You are browsing the archive for 2017 December 22.

Avatar of admin

by admin

WATCH: Trump Sexual Assault Accuser Details Her Awful Experience

December 22, 2017 in Blogs

By Kali Holloway, AlterNet

Jessica Leeds is speaking up for the other women who have come forward to allege Trump sexually abused them.


At least 20 women say Donald Trump has sexually harassed or abused them. While the harrowing details of each story may differ, remarkable consistencies emerge as well. A number of women describe how Trump violated them by forcing them into unwanted kisses and groping their most intimate parts. Those statements seem to align perfectly with Trump’s own videotaped confession that he “just start[s] kissing” women or grabbing them “by the pussy” as he pleases. “It’s like a magnet,” Trump said in the footage. “Just kiss. I don’t even wait [for consent]….You can do anything.”

Reports of Trump’s sexual attacks on women date back at least three decades. According to former businesswoman Jessica Leeds, in 1979 she was seated next to Trump in the first-class cabin of a flight, when without a word, he began groping and kissing her. Leeds’ detailed account of her experience seems to reconfirm Trump’s own 2005 description of his sexually predatory behavior toward women.

“They served the meal. And after it was cleared, he jumped all over me and started groping me and kissing me,” Leeds told Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! “And at the time, I remember thinking, ‘Why doesn’t the guy across from the aisle come to my aid? Why doesn’t the stewardess come back?’….And [he] started grasping me and pulling me and groping my breasts and trying to kiss me. But it’s when he started to put his hand up my skirt that I managed to wiggle out, because I’m not a small person. And I also managed to remember my purse and went to the back of the airplane. And that was the rest of the flight.”

Leeds goes on to describe sitting in the coach section until all other passengers had deplaned, out of fear of encountering Trump again. Like the vast majority of women who experience sexual abuse and harassment, she didn’t tell any authority figures about what had happened, figuring her allegations would be …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

The Self-Help Guru Who Shaped Trump’s Worldview

December 22, 2017 in Blogs

By Chris Lehmann, In These Times

How the commander-in-chief succumbs to the perils of positive thinking.


Taking stock of the first official year of Trump in power means withstanding a multifront assault on reality. Presented in a relentless barrage of Make America Great Again hyperbole, the president’s crushing failures are magically transformed into unprecedented successes, and all expressions of dissent become the work of petty ingrates, ideological fabulists and privileged elites. His signature initiatives—the shameful tax bill and the mercifully stalled Obamacare repeal—become historic windfalls for the very middle- and working-class constituencies they deliberately set out to beggar, to say nothing of how Trump and his apparatchiks have disfigured basic and hitherto settled facts of history, such as the notion that the Civil War was fought over slavery.

At one level, these mind-bending pronouncements are the rancid fruits of a concerted assault on basic categories of meaning and signification. To the scattered forces of the anti-Trump resistance, the ongoing appeal of such bald lying is dumbfounding: Shouldn’t the truth win out—or at least count for something? But such befuddlement stems mainly from a key element of the Trump phenomenon, one that lies firmly outside their cultural frame of reference. Trumpism has taken root in our public discourse because it is squarely in the mainstream of American spiritual life. It is the most extreme, and perversely logical, application of the positive-thinking gospel.

In the president’s biography and business career, the role of positive thinking is hiding in plain sight. From childhood on, Trump worshipped in the temple of the movement’s prophet, Norman Vincent Peale: Manhattan’s Marble Collegiate Church. Indeed, Peale presided over Trump’s first wedding in 1977. Trump’s father was a die-hard adherent of Peale’s preachments, as is his daughter Ivanka, who wrote in her 2009 self-help tract, The Trump Card, that “perception is more important than reality” and you shouldn’t “go out of your way to correct a false assumption if it plays to your advantage.”

Peale’s midcentury self-help bible, The Power of Positive Thinking, is, at its core, a distillation of the message of the Christian faith into a series of achievement-minded axioms. “Picturize, prayerize, actualize” was Peale’s mantra, and …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Republicans Cheer Lavish Tax Breaks for the Wealthy as Healthcare for 9 Million Children Hangs in the Balance

December 22, 2017 in Blogs

By Ilana Novick, AlterNet

CHIP is on the chopping block, but the GOP cares more about satisfying its donors.


We’ve been dreaming of this since you and I were drinking out of a keg,” GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan said in March to Rich Lowry, editor of the conservative National Review, regarding cutting Medicaid benefits.

After months of attempts to do so by repealing the Affordable Care Act, Ryan got closer than ever to his beer-soaked dreams, as Congress passed a $1.5 trillion tax plan. Ryan, Trump and Mitch McConnell celebrated this Christmas present to the Koch brothers, which in addition to providing generous, permanent tax cuts for corporations cuts the corporate tax rate to 21% (and the individual rate to 37), and strips critical health care protections from the public.

The GOP did this in complete secrecy, finding time to vote multiple times in the middle of the night for Ryan's wealth-transfer fantasies, but failed to determine how to save the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) a bipartisan program that provides health insurance to poor children. Congress let CHIP's funding expire at the end of September, but as Vox reports, “States and the feds have been getting by with some creative budgeting to make sure no kids are kicked off the rolls,” in the hopes Congress might finally come up with a solution before the end of the legislative session.

Joan Alker, the director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families told Vox that “Never before has Congress let CHIP funding lapse for this length of time…Families need the peace of mind as they head into this holiday season that their CHIP coverage will be secure.”

With the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, that dream seemed dead Wednesday afternoon, per a joint statement from senators Lamar Alexander and Susan Collins:

“[They] have asked Senator McConnell not to offer this week our legislation which independent analysts Avalere and Oliver-Wyman say would reduce premiums by about 20 percent for the 9 million Americans who have no government subsidies to help them buy insurance in the individual …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

The Real Story Behind Katharine Graham and 'The Post'

December 22, 2017 in Blogs

By Norman Solomon, AlterNet

Click here for reuse options!


She was an inspirational publisher, and in retrospect, the epitome of white feminism.


Movie critics are already hailing “The Post,” directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Meryl Streep as Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham. Millions of people will see the film in early winter. But the real-life political story of Graham and her newspaper is not a narrative that’s headed to the multiplexes.

“The Post” comes 20 years after Graham’s autobiography, Personal History, won enormous praise. Read as a memoir, the book is a poignant account of Graham’s long quest to overcome sexism, learn the newspaper business and gain self-esteem. Read as media history, however, it is deceptive.

“I don’t believe that whom I was or wasn’t friends with interfered with our reporting at any of our publications,” Graham wrote. However, Robert Parry, who was a Washington correspondent for Newsweek during the last three years of the 1980s, has shed some light on the shadows of Graham’s reassuring prose. Contrary to the claims in the book, Parry said he witnessed “self-censorship because of the coziness between Post-Newsweek executives and senior national security figures.” 

Among Parry’s examples: “On one occasion in 1987, I was told that my story about the CIA funneling anti-Sandinista money through Nicaragua’s Catholic Church had been watered down because the story needed to be run past Mrs. Graham, and Henry Kissinger was her house guest that weekend. Apparently, there was fear among the top editors that the story as written might cause some consternation.” (The 1996 memoir of former CIA Director Robert Gates confirmed that Parry had the story right all along.)

Graham’s book exudes affection for Kissinger as well as Robert McNamara and other luminaries of various administrations who remained her close friends until she died in 2001. To Graham, men like McNamara and Kissinger—the main war architects for presidents Lyndon Johnson …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

David Gornoski on Anthropology and Liberty

December 22, 2017 in Economics

By David Gornoski, Jeff Deist

Mises Weekends with Jeff Deist

By: David Gornoski, Jeff Deist

David Gornoski is a Christian libertarian writer, frequently featured at The American Conservative and Foundation for Economic Education. David takes inspiration from the work of the late Stanford professor Rene Girard, whose mimetic theory strongly influenced a young Peter Thiel. David's goal is to ground libertarianism in cultural anthropology, in particular by applying Girard's “scapegoat theory” to the modern state. Instead of allowing progressives to dominate arts, film, and literature, libertarians should become the storytellers—and show government for the villain it is.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

Avatar of admin

by admin

Automobiles Freed Us from the Tyranny of Horses

December 22, 2017 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

oldford.PNG

By: Ryan McMaken

Thanks to the automobile, Americans live in an age of extremely inexpensive transportation, by historical measures.

In the United States in 2015, there was approximately one motor vehicle per 1.21 people. With the exception of the small, wealthy city states of San Marino and Monaco, the United States employs more motor vehicles than any other country.

Even if we make similar calculations using just “passenger cars,” the number of vehicles per person remains quite high: fewer than 2.3 people per passenger car.

People who don't like automobiles tell us this is a symptom of bad urban planning and a dysfunctional American obsession with cars. This may or may not be the case, but the number of automobiles is also a function of a society's wealth.

It's not a mere coincidence that Monaco, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein — countries with some of the world 's highest levels of wealth and income — also have the largest numbers of vehicles per capita.

We can also see this reflected in American use of motor vehicles over time.

In 1960, there was one motor vehicle in the US per 2.4 people. By 1985, that number of people per vehicle had dropped to 1.3, and 30 years after that, was down to 1.21. In times of recession, total vehicles tend to stall — reflecting the connection to economic conditions. As with median income, total vehicles per capita has moved little since 2001, and as of 2015, total vehicles per capita had still not returned to the 2008 peak level of one vehicle per 1.19 people.1

Many More Cars than Horses Per Capita

If we look at automobile ownership a century ago, when the age of the automobile was just beginning, the number of vehicles per capita was, not surprisingly, much lower. According to K.H. Schaeffer and Ellitt Sclar, “During the 1910s” the total number of vehicles “multiplied from 5 to 75 vehicles per 1,000 population.” That is, the number increased from one vehicle per 200 people to one per 13 people in 1920. Fifty years later, in 1970, total vehicles had risen to one vehicle per 1.8 Americans.2

Americans who get most of their information about The …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

Avatar of admin

by admin

Americans Are Addicted to Homeownership, and the Government is the Pusher

December 22, 2017 in Economics

By Doug French

sold.PNG

By: Doug French

Americans loved their houses. Their four walls and a roof always went up in value, until it ended. But, now housing is back: 2008 was just a bad dream. Jared Dillian has written a dandy piece for Bloomberg making the case for housing to be taken from its preferred status in the tax code. Mr. Dillian has the website The Daily Dirtnap and wrote the wonderful book Street Freak.

Eliminate deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes and tax any capital gains the way Uncle Sam does on stocks and other assets, says Dillian. Encouraging people to go into hock for 30 years to buy an illiquid asset is nonsense, he says. This makes the economy “more fragile. We should instead think about ways to make it more anti-fragile,” Dillian writes.

He continues,

So, sure, it's nice that homeownership forces people to build equity in an asset, even if it is a profoundly crappy asset, because left to their own devices, they probably wouldn’t save anything at all. But, ideally, wouldn’t we want people diversified across a range of assets, instead of having all their eggs in one basket?

The real nub of his argument is people should be encouraged to save and invest, not consume and take on years of debt. However, this continues to be the age of Keynesianism, where saving is bad, while consumption is good for the economy.

Gregory Bresiger explained Keynesian fallacies on mises.org, “Yet penalizing thrift, the lifeblood of job creation and better tools that make current workers more efficient, has hurt the nation’s ability to grow and employ millions of young people looking for jobs. That’s because Keynesianism, according to its modern interpreters, amounts to a celebration of consumption. It is a belief that government spending combined with low savings rates lead to permanent booms.”

“The growth in wealth, so far from being dependent on the abstinence [savings] of the rich, as is commonly supposed, is more likely to be impeded by it,” John Maynard Keynes wrote in The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money.

“The more virtuous we are, the more determinedly thrifty, the more obstinately orthodox in our national and personal finance, the more incomes will have to fall,” he writes. “Saving,” Keynes wrote in his Treatise on Money, “is the act of the individual consumer and consists in the negative act of refraining from spending the whole of …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

Avatar of admin

by admin

Paul Krugman: Christmas Has Come Early for America's Plutocrats

December 22, 2017 in Blogs

By Jacob Sugarman, AlterNet

Republicans don't care if you've been naughty or nice; in fact, they reward you for being naughty.


Millions of Americans are scrambling to finish their holiday shopping, but for the top tenth of the 1 percent, Christmas arrived Friday morning when Donald Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law. And while wealthy heirs and heiresses are lining their stockings (and pockets) this weekend, the rest of us have been left with a proverbial lump of coal. 

So argues the New York Times' Paul Krugman, whose latest column explodes the GOP's talking points that this legislation is designed to benefit the middle class in any way whatsoever. Republicans insist that the $1 trillion corporations are saving will eventually find its way to workers in the form of increased wages. But a wealth of research suggests that only a small fraction of that money—somewhere between one quarter and one fifth—will actually trickle down. This figure could be even smaller over the next few years.

“Meanwhile, complicated things will happen to individual taxes,” Krugman writes. “Some deductions will increase, others will be cut. Next year, most people will probably see a small tax cut, although for the middle class it will be a smaller cut than the one they got from Barack Obama in 2009—a tax cut almost nobody noticed.”

Perhaps the most important thing to understand about the GOP bill is that its corporate tax cut is permanent while its benefits for middle- and lower-income earners will eventually expire. That means a family of four earning $60,000 combined could pay significantly more in 2027 when the legislation is fully phased in.

“Republicans claim that we shouldn’t take this prospect seriously, because future Congresses will extend the individual breaks—that is, they’re saying that their own law is so bad that it won’t be implemented as written,” Krugman continues. “And remember, that’s supposed to be a defense of the bill.”

What's worse, the way the bill is written practically invites taxpayers to cheat the system. Because independent contractors pay a far lower rate than wage-earners, thousands upon thousands will file as private businesses, but only those with the …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

A David Gordon Anthology

December 22, 2017 in Economics

By Paul Gottfried

gordon_0.PNG

By: Paul Gottfried

I recently ordered and am now eagerly devouring the anthology of David Gordon’s reviews and essays An Austro-Libertarian View published by the Mises Institute. Gordon belongs in more than one way to the institute that brought out this volume. Indeed in his Foreword he lets the reader know that when he first read Man, Economy and the State in 1962, he became a “convinced Rothbardian,” and “it is from this standpoint that I have written my articles.” This may understate the relation described. David was a close friend as well as disciple of Murray, who returned David’s admiration by describing him as a “universal genius unequalled in my experience.” Following what David characterizes as Murray’s “lamented death” in January 1995, he founded The Mises Review, at least partly to perpetuate the legacy of the thinker who influenced him the most profoundly. As someone who speaks to David with some regularity, I can testify to the fact that he often begins his sentences with the phrase “Murray would say.” That is meant to seal his argument in the same way that a medieval thinker might invoke Aristotle as a text proof.

None of this is meant to suggest that David writes as a slavish follower of anyone. Although many of the reviews in his anthology undoubtedly point back to Rothbard as an economist and critic of the state, there is something unique to David in all his sparkling essays. His predilections might often leave a conventional libertarian scratching his head, for example as when in a study of Patrick Allitt’s book Catholic Intellectuals and Conservative Politics in America, 1950-1985, he expresses his preference for the very right-wing Catholic authors, Thomas Molnar and Frederick Wilhelmsen as against the Catholic leftist Gary Will and the neocon celebrity Michael Novak. The reason given for this judgment is that the first set of Catholic intellectuals write with “intellectual power,” while the other two are mere celebrities attached to the American political establishment.

There is always a certain ambivalence in David’s assessments. Like Murray Rothbard, he prefers those who make coherent arguments to those who play to the crowd. He also prefers those who are true to themselves as opposed to those who seek social acceptance. Whence David’s generous judgment of the Southern traditionalist, M.E. Bradford, whose life and career were destroyed by the neocon press and whom he …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

Avatar of admin

by admin

As Republicans Celebrate Plundering Tax Bill, Democrats Hope It Will Be A Nail in the GOP's Coffin

December 22, 2017 in Blogs

By Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet

Early signs suggest the tax bill may help Democrats in 2018 like Obamacare helped the GOP in 2010.


/* ><!–*/

/*–><!*/

When historians write the political obituary for the Republican Party, they will surely include the $1.5 trillion tax bill, which was railroaded through Congress this week, as a sign of everything anathema to what conservatives once stood for.

With the bill’s passage, as Frank Bruni brilliantly noted in a Times column, the Democrats have become the party that stands for fiscal austerity, family values, safety nets, fairness, decency, modesty, and the rule of law—as opposed to the greed, corruption, plunder, racism and sexism the Republicans are now known for. The GOP’s pillars are falling. They’re up for grabs, or so it would seem.

But between now and the time the GOP is ousted, what role will political landmarks, such as its only legislative victory under President Trump, a tax-based upward transfer of wealth, play in the governing and electoral arena heading into 2018’s midterms and 2020’s presidential election? Will it become a rallying cry for Democrats to regain federal power in 2018, just as the passage of Obamacare in 2010 fueled the Tea Party’s rise and GOP takeover of the House that continues today? Or is the tax law another impression, a large dot in a growing and increasingly clear picture of life in America under Trump and a red-run Congress.

Academic pollsters say it’s too early to tell.

“Unfortunately, facts never seem to fit all of the same circumstances,” said Peter Brown, Quinnipiac University Poll assistant director, when asked how pivotal the tax bill is likely to be in 2018’s midterm elections, based on past polls and history he’s seen. “It will be years until we find out.”

“Here’s the question: does this change voters' opinion of …read more

Source: ALTERNET