Here at Flavorwire, we pride ourselves on not only writing excellent content, but keeping an eye on all of the great writing online as well. Lately, as a predominantly arts/culture-centric website, we’ve been focusing this outward-looking post on indispensable political writing. This week, we recommend a piece in Wired that, unlike most of what you’ll find out there, gives a lucid explanation of the process by which Republicans are aiming to desiccate the Affordable Care Act; an article in The Atlantic about Republicans’ goals of reducing business regulations; reports on the DOJ’s investigation of the Chicago police department; an astute essay on Megyn Kelly and her memoir; and more.
This piece by Jia Tolentino in the New Yorker elegantly describes the trouble — and potential benefit — of Megyn Kelly’s upcoming move from Fox News to NBC. As she writes of Kelly’s memoir, Settle for More, “Like Kelly herself, the title sounds lovely and contains an internal contradiction.” She continues:
In many ways, “Settle for More” is a document of sexism in the workplace, bookended with horror stories about Ailes and Trump. But Kelly doesn’t show much interest in analyzing—let alone altering—a system that conveniently frames her as a glittering aberration. The book’s self-help component is mostly distilled onto the back cover, which urges readers to “do better” and “be better.” This advice will not produce an army of Megyn Kellys. There’s only supposed to be one.
It’s not a good sign when you’re scanning The Moscow Times for insight into how to handle the president’s lies, but here we are. After Trump gave a disastrous, sorry excuse for a press conference on Wednesday, Kevin Rothrock described the reaction from journalists in Russia, where “the independent media has gradually eroded under a president who seems to share Donald Trump’s disdain for disruptive journalism.” He writes:
Many prominent Russian Twitter users seemed to think the most amusing aspect of Trump’s confrontation with the press was the fact that reporters actually asked him tough questions, sometimes quite aggressively. This is a far cry from the tone at Vladimir Putin’s annual press conferences, where a room packed mostly with sycophants pampers the president with praise, disguised as questions, and opportunities to impress the nation, framed as requests for presidential intervention.
Very late Wednesday night, Republicans jumpstarted their plans to defund Obamacare and thereby make 30 million lose their healthcare, in a vote on a budget resolution. Wired describes the move as step-one in a three-part process, but they also emphasize that “a full-blown repeal is still far from over, with many opportunities to fizzle out or get derailed in the process.” Here’s how the magazine describes the vote:
This is what the Senate voted on today. It’s not a special piece of legislation: Congress passes a budget resolution every year. Because it’s not a law, it’s not something the President has to sign; it’s just a road map for how much the federal government should spend in the upcoming year. But this year’s is a little different. Written into the resolution is a section called a “reconciliation directive,” which instructs the four committees that oversee the federal health care program (two in the House and two in the Senate) to draw up a plan for reducing its toll on the federal budget deficit, i.e. how to stop paying for Obamacare.
Wired followed that up with a piece on how not even insurance companies want the Affordable Care Act repealed. Meanwhile, Mother Jones detailed more specifically how all this could impact birth control and women’s health, since Republicans have rejected an amendment insisting that insurance companies cover contraceptive expenses:
During the budget negotiations that took place Wednesday night, Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) penned an amendment to preserve protections for women that were created under the ACA, but it was voted down. The measure aimed to ensure that women receive birth control and mammograms without charge, required insurance companies to cover maternity care, prevented insurance companies from charging women more for preexisting conditions, and sought to even out health care costs between men and women.
Today, The Atlantic reports that the House has approved the aforementioned budget resolution, moving the repeals “a step closer to reality”:
The House on Friday passed a budget resolution allowing Congress to bypass a Democratic filibuster in the Senate if and when they vote to gut the health law. The vote was 227-198, with nine Republicans joining all the Democrats in opposition. The Senate passed the same measure earlier this week on vote of 51-48. Because the resolution is a non-binding budget blueprint and not an act of law, it does not require a presidential signature.
Meanwhile, The Intercept details a just-released report by the DOJ declaring that — as many already knew — Chicago police use excessive/lethal force, particularly against the city’s black and Latino populations, that the department doesn’t properly hold officers accountable, and that the police violate civil rights. The department was attempting to finish some of its most pressing investigations prior to Trump’s inauguration, with the notion that the DOJ, under his rule, will likely be far less interested in ending police brutality. Alice Speri writes:
With forceful language and harrowing details, the 164-page document confirms reports of systemic abuse in Chicago’s most heavily policed communities, including disturbing anecdotes about officers shooting people who posed no threat and tasering people who didn’t follow verbal commands. The report also denounced what it concluded was a widespread culture of covering up police misconduct, including tampering with video and audio evidence and intimidating witnesses.
The Atlantic also has an article detailing congressional Republicans’ aims to vastly limit business regulations. The magazine notes that the House approved the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2017 (known as the REINS Act), and elaborates:
The bill gives Congress the power to approve or deny regulations enacted by federal agencies that are expected to have an economic cost of more than $100 million, which means Congress has the final word. To understand what the implications of this would be in practice, such a law would have likely killed a rule like the Clean Power Plan, which the Environmental Protection Agency finalized last year to limit carbon-dioxide pollution from America’s power plants. Extensive scientific reviews have concluded that carbon-dioxide emissions cause climate change. Under the REINS Act, such a rule would only have gone into effect if Congress voted in favor of it within 70 days of its creation. If Congress had chosen not to vote on it, it would not have gone into effect.