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Hillary’s Pragmatic, Capable, and Competent. So Why Doesn't America Trust Her?

Ian Bremmer calls Hillary Clinton a "moneyball" candidate for president.

Ian Bremmer: Hillary Clinton given her secretary of state record has a very significant foreign policy record that we can actually look at. And I’d say as secretary of state she comes down fairly strongly as a moneyball America candidate. I mean really focusing without sentimentality on where America gets value for investment. It’s not about values. It’s not about promoting democracy in the free market globally. It’s about focusing on those issues and those areas where the United States by investing, by spending resources, by committing people can really move the needle for America. She talks about the pivot to Asia, economic state craft. She was the principal architect of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. She did not want to get bogged down by the Middle East. She focused not at all on Israel-Palestine unlike her successor John Kerry. She, in Libya, she was reluctant to get involved militarily and only supported it when it was a relatively pinpoint series of military engagements with no American casualties during the military offensive. And no plans for state building or nation building afterwards. Then she launched the reset with Russia, which was really intended so that the Americans wouldn’t have to focus so much on the country that used to be our principle protagonist. Now some of those things worked. Some of those didn’t work and some of those we’re going to wait and see. But the fact was that as a strategy Hillary really did articulate moneyball. I remember when she even said on China, you know, it’s really hard to criticize your banker on human rights. That is a classic moneyball statement, right. It’s like hey, you know, we’d like to talk to China about human rights, but it’s not really realistic. They’re too big.

They hold all this cash. We can’t really push them that much. Very pragmatic. Interestingly, Hillary the candidate, you know is a little bit different. She’s tried to back away from the Iran deal. She’s back away from the risk-aversion on Syria. She’s backed away from the Russia reset. And she hasn’t even said that she supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which to me is a little ludicrous. Clearly she’s doing that for political reasons, not for policy reasons. It’s disappointing. I can’t say it’s surprising. Most people that run for president, if they’re credible, are inherently political and do things that disappoint us all as human beings. I wouldn’t necessarily only say that that’s Hillary. It’s certainly found on the Republican side too. She does more of it than many. She’s a Clinton. But she’s also a very effective politician. I guess what’s interesting is that so far, of course, since she’s declared her candidacy over a month ago we’ve actually heard very little from Hillary. She’s not taking many questions. Again also a perfectly good strategy. If there’s no one credible running against you on the Democratic side, why would you want to tip your hand until you know who you think you’re going to run against on the Republican side and then shape your message accordingly to best be able to beat up on that person. It makes sense politically; doesn’t inspire as a leader, right. So I think the real point on Hillary is we know she’s competent. We know she’s quite capable. We actually know she’s got a lot of foreign policy experience. We don’t really trust her. And also something a little aside, but I think it’s interesting. I think as a people I think that Americans — I think we have a harder time with women being inauthentic than we do with men. I think like Bill Clinton, you know, if he were to pull off the same stuff we’d be like ah, it’s just Bill. So what. But I mean with Hillary we’re like wait a second. I think there’s a double standard here. I think it hurts her a little bit and we haven’t quite gotten through it. So I mean for all those reasons kind of interesting, but still very early days and I wouldn’t dare to make any projections on the presidential race on the basis of what we’ve seen from Hillary so far.

Ian Bremmer calls Hillary Clinton a "moneyball America" candidate for president, meaning she advocates for a pragmatic, unemotional set of policies. Take China, for example. As secretary of state, Clinton knew she couldn't attack China for human rights abuses because you don't talk bad about your banker. Her goal was to protect American value, not enforce American values. Although she hasn't exhibited this attitude much on the campaign trail, Americans should be aware this is the exact sort of Hillary to expect in the White House.

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Two-thirds of parents say technology makes parenting harder

Parental anxieties stem from the complex relationship between technology, child development, and the internet's trove of unseemly content.

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  • Today's parents believe parenting is harder now than 20 years ago.
  • A Pew Research Center survey found this belief stems from the new challenges and worries brought by technology.
  • With some schools going remote next year, many parents will need to adjust expectations and re-learn that measured screen usage won't harm their children.

Parents and guardians have always endured a tough road. They are the providers of an entire human being's subsistence. They keep that person feed, clothed, and bathe; They help them learn and invest in their enrichment and experiences; They also help them navigate social life in their early years, and they do all this with limited time and resources, while simultaneously balancing their own lives and careers.

Add to that a barrage of advice and reminders that they can always spend more money, dedicate more time, or flat-out do better, and it's no wonder that psychologists worry about parental burnout.

But is parenting harder today than it was, say, 20 years ago? The Pew Research Center asked more than 3,600 parents this question, and a majority (66 percent) believe the answer is yes. While some classic complaints made the list—a lack of discipline, a disrespectful generation, and the changing moral landscape—the most common reason cited was the impact of digital technology and social media.

A mixed response to technology

children using desktop computer

Parents worry that their children spend too much time in front of screens while also recognizing technologies educational benefits.

(Photo: Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

This parental concern stems not only from the ubiquity of screens in children's lives, but the well-publicized relationship between screen time and child development. Headlines abound citing the pernicious effects screen time has on cognitive and language development. Professional organizations, such as the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, issue warnings that too much screen time can lead to sleep problems, lower grades, weight problems, mood problems, poor self-image, and the fear of missing out—to name a few!

According to Pew's research, parents—which Pew defines as an adult or guardian with at least one child under their care, though they may also have adult children—have taken these warnings to heart. While 84 percent of those surveyed are confident they know how much screen time is appropriate, 71 percent worry their child spends too much time in front of screens.

To counter this worry, most parents take the measured approach of setting limits on the length of time children can access screens. Others limit which technologies children have access to. A majority of parents (71 percent) view smartphones as potentially harmful to children. They believe the devices impair learning effective social skills, developing healthy friendships, or being creative. As a result, about the same percentage of parents believe children should be at least 12 years old before owning a smartphone or using social media.

But a deeper concern than screen time seems to be what content those screens can access. An overwhelming 98 percent of those surveyed say parents and guardians shouldered the responsibility of protecting children from inappropriate online content. Far less put the responsibility on tech companies (78 percent) or the government (65 percent).

Parents of young children say they check the websites and apps their children use and set parental controls to restrict access. A minority of parents admit to looking at call and text records, tracking their child's location with GPS, or following their child on social media.

Yet, parents also recognize the value of digital technology or, at least, have acquiesced to its omnipresence. The poster child for this dichotomy is YouTube, with its one billion hours played daily, many before children's eyes. Seventy-three percent of parents with young children are concerned that their child will encounter inappropriate content on the platform, and 46 percent say they already have. Yet, 80 percent still let their children watch videos, many letting them do so daily. Some reasons cited are that they can learn new things or be exposed to different cultures. The number one cited reason, however, is to keep children entertained.

For the Pew Research Center's complete report, check out "Parenting Children in the Age of Screens."

Screens, parents, and pandemics

Perhaps most troubling, Pew's survey was conducted in early March. That's before novel coronavirus spread wildly across the United States. Before shelter-in-place laws. Before schools shuttered their doors. Before desperate parents, who suddenly found themselves their child's only social and educational outlet, needed a digital lifeline to help them cope.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led many parents to rely on e-learning platforms and YouTube to supplement their children's education—or just let the kids enjoy their umpteenth viewing of "Moana" so they can eke out a bit more work. With that increase in screen time comes a corresponding increase in guilt, anxiety, and frustration.

But are these concerns overblown?

As Jenny Radesky, M.D., a pediatrician and expert on children and the media at the University of Michigan's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, told the New York Times, parents don't always need to view screen time as a negative. "Even the phrase 'screen time' itself is problematic. It reduces the debate to a black and white issue, when the reality is much more nuanced," Radesky said.

Radesky helped the American Academy of Pediatrics craft its statement about screen time use during the pandemic. While the AAP urges parents to preserve offline experiences and maintain limits, the organization acknowledges that children's media use will, by necessity, increase. To make it a supportive experience, the statement recommends parents make a plan with their children, be selective of the quality of media, and use social media to maintain connections together. It also encourages parents to adjust their expectations and notice their own technology use.

"We are trying to prevent parents from feeling like they are not meeting some sort of standard," Radesky said. "There is no science behind this right now. If you are looking for specific time limits, then I would say: Don't be on it all day."

This is good advice for parents, now and after the pandemic. While studies show that excessive screen time is deleterious, others show no harm from measured, metered use. For every fear that screens make our kids stupid, there's a study showing the kids are all right. If we maintain realistic standards and learn to weigh quality and quantity within those standards, maybe parenting in the digital age won't seem so darn difficult.

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