The World Doesn’t Trust Putin – But, They Trust Trump Even Less

❝ Russian President Vladimir Putin inspires little confidence when it comes to handling world affairs, a Pew Research Center survey showed. But he still outshines his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump.

“Although confidence in Putin’s handling of foreign affairs is generally low, in many countries he is more trusted than American President Donald Trump,” Pew wrote in a survey focused on Russia’s power and influence. Pew is a Washington-based non-partisan research group.

❝ A median 60 percent of people in 37 countries, including the U.S., said they lack confidence in the Russian leader’s actions in world affairs, versus 26 percent who said he’s doing a good job. Pew didn’t provide matching statistics for Trump in a survey focused on Russia, but of the 36 countries canvassed on who they trust more, 22, including Germany, France and Japan, trust Putin more than Trump, according to the pollster’s 2017 spring survey.

❝ The survey was conducted Feb. 16 to May 8, before Trump set global markets on edge in August by tweeting threats to rain “fire and fury” on North Korea should the hermit regime threaten U.S. territory with any of its intercontinental ballistic missiles. It also preceded Trump’s decision to sign a bill deepening sanctions against Russia over Ukraine. The Kremlin retaliated by ordering the U.S. to slash staff at its diplomatic missions.

Now that Trump voters have had time to watch their 1-percenter superhero in action I’m forced to continue to rely on the Mencken analysis of decision-making by American consumers, e.g., “You’ll never go broke underestimating the intelligence of Americans.”

Believing Trump’s blatant lies, ignorance and bigotry would somehow change things for the better for folks who work for a living in America requires a qualitative leap in gullibility. Even in a land brainwashed by decades of advertising about, say, cigarettes “without a cough in a carload”.

No Grandstanding — Confederate monuments removed from Baltimore overnight

❝ Confederate statues in Baltimore were removed from their bases overnight by city contractors, who used heavy machinery to load them onto flat bed trucks and haul them away — an abrupt end to more than a year of indecision on what to do with the memorials.

Mayor Catherine Pugh, who made the decision Tuesday morning to remove the monuments overnight, watched in person as the four statues linked to the Confederacy were torn from their pedestals.

…The mayor said. “There was enough grandstanding, enough speeches being made. Get it done.”

❝ The Baltimore City Council had unanimously passed a resolution this week calling for their removal amid a renewed national conversation following a deadly terrorist attack by a white supremacist at a rally in Charlottesville, Va. on Saturday…

❝ Protesters, who held a rally at the Robert E. Lee-“Stonewall” Jackson Monument at Wyman Park Dell near Johns Hopkins University Sunday, had pledged to tear down that statue themselves Wednesday night if the city didn’t…

“It’s done,” Pugh said Wednesday morning. “They needed to come down. My concern is for the safety and security of our people. We moved as quickly as we could…I did not want to endanger people in my own city.”

❝ The city is still deciding what to do with the removed statues, Pugh said, and she did not reveal where they had been taken in the meantime.

The only “polite” suggestion I can come up with is to melt them down, roll the lumps into sheet metal, stamp out commemorative coins for everyone from the brave soldiers who fought against Confederate separatists – and the traitors who led them – to modern-day civil rights leaders and activists.

State of the Climate – Give yourself a update in climate knowledge

❝ An international, peer-reviewed publication released each summer, the State of the Climate is the authoritative annual summary of the global climate published as a supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

❝ The report, compiled by NOAA’s Center for Weather and Climate at the National Centers for Environmental Information is based on contributions from scientists from around the world. It provides a detailed update on global climate indicators, notable weather events, and other data collected by environmental monitoring stations and instruments located on land, water, ice, and in space.

❝ This is the twenty-seventh issuance of the annual assessment now known as State of the Climate [large .pdf]. Surface temperature and carbon dioxide concentration, two of the more publicly recognized indicators of global-scale climate change, set new highs during 2016, as did several surface and near-surface indicators and essential climate variables. Notably, the increase in CO2 concentration was the largest in the nearly six-decade observational record.

No jokes about light reading. Reports designed for peer review are heavy on scientific citations. But, I still feel good about the research I went through at the turn of the Millennium with documents published by the Max Planck Institute as they worked their way towards a definitive response to discussions about climate change.

Here’s a chance to keep up with one of the best American-based global sources.