Posts Tagged ‘g20

06
Sep
13

Rise and Shine

A year ago today: The Obama and Biden families joined together onstage following the President’s speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

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Coming up today (all times US Eastern):

9:50: President Obama holds a press conference

White House Live

11:15: Holds a Civil Society Roundtable

12:15: Departs Saint Petersburg

9:15 PM: Arrives Joint Base Andrews

9:30: Arrives at the White House

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Also today:

10:0 AM EDT: Vice President Biden Speaks at Farewell Ceremony for Secretary Napolitano

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The expression on PBO’s face on this Belgian front page is, well, priceless

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USA Today: President Obama wraps up a global summit Friday before heading back to Washington, D.C., to continue dealing with the challenge of Syria.

At the G-20 summit in St Petersburg, Russia, Obama will attend working sessions before hosting a news conference….

Earlier on Friday, Obama met with President Xi Jiping of China and President Francois Hollande of France.

While in St Petersburg, Obama hosts a Civil Society Roundtable that includes gays and lesbians … he returns to the White House late Friday night.

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Michael Tomasky: When Liberals Enable Tyrants

Can a liberal oppose tyranny and support military intervention at the same time? Hell yes. Six reasons why Congress must authorize an attack on Syria now.

….. What values and goals do American liberals wish to promote around the world? I’m pretty certain most would say free democratic societies; full political rights for ethnic minorities; equal rights for women and, with any luck, gay people; a free press; an independent judiciary; and so forth. And, where those cannot be achieved, at least a base-level opposition to tyranny, reaction, religious fundamentalism, and so on.

….. But, I have to say, most rank-and-file liberals don’t seem to me to be very passionate about them. What most liberals are passionate about is one thing: opposition to U.S. militarism….

I’ve described here two impulses: the desire to do good in the world, or at least to prevent the bad; and opposition to American force. Often these desires can exist in harmony. But what if they conflict? Why is opposition to any projection of force always the deciding factor? At times it can lead people into some very illiberal little corners.

…. it isn’t always immoral. This is one of those cases where, if the scale of the action is appropriate and if it works, a military incursion can actually serve liberal ends. No, that’s not for sure. But it is for sure that doing nothing helps the reactionaries.

Full post here

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See the new White House website section on the situation in Syria – here

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Keep track of how members of Congress and senators have said they are voting on Syria at TPM

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Steve Benen: The prevailing winds on Capitol Hill

There’s no shortage of congressional head counts when it comes to authorizing the use of force in Syria, but I’d caution against taking them too seriously. The briefings for lawmakers are still underway, and while many have firm opinions, there is not yet an actual, agreed upon resolution for lawmakers to read and consider.

That said, at least for now, the prevailing winds on Capitol Hill are blowing in an unmistakable direction:

Several Republican leadership aides say that there are roughly one to two dozen “yes” votes in favor of military action at this time. The stunningly low number is expected to grow a bit. But senior aides say they expect, at most, between 50 and 60 Republicans to vote with Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who support the president’s plan …. That would amount to less than one-third of the House Republican Conference.

That would mean the vast majority of the 200 House Democrats will need to vote with Obama for the resolution to pass. But Democrats privately say that Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer can only round up between 115 and 130 “yes” votes.

More here

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G20 Summit members attend a working dinner for G20 Summit members in St Petersburg, September 5

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Mediaite: Rep Alan Grayson Cackles That Syrian Atrocities ‘Simply Not Our Problem’

The debate over military action in Syria has produced a landfill’s worth of stupidity, from every side of the debate, and every corner of the political media …. but on Thursday night’s All In with Chris Hayes, “Congressman with Guts™” Alan Grayson (D-FL) made a bold incursion, from stupid into contemptible.

…. Chris Hayes asked Grayson if there was anything in the interview with Secretary Kerry “that you find compelling or convincing?”

“Not at all,” Grayson replied, with a thin smirk. “Listen, most people understand this is simply not our problem. This is not our problem to solve.”

…. Whatever you think about Grayson’s logic, what the frack is he laughing about? What, exactly, is so funny about this? There doesn’t seem to be much that people agree about with regard to Syria, but can’t we at least find common ground in the notion that this is not a laughing matter?

Full post here

And in case you missed it – see ‘Alan Grayson Conspires with Far Right Lunatics to Lie and Fundraise off of Syria’ at The People’s View

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Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta, President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron talk during a working dinner for G20 Summit members in St Petersburg, September 5

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ThinkProgress: Top House Republican Rewrites History, Claims Reagan Stood Up To Chemical Weapons Use

A top Republican lawmaker on Thursday invoked Ronald Reagan to say that Obama was weak for not acting more directly in response to Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons, ignoring the fact that Reagan’s White House looked the other way when chemical weapons were used in the 1980s.

….. Former House Foreign Affairs Committee chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL): It is against the norms of international standards and to let something like this go unanswered, I think will weaken our resolve. I — I know that President Reagan would have never let this happen. He would stand up to this. And President Obama — the only reason he is consulting with Congress, he wants to blame somebody for his lack of resolve. We have to think like President Reagan would do and he would say chemical use is unacceptable.

What Ros-Lehtinen seems oddly unaware of, however, is that Ronald Reagan did exactly the opposite…

Full post here

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Steve Benen: U.S. economy created 169k jobs in August, jobless rate dips

The jobs reports are starting to get a little predictable, by virtue of the fact that over the last several months, they’re effectively the same.

The new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the U.S. economy added 169,000 jobs in August, which is roughly in line with expectations. After years of public-sector layoffs serving as a drag on the overall economy, we’re starting to see a slight turnaround – the private sector added 152,000 jobs last month, while the public sector added 17,000 jobs. That may seem like a fairly modest number, but it’s the most in recent memory.

More here

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Amazing exchange between the Iranian foreign minister and @sfpelosi on Twitter, part of it:

Read about it here

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Brilliant:

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TPM: McConnell’s Anti-Obamacare Juggernaut Turns Against Him

Perhaps nobody was more responsible for making Obamacare a partisan bill than Mitch McConnell. During the grueling debate that began in 2009, the Senate minority leader worked harder than anyone else to ensure no Republican voted for health care reform.

…. The law was upheld by the Supreme Court and validated by the re-election of President Barack Obama. The public has grown tired of continual budget crisis brinkmanship. McConnell still fights the fight. Obamacare, he told his constituents a few weeks ago, is the “single worst piece of legislation passed in the last 50 years in the country.” But ever the pragmatist, he knows an all-out assault on the Affordable Care Act to the exclusion of all other political considerations would be a political disaster for his party. And so, in a brutal irony reminiscent of Mary Shelley’s novel “Frankenstein,” the monster McConnell created has turned against him and is threatening to end his political life.

More here

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MooooOOOOoooorning!

PS Is it just me or has everyone noticed the increase in stupid on the Twitter machine? Supposed President Obama supporters who think they are qualified to lecture him on Syria, even though most of them know as much about the situation as they do about nuclear physics? Blocked a bunch of them last night, it felt good.

Update: One of them just tweeted me: “No matter how you phrase it ‘war’ is a four-letter-word!”

I kid you not.

Happy Friday!

06
Sep
13

Early Bird Chat

President Obama and members of his delegation walk to meet with China’s President Xi Jinping for a bilateral meeting at the G20 Summit, Sept. 6, in St. Petersburg

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Today (all times US Eastern):

4:0 AM: The President participates in G-20 Working Session Two

5:45: Participates in a G-20 Family Photo

6:0: Participates in a G-20 working lunch

8:30: Holds a bilateral meeting with President Hollande of France

9:50: Holds a press conference

11:15: Holds a Civil Society Roundtable

12:15: Departs Saint Petersburg

9:15 PM: Arrives Joint Base Andrews

9:30: Arrives at the White House

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MooooOOOOoooorning Early Birds – back in a bit with R&S.

05
Sep
13

A Working Summit

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President Barack Obama and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shake hands before the start of their bilateral meeting at the G20 Summit

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 President of the United States of America Barack Obama attends a working meeting of G20 heads of state and government, heads of invited states and international organizations.

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The first working meeting of G20 heads of state and government, heads of invited states and international organizations.

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Continue reading ‘A Working Summit’

05
Sep
13

Keep Chattin’

President Obama walks to attend the working dinner after the session of the G20 Summit in Strelna near St. Petersburg, September 5

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Back in a bit with a post or three

05
Sep
13

Friends Reunited

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“Damnski – he’s even taller than I remember.”

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin ‘welcomes’ President Barack Obama before the first working session of the G20 Summit in Constantine Palace in Strelna near St. Petersburg

05
Sep
13

Rise and Shine

Two years ago today: President Obama greets a man in the crowd after addressing the Labor Day celebration in Detroit, Mich., Sept. 5, 2011. (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today:

This morning, President Obama met with the King and Queen of Sweden before departing Stockholm for Saint Petersburg, Russia for the G-20 summit.

Through the day, the President takes part in G-20 meetings and working sessions, finishing with a working dinner at 8:0 local time (Saint Petersburg is eight hours ahead of US Eastern)

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President Obama arrives to take part in the G20 Summit in St Petersburg, September 5

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President Barack Obama meets with Sweden’s King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia at the Royal Palace in Stockholm

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Nicholas Kristof (NYT): The Right Questions On Syria

Critics of American military action in Syria are right to point out all the risks and uncertainties of missile strikes, and they have American public opinion on their side. But for those of you who oppose cruise missile strikes, what alternative do you favor?

It’s all very well to urge the United Nations and Arab League to do more, but that means that Syrians will continue to be killed at a rate of 5,000 every month….

…. A decade ago, I was aghast that so many liberals were backing the Iraq war. Today, I’m dismayed that so many liberals, disillusioned by Iraq, seem willing to let an average of 165 Syrians be killed daily rather than contemplate missile strikes that just might, at the margins, make a modest difference.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks the number of dead in the civil war, is exasperated at Western doves who think they are taking a moral stance.

…. how is being “pro-peace” in this case much different in effect from being “pro-Assad” and resigning oneself to the continued slaughter of civilians?

More here

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National Memo: Obama Still Most Popular World Leader

Though his popularity is down from its peak in 2009, President Obama remains the world’s most popular leader among the world’s citizens as the G20 gathers for a summit in Russia, according to Pew Research.

“Only Angela Merkel comes close to the breadth of Obama’s popularity,” writes Pew’s Andrew Kohut. However, Obama inspired more confidence than the German chancellor in seven out of eight major German countries polled last year.

…. President’s Obama’s median popularity of 42 percent is more than double that of G20 summit host Vladimir Putin’s 19 percent. The only country where Putin inspires more confidence than Obama is China.

More here

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Steve Benen: Jobless Claims Improve, Remain Near Six-Year Low

Today’s report on initial unemployment claims was widely expected to be good, but the newly released figures from the Department of Labor were even better than expected.

More here

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‘Sweden in World Focus’

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Smartypants:  Why The Most Liberal President In A Generation Is Driving Some Progressives Bonkers

Just as President Obama is taking huge steps to walk back the imperial presidency and making tremendous strides on issues like health care reform and LGBT rights and ending the war on drugs and fighting to curb climate change and ending the perpetual war and taking on the NRA and fighting for immigration reform and trying to curb the rising costs of college tuition and proposing things like a minimum wage increase along with universal day care, there is a group of progressives who have gone absolutely bonkers with their conspiracy theories about him. As Bob Cesca points out this morning, many of them are are so deranged that they’re staring to line up with tea party libertarians to destroy the Democratic Party.

Its no wonder that many of us are saying “WTH? Why now? You want to jump ship just when we’re starting to make some progress?”

To be honest, I’ve been trying to understand this particular variety of Obama Derangement Syndrome for quite a while now.

More here

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Steve Benen: Rumsfeld Just Keeps Talking

If there’s anyone in America who should go enjoy a little quiet time right about now, it’s failed former Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld. Nevertheless, he just keeps talking, appearing this morning on Fox News (thanks to my colleague Tricia McKinney for the heads-up) …Rumsfeld, who earned public scorn for his leadership of the Pentagon during the Iraq War, said Obama didn’t need to ask Congress for authorization and may have made a mistake in doing so.

Rumsfeld, who seemed generally supportive of intervention in Syria, added that President Obama “doesn’t have the kind of support that President Bush had in respect to his military actions.” Yep, he really said that. Part of me continues to wonder why Rumsfeld is still allowed to speak in polite company. Lance Armstrong isn’t asked for his opinions about athletes and performance-enhancing drugs; Miley Cyrus isn’t sought out for analysis on public modesty; so why should anyone take seriously what Donald Rumsfeld has to say foreign policy and the use of military force abroad?

Don’t go away mad, Rumsfeld. Just go away.

More here

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Jonathan Cohn: ObamaCare Implementation: Clinton Speech Gives The Big Picture

The Secretary of Explaining Stuff is back on the job. On Wednesday, former President Bill Clinton gave a speech about Obamacare—why it was necessary, how it will work, and what it will do in the future. In the speech, Clinton acknowledged some of Obamacare’s flaws and he urged Republicans to join Democrats in trying to fix them.

But Clinton also pointed out the benefits Obamacare has already produced. Young adults are getting insurance through their parents. The insured have new consumer protections, like those eliminating lifetime limits on benefits. Seniors have more coverage of prescription drugs and preventative services. The list goes on: In all, many millions of Americans are better off because of these provisions. Meanwhile, the year-to-year increases in health care spending have been lower than usual, which means government is saving money and premiums for the privately insured aren’t rising as fast as they would be otherwise. Obamacare isn’t the only reason for this change and it probably isn’t the primary reason, either. But most experts think it has played a role.

Those savings are likely to grow with time. Health improvement might follow, since the changes underway—like a reduction in hospital readmisisons—save lives as well as money. And that’s not all—not by a longshot. Starting next year, millions of people without insurance today will get coverage via expanded state Medicaid programs or through the new insurance exchanges. Thanks to generous federal subsidies, many people will pay less for their insurance than they pay now. And those who do pay more will at least have more comprehensive and stable coverage, while paying premiums that are pretty much comparable to what employer-sponsored insurance costs. Oh, and if the Congressional Budget Office is right, the deficit will be lower than it might otherwise be.

More here

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A Year Ago Yesterday (Chips had the photo and video ready to post yesterday, but then glitch-a-rama struck):

President Obama and his daughters Malia and Sasha watch on television as First Lady Michelle Obama begins her speech at the Democratic National Convention, in the Treaty Room of the White House, Sept. 4, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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On This Day:

President Obama hugs a woman in the crowd after addressing the Labor Day celebration in Detroit, Mich., Sept. 5, 2011 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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03
Sep
13

Rise and Shine

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The Week Ahead (All Times Eastern):

Today:

9:45 AM: President Obama and VP Biden meet with members of Congress

8:30 PM: President Obama departs the White House en route Stockholm, Swede

Wednesday: The President will arrive in Stockholm. While there, he will hold a bilateral meeting and joint press conference with Prime Minister Reinfeldt. He will then participate in an event honoring Raoul Wallenberg at the Great Synagogue in Stockholm and tour an expo featuring clean energy innovations at the Royal Institute of Technology. In the evening, he will take part in a dinner with Nordic Leaders.

Thursday: The President will hold a bilateral meeting with the King and Queen of Sweden. He will then depart Stockholm en route Saint Petersburg, Russia where he will attend the G-20 Summit.

Friday: Attends the G-20 Summit. Returns to Washington, DC on Friday evening.

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ABC: Obama to Include LGBT Activists in Russia Meetings

President Obama will include members of Russian LGBT groups among the NGO leaders, democracy activists and human rights advocates he meets later this week when he is in St. Petersburg, Russia, for the G-20 summit, a U.S. official confirmed to ABC News.

It’s typical for visiting U.S. officials, including the president, to meet with civil society members here in Russia, something that always irks the Kremlin. But this appears to be the first time LGBT groups have been included in a presidential-level meeting.

…. It comes after a summer of international outrage over Russia’s new gay “propaganda” law, which outlaws even discussing homosexuality around minors. Violators could be fined and jailed. Foreigners face similar penalties plus deportation.

During an appearance on Jay Leno’s show last month, Obama was asked about the law and said he has “no patience for countries that try to treat gays or lesbians or transgender persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them.”

More here

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USA Today: Obama’s day: Lobbying Congress, leaving for Europe

President Obama spends a big part of a busy Tuesday making his case for a military strike on Syria, speaking with invited members of Congress at the White House.

The White House did not release a guest list, but it is expected to include members of military and national security committees, as well as congressional leaders.

….. Obama’s lobbying effort goes global later in the week.

On Tuesday night, the president departs for Stockholm, Sweden. After a brief stop there, he heads to St. Petersburg, Russia, for the G-20 summit, where Syria is likely to be a dominant topic.

Full post

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Rick Ungar (Forbes): Media Outlets Spitting Mad At Obama For Spoiling Their Plans To Cash In On War

Following the President’ surprise announcement that he would seek the advice and consent of Congress before launching an attack on Syria, it seemed that no matter where you landed on the cable news dial everyone was in a state of upset.

With visions of TV screens filled with ‘shock and awe’ dancing in their heads along with the blessed promise of the ratings that follow the hysteria of war—not to mention a sublime ending to the slow news agony of August that dogs all news show production staffs, writers and broadcasters (trust me,I know)—Obama had held out the football for Charlie Brown to kick and then pulled it away at the last minute.

And the media was pissed.

…. And then there were the pundits appearing on networks representing all sides of the political spectrum — including those who claim to play it ‘down the middle’ — who took to the airwaves to angrily argue that the President’s backing off an attack pending Congressional approval would weaken America in the eyes of the world.

Really?

More here

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Washington Post: Where The Votes Stand On Syria:

See here for details

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Charles Pierce: Joe Lieberman – Just Shut Up

Let me be more precise. Just shut your fking piehole. Forever. You useless walking, bloodstained pile of casual death.

…. Let us be clear. There is no blazing, murderous maw into which Joe Lieberman would not be willing to feed someone else’s child ….. The man could care less about the dead. He’d feed on them himself, if he could.

Fk him with a Hellfire.

Now that my throat’s clear, let’s start the day.

Full post here

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The People’s View: The Most Worker Friendly President Since FDR

…. The working folk of America needed a champion – we needed a fierce advocate, if you will. And we elected one in 2008. If by some miracle of happenstance, President Obama didn’t have to work twice as hard to get half the recognition, even from “liberals” in the media, it would be patently obvious to everyone that the man presently occupying the Oval Office is the most worker-friendly president since Franklin Roosevelt. Barack Obama is a president who has more than kept his word to always make the best decision for people who work for a living.

…. a look at basically all of the president’s domestic policy – from bills that became law to bills that were blocked by Republicans, from legislation to administrative rulemaking – has been focused on one thing and one thing alone: helping America’s workers regain a footing in this economy. His job has not been easy, to put a severely mild point on it. But if on this labor day, we’re looking for a best friend of the American worker in government, the man behind the presidential seal is a pretty good pick.

Full post here

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Tom Kludt: Obama Discusses Syria With Japan PM

President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday discussed the purported chemical weapons attack in Syria.

According to a White House readout of the phone call, both leaders “agreed that the use of chemical weapons is a serious violation of international norms and cannot be tolerated” while pledging to stay in close consultation on a potential response against the Assad regime in Syria.

More here

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Jerusalem Post: Obama Offers Rosh Hashanah Greetings In Conference Call With Rabbis

US President Obama reflected on the High Holidays and offered New Year’s greetings in a conference call with nearly 1,000 rabbis.

Obama in the call on Friday afternoon extended the greetings on behalf of himself and the first lady for a sweet, happy and healthy New Year….

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins on Wednesday evening.

More here

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Think Progress: Eleven Other Things American Workers Deserve (Besides A Day Off)

Labor Day is meant to celebrate the accomplishments of the American worker, who spends most days on an oil rig or in an office, on the assembly line or on the docks, making the American economy run. The holiday originated in 1894, after two dozen people were killed during the Pullman Strike, a railway workers’ boycott of low wages and high rent. From there, it became an American tradition, meant to honor the accomplishments of the people who make this nation run.

The battle is not yet won. Unions are on the decline, while income inequality is on the rise. Women still aren’t earning what men make. And many employees still aren’t free from discrimination at their jobs. Here are just eleven of the fights we’re still fighting for the American worker

More here

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Caitlin McDevitt: Robert De Niro On Obama: He’s Trying His Best

Actor Robert De Niro defends President Barack Obama as a “good person” who’s “trying his best” for the country in the in the fall issue of Du Jour magazine:

Working as an actor his entire life means that De Niro sees everything through that lens. In describing his steadfast support for Barack Obama, he compares the president’s challenges to a filmmaker’s. “He’s a good person, period,” he says. “He’s trying his best. He’s going to do things that people feel are not right or violating one right or another. But at the end of the day, he represents, I think, the best of the type of people that I would like to see running the government. He has to play that game, the political game. They all do. They make statements they can’t honor because they’re impossible to honor. Once you get into that Washington machinery, you’ve just got to figure it out and swim against the current and grab onto this rock and that, and just try to maintain your course.”

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“You know, it’s one thing to be a critic,” he continues. “It’s another thing to be directly involved. It’s like directing a movie and you edit the film and then someone will give you a suggestion: ‘You could do this, you could do that.’ You look and you say, ‘Yeah, but the reason I can’t do that is because I don’t have that shot, and if I use this shot that’s better here, it impacts on this one and it’s a story point.’ In other words, it can’t be done. You have to make these choices with the government, and you’re going to be criticized. If you took the time to explain it all to the public, they’d say, ‘OK, I get it.’ Can you explain to everybody? No. You just have to say, ‘I made this choice because I felt it was the right choice.’”

More here

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