9 votes

Weekly US politics news and updates thread - week of March 1

This thread is posted weekly - please try to post all relevant US political content in here, such as news, updates, opinion articles, etc. Extremely significant events may warrant a separate topic, but almost all should be posted in here.

This is an inherently political thread; please try to avoid antagonistic arguments and bickering matches. Comment threads that devolve into unproductive arguments may be removed so that the overall topic is able to continue.

23 comments

  1. suspended
    (edited )
    Link
    Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy sentenced to jail for corruption Top comment from u/PoppinKREAM: As others have already noted former President Sarkozy will serve 2 years suspended and 1...

    Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy sentenced to jail for corruption

    Top comment from u/PoppinKREAM:

    As others have already noted former President Sarkozy will serve 2 years suspended and 1 year under house arrest.

    It's very interesting learning about the origins of this corruption investigation. Detectives began investigating after claims were made that Gaddafi paid tens of millions of euros to help fund Sarkozy's election bid in 2007, which he subsequently won.^[1]

    Investigators wiretapped Sarkozy's lawyers and discovered evidence of Sarkozy trying to bribe a magistrate. Sarkozy offered the judge a prestigious job in Monaco in exchange for information about an investigation into the former French President's party.^[2] The investigation was about whether or not Sarkozy and other members of his party accepted illicit donations from the heiress of cosmetic giant L'Oreal in 2007.^[3]

    Sarkozy has come under immense scrutiny since he left office and has faced a number of investigations into corruption.^[4] More recently a separate investigation was opened into the former French president's consulting activities in Russia.^[5]


    1. BBC - French ex-president Sarkozy charged with 'criminal conspiracy'

    2. Reuters - France's Sarkozy awaits verdict in corruption trial

    3. BBC - Bettencourt scandal: Key players

    4. New York Times - Corruption Trial of Ex-President Sarkozy Opens in France

    5. The Telegraph - Nicolas Sarkozy faces 'influence peddling' probe over €3m Russian insurance 'consultancy' contract

    9 votes
  2. [6]
    dubteedub
    Link
    A huge report came out on Friday from Buzzfeed that somehow got lost in the conversation over the weekend that the nazi-celebrating GOP Congressman Madison Cawthorn was a serial harasser of women...

    A huge report came out on Friday from Buzzfeed that somehow got lost in the conversation over the weekend that the nazi-celebrating GOP Congressman Madison Cawthorn was a serial harasser of women at college

    BuzzFeed News spoke with more than three dozen people, including more than two dozen former students, their friends, and their relatives, who described or corroborated instances of sexual harassment and misconduct on campus, in Cawthorn’s car, and at his house near campus. Four women told BuzzFeed News that Cawthorn, now a rising Republican star, was aggressive, misogynistic, or predatory toward them. Their allegations include calling them derogatory names in public in front of their peers, including calling one woman “slutty,” asking them inappropriate questions about their sex lives, grabbing their thighs, forcing them to sit in his lap, and kissing and touching them without their consent. One of these women now works as an intern for another Republican member of Congress and passes Cawthorn in the corridors of the Capitol. According to more than a dozen people — including three women who had firsthand experience and seven people who heard about these incidents from them at the time — Cawthorn often used his car as a way to entrap and harass his women classmates, taking them on what he could call “fun drives'' off campus. Two said he would drive recklessly and ask them about their virginity and sexual experiences while they were locked in the moving vehicle.

    For those unaware, here is the Cawthorn nazi connection. I feel like it should be emphasized whenever he is discussed.

    8 votes
    1. chrysanth
      Link Parent
      Absolutely disgusting. I knew a student at my high school who abused his position of authority (in a school performance group) to get younger students in his car to harass them like this. Of...

      Cawthorn often used his car as a way to entrap and harass his women classmates, taking them on what he could call “fun drives'' off campus. Two said he would drive recklessly and ask them about their virginity and sexual experiences while they were locked in the moving vehicle.

      Absolutely disgusting. I knew a student at my high school who abused his position of authority (in a school performance group) to get younger students in his car to harass them like this. Of course, nothing ever happened to this person. Hoping that Cawthorn, at least, faces serious consequences for this.

      6 votes
    2. [2]
      petrichor
      Link Parent
      /offtopic Yeah, I don't know about that. Those are shoddy at best and pull away from actual, serious allegations of sexual assault at worst. "I completely and wholeheartedly denounce any kind of...

      /offtopic

      For those unaware, here is the Cawthorn Nazi connection. I feel like it should be emphasized whenever he is discussed.

      Yeah, I don't know about that. Those are shoddy at best and pull away from actual, serious allegations of sexual assault at worst.

      "I completely and wholeheartedly denounce any kind of white nationalism, any kind of Nazism. We fought a war where the American people went to war to end the scourge of Nazism across this country and I'm very thankful for that because it's evil and its vile" seems pretty cut and dry, as does calling Hitler a "supreme evil" and "one of the greatest evils in human history" in both of the social media posts he was criticized for.

      aside

      The name of his company -- SPQR -- which is a symbol associated with white nationalists

      It's the motto of ancient Rome. Most Millennials probably know it from Percy Jackson.

      6 votes
      1. [2]
        Comment deleted by author
        Link Parent
        1. chrysanth
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          Ancient Greece and Rome are often positioned as ancestral to what we might call "western" thought today. Those societies are cited as the first examples of liberal democratic ideals in the "west"...

          Ancient Greece and Rome are often positioned as ancestral to what we might call "western" thought today. Those societies are cited as the first examples of liberal democratic ideals in the "west" and their philosophers are common subjects of study. See Aristotle, Socrates, the entire field of classics, etc. These topics wouldn't have been so popular among white elites historically if they didn't hold a special place in "western" thought. This framing of lineage between Greece/Rome and the "west" isn't particularly accurate, insofar as it erases a lot of history. For example, many ancient Greek texts were translated into Arabic and then rediscovered by European thinkers later on, and the above conceptualization tends to conveniently ignore that, the fact that the Byzantine empire was centered around what is now Turkey whose European-ness is contested, among many other examples.* Anyway, people who see themselves as the rightful inheritors of "western" traditions like white supremacists thus configure Rome and Greece (the former in particular since it was a vast empire) into their narratives despite the fact you correctly point out that race as we understand it did not exist then and it doesn't technically make sense for these cultures to be idolized among right-wing extremists. See also the far-right political party in Spain, Vox. Vox is Latin for "voice," and the subtext is that the party is the "voice" of the "people," the racial undertones of the party's name and rhetoric suggesting white people in particular.

          *Don't mean to suggest you don't know any or all of this, since if you were educated in a "western" country you probably got all this in school. Just setting up the broader point about why white nationalists would center Roman culture in their narratives and how it's a global phenomenon too.

          6 votes
    3. [2]
      LukeZaz
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I feel like this is an important caveat to the story. Sad as it is that this has become noteworthy, I think it's important to recognize that he very clearly and unambiguously condemned nazism &...

      Cawthorn denounced white nationalism in a recent interview with WLOS News 13. "I completely and wholeheartedly denounce any kind of white nationalism, any kind of Nazism. We fought a war where the American people went to war to end the scourge of Nazism across this country and I'm very thankful for that because it's evil and its vile," he said.

      I feel like this is an important caveat to the story. Sad as it is that this has become noteworthy, I think it's important to recognize that he very clearly and unambiguously condemned nazism & white supremacy.

      Could it be that his private opinion is the opposite of this public one? Sure. Could it be that he's an asshole even if that's not the case? Absolutely, but it still feels to me that it rather takes weight off your words when you call someone a nazi despite their very explicit speaking against such. I don't support him, but perhaps it'd be better to wait for something more concrete before calling him a Nazi, lest the word lose it's meaning.

      5 votes
      1. dubteedub
        Link Parent
        I mean, I think the Republicans have shown that we can not take them at their word, particularly when it comes to issues or racism and white supremacy. Some additional considerations about the...

        I mean, I think the Republicans have shown that we can not take them at their word, particularly when it comes to issues or racism and white supremacy.

        Some additional considerations about the young Representative Cawthorn.

        5 votes
  3. [5]
    dubteedub
    Link
    Interesting perspective from NY Mag on the breakdown of 2020 election voters. Of note, the author claims that though conservative nonwhite voters have historically voted Democrat despite their...

    Interesting perspective from NY Mag on the breakdown of 2020 election voters.

    Of note, the author claims that though conservative nonwhite voters have historically voted Democrat despite their ideology, in 2020 they largely switched parties for the first time, potentially due to the "defund the police" movement.

    As for the story with Hispanics overall, one thing that really comes out very clearly in survey data that we’ve done is that it really comes down to ideology. So when you look at self-reported ideology — just asking people, “Do you identify as liberal, moderate, or conservative” — you find that there aren’t very big racial divides. Roughly the same proportion of African American, Hispanic, and white voters identify as conservative. But white voters are polarized on ideology, while nonwhite voters haven’t been. Something like 80 percent of white conservatives vote for Republicans. But historically, Democrats have won nonwhite conservatives, often by very large margins. What happened in 2020 is that nonwhite conservatives voted for Republicans at higher rates; they started voting more like white conservatives.

    And so this leads to a question of why. Why did nonwhite voters start sorting more by ideology? And that’s a hard thing to know. But my organization, and our partner organizations, have done extensive post-election surveys of 2020 voters. And we looked specifically at those voters who switched from supporting Hillary Clinton in 2016 to Donald Trump in 2020 to see whether anything distinguishes this subgroup in terms of their policy opinions. What we found is that Clinton voters with conservative views on crime, policing, and public safety were far more likely to switch to Trump than voters with less conservative views on those issues. And having conservative views on those issues was more predictive of switching from Clinton to Trump than having conservative views on any other issue-set was.

    This lines up pretty well with trends we saw during the campaign. In the summer, following the emergence of “defund the police” as a nationally salient issue, support for Biden among Hispanic voters declined. So I think you can tell this microstory: We raised the salience of an ideologically charged issue that millions of nonwhite voters disagreed with us on. And then, as a result, these conservative Hispanic voters who’d been voting for us despite their ideological inclinations started voting more like conservative whites.

    And since white voters are sorting on ideology more than nonwhite voters, we’ve ended up in a situation where white liberals are more left wing than Black and Hispanic Democrats on pretty much every issue: taxes, health care, policing, and even on racial issues or various measures of “racial resentment.” So as white liberals increasingly define the party’s image and messaging, that’s going to turn off nonwhite conservative Democrats and push them against us.

    8 votes
    1. [4]
      Kuromantis
      Link Parent
      Huh. I've always wondered when culturally conservative minorities would break with the Democrats, although I largely assumed it would be whenever significant progress on racism is made and an end...

      Huh. I've always wondered when culturally conservative minorities would break with the Democrats, although I largely assumed it would be whenever significant progress on racism is made and an end might actually be reachable or whenever the Republicans take the L and let minorities vote peacefully rather than literally right now because the Democrats coopted a leftist slogan instead of making a moderate one themselves. I think this should be a wakeup call that the Democrats need to pass pro-electoral legislation to stem the coming exodus of conservative minorities with young people.

      I wonder if income plays a part in this.

      2 votes
      1. [3]
        dubteedub
        Link Parent
        While the article does not discuss income, it does reference educational attainment as being a significant polarization factor (which is typically a predictor of wealth). Basically the author...

        While the article does not discuss income, it does reference educational attainment as being a significant polarization factor (which is typically a predictor of wealth). Basically the author argues that those with college degrees are more likely to vote Democrat than those without.

        2 votes
        1. [2]
          Kuromantis
          Link Parent
          I agree with college education being a divisor line politically, but given people without college education tend to often be poorer, I wonder how are these minorities who are already...

          While the article does not discuss income, it does reference educational attainment as being a significant polarization factor (which is typically a predictor of wealth). Basically the author argues that those with college degrees are more likely to vote Democrat than those without.

          I agree with college education being a divisor line politically, but given people without college education tend to often be poorer, I wonder how are these minorities who are already disproportionately poor accepting Republican economics.

          1 vote
          1. frostycakes
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            This article from the Times yesterday on the swing of Latino men towards the Republicans seems to hit the nail on the head: So something I'd never thought I'd see, a literal example of the...

            This article from the Times yesterday on the swing of Latino men towards the Republicans seems to hit the nail on the head:

            Sergio Arellano of Phoenix, Ariz., said he had a story he liked to tell about the moment he registered as a Republican. When he was an 18-year-old Army infantryman on home leave, he went to a July 4 event and spotted the voter registration table. He asked the woman sitting there: What’s the difference between Republicans and Democrats?

            Democrats, he recalled her saying, are for the poor. Republicans are for the rich.

            “Well that made it easy — I didn’t want to be poor, I wanted to be rich, so I chose Republican,” Mr. Arellano said. “Obviously she figured I would identify with the poor. There’s an assumption that you’re starting out in this country, you don’t have any money, you will identify with the poor. But what I wanted was to make my own money.”

            So something I'd never thought I'd see, a literal example of the "temporarily embarrassed millionaires" quote. I hate calling people stupid, but I have a hard time seeing this as anything but a stupid take on the situation. "Oh, I wanna be rich so I'll vote for the people who only care about them?" I love the "oh, paying rent is more important than fighting social injustice in their minds" quote from a Rep strategist in it too. Real rich, coming from the party that's making it materially harder for people who aren't wealthy to do so.

            I 100% agree with that sentiment, which is why I vote for the Dems, even though they're not that great on that front either. I'm not so stupid that I would let my frustrations with that take me to the party that's objectively worse on the front of my material conditions.

            I don't get this impulse of, "Oh, the Dems haven't been great on improving our lives, so let's go to the party that's been actively trying to make it even worse instead."

            3 votes
  4. [2]
    skybrian
    Link
    Opinion: The White House’s use of Zoom for meetings raises China-related security concerns They should use Signal :-)

    Opinion: The White House’s use of Zoom for meetings raises China-related security concerns

    The Biden White House is using the teleconference platform Zoom for most of its unclassified government-related virtual interactions, even as the Justice Department is prosecuting one of the company’s China-based executives for working with Beijing’s intelligence services to interfere in Zoom calls. Some lawmakers, former officials and experts are warning that the Biden administration may be ignoring the risks.

    They should use Signal :-)

    7 votes
    1. nukeman
      Link Parent
      Jesus, Zoom is banned where I work (government contractor). How ironic.

      Jesus, Zoom is banned where I work (government contractor). How ironic.

      7 votes
  5. [2]
    Kuromantis
    Link
    Alabama Senate votes to make hormone therapy and surgery for trans youth a felony

    Alabama Senate votes to make hormone therapy and surgery for trans youth a felony

    Under a new law, transgender youth in Alabama could not be treated with puberty-blockers, hormone therapy or surgery. The state Senate voted to make the treatment a felony on Tuesday.

    Senators voted 23-4 to approve the measure, dubbed the Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act, sponsored by Republican Senator Shay Shelnutt. The bill now heads to the state House of Representatives, which has already approved a companion bill.

    The two bills would make it a felony for medical professionals to treat transgender minors under the age of 19 with gender-affirming care. Violators could face up to 10 years in prison or a $15,000 fine.

    While similar measures have been considered across the country, Alabama would be the first state to pass such a bill.

    7 votes
    1. nukeman
      Link Parent
      Can you say, federal lawsuit?!

      Can you say, federal lawsuit?!

      2 votes
  6. [2]
    spit-evil-olive-tips
    Link
    Sunday night: Minneapolis plans to hire local social media influencers to help spread the city’s message and try to dispel misinformation during the upcoming trial for Derek Chauvin, the former...

    Sunday night: Minneapolis plans to hire local social media influencers to help spread the city’s message and try to dispel misinformation during the upcoming trial for Derek Chauvin, the former police officer charged with killing George Floyd last year.

    Monday afternoon: City of Minneapolis drops plan to hire social media influencers ahead of George Floyd death trials

    An early contender for the 2021 Nobel Prize in Non-Apology Apologies:

    "At this point, we will not move forward with this strategy," said David Rubedor, director of the Neighborhood and Community Relations Department for the city of Minneapolis. "While I believe in and support the intention of this recommendation, we have seen that the impact has caused harm in our communities. And for that, I am sorry."

    5 votes
    1. elcuello
      Link Parent
      What does this mean? Was is a bad idea that they regretted or was is a great idea that they backed out of?

      What does this mean? Was is a bad idea that they regretted or was is a great idea that they backed out of?

      2 votes
  7. [2]
    monarda
    Link
    Maine Sen. Susan Collins said Wednesday she will support New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland to be Interior secretary, the first Republican senator to publicly back a nominee set to become the first...

    Maine Sen. Susan Collins said Wednesday she will support New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland to be Interior secretary, the first Republican senator to publicly back a nominee set to become the first Native American to lead a Cabinet agency.

    I don't think I've ever been more excited about a cabinet nomination. I'm hoping that Sen. Collins' vote combined with Sen. Manchin's, who said last week that he would be voting for her, will insure her confirmation.

    5 votes
  8. [2]
    Kuromantis
    Link
    From Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Voting restrictions bill passes Georgia House over strong opposition And Voting protest leads to clash between police and Georgia lawmaker Video of this Some...

    From Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

    Voting restrictions bill passes Georgia House over strong opposition

    A bill to restrict ballot drop boxes, require more ID for absentee voting and limit weekend early voting days passed the Georgia House on Monday amid protests that the proposals would make it harder for voters to participate in democracy.

    The House voted along party lines, 97-72, on the sweeping elections bill supported by Republicans who want to impose new voting requirements after losing presidential and U.S. Senate races in Georgia.

    But Republican legislators said their proposals will build voters’ trust in elections after it was shaken by members of their own political party. Their policies would put new limits on absentee voting, used by a record 1.3 million Georgians in the presidential election, two-thirds of whom voted for Democrat Joe Biden.

    What’s in House Bill 531:

    • Limits Sunday voting to one optional Sunday in each county

    • Restricts the use of ballot drop boxes by requiring them to be located inside early voting locations

    • Requires a driver’s license number, state ID number or copy of photo ID to vote absentee

    -bSets a deadline to request absentee ballots 11 days before election day

    • Disqualifies provisional ballots cast in the wrong precinct

    • Bans outside funding of elections from nonprofit organizations

    • Prohibits governments from mailing unsolicited absentee ballot applications

    • Creates instant-runoff voting for military and overseas voters

    • Schedules runoffs four weeks after election day rather than the current nine weeks

    • Prevents free food and drinks for voters waiting in line to vote

    • Restricts early voting buses to emergencies

    And

    Voting protest leads to clash between police and Georgia lawmaker

    A protest over Georgia voting bills led to a confrontation Friday between a state representative and a police officer who grabbed her arm to try to move her out of the way.

    State Rep. Park Cannon and fellow Democrats then started a sit-in on the stairs of the state Capitol until they received an apology, which the Georgia State Patrol didn’t publicly offer. No one was arrested, and the sit-in ended after over an hour and a half.

    Video of this

    Some right-winger comparing this to the Capitol storming of 1/6

    3 votes
    1. dubteedub
      Link Parent
      An interesting counter to the slew of GOP voter restricting measures is that the Dems in the House just passed H.R. 1, For the People Act, which is their big pro-voting rights bill. I doubt the...

      An interesting counter to the slew of GOP voter restricting measures is that the Dems in the House just passed H.R. 1, For the People Act, which is their big pro-voting rights bill.

      I doubt the prospects for this are particularly good unless we get Manchin to agree to kill the filibuster in the senate, but I am glad that at least the Democrats are showing where they stand and trying to affect some meaningful change here.

      The House late Wednesday night passed expansive legislation to create uniform national voting standards, overhaul campaign finance laws and outlaw partisan redistricting, advancing a centerpiece of the Democratic voting rights agenda amid fierce Republican attacks that threaten to stop it cold in the Senate.

      Democrat after Democrat said this week that the GOP’s state-level efforts made it more important than ever to act at the federal level to preserve expansive voting laws. Many invoked the gains won in the 1960s civil rights movement by activists including John Lewis, the Georgia Democrat who died of cancer last year.

      The bill’s voting provisions would guarantee no-excuse mail voting and at least 15 days of early voting for federal elections; require states to use their existing government records to automatically register citizens to vote; restore voting rights to felons who have completed their prison sentences; and mandate the use of paper ballots.

      5 votes
  9. Kuromantis
    Link
    Senate rejects Bernie Sanders proposal for $15 minimum wage in coronavirus relief package: Eight Democrats join Republicans to reject attempt to add wage hike into $1.9 trillion relief bill

    Senate rejects Bernie Sanders proposal for $15 minimum wage in coronavirus relief package: Eight Democrats join Republicans to reject attempt to add wage hike into $1.9 trillion relief bill

    A proposal from Bernie Sanders to raise the federal hourly minimum wage to $15 from its current $7.25 failed in the Senate after the senator sought to include the measure in a White House-backed coronavirus relief package.

    After the Senate rules-advising parliamentarian shot down the inclusion of a wage increase in the bill, Senator Sanders vowed to introduce an amendment to put it into the legislation. The proposal would gradually raise the minimum wage by $2.25 each year through 2025.

    On Friday all Senate Republicans, seven Democrats and one Independent senator rejected the amendment for a vote of 42-58 against. It needed 60 votes to pass.

    “If any Senator believes this is the last time they will cast a vote on whether or not to give a raise to 32 million Americans, they are sorely mistaken,” he said in a statement. “We’re going to keep bringing it up.”

    The Democratic senators who opposed the amendment are: Joe Manchin, Jon Tester, Jeanne Shaheen, Maggie Hassan, Kyrsten Sinema, Tom Carper, and Chris Coons, along with Angus King, an independent who caucused with Democrats.

    2 votes