The country does great when you have a meritocracy like in this country. The right guy gets to the top. We don’t have that now. Right now our corporate leaders are not the right guy… They’re the guy that was the president of the fraternity, knows how to get along, and then starts believing he’s a genius which he’s not
Carl Icahn, President Elect Donald Trump’s new Special Adviser for Regulatory Reform once spoke favorably of Obamacare, President Obama’s signature reform. Icahn’s appointment as an adviser has been taken as a sign that the Trump administration will curb the growth of regulations that conservatives perceive as an onerous expansion of government power. However, two years ago Icahn gave a wide ranging interview with Fox News during which he defied the conventions of traditional left and right politics and more interestingly he spoke positively about Obamacare: “I think that Obama had to do something like that. I don’t think it’s that bad. I’m no expert on it, but I don’t think businesses should be a medical provider.” Icahn contradicted the claim of right-leaning business leaders that Obamacare was a job killer by saying: “I’d like to understand what their saying”. He further stated that executives citing the healthcare law for losses were simply making excuses for their bad earnings. The Billionaire investor even suggested that on the economy the President could have done more “in terms of investing”, which contradicts the American Right’s position on the role of government and it’s claim that President Obama interfered excessively in the economy. Obamacare has been a key benchmark on the ideological spectrum demarcating the left and right, defining American politics. While Icahn’s pronouncements regarding healthcare reform, C.E.O pay (well beyond that of the average worker), golden parachute severance packages, the Nationalizing of Banks that are too big to fail, Glass-Steagall and the Volcker rule would seem to land him squarely on the American Left, it remains to be seen if he will represent that perspective as a matter of regulation and a member of the Trump administration.
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A recent incident involving Chris Christie, the NFL Draft and a bong mask seem to exemplify everything that has been wrong with the drug war. Chris Christie has been among several notable Republicans that seem to have changed their party’s stance on the drug war, emphasizing treatment and rehabilitation instead of the party’s traditional law and order stance that promoted incarceration. Christie said at a recent New Hampshire GOP Debate, hosted by ABC News that drug addiction was not a “moral failing” which was a direct rebuke of the party’s most popular rhetoric that viewed drug use as a failure of personal responsibility. “It is a disease” Christie barked as he voiced his support for programs designed to help rather then lockup those engaged in hardcore drug use like heroine addicts. Christie is hardly alone in his sudden shift. As the demographics around drug use have shifted, the feelings regarding how we treat users have also shifted, seemingly due to the rise of Methamphetamine use in poor white communities and the growth of heroine use that now ravages white communities of every class standing. The GOP no longer wishes to “throw away the key” with drug users. GOP Governors all over the country are now even becoming more amenable to restoring voting rights for some felons. And it is hard to ignore that this shift seems to coincide with the rising drug use of the GOP’s traditional voting base. GOP Presidential Contender Ted Cruz sadly lost his sister to an overdose and long battle with drug use. The shift would be hypocritical but forgivable as the GOP finally sees the humanity in addicts that are within their own families now but Chris Christie recently demonstrated that the bias that has incarcerated a full generation of black sons and fathers persists in his heart.
NFL Draftee Laremy Tunsil recently suffered a catastrophic decline in his draft standing when a hacker posted a picture of the young man smoking marijuana from bong and mask. The picture proved to be costly for Tunsil but Chris Christie wants it to be even more devastating. He has called for Tunsil to be arrested. “When I was a prosecutor, I would’ve gone in and cuffed this guy” said Christie, further exemplifying the judicial bias that has stalked black men and resulted in an obscene rate of incarceration. The comment is noted for the zeal and enthusiasm to pursue prosecution against an African American male but it is punctuated by Christie’s own recent comments calling for leniency for hardcore heroine users. The interest of a former U.S. Attorney in prosecuting a young man taking bong hits in his dorm room is emblematic of the obsessive pursuit of African Americans by law enforcement in policies like Stop and Frisk which in defiance of statistical reality focused almost entirely on scrutinizing black men. It also answers the often asked and insincere question regarding the high rate of black male incarceration. Blacks comprise so much of our prison population because men like Chris Christie have enforced existing law with extreme prejudice against minority communities. Christie is a Trump supporter and potential Vice Presidential pick. Hopefully he can recognize his bias before America entrusts him with another position of authority and more power over minority communities.
The media, including established outlets like CNN have blasted Hamilton-the musical for it’s recent casting call requesting NON-WHITE actors. Hamilton is a hip hop based musical that casts black and Latino actors to play the roles of founding fathers in a retelling of the nation’s history. The internet has been set ablaze with cries of reverse racism and a stoking of white grievance as this explicit call for blacks and Latinos ONLY clearly discriminates against whites. While most major media outlets could not get enough of stoking the notion that whites are being disadvantaged by Hamilton, WORTHY MAGAZINE decided to be real journalists and conduct actual research. What we “discovered” was that MOST casting calls specifically in TV and Movies specify the race of the actors REQUIRED! And more shockingly, MOST of the casting calls available to the public REQUIRE WHITE ACTORS. The listings generally specify Caucasian actors and represent a difference between Broadway and Hollywood. In specifying a need for actors of color Hamilton was not engaged in some egregious and unprecedented act of discrimination. They were in fact simply abiding by the best practices of the acting industry and these practices have NEVER warranted attention from the major media outlets. While these practices have been a source of concern for minority actors, the broader public has never been concerned for the minority actors specifically uninvited by most of the available casting calls. It is also worth noting that merely stating an openness to all ethnicity as Broadways shows are accustomed does not make it so. Further, according to some actors we interviewed there is quite nearly a separate casting season in Hollywood for African American actors who are added into scripts often as an after thought. The incredible hypocrisy of outrage over one of the few minority lead Broadway shows being maligned for requesting minority actors when the vast majority of Hollywood castings specifically discriminate against minority actors is a continuation of the sense of privilege and entitlement that recoils when the discrimination that is persistently practiced against others is visited upon the majority. Furthermore, a brief review of Broadway’s top shows will suggest that the “openness” to “all ethnicities” is largely rhetorical as minority actors seem to be concentrated in shows thematically and culturally targeted as such, while most shows are overwhelmingly homogeneous in their non-minority makeup. If we are to be outraged by Hamilton’s casting call, why are we not offended by Hollywood’s common practice or by the circumstantial apparent practices of Broadway’s largely homogeneous casts. We have traditionally given the acting industry great latitude in preferring races and many have expressed annoyance when minorities demand access to greater roles, why then has the cast of Hamilton been attacked for inverting the practice. We have screen shot a few publicly available Casting Calls! It should be noted that these are not obscure productions. One of the castings we have posted are for NBC, a major network!
During last night’s MSNBC Townhall, Presidential “struggle” candidate, John Kasich was asked by an African American republican: “what would you do to build trust and reform social and economic injustice in the African American community”. Kasich’s reply was noteworthy as it hearkened back to the GOP posture of yester-year. Instead of offering strategies for attracting businesses and jobs to black communities or addressing inequity in school resource funding or offering initiatives to build thriving charter academies in black communities, Kasich seemed to view the question purely as a Criminal Justice inquiry and only when pressed by moderator Chuck Todd did Kasich discuss jobs or the economy in black communities. Hearing “social and economic justice” Kasich seemed to pigeon hole the question as a stereotype of black interests in police reform. While reforming the criminal justice system generally has profound economic consequences, the tepid police related reforms offered by Kasich missed the mark in a significant policy sense.
Kasich’s reply was to recall his creation of a committee that worked to express to the black community the good will of law enforcement and that officers simply don’t want to be “killed” or “taken out”. While the safety of law enforcement is a primary interest to all, it’s inclusion in his answer serves to curiously reinforce the notion that cops are under-siege and the black “super-predator” narrative damaging Hillary Clinton. It is worth pausing to consider that Kasich was asked how to improve social and economic injustices and his first statement was to emphasize officer safety from the violent impulses presumably in the black community? He went on to note that he revamped the use of deadly force policy and moved to create a police force that looked like the community it was serving. In the field of criminal justice reform, Kasich was offering very low hanging fruit. The primary cause of black incarceration is non-violent drug offense but as numerous studies have concluded blacks are no more likely than whites to use drugs. The outrageously high rates of incarceration are a result of targeting and unequal enforcement of drug laws against black communities. As John Ehrlichmen-former Domestic Policy Chief for Richard Nixon confessed, the drug war was created to target black people. Numerous exposes have uncovered how law enforcement routinely enforces drug laws through greater scrutiny of black and poor communities. Creating diverse police forces seems like a minor reform, given the totality of the issue and it’s profound implications for black families, black businesses and the black economy. He ended his statement by highlighting his attempt to let non-violent felons wipe their records clean, in order to gain employment which does address the economic incentive that generally drives recidivism but he felt the odd compulsion to book-end his statement with “IF YOU’RE A GANGBANGER, YOU WILL NEVER GET OUT”. The response in totality was peculiar. Kasich offered a winding reply that offered the African American questioner a more diverse police force and a potential cleansing of records for non-violent offenders as a paltry sandwich between assurances to the general GOP voting base that he was still tough on crime.
Kasich was asked about social and economic injustice which could broadly be seen as a question relating to the economy in black communities. Only when pressed by moderator Chuck Todd, did Kasich discuss creating minority set-asides for the construction of a road in his state. Kasich could have seen the question as a prompt to opine on entrepreneurship and improving prospects for funding minority start-ups. It could have be seen as a question prompting a discussion of systemic impediments to creating wealth and opportunity. Offering clean records to obtain jobs in jobless communities for individuals that have lost years of potential training and education as a result of being incarcerated for recreational drug use, is a half measure and only a band-aid after the state has already inflicted a severe wound to the family of black communities. For a candidate that has built it’s success on the Tone of it’s candidate this was quite possibly Kasich’s most tone def answer of the political season.
2016 presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.
Who is the rightful successor of the Obama Legacy? The fight to become the President’s standard bearer became the central theme of last night’s Democratic Townhall on MSNBC.
During the Townhall Hillary Clinton launched a series of attacks on Senator Bernie Sanders, alleging that he once encouraged disenchanted democrats to launch a primary challenge to President Obama’s second term in 2012. The attack while effective is also tactically blind to Clinton’s own previous actions.
Clinton has been informally running for President longer than any other candidate. One of the early narratives of her campaign was a direct rebuke of the Obama foreign policy. The Washington Post wrote that “there is little precedent for a secretary of state preparing a presidential campaign in part by criticizing the foreign policy being carried out by the administration she helped lead.” In the earliest moments of 2014 Clinton began a very public critique of President Obama’s Foreign Policy, highlighting moments when the President failed to heed her sage advice and the disastrous consequences of his naivete. At one point Clinton mocked the President (and his famous phrase) declaring that “Don’t Do Stupid Stuff is not an organizing principle” effectively attacking his reluctance to get the U.S. bogged down in long engagements.
While Clinton attempts to position Sanders as a disloyal soldier in the democratic ranks, her attacks on the President came at a much more precarious time for the President, while he was bogged down in the tumult of new complications in Iraq and the Ukraine. Clinton went even further, outpacing even right wing critics of the President becoming among the first to blame the President and the failure of his policies for the rise of Isis. Clinton stated in The Atlantic that “The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the Protests against Bashar al Assad-there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle-the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled”. The public spat evolved into a very embarrassing verbal joust, leaving a sitting President to publicly debate his former Secretary of State in the pages of the New York Times, in which he declared that the postulated scenario of success from Clinton’s recommendations had “always been a fantasy” (Washington Post 8/11/14).
Clinton’s early campaign was positioned to seek political benefits by distancing herself from the President. The Atlantic noted that Clinton repeatedly referred to the President’s policy as a “Failure” a remark she now assaults Sanders for making. As one who now seeks the mantle of the Obama Presidency, the inconvenient truth is that in the early months of 2014, Hillary Clinton was tacking right, praising President Bush and attacking President Obama as a failure (to summarize TheWeek.com 7/28/14).
The most costly charge for the Sanders team is the claim that Sanders once sought “someone” as a primary challenger for President Obama in 2012, however it is worth noting that the challenger most speculated about was Hillary Clinton. Team Clinton supporters, were the most vocal proponents of a Primary challenge for the President. In an article posted to TheHill.com frustrated democrats like Peter DeFazio suggested that a primary challenge might salve the wounds of disappointment he and other democrats felt about the President. A primary challenge he stated would “push the president and his advisers a bit……to give us back the candidate we had three years ago”. An unnamed lawmaker told TheHill.Com that Clinton was the only candidate that could “crystallize the issues”. The same liberal lawmaker told The Hill that “She could do the job and hopefully lead us to a better place”. The clamor culminated with articles like the Daily Beast’s “Hillary Told You So” in which numerous democratic acolytes loyal to Clinton asserted that the disappointment voters felt in Obama could have been avoided had voters made the wiser choice of electing Clinton. Redemption they argued could be earned by supporting a Clinton in 2012 primary challenge. While Clinton vociferously denied interest, fuel was given to fire by Clinton attacking her own Commander In Chief while serving as his Secretary of State, suggesting that Obama’s “Failure” economically was making her job harder as early as 2010.
The most common quip, used to discredit the proposals of Bernie Sanders as pie-in-the sky fantasies is that he is offering FREE STUFF. The refrain is designed to caricature his ideas as impractical, poorly conceived and insincere. His primary opponent alleges that the admitted socialist is simply making empty promises to misguided youths that are naive in their belief that anything in life could ever be free. While we should take issue with the lack of a detailed financial manifesto from the rising Presidential powerhouse, we should also lay waste to the notion that Bernie Sanders is offering Americans FREE STUFF.
In reality, Bernie Sanders is uncommonly honest in the level of sacrifice he calls upon from every American. It is common practice for Republicans to propose cuts to the federal budget without paying due deference to the pain that will result as a consequence of those cuts. During the last government shut down, Republicans even suggested that closing the government and it’s associated agencies would be without any inconvenience to Americans. Democrats too are often fond of proposing new government programs without reconciling the costs of those programs and yet these are the voices that are most critical of Sanders and his proposed FREE STUFF.
Senator Sanders has proposed tuition free community colleges and fully paid for Public Universities but he has never suggested that this would be free. Instead he has suggested that this perk of citizenship be covered by the taxes that we all currently pay. We may quibble with the precise cost of the proposal but we cannot say that Bernie Sanders is offering FREE STUFF. He is simply suggesting that instead of borrowing thousands of dollars per semester and carrying with each loan significant interest, students should be permitted to pay for their educations over the course of their entire life-times, in small regularly paid installments also known as TAXES! Far from offering FREE STUFF Mr. Sanders is uncharacteristically honest in confessing that he will raise the taxes of middle class and wealthy citizens. We may as individuals assess if the benefits of collectively purchased amenities to our culture outweigh the proposed increase in taxes but again, He hasn’t offered anything for free!
Despite Mr. Sanders marketing himself as an avowed socialist, I question sincerely why his proposal is derided with such intense cold war heat. In the minds of most Americans we are a Democratic Republic despite offering fully paid for K-12 educations for all. This begs the question of why critics assert that we would suddenly morph into a soviet commune for simply extending our publicly paid for offering from K-12 to K-16? Mr. Sanders is simply suggesting that the term Public have meaning for Public Universities. He is suggesting that Community Colleges should be affordable for those in the community. And he is making provision for each individual to pay for his or her education by obligating them to pay into an admittedly collectivized pool for the entirety of their lives. In some sense Sanders is propheting the conservative notion that every individual has the personal responsibility to pay for an education.
Those that are puzzled by the attraction Americans have to Sander’s proposal should consider that many Americans pay significant portions of their incomes in taxes and feel very little benefit. They drive along roads that are unsightly, transit in Airports that are unworthy of a great nation and protest the expenditure of their tax dollars on wars with which they disagree. The success of Sanders can be seen as the triumph of the notion that Americans want to see a tangible value for the taxes they are currently paying in ways that directly benefit them.
The Sanders proposal for Universal Healthcare is socialized medicine but the notion that socialized or collectively bargained and paid for services are free is a gross misnomer. When citizens pay taxes for services, they have paid for them. They have not been “given” anything. Public Schools are not free. When the government contracts with a private company to pave roads near your home, this service was not free. The term handout cannot be used to characterize services for which an individual has paid her/his fair share of taxes. To do so would be like characterizing a paid buffet as a free meal. They have in fact, paid for their portion. If we are going to criticize the proposals of Presidential hopefuls we should do so with accuracy and an appreciation for nuance.
For over a decade, the Iranian Nuclear Program has progressed unabated. A historic agreement between Iran and six international powers will roll back key elements of the Islamic state’s nuclear ambitions. The United States, France, China, Russia, Germany and Britain joined forces to forge the agreement, which is only the first phase in a multi-step process of forging a deal that will protect the international community from the threat of a nuclear armed Iran while simultaneously resurrecting Iran’s decimated economy. Sanctions imposed largely by the U.S. have crippled the Iranian economy, leading to significant angst amongst the Iranian people and an unprecedented willingness to compromise from the Iranian state.
The deal, requires Iran to half any uranium enrichment above a 5% level and neutralize stockpiled uranium enriched above 20%. Iran will be required to half progress on its plutonium reactor and give nuclear inspectors additional access to their facilities. In exchange for the concessions Iran will experience a diminution of the sanctions stifling its economy. The economic concessions are modest. Iran can renew trade in precious medals like gold. The state can also begin receiving mechanic parts like airplane parts.
Despite the modesty of the concessions made by the U.S. and it’s allies, domestic critics in the GOP and hard liners in isereal are panning the agreement. They believe that it is foolish to lift sanctions that are just beginning to bear fruit and argue instead that the international community should increase the pressure on Iran, forcing them to acquiesce entirely to international demands. Iranian hard liners are suggesting that Iran’s new president is giving the U.S. far too much.