Trump Voters Celebrate Massive Tax Cut For Everyone But Them | The New Yorker


Across the country, Trump supporters were overjoyed that, after months of gridlock and wrangling, the man they voted for was about to make Americans other than them wildly richer.

Harland Dorrinson, a Trump supporter from Kentucky, agreed. “When I cast my vote last November, I said to myself, ‘I sure hope this means that people with a thousand times more money than I have get even more money,’ ” he said. “Promise kept.”

Source: Trump Voters Celebrate Massive Tax Cut For Everyone But Them | The New Yorker

Kremlin tells companies to deliver good news


A seven-page document spelled out the kind of articles required, with a focus on new jobs, scientific achievements and new infrastructure, especially those involving state support. It also detailed how the stories should be presented, and gave a weekly deadline for submissions.

The instructions were sent last month by the energy ministry to 45 companies in Russia’s energy and utilities sector including Rosneft (ROSN.MM), Lukoil (LKOH.MM) and Novatek (NVTK.MM), according to a second document, a list of recipients.

The drive coincides with the run-up to a presidential election in March next year when President Vladimir Putin needs a strong mandate with high turnout to maintain his firm grip on power after dominating Russian politics for two decades.

Source: Exclusive – Kremlin tells companies to deliver good news

Rights Group Sees Governments Increasing Social-Media Manipulation, Undermining Democracy


Governments worldwide are increasing efforts to manipulate information on social media, undermining democracy and creating an overall decline in Internet freedom, according to Freedom House.

In its annual assessment of online freedom called Freedom On The Net 2017, released on November 14, the human rights group said online manipulation and disinformation tactics played an “important role” in elections in at least 18 countries in the past year, including Russia’s influencing of the electoral process in the United States.

The report said less than one-quarter of Internet users in the 65 countries assessed have access to the web that can be considered “free,” meaning there are no major obstacles to access, onerous restrictions on content, or serious violations of user rights through unchecked surveillance or unjust repercussions for legitimate speech.

Source: Rights Group Sees Governments Increasing Social-Media Manipulation, Undermining Democracy

Why Liberals and Conservatives Act Differently About Sexual Predators | Pacific Standard


It is difficult to directly compare politicians to people employed in the entertainment industry, even if their offenses are similar.

Politicians largely operate in a two-party, zero-sum environment—Moore’s withdrawal from the race, for example, would likely hand Democrats a seat in a closely divided Senate. There’s a strong incentive to close ranks when the stakes are so high.

The stakes are far lower for getting rid of a criminal Hollywood producer; another will rise. And, of course, there are important differences between public office and private business.

But this doesn’t explain all the differences we see between the parties. Trump, notably, could have been replaced prior to the election by someone with a better chance of winning.

Source: Why Liberals and Conservatives Act Differently About Sexual Predators – Pacific Standard

A year after Trump’s election, coal’s future remains bleak


”We’re not planning to build any additional coal facilities,“ said Melissa McHenry, a spokeswoman for American Electric Power, one of the largest U.S. utilities.

“The future for coal is dictated by economics … and you can’t make those kinds of investments based on one administration’s politics.”

Coal plants now make up 47 percent of AEP’s capacity for power generation, a figure it plans to shrink to 33 percent by 2030.

Source: A year after Trump’s election, coal’s future remains bleak

Dividers will not conquer | TheHill


The rise of this extreme populism has taken our government to a point of disruption. The ordinary and necessary functions of the elected federal government are at risk.

It is not because the Republican Party has become dysfunctional that we see so little good in our governing.

It is because all the elements that make up a constitutional government such as ours are being held captive to people who do not have the capacity — or, often, the desire — to govern.

Source: Judd Gregg: Dividers will not conquer | TheHill

GOP is shackled to Trump | TheHill


Republicans running in 2018 saw the reality of an anti-Trump wave among white suburban voters. House Republicans rely on votes from suburban areas to keep their majorities in states such as Pennsylvania, Georgia and Florida.

The anger at Trump was evident in exit polls conducted by Edison Media Research.

In Virginia, Republican Ed Gillespie won 91 percent of voters who “approve of the way Trump is handling his job as president.” Democrat Ralph Northam won 87 percent of those who disapprove.

In essence, Gillespie had all the Trump voters. But there just weren’t enough of them and Northam won easily, by 9 points.

Source: Juan Williams: GOP is shackled to Trump | TheHill

How California Became a Modern Democratic Stronghold | Pacific Standard


California lived through a version of this narrative two decades ago.

Some of the peripheral details are different—the California Republican in question, former Governor Pete Wilson, was not anything close to the disruptive force that Donald Trump has shown himself to be in the first year of his presidency.

But Wilson’s 1994 re-election did usher in a new era of California politics, and had long-term consequences for the California Republican Party.

In the wake of Wilson’s second term, Latinos moved overwhelmingly to the Democratic Party. Republicans also lost middle-class voters in the process, and the GOP has been relegated to the political sidelines of state politics ever since.

Source: How California Became a Modern Democratic Stronghold – Pacific Standard

The Paradox of Xi’s Power


Xi’s triumph at the 19th National Congress has understandably fueled widespread speculation that his now-formidable power will enable him to impose his vision of hardline authoritarian rule, underpinned by Chinese nationalism, in the coming years. And that is a possibility. But it is far from guaranteed.

The reason is simple: though the CPC’s internal power dynamics haven’t change much in the last few decades, Chinese society has moved far beyond the Maoist or even the Dengist era.

Few Chinese, including members of the party, genuinely believe in any official doctrine. Economically, the private sector accounts for more than 60% of China’s output, and the CPC has become practically irrelevant in the daily lives of ordinary Chinese.

This is the paradox of power in the era of Xi.

Source: The Paradox of Xi’s Power

EU preps for possible collapse of Brexit talks


The European Union’s chief negotiator on Britain’s exit from the bloc has warned the talks could collapse. Michel Barnier said “everyone needs to plan” for the possible breakdown in Brexit talks.

In a separate report, the Reuters news agency noted that British Prime Minister Theresa May said she cannot offer a figure for the financial settlement until her government knows what the future relationship will be. But she also does not want to inflame Brexit campaigners who have suggested Britain walk away.

Source: EU preps for possible collapse of Brexit talks