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Women Candidates Surge in Primaries

Women surging in Democratic politics for 2018, 2020. Axios: “The biggest trend in midterm Democratic politics is women kicking ass, a sign of energy and momentum for women presidential candidates in 2020. Why it matters: Women are proving to be the most powerful political force in the country right now. Democrats are already crushing it with women, advancing them to congressional general elections all across the country… The #MeToo movement showed the world why there needs to be more women leaders. President Trump unleashed a wave of women who are motivated to run for office in opposition to him and the GOP agenda. There are already at least five Democratic women rumored to be considering a 2020 run, so it’s likely that women will be a leading voice in crafting the party’s agenda in 2020.”

Dept. Of Ed Violated Privacy Laws To Avoid Paying Debts

Federal court rules Trump’s Education Dept violated privacy laws. The Hill: “A federal court in California ruled Friday that the Education Department violated privacy laws when it used the Social Security Administration (SSA) to help it analyze loan forgiveness for students defrauded by the for-profit Corinthian Colleges. The district court ordered the department to cease debt collection from the defrauded students and to stop seeking SSA’s services for the practice, according to The Associated Press. The Education Department began the practice last year when Secretary Betsy DeVos announced that former students of the now-shuttered schools would have only part of their federal loans forgiven.”

Drug Industry Lobbyist Steers Trump Drug Plan

Former drug industry lobbyist helps steer Trump drug plan. Politico: “The White House official who will shape a large part of the administration’s drug price plan worked on many of the same issues as an industry lobbyist, raising questions about whether he violated President Donald Trump’s ethics rules. Joe Grogan — who has sweeping authority over drug pricing, entitlement programs and other aspects of federal health policy at the Office of Management and Budget — didn’t obtain a waiver from a directive Trump issued during his first week in office that imposed a two-year cooling-off period between lobbying and regulating on the same ‘specific issue area.’ Grogan worked as the top lobbyist for Gilead Sciences until he arrived at OMB last March, dealing with issues including how much federal health programs would pay for its medicines. Gilead was the company that in 2014 effectively set off the drug price controversy with Sovaldi, its breakthrough hepatitis C cure that cost $1,000 per pill and triggered a lengthy and highly critical Senate Finance Committee probe.”

Anti-Immigrant Activist Nominated To Helm Refugee Agency

Trump nominates anti-immigration activist to head agency for immigrants and refugees. LA Times: “President Trump has nominated a staunch anti-immigration activist to head the State Department agency that oversees refugee and immigration issues. Ronald W. Mortensen, a former U.S. Foreign Service officer and longtime fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates against legal and illegal immigration, is Trump’s choice to be assistant secretary of State for the bureau of population, refugees and migration. The White House announced the nomination late Thursday. As word spread on Friday, Democrats and immigration advocates quickly objected. But Mortensen, who must be confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate, could face trouble among Republicans as well: His long trail of controversial writings and statements includes attacks not only against immigrants but against some Republican senators, including Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and John McCain of Arizona.”

The New American Feudalism

Millions struggle for shelter, while media tails Trump’s clown car. Salon: “Nowhere is the Great Unraveling of America more evident than in the deepening crisis of housing affordability. According to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies report last year, the growing wealth inequality and concentration is playing out in the landscape and increasingly shaping the nation in a kind of 21st century feudalism. While trendy towns on the two coasts are seeing housing prices go up, they are flat or declining in places that voted for Trump in the Rust Belt. But even within states this kind of ‘Tale of Two Economies” is becoming more pronounced. “The disparities in price appreciation across and within markets adds concerns that entire metro-areas are becoming inaccessible to low and moderate income households,” wrote the Harvard researchers. What’s being built are luxury homes and apartments, not housing that works for the growing cohort of working-class Americans that struggle from month to month to pay for shelter. This new feudalism is most evident in my native New Jersey where for decades I have been observing and writing about local land use.”

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