Category Archives: Politics

Inside Trump’s Judicial Takeover

Source: Andy Kroll, Rolling Stone, August 19, 2018

How conservative operatives and Senate Republicans are helping the president pack the courts at a record pace. ….

…. As of this writing, Trump has put 26 new judges onto the appellate courts, more than any other chief executive at this point in the presidency. He has also nominated over 100 district-court judges and gotten 26 of those picks confirmed. These judges are overwhelmingly young, ideological and now set to serve lifetime appointments. And then, of course, there’s Justice Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s first pick for the Supreme Court, and Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the president’s second Supreme Court nominee, who stands a strong chance of confirmation. …..

….. What unites these judges is the radical legal doctrine of originalism — that the text of the Constitution should be understood only as it was intended when written more than 230 years ago. Originalism was long seen as a fringe philosophy; taken to its logical extreme, an originalist reading of the Constitution could mean a country without same-sex marriage, federal child-labor laws or the Americans With Disabilities Act. Today, however, originalism is the dominant legal philosophy on the right and the litmus test for any judge appointed by President Trump. …..

The Marketing Message That Works with Republicans but Not Democrats

Source: David Dubois, Jeehye Christine Kim, Brian Park, Harvard Business Review, August 9, 2018

….For hundreds of years, the luxury, fashion, and high-end industries have used these techniques to attract buyers, tapping into people’s desire to be at the top of the hierarchy. Since political views are also shaped by our assumptions about hierarchies, we wondered whether these two things — political beliefs and preference for luxury goods — would go together.

To explore this, we conducted research around a simple but critical question: Does political ideology affect the preference for luxury goods, and if so, how?

According to our findings, just published in the Journal of Marketing, political allegiances systematically predict consumers’ desire for luxury consumption, particularly for conservatives. We attribute this to conservatives’ greater desire to preserve socioeconomic order and maintain existing social hierarchies…..

New data makes it clear: Nonvoters handed Trump the presidency

Source: Philip Bump, Washington Post, August 9, 2018

Most of our assessments of the electorate in 2016 are dependent on estimates. Polling before the election that suggested where people were leaning; exit polling after the fact that gives us some sense of who actually turned out. When more than 137 million people vote, understanding exactly who they were and why they voted the way they did necessarily involves some guesswork.

On Thursday, though, Pew Research Center released an unusually robust survey of the 2016 electorate. In addition to having asked people how they voted, Pew’s team verified that they did, giving us a picture not only of the electorate but also of those who didn’t vote. There are a number of interesting details that emerge from that research, including a breakdown of President Trump’s support that confirms much of his base has backed him enthusiastically since the Republican primaries.

The data also makes another point very clear: Those who didn’t vote are as responsible for the outcome of the election as those who did…..

Stop Trouble Before It Starts With A Refusal Of Service Policy

Source: Maureen Minehan, Employment Alert, Volume 35 Issue 16, August 6, 2018
(subscription required)

A restaurant owner asks a member of the Trump Administration to leave her restaurant. A fast food worker refuses to serve a police officer. A store manager declines to help a customer because he’s wearing a hat with an acronym she finds offensive.

Employers across the country are inadvertently finding themselves on the front lines of political protest as some employees make decisions about service based on their own beliefs. Depending on the nature of the interaction and the presence of witnesses (and smartphone cameras), these incidents have the potential to go “viral” and put the employer in the national spotlight as both sides of the political divide seek to use the employee’s action as evidence of good or of evil.

The Shadow Rulers of the VA

Source: Isaac Arnsdorf, ProPublica, August 7, 2018

How Marvel Entertainment chairman Ike Perlmutter and two other Mar-a-Lago cronies are secretly shaping the Trump administration’s veterans policies.

Last February, shortly after Peter O’Rourke became chief of staff for the Department of Veterans Affairs, he received an email from Bruce Moskowitz with his input on a new mental health initiative for the VA. “Received,” O’Rourke replied. “I will begin a project plan and develop a timeline for action.”

O’Rourke treated the email as an order, but Moskowitz is not his boss. In fact, he is not even a government official. Moskowitz is a Palm Beach doctor who helps wealthy people obtain high-service “concierge” medical care.

More to the point, he is one-third of an informal council that is exerting sweeping influence on the VA from Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Florida. The troika is led by Ike Perlmutter, the reclusive chairman of Marvel Entertainment, who is a longtime acquaintance of President Trump’s. The third member is a lawyer named Marc Sherman. None of them has ever served in the U.S. military or government.

Yet from a thousand miles away, they have leaned on VA officials and steered policies affecting millions of Americans. They have remained hidden except to a few VA insiders, who have come to call them “the Mar-a-Lago Crowd.”….

Related:
Trump allies who belong to his private Mar-a-Lago club are reportedly making decisions for the VA
Source: Yen Nee Lee, CNBC, August 8, 2018

– Marvel Entertainment Chairman Ike Perlmutter, a Palm Beach doctor named Bruce Moskowitz and lawyer Marc Sherman were found to exert “sweeping influence” on policies concerning America’s military veterans, according to a report by ProPublica.
– The report was based on “hundreds of documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and interviews with former administration officials,” ProPublica said.

Trump’s Mar-A-Lago Cronies Secretly Shaped Veterans Affairs Policy
Source: Tome Porter, Newsweek, August 8, 2018

Trump Has Reportedly Handed Over Control of the VA to His Rich Mar-a-Lago Cronies
Source: Rafi Schwartz, Splinter, August 8, 2018

The Demise of Fair Share Fees: ‘Janus’ and Its Impact

Source: Adam Santucci and Langdon Ramsburg, Legal Intelligencer, August 2, 2018
(subscription required)

Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark decision, which may ultimately prove to alter the landscape of public sector labor relations and undermine the political clout of public sector labor unions throughout the United States.

Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark decision, which may ultimately prove to alter the landscape of public sector labor relations and undermine the political clout of public sector labor unions throughout the United States. The court’s holding in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, 138 S. Ct. 2448 (2018), was clear: requiring public sector employees to pay “fair share fees” (sometimes referred to as “agency fees”) violates the First Amendment.

The road to Janus was long and took some interesting twists and turns. To fully understand Janus and its impact, it is necessary to start at the beginning—the court’s 1977 holding in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, 431 U.S. 209 (1977).

The Hunger for a Bold Socialism

Source: Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic, AUG 2, 2018

The political preferences of two college professors, writing in a prominent leftist journal, are informed by the belief that “making people’s lives materially better isn’t enough.” …. Of course, bold socialists intent on destroying rather than reforming capitalism have brought about some rather unpleasant historical outcomes. Lest anyone imagine that the authors are unaware, they include words nodding to potential pitfalls. Here is that unintentionally extraordinary passage: “Socialists don’t just want to replace private ownership with state ownership,” Desan and McCarthy argue. https://jacobinmag.com/2018/07/socialism-democrats-alexandria-ocasio-cortez “In the same way we don’t believe that capitalists should be able to have disproportionate control over economic resources, we don’t think unaccountable state officials and bureaucrats should have the power to control investment and production through ‘socialism from above.’ https://www.marxists.org/archive/draper/1966/twosouls/index.htm In some cases, like the former Soviet Union,” they add, “the failings of such a system are nearly as deep as those of capitalism itself.” ….

Related:
Opinion: What should Democrats do to win? It’s time for them to bet on radicalism.
Source: Larry Beinhart, Al Jazeera, August 2, 2018