Bankers and billionaires are, of course, desperate to reverse this political tide. Eyeing the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, the CEO of one giant bank recently told Politico that the party’s nominee “can’t be Warren and it can’t be Sanders.” To plutocrat Michael Bloomberg, Sanders is a “demagogue” preaching “unreason,” while Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) will transform the United States into a “non-capitalistic” system where “people are starving to death,” like “Venezuela.”
The rhetoric from the 0.01 percent is more than a little overheated. But for most people, Warren and Sanders hail from the same left flank of the Democratic Party ― both are supporters of enacting Medicare for all, breaking up the banks and dramatically increasing taxes on the very wealthy.
And yet in liberal and left-wing political discourse, the idea that Sanders and Warren are philosophical companions has become unfashionable. Jacobin, The New Republic, Splinter, BuzzFeed, The Week and The Guardian have all emphasized the supposedly critical ideological distinction between the two candidates: Sanders is an avowed socialist, while Warren wants to reform capitalism.
“As soon as the next president takes office, they will likely face intense pressure from powerful interests, especially big business,” writes Zaid Jilani. “The choice between Warren and Sanders may very well determine if that president confronts those interests with careful reasoning and principled advocacy or the force of a mass movement.”
“The two senators disagree over the best method to give the working classes a leg up,” according to David Dayen. “You can restructure markets so everyone benefits, or you can break down the market system, either eliminating the profit motive or giving everybody a public option.” For Jacobin founder Bhaskar Sunkara, Warren aims at “seeking to construct better policy but not an alternative politics,” rejecting “the class-struggle, worker-centric approach of Sanders.”
For once, the big-brain intellectuals have it wrong, and the delusional, selfish plutocrats are right. Whatever Warren and Sanders say to establish their political brands, the two senators do in fact represent a very similar way of thinking about politics. That’s why billionaires hate them both.
It’s true: You won’t find any videos of Warren singing “This Land Is Your Land” with a bunch of shirtless Soviets in the 1980s. And Sanders never slogged through troves of household bankruptcy data looking for the most common sources of middle-class financial strain. There are real differences between the two candidates (technically Bernie hasn’t announced yet). But these are differences of temperament, style and strategy. Sanders and Warren, in fact, see the world in very similar ways.
The trouble for leftish intellectuals is a confusion over the terms “socialism” and “capitalism.” Both words are extremely flexible, and their meanings shift with political currents. In an American context, it has never been easy to distinguish between socialism and reformed capitalism ― and committed capitalists have denounced both with vigor. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was condemned as a socialist by congressional Republicans. In the 1940s, American conservatives viewed the social safety net in Britain and the Stalinist Soviet Union with almost equal alarm. By the 1950s, Herbert Hoover had concluded that the words “liberalism” and “socialism” really just meant the same thing.
So, yes, Bernie Sanders has long been a champion of labor movements, protest marches and democratic socialism, while Elizabeth Warren is an academic wonk who talks about restoring competition to markets and making capitalism more accountable. But when it comes to their most detailed policies to date, both support an array of trust-busting, tougher regulation, wealth redistribution, public options and, where appropriate, nationalization.
All of these proposals transfer money and power from the super-rich to the not-rich. Take postal banking. About 32.6 million households rely on a check-cashing service, payday lender or other expensive, small-dollar financial bottom-feeder at least once a year, according to the FDIC. On average, these households earn about $25,500 a year and spend nearly 10 percent of their income ― $2,412 ― on these sketchy financial products. That’s over $82 billion going from hard-up homes to predators every year. You can deal with payday lenders a lot of different ways: ban them, regulate them or, the preferred tack of Warren and Sanders, have the government make them obsolete. If every household can get a low-fee bank account with the Post Office, they won’t have to turn to legalized loan sharking to get by. That’s bad news for payday loan executives, like ACE Cash Express CEO Jay Shipowitz, who made almost $4.5 million in 2004 alone. Is postal banking socialism or reformed capitalism? Yes.
In America today, the super-rich not only control an outrageous share of the national wealth, they also exercise a degree of political power incompatible with basic democratic principles. The choice for Democrats in 2020 is not really about policy minutia ― it’s about power ― who has it, and who doesn’t. And both Sanders and Warren have proved they are willing to confront the powerful and attack their sources of power. We can call this socialism, New Deal liberalism or Jeffersonian democracy ― whatever the label, it’s a critical ideological test for anyone who wants to be the next president of the United States.
Running for re-election in 1936, FDR noted that the “economic royalists” of “business and financial monopoly, speculation” and “reckless banking” all counted themselves among his political “enemies.”
“Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today,” Roosevelt said. “They are unanimous in their hate for me ― and I welcome their hatred.”
More than half of England’s universities have fewer than 5% of poor white students on their books, says an analysis of university entry figures.
The report, from the National Education Opportunities Network (Neon), shows white students from deprived areas in low numbers in many top universities.
There are 3% at the University of Oxford, compared with 28% at Teesside.
The study says too few universities have clear targets to recruit white working-class students.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds has previously warned of the risk of communities feeling “left behind”.
The study, from an organisation promoting wider access into higher education, calls for a “national initiative” to tackle the educational underachievement of disadvantaged white youngsters across schools, colleges and universities.
The university figures show the problem in recruiting white students from poorer backgrounds – and how many universities have very low proportions of them.
It warns that fewer than a fifth of universities have targets for admitting more poor white students – and that there are only “variable” efforts to improve participation.
Even if a target of 5% of poor white students were to be set across universities, it would mean another 10,000 students going to university, says the research.
The study looks at white students from so-called “low-participation neighbourhoods” – areas where few people usually go to university.
In total numbers, white students, of all social backgrounds, are the biggest group going to university, show figures from the Ucas admissions service.
But in terms of a proportion of the population, white youngsters are less likely to go to university than Asian or black teenagers.
The latest application figures, for courses in the autumn, show that applications from white students are declining, while they are increasing for Asian and black youngsters.
Cutting across this is a widening gender divide – with women much more likely than men to apply to university.
When these factors combine, it means that white, working-class men become among the most under-represented groups in university.
The study says projects to widen entry into university might need to be “redefined”.
The report shows a starkly divided picture in where poor white students are likely to attend.
They are particularly likely to take higher education courses in local further education colleges.
Among those going to university, 70% go to new universities, with low numbers going to some high-ranking institutions.
Cambridge has 2%, Warwick and Bristol 3%, Durham 4%.
At University of Sunderland, 27% of acceptances are from white students from deprived areas and the figure is 22% in Staffordshire University.
The numbers are particularly low in London universities – many of them 1% or 2%.
But these figures might be affected by the high overall levels of young people in London going to university – much higher than elsewhere in England.
Because of such high entry rates, even from deprived youngsters, there are relatively few “low-participation neighbourhoods” in London, or young people who would fall into this category.
The high cost of living in London could also deter some poorer students from elsewhere from coming to study in the capital.
Graeme Atherton, report co-author and director of Neon, warned of “big variability” in the chances of different groups to get to university.
“We need to know more about why this variability exists and do more to eliminate it,” he said.
A spokeswoman for Universities UK said that universities were “committed to widening access to higher education and ensuring the success of all their students, regardless of their background”.
The spokeswoman for the universities’ organisation said that “18-year-olds from the most disadvantaged areas in England are more likely to go to university than ever before” – and that this could be further helped if the government restored “maintenance grants for those most in need”.
Mr Hinds has highlighted the importance of supporting education in communities that might feel “left behind”.
In a speech in the autumn, Mr Hinds said: “White British disadvantaged boys are the least likely of any large ethnic group to go to university.
“We need to ask ourselves why that is and challenge government, universities and the wider system to change that.
“It’s vital that we do this to make sure that no part of our country feels as though it has been left behind.”
The XT6 debuts a new look for Cadillac, with slim horizontal headlights that are reminiscent of the Escala concept of 2016. A long list of standard and optional electronic driver aids that includes an infrared night vision camera, fully-automatic parking and an adaptive cruise control system with stop and go capability.
It also gets the latest version of Cadillac’s CUE infotainment system, which pairs a touchscreen with a knob controller that can be jogged around like a joystick for added functionality. Power folding third-row seating is standard and each row gets two USB ports.
With the XT6 and the recent introduction of the compact XT4, Cadillac is doubling the number of its utility offerings in showrooms.
Pricing will be announced closer to when the order books open this spring, but its competitive starts in the $45,000 to $50,000 range.
2019 will see the enactment of a slew of new laws across the country (in California alone, more than 1,000 will be added to the books). In some states, minimum wages will go up, guns will be harder to obtain, plastic straws will get the boot and hunters will get to wear pink for a change.
Here are some of the noteworthy laws going into effect this year:
Tighter gun restrictions in several states
In the wake of the shooting massacre at a Parkland, Florida, high school last year, California passed several measures to prevent domestic abusers and people with mental illness from obtaining guns. Californians who are involuntarily committed to a mental institution twice in a year, or who are convicted of certain domestic violence offenses, could face a lifetime gun ownership ban.
Under an expanded Oregon law that went into effect on Jan. 1, domestic abuse offenders or people under restraining orders are banned from owning or purchasing a gun. In Illinois, authorities now have the right to seize firearms from people determined to be a danger to themselves or others. A similar “red flag” law will go into effect in New Jersey later this year.
At least six states — California, Washington, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois and Vermont — and the District of Columbia are raising the minimum age from 18 to 21 for the purchase of long guns this year, CNBC reported.
Washington state will also be enforcing several other gun control measures, including enhanced background checks, secure gun storage laws and a requirement for gun purchasers to provide proof they’ve undergone firearm safety training.
New ‘Me Too’ laws
Several states are taking aim at workplace sexual harassment. California has banned nondisclosure provisions in settlements involving claims of sexual assault, harassment or discrimination based on sex. California employers will also no longer be allowed to compel workers to sign nondisparagement agreements as a condition of employment or in exchange for a raise or bonus.
By the end of 2019, publicly held corporations in the Golden State will also need to have at least one woman on their board of directors. Depending on the size of the board, corporations will need to increase that number to at least two or three female board members by the end of 2021.
In New York, all employees will be required to complete annual sexual harassment prevention training. Larger businesses in Delaware will have to provide such training to their workers, and legislators and their staff in Virginia will need to undergo such training every year.
Minimum wages get a boost
Though the federal minimum wage has languished at $7.25 since 2009, at least 19 states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, New York and Washington, will be raising their minimum wages this year. Each will boost its minimum wage to at least $12. Some cities like New York, Seattle and Palo Alto, California, will see their wage floors increase to $15.
So long straws and stirrers!
As public awareness mounts of the hazards of plastic waste pollution, cities and states around the country have been targeting a major source of the problem: single-use plastic products like straws and food containers.
A new law in New York City bars restaurants, stores and manufacturers from using most foam products, including takeout containers, cups and packing peanuts.
Eateries in the District of Columbia are now prohibited from giving out single-use plastic straws and stirrers. In California, restaurant patrons will need to ask explicitly for a plastic straw if they want to use one. Restaurants can be fined $25 a day for serving beverages with plastic straws that aren’t requested by customers.
Former felons in Florida can head to the voting booth
On Jan. 8, Florida will restore the voting rights of all former felons except those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense. Some 1.4 million possible voters will be added to the rolls — an addition that could have a significant effect on elections in the swing state.
Utah implements strictest DUI law in the country
Utah has lowered its blood alcohol content standard for drunk driving to 0.05 percent — the lowest limit in the country.
Under the new law, a driver who exceeds that limit and causes the death of another person will be charged with criminal homicide, a felony offense.
As CNN notes, all other U.S. states have a blood alcohol concentration limit of 0.08 percent for noncommercial drivers. Since at least 2013, the National Transportation Safety Board has been pushing to lower the limit to 0.05 nationwide.
Pets to get more rights in California
Pets in California will no longer be treated by courts as physical property in divorce cases. Instead, judges can decide who gets custody of the family pet.
Under a separate California law, pet stores will no longer be allowed to sell cats, dogs or rabbits that aren’t from animal shelters or nonprofit rescue groups. That law, which took effect on Jan. 1, also requires that store owners maintain proper documentation of the backgrounds of the dogs, cats and rabbits they sell.
New Jersey requires all residents to have health insurance
A health insurance law in New Jersey that came into effect on Jan. 1 requires residents to maintain coverage or pay a penalty. It’s the second state in the country, after Massachusetts, to enact an individual health insurance mandate.
Vermont is paying remote workers to move there
In an effort to promote economic growth, Vermont has offered to pay some remote workers to relocate to the state.
Qualified applicants can each apply for up to $10,000 in funding. The state has earmarked $500,000 for the initiative, The Associated Press reported.
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) said the new shade could be even more effective in helping hunters stand out.
“[In the fall] we’re hunting in trees and in some fields, there are orange leaves. There is orange in the background, so it’s not always easy to see orange,” Rauner said, according to the Illinois News Network. “So we’re adding blaze pink to be one of the colors.”
Ohio kids will soon be required to learn cursive
In an age of text messaging and email, Ohio is attempting to keep the handwriting tradition of cursive alive. A new state law will require students to be able to write in cursive by the end of fifth grade.
INDIANAPOLIS – The spray-painting of a swastika outside a suburban Indianapolis synagogue this summer was the final straw for Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb, who quickly called for Indiana to join the 45 states that have hate crime laws.
“It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s long overdue,” Holcomb said Friday during an interview with The Associated Press. “I’m convinced the overwhelming majority of Hoosiers feel the same way.”
As the annual legislative session draws near, though, some warn that such a proposal could spark a bitter cultural debate that would bring unwanted attention to the deeply conservative state, much like the 2015 religious objections law that critics widely panned as a sanctioning of discrimination against the LGBT community and that drew a stiff rebuke from big business.
“If this is a big, knock-down, drag out, ‘RFRA-esque’ discussion, it is not going to help anyone,” said House Speaker Brian Bosma, using an acronym for 2015’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was signed into law by Vice President Mike Pence when he was Indiana governor. “We need to do it in such a way that’s not a net negative and brings undue attention to our state.”
Bosma would know. The Indianapolis Republican helped shepherd a bill to “fix” the law through the Statehouse — steps that were taken only after businesses protested, groups vowed a boycott and the state was lampooned on late-night TV.
An overwhelming majority of states have hate crime laws, which vary to some degree but generally allow for stiffer sentences to be given to people who are convicted of crimes motivated by hatred or bias. Only Indiana, Georgia, South Carolina, Wyoming and Arkansas do not.
What remains to be seen is what sort of law might be palatable to Indiana legislators — whether it would be open-ended and general or whether it would specify characteristics that would be covered, such as race, gender, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity, which is what Holcomb wants.
While many business leaders support the governor’s call for a hate crime law and view the absence of one as a sign of intolerance, many religious conservatives, including some rank-and-file legislators, see it as an unnecessary exercise that could lead to other unwanted social changes.
For years, they’ve stymied efforts to put a hate crime law on the books, arguing that judges can already consider factors such as bias when determining sentences.
“Nobody is for hate crime, but it’s a Pandora’s box,” said Ron Johnson, who leads the Indiana Pastors Alliance and believes Christians are persecuted by gay rights supporters. “It opens the door to all the rest of this craziness that we are seeing.”
Some conservatives argue that adopting a hate crime law would create a “protected” class of citizen and grant additional acceptance to those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
Another common refrain among lawmakers who oppose the idea is that it would target “thought crime.” All crimes are bad, they say, regardless of what motivates them.
Holcomb says “nothing could be further from the truth.”
“You want to have a moronic thought … that’s your right,” he said. “But when it becomes a criminal action, you’ve crossed the line.”
For those who have received intimidating threats driven by hatred or bias, the issue is far less abstract than many critics portray.
Across the U.S., the number of reported hate crimes increased by about 17 percent in 2017, according to the FBI. In Indiana, the number has fluctuated in recent decades, ranging from about 40 to over 100 crimes per year that would fit the description.
But those figures depend on how law enforcement agencies categorize crime, which can be subjective, and how many of them report their statistics to the FBI, which can fluctuate.
Indiana has a complicated history when it comes to prejudice and bigotry. The state was a stop along the Underground Railroad, but in the 1920s, local politics was dominated by the Ku Klux Klan, with some estimates indicating that one-quarter of the native-born white men were members.
In the 1960s, Indiana-born author and diplomat John Bartlow Martin described the state in a memo to Robert Kennedy as “suspicious of foreign entanglements, conservative in fiscal matters, and with a strong overlay of Southern segregationist sentiment,” according to Indiana historian Ray Boomhower.
Aside from the synagogue vandalism that prompted Holcomb to publicly call for a hate crime law, activists say graffiti swastikas have been appearing in more public places. Last year, a man pleaded guilty to battery after authorities say he attacked a woman in Bloomington while shouting racial slurs and trying to remove her headscarf.
And Matthew Heimbach, of Paoli, has become a prominent figure in the white nationalist movement, once spearheading a group that described itself as “fighting to secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”
David Sklar, assistant director of the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council, said the only reason anyone should worry about a hate crime law “is if you are a criminal.”
“Will passing a hate crime statute ultimately stop a hate crime from happening? Chances are probably not,” Sklar said. “But it is equally important to make sure that a person receives the right amount of jail time and for the state to say, ‘We will not tolerate these things and we will make our laws reflect that.'”
If you didn’t know better, you’d think Jason Fried is more of a slacker than a CEO.
Despite this — or rather, he would say,because of it — Fried has run a very profitable and growing business for two decades.
He cofounded Basecamp (formerly 37 Signals), which offers a web-based project management tool that lets all team members seethe same information, documents, deadlines, assignments and updates. It helps dispense with unwieldy email chains, interruptions and status update meetings.
Fried, who just had his second child, alsohas found the time to write a few critically acclaimed books.
The latest is called “It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work,” which The Economist said is “the best thing on management published this year.”
In it, he and coauthor David HeinemeierHansson, also a Basecamp cofounder, call BS on workaholic managers and owners, even if they pay lip service to their employees’ need to have a life.
“Workaholism is a contagious disease. You can’t stop the spread if you’re the one bringing it into the office,” they write.
They reject the concept of company as “family” andthe rallying cry of “whatever it takes” for anything other than a true work emergency.
CNN asked Fried about his work philosophy and what family life has taught him about business.
What do you say to business owners who worry that adopting your approach would just mean they’d get beaten by the competition?
I’d say why would you think that? I’d say if you’re not getting enough sleep, enough rest, and enough perspective from other things in your life besides work, you’ll just be beating yourself.
If the only way to beat the competition is to outwork them, well there are only 24 hours in the day anyway. If you can work them all, so can someone else.
The competition doesn’t beat you, and you don’t beat them, by working more hours or forgoing more sleep. You do well by making smart decisions, being strategic about what you say yes and no to, and understanding your customer better than anyone else.
Treating people well, keeping employees happy, and creating an environment where people can do their best work is yet another thing you’re in control of that’ll help you do well.
Plenty of people have worked themselves to the bone with nothing to show for it. It’s not more work that’ll get you ahead, it’s the right work on the right things the right way.
What penalty is there for someone who works too many hours at Basecamp?
There’s no formal penalty, but we’ll kindly remind them that no one expects, or wants them to be putting in more than 40 hours a week.
We’ll ask them why they feel like they need to put in more hours than that and then help them remove the nonessential things from their day so they don’t feel like they have to work longer than they should.
There’s nothing in anyone’s best interest in working longer than necessary, and an 8-hour day is plenty of time to do great work.
Who offered you the most helpful advice on business and life?
I listen to a lot of people, absorb a lot of things, and am influenced by all sorts of approaches. But as far as business goes, my father’s advice is the best I’ve ever gotten: “No one went broke taking a profit.”
I’ve held this close to my chest and make sure Basecamp, my company, has been profitable since our first year. Next year marks our 20th year in business — all 19 so far have been profitable.
What has marriage and parenthood taught you about work?
That eight hours is plenty of time for work! That life outside of work is incredibly rich and rewarding. Why would I ever want to squander that kind of time to put in another unnecessary hour at the office?
Being a parent is also the best crash course on time management and figuring out what’s truly important in life.
What do you know today that you wish you knew in your 20s?
That most things you worry about aren’t worth worrying about.
How many hours of sleep do you get?
Right now between seven and eight. I aim for eight, but we just had our second baby so nights are a bit tough at the moment.
The book “Why We Sleep” has really impressed upon me that sleep is the most important thing you can do to improve every aspect of your life. I highly recommend reading it.
How much vacation do you take a year?
About three weeks in total. But over the summer months (May through September) everyone at Basecamp works four-day weeks, so we all have three-day weekends for a few months. So add those days in as well and we all get an extra dose of time off.
What’s your favorite podcast and why?
Currently, “The Peter Attia Drive”. I’ve always been fascinated with medicine. I really enjoy his take on things, his clarity, the brilliant guests he has on, and how out of my depth it all is.
WASHINGTON – Just days ahead of a midterm election they hope will deliver them a majority, House Democrats are promising to prioritize anti-discrimination legislation that would for the first time establish widespread equal rights protections for LGBTQ individuals.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi recently said she would introduce the Equality Act as one of her first orders of business if Democrats retake the House in November. Pelosi made the announcement at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, telling the crowd the issue of equal rights for the LGBTQ community is “personal.”
The 1964 Civil Rights Act already bars discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin. The Equality Act, if passed, would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the law and expand those protections beyond the workplace. It would outlaw gender discrimination in places like restaurants and retail shops, in seeking housing, using health care and social services, applying for a loan or participating in the jury selection process.
About 20 states and the District of Columbia currently have local gender and sex non-discrimination laws on the books.
The House bill has 198 co-sponsors, including two Republicans. But no Senate Republicans have signed on, and social conservatives oppose the legislation. And even if the bill cleared Congress, it would still have to be signed by President Donald Trump, who has aligned himself closely with religious conservatives.
Still, Democrats plan to move forward with the bill if they win the House majority, teeing up a test of the GOP’s willingness to block it.
Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said the legislation will be given a low bill number, meaning it would be among the first pieces of legislation to be introduced. Hammill described such a designation as “a place of honor.”
The Equality Act is a far-reaching piece of legislation, decades in the works, that would safeguard the LGBTQ community against discrimination and bias. It was introduced in both chambers of Congress in 2015, where it died in committee, and reintroduced in 2017, but has not been voted on.
“This is a very simple proposition,” said Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., the lead sponsor of the bill in the House.
“We have a long history in our country of prohibiting discrimination and promoting equality. It’s the founding principle of our country, and I believe the vast majority of people in our country think discrimination is wrong. In many ways Congress has to catch up to where the American people are.”
A narrower bill to bar gender discrimination in the workplace, called the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, passed the Senate in 2013 with 64 votes, including 10 Republicans. But then-House Speaker John Boehner, a vocal opponent, opted not to bring it to a floor vote.
Even if the Equality Act were to pass a Democratic House, its future in the Senate — where 60 votes are typically needed to advance legislation — would be uncertain.
Some of the Republican senators who supported ENDA are out of office or will be come January. Five remain in Congress now: Sens. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Rob Portman of Ohio, Dean Heller of Nevada, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who recently bucked her party to become the only Republican to vote against the controversial confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., the main sponsor of the Equality Act in the Senate, said he’s optimistic that shifting public attitudes on gay rights will propel the bill forward. He noted that in 2015, two years after ENDA stalled in Congress, the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide.
“This is what we need to accomplish. It is way past time to end discrimination across the board,” Merkley said. “I find it astounding that here we are in a situation where you can now take your marriage certificate from state to state, but if you travel with your partner, in one you’re treated as a citizen with full rights, and in the next, you’re treated as a second-class citizen.”
Merkley said soon after the midterm election he’ll begin reaching out to Republican senators to discuss the legislation. But so far they’ve been hard to convince: All 47 sponsors of the Senate bill are Democrats.
He sees one big sticking point for gaining Republican support: A provision in the bill forbids any employer or retailer from using the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, passed in 1993, to justify withholding services based on gender or sexual orientation. The law, which received bipartisan support, barred the government from interfering with the rights of religious practitioners. But more recently the law has been used to protect the rights of business owners to refuse service based on religious beliefs. In one 2014 case, the Supreme Court found that chain craft store Hobby Lobby, founded by religious evangelicals, didn’t have to provide its employees with contraception coverage for religious reasons.
The Trump administration has pursued policies in line with that law when taking steps to roll back protections for LGBTQ individuals, including rescinding guidance for schools on how to treat transgender students and attempting to bar transgender individuals from serving in the military. The administration is also considering a proposal to limit the definition of gender to include only one’s sex at birth, according to The New York Times, prompting outrage from LGBTQ advocates.
Religious and conservative organizations have been vocal in their opposition to the Equality Act.
Mary Beth Waddell, senior legislative assistant for conservative group Family Research Council, likened it to government-sanctioned discrimination against religious people.
“The current law in civil rights and the protected classes are inborn and unchangeable characteristics like race, ethnicity, national origin, age, sex, etc., and religion, which is expressly protected under the constitution,” Waddell said. “What the Equality Act does is it turns it on its head and allow the government to impose a belief system about sexual decisions and sexual behaviors on the nation.”
Waddell said if the bill comes up for a vote, the group will “certainly be part of the opposition.”
One advantage for supporters of the Equality Act is that it has overwhelming support from the business community. Since it was first introduced, major corporations including Apple, Dow Chemical Company, Amazon, General Electric Co. and more than 100 others have signed on to endorse its passage.
“Unlike virtually any other omnibus civil rights bill, the Equality Act had corporate support from the day of introduction,” said Deena Fidas, director of the Human Rights Campaign’s Workplace Equality Program.
More than 1,200 registered sex offenders are unaccounted for in Missouri and more than half of them fall into the “most dangerous” category, according to the findings of a new statewide audit.
The results of the audit, which was released Monday, indicate that of about 16,000 convicted sex offenders in the state, 1,259 are not complying with registration requirements. Of that number, 794 are classified as level three offenders, which are deemed the most dangerous or with the greatest chance of committing another offense.
State Auditor Nicole Galloway said the findings are “alarming.”
“As it stands, the sex offender registry really provides a false sense of security,” Galloway said at a news conference in St. Louis.
She said information examined during the audit was gleaned from the state’s sexual offender registration program. The number of sex offenders unaccounted for, according to Galloway, is due in part to weaknesses in state laws, “inadequate enforcement” of registration requirements and poor management of the sex offender registry.
“The law requiring sex offenders to register has been on the books for more than 20 years to help keep our communities, and especially our children, safe,” Galloway said. “But if the law isn’t enforced, it’s not effective and public safety is compromised.”
Missouri statutes require a person convicted of a sex offense to register their name, address and other information with law enforcement. The information is then made public through a website maintained by the Missouri State Highway Patrol. A registered sex offender must also verify the information at regular intervals and notify authorities if they change addresses.
Anyone who fails to register as a sex offender could face additional felony charges. However, the audit found offenders are escaping prosecution. Arrest warrants have only been issued in approximately 10 percent of the cases involving noncompliant offenders, according to the report, meaning no one is actively pursuing the missing sex offenders.
“Law enforcement can’t track the location of registered sex offenders if sex offender laws are not enforced,” Galloway said. “This also takes away the ability of Missourians to effectively use the sex offender registry when making decisions to protect themselves and their families.”
Jackson County is reportedly responsible for more than one-third of the missing registered sex offenders
In a statement to the Kansas City Star, interim Jackson County Sheriff Darryl Forte said his office has spent the past five months actively monitoring and investigating registration violations.
“We will continue to allocate resources to keep our community safe,” Forte said. “I assure the community that we will continue to aggressively enforce the protection of the vulnerable and the innocent from predators.”
The Associated Press reported similar problems have been found in other states. An August audit in Wisconsin reportedly identified 2,735 missing registered sex offenders and a 2017 audit in Massachusetts revealed authorities did not know the whereabouts of nearly 1,800 registered sex offenders.
The president’s son appeared on “Fox & Friends” Wednesday morning and denounced Woodward’s book, Fear: Trump in the White House, as fiction.
It all started when co-host Steve Doocy noted that the book and last week’s anonymous New York Times op-ed criticizing the president as amoral and vapid have stirred fresh chaos in the White House.
Eric Trump pushed back, saying the media only wants to make his dad look bad.
“Don’t you think people look through the fact, you can write some sensational, nonsense book, CNN will definitely have you on there because they love to trash the president,” Trump said.
Then, in what some people interpret as a dog whistle to white nationalists, Trump added:
It’ll mean you sell three extra books, you make three extra shekels, at the behest of the American people, at the behest of our country, that’s doing a phenomenal job by every quantifiable metric. Is that really where we are?
The shekel is the currency used in both ancient and modern-day Israel. Keegan Hankes, senior research analyst at the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project, which tracks hate groups, noted that the term also can be used as a slur.
“Shekels is a derogatory term used by white supremacists that ties into the myth that Jewish people only care about money,” Hankes told HuffPost. The term is tied to the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that Jews control the financial system, she said, and is “used constantly by the extreme right and particularly neo-Nazis.”
Trump’s use of the word on Fox News “certainly seems like a dog whistle,” Hankes added.
Watch Trump on “Fox & Friends” below.
Unsurprisingly, Trump was heavily criticized on Twitter: