Posts tagged with "MIC"

House GOP thwarts Dems on funding for election security

July 23, 2018

On July 19, House Republicans thwarted a Democratic effort to add new funding for election security measures—opening the party up to yet more criticism in the wake of President Donald Trump’s s bizarre news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki earlier in the week, based on a report by Mic.

The GOP members of the house refused to consider an amendment offered up by Representative Mike Quigly, an Illinois Democrat, which would have provided $380 million more in budget for the Election Assistance Commission. In a vote of 217-199, the House approved an appropriations bill without the amendment.

The amendment that Democrats sought to add to a bill would have beefed up security for voting systems across the country in the wake of warnings that Russia is continuing to try to meddle in U.S. elections, the news outlet said.

Quigley commented on the defeat, saying, “Our election infrastructure remains outdated, low-tech, and nowhere near where it needs to be to prevent future intrusions. Not only do we know that in the lead up to the 2016 elections, the Russians targeted the election systems of at least 21 States and as many as 39, but through the Special Counsel’s investigation we now have the names of 12 Russian intelligence officers that carried it out.

“When President Trump was given the opportunity to challenge Putin in Helsinki this week,” Quigley added, “he instead condemned his own intelligence agencies while praising the Russian President without reservation. It was embarrassing, it was un-American, and it was a clear sign from the President that he will continue to stand by as Putin orchestrates additional attacks on our democracy.

This latest episode of American capitulation to the Russians was a step too far for many of my Republican colleagues who issued statements breaking from the President’s comments. But carefully crafted tweets won’t stop the Russians from attacking our elections. This moment demands action. 

Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland sought to build support for the amendment with a fiery speech on the House floor, in which he said the amendment addressed “one of the most pressing issues of our time,” Mic reported.

The director of the national intelligence has said there is a flashing red danger signal similar to the one that happened before 9/11,” Hoyer said in a speech on the House floor. “This amendment responds by providing for us to partner with our states to slam the door in the face of the Russian bear, or any other adversary who seeks to steal the integrity of our elections. The flashing red light calls us to action, surely we can rise above pandering to party and Putin to act on behalf of our freedom and our security.”

Polls show that Trump’s meeting with Putin is deeply unpopular among voters. Only 32% of voters approved of Trump’s meeting with the Russian leader, according to a CBS News poll released Thursday morning. What’s more, fully 89% of Democrats said they “believe” what U.S. intelligence agencies have said about Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Research contact: @SalvantoCBS

Trump ‘makes nice’ with North Korea

June 13, 2018

It was a long-awaited meeting of two world titans,  but just one walked away from the table truly a winner, according to a June 12 report by the news outlet Mic. U.S. President Donald Trump faced off with North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore on Monday night—and while the POTUS promised to stop America’s joint military exercises with South Korea on the Korean Peninsula, the North Korean ruler only committed “to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

What’s more, the document that the two men signed at the summit had few, if any, details about what the latter promise means. North Korea agreed to similar denuclearization language back in 2005 and never followed through.

Later, during a news conference—Trump’s first since January 2017, Mic reported—Trump called the military exercises “war games,” and said they were “very provocative.” Trump also suggested that while pulling U.S. troops from South Korea was “not part of the equation right now,” that could be coming in the future.

When the pundits weighed in, they said that Trump had made some major concessions without “any reciprocal concrete agreements” during the negotiations.

Indeed, Trump ultimately concluded that he might not actually be able to trust Kim after all. “I may be wrong, I mean I may stand before you in six months and say, ‘Hey, I was wrong,’” Trump said at the news conference.

Of North Korea’s human rights violations—which the POTUS declined to mention during the summit—Trump told the reporters, “I believe it’s a rough situation over there. It’s rough in a lot of places, by the way, not just there.”

Steve Schmidt, a Republican strategist who has been critical of Trump, characterized the meeting as a failure. “Claims of achievements from this summit are nonsensical,” Schmidt tweeted. “Trump got nothing except empty promises. Kim Jong-un achieved global standing for his evil regime and got military exercises cancelled. The sycophantic panting and exultations across the GOP and Trump media are delusional.”

Erick Erickson, another GOP pundit, criticized Trump’s behavior during the summit, in which Trump befriended a dictator who is hostile to America., but criticized Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is the leader of one of America’s best and oldest allies. “If Obama had had the last 24 hours that Trump has had, the GOP would be demanding his impeachment,” Erickson tweeted.

However, Trump’s base may be happy with the results and the American public may be relieved by the cessation of overt hostilities, now that North Korea has proven that it is a nuclear power.

In an AP/NORC Center for Public Affairs poll conducted before the summit, most Americans thought the relationship with Pyongyang would remain strained, even after the meeting. Twenty percent believed that the U.S. relationship with North Korea would improve, while 47% said it would worsen and 31% anticipated no change. Thus, a lull in the animus and aggression would be a reprieve.

Research contact: Young-Eric@norc.org

Enthusiasm cools among employers for Summer Friday perks

May 29, 2018

Last Friday, many Americans hustled out of the office a little early to get their Memorial Day mojo going. However, while employers likely turned a blind eye to that particular holiday exodus, they won’t be so amenable on many weekends this summer. Based on several surveys, companies are cutting back on Summer Fridays this year, Mic reported on May 24.

New York City Staffing company OfficeTeam found that the number of employers offering the perk had declined precipitously— from 63% in 2012 to just 20% last year.  And that’s a shame, they said, because fully 30% of employees think leaving early for the weekend is the best of all office perks.

According to Gallup, the number of employees who are completely satisfied with their hours is actually trending down. In fact, a 2014 Gallup poll found that the 40-hour work week is no longer even close to operative; most office workers are at their desks for 47 hours a week, if not more.

But those longer hours don’t necessarily lead to greater productivity: A CNBC report in 2015 cited a Stanford University study that showed that “employee output falls after a 50-hour work week—and  sharply falls off a cliff after 55 hours.”

Worse yet, fully 40% of workers already are approaching that cliff, according to Gallup, and 20% of full-time workers log more than 60 hours per week.

Yet, based on a study conducted by the Harvard University School of Public Health, stress-related productivity loss amounts to about $30 billion for employers each year.

As Mic points out, employees are simply counting down the clock on Friday afternoons anyway, so why not let them go?

Of course, summer Fridays aren’t going to be an easy solution for every workforce, Mic writer James Dennin admits.

“But,” says Dennin,”the case is clear that Americans are overworked, office closures are the best way to get workers to take time off—and the best time to close an office is when it’s warm and sunny outside.”

Research contact: jdennin@mic.com