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Republicans Are Becoming Less Educated

March 31, 2018 in Blogs

By Kali Holloway, AlterNet

Nerds to the left.


There are several key attributes that define the Republican Party in its modern incarnation: its overwhelming whiteness; its self-reported religiosity; its slavish devotion to a man who boasts he

An obvious contributor to the declining education level within the GOP is the party’s hostility toward higher education, which has grown more ardent in recent years, though dates back decades. In 1952, vice presidential candidate Richard Nixon labeled Democratic presidential contender Adlai Stevenson an “egghead,” a reference to both his intellect and emerging pate. People often point to William F. Buckley as epitomizing a more enlightened and pro-intellectual conservative movement, but that gives posh transatlantic accents too much credit while ignoring what’s actually being stated. In fact, the National Review founder declared in 1963 he “should sooner live in a society governed by the first 2,000 names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the 2,000 faculty members of Harvard University.” (He also argued American blacks weren’t quite civilized enough to have civil rights, because he was awful on multiple fronts.) In his campaign for California governor, Ronald Reagan suggested that “universities should not subsidize intellectual curiosity,” an argument that collapses in on itself under the weight of its vacuousness. And George W. Bush won infinite points with the anti-intellectualism crowd when he announced he wasn’t much for “sitting down and reading a 500-page book on public policy or philosophy or something.”

The cumulative effect of so much big, dumb posturing is a pervasive culture of animosity toward not just education, but sites of learning themselves. Institutions of higher learning are among the primary targets of Republican ire in the culture wars, with conservatives imagining universities as liberal indoctrination factories staffed by Marxists who transform impressionable white youth into communist feminazi agents of their own racial extinction. Last year, Pew researchers discovered that “a majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (58 percent) now say that colleges and universities have a negative effect on the country, up from 45 percent last year.” The same poll found 72 percent …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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'It's Our Time and We Know What to Do': Activists Plan Next Steps After March For Our Lives

March 31, 2018 in Blogs

By Ilana Novick, AlterNet

First, they marched. Now, they vote.


Joaquin Oliver loved basketball. So much so, family friend Carol L. Chenkin told AlterNet, that his father, despite not being a huge sports fan, became his team’s coach as a way to bond with his son. On February 14, Joaquin was among the 17 people killed in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. He was buried in Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat’s jersey.

Chenkin is now the executive director of Change the Ref, an organization started by Joaquin’s parents, Manuel and Patricia Oliver, to promote civic engagement and activism among youth determined to fight back against gun violence.

During the March for Our Lives last Saturday, hundreds of thousands of Americans descended on Washington, D.C. and cities across the country to protest political inaction on gun control and demand their representatives take a stand—or be voted out. The March for Our Lives was a galvanizing call to action, but it was only the beginning of a series of steps, all led by young people, to demand politicians pair their thoughts and prayers with policy change.

Students all over the country are now planning an April 20 nationwide walkout, with help from national groups like the Women's March Youth, whose site lists 49 walkouts and counting.

The Town Hall Project, an organization started after the 2016 election to demand that the 435 members of the House of Representatives hold public events where their constituents can hold them accountable, is encouraging Americans to demand their representatives have a “Town Hall For Our Lives” on April 7, specifically focused on gun control.

A group of students in Wisconsin even spent their spring break marching 50 miles from the capital of Milwaukee all the way to Paul Ryan’s home district in Janesville to demand gun control laws.

“50 Miles More has three asks for Paul Ryan and other politicians,” teen organizers Brendan Fardella, Katie Eder and Alemitu Caldart said in a joint interview with AlterNet.  

“The first is that all military-style weapons, weapons of war, should be banned from civilian …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Keep Hospitals Safe From ICE

March 31, 2018 in Blogs

By Brave New Films

Our immigration policies force people to choose between their health or deportation.


Since Trump has taken office, the Department of Homeland of Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement have aggressively targeted undocumented immigrants. With increasing reports of ICE roundups and arrests near and inside hospitals, more and more undocumented immigrants must choose between remaining with their families or risking deportation for medical care—even if their lives depend on it.

Immigrant Stories: Doctors and Nurses, the latest video by Brave New Films, exposes the inhumanity of immigration policies that force people to choose between medical care or deportation. Doctors and nurses report on the heightened levels of anxiety and stress their undocumented immigrant patients are experiencing, resulting in health complications, missed appointments, failure to pick up life-saving medications, and even patients yanking out their ventilation tubes and fleeing the ICU.

DHS maintains a policy of “sensitive locations”—hospitals, schools, places of worship, and public gatherings—where no immigration enforcement activity should take place unless there is a threat to national security or public safety. Unfortunately, this policy is just a set of vague discretionary guidelines that agents can ignore as they see fit.

The Protecting Sensitive Locations Act (H.R.1815/S.845) would strengthen and codify the current guidelines, expand the list of sensitive locations to include courthouses, bus stops, and other organizations that serve vulnerable populations, and would prohibit enforcement activity within 1,000 feet of any sensitive location.

The bill currently sits in judiciary committees in both the House and the Senate. It was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) on April 5, 2017, and in the House by Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY 13) on March 30, 2017.

We urge Congress to pass the Protecting Sensitive Locations Act. No human being, whether undocumented, documented, or a citizen, should ever feel unsafe when seeking medical care.

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David Shulkin's Firing at the VA Is Latest Step in Trump-Koch Push to Privatize Veterans' Health Care

March 31, 2018 in Blogs

By Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!

Trump and the Koch brothers are trying to kill the nation’s only single-payer system.


On Wednesday, President Trump fired Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin and said he’d replace him with White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson, a rear admiral in the Navy. Dr. Jackson has no experience running a large agency. The Department of Veterans Affairs is the federal government’s second-largest department, with 360,000 employees. Shulkin had been facing criticism for various ethics violations, including using taxpayer money to pay for his wife’s airfare during a trip to Europe last summer. But Shulkin says he’s actually being ousted because of his opposition to privatizing the VA, which runs 1,700 hospitals and clinics. The push to privatize the VA has been led by a group called Concerned Veterans for America, which is funded by the billionaire conservative Koch brothers. We speak to Suzanne Gordon, an award-winning healthcare journalist. Her forthcoming book is titled “Wounds of War: Veterans’ Healthcare in the Era of Privatization.”

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We begin today’s show looking at the turmoil in the Department of Veterans Affairs. On Wednesday, President Trump fired Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin and said he’d replace him with White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson, a rear admiral in the Navy. Dr. Jackson has no experience running a large agency. The Department of Veterans Affairs is the federal government’s second-largest agency, with 360,000 employees.

Shulkin had been facing criticism for various ethics violations, including using taxpayer money to pay for his wife’s airfare during a trip to Europe last summer. But Shulkin says he’s actually been ousted because of his opposition to privatizing the VA, which runs 1,700 hospitals and clinics. In a an op-ed for The New York Times, Dr. Shulkin wrote, “They saw me as an obstacle to privatization who had to be removed. That is because I am convinced that privatization is a political issue aimed at rewarding select people and companies with profits, even if it undermines care for veterans,” unquote.

The push to privatize the VA has been led by a …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Saudi Crown Prince—'Socially Acceptable War Criminal'—Enjoys U.S. Tour Hosted by America's Elite

March 31, 2018 in Blogs

By Jessica Corbett, Common Dreams

Despite public relations blitz, Saudi monarchy “retains an atrocious human rights record and the situation has only deteriorated since the crown prince was appointed.”


After meeting with President Donald Trump last week to reaffirm U.S. military support for Saudi Arabia's brutal assault on Yemen, crown prince and accused war criminal Mohammed bin Salman, or MbS, is continuing his “whitewash tour” across the country with “a who's who of America's rich and powerful.”

A peek at the prince's itinerary, leaked to The Independent on Wednesday, reveals meetings with top U.S. leaders in politics, media, and major industries—shedding light on the “full extent of the heir to the throne's American charm offensive.”

From New York to the Silicon Valley, the prince's coast-to-coast welcoming committee reportedly includes up to four previous presidents as well as former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, media mogul Oprah Winfrey, and several newspaper editorial boards.

“Saudi Arabia has always had a public image problem in the West because of the obvious things like women's rights and beheadings,” Nader Hashemi, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver's Josef Korbel School of International Studies, told The Independent. ”When you meet with Oprah, even if you're not going to be interviewed, you're seeking the approval of an opinion maker. You're going into people's homes and reaching deep into American culture.”

While America's so-called A-listers have seemingly lined up to rub elbows with MbS, critics of the prince—and the war his nation is waging against one of the world's poorest countries, causing a horrific humanitarian crisis—were less receptive to his supposed charm.

“If you didn't know better, you would think Saudi Arabia is on a path to major reform,” warned Amnesty International on Thursday. “However, in the months since the crown prince's appointment, we have seen little reason to believe that his overtures are anything more than a slick …read more

Source: ALTERNET