Jeb Bush, “anchor babies,” and America’s deep legacy of anti–Asian American racism – Updated by Dara Lind on August 25, 2015, 3:30 p.m. ET

When Jeb Bush tried to justify his use of the term “anchor baby” by saying it referred to “Asians,” it got him heavily mocked. The mockery was only partly justified. Some people mocked Bush because they didn’t understand what he was actually saying — that the “real” anchor babies are children born in the US as part of the “birth tourism” industry, which mostly caters to China. Others mocked him because he wasn’t doing himself any favors by taking a term many people consider offensive on its own and applying it to a second group of people.

“Anchor baby” doesn’t actually have the same connotations when it’s transferred from Latinos to Asians, because the underlying stereotypes about each group are different. Unfortunately for Bush, however, talking about birth tourism and “anchor babies” plays into some long-established and very painful stereotypes about the inherent foreignness of Asian Americans.

The United States has often excluded Asians

When Donald Trump and others talk about “anchor babies,” they’re talking about Latinos — tying into a cluster of stereotypes that conflate Latinos, Mexicans, immigrants, and unauthorized immigrants, and that convince many of the anxious white Americans who make up Trump’s base that their culture is under threat from “illegals.” Bush claims he’s trying to back away from that argument, while still using a term that invokes it.

That cluster of stereotypes isn’t a problem for Asians and Asian Americans in the same way it is for Latinos. But by arguing that “anchor baby” ought to refer to Asians, Bush ended up backing into a different cluster of stereotypes: that Asian Americans are “foreign” and more closely tied to their “home countries” than they are to the United States.

One of the odd legacies of American immigration history is that while nativist fears have centered on immigrants from all sorts of regions — Ireland, Eastern Europe, the Middle East — Asian immigrants are the only ones the United States has ever told they can never become Americans. The first immigration restrictions in US history were the Asian Exclusion Acts of the late 1800s (inspired, in part, by a wave of racial violence against Asian immigrants), which prohibited all immigration from China — the only region from which immigration has been explicitly banned, rather than just limited.

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This Is How Many Plus-Size Models Appear In September Issue Fashion Editorials – Michelle Persad Tiara Chiaramonte

Sometimes it seems as though the fashion industry is more inclusive than ever before. In the past year, there’s been an increase in the number of mature models fronting ad campaigns and more people with disabilities on the runways of New York Fashion Week. Right now, eight black women are featured on September magazine covers.

But there are definitely major strides to be made.

We flipped through the September issue fashion editorials of seven major magazines — Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, W, Elle, Marie Claire, InStyle and Cosmopolitan — to see if we could find any plus-size models.

The results weren’t great.

Tiara Chiaramonte/HPMGShare on Pinterest

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average waist size for women aged 20 and over is 37.5 inches. Depending on which retail store you consult, this translates to a slightly different pant size, but all of them qualify as plus-size. (At Gap, a 37.5 inch waist is between a size 18 and a size 20, at Coldwater Creek it translates to roughly a size 16. At Lane Bryant, it’s about a size 18.)

So, if the average woman is plus-size, why are there zero plus-size models in these fashion editorials?

Yeah, we’re not really sure either.


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White House, GOP try to pick up the pieces on trade – By Cristina Marcos – 06/13/15 06:00 AM EDT

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House Republican leaders and the White House are trying to figure out how to rebound from a stunning Friday defeat on the House floor that has left President Obama’s trade agenda in limbo.

The dramatic loss capped a week of furious lobbying by President Obama and GOP leaders, who for once had found themselves on the same side when it came to fast-track trade authority.

They appeared to be on the verge of a major victory on fast-track — and indeed, the controversial measure allowing Obama to send trade deals to Congress for up-or-down votes was approved Friday in a separate 219-211 vote.

But because the House failed to approve a separate measure for workers displaced by trade deals known as Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), the entire package sunk.

The TAA bill failed in an overwhelming 126-302 vote after House Democrats decided opposing the workers assistance legislation was their best strategy for defeating fast-track, which is mostly opposed by the Democratic conference.

For some trade supporters, it felt as if defeat had been snatched from the jaws of victory, and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (Wis.) and other GOP leaders appeared visibly frustrated by the stunning events.


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Shares set for weekly gain as bonds stabilize – LONDON | BY LIONEL LAURENT | Fri May 15, 2015 6:15am EDT

Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) staff members work at the bourse at TSE in Tokyo October 16, 2014. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

Global shares were on track for a weekly rise on Friday, with Europe following Asia higher, as bond-market jitters eased after a rollercoaster unwind of bets linked to the European Central Bank’s stimulus plan.

European bond yields were down across the board and top shares were in positive territory, with the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 equity index up 0.4 percent, with traders pointing to a calmer end to the week after the Ascension Day holiday on Thursday and recent jumps in German yields.

The euro fell below $1.14 as the spike in yields stalled, but the single currency was still on track for its fifth straight week of gains.

Some cautioned against reading too much into the relative market calm, however, with Credit Suisse saying bond yields would keep rising in the longer term as improving economic data and expectations of higher inflation pushed more investors to move out of traditional safe-haven assets.

“We believe that bonds are entering a multi-year bear market,” Credit Suisse strategists wrote in a note to clients, adding they also had an “underweight” rating on high-yielding, bond-like equities.

The MSCI World equity index was up 0.2 percent, heading for a weekly gain of 0.7 percent and not far from an all-time high hit last month.

The health of the U.S. economy and direction of interest rates remained in focus, with more U.S. data due later in the session. The S&P 500 index closed at a record high on Thursday after economic data quashed bets that the U.S. Federal Reserve would raise interest rates sooner rather than later.

Asian shares were higher but China stocks slumped after the chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission said the watchdog’s recent move to accelerate approvals for initial public offerings won’t have a big impact on the market – which some interpreted as a signal IPO activity could be stepped up further.

Emerging market shares looked on track to snap their two week losing streak on Friday, clocking up some modest gains. The Bank of Korea held interest rates steady at a record low for a second consecutive month on Friday.

In commodities, oil prices were little changed on Friday but were set to end the week slightly higher, buoyed by a weaker dollar and forecasts for lower growth in U.S. crude output. London copper was set to close flat for a second week on Friday, not too far from 2015 highs.

(Additional reporting by Anirban Nag, John Geddie and Karin Strohecker; Editing by Dominic Evans)

Asia stocks surge, bond yields tumble on Fed caution – BY WAYNE COLE SYDNEY Thu Mar 19, 2015 1:36am EDT

A man (L) looks at a stock quotation board as passers-by walk past, outside a brokerage in Tokyo February 27, 2015.   REUTERS/Toru Hanai

A man (L) looks at a stock quotation board as passers-by walk past, outside a brokerage in Tokyo February 27, 2015. — Credit: Reuters/Toru Hanai

(Reuters) – Asian shares enjoyed their best session in 18 months on Thursday as investors priced in a later start and a slower pace for future U.S rate rises, slashing sovereign bond yields from Japan to Australia.

The shift in rate expectations hit the dollar hard at first, though the damage lessened as the session wore on. The formerly friendless euro had found itself as high as $1.10625 EUR= in wild trade on Wednesday, only to fade to $1.0767 in Asia.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS climbed 1.6 percent, its largest daily gain since September 2013. Australia’s main index .AXJO jumped 1.9 percent led by banks as markets wagered on lower domestic rates.

The only laggard was the Nikkei .N225 which slipped 0.2 percent in reaction to a firmer yen.

Short-term U.S. yields boasted their biggest drop in six years after the Federal Reserve trimmed forecasts for inflation and growth, and said unemployment could fall further than first thought without risking a spike in inflation.

The median projection for the Fed funds rate at the end of 2015 was cut to 0.625 percent, down half a point from December.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen also sounded uncomfortable with the strength of the dollar, saying it would be a “notable drag” on exports and a downward force on inflation.

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Why Elizabeth Warren is declaring war on an obscure trade policy – Updated by Danielle Kurtzleben on February 28, 2015, 12:30 p.m. ET

Populist crusader Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has picked her next big fight, and this one could create real problems for the Obama Administration.

The latest Elizabeth Warren cause: ISDS — the trade policy you had no idea was so important.

Her beef is with a piece of the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that the Obama Administration is promoting. It’s called investor-state dispute settlement, and it gives a foreign corporation the power to fight a government outside of the normal judicial system.

“The name may sound mild, but don’t be fooled,” Warren wrote in a Washington Post op-ed. “Agreeing to ISDS in this enormous new treaty would tilt the playing field in the United States further in favor of big multinational corporations. Worse, it would undermine U.S. sovereignty.”

This is a big deal, not least because TPP is huge; its members account for 40 percent of the world’s economy. Add in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership being negotiated with European countries — which also has investor-state dispute settlement provisions — and you have a majority of the global economy. That means the ISDS provisions in these trade agreements could affect a sizable share of the world’s corporations.

So even though this might sound like a political fight over a complicated bit of trade policy, the implications — particularly for corporations — are big.

What is ISDS?

Investor-state dispute settlement is a provision included in many trade deals, and it allows a company to fight a foreign government through a route other than that country’s court system.

As one example, let’s say Company X is invested in a foreign country. If the laws in that country change in a way that Company X thinks violates its rights as part of a treaty — say, by banning a product Company X makes — Company X can go into an arbitration proceeding to seek damages. That proceeding is not run by the host country; rather, the case faces three arbitrators — one picked by each side and one they either agree upon or that an independent third party chooses.

ISDS was first used in 1959, in a trade agreement between Germany and Pakistan, according to the Economist. The broad idea is to protect the investor from unfair treatment by foreign countries’ court systems. Since then, it has become an incredibly common feature of trade agreements — ISDS is a feature of more than 3,000 trade agreements worldwide, and the US is party to around 50 of them, according to a White House blog post posted on Thursday.

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Tiger Skins And Rhino Horns: Can A Trade Deal Halt The Trafficking? – Jackie Northam JANUARY 28, 2015 3:23 AM ET

If you want a sobering look at the scale of wildlife trafficking, just visit the National Eagle and Wildlife Repository on the outskirts of Denver. In the middle of a national reserve is a cavernous warehouse stuffed with the remains of 1.5 million animals, whole and in parts.

Coleen Schaefer (left) and Doni Sprague display a tiger pelt that was confiscated and is being stored at the National Eagle and Wildlife repository on the outskirts of Denver. Some 1.5 million items are being held at the facility. The Asia-Pacific Trade Pact, which is still under negotiation, would punish wildlife trafficking. – Jackie Northam/NPR

They range from taxidermied polar bears to tiny sea horses turned into key chains. An area devoted to elephants is framed by a pair of enormous tusks.

“You can see right there those are elephant feet,” says Coleen Schaefer, who heads the repository. “People either make those into trash cans or foot stools.”

In 2013, more than 20,000 elephants were slaughtered, and last year the repository crushed 6 tons of confiscated ivory.

Some poached wildlife is used for fashion or medicine. Schaefer says some of the animals serve as trophies.

“This is probably the saddest item we have,” she says. “This is a tiger fetus that was carved out of its mother and then stuffed and placed on a shelf.”

Looking around this enormous warehouse, you get a sense of how difficult it is to curb wildlife trafficking. Row after row, shelf after shelf, there are heads and the skins of cheetahs, leopards, jaguars, lions and tigers.

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