jamhed: (Default)
[personal profile] jamhed
Вот хорошо известно что наилучшие пароли имеют вид: "уМэрибыл-синийЯгнёнок", то есть фраза из нескольких слов с какими-нибудь нормальными знаками препинания в неожиданном месте. Такие пароли легко запоминаются людьми, и стойки к перебору как по словарям, так и грубой силой.

Тем не менее многие сайты настаивают на том что пароль должен быть вида $#@AJdsd89, что запомнить невозможно в принципе (положим, один еще и можно, но 25?). Поэтому измученные пользователи выбирают себе пароль вида Pa$$w0rd, что подобрать существенно легче.

Такими вот благими намерениями стойкость паролей понижается, а мучения пользователей возрастают. А всё почему? См. subj.
[syndicated profile] vox_feed

Posted by Nicholas Bagley

With the release of the Better Care Reconciliation Act, the Senate has finally shown its cards. Much will and should be made of how the bill, if adopted, would deprive millions of people of health insurance in order to finance huge tax cuts for the wealthy.

But the bill is troubling in another respect: It affords states the immense, hidden power to eliminate some of the Affordable Care Act’s most critical financial protections.

How does it accomplish this? Nestled in Obamacare is a provision allowing states to seek waivers from some of the law’s most important rules, including rules requiring insurers to cover certain “essential” health benefits and imposing annual caps on out-of-pocket spending. The point was to allow states to experiment with alternative approaches to achieving the goals of health reform: improving coverage and lowering costs.

That’s why the waivers haven’t been given out like candy. Under the Affordable Care Act, a state has to show that its alternative plan would allow it to cover as many people, with coverage as generous, without increasing federal spending. Only if a state met that demanding triple standard could it take the money allocated for the ACA and chart its own course.

The Senate bill requires the secretary of health and human services to say yes to state experimentation of virtually any kind

The Senate bill retains this waiver provision — but removes the guardrails that ensured state-based alternatives would offer strong coverage. Under the Senate bill, to get a waiver, a state doesn’t have to demonstrate anything about coverage. Instead, it just has to show that the plan won’t “increase the federal deficit.” Once a state makes that showing, the bill is explicit: The secretary of health and human services “shall” approve the plan.

Not “may” approve the plan — “shall.” This is a crucial legal distinction. The Supreme Court has squarely held that this sort of mandatory language means what it says: If the condition is satisfied, the secretary has no choice but to give his approval.

That could lead to some bizarre consequences. What’s stopping a state from submitting a half-baked plan for a high-risk pool that will lead millions of people to lose coverage? Or, for that matter, from using Obamacare money to fund public schools or affordable housing? According to the Senate bill as written, the secretary would have to approve plans like that so long as they don’t increase the federal deficit.

True, the bill says that a state must submit a “description” of how its plan would “take the place” of the rules it waives, including the “alternative means” that the plan will use to increase access to coverage, reduce premiums, and increase enrollment. But the description has no legal bearing on whether to grant the waiver. Again, if the state’s plan doesn’t increase the deficit, the secretary has to approve it. Period.

The bill lets governors concoct new health care plans, without involving legislatures

The bill goes further to grease the wheels for waivers. Under Obamacare, a state had to pass a law in support of the proposed waiver, which meant legislatures had to give their approval before the state could experiment with novel approaches to health insurance. The Senate bill would cut legislatures out of the equation. Governors, together with their insurance commissioners, could devise new health care plans on their own. (They would only have to “certify” that they have the authority to implement the plan — a low hurdle.) The federal government must then review the waiver request on an expedited basis.

And once a waiver is granted, the Senate bill says that the federal government cannot terminate the waiver, no matter what. It is hard to overstate how unusual — even unique — this is. When the federal government offers money to states, it places conditions on how the states are to use that money — and reserves the right to cut off the states if they fail to adhere to those conditions. The cutoff threat is essential to prevent state abuse of federal funds.

The Senate bill removes that threat. It says that a waiver “may not be cancelled” before its expiration. If state officials blow the Obamacare money on cocaine and hookers, there’s apparently nothing the federal government can do about it. At the same time, the bill expands the duration of waivers from five years to eight years. The upshot, then, is that the next president won’t be able to renegotiate any waivers granted during the Trump administration, no matter how badly a given state might have abused its waiver.

So any state that wants a waiver can get one; federal funding can be used for virtually any purpose; and the federal government has no power to discipline states that abuse the federal money.

Which parts of the Affordable Care Act could be waived? The Senate bill would retain some limits. It wouldn’t, for example, allow states to waive the prohibition on discriminating on the basis of preexisting conditions. But it would allow states to remove caps on out-of-pocket spending for exchange plans. Under Obamacare, an individual with insurance can be asked to pay a maximum of $7,150 out of pocket for her health care; for families, the cap is $14,300. If those caps are eliminated, the sky is the limit on what you might be asked to pay.

Goodbye, essential benefits?

What’s more, states could exempt themselves entirely from the rule requiring coverage of the essential health benefits — a change from the bill the House enacted last month, which required states to identify an alternative list of essential benefits. Without that rule in place, many insurers on the exchanges are likely to drop their coverage for maternity services and for the treatment of substance use disorders, among other benefits.

Waiving the essential health benefits rule won’t directly affect most of the health plans that people get as a fringe benefit of employment. Under Obamacare, the rule doesn’t apply to health plans from large employers. But a waiver would have enormous indirect effects on employer-sponsored coverage.

Here’s why: In one of its most popular provisions, the Affordable Care Act prohibited all health plans, including those offered by employers, from imposing annual and lifetime limits on coverage. These limits were common before the advent of health reform, and had especially harsh consequences for people, including children, with debilitating chronic illnesses, as Vox’s Sarah Kliff has movingly documented.

The ban on annual and lifetime limits was thus a boon even for the 159 million people who get their coverage through their employers. But the waivers contemplated under the Senate bill could wipe out the ban on such limits. Under the Affordable Care Act, the ban on lifetime and annual limits applies only to those benefits that are considered “essential.” If a state gets a waiver saying that no benefits would be considered essential — which was the status quo prior to Obamacare — insurers could impose lifetime and annual limits on all services.

It gets worse. In general, federal law attempts to create a single, nationwide set of rules for large employers that offer health coverage. That’s why, as Matt Fiedler at Brookings has pointed out, “current regulations and guidance permit large employer plans to apply any state’s definition of essential health benefits for the purposes of determining the scope of the ban on annual and lifetime limits.”

If one state weakens health insurance rules, that could have ripple effects in every state

So imagine that Texas were to get a waiver from the essential health benefits rule. Employers in every state could then adopt Texas’s definition of what counts as essential — which is to say, nothing. A single state could thus wipe out annual and lifetime limits across the whole country, making a mockery of federalism, where each state is supposed to be able to make decisions for itself.

Although the Trump administration could tighten its regulations to mean that Texas’s waiver would apply only to employers in Texas, it isn’t likely to do so. Even if it did, waivers would apply within any state that chose to grant them — meaning that the Senate’s bill would still expose millions of families that get coverage through their employers to financial catastrophe.

In short, the waivers available under the Senate bill are breathtaking in scope: not just “big waiver,” as some lawyers call the emerging system that lets states opt out of government rules, but “waiver unlimited.” It’s not clear that the Senate appreciates what it’s doing; indeed, it’s not even clear that rules governing waivers can be included in a reconciliation bill.

But if the Senate parliamentarian decides that they can be included, and the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 becomes law, its waivers will be a backdoor method for undoing some of Obamacare’s most popular and significant protections.

Nicholas Bagley is a professor at the University of Michigan Law School. Find him on Twitter @nicholas_bagley.

The Big Idea is Vox’s home for smart discussion of the most important issues and ideas in politics, science, and culture — typically by outside contributors. If you have an idea for a piece, pitch us at thebigidea@vox.com.

[syndicated profile] vox_feed

Posted by Matthew Yglesias

He’s cutting Medicaid. A lot.

Way back on June 8, 2014, Donald Trump — who by then had long since established himself in conservative circles as a prominent voice in birther conspiracy theories and anti-immigrant demagoguery — staked out a strikingly heterodox position: He wanted to save entitlement programs.

As a candidate during the 2015 GOP primary process, it was a theme he returned to. When former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee also stepped up with a promise to protect Social Security and Medicare, Trump claimed total ownership of the pro-entitlement position — vowing specifically to defend Medicaid as well.

Trump portrayed this issue as a key differentiator. Defending Medicaid was a central plank of his pitch for American greatness.

He even specifically referred to Ohio Gov. John Kasich as being excessively right-wing on the Medicaid issue.

Now, of course, Trump has lined up behind a Senate health care bill that features draconian cuts to Medicaid:

  • First, it cuts reimbursement rates to Medicaid expansion states, slowly phasing out federal support for the new enrollees.
  • Second, it ends Medicaid’s open-ended commitment to covering the health care needs of eligible patients — sticking states with per capita spending caps.
  • Third, it adjusts those payments over time to ensure that the money available per patient grows more slowly than the cost of providing medical coverage. Each year, a wedge will steadily open wider and wider between the money available for medical coverage and the cost of providing it.

Kasich says he thinks the cuts go too far. But Trump himself doesn’t tweet about Medicaid anymore. He just keeps saying that “Obamacare is dead.”

That’s not really true, but even if you think it is, it’s true Medicaid certainly isn’t dead. But the Senate health care bill will kill it, and will do so in order to finance a large tax cut for wealthy people — something Trump’s economic team also promised not to do.

[syndicated profile] vox_feed

Posted by Julia Belluz

Goop tried to use NASA science to sell bogus stickers. NASA wasn’t having it.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s latest lifestyle snake oil is so bad, NASA was forced to debunk it.

Paltrow’s lifestyle website Goop — the same site that brought you jade vagina eggs and overpriced vitamins — is now peddling a product called Body Vibes, wearable stickers that purport to “promote healing” and “rebalance the energy frequency in our bodies.”


“Wearable stickers that rebalance the energy frequency in our bodies have become a major obsession around Goop HQ.”

These stickers, which cost $60 for a pack of 10, will allegedly work magic on your body, including reducing inflammation, “boosting cell turnover,” and “smoothing out both physical tension and anxiety.”

So where does their healing power come from? NASA space science, no less.

The aestheticians (yes, beauty care specialists!) who invented the Body Vibes stickers claim their products are made with “the same conductive carbon material NASA uses to line space suits so they can monitor an astronaut’s vitals during wear.” This special technology uses “bio-frequency that resonates with the body's natural energy field.”

Let’s just take a moment to appreciate how wildly creative this is: Aestheticians took some fancy sticker materials, slapped healing claims on them, and then drew on space science to try to back up those claims.

NASA wasn’t having any of it. Gizmodo’s Rae Paoletta reached out to the space agency, asking about the science behind the stickers. NASA told Paoletta that spacesuits “do not have any conductive carbon material lining the spacesuits.” A former chief NASA scientist added, “What a load of BS this is.”

Goop has since removed the NASA claim from its site and released this statement:

As we have always explained, advice and recommendations included on goop are not formal endorsements and the opinions expressed by the experts and companies we profile do not necessarily represent the views of goop. Our content is meant to highlight unique products and offerings, find open-minded alternatives, and encourage conversation. We constantly strive to improve our site for our readers, and are continuing to improve our processes for evaluating the products and companies featured. Based on the statement from NASA, we’ve gone back to the company to inquire about the claim and removed the claim from our site until we get additional verification.

“Open-minded” may work in Paltrow’s Goop world, but it doesn’t work in science. Chemists, physicists, engineers, and astronauts carefully test hypotheses based on prior research, try to falsify those evidence-informed guesses through experimentation, and then throw out the claims that don’t pass muster. Goop has a right to sell “open-minded” woo, but it should stop trying to pass off its Goopshit as science.

Read the full article at Gizmodo.

Read more:

[syndicated profile] vox_feed

Posted by Jeff Guo

There’s a real chance Trump voters won’t understand anything about this until it’s too late.

How do you defend an effort like the Senate’s new health care bill, which neither repeals nor replaces Obamacare, but merely loots it to deliver tax breaks to the rich? By the president’s own standards, the bill fails to deliver: There would be higher, not lower premiums, and cuts to Medicaid. Instead of “insurance for everybody” there would be insurance for millions of fewer Americans — many of them the same people who elected the president.

So how do you spin a bill that seems un-spinnable? The answer, if you’re Fox News, is that you don’t. You deflect, you distract, and if necessary, you bend the truth. Above all, you hope that people care more about the politics than the policy.

According to the Pew Research Center, 40 percent of Trump voters named Fox News as their primary source of information about current events. But if you were watching Fox News last night, you wouldn’t have learned much at all about an impending piece of legislation that could upend your life. You wouldn’t understand anything about it expect that liberals hate it and the president sees it as a victory.

Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity could scarcely find time to discuss this major piece of legislation in between segments on Nancy Pelosi, Chinese dog meat, and “leftist rage.” When they did get around to talking about health care, they spent more time reviewing their complaints about Obamacare than discussing the new bill.

Hannity chatted briefly with Health Secretary Tom Price, who described the bill as offering “greater choices” for patients before pivoting to the demerits of Obamacare — a visibly more comfortable subject. Carlson did not discuss the bill at all. Instead he played a 90-second clip of Trump describing Obamacare as “virtually out of business.”

On The Five, a roundtable talk show, the pundits did devote a substantial amount of time — 10 minutes — to what they described as the “SENATE HEALTH CARE SHOWDOWN.” But the framing was entirely political. Instead of talking about what the bill would do, they talked about the bill’s chances of making it through Congress.

“Democrats won’t even come to the table,” said Jesse Watters.

Greg Gutfeld complained about the group of disabled protesters who were arrested outside Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell’s office yesterday. “They’re staging these die-ins” he exclaimed. “Because ‘Republicans kill people’ — that's what we do. Isn't that the inflammatory language we were talking about,” he said, referencing the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise last Thursday. (Nobody remembered that the GOP used the specter of “death panels” to rally resistance to Obamacare.)

The crew then began to fantasize about what it would mean for the president if this bill were to pass.

“Health care passes, tax reform gets teed up, the economy starts jamming again,” Watters mused. “This could be a turning point.”

“Yes, in theory, you could actually get there” said Dana Perino, a former press secretary for President George W. Bush. “But the next two weeks, they are not going to be smooth.”

Juan Williams, the token liberal, was the only person who brought up substantive details about the new Republican bill. “This is going to drive the premiums and costs for working people who come to the hospital,” he said. “What about the elderly, Jesse? The people we all have sympathy for?”

“They are all going to die, according to the liberals,” Gutfeld mocked.

“You forgot the children dying of cancer,” deadpanned Kimberly Guilfoyle, who was at one point rumored to be a possible replacement for Sean Spicer as the president’s press secretary.

A simple way to distinguish the press from public relations is to consider whose interests are being promoted. There are journalists who might lean left or right, who might have genuine disagreements about the impact of a policy — but no one would dispute that the mission of the press is to serve the public. Sometimes, that requires the courage to tell people what they don’t want to hear.

amalgin: (Default)
[personal profile] amalgin

МИД РФ будет отстаивать права россиян носить георгиевские ленточки за рубежом, в том числе на Украине. Об этом заявил министр иностранных дел России Сергей Лавров в ходе заседания Правительственной комиссии по делам соотечественников за рубежом.
Лавров подчеркнул, что МИД России полностью солидарен со всеми гражданами страны, которые будучи за границей требуют право на ношение георгиевской ленточки.

[syndicated profile] vox_feed

Posted by Garet Williams

“[Mueller] is very, very good friends with Comey, which is very bothersome.”

President Trump suggested in an interview with Fox & Friends, released Friday morning, that special counsel Robert Mueller is possibly too close to former FBI Director James Comey to execute a fair investigation.

“[Mueller] is very, very good friends with Comey, which is very bothersome. But he is also — we are going to have to see,” he told the co-host of the Trump-friendly morning show.

The president has reportedly been considering firing Mueller, according to Trump friend Chris Ruddy, despite widespread opposition. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein asserted that Mueller had his full confidence and he didn’t see a reason to terminate the special counsel.

In one portion of the interview, co-host Ainsley Earhardt talked about Mueller hiring attorneys who had once worked for Hillary Clinton to help with the investigation. Trump replied, “I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous if you want to know the truth from that standpoint. But Robert Mueller is an honorable man, and hopefully he will come up with an honorable solution.”

Trump also reiterated the sentiment he expressed via tweet on Thursday — that he did not make tapes of his and Comey’s interactions.

So why did he tease the idea of there being tapes? Here’s Trump explaining his bluff:

And you read all about it and I've been reading about it the last couple of months, the seriousness and horrible situation with surveillance all over the place. And you have been hearing the word “unmasking,” a word you probably never heard before. So you never know what's out there, but I didn't tape and I don't have any tape, and I didn't tape. But, when he found out that I, you know, that there may be tapes out there, whether it's governmental tapes or anything else, and who knows, I think his story may have changed. I mean, you will have to take a look at that because then he has to tell what actually took place at the events.

Earhardt complimented Trump’s tactic: “It was a smart way to make sure he stayed honest in those hearings.”

“Well, it wasn't very stupid,” Trump replied, and then went on to imply that Comey was forced to tell the truth because of the threat of tapes.

Read the full exchange between President Trump and Earhardt below.

EARHARDT: Big news today, you didn’t — you said you didn’t tape James Comey. Do you want to explain that? Why did you want him to believe that you possibly did that?

TRUMP: Well, I didn't tape him. You never know what's happening when you see that the Obama administration and perhaps longer than that was doing all of this unmasking and surveillance. And you read all about it and I've been reading about it the last couple of months, the seriousness of the — and horrible situation with surveillance all over the place. And you have been hearing the word “unmasking,” a word you probably never heard before. So you never know what's out there, but I didn't tape and I don't have any tape, and I didn't tape.

But when he found out that I, you know, that there may be tapes out there, whether it's governmental tapes or anything else, and who knows, I think his story may have changed. I mean, you will have to take a look at that because then he has to tell what actually took place at the events. And my story didn't change. My story was always a straight story. My story was always the truth. But you'll have to determine for yourself whether or not his story changed. But I did not tape.

EARHARDT: It was a smart way to make sure he stayed honest in those hearings.

TRUMP: Well, it wasn't very stupid, I can tell you that. He was — he did admit that what I said was right. And if you look further back, before he heard about that, I think maybe he wasn't admitting that, so you'll have to do a little investigative reporting to determine that. But I don't think it will be that hard.

EARHARDT: Robert Mueller do you think he should recuse himself? He is friends with James Comey. He has hired attorneys that were part of Hillary Clinton's foundation and given money to both President Obama and Hillary Clinton's campaign. Should he recuse himself?

TRUMP: He is very, very good friends with Comey, which is very bothersome. Uh, but he is also — we are going to have to see. We are going to have to see in terms — look, there has been no obstruction. There has been no collusion. There has been leaking by Comey. But there’s been no collusion and no obstruction, and virtually everybody agrees to that. So we’ll have to see. I can say that the people that have been hired are all Hillary Clinton supporters. Some of them worked for Hillary Clinton. I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous if you want to know the truth from that standpoint. But Robert Mueller is an honorable man, and hopefully he will come up with an honorable solution.

[syndicated profile] vox_feed

Posted by Jeff Stein

Rev. William Barber has to stretch deep into the history books to find a historical analogue for the damage Senate Republicans’ health care bill would do to the poor.

“You’ve not seen this kind of attack on poor people and poor bodies since the days black people were used to make free money as slaves,” Barber told Vox Thursday night. “That’s the way we need to start talking about this.”

Barber isn’t some hysterical lefty nobody: he’s the chair of the NAACP’s Legislative Political Action Committee. Last summer, he was a prominently featured speaker at the Democratic National Convention. The reverend has been termed “the closest person we have to a Martin Luther King Jr.,” in part due to his leadership of North Carolina’s NAACP chapter, which has led Moral Monday protests in the state.

On Thursday night, Barber joined a protest at the offices of Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) in Philadelphia over the health bill. It was one of more than a dozen demonstrations this week alone against Republicans’ Better Care Reconciliation Act, which would dramatically reduce subsidies for lower-income Americans while cutting Medicaid and rolling back its expansion under Obamacare. McConnell is trying to pass the bill before the Senate’s July 4 recess, even though the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the House version of the bill would lead to 23 million fewer people having health insurance while slashing taxes on the rich.

“We’re really talking about, in a sense, political murder. I know that’s a strong term, but it comes out of the bible,” Barber said. “The bible talks about in Ezekiel 22, when politicians become like wolves devouring the people and do not care for the needy.”

A transcript of our conversation follows.

Jeff Stein

There’s a temptation to see this story in terms of numbers and budgets and politics, and I’m hoping you could articulate the ways in which an abstracted conversation about politics is incommensurate with its impact on people’s lives.

Rev. William Barber

First of all, this whole conversation is morally corrupt. It’s exposing the deep immorality we have in this country right now where we’re talking about repealing the Affordable Care Act, when we should be thinking about how to go from the Affordable Care Act to universal health care.

We’re the only nation in the [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] that doesn’t offer universal health care. And the last time I can remember in history we talked about taking health care away like this was when in the 1800s there was a rollback of the Freedmen Bureau Hospitals [ending funding for a program passed by Abraham Lincoln to help the slaves freed in the Civil War], and there was this real, extreme, regressive group of people who wanted to go back to the days of slavery, or as close as possible, and they took away the federal funding from the Freedman’s Bureau Hospital.

Folks say “23 million” [people will lose insurance], but we should really be talking about how this is death and life. We know if you deny 500,000 people Medicaid expansion upward, there’s a Harvard study that says upward of 2,800 people will die. We know that when we're talking about Medicaid, we're talking about children and the deaf and the blind. We literally need to put a face on these numbers and not just talk about “23 million people.”

We’re really talking about, in a sense, political murder. I know that’s a strong term, but it comes out of the bible. The bible talks about in Ezekiel 22, when politicians become like wolves devouring the people and do not care for the needy.

The reality is around two weeks ago we saw a congressman shot, and the whole news cycle stopped. And it should have: a congressman was shot; four other people were shot; three or four people were killed in San Francisco. That's serious business.

But what is so hypocritical about that is for Ryan and other members of Congress to say, “When you attack one, you attack all.” They are concerned about a representative, and rightfully so, for being wounded and say that we should pray. But you also mean you’re going to p-r-e-y on the most vulnerable. And you don’t have the same ethics for your fellow citizens who will literally lose their health care.

When you think about $600 billion — probably in the range of $1 trillion when they get finished — in tax cuts, you’ve not seen this kind of attack on poor people and poor bodies since the days black people were used to make free money as slaves. That’s the way we need to start talking about this.

Jeff Stein

I wanted to go back where you mentioned senators need to put a face to this. What do you think is the appropriate response from Senate Democrats?

Rev. William Barber

I met with a luncheon of US Democratic senators, and I’ve said it to people in different speeches and open letters, rather than just being there they ought to be inviting constituents from their states who would be affected. They need to invite them into the gallery, to have them into the meeting rooms, to have press conferences with them.

Every time they’re up there, they need to put people who will die of cancer in front of the camera — people who did die from the lack of health care, or people with preexisting conditions. We need to change this from a conversation about tax cuts, to one about life versus death.

Jeff Stein

Are people in DC, even those who oppose the bill, feeling the implications of this in the marrow of their bones the way you think they should be?

Rev. William Barber

Today you saw people in wheelchairs [staging a die-in at Mitch McConnell’s office]. And next year we’re planning a poor people’s campaign in 25 states and the district of Columbia. Because this is not going to go away. These people are committed to their oligarchs. To their money. To their power.

Anytime you can write laws that your own grandchildren will be negatively affected by, they’re operating from a different politics than the politics which is in our deepest moral and religious values.

Do you remember when Lyndon Johnson told Dr. King he couldn’t do the Voting Rights Act but that Dr. King would have to make [Johnson] do it himself? I was with clergy today in Philadelphia who were having a rally in front of Toomey’s office, and people are going to stay there all night. And I said to them: “In the days to come, you need to come back here. And if you can’t get in the federal building, get in front of the street, lay down, and force them to arrest you. Bring people with wheelchairs.” We’re going to have to create that kind of creative, non-violent tension to put a fire in the belly.

I think sometimes, some people still think we’re working with people who you can negotiate with. And what was proven under President Obama’s time is that he gave them a lot of concessions to get the Affordable Care Act passed, and they still voted against it. And a lot of the concessions were things that helped create the problems we have now.

Jeff Stein

I want to go back to something you said on race. There’s a way in which the literal text of the legislation and the public statements of Republican senators are such that there is nothing explicitly connected to the race question. But to what extent do you believe these problems are connected in more invisible ways than is normally recognized?

Rev. William Barber

Some progressives sometimes want to deal with numbers; they don’t want to deal with race, either, unless it’s David Duke or the “n-word.” And that’s not systemic racism. Systemic racism is when you can show the numbers — a larger percentage of black people within the black race that are being hurt by the denial of health care, but in raw numbers you have more white people being hurt.

We need to unpack that. You hear "23 million people" — that's about 3 million black people, which means its 20 million white people. We have had a conversation with the numbers have been disaggregated.

Jeff Stein

Do you think that progressive leaders will recognize that the form of violence you’re talking about Republicans wanting to enact through taking health care away from 30 million people is in some ways equivalent to not advocating for expanding health care to the 30 million who still didn’t have it under ACA?

Rev. William Barber

We should have always talked about affordable health care as a step toward universal health care and push for that. Some people say, “You can’t do that.” But the problem is we get so scared of the polls that we don’t change the polls because we don’t want to do the hard work.

We try to argue defensively rather than offensively too often. People say, “There are a lot of problems with Medicaid,” and we have to say, “No, there were a lot more problems before Medicaid, and the whole system is flawed.”

We’re so ready to move into compromise [mode] before we allow the people understand the real moral and political issue is. Which should be: Health care is a human right. Period.

All these folks who claim to be Christian, we should be challenge this. We should never allow Paul Ryan’s agenda to say more to say about poverty [than progressives’]. If you think about progressives, and I love them, but many of them don’t even use the word “poverty.”

We have to understand that you cannot keep lowering your language and operating on the defense if you’re ultimately going to defeat this extreme narrative that is fundamentally contrary to the deepest principles of our democracy.


Jun. 23rd, 2017 19:23
akrav: (Default)
[personal profile] akrav
Я не знаю, какой срок по совокупности следовало бы дать по справедливости Ольмерту по его девяти уголовным делам, из которых, впрочем, до суда дошло только одно (и Гуш-Катиф, как вы понимаете, не включён в список).

Показательно другое: ни кто иной как Беннетт вдруг озаботился его судьбой и подсуетился, призвав выпустить двоюродного коллегу и высокопоставленного вора в законе из тюрьмы досрочно. Дескать, бедный Ольмерт «отсидел уже достаточно».

Напомню, что сравнительно мягкий шестилетний срок Ольмерту уже один раз сократили -- до беспрецедентных полутора лет. И ещё -- для сравнения -- что Беннет никогда не высказывался о приговоре Игалю Амиру и об облегчении его судьбы.
[syndicated profile] vox_feed

Posted by Alissa Wilkinson

Nobody Speak draws lines between a bunch of strange attacks on media, with damning conclusions.

Watching Netflix’s documentary Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press, you sense that director Brian Knappenberger and his team had no idea when they started the project that their final cut would end up focusing on the breakdown of journalistic norms in America. Halfway through, the film pivots away from its initial subject, the court case that brought down Gawker.com, and expands its scope to examine the effect of big money on journalism at large in America.

That freezing effect on press freedom feels like a new concern and a ripe topic for a documentary. Even though most working journalists have been worried about various threats to the free press since 9/11 — a fear that carried through the Obama administration, which was pretty restrictive toward the press — President Donald Trump’s open warfare on reporters has raised the warning bell volume to full blast.

And so while Knappenberger probably started out wanting to dig into the particulars of a confusing court case — albeit one with serious implications — dramatic shifts in political rhetoric, combined with a new administration that has openly declared war on the press, ultimately led him to create something much more full-throated. Rather than merely chronicle the fallout of a strange but fairly isolated lawsuit, Nobody Speak is a full-scale cautionary tale that starts out as a quasi-thriller about the media’s treatment of public figures and their private lives, and ends by forecasting a dystopian nightmare.

Nobody Speak starts out by focusing on Gawker and Hulk Hogan, but turns into something else

As a documentary, Nobody Speak is conventional, aiming more to inform and convince its audience of the assault on journalism in American than be cinematically innovative. The movie competently builds each chunk of its tale — beginning with Hulk Hogan's sex tape lawsuit against Gawker Media, which Hogan won in 2016 — by presenting both interviews and news footage and having the participants in its events, as well as the journalists who wrote about them, recount their memories.

But there’s a sort of twist in the middle of the film that casts new light on everything that came before, and that gives Nobody Speak the feel of a thriller — one built on very recent history. It’s unlikely that anyone who watches the film won’t have at least a vague memory of the strange court case that ultimately brought down the bad kid of online journalism, Gawker. But Nobody Speak carefully dissects that story, bringing in former employees (including Gawker founder Nick Denton) and lawyers from the case, so that it makes more sense to those who wouldn’t have grasped its significance at the time.

President-elect Trump, who shows a high level of antipathy toward an adversarial press.
President-elect Trump, who shows a high level of antipathy toward an adversarial press.

Or at least so that it makes some sense. The battle between Hulk Hogan and Gawker over the site’s publication of the wrestling star’s sex tapes takes some odd twists and turns: For one, the prosecution dropped some of its charges midway through the case for initially mystifying reasons that turned out to make sense once the participation of tech mogul Peter Thiel came to light.

After the trial, it was revealed that the prosecution had been bankrolled by Thiel, probably as an act of revenge for a story that Gawker published about him several years prior. And the trial’s eventual outcome, after Hogan was awarded $115 million in compensatory damages, was that Gawker went bankrupt and shut down — leaving even those observers who hated Gawker uncomfortable with the implications of living in a world where people with deep pockets and a grudge could take out media outlets for personal reasons.

Nobody Speak builds a damning, convincing case that journalism needs protecting

Nobody Speaks covers the Gawker trial in so much detail (and it’s necessary, giving the complexity of the case) that Thiel doesn’t even become a player until halfway through the film. Thiel's involvement is no longer the complete and total shocker it was when it was first discovered — anyone who followed the story in real time know it’s coming — but once he arrives, the movie shifts from a bizarre courtroom story to an ominous, and very convincing, demonstration of the threat that big money tied to big egos poses to press freedom in America.

One of the film’s major comparison points is the casino magnate and big-time GOP donor Sheldon Adelson’s secretive late 2015 purchase of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. That purchase is carefully fleshed out in Nobody Speak by the journalists who formerly worked for the Review-Journal and uncovered the story of their paper’s new owner. They believed the acquisition to be at least partly motivated by Adelson’s grudge against one of its columnists — a parallel to Thiel’s involvement in the Gawker case.

Coupled with accounts of the ideas that people like Thiel and Adelson subscribe to — like the idea that it’s fine to throw around their wealth to take down media they don’t like — and the powerful company they keep, Nobody Speaks hurtles toward its conclusion: that the freedom of the press guaranteed in the First Amendment is fragile, and facing one of its greatest tests to date.

Certainly, Nobody Speaks has its own axe to grind. The documentary also briefly mentions Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s 2013 purchase of the Washington Post — which by many accounts has been beneficial to the paper — but glosses past it, leaving the whole argument about the danger of business moguls owning or influencing media outlets feeling a tad lopsided. But it’s still a compelling one, and impossible for people who are paying even casual attention to the current media landscape to contest.

Tech mogul Peter Thiel, who bankrolled the case against Gawker even though he wasn’t personally involved.
Tech mogul Peter Thiel, who bankrolled the case against Gawker even though he wasn’t personally involved.

And of course, it’s 2017, which means there’s no escaping the looming shadow cast by President Trump’s pathological love-hate relationship with the press, fostered over decades of trying (with plenty of success) to get New York City’s tabloids to pay attention to him. Given that Nobody Speak premiered at the Sundance Film Festival just days after Trump’s inauguration, but includes footage of Sean Spicer’s famous assertions about the size of the crowd at that event, it seems the film has been recut and expanded a bit since its festival premiere. (The original subtitle was more specific: Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and Trials of a Free Press.)

You get the uneasy feeling, watching it, that a new cut of the film could happen every week this year. In fact, its conclusion — which explores the difficult and risky profession of journalism that tips over into valorization, with journalists extolling the calling they feel to their job to a degree that might not play well to the average non-journalist — feels almost like it belongs to a different movie, and may wind up weakening the film overall.

In Trump’s America, most people watching Netflix already have their minds made up about journalists — they may trust them, or they may think they’re the scum of the earth. Nobody Speak is a stirring argument that could sway some of the undecided viewers. But if filmmakers want to make a case about the free press in America — taking the Bezoses of the world into account along with the Thiels — then alongside films like Nobody Speak, we need a strong re-examination of whether, and how, corporate-driven journalism can be ethical and still stay afloat.

Nobody Speaks premieres on Netflix on June 23.

[syndicated profile] vox_feed

Posted by Tara Isabella Burton

They also perceive discrimination against LGBTQ people and immigrants far less than other Americans do.

How do Americans perceive the discrimination faced by its own minority groups? It depends on whom you ask.

The idea that certain groups misjudge the amount of discrimination that other groups struggle with is probably not such a shock. But more surprising may well be what’s one of the clearest indicators of perspective on bias in America: faith.

One of the most notable markers of difference in how people perceive prejudice in America turns out to be faith identity. The American Values Atlas by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute reveals marked discrepancies in how members of different faith traditions perceive prejudice against African Americans, immigrants, and members of the LGBTQ community. The biggest divide? As Dr. Robert Jones, PRRI’s CEO and author of The End of White Christian America, told Vox, it’s between “white Christian groups — and everybody else."

The AVA is based on 40,000 telephone interviews conducted across all 50 states. On average, the study found that 63 percent of Americans acknowledged “a lot” of discrimination against immigrants, 57 percent against black people, and 58 percent against gay and lesbian people. Overall, about two-thirds of Americans see discrimination against at least one minority group as an issue, with 42 percent identifying discrimination as an issue among all three groups.

But among white Christians, those figures dropped significantly: Only 36 percent of white evangelicals, 50 percent of white mainline Protestants, and 47 percent of white Catholics reported perceiving discrimination against black people (the survey did not ask about other races). For contrast, 86 percent of black Protestants reported perceiving “a lot” of discrimination against black people in America, as did 67 percent of the religiously unaffiliated. Even higher proportions of Buddhists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Unitarians reported discrimination.

Similar trends characterized attitudes toward discrimination against immigrants and LGBTQ individuals. It’s striking, said Jones, “how race and religion influence what people see — and what they don’t see — in the country.”

In other words, people from certain majority ethnic and religious groups aren’t just insulated from bias themselves. They’re less likely to even acknowledge it when it happens to other people.

“Oh, no, we’re the ones being persecuted”

Jones noted that among white Christians, there’s "a difference in degree, though not a difference in kind” between the responses of mainline Protestants, who have traditionally been more progressive, and white evangelicals. To explain these differences, Jones pointed to historic divisions between these camps in both geography (mainline Protestants tend to be clustered in the Northeast; evangelicals in the South) and positions over race issues (many mainline Protestant churches were deeply involved in both the abolitionist and civil rights movements, while many Southern evangelical churches had roots in pro-slavery and segregationist causes).

Yet he argued that mainline Protestant denominations have in many ways gotten more conservative in recent decades, largely as a result of an aging demographic and mainline churches’ failure to retain younger, traditionally more left-leaning members. They’re “not quite as liberal as you would expect them to be,” he said

The Catholic Church is becoming less white (one in 10 Americans, most of them white, identify as a lapsed Catholic) and more Latino in the US. But major demographic shifts, Jones emphasized, are happening in white evangelical churches too. “There’s a second wave of white Christian decline that’s really hit the evangelical world more heavily than it has the mainline Protestant world,” he said, pointing to the 10-straight-year decline in baptisms among the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant group in America. “[They] assumed that they were going to be immune from this kind of decline. I think it’s caused a great deal of anxiety … this real sense of losing a hold on power and influence and being a demographic majority in the country, and I think that’s very unsettling.”

Such anxiety, Jones suggests, could help explain why white evangelicals perceive discrimination in America to be far less prevalent than do other religious groups. Cultural tidal shifts like the Supreme Court’s rulings in favor of marriage equality have sent “shock waves” through white evangelical communities, according to Jones, making many white evangelicals feel that they’re losing their prominence in American culture. That anxiety, he says, has been “largely underestimated,” especially by the left.

Many white evangelicals who do not perceive discrimination against minority groups in fact perceive discrimination against themselves, Jones said, referring to a question in a previous PRRI study about whether discrimination against white people was as serious a cultural problem as that against black people. White evangelicals overwhelmingly said it was. “[White evangelicals are] more likely to see discrimination against themselves than against minority groups, and that is, I think, a reflection of that sense that they really have lost their power, their influence, they’ve lost the cultural center and the demographic dominance they once had — that, oh, no, we’re the ones being persecuted,” he said.

But some of that loss of influence, Jones said, comes from within: Typically, the younger members of the white evangelical community are moving their churches to the left on some issues. The survey found that 59 percent of white evangelicals ages 18 to 30 perceived discrimination against LGBTQ individuals (versus 43 percent of seniors in that category), while a small majority — 51 percent — of young white Protestant evangelicals also favor marriage equality.

Jones suggested — when it comes to LGBTQ issues, at least — that young church members are a driving force in changing perception. For example, this year, not a single religious group profiled had a majority reporting support of religiously based discrimination by businesses against LGBTQ individuals, something Jones attributes primarily to religious groups’ younger members.

When it comes to LGBTQ issues, he said, “I don’t think we’ll see anything going forward except plateaus and upticks.”

LGBTQ advocacy groups are already hailing the study as a welcome indicator of changing attitudes toward gay rights in America. “The PRRI study proves what Americans already know: using religion as a weapon to harm the LGBTQ community is wrong and completely out-of-touch with American values,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, president of GLAAD, in a prepared statement.

But when it comes to the interplay of age, race, and anxieties about roles in a constantly changing cultural conversation, the story of religion — and changing attitudes toward discrimination — in America is a far less straightforward one.

For race, Jones said he’s less confident that attitudes will continue to get more progressive, since PRRI’s reports over the past few years have shown a less straightforward progression. Although faith communities of a variety of traditions are working to take a stand against racism — just last week, the Southern Baptist Convention voted overwhelmingly to condemn the alt-right, and racism more generally — Jones sees increasing partisan polarization along questions of racial injustice. "Most views around race are hardening, particularly as Trump has taken over the face of the party and highlighted these fears and anxieties."

[syndicated profile] vox_feed

Posted by Dylan Scott

Let’s talk about the Byrd Rule.

The fate of the Republican drive to repeal and replace Obamacare — and of the millions of Americans who could be left uninsured if it succeeds — could come down to a complex and obscure Senate rule.

That rule will determine what provisions Republicans can include in the bill, how much of Obamacare they can repeal, and perhaps whether the most conservative GOP senators will vote for it. It could wipe out a number of important but contentious pieces of the draft legislation released on Thursday, according to experts and recent legislative precedents.

Conservatives want to defund Planned Parenthood and place abortion restrictions on the financial aid people receive to buy private insurance. They also want to unwind Obamacare’s insurance regulations as much as they can.

All of those provisions could be thrown out under the so-called “Byrd bath,” when the bill is scrutinized for its adherence to the obscure procedural requirements. If that happens, an ensuing fight would pit conservatives against moderates and institutionalists, and it would make it more difficult for the Senate to pass a plan that House Republicans can stomach.

It’s a predicament seven years in the making, since Republicans started swearing to repeal Obamacare as soon as they took control of the government, and it is one that the GOP has courted from the start of this year’s repeal effort.

With a slim majority in the Senate, the party chose to use “budget reconciliation” — a process that allows a bill to pass with only 50 votes but comes with restrictions that make it less than ideal for complex policymaking — to pass their plan. The result is that the fate of the whole enterprise could now rest with the Senate’s parliamentarian.

Obamacare, in other words, may live or die on the Byrd Rule — a 20-year-old quirk in the Senate’s rules that most Americans have never heard of.

The Senate is using budget reconciliation to pass its health care bill

Republicans swept into power this year and pledged to immediately get to work on their long-promised goal of repealing Obamacare. But they had one problem: They held only 52 seats in the Senate; under the usual legislative process, where a bill can be filibustered and held up if 40 senators oppose it, Democrats could block any repeal plan.

The Senate got rid of the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations to confirm Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. But Senate traditionalists refused to nix the legislative filibuster, and so Republicans turned to “budget reconciliation” — a process designed for spending and revenue bills that requires only 50 votes to move a bill — to repeal and replace the health care law.

Reconciliation was designed to make sure the Senate could more easily pass bills dealing with the federal budget, particularly if Congress wanted to reduce the deficit, without the threat of a filibuster from the minority party. (The process begins with a congressional resolution instructing committees in the House and the Senate to draw up legislation that saves the federal government a set amount of money.) So the special privileges under reconciliation come with conditions.

Those conditions, meant to make sure reconciliation is actually used for bills that affect the budget, are the next obstacle the American Health Care Act will have to overcome.

But those restrictions are a hurdle to any plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. Overhauling the health insurance system, as the law did, includes all sorts of provisions that have nothing to do with federal spending or revenue. Republicans have already tacitly conceded that they can’t fully repeal the law because of these limitations. But some of Obamacare’s parts that they are most eager to roll back, such as its insurance regulations, could also be tricky to undo under reconciliation’s rules.

The Byrd Rule of budget reconciliation will determine what Republicans can actually do in their health care plan

The restrictions of reconciliation will set the parameters of the Senate’s health care debate — and have proven difficult for lawmakers to navigate and limited what ideas they can consider.

The Senate, for example, needs to come up with a bill that will save the federal government as much money, or more, as the House version.

That’s going to be a problem for the health care bill — senators want to bolster the financial assistance for lower-income people buying private insurance and soften some of the House bill’s Medicaid cuts, which will cost more money. If they increase spending, they must offset it somewhere else, perhaps by delaying the repeal of Obamacare’s taxes or cutting Medicaid more in the future.

They also have to make sure that the bill actually saves money. There was a brief panic that the House bill didn’t achieve that goal, which also would have put the whole enterprise at risk because the bill wouldn’t comply with the Senate’s rules.

The mother of all conditions is known as the Byrd Rule. The rule came about in the 1980s, after Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia, a Democrat, grew frustrated with reconciliation. His colleagues were using it to advance all sorts of policies, not just those related to spending and revenue. So he introduced his standard for what can be included in a reconciliation bill, which has since been enshrined in federal law.

A bill being considered under reconciliation has to check every box of the six-part Byrd Rule. If it fails any one of those tests, it must be stripped out.

  1. The provision must change federal spending or revenue.
  2. If the bill does not meet the budget resolution’s instructions to reduce the federal deficit, any provision that results in either increased spending or decreased revenue is removed until it does meet those targets.
  3. The provision must only affect policies that fall under the jurisdiction of the specific committees that were instructed in the budget resolution.
  4. The provision’s effect on spending or revenues must be more than incidental to its policy impact.
  5. The provision cannot increase the federal deficit at some point in the future, beyond the typical 10-year “budget window” that is used to evaluate legislation.
  6. The provision cannot change Social Security.

Most of the time, if part of a bill fails that six-part test, that provision is removed and the rest of the legislation is allowed to advance.

But some violations can be considered “fatal” — meaning that the entire bill would need 60 votes to pass. Those could include any provisions that violate No. 3, on the issue of jurisdiction, I’m told. Congress is said to have controversially exempted itself from part of the health care bill because the bill would otherwise have been risk of such a fatal Byrd Rule violation. Member benefits, like their health insurance, fall under a different committee’s jurisdiction, one that wasn’t included in the budget resolution. Without the exemption, the bill could have lost its 50-vote privileges in the Senate.

The American Health Care Act has been shaped by those restrictions since the beginning. The original version of the House bill, which failed before House Speaker Paul Ryan could bring it to the floor in late March, didn’t touch most of Obamacare’s regulations. Senate aides told me this was because of the Byrd Rule.

It was only after House conservatives revolted, helping to sink the bill the first time, that the compromise of allowing states to waive those rules emerged.

But that is also one place where the bill might run into trouble in the Senate. The upper chamber’s plan doesn’t keep the House bill’s waivers, but it does broaden some existing Obamacare waivers in a similar way that could rule afoul of the Byrd Rule.

The entire bill will be subject to what’s known as a “Byrd bath.” Republican and Democratic staff will go through the legislation with Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough and make their arguments about which provisions violate the Byrd Rule and which ones don’t.

“Because some of these questions will be matters of gray, the question is interpretation of the Byrd Rule given past precedent,” Sarah Binder, who studies Senate procedure at George Washington University, told me. “Both parties will try to convince her of their position for or against a Byrd Rule violation.”

Several key provisions of the GOP plan are at risk under the Byrd Rule

The Byrd Rule could determine both whether the GOP’s plan can get the 50 votes it needs to pass under reconciliation — and whether the legislation would function at all if it were actually implemented.

Like the House bill, the Senate wants to repeal Obamacare’s individual mandate, but unlike the House bill, it doesn’t replace it with anything to compel people to buy insurance. The House would have required people to stay insured or else face a surcharge when they signed up again, but the Senate bill includes no corresponding provision.

Without some kind of mandate replacement, as Vox’s Sarah Kliff wrote, the insurance markets under the Republican plan could go into a death spiral.

So why was it left out initially? Several experts have speculated it’s because of the Byrd Rule. The provision arguably doesn’t directly affect federal spending or revenue.

The House provision “seemed to me like a strong possibility of a Byrd Rule violation,” Binder told me. “It seemed pure policy — and thus ‘extraneous’ under the Byrd rule.”

The Senate’s plan to give states more leeway to waive Obamacare’s insurance regulations could also be suspect, as the House bill’s were. Those waivers are essential to conservatives, who say reducing regulations will lower premiums, which they say is their top priority.

Democrats and other outside experts believed the House’s Obamacare waivers weren’t permissible under reconciliation, either because they didn’t have a budget impact or because any impact would be incidental (1 and 4 on the Byrd list).

Those provisions, they argued, were intended to alter how the insurance market works, not to reduce federal spending or increase revenue. So even if there might be an impact — say, if fewer people buy insurance with federal assistance, which would reduce government spending — it was an afterthought. That was not their purpose.

“I have argued for a long time, having gone through a number of Byrd baths in my lifetime, if it’s a regulatory change at the state level, or private industry level, it’s hard to make the case that that will have a direct federal budgetary consequence,” Bill Hoagland, a former Senate Budget staffer who now works at the Bipartisan Policy Center, told me.

As a general rule, regulatory changes would likely not be permissible under the Byrd Rule, as he said. Especially if no states took those waivers — as some moderate House Republicans suggested — then there would be no budgetary impact, and the provision would likely be struck.

But if the CBO concludes that a number of states would take the waivers, and the resulting impact on the federal budget is sizable enough, the parliamentarian may be able to justify the waivers under the Byrd Rule. The bill does make a specific pot of money, $8 billion, available only to states that seek waivers.

“It’ll come down unfortunately to CBO, when they put out the cost estimate on that bill,” Hoagland said. “Is it big or is it small?”

It’s not yet clear if the Senate’s use of Obamacare waivers makes any difference as far as the Byrd Rule is concerned.

Other contentious issues — defunding Planned Parenthood and placing abortion-related restrictions on the Obamacare subsidies being kept in the Senate bill — are politically potent and potentially at risk under the Byrd Rule.

Conservatives have pushed to defund the women’s health organization and prevent the subsidies from going to health plans that cover abortions. Several experts, as well as Democrats, have contended those provisions aren’t allowed under the Byrd Rule.

Finally, several Senate conservatives, including Ted Cruz of Texas, have made a list of demands before they’ll support the Senate bill. Some of those proposals, particularly allowing insurance plans to be sold across state lines, have long been thought to be in violation of the Byrd Rule.

Some Senate conservatives want to overrule the parliamentarian if needed. But senior Republicans aren’t on board.

If conservatives can’t change Obamacare’s insurance rules or get some abortion-related concessions, it could put the whole repeal-and-replace effort in jeopardy. House conservatives made these a make-or-break issue for them, refusing to back the bill until they won some rollback of these regulations and restrictions on the subsidies.

But the core problem remains. Any such changes might not be permissible under the Byrd Rule. The Senate is allowed to waive the Byrd Rule, but it requires 60 votes to do so. No Democrats is going to help Senate Republicans push their Obamacare repeal bill through. Senators have asked 57 times for a Byrd Rule waiver; only eight of those have been approved, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Conservatives have one more card to play: They have already begun to argue that the Senate can actually overrule the parliamentarian if they want.

Under the Byrd Rule, all determinations are technically made by the presiding officer in the Senate. On a bill as momentous as Obamacare repeal, that could be Vice President Mike Pence. But historically, the presiding officer has deferred to the parliamentarian’s judgment. So if MacDonough said waiving Obamacare’s regulations didn’t comply with the Byrd Rule, that policy would traditionally be stripped out.

Some Senate conservatives have said that’s unacceptable. On something as important to them as Obamacare repeal, they want to gut as much of the law as possible no matter what the parliamentarian says. They’d argue for Pence to ignore MacDonough and declare that these provisions are acceptable under reconciliation.

“The parliamentarian merely advises, the vice president decides,” Cruz told Politico recently. “Mike Pence is the ultimate decider.”

But they’re going to run into a big problem: Their senior colleagues disagree. Other Republicans argue that overruling the parliamentarian is tantamount to gutting the rules that make reconciliation special.

If the Senate overruled MacDonough and allowed these provisions to sneak through under reconciliation, then that sets the precedent for future Senates to do the same thing. Any policy could be brought up for a vote under reconciliation.

“If something like that were to happen, it would set a new precedent for the Senate that would allow anybody to bring up any bill on any other bill at any other time, even under reconciliation,” Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) told me. “You would have a never-ending list of votes any time reconciliation came up.”

It would be a devastating blow to the historical 60-vote threshold for advancing most bills in the Senate and an unacceptable step for senators who pride themselves on tradition and deliberation.

“Rulings aren't supposed to be left to the discretion of who sits in the presiding officer's chair. That would sort of be parliamentary mayhem,” GWU’s Binder said. “That would be the ultimate nuclear option.”

kaspiy80: (pic#10858231)
[personal profile] kaspiy80

Встречаются два бывших президента.
Один спрашивает
- Как ты потерял власть?
Другой отвечает
- Да у меня завелась оппозиция, ругать начала, критиковать, цветную революцию устроила. И мне пришлось бежать из страны в Ростов. А ты как тут оказался?
- А я начал оппозицию бросать в тюрьмы, расстреливать, бомбить, травить химоружием.
В итоге белоленточные вышли под черными флагами.

Нужна ли оппозиция действующей власти? Оппозиция, которая вечно недовольна, все время критикует, ставит под сомнение любое действие и решение власти, ищет любой промах и ошибку, чтобы выставить напоказ. Очень неудобная и надоедливая и все ей не так.
Задача оппозиции выискивать ошибки власти и указывать на них. Зачем нужна оппозиция, знают все или почти все - чтобы власть не дремала, не окукливалась в своей непогрешимости, не считала что все делает правильно. Оппозиция это иногда голос разума среди хора подхалимов.
Всегда человек пришедший к власти, с течением времени привыкает слышать лишь похвалы и славословия. И когда раздается осуждение или несогласие, власть скорее всего предпочтет назвать критика смутьяном и врагом. Потому что не желает понять, что может ошибаться, быть некомпетентной и заблуждаться. Лучше обвинить несогласного в работе на Госдеп, чем признаться в собственном идиотизме и неумении.
В нормальных странах предпочитают слушать оппозицию, а не уничтожать ее. При этом понимают, что потом власть и оппозиция могут поменяться местами. И что лучше выслушивать критику и исправлять свои ошибки или не делать их. Чем потом знать, как на тебя вешают всех собак и льют килотонны грязи. В совке каждый вошьдь считался мудрым и непогрешимым, а после его смерти или отставки о нем узнавали кучу грехов и преступлений. И бывший лидер уже никак не мог оправдаться.
Власть, особенно на территории постсовка не может понять простой истины - оппозиция враг не страны и не народа его населяющего, она враг для идиотизма и безответственности тех, кто находится у руля. И если уничтожать и гробить тех, кто осмеливается указать на ошибки и проступки, но при этом готов сесть за стол переговоров и вести нормальную дискуссию, то в другом варианте придется воевать с теми, кто не желает тебя слушать и видит лишь в гробу. Потому что желающих договариваться просто не останется.
Паскаль говорил: "Опереться можно на то, что вызывает сопротивление".
Если все идут в ногу- мост обрушивается.
Оппозиция это часто срество обратной связи между населением и властью. И когда связь нарушена плохо для всех сторон. Каддафи, Хуссейн, Чаушеску и отбросивший копыта совок с деградирующим Асадом могут подтвердить.

amalgin: (Default)
[personal profile] amalgin
Депутаты Госдумы приняли в первом чтении законопроект о запрете использования технологий обхода блокировок сайтов. За документ единогласно проголосовали 363 депутата.

Законопроект предусматривает блокировку анонимайзеров и VPN-сервисов, которые откажутся ограничивать доступ к запрещенным в России сайтам. В документе предлагается ввести штрафы от 500 до 700 тысяч рублей для поисковых систем за выдачу ссылок на заблокированные сайты.


Единогласно! Все фракции сразу. Ни одного даже воздержавшегося. Надо же, как их всех объединила ненависть к Интернету.

В идеале им надо, чтобы информация в Интернете ничем не отличалась от информации федеральных каналов. А то сейчас уж слишком большой разрыв.

[syndicated profile] lawyersgunsmoneyblog_feed

Posted by dnexon

The Washington Post has a comprehensive report on Russian electoral interference and the Obama Administration’s attempt to handle it without unduly interfering with the US election.

In political terms, Russia’s interference was the crime of the century, an unprecedented and largely successful destabilizing attack on American democracy. It was a case that took almost no time to solve, traced to the Kremlin through cyber-forensics and intelligence on Putin’s involvement. And yet, because of the divergent ways Obama and Trump have handled the matter, Moscow appears unlikely to face proportionate consequences.

Those closest to Obama defend the administration’s response to Russia’s meddling. They note that by August it was too late to prevent the transfer to WikiLeaks and other groups of the troves of emails that would spill out in the ensuing months. They believe that a series of warnings — including one that Obama delivered to Putin in September — prompted Moscow to abandon any plans of further aggression, such as sabotage of U.S. voting systems.

Denis McDonough, who served as Obama’s chief of staff, said that the administration regarded Russia’s interference as an attack on the “heart of our system.”

“We set out from a first-order principle that required us to defend the integrity of the vote,” McDonough said in an interview. “Importantly, we did that. It’s also important to establish what happened and what they attempted to do so as to ensure that we take the steps necessary to stop it from happening again.”

But other administration officials look back on the Russia period with remorse.

“It is the hardest thing about my entire time in government to defend,” said a former senior Obama administration official involved in White House deliberations on Russia. “I feel like we sort of choked.”

You need to read the report now. And then take a look at Thomas Rid’s series of Tweets on the cyber side of the equation.

To the extent that the report is accurate, it reinforces a number of important domestic and international political themes.

First, Moscow clearly believed that electing Trump, or at least weakening Clinton and faith in the US electoral system, served Russian interests. Of course, we already know this. But the length’s that Moscow was willing to, including tampering with the mechanics of the election process, should remove any doubts about the seriousness of the situation. For scholars and analysts, this means waking up to the degree that power politics are about far more than military and economic interests. But in terms of immediate US national interests, it highlights just how damaging Trump’s dispositions are to American security.

The reasons why Moscow preferred Trump over Clinton, and saw even a continuation of Obama foreign policy as a threat, are rooted in a desire to destabilize institutions and arrangements that have overall served the United States, and its allies, very well. It’s easy to dismiss the #neverTrump wing of the Republican foreign-policy establishment as neoconservatives overly prone to military adventures—because it’s generally true. But where neoconservatives, liberal hawks, and progressives should agree is in the desirability of the basic infrastructure—however in need of reform—of the liberal order.

Second, it should not require much elaboration to note the insanity of far-right fantasies concerning the Obama administration’s willingness to manipulate the political process in ways that undermine democracy. Ample evidence, even before the details of this story (again, if true), suggests that Obama and his advisors were far too cautious—and too concerned wth not putting their thumbs on the scale.

Third, we are facing a national emergency when it comes to the electoral process. The Obama Administration believes that it deterred much worse than classic information warfare. What will a Trump administration do? So far, they are attempting to weaken the sanctions voted on by the Senate. This should not bring comfort.

This goes far beyond coercive diplomacy. We can’t ‘slow walk’ the investigation into electoral meddling, and we need to throw serious resources behind electoral integrity measures designed, first and foremost, to secure the voting system. My gut instinct: this requires moving to paper ballots and rethinking how we secure voter rolls.

The second concern is how to cope with Russian information warfare. Here, the GOP is stuck in a political, but not a moral, vise. The marriage between right-wing media and foreign information warfare—both in form and content—serves Republican interests. It helped, at least at the margins, elect Donald Trump. But don’t think that the left doesn’t—or won’t—face a similar problem. We already saw this surrounding the Clinton-Sanders primary battle. In an era of intense political polarization, it’s going to be very hard to push back against disinformation that proves electorally useful. Over twenty years of embracing domestic disinformation laid the groundwork for extreme vulnerability.

Fourth, what does this mean for progressive policy toward Russia? I’ve spent many years trying to navigate between, on the one hand, a clear-eyed assessment of the clash between American and Russian interests and, on the other hand, a strong desire to avoid a new “Cold War.” When I volunteered as part of the unofficial Sanders foreign-policy cell, the course seemed clear: our bright line should be NATO allies. Regardless of whether NATO expansion was a good idea, the United States has an overriding interest in the security of our NATO partners. Ukraine, for its part, required a balancing act. Again, regardless of American mistakes, we needed a calibrated approach that did not recognize the legitimacy of, or facilitate, Russian efforts in Ukraine while also keeping in mind that Ukraine is not worth war with Russia. So, when it looked like Clinton would win the election, this meant progressives needed to prepare themselves for criticizing overly aggressive moves by a future Clinton administration.

Now, I just don’t know. I still worry about the risks of pushing the geostrategic relationship in overly confrontational ways. Indeed, the Trump administration seems to be sleepwalking into very dangerous territory in Syria, behaving schizophrenically toward NATO, and sending rather mixed signals about the overall relationship, This lack of obvious policy coordination at work here—and overall ambiguity it creates in the relationship—might prove the most dangerous of the possible approaches. It creates very significant risks of miscalculation. But it’s clear that the default position among too many progressives—of dismissing attention to Russia’s role in 2016 as ‘McCarthyism’, or seeing it purely through the lens of left-liberal policy fights—is hopelessly naïve.

I hate to be that person, but this is my bottom line: it’s all bad.


[syndicated profile] lawyersgunsmoneyblog_feed

Posted by Scott Lemieux

UNITED STATES – OCTOBER 01: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., arrive for a news conference in the Capitol’s Senate studio on budget negotiations, October 1, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

I’m not sure if we will ever reach peak Stoller, but this is amazing:

Even for useless “messaging” speculation, this is incredibly dumb. To state the obvious, if Pelosi’s attack on TrumpCare focused on red tape rather than death and suffering, Stoller would be attacking her for that — and this would be considerably more plausible. And there’s an even bigger problem here: TrumpCare is massively unpopular. In a polarized country, it’s almost impossible for any policy to be this unpopular. If it passes, it won’t be because Democratic messaging isn’t good enough. It will be because a variety of antidemocratic elements — some baked into the constitutional cake, some Republican-created — give Republicans a huge electoral advantage that insulates most Republican legislators from backlash. But, for whatever reason, a lot of online “leftists” are as allergic to structural analysis as Mark Halperin himself.

As one commenter observed, one reason Stoller is making such a transparently silly argument is that the real point is “Nancy Pelosi sucks.” But I think it goes further than that. Another thing that mainstream journos and people who play tough-minded leftists online have in common is a belief that Democrats are the only relevant actors in American politics. The beauty about “messaging” arguments is that precisely because they’re unfalsifiable you can always tell a story about how the Democrats could have won. If a Republican Congress won’t pass Obama’s legislative agenda, it’s Obama’s fault. If a Republican Congress passes terrible legislation with zero Democratic votes, it’s the Democrats’ fault. If you lose your car keys, it’s because of bad Democratic messaging. Republicans don’t really have any agency or effect on American politics; every political outcome is controlled by the Democratic Party regardless of who controls the levers of power.

Evidently, your felt need to advance this asinine line of reasoning will be much greater if your brand is assertions that the party of Medicaid expansion and Sonia Sotomayor is the same, or perhaps even worse, than the party of destroying Medicaid to pay for an upper-class tax cut and Sam Alito. What else are you going to do, admit you have no idea what you’re talking about and find someting else to do for a living?


amalgin: (Default)
[personal profile] amalgin
МОСКВА, 23 июня. /ТАСС/. Мессенджеры в существующим формате будут актуальны еще три-четыре года, "отмирание" произойдет за счет замкнутости экосистемы. Об этом заявил замглавы Роскомнадзора Олег Иванов в ходе круглого стола, посвященного проблемам регулирования мессенджеров.

"Я бы здесь хотел отметить один момент. По прогнозам аналитиков в сфере телекома, мессенджерам, на самом деле, жить-то три-четыре года максимум. Им на смену идет другая технология - некое подобие браузера со всеми этими функциями", - сказал Иванов...

В РФ возникла угроза блокировки Telegram в связи с отказом создателя мессенджера Павла Дурова предоставить данные о компании в Роскомнадзор для внесения в реестр распространения информации, что необходимо по российскому законодательству...

Cоветник президента РФ по вопросам развития интернета Герман Клименко сообщил ТАСС, что исключений для мессенджера Telegram по предоставлению данных Роскомнадзору в рамках российского законодательства нет. По словам Клименко, в РФ существует много альтернатив. В России работают более 30 мессенджеров, а самый известный, по мнению Клименко, - ICQ.



gemelen: (Default)

June 2017

   1 234
56789 1011

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jun. 23rd, 2017 17:19
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios