Suggestions for Posts?

If you’d like to suggest an article you think should be posted for view and/or discussion – just add a comment below including the url. The editors are always willing to consider suggestions from our readers that don’t involve self-immolation.

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76 thoughts on “Suggestions for Posts?

  1. Perseverance furthers says:

    (Wall Street Daily April 2016) “China will build a major transcontinental cargo rail service that’ll eventually connect every province and key city in China with every major country in Europe with important trading posts in between.
    Europe is China’s largest trading partner, with a third of Chinese goods exported throughout the continent. Trade volume between China and the EU is valued at more than $600 billion per year. This sum is expected to top $1 trillion by 2020.
    …Predictions have China using the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in order to fund at least part of this strategic rail project. The AIIB is already busy funding parts of the new Silk Road in Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan.
    China’s new Silk Road is smart diplomacy. The route will span over 65 countries and 4.4 billion people – that’s a huge amount of potential buyers and shippers that would be able to utilize the railway. By funding and building crucial infrastructure throughout the Silk Road, China will be generating not only the business but the goodwill of its neighbors on the Eurasian landmass.
    Plus, it will keep its industries and labor force busy during construction.
    It’s a bit reminiscent of the Marshall Plan in which the United States helped to rebuild Europe after World War II, generating decades of goodwill. If only the U.S. could take a page from China’s new Silk Road and revitalize our nation’s railway industry, perhaps we could enjoy cheaper, efficient international trade with our neighbor, as well.
    Wishful thinking.” https://www.wallstreetdaily.com/2016/04/21/china-europe-silk-road-railway/
    “The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) was launched in Beijing in October 2014. It received the highest credit ratings from the three biggest rating agencies in the world, and is seen as a potential rival to the World Bank and IMF.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asian_Infrastructure_Investment_Bank

  2. Cassandra says:

    For nearly 40 years, the massive computer models used to simulate global climate have delivered a fairly consistent picture of how fast human carbon emissions might warm the world. But a host of global climate models developed for the United Nations’s next major assessment of global warming, due in 2021, are now showing a puzzling but undeniable trend. They are running hotter than they have in the past. Soon the world could be, too.
    In earlier models, doubling atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) over preindustrial levels led models to predict somewhere between 2°C and 4.5°C of warming once the planet came into balance. But in at least eight of the next-generation models, produced by leading centers in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and France, that “equilibrium climate sensitivity” has come in at 5°C or warmer. Modelers are struggling to identify which of their refinements explain this heightened sensitivity before the next assessment from the United Nations’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But the trend “is definitely real. There’s no question,” says Reto Knutti, a climate scientist at ETH Zurich in Switzerland. “Is that realistic or not? At this point, we don’t know.” https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/04/new-climate-models-predict-warming-surge

  3. 9/10 of the law says:

    “Red River” (1948) directed and produced by Howard Hawks and starring John Wayne and Montgomery Clift, giving a fictional account of the first cattle drive from Texas to Kansas along the Chisholm Trail. (clip “Don Diego’s land’) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBPrLU4Zspo

    Tom Dunson (John Wayne): Tell Don Diego, tell him that all the land north of that river’s mine. Tell him to stay off of it.
    Mexican (Paul Fierro): Oh, but the land is his.
    Dunson: Where did he get it?
    Mexican: Oh many years ago by grant and patent, inscribed by the King of all of Spain.
    Dunson: You mean he took it away from whomever was here before. Indians maybe.
    Mexican: Maybe so.
    Dunson: Well, I’m takin’ it away from him.
    Mexican: Others have thought as you, senor. Others have tried.
    Dunson: And you’ve always been good enough to stop ’em?
    Mexican: Amigo, it is my work.
    Dunson: Pretty unhealthy job.

  4. Algorithmic Warfare says:

    ● Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (5/8/19) “Training AI to Win a Dogfight” https://www.darpa.mil/news-events/2019-05-08
    ● The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is moving ahead with its Air Combat Evolution (ACE) programme to develop manned/unmanned air-to-air combat capabilities, with an industry day announced on 6 May. (5/7/19) https://www.janes.com/article/88329/darpa-to-brief-industry-on-ace-manned-unmanned-dogfighting-programme “…The ‘Proposers Day’, which is to be held on 17 May, will inform industry on the ACE programme and promote additional discussion on the topic, which is geared at developing the technologies needed for the pilot of a manned aircraft to dogfight against adversaries by using unmanned ‘loyal wingmen’.”
    ● The ‘Loyal Wingman’ XQ-58A Valkyrie demonstrator, a long-range, high subsonic unmanned air vehicle, completed its inaugural flight March 5, 2019 at Yuma Proving Grounds, Arizona. The Air Force Research Laboratory partnered with Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems to develop the XQ-58A. (US Air Force video) https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=QrJmG1g4mFI
    ● “Skyborg program seeks industry input for artificial intelligence initiative” (USAF 4/27/19) https://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1796930/skyborg-program-seeks-industry-input-for-artificial-intelligence-initiative/ [not to be confused with the unmanned FL-18 SkyBorg rotorcraft]
    ● Re: project MAVEN see https://dodcio.defense.gov/Portals/0/Documents/Project%20Maven%20DSD%20Memo%2020170425.pdf

  5. Thanks for your service™️ says:

    Immigrants serving in the U.S. military are being denied citizenship at a higher rate than foreign-born civilians, according to new government data that has revealed the impact of stricter Trump administration immigration policies on service members. https://www.mcclatchydc.com/latest-news/article230269884.html According to the same data, the actual number of service members even applying for U.S. citizenship has also plummeted since President Donald Trump took office, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reported in its quarterly naturalization statistics.

  6. K says:

    “In recent weeks, immigration advocates have been seeking the public’s help in pushing for the release of Abdikadir Mohamed, a United States legal permanent resident from Somalia. Mohamed has been detained since December 2017 as a result of President Trump’s executive order most popularly known as the Muslim ban.” https://blavity.com/why-the-no-ban-act-is-critical-not-just-for-american-muslims-but-for-all-of-us “According to the “Bring Abdi Home!” petition created by Families for Freedom, Mohamed was on his way home to reunite with his wife and children in Ohio after passing immigration inspection and being properly admitted into the country at JFK airport. Despite this, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents approached him and subsequently interrogated him for 15 hours without an interpreter. Since then, Mohamed has been held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The petition goes on to note that while in ICE custody, Mohamed has contracted tuberculosis, yet has been denied proper medical care.” https://campaigns.organizefor.org/petitions/bring-abdi-home-freeabdi

  7. Hey, Rube! says:

    “Leonard Leo’s behind-the-scenes campaign to remake the nation’s courts” (Washington Post 5/21/19) https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/investigations/leonard-leo-federalists-society-courts/?utm_term=.d27a9ad115e3 “Few people outside government have more influence over judicial appointments than Leonard Leo, an unofficial adviser to President Trump who has helped conservative nonprofits raise $250 million from mostly undisclosed donors to promote conservative judges and causes.
    …The story of Leo’s rise offers an inside look into the modern machinery of political persuasion. It shows how undisclosed interests outside of government are harnessing the nation’s nonprofit system to influence judicial appointments that will shape the nation for decades.”

    “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.” Edward L. Bernays, “Propaganda” (1928),

  8. Vecino says:

    Mexico is the United State’s third largest largest trading partner [each thousand million is a billion]

  9. Flyboys says:

    “The Cold Blue” (HBO) Premieres June 6th see listings @ https://www.hbo.com/documentaries/the-cold-blue Directed by Erik Nelson (Dreams with Sharp Teeth, A Gray State), The Cold Blue takes an inside look at the daily life of men of the Eighth Air Force, who flew mission after deadly mission in World War II. The film features newly restored 4K footage and outtakes, shot by director William Wyler (Oscar winner for The Best Years of Our Lives, Ben-Hur and Mrs. Miniver) for his 1944 documentary The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress.
    In 1943, William Wyler, one of Hollywood’s most renowned and versatile directors, went to Europe to document the air war in progress. Wyler and his crew flew actual combat missions on B-17s, during which one of his cinematographers was killed. Incredibly, all of the raw color footage Wyler shot for The Memphis Belle was recently discovered in the vaults of the National Archives. After a frame-by-frame restoration, Nelson has constructed a compelling new film out of the material.
    A meditation on youth, war and trauma, the film is a tribute to one of the world’s great filmmakers and the men of the Eighth Air Force. In recent interviews, nine of the few surviving Eighth Air Force veterans recall the harrowing experiences that Wyler and his cameramen captured in the summer of 1943.

  10. Entropy says:

    “The Right’s Grifter Problem” By Jim Geraghty is the senior political correspondent of National Review. https://www.nationalreview.com/the-morning-jolt/the-real-problem-conservatism-faces-today/ “What has grassroots donor money going to scam PACs cost the conservative cause? Perhaps GOP control of the U.S. House of Representatives, and now at least two years of Trump’s presidency will be spent on defense instead of attempting to turn conservative policy ideas into federal law.”
    See also ‘The Cruelty Is the Point’ By David French https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/the-cruelty-is-the-point/ The National Review, a magazine which some have called the “bible of American conservatism,” was founded by author William F. Buckley, Jr. in 1955.
    “Is American conservatism dead?” By Shermichael Singleton (3/15/19) https://thehill.com/opinion/campaign/434216-is-american-conservatism-dead

  11. Death sentence says:

    White House blocked intelligence agency’s written testimony saying climate change could be ‘possibly catastrophic’ https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/white-house-blocked-intelligence-agencys-written-testimony-saying-human-caused-climate-change-could-be-possibly-catastrophic/ar-AACysAa (see also Washington Post https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2019/06/08/white-house-blocked-intelligence-aides-written-testimony-saying-human-caused-climate-change-could-be-possibly-catastrophic/?utm_term=.863b79481fd9&wpisrc=nl_most&wpmm=1 )
    “White House officials barred a State Department intelligence agency from submitting written testimony this week to the House Intelligence Committee warning that human-caused climate change could be “possibly catastrophic.” The move came after State officials refused to excise the document’s references to federal scientific findings on climate change.”
    [see document at https://int.nyt.com/data/documenthelper/1103-rod-schoonover-testimony/9ea6b07179b17035421f/optimized/full.pdf#page=1 ]
    “The effort to edit, and ultimately suppress, the prepared testimony by the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research comes as the Trump administration is debating how best to challenge the fact that burning fossil fuels is warming the planet and could pose serious risks unless the world makes deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade. Senior military and intelligence officials have continued to warn climate change could undermine America’s national security — a position President Trump rejects.
    Officials from the White House’s Office of Legislative Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, and National Security Council all raised objections to parts of the testimony that Rod Schoonover, who works in the Office of the Geographer and Global Issues, prepared to present on the bureau’s behalf for a hearing Wednesday.
    The document lays out in stark detail the implications of what the administration faces in light of rising carbon emissions that the world has not curbed.
    “Absent extensive mitigating factors or events, we see few plausible future scenarios where significant — possibly catastrophic — harm does not arise from the compounded effects of climate change,” the document said.”

  12. Profit of Doom says:

    (6/6/19): 17 automakers sent the White House a letter asking the Trump Administration to put the brakes on a fuel economy rollback, according to the New York Times. https://arstechnica.com/cars/2019/06/17-automakers-ask-trump-to-hold-off-on-fuel-economy-rollback/ Automakers including Ford, General Motors, Toyota, and Volvo reportedly asked the Trump Administration to go back to the negotiating table with California and a dozen other states following California’s lead in imposing fuel economy standards that were agreed upon during the Obama Administration. See also NYT “Automakers Tell Trump His Pollution Rules Could Mean ‘Untenable’ Instability and Lower Profits” https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/06/climate/trump-auto-emissions-rollback-letter.html and “California sues Trump’s EPA to see data that informed fuel economy rollback : EPA has ignored CA’s Freedom of Information Act Request for too long, state says.” (4/8/19) https://arstechnica.com/cars/2019/04/california-sues-trumps-epa-to-see-data-that-informed-fuel-economy-rollback/

  13. Hey, Rube! says:

    “NRA money flowed to board members amid allegedly lavish spending by top officials and vendors” (Washington Post) https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/nra-money-flowed-to-board-members-amid-allegedly-lavish-spending-by-top-officials-and-vendors/2019/06/09/3eafe160-8186-11e9-9a67-a687ca99fb3d_story.html?utm_term=.681e6983653f
    “In 25 years of working in this field, I have never seen a pattern like this,” said Douglas Varley, a Washington attorney at Caplin & Drysdale who specializes in tax-exempt organizations and reviewed the NRA’s federal and state filings from 2016 through 2018 for The Washington Post. “The volume of transactions with insiders and affiliates of insiders is really astonishing.”
    Varley said he did not see any apparent violations of the law, and noted that the NRA, for the most part, appeared to have properly disclosed the payments.
    “But the pattern raises a threshold question of who the organization is serving,” he said. “Is it being run for the benefit of the gun owners in the country and the public? Or is it being run as a business generating enterprise for officers and employees of the organization?”
    Also: According to a new report, the NRA is paying lawyers $100,000 each day to fight the multitude of lawsuits the organization faces. https://www.thedailybeast.com/leaked-documents-nra-racked-up-dollar24-million-in-legal-bills-3 The leaked supporting documents come from former NRA President, Oliver North. In one memo, “North wrote that the NRA was being billed nearly $100,000 a day. North then pleaded for an audit of their payments to outside attorney Bill Brewer.”

    • Stick-up says:

      Inside the NRA’s finances: Deepening debt, increased spending on legal fees — and cuts to gun training (Washington Post 6/14/19) https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/inside-the-nras-finances-deepening-debt-increased-spending-on-legal-fees–and-cuts-to-gun-training/2019/06/14/ac9dc488-8e30-11e9-b08e-cfd89bd36d4e_story.html?utm_term=.f080ed6c1d55 “The National Rifle Association spent growing sums on overhead in 2018 even as it cut money for core activities such as gun training and political efforts, ending the year deeper in debt, new financial documents show.
      The gun rights group’s 2018 financial report, which was obtained by The Washington Post, portrays the longtime political powerhouse as spending faster than its revenue rose.
      The records show that the NRA froze its pension plan for employees at the end of last year, a move that saved it close to $13 million, and obtained a $28 million line of credit by borrowing against its Virginia headquarters. Despite that, the nonprofit group, four affiliated charities and its political committee together ended the year $10.8 million in the red. In 2017, the six groups ended the year with a $1.1 million shortfall.
      NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam declined to address the group’s financial trends but said the annual report shows the organization making “financial and administrative decisions that work in the best interests of its members.”
      “In the last three years, the NRA has raised more than a billion dollars, played an important role in getting President Trump elected and continued to successfully defend the freedoms of gun owners everywhere,” he said. “That is the true measure of the organization.”

  14. Chinese Hoax® says:

    “U.S. Hurricane Season Is Unnecessarily Dangerous : President Trump’s $19 billion relief bill continues a pattern of after-the-fact repairs. (Bloomberg 6/11/19) https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-06-11/u-s-hurricane-season-is-unnecessarily-dangerous
    “Forecasters are expecting this year’s North Atlantic hurricane season to be roughly average, with about 14 named storms including six full-fledged hurricanes. Last week, the government finally dealt with the fallout from 2018, enacting a $19.1 billion relief package to help U.S. towns and cities still recovering from last year’s natural disasters. Even before that, 2018 had already drawn more emergency funding than any year since 2005, the costliest year on record.
    The U.S. is more vulnerable to economic damage from natural disasters than any other nation, according to a recent analysis of global data. For reasons that include its size and location as well as local real-estate development policies, it ranks first among developed countries for the number of lives adversely affected by destructive events. With two long ocean coastlines and a propensity for tornadoes, Americans face more, and more expensive, disasters.

  15. Vecino says:

    Mexico: Environmental Activist Assassinated http://www.borderlandbeat.com/2019/06/tabasco-chiapas-environmental-activist.html#more “The renowned environmentalist in Tabasco, José Luis Álvarez Flores, accused the federal authorities of the National Water Commission (Conagua) and the Federal Office of Environmental Protection (Profepa) two weeks ago of “overlapping” the banks of illegal sand extraction in the Usumacinta river region, refuge for the Saragossa monkeys in danger of extinction.
    According to data from the United Nations (UN) and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), in the first four months of 2019 there were 10 murders of activists and human rights defenders, of which 8 were indigenous.
    This figure represents a significant increase in violence against this sector, since in all of 2018, 13 cases were documented.”

  16. 러닝 간섭 says:

    DPRK News Service [“Official News feed of Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea”] @DPRK_News 12 June, 2019: “UPDATE PREVIOUS ITEM: Any Norwegian attempts to interfere with DPRK elections will be met a response so savage, US Republican Party Members will offer Thoughts and Prayers.”
    Previous item (12h): “Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un does not rely on interference from hostile governments to win elections, but by the gravitas of ideas and charisma.”

  17. Antebellum says:

    Counties in the West with “constitutionalist” sheriffs are 50 percent more likely to see violence against federal employees than other counties, even when controlling for other factors, according to a new study. It also found that levels of political violence have been higher in years following the passage of land-transfer legislation in state legislatures. https://www.sltrib.com/news/2019/06/12/gehrke-how-actions-utahs/
    See also “Contentious Federalism: Sheriffs, State Legislatures, and Political Violence in the American West” https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11109-019-09553-w and interactive map at https://www.hcn.org/issues/46.18/incidents-map

  18. Burn baby, burn says:

    A 48% increase in U.S. flaring stems almost entirely from expanding oil production in North Dakota and Texas, according to the Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership, which is managed by the World Bank. http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2019/06/12/increased-shale-oil-production-and-political-conflict-contribute-to-increase-in-global-gas-flaring
    Flaring — the burning of natural gas that arises as a byproduct from oil production — releases climate-warming carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and typically occurs as a result of infrastructure, technology or economic barriers to using the material as a valued fuel.
    The Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership developed its flaring estimates together with NOAA and the Colorado School of Mines, based on satellite-based sensors.
    The partnership estimates that 145 billion cubic meters of natural gas was flared last year, equivalent to the total annual gas consumption of Central and South America.
    For the second year in a row, the data shows the U.S. as the fourth-largest source of natural gas flaring in the world, following Russia, Iraq and Iran.
    Natural gas was the fastest-growing energy source last year —accounting for 45% of all such growth — with most regions and many industries turning to the fuel as a cleaner alternative to coal and oil, according to an International Energy Agency report released Friday. It’s set to keep growing in the coming years. https://www.iea.org/newsroom/news/2019/june/demand-from-asia-is-set-to-power-the-growth-of-the-global-gas-industry-over-the-n.html

  19. Cassandra says:

    “The Pentagon is defying Donald Trump to protect its bases from climate change” (6/5/19) https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-06-05/how-the-pentagon-is-adapting-to-climate-change-in-the-trump-era/11089134
    “Not all bases factoring extreme weather, climate change into planning, GAO says” (6/13/19) https://inmilitary.com/not-all-bases-factoring-extreme-weather-climate-change-into-planning-gao-says/ After several bases suffered devastating effects from extreme weather last year, a government report released Wednesday found that the military has not consistently assessed weather risks or incorporated climate change projections into its construction projects.
    The Government Accountability Office conducted the study between April 2018 to June 2019 to assess the Defense Department’s progress in developing ways to incorporate the potential for damaging weather into the design of facility projects. The Defense Department has said that climate change is a national security issue and a threat to their operations and installations, according to the report. The study looked at DOD documents and examined 23 bases that had one or more climate vulnerabilities.
    Highlights of GAO-19-453, “CLIMATE RESILIENCE : DOD Needs to Assess Risk and Provide Guidance on Use of Climate Projections in Installation Master Plans and Facilities Designs” (June 2019) https://www.gao.gov/assets/700/699679.pdf ]
    “These Are the US Military Bases Most Threatened by Climate Change” (6/12/19) https://www.defenseone.com/threats/2019/06/these-are-us-military-bases-most-threatened-climate-change/157689/ After a five-month delay, U.S. lawmakers can finally see which military bases are most threatened by climate change — information that arrived just ahead of a Congressional finding that the Defense Department has little idea how to prepare for these threats.
    …the investigators found that Defense Department higher-ups had not provided base commanders and planners with “key information—such as how to use climate change projections—to help ensure that efficient and consistent actions would be taken across installations.”
    The new examination follows similar reports from 2014 and 2017 [links]. In those studies, the GAO “recommended that DOD further clarify the planning actions that should be taken in installation master plans to account for climate change…However, as of January 2019, DOD had not fully implemented this recommendation,” they write.
    Scroll down for the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps’ individual threat assessments.

  20. BOGUS SCOTUS says:

    Conservative activist Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, is launching yet another project to wage war on multiple fronts of America’s most heated cultural and political debates. This time, however, her plan will include a project to “protect President Trump” using at least two new campaign-related political entities, according to a presentation obtained by The Intercept and Documented. Thomas unveiled the venture in a closed meeting of GOP lawmakers, donors and Christian-right leaders last month, seeming to make reference to the movement disarray and electoral losses suffered by conservatives in the Trump era — and the gains made by left-wing groups and politicians. The project is focused on political campaigns—slated to do business under the name “American D-Day”— and will be set up by Cleta Mitchell, a well-known Republican campaign finance lawyer and partner at the law firm Foley & Lardner. D-Day will include a 501(c)(4) arm that can solicit undisclosed donations and a separate PAC registered with the Federal Elections Commission.

  21. Wag the dog says:

    “As the Trump administration continues with its hawkish talk on Iran, we need to look at how that story is being crafted and by whom: Heshmat Alavi was once cited by the White House as a credible commentator on Iran. Shame he doesn’t exist.
    It turns out he is a fictional persona reportedly created by the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), a shadowy group opposed to the Iranian government and supported by Washington.
    Then there is the Iran Disinformation Project funded entirely by the American taxpayer, ostensibly to counter Iranian propaganda, it trolls and sometimes smears Iranian-American commentators and journalists online.
    And the government in Tehran is no innocent player in all this. It also tries to engineer what gets said and read online.” https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/listeningpost/2019/06/iran-debates-fake-writers-state-funded-trolling-190615074719872.html
    Why does the U.S. need trolls to make its Iran case? (Washington Post) https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/06/11/why-does-us-need-trolls-make-its-iran-case/?utm_term=.27f86e891145
    “An Iranian Activist Wrote Dozens of Articles for Right-Wing Outlets. But Is He a Real Person?” https://theintercept.com/2019/06/09/heshmat-alavi-fake-iran-mek/
    “Last week, several astute Iran watchers drew attention to a series of inflammatory tweets associated with the Iran Disinformation Project [ https://irandisinfo.org/ ], a State Department-funded initiative that its website claims “brings to light disinformation emanating from the Islamic Republic of Iran via official rhetoric, state propaganda outlets, social media manipulation and more.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/06/04/state-department-has-been-funding-trolls-im-one-their-targets/?utm_term=.28249021390e
    “Former diplomat: Trump administration used funds to threaten activists : The US State Department suspended funding to a program after reporters began asking questions regarding its online trolls who were targeting journalists. (CNN 6/17/19) https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2019/06/17/reality-check-iran-disinformation-project-trolls-rezaian-john-avlon-newday-vpx.cnn

  22. Genesis 1:26 says:

    “Tourists” caught in US with endangered fish bladders worth $3.7 million https://qz.com/1646387/smugglers-caught-with-3-7-million-of-endangered-totoaba-bladders/ China’s appetite for totoaba swim bladders, also called maw, is the principal cause of the near-extinction of the vaquita, the world’s smallest porpoise. When fishermen catch totoaba using gillnets, which were banned by Mexico in 2017, the vaquita, which share the totoaba’s habitat, often get taken as by-catch.
    According to Cynthia Smith, executive director of the National Marine Mammal Foundation, the vaquita is the world’s most endangered marine mammal. Today, researchers believe fewer than 30 vaquita remain in the world. Some estimate the number as low as 12.
    “If we do not stop the illegal trade in totoaba right now and eliminate that as a threat to the vaquita, they will go extinct,” Smith said. “It is the one most important things we can do to prevent their extinction.”
    In “The Future of Life” (2002), Edward Osborne Wilson of Harvard calculated that, if the current rate of human disruption of the biosphere continues, one-half of Earth’s higher lifeforms will be extinct by 2100.

  23. Puzzling Evidence™️ says:

    ‘Late Night’ and the Decline of Comedy at the Box Office: Is Netflix Really to Blame? (Hollywood Reporter (6/18/19) https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/comedy-box-office-dwindles-but-is-netflix-blame-1219121 “The last year comedies made more than $2 billion domestically was 2011. In 2009, they earned $2.5 billion, with six making more than $100 million domestically. But by 2015, comedy grosses were down to $1.4 billion, with four titles making more than $100 million. And last year, comedies earned only $1 billion, with a single release crossing the $100 million mark, Crazy Rich Asians. (This excludes hybrids such as action comedies and comedy-dramas.)”
    “Suicide Is Becoming America’s Latest Epidemic : Suicide rates in the US have skyrocketed as both income inequality and the percent of uninsured adults continue to grow.” (The Nation 6/18/19) https://www.thenation.com/article/suicide-rate-americas-latest-epidemic/
    According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention US suicide rates are the highest they’ve been since World War II https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/suicide/

  24. HAR says:

    It’s a truth universally acknowledged, that an angry fan online must be in search of a website to launch a mostly useless petition. A recent protest from a Christian group asking Netflix to remove Good Omens from its library is a perfect example — except that Good Omens isn’t part of Netflix’s library, because it’s an Amazon show. https://www.theverge.com/2019/6/20/18693159/good-omens-petition-amazon-netflix-neil-gaiman
    The petition was first reported by The Guardian, which discovered that a Christian organization known as the Return to Order campaign launched the petition on its website asking Netflix to remove the series, which is an adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s beloved satirical novel from 1990 about the apocalypse. The petition argued the show was another flagrant attempt to “make satanism appear normal, light and acceptable,” adding “this type of video makes light of Truth, Error, Good and Evil, and destroys the barriers of horror that society still has for the devil.”
    The petition collected more than 20,000 signatures at the time of The Guardian’s report, but seems to have since been removed. That’s likely due to the petition’s founders discovering that Netflix doesn’t have any say over whether Amazon decides to take down the show from its site.

    • Rue, Britannia says:

      The foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, is set to go head-to-head against Boris Johnson, the gaffe-prone former mayor of London (pictured above), in the final round of the fight to become Britain’s next prime minister. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/06/boris-hunt-britain-leadership-fight-reaches-final-190620162440491.html Boris, as he is widely known in Britain, is a “hard Brexiteer”, having first made his name as a Europe correspondent. Sacked by The Times for making up a quote, he became Brussels columnist for the Conservative-leaning Daily Telegraph, where he became “one of the greatest exponents of fake journalism”, according to former EU external affairs commissioner Chris Patten.
      He has also used outright bigotry in his writing, using the words “piccaninnies” with “watermelon smiles” when referring to Africans. He has referred to gay men as “tank-topped bumboys” and insinuated that United States President Barack Obama had an “ancestral dislike” for Britain due to his being “part-Kenyan”. He said the Libyan coastal town of Sirte could be a world-class tourist destination once they “clear the dead bodies away”. See links

  25. As if says:

    The Pentagon could save more than $1.2 trillion with a number of tweaks to its spending plan for the next decade, including canceling the creation of a Space Force and nuclear weapons projects, according to a report by the Center for International Policy.
    The report, “Sustainable Defense: More Security, Less Spending,” offers new strategies that challenge the National Defense Strategy by encouraging more diplomacy (specifically in regard to the Iran nuclear deal) and less military confrontation to cut costs. It also says the NDS “exaggerate[s] the challenges posed by major powers” like China and Russia.
    The report offers Congress several solutions to reduce Defense Department spending in the short term, including restricting overseas contingency operations funds, cutting the Pentagon’s private contractor workforce by 15 percent, blocking plans for the Space Force, avoiding placing weapons in space and rolling back the nuclear modernization plan. Capitol Hill is in the middle of a funding debate over fiscal 2020 military spending.
    The Defense Department’s top-line budget hit $691 billion in FY10 and generally decreased until FY16, when the budget saw an increase and continued since, reaching $686 billion in FY19. The White House has proposed a $750 billion budget for FY20. https://www.defensenews.com/pentagon/2019/06/19/how-the-pentagon-can-save-over-12-trillion/

  26. Hmmm says:

    “How in times of trouble animals also stand together” https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-06/uob-hit061819.php “Faced with potential violence from rival factions, dwarf mongoose groupmates pull together and behave more co-operatively, according to new research by University of Bristol researchers published today [Wednesday 19 June].
    Conflict between rival groups is common throughout the animal world, from ants to chimpanzees, but its consequences have been little studied. Using field experiments on a wild population of dwarf mongooses, the new study, published in Behavioral Ecology, shows that the threat of conflict with outsiders can cause changes in a range of within-group behaviors.
    …The new work suggests that if we are to understand the importance of warfare on societies, we must consider threats as well as actual fights. Additionally, we need to investigate not just actions on the battleground but the knock-on consequences too.
    Dwarf mongooses are Africa’s smallest carnivore, living in co-operatively breeding, territorial groups of five to 30 individuals.”

    “Karl Marx was right, socialism works, it is just that he had the wrong species”. Edward O. Wilson (who, along with Bert Hölldobler, carried out a systematic study of ants and ant behavior, culminating in the 1990 encyclopedic work “The Ants”.) https://www.nytimes.com/1998/05/12/science/scientist-work-edward-o-wilson-ants-ethics-biologist-dreams-unity-knowledge.html

  27. Below the fold says:

    “Locking down revenue: Small towns profit from incarcerating migrants” http://nmpoliticalreport.com/2019/06/21/locking-down-revenue-small-towns-profit-from-incarcerating-migrants/?mc_cid=bf1928b777&mc_eid=4b85ca587f
    “What You Need To Know About Migration From Mexico Right Now” https://fronterasdesk.org/content/1013831/everything-you-need-know-about-migration-mexico-right-now
    “Detained migrant children got no toothbrush, no soap, no sleep. It’s no problem, government argues.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/06/21/detained-migrant-children-no-toothbrush-soap-sleep/?utm_term=.e9f08eab0f65
    “Children in Border Patrol custody aren’t guaranteed access to basic hygiene or bedding, the Justice Department tells incredulous judges” https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/safe-sanitary-no-soap-beds-court-migrants-trump-850744/

    • Ignorance is Strength says:

      “Trump, questioned on child separation policy, insists, ‘I brought the families together’” https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/06/21/trump-telemundo-family-separation-policy-obama/?utm_term=.749022b762d0
      Meanwhile, the president’s proclamation — that federal agents soon will start rounding up families in the country illegally and deporting them by the thousands — has accelerated the fear that has built for more than two years among the nation’s estimated 10.5 million undocumented residents, according to immigrants, advocates and public officials.
      Parents are vowing to keep their children out of summer programs. Shopping trips are consolidated to limit driving. Migrants without papers are avoiding large crowds and minimizing going out at night and even attending church. https://www.washingtonpost.com/immigration/with-white-house-threatening-mass-raids-undocumented-immigrants-try-to-stay-out-of-sight/2019/06/20/ba898912-91cb-11e9-aadb-74e6b2b46f6a_story.html?utm_term=.35a7f23c1476

      • Limpia says:

        “Immigration and Customs Enforcement is pressing forward to arrest and deport families with court-ordered removals in 10 cities beginning Sunday, according to a senior immigration official, after President Donald Trump’s tweet revealing an operation was imminent.” (CNN 3:34 PM ET, Fri June 21, 2019) https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/21/politics/ice-immigration-raids/index.html

        “Round ups, or lapankas, the Polish name they were known under, became an essential feature of life in Warsaw and precipitated much wider ferocity on both sides. (…) Whole streets were sealed off by police and soldiers and most trapped men and women were carted off to concentration camps or sent as slave labour to the Reich. Tram and trainloads of people, regardless of work documents, were herded like cattle into trucks, many never to see home or family again.” – Ron Jeffery memoir, 1943 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Jeffery The term łapanka, derived from the Polish verb łapać (“to catch”), carried a sardonic connotation due to the prior use of the word łapanka for the children’s game known in English as “tag”.

    • Indefensible says:

      A U.S. Justice Department lawyer argues that detained children don’t need soap, toothbrushes, or beds to be ‘safe and sanitary’ while in Border Patrol custody https://twitter.com/nowthisnews/status/1142151178177978368

      “As more illegal immigrants are rushing the border, more kids are being separated from their parents and temporarily housed at what are essentially summer camps.”
      Fox News Channel host Laura Ingraham, on “The Ingraham Angle”, June 18, 2018.

      “In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousand fold in the future. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.”
      Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, “The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956” https://www.nytimes.com/1973/12/30/archives/solzhenitsyn-on-purge-trials-of-the-30s-the-gulag-archipelago.html

      • Untermenschen says:

        ● (5/3/19): “Former White House chief of staff John Kelly has joined the board of Caliburn International, which owns Comprehensive Health Services Inc., the company that operates the largest shelter for unaccompanied migrant children in the country”. https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/03/politics/john-kelly-caliburn-international/index.html ● (5/30/19): Feds pay $670 a day to make unaccompanied alien children ‘comfortable’ https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/may/30/illegal-immigrant-children-cost-taxpayers-670-day/ ● (6/22/19): “Inside a Texas Building Where the Government Is Holding Immigrant Children https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/inside-a-texas-building-where-the-government-is-holding-immigrant-children ● (6/25/19) “Migrant Children Moved Back to Troubled Border Facility in Texas” https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/25/us/john-sanders-cbp.html “…The Customs and Border Protection agency’s acting commissioner, John Sanders, will step down in early July as the government’s primary border enforcement executive, a federal official said Tuesday, a development that comes as the agency faces continuing public fury over the treatment of detained migrant children. …The news of the resignation came shortly after agency officials disclosed that more than 100 children had been returned to a troubled Border Patrol station in Clint, Tex., a location where a group of lawyers who visited recently said hundreds of minor detainees had been housed for weeks without access to showers, clean clothing, or sufficient food.” ● (6/25/19): The U.S. Border Patrol Is refusing citizen donations after the U.S. Department of Justice argued in court that the government shouldn’t be required to give migrant children inside Border Patrol detention facilities toothbrushes, soap, towels or showers, much less access to adequate medical care, food and water that witnesses report the children are lacking. https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/06/border-patrol-refusing-donations-migrant-children-soap-and-toothpaste.html ● (6/25/19) Texas Republican Rep. Michael Burgess suggested in an interview Monday night that migrant children are able to leave a children’s facility in Texas “at any time” but don’t because they’re well cared for. ● (6/25/19) “President Donald Trump sought to put distance between himself and the retiring acting Border Patrol chief John Sanders. “I didn’t speak to him. I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to him actually,” Trump said when asked if he had a hand in the ouster. “We have some very good people running it. And, you know, I don’t know anything about it. I hear he’s a very good man, a good person. I don’t know him. I don’t think I ever spoke to him.” https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/trump-border-chief-resignation-john-sanders Sanders has held the post in an acting capacity since Trump tapped former Customs and Border Protection commissioner Kevin McAleenan to replace ex-DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

        • Night and Fog says:

          “…The children told us that nobody’s taking care of them, so that basically the older children are trying to take care of the younger children. The guards are asking the younger children or the older children, “Who wants to take care of this little boy? Who wants to take of this little girl?” and they’ll bring in a two-year-old, a three-year-old, a four-year-old. And then the littlest kids are expected to be taken care of by the older kids, but then some of the oldest children lose interest in it, and little children get handed off to other children. And sometimes we hear about the littlest children being alone by themselves on the floor.”
          Warren Binford, a law professor at Willamette University and the director of its clinical-law program. (“Inside a Texas Building Where the Government Is Holding Immigrant Children”, The New Yorker, June 22, 2019) https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/inside-a-texas-building-where-the-government-is-holding-immigrant-children

          “Indeed I tremble for my country when reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever…” Thomas Jefferson, “Notes on the State of Virginia” (1781) https://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/notes-on-the-state-of-virginia-query-xviii-manners/

  28. Kobanda says:

    (June 16, 2019): On World Refugee Day, the Al Jazeera documentary series “Witness” showcases “Renga for the West,” in which four refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo document their new lives in Missoula, Montana. (This film will be removed on July 14, 2019) https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/witness/2019/06/renga-west-eyes-congolese-refugees-190612135040348.html
    See also Montana Missoulian “New Neighbors project : Project allows refugees to use film to tell their stories” (Feb 15, 2019) https://missoulian.com/news/local/project-allows-refugees-to-use-film-to-tell-their-stories/article_9566c410-31a8-57e2-8613-6ee82fbe1041.html

  29. Hey, Rube! says:

    Regulators Resist Call For Action In Response To Black Lung Epidemic https://www.npr.org/2019/06/20/734538252/regulators-resist-call-for-action-in-response-to-black-lung-epidemic
    In 2016, MSHA (the Mine Safety and Health Administration) put out a standard to reduce respirable coal dust but did not set any limits for exposure to silica, which is finer and more dangerous to miners’ lungs.
    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which regulates a slew of industries but not mines, set a new silica standard that same year, cutting the permissible exposure limit to half of what it used to be, but MSHA did not follow suit. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-coal-blacklung/us-mine-regulator-says-no-rush-on-silica-limits-despite-black-lung-worries-idUSKCN1TL2NK
    Trump digs coal https://www.mainstreetbrigade.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/trump-digs-coal.jpg

  30. Déjà Vu says:

    President Donald Trump has responded to the rape allegations described by columnist E. Jean Carroll in graphic detail in New York Magazine. http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/06/president-donald-trump-faces-new-rape-accusation.html
    In a statement to Bloomberg reporter Laura Litvan, Trump said that he’s “never met this person in my life” in reference to Carroll. https://twitter.com/LauraLitvan
    Photograph: “Carroll, Donald and Ivana Trump, and Carroll’s then husband, television-news anchor John Johnson, at an NBC party around 1987″ https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D9nYZT_XsAEPpvY.png

  31. Grianstad an tsamhraidh says:

    (Sat June 22, 2019): Snow fell Friday just west of Denver at elevations above 7,000 feet and Steamboat Springs received 20 inches of snow. Snow was also reported in parts of Montana and a winter weather advisory was in effect in the area until Sunday morning. Snowfall this late in the year in the Rockies is rare. The last time the Denver saw snow this late was on June 17, 1928. https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/22/weather/snow-in-colorado-trnd/index.html

    • Cassandra says:

      France is braced for a heatwave with temperatures forecast to exceed 40C [104℉] this week.
      The north of the country – including Paris – will be worst affected. (BBC News 24.6.19) https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-48742241
      France, Germany, Switzerland and Belgium could all see national records for June broken in the coming days – but France is particularly aware of the dangers posed by the hot weather.
      Comparisons are being drawn to the heat wave France experienced in August 2003 – in which almost 15,000 people died. In the space of a single month, the top three temperatures ever recorded were all set, topping out at 44.1C on 12 August.
      “A warming Arctic produces weather extremes in our latitudes” (Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research 5/28/19) https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-05/awih-awa052819.php
      “Tornado season in overdrive: What’s behind the extreme weather hitting the Midwest?” (CBS News 5/29/19) https://www.cbsnews.com/news/tornado-season-overdrive-extreme-weather-pattern-today-2019-05-29/

    • Old Bob says:

      As Earth warms, specifically the polar regions, the temperature contrast that drives the jet stream will lessen, and thus the speed of the jet stream will slow down. Add in a more north to south flow of air, called meridonal, and you have yet another factor that plays a role in a slower storm track. A highly meridional flow can cause atmospheric blocking, and that results in stalled or stagnant weather patterns. That means one area can stay much below normal for several days while another is way too warm. In between a region can get battered with day after day of severe weather. Meridional flow along the jet stream generates more vorticity, or spin, within the atmosphere, which is important to note because vorticity aids in the development of violent weather.

  32. Useless Mouths says:

    Some of the hundreds of people in dire need of medical care wait in a parking lot for 12 hours in below-freezing temperatures for a chance to be seen at a temporary free clinic in rural Tennessee in February. Tickets were handed out first come, first served.

  33. Bollocks says:

    Sometimes you have to read something to believe it. Here’s Vice President Mike Pence’s BS when asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper whether climate change is a threat to the United States is one of those times. https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/24/politics/mike-pence-climate-crisis/index.html
    “It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullshit requires no such conviction. A person who lies is thereby responding to the truth, and he is to that extent respectful of it. When an honest man speaks, he says only what he believes to be true; and for the liar, it is correspondingly indispensable that he considers his statements to be false. For the bullshitter, however, all these bets are off: he is neither on the side of the true nor on the side of the false. His eye is not on the facts at all, as the eyes of the honest man and of the liar are, except insofar as they may be pertinent to his interest in getting away with what he says. He does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up, to suit his purpose.”
    “On Bullshit” Harry Frankfurt, professor emeritus of philosophy at Princeton University. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_Bullshit

  34. Die Fahne hoch says:

    “The Neo-Nationalist Danger.” Gabriel Schoenfeld, The American Interest (June 21, 2019) https://www.the-american-interest.com/2019/06/21/the-neo-nationalist-danger/
    “…Even if it is not yet metastatic, a malignant form of nationalism is being injected into the American body politic. A set of profoundly illiberal ideas is being propounded at a moment when the fragility of liberal democracy has been exposed. We are drawing to the end of a low, dishonest decade, in which the odor of the 1930s has been filling the air. One can never know in advance what events await us, but we have arrived at a juncture in which another terrible chapter of history might well get written. This is not the hour in which intellectuals should be tossing matches into the kindling. Yet so they are. It is astonishing that [Yoram] Hazony’s contention that liberalism promotes “vicious hatred” while nationalism tends to be benign—a bizarre inversion of the historical record—has gained currency in some quarters of the Right. The neo-nationalists who are providing an intellectual cover for Trumpism and aspiring authoritarians around the world need to be mercilessly defeated on the battlefield of ideas as if September 1, 1939 were approaching.”
    See also “The Virtue of Nationalism” by Israeli political theorist Yoram Hazony (2018) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Virtue_of_Nationalism and a review of same at http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/09/yoram-hazony-virtue-of-nationalism-review.html

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