Tough Talk, Delusion And Realpolitik

Tough talk and delusionary braggadocio evidently play well with GOP “true believers,” but people who actually know something about diplomacy and international relations can tell the difference between actually accomplishing something and putting on a reality TV show.

In the wake of the hyped summit between Trump and “little rocket man,” the analysis from knowledgable folks of both parties has been pretty devastating.

The Nationalization Of Politics

Over at FiveThirtyEight.com, Dan Hopkins makes one of those observations that seems so obvious once you’ve read it…

Hopkins addresses one of the troubling features of today’s political reality: the nationalization of our politics. As he notes, the actions of state and local elected officials have an important and immediate effect on our lives–why, then, do Americans seem  fixated on Washington, D.C. almost to the exclusion of local politics?

Media Treat Trump Administration’s Partisan Fear-Mongering as Objective ‘Government’ Report

On Tuesday, dozens of media outlets broke what at first seemed to be a major story about “the government” announcing that Social Security and Medicare will be broke in less than 20 years:

Science is Taking a Backseat in Trump Policy Making

WASHINGTON — As President Trump prepares to meet Kim Jong-un of North Korea to negotiate denuclearization, a challenge that has bedeviled the world for years, he is doing so without the help of a White House science adviser or senior counselor trained in nuclear physics.

Chemical Industry Scores Big Win at the EPA

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration, after heavy lobbying by the chemical industry, is scaling back the way the federal government determines health and safety risks associated with the most dangerous chemicals on the market, 

Two New Studies Point to Ways that Gun Laws can Decrease Gun Homicides and Gun Suicides

While the Republican Party ruminates on the best ways to not do anything about gun violence while collecting big checks from “Second Amendment” groups like the NRA, other people are trying their hardest to prove that there are ways in which we can legislate more public safety.

With Literal Nazis Running for Office, NYT Suggests Candidate’s Israel Criticism Is Antisemitic

Eight overt white nationalists are running for office in 2018—a new record, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Overt fascists, inspired by the rise of President Donald Trump, have found a place both within and just outside the margins of the official Republican Party.

Slogan Voters--The Road to Political Masochism

[...] President Trump’s words and deeds have not changed the minds of 40 percent of people polled.  What else is going on here?
 
One answer is Slogan Voters.  I’ve spoken to  many people who are still for Trump despite all of his lies and misdeeds.  They don’t pay much attention to politics.  When they do, they reveal themselves as Slogan Voters.  They are content with Trump’s rhetoric and rarely look beneath the surface at the details.  That is, they are not bothered by being fact-deprived in political matters.
 

Alice–Updated, Slipping Further Behind

Regular readers of this blog have met ALICE before. ALICE is an acronym standing for “Asset limited, income constrained, employed.” That last word–employed–is important; it puts the lie to the widespread fiction that struggling Americans just need to work, or work harder.

The Association of United Ways issued the original ALICE report in 2014, updated it in 2016, and have now produced data for 2018. It isn’t pretty.

Gun Dealers Routinely go Unpunished for Illegal Sales

WASHINGTON — As they inspect the nation’s gun stores, federal investigators regularly find violations of the law, ranging from minor record-keeping errors to illegal sales of firearms. In the most serious cases, like a sale of a gun to a prohibited buyer, inspectors often recommend that gun dealers lose their licenses.But that rarely happens.

Israeli Sniper Kills 21-year old Palestinian Medic

In Gaza, thousands of Palestinians gathered Saturday for the funeral of 21-year-old medic Razan al-Najjar, who an Israeli sniper shot dead on Friday as she was helping evacuate wounded Palestinians at a protest near the separation fence between Israel and Gaza. The Israeli sniper shot her in the chest even though she was clearly wearing a medical vest and a medical ID at the time of her death.

Religion And Moral Authority

Americans face daily reports of truly outrageous (and often previously unimaginable) things this administration is doing. In our name.

11 Turbines Successfully Installed at Wind Farm Trump Tried to Block 

The world's most powerful wind turbines have been successfully installed at the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) off Aberdeen Bay in Scotland's North Sea.The final turbine was installed on Saturday just nine weeks after the first foundation for the 11-turbine offshore wind farm was deployed, 

NFL bans kneeling, meanwhile 378 black men have died

When former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem in August 2016, it was in protest of unjust police killings of black Americans.For his courage, Kaepernick lost his job, the NFL lost its mind by forbidding the peaceful action ― and meanwhile, at least 378 black Americans have lost their lives in police killings.That most recent estimate of black police violence victims comes from data compiled 

Democracy in Chains: The Weakening of a Public University

The Purdue University community first read on April 6, 2018 about a contract bid that the university and the Bechtel Corporation proposed to manage the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. The contract would be worth $22 billion over a decade, a huge boost to Purdue’s finances.  In an updated story on May 27 readers were reminded that the National Nuclear Security Administration could decide on whether the Purdue/Bechtel bid would prevail over other competitors by the end of May (Dave Bangert, “Is Purdue Ready to Run Los Alamos?” Journal and Courier.

Solarize Indiana

Friends, I am forwarding an attached letter that I received from 'Solarize Indiana'. As you can read from this letter, this is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to increasing the utilization of solar to offset carbon-energy in Indiana. The letter proficiently explains how they are developing teams throughout Indiana's local cities to achieve this goal. This seems to be a good way to build physical infrastructure toward solar, as well as instill the political-will to move Indiana's state government back to pro-renewable policies.

Hoosier Taxpayers Can Find Relief in New Tax Payment Plans

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Department of Revenue (DOR) has instituted new payment plan options to help ease the burden to Hoosier taxpayers. The new payment plan options became effective in early May and allow individuals to establish plans for a longer period of time without the previous requirement of a down payment equal to 20 percent of the outstanding liability.

Focus on Pruitt’s Scandals Obscures Environmental Degradation Under Trump

The climate change-denying head of the Environmental Protection Agency has been renting out a DC condo on the cheap from an energy lobbyist; installing a $43,000 soundproof booth for his telephone calls; passing out improper 

In the Public Interest: Audit the Outlaw Military Budget Draining America’s Necessities

Top military, diplomatic, and political leaders have exposed, warned of, and condemned our runaway, unaudited military budgets for decades, to no avail.  (For many examples, see America’s War Machine: Vested Interests, Endless Conflicts by James McCartney, with Molly Sinclair McCartney.)  They usually come to the same desperate conclusion: that only organized citizens back in their Congressional Districts can make Congress stop this spending spree. Only us, Americans!From 1953, when President Dwight D.

Impacts of the Privatization of Public Education

The political economy of public sector failure is wholly ignored when schools are declared failing and threatened with closure.

To Oppose the Slaughter, in Gaza, We Would do Well to Learn the History

Looking at the last third of the twentieth century, Canadian economist James Davies, in a study prepared by the World Institute for Development Economics Research, wrote “income inequality has been rising for the past 20 to 25 years and we think that is true for inequality in the distribution of wealth.” In 2000 the study showed that the top 1 percent of the world’s population accounted for 40 percent of its total net worth, with the bottom half owning 1.1 percent.

Could Ida B. Wells Have Exposed Lynching on Your Newsfeed?

If Ida B. Wells had depended on Facebook, would we ever have had a National Lynching Memorial?

Two stories collided in my head this week. One of which was the opening of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama—this country’s first major effort to confront the vast scope of the racial-terror lynchings that ravaged the black community under a pervasive, prevailing culture of white supremacy. It is the first because, until now, that same majority culture of white supremacy hasn’t wanted to look.

 

 

 

Trump Cancels NASA Greenhouse Gas Monitoring Program

More insanity from the Trump administration. Europe will now become the leader in international carbon monitoring. Phil Duffy, president of the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts, told Science, “we really shoot ourselves in the foot if we let other people develop the technology,”.

This comes less then a month after a Climate Change denier took over NASA.

The Dangers Of Know-Nothingness

I don’t know which is more maddening–the ignorance of the voters who were willing to turn the country over to a man who had no concept of domestic policy or world affairs and a clear disinclination to learn–or the hubris of an aggrieved con artist who fancies himself immensely more able than he is.

Trump is a walking manifestation of the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

Two journalists ask the US Government to remove them from the Kill List

First, I want to thank everyone who helped put pressure on Secretary Mattis as the deadline for his review of Guantánamo approached. I’ve spent the last two weeks with the detainees at Guantánamo and I know how grateful they are that people continue to care what happens to them. They, and we, are just asking for basic justice—charges and a fair trial or release. More to come when we finally get a response from Secretary Mattis. 

Wake Up to Trump, Distraction and War with Iran

In mid-May, super-war hawks Donald J. Trump (worried about the Mueller investigation), John Bolton, Trump’s new unconfirmed national security advisor, and new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, are likely to pull out of the Iran nuclear accord. This would open the way for Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his Congressional allies to push for armed conflict with Iran.

Why the CDC Won't Give You One Main Reason Why Mosquito-Borne Disease Is On the Rise

According to the Centers for Disease Control monthly report, vector-borne diseases have nearly tripled since 2004

By Nicole Karlis /  Salon May 2, 2018, 2:44 AM GMT

Mosquito and tick-borne diseases are on the rise in the United States. That’s according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who has issued its monthly Vital Signs report just in time for summer 2018.

Killing of second Palestinian journalist covering Gaza protests draws international condemnation - Mondoweiss (4/26/18)

A second Palestinian journalist has died after being shot by Israeli forces while covering the Gaza protests. Ahmad abu Hussein, 24, succumbed yesterday in an Israeli hospital, 12 days after he was shot in the stomach while wearing a Press flak jacket on April 13. By one report, Abu Hussein was shot by an expanding bullet, from hundreds of meters away. He was shot a week after journalist Yaser Murtaja was also shot in the torso by an Israeli sniper. Murtaja died early on the morning of April 7.

EMPIRE DECLINES: PROBABILITY OF WAR INCREASES: A Book Review

Alfred McCoy, In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power, Haymarket Books, 2017.

Rachel Bronson, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists wrote that “in 2017 we saw reckless language in the nuclear realm heat up already dangerous situations and re-learned that minimizing evidence-based assessments regarding climate and other global challenges does not lead to better public policies.”

The Lugar Center and Georgetown University’s McCourt School Unveil 2017 Bipartisan Index Rankings for Members of Congress

WASHINGTON, DC — The Lugar Center, led by former U.S. Senator Richard Lugar, and the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University yesterday jointly released their new Bipartisan Index (BPI) rankings of members of Congress for 2017.

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