Here’s what’s next for Cecile Richards

As HuffPost’s Emily Peck pointed out, when CNN held a marathon forum Monday night, in which five of the contenders answered questions one by one before an audience of college students, only the three women — Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Kamala D. Harris (Calif.) and Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) — were queried about sexism and the pay disparity between men and women. Once again, women’s issues were consigned to female candidates, rather than being treated as a set of problems that ought to matter as much to contenders such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the other two candidates on the program

.. In the eyes of the antiabortion movement, Richards was the elegantly dressed, politically savvy personification of evil. But during her years as Planned Parenthood’s leader, its membership nearly quadrupled, from 2.5 million supporters to more than 11 million. After she stepped down about a year ago, there was much speculation — and hope, among her admirers — that she would run for office.

.. But instead, Richards — who spent her years after graduating from Brown University working to unionize low-paid hotel and hospital workers — is returning to her political roots as an organizer. On Monday, she will launch a new organization called Supermajority that seeks not only to change that mind-set but also to provide resources and training for female activists across the spectrum of backgrounds and life experiences.

Still Standing, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump Step Back in the Spotlight

  • They disappointed climate change activists who thought they would keep President Trump from leaving the landmark Paris accord.
  • They enraged Democrats and even some Republicans by not pushing back against his immigration policies, and
  • alienated business allies by their silence over threats to Nafta. They regularly faced news stories about their unpopularity.

Even their relationship with the president seemed to suffer.

Several times Mr. Trump joked that he “could have had Tom Brady” as a son-in-law. “Instead,” the president said, according to five people who heard him, “I got Jared Kushner.”

.. It did not help that the president had gone from telling aides to “talk to Jared,” as he did during the campaign, to telling them that “Jared hasn’t been so good for me.”

.. At various points, Mr. Trump told friends and his chief of staff, John F. Kelly, that he wished both Jared and Ivanka would return to New York.

.. It was only in May that Mr. Kushner had his security clearance restored

.. “I think they felt in some ways when things escalated that they thought it was best to keep a lower profile and hone in on their specific policy areas,” said Sarah Huckabee Sanders

.. once said that she did not intend to stay in the capital long enough to become one of its “political creatures” — people she feels are “so principled that they get nothing done,”

.. home is now in Washington, where their children attend Jewish schools and their house is routinely watched by papraazzi as they depart for work or go for a run. 

.. As for separating immigrant families, she added, “How do they sleep at night?”

.. In response to critics like Ms. Rosen, the couple have argued that they can temper Mr. Trump only if he is willing to listen.

.. Mr. Kushner has convinced the president that criminal justice reform is worthwhile, even as his attorney general remains a vocal opponent.

.. Mr. Kushner has shown an adeptness at using the president’s impulses to steer him toward his own priorities. When Mr. Kushner ushered Kim Kardashian West into the Oval Office to speak about commuting the life sentence of an African-American woman named Alice Marie Johnson, Mr. Trump ignored the concerns of his advisers and freed Ms. Johnson, dazzled by his power to grant clemency and Ms. Kardashian’s celebrity.

.. Her supporters argue that she is in an untenable situation if she speaks out in public. Her father said she had addressed the issue with him privately, further inflaming her critics.

.. Mr. Kushner appears to see himself as the custodian of Mr. Trump’s political brand, offering his father-in-law “options,” and has spoken about clearing out the Republican Party of lingering resistance. He has privately said that he has been taking action against “incompetence” and that any tensions are a result of fighting for his father-in-law’s best interests.

.. His detractors say the friction stems from Mr. Kushner’s meddling in things for which he is out of his depth, like when the president, following his own preference, huddled with Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump instead of his top policy advisers before his meeting with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.

.. Ms. Richards wrote in a memoir that they had offered her a deal that felt like a “bribe” — continued federal funding for the group in return for a halt to providing abortions.

.. Inside the White House, the couple’s influence is most felt in internal battles, particularly with aides they do not regard as loyal to their mission — or Mr. Trump’s.

.. That is particularly true of Mr. Kushner, who, critics say, shares his father-in-law’s desire for control. Over the course of Mr. Trump’s campaign and presidency, Mr. Kushner has been seen as trying to undercut or as being at odds with a long list of aides — some who remain, many who have left.

The list includes:

  • Mr. Trump’s first campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski;
  • his first chief of staff, Reince Priebus, and his associates;
  • his former chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon;
  • Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel;
  • the White House counselor, Kellyanne Conway;
  • the first head of the presidential transition, Chris Christie;
  • the former secretary of state, Rex W. Tillerson;
  • Mr. Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, and
  • his longtime lawyer Marc E. Kasowitz.

Their privileged permanence as family members has allowed them to outlast other aides in an environment where expectations have been shifted and, at times, lowered on their behalf.

.. Both husband and wife, like Mr. Trump, are said to hang on to grudges, but Mr. Kushner is far more transactional than his wife. Like his father-in-law, he appears to convince himself that fights did not happen if someone has become useful to him.

.. A persistent obstacle to both Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump is Mr. Kelly, whose approach to security clearances they feel unfairly targeted them, and who, they have confided to associates, they believe has spread negative information about them.

.. Though they have insisted that they are not trying to play a role in a succession plan for Mr. Kelly, few West Wing staff members believe that.

.. Both Ms. Trump and Mr. Kushner are widely believed to support Nick Ayers, the chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, as Mr. Kelly’s successor.

..

Whoever the replacement is would join a new set of aides who — many with the couple’s support — have replaced the familiar faces from the 2016 campaign.

When

  • Bill Shine, the former Fox News executive, was preparing to join the White House, Mr. Kushner, with Ms. Trump’s support, gave him their stamp of approval. It was Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump who wanted
  • Mercedes Schlapp, a well-connected Republican consultant, brought into the administration. Mr. Kushner’s ally
  • Brad Parscale became the 2020 campaign manager, a move Mr. Kushner told the West Wing staff about on the morning it was publicly announced.

And they regard Stephen Miller, a supporter of some of Mr. Trump’s harshest stands on immigration, as a walking policy encyclopedia.

.. In June, when the United States won its joint bid with Canada and Mexico to host the World Cup in 2026, Mr. Kushner’s team made sure to tell reporters that it happened in part because of the efforts of the president’s son-in-law, who reportedly used some of his international contacts to win enough votes to seal the bid.

.. Ms. Collins found in Ms. Trump what many Republicans most desire: a direct line to a president sometimes at odds with his own party.

.. Ms. Trump has delivered one of the few things she can uniquely accomplish in Washington: Riding in a car together one day, she handed Ms. Collins a phone. The president was on the line.

Paul Ryan’s Missed Opportunities on Spending

while he was part of the leadership team that negotiated the mostly successful sequester in 2011 (really the only instance of a successful negotiation with President Obama), he disdained fights on smaller spending priorities.

.. Ryan never had the party’s broader support for tackling entitlements. Not only was he saddled with a president, in Donald Trump, who had campaigned against entitlement reform, but — forgotten now — his 2012 running mate, Mitt Romney, had savaged Rick Perry in 2012 for having written favorably about such reforms. Ryan himself had also voted for Medicare Part D back in 2003.

.. So, while Ryan was right on the merits about the biggest fiscal problem, he was never able to mount an effective campaign either legislatively or in the public arena to solve the problem.

.. As a more junior congressman he went along with a lot of bad spending ideas during the Bush years, and as a leader he never picked fights that could be translated into a tangible result to report home .. as opposed to more nebulous arguments about bending the overall rate of spending

.. The failure to zero out federal support for Planned Parenthood when the GOP controlled the House, then the House and Senate, and then even the House, Senate, and White House, was the most indefensible example of this.

The Conspiracy Theory That Says Trump Is a Genius

The theory is fascinating as an artifact of our current political derangement, but more than that, it’s profoundly revealing about the lengths to which some Trump supporters will go to convince themselves that his presidency is going well.

..  In the QAnon reality, Trump only pretended to collude with Russia in order to create a pretext for the hiring of Robert Mueller, the special counsel, who is actually working with Trump to take down an inconceivably evil and powerful network of coup-plotters and child sex traffickers that includes Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and George Soros.

.. “QAnon points out that this is the beginning of the end for the Clintons,” said Jerome Corsi — a prominent proponent of the lie that Obama was born in Kenya

.. the world would be forced to contend with “films of innocent children pleading for their lives while people are butchering them.” Once that happens, presumably, Trump will be revealed as a master of 12-dimensional chess who successfully distracted smirking elites with his buffoonery while he was quietly saving the world.

.. The creativity poured into QAnon is striking; it’s like something between a sprawling work of crowdsourced postmodern fiction and an immersive role-playing game.

.. But for many people, QAnon is very real. Barr has tried to make contact with Q on Twitter. InfoWars, the website run by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones — who has a close relationship with Trump confidant Roger Stone — has consistently promoted it.

.. Cheryl Sullenger, senior vice president of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, posted an article on the group’s website about an “intel drop” from Q revealing a White House plan to end Planned Parenthood. Sean Hannity retweeted a post with the #QAnon hashtag.

.. Some elements of the QAnon conspiracy theory — secret elites, kidnapped children — are classic, even archetypical. “In all Western culture, you can argue that all conspiracy theories, no matter how diverse, come from the idea of the Jews abducting children,”

.. Stories about globalists stealing children for sex aren’t that far removed from stories about Jews stealing children to use their blood making matzo.

.. One twist, however, makes QAnon unusual. Conspiracy theories are usually about evil cabals manipulating world events. QAnon, by contrast, is a conspiracy theory in which the good guys — in this case, Trump and his allies — are in charge.

.. It’s a dream of power rather than a bitter alibi for victimhood. It seems designed to cope with the cognitive dissonance caused by the gap between Trump as his faithful followers like to imagine him, and Trump as he is.

.. legislation many on the right deplored, was shortsighted. In releasing funds to the military, it said, the bill would set off a climactic series of events: “Swamp drain begins, military seizes TRILLIONS in cabal assets, returning them to the people.”
.. An inspector general report would then reveal the establishment’s unspeakable crimes, after which “the strings will be cut from the propaganda machine and people will stop falling for the garbage MSM,
.. You don’t create a wild fantasy about your leader being a covert genius unless you understand that to most people, he looks like something quite different. You don’t need an occult story about how your side is secretly winning if it’s actually winning.
.. Their desperate conviction that they will be proven right about Trump betrays a secret fear that they will be proven wrong.

Christian Political Principles in the Age of Trump

Recent years have seen a resurgence of thought about the age-old topic of Christian engagement in the public square. This is true in the United States in particular, where a historically Judeo-Christian culture is rapidly shifting, church attendance is declining, and once largely shared civic convictions are deteriorating. The 2016 election added another wrinkle to the story, especially for conservative Christians who struggled to rethink political allegiances in light of new realities. All of these developments are necessitating new answers to old questions. Namely, how do Christians engage faithfully and prudently in a pluralistic—and at times, antagonistic—public square?

 

  • Property/Wealth Allows you to be self-governing.
  • Homestead Act, not Basic Income
  • Value Added Sales Tax instead of Income Tax.
  • Targeting Families with incomes 80,000-$200,000 for wealth accumulation (UPS Drivers, previously $150,000)
  • Divorce Tax
  • Anti-Pornography
  • Require Schools to teach biblical literacy.
  • Principle and Duty of Self Defense, Just/War (26 min)
  • The Issue is not Populism, but Management Society and Selfie Man (30 min)
  • Gay Marriage is the ultimate-one percent issue (R.R. Reno)  (51 min)
  • We should care most about the middle, not the bottom third. (R.R. Reno)
  • We are in the midst of the 3rd Great Awakening without Religion: Guilt, Debt, Fault without a Religious Architecture.  (56 min)
  • We have a world with rights, but without a need for each other/responsibility
  • The Freshman class at College realizes that something is wrong (1:07)
  • Foolishness of those Evangelical Leaders who value Proximity to Power (Falwell, Tony Perkins, Franklin Graham)
  • Black lives matters attacked the Democratic Party.
  • Identity politics is a betrayal of Martin Luther King
  • Slavery is the only Moral Claim.  Africans are not one group among many.
  • The African American Community has been decimated by Planned Parenthood, an organization that started out with a eugenics policies (Roe)  (1:29)

Thank You for Asking

Young people are radically changing how we think about violence, consent
and gender. Antioch College is where much of the conversation started.

.. When Alyssa Navarrette, a third-year student who is studying anthropology and art, came home for her first visit after starting college, she was taken by surprise when her mother hugged her.

.. “If you don’t want to be touched and your mom wants to hug you, you should be allowed to say no,” Ms. Navarrette said. “It’s about having autonomy over your own body.”

.. People introduce themselves with their preferred pronouns (“I’m Katie and I use ‘they/them/their’”).

.. In a lot of ways, Antioch College exists in a bubble. With a current enrollment of 135 students

.. it guaranteed free tuition to its first four enrolling classes.

.. He attended several sessions at orientation devoted to the policy, including one led by Planned Parenthood educators, another about the history of sexual relations.

..  “silence conveys a lack of affirmative consent.”

..  the school and the women who created the policy were portrayed as endemic of a politically correct culture run amok that was trying to desexualize sex.

.. it became the subject of a lot of media attention, including a blistering skit on “Saturday Night Live” in 1993 starring Shannen Doherty (“major in Victimization Studies”)

.. programming has included screenings of ethical pornography

.. The college’s administration sees this all as a big selling point for the school.

.. “There’s an idea that it has to be very unromantic and very contractual and that’s not true at all,”

.. “You can learn to ask in ways that are sexy and romantic and say, ‘Is this O.K.? You want to continue to do this? Can I touch you there?’ These are all thing that can enhance the experience instead of killing the buzz.”

.. “The challenge was, ‘How do you get consent in a situation where everyone is so nervous?’”

.. She thought the policy was too based in political correctness. “I was an eye roller,” she said.

.. “I have very little patience with the notion that something like this isn’t needed,”

.. “I’m also looking for it to help people get justice or get acknowledgments at least for microaggression,”

The Ivanka Way

Ivanka Trump made an offer to Cecile Richards, the head of Planned Parenthood. The first daughter had pressed her father to say positive things about Planned Parenthood during the 2016 campaign, and now she had a proposal for the organization’s leader: What if Planned Parenthood split up, creating a small operation that ran abortion clinics and a larger one whose health clinics didn’t perform abortions? Then her father would call for increasing funding to the larger operation, instead of joining with congressional Republicans in their efforts to defund Planned Parenthood entirely.

.. It was indeed implausible to imagine that Richards would seriously consider Ivanka’s proposal. But as a political idea, a way of rethinking the whole Planned Parenthood debate, it reminded me of Ivanka’s father’s 2016 approach to many questions — the Trumpian habit of ignoring the ideological assumptions around an issue, and groping toward views that more Americans might be likely to support.

.. It implies that Richards’ organization performs, say, a few thousand abortions for high-risk pregnancies and rape victims annually, instead of the real number, which last year was 328,348 — dwarfing the number of prenatal care visits by a factor of more than 30.

.. Republicans often imply they would happily support Planned Parenthood if the organization wasn’t the nation’s largest abortion business. But this is misleading as well: Many religious conservatives would still object to funding contraceptives, and many small-government conservatives would oppose public health care spending, period.

.. So a politician who proposed to fund a large network of women’s health centers that offered contraceptives, H.I.V. tests, mammograms, prenatal care and adoption referrals, but absolutely no abortions, would run afoul of both the liberal commitment to abortion-as-a-positive-good and various conservative positions.