[News] Post a Political News Story

Ongoing discussion of the political news of the day. This thread is for 'smaller' stories that don't call for their own thread. If a story blows up, please start a new thread for it.

Gremlin wrote:

Let me revise my position, because there's been some new information.

Nomad wrote:

Buried deep in the CNN article about this:

A series of new twists since that article was originally published on Tuesday:

- Turns out that the official who gave CNN and other journalists that information was incorrect:

Williams made false statements to the Guardian in emails last Friday while an article on Foster’s claims was being prepared.

- The department spent an additional $165K on furniture.
US housing department to spend $165,000 on own furniture as it faces $6.8bn budget cut

It's still fairly petty, but it looks pretty embarrassing for HUD. Embarrassing is relatively minor for scandals in this administration, though. The worst crime so far is breaking minor federal regulations and demoting someone, both of which are barely illegal. It's not like they were money laundering or committing felonies or giving top secret information to Russian intelligence officials in the oval office.

Of course, because it's the kind of comprehensible scandal to the media and inside-the-beltline folks, I wouldn't be surprised if it drags Carson down. They know how to talk about this kind of thing. They don't know how to talk about armed cops in riot gear entering a Trump hotel in Panama.

Armed authorities enter Trump hotel in Panama amid standoff over legal dispute
Police called after brawl in dispute over Trump Panama hotel
Panamanian police handcuff a guard at the Trump hotel as standoff escalates

In interesting thing to remember about this as well, although i'm not sure it changes the story over-much: When you read "Panamanian Police" you should translate that in your head to "Panamanian Army"

IMAGE(https://www.armyrecognition.com/images/stories/central_america/panama/ranks_uniforms/uniforms/pictures/soldier_military_combat_dress_field_uniforms_Panama_Panamanian_Army_National_Police_defence_force_004.jpg)

Yonder wrote:
thrawn82 wrote:
Nomad wrote:
thrawn82 wrote:

So they repaired the existing dining set, and then decided to replace it less than 5 months later... what happened to that dining set?

Again from the same article:

"The old table and chairs were from 1967 and deemed unrepairable"

Then what did they pay over a grand for?

Look, this is high tech furniture, all wood, zero moving parts, sometimes you just can't fix them.

I'd imagine they tried to go the repair route first, but when the 50 year old set continued to fall apart under use, it was just a better idea to replace it. I'm not sure why this dining set is such a favorite subject considering all the other things falling apart in the Trump administration.

Switching gears entirely, it looks like it's still a bad idea to bank with Wells Fargo:

NYT: Wells Fargo Is Accused of Harming Fraud Victims by Closing Accounts

When signs of fraud appear on a customer’s account, such as a counterfeit check or an unauthorized withdrawal, a bank is required by law to investigate whether criminal activity has occurred. Wells Fargo had a simpler solution, according to a former employee: Close the account and drop the customer.

Matthew Valles, a former fraud investigator for Wells Fargo in Portland, Ore., said the bank fired him in January in retaliation for his internal complaints about “hundreds” of mishandled fraud investigations. On Wednesday, he sued the bank and his former manager, alleging that they violated whistle-blower laws.

Jim Seitz, a Wells Fargo spokesman, said, “We take seriously the concerns of current and former team members and investigate them thoroughly, and we are reviewing the legal complaint that was filed this afternoon.”

Mr. Valles’s claims, combined with dozens of customer complaints to a federal regulator currently investigating the bank’s handling of fraud investigations, add to a pile of problems for Wells Fargo. Early in February, the Federal Reserve chided the bank for “widespread consumer abuses” and forbade it to grow any larger until it shaped up.

Nomad wrote:

I'm not sure why this dining set is such a favorite subject considering all the other things falling apart in the Trump administration.

Because it's the latest spending scandal in a long list of Trump administration spending scandals ranging from $25,000 soundproof phone booths to hundreds of thousands of dollars for military, chartered, and first-class flights so administration members don't have to deal with the unwashed masses.

And, again, it's happening at an agency that primarily serves the country's poor and whose budget is being absolutely savaged by the administration.

thrawn82 wrote:

IMAGE(https://www.armyrecognition.com/images/stories/central_america/panama/ranks_uniforms/uniforms/pictures/soldier_military_combat_dress_field_uniforms_Panama_Panamanian_Army_National_Police_defence_force_004.jpg)

When did the Panamanians get the Stargate?

Nomad wrote:

I'd imagine they tried to go the repair route first, but when the 50 year old set continued to fall apart under use, it was just a better idea to replace it. I'm not sure why this dining set is such a favorite subject considering all the other things falling apart in the Trump administration.

See above for my theory: it's a normal, comprehensible scandal, rather than the president's son-in-law attempting to set up a secret backchannel at the Russian embassy or pulling strings to grant visas to his Chinese investors.

Every public school in West Virginia is still closed.

West Virginia public schools closed despite deal that was to end strike

(CNN)All West Virginia public schools remained closed Thursday as a weeklong teachers' strike over pay and benefits continued.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice reached a tentative pay deal with union leaders Tuesday that was designed to end the strike and send teachers back into the classroom Thursday. The agreement provides for a 5% pay raise the first year, and is now a bill going through the state Legislature.
However, the deal didn't include a fix to the state health insurance plan, the Public Employees Insurance Agency, or PEIA, which employees say requires them to pay premiums that are too high. The status of PEIA was one of the major reasons for the strike in the first place, educators said.

OG_Slinger wrote:
thrawn82 wrote:

IMAGE(https://www.armyrecognition.com/images/stories/central_america/panama/ranks_uniforms/uniforms/pictures/soldier_military_combat_dress_field_uniforms_Panama_Panamanian_Army_National_Police_defence_force_004.jpg)

When did the Panamanians get the Stargate?

Wormholes are the real secret to the panama canal. everyone knows that. I'm not saying Panamanians are aliens but...
IMAGE(http://i0.kym-cdn.com/entries/icons/original/000/005/848/Aliens.jpg)

Quintin_Stone wrote:
oilypenguin wrote:
Chairman_Mao wrote:

Trump called Sessions disgraceful today.

Popcorn.gif

In his defense, he totally is and while it's certainly fun to watch I'm more worried about the damage that's being done to our institutions as Trump flails around.

I'm always confused by Trump's intentions when he does this. I guess he's trying to rile up his base?

All he does is make himself look pathetic and impotent. Sessions WORKS for Trump. He can, or has, ask these questions to Sessions directly. Congrats, Trump, once again you're telling the world that you're a horrible, ineffective boss.

Trump's "intentions" are pretty straightforward: belittling people he doesn't like makes him feel good. It really goes no deeper than that.

Schools are safer than they were in the 90s, and school shootings are not more common than they used to be, researchers say

Four times the number of children were killed in schools in the early 1990s than today, Fox said.
thrawn82 wrote:

In interesting thing to remember about this as well, although i'm not sure it changes the story over-much: When you read "Panamanian Police" you should translate that in your head to "Panamanian Army"

IMAGE(https://www.armyrecognition.com/images/stories/central_america/panama/ranks_uniforms/uniforms/pictures/soldier_military_combat_dress_field_uniforms_Panama_Panamanian_Army_National_Police_defence_force_004.jpg)

P90s? Their requisition officer must love Counter-Strike.

farley3k wrote:

Schools are safer than they were in the 90s, and school shootings are not more common than they used to be, researchers say

Four times the number of children were killed in schools in the early 1990s than today, Fox said.

So it's not too soon to talk about taking action to prevent another one of those shootings, right?

‘All-In or Nothing’: How West Virginia’s Teacher Strike Was Months in the Making

GILBERT, W. Va — Home from a long day teaching English last month at Mingo Central High School, Robin Ellis told her husband the latest talk among the teachers. They were tired of low pay and costly health benefits — and they were mulling a “rolling strike,” in which teachers in a few counties would walk out each day.

“You don’t want to do that,” Donnie Ellis, her husband, said. As a veteran of strip mines and the intense labor conflicts that often came with them, he knew what made some strikes succeed and others crumble.

“It’s got to be all-in or nothing,” he said.

It has definitely been all-in in West Virginia. For seven days now, teachers have refused to work in all 55 counties, shutting down every school in the state.

Every school day since last Thursday, thousands of red- and black-clad teachers, bus drivers and cooks have descended on Charleston to fill the halls of the State Capitol, chanting and singing defiantly in one of the few statewide teachers’ strikes in American history.

On Friday, as thousands crowded into the Capitol, all of the energy was directed at the State Senate, which has yet to take up a bill that would grant teachers a 5 percent pay raise — despite support for the measure by the governor, the Republican-controlled House and the state’s superintendents.

Continue reading the main story
Senate leadership had suggested using revenue that would be set aside for a pay raise to shore up the public employees’ much-criticized health insurance plan. But striking teachers are adamant that they want both matters addressed.

The teachers disregarded their own union leaders’ advice to return to work earlier this week, opting instead for a thunderous showdown with members of the state’s increasingly conservative leadership. The direction in the next few days is anyone’s guess.

“If there’s no deal,” said Katrina Minney, 44, a high school English teacher in Kanawha County, “we’re not going back.”

‘I Live Paycheck to Paycheck’: A West Virginia Teacher Explains Why She’s on Strike

What are the origins of the strike?
They told us that essentially if you weren’t a single person, if you had a family plan, your health insurance was going to rise substantially. As a West Virginia teacher — and I’ve been teaching 10 years — I only clear right under $1,300 every two weeks, and they’re wanting to take $300 more away for me. But they tell me it’s O.K., because we’re going to give you a 1 percent pay raise. That equals out to 88 cents every two days.

They implemented Go365, which is an app that I’m supposed to download on my phone, to track my steps, to earn points through this app. If I don’t earn enough points, and if I choose not to use the app, then I’m penalized $500 at the end of the year. People felt that was very invasive, to have to download that app and to be forced into turning over sensitive information.

Go365 was thrown out. Of course they decided to give a freeze [on insurance rates], and I think people thought that might be enough. But we understand that this is an election year. They can freeze it right now, but what happens after the election? The feeling is, we have to get this fixed, and we have to get it fixed now.

Oklahoma teachers are considering doing the same thing.

Oklahoma teachers planning a statewide strike

MOORE, Okla. (KTUL) — Oklahoma teachers are fed up with state lawmakers. A public school teacher in Stillwater created the Facebook group "Oklahoma Teacher Walkout - The Time is Now!" two days ago, and it has already gained more than 20,000 members.

Today, teachers gathered in Moore to discuss the possible statewide strike.

"Frustration levels are high, so a strike is not a touchy word anymore," said Molly Jaynes, a teacher in Oklahoma City.

"'Strike' is a big word, but I think it's necessary for Oklahoma," said Chloe Prochaska, a teacher in Mustang.

"We are to the point where we have no other option," said Heather Reed, a teacher in Oklahoma City.

Fed up with a legislature seemingly mired in quicksand, teachers from Oklahoma City, Mustang and Tulsa, just to name a few, are laying the groundwork for a statewide strike.

How PragerU Is Winning The Right-Wing Culture War Without Donald Trump

While it is not an accredited institution of higher learning, Prager University is most definitely an education. Scrolling through its 300-odd videos yields a survey of almost every divisive national issue in the United States today: racism, sexism, income inequality, gun ownership, Islam, immigration, Israel, police brutality, and, of course, speech on college campuses.

Many of the people presenting these topics are establishment, PBS NewsHour–conservative types like Stephens, Charles Krauthammer, and Steve Forbes. But more importantly, PragerU’s faculty includes an all-star lineup of internet and media personalities who have made their bones in the Trump era antagonizing the campus left: Ben Shapiro, Jordan Peterson, James Damore, Steven Crowder, Dinesh D’Souza, Christina Sommers, Adam Carolla, Charlie Kirk, and many more. They are, according to PragerU’s founder and namesake, the conservative talk radio host Dennis Prager, “the best thinkers presenting their best ideas.” Their goal: to “undo [the] damage” inflicted by an education system that teaches US students that their country is “a land of inequality and racism” and a place of which to be “ashamed.”

These ideas — each one expressed in a five-minute video with titles like “Facts Don’t Care About Your Feelings,” “Black, Millennial, Female and… Conservative,” “Why I Left the Left” and “Why Isn’t Communism as Hated as Nazism?” — have found an enormous, and growing, audience. According to PragerU’s annual report, in 2017 the organization’s videos received 625 million views between Facebook and YouTube, up from 250 million the year before, and 75 million the year before that. Individual videos frequently garner more than a million views; at least 10 PragerU videos gained more than 5 million views in 2017, and at least six gained more than 10 million.

The site is screaming with its own statistics. A massive rolling ticker on the front page shows an ever-increasing view count. (Currently: 1,167,125,834.) Beneath the ticker, demographic information and claims like “86% of viewers reference our videos in political discussions online” cycle through. Stay on the page more than a few seconds and a box pops up asking for your email and phone number.

It all adds up to an audience at a scale that makes PragerU unique among conservative media organizations. In fact, it’s much closer in size to the major digital-first players in news video: Vice, AJ+, BuzzFeed, and Huffington Post. Even video-heavy pro-Trump outlets, like InfoWars, don’t sniff PragerU’s numbers.

And yet PragerU is a whisper in an online conservative din dominated by the Trump-worshipping Breitbart brigade.

PragerU’s low national profile comes partly from the fact that it doesn’t really do the news cycle; you can search the PragerU video landing page for “DACA” or “Kushner” and come back with bupkis. Nor does it do speed: The site only releases one video a week. And its politics, or at least the cumulative politics of its presenters, can be hard to pin down: a grab bag of Federalist-style moralizing, Commentary-approved Zionism, “alt-lite”-issue broadsides against campus outrage culture, defenses of free markets that would be at home in Reason, and, er, George Will explaining why baseball is America’s true national pastime.

The site may also have grown so large so quietly because it doesn’t fit neatly into any of the sexier narratives about the viral right that have obsessed the mainstream left: that it is a stalking horse for white nationalism, a clearinghouse for racist 4chan memes, or a move in a twelve-dimensional chess match played by Grandmaster Putin. Indeed, this is a rapidly advancing homegrown front in the culture war being led by people who wouldn’t dream of saying “cuck.”

But the biggest reason PragerU has escaped national attention is that it mostly doesn’t do Trump. There is not one video on the conservative video site that is about the most significant thing to happen to conservative politics in a half century.

PragerU is making a play for a potentially bigger and longer-lasting audience than just Trump supporters. The exact shape of this audience is still coming into focus — as is much of the political landscape after the Big Bang of 2016 — but squint and you can see it: Millions of young people, many of whom didn’t vote for Donald Trump, looking to stretch their conservative intuitions about our new culture war into a coherent worldview. It’s an audience more alienated by a perceived liberal cultural orthodoxy than it is attracted to the president.

And yet the Donald-sized lacuna in PragerU feels weird and denial-ish. How can an enormous conservative media outlet opposing leftist cultural overreach ignore a conservative president who was swept to power partially by that opposition?

PragerU’s critics have argued that the site is a gateway into the darker parts of the Trump internet, that its content is merely the polite tip of a menacing iceberg: the digital world of conspiracy theory, xenophobia, racism, and anti-Semitism whose rise accompanied Trump’s.

The past year has seen Silicon Valley’s information gatekeepers take definite, if stumbling, steps to keep this kind of content off its platforms. Yet all media ventures need these platforms to grow. And so, if PragerU wants to build an institution capable of swaying a generation of American minds, it needs to keep its distance from the fringes of the Trump internet. Or at least, it needs to appear that way.

en Shapiro, Jordan Peterson, James Damore, Steven Crowder, Dinesh D’Souza, Christina Sommers, Adam Carolla, Charlie Kirk, and many more. They are, according to PragerU’s founder and namesake, the conservative talk radio host Dennis Prager, “the best thinkers presenting their best ideas.”

Did I miss something about the voice of Spanky Ham?

I don’t know what it was I watched that triggered it but there was a period of time towards the end of last year where PragerU ads were playing before nearly every Youtube video. Some of them were downright offensive. I ended up having to file a complaint about them.

Probably the same kinda thing where I listen to one freaking linked video and suddenly YouTube thinks I'm really interested in being a neo-nazi.

I still think the point where I was repeatedly targeted for a several-minutes-long ad that was a way-too-earnest recap of Atlas Shrugged was the worst.

ruhk wrote:

I don’t know what it was I watched that triggered it but there was a period of time towards the end of last year where PragerU ads were playing before nearly every Youtube video. Some of them were downright offensive. I ended up having to file a complaint about them.

Get f*cked, PragerU.

Same thing happened to me. Near as I could figure, it was because I started watching Far Cry 5 videos.

Video shooting game + white ppl cult + ‘Merica = me being a neo-Nazi f*ck, I guess.

Reaper81 wrote:
ruhk wrote:

I don’t know what it was I watched that triggered it but there was a period of time towards the end of last year where PragerU ads were playing before nearly every Youtube video. Some of them were downright offensive. I ended up having to file a complaint about them.

Get f*cked, PragerU.

Same thing happened to me. Near as I could figure, it was because I started watching Far Cry 5 videos.

Video shooting game + white ppl cult + ‘Merica = me being a neo-Nazi f*ck, I guess.

And now we have to wonder if their algorithms are bad, or worse, if their algorithms are good.

Yonder wrote:
Reaper81 wrote:
ruhk wrote:

I don’t know what it was I watched that triggered it but there was a period of time towards the end of last year where PU ads were playing before nearly every Youtube video. Some of them were downright offensive. I ended up having to file a complaint about them.

Get f*cked, PU.

Same thing happened to me. Near as I could figure, it was because I started watching Far Cry 5 videos.

Video shooting game + white ppl cult + ‘Merica = me being a neo-Nazi f*ck, I guess.

And now we have to wonder if their algorithms are bad, or worse, if their algorithms are good.

I have to assume it's PU trolling. They're paying to target people they know will hate their message as a way to get people to talk about it.

How populist uprisings could bring down liberal democracy

There are long decades in which history seems to slow to a crawl. Elections are won and lost, laws adopted and repealed, new stars born and legends carried to their graves. But for all the ordinary business of time passing, the lodestars of culture, society and politics remain the same.

Then there are those short years in which everything changes all at once. Political newcomers storm the stage. Voters clamour for policies that were unthinkable until yesterday. Social tensions that had long simmered under the surface erupt into terrifying explosions. A system of government that had seemed immutable looks as though it might come apart.

This is the kind of moment in which we now find ourselves.

Until recently, liberal democracy reigned triumphant. For all its shortcomings, most citizens seemed deeply committed to their form of government. The economy was growing. Radical parties were insignificant. Political scientists thought that democracy in places like France or the United States had long ago been set in stone, and would change little in the years to come. Politically speaking, it seemed, the future would not be much different from the past.

Then the future came – and turned out to be very different indeed. Citizens have long been disillusioned with politics; now, they have grown restless, angry, even disdainful. Party systems have long seemed frozen; now, authoritarian populists are on the rise around the world, from America to Europe, and from Asia to Australia. Voters have long disliked particular parties, politicians or governments; now, many of them have become fed up with liberal democracy itself.


After being the 'Tiger Mom', Amy Chua turns to political tribalism

Amy Chua is best known as the Tiger Mom, leader of the pushy parent tribe. She gained the moniker after writing her best-selling memoir Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, which detailed her strict Chinese-American child-rearing approach.

She is less well known for being a Yale professor. Yet when she wasn’t browbeating her daughters into hours of violin practice or homework, Chua was teaching students and writing critically acclaimed books on international politics and ethno-nationalism.

Now she has just published Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations, which explores the destructive force of political tribalism and how this has affected the US at home and abroad.

She decided to write the book after appearing on Real Time with Bill Maher three years ago to talk about Ukrainian nationalism.

Speaking from her home in New Haven, Connecticut, Chua says: “There were all these nasty tweets afterwards, saying: ‘What does the Tiger Mother think she’s doing talking about nationalism?’ I remember thinking these people don’t even know I’m a professor and not just a parent.

“I told my publisher and editor [about Political Tribes] and they weren’t so happy because they wanted a more lucrative follow-up to the memoir. I might do that down the line, but I just felt that for myself, I needed to go back and write a more serious book.”

Her broad thesis in Political Tribes is that Americans are almost uniquely blind to the importance of group identities. The US has historically been a “super-group”, made up of a diverse population bound by a strong national identity of Americanness.

Chua argues that US foreign policymakers have looked at other countries in the same way. She gives the examples of Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq where the tribal motives of the people whose lives were being thrown into chaos were ignored.

Now the US itself is being pulled apart by tribal divisions and the “super-group” is breaking down. Race has split the poor and class has split white Americans.

She writes: “Today, no group in America feels comfortably dominant. The left believes that rightwing tribalism – bigotry, racism – is tearing the country apart. The right believes that leftwing tribalism – identity politics, political correctness – is tearing the country apart. They are both right.”

Amy Chua was on Ezra Klein recently. I wasn't impressed. Her both-siderism isn't terrible convincing to me when the extreme right wing literally believes in the supremacy of a specific ethnic group and the rightness of possibly murdering people who don't belong to that ethnic group. I find it insane to compare that to the other side where, at its most extreme, might want to take your assault rifles and force you to bake a cake for a gay couple.

China are experimenting with social credit scores that will open/close opportunities to citizens.

According to the article “buying a video game will reduce your score”.

Don’t you just hate it when 1984 starts leaking?

I knew that first ep of Black Mirror was going to come true!

Clusks wrote:

China are experimenting with social credit scores that will open/close opportunities to citizens.

According to the article “buying a video game will reduce your score”.

Don’t you just hate it when 1984 starts leaking?

You mean when China takes a nosedive?

EDIT: Rats! Semi-karmahauser'd!

karmajay wrote:

I knew that first ep of Black Mirror was going to come true!

Hah yeah. Been watching Black Mirror over the weekend. Appropriate timing for that article.
Though I guess it isn't really that different from what we have today, except more numbers.

IMAGE(https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/8d/74/1a/8d741a11e4f668910ff3f4c73a56ccd2.jpg)

DSGamer wrote:

Amy Chua was on Ezra Klein recently. I wasn't impressed. Her both-siderism isn't terrible convincing to me when the extreme right wing literally believes in the supremacy of a specific ethnic group and the rightness of possibly murdering people who don't belong to that ethnic group. I find it insane to compare that to the other side where, at its most extreme, might want to take your assault rifles and force you to bake a cake for a gay couple.

Yeah it's ridiculous to call that 'tribal' (which, yeah, not to be a Semantic Justice Warrior, but that word always struck me as kinda loaded).

Where I think there's some truth in what she says is that the left ceded the idea of "Americanness" to the right. The left allowed its agenda to be pained as anti-American, when what people on the left are really asking for is something so simple. They're just asking for everyone to be equally American. Asking for someone's experience of power and powerlessness in America to *not* be a function of race or sex or ethnicity or etc.

I think she makes this mistake because she's wrong when she says "the US has historically been a “super-group”, made up of a diverse population bound by a strong national identity of Americanness." It's really been about a super-group that maintained a majority by continually re-identifying more and more people as more and more 'white'.

I think when it comes to this element of what's tearing us apart (which itself is a myth: as if the 60s were all peace and love) it's because conservatives have failed to bring enough new people into that identity of 'Americanness' to make up for declining numbers the way they used to, and liberals haven't figured out how to make their moral movement something people can identify with as Americanness.

Again though: not to suggest a false dichotomy here at all--there's way more blame for the side that went to the well of hatred of outgroups to motivated their supporters one too many times.

Tanglebones wrote:

IMAGE(https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/8d/74/1a/8d741a11e4f668910ff3f4c73a56ccd2.jpg)

Yeah, what's this Nosedive nonsense? MeowMeowBeenz for life.