become engaged. Nonetheless, rather than listen to the substance of the speech regarding an empowered citizenry, people continued to either look for a messiah or protect the political messiahs who they felt were threatened by the great speech that Oprah gave.

The folks who seek to annoint Oprah a messiah or seek to bring her down to defend their chosen political messiahs missed the entire point of her speech as noted by Dahlia Lithwik.

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/01/people-are-completely-missing-the-point-of-oprahs-amazing-golden-globes-speech.html

I loved Oprah’s Golden Globes speech on Sunday. It was mesmerizing, pitch perfect, and gave voice to many lifetimes of frustration and vindication with eloquence and a full authority she has earned. But I found the strange Facebook response of “Oprah 2020” weirdly discordant and disorienting. Oprah’s speech—in my hearing—wasn’t about why she needs to run for office. It was about why the rest of us need to do so, immediately.

The dominant theme I heard was about giving voice to invisible people. It was the arc of the entire speech. It’s also what the very best journalism is about, and it’s worth remembering that’s how Oprah began her career. The speech began with her goosebump-y tale of first seeing Sidney Poitier win an Academy Award in 1964 and how much of a revelation it was at the time to see a black man celebrated in America. Then it ran through to her chilling invocation of Recy Taylor, a young black woman who was raped in Alabama in 1944 by six white men who were never brought to justice. She deftly linked Taylor to Rosa Parks, who investigated the rape for the NAACP and then 11 years later refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery with Taylor “somewhere in her heart.” This was a speech about how seeing someone else model the fight against racism, sexism, and injustice activates us to fight alongside.

It was a testament to the greatest gifts she has as a journalist, actor, and media personality: the ability to shed light on the faceless and speak of justice and morality in ways that are urgent and original. That’s why the speech honored not just the women in sleek black dresses who were on their feet cheering her. The true message was about someone else:

Women whose names we’ll never know. They are domestic workers and farmworkers. They are working in factories and they work in restaurants and they’re in academia, engineering, medicine, and science. They’re part of the world of tech and politics and business. They’re our athletes in the Olympics and they’re our soldiers in the military
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