Slap-dash Sanctions Leave Less Room for Diplomacy

“These are ominous developments in all of these countries,” Phyllis Bennis told The Real News following reports that Donald Trump would sign a bill slapping sanctions on Russia, North Korea, and Iran—an extraordinarily different set of state actors which pose very different foreign policy challenges.

“The notion that you can do a kind of cookie cutter attack, ‘We’re going to sanction them all in one bill, get it all done at once.’—this is insane,” Bennis said.

Bennis said she doesn’t believe that sanctions are going to help alleviate the challenge that the U.S. faces in its relationship with any of these countries.

This slap-dash sanctioning with support from both political parties, Bennis said, speaks to the inability of Congress and the White House to deal with diplomacy in a serious way.

“‘This is the answer to all the problems we have with countries we don’t like,’” Bennis said, “we’ll just sanction them all!’”

The deficiencies in this approach, Bennis said, are best exemplified in Iraq. From 1990 until 2003, U.S. sanctions on the country had a devastating impact.

“Half a million children under the age of five died from the results of sanctions,” Bennis doesn’t mince words, “they were killed by U.S. foreign policy. Sanctions were doing the job of war.”

Sanctions can antagonize decision makers, and may encourage a dangerous response. She points to the response we’ve already seen in Russia, where Putin just demanded the removal of hundreds of U.S. staff. Meanwhile in North Korea, we’ve seen that sanctions have not had an impact on the country’s nuclear capabilities. And in the case of Iran, the United States is just isolating itself by undermining a nuclear deal backed by five other countries while Iran strengthens its position in the world.

This decision will have many different impacts, and linking them all into one bill is “rather extraordinary,” Bennis said.

“We’re going to have to have negotiations. The notion that we can do something and not talk simply doesn’t work in the real world,” Bennis said.

Watch the full interview on The Real News Network.

|||||||http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/IPS/latest/~3/S_SxjnjRaoU/

Paid Family Leave Comes to D.C.

Family

(Photo: mrhayata/Flickr)

Getting time off when you’re sick, or need to care for a new child or ailing parent, shouldn’t be a luxury enjoyed only by those who are financially well off. Yet low-wage workers in the United States — the workers who need paid leave the most — typically have this key benefit denied them.

But not anymore in Washington, D.C.

Activists in the city recently overcame stiff opposition from corporate lobbyists to win one of the country’s most generous paid-leave policies. The new law guarantees eight weeks of paid time off for new parents, six weeks for those caring for sick family members, and two weeks of personal sick time.

One key to this victory: outspoken support from small business leaders like Ethel Taylor, owner of a local pet-grooming parlor called the Doggie Washerette.

Taylor first became involved in the paid-leave struggle when she met an activist with the Main Street Alliance, who was going door-to-door down D.C.’s Georgia Avenue talking to business leaders about the paid-leave plan the group was backing.

The plan’s novel mechanism for funding paid-leave benefits particularly impressed Taylor. The D.C. law will use a “social insurance model” funded through a 0.62 percent payroll tax on all private-sector employers, so none of them will have to pay the full cost of employees’ sick time.

“I would’ve been gone tomorrow if I’d had to pay out of pocket for the cost of an employee’s leave time,” Taylor told me.

The compensation employees will receive under the new D.C. law significantly improves upon leave policies in other jurisdictions. The District government will reimburse employees for 90 percent of their first $ 900 in weekly pay and 50 percent of their remaining weekly pay, with a limit of $ 1,000 per week.

By comparison, private sector employees in California can receive only up to 55 percent of their wages.

Taylor has in the past taken her beautifully groomed standard poodle Joy to campaign events for candidates she supported. But the D.C. paid-leave drive has otherwise been her first encounter with political activism.

She had some special motivation. Taylor personally had to take a lot of unpaid time off after her husband was diagnosed with cancer. Under the D.C. law, business owners like Taylor can also tap into the paid-leave fund.

But Taylor’s commitment went beyond her own personal situation. “I’d always been active in my neighborhood of Shepherd Park. But when I opened the Doggie Washerette there five years ago, I felt a whole other level of responsibility to serve the public.”

Working with the Main Street Alliance, Taylor attended public meetings, penned a commentary in support of the paid leave law, and did other media interviews. The new legislation, adopted on December 20, will cover everyone working in the District for a private sector employer, including the self-employed.

At the federal level, we can’t expect much action on family-friendly work policies in the near future. The man nominated to be the next Secretary of Labor, fast food CEO Andrew Puzder, is strongly opposed to paid leave policies.

But as Washington residents themselves proved, cities and states don’t need to wait for leaders in Washington to act. D.C.’s successful campaign for comprehensive paid leave offers important lessons for other communities — not least that small businesses and employees can be on the same side.

The post Paid Family Leave Comes to D.C. appeared first on Institute for Policy Studies.

Sarah Anderson directs the Global Economy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies and co-edits Inequality.org, where an earlier version of this piece appeared. Distributed by OtherWords.org. 

|||||||http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/IPS/latest/~3/jkG_JZHIa8c/

Oregon residents in packed town hall want armed militia to leave – PBS NewsHour


PBS NewsHour
Oregon residents in packed town hall want armed militia to leave
PBS NewsHour
Ranchers and other longtime residents said they felt their concerns, including land use issues and employment after the decline of the timber industry in Oregon, haven't been talked about on a national scale until the armed men took over the federal
No-hurry defense: Refuge takeover requires delicate responseSavannah Morning News

all 9,181 news articles »

|||||||http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=ca&usg=AFQjCNFM5xHY5fMnW_6ZW90qlxtPGCqjfA&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&cid=52779019660574&ei=SIKRVuCyOMSFhQG46Z-wCw&url=http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/oregon-residents-in-packed-town-hall-want-armed-militia-to-leave/

Visa glitches leave Midlands growers without pickers – Omaha World-Herald


Omaha World-Herald
Visa glitches leave Midlands growers without pickers
Omaha World-Herald
With his cucumbers and melons ripening quickly, and the majority of his harvest workers stuck in Mexico, produce grower Greg Heldt of Ashland is running some mental calculations on how to save as much of his crop as possible. If the U.S. State

|||||||http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=us&usg=AFQjCNFxI1qpJGhzb5BvKMwhqsasucYqzA&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&ei=RZaJVbilJYS2wQHWm5CIAg&url=http://www.omaha.com/money/visa-glitches-leave-midlands-growers-without-pickers/article_109a2a8e-55c0-5199-949a-602351d43612.html

Federal job-protected family and medical leave rights extended to eligible workers in same-sex marriages

Workers in legal, same-sex marriages, regardless of where they live, will now have the same rights as those in opposite-sex marriages to federal job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act to care for a spouse with a serious health condition. The U.S. Labor Department announced a rule change to the FMLA today in keeping with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Windsor. That ruling struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act provision that interpreted “marriage” and “spouse” to be limited to opposite-sex marriage for the purposes of federal law.|||||||http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/whd/WHD20150285.htm

Uganda gives DR Congo M23 rebels deadline to leave – Yahoo News


Yahoo News
Uganda gives DR Congo M23 rebels deadline to leave
Yahoo News
Kampala (AFP) – Uganda has issued a three-month ultimatum to Democratic Republic of Congo to relocate hundreds of ex-rebel fighters or they will be handed to the United Nations, an army spokesman said Thursday. The deadline follows clashes between …
Uganda gives M23 rebels deadline to leaveNew Vision

all 13 news articles »

|||||||http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=ca&usg=AFQjCNHUabEban6SV50gT9YDbSi8ZEodOA&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&cid=52778726138556&ei=-brNVIimKuepwQG27IHYBA&url=http://news.yahoo.com/uganda-gives-dr-congo-m23-rebels-deadline-leave-115749764.html

Lakritz: Tradition no reason to leave farm workers unprotected – Calgary Herald


Calgary Herald
Lakritz: Tradition no reason to leave farm workers unprotected
Calgary Herald
Slavery and child labour were traditions once, too. Just because something is a tradition doesn't make it right. Darlene Dunlop, of the Farmworkers Union of Alberta, has a … A 28-year-old farm worker near Vauxhall dying after getting caught in a

|||||||http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=us&usg=AFQjCNEKOX_pwb_IW2w-SZxj_OSeDWAdzA&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&ei=Ncy6VKDaFuKAwQGT_YHwDQ&url=http://calgaryherald.com/opinion/columnists/lakritz-tradition-no-reason-to-leave-farm-workers-unprotected

UN Climate Summit: Leaders must leave New York with voice of citizens ringing in their ears

UN Climate Summit: Leaders must leave New York with voice of citizens ringing in their ears

Today, more than 120 world leaders, corporate leaders and representatives from civil society met in New York for the

|||||||http://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/reactions/un-climate-summit-leaders-must-leave-new-york-voice-citizens-ringing-their-ears

Antonio Conte to leave Juventus with Italy job vacant – The Guardian


TheNewsTribune.com
Antonio Conte to leave Juventus with Italy job vacant
The Guardian
It is not immediately clear why Conte has been allowed to leave – he said only that “right now I'm thinking about the present” – but there are suggestions that he will succeed Cesare Prandelli, now manager of Galatasaray, in charge of the Italian
Allegri hired to replace Conte as Juventus coachTheNewsTribune.com
Ex-Juventus coach tipped for Italy jobThe Local.it
Conte must take pay-cut for ItalyFootball Italia
Forza Italian Football
all 530 news articles »

|||||||http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=us&usg=AFQjCNFriabkW9xcEElCdN0P7yjEFCvBvw&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&cid=52778558009756&ei=rc7GU5jQNoHGwAGG9ICoDA&url=http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/jul/15/antonio-conte-leaves-juventus-italy-manager

Proposed rule to extend Family Medical Leave Act protections to all eligible employees in same-sex marriages announced by US Labor Secretary

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez announced today a proposed rule extending the protections of the Family and Medical Leave Act to all eligible employees in legal same-sex marriages regardless of where they live. The proposal would help ensure that all families will have the flexibility to deal with serious medical and family situations without fearing the threat of job loss. Secretary Perez is proposing this rule in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, in which the court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act provision that interpreted “marriage” and “spouse” to be limited to opposite-sex marriage for the purposes of federal law. |||||||http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/whd/WHD20141208.htm