Overlooked Developments

Nick “SIEGE aficionado” Mason asked of me to compile a list of news updates people
would have overlooked so I have decided to oblige him.
Here goes:
citizenship question (it’s instead asked on surveys), and for good reason. Latino residents – legal or illegal – tend to resist such questions out of an (unfounded) fear the government might use the information against them or their relatives. Census Bureau research has projected a drop of at least 5.1 percent from noncitizen households if the question is added, part of an estimated undercount of 6.5 million people.”
>Six Point Five Million People
First as tragedy then as farce.
[…]
John Sopko, the U.S. inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, told the Times the move was “like turning off the scoreboard at a football game and saying scoring a touchdown or field goal isn’t important.
[…]
A new round of talks between the U.S. and the Taliban began today in Qatar. They’re aimed at securing a peace agreement, but have been criticized by Afghan officials who are wary of being left out of negotiations over the country’s future.”
Also related to this development
[…]
A U.S. official told Reuters that cuts should be seen as part of a global redistribution of U.S. diplomats required by the Trump administration’s national security strategy shift toward Russia and China.
Some are worried that the reduction could strain relations with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s government. Ghani “would see this as another step in a betrayal,” Thomas Lynch, a U.S. National Defense University fellow focused on Afghanistan and former adviser to the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Reuters.”
So with the slight troop boost a year and a half ago, plus the loosening of drone use,
and a tenuous peace framework Trump just copied Nixon’s doctrine of widening the
theater, bomb them dead and leaving with some dignity intact.
“I feel they are not much of a force anymore,” said U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (R., Mich.), a conservative Republican who has been at odds with the chamber. “I believe in free markets and am against cronyism and corporate welfare, and they support those things.” The chamber said in a statement: “Today, we are stronger than ever with the influence, expertise, partnerships, and long-term vision to drive our members’ agenda in every political environment and well into the future.” The group has found little refuge across the aisle. “The chamber dug themselves into a deep, deep hole when they decided to become an arm of the Republican Party and even oppose moderate Democrats,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer, of New York, the top Democrat in the Senate.
[…]
For years, the chamber urged lawmakers to vote against legislation that would prohibit some forms of discrimination by companies on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. In 2014, it adopted a neutral stand. Last month, the chamber endorsed the bill.
[…]
Changes under Ms. Clark have created rifts among some chamber employees,
according to current and former employees. Among the roughly dozen executives who have left in the past two years was Michelle Bolles, the vice president of human resources. Ms. Bolles quit during an argument with Ms. Clark. She cleared her desk and left that day, said two people who saw what happened. Ms. Bolles couldn’t be reached for comment. The chamber’s media-relations team resigned this year over complaints about management, according to people familiar with the matter.
[…]
Even with the decline in contributions, the chamber last year spent $95 million on lobbying, more than any other group. In 2014, it spent $124 million, according to data from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Unlike its smaller competitors, the chamber has significant overhead. Mr. Donohue has said the group needs about $1 million each workday to cover its 500 employees, fund advocacy work and keep the lights on at the building it owns across from the White House.
In 2017, the chamber spent $86 million on salaries and benefits, which accounted for more than half of its revenue that year.
By comparison, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the drug industry trade association known as PhRMA, spent $70 million a year in salaries in 2017, equal to about 15% of its annual revenue, according to tax filings. Mr. Donohue earned $6.6 million in 2017, making him the highest-paid head of any Washington trade group. His perquisites cost more, according to people familiar with chamber finances.
In Washington, Mr. Donohue travels in a chauffeured SUV accompanied by two security guards. On weekends, he uses the chamber’s private jet service to reach his Florida vacation home, often with a guest, according to his calendar. On overseas trips, his physician sometimes joins him. Personal or guest trips are either reimbursed or claimed as income, the chamber said.
Mr. Donohue has long avoided talk of retirement, though senior chamber officials and members of the board have pressed him about it. Several times over the past year, chamber officials approached former House Speaker Paul Ryan about the job. He declined, his spokesman said.”
Rest in Piss Corporate bastards
Senator Skeletor [Rick Scott] of Florida is just full of surprises.
[…]
The dirty secret —which multiple senior White House officials have confirmed to me— is that Trump hates the infrastructure plan his own White House released last year. In private, he has referred to it dismissively as “Gary’s plan,” a shot at his former top economic adviser Gary Cohn.
The heart of “Gary’s plan” was to build infrastructure through “public-private
partnerships” — leveraging a modest amount of government spending to stimulate private investment in projects around the country.
What’s next? Nobody will come into the Tuesday meeting with an infrastructure plan, according to White House, administration and Democratic leadership sources who’ve discussed the meeting plans with me. And there are no plans to present even a top-line figure or a list of ways to offset new spending. “The whole thing comes under the heading of an ongoing discussion,” a senior administration official with direct knowledge of the plans for Tuesday’s meeting told me. “Nobody wants to lay down specific markers. Nobody wants to rule in; nobody wants to rule out.”
If Trump listens to his gut on this we may have halfway decent roads to drive on.
Indeed, both studies revealed that while social liberals were overall more sympathetic to poor people than social conservatives, reading about White privilege decreased their sympathy for a poor White (vs. Black) person. Moreover, these shifts in sympathy were associated with greater punishment/blame and fewer external attributions for a poor White person’s plight. We conclude that, among social liberals, White privilege lessons may increase beliefs that poor White people have failed to take advantage of their racial privilege—leading to negative social evaluations.”
It’s not a coincidence that huwhite privilege became a thing just a few years after the
banks were bailed out and any semblance of focus on material conditions disappeared
from the ninety nine percent crowd.
Those were my bookmarked stories over the past two weeks, although this RussiaGate
and Venezuela nonsense occupy a great deal of our attention many things can be
reported on without much fanfare.

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