We’re excited to bring on our first guest, writer Katelyn Burns! We interviewed her for her insights on Pride—the history and its current iteration—as well as the topic of erasure within queer communities. Before that we talk about a number of sneaky moves by Congress to gut the health care system and the system of financial regulations put in place after the 2008 recession while attention has been given to the James Comey and Jeff Sessions hearings. Ben and Arif also talk about the implications (or lack thereof?) of the United Kingdom election results.
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Be sure to follow us on Twitter. Arif Hasan is @ArifHasanNFL and Ben Natan @thebennatan, and the show itself is @wideleftpodcast. Guest Katelyn Burns can be found @transscribe. Katelyn’s Patreon is here.
Episode Notes (Health Care)
Listen to our two previous episode on health care to get a more thorough analysis of the impact of the ACA (that’s episode two) and the ramifications of the current version of the AHCA (that’s episode ten).
The Washington Post has a great piece that explains how the reconciliation process ties to the health care bill.
Republicans would like to do it all at once — peeling off this section of the Band-Aid has been painful enough. But they can’t. That’s because of a special budget rule called reconciliation, which forces them to make a decision: undo some of Obamacare with a simple majority vote in both chambers, or undo all of it and face a 60-vote majority threshold — a majority Republicans don’t have and won’t get — in the Senate.
. . .
If a policy directly affects the nation’s economic bottom line, you can use reconciliation to pass said policy with a simple majority. If a policy doesn’t directly affect the nation’s budget, you have to follow the regular rules for passing legislation.
a parliamentarian held Republicans up by ruling that one of the central pieces of their bill, eliminating the individual mandate that people have health insurance or else pay a tax, wasn’t directly related to the budget and couldn’t be passed under reconciliation.
Republicans were forced to get creative to undo a central part of Obamacare without a filibuster from Democrats.
“Republicans came back and said: ‘We can’t include a straight repeal of the mandate, but can we just dial the penalty for violating the mandate down to zero?’ ” Reynolds explains. “And the parliamentarian said that was okay.”
The Byrd rule is a significant part of the debate and will be a critical fulcrum point for determining whether the bill can be subject to reconciliation at all. See an explanation of the six tests here.
Episode Notes (Dodd-Frank Financial Regulation)
There is a phenomenal explanation of the Orderly Liquidation Authority in the Brookings Institution Op Ed. In it, it also details that the largest criticism of the OLA has proven thus far to be the opposite of true.
Those who cite the moral hazard argument contend that companies are incentivized to become SIFIs or large enough banks to qualify for OLA because the market would provide them cheaper cost funding. Notably, however, there are several real-world examples of companies doing the opposite: Met Life fought SIFI designation legally; General Electric successfully sought to escape SIFI regulation by restructuring itself to become smaller and therefore ineligible. Additionally, some studies by the Government Accountability Office (GAO)and others have failed to find market based discounts for large, complex financial firms as a result of the so-called too big to fail advantage.
CNN Money also has a piece, which is where I got the excerpt from Ben Bernanke on the podcast.
Bernanke, the Fed chair during the 2008 episode and a Great Depression scholar, wrote in a blog post earlier this year that eliminating OLA would be a “major mistake” because these are essential tools “for ensuring that financial stress does not escalate into a catastrophic crisis.”
And, it’s not just Bernanke who’s ringing the alarm bell. Other former well-respected regulators, including former Fed chief Paul Volcker and former FDIC head Sheila Bair, also support keeping these powers.
More than 120 leading law professors and economists sent a letter to Congress last month opposing the elimination of OLA. “There is unanimity in the conclusion that elimination of Orderly Liquidity Authority would be a grave mistake,” the letter said.
This USA Today piece has an excellent collection of individual anecdotes that provide us with context for why the Consumer Financial Protections Board is such an important mechanism and why defunding it would be such a disaster. Here’s one:
In Minnesota, John Lukach said he filed a complaint with the CFPB after Navient, the servicer for his nearly $60,000 in private student loans, did not respond to his requests for more affordable repayment options that would cut his monthly bill. Within two days, a Navient representative contacted him to discuss available alternatives, “something that probably wouldn’t have happened” without the CFPB, Lukach said.
And yes, the CHOICE act effectively guts the CFPBs regulatory authority by eliminating its guaranteed funding source.
The cuts in the proposal would effectively reduce the agency’s budget to zero. Offsetting funding, if any, from future inclusion in the regular appropriations process does not appear in the blueprint.
The CFPB has a piece on what the CFPB did to resolve the Wells Fargo fraud referenced in the podcast.
Today the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) fined Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. $100 million for the widespread illegal practice of secretly opening unauthorized deposit and credit card accounts. Spurred by sales targets and compensation incentives, employees boosted sales figures by covertly opening accounts and funding them by transferring funds from consumers’ authorized accounts without their knowledge or consent, often racking up fees or other charges. According to the bank’s own analysis, employees opened more than two million deposit and credit card accounts that may not have been authorized by consumers. Wells Fargo will pay full restitution to all victims and a $100 million fine to the CFPB’s Civil Penalty Fund. The bank will also pay an additional $35 million penalty to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and another $50 million to the City and County of Los Angeles.
Episode Notes (UK Election)
Reuters did an excellent job explaining the ultimate implications for Brexit with regards to the UK elections. There are six options, including ‘hard brexit,’ ‘soft brexit,’ ‘English brexit,’ (no blood sausage in this one) ‘no deal’ and so on. The complexities are magnified with the election result. If you prefer your analysis in video form, we recommend this John Oliver video.
Want to know why forming a coalition government with the DUP is making a deal with the devil? It could be their ongoing campaign to “Save Ulster from Sodomy”
Ian Paisley Jr, son of the party’s founder Ian Paisley, has previously called homosexuality “immoral, offensive and obnoxious” and said he was “repulsed” by gays and lesbians.
They have had party members who within the last three years have argued that children growing up with same-sex parents are more likely to be abused, or that only gay or lesbian people could contract AIDS.
They deny the science of climate change, deny evolution and regularly feature party members who regularly make sexist comments in the publ-
they’re Donald Trump.
For an alternative take on the interactions of the domestic political situation and the European political sphere, check out this FiveThirtyEight article. It may be less that left-leaning communication strategies are inherently appealing (though we think they are) and that Trump has caused a backlash in Europe. If that’s the case, then the lessons to draw from Europe are relatively limited.
Check out this radical centrism comic.
Episode Notes (Pride)
- Transgender kids are bullied all the time. The White House is helping the bullies. “Harassment and bullying of transgender children is painfully common. Study after study reports that LGBTQ students are at higher risk for bullying, with trans kids bearing the brunt of the abuse.”
- Texas school officials don’t understand transgender athletes “The larger debate surrounding trans rights makes clear what’s really going on in the disputes over school sports. If those who seek to keep trans women out of women’s rooms are forced to admit that trans women are hormonally woman enough to compete in women’s athletics, then their scaremongering tactics around the bathroom and public accommodations debate begin to crumble. It’s a harder argument to force some female athletes to use a locker room that’s separate from the teammates who they already play with.”
- This piece by Burns goes even further into the science of the athletic impact of transitioning athletes and why it’s a myth that those assigned male at birth have and advantage competing against other women in most sports when taking hormones as part of their transition.
- She also wrote an article that’s generated some controversy inside the trans community and opens up a wider discussion about the interactions of various stigmas and what needs to be done in order to seek protections in the workplace in the absence of federal employment discrimination law. Should Gender Dysphoria be a Federally Protected Disability?
Here’s a piece that hopefully makes many of its readers uncomfortable about the left’s long history of transphobia.
This history — erasing trans women, calling them men and rapists, defending the mistreatment of trans children — set the stage for the current liberal platform: blaming trans people for the downfall of liberalism and the rise of Donald Trump. But the truth is that trans issues aren’t the political poison pill some would have you believe. Election day turned out pretty bleak for Democrats, but arguably their biggest win was in the race for North Carolina governor — the most expensive governor’s race in North Carolina history and the second most expensive governor’s race of 2016.
In the wake of House Bill 2, no other campaign in the country centered trans issues, and the Democrat Roy Cooper, an outspoken critic of the anti-trans law, pulled out an unlikely victory in a red state that broke for Donald Trump and went easily for Republican senator Richard Burr. In the face of Republican victories throughout the country, Democrats won a key race in a red state by centering trans rights throughout the campaign. Embracing trans people and trans rights would bolster the Democratic party, not destroy it — but there are plenty of people on the Left who aren’t interested in seeing that happen.
Burns also goes over the history of activism spearheaded by trans women of color, and in particular talks about the Cafeteria Riots in San Francisco. This piece in NPR that she links to goes in depth into those riots.
If the famous Stonewall riots in New York City were the origin of this nation’s gay rights movement, the Tenderloin upheaval three years before was “the transgender community’s debut on the stage of American political history,” according to Stryker. “It was the first known instance of collective militant queer resistance to police harassment in United States history.”
Stonewall is often thought of as an uprising of gay men. In reality, “it was drag queens, Black drag queens, who fought the police at the famous Stonewall Inn rebellion in 1969,” wrote lesbian novelist and playwright Sarah Schulman in a 1985 novel. “Years later, a group of nouveau-respectable gays tried to construct a memorial to Stonewall in the park across from the old bar. The piece consisted of two white clone-like thin gay men and two white, young lesbians with perfect noses. They were made of a plaster-like substance, pasty and white as the people who paid for it.”
It’s well worth reading both pieces to get an understanding of how those communities—who are still relegated to the underbelly of society’s power structure and stomped on by those in power on the left and the right—have been critical to advancing the rights of queer communities while often being left in the dark themselves.
I referenced the case of CeCe McDonald in Minneapolis, a trans woman of color who was convicted for surviving a hate crime. The Rolling Stone has a piece here—a content note, the piece includes quotes from the instigators using racist and transphobic language as well as graphic depictions of violence. You’ll have to excuse the author’s transitional paragraph about the popularity of acceptance, which certainly rings hollow both today and in the story.
We mentioned briefly how absurd it was for Seahawks fans to protest signing Kaepernick for political reasons given the political leanings of Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett. The Seahawks in general are a fairly politically active team even if they chose at the last moment to link arms instead of kneeling.
I asked Burns for a list of trans writers to follow. Here are the ones she recommended for sportswriting:
And for non-sportswriting:
- Parker Molloy (I really strongly recommend this one. She is amazing)
- Samantha Riedel
- Samantha Allen
- Raquel Willis