Tempers raised by immigration issue give way to insults
By JONATHAN LEMIRE
Tuesday, June 26
NEW YORK (AP) — Political rancor over immigration has boiled over into increasingly personal insults, as President Donald Trump took a harsh shot at a prominent congresswoman’s intellect and Democrats worried that some of their own anti-Trump rhetoric might play into his hands and backfire in November.
With language reaching belligerent levels seldom heard since the 2016 campaign, Republican tactics seemed aimed at least in part at activating loyal supporters for the midterm elections.
The issue of what passes for political civility in 2018 has been eagerly stoked by Trump, who has embraced the cultural battles playing out everywhere from restaurant tables to football fields to late-night comedy. And the ejection of White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her family from a Virginia restaurant over the weekend symbolizes the public anger that has tied Democrats in knots, leaving them torn as to how to respond to a president who defies the norms of his office.
Trump punched back sharply Monday after Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters of California told a crowd in her state over the weekend that “If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd, and you push back on them!”
Trump, always eager for a foil, tweeted in retort: “Congresswoman Maxine Waters, an extraordinarily low IQ person, has become, together with Nancy Pelosi, the Face of the Democrat Party. She has just called for harm to supporters, of which there are many, of the Make America Great Again movement. Be careful what you wish for Max!”
Other Democrats quickly distanced themselves from Waters’ call to action, suggesting it could endanger Democrats’ chances in the midterms that could determine the next chapter of Trump’s presidency.
“In the crucial months ahead, we must strive to make America beautiful again,” tweeted Pelosi, the House minority leader. “Trump’s daily lack of civility has provoked responses that are predictable but unacceptable. As we go forward, we must conduct elections in a way that achieves unity from sea to shining sea.”
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Monday from the Senate floor that “the best solution is to win elections. That is a far more productive way to channel the legitimate frustrations with this president’s policies than with harassing members of his administration.”
Trump welcomes the fight, from the depiction of his supporters in the short-lived “Roseanne” revival to NFL players kneeling for the national anthem, believing that us-versus-them partisan issues fire up his base of supporters. With the Russia investigation swirling and Republicans facing an uncertain fate in November, he has further abandoned any unifying powers of his office, leaning hard into partisan warfare while adopting an aggrieved stance to dish out attacks that dominate the news and distract from scandals.
And while his rough rhetoric since his campaign has given license for some of his followers to engage in inflammatory acts, the anger on the left has sparked its own set of unruly images, further amplifying the political divisions in the nation’s civility war.
Sanders was shown the door at the Red Hen in Lexington, about three hours outside Washington, by the restaurant’s owner on Friday. The press secretary tweeted from her government Twitter account that she was asked “to leave because I work for POTUS and I politely left. Her actions say far more about her than about me.” She used her press briefing on Monday, the first in a week, to declare that Americans are “allowed to disagree, but we should be able to do so freely and without fear of harm.”
The restaurant episode comes amid other acts of street protests against Trump aides and allies. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was hounded from a Mexican restaurant in Washington amid cries of “Shame!” last week. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi was heckled at a screening of a documentary about Mr. Rogers, the paragon of kindness and civility.
Many on the left cheered the efforts, citing the Trump administration’s policies toward immigrants as attacks on human rights that deserved the same sort of public displays of disobedience that defined the civil rights and gay rights movements.
But some Democrats worried that the protesters were going too far.
In a series of tweets, David Axelrod, the former chief strategist to President Barack Obama, warned that the push for public provocation was “a counterproductive gesture.” He wrote that he was “amazed and appalled” at liberals who cheered Sanders’ ejection, which he framed as “a triumph for realDonaldTrump vision of America.”
Trump himself appeared to agree that the debate was to his advantage, retweeting a post from Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who wrote that “Trump haters still haven’t realized how much they help him with their condescension of those who either voted for him or don’t share their hatred of him. And how much they help him with their irrational hostility toward those who work for him.”
Sanders’ father, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, used the moment to tweet a photo of tattooed MS-13 gang members and suggested that they were part of Pelosi’s campaign committee to take back the House. That tweet came amid a stretch of days when Trump used seemingly coded language — including “invaders” and “infests” — to describe the Latino migrants illegally crossing the border into the United States.
Trump, meanwhile, also targeted the Red Hen by using his 53-million-follower Twitter account as if he were posting a restaurant review on Yelp.
“The Red Hen Restaurant should focus more on cleaning its filthy canopies, doors and windows (badly needs a paint job) rather than refusing to serve a fine person like Sarah Huckabee Sanders,” he wrote. “I always had a rule, if a restaurant is dirty on the outside, it is dirty on the inside!”
The restaurant’s most recent health inspection showed no violations and complimented the staff.
Associated Press writers Darlene Superville in Washington, Bill Barrow in Atlanta and Tom Beaumont in Des Moines, Iowa, contributed to this report.
Follow Lemire on Twitter at http://twitter.com/JonLemire
Maxine Waters Just Told Those Who Are Sending Her Death Threats, “You Better Shoot Straight”
Trump Is Fulfilling Russia’s Dream of Splitting the Western Alliance
Sarah Huckabee Sanders Was Asked to Leave Restaurant Over White House Work
Big Pay Gaps Are Bad for Business
Would you do your best work for a CEO who pulls in 5,000 times your own salary?
By Sarah Anderson | May 23, 2018
Mattel is one of the largest toy-making companies on earth. Turns out it’s one of the biggest manufacturers of income inequality, too.
Last year, the Barbie doll manufacturer paid its CEO nearly 5,000 times as much as its median worker.
This stunning revelation is the result of a new regulation that requires U.S. publicly held corporations to report their CEO-worker pay ratios to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Mattel’s gap is the widest reported so far. But most other big U.S. companies also have staggering divides. According to a new report by the staff of Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison, the first 225 large corporations to release their numbers had pay ratios averaging 339 to 1.
“This immense inequality is a crisis for our economy and our democracy,” said Ellison, a longtime advocate of pay gap disclosure.
What’s good for these CEOs, however, is actually bad for business.
A CNBC analysis of the new pay ratio data, for example, suggests that companies with large pay disparities have lower profits per employee.
Why might that be? According to a recent study by a Harvard Business professor, companies tend to perform poorly if workers feel they’re not paid fairly. The study’s author said workers who feel that way are likely to lack motivation and even quit their jobs.
It’s not hard to understand how it could put a damper on your morale to be working hard and struggling to get by while your boss is being rewarded hundreds — or even thousands — of times more than you on payday.
Doug Smith, a former partner at the big McKinsey management consulting firm, argues that the economic costs of huge pay gaps go far beyond the problems of low employee morale and high turnover.
“Instead of building a real economy beneficial to all,” Smith says, “these unethical pay practices spread outsourcing, offshoring, tax avoidance, downsizing, and the substitution of good-paying permanent jobs with temporary, precarious employment.”
There’s a growing movement to use the new pay ratio data to encourage corporations to narrow their gaps. Portland, Oregon will soon become the first city to impose a tax penalty on companies with pay gaps above 100 to 1.
Charlie Hales, Portland’s mayor when the law was passed in late 2016, argued that it made good business sense to encourage narrower gaps.
In a former job at an employee-owned engineering firm, Hales had seen firsthand how a small pay ratio boosted the bottom line. “Everyone worked a little harder because your success was my success,” Hales said. “And that egalitarian culture led to a strong work ethic that drove the corporation to success.”
With the new pay ratio data now coming out, lawmakers in six states — California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Rhode Island — are considering Portland-style pay ratio taxes.
Narrowing the divides within U.S. corporations may not automatically leave us all whistling away while we work. But we’ll all pay a price if we keep fiddling while extreme inequality burns down our economy.
Sarah Anderson directs the Global Economy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies and co-edits Inequality.org. Follow her at @Anderson_IPS. Distributed by OtherWords.org.
Delaware Among Top Counties in Ohio for Mortgage Approval
Homeownership is a cornerstone of the “American Dream,” but depending on where you are looking to buy, you can run into challenges that may hurt your chances for getting a mortgage. SmartAsset recently determined the places in the U.S. where homebuyers were most likely to be approved for a mortgage. Counties were ranked based upon the ratio of mortgage applications to mortgages approved in the county.
Listed below are the top counties in Ohio for mortgage approval:
Rank County Loan Funding Rate 5 Year Borrowing Costs Property Tax Annual Mortgage Payment Loan Funding Rate Index
1 Delaware, OH 69.87% $75,366 $23,512 $14,385 69.87
2 Putnam, OH 69.57% $75,366 $13,246 $14,385 69.57
3 Williams, OH 69.30% $75,366 $17,889 $14,385 69.30
4 Defiance, OH 68.63% $75,366 $16,744 $14,385 68.63
5 Union, OH 67.48% $75,366 $19,459 $14,385 67.48
6 Hancock, OH 66.69% $75,366 $15,180 $14,385 66.69
7 Warren, OH 66.50% $75,366 $20,662 $14,385 66.50
8 Mercer, OH 66.34% $75,366 $15,703 $14,385 66.34
9 Knox, OH 66.20% $75,366 $16,522 $14,385 66.20
10 Paulding, OH 66.02% $75,366 $17,423 $14,385 66.02
The rankings were a factor in SmartAsset’s study on the best places to get a mortgage, which considered loan funding rate as well as borrowing costs, property taxes, and mortgage payments. You can find the study results and methodology, as well as our interactive map here: https://smartasset.com/mortgage/ohio-mortgage-rates#ohio/best-markets
PUCO seeks comment on AT&T Ohio application to end discount program
Public Utilities Commission of Ohio
Comments due August 31
COLUMBUS, OHIO (June 28, 2018) – The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) today issued a call for comments regarding AT&T Ohio’s application to discontinue its participation in the federal Lifeline program throughout the majority of its service territory. Comments are due Aug. 31, 2018.
Lifeline is a federally funded program that provides monthly discounts to eligible consumers of landline, wireless or broadband services. Customers enrolled in their service provider’s Lifeline program receive a $9.25 monthly credit.
On Sept. 7, 2017, AT&T Ohio filed a petition with the PUCO to end its designation as an eligible telecommunications carrier, which provides it access to federal Universal Service Fund support to provide discounts to its Ohio customers. AT&T Ohio identified 10,482 customers that may be affected by it no longer providing Lifeline discounts.
If approved by the Commission, AT&T Ohio would no longer provide Lifeline discounts to its customers. In order to continue to receive Lifeline discounts, AT&T Ohio customers would need to enroll with a different provider. A list of providers offering Lifeline discounts is available online at lifelinesupport.org.
The Commission notes, however, that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has a pending proposal to discontinue Lifeline support for non-facilities based wireless providers. If approved by the FCC, this proposal may reduce the number of alternative Lifeline providers. The PUCO has previously advocated that the FCC not adopt this proposal.
The PUCO welcomes interested parties and the public to file comments with the PUCO online, or by mail to 180 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215. All comments should reference case 17-1948-TP-UNC.
AT&T Ohio is directed to publish notice in local newspapers throughout its service territory. The full text of the notice is provided below.
A copy of today’s Commission entry is available online by visiting the PUCO website. Click on the link to the Docketing Information System (DIS), and enter case number 17-1948-TP-UNC.
Notice Seeking Comment on Petition of AT&T Ohio to Relinquish its Designation as an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier
Public notice is hereby given that The Ohio Bell Telephone Company dba AT&T Ohio has filed a petition with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, docketed as Case No. 17-1948-TP-UNC, seeking to relinquish its designation as an eligible telecommunications carrier (ETC) for purposes of lifeline fund support for the majority of its service area in Ohio.
On September 7, 2017, AT&T Ohio filed a petition seeking to relinquish its ETC designation for all areas in Ohio in which it currently provides wireline voice service and for which it is not receiving federal Universal Service Fund (lifeline) reimbursement. This amounts to most of AT&T Ohio’s service area and would affect approximately 10,482 lifeline customers. The federal lifeline discount offered by an ETC in Ohio is $9.25 per month. If AT&T Ohio’s relinquishment petition is approved, eligible lifeline customers of AT&T Ohio within the affected service area would no longer receive this discount from AT&T Ohio. Lifeline customers could continue to receive the federal discount if they switch to another ETC in their service area. AT&T Ohio states that every wire center in the relinquishment area is served by at least four other ETCs. AT&T Ohio is not discontinuing any wireline legacy voice service as a result of this petition.
AT&T Ohio states that it will provide each affected AT&T Ohio lifeline customers at least 60 days notice via U.S. mail prior to the effective date of the relinquishment. The notice will explain the impact of the relinquishment on the customer and will inform the customer that the discount can continue to be obtained from the remaining ETCs in the area and will include a list of designated ETCs in the customer’s service area. A second notice and bill message will also be sent at least 15 days before the relinquishment date.
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio invites interested persons to comment on the AT&T Ohio relinquishment petition. Written and electronic comments are due by August 31, 2018, and should be filed in Case No. 17-1948-TP-UNC. Further information may be obtained by contacting the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, 180 East Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215-3793, the Commission’s hotline at 1-800-686-7826, or the PUCO website at https://www.puco.ohio.gov.
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) is the sole agency charged with regulating public utility service. The role of the PUCO is to assure all residential, business and industrial consumers have access to adequate, safe and reliable utility services at fair prices while facilitating an environment that provides competitive choices. Consumers with utility-related questions or concerns can call the PUCO Call Center at (800) 686-PUCO (7826) and speak with a representative.
Opinion: Urgent Need for U.S. to Oppose Threat Against Judiciary in Poland
By Hilarie Bass
As another Fourth of July approaches and Americans prepare to celebrate their independence under the world’s most enduring constitutional democracy, some of the newest democracies — many of which the United States inspired and helped establish — are struggling to survive.
According to Freedom House’s annual report on Freedom in the World, 2018 marks the 12th straight year that authoritarianism increased worldwide. Once-democratic governments, wrestling with the inevitable frustrations of delimited power and popular criticism, now pay cynical lip service to democratic ideals or have abandoned them altogether.
Poland offers an especially poignant example. There the Law and Justice Party, which returned to office in 2015, has worked systematically to amass and consolidate power by dismantling the courts.
New legislation will force about 40 percent of the Polish Supreme Court into retirement on July 3 unless the president decides, at his sole discretion, to extend their service. In addition, more than half of the National Judicial Council, charged with nominating qualified Supreme Court judges for appointment by the president, has been purged, replaced by new members with strong and reliable ties to the ruling party.
Meanwhile, other legislation criminalizes free speech; allows any case that has been resolved in the last 20 years to be re-tried by judges beholden to the current government; and permits the imposition of prison sentences on people previously acquitted of crimes. Disciplinary courts have been created and have already been used to assert questionable claims against judges that take positions against the government in their rulings.
Recognizing the threat these measures against the judiciary pose to their young democracy, thousands of Polish citizens have taken to the streets in protest. They have been supported by such legal organizations as the Warsaw Bar Association, the judges’ association Iustitia, the association of Prosecutors Lex Super Omnia and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, which have called on the international community to stand in solidarity with them to defend democratic governance in Poland and elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe.
The United States must answer this call. Beyond the moral imperative of supporting democracy for its own sake, the United States has economic and security interests at stake as well. The newly appointed U.S. ambassador to Poland, Georgette Mosbacher, stated in her confirmation hearing that her “top priority if confirmed will be to encourage American businesses to expand trade between our two nations.”
Yet the uncertainty created by the loss of judicial independence in Poland, a major U.S. trading partner, will be an enormous impediment to achieving this goal. What guarantees do U.S. investors have that they will be able to enforce agreements in a Polish court? Without an independent judiciary to ensure the rule of law, what protects the Polish economy from capture by would-be oligarchs, as has happened elsewhere in the region?
On the security front, Poland today is an EU member state and a key NATO ally. As the Polish government subsumes the judiciary, populist parties in the region and elsewhere are watching for repercussions from the major democratic powers. Seeing none, they may well be emboldened to follow suit, destabilizing the region and, in the process, weakening American security.
Given these developments and its own hard-won experience with democratic governance, the United States must renew and reinvigorate its support of democracy. The U.S. president should appoint a special envoy to address democratic retrenchment in Poland and the region. He also should encourage the institutions created to preserve democratic governance in Europe — including the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and NATO — to monitor and hold accountable those politicians who undermine judicial independence and the rule of law and endanger the rules-based order on which our mutual security and freedom rely.
On this anniversary of American independence, the urgency of such action cannot be overstated. From her view at the highest level of the American judiciary and as a longstanding champion of the rule of law globally, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor once observed that “judicial independence does not just happen all by itself. It is tremendously hard to create, and easier than most people imagine to destroy.”
ABOUT THE WRITER
Hilarie Bass is president of the American Bar Association. She wrote this for InsideSources.com.
Other Countries Expect More of Their Leaders. So Should We.
We’re the wealthiest country on earth, but over 40 percent of us live in or near poverty.
By Mona Younis | Jun 13, 2018
Are we Americans unworthy? That’s certainly the message we’re getting from our government.
Over 40 percent of us are poor or low-income. How is that possible in the wealthiest country in history?
“The United States is alone among developed countries in insisting that while human rights are of fundamental importance,” explains UN rapporteur on poverty Philip Alston, “they do not include rights that guard against dying of hunger, dying from a lack of access to affordable health care, or growing up in a context of total deprivation.”
Alston says that “the persistence of extreme poverty is a political choice made by those in power” — which means that “with political will, it could readily be eliminated.” Unfortunately, our government’s political will is increasingly exercised to make things more, not less, difficult for us.
Most Americans don’t know it, but in 1977 the U.S. actually signed an international treaty called the UN Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, which mandates government responsibility to ensure their citizens do more than merely survive. Unfortunately, one
U.S. administration after the other has completely disregarded it, and Congress never ratified it.
Our leaders have apparently judged that we either don’t need — or don’t deserve — things like an adequate standard of living and universal health care. As one dizzy U.S. congressman claims, “Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care.”
164 countries have ratified the treaty, but ours won’t. Are their people more deserving than we are? Is it something we’ve done?
It can’t be because we’re doing fine without those rights.
I mean, look at our minimum wage. There isn’t a “single county or metropolitan area,” as a Guardian report put it, where a minimum wage can get you a “modest two-bedroom home, which the federal government defines as paying less than 30 percent of a household’s income for rent and utilities.”
The price we pay for this disregard for our fundamental human rights begins at the beginning of our lives. Indeed, many of us struggle to survive to our first birthday. Citing figures from the Centers for Disease Control, the Washington Post declared our infant mortality rate “a national embarrassment,” noting that it’s higher “than any of the other 27 wealthy countries.”
That’s painful enough. But they went on: “Despite health care spending levels that are significantly higher than any other country in the world, a baby born in the U.S. is less likely to see his first birthday than one born in Hungary, Poland, or Slovakia. Or in Belarus. Or in Cuba, for that matter.”
And a recent UNICEF assessment of how children are faring found the U.S. near the bottom of 41 rich countries when it came to meeting goals on child poverty, hunger, health, and education.
Well, there’s an important difference between us and other prosperous countries: Their citizens expect and demand more of their governments than we do of ours. And governments do only as much as their citizens expect — not more! So why do we accept so little from ours? How have we come to deem ourselves less worthy than others?
Mona Younis is a human rights advocate. Distributed by OtherWords.org.