Author Archive

Rule change could allow in-flight phone calls

December 11, 2016
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"If airlines allow passengers to make in-flight cellphone calls, the carrier must notify passengers in advance, under a rule proposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The rule, proposed this week, may be a moot question because the Department of Transportation is still considering a complete ban on airborne voice calls within, to or from the United States. Still, the agency said that if such calls are allowed, airlines could prohibit them on all or some individual flights, and should notify passengers of the policy for their flight in advance. 'Consumers deserve to have clear and accurate information about whether any airline permits voice calls before they purchase a ticket and board the aircraft,' said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx." (12/10/16)

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/12/rule-change-could-allow-in-flight-phone-calls  

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NJ: Governor Joe Piscopo? Comedian eyes run

December 11, 2016
posted by

Fox News    

"Joe Piscopo's Frank Sinatra impression, made famous from his days on 'Saturday Night Live,' has gotten an update. It's no longer 'New York, New York,' but 'NJ, NJ,' the actor, standup comic and potential 2017 Republican candidate for governor is now crooning. Piscopo performed the updated song (lyrics including 'my New York and Philly blues are melting away') at a recent charity event for the Boys and Girls Club in New Jersey, where his flirtation with running for governor to succeed incumbent Republican Chris Christie when his term ends in 2018 is out in the open. It's no joke, he said." (12/10/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2016/12/10/governor-joe-piscopo-comedian-eyes-run-in-new-jersey.html  

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LA: Republican wins Senate runoff, giving party 52 seats

December 11, 2016
posted by

Reuters    

"Republican John Neely Kennedy, a candidate for the U.S. Senate, won a runoff election in Louisiana on Saturday against his Democratic opponent in a race that gives the Republicans a 52-seat majority in the chamber. The Democratic candidate, Foster Campbell, told his supporters in a speech in the state capital of Baton Route that he had called Kennedy to congratulate him on his victory. Kennedy, the state treasurer, had more than 63 percent of the vote with 3,391 of 3,904 precincts reporting, in results posted on the website of the state Secretary of State's Office. Polls closed at 8 p.m. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, congratulated Kennedy on his victory." (12/10/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-louisiana-election-idUSKBN14003F  

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So where’s that big beautiful door?

December 11, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by FH Buckley  

"When President-elect Donald Trump said he’d build a wall, he also said it would have a big door for qualified legal immigrants. If that’s what you want, you don’t have to go far to find it, in Canada’s legal immigration system behind the other border. We’re 14% foreign born, and it’s a huge issue here. Canadians are more than 20% foreign born, and it’s a non-issue there. They’re obviously doing something right. What would Canadian-style immigration policies look like if we adopted them here? The first thing we’d need is a sea change in how we think about immigration, one in which the interests of native-born Americans come first. That’s obviously how Trump thinks about things, and if people think that’s too right-wing, he’s got a good answer: It’s how they do things in Soviet Canuckistan." (12/09/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/12/09/trump-wall-immigration-canada-door-column/95151688  

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Nobel Peace Prize: Santos calls for “rethink” of war on drugs

December 11, 2016
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"The President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, has used his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech to call for the world to 'rethink' the war on drugs. He said the zero-tolerance policy might be 'even more harmful' than all the other wars being fought worldwide. Mr Santos' government and the country's biggest rebel group, the Farc, signed a peace deal last month. The conflict it ends has killed more than 260,000 people and left millions internally displaced. Accepting the prize for his efforts in the peace process, Mr Santos paid tribute to the families of victims of the conflict." [editor's note: Gee, could he now call Trump and tell him this? - SAT] (12/10/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-38275292  

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Newsflash: Corporate welfare didn’t start with Trump’s Carrier deal

December 11, 2016
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Toni Gilpin  

"President-elect Donald Trump achieved something extraordinary when he cut that recent deal with Carrier/United Technologies. Not the jobs. I’m talking about the torrent of outrage he triggered regarding public subsidies for big business. In exchange for retaining upwards of 800 jobs at its Indianapolis facility, Carrier will reportedly receive $7 million in tax credits from the state of Indiana. Trump has set a dangerous precedent that companies can easily shake down taxpayers with the mere threat of outsourcing jobs,' declared the Democratic National Committee. The press howled -- 'an awful idea,' read a typical editorial. Even Sarah Palin called it 'crony capitalism.' That is all true, but there’s one problem: corporate welfare has been a bipartisan boondoggle for decades. That these tax giveaways have largely benefited hugely profitable companies like Carrier, at the expense of workers and their communities, has failed to garner much media scrutiny until now." [editor's note: I'm gonna guess our readers mostly knew this already - SAT] (12/09/16)

http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/19710/corporate_welfare_didnt_start_with_trumps_carrier_deal  

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TX: Austin officials surprised by park condoms-in-trees campaign

December 11, 2016
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"Austin health department workers hung bags of condoms and information about safe sex from trees at a park -- without informing their bosses or the local parks department, according to a newspaper report. The bags in Walnut Creek Park, which has been pointed to as a place of HIV transmission particularly among gay men, were taken down Thursday, the Austin American Statesman reported. Park officials thought they were litter, not part of a city initiative. Austin Public Health Director Shannon Jones said staff members put the unknown number of bags containing condoms, lube and safe sex information in the park last month and replenished them Wednesday. However, Jones didn't know about the initiative within his department until Friday morning, after Austin's KXAN-TV reported on the story. He told newspaper that there is a departmental vetting process for such initiatives and 'we have reminded our staff of that.'" (12/10/16)

http://www.sfgate.com/news/texas/article/Austin-officials-surprised-by-park-10787781.php  

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Trump’s other ethics quagmire: His foundation

December 11, 2016
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect    

"President-elect Donald Trump has pledged via Twitter to distance himself from his business empire in order to mitigate potential conflicts of interest once he takes office. But as with many matters involving the former reality show star, the details are hazy. Trump has punted the question of how he might carry out this handover plan to a December 15 press conference, leaving reporters to speculate that he may merely transfer the company’s operations to his children, a move seen as insufficient to safeguard the federal government from becoming a vehicle for Trump’s personal self-enrichment. Overshadowed by this discussion over the future of the Trump Organization is a secondary question that nevertheless merits scrutiny: What will become of the Donald J. Trump Foundation, an ethically-challenged group that has functioned in part to help the president-elect appear generous while giving away other people’s money?" (12/09/16)

http://prospect.org/article/trump%E2%80%99s-other-ethics-quagmire-his-foundation  

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Conservation advocates alarmed by Trump’s Interior pick

December 11, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today    

"On the Columbia River in northeastern Washington, the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area offers visitors a tranquil setting where they can fish, boat along rocky shores and sometimes spot a moose retreating into the trees. The park also made its way into proposed federal legislation this year when Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers [R-WA], introduced a bill focusing on the future of 25 cabins that people use under permits for five years at a time. Her bill would clear the way for the secretary of the Interior to offer the cabin properties for sale to the people who use them -- or to the highest bidder. When McMorris Rodgers’ name emerged on Friday as President-elect Donald Trump’s expected choice as secretary of the Interior, conservation advocates pointed to the Lake Roosevelt legislative as an example of a record that they find deeply troubling." [editor's note: Yet another critic of the statist quo, put in charge of an overweening department? - SAT] (12/10/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2016/12/10/conservation-advocates-alarmed-trumps-interior-pick/95265170  

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Imagine, in a different dimension …

December 8, 2016
posted by

Steve Trinward Rational Review Inter-Rationale
by Steve Trinward  

"I started writing this, not knowing if I had a column in progress or just my second-ever attempt at writing 'speculative fiction,' kind of an inverse version of It Can’t Happen Here, by Sinclair Lewis. I’m still unsure, but here’s the premise: What if Donald Trump were not the second coming of Hitler, Satan’s sidekick, or even just a very distasteful 'sexist, racist, homophobic, sex-offender,' as one songwriter friend has put it? What if somewhere inside that crusty shell, there was a man with a heart, a desire to do good, and even a vision for how to get back to liberty -- someone we all missed, just as we missed his viability as a candidate, and then the 'surprise' victory (which had only surprised the media, the Democrats . . . and us ideologues)? What would that mean about interpreting his moves? ... Here are five ways in which I could see a light shining through at least some of his actions over the last ... hard to believe it’s only been a month!" (12/08/16)

http://rationalreview.news-digests.com/?p=242661  

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Congress passes $618.7 billion annual defense [sic] bill

December 8, 2016
posted by

Reuters    

"The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed a compromise version of an annual defense policy bill on Thursday without controversial provisions such as requiring women to register for the draft or allowing contractors to make religion-based hiring decisions. Ninety-two senators backed the $618.7 billion National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, and seven opposed it. Because it passed the House of Representatives by a similarly large margin last week, the bill now goes to the White House for President Barack Obama to veto or sign into law. A White House spokesman told a briefing on Thursday he did not yet have a position on the bill to report. The 2016 bill, the last of Obama's presidency, includes some Republican-backed initiatives with which he has disagreed in the past. It includes a $3.2 billion increase in military spending, when there has been no similar increase in non-defense funding." (12/08/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-defense-congress-idUSKBN13X26G  

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SCOTUS: Design patents are worth less, but we won’t tell you how much

December 8, 2016
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"When the Supreme Court took up Apple’s case alleging Samsung had stolen its patented iPhone designs for Samsung’s own smartphones, product designers, lawyers and corporate executives were paying close attention. The case promised to shed new light on a relatively unexplored area of patent law: design patents. As distinct from what are called 'utility patents,' design patents don’t protect how a device functions, but rather what it looks like. A federal jury had declared in 2012 that Samsung had in fact infringed on Apple’s design patents by copying elements of the iPhone’s design, including rounded corners of the device and the 'chiclet' layout of icons on the screen. When someone infringes a design patent, the law requires that person to pay the patent owner 'the extent of his total profit' of the 'article of manufacture' found to be infringing." (12/08/16)

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/12/supreme-court-design-patents-are-worth-less-but-we-wont-tell-you-how-much  

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“We could not deliver your parcel” email could be scam

December 8, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today    

"As Christmas approaches, experts suggest an extra dollop of caution before clicking on email package delivery notices. Fake notifications are proliferating, bringing not holiday cheer — but holiday ransomware. The holiday phishing season began just before Thanksgiving and will likely extend until after Christmas, said Caleb Barlow, vice president for IBM Security. 'This is a $445 billion business. These are campaigns, run by the criminal equivalent of marketers,' he said. Security company FireEye sees a significant increase in fake package email alerts beginning in November, an almost 100% increase from the average of September-October." [editor's note: How about the wrong deliveries? A friend of mine had a 3D printer show up on his doorstep, and neither the company nor the deliverer would take it back - SAT] (12/08/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2016/12/08/fake-package-delivery-notices-christmas-malware-ransomware/94631888  

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IA: Reynolds faces spotlight in rise to governor

December 8, 2016
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"For six years as lieutenant governor, Kim Reynolds has traveled throughout Iowa alongside the governor she described as her mentor and friend, but rarely has she been in the spotlight. That's about to change as Gov. Terry Branstad has accepted President-elect Donald Trump's offer to become U.S. ambassador to China (subject to Senate confirmation), giving Reynolds the opportunity to set priorities for the state as governor. She would become the state's first female governor and would hold the position until January 2019, when Branstad's term would have ended. So far, those who have worked with Reynolds describe her as an enthusiastic and genuine person, but they're not sure what to expect from her as governor." (12/08/16)

http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Reynolds-faces-spotlight-in-rise-to-Iowa-governor-10784171.php  

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“Beautiful” dinosaur tail found preserved in amber

December 8, 2016
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"The tail of a feathered dinosaur has been found perfectly preserved in amber from Myanmar. The one-of-a-kind discovery helps put flesh on the bones of these extinct creatures, opening a new window on the biology of a group that dominated Earth for more than 160 million years. Examination of the specimen suggests the tail was chestnut brown on top and white on its underside. The tail is described in the journal Current Biology 'This is the first time we've found dinosaur material preserved in amber,' co-author Ryan McKellar, of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Canada, told the BBC News website." (12/08/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-38224564  

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House passes stopgap spending scam as senators raise objections

December 8, 2016
posted by

Fox News
by  

"A day ahead of a government shutdown deadline, the House easily passed a stopgap spending bill to keep federal agencies running through the end of April. The legislation's fate in the Senate remained uncertain due to strident opposition from coal-state Democrats. The Republican-led House voted Thursday to approve the spending bill, 326-96. Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Sherrod Brown of Ohio argued that a provision in the bill to temporarily extend health care benefits for about 16,500 retired union coal miners facing the loss of coverage on Dec. 31 is insufficient. The measure does not protect pension benefits despite President Harry S. Truman's 1946 guarantee to miners of lifetime health and retirement benefits. Republicans insisted the deal was the best they could get, heightening the possibility the government could close at midnight Friday." (12/08/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/12/08/house-backs-spending-bill-senate-fate-unclear.html  

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Beyond Carrier: Can Congress end the greenlight for outsourcing?

December 8, 2016
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Steven Greenhouse  

"While millions of Americans were thrilled to see President-elect Trump strong-arm the Carrier Corporation into keeping its Indianapolis plant open, numerous economists, commentators, and lawmakers denounced the deal. Some condemned it as crony capitalism, because Carrier will receive $7 million in state incentives as part of its agreement not to send 800 threatened jobs to Mexico. Others voiced alarm that Trump was singling out and bullying an individual company." (12/08/16)

http://prospect.org/article/beyond-carrier-can-congress-end-green-light-outsourcing  

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One-party state, meet party of one

December 8, 2016
posted by

Debra J. Saunders Town Hall
by Debra J Saunders  

"Donald J. Trump did America a huge favor by winning the White House in November. If Hillary Clinton had won, there would have been little stopping America from turning into a one-party country, a national political equivalent of California. As it is, California is turning into San Francisco, where outsiders stand zero chance of penetrating the liberal-only wall that surrounds City Hall. What does it mean to live in a one-party state? Donors and insiders decide elections and stack the decks. Consider the only statewide office for which Californians voted this year: the U.S. Senate seat won by state Attorney General Kamala Harris. That race was decided in January 2015 when Sen. Barbara Boxer announced her retirement and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom phoned Harris to inform her he would not run for Boxer's seat because he plans to run for governor in 2018. Harris enlisted a crack team of political consultants (who also have worked for Newsom and Gov. Jerry Brown) and she owned the field. Harris now likely owns that seat for life." (12/08/16)

http://townhall.com/columnists/debrajsaunders/2016/12/08/oneparty-state-meet-party-of-one-n2256719  

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Imagine, in a Different Dimension . . .

December 8, 2016
posted by

Steve Trinward Inter-Rationale    

I started writing this, not knowing if I had a column in progress or just my second-ever attempt at writing . . . “speculative fiction,” kind of an inverse version of “It Can’t Happen Here,” by Sinclair Lewis. I’m still unsure, but here’s the premise: What if Donald Trump were not the second coming of Hitler, Satan’s sidekick, or even just a very distasteful “sexist, racist, homophobic, sex-offender,” as one songwriter friend has put it? What if somewhere inside that crusty shell, there was a man with a heart, a desire to do good, and even a vision for how to get back to liberty—someone we all missed, just as we missed his viability as a candidate, and then the “surprise” victory (which had only surprised the media, the Democrats . . . and us ideologues)? What would that mean about interpreting his moves?
Here was my STIMULUS of sorts: Cato's David Boaz' comment about the Carrier crony-welfare deal: “It’s the president of the United States, the man with the biggest microphone in the world, who just might suddenly one day single you out for abuse,” said David Boaz, executive vice president of the free-market Cato Institute. “This is like being Tylenol and discovering someone has poisoned your product. It’s a sudden shock that will cause companies to be more conservative, more cautious. It hurts the broader economy because these companies won’t be seeking to maximize their own profit and solvency.”
As you’ll note, he’s partly bemoaning the idea that a president would take this route, while I’m seeing the right kind of person making very good use of such a path. I’m not wild about the idea that it's Trump doing it, but I have no problem with this being the new medium for direct contact to the public (no media shields, no prebaked speeches or soundbytes, just what is on my mind today). We went from fireside chats on radio, to email with Obama, and then the beginning of social media thru Facebook ...
Trump just moved it to the next level: short blips of random thoughts, with others then doing your distribution, individually. . . . Imagine how that model could work, under a (very loosely held) leadership both sane and benign, and not really interested in power, since it's a short-term job, revolving among all or most of us.
Here are five ways in which I could see a light shining through at least some of his actions over the last—hard to believe it’s only been a month! I’m only going to start each topic (this is intentionally a first draft), because I see this as an organic document for feedback. See if you can imagine even one of them, and then ask if a person with that motivation as well as some integrity were to do that, could you support it as a positive step?
(more…)

http://rationalreview.news-digests.com/archives/242661  

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Make DC a swamp again

December 8, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Glenn Harlan Reynolds  

"Donald Trump ran for president on the slogan 'Make America Great Again!' And he’s also promised to 'drain the swamp' in Washington. But maybe the way to do that is to make Washington a little less great. Because as Washington has prospered over the last several decades (to the point where people are making Hunger Games comparisons), the rest of the country hasn’t done as well. So perhaps it’s time for a role-reversal. I propose that over the next several years, we transfer a lot of federal employees out of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, to parts of the country that aren’t doing so well economically. This would provide a boost to places like Buffalo, New York, or Quincy, Illinois, or Fresno, California, while getting federal bureaucrats out of the D.C. bubble." (12/08/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/12/08/dc-swamp-workers-glenn-reynolds-column/95146014  

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Principles to guide the vetting of Betsy DeVos

December 8, 2016
posted by

Jeff Bryant Our Future
by Jeff Bryant  

"President-elect Donald Trump’s appointment of Betsy DeVos for US Secretary of Education in his administration set off a firestorm of commentary on what her impact might be on furthering 'school choice' ventures like charter schools and vouchers that send taxpayer money to private enterprises. In a much-circulated op-ed for the New York Times, economic professor Douglas Harris warns, 'The DeVos nomination ... should worry anyone who wants to improve results for children.' Specifically, Harris points to Detroit (where DeVos has been hugely influential) as a worrisome example of how more choice does not necessarily always lead to more quality in a school system." (12/08/16)

https://ourfuture.org/20161207/principles-to-guide-the-vetting-of-betsy-devos  

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No, Rahm Emanuel should definitely not become Head of the DNC

December 8, 2016
posted by

In These Times In These Times    

"In the wake of Donald Trump’s election, there has been no shortage of godawful ideas for how the Democratic Party should respond to Hillary Clinton’s humiliating loss. After winning another election to her leadership position in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi said Democrats actually don’t want a new direction. Democratic operative David Brock, for his part, is gathering the super-rich donor class together, figuring it has the best ideas for what the party should do next. And Joe Lieberman says Democrats need to go back to tacking right, since that worked so well when he ran alongside Al Gore in 2000. But perhaps the most asinine idea came this week from Chicago magazine’s Carol Felsenthal, who proposed that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel run for the head of the Democratic National Committee (DNC)." (12/08/16)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/19707/no-rahm-emanuel-should-definitely-not-become-head-of-the-dnc  

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Senate joins House to pass new health bill scam

December 8, 2016
posted by

Reuters    

"The U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to support sweeping legislation that will reshape the way the Food and Drug Administration approves new medicines. It will also provide funding for cancer and Alzheimer's research, help fight the opioid epidemic, expand access to mental health treatment and advance research into precision medicine. Two years in the making, the 21st Century Cures Act was passed last week by the House of Representatives and will now go to President Barack Obama to sign into law. Supporters say it will speed access to new drugs and devices, in part by allowing clinical trials to be designed with fewer patients and cheaper, easier-to-achieve goals. ... Critics of the legislation say it gives massive handouts to the pharmaceutical industry and will lower standards for drug and medical device approvals." (12/07/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-health-senate-idUSKBN13W2KX  

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The real battle in Aleppo and Mosul

December 8, 2016
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor
by staff  

"The world’s main body for protecting civilians in war zones, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), is closely watching two tense and pivotal battles in the Middle East. One is Iraq’s assault on Islamic State forces in Mosul. The other is Syria’s attack on pro-democracy rebels in Aleppo. Each is telling, in opposite ways, about global progress toward nations honoring humanitarian law in conflicts. The ICRC gives high marks to Iraq’s tactics in avoiding civilian casualties as its Army slowly retakes the country’s second largest city. If Iraq's official concern for the innocent in Mosul continues, it might set a strong precedent in the region for living up to the ideals of the Geneva Conventions. Syria, on the other hand, along with Russian warplanes, is randomly striking schools, hospitals, and anyone who even moves on the streets of eastern Aleppo. On Wednesday, the rising civilian carnage led Britain, Germany, Italy, France, Canada, and the United States to demand an immediate cease-fire. They also asked the United Nations to investigate possible war crimes against civilians." (12/07/16)

http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/the-monitors-view/2016/1207/The-real-battle-in-Aleppo-and-Mosul  

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Can Trump’s wild one-off at Carrier combat corporate welfare?

December 8, 2016
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Greg LeRoy  

"Say what you will about his hot-mess way with issues, but President-elect Donald Trump has already raised the cause of manufacturing jobs higher than any president in memory. His maneuver with United Technologies that convinced Carrier Corp. to keep 800 jobs in Indiana has drawn both praise and scorn. But by casually endorsing interstate job wars, Trump has also invited a sorely needed debate over a truly egregious aspect of corporate welfare. The Indianapolis deal is clearly a one-off with no policy precedents to benefit any other workers. But it has cued up an issue that progressive advocates can embrace and that should force Trump supporters to grapple with tough questions. Specifically: Trump’s America First populism could be channeled to make real progress toward curbing wasteful taxpayer giveaways to footloose corporations." [editor's note: This author seems to have no clue what "corporate welfare" actually is - SAT] (12/07/16)

http://prospect.org/article/can-trumps-wild-one-carrier-combat-corporate-welfare  

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