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How Rush Limbaugh helped turn feminism into an urgent threat to the GOP

February 21, 2021 in Blogs

By Alexa Mikhail, The19Th

Rush Limbaugh, who died Wednesday at the age of 70, was the radio voice of the right, a pioneer in the kind of political commentary popular on opinion-based cable shows today. For decades, he used “The Rush Limbaugh Show” to lob bigoted attacks on feminists and other liberals, and his bombast shaped many of today’s political debates.

Christina Wolbrecht, a professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame who has studied political parties over time as well as women’s rights, has written about his influence in the Republican Party. The party had been seen as a champion of women’s rights, she said, but commentary from Limbaugh helped propel the narrative that supporting women in positions of power was a danger.

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

The 19th: From your work studying the GOP and women’s rights, can you talk about Rush Limbaugh’s legacy? How far was his reach?

Christina Wolbrecht: The Republican Party underwent a lot of transformations from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s into a more socially conservative party. And part of that story had to do with so-called culture war issues, including among them one of the most prominent: the question of women’s rights. There were kind of two main strands of arguments against women’s rights as second-wave feminism has defined it. One is the small-government argument: Government should not be involved in telling businesses who to hire and what benefits to offer.

The other argument is articulated more as sort of in opposition to women in nontraditional roles. Phyllis Schlafly would be a really classic example of both of those things. She’s a small-government conservative, but also fundamentally represented this discomfort with women who tried to do things beyond what women have traditionally done: care for children, take care of the home, etc.

So Limbaugh comes out of that second tradition, but I think it’s important to say he takes it even further in many ways — this defining of feminism as an attack on the American way of life, and an attack on sort of this very masculine idea about political power and strength. Women in every sort of extreme stereotype: Women are harpies, women are ball breakers, women just want to take power away from men, women are sluts.

And those ideas have been really powerful. There’s a difference between saying, on an ideological …read more


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'This is madness!' Stephen Miller has meltdown about 'canceling President Trump' on Fox News

February 21, 2021 in Blogs

By David Edwards

Former White House adviser Stephen Miller on Sunday accused Democrats of “madness” over a push to enact comprehensive immigration reform.

Miller made the remarks on Fox News after network host Maria Bartiromo announced that a “new border crisis is afoot” due to a reform bill that has been introduced by Democrats.

For his part, Miller argued that granting citizenship to immigrants would “erase the essence” of the United States.

“The legislation put forward by Biden and congressional Democrats would fundamentally erase the very essence of America’s nationhood,” Miller claimed, explaining that he was upset by the idea that immigrants could legally regain entry after being deported by a former administration.

“This is madness!” he exclaimed. “This administration has already dismantled border security, canceling President Trump’s historic agreements with Mexico and with the northern triangle countries, restoring catch and release and additionally gutting interior enforcement, issuing a memo, preventing ICE from removing the vast majority of criminal illegal immigrants that it encounters!”

“This is a policy choice disguised falsely to the court and to the country as a resource issue!” Miller shouted. “That is a lie and it’s a lie that threatens public safety.”

“Wow,” Bartiromo replied.

Miller contended that the U.S. has enough resources for enforcement but not enough to treat immigrants humanely.

“So ask yourself, who is going to pay for the education?” he said. “What does it mean when classrooms, God willing, reopen? What does it mean for classroom size? What does it mean for health care? Then you add on top of that the families that are being released. Who is paying for the medical bills? Who’s paying for the health care costs?”

“That’s coming out of your pocket book!” Miller said. “And it’s a public safety issue!”

“If you give low-skilled, illegal immigrants a path to citizenship, that will mean a net fiscal transfer of trillions of dollars longterm to pay for social security, to pay for medical care, to pay for Medicaid,” he added. “It’s an extraordinary expense to give that to 20 million illegal immigrants.”

Watch the video below from Fox News.

…read more


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If you're concerned about rising Federal debt — read this

February 21, 2021 in Blogs

By Dean Baker

How will our children know they face a crushing debt burden?

The question above may seem silly.

Of course, they will know because there are a number of well-funded policy shops that will be spewing out endless papers and columns telling them that they are facing a crushing debt burden.

Because these policy shops are well-funded and well-connected we can be sure that major media outlets, like The New York Times, The Washington Post and National Public Radio, will give their complaints plenty of space.

But let’s imagine a world where our children weren’t constantly being told that they face a crushing debt burden. How would they know?

Even with a higher tax burden due to the debt we are now building up, workers 10 years out should enjoy substantially higher living standards than they do today.

It might be hard if the latest budget projects are close to the mark. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) just released new projections for the budget and the economy.

They show that in 2031, the last year in their budget horizon, the interest burden on our debt will be 2.4% of Gross Domestic Product. That’s up from current interest costs of 1.4% of GDP. That implies an increase in the debt burden, measured by interest costs, of 1.0 percentage point of GDP.

Side note 1: The true debt burden is actually somewhat less. Last year the Federal Reserve Board refunded $88 billion, roughly 0.4% of GDP, to the Treasury. This was based on interest that it had collected on the bonds it held. That leaves the actual interest burden at around 1% of GDP.

Will an interest burden of 2.4% of GDP crush our children?

On the face of it, the deficit hawks have a hard case here. The interest burden was over 3.0% of GDP for most of the early and mid-1990s. And for those who were not around or have forgotten, the 1990s, or at least the second half, was a very prosperous decade. It’s a bit hard to see how an interest burden of 2.4% of GDP can be crushing if burdens of more than 3.0% of GDP were not a big problem.

Imagining Even More Debt

But, the debt burden may be higher than the current projections show. After all, President Biden has proposed a $1.9 trillion pandemic rescue package. He also will have other spending …read more


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This pastor quit his church after his parishioners became obsessed with QAnon conspiracies

February 21, 2021 in Blogs

By Tom Boggioni

In an interview with NPR, an evangelical pastor from Virginia admitted he felt the need to quit his church after many of his parishioners became obsessed with QAnon conspiracy theories and other blatantly false stories they picked up from social media and conservative news outlets.

According to the report, Jared Stacy gave up his post at Spotswood Baptist Church in Fredericksburg, Va., last year after four years because partisan politics kept creeping into the church, causing a rift among members.

In his interview, he worried about the evangelical community’s close ties to conservative politics — including the affection some Christian leaders have for Donald Trump.

“If Christians in America are serious about helping people see Jesus and what he’s about and what he claims, then the label ‘evangelical’ is a distraction because it bears, unfortunately, the weight of a violence. I would not use that term because of its association with Jan. 6,” he said referring to the at the U.S. Capitol incited by the former president that occurred after he left.

Which brings him back to why he gave up on his church after watching a change in the membership under Trump.

“During the protests over summer after George Floyd’s killing, Stacy noticed his congregation making a turn towards a conspiracy theory about child sex trafficking,” NPR’s Dalia Mortada reported, with Stacy adding, “I began to see on social media people ignoring or pushing away Black Lives Matter by saying, you know, oh, well, no one’s over here talking about trafficking.”

“He saw some people in his own congregation — mostly the parents or elders of the young adults he worked with — elevating the idea of sex trafficking of kids and what he called ‘Democrat pedophilia,’” the report states with the pastor suggesting, “This is about a wholesale view of reality — what is real, what is true. It was people who I respected, and that’s even more complicated because they were [my] elders.”

According to the pastor, the more the conspiracy theories were discussed, the more pressure it was putting on younger members of his congregation — even though he did his best to dissuade his flock from believing them.

“The crack, the split was kitchen tables, where you have two completely different information streams, one that the parents use …read more


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Katie Porter — one of Congress’ only single moms — has a plan to help caregivers

February 21, 2021 in Blogs

By Chabeli Carrazana,

Rep. Katie Porter, one of the only single moms in Congress with young kids, waded through 2020 like most other parents: without much of a safety net.

She entered her first term representing California’s 45th Congressional District in 2019 with three kids — now ages 9, 12 and 15 — and has quickly earned a reputation for fighting for working mothers (and eviscerating witnesses in questioning). This year, much of what she already knew to be true — that child care and school were the flimsy tethers that kept women in the workplace — became acutely obvious to much of the population, parents or not.

This story first appeared at The19th.

President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan includes $130 billion for school reopenings, $25 billion in emergency funds to stabilize the child care industry and a proposal to expand the child tax credit to as much as $3,600 per child, sent via monthly checks, and enhanced so that the poorest families can access the full benefit. His longer-term, $775 billion caregiving plan would stretch for 10 years and provide better wages for care workers and enhance options for home- and community-based care.

It’s in that context that Porter has recently reintroduced her Family Savings for Kids and Seniors Act, a bill that would tie to inflation the amount of pre-tax dollars parents can set aside to pay for things like preschool, day care, senior care, summer camp and afterschool care. Currently, the amount is $5,000 — a figure that has remained unchanged since 1986.

Had her bill been adopted in 2020, families could have set aside $11,800 in pre-tax dollars for dependent care.

Porter sat down with The 19th to discuss her bill and what other legislation she feels is essential in carving a path out of the caregiving crisis.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

So much of the story of caregiving this year is a gendered one. Talk to me about being a single mom during the pandemic. It’s always been challenging, but what has this past year taught you about caregiving? How did you manage it and how has it informed your priorities moving forward?

My job is somewhat different in that it involved being away from home so much. It’s more of a juggle, rather than here or not …read more