Sunday, January 21, 2018

Last Call For Deportation Nation, Con't

Rural Trump voters who voted for the GOP so they would "send all them Mexicans criminals home" and who scoffed at sanctuary city protections as "Democrats covering up for the damn illegals who vote for them" are shocked to discover that the places hardest hit by ICE raids are small towns full of rural Trump voters.

Pacific County, Washington is on the coast just north of Astoria, Oregon and the Columbia River in the bottom western corner of the state, population of about 20,000.  There's not much here, with the local fishing industry and canneries ravaged by climate change and cranberry bogs who need migrant workers suffering the downturn of rural America.  Since 1952 this has been one of the most Democratic counties in America, but that changed when Trump came along and got 49% of the vote.  The 42% that Clinton got in 2016 was the lowest Democratic percentage in the county since Al Smith in the Prohibition era 90 years ago.

They listened to Trump's dog whistle to "Make America Great Again".  Now they're realizing too late that the hounds are among them.

Long Beach, Oregon has 1,400 residents.  In 2017 ICE arrests and deportations went up here by 400% over 2016.  Arrests of people who have lived in the county for a decade or more.  They just now understand that places like Pacific County are low-hanging fruit for ICE. Kids vanishing from classrooms.  Workers are disappearing from the bogs and canneries.

The economy in Pacific County, already teetering, is going over the cliff into the sea.

And the people of Pacific County have nobody to blame but themselves.

Sunday Long Read: Tech Uber Alles

Silicon Valley bad boy and former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick's crash and burn over 2017 was a lot more manic and disturbing than people knew, and there's a reason why he's held up as the poster child for everything wrong in the tech business in America today.

A year ago, before the investor lawsuits and the federal investigations, before the mass resignations, and before the connotation of the word “Uber” shifted from “world’s most valuable startup” to “world’s most dysfunctional,” Uber’s executives sat around a hotel conference room table in San Francisco, trying to convince their chief executive officer, Travis Kalanick, that the company had a major problem: him.

The executives were armed that day with something unusual for Uber Technologies Inc.: the results of a survey. Kalanick operated by gut feeling and with a stubborn sense of how people should feel, not how they did. Jeff Jones, Uber’s new president and former chief marketing officer for Target Corp., wanted more substantial insights. Conclusions drawn from the survey were printed and hanging on the walls. About half the respondents had a positive impression of Uber and its convenient ride-hailing app. But if respondents knew anything about Kalanick, an inveterate flouter of both workplace conventions and local transportation laws, they had a decidedly negative view.

As usual with Kalanick, the discussion grew contentious. Jones and his deputies argued that Uber’s riders and drivers viewed the company as made up of a bunch of greedy, self-centered jerks. And as usual, Kalanick retorted that the company had a public-relations problem, not a cultural one.

Then a top executive excused herself to answer a phone call. A minute later, she reappeared and asked Kalanick to step into the hallway. Another executive joined them. They hunched over a laptop to watch a video that had just been posted online by Bloomberg News: grainy, black-and-white dashcam footage of Kalanick in the back seat of an UberBlack on Super Bowl weekend, heatedly arguing over fares with a driver named Fawzi Kamel.

“Some people don’t like to take responsibility for their own shit!” Kalanick can be heard yelling at Kamel. “They blame everything in their life on somebody else!”

As the clip ended, the three stood in stunned silence. Kalanick seemed to understand that his behavior required some form of contrition. According to a person who was there, he literally got down on his hands and knees and began squirming on the floor. “This is bad,” he muttered. “I’m terrible.”

Then, contrition period over, he got up, called a board member, demanded a new PR strategy, and embarked on a yearlong starring role as the villain who gets his comeuppance in the most gripping startup drama since the dot-com bubble. It’s a story that, until now, has never been fully told.

The melodrama began, in a sense, with Donald Trump. On Jan. 27 the newly inaugurated president issued his executive order imposing border restrictions on people from seven Muslim countries. Outrage erupted. People took to the streets; tech workers in Silicon Valley walked out of their offices in symbolic protest. And in New York, a small union called the New York Taxi Workers Alliance declared that there would be no taxi pickups from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday night at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

For Uber, that would create extra demand at the airport, which meant it could charge more—but this would probably cause a backlash. That had happened before when the company let its “surge pricing” algorithms do their thing. So the New York managers decided to be good citizens and suspend surge pricing for the night.

The backlash hit anyway. After years of negative revelations—spying on passengers, dubious driverless-car experiments in San Francisco, the CEO’s bragging about sexual conquests, to name just a few—the public was already inclined to believe the worst of Uber. If the company wasn’t price gouging this time, maybe it was trying to break up the JFK strike. A new hashtag was trending on Twitter: #deleteuber. Users deleted their accounts by the thousands. Lyft Inc., the rival service that branded itself the anti-Uber, capitalized on the moment and donated $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union.

Further stoking the flames was Kalanick’s decision to join Trump’s business advisory council. Kalanick argued that his participation in the council wasn’t an endorsement of the president; he just wanted a seat at the table, along with Elon Musk, International Business Machines Corp.’s Ginni Rometty, and Walt Disney Co.’s Bob Iger. But intentions didn’t seem to matter. Criticism from riders and drivers intensified, and Kalanick spent days talking to his executives about what to do. They considered whether he should go to the first meeting and find some pretense to object and leave; he even floated the idea of wearing a protest T-shirt to the council meeting, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Ultimately, Kalanick decided the whole thing wasn’t worth the trouble and his minders set up a call so he could politely say no to Trump. A chronic pacer, Kalanick walked away from his desk at the appointed time. The first call from the White House came—and went to Kalanick’s voicemail. Then came the second call. Trump was on the line, and Kalanick walked into a glass-walled conference room to deliver the news. The conversation apparently went as one would expect. Kalanick emerged to tell his colleagues that the president was “super un-pumped.”

And from there, Kalanick's enfant terrible story just got worse.  Pretty sure there's going to be a book and a movie about this implosion actually, and the story is pretty shocking.

The bottom line remains however that Silicon Valley is in desperate need of being bulldozed if only to get San Francisco housing prices back into the realm of reality.

First, Do Some Harm

The Trump regime wants the Health and Human Services department's civil rights office to shift from "stopping discrimination in health care practices" to "enshrining the right of discrimination in health care practices if Jesus says so."

The Trump administration on Thursday will announce an overhaul of the HHS civil rights office as part of a broader plan to protect health workers who don't want to perform abortions, treat transgender patients seeking to transition or provide other services for which they have religious or moral objections. 
Under a proposed rule — which has been closely guarded at HHS and is now under review by the White House — the civil rights office would be empowered to further shield these workers and punish organizations that don’t allow them to express their religious and moral objections, according to sources on and off the Hill. That would be a significant shift for the office, which currently focuses on enforcing federal civil rights and health care privacy laws.

HHS is planning to announce the changes at its headquarters Thursday morning.
The department's leaders have repeatedly criticized the Obama administration for rolling back regulations dating to the George W. Bush administration that legally insulated health care workers while affirming their religious freedoms. 
Roger Severino, the Trump administration appointee who now leads the HHS civil rights office, has repeatedly stressed that strengthening conscience protections for health care workers is a top priority for his office. 
That's alarmed advocates for LGBT patients, who say they're already fighting to overcome stigmas and discrimination and who warn that the policy shift will only worsen their situation. 
"This is the use of religion to hurt people because you disapprove of who they are," said Harper Jean Tobin of the National Center for Transgender Equality. "Any rule that grants a license to discriminate would be a disgrace and a mockery of the principal of religious freedom we all cherish."

This will give "legal protections" to doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals who refuse to treat certain patients or perform certain procedures.  In other words, if you're LBGTQ and go to the ER and the doc on duty says "I don't treat transgender or gay people" and you die, the Trump regime's top priority is getting that doc off the legal hook.  Yay!

I don't understand how you get "conscience protections" as a health care worker.  It's like the Trump regime wants a Supreme Court case where an ER doc or paramedic says "I don't want to treat this gay person/Muslim/black person because I am a devout Christian" and the patient dies as a result.

That's where this is going to go, and it's going to be brutally ugly when it gets there.
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