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Protective Life
24 мая, 18:28

Kenyan Medics Say U.S. Health Aid Cuts Will Mean More Abortions

function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); President Donald Trump’s dramatic expansion of a policy blocking U.S. aid to organizations offering abortion services will have one sure result, say medical workers in this city: more abortions. The United States reinstated the “Mexico City Policy” in January, cutting some $600 million in funds for family planning programs overseas. Last week its scope suddenly mushroomed. Trump expanded it to affect $8.8 billion worth of global health funding, including programs on HIV/AIDS, malaria and child health. The extension requires all health organizations receiving U.S. aid to guarantee they do not provide abortion services or discuss abortion policy, even if the abortion-related activities are funded by non-U.S. government sources. The policy means cuts to programs like the one run by Kenyan nurse Monica Oguttu, who founded the Kisumu Medical and Education Trust to help poor women get health care and education in the country’s third largest-city. The trust had been scheduled to receive a total of $2 million from USAID from 2017 to 2021, around 56 percent of its budget. It now expects to lose all its U.S. funding. Oguttu founded the organization after discovering that half of the women in her gynecological ward in a Nairobi teaching hospital were there because of the damage done by backstreet abortions. “One in five of them went home in a coffin,” she said. “There was a 17-year-old girl who had lost her uterus and had damage to her rectum. She went home with a colostomy bag . . . We would like to save these women.”  The Mexico City Policy, started in 1984, has in the past been routinely rescinded under Democratic administrations and reinstated under Republican ones. Oguttu said she remembered when President George Bush reinstated the policy in 2001. Aid groups had to shut eight clinics in Kenya and hike prices in others, according to a study by the Washington D.C.-based Population Action International. “Suddenly there were no contraceptive methods,” she said. “We had so many more complications having to do with post-abortion care from unsafe abortions . . . We saw it happen last time and we dread it coming again.” Cuts will force Oguttu’s trust to start charging for contraceptives which are currently free, she said. The Kenyan health ministry, recently rocked by strikes in public hospitals and a major corruption scandal, did not return calls seeking comment.  AFRICA-WIDE STUDY A 2011 Stanford University study looked at the effects of the Mexico City Policy on 261,116 women in 20 countries across sub-Saharan Africa. It found a dramatic jump in abortion rates during 2001-2008, when the policy was in place, compared to 1994-2001, when it was rescinded. Abortions went up, on average, from 10.4 per 10,000 women to 14.5 per 10,000. In poor countries most dependent on U.S. money for reproductive health services, abortions more than doubled. Joyce, 24, had an abortion at the Kisumu clinic last year so she could continue her university studies. Afterwards, it gave her an IUD contraceptive. “My life would have been miserable. It (pregnancy) would have forced me to drop out of school,” she whispered. Sitting next to her at the clinic, bright-eyed Margaret Apiyo, 27, said she did not use its abortion services but came for check-ups and to give birth. Despite complications, she has had two healthy daughters. “They took good care of me, together with the baby I was carrying,” she said happily. “Finally I was safe.” The Trump administration says overseas aid for health programs will continue, but might be redirected to different providers. “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance does not reduce the amount of global health assistance the U.S. Government makes available, and funding previously obligated will not be affected,” the State Department said in a statement. On a continent with hundreds of millions of Christians and Muslims, some African anti-abortion groups applaud the U.S. measures. “If prevention (abstinence) information was given out widely then we could curb these abortion cases,” said Joseph Peter Kamande, director of programming at charity Abstinence Kenya. “We think pro-life is better for us in Kenya.” A U.S. government-funded study released in 2007 found abstinence-only programs to be widely ineffective. In response to the reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy, the international campaign She Decides was launched in January with the goal of making up the initial $600 million shortfall in funding. Led by Dutch development minister Lilianne Ploumen, it has since raised $181 million. “The impact on millions of women and men will be huge,” she said in a statement on the U.S. policy. “The number of abortions will not fall, as the U.S. wants, but will in fact rise.” Chimaraoke Izugbara, at the Nairobi-based Africa Population Health Research Centre, said that even if other donors replaced U.S. funding, the money would come at the expense of other health needs. “While funding may go into the provision of safe abortion services, that will divert attention from other things that they are doing, like nutrition, like child health,” he said. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

15 мая, 21:09

Donald Trump Drastically Expands 'Global Gag Rule' On Abortion

function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); WASHINGTON ― President Donald Trump’s administration announced the details Monday of the president’s unprecedented international anti-abortion policy, which drastically expands the “global gag rule” that past Republican presidents have placed on U.S. health assistance funds.  The gag rule, also known as the Mexico City policy, blocks international family planning assistance through the U.S. Agency for International Development to any groups or programs that provide or even mention abortions to women, or speak out about abortion laws in their own countries. It was last implemented by President George W. Bush and then was repealed by President Barack Obama. Trump’s plan, called Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance, goes much further than that. The policy applies the anti-abortion rule to $8.8 billion in global health funding furnished by the State Department, USAID and the Department of Defense, instead of only $600 million in family planning funding. This means that a clinic receiving U.S. assistance for HIV or Zika relief will lose all that money if it so much as gives pregnant women information about safe abortion care. “The pro-life policy will apply to global health assistance funding for international health programs, such as those for HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, malaria, global health security, and family planning and reproductive health,” a White House official told Christian Broadcasting Network News.  CBN News’ David Brody called the policy “yet another evangelical victory under this administration.”  Unsafe abortion accounts for 13 percent of maternal deaths ― about 47,000 deaths per year ― worldwide. And because the U.S. is the largest funder of global health programs in the world, the policies governing U.S. foreign aid can have a significant chilling effect on abortion and contraception access for women and girls in developing countries.  Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) called Trump’s expansion of the gag rule an “ideological crusade” that ignores “decades of research” on preventing unplanned pregnancies and protecting maternal health.  “Today, the Trump administration confirmed our worst fears regarding this new, drastically expanded global gag executive order,” Shaheen said. “This administration’s pathetic rebranding of this policy ‎is a thinly veiled attempt to hide the tremendous harm it has around the world. President Trump’s dangerous obsession with rolling back reproductive rights has severe consequences for millions of vulnerable women and children, and grossly undermines our nation’s humanitarian leadership around the globe.” This article has been updated to note the announcement of the policy. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

15 мая, 13:25

THE TRUTH about Trump’s tapes -- POLITICO INVESTIGATION: Stock trades ‘leaves Congress rife with conflicts’ -- About that White House shakeup … -- ADRIENNE ELROD’s new firm -- B’DAY: Rachel Kelly

Listen to the Playbook Audio Briefing http://bit.ly/2qIO6jZ ... Subscribe on iTunes http://apple.co/2eX6Eay ... Visit the online home of Playbook http://politi.co/2f51JnfTHE TRUTH ABOUT THE TAPES -- President Donald Trump’s quip that he might be taping conversations in the White House -- and Sean Spicer’s follow up that he had nothing more to say about it -- could have a real impact for his agenda in Washington. Democrats are already whispering about trying to slow legislation unless the president hands over tapes, or certifies he doesn’t have them. Democrats can force procedural votes on this topic, which could prove to be tough for Republicans. Who would vote against legislation to get to the bottom of whether the president is surreptitiously taping conversations? Democrats are looking for a quick and easy message. Many think this is it. Good Monday morning. ONE THOUGHT ON THE PROSPECT OF A WHITE HOUSE SHAKEUP: If Trump fires a bunch of staffers, he has to replace them with other people. And K Street and Capitol Hill are filled with aides and operators who took a pass in joining the administration. We’ve heard countless stories about people saying “thanks, but no thanks” to queries about joining the Trump team. The administration has little structure, the president refuses to adhere to decades-old conventions and prides himself on doing things his way. People fall in and out of favor daily. Finding people to work for a White House like that won’t be easy. **SUBSCRIBE to Playbook: http://politi.co/2lQswbhINSIDE THE ROOM -- “How Trump gets his fake news,” by Shane Goldmacher: “White House chief of staff Reince Priebus issued a stern warning at a recent senior staff meeting: Quit trying to secretly slip stuff to President Trump. Just days earlier, K.T. McFarland, the deputy national security adviser, had given Trump a printout of two Time magazine covers. One, supposedly from the 1970s, warned of a coming ice age; the other, from 2008, about surviving global warming, according to four White House officials familiar with the matter.“Trump quickly got lathered up about the media’s hypocrisy. But there was a problem. The 1970s cover was fake, part of an Internet hoax that’s circulated for years. Staff chased down the truth and intervened before Trump tweeted or talked publicly about it. The episode illustrates the impossible mission of managing a White House led by an impetuous president who has resisted structure and strictures his entire adult life.” http://politi.co/2pBAff2 MUST-READ -- POLITICO INVESTIGATES -- “Reckless stock trading leaves Congress rife with conflicts: After the furor over Tom Price’s investments, four more members quietly bought shares in the same firm,” by Maggie Severns: “On the very day that [Sen. Ron] Wyden was decrying [Tom] Price’s bad judgment, Rep. Doug Lamborn, Republican of Colorado, bought shares of the same tiny Australian company, Innate Immunotherapeutics. Within two days three more members also bought in — Republicans Billy Long of Missouri, Mike Conaway of Texas and John Culberson of Texas. Conaway added more shares the following week.“These brazen decisions to gobble up shares of a little-known firm at the very moment when such trading was being decried as an abuse of power reflects Congress’ anything-goes culture around stock investments. In the pursuit of wealth, even obvious conflicts of interest are routinely ignored by members who feast on daily trades. Long, for instance, serves on a committee overseeing Obamacare, and Conaway is a deputy House whip. The health care lawmakers who invested in Innate Immunotherapeutics are hardly alone in trading in companies that have a major interest in federal legislation, according to a three-month investigation and examination of all stock trades by members of Congress.“POLITICO found that 28 House members and six senators each traded more than 100 stocks in the past two years, placing them in the potential cross hairs of a conflict of interest on a regular basis. And a handful of lawmakers, some of them frequent traders and some not, disproportionately trade in companies that also have an interest in their work on Capitol Hill.” http://politi.co/2qlWJOlHEADS UP! -- “Cyberattack Aftershock Feared as U.S. Warns of Its Complexity,” by NYT’s David Sanger, Sewell Chan and Mark Scott: “The components of the global cyberattack that seized hundreds of thousands of computer systems last week may be more complex than originally believed, a Trump administration official said Sunday, and experts warned that the effects of the malicious software could linger for some time.“As a new workweek started Monday in Asia, there were concerns the malicious software could spread further and in different forms, with new types of ransomware afflicting computers around the globe. There were initial reports of new cases found over the weekend in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. President Trump has ordered his homeland security adviser, Thomas P. Bossert, who has a background in cyberissues, to coordinate the government’s response to the spread of the malware and help organize the search for who was responsible, an administration official said Sunday.” http://nyti.ms/2qiEACV -- HELP FROM FRIENDS: In addition to three authors, this story has nine contributors: Austin Ramzy, Motoko Rich, Keith Bradsher, Joe Cochrane, Steve Lohr, Paul Mozur, Richard C. Paddock, Ceylan Yeginsu and Choe Sang-Hun.THE BIG PICTURE, WAPO A1 -- “Political chaos in Washington is a return on investment for Moscow,” by WaPo’s Greg Miller: “Russia has yet to collect much of what it hoped for from the Trump administration, including the lifting of U.S. sanctions and recognition of its annexation of Crimea.“But the Kremlin has collected a different return on its effort to help elect Trump in last year’s election: chaos in Washington. The president’s decision to fire FBI Director James B. Comey last week was the latest destabilizing jolt to a core institution of the U.S. government. The nation’s top law enforcement agency joined a list of entities that Trump has targeted, including federal judges, U.S. spy services, news organizations and military alliances.” http://wapo.st/2qlY1sD -- DARREN SAMUELSOHN: “Is it time for Trump staff to lawyer up?: Veterans of Washington’s scandals say that with subpoenas coming from Congress and an FBI investigation still active, staffers would be wise to seek counsel.” http://politi.co/2pMSES1 FOR YOUR RADAR -- “North Korea: New long-range missile can carry heavy nuke,” by AP’s Foster Klug in Seoul, South Korea: “North Korea on Monday boasted of a successful weekend launch of a new type of ‘medium long-range’ ballistic rocket that can carry a heavy nuclear warhead. Outsiders also saw a significant technological jump, with the test-fire apparently flying higher and for a longer time period than any other such previous missile. Amid condemnation in Seoul, Tokyo and Washington, a jubilant North Korean leader Kim Jong Un promised more nuclear and missile tests and warned that his country’s weapons could strike the U.S. mainland and Pacific holdings.“North Korean propaganda must be considered with wariness -- Pyongyang has threatened for decades to reduce Seoul to a ‘sea of fire,’ for instance -- but Monday’s claim, if confirmed, would mark another big advance toward the North’s goal of fielding a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. Some experts, including officials in Tokyo, estimate that Sunday’s launch successfully tested a new type of missile, potentially the longest in Pyongyang’s arsenal.” http://apne.ws/2rgYo7dTRUMP’S WASHINGTON -- “Under Trump, inconvenient data is being sidelined,” by WaPo’s Juliet Eilperin: “The Trump administration has removed or tucked away a wide variety of information that until recently was provided to the public, limiting access, for instance, to disclosures about workplace violations, energy efficiency, and animal welfare abuses. Some of the information relates to enforcement actions taken by federal agencies against companies and other employers. By lessening access, the administration is sheltering them from the kind of ‘naming and shaming’ that federal officials previously used to influence company behavior, according to digital experts, activists and former Obama administration officials.” http://wapo.st/2qjcvuUTHE LATEST ON THE TRAVEL BAN -- “Mosque snooping suit could impact Trump travel ban case,” by Josh Gerstein: “The stage is set Monday for another major legal showdown over President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban executive order as the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals hears arguments in Seattle on whether to keep in place an injunction against key parts of that directive. What’s less well known is that for nearly a year and a half, the 9th Circuit has already been wrestling with one of the core issues in the travel ban dispute: whether and when it’s legal for the government to target Muslims on the basis of their religion. …“Because of the precedent-setting nature of appeals court rulings, the timing of the release of the long-awaited decision in the Southern California suit could impact the 9th Circuit’s travel ban case. If the ruling emerges in the coming weeks, it would amount to a precedent the three-judge panel considering the travel ban would be obliged to follow where it’s relevant.” http://politi.co/2qIsAM2THE JUICE … -- ADRIENNE ELROD’S NEW FIRM: Former Hillary Clinton aide and Capitol Hill alum Adrienne Elrod is launching a new communications firm called Elrod Strategies. Elrod Strategies will specialize in online engagement and strategic communications for corporate and non-profit clientele, as well as progressive organizations involved in “the resistance.” Elrod worked with surrogates on the Clinton campaign, and built a network of progressive "influencers." She most recently served as director of strategic communications for Hillary for America and is a former Hill chief of staff, DCCC alum and served in President Bill Clinton’s administration.-- DIPLOMACY WORKS, an organization aimed at saving the Iran deal, is launching today with the backing of John Kerry, Anthony Blinken, Nick Burns, Jon Finer, Jen Psaki and other top national security experts. Iranian elections are Friday, and a deadline for sanctions waivers is Thursday. http://bit.ly/2pNNgNK -- FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: The Hollywood Reporter’s new cover, “SNL’s Yuuuge Year -- 21 stars and creators take THR backstage on a wild-and-crazy season: Lorne Michaels’ post-election pep talk, Melissa McCarthy’s ‘Spicey’ secrets, Alec Baldwin’s future as Trump and the drama behind the biggest ratings in decades: ‘You almost feel like war profiteers’” http://politi.co/2pOd78d TRUMP’S MONDAY -- He’s on the Hill for remarks to the Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service. He then has Crown Prince Muhammad bin Zayid Al Nuhayyan of Abu Dhabi at the White House.SENATE WATCH -- “Rep. Mo Brooks expected to announce Senate run,” by Daniel Strauss: “Rep. Mo Brooks is teeing himself up to announce his candidacy for U.S. Senate on Monday. On Sunday evening, Brooks’ congressional office released a set of four media availabilities for Monday, all in Alabama. The move, according to top Alabama operatives close to the congressman or other declared or likely candidates for U.S. Senate, is Brooks’ plan to announce that he's running for the Senate seat now held by Luther Strange. Strange was appointed to the Senate by former Gov. Robert Bentley after Jeff Sessions became U.S. attorney general earlier this year. Strange, a Republican, is now running for the seat. Brooks' office would not say whether the media events indeed meant he was running for Senate, only that more information would be available tomorrow.” http://politi.co/2pMweQZTOP-ED -- “Preet Bharara: Are there still public servants who will say no to the president?” in WaPo: http://wapo.st/2r7ZrcWON THE WORLD STAGE -- “BRODY FILE EXCLUSIVE: Trump Administration to Significantly Expand Pro-Life Mexico City Policy,” by CBN News’ David Brody: “‘The Brody File’ has learned that the Trump Administration will significantly expand the pro-life Mexico City Policy by drastically increasing the amount of global health assistance funds and government programs that will be covered under the policy. A White House official tells The Brody File that on Monday, they’ll announce a policy called, ‘Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance,’ in which $8.8 billion dollars will be appropriated through various federal agencies and departments. In essence, President Trump is taking the pro-life policy to a whole different level. This is much more extensive than when President George W. Bush reinstated it back in 2001.” http://bit.ly/2pO4LO8THE GLOBAL POLITICO PODCAST -- CONDOLEEZZA RICE sits down for an interview with Susan Glasser for this week’s Global Politico podcast. The former secretary of state acknowledges her concerns about a president accused of eroding democracy at home and ignoring it abroad and says Trump, a novice in world affairs, has a “steeper learning curve than most” presidents. Rice also offers her personal revenge theory of Vladimir Putin’s 2016 U.S. election hacking, says she’s not going to serve as Trump’s FBI director, and tells the backstory of how she met Trump Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. http://politi.co/2pMRI07 … Transcript http://politi.co/2pO75EJ ... Listen and subscribe http://apple.co/2kJ9q1U … Sign up for our Monday morning Global Politico newsletter http://politi.co/2qI9JQVVALLEY TALK -- “Apple’s New Headquarters Is a Sign of Tech’s Boom, Bravado,” by WSJ’s Tripp Mickle and Eliot Brown: “[T]he 2.8-million-square-foot circular building ... resembles a spaceship. It features a seamless, curved-glass exterior and a theater that architects said was designed to look like a MacBook Air. ... Apple Park is the most lavish in a spate of glitzy new architectural projects by tech titans at a time when their businesses are booming and market valuations are soaring to new heights. Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc. have tapped top architects Frank Gehry and Bjarke Ingels for expansions, Amazon is building giant glass globes containing an indoor forest in Seattle, and business-software company Salesforce.com Inc. paid to put its name on a new, 61-story tower that will be the tallest building in San Francisco.” http://on.wsj.com/2rhAn0AFUTURECAST – NYT Business Day front, “Lyft and Waymo Reach Deal to Collaborate on Self-Driving Cars,” by Mike Isaac: “As the race to bring self-driving vehicles to the public intensifies, two of Silicon Valley’s most prominent players are teaming up. Waymo, the self-driving car unit that operates under Google’s parent company, has signed a deal with the ride-hailing start-up Lyft ... The deal calls for the companies to work together to bring autonomous vehicle technology into the mainstream through pilot projects and product development efforts ... The partnership highlights the fluid nature of relationships in the self-driving-car sector. From technology companies to automakers to firms that manufacture components, dozens of players are angling for a slice of an autonomous vehicle market that many believe will ultimately be a multibillion-dollar industry.” http://nyti.ms/2qjnyErMEDIAWATCH – GABE SHERMAN in NYMag’s work issue, “Women Can Wear Pants on Fox News Now, But Not Much Else Has Changed”: “The Murdochs are quietly looking for a new programming executive to run the network. ... James wants to recruit David Rhodes from CBS News (Rhodes is under contract). Rupert is interested in Wall Street Journal editor Gerry Baker, or Rebekah Brooks. One source said Rupert’s daughter Elisabeth is also being discussed as a candidate. ... A seasoned television executive in her own right, Elisabeth has positioned herself as a firm critic of the scandals that have resulted from her father’s management choices.” http://nym.ag/2pOc88l ... See the cover http://bit.ly/2qn2ziC-- “Lawrence O’Donnell’s Future At MSNBC Is Unclear,” by Yashar Ali in HuffPost: “O’Donnell, host of MSNBC’s ‘The Last Word,’ has just four weeks left in his contract, and the cable network does not appear to be interested in renewing his deal. Four well-placed sources tell HuffPost that MSNBC has not been in contact with O’Donnell’s team of representatives to negotiate a new deal. The absence of active negotiations weeks before a contract expires is highly unusual and often a sign that a contract won’t be renewed. ... According to three sources, Trump has pressured MSNBC President Phil Griffin to fire O’Donnell on multiple occasions.” http://bit.ly/2qIoFPCSPOTTED: Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao boarding a Southwest Airlines flight Sunday afternoon from Louisville to BWI. “She boarded like any other passenger in Louisville with a carry-on bag and found a seat in the rear of the aircraft.” … Former CIA director John Brennan in first class on a late-night United flight from Dulles to LA. Also on the flight: a bunch of congressional staffers headed to LA for the Internet Association staff trip … Jason Miller brunching yesterday at the Trump Hotel. At another table: Josh and Ali Rogin. TRANSITIONS -- Rachel Millard has been named communications director for the House Agriculture Committee ahead of the upcoming 2018 farm bill. She most recently worked on public affairs and corporate communications strategy at the Glover Park Group and is a John Thune alum. ... Miles Halpine is starting today as communications coordinator for the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate.WEEKEND WEDDINGS -- Daniel Vajdich, a Republican national security strategist who previously worked for Bob Corker, Scott Walker, and Ted Cruz and now runs political risk consultancy Yorktown Solutions, married Brittany Howard, who works at S&P Global in their public affairs shop, on Saturday. They met 25 years ago in second grade and got married in Napa Valley at Carneros Resort and winery. Pics http://bit.ly/2qmvYcs ... http://bit.ly/2qiB6AC SPOTTED: groomsman Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wisc.), Kori Schake, Robert O’Brien, Courtney Geduldig, Jessica Elledge, Igor and Theda Khrestin.-- Taylor Barden, former scheduling director for Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), married Ian Golden, former personal aide to Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.), Maryland campaign staffer and Iraq veteran at the National Museum for Women in the Arts on May 6. They both have stopped working in politics. Taylor is now a real estate agent at The Stokes Group at McEnearney Associates and Ian is operations lead at REI. The two met on a blind date six years ago at the now-closed Utopia. Pic http://bit.ly/2rgZ38y --James (Jamie) Durnil, got married on Saturday to Lindsey Schaefer at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School chapel in Austin, Texas. The multi-denominational ceremony was performed by both an Episcopal priest and Jewish Rabbi. A black tie reception followed at the new Archer Hotel. Jamie is a Bush 43 advance, Presidential Inaugural Committee, and Department of Commerce alum. Following the administration, he moved to Austin to become an entrepreneur, opening Austin Terrier restaurant and startup Covieme innovative automobile seat covers. Pics http://bit.ly/2pBkdli ... http://bit.ly/2qII8zoWELCOME TO THE WORLD -- Kate Weinograd, associate at Mapetsi Policy Group, and Charles Weinograd, associate at Arnold & Porter, welcomed Jacob Ryan Weinograd to the world on Friday at 4:12 a.m.BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Lynn Sweet, Chicago Sun-Times D.C. bureau chief and columnist – how she’s celebrating: “Where: In Santa Monica, Calif. With: My high school buddy Judy and other Los Angeles pals. What: I’ll start Monday with a five mile-plus speed walk on a path along the Pacific Ocean. Then a hike up in the Los Liones trail in the Santa Monica Mountains. Dinner with friends. In between, likely file a column.” Read her Playbook Plus Q&A: http://politi.co/2qirOED BIRTHDAYS: former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is 8-0 (hat tip: Alexis Krieg) ... Roger Ailes is 77 ... NYT’s Elisabeth Bumiller, Mark Mazzetti, and Nick Confessore ... former HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius is 69 ... Giselle Fernandez is 56 … Rachel Kelly of Rep. Jim Himes’ office ... Ruth Marcus, the pride of Livingston, N.J. (h/t Jon Haber) ... The Washington Post’s Lisa Dubler is 3-0 -- she and Grant celebrated Saturday night at Tiger Fork in Blagden Alley, followed by a private cocktail tasting at the Columbia Room (h/t Lisa’s new hubby of two weeks) ... WaPo’s Eli Saslow is 35 ... Chloe Schama, senior editor at Vogue Magazine ... Jim Connaughton, president and CEO at Nautilus Data Technologies ... Nick Papas, director of public affairs PR at Airbnb ... Jen Stout ... Eileen McMenamin ... Toni Bouchard ... Jenna Mason …... Walter Dellinger, a partner at O’Melveny and Myers ... Anne Marie Malecha ... Holly Fournier ... EE News’ Hannah Hess ... Hillary Flynn ... Zach Ratner ... Jacqueline Cortese ... Scott Montgomery … Jay Hulings … NRCC’s David Watts ... Elliot LaVera ... Alejandro Gonzalez-Stewart ... Aaron Morrissey … Dan Rothschild, executive director at GMU’s Mercatus Center … Pamela Reeves ... James Glueck ... Philo Hall ... Kristine Simmons … Jennifer Jose ... Terry Godfrey ... Shira Phelps ... Mimi Castaldi ... Jessica Grounds (h/ts Teresa Vilmain) ... Diane Cullo ... Mason George … Brittany Hackett … Tom Sneeringer … Mary Lucia Di Martino ... Daniel Carlson ... Tariq Mir ... Steve P. Goldenberg ... Jason Bogovich ... JoDee Winterhof ... Sanjay Bhutiani ... Jean Hessburg ... Debbie Tinnirello ... Juan Altamirano ... tennis player Andy Murray is 3-0 (h/t AP)

07 мая, 14:15

Tomi Lahren Will Not Shut Up

Glenn Beck cut loose the right’s hottest new media star. But she’s not going away quietly.

03 мая, 23:30

Speaker Ryan: Funding Bill Turns the Page on the Obama Years

WASHINGTON—Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) delivered the following statement on the House floor in support of legislation to fund the government until the end of the fiscal year. Below are the speaker’s full remrks: “First of all, I want to thank the chairman, I want to thank the ranking member, and the ranking members, and the chairmen of the subcommittees, and all the staff for their very hard work in putting this big body of work together. “I urge all my colleagues to support this package. I want to explain why. “A few things: many of our priorities—not all—but many of our priorities, are advanced in this. And that’s because this is a bipartisan piece of legislation. And so each side doesn’t get everything they want, but we’re able to come together and find a package that advances many of our important goals. “For me, I think it’s important because it turns the page on the last administration—on the Obama years. It completes the unfinished business of the previous administration. Remember, we came to December, we had a continuing resolution, we’re halfway through the fiscal year now. We’ve got to do the job of actually getting the government specifically funded—meeting more of our priorities. This does that. “This marks the beginning of a new era. No longer will the needs of our military be held hostage by the demands for more domestic spending. In my mind that is what is most important here. Having negotiated budget agreements in the prior administration, this to me is paramount and first among all things. “The rule we lived under under the previous administration basically says, you want more money for the women in the field who are in our military who need more resources to do their jobs? Ok, but we’re going to need more money for Washington programs. And not just more money for Washington programs, the same exact amount of money. “So no matter whether we need more money for our troops—we might need more ships, more bullets, more gas, more planes—we had to have the exact same dollar amount, whether it was needed or not, for domestic spending. That’s the old formula we had under the prior administration, and that is not in here. That is really important. “And I think that’s one of the most important game-changing accomplishments that are in here, because we really believe our military needs help. We believe our military has been hollowed out in so many areas, and this bill helps fix this. So that dollar-for-dollar parity rule is a rule no more. “With this bill, we do not have that arbitrary standard—the standard that has contributed, in my opinion, to hollowing out of our military and declining our readiness.  “While we have much more work to do to fully rebuild our military, this is a critical first step. With this bill, we will spend 25 billion dollars more this year than last year on defense so that we can begin to rebuild our military readiness and our preparedness. And we will do so without a corresponding increase in domestic spending. And that to me is a new day under this new administration that we have with President Trump. “Of course, this legislation also addresses many other priorities for Republicans and for this administration. For starters, there’s a big and a solid down payment on securing our border. In fact, it’s the biggest increase in border security in a decade. Funding for the DC Scholarship Opportunity Program, which reverses the Obama-era crusade against school choice. That’s in here. “National resources to fight the opioid epidemic, which is something that is ravishing communities across America. No new money for Obamacare and no bailouts for insurance companies. This bill protects life.  “This bill is a bipartisan compromise, as I mentioned, but it is indeed a good one for conservatives. And that is why I urge my colleagues to support this bill. “We all must agree that funding the government at all like this—and this is the last point I want to make—this is not a process we want to continue. Yes, we are finishing unfinished business from last year. But let’s all work together and endeavor to do these appropriations bills one at a time. That is the system we’re supposed to have. And that is the system that I think we all agree—Republicans and Democrats—that we need to have.   “So let’s work together to make sure that we don’t just do one big bill. That we do this individually. So that individual debate can occur. So that individual priorities can be met. And so that we can get back to regular order, and we can better guarantee and maintain our Article 1 powers as the legislative branch of government exercising the power of the purse. “I challenge every one of us to commit to that process. In the meantime, let’s bank these wins, let’s get this done, let’s turn this page on this last year, and let’s make sure we give the troops the support they so desperately need. With that, I yield back and ask everyone to support this bill.”

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03 мая, 18:39

A Win for Republicans

The funding bill is a win for Republicans. Here’s why, as laid out in documents from our office: 10 Things You Should Know About the Funding Bill 1. It is a game-changer for our military. 2. It reforms government and prioritizes defense. 3. It targets terrorism and foreign threats. 4. It strengthens our borders. 5. It reforms the IRS. 6. It protects life. 7. It tackles crime. 8. It encourages American energy development and limits EPA overreach. 9. It supports local communities and education. 10. It fights against the nation’s opioid epidemic. A CONSERVATIVE APPROACH As conservatives, we believe that the federal government should have a strong role in national security and a secondary role in domestic policy. This philosophy shapes our government-funding priorities. ENDS PARITY FOR DEFENSE/NON-DEFENSE SPENDING Democrats have long demanded that any increase in defense funding must be equally matched with more non-defense spending. That harmful precedent ends this week—a significant departure from the Obama years, and a big win for the new administration. NO NEW MONEY FOR OBAMACARE It eliminates cost-sharing reductions. It prevents a taxpayer-funded bailout of insurance companies. It eliminates funding for the Independent Payment Advisory Board. It prevents the Prevention and Public Health Fund from being used as an Obamacare slush fund. It restricts federal funds from being used to lobby for Obamacare. A STRONGER BORDER It provides for the biggest increase in border security funding in a long time. This means more boots on the ground, the end of “catch and release,” and stronger investigations. It also provides Trump administration limited flexibility in approaching H-2B visas. EXPANDS SCHOOL CHOICE It promotes the start-up, replication, and expansion of high-quality charter schools. It funds implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which shifts control and accountability for schools to states and local districts. FIGHTS THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC The bill provides a big boost in resources for fighting the opioid epidemic—including grants, treatment and prevention, and support for law enforcement. STRONGER AND SAFER America will be stronger and safer because of this government funding bill. It acts on President Trump’s commitment to rebuild our military for the 21st century and bolster our nation’s border security to protect our homeland.

01 мая, 19:20

10 Things You Should Know About the Funding Bill

1. It strengthens our military. It makes important progress in ushering our military into the 21st century. It includes a substantial increase in defense spending, which includes new warships, aircrafts, weapons, and missile defense systems. It also gives our troops the largest military pay raise in six years and reverses the Obama administration’s personnel cuts. 2. It reforms government and prioritizes defense. The bill provides for increases in defense spending without making corresponding increases in non-defense spending, something Democrats had insisted on for years. Additionally, the bill rescinds, consolidates, or terminates more than 150 federal programs or initiatives. 3. It targets terrorism and foreign threats. The bill provides additional funding to defeat ISIS and counter radical extremism around the world. It provides aid to our allies to combat Russian aggression. It strengthens our relationship with Israel. 4. It strengthens our borders. The bill provides $12.2 billion for Customs and Border Protection. It prioritizes increased fencing, roads, and innovative technology to keep our border secure. 5. It reforms the IRS. The IRS was a hotbed of corruption, fraud, and abuse under the Obama administration. This bill freezes the IRS at current funding levels—$1 billion less than the Obama administration requested. The bill contains structural changes to the agency to increase transparency, safeguard free speech, and protect the tax-exempt status of non-profit organizations. 6. It protects life. The bill reaffirms the Hyde amendment and prohibits federal funding of abortions. It also specifically limits the District of Columbia from using federal funds for abortion in the district. 7. It tackles crime. The bill will help get criminals, drugs, and traffickers off the streets. It increases funding for the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms—while strengthening second amendment protections. 8. It encourages American energy development and limits EPA overreach. The bill supports an all of the above energy strategy—with specific focus on coal, oil, natural gas, and increasing our nuclear capabilities. It eliminates all funding for the Green Climate Fund, U.N. Climate Change panel, and eliminates aid to Paris Climate Change institutions. Additionally, the bill reduces EPA funding by $81 million, taking the agency back to spending levels from eight years ago. It also puts strict limitations on the way the EPA regulates certain industries. 9. It supports local communities and education. Centralized federal control is not the way to help communities. The bill takes a different approach by funding the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which gives states and local school districts more control over the education of their kids. It also gives $3 billion back to local communities through Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), which supports locally-driven solutions to economic and social problems. And it renews the groundbreaking DC Opportunity Scholarship Program. 10. It fights against the nation’s opioid epidemic. The bill provides an additional $650 million to address the prevention and treatment of opioid and heroin use, including increased funding for Mental Health Block Grants.

27 марта, 19:38

Tomi Lahren 'Banned Permanently' From TheBlaze After Abortion Comment: Report

function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); Commentator Tomi Lahren’s time is apparently up at TheBlaze, according to a new report from the New York Post’s “Page Six.” Glenn Beck’s network suspended the 24-year-old Lahren’s show, “Tomi,” last week after she called anti-abortion conservatives “hypocrites.”  “I’m pro-choice,” Lahren said during an interview on “The View” earlier this month, “and here’s why: I can’t sit here and be a hypocrite and say I’m for limited government but I think that the government should decide what women should do with their bodies.” The suspension was reportedly supposed to last one week, but “Page Six” writer Richard Johnson said unnamed sources told him that Lahren’s show was permanently banned. “Glenn is reminding the world of his conservative principles by sidelining Tomi after she insulted conservatives by calling them hypocrites,” the source said, according to Johnson. “He just couldn’t sit by and watch as Tomi Lahren said there’s no way for conservatives to justify anything other than being pro-choice.” After her “View” appearance and the backlash from conservatives that ensued, Lahren tweeted that she would “never apologize.”  I speak my truth. If you don't like it, tough. I will always be honest and stand in my truth.— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) March 18, 2017 I have moderate, conservative, and libertarian views. I'm human. I will never apologize, to anyone, for being an independent thinker.— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) March 18, 2017 Beck then spoke out against Lahren’s sentiment on his radio show.  “I would disagree that you’re a hypocrite if you want limited government and yet you want the government to protect life of the unborn. It’s very, very clear,” he said. “But it takes intellectual honesty, and it takes a willingness to actually think these things through and to do more than just read Twitter or Facebook to get your news and your political opinions.” Reps for Lahren and Beck were not immediately available for comment, but Lahren, who has been criticized for her vitriolic rhetoric since joining TheBlaze in 2015, shared a photo on Instagram on Sunday about being a warrior.  Fate whispers to the warrior, "you cannot withstand the storm" and the warrior whispers back, "I am the storm." #TeamTomi #igotthis #texassky A post shared by Tomi Lahren (@tomilahren) on Mar 26, 2017 at 6:23pm PDT -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

27 марта, 19:38

Tomi Lahren 'Banned Permanently' From TheBlaze After Abortion Comment: Report

function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); Commentator Tomi Lahren’s time is apparently up at TheBlaze, according to a new report from the New York Post’s “Page Six.” Glenn Beck’s network suspended the 24-year-old Lahren’s show, “Tomi,” last week after she called anti-abortion conservatives “hypocrites.”  “I’m pro-choice,” Lahren said during an interview on “The View” earlier this month, “and here’s why: I can’t sit here and be a hypocrite and say I’m for limited government but I think that the government should decide what women should do with their bodies.” The suspension was reportedly supposed to last one week, but “Page Six” writer Richard Johnson said unnamed sources told him that Lahren’s show was permanently banned. “Glenn is reminding the world of his conservative principles by sidelining Tomi after she insulted conservatives by calling them hypocrites,” the source said, according to Johnson. “He just couldn’t sit by and watch as Tomi Lahren said there’s no way for conservatives to justify anything other than being pro-choice.” After her “View” appearance and the backlash from conservatives that ensued, Lahren tweeted that she would “never apologize.”  I speak my truth. If you don't like it, tough. I will always be honest and stand in my truth.— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) March 18, 2017 I have moderate, conservative, and libertarian views. I'm human. I will never apologize, to anyone, for being an independent thinker.— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) March 18, 2017 Beck then spoke out against Lahren’s sentiment on his radio show.  “I would disagree that you’re a hypocrite if you want limited government and yet you want the government to protect life of the unborn. It’s very, very clear,” he said. “But it takes intellectual honesty, and it takes a willingness to actually think these things through and to do more than just read Twitter or Facebook to get your news and your political opinions.” Reps for Lahren and Beck were not immediately available for comment, but Lahren, who has been criticized for her vitriolic rhetoric since joining TheBlaze in 2015, shared a photo on Instagram on Sunday about being a warrior.  Fate whispers to the warrior, "you cannot withstand the storm" and the warrior whispers back, "I am the storm." #TeamTomi #igotthis #texassky A post shared by Tomi Lahren (@tomilahren) on Mar 26, 2017 at 6:23pm PDT -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

21 марта, 23:42

Daily Press Briefing by the Press Secretary - #25

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room  1:56 P.M. EDT MR. SPICER:  Hi, guys.  The hearing is still -- Judge Gorsuch’s hearing is ongoing, and considering the significant attention, I'm going to try to keep this a little on the shorter side today. The President is making a full day of progress towards some of his biggest promises that he’s made to the American people.  This morning he met with the House Republican Conference members on Capitol Hill, ahead of the House’s scheduled vote on the American Health Care Act, which is currently scheduled for Thursday. During the meeting, the President reminded members of the House Conference that repealing and replacing Obamacare has been a promise that Republicans have been making to voters for years. Members have made it clear that if voters put a Republican in the White House and continue Republican majorities in the House and the Senate that we would repeal and replace this ill-advised legislation. And for every member who pledged to the American people that they would deliver on this promise, this is really their chance. This is the repeal of Obamacare that Republicans have been working on for years, and voters have been waiting for this for some time. On Thursday, as the House gathers on the floor and casts their votes for the ACH, it will be exactly seven years after President Obama had signed Obamacare into law.  We’re hoping to make this the last anniversary Americans will have to endure Obamacare.  Republicans have been working to repeal and replace this misguided law ever since.  And now, under President Trump, we will finally be able to take this step towards fundamental reform of our healthcare system.  I think most Americans remember the lines that were used to sell Obamacare seven years ago:  “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”  “If you like your healthcare plan, you’ll be able to keep your healthcare plan.”  But for millions of Americans, those lines proved to be nothing more than empty promises.  Plans that their families had relied on for years were suddenly cancelled.  Premiums and deductibles skyrocketed, leaving many who had plans unable to actually use them.  And insurers fled the marketplace.  Nearly one in five Americans only have one insurer offering plans on their Obamacare exchange. President Trump and Republicans in Congress will keep their promise by reforming the system once and for all.  And that’s exactly what we’re doing with the American Health Care Act, which, along with the additional legislative and administrative action that is part of the three-prong approach that we continue to outline, will finally give all Americans the healthcare system they deserve, where market-based competition leads to more affordable, higher-quality care opportunities. This is an ongoing process, and the President has made it clear to Congress that they should be open to incorporating some of the common-sense policy proposals that have been suggested by members in both chambers who share their commitment to improving the healthcare system.  To that end, the House introduced several technical and policy amendments to the legislation last night, which the President acknowledged on Capitol Hill this morning.  They include:  Delivering more immediate relief from Obamacare’s taxes, accelerating the repeal of these taxes from 2017 rather than from 2018, and ensuring that millions of Americans who paid Obamacare’s penalties or taxes can reclaim their hard-earned dollars from the IRS. It's making it easier for Americans to deduct more of the costs of their medical expenses.   Protecting life by prohibiting taxpayer dollars from being used to help purchase insurance plans that currently cover abortion. Giving states additional flexibility for their Medicaid program covering traditional adult and children populations, while maintaining baseline funding for elderly and disabled populations. Giving states the ability to implement optional, reasonable work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents as part of their Medicaid programs. Freezing Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion while allowing for a responsible unwinding, so that people who enroll before 2020 will continue to be supported by the program. And providing a more generous reimbursement for elderly and disabled Medicaid enrollees, recognizing that those populations have unique needs that must be taken care of. After a return to the White House from the House -- speaking to the House Republican Conference, the President received his Daily Intelligence Briefing.  Then the President signed S.442, the NASA Administration Transition Authorization Act for 2017, acting on another of the President’s most ambitious promise to the American people.  Many may recall in his joint address, the President said of a dream.” And with this bill, he is taking the latest step towards making that dream a reality by reiterating NASA’s mission to ensure America remains a leader in space exploration.  This bipartisan, bicameral legislation provides NASA with the full support it needs to fulfill this and many other important missions, including:  supporting NASA’s plan to explore deep space and sending astronauts to Mars, including an endorsement of launching the Mars 2020 Rover.  The rover will explore a site that is likely to have been habitable, seeking signs of past life and testing compelling samples and techniques for future robotic and eventual human exploration of Mars. Reaffirming that NASA remains a fully multi-mission agency with a balanced set of core missions in space science, space technology, aeronautics, human space flight, exploration, and education.   Endorsing NASA’s continued progress towards launching the James Webb Telescope, which will be a giant leap forward in our ever-evolving quest to understand the universe, and establishing an astronaut occupational healthcare program, something that NASA has considered a priority for years. After the bill signing, the Vice President also announced that the President will be taking action shortly to relaunch the National Space Council, which the Vice President will chair.  The President was honored to sign this new bill into law so that NASA can continue its work towards making America the world leader in space exploration once again. Also this morning, the President -- the Vice President, rather, hosted a breakfast meeting with Prime Minister al-Abadi of Iraq.  We provided a readout on the President’s meeting with the Prime Minister yesterday as well, and I believe there has been a readout of the Vice President’s as well. At 3:00 p.m. this afternoon, the President will meet with members of Congress who are part of the House Tuesday Group to discuss the American Health Care Act.  And this evening, the President will speak at the National Republican Congressional Committee March Dinner. Over on the Senate side of the Hill, the President’s pick for the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch has been doing a phenomenal job in the Senate today during his first day of questioning.  The judge’s eloquent testimony yesterday was widely praised from both sides of the aisle, and it’s clear that everyone agrees, from a broad spectrum, that Judge Gorsuch is a very qualified person to serve on the Supreme Court. As the Judge noted today, “a judge is there to make sure that every person, poor or rich, mighty or meek, gets equal protection of [under] the law.”  His records show that he has lived up to this commitment throughout his entire career, and he’s continuing to prove that he is exactly the type of jurist we need on the Supreme Court throughout the questioning that’s started today. Today is also National Agriculture Day, for those who are keeping note.  The world needs America’s farmers and ranchers to lead, just as the world needs America to lead.  Global food demand is expected to increase by 50 to 97 percent by 2050.  The world can’t afford for America’s farmers and ranchers to retreat, but the agriculture industry has met its share of challenges in recent years.  While our farmers are the most efficient in the world, margins have been tightening, regulations have been multiplying, and exports, which have historically counted for over one-fifth of U.S. farm production, have been declining due to unwise trade policies. The President promised the many people in the agriculture industry and throughout rural America that he would not allow this to continue, and he will continue to pursue policy changes that will reverse this disturbing trend. Quickly, in terms of follow-up from yesterday, I was asked about North Korea, and I wanted to provide an update from the NSC: “The United States, in coordination with our allies, is exploring a new range of diplomatic, security, and economic measures in response to the grave and escalating threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.” And before I open it up for questions, let me run through a few scheduling updates.  Tomorrow, the President will stop by the Women in Healthcare panel hosted by CMS Administrator Seema Verma.  There will also be a series of meetings with members of Congress tomorrow.  In the morning, the President will meet with members to discuss the American Health Care Act.  And in the afternoon he will meet with congressional -- members of the Congressional Black Caucus. On Thursday, the President will have lunch with Secretary of the Treasury Mnuchin before hosting a meeting with truckers and representatives from trucking companies on healthcare that we discussed yesterday.  In many states throughout the country, trucking happens to be one of the largest employers, and it’s important to understand the impact of healthcare legislation on this important industry. I’ll have updates on the weekend schedule for you hopefully tomorrow.  And finally, yesterday, pursuant to the President’s executive order on interior enforcement that he signed on January 25th, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, ICE, released its first weekly list of detainee requests, which local law enforcement agencies have failed to comply with.  These examples where criminal illegals who have been arrested or convicted, in many cases, of serious and violent crimes threaten public safety.  In each instance, local law enforcement is refusing to cooperate with ICE in its efforts to remove illegal immigrants who have committed a crime.  It is part of the President’s continued efforts to keep our communities safe. A copy of this report is available on the ICE website that details all of the municipalities where there has been an issue and the crime that has been committed, and the person -- not necessarily the person’s name, but the offense in which they were convicted for. And with that, I’d be glad to take a few questions.  Since we’re talking Supreme Court -- John Roberts.  (Laughter.)  Come on.  That was good. Q    Unless there’s an Alito in the audience.  On healthcare, the President came away from Capitol Hill sounding pretty positive about where he was going to go on Thursday, but then at the same time, Heritage Action came out and said it was going to encourage members to vote “no.”  Club for Growth is taking out ads attacking this bill.  Jim Jordan said the President’s great, but it’s still a bad bill.  This is going to go to a vote day after tomorrow.  What gives the President the sense of optimism that he can get this through, and might he request more changes from Speaker Ryan before it goes to a vote? MR. SPICER:  Well, we’ve talked about this for days.  There’s been a lot of input from members of Congress, and I think that the meeting this morning really was a huge sign of support. There was a lot of enthusiasm and optimism, not just for the bill itself but for something that, as I noted, conservatives and Republicans and a lot of Democrats, frankly, have been fighting for for a while, which is a more patient-centric healthcare system. I think the President is continuing to engage with members. He will continue to do that all the way through Thursday.  But as I also noted, there were a lot of changes that were made by the Speaker last night, additional legislation -- the three-pronged approach that we’ve talked about in the past has been put forward to actually make sure that members understood the comprehensive nature of this. This is one vehicle. There’s a huge administrative piece that Secretary Price will administer through administrative action that was given to them when they passed this bill and gave that authority to Kathleen Sebelius, then the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to implement pieces that they couldn’t get done legislatively. We can now unwind a lot of that and add a lot of consumer-based and competition measures through the administrative thing. But then the third prong, all the other stuff that we've talked about for years as Republicans -- buying across state lines, expanding health savings accounts, et cetera, et cetera -- all of that has now been introduced as well.  And I think that he continues to meet with members and walk away with a very, very optimistic view of where the bill is headed.  I think a lot of the measures that have been changed and tweaked and updated have assuaged members who had concerns or wanted to see some additional tightening.   But keep in mind, if you are a conservative who has been fighting for repeal and replace, this is your chance.  If you are a conservative who has been looking to address out-of-control entitlement spending, this is the first attempt -- this is the first reform of an entitlement program in terms of Medicaid in 30 years.  These are a truly conservative set of principles that we are fighting for.  The competition that's in the bill, the ability to allow prices to come down and choice to go up, there is nothing more conservative than there is in this bill.  And I think as members continue to talk about ideas that have been included in this bill, and the principles of it, we feel very good going into the final stretch. Q    But may he seek more changes in order to further assuage some -- MR. SPICER:  It's possible.  But I think that we've made some very positive steps forward.  So I don’t want to rule anything out, but I will say that I feel very good about this where it stands now.  And I think the more and more that members meet with the President, the more they understand how important this is to the overall agenda that we're seeking to pass.  And I think if we can -- as the President noted this morning to members, if you can repeal Obamacare, replace it with a healthcare system that does what conservatives and independents, and, frankly, some Democrats have talked about it for years, that does exactly that kind of thing -- instill choice, drive down costs, allows people to actually get care that they've been promised, and then get on to things like tax reform -- we will have an amazing first year in office. And I think the President reminded them this is the first step in an amazing agenda that he set forth and that we can work together on. Eamon. Q    Thanks, Sean.  Members of this administration have talked about the stock market as a real-time barometer for how the administration is performing.  But this afternoon, though, the stock market has been off as much as 200 points on the Dow.  Some commentators on Wall Street are suggesting that's because traders are starting to sense a lack of progress in the Trump legislative agenda, worried that he might not be able to accomplish everything he set out to do.  Does the President believe that today's dip in the Dow is the result of his performance as President of the United States? MR. SPICER:  Well, I think to look at any one day is nothing that we've ever -- we've always cautioned.  I think overall it still continues to be up tremendously.  And I think when you look at not just that one indicator -- I think if you want to get a -- I mean, you probably know better than anybody in terms of what you guys cover -- that you can't look at one indices and say that that is the benchmark of an entire economy.  But you see confidence levels, both in small business and in other surveys, that show that there is continued confidence in the market and optimism in the market.  You see manufacturers coming back to America, talking about investment; major CEOs and small businesses trying to grow the economy and talking about job creation.  Those are the real indicators.   And again, I think the numbers that we saw last month -- again, one month doesn’t make a record.  But I think that it was very promising, not just because of what the number was, but what it had been forecast to be -- right?  So it was expected to be 200,000; it came in at 235,000.  So, again, when you're over-performing, I think that shows a sign of optimism and confidence in the market. I think -- again, I just want to make sure that we're clear before we go into -- as we continue through the months.  One report does not make something to base an entire record off of.  But I think that we feel very good about where things are headed and the direction things are going, not just in terms of the indices and the ups and downs in the market, but also in terms of the number of manufacturers that are walking in and restating their commitment to grow jobs, expand, et cetera, in the market.   Q    -- feel confidence that President Trump will be able to get a tax cut done this year that would be in place for next year, is that something we should worry about at all? MR. SPICER:  Look, I think we're well on our way to seeing this agenda done.  The President has rolled out the budget, which I think reaffirmed his commitment to fiscal austerity and to the priorities he set out of defending this country, making the increases in national defense and homeland security that he promised, prioritizing other things in the budget.  We've got Obamacare done, on immigration, executive order-wise.   And I think that when you're doing big things -- Obamacare, tax reform -- I mean, the healthcare system is a fifth of the economy; that's not small fee.  And I think in terms of what you've seen so far -- going through three committees, moving along -- the Senate ready to take it up, his pick of Neil Gorsuch -- the agenda is moving along at a very brisk pace in terms of what his priorities were and where I think we're headed. Q    Sean, last month, I guess, you talked to us about the consideration, potentially, of the carbon tax, which I guess was discussed in a meeting at the White House.  We're hearing some reports that there's a pretty lively internal debate.  Gary Cohn might be someone who's more prone to that.  Can you just discuss, is the President considering a carbon tax?  And what are sort of the various things that are going on in the White House with that? MR. SPICER:  I think there's a robust debate going on with respect to comprehensive tax reform.  And as we've mentioned, I mean, our goal right now is to get through Thursday, and that's what the President has talked about very publicly.  We need to get Obamacare repealed and replaced, and move on to tax reform and some of the other trade reviews that we've talked about -- immigration.  There's a lot of things on the agenda.  But I'm not going to comment on specific prongs of that.  I will just tell you that obviously there's a lot of people who recognize that we haven’t have comprehensive tax reform since 1986, and that there’s a lot of pieces in this that we need to examine and get to and there’s a lot of voices and opinions that get shared with him. So I’m not in a position where I’m going to get into commenting piecemeal on where it is, but I will say that’s even more reason that we -- let’s get past Thursday.  When you look at the week ahead real quick, Glenn, in terms of this, the repeal-and-replace aspect and Gorsuch, I think, from a legislative standpoint -- going back to Eamon’s question -- I think it’s a pretty big week for the White House to seeing all this done. Hunter. Q    Thank you, Sean.  President Trump has previously indicated that he wanted to appoint pro-life judges who would be willing to overturn Roe vs. Wade, yet in his testimony today Judge Gorsuch said he would have walked out the door if President Trump asked if he had this position.  Is President Trump still confident that Judge Gorsuch would be willing to overturn Roe vs. Wade?  And is this position still important to him? MR. SPICER:  I think the President’s comments speak for themselves.  I think the President’s list that he’s put out on 20 are jurists that both the Federalist Society and Heritage have deemed to be people who interpret the Constitution as originalists, as people who aren’t looking to legislate from the bench.  And I’m not going to take the bait during a live hearing to comment on that but I appreciate the effort. Ronika. Q    Thank you, Sean.  I have two questions on the same story.  Recently a 14-year-old girl, she was raped in the boy’s bathroom of her high school.  A 17- and 18-year-old boy have been charged.  One of the boys we know unlawfully entered the country; both of them have outstanding orders with ICE.  So here’s my first question about it:  Currently, schools are prohibited from denying access to public education based on immigration status.  Does the President hear a story like that and think that it should change or be addressed in a future executive order? MR. SPICER:  I think first, let me just say that this is a tragic event, and it’s horrendous and horrible and disgusting what this young woman in Rockville went through.  I can’t possibly imagine.  So first of all, let’s remember the human side of this, that this is a tragic event that no child, no person, no parent should ever have to deal with.  Schools should be a place where a parent puts their child on a bus or drops them off or sees them off and knows that they’re safe.  And the idea that this occurred is shocking, disturbing, horrific, and whatever other words that come to mind that someone can think of. Because this is not -- schools should be a safe place where children are there to learn and to feel safe.  In that kind of environment -- to know that this happened and the circumstances  -- this young women in particular fought to come to this country legally because of the freedoms and the treasures of this nation. And to think that this kind of tragedy would occur to someone who’s personally endured that kind of struggle to come to this nation and then face this is reprehensible.  And it is not who we are as a country.   I think it is troubling, and I think further, to your question, the President recognizes that education is a state-run and a local-run issue.  But I think it is pause for concern what happened there, and I think the city should look at its policies. And I think that this is something that authorities are going to have to look at. I think from an immigration standpoint, clearly to see somebody -- there are so many facets of this case that deserve question -- why was there a -- I think he was 17 or 18 years old -- 18, thank you -- and how does that person get put into the ninth grade?  Why was -- there are so many issues that come up in this case. I will leave it to authorities to get to, but I think that we are in the early stages of this and there’s a lot that needs to get addressed with respect to this case in particular.   Q    So I hear you about it being a state issue.  Let’s talk about something, though, that the President has implemented and introduced VOICE -- VOICE, Victims of Immigration Crime Enforcement -- is that enough to support a -- MR. SPICER:  No, it’s one piece.  The President understands that victims need a voice, which is why he brought it in there, to help them when they’re specifically targeted or victims of a crime by people who are here illegally.  But I think part of the reason that the President has made illegal immigration and crackdown such a big deal is because of tragedies like this. We act so many times when we talk about this and say -- how is the President going to -- why is the President dealing with this -- because of this priority.  Well, part of the reason is because of the tragedy that this young girl dealt with, had inflicted upon her, whatever the word is -- this is why he’s passionate about this, because people are victims of these crimes in terms of them -- they’re victims of the economic pieces, there’s a national security.  But immigration pays its toll on our people if it’s not done legally. And this is another example, and it’s why the President is so passionate about this.  But he recognizes that it’s multifaceted, why we have to be tough at the border, why I just read off that this executive order is dealing with people who have committed crimes who local enforcement agencies, our municipalities of -- at the state level are not dealing with it. And if you go to the ICE website and download this, you’ll see it’s over 30-something pages of cases where there’s a person that is convicted of a crime that local people -- local municipal law enforcement, for whatever reason -- and in some cases they’re prohibited but for one reason or another are not enforcing the law and not turning that individual over to federal authorities to be deported.  And I think this is another example of why this issue needs to be addressed.   Jon.   Q    Sean, is the President going to hold Republicans who vote against healthcare accountable?  Are they going to pay a price if they vote against this bill? MR. SPICER:  I think they’ll probably pay a price at home, meaning I think that you can’t go promise over and over again, since 2010 -- in the case the member has been there that long, but at least for those who have been there that long and at least -- and even the new ones -- this was a major component of the last election.  And I think there is probably not a single Republican member in itself who went out and talked about this.   And I think when you realize the components of this bill and that the President worked with the House and the Senate to put something together that achieved a promise that was made to voters, yeah, I think there’s going to be a price to be paid, but it’s going to be with their own voters.  And they’re going to have to go back and explain to them why they made a commitment to them and then didn’t follow through. And one of the things that’s interesting that people who agree or don’t agree with the President in terms of legislative agenda, at least give him high remarks regardless of whether or not they subscribe to his agenda, for keeping his word and his promises.  And I think that’s one of the things that he’s made very clear this morning. We pledged to the American people at the congressional level, at the Senate level, at the presidential level to go do something.  And this bill, while probably not everybody got everything they wanted, does exactly what we said.  It’s repealing it and replacing it with all of the principles and the aspects that we discussed throughout not only last cycle but in a lot of these cases back through 2010. Margaret. Q    Will he campaign against those Republicans? MR. SPICER:  Let’s get through the vote.  I think one of the things that he made clear this morning was that he was going to make sure that the people who did support this, he would be out there supporting them.  And so I’m not going to focus on the negative as much as the positive today.  And he made it clear to members that for those of you who go out there and keep your word and support it, we’re going to make sure that we remember those who stood by us and who stood by the word that they gave to their voters. Margaret. Q    Thanks.  Okay, so I was actually -- that’s one I was going to ask, but let me try to -- MR. SPICER:  Oh. Q    No, that’s okay, I’ve got another one, don’t worry.  So my other one -- but I’m going to go back to that -- is on the laptop restrictions by the U.S. and now the UK, it certainly sounds like that may have been in response to some kind of a specific security threat.  What can you talk about from the podium in as much specificity as you can, and if you can’t do specifics at least to help us to understand -- are there multiple threats, is there one threat, what is going on here? MR. SPICER:  So yesterday the TSA announced new enhanced measures on flights inbound to the United States from 10 of more than the 250 countries that have flights coming into the United States that serve as the last point of departure.  I think even ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, who we’ve not always shared the same point of view with, even agreed by saying, “These steps are both necessary and proportional to the threat.” Elevated [Evaluated] intelligence that we’re aware of indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation and are aggressive in pursuing innovative methods to undertake their attacks to include smuggling an explosive device in various consumer objects.  Base on this information, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the TSA administrator determined that it’s necessary to enhance security procedures for passengers at certain last-point-of-departure airports.   That being said, I’m not going to go any further than that, and I would refer any further comment to the TSA. Q    Can I try what I was going to try out earlier then?  Mark Meadows -- seems like a nice guy -- and the President seemed like he was kind of joking, but has the President decided in his own mind yet whether he thinks it would be appropriate potentially to mount primary opposition, to campaign for primary opposition in Republican congressional midterms? MR. SPICER:  Mark Meadows is a long-time early supporter of the President.  He had some fun at his expense this morning during the conference meeting, and I think he continued to express hope that Congressman Meadows, who’s the head of the Freedom Caucus, would continue to see the efforts that have been made to make this better and address a lot of the concerns out there. But he has made it very clear that he was having fun with him.  The President is committed to making sure that this gets passed.  We’ll go from there. Vivian. Q    Thanks, Sean.  First a follow-up to Margaret’s question.  Why wait for the new aviation regulations 96 hours to implement it?  Isn’t the President’s mantra on counterterrorism that we have to kind of sneak up on our enemies, not let them know our tactics? MR. SPICER:  So I’m going to ultimately you refer you back to TSA, but I will tell you that -- remember that these are 10 airports of last point of departure to the United States out of 250 that come here.  Part of it is to allow -- you have to provide appropriate notification to the host country, to the host airlines, and give them opportunity to get those procedures in place. I’m not going to comment any further about the security measures that have been taking place or are taking place just to continue to refer you back to TSA.  But I will tell you that I think that implementing something of this nature in that timeframe is pretty darn quick. Q    Okay, and one more -- sorry, I had a follow-up -- MR. SPICER:  Of course. Q    Sorry.  Something totally unrelated.  I wanted to ask, has the White House Counsel approved Ivanka Trump getting a West Wing office and clearance?  And so what is the administration’s thinking behind this?  What is she going to do as the -- MR. SPICER:  I don’t think the counsel actually approves office space, but I get your questions. Q    Right. MR. SPICER:  Ivanka has taken on several measures to promote high standards of ethical conduct.  Even though she’s not a federal employee, she’ll follow the restrictions that would apply if she were.  She’s taking these steps with advice of counsel and in consultation with the Office of Government Ethics. Hallie. Q    Two for you.  One on healthcare, to follow up on the follow-ups.  You’ve made very clear that the President was going to be supporting those who supported the bill.  And I want to talk about the flip side of that, but when he talked this morning in the closed-door meeting about people paying a price, losing seats, not get the majority -- is that an implied threat from the President to the members that don't back this bill MR. SPICER:  No, I think it's a political reality.  I think if you go out and promise the American people something and your voters something, especially on a scale like this -- and, frankly, as I said, there’s obviously members that have been there one term, two terms, three terms, but this is something that as a party we've made very clear -- if you give us this, American people, we will get this done.  And I think that to go and make a promise and a pledge of this magnitude and not to follow it through, I'm sure that voters would be upset. And we've seen this in the past.  And it's something that I think the President, as I mentioned earlier, has staked -- has earned high marks for, is keeping his word.  And I think the President was stating a political reality -- if we go out there and make these pledges to the American people and don't do what we've said we've done on these big things, then I don't think they’re going to continue to want to see us in the majority and they’re going to look for an alternative. Q    And the second, just about -- will he remember the names of those who don't back the bill?   MR. SPICER:  (Laughter.)  We’ll see. John Gizzi. Q    Actually, on yesterday, I just wanted to clarify that. MR. SPICER:  -- on counting -- it's like CBO.  (Laughter.)  Sorry.  Come on, that was -- Q    Do you want to elaborate on that one? MR. SPICER:  No, I don't.  Please go ahead. Q    I do want to ask about the Russia testimony from yesterday.  I know you obviously addressed it from the podium hours ago, but there was sort of this interesting moment that happened a little bit after the briefing, where Director Comey was asked about the live tweets coming from the President in his account at the same time that the hearing was happening.  And Director was fact-checking the President in real time, essentially saying he was incorrect in what he was tweeting.  Is there concern on the part of the White House about the President’s credibility in that situation, that his own Director is correcting his tweets and what he’s saying in real time? MR. SPICER:  Well, I mean, let’s just be clear.  I mean, he was answering questions.  I mean, it's not like he was out there -- he was responding to a question.  But again, I think it's important to note, with respect to this -- and I saw a couple comments yesterday -- Senator Coons took issue with a couple of the comments that we made.  Let me just read you -- I know you guys love this when I do this, so I'm just going to entertain you for a second -- Senator Chris Coons -- this is his quote, direct quote -- “I have no hard evidence of collusion.”  Director Clapper, “Not to my knowledge.”  Senator Tom Cotton, “Not that I've seen and not that I'm aware of.”  This is in reference to any type of collusion with Russia that occurred. Obama’s Acting CIA Director Morell, “There’s smoke but there’s no fire.”  Senator Chuck Grassley after the Comey briefing -- I can say #POTUS and #Clapper are both right, no evidence of Trump collusion with the Russians. So we've now gone over this on multiple occasions, but at some point there is a distinction between an investigation that goes into Russia’s involvement in 2016 and this continued narrative that falsely tries to link the Trump -- the President or the White House into any of it.  They continue to see that there is nothing there.  Every single person who has been briefed who has come out and publicly talked about it -- Republican, Democrat, former DNI, former CIA directors, Obama appointees -- have said no evidence. And so I get that -- we keep getting asked -- Q    That's not my question. MR. SPICER:  But my point is, is that -- that was one of the tweets, though, that he addressed.  He said, former DNI continues to note -- and that was actually true.  These are their quotes.  This is what they’ve said.  So it's not a question -- I think sometimes you come back to us -- at some point, the question has to be to the individuals who said this -- whether it's Chris Coons from Delaware, or former Director Clapper, or former CIA Acting Director Morell -- they’re the ones who’ve said these things on the record.  They’re the ones who’ve been briefed by the intelligence community, by the FBI, and come out and said there is no collusion. And so, at some point, to fact-check the President for merely quoting them is not -- the question should be directed at them, not us.  But over and over again, it's come to the same conclusion.   So, Kaitlan.  All right, John.  Then Kaitlan.  That was very nice of you.  It's National Ag Day afterwards -- Q    Thank you, Sean.  Thank you, Kaitlan.  I have two questions.  First, the author David Horowitz, in his book, The Big Agenda, writes of what he calls “a deep state,” in which he said these are Obama holdovers in government who are trying to undercut the President’s agenda.  This has been widely repeated on social media.  Does the President himself believe in this deep state? MR. SPICER:  Well, I've been asked this question before and I'll give you the same answer I've given before, which is I think there are people that burrow into the government after an administration -- this is going back since the beginning of time. They used to call it ramspecking -- it's suddenly no longer permitted in terms of that same way.  But this has been going on since the country was -- country came to be, where people burrow in after an administration into a civil servant job.  But, sure, there’s people, after eight years of Obama that found their way into government, so it should be no huge secret. Okay? Q    Yes.  Another question on --  Q    What was that again? Q    -- that word? MR. SPICER:  Ramspecking?  Oh, Google it. Q    I remember -- I remember when -- Q    How do you spell it? MR. SPICER:  You ever seen my spelling?  Come on.  (Laughter.)  Ramspecking.  It was named after -- we're going to go through a history lesson here, guys. Q    My other question was, over the weekend, Governor Graco Ramirez, the head of the Mexican Governors Association, was again in Washington, and in a much publicized statement said that Mexico had scored its first victory over the proposed wall.  He said that in the President’s budget there’s a line item for $2.6 billion -- MR. SPICER:  In FY’18. Q    -- in tax dollars, and no mention of Mexico paying for the wall in any way.  He’s claimed a victory in that.  Your response to Governor Graco Ramirez? MR. SPICER:  It's a little early to be claiming victory.  I think the President has made it clear that he was going to use the current process to start the construction of the wall and that there would be ways that that fulfillment of that pledge would come true. Kaitlan. Q    Thank you.  The administration and the President have repeatedly said that over the next few weeks they will present evidence that he was wiretapped.  And last week he said it would be coming this week and he may speak on it this week.  Can we expect the President to, this week, present evidence that he was wiretapped by Barack Obama?  Or will he speak about it?  Because he didn’t mention it last night in his rally. MR. SPICER:  Let’s see how the week goes.   Margaret. Q    Sean, when we heard from the President before talk about the need for this healthcare plan to pass, he’s talked about the important steps of tax reform and the rest.  At what point do you think that his agenda could be imperiled as you look at the vote count?  Because you're also going to have a further fight, of course, to get any of this through the Senate. MR. SPICER:  So, at what point will the vote count -- Q    This seems to be such a centerpiece of the rest of the President’s agenda.  So given that it’s still not any -- there’s no certainty in terms of passage at this point, how concerned are you that Thursday could imperil the President’s agenda? MR. SPICER:  Well, I think it’s -- the President’s visit this morning was very well received.  I think we continue down the path to get the votes.  We got a ways to go.  We got to get to the Senate next.  But I think members understand that this is something that has been at the heart of what Republicans have campaigned, and I feel we -- I feel very good headed into this.  The President continues to talk to members, and we're going to make sure that we grow the vote as much as we can. But with respect to the rest of the agenda, I think all of the issues that the President campaigned on are things that the House and the Senate both look forward to taking up.  Whether it’s trade or immigration or comprehensive tax reform, all of these issues are stuff that many Republicans have campaigned on for a long time and are eager to get going. The President has made it very clear, as he did last night, as well, that, look, part of the -- we've got to keep moving along if we want to get big things done.  There’s a lot that can be done during this administration, during the first term, and he wants to get as much of it done as possible.  And so the quicker we get repeal and replace done, and put the American Health Care Act in place, the better.  I mean that's just the nature of it. But I think when you look at the speed in which we've moved, it’s been very responsible.  We've allowed the committees to work their will.  The House has taken up the amendments.  It’s been online.  So this is -- there’s always a balance between jamming it down and getting it done and over with, which is how the Democrats operated at one point when they finally moved on their bill versus how this is done.  But I think we've stricken a very nice balance on this. Q    At which point will be it Trumpcare?  The President said today it could happen when we asked during the photo spray. MR. SPICER:  We’ll have to see.  Right now it’s the American Health Care Act, and we're trying to get it done. Anita. Q    Two questions.  First, the Kansas legislature is on the verge of possibly passing a Medicaid expansion, and the current version of the healthcare bill does not allow states to pass that.  And so I’m wondering -- as you know most legislatures are currently meeting across the country.  Will there be an exception for states if they expand before any new bill comes to -- MR. SPICER:  It would have to be addressed in the legislation.  I don't believe there’s an exception clause, so I don't -- but I also don't -- it would be -- far be it from me to say at this point, the bill is getting ready to move to the House, the legislation is meeting.  I don't want to prejudge the outcome yet.  But I don't believe from my understanding that there is any kind of like clause that says “if.”  Q    And secondly, tomorrow -- you mentioned the Congressional Black Caucus.  Is there a specific topic -- healthcare, five topics?  What can you tell us about the President’s message to them?  And how did it come about?  I know there’s been some back and forth on getting a meeting going, how did that come about?   MR. SPICER:  (Laughter.)  April is -- okay, don't drag April into that.  (Laughter.)   Q    Didn't say a name, didn't say a name. MR. SPICER:  This has been something that the President has talked about for a while.  He met with Congressman Elijah Cummings.  He started off in a phone call probably a month or so ago where they discussed prescription drugs and the need to get it down; and then the conversation continued.  Our legislation affairs team early on went to some of their meetings and started having a dialogue with them, and that dialogue continued.  And there was a desire to have a meeting.  The President wanted to have them down. I think there’s going to be a range of issues that get discussed that range from drug prices to infrastructure, investment in education, HBCUs.  There will be a range, and I think that's part of it.  There’s no set agenda to say we must talk about these things.  And obviously, I think healthcare is going to come up, too.  The President wants to get their idea. Before April jumps out her seat, we'll give her --  Q    Thank you for giving a follow-up.  I want to follow up on the CBC, and I have another question on another subject.  So with the CBC, since you're saying you went through all of this prior to the fact that he became President, that there was an effort to reach out to the CBC.  So with all of this understanding that they are an important to deal with in handling some of the issues, the urban issues, or issues that pertain to their community, how does the President plan to move forward in working with them, particularly as some just don’t see eye-to-eye with him? MR. SPICER:  I think part of it is it continues to have a dialogue, April.  I mean, it's simply sitting down with people, talking about issues, talking about common ground.  I think if you look at the conversation that he began and continued with Congressman Elijah Cummings, they found common ground.  The President talked about areas where, despite some of the narratives that are out there, there were issues that they probably both share concern for and that they can work on together.  And maybe they won't agree on 100 percent or 60 percent, but maybe there's 15, 20, or 30 percent of the issues.  Maybe there's one bill in particular that they can work on.  But there's a willingness to sit down and talk, and I think that's the first step in the process of any of these.  It's not just your own party -- and the President has shown this on several of these meetings -- where it's not just business leaders.  He's brought in the union leaders.  We talked about healthcare; yesterday, he had Dr. Zeke Emanuel in.  It's not about just bringing in people who agree with you, it's about people across the spectrum who can offer ideas.  And the President -- and I get it that inner cities aren’t exclusive, the rebuilding of inner cities aren’t the only issue.  But he's talked about -- he's elevated the status of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, bringing that office into the White House to help coordinate some of the federal government activities.  He's talked about rebuilding the inner cities.  He's talked about school choice.  A lot of issues that -- Q    Law and order. MR. SPICER:  Law and order, and healthcare.  And there's issues that impact urban areas, minority communities, whether they live in rural areas or urban areas.  But I think that that dialogue needs to continue because it can only help, and I think that that's what we look forward to tomorrow. Q    And the second subject -- as you're talking about bringing in groups, you're also bringing in truckers.  And there is a concern in the trucking industry about something like e-logs that's going to happen at the end of the year, where truckers -- be it truckers with commercial trucks, or mom-and-pop businesses -- all of them are going to have computers to log in, to monitor the time you drive, the stop and speed, et cetera.  And many people are saying that it cuts into their income.  Where does the President stand on that?   MR. SPICER:  Yeah, I think let's see if that comes up in the meeting, and I'll have a readout.  But I know -- Q    But even whether it comes up in the meeting -- MR. SPICER:  I understand.  That's more of a DOT issue, so I would refer you to the Department of Transportation. Q    They're very concerned about it.  Would he at least -- MR. SPICER:  I understand that.  And I hope that that comes up. Jeff Mason. Q    Just a follow-up on the DHS airline issue.  If there is a danger to Americans or to fliers generally with having laptops or things that are bigger than a cellphone in planes from those 10 countries, why would that also not be a danger from other countries? MR. SPICER:  As you can imagine, I can't talk about the intelligence that we have.  I can just tell you that the steps that are being taken are appropriate and commensurate with the intelligence that we have.  And I'd refer you to the Department of Homeland Security and, specifically, the Transportation Security Administration. Q    One other question.   MR. SPICER:  One out of two. Q    Okay.  The President has traditionally issued a greeting to those celebrating the Iranian New Year, Nowruz.  Will President Trump be doing that today?   MR. SPICER:  Let me get back to you.  I know that -- I don’t want to get ahead of myself on that, but we may have something for you later.  I've got to check on that. But thank you, guys, very much.  Let's get back to watching Neil Gorsuch.  And I will see you tomorrow.  We're going to have a week full of briefings.  I'm excited.  And, by the way, I am very happy that the individual in the press corps who took Tom Brady's jersey -- (laughter) -- that that has been returned properly.  Another bad on the press, but we have righted that wrong.  Thank you. END   2:41 P.M. EDT

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21 марта, 19:32

Health Care Bill Restores Pro-Life Principles

The American Health Care Act (AHCA) fulfills a lot of promises. It repeals Obamacare—the taxes, the mandates, the subsidies. It replaces Obamacare with a conservative system—one that empowers the individual and utilizes the free market. Here’s one more important thing that the AHCA does: It defunds Planned Parenthood. That’s right, the AHCA blocks more than $500 million of federal dollars currently going to Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the country, for one year, and instead sends money to community health centers, which far outnumber Planned Parenthood clinics. That's why the National Right to Life, Susan B. Anthony List, the Family Research Council, and Concerned Women for America have all expressed support for the bill. Women’s health will not be neglected. Instead, the AHCA will redirect $422 million to community health centers around the United States—ones that do not perform abortions and have a proven record of helping women. The AHCA restores pro-life principles to the health care system—a system that should inherently protect life, not seek to destroy it. House Republicans have made a commitment to life. The time is now to make that commitment a reality. RELATED: National Right to Life Sends Letter of Support for American Health Care ActConservative Health Care ReformHouse to Vote to Protect Taxpayers from Funding Abortion FACT: The American Health Care Act restores pro-life principles to our health care system. #PassTheBill https://t.co/vSAD1nTKD5 pic.twitter.com/CGX4MEd7sm — Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) March 21, 2017

01 февраля, 04:21

Gorsuch pick affirms Trump vow to pick 'pro-life' justice

Judge Neil Gorsuch has never ruled directly on abortion rights, but he has decided twice against Obamacare’s contraception coverage requirement and written a book on the value of human life — signs that he conforms to President Donald Trump’s pledge to appoint “pro-life” justices.The choice of Gorsuch for the Supreme Court was immediately praised by anti-abortion groups and chastised by supporters of abortion rights.“President Trump has kept his promise to nominate only pro-life judges to the Supreme Court,” Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement. “Judge Gorsuch is a distinguished jurist with a strong record of protecting life and religious liberty, as evidenced by his opinions in the Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor cases, and in his doctoral dissertation in which he wrote that ‘human life is fundamentally and inherently valuable.’”If confirmed by the Senate, Gorsuch would not change the high court's balance on abortion because he would replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia — a consistent vote against abortion rights. But with three justices over the age of 78, Trump may have the opportunity to fill additional seats and change the balance of the court on abortion and other issues for decades.Gorsuch wrote an extensive defense of the “inherently valuable” human life in a 2006 book, “The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia.” The book provides a moral and legal argument against assisted suicide, arguing that all intentional killing is wrong, and includes an analysis of the Supreme Court’s major abortion rulings.Gorsuch said the Roe v. Wade decision created a “new right” to abortion access, a suggestion that the court crafted the right out of the 14th Amendment's privacy protection, a criticism frequently leveled by anti-abortion groups. Indeed, anti-abortion groups cite the book as proof of his support for their cause.But he also seemed to suggest the court’s 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision — which upheld the right to abortion but created a more clear framework for state regulation — repaired the mistakes in Roe, making it settled law.“The plurality in Casey expressly sought to provide a firmer basis for the abortion right and to shore up the reasoning behind Roe’s result,” Gorsuch wrote. “In doing so, the Casey plurality purposefully eschewed any effort to examine the history of abortion regulation, stressing instead the importance of ‘reasoned judgment’ in assessing whether to continue recognizing the constitutional right to abortion.”The book will surely be examined in the run-up to Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings.Trump pledged to appoint "pro-life" judges and while he did not directly commit to getting the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision on abortion overturned, he insinuated that if the Supreme Court did so, the question of whether abortion is legal would go back to the states to decide. Supporters of abortion rights immediately decried his selection."Gorsuch represents an existential threat to legal abortion in the United States and must never wear the robes of a Supreme Court justice," NARAL Pro-Choice America president Ilyse Hogue said in a statement. "With a clear track record of supporting an agenda that undermines abortion access and endangers women, there is no doubt that Gorsuch is a direct threat to Roe v. Wade and the promise it holds for women's equality."Gorsuch ruled twice on the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage requirement, both times siding with the challengers, who argued that it violated their religious freedoms.Gorsuch ruled in 2013 in support of Hobby Lobby Stores, which protested the requirement that it provide no-cost access to contraception in its health insurance plans. Gorsuch and his colleagues on the 10th Circuit issued an injunction to block the government from fining the store and its owners for not complying with the controversial provision.Gorsuch, in a concurring opinion, wrote that the owners of the store had a right to challenge the requirement, which forced them to decide whether to provide contraception or face fines. “This sort of governmental pressure to compromise an article of religious faith is surely sufficient to” give the owners the right to sue, he wrote.When the related Little Sisters of the Poor case came before him two years later, Gorsuch doubled down on his opposition to the contraception mandate, signing on to a dissenting opinion that said the mandate imposed a “substantial burden” on the nuns’ religious rights.Gorsuch also weighed in on a case involving the funding of Planned Parenthood.Last year, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert tried to cut off state funding to the organization in the wake of the sting videos by the Center for Medical Progress, which argued the organization was selling fetal tissue. Gorsuch said he would have allowed the funding blockade to proceed. But a majority of his colleagues on the 10th Circuit let stand a lower-court decision to block the governor's order. They argued that Herbert was taking retaliatory action against Planned Parenthood because he was a long-time opponent of abortion. The majority of the court “inferred that he wanted to punish the group for its lawful abortion advocacy,” Gorsuch wrote in his dissent defending the governor’s decision as legal. “But it is undisputed that the governor has held office since 2009 and had taken no action against [Planned Parenthood] until shortly after the release of the videos in 2015.”One anti-abortion activist, Andrew Schlafly, a lawyer at the Legal Center for Defense of Life and the son of a late conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, has waged a shadow campaign against Gorsuch. Schlafly argues that the selection of Gorsuch would “break Trump’s pro-life pledge," arguing that he doesn't use "pro-life" language and is too beholden to precedent to undo the Roe decision.“Neil Gorsuch is NOT pro-life,” he wrote in a newsletter last week. “His selection would violate Trump's pledge to nominate a pro-life justice to the Supreme Court. Roe v. Wade won't be overturned for 40 years if the 49-year-old Gorsuch is picked.” However, Schlafly’s blog posts have been discredited by former Scalia law clerk Ed Whelan and haven’t picked up support among mainstream anti-abortion groups.Conservative groups have already pledged to back Gorsuch’s nomination. The Judicial Crisis Network announced a $10 million ad buy before the nominee was announced.Susan B. Anthony List said that it would be mobilizing support as well. “Should pro-abortion Democratic senators choose to filibuster this immensely qualified nominee, they do so at their own political peril,” Dannenfelser said.

28 января, 00:59

Women At March For Life Are Deeply Conflicted About Donald Trump

function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); WASHINGTON ― Abortion opponents descended on the National Mall Friday for the annual “March for Life,” with many women saying they struggled to reconcile their strong views on abortion with their distaste for President Donald Trump.  The crowd at the anti-abortion rally was far smaller than last weekend’s Women’s March on Washington, which may have been the largest protest in American history. “I almost didn’t want to come, because I knew I would be continuing to group myself with some people that I’m not proud to be grouped with,” said Miranda Malone, a 21-year old senior at University of Dayton in Ohio.   “I don’t like the way he acts,” Mary Ryback, 52, of Milwaukee, said of Trump. “I do like that he is a pro-life president, and I did vote for him because of life, but it was very difficult.”  For many women at the march, the issue of “life” is not just about abortion. Malone held a sign that said “Protect ALL Life,” including immigrants, LGBTQ+ individuals, refugees, the poor and unemployed, Latinos, the environment, and “the unborn.” A self-described “pro-life Democrat,” she voted for Hillary Clinton and traveled to the March for Life to ensure people like her have a voice in the anti-abortion movement, too.  “I think that if were talking about eliminating abortion and protecting life, we need to provide more resources, like education and contraceptives for women,” Malone said. “I feel that a lot of people in this movement focus on shaming women for decisions they make, and I don’t agree with that way of thinking.”  Maddy Buschur, a young Republican who attends Ohio State University, described herself as a “pro-life feminist” and “reluctant” Trump voter. She opposes some of his cabinet selections and was offended by many of comments he’s made about women, including his recorded boast that he can “grab them by the pussy” because he’s a celebrity. “It breaks my heart that that’s the point we’re at in society, that this is our leader, and that people are finding ways to defend his comments,” Buscher said. “I wasn’t sure if I should vote or not on the president, because I wasn’t sure I believe in the whole concept of ‘vote for the lesser of two evils.’ But at the end of the day, I think Hillary would have done more damage to women as feminists.”  Buscher said she believes abortion rights are counterproductive to women’s equality. “It’s completely illogical to tell a woman that in order to succeed in our society, she needs to become more like a man by taking away her pregnancy,” she said.  Trump has had mixed views on abortion over the years. He once described himself as “very pro-choice” and enthusiastically praised Planned Parenthood. Then, facing a backlash from conservatives on the campaign trail, he overcorrected by saying women should “face some sort of punishment” for having abortions ― a comment that made even anti-abortion groups cringe. In the weeks leading up to his election, Trump went out of his way to appease social conservatives on the issue, notably choosing anti-abortion warrior Mike Pence as his running mate. Pence led the fight against reproductive rights in Congress, and as governor of Indiana, throughout Barack Obama’s presidency. One of Trump’s first moves as president was to reinstate the so-called global gag rule implemented by President Ronald Reagan, which bans recipients of U.S. foreign aid money from referring patients to abortion providers or giving women information about abortions.   Anti-abortion activists on Friday still seemed skeptical of Trump’s sincerity. “Do I trust him?” asked Ryback. “I trust in God, and I pray that God will use [Trump] and our representatives to make abortion illegal.”  “I was a big fan of the [global gag rule], because I don’t think that’s where our funding should be going,” said Buschur. “As for the rest, I’ve just been holding my breath to see where it goes.” Other attendees were more vehemently opposed to the president. One woman from Fargo, North Dakota, stood on a bench on the National Mall holding a banner that said, “Pro-Life/Pro-Environment.” She said she cannot accept Trump’s policies on climate change or his approval of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline threatening Native American lands. She said the president cannot be “pro-life” without also protecting the earth.  “I’m horrified and frightened and terrified,” she said of Trump. “He needs to be impeached immediately.” -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

19 января, 22:23

Memorandum: Federal Civilian Hiring Freeze Guidance

M-17-18 MEMORANDUM FOR HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES FROM:    MARK SANDY                 ACTING DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET                 KATHLEEN McGETTIGAN                 ACTING DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT SUBJECT: Federal Civilian Hiring Freeze Guidance Purpose. This memorandum provides additional guidance regarding the freeze on the hiring of Federal civilian employees as directed by the President on January 23, 2017, via Presidential Memorandum (PM) entitled "Hiring Freeze." This guidance is in addition to the initial implementation guidance issued by the Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on January 25, 2017. This guidance provides information on the types of exemptions authorized under this hiring freeze as well as instructions on how departments and agencies can request exemptions from the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for critical situations where additional exemptions may be warranted. Coverage. This memorandum applies to all Executive departments and agencies regardless of the sources of their operational and programmatic funding and to all types of Federal civilian appointments, regardless of the length of the appointment, except as provided for below or otherwise provided in law. No vacant positions existing at noon on January 22, 2017, may be filled and no new positions may be created, except in limited circumstances. For the purposes of this memorandum, a position is not considered vacant if an individual has been given an offer of employment prior to noon on January 22, 2017, has accepted the position, and has a designated start date on or before February 22, 2017. Contracting outside the Government to circumvent the intent of the PM shall not be permitted. For example, agencies shall not acquire by contract with a commercial vendor services that are substantially similar to those that would have been provided by a Federal civilian in a vacancy covered by the PM. However, nothing in this memorandum is intended to restrict agencies from continuing, modifying, or entering into service contracts for other purposes, consistent with law, regulation, and any applicable management direction. The guidance in this memorandum should be implemented consistent with any lawful collective bargaining obligations that may apply. Exemptions. The following exemptions to the Federal civilian hiring freeze are permitted: Military personnel in the armed forces and all Federal uniformed personnel, including the U.S. Coast Guard, the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service, and the Commissioned Officer Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Filling of positions under programs where limiting the hiring of personnel would conflict with applicable law. Nomination and appointment of officials to positions requiring Presidential appointment, with or without Senate confirmation. Appointment of officials to non-career positions in the Senior Executive Service or to Schedule C appointments in the Excepted Service, or the appointment of any other officials who serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority (i.e., "appointed" positions of a political/non-career nature). Appointment of seasonal employees and short-term temporary employees necessary to meet traditionally recurring seasonal workloads, provided that the agency informs its OMB Resource Management Office in writing in advance of its hiring plans. Hiring by the U.S. Postal Service. Federal civilian personnel hires made by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Appointments made under the Pathways Internship and Presidential Management Fellows programs (this does not include the Recent Graduates program). Agencies should ensure that such hires understand the provisional nature of these appointments and that conversion is not guaranteed. Conversions in the ordinary course to the competitive service of current agency employees serving in positions with conversion authority, such as Veteran's Recruitment Act (VRA) and Pathways programs. Appointments made under 5 C.F.R. § 213.3102(r) (time limited positions in support of fellowship or professional/industry exchange programs) provided that the total number of individuals employed under this authority does not exceed the number of employees onboard (hired under this authority) on January 22, 2017. Placement of persons with restoration rights accorded by law, such as restoration after absence with injury compensation and restoration after military duty. Job offers made prior to January 22, 2017, for which the individual has a confirmed start date on or before February 22, 2017. Those individuals should report to work according to their respective designated start dates. Job offers made prior to January 22, 2017, but for which the individual has a confirmed start date that is later than February 22, 2017 (or does not have a confirmed start date), should be decided on a case-by-case basis and must go through an agency-head review. The agency head should review each position to determine whether the job offer should be revoked, or whether the hiring process should continue. Agency heads should consider essential mission priorities, current agency resources, and funding levels when making determinations about whether or not to revoke job offers. Internal career ladder promotions. Reallocations (i.e., noncompetitive reassignments and details) of current Federal civilian employees within an agency to meet the highest priority needs (including preservation of national security and other essential services) are not affected. Details (reimbursable and non-reimbursable) between agencies are also not affected; however, agency leadership should ensure that any reimbursable details between agencies are not being used to circumvent the intent of the hiring freeze. Term and temporary appointments of existing Federal employees may be extended up to the maximum allowable time limit, consistent with the conditions/requirements of the legal authority originally used to appoint the employee. A limited number of voluntary transfers of current SES between agencies, as necessary to secure the leadership capacity of agencies, and where needs cannot be met by reallocation of resources within an agency's current workforce; however, filling of such vacancies is subject to OPM approval in accordance with section 4 below. The head of any agency may exempt any positions that it deems necessary to: Meet national security (including foreign relations) responsibilities, or Meet public safety responsibilities (including essential activities to the extent that they protect life and property). Agencies may refer to longstanding guidance, which provides examples of such activities in OMB Memorandum. Agency Operations in the Absence of Appropriations. dated 11/17/1981 [see examples 3(a) to 3(k)]. Agency heads should consult with appropriate personnel, including the agency Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) or equivalent and agency counsel when determining what positions to exempt from the hiring freeze. Agency heads are also required to consult with OPM and the agency's OMB Resource Management Office on their intent to exempt positions using their agency head authority before implementing these exemptions. Note that in the case of an Inspector General's (IG) office, the Inspector General is considered the agency head for the purposes of determining which positions in the IG office are exempt based on the definitions above, as well as for the purposes of the agency-head review of job offers in the IG office that either do not have a start date or have a designated start date beyond February 22, 2017. Exemptions Granted by the Director of OPM. The Director of OPM may grant additional exemptions from the hiring freeze for critical situations. Accordingly, if an agency head assesses that circumstances warrant additional exemptions to the hiring freeze other than those specified above, a request must be made in writing to the Director of OPM and signed by the agency head. The request must: Explain the critical need and how it relates to essential services or critical mission requirements. Explain why reallocation (reassignment/detail) of existing staff within the agency is not possible to meet the needs outlined in the request. Explain the urgency of the need and the consequences of not filling the position within a 3 to 6 month timeline. Agencies must also notify their respective OMB Resource Management Office of exemption requests to OPM under this provision. Effective Dates. The guidance in this memorandum is effective immediately. Within 90 days of the publication of the PM issued on January 23, 2017, the Director of OMB, in consultation with the Director of OPM, shall recommend a long-term plan to reduce the size of the Federal Government's workforce through attrition. The hiring freeze will expire upon implementation of the OMB plan. Inquiries. Questions from departments and agencies regarding the instructions and guidance in this memorandum should be addressed to agency OMB Resource Management Officers and OPM contacts provided to Chief Human Capital Officers and HR Directors.

10 января, 18:38

Fighting For The Good Life In Trumplandia

What Is a Country For? Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com Many of the folks I know are getting ready to play serious defense in 2017, and they’re not wrong. Before we take up our three-point stance on the national line of scrimmage, however, maybe we should ask ourselves not only what we’re fighting against, but what we’re fighting for. What kind of United States of America do we actually want? Maybe, in fact, we could start by asking: What is a country for? What should a country do? Why do people establish countries in the first place? Playing Defense There is, without question, much that will need defending over the next four years, so much that people fought and died for in the twentieth century, so much that is threatened by the ascendancy of Donald Trump, the white nationalist right, and the Republican Party. The twentieth century saw the introduction of many significant laws, regulations, and -- yes -- entitlements: benefits to which we have a right by virtue of living in, and in many cases being citizens of, this country. We could start earlier, but let’s begin with the 1935 National Labor Relations Act. It established the right of workers to collectively negotiate wages and working conditions with their employers and made collective bargaining the official “policy of the United States.” This policy faces an immediate threat. Identical Republican-sponsored bills in the House and Senate would end the right of unions to require the workers they represent to pay union dues.  These bills would, in other words, reproduce at the federal level the so-called right-to-work (more accurately, right-to-starve) laws already in place in more than half the states. If -- or as seems likely, when -- they pass, millions of workers will face the potential loss of the power of collective bargaining and find themselves negotiating with employers as lonely individuals. Then there was the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act, which guaranteed a minimum wage and overtime pay to many workers (although not, notably, those laboring in agricultural fields or inside other people’s homes -- workplaces then occupied primarily by African Americans, and later by other people of color as well). Andrew F. Puzder, Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of labor, opposes the very idea of a minimum wage. This shouldn’t be too surprising, since his current day job is as CEO of the parent company of two fast-food franchise operations, Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. We could mention other New Deal era victories under threat: Social Security, unemployment insurance, food stamps (now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP), and Aid to Families with Dependent Children (now known as TANF for Temporary Aid to Needy Families, or more commonly simply as “welfare”), which was created to promote the wellbeing of children in families facing poverty. In the coming Trump years, we can expect predation on all these programs -- from renewed efforts to “privatize” Social Security to further restrictions on welfare. Indeed, former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, Trump’s transition team point man on Social Security, is a firm believer in “privatization,” the idea that the federal government should encourage people to gamble on the stock market rather than rely on a guaranteed government pension. The one entitlement program that will probably survive unscathed is SNAP, because its primary beneficiaries are not the people who use it to buy groceries but the giant agricultural corporations it indirectly subsidizes. It’s no accident that, unlike other entitlement programs, SNAP is administered by the Department of Agriculture. Then there was the 1937 Housing Act, designed to provide financial support to cities so they could improve the housing stock of poor people, which eventually led to the creation of the department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In Ben Carson we are about to have a HUD secretary who, in addition to having announced that he’s not qualified to head a federal agency, doesn’t believe in the very programs HUD exists to support. And so it goes with the victories of the second half of the twentieth century. In Jeff Sessions, for instance, we have a potential attorney general staunchly opposed to the civil and voting rights won by African Americans (and women of all races, in the case of the 1964 Civil Rights Act). In Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, we’ll have a climate-change denier and fossil-fuel advocate running the Environmental Protection Agency. Medicare entitles -- there’s that word again -- older people and some with chronic illnesses to federally subsidized healthcare. Its introduction in 1965 ended the once-common newspaper and TV stories about senior citizens eating pet food because they couldn’t afford both medicine and groceries.  That program, too, will reportedly be under threat. There’s more to defend. Take widespread access to birth control, now covered by health insurance under Obamacare. I’m old enough to remember having to pretend I was married to get a doctor to prescribe The Pill, and being grateful for the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade that guaranteed me a legal abortion, when a gynecologist told me I couldn’t conceive.  (He was wrong.) Then there are the guarantees of civil rights for LGB (if not yet T) people won in the 1990s, culminating in the astonishing 2015 Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges granting marriage rights to same-sex couples. All of this could be wiped out with a couple of Trumpian Supreme Court picks. Nor should we forget that in addition to people’s rights, there are actual people to defend in the brave new world of Trumplandia, or at least to help defend themselves: immigrants, Muslims, African Americans -- especially young black men -- as well as people facing poverty and homelessness. One potentially unexpected benefit of the coming period: so many of us are likely to be under attack in one way or another that we will recognize the need for broad-based coalitions, working at every level of society and throughout its institutions. Such groups already exist, some more developed than others. I’m thinking, for example, of United for Peace and Justice, which came together to oppose Bush-era wars and domestic policies, the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, a national coalition of community organizations led by people of color, and National People’s Action, another effective coalition of community organizations, to name just three. On the state level, there is the powerful work of the Moral Mondays project, led by the North Carolina NAACP and its president, the Reverend William J. Barber II. In my own backyard, there are the many community groups that make up San Francisco Rising and Oakland Rising. Such multi-issue organizations can be sources of solidarity for people and groups focused on important single issues, from the Fight for Fifteen (dollars an hour minimum wage) to opposing the bizarrely-named First Amendment Defense Act, which would protect the right of proprietors of public accommodations to refuse service to people whose presence in their establishments violates “a religious belief or moral conviction that: (1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.” Defense Matters, But We Need More  As important as such defensive actions will be, we're going to need something beyond a good defense: a coherent reason why all these disparate things are worth defending. We need to be able to say why black lives, women’s lives, workers’ lives, brown and immigrant lives matter in the first place. We need a vision of a society in which not only do all people’s lives matter, but where they all have the possibility of being good lives. We need a picture of what a country is for, so that as we fight, we understand not only the horrors we oppose, but what it is we desire. Fortunately, we don’t have to start any description of what a good human life consists of from scratch. People have been discussing the subject for at least as long as they’ve left written records, and probably far longer. In the third century BCE, for example, Aristotle proposed that the good life -- happiness -- consists of developing and using both our intellectual and moral capacities to the fullest possible extent across an entire lifetime. The good life meant learning and then practicing wisdom, courage, justice, and generosity -- along with some lesser virtues, like being entertaining at a dinner party. Aristotle wasn’t an idiot, however. He also knew that people need the basics of survival -- food, clothing, shelter, health, and friendship -- if they are to be happy. Not surprisingly, he had a distinctly limited idea about which human beings could actually achieve such happiness.  It boiled down to men of wealth who had the leisure to develop their abilities. His understanding of the good life left a lot of people, including women, slaves, and children, out of the circle of the fully human. Although it may sound strange to twenty-first-century American ears, Aristotle also thought that the purpose of government was to help people (at least those he thought were capable of it) to live happy lives, in part by making laws that would guide them into developing the capacities crucial to that state. Who nowadays thinks that happiness is the government’s business? Perhaps more of us should. After all, the Founding Fathers did. “We Hold These Truths...” Where should we who seek to defend our country against the advance of what some are now going so far as to call “fascism” enter this conversation about the purpose of government? It might make sense to take a look at a single sentence written by a group of white men, among them slaveholders, who also thought happiness was the government’s business. I’m referring, of course, to the men who wrote the Declaration of Independence. Its much-quoted second sentence reads in full: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, -- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -- That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” Political philosopher Danielle Allen has pointed out that modern versions of the Declaration’s text “update” the original punctuation with a period after “happiness.” But that full stop obscures the whole point of the sentence. Not only do people self-evidently possess “unalienable” rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but the very reason we form governments in the first place is to “secure” those rights. Furthermore, when a government -- rather than protecting life, liberty, and happiness -- “becomes destructive” of them, we have the right to abolish it and put a better one in its place, always keeping in mind that the purpose of any new government should be to “effect” the people’s safety and happiness.  Of course, beginning any conversation with those words from the Declaration raises the obvious question: “Who’s ‘we’?” Can those of us who are women, people of color, descendants of slaves and/or slaveholders, all claim participation in that “we”? Should we want to? Allen, who describes herself as biracial and a feminist, addresses the contradictions inherent in claiming this document for our own in her valuable book Our Declaration. She concludes that we not only can, we must. There is too much at stake for us to cede equality to a white, male minority. Life, Liberty... What would it mean to take seriously the idea that people create governments so they can enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? What would the United States look like if that were its purpose? Let’s start with life. It’s reasonable to think that the Declaration’s authors were following the ideas of another dead white man, John Locke, who believed that people create governments so that they don’t have to spend all their time and energy preventing other people from hurting them, or taking revenge when they’ve been hurt. Instead, people delegate this authority to governments. But what has the U.S. government done with those delegated powers? Over the last 15 years of what we still call the “war on terror,” Americans have been told repeatedly that we have to choose between life and liberty, between “security” and freedom. We can’t have both. Do we want to be safe from terrorists? Then we must allow mass collection of our telephone and Internet-use data. And we must create a registry of Muslims living in this country. Do we want to be safe on our streets? Then we must allow federal and state governments to keep 2.2 million people locked up and another 4.5 million on probation or parole. Ours is the largest prison population in the world, in raw numbers and in proportion to our population. Safety on the street, we’re told, also demands an increase in the amount of daily video surveillance Americans experience.  And that’s just to start down a long list of the ways our liberties have been curtailed in these years. At the same time, successive Congresses and administrations have cut the programs that once helped sustain life in this country. Now, with the threatened repeal of Obamacare (and so the potential loss of medical insurance for at least 20 million Americans), the Republicans may literally cut off the lives of people who depend on that program for treatments that help them survive. The preamble of the Constitution also establishes the importance of life, liberty, and happiness, with slightly different language. In it, “We the people” establish that Constitution for the following purposes: “to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…” Is it possible that our common “defence” is not, in fact, aided by maintaining the world’s most powerful military, garrisoning the planet, and endlessly projecting power across the globe? After all, the United States is protected by an ocean off each coast and friendly countries on our northern and southern borders (although we may not always deal with them as friends should be treated). Certainly, I want my government to defend me from invading armies; on the other hand, I’m not convinced my safety is increased when the United States does the invading. It’s useful, too, as we think about the purpose of government, to consider the idea of the “general Welfare.” This phrase implies something important: my welfare, my good life, is bound up with yours. The people established the Constitution to promote the welfare of all of us, and not of a tiny, mega-rich minority, which is now running our government. We could do worse than reclaim the importance of the general welfare, with its suggestion that it is the primary business of any decent government to promote our wellbeing. ...And the Pursuit of Happiness Surely the definition of the good life, of happiness itself, is such a personal thing that it can’t be the subject of legislation or the object of government. Perhaps that’s true, but I’d like to introduce one more thinker here, also white, and, sadly, deceased: the political philosopher Iris Marion Young. In her Justice and the Politics of Difference, she offered a definition of a good human life. We can say, she argued, that a society is more or less a just one depending on the degree to which it satisfies basic physical needs, and equally importantly (as Aristotle also believed), “supports the institutional conditions necessary” for people to participate in self-development.  To her, that means “learning and using satisfying and expansive skills,” as well as the expression of “our experience, feelings, and perspective on social life in contexts where others can listen.” But self-development and expression, she says, are not sufficient for a good life. We also need self-determination -- that is, participation in the decisions that affect our lives and how we live them. We have much to defend, but we also should have a vision to advance. As we fight against a secretary of education who abhors public schools, we should also be fighting for the right of all of us to develop and use those “expansive and satisfying skills” -- from reading and writing to creating and doing -- that make life worth living. In a society with less and less demand for non-robotic workers, education will be more important than ever, not just so people can earn their livings, but also so that their lives are valuable and valued. As we fight against an administration of generals and billionaires, we should also be fighting for a country where we are free to express ourselves in language, dress, song, and ritual, without fear of finding ourselves on a registry or all our communications in the files of a spy agency. As we fight against a president elected by a minority of voters, we fight for a country in which we can take part in the decisions that affect all aspects of our lives. For many years I’ve opposed most of what my country stands for in the world. As a result, I often tended to see its founding documents as so many beautiful but meaningless promises spoken in our time to convince us and the world that the coups, invasions, and occupations we engaged in do represent life and liberty. But what if we were actually to take those words at face value? Not naively, but with the bitter nuance of the black poet Langston Hughes who, recognizing both the promise and the sham, wrote: “ O, let America be America again --   The land that never has been yet -- And yet must be -- the land where every man is free. The land that’s mine -- the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME -- Who made America, Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain, Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain, Must bring back our mighty dream again.” Maybe it’s not so strange that, in these dismal times, I find my hope in a dream, now hundreds of years old, of a country dedicated to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I guess it’s time to develop those satisfying and expansive skills of thinking, organizing, and acting to bring back that mighty dream again, that dream of a land that never has been yet -- but will be. Rebecca Gordon, a TomDispatch regular, teaches in the philosophy department at the University of San Francisco. She is the author of American Nuremberg: The U.S. Officials Who Should Stand Trial for Post-9/11 War Crimes. Her previous books include Mainstreaming Torture: Ethical Approaches in the Post-9/11 United States and Letters from Nicaragua.  Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, John Feffer's dystopian novel Splinterlands, as well as Nick Turse’s Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead, and Tom Engelhardt's latest book, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

10 января, 18:38

The Fight To Save Entitlement Programs In Trumplandia

What Is a Country For? Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com Many of the folks I know are getting ready to play serious defense in 2017, and they’re not wrong. Before we take up our three-point stance on the national line of scrimmage, however, maybe we should ask ourselves not only what we’re fighting against, but what we’re fighting for. What kind of United States of America do we actually want? Maybe, in fact, we could start by asking: What is a country for? What should a country do? Why do people establish countries in the first place? Playing Defense There is, without question, much that will need defending over the next four years, so much that people fought and died for in the twentieth century, so much that is threatened by the ascendancy of Donald Trump, the white nationalist right, and the Republican Party. The twentieth century saw the introduction of many significant laws, regulations, and -- yes -- entitlements: benefits to which we have a right by virtue of living in, and in many cases being citizens of, this country. We could start earlier, but let’s begin with the 1935 National Labor Relations Act. It established the right of workers to collectively negotiate wages and working conditions with their employers and made collective bargaining the official “policy of the United States.” This policy faces an immediate threat. Identical Republican-sponsored bills in the House and Senate would end the right of unions to require the workers they represent to pay union dues.  These bills would, in other words, reproduce at the federal level the so-called right-to-work (more accurately, right-to-starve) laws already in place in more than half the states. If -- or as seems likely, when -- they pass, millions of workers will face the potential loss of the power of collective bargaining and find themselves negotiating with employers as lonely individuals. Then there was the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act, which guaranteed a minimum wage and overtime pay to many workers (although not, notably, those laboring in agricultural fields or inside other people’s homes -- workplaces then occupied primarily by African Americans, and later by other people of color as well). Andrew F. Puzder, Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of labor, opposes the very idea of a minimum wage. This shouldn’t be too surprising, since his current day job is as CEO of the parent company of two fast-food franchise operations, Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. We could mention other New Deal-era victories under threat: Social Security, unemployment insurance, food stamps (now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP), and Aid to Families with Dependent Children (now known as TANF for Temporary Aid to Needy Families, or more commonly simply as “welfare”), which was created to promote the wellbeing of children in families facing poverty. In the coming Trump years, we can expect predation on all these programs -- from renewed efforts to “privatize” Social Security to further restrictions on welfare. Indeed, former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, Trump’s transition team point man on Social Security, is a firm believer in “privatization,” the idea that the federal government should encourage people to gamble on the stock market rather than rely on a guaranteed government pension. The one entitlement program that will probably survive unscathed is SNAP, because its primary beneficiaries are not the people who use it to buy groceries but the giant agricultural corporations it indirectly subsidizes. It’s no accident that, unlike other entitlement programs, SNAP is administered by the Department of Agriculture. Then there was the 1937 Housing Act, designed to provide financial support to cities so they could improve the housing stock of poor people, which eventually led to the creation of the department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In Ben Carson we are about to have a HUD secretary who, in addition to having announced that he’s not qualified to head a federal agency, doesn’t believe in the very programs HUD exists to support. And so it goes with the victories of the second half of the twentieth century. In Jeff Sessions, for instance, we have a potential attorney general staunchly opposed to the civil and voting rights won by African Americans (and women of all races, in the case of the 1964 Civil Rights Act). In Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, we’ll have a climate-change denier and fossil-fuel advocate running the Environmental Protection Agency. Medicare entitles -- there’s that word again -- older people and some with chronic illnesses to federally subsidized healthcare. Its introduction in 1965 ended the once-common newspaper and TV stories about senior citizens eating pet food because they couldn’t afford both medicine and groceries.  That program, too, will reportedly be under threat. There’s more to defend. Take widespread access to birth control, now covered by health insurance under Obamacare. I’m old enough to remember having to pretend I was married to get a doctor to prescribe The Pill, and being grateful for the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade that guaranteed me a legal abortion, when a gynecologist told me I couldn’t conceive.  (He was wrong.) Then there are the guarantees of civil rights for LGB (if not yet T) people won in the 1990s, culminating in the astonishing 2015 Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges granting marriage rights to same-sex couples. All of this could be wiped out with a couple of Trumpian Supreme Court picks. Nor should we forget that in addition to people’s rights, there are actual people to defend in the brave new world of Trumplandia, or at least to help defend themselves: immigrants, Muslims, African Americans -- especially young black men -- as well as people facing poverty and homelessness. One potentially unexpected benefit of the coming period: so many of us are likely to be under attack in one way or another that we will recognize the need for broad-based coalitions, working at every level of society and throughout its institutions. Such groups already exist, some more developed than others. I’m thinking, for example, of United for Peace and Justice, which came together to oppose Bush-era wars and domestic policies, the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, a national coalition of community organizations led by people of color, and National People’s Action, another effective coalition of community organizations, to name just three. On the state level, there is the powerful work of the Moral Mondays project, led by the North Carolina NAACP and its president, the Reverend William J. Barber II. In my own backyard, there are the many community groups that make up San Francisco Rising and Oakland Rising. Such multi-issue organizations can be sources of solidarity for people and groups focused on important single issues, from the Fight for Fifteen (dollars an hour minimum wage) to opposing the bizarrely-named First Amendment Defense Act, which would protect the right of proprietors of public accommodations to refuse service to people whose presence in their establishments violates “a religious belief or moral conviction that: (1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.” Defense Matters, But We Need More  As important as such defensive actions will be, we're going to need something beyond a good defense: a coherent reason why all these disparate things are worth defending. We need to be able to say why black lives, women’s lives, workers’ lives, brown and immigrant lives matter in the first place. We need a vision of a society in which not only do all people’s lives matter, but where they all have the possibility of being good lives. We need a picture of what a country is for, so that as we fight, we understand not only the horrors we oppose, but what it is we desire. Fortunately, we don’t have to start any description of what a good human life consists of from scratch. People have been discussing the subject for at least as long as they’ve left written records, and probably far longer. In the third century BCE, for example, Aristotle proposed that the good life -- happiness -- consists of developing and using both our intellectual and moral capacities to the fullest possible extent across an entire lifetime. The good life meant learning and then practicing wisdom, courage, justice, and generosity -- along with some lesser virtues, like being entertaining at a dinner party. Aristotle wasn’t an idiot, however. He also knew that people need the basics of survival -- food, clothing, shelter, health, and friendship -- if they are to be happy. Not surprisingly, he had a distinctly limited idea about which human beings could actually achieve such happiness.  It boiled down to men of wealth who had the leisure to develop their abilities. His understanding of the good life left a lot of people, including women, slaves, and children, out of the circle of the fully human. Although it may sound strange to twenty-first-century American ears, Aristotle also thought that the purpose of government was to help people (at least those he thought were capable of it) to live happy lives, in part by making laws that would guide them into developing the capacities crucial to that state. Who nowadays thinks that happiness is the government’s business? Perhaps more of us should. After all, the Founding Fathers did. “We Hold These Truths...” Where should we who seek to defend our country against the advance of what some are now going so far as to call “fascism” enter this conversation about the purpose of government? It might make sense to take a look at a single sentence written by a group of white men, among them slaveholders, who also thought happiness was the government’s business. I’m referring, of course, to the men who wrote the Declaration of Independence. Its much-quoted second sentence reads in full: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, -- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -- That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” Political philosopher Danielle Allen has pointed out that modern versions of the Declaration’s text “update” the original punctuation with a period after “happiness.” But that full stop obscures the whole point of the sentence. Not only do people self-evidently possess “unalienable” rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but the very reason we form governments in the first place is to “secure” those rights. Furthermore, when a government -- rather than protecting life, liberty, and happiness -- “becomes destructive” of them, we have the right to abolish it and put a better one in its place, always keeping in mind that the purpose of any new government should be to “effect” the people’s safety and happiness.  Of course, beginning any conversation with those words from the Declaration raises the obvious question: “Who’s ‘we’?” Can those of us who are women, people of color, descendants of slaves and/or slaveholders, all claim participation in that “we”? Should we want to? Allen, who describes herself as biracial and a feminist, addresses the contradictions inherent in claiming this document for our own in her valuable book Our Declaration. She concludes that we not only can, we must. There is too much at stake for us to cede equality to a white, male minority. Life, Liberty... What would it mean to take seriously the idea that people create governments so they can enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? What would the United States look like if that were its purpose? Let’s start with life. It’s reasonable to think that the Declaration’s authors were following the ideas of another dead white man, John Locke, who believed that people create governments so that they don’t have to spend all their time and energy preventing other people from hurting them, or taking revenge when they’ve been hurt. Instead, people delegate this authority to governments. But what has the U.S. government done with those delegated powers? Over the last 15 years of what we still call the “war on terror,” Americans have been told repeatedly that we have to choose between life and liberty, between “security” and freedom. We can’t have both. Do we want to be safe from terrorists? Then we must allow mass collection of our telephone and Internet-use data. And we must create a registry of Muslims living in this country. Do we want to be safe on our streets? Then we must allow federal and state governments to keep 2.2 million people locked up and another 4.5 million on probation or parole. Ours is the largest prison population in the world, in raw numbers and in proportion to our population. Safety on the street, we’re told, also demands an increase in the amount of daily video surveillance Americans experience.  And that’s just to start down a long list of the ways our liberties have been curtailed in these years. At the same time, successive Congresses and administrations have cut the programs that once helped sustain life in this country. Now, with the threatened repeal of Obamacare (and so the potential loss of medical insurance for at least 20 million Americans), the Republicans may literally cut off the lives of people who depend on that program for treatments that help them survive. The preamble of the Constitution also establishes the importance of life, liberty, and happiness, with slightly different language. In it, “We the people” establish that Constitution for the following purposes: “to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…” Is it possible that our common “defence” is not, in fact, aided by maintaining the world’s most powerful military, garrisoning the planet, and endlessly projecting power across the globe? After all, the United States is protected by an ocean off each coast and friendly countries on our northern and southern borders (although we may not always deal with them as friends should be treated). Certainly, I want my government to defend me from invading armies; on the other hand, I’m not convinced my safety is increased when the United States does the invading. It’s useful, too, as we think about the purpose of government, to consider the idea of the “general Welfare.” This phrase implies something important: my welfare, my good life, is bound up with yours. The people established the Constitution to promote the welfare of all of us, and not of a tiny, mega-rich minority, which is now running our government. We could do worse than reclaim the importance of the general welfare, with its suggestion that it is the primary business of any decent government to promote our wellbeing. ...And the Pursuit of Happiness Surely the definition of the good life, of happiness itself, is such a personal thing that it can’t be the subject of legislation or the object of government. Perhaps that’s true, but I’d like to introduce one more thinker here, also white, and, sadly, deceased: the political philosopher Iris Marion Young. In her Justice and the Politics of Difference, she offered a definition of a good human life. We can say, she argued, that a society is more or less a just one depending on the degree to which it satisfies basic physical needs, and equally importantly (as Aristotle also believed), “supports the institutional conditions necessary” for people to participate in self-development.  To her, that means “learning and using satisfying and expansive skills,” as well as the expression of “our experience, feelings, and perspective on social life in contexts where others can listen.” But self-development and expression, she says, are not sufficient for a good life. We also need self-determination -- that is, participation in the decisions that affect our lives and how we live them. We have much to defend, but we also should have a vision to advance. As we fight against a secretary of education who abhors public schools, we should also be fighting for the right of all of us to develop and use those “expansive and satisfying skills” -- from reading and writing to creating and doing -- that make life worth living. In a society with less and less demand for non-robotic workers, education will be more important than ever, not just so people can earn their livings, but also so that their lives are valuable and valued. As we fight against an administration of generals and billionaires, we should also be fighting for a country where we are free to express ourselves in language, dress, song, and ritual, without fear of finding ourselves on a registry or all our communications in the files of a spy agency. As we fight against a president elected by a minority of voters, we fight for a country in which we can take part in the decisions that affect all aspects of our lives. For many years I’ve opposed most of what my country stands for in the world. As a result, I often tended to see its founding documents as so many beautiful but meaningless promises spoken in our time to convince us and the world that the coups, invasions, and occupations we engaged in do represent life and liberty. But what if we were actually to take those words at face value? Not naively, but with the bitter nuance of the black poet Langston Hughes who, recognizing both the promise and the sham, wrote: “ O, let America be America again --   The land that never has been yet -- And yet must be -- the land where every man is free. The land that’s mine -- the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME -- Who made America, Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain, Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain, Must bring back our mighty dream again.” Maybe it’s not so strange that, in these dismal times, I find my hope in a dream, now hundreds of years old, of a country dedicated to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I guess it’s time to develop those satisfying and expansive skills of thinking, organizing, and acting to bring back that mighty dream again, that dream of a land that never has been yet -- but will be. Rebecca Gordon, a TomDispatch regular, teaches in the philosophy department at the University of San Francisco. She is the author of American Nuremberg: The U.S. Officials Who Should Stand Trial for Post-9/11 War Crimes. Her previous books include Mainstreaming Torture: Ethical Approaches in the Post-9/11 United States and Letters from Nicaragua.  Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, John Feffer's dystopian novel Splinterlands, as well as Nick Turse’s Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead, and Tom Engelhardt's latest book, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.