Why Are Republicans Rushing This Tax Scam?


Al Drago for the NY TIMES

❝ So, it seems that Republicans are responding to the devastating defeat in Alabama – which is part of a sustained pattern of underperformance in special elections, demonstrating that bad polls reflect reality, not bad polling, by … doubling down on a massively unpopular tax plan, whose main focus is on cutting corporate taxes.

In fact, they’re rushing to jam the thing through before Doug Jones can be certified, in a stunning act of hypocrisy from the same people who demanded that Obamacare wait until Scott Brown was seated and held up a Supreme Court seat for a year. It’s outrageous. But it also looks like really bad politics, especially given what we know is coming: calls next year for cuts in popular social programs, because of a deficit Republicans just voted to explode. So what are they thinking?

❝ I don’t know for sure, but I’d suggest three possible factors in this mad rush.

❝ First…Today’s Republicans are apparatchiks, who have spent their whole lives inside an intellectual bubble in which cutting taxes on corporations and the rich is always objective #1…that the whole game was to win by playing on social issues, national security, and above all on racial antagonism, then use the win to push fundamentally unpopular economic policies…

❝ Second…The idea is that voters are impressed by your record of wins, or conversely that they’ll turn away if you don’t win enough.

Trumpublicans repeat that stupidity all day long.

❝ Third – “I guess I’ll be looking for a lobbying job/ think tank position/commentator role on Fox News in 2019” – in which case your mission in what remains of your Congressional career is to keep donors and the party machine happy, never mind the voters.

Which is what public service in a 2-party system made up mostly of corporate pimps ends up offering to voters.

Time for Democrat leaders to learn to say more than “Thank You”


Up and voting before dawn

❝ It’s not an accident that Doug Jones was so popular among black voters. He prosecuted two Ku Klux Klan members for the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham that killed four black girls in 1963. Mr. Jones also campaigned with quality black surrogates, like the former basketball player Charles Barkley, Senator Cory Booker, the former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, Representative John Lewis and Representative Terri Sewell, Alabama’s only congressional Democrat. Mr. Obama even recorded a robocall for him. Mr. Jones visited black churches and historically black colleges, and focused much of his get-out-the-vote effort on black voters…

❝ Mr. Jones’s victory should wake up the Democratic Party. Black people made up 13 percent of Democratic voters in 1992, but that figure rose to 23 percent by 2014. Yet a majority of them think the party takes them for granted and doesn’t even try to win their votes, according to a 2017 survey. We are drowning in reports on how Democrats can win the white working class. But blacks are the ones who have a much more robust history of turning out to vote and winning elections for Democrats.

Nationally, I couldn’t agree more with this premise. Most places I’ve lived and worked throughout this nation, incumbent Democrats work hardest at joining whatever is the Old Guard…who, in turn, work hardest at absorbing insurgent candidates into that cadre which generally gets campaign funding in equal measure to Republicans. The closest either wing of America’s bourgeois democracy gets to classless. They both are led by and funded by the same class.

They have a tough time trying to fold the independence and courage of America’s Black Liberation soldiers into the Democratic Party. Outside of joiners willing to submit to any epoch’s white middle-class analysis. Whatever that pallid imitation of a platform may be that year. Include independent Hispanic thinkers into that army and you must recognize it takes politicians truly blinded by their self-importance to ignore the point of the spear that can puncture the stinking gasbag entity that is today’s Republican Party.

At last, a documented decrease in sales of antibiotics for animals

❝ This week the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released new data on the amount of antibiotics sold for use in food animals. It showed that the sale of these drugs declined 14 percent overall from 2015-16, the first decrease since these data were initially reported in 2009. The report also marks the first time that animal drug companies have broken down sales estimates by the major types of food animals—pigs, cows, chickens, and turkeys—setting a baseline for species-specific sales information in the years to come.

The report is an important step toward filling knowledge gaps about antibiotics sold for use in food animals, and it begins to shed light on the different antibiotic use patterns across these species. For example, 80 percent of cephalosporins purchased were estimated to be used in cattle, and among penicillins, 63 percent of antibiotic sales were estimated to be used in turkeys. Understanding which drugs are prescribed primarily in which species can offer insight into antibiotic use patterns in the different animal species, and going forward this information will help identify areas for targeted interventions and prioritized research funding on issues such as nonantibiotic alternatives.

RTFA. A step forward which need not be accompanied by the usual following two steps backwards. Difficult enough in administrations committed to average amounts of sophistry. In the epoch of our Fake President and his daily schedule of lies – even greater rigor is required to defend this positive gain.

Autocorrect nightmare: cannibalism instead of cannabis

❝ Canada is one step closer to the accidental legalization of cannibalism after the House of Commons passed a typo-ridden Bill C-45, formerly known as The Cannabis Act.

“I think no one wanted to be the one to point out the error,” MP Sara Anderson said. “We all thought someone else would do it, and then they called the vote, and here we are, all voting to legalize cannibalism.”

Har!

Thanks, Corn

Sugar industry hid evidence of negative health effects nearly 50 years ago

❝ A U.S. sugar industry trade group appears to have pulled the plug on a study that was producing animal evidence linking sucrose to disease nearly 50 years ago…

Researchers Cristin Kearns, Dorie Apollonio and Stanton Glantz from the University of California at San Francisco reviewed internal sugar industry documents and discovered that the Sugar Research Foundation funded animal research to evaluate sucrose’s effects on cardiovascular health. When the evidence seemed to indicate that sucrose might be associated with heart disease and bladder cancer…they found the foundation terminated the project without publishing the results…

❝ The results suggest that the current debate on the relative effects of sugar vs. starch may be rooted in more than 60 years of industry manipulation of science. Last year, the Sugar Association criticized a mouse study suggesting a link between sugar and increased tumor growth and metastasis, saying that “no credible link between ingested sugars and cancer has been established.”

Sugar can be part of a natural diet, one reflective of the gradual evolution of Homo sapiens. Want to get back to that situation? You’ll have to battle against the brainwashing you’ve been subjected to by decades of adverts on radio and TV, in movies – and, now, on the interwebitubes [thanks, Dave].

Nothing new about profiting from induced addiction.

US-based climate scientists to take their research to France

It is a dream come true for U.S.-based climate scientists — the offer of all-expenses-paid life in France to advance their research in Europe instead of in the United States under climate skeptic President Donald Trump, two of the winners say.

American scientist Camille Parmesan and British scientist Benjamin Sanderson are among the 18 initial winners, including 13 based in the U.S., of French President Emmanuel Macron’s “Make Our Planet Great Again” climate grants…

A scientist from the University of Texas at Austin, Parmesan is a leader in the field on how climate affects wildlife. She lived for a few years in Britain for family reasons and was considering returning to the U.S. until Trump’s election.

“He very, very rapidly has been actively trying to erode science in the U.S.A. and in particular climate science,” she said. “And it’s hard for two reasons: Funding is becoming almost impossible, and in a psychological sense.”

Parmesan answered with enthusiasm Macron’s appeal for climate researchers to come work in France, minutes after Trump’s rejection of the Paris climate accord. “It gave me such a psychological boost, it was so good to have that kind of support, to have the head of state saying I value what you do,” she said.

One positive result of commercial and economic globalization is the spread of technology, the role science and skills play in building healthier, more economically sound worldwide commerce. Now, every time some dolt like George W Bush or his successor at stupid, our Fake President Trump, wins the ignoranus election special – that becomes an opportunity for some other nation with an educated outlook to entice our best and brightest to move their studies and research to their land.

The diaspora of modern humans across Eurasia — update and revision


Migration routes — Click to enlarge

❝ Most people are now familiar with the traditional “Out of Africa” model: modern humans evolved in Africa and then dispersed across Asia and reached Australia in a single wave about 60,000 years ago. However, technological advances in DNA analysis and other fossil identification techniques, as well as an emphasis on multidisciplinary research, are revising this story. Recent discoveries show that humans left Africa multiple times prior to 60,000 years ago, and that they interbred with other hominins in many locations across Eurasia.

A review of recent research on dispersals by early modern humans from Africa to Asia by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and the University of Hawai’i at Manoa confirms that the traditional view of a single dispersal of anatomically modern humans out of Africa around 60,000 years ago can no longer be seen as the full story. The analysis, published in the journal Science, reviews the plethora of new discoveries being reported from Asia over the past decade, which were made possible by technological advances and interdisciplinary collaborations, and shows that Homo sapiens reached distant parts of the Asian continent, as well as Near Oceania, much earlier than previously thought. Additionally, evidence that modern humans interbred with other hominins already present in Asia, such as Neanderthals and Denisovans, complicates the evolutionary history of our species.

The Max Planck Institute is the gold standard for research into the evolutionary biology of homo sapiens. When original discussions stretched around the world at the turn of the 21st Century, debate and discussion took over a great deal of public and non-institutional dialogue on the latest discussions of evolution. Scuence readers and writers as well as core researchers were all involved.

I spent about 2 years getting my head around the results of the first DNA analysis providing deeper genetic and chronological analysis previously impossible. While spirited debate was often the order of the day – well above the perpetual attempts to educate superstitious folk stuck into biblical fiction – I have rarely so enjoyed the weekly expansion of knowledge rolling out the doors of the Max Planck Institute like tides changing the face of the intellectual Earth after an Ice Age.

Oh, yeah. Between 3 and 4% of my overall DNA is Neanderthal. Never was one of those straight-up white guys. 🙂