Posts tagged with "Newsweek"

President’s good-will trip incites rancor

December 31, 2018

What was supposed to be a surprise good-will stopover on December 26 at Al Asad Air Base has created hard feelings instead — both in Iraq and in the United States—after President Donald Trump politicized his holiday message to the troops; tweeted photos of a top-secret Navy SEAL team; and failed to visit the nation’s prime minister, Adel Abdul-Mahdi.

On the U.S. side, both pundits and politicians pushed back after the president autographed MAGA hats and claimed in his address to the troops that American forces were “suckers” for their service in Syria.

“As long as the message from the president is how wonderful it is that they are doing a service for the country, that’s great,” Charles Blanchard, a former general counsel for the Army and the Air Force during the Clinton and Obama administrations, told The Washington Post. “But when it turns into a political rally, what do people see? They see enthusiastic soldiers clapping and yelling for a partisan message.”

Robert Dallek, a presidential historian, told the DC-based news outlet that there’s always an element of politics when presidents visit troops overseas but that Trump transgressed the line.

“Lyndon Johnson went to Vietnam and visited the troops,” Dallek said.“Did he attack the Republicans? Did he attack his Democratic critics? No. It’s inappropriate. But, once again, what you have with Trump is someone who bends the rules and violates the norms in order to make himself look special or exceptional.”

And in reference to the SEAL team photos, an unnamed Defense Department official told Newsweek that the “deployments of special operation forces—including Navy SEALs—are almost always classified events, as to protect those men and women that are on the front lines of every overt and covert conflict.”

The source added, “I don’t recall another time where special operation forces had to pose with their faces visible while serving in a war zone.”

What’s more, The New York Times reported, a range of Iraqi politicians criticized President Trump’s visit the following day, and some called for a parliamentary debate on whether American forces should leave. The rebukes underscored the political sensitivities surrounding the U.S. military’s deployment in the country, 15 years after the American-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein and led to his execution in 2006.

Plans for the visit had been shared in advance with the government of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi. Still, the Times reported, representatives from rival parties in Parliament said that the visit, which lasted three hours and did not include a face-to-face meeting with Mahdi, was an arrogant affront.

American forces left Iraq in 2011, but returned three years later at the Iraqi government’s request to help reverse the Islamic State’s rapid spread in the country, including its takeover of Mosul, once Iraq’s second-largest city. But calls for the Americans to leave have grown in Iraq since the Islamic State was largely routed from the country last year.

One spokesperson called on the nation’s Parliament to “play its role … and put an end to the frequent violations to the Iraqi sovereignty by the American government and to issue a decision to get the American forces out of Iraq.”

President Trump said at Al Asad that he had no plans to order the roughly 5,200 U.S. service members in Iraq to come home. He also spoke from Al Asad by phone with Mahdi and invited him to visit the White House. Plans for the two to meet in person at the base were canceled for security and logistical reasons, according to Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary.

This was President Trump’s first visit to vist the troops. In response to all of the criticism, he tweeted on December 27, “CNN & others within the Fake News Universe were going wild about my signing MAGA hats for our military in Iraq and Germany. If these brave young people ask me to sign their hat, I will sign. Can you imagine my saying NO? We brought or gave NO hats as the Fake News first reported!”

There were no polling results yet on the president’s initial opportunity to have “boots on the ground” in a combat zone.

Research contact: @nytimes

Mum’s the word: What mothers-in-law say about their daughters-in-law

December 11, 2018

It’s a fact of life that you don’t just marry a man or a woman; you marry their family–and their relationship with each member of that family—for better or for worse..

If a son is close to his mother, for example, many women would take that as a good sign–believing that, if he respects and loves the alpha female in his life, he also will be a good husband and provider.

Indeed, on a personal level, a woman might dream that she will be perceived by her partner’s mom as “the daughter she never had.” Meanwhile, his mom might have a fantasy of her own—assuming that, since her future daughter-in-law is ”crazy about her son,” this younger woman will appreciate every piece of advice about taking care of him and ensuring his happiness. After all, who knows him better than mom?

Wrong on both sides! In fact, fully 60% of women use words like “strained,” “Infuriating,” and “simply awful” to describe their mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship, according to psychologist Terri Apter of the UK’s Cambridge University who attributes such rifts to “the clash of the fantasy lives,” in a 2009 Newsweek interview.

It’s the disappointment felt by both women that “gives these relationships their distinctive negative charge,” Apter says. Add to that a mother’s conflicted feelings of pride and loss as a son marries; a wife’s insecurity that she’s adequately balancing work and home responsibilities, and the tendency of most women to be more sensitive to slights and criticisms than men, and you have the formula for years of trouble.

In some respects, Apter says, the ensuing jockeying for position has a lot of similarities to the games “mean girls” play in middle-school hallways. “Each is the primary woman in her primary family. As each tries to establish or protect her status, each feels threatened by the other.”

However, for a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, the benefits of working toward and maintaining a close relationship cannot be overstated, as Geoffrey Greif and Michael Woolley—both academicians at the School of Social Work at the University of Maryland in Baltimore—found in a study published in November by the journal Social Work.

The study, also covered in the December 7 edition of Psychology Today surveyed 267 mothers-in-law  on the factors that they felt were key in establishing closeness with their daughters-in-law.

From a 114 item survey, the researchers used the statement, “My daughter-in-law and I have a close relationship” as a dependent variable. Among the factors they found that encouraged a close relationship were the following:

  • The mother-in-law perceives the daughter-in-law as being helpful;
  • The mother-in-law perceives her son is happy with the relationship she has with the daughter-in-law;
  • The mother-in-law perceives she and the daughter-in-law share similar interests;
  • The mother-in-law feels close with her son;
  • The mother-in-law does not feel left out by her daughter-in-law and son; and
  • The mother-in-law spends time with her daughter-in-law.

For those mothers-in-law struggling with their relationship with their daughter-in-law, a few takeaways emerged from the findings, the authors told Psychology Today—among them:

  • First, a mother-in-law should engage her daughter-in-law in ways and situations in which she can be helpful. Are there opportunities that are not being used where some level of mutuality can be built?
  • Second, similar to the first, a mother-in-law should try to find shared interests with a daughter-in-law because such joint activities can help to build a relationship
  • Third, look at the relationship the son/spouse plays in the relationship with the daughter-in-law. It goes without saying that most mothers want to be close with their son; when they are close, they are more likely to be close with their daughter-in-law also. To help build closeness with the son, the mother-in-law should recognize that building a relationship with her daughter-in-law may facilitate closeness with the son who is an extremely important person in this relationship.
  • Fourth, the mother-in-law should work to explore her own feelings of inclusion or exclusion. Feeling left out is not pleasant. If there are ways to try to understand what is leading to these feelings (remembering the demands that couples, especially those raising children, are experiencing), a path may be found to experiencing them less often

Finally, author Geoffrey Greif says, don’t get discouraged: Building a close relationship may require time, patience, and effort:

Research contact: ggreif@ssw.umarylandedu

Babies and chimps are from the same ‘happy family’

November 16, 2018

Unlike other primates, humans generally laugh only as we exhale—but we don’t start out that way. An international team of psychologists has found that babies laugh both as they exhale and inhale—in a similar manner to nonhuman primates such as chimps and gorillas, based on a paper presented earlier this month at the Acoustical Society of America’s 176th Meeting in Victoria, British Columbia.

“The original idea for this specific project came from an observation of baby laughter and the thought that it sounded a bit like chimp laughter,” lead investigator Disa Sauter, a social psychologist at the University of Amsterdam, told Newsweek for a November 7 report.

The team studied recordings of laughter from 44 infants and children, from three months to 18 months old, taken from online videos in which they were engaged in playful interactions. Then, the researchers asked 102 student participants to evaluate whether they thought the laughs in each clip were produced on the inhale or the exhale, Newsweek said.

Participants believed that the youngest babies laughed on both inhalation and exhalation, like chimps and other nonhuman primates. The older babies were only perceived to laugh on the exhale, like older children and adults.

“Our results show a gradual change in the proportion of laughter occurring on the inhale, such that younger infants seem to laugh in a way that is not dissimilar to chimpanzees on this measure, whereas older infants are more similar to human adults,” Sauter told the news outlet.

“Adult humans sometimes laugh on the inhale but the proportion is markedly different from that of infants’ and chimps’ laughs.”

This change in the proportion of laughter occurring on the inhale compared to the exhale does not appear to be linked to any particular developmental milestones, according to the researchers.

It is important to note, however, that these results are only preliminary because they are based on the judgments of non-expert listeners.

“We are currently checking those results against judgments by phoneticians, who are making detailed annotations of the laughter,” Sauter told Newsweek.

The researchers say there is no accepted explanation as to why humans are the only primates that laugh solely on the exhale.

“One possibility that we considered is that it may have to do with whether laughter is produced in a context of physical play (for example, tickling) or not,” she said. “However, so far our results don’t support that idea. Another possibility is that it could be linked to developmental motor milestones like walking, but again, we’re not seeing evidence of this in the data. Our best explanation for now is that the change in how humans laugh is linked to learning to control vocal production because of the human speech production system.”

The team has also been investigating whether there is a link between the amount of laughter produced upon inhalation and exhalation, and the reasons why individuals laugh—something that changes with age. Infants and younger babies laugh as a result of physical play like tickling. This is the same for older humans, but many kinds of social interactions, for example, jokes, can also elicit laughter.

Research contact: d.a.sauter@uva.nl

Skid Roe? Leaked documents show Kavanaugh may backslide on Roe v. Wade

September 7, 2018

As White House Staff Secretary during the administration of President George W. Bush, Brett Kavanaugh reviewed “literally every [policy] document that went to the Oval Office,” according to then-Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, who described the current SCOTUS nominee’s role at the time as “central” to Newsweek in July.

Bush also nominated Kavanaugh for the position of judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals—a role he has played since 2006.

Now, it has come out that, during Bush’s term in office, Kavanaugh questioned the accuracy of deeming the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision to be “settled law of the land,” according to a secret email obtained by The New York Times and posted on its site on September 6.

The email, written in March 2003, is one of thousands of documents that a lawyer for President George W. Bush turned over to the Senate Judiciary Committee about the Supreme Court nominee, but deemed “committee confidential”—meaning that it could not be made public or discussed by Democrats in questioning him in hearings this week.

However, it was among several communications leaked to the Times late on September 5.

According to that news outlet, Judge Kavanaugh was considering a draft opinion piece that supporters of one of Bush’s conservative appeals court nominees hoped they could persuade anti-abortion women to submit under their names. It stated that “it is widely accepted by legal scholars across the board that Roe v. Wade and its progeny are the settled law of the land.”

However, Judge Kavanaugh proposed deleting that line, writing: “I am not sure that all legal scholars refer to Roe as the settled law of the land at the Supreme Court level since Court can always overrule its precedent, and three current Justices on the Court would do so.”

He was presumably referring to then-Justices William Rehnquist and Antonin Scalia, along with Justice Clarence Thomas, conservatives who had dissented in a 1992 case that reaffirmed Roe, Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

The court now has four conservative justices who may be willing to overturn Roe—Justices Thomas and John C. Roberts Jr., Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch — and if he is confirmed, Judge Kavanaugh could provide the decisive fifth vote.

Still, the Times noted, his email stops short of saying whether he personally believed that the abortion rights precedent should be considered a settled legal issue.

Democrats have complained about relying on the advice of Bush’s lawyer rather than the National Archives to decide what to provide to the Senate, as one part of a larger faceoff over how many documents from Kavanaugh’s stint in the Bush administration the Senate and public should be able to vet before his confirmation vote.

Other leaked materials provided to The Times included a document showing that in September 2001, after the terrorist attacks, Judge Kavanaugh engaged with a Justice Department lawyer about questions of warrantless surveillance—even before the Bush administration began its warrantless surveillance program.

And in yet another, Kavanaugh disparage Department of Transportation affirmative action regulations, writing: “The fundamental problem in this case is that these DOT regulations use a lot of legalisms and disguises to mask what is a naked racial set-aside,” he wrote, adding that he thought the court’s four conservative justices at the time would probably “realize as much in short order and rule accordingly.”

What’s more, on  September 6, other potentially compromising emails were released by Senator Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), who posted a series of emails about racial issues that included the affirmative action-related email obtained by The Times.

Meanwhile, In an ABC News/Washington Post poll released on Tuesday morning, Americans were split on Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court— coming in at the the lowest support levels for a high court nominee in polling back to 1987. Thirty-eight percent of Americans say Kavanaugh should be confirmed, 39% not, with the rest undecided in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates. Only two nominees have had weaker public support: Harriet Miers, who withdrew her nomination, in 2005; and Robert Bork, rejected by the Senate in 1987.

Research contact: @charlie_savage

With a favorability rating lower than Trump’s, could Jared be ‘disposable’?

May 7, 2018

Daddy’s little girl may not have to face the big problems associated with the ongoing Russia investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. In fact, Ivanka Trump, who has held an unpaid position in the White House since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, is now being protected—possibly at the peril of her own husband, Jared Kushner—by her father and his new legal counsel, Rudy Giuliani.

On Fox News on May 2, Giuliani sent “a warning” to Mueller that he should not go after Ivanka, because if he does, “the whole country will turn on him.”

On the other hand,  Jared Kushner—Ivanka’s husband, as well as a senior White House aide—was characterized by the president’s lawyer as “disposable.”

“Jared is a fine man, you know that,” Giuliani said. “Men are disposable. But a fine woman like Ivanka? Come on.”

Would the American people agree? Based on an Economist/YouGov poll that was picked up by Newsweek and posted on last week, in January 2017 when Ivanka Trump entered the White House, 42% of Americans had a favorable opinion of her, and 33% had an unfavorable one. While the percentage of those who view her in a favorable light has remained unchanged since that time, the number of those with an unfavorable impression of the president’s eldest daughter has increased to 43%.

A similar scenario has played out with Jared. Considerably less well-known than his wife in 2017, Kushner  then had a favorability rating of 25%, compared with 29% who looked at him in a negative light. Since then, not only has the percentage of those viewing him favorably seen a modest drop (at 22%), but his unfavorability percentage now stands at 42%.

According to respondents, only 22% believe that Kushner can continue carrying out his high-level duties without the top security clearance that gave him access to classified information and was withdrawn in February; while 40 percent think he can’t.

Meanwhile, President Trump is walking back some of Giuliani’s other statements to the Fox Channel this week. There’s no word yet whether he POTUS intends to correct the comments made about his family members.

Research contact: @JessicaGKwong

Anti-Semitic GOP Senate candidate may challenge Dianne Feinstein

May 1, 2018

Overt anti-Semites who are members of the “alt-right” movement are said to have helped President Donald Trump win the presidency in 2016—and now one of them has an outside chance to represent the Republican Party in a midterm Senate race, Newsweek reported on April 28.

The hard-line white supremacist in question is Patrick Little, who will be squaring off against ten other Republicans in a “top-two primary” on June 5 in California—aimed at beating incumbent Dianne Feinstein in the general election on November 6.

A poll conducted by local ABC News affiliates along with the organization, Survey USA, suggested that Little is polling at 18% of the vote on the Republican ticket— a full ten points ahead of his next-strongest opponent, the researchers found.

The 84-year-old Feinstein, who first entered office in 1992, at the start of  former President Bill Clinton’s first term, remains a solid favorite to win the state—polling at 39%.

According to Newsweek, Little has said he believes Jews should have no say over white non-Jews and wants to see them removed from the country altogether. The weekly news magazine reports that, on Gab, a social media site with large numbers of extremist users, Little has asserted that the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer, whose editors praise Adolf Hitler, is too Jewish.

 He also wrote that he wanted to keep Americans “free from Jews.”

Research contact: @MichaelEHayden

Men favor Trump more after seeing Stormy Daniels on ’60 Minutes’

April 4, 2018

President Donald Trump’s approval rating has gone up three points—from 50% to 53%—among male voters in the wake of the Stormy Daniels controversy, based on findings of a Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll of 1,340 U.S. adults released on April 2.

Among women, not so much: Their support fell from 41% to 35%, in what the poll’s co-director Mark Penn labeled as the “Stormy Effect.”

Specifically, the president’s approval rating rose following allegations by the adult film star—on 60 Minutes on March 25—that she spanked Trump and had unprotected sex with him shortly after his wife Melania gave birth to the couple’s son, Barron, in 2006.

While Trump has denied the allegations made by the adult film star, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, she insisted that the pair had an affair and that she had been silenced via a non-disclosure agreement and threatened by the billionaire’s team prior to his election.

Daniels has filed a lawsuit to get out of a non-disclosure agreement, claiming that it is not valid because the document was not signed by Trump.

According to Newsweek report, she also has offered to give back $130,000 in “hush money” that she was paid by Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen as part of the non-disclosure agreement.

The case has now been moved to closed arbitration, although Daniel’s lawyer has opposed the move—saying that the suit should be decided “in an open court of law owned by the people.”

Research contact: @MarkPenn

Germany takes a step back from Trump’s USA

December 13, 2017

On December 5 at the Berlin Policy Forum, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told global foreign policy experts that his country’s relationship with the United States “will never be the same” under the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump—whom he accused of leading Europe on the path toward nuclear war.

Indeed, according to a report by Newsweek magazine, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s second-in-command castigated Trump’s nationalistic vision of international relations; and announced that Germany would pursue its own agenda and no longer operate under the shadow of its ally in the White House.

Now, Pew Research, together with the German firm, Körber-Stiftung, has released the results of polls that find “the future of U.S.-German relations is unclear.”

People in the two countries differ in their views of the bilateral relationship, according to the parallel surveys. Among the five key findings of the surveys are the following:

  1. Americans and Germans have very different opinions about whether the current relationship between the two countries is good or bad. Almost seven-in-ten Americans (68%) say relations between the U.S. and Germany are good, while only 22% say they are bad. Conversely, a majority of Germans (56%) say that relations with America are at least somewhat bad, with only 42% saying they are positive.
  2. Americans and Germans don’t agree when people in each country are asked which nations are their first and second most-important partners. Combining both first and second mentions, Americans name Great Britain more than any other country (31%), followed by China (24%), Germany (12%), Israel (12%) and Canada (10%). In Germany, France gathers the most votes as either first or second most-important partner (63%), followed by the USA (43%). Lagging far behind in the eyes of Germans are Russia (11%), China (7%) and Great Britain (6%).
  3. People in the two countries have alternative views about what the levels of national defense spending should be in Europe. A plurality of Americans (45%) say European allies should increase their defense spending, while only  32% of Germans say the same about their own defense budget. By comparison,, roughly half of Germans (51%) say their country should maintain its current military budget, and 13% want to spend less on their nation’s defense.
  4. Americans and Germans don’t hold the same opinions about most important aspect of the U.S.-German relationship. Roughly one- third of Americans say that the most important aspects of the relationship – from a list of three options – are security and defense ties (34%) and economic and trade ties (33%). Most one-third saying  that democratic values are the keystone of the c relationship (35%).
  5. Americans are more likely than their German counterparts to say other countries do too little in global affairs  Roughly two-thirds of Americans say China (66%) and Russia (65%) do too little to help solve global problems. About one-half say the same about the United Nations, and 45% of Americans hold this view about the European Union. However, Americans are split on whether Germany is doing too little (39%) or the right amount (40%). Germans, on the other hand, have more mixed views. While pluralities in Germany say the UN, Russia and China are doing too little, 46% say the EU is doing enough. Germans are divided on whether the U.S. is doing too little (39%) or too much (39%) to help solve global problems.

Research contact: info@pewresearch.org

Foreign policy experts trust Putin 3X more than Trump

November 13, 2017

Only in the “upside-down” political world of 2017 could these results be credible—and even predictable: Foreign policy experts say they trust Russian President Vladimir Putin more than three times more than they do U.S. President Donald Trump — but not nearly as much as they do German Chancellor Angela Merkel—according to results of a recent transatlantic poll just published by Newsweek.

Pew Research Center released the results on November 7 of a survey conducted among the attendees of the 2017 Brussels Forum, hosted last March by the German Marshall Forum.

“Across Europe and North America, foreign policy experts express little confidence in the world leadership of U.S. President Donald Trump. Only a cumulative 12% say they have a lot (1%) or some (11%) confidence in Trump to do the right thing regarding world affairs,” a report accompanying the data read.

“Russian President Vladimir Putin inspires somewhat more trust among experts. Nearly four-in-ten foreign policy experts (39%) say they have at least some confidence in Putin’s handling of world affairs,” it added.

Among the public, Trump fared slightly better than Putin, beating him 21% to 19%. However, confidence in the two controversial world leaders paled in comparison to attitudes about German Chancellor Angela Merkel—who was trusted by 93% of foreign policy experts and 61% of the public respondents.

Research contact: info@PewResearch.org