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Charlotte Police Release Video Of Officers Shooting Keith Lamont Scott

VICE News - September 24, 2016 - 6:00pm

Bowing to nearly a week of intense public pressure, the Charlotte Police Department released video footage on Saturday of officers shooting Keith Lamont Scott. The videos, recorded by an officer's body camera and a dash-cam inside a police vehicle, offer new perspectives of the September 20 incident that sparked riots and protests in the North Carolina city.

Police have said that Scott, 43, was holding a gun when he was shot, but witnesses have disputed that claim. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said at a press conference Saturday that the officers approached Scott over suspected marijuana possession, and the situation escalated when they saw he had a gun. Police released photos of a pistol and holster found at the scene, and what appears to be a partially smoked marijuana cigarette.



Scott's family members have said he was holding a book. On Friday, Scott's family released cellphone footage filmed by his wife. In the video, she can be heard saying, "Don't shoot him, don't shoot him, he has no weapon," before the officers open fire. She can also be heard telling him, "Keith get out the car, Keith don't you do it. Don't you do it. Don't you fucking do it" moments before the shots were fired.

After viewing the police footage in private on Friday, Justin Bamberg, one of the Scott family's attorneys, told the New York Times that Scott "doesn't make any dramatic movements" during the encounter, and said he appeared to take a couple of steps forward "in a nonaggressive manner." Scott's wife can be heard in her video telling officers Scott had just taken medication, and Bamberg said Scott seemed "confused" by the situation.

Earlier in the week, prior to the release of the footage, Putney acknowledged that the videos do not appear to show Scott threatening the police officers who shot him.

Related: The US government will track killings by police for the first time ever

"The video does not give me absolute, definitive visual evidence that would confirm that a person is pointing a gun," the chief said at a press conference on Thursday.

Putney initially refused to make the videos public, citing the ongoing investigation into the incident and fear of backlash. Protesters took to the streets throughout the week, with the demonstrations erupting into violence on Tuesday and Wednesday. One person was shot and killed a 21-year-old suspect has been arrested and charged several officers were injured, and looters ransacked stores and vandalized property. The National Guard has been deployed to help keep the peace.

Follow VICE News on Twitter: @vicenews

The Clinton Foundation Sure Is a Great Charity

Mother Jones - September 24, 2016 - 4:43pm

When it comes to charity, Dylan Matthews is pretty hardnosed. To earn his approval, a charity better focus on truly important problems and be damn good at it. So how about the Clinton Foundation? After starting out as a skeptic, he says, "I've come to the conclusion that the Clinton Foundation is a real charitable enterprise that did enormous good." In particular, he praises the Clinton Health Access Initiative, which helped lower the cost of HIV drugs and saved untold lives. But there's a catch:

And—perhaps uncomfortably for liberals and conservatives alike — it is exactly the kind of unsavory-seeming glad-handing and melding of business and politics for which Bill and Hillary Clinton have taken years of criticism that led to its greatest success....The deals made required buy-in from developing governments. The person tasked with getting that buy-in was a former US president with existing relationships with many of those people. Bill Clinton essentially used his chumminess with foreign politicians and pharmaceutical executives, the kind of thing about the Clinton Global Initiative that earns suspicious news coverage, to enlist their help in a scheme to expand access to HIV/AIDS drugs.

I don't get it. Why should this make anyone feel uncomfortable? Lots of people have star power, but very few have star power with both rich people and foreign leaders. Bill Clinton is one of those few, so he chose a project that (a) could save a lot of lives, (b) required buy-in from both rich people and foreign leaders, and (c) was right at the cusp where an extra push could really make a difference.

I can't even imagine why anyone would consider this unsavory, unless they've lived in a cave all their lives and don't understand that glad-handing and chumminess are essential parts of how human societies operate. Matthews may be right that many people feel uneasy about this, but I can't figure out why. It sounds like Clinton chose to do something that his particular mix of experience and character traits made him uncommonly good at. That's pretty smart.

Despite Donald Trump's Massive Tax Bribes, Top CEOs Still Can't Stand the Guy

Mother Jones - September 24, 2016 - 4:16pm

The Wall Street Journal has checked out every Fortune 100 CEO in the country, and not a single one supports Donald Trump:

Most have stayed on the sidelines, with 89 of the 100 top CEOs not supporting either presidential nominee, and 11 backing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton....Hope Hicks, Mr. Trump’s spokeswoman, said the candidate has “tremendous support from small and large business CEOs and business owners,” and added that he “is not beholden to supporters with agendas like CEOs of massive, publicly traded companies.”

You betcha, Hope. Trump never wanted the support of those guys anyway, amirite?

Seven Days of Donald Trump's Lies

Mother Jones - September 24, 2016 - 1:04pm

The New York Times has compiled a list of 31 of Donald Trump's "falsehoods, exaggerations and outright lies" today. "A closer examination," they say, "revealed an unmistakable pattern: Virtually all of Mr. Trump’s falsehoods directly bolstered a powerful and self-aggrandizing narrative depicting him as a heroic savior for a nation menaced from every direction."

Quite so, and this would seem unremarkable except for one thing: this list covers only the past week. And it doesn't include "untruths that appeared to be mere hyperbole or humor, or delivered purely for effect, or what could generously be called rounding errors."

In other words, just lies. For one week. And yet a lot of people still believe Trump is going to build a wall and has a foolproof secret plan to crush ISIS. Apparently we are a nation of patsies these days.

Stop Trying to Feel Awesome All the Time, Says Millennial Whisperer

Mother Jones - September 24, 2016 - 5:00am

"Personal development" blogger Mark Manson got his start shelling out dating advice back in the mid-2000s, when The Game was making waves. Like every other twentysomething of a certain demographic, Manson, who hails from Austin, Texas, was hoping to cash in as a digital nomad: He moved abroad, started a blog, and attempted to earn a living working on internet marketing startups.

HarperOne

But the promise of the young web was elusive, Manson soon discovered. The startups and the jobs they offered were "not sustainable—they're not real careers," he says. "If you start looking out 20 years in the future, you have no stability. I started to realize this, and around the same time, I realized that writing is the only thing I'm good at, the only thing I really love about my job."

So Manson, who is now 32, resolved to focus on his writing. In 2012, while living in Colombia, he penned his first viral post, "10 Things Most Americans Don't Know About America." The post received thousands of shares and crashed his website, he says. Manson continued writing in his plain, off-the-cuff style, appealing to millennials with posts like "Stop Trying to Be Happy," "Love is Not Enough," and "In Defense of Being Average."

Nowadays, his eponymous advice blog (tagline: "Some people say I'm an idiot. Other people say I saved their life. Read and decide for yourself") commands about 2 million unique visitors a month and covers topics from love to the development of habits. I reached out to Manson to talk about his new book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, and naturally, to get a little advice.

Mother Jones: What's up with the book title?

Mark Manson: It actually comes from a blog article I wrote a couple of years ago. I was just joking around with a friend about not giving a fuck, and I think at one point, I said, "Not giving a fuck: It's not easy, it's a very subtle art form." I have a Google Doc, and every time I have an idea for an article, I pull up my phone and jot down ideas. It took me a year to actually write the book, and one day when I was feeling irreverent and ridiculous, I was like, all right, let's talk about giving fucks, not giving fucks, and just went for it.

MJ: How would you summarize the key takeaways?

MM: The central message is that, in general, people have spent way too much time trying to feel good all the time. Instead they should focus on deciphering what's important and what's not. Because problems are inevitable, pain is inevitable, and the only really reliable way to persevere or deal with those problems and pain is to find a worthy cause or a worthy reason for dealing with it. A lot of the culture at large, and self-help material in general, has gone down this rabbit hole of "You can feel great all the time and you're amazing. You're a special snowflake who's going to be the next big thing in the world." I think that's really led to a culturewide sense of entitlement and just kind of being detached from reality and from each other.

MJ: So we should feel bad instead?

MM: Feeling good is nice, but the goal should be to find something meaningful and important.

MJ: But isn't that what everyone is saying?

MM: Yeah, a lot of people, but it's usually framed like, "You'll feel really good if you find something meaningful." It doesn't work that way. The quality of your life is determined by how good your problems are, not how awesome you feel all the time. The whole point of the book is that self improvement isn't about getting rid of pain. It's about not giving a fuck about pain. That's what growth is. It's getting to the point where the pain you're sustaining is a worthwhile thing to endure.

MJ: So how do you know which problem is the right one? For instance, a lot of people work really hard and suffer a lot—and they're not satisfied.

MM: The quest here is to find better problems. A better problem is the one we have control over, that is pro-social and not antisocial. In a way, it's about values. Good values are based in reality—they're socially constructive and immediately controllable. Bad values are superstitious, socially destructive, and not immediate or controllable.

To use one of the facetious examples in the book: If the biggest problem in my life right now is that my favorite TV show got canceled, that's a pretty poor reflection of my values and the quality of my life. That's a poor thing to care about, it's not controllable, it's not immediate, it has no immediate effect on the people around me or the people I care about. The highest priorities in our life should be something that's grounded in being constructive toward the people around us, and something that's immediate and we have control over.

So if someone says they want to be a famous singer on TV, for example, it's a poor value, because there's so many factors that could influence that. The thing that will bring greater quality to life is something more controllable, more like, "I want to the best singer that I possibly can," or "I want to move as many people as possible with my artwork as I can," whether you're singing in a coffee shop or onstage at Madison Square Garden.

MJ: That seems obvious. And yet I hadn't really thought about it.

MM: Culturally speaking, we're getting a bit lost. The side effect of all this marketing and consumerism is that we're running into this constant state of distraction, and we don't realize that a lot of the values that we end up adopting maybe aren't even our own, or maybe were a little bit imposed on us through marketing messages and TV shows and movies.

I spent a lot of my early adulthood caring about a lot of things, and I was very upset when I discovered that they weren't very important. I've watched a lot of my friends and my readers go through similar experiences. I think a lot of that comes with growing up with the internet and 500 channels on TV. We're the first generation that grew up with this very distorted expectation of what the world is and what we should expect from it.

MJ: So what can we do?

MM: What needs to be done is a return to simplicity. The answer these days is not more, it's less. It's deciding what to cut off from our attention and our focus. There's way more things out there than any single person people could pursue, way more opportunities and questions. I think the most important question is: What am I going to give up? What am I going to cut myself off from? What are the few things in my life that I am going to care about and focus on, understanding that I'm limited, and a lot of ideas so prevalent out there may not ever happen in my life? I think it's a really hard thing to swallow.

MJ: So then it's more like, "What do I actually want to give a fuck about?"

MM: Exactly. The not giving a fuck thing is actually just a silly tool to teach people to think about their values, about what are they choosing to find important in their life, and then finding a way to change those things.

MJ: But suppose I were to say, "Mark, I actually give a fuck about everything. What should I do?"

MM: I would tell you to prepare for a lot of disappointment, and it would really come down to how you react to that disappointment. It's a process of letting go. Some people react by refusing to accept it. They give a fuck about everything and they're constantly disappointed because nothing is living up to their expectations, but instead of accepting that their expectations are unrealistic, they blame groups of people and blame the government and blame everybody. What we have to get back to is that people are really limited and fallible. You need to choose the few things that you're going to work really hard for, and accept the disappointment that comes with everything else.

It's a very negative philosophy, but it makes people feel better because it relinquishes the pressure. If you think of your typical millennial, since that's who most of my readers are, they have all these expectations. They went to a good school and they worked their asses off. They did an unpaid internship and they studied abroad and they want to have their amazing career and they want to get there faster than ever. And they want to make a certain amount of money and live in an awesome city, and it's just, the pressure of having to care about everything weighs them down and creates a lot of unnecessary anxiety. Everything else will eventually come as a side effect: If you get good at a job, eventually you'll get to live in a good city. If you get good at a skill, you'll find a good job. If you find a skill that you care about and think is important, then you'll naturally get good at it. Start at the beginning.

MJ: How do people respond to this advice?

MM: The most common thing I get from people is a sense of relief. People who come to self-improvement content are generally the type of people who are very hard on themselves and constantly feel a need to prove that they're awesome and that their life is awesome. So when they come around and see something that's like, "Hey, you don't need to prove anything; it's not going to work anyway"—even though it's a negative message, they kind of feel relief. My goal is never to give algorithmic advice, but to explain the principles and a little bit of the framework, so people can decide for themselves. Because deciding for themselves is the most important thing people can do—it's often the problem in the first place.

MJ: How did you come up with this stuff?

MM: I'm a recovered self-help junkie. I've always been a bookworm, so I've been reading about this stuff since I was a teenager. I guess it's a classic case of what was a hobby through most of my life ended up becoming my profession, even if it wasn't designed that way. That, and I've screwed up. There's really no better teacher than your own screwups.

MJ: Where do you turn when you feel lost or in need of help?

MM: I have a great support network. My fiancée is amazing. I have some friends who are insanely intelligent and who are willing to keep me in check, and I have my family. Books are great, but for most people, if you're going through hard times, step No. 1 should be friends and family and people close to you.

MJ: Your last chapter, fittingly, is about death. Why did you choose to write about that?

MM: Because the whole book is about people trying to avoid their problems, and death is the ultimate problem we try to avoid. There are entire religions about coming to terms with death and becoming more comfortable. To use that famous Steve Jobs YouTube video, when you think about death, it's the only thing that kind of puts everything else in perspective. It is the only kind of objective yardstick for being able to recognize the values in one's own life, and what they're worth. So I think it's important to think about it, and for people to imagine their own death, because it makes self discovery that much easier—even though it's unpleasant.

MJ: So, um, how many times did you use the F-word in your book?

MM: Ha! I have no idea. A lot! Probably a couple hundred. The editor struck a few of them, because they were definitely gratuitous.

But If You Don't Learn Cursive, How Will You Read the Declaration of Independence in the Original?

Mother Jones - September 24, 2016 - 5:00am

If pen retailers and state legislators are to be believed, cursive handwriting is facing an existential threat. Since the advent of the Common Core standards—which emphasize keyboard skills over nicely shaped P's and Q's—it's been common knowledge for years that teachers are abandoning cursive in droves, spending classroom time instead on new technology and typing.

But lately, fancy handwriting is having somewhat of a comeback. Louisiana's governor signed a law in June requiring cursive instruction all the way through grade 12. Mississippi's education department recently added script to its standards. And starting this school year, third graders in Alabama are required to write legibly in cursive under the newly passed Lexi's Law. State Rep. Dickie Drake named the Alabama bill after his granddaughter, who told him when she was in first grade that she wanted to learn "real writing."

The jury is still out on whether learning script, not just print, improves children's cognition. (There's little proof to date that it does.) Meanwhile, scientists are inching closer to handwriting's true existential threat: a mind-reading machine that turns thoughts into written language via a "brain to text" interface. Here's a primer on how the technology and culture of handwriting has evolved over time.

3200 B.C.

With stylus and clay tablets, ancient Mesopotamians create abstract symbols to represent syllables of their spoken language.

600s

Quill pens and parchment paper take hold in Europe. Drippy ink discourages pen lifting, hence cursive.

1440s

Johannes Gutenberg's printing press forces scribes to pivot to teaching penmanship.

c. 1712

A popular copybook by George Bickham teaches farmers and merchants to write in a "round" hand. Gentlemen of the era employ an italic script, while accomplished women practice "ladies' roman." (In general, only fairly well-off white males are taught to write.)

1740

South Carolina's Negro Act makes it a crime to teach slaves to write: "Suffering them to be employed in writing may be attended with great inconveniences." Other colonies (and later, states) follow suit.

1776

John Hancock's "John Hancock" appears prominently on the Declaration of Independence.

1848
 

Educator Platt Rogers Spencer urges pupils to contemplate nature's curves while learning his ornate script, soon to be the hand of choice for merchants (including Ford and Coca-Cola) and schools in most states.

1865

Denmark's Rasmus Malling-Hansen introduces the first commercial typewriter, the Hansen Writing Ball.

Malling-Hansen Society
1880

Alonzo Cross' patented "stylographic pen" holds its own ink.

1888

Irish immigrant John Robert Gregg invents a shorthand method that will eventually be taught in countless US high schools.

1894

With handwriting under threat by typewriters, Austin Palmer introduces a smaller, faster writing style, taught via militaristic "drills." His 1912 textbook on the Palmer Method sells more than 1 million copies. (Spen­cerian script is history.)

1904

French psychologist Alfred Binet popularizes handwriting analysis as a window into the writer's traits. He goes on to invent the IQ test.

1913

Congress greenlights the use of handwriting as forensic evidence in court.

1935
STF/AFP/Getty

The man convicted (and later executed) based on ransom notes for kidnapping the Lindbergh baby laments, "Dat handwriting is the worstest thing against me."

1944

László József Bíró markets the first ballpoint pen.

1958

The Bic ballpoint hits US stores, turning pens—once luxury goods—into a cheap commodity.

1961

The signature of US Treasurer Elizabeth Rudel Smith on paper currency invites public scorn: Her "t"s are "crossed belatedly, like a feminine afterthought," snarks a Chicago Tribune writer. The New York Times seizes on the occasion to bemoan the "lost art of handwriting."

c.1964

From a Louisiana poll test: "Write every other word in this first line and print every third word in same line (original type smaller and first line ended at comma) but capitalize the fifth word that you write."

1977

A pen makers' trade group launches National Handwriting Day even as PC makers including Apple and Commodore begin selling the computer keyboards that presage handwriting's slow, inevitable decline.

1984

The National Council of Teachers of English condemns the practice of making naughty kids write lines, because it "causes students to dislike an activity necessary to their intellectual development and career success."

Fox
1996

Researchers claim they've debunked the "conventional wisdom" that doctors have worse handwriting than other health professionals do.

2000

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles urges "handwriting-challenged" MDs to take a penmanship class, even as a key medical journal blasts handwritten case notes as "a dinosaur long overdue for extinction."

2001

First-class mail usage hits its peak—only to plummet 40 percent by 2015.

2010

Common Core standards, soon to be adopted by most states, emphasize early typing skills but make no mention of cursive. Parents and educators flip out. "They're not teaching cursive writing," conservative TV host Glenn Beck thunders, "because the easiest way to make somebody a slave is dumb them down."

2012

Scientists find that the brains of preliterate kids respond like a reader's brain when they write their ABCs, but not when they type or trace the letters; another research team reports that college students who transcribed lectures on their laptops recalled more information than those who took notes by hand.

2014

Bic launches a "Fight For Your Write" campaign—"because writing makes us all awesome!"

2016
Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama mandate instruction of handwriting in public schools. Without it, supporters argue, kids wouldn't be able to sign their names or read the Constitution. Over at Motherboard, Kaleigh Rogers counters that cursive needs to "join its former companion—the quill and inkwell—in the annals of history where it belongs."

Remember When Ted Cruz Loathed Donald Trump?

Mother Jones - September 23, 2016 - 7:16pm

Today Ted Cruz endorsed Donald Trump, putting the cherry on top of the Texas senator's complicated relationship with the Republican nominee—a relationship that's involved a lot of vitriol, name-calling, a sprinkle of admiration, but mostly hate. Thankfully, it's all captured on Twitter.

It began cordially enough. Cruz even called Trump "terrific."

I’m pleased to welcome @realDonaldTrump into the race for the 2016 GOP nomination for President of the United States https://t.co/T2ZWtAcwQ3

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 16, 2015

The Establishment's only hope: Trump & me in a cage match.

Sorry to disappoint -- @realDonaldTrump is terrific. #DealWithIt

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) December 11, 2015

But things soon got ugly.

Lying #Ted Cruz just (on election day) came out with a sneak and sleazy Robocall. He holds up the Bible but in fact is a true lowlife pol!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 20, 2016

.@realDonaldTrump, showing class & grace, calls me a "soft weak little baby." Hope he doesn't try to eat me! https://t.co/bv9ID4lEhF

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 24, 2016

Why would Texans vote for "liar" Ted Cruz when he was born in Canada, lived there for 4 years-and remained a Canadian citizen until recently

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 24, 2016

Falsely accusing someone of lying is itself a lie. And it's something @realDonaldTrump does daily. #GOPDebate

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 26, 2016

Then Trump got their wives involved...

"@Don_Vito_08: "A picture is worth a thousand words" @realDonaldTrump #LyingTed #NeverCruz @MELANIATRUMP pic.twitter.com/5bvVEwMVF8"

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 24, 2016

At which point, Cruz called Trump a "sniveling coward" and vowed to beat him.

Donald Trump’s consistently disgraceful behavior is beneath the office we are seeking and we are not going to follow https://t.co/BG9IHd1Oqg

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 25, 2016

Cruz called Trump a Democrat, compared him to Hillary Clinton, and called for him to release his tax returns.

The @realDonaldTrump is a Democrat and should not be our Party’s nominee: https://t.co/mBA1SgiEWx pic.twitter.com/oJFc7pDCv2

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 24, 2016

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton -- flip sides of the same coin.#ChooseCruz: https://t.co/NKVu9AtZb7https://t.co/AOtZQoV9Kz

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) April 30, 2016

Nominating Donald Trump would be a train wreck. It would be handing the White House over to Hillary Clinton. #GOPTownHall

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 30, 2016

I’ve released 9 years of tax returns. RT if you agree it’s time for Donald Trump to release his! https://t.co/08whtFVC0r

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) April 19, 2016

Even when Cruz dropped out of the race, he refused to endorse Trump at the Republican National Convention, urging people to vote their consciences.

To those listening, please don't stay home in November. If you love our country, stand and speak and vote your conscience #RNCinCLE

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 21, 2016

Today, Cruz argues that he's voting for Trump because Hillary Clinton is "manifestly unfit" to be president. "If Clinton wins, we know—with 100% certainty—that she would deliver on her left-wing promises, with devastating results for our country," he wrote in his announcement. 

Seems like only yesterday when Cruz tweeted:

Flexibility is a good thing, but you shouldn’t be flexible on core principles. #GOPDebate

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 14, 2016

Naureckas to AlterNet: ‘Treat Police Statements as Claims’

FAIR - September 23, 2016 - 5:37pm

Writing about the protests over the killing of Keith Lamont Scott by Charlotte, N.C., police, AlterNet‘s Sarah Lazare (9/22/16) quoted FAIR’s Jim Naureckas on the need to be skeptical about information coming from police:

As protests continue, Jim Naureckas, editor of Extra!, the magazine of Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting, told AlterNet that skepticism toward the police narrative on all counts is “definitely in order.”

“One of the major problems with reporting on police violence is the degree to which police statements are treated as the gold standard of information instead of being treated with the skepticism they deserve,” Naureckas said. “There’s the fog of war that happens in these situations, as well as deliberate deception. We’ve seen over the course of our focus on these issues that police do lie, they do create evidence to match a narrative that exonerates them. There is no reason to assume that’s definitely not happening, which is why you treat police statements as claims rather than as proof.”

NYT Promotes Protectionism in Guise of ‘Free Trade’

FAIR - September 23, 2016 - 4:21pm

The New York Times‘ depiction of Barack Obama promoting the TPP. (photo: Al Drago/NYT)

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has little to do with free trade. The trade barriers between the United States and the other countries are already very low, with few exceptions; in fact, the US already has trade deals with six of the 11 countries in the TPP. The TPP is primarily about installing a corporate-friendly structure of regulation, as well as increasing protectionist barriers in the form of stronger and longer patent and copyright and related protections. (It doesn’t matter if you and your friends like patent and copyright protection; they are still protectionism.)

President Obama is pulling out all the stops in pushing the TPP, and it seems the New York Times has decided to abandon journalistic principles to join this effort. It reported that people in the United States favored trade in a confused article (9/21/16), which randomly flipped back and forth between the terms “trade,” “trade agreements” and “free trade.” As everyone knows, except apparently the people who work for the New York Times, these are not the same thing.

It is hard to believe that many people in the United States would be opposed to trade. Imports and exports combined are more than a quarter of GDP. Many of the products we now import, like coffee, would either not be available at all, or extremely expensive without trade. It’s difficult to believe that many people in the United States would support autarky as an alternative to the current system.

If people are asked about “trade agreements,” it is not clear what they think they are referring to. The United States has been involved in hundreds of trade agreements over the last seven decades. These agreements hugely reduced trade barriers between the US and the rest of the world, leading to large increases in trade and large drops in price. Of course, most of these benefits accrued before 1980, but it seems unlikely that many of the people polled on the topic would have a clear idea of the costs and benefits of the trade deals negotiated since World War II.

When it comes to the TPP, there is very little by way of free trade promotion in this deal. As noted, most barriers between the member countries are already low. This is why the nonpartisan International Trade Commission (ITC) projected that the gains to GDP, when the effect of the deal is mostly felt in 2032, will be just over 0.2 percent of GDP. This is just over a month of normal economic growth.

This projection explicitly did not account for any of the losses associated with the increased protectionism in the TPP. (The ITC said the costs of the protectionism in the TPP would be difficult to estimate.) These costs are likely to be quite high, especially in the case of prescription drugs. The implicit tariffs from the protectionism in the TPP are enormous. For example, the price of a high-quality generic version of Sovaldi in India is $200 per treatment. The list price in the United State is $84,000. This is equivalent to a tariff of more than 40,000 percent.

While a full projection for the costs of the protectionism in the the TPP is not available, New Zealand’s government did provide an estimate of the cost to New Zealand of extending copyright duration from 50 years to 70 years, as required under the TPP. According to the government’s projection, the cost of this one narrow provision to New Zealand would be one-10th as large as all the gains to the United States projected by the ITC from the TPP.

Given that New Zealand already has a well-developed copyright system, this cost would be relatively minor compared to the costs to countries without well-developed systems, like Malaysia and Vietnam. Furthermore, the costs of longer copyright protection would almost certainly be trivial compared to cost of stronger and longer patent and related protections for prescription drugs and other products.

If the impact of these forms of protection are taken into account, the TPP is almost certainly, on net, a protectionist pact. It is unfortunate that the New York Times could not restrict its enthusiasm for the TPP to the opinion pages and instead decided to distort the facts to push the deal in its news section.

Economist Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC. A version of this post originally appeared on CEPR’s blog Beat the Press (9/21/16).

You can send a message to the New York Times at letters@nytimes.com, or write to public editor Liz Spayd at public@nytimes.com (Twitter:@NYTimes or @SpaydL). Please remember that respectful communication is the most effective.

Charges Dropped Against VICE News Reporter Arrested At Trump Event

VICE News - September 23, 2016 - 4:10pm

The Harris County District Attorney's Office dropped trespassing charges against VICE News reporter Alex Thompson on Friday, after he was arrested at an event held for Donald Trump at Houston's Omni Westside Hotel on September 17.

Thompson was arrested while inquiring about media access to an event held at the Omni by the Remembrance Project, a Houston-based non-profit that advocates for families with loved ones killed by undocumented immigrants. While Thompson was waiting for clarification about his press access from a Remembrance Project staffer, hotel management asked a VICE News film crew to leave the premises. Thompson stayed while waiting to confirm his press access, and was arrested quickly thereafter.

Thompson wasn't given an opportunity to explain himself to police, or to rebut the hotel manager's account after his arrest. Thompson was held for approximately 11 hours and then released on a $500 bond.

The Trump campaign issued a statement to VICE News saying they had nothing to do with Thompson's arrest.

Multiple calls and emails seeking comment from the Omni Westside Hotel were unanswered for three days, as were inquiries to Omni's corporate communications staff. Omni Hotel issued the following statement on September 20: "With the heightened security sensitivities surrounding candidates for national elected office, there are increased security protocols in place, which the Omni Houston Westside followed."

Follow VICE News on Twitter: @vicenews

Judge Upholds Arizona Ballot Collecting Ban, Raising Fears of Suppressed Minority Vote

Mother Jones - September 23, 2016 - 3:59pm

A federal judge denied a Democratic challenge on Friday to Arizona's ban on collecting other people's absentee ballots, a move that opponents of the ban fear will suppress the minority vote in the state in the upcoming November elections.

The Arizona Republic reported Friday that US District Court Judge Douglas Rayes ruled that the law didn't disproportionately impact minority groups. Although it could cause inconvenience for some voters, Rayes found, it didn't create a significant enough burden to warrant blocking its enforcement during this election. The legal fight over the constitutionality of the law will continue, but the law will not be blocked for the Nov. 8 general election.

The law, Arizona House Bill 2023, targets so-called "ballot harvesting." It makes it a felony, punishable by up to a year in state prison, for somebody to submit a ballot that isn't his or hers. Election officials, family members, and caregivers are exempt.

Arizona Republicans have tried for three years to block the ability of people to gather other voters' absentee ballots and submit them for counting. Republicans have argued that the practice would allow a person to take someone else's ballot and not turn it in, or to alter it in some way before turning it in, constituting a form of fraud. Arizona Democrats and community activists argued that the practice was common in areas of the state with a substantial minority population, including the Phoenix metro area, and that a ban would be a form of voter suppression. The bill was finally approved this year.

"Voting is a key pillar of our democracy," said Republican Gov. Doug Ducey when he signed the bill in March. "The bill ensures a chain of custody between the voter and the ballot box."

State Republicans acknowledged during court arguments in early August that there's no evidence that a ballot has ever been tampered with or thrown away during the process of ballot collection. But they argued that was irrelevant. "You need not wait until someone breaks into your house before putting a lock on the door," Arizona Republican Party attorney Sara Jane Agne said during court arguments.

Ted Cruz Endorses Trump After Calling Him a "Sniveling Coward"

Mother Jones - September 23, 2016 - 3:04pm

For months, Ted Cruz has refused to endorse Donald Trump, making Cruz a hero to some Republicans who remain opposed to Trump. But that ended on Friday when Cruz announced he would support his former rival.

"After many months of careful consideration, of prayer and searching my own conscience, I have decided that on Election Day, I will vote for the Republican nominee, Donald Trump," Cruz wrote in a Facebook post.

At the Republican National Convention in July, rather than endorse Trump, Cruz urged Republicans to "vote your conscience," drawing shouts and boos from the audience. On Friday, he said his own conscience told him to support Trump. "If Clinton wins, we know—with 100% certainty—that she would deliver on her left-wing promises, with devastating results for our country," he wrote. "My conscience tells me I must do whatever I can to stop that."

Cruz had some good reasons not to endorse Trump, stemming from the nasty primary battle between them. Trump has repeatedly attacked members of Cruz's family. In February, Trump went after Cruz's wife, Heidi, threatening in a tweet to "spill the beans" about her. Trump then retweeted an unflattering photo of Heidi next to a better one of his own wife, Melania.

Lyin' Ted Cruz just used a picture of Melania from a G.Q. shoot in his ad. Be careful, Lyin' Ted, or I will spill the beans on your wife!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 23, 2016

"@Don_Vito_08: "A picture is worth a thousand words" @realDonaldTrump #LyingTed #NeverCruz @MELANIATRUMP pic.twitter.com/5bvVEwMVF8"

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 24, 2016

Cruz's response: "Donald, you're a sniveling coward. Leave Heidi the hell alone."

But Trump wasn't done going after Cruz's family. Toward the end of the primary, Trump suggested that Cruz's father might have been involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. When Cruz refused to endorse Trump at the convention this summer, Trump promptly revived this accusation.

Cruz cited these attacks to defend his decision not to endorse Trump at the Republican National Convention in July. "I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father," he said at the time. Now his habits appear to have changed.

Intelligence Officials Are Looking Into a Trump Adviser's Possible Kremlin Ties

Mother Jones - September 23, 2016 - 2:51pm

US intelligence officials are looking into the Kremlin ties of a US businessman who is serving as a foreign policy adviser to Republican nominee Donald Trump, Yahoo News reported today. During briefings given to senior members of Congress about the possibility that the Russian government is trying to tamper with the presidential election, intelligence officials have discussed Trump adviser Carter Page, who runs an energy investment firm that specializes in Russia and Europe, according to the site.

Yahoo reports that members of Congress were told that Page may have had contact or set up meetings with high-level Kremlin officials and may have discussed the possibility of the United States lifting sanctions on Russia if Trump becomes president. An unnamed senior law enforcement official confirmed to Yahoo, "It's being looked at."

Trump told the Washington Post in March that Page, a former Merrill Lynch investment banker, was part of his foreign policy team. Page's role in the campaign has been described in various ways since, including as an informal adviser.

Page has a long history with Russia, and he is known for expressing sympathy for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Earlier this year, Page told Bloomberg News that he had lived in Moscow in the early 2000s for several years when he worked for Merrill Lynch, working closely with the state-owned Russian oil and gas company Gazprom. After leaving Merrill Lynch, Page started his own investment firm, and this firm has invested in Gazprom, which has been included on the list of Russian firms targeted for sanctions by the United States due to its close links to Putin. Page has been consistently critical of Western attempts to sanction Russian companies and officials over Putin's incursions into Ukraine.

In July, Page raised eyebrows by traveling to Russia to speak at an event for an organization with links to Putin's inner circle, where he took issue with US policy, declaring that Western countries "criticized these regions for continuing methods which were prevalent during the Cold War period...Yet ironically, Washington and other Western capitals have impeded potential progress through their often hypocritical focus on ideas such as democratization, inequality, corruption, and regime change."

A Trump campaign spokesman told Yahoo that Page has no role in the campaign but did not respond when asked why the campaign had earlier called Page an adviser.

A week with CNN's Corey Lewandowski

Columbia Journalism Review - September 23, 2016 - 2:32pm
Partisan hackery is a feature, not a bug, of many cable programs, and networks’ stables of on-air analysts are filled with thoroughbreds. CNN contributor Corey Lewandowski is not unique in that regard. What makes Donald Trump’s former campaign manager different from his counterparts on the split-screen is threefold: He has a non-disparagement agreement with his former boss; he will continue...

Pharma Reps Pitched Doctors on Addictive Painkillers by Spelling Out “OxyContin" in Doughnuts

Mother Jones - September 23, 2016 - 2:25pm

In the late '90s, sales reps from pharmaceutical giant Abbott Laboratories faced a conundrum: They wanted to sell the recently introduced painkiller OxyContin to an orthopedic surgeon, but the usual sales tactics weren't working. They visited the office a couple times, but got the cold shoulder. They pitched him on the drug over lunch‚ but he didn't seem interested.

When they learned the doctor had a weakness for sweets, they came up with a new plan: deliver a box of with donuts and other treats carefully arranged to spell out the word "OxyContin." The surprise gift won over the doctor, who began prescribing OxyContin. "We are pleased that we have such a sweet start in developing a relationship with this 'no-see' physician," the sales reps later wrote, "and we're looking forward to sweet success with OxyContin!"

  DV.load("https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3112903-Royal-Crusaders-Sales-Mailing.js", { width: 630, height: 500, sidebar: false, text: false, container: "#DV-viewer-3112903-Royal-Crusaders-Sales-Mailing" }); Royal-Crusaders-Sales-Mailing (PDF)
Royal-Crusaders-Sales-Mailing (Text)

The anecdote, which comes from the internal Abbott bulletin above, is part of a trove of recently unsealed court documents detailed in an investigation by health news site STAT. As the story explains, after Purdue Pharma introduced OxyContin in 1996, the company embarked on a massive sales campaign to convince doctors and patients alike on the benefits of treating pain with opioids. Since then, the opioid overdose rate has soared; many experts trace the origins of the epidemic back to Purdue Pharma's campaign. In 2007, the company and its executives paid a $600 million fine for misleading patients, doctors, and policymakers about the drug's addictive effects.

But the STAT investigation shows that Purdue was far from alone: Abbott Laboratories had signed on to a partnership with Purdue to promote OxyConton through a series of aggressive, often questionable sales tactics. Under the terms of the partnership, which started in 1996, at least 300 Abbott sales reps launched what they called a "crusade" to sell OxyContin. In return, Abbott received up to 30 percent of net sales. Critically, the deal specified that Abbott would be indemnified from legal costs involved in selling the drug—a move that would later save Abbott millions of dollars and lots of bad press. By 2006, Purdue Pharma claimed $400 in legal fees involving OxyContin. Meanwhile, Abbott had made $374 million in OxyContin commissions by 2002.

DV.load("https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3112903-Royal-Crusaders-Sales-Mailing.js", { width: 630, height: 500, sidebar: false, text: false, container: "#DV-viewer-3112903-Royal-Crusaders-Sales-Mailing" }); Royal-Crusaders-Sales-Mailing (PDF)
Royal-Crusaders-Sales-Mailing (Text)

In the "crusade" to sell OxyContin, Abbott sales reps were referred to as "crusaders" and "knights" and sales director Jerry Eichorn was called the "King of Pain." (Eichorn, who signed memos as "King," is now the national director of sales for Abbott spinoff AbbVie, which sells Vicodin.) Sales reps were instructed to highlight how the drug has "less abuse/addiction potential" than other painkillers; similar statements would later cost Purdue millions of dollars.

The court documents detailed all sorts of questionable sales strategies: Sales reps paid for take-out lunch at restaurants the doctors liked, giving their pitch in the few minutes it took to pick up the food—a move called the "Dine and Dash." They gave surgeons bookstore coupons, and pitched the drug while waiting to pay. Top-performing reps—like the doughnut arrangers—were rewarded with prizes, from travel coupons to lottery tickets.

As the internal Abbott bulletin would put it: "All hail the Knights of the Round Table in the Royal Court of OxyContin!"

This Newspaper Just Endorsed Its First Democrat for President in Almost a Century, Because Trump

Mother Jones - September 23, 2016 - 2:14pm

On Friday, the Cincinnati Enquirer endorsed Hillary Clinton, the first Democrat for president the paper has endorsed in almost 100 years.

"The Enquirer has supported Republicans for president for almost a century—a tradition this editorial board doesn't take lightly," the editorial board wrote. "But this is not a traditional race, and these are not traditional times. Our country needs calm, thoughtful leadership to deal with the challenges we face at home and abroad. We need a leader who will bring out the best in all Americans, not the worst."

With this unexpected endorsement, the Enquirer joins several other newspapers who, due to fears of a Trump presidency, have bucked years of tradition and chosen not to endorse the GOP nominee: Earlier this month, the Dallas Morning News endorsed Clinton, the first Democratic nominee for president they've endorsed in 75 years. The New Hampshire Union Leader endorsed libertarian Gary Johnson, after endorsing Republican candidates for a century.

The Enquirer's editorial outlines Hillary Clinton's "proven track record of governing," including her work fighting for women's rights, children's health coverage, LGBT equality, and to secure care for 9/11 first responders.

Of Trump, the editorial board points out that he has no history of governance—and rather than acknowledging his novice status, he purports to know more than the experts:

Trump is a clear and present danger to our country. He has no history of governance that should engender any confidence from voters. Trump has no foreign policy experience, and the fact that he doesn't recognize it—instead insisting that, "I know more about ISIS than the generals do"—is even more troubling. His wild threats to blow Iranian ships out of the water if they make rude gestures at U.S. ships is just the type of reckless, cowboy diplomacy Americans should fear from a Trump presidency.

The editorial board acknowledges their reservations about Clinton, including her lack of transparency, and it makes clear that any reservations they have about Clinton "pale in comparison to our fears about Trump." The board goes on to outline a host of other concerns about Trump: his insults about women, his offensive comments about Latino and African-American communities, his support of dictatorial leaders like Vladimir Putin and Saddam Hussein, his endorsements from white supremacist groups, and much more.

"Of late, Trump has toned down his divisive rhetoric, sticking to carefully constructed scripts and teleprompters," the Enquirer notes. "But going two weeks without saying something misogynistic, racist or xenophobic is hardly a qualification for the most important job in the world. Why should anyone believe that a Trump presidency would look markedly different from his offensive, erratic, stance-shifting presidential campaign?"

Friday Fundraising and Cat Blogging - 23 September 2016

Mother Jones - September 23, 2016 - 2:00pm

About a month ago, I wrote about our latest experiment in how we pay for MoJo's journalism—our first-ever attempt to ask our regular readers to sign up as sustaining donors with a tax-deductible gift that automatically renews every month. The day after our pledge drive went live, the Justice Department announced it would phase out private prison contracts in the wake of Shane Bauer's first-hand investigation into those facilities. In response to that amazing news 1,061 donors signed up, donating $11,792 in just the first nine days.

In the five weeks since then, our results slowed down—but we expected that. In fact, a big part of the experiment was not just learning if we could raise the money, but figuring out how could we do it. We hoped we could do it without blanketing the site with ads or bombarding your inboxes with panicky emails.

So far, so good on that front. You've probably seen a fundraising ad or two over the last few days, but we've managed to avoid the sensational emails. With a week to go, we're currently sitting around $21,500 raised from 1,785 donors—which is pretty generous when you consider that $21,000 each month turns into more than $250,000 a year from now. Still, our goal remains $30,000, and it's going to be a nail-biter whether we can make that next $8,500 before next Friday's deadline.

So here's hoping you'll help us get across the finish line and meet our $30,000 goal—which will turn into $360,000 by this time next year. You can do it by credit card here. If you prefer PayPal, you can give monthly here—just be sure to check the box next to your gift amount.

And now, without further ado, your reward in advance for contributing to Mother Jones: double catblogging. Enjoy!

It's Almost Impossible To Get An Abortion In Ireland — But That Could Change Soon

VICE News - September 23, 2016 - 1:55pm

Thousands of people are expected to gather in cities around the world on Saturday to protest in favor of abortion rights for Irish women. The protesters are expected not only in Dublin but in cities including New York, Toronto, London, Paris, Wellington, Sydney and even Phnom Penh in Cambodia, focused on the fact that Ireland has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world.

Indeed Irish law considers abortion a criminal act even in the case of rape, incest or a fatal fetal abnormality punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

For the first time since Dublin's March for Choice began in 2012, the campaign has taken on a global aspect, bringing with it renewed attention on Ireland's abortion laws which the UN this year called "cruel, inhuman and degrading."

Those organizing the campaign believe it is a basic question of human rights. "Women are still treated as second class citizens in their own country," Vanessa O'Sullivan who is helping organize the march in Dublin told VICE News. "They are still treated like infants when it comes to their healthcare. They are not trusted."

That however is just one view, with many in Ireland still holding strong pro-life opinions. "The fact that some countries bury their heads in the sand and won't face up to the facts of what abortion involves is not a reason for Ireland to join with these other countries and introduce a law that strips the unborn child of all protections," Cora Sherlock of the Pro Life Campaign told VICE News.

Ireland is in many ways a very modern country. Just last year, it became the first country in the world to approve same-sex marriage by a popular vote, winning admiration and acclaim across the globe.

However Ireland is still very much a country rooted in an era when the Catholic church dominated. Despite years of sexual abuse controversies, declining numbers, a shortfall in priests and an aging congregation, it still casts a huge shadow over the country, and nowhere is that more obvious than in relation to the abortion laws in this country.

According to Article 40.3.3 of the Irish Constitution known as the eighth amendment the state "acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right."

This effectively gives an embryo, from the moment of conception, the same rights as the woman carrying that embryo. This, according to those campaigning to change the law, "creates a discriminatory health system where a pregnant woman only has a qualified right to health care."

The result is that thousands of Irish women every year have to travel outside of the country most to the UK to have an abortion. The only situation where an abortion is legal in Ireland is when there is an immediate threat to the life of the mother.

While women have been campaigning to repeal the eighth amendment from the day the country voted it into law in 1983, this has gathered significant pace in the last couple of years, sparked by the tragic death in 2012 of Savita Halappanavar, an Indian woman who was refused an abortion by doctors in an Irish hospital even though she was suffering a miscarriage. She eventually died from blood poisoning.

This incident gave the repeal campaign a renewed push and as the campaign to change the law gathered pace, more women who have been forced out of the country to have an abortion are telling their stories. One of those women is Vanessa O'Sullivan, who one month before the first March for Choice in 2012, was raped.

"I had to leave and go to Britain on my own a few months later to have an abortion. For me it really is personal," O'Sullivan told VICE News. "It is something that I am forced to carry with me, and forced to relive, and I don't think my medical history or my medical choices should be a political football, but they are, and it is all down to the eighth amendment."

There is however another side to the story. In 2013 a woman who traveled to London from Dublin for an abortion at the Marie Stopes clinic died in a taxi just hours after having the operation. "That's just one example of many," Sherlock said. "People deserve to hear both sides of the story and unfortunately that is not happening."

Sherlock said there is a bias in the Irish media towards the pro-choice campaign, and that pro-life marches in Ireland in recent years have attracted up to 50,000 people but "the media interest was tiny compared to events organised by abortion advocates that drew much smaller crowds."

It is true that the Irish media appears to be giving more prominence to the repeal campaign in recent years, but that is likely as a result of public opinion swaying in favor of its call for a referendum on the amendment.

O'Sullivan works with the Abortion Rights Campaign which is organising the March for Choice in Dublin which is expected to attract up to 20,000 on Saturday, and the group is also coordinating with those organising events in cities around the globe.

In Portland, Oregon Fiona Gwozdz is organizing a picnic to help raise awareness of the issue. Gwozdz, who was born in Dublin and lived there for seven years in her 20s, worked with her friend Karen Twomey in Vancouver, to organise the global gathering out of a sense of frustration and anger.

"We were just so enraged that this was still happening and we were feeling very disconnected from the conversation at home. We felt it wasn't getting the attention it needs," Gwozdz told VICE News.

Gwozdz admitted she and Twomey felt embarrassed about the situation in Ireland, but they have used this to their advantage and "channelled that , we can't have any discussion until the 8th amendment is repealed," O'Sullivan said.

Here's One Look at How Charlotte Police Shot Keith Lamont Scott

Mother Jones - September 23, 2016 - 1:40pm

This video, from NBC News, may be one of the most depressing things you're ever likely to see. You have been warned.

BREAKING: Exclusive: Video shows fatal encounter between Charlotte Police officers and Keith Scott. https://t.co/gjgwRNbV4A pic.twitter.com/zvb61d9y8K

— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) September 23, 2016

Meet The Americans Who Voted Before The First Debate

VICE News - September 23, 2016 - 12:55pm

Election Day has arrived. At least in Minnesota.

There may be 46 days to go before Nov. 8, but on Friday Minnesota and neighboring South Dakota fired the starting pistol in one of the most contentious and transfixing presidential elections in American history.

The first in-person votes used to come in with great fanfare at midnight of Election Day in small New Hampshire towns. Now, Minnesotans and South Dakotans own the first-in-the-nation status, part of a expansion of early voting pushed by President Barack Obama after the 2012 election.

First in line Friday morning at the Hennepin County offices was Matthew Galloway, a 33-year-old "temporarily retired" Democrat sporting a lime green helmet covering a well-manicured manbun with an undercut. Trump is "divisive and a demagogue and his rhetoric is dangerous," Galloway says, explaining why he biked to the offices early Friday morning. He believes Hillary listens to others and her "policies seek to help people."

Before the doors opened at 8 a.m., 66-year-old criminal attorney Gwynn Rosen lined up behind Galloway and said she was "really excited to be one of the first women in the United States to be voting for a woman and that's Hillary." She was second in line instead of first only because she ran into former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak on her way to vote. When she told Rybak that she was aiming to be the first voter, he asked to take a selfie with her for Facebook.

In a real life example of Minnesota Nice, Galloway offered to let Rosen go ahead of him so she could be the first man or woman to vote for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. She gleefully accepted.

After casting her vote, Rosen strutted out in her black leather jacket, red hoodie, white Beats wireless headphones, and proudly stuck on a bright red "I voted" sticker. She told VICE News that she was proud to vote for Clinton and that Republican nominee "Donald Trump is a danger to the United States and everyone in it."

Minnesota is on the forefront of an Election Day reformation. In 1980, only 5 percent of votes were cast by mail or in person before election day. In 2012, over 25 percent did so and states like Minnesota have expanded early voting programs since then. Local officials in Hennepin County saw early voting totals rise 70 percent in the 2014 midterm elections and expect to receive the most early votes in the county's history over the next 46 days.

In total, 37 states and the District of Columbia have an early voting period before Election Day and 27 states and the District of Columbia allow any voter to request a mail-in ballot. North Carolina has already mailed out 53,000 ballots to voters. As a result, there will likely be more Americans voting early in 2016 than ever before.

The goal, advocates of early voting argue, is to remove barriers to the ballot box. Voter number three, Somali-American Abdisalan Isse, said so many days of early voting allowed him to take advantage of a rare day off as an airport cart driver to come vote for Clinton.

After dozens of reports of long lines and frustrated voters in the 2012 election, President Obama issued an executive order to establish the bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration. The commission singled out the expansion of early voting in its key recommendations to "improve the American voter's experience and promote confidence in the administration of U.S. elections."

The opponents of this voting revolution argue that a lot can change between now and election day. Clinton and Trump have yet to debate, "October Surprises" could still come, and voters should vote after the campaigns have concluded. In Minnesota, they have countered this argument by allowing voters to change their vote up to a week before November 8th.

A weeks-long Election Day has also transformed presidential campaigns. "You have to run a significantly different campaignin terms of timing, number of appearances, your paid spend," David Plouffe, manager of Obama's 2008 campaign and an informal adviser to Clinton's, told Bloomberg News last month. "For many people in the campaign that are in early-vote states you don't care about Election Day."

Some campaigns use the early voting period to turn out their most reliable supporters and bank as many votes as possible. Others focus on unreliable voters in the hopes that the convenience of early voting will get their ballots in.

In Minnesota, at least, Clinton's campaign is out-organizing the Trump campaign. Trump's state chair recently left for Colorado and the state GOP nearly missed placing Trump's name on the ballot. Even in this supposedly blue state, the Clinton campaign is hosting 34 early vote events this weekend with 500 people. Several calls and emails to the Minnesota GOP about their organizing activities were not returned but a recent RNC memo touting their "ground game" did not include any mention of Minnesota.

Minnesota has already started turning blue for Clinton. Next Thursday, the swing state of Iowa begins voting early. Elections have changed, but America will still need to wait until November 8th to discover the victor.

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