Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Fox News and the Repercussions of Sexual Harassment

Roger Ailes. (photo: Wesley Mann/FOX News)
Roger Ailes. (photo: Wesley Mann/FOX News)

And this sleazy sexual predator is now working for the Trump campaign

By Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker

23 August 16

ne of the surprising things about the Fox News sexual-harassment story is that the women who have come forward with allegations include several of the network’s better-known anchors and reporters. You might think that professional power could stave off the kind of spin-around-and-let-me-see-your-ass leering and straight-up demands for sex that Gretchen Carlson, Megyn Kelly, and others say they endured from former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes and other male supervisors. (Ailes and his lawyer, Susan Estrich, continue to deny the allegations.) But that does not seem to have been the case.

In some ways, the situation at Fox was extreme: the seventy-six-year-old Ailes, who stepped down from the chairmanship on July 21st, soon after Carlson filed her lawsuit, seems to have taken management tips from some minor but debauched Roman emperor. According to Gabriel Sherman, an editor at New York magazine who has kept a close eye on Ailes and Fox News for several years now, the former chairman spent millions of dollars from the network’s budget to settle sexual-harassment claims and to maintain a cadre of consultants and private detectives, who worked out of what was known as “the Black Room,” keeping tabs on journalists like Sherman and others who’d covered him aggressively. How did he get away with it? “It was the culture,” one Fox executive told Sherman. “You didn’t ask questions, and Roger wouldn’t entertain questions.” When it came to sexual harassment, ideology surely played a role, too: given the pervasive scorn at Fox for “political correctness,” or feminism of any stripe, it must have been especially hard to be an ambitious woman who chose to make a stink, to risk looking like what Carlson says Ailes called her—“a man hater.”

To some researchers who’ve studied sexual harassment, though, the Fox News scenario doesn’t look like that much of an outlier. For one thing, some studies have found that women in positions of authority, especially in workplaces that are dominated by men, may be more likely to experience sexual harassment than women in lower-status positions. In a 2012 study called “Sexual Harassment, Workplace Authority, and the Paradox of Power,” the authors—Heather McLaughlin, Christopher Uggen, and Amy Blackstone—found that women in supervisor positions were more likely than non-supervisors to say that they had been sexually harassed on the job in the previous year. (This doesn’t seem to have been merely because supervisors as a group may be more knowledgeable about what constitutes harassment—the same pattern did not hold true for male supervisors and subordinates, for example.) When I spoke with McLaughlin, who is now a professor of sociology at Oklahoma State University, she called the study’s finding “counterintuitive,” because “to most people the most common scenario is still the powerful male boss and the vulnerable female secretary.” That scenario still happens, of course, but sexual harassment may be even more prevalent, she said, where women are “gaining power in the workplace, and it becomes a way of trying to reëstablish who’s actually in charge.”

McLaughlin says that these findings make sense, because, she believes, workplace sexual harassment isn’t really about sex; it’s about power. There’s probably a good deal of truth to that. Not that it explains every case: the person hitting on an attractive co-worker or subordinate might, after all, just be looking for sex at the place he or she happens to spend most of his or her time. (Although, in the age of dating apps, not to mention escort services and chat rooms, there are other, less potentially career-ending ways to get some. The appeal, for a guy like Ailes, of using the office as your personal hunting ground may have more to do with trying to leverage your authority there to get women who’d be out of your league on the more even playing field of Tinder.) But it’s true that the workplace commenter/ogler doesn’t necessarily think his or her perving is going to reap actual sexual rewards. Often, these comments aren’t admiring in any way, just gross or demeaning. (McLaughlin et al. found that a lot of sexual harassment was aimed at women who didn’t comport with traditional standards of femininity.) And it’s also true that, whatever the goal, the effect of such harassment is often to embarrass, unnerve, or undermine the professional confidence of the target.

Indeed, there’s another important way in which the allegations of sexual harassment at Fox News are not at all unique: they are a reminder of what a serious disruption harassment can be to a career. Take the case of Rudi Bakhtiar, who told the Times in July that, back in 2007, she lost a promotion she was expecting—to be a regular correspondent in Fox’s Washington bureau—after she turned down the sexual advances of a colleague who was about to become the bureau chief. Bakhtiar, who had been a foreign correspondent for CNN and who speaks fluent Farsi, had just scored a reportorial coup—getting herself into Iran for a meeting between Iranian and Iraqi leaders—and she was feeling confident about her prospects at the network. But she says things went badly for her after she rebuffed her colleague, Brian Wilson, and filed a complaint:

Wilson, contacted by the Times, said he strongly objected to Bakhtiar’s characterization of events. Bakhtiar reached a settlement with Fox for an undisclosed amount.

Bakhtiar says her agent advised her that she might have to start all over again in local news and work her way up. She couldn’t bring herself to do that, but she spent a few years out of journalism, working in public relations for an Iranian-American organization, before eventually taking a job as a producer at Reuters.

For many women, the climb back up is even tougher. McLaughlin told me that she and her colleagues are about to publish a new study in which they examined the long-term consequences of harassment. They looked at women working in a variety of fields, some of whom said that they had been the targets of unwanted sexual attention on the job when they were in their late twenties. Now, eight to ten years later, eighty-two per cent of the women who said that they’d experienced severe sexual harassment had changed jobs, compared to only fifty-four per cent of those who had not. (The study defined “severe” as unwanted touching or four or more incidents of other harassing behaviors.) People change jobs a lot in their twenties—often for better jobs—so it’s hard to draw too many conclusions from these numbers alone, but the contrast between the two categories is suggestive. And the women who had experienced harassment did see their earnings trajectories climb less steeply. “Compared to other working women,” McLaughlin said, “their earnings growth over this period of time was much slower over all, plateauing throughout their early thirties.”

This stall-out might have occurred for a number of reasons. In some cases, McLaughlin said, “it’s because women are giving up seniority and other advancement opportunities by starting over again with a new employer.” Moreover, “many of the women who quit switched careers—some quite drastically.” If they moved out of “highly competitive and masculine environments” that might pay well (say, banking) but that can also “be breeding grounds for a larger culture of harassment,” they sometimes ended in up in more “feminized and less lucrative fields” (say, retail).

Finally, McLaughlin said, some women who reported offensive behavior paid the price that women often fear: “They were labelled as untrustworthy or ‘not a team player’ and were subsequently passed over for promotion or excluded by their colleagues.”

Still, the more that powerful women who have experienced harassment come forward, the less likely it will be that employers can get away with punishing them. Though Fox News is doing its best to pretend that none of this ever happened, the revelations about Ailes may help others in the long run. As Paul Farhi, of the Washington Post, reported last week, the allegations and their fallout have scarcely been mentioned on the network—“no panel discussions, no diatribes from Fox’s famously aggressive hosts, no follow-up investigations, no tributes to the Ailes era”—but, try as it might, this story won’t go away.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The unaffiliated: Why more than a quarter of Arizonans are leaving religion behind

    TOP: Chris Wojno, vice president of the Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix, began questioning his beliefs in his mid-20s. (Photo by Anna Copper/Cronkite News)
    MIDDLE: Justin Zimmer, a member of the Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix and a self-described freethinker. (Photo by Anna Copper/Cronkite News)
    BOTTOM: Debra Nolen, a former Catholic, still believes in God and reads the Bible, but no longer goes to Mass. (Photo by Anna Copper/Cronkite News)

    Cronkite News 

    PHOENIX — “Granny tells me I’m going to hell,” said Chris Wojno, vice president of the Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix.

    Wojno, now 31, was 25 when he realized he could no longer profess a belief in God.

    A self-described “lazy Roman Catholic,” he decided to start going to Mass again when he was in his mid-20s. However, his attempted return to the faith brought up a period of questioning and reevaluating of his own beliefs.

    Despite the tension it creates among his family, he now describes himself as an “atheist-agnostic.” And he is far from alone.

    According to a survey by the Pew Research Center in 2014, 23 percent of U.S adults describe themselves as atheists, agnostics or say their religion is “nothing in particular.” This is up 7 percentage points from 2007, when 16 percent of Americans counted themselves among the unaffiliated. In Arizona, the share is slightly higher: 27 percent are unaffiliated, which is up from 22 percent in 2007.

    There is a generational divide, too.

    Linell Cady, director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict at Arizona State University and professor of religious studies, said, “When the younger generation is showing that kind of a trend over seven or 10 years, it really appears to be something that is going to just grow larger and larger.”

    Cady identified several reasons why this could be happening. First, she said there is a growing “individualistic orientation” in the United States.

    “Americans are increasingly not becoming involved in civic organizations in the way that they had been,” she said. “So if you think about it that way, religion is one more arena where people are less inclined to be joiners.”

    In fact, the nature of civic engagement may be transforming. A 2013 study by Pew found that, in 2008, three percent of U.S. adults said they started or joined a group on social media that organized around political issues. By 2012, that number had risen to 12 percent.

    Of the 22 Arizonans who responded to a Public Insight Network query about being religiously unaffiliated, six said they had a community that acted as a replacement for religion in their lives.

    While it is true that voter turnout was on a downturn for most of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, recent elections have seen a slight reversal in that trend.

    What may better account for the trend away from religion among younger generations are their opinions of religious institutions.

    Cady pointed to the role that religion plays in politics. While it’s unclear if specific political stances commonly adopted by religious groups directly contribute to the rise of the “nones,” it is clear many younger Americans do not have a favorable view of religious organizations overall.

    The percentage of millennials who say churches and religious institutions have a positive effect on the direction the U.S. dipped from 73 percent to 55 percent between 2010 and 2015. Among older generations, opinions have increased slightly, but trust in religious institutions has gradually been declining over the past four decades in the U.S. population overall. According to a Gallup poll, 41 percent of Americans said they have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in organized religion.

    Cady also said that the “democratization of morality” further contributed to the trend away from organized religion.

    The majority of respondents in Pew’s Religious Landscape study said that common sense — not religion — was their source for guidance on right and wrong.

    “I think what’s happened over the last few decades is more and more Americans realized that you can be an atheist, you can be a humanist and not be immoral,” she said. “I think as more and more people ‘come out’ in public life — like the ‘new atheists’ or the humanists — you’re finding more and more people who are being emboldened to say, ‘Okay. I’m not really religious either.’” 

    The Non-Believers 

    The Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix is headquartered in Mesa in a whitewashed stucco house with a tile roof. Most of the space is devoted to a large multipurpose room where the group holds its twice-monthly gatherings, but there is also a kitchen, rec room for children and a library.

    Bookshelves take up nearly every square inch of wall space in the library. Wojno said it is not uncommon to find one of the members taking a nap on one of the couches.

    “We’ve got — let’s see,” Wojno said as he reached for books near the top of one bookcase. “The Quran, the Rigveda, Confucianism, Christianity, Judaism, various mythologies. We encourage people to pretty much research as much as possible.

    The more information they have the better. The more exposure they have to concepts the better.”

    Access to that kind of information influenced Wojno’s “de-conversion.”

    “Your faith is like a foundation or a dam,” Wojno said. “You’ve got this big edifice, and as you start looking into the various claims that hold it up—from very far back it looks solid—but when you start looking at the claims in detail, you start to notice little cracks. And as you keep looking at the cracks, they get deeper. You will reach a certain point where it just won’t stand up anymore.”

    But not every experience is so foundation shaking. Justin Zimmer, another member of the HSGP, grew up “technically” Christian but gradually drifted away from organized religion.

    He now considers himself a skeptic and nonbeliever, and he found the society through its Facebook group. But he and his family weren’t initially looking for a community. They were, however, looking for something their daughters could do.

    “What officially got me in there is they were starting a Girl Scout troop,” he said.

    He liked the fact that the troop had very little ceremony. As an added bonus, he was introduced to like-minded parents.

    Despite being a part of this community, non-belief isn’t a core part of his identity or his family’s identity. Religion isn’t a topic that comes up much at home. Instead, he’s more interested in giving his children the opportunity to choose what they want to — or don’t want to — believe.

    “If I am going to try to raise them in anything, it’s to not only be slightly skeptical so that they don’t end up stuck in bad ideas, but also to be curious,” Zimmer said.

    The Believers
    While skeptics, doubters and freethinkers are a core part of the HSGP, the majority of religiously unaffiliated people don’t identify as atheist or agnostic. In Arizona, they make up a quarter of the “nones,” with the rest defining their religion as “nothing in particular.”

    And even though they don’t identify closely with any one faith, 35 percent of “nones” in Arizona say that religion is very or somewhat important to them, and 88 percent of them say they believe in a god to some degree.

    Debra Nolen, 62, counts herself as a believer.

    She grew up Catholic, though no longer attends church. Like many other Catholics she knows, as soon as she didn’t have to go to Mass anymore, she stopped going.

    “I hesitate to label myself as a Christian, but I do believe in God,” she said. “I believe if you’re a Christian then that means that you belong to the community of faith. And for me, being a religious studies major and knowing how church works? It turned me off to actually going.”

    When she was in her 20s, she and her best friend developed a renewed interest in Catholicism. Together, they attended Mass at several different churches. But the more they went, the more Nolen became exposed to church politics.

    “You’re only as good as the minister telling those stories back to you. You can have five friends all go to a different church and come back with a different perspective on the same stuff. To me, that’s kind of problematic,” she said.

    Still, Nolen never stopped reading the Bible. She said she continues to find comfort in the stories within its pages and finds faith “amazing.”

    It’s the kind of approach to religion that Linell Cady said she sees becoming more common.

    “I do think religiosity is changing forms,” Cady said. “A lot of these ‘nones’ are not atheists, but they actually have a kind of a sense of a higher power, a sense of a divine spirit. It’s not necessarily anti-religion, but it’s becoming a more personally tailored form of religiosity.”

    These trends might not signal the end of religion as we know it in America, but it might be the beginning of a new kind of spiritual life.

    “I learned early on,” Nolen said, “from a priest no less, that church does not necessarily have to be the building.”

    Sunday, August 21, 2016

    Fossil Fuel Industry Killing World's Coral Reefs

    'Divers from coastal communities around the world wrapped crime-scene tape around dead coral reefs.' (photo: Bioquest Studios/EcoWatch)
    'Divers from coastal communities around the world wrapped crime-scene tape around dead coral reefs.' (photo: Bioquest Studios/EcoWatch)

    By, EcoWatch
    ivers from coastal communities around the world wrapped crime-scene tape around dead coral reefs during a series of underwater dives to highlight the catastrophic damage to this valuable ecosystem and the culpability of the fossil fuel industry for its loss. A series of underwater photographs collected from Samoa, the Australian Great Barrier Reef and the Andaman Islands was released Wednesday to showcase the impacts of the worst mass coral bleaching in recorded history and how it is one of the consequences of the reckless behavior of Exxon and fossil fuel companies hindering global climate action.

    Recent research confirms that the above-average sea temperatures causing this bleaching across 38 countries are the result of human-induced global climate change, rather than from local pollution as was previously argued and the fossil-fuel industry is the main culprit behind these impacts. Since the past century, companies like Exxon chose to ignore the warnings of their own scientists and instead have been pouring resources to actively deceive the public by funding climate denial groups, recommending against climate shareholder resolutions and obstructing climate action.

    What were once bright colorful coral reefs full of life have turned bleached white then murky brown as they've died and become covered in algae. In places like the Great Barrier Reef up to 50 percent of previously healthy reef has been bleached and killed.

    In North America, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is forecasting that Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, eastern Micronesia and Hainan Island (China) are likely to have the worst bleaching in the coming months, as well as some bleaching going on in Hawaii and various parts of the Caribbean.

    The event started in 2014 with bleaching from the western Pacific to Florida. In 2015 the event went fully global but mostly through the impacts of global warming as much of the bleaching occurred before the 2015-16 El Niño developed. Reefs support approximately 25 percent of all marine species, so a massive coral die-off may risk the livelihoods of 500 million people and goods and services worth $375 billion each year

    Saturday, August 20, 2016

    Who's Afraid of Hillary Clinton?

    Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders confer during a break in their debate in Charleston, S.C., Jan. 17, 2016. (photo: Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock)
    Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders confer during a break in their debate in Charleston, S.C., Jan. 17, 2016. (photo: Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock)

    By Marc Ash, Reader Supported News
    ear, particularly irrational fear, can be its own path to mayhem.

    Hillary Clinton is many things, and is nothing if not determined. However nothing can be accomplished if she is painted as abjectly evil. That she is not. But there are problems. Those problems can be clearly defined. By defining the problems they can be understood and addressed.

    Progressives are angry at this stage. A real progressive candidate mounted a historic bid for the presidency. He was railroaded by a system and by a Democratic Party that sees progress and justice as a threat to their power.

    What fuels the anger more than anything else is a sense that the voice of progressive-Democratic voters was subverted by the DNC and the corporate media. It’s a lot to be angry about, and righteously so.

    In fact the Republican process was, in totality, actually more democratic by default, owing to the failure of the RNC to derail their insurgent candidate, Donald Trump. Although try they did.

    Nonetheless anger, its origin not withstanding, can be a powerful driving force. However as a core strategy for achieving progress and justice it will certainly be a failure.

    Hillary Clinton will be the 45th President of the United States. Donald Trump’s campaign will fail, ultimately because he is Donald Trump and that will prove insurmountable. That and the fact that Hillary Clinton is far more qualified and emotionally stable.

    Now would be an excellent time to begin the process of understanding Hillary, light and dark, and what she is likely to do and not do. Hillary Clinton is not the devil. She is a corporate Democrat. Who incidentally clings to the notion, despite all evidence to the contrary, that she is a progressive. Which could prove quite a useful delusion.

    The question on the table is do you want progress and social justice? Further, would you sacrifice your anger to achieve those goals?

    The first big material problem with Hillary Clinton is her willingness to accept the dictates of America’s wealthiest, most powerful, and most corrupt. Typically referred to as “Wall Street barons” or “the 1%,” they are in fact evil, even if she is not.

    Think of Wall Street as a marketplace for everything that is wrong with humanity.

    Essentially Wall Street commodifies everything. War is not a blight on humanity; it is a commodity to be bought, traded, and most importantly profited from. It’s all a big numbers game. There is no line in the spreadsheet for suffering.

    The same formula applies for the broadcast industry, the healthcare industry, and in fact every publicly traded company in the world. It’s all bottom-line driven, regardless of the consequences.

    So step one to commandeering Hillary Clinton’s presidency will be to drive a wedge between her and not just the overlords of Wall Street but the entire ideology of Wall Street. She has to think and act independently of Wall Street.

    She has to be challenged early and often. Not with childish insults but with facts, evidence, and viable ideas. Throwing your hands up in disgust or absolving yourself of responsibility because Hillary Clinton did or did not do what she should have done won’t get it.

    Denigrating Hillary Clinton is pointless. FDR famously admonished progressive activists who would lecture him on what steps he needed to take. His reply was, “Now go out there and make me do it.” Ad hominem attacks accomplish nothing. If there is a policy she must pursue, we must make that unavoidably clear.

    Hillary Clinton is not just going to wake up on the morning of January 21st and decide that progressive policies are really the best after all. But she can be made to act.

    Marc Ash is the founder and former Executive Director of Truthout, and is now founder and Editor of Reader Supported News.

    Friday, August 19, 2016

    The #2 Most Heinous Public Person in America Is Now Advising the #1 Most Heinous Person.

    Robert Reich. (photo: Win McNamee/Getty)
    Robert Reich. (photo: Win McNamee/Getty)
    By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Facebook Page
    18 August 16
    he #2 most heinous public person in America is advising the #1 most heinous public person on how to be even more heinous. Roger Ailes, the former Fox News chairman, ousted last month over charges of sexual harassment, is now giving media advice to Donald Trump as Trump begins to prepare for the all-important presidential debates this fall, starting with the first debate September 26.

    How fitting. Before he founded Fox News in 1996, Ailes spent years as a pit-bull political strategist for Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Rudolph Giuliani.

    And it was Ailes’s Fox News that helped stoke the bigotry and paranoia in America’s white working class that resulted in the rise of Trump. It was Fox News that also elevated Trump as a potential presidential candidate, and has continued to promote his campaign. Oh, and one other thing: Ailes has imposed on women much the same sexist, misogynistic, objectified treatment Trump is known for. They're a perfect match. I wonder when Martin Shkreli will start advising Trump.

    Thursday, August 18, 2016

    Make America Great for “Us” Again

    Protesters rally to call attention to wealth inequality and police brutality. (photo: Getty Images)
    Protesters rally to call attention to wealth inequality and police brutality. (photo: Getty Images)

    By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News
    hat Donald Trump is really saying is that he wants to make America great for WASPS again. When Donald Trump says he wants to make America great again, he is not talking to me, he is warning me. I am Latino. Trump wants a return to the day when WASPS control the country again.

    The Donald has been setting up this campaign for years. Donald Trump knows that President Obama was born in the United States, but he knew that racist bigots would support his efforts to cast any doubt on Obama. When Donald Trump said Mexicans were rapists, he was speaking to his base. Trump is speaking to angry white men who think that all the good jobs should be theirs and brown and black people can have the scraps. That is the America that Donald Trump wants to bring back.

    He has telegraphed it from the beginning of his campaign. It’s that white working class male who is tired of political correctness he’s speaking to. It’s not just the outspoken clearly racist bigot. It’s the guy who bites his tongue and acts like everything is fine but his views have not changed. But it’s not all men – it is also women who are anti-gay, anti-immigrant, who are blaming political correctness for anything that is wrong in their eyes. Some are vocal like Ann Coulter. Others bite their tongue and act like they have evolved, but in reality they are still racist, sexist, and anti-gay.

    Then there is the guy who wants his wife at home barefoot and pregnant. Trump knew when he battled with Megyn Kelly that his sexist male base would reward him. Again, women who think they should be at home taking care of the children also respond to Trump.

    When Trump says we have to bomb ’em, he’s talking to that segment of the population that thinks we should nuke all those Arabs. So often we hear about Trump’s gaffes. They are not gaffes – he knows exactly what he is doing and who his audience is.

    He is right on the TPP and other trade deals, I think. I’m a little suspicious though, since his motives are to continue to gain the trust of white working class voters who are rightfully angry that their jobs are overseas. If you look at his record, however, he manufactures products overseas and sells them in the United States. That’s what is wrong with the trade deals. He knows it, so he exploits the issue to gain support among those voters while at the same time capitalizing on it to make money. I don’t think Trump really opposes the TPP or other trade deals. He is using the issue to fire up his base.

    When Donald Trump was asked to distance himself from David Duke, he shrewdly didn’t do it on the eve of the Southern primaries but backtracked after racist voters got the message that he was one of them. He didn’t distance himself from Duke until after the Duke voters had cast their ballot for Trump. He knew exactly what he was saying and who he was saying it to.

    Racist bigots are still a powerful political force in America. The Republican Party has been using code to reach out to them for years. Donald Trump is just more open about it. Name a Republican candidate who blames everything on immigrants. “They are taking your jobs” is the message the GOP has used to reach out to white male voters with no college education. Of course their wives will likely follow, in Trump’s America. Republicans were not winning them all over, because unions were holding some of the support by fighting trade deals. Trump sees that and is trying to expand the GOP base by taking workers who don’t think their unions are doing enough.

    Those workers see someone speaking their language. They are ignoring the fact that in his own business he sees them as cheap labor and doesn’t want to pay them more or give them better benefits.

    What they are seeing is a faux populism. They like what he says but refuse to look behind the curtain.

    I guess I am playing the fear card. I am scared of a Trump presidency. Especially if the racist Republican Party holds the Senate.

    Republicans know who their base is and they know who they will reward if they win.

    They will be rewarding that uncle who you are embarrassed to be in public with, who blames all of our problems on blacks and Mexicans. Oh and the gays are part of the problem too.

    Republicans will further dismantle affirmative action. There will be no raise in the minimum wage; those jobs are for the Mexicans and teenagers just starting out. They are promising that the good jobs will come back. How will they really get them back? They won’t. Instead they will weaken worker safety and other regulations that they blame for jobs going overseas. The GOP Congress will have already passed the TPP in a lame duck Congress and sent it to Obama’s desk for a signature. Trump will talk the talk against it and use it as an issue to keep his base fired up.

    They will build a wall, and we will pay for it. It won’t be as magnificent as Trump wants and he will blame Congress for not giving him enough money, and the wall would be one of his issues again in 2020.

    Union-busting Donald will be a nightmare for workers when Trump stacks the Labor Department with management types so he can weaken collective bargaining and worker protections.

    Women’s health? Planned Parenthood and other funding will not even be in the budgets that the GOP sends to his desk.

    Voter suppression laws that have been spreading state to state will go federal. After all, the goal is to get back to where “real” Americans are the only ones voting.

    If Donald Trump becomes president, he will take us backward and try to undo the progressive change that we have accomplished over the years. Americans will not get a raise. Women may return to the back alleys for abortion. It will be harder to vote. Worker safety laws will vanish. The whole government will be in denial of climate change. Environmental protections will be gutted.

    If you are a redneck, America will be great for you again. Well it won’t be, but you will have a president who speaks to you. He will continue to screw you, but at least he will speak your language.

    We can avoid that, and there is only one option. Hillary Clinton is no Bernie Sanders, but she will not reverse the gains that we have already made. The status quo, four more years of Obama, is better than four years of going backward with Trump.

    Let’s give Hillary Clinton a Democratic Senate, and in two years a more progressive House, and make progress. During this transition let’s continue to build our movement and then challenge Hillary again in 2020 and beat her. Let’s not make America great for WASPS again, that is not a move forward. Instead let’s prepare to make America great for everyone. No, Hillary is not prepared to transform America, but she won’t take us backward.

    Scott Galindez attended Syracuse University, where he first became politically active. The writings of El Salvador's slain archbishop Oscar Romero and the on-campus South Africa divestment movement converted him from a Reagan supporter to an activist for Peace and Justice. Over the years he has been influenced by the likes of Philip Berrigan, William Thomas, Mitch Snyder, Don White, Lisa Fithian, and Paul Wellstone. Scott met Marc Ash while organizing counterinaugural events after George W. Bush's first stolen election. Scott will be spending a year covering the presidential election from Iowa.

    Wednesday, August 17, 2016

    Is the cure for Alzheimers already on the market?

    A woman, suffering from Alzheimer's disease, looks at an old picture in a retirement house in Angervilliers, eastern France, March 18, 2011. (photo: Sebastien Bozon/Getty Images/AFP) 
    A woman, suffering from Alzheimer's disease, looks at an old picture in a retirement house in Angervilliers, eastern France, March 18, 2011. (photo: Sebastien Bozon/Getty Images/AFP)

    By Seerat Chabba, International Business Times
    he incurable Alzheimer’s disease may now have a cure. A new research by the University of Manchester shows that the most common form of dementia can be fully cured with an anti-inflammatory drug, commonly used for period pain.

    Almost 7.5 million new cases of Alzheimer’s — a disease that causes acute problems with memory, thinking ability and behavior — diagnosed around the world every year. In the United States, about five million people currently suffer from the degenerative disease that has claimed one in three senior citizens with some form of dementia.

    The team, led by Dr. David Brough, worked with mice to find that a common Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drug (NSAID) routinely used to relieve menstrual pain — mefenamic acid — completely reversed the inflammation of the brain and lost memory in the specimen.

    Mefenamic acid is available as a generic drug and is sold under a variety of brand names.

    For the study, 20 mice were genetically altered to exhibit symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Ten of these were treated with mefenamic acid by using a mini-pump under their skin for one month, while the other 10 mice were treated in the same way with a placebo.

    Researchers found that the mice treated with mefenamic acid saw a complete reversal of memory loss, while the placebo group’s condition remained unchanged.

    “There is experimental evidence now to strongly suggest that inflammation in the brain makes Alzheimer’s disease worse,” Brough said in a statement. “Our research shows for the first time that mefenamic acid, a simple Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drug can target an important inflammatory pathway called the NLRP3 inflammasome, which damages brain cells.”

    “Until now, no drug has been available to target this pathway, so we are very excited by this result,” he added.

    However, trials on animals are not the same as human trials and may yield different results. If the proposed human trials prove to be promising, it won’t be long before the treatment reaches patients.

    “Because this drug is already available and the toxicity and pharmacokinetics of the drug is known, the time for it to reach patients should, in theory, be shorter than if we were developing completely new drugs,” Brough said.

    Dr. Doug Brown, Director of Research and Development at Alzheimer's Society, backs this by saying, “Testing drugs already in use for other conditions is a priority for Alzheimer’s Society — it could allow us to shortcut the fifteen years or so needed to develop a new dementia drug from scratch.”

    There is also a note for caution attached with the research.

    “These promising lab results identify a class of existing drugs that have potential to treat Alzheimer’s disease by blocking a particular part of the immune response. However, these drugs are not without side effects and should not be taken for Alzheimer’s disease at this stage - studies in people are needed first,” Brown said in the statement.

    The study was published Thursday in the journal Nature Communications.