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❝ The movement to take politics out of setting legislative district boundaries seemed to suffer a grievous, and perhaps even mortal, blow this spring when the Supreme Court passed up three chances to declare partisan gerrymandering unconstitutional.
But it turns out that reports of its death are exaggerated. As federal courts dither over how to resolve the issue, activists have begun tackling it state by state at the grass roots.
❝ It is remarkable that five states are holding ballot measures on the issue in a single year; only five had taken them up over the entire preceding decade…
Just as unusual is how little opposition the measures are meeting, at least so far. Beyond Michigan, where the state Chamber of Commerce and the Republican attorney general are trying to block the anti-gerrymandering initiative, organized resistance to the proposals has been scant.
The usual drill in the past only involved upstarts, independents, progressives. Leaders of the two old parties figured they get to take turns screwing over one or another portion of the electorate – keeping themselves in power beyond the acceptance of few accomplishments actually useful to peoples’ needs. Instead of kissing corporate butt.
This Fourth of July marks a low point in U.S. patriotism. For the first time in Gallup’s 18-year history asking U.S. adults how proud they are to be Americans, fewer than a majority say they are “extremely proud.” Currently, 47% describe themselves this way, down from 51% in 2017 and well below the peak of 70% in 2003…
While the 47% who are extremely proud to be Americans is a new low, the vast majority of Americans do express some level of pride, including 25% who say they are “very proud” and 16% who are “moderately proud.” That leaves one in 10 who are “only a little” (7%) or “not at all” proud (3%).
The combined 72% who are extremely or very proud to be Americans is also the lowest in Gallup’s trend…
There’s a shallow attempt at analysis in the article – reflecting Gallup’s historic conservatism. They’re willing to accept Republican sophistry on questions provoked by such a survey. In truth, though, Democrats can be guiltless or gutless. As likely to join imperial war or accept “decades are still needed” to overrule bigotry of all kinds – instead of moving forward to new legal forms which inhibit social or economic injustice.
GOP Sen. Jim Inhofe – “a new emphasis on defending America.” – AP Photo
The Senate on Monday easily passed a $716 billion defense policy bill that aims to continue Republican-led efforts to build up the U.S. military but could set up a clash with defense hawks in the House over how best to do it.
The massive legislation would authorize more warships and fighter jets, more troops and the largest pay raise for them in nearly a decade, but in some cases it would still lag behind a House version passed in May and the Pentagon’s own designs.
Keep in mind taxpayer dollar$ already fund Pentagon featherbedding greater than the sum of the next seven countries’ spending. China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, France, United Kingdom, and Japan combined.
Of a total $716 billion, the legislation would authorize $617.6 billion for the Pentagon base budget and $68.5 billion in war spending in the Overseas Contingency Operations account. It would authorize another $21.6 billion for nuclear weapons programs under the Energy Department.
If the DOD’s budget remained the same among other things it would have been possible to have funded public college for every student in the US and had $12B left over. That’s not how our Congressional war pimps organize their priorities. Colleges and students don’t prioritize kickbacks in dollar$ and job$ and campaign funding to politicians. Democrats aren’t exempt from condemnation. Just that Republicans would rather spend more time in bed with the death and destruction business.
❝ “The United States of Amnesia.” That’s what Gore Vidal once called us. We remember what we find it convenient to remember and forget everything else. That forgetfulness especially applies to the history of others. How could their past, way back when, have any meaning for us today? Well, it just might. Take the European conflagration of 1914 to 1918, for example…
❝…in Europe, a hundred years ago, war had become politically purposeless. Yet the leaders of the world’s principal powers — including, by 1917, U.S. president Woodrow Wilson — could conceive of no alternative but to try harder, even as the seat of Western civilization became a charnel house…
❝…similarities between the Great War as it unspooled and our own not-in-the-least-great war(s) deserve consideration. Today, as then, strategy — that is, the principled use of power to achieve the larger interests of the state — has ceased to exist. Indeed, war has become an excuse for ignoring the absence of strategy…
❝ Congressional midterm elections are just months away and another presidential election already looms. Who will be the political leader with the courage and presence of mind to declare, “Enough! Stop this madness!” Man or woman, straight or gay, black, brown or white, that person will deserve the nation’s gratitude and the support of the electorate.
Until that occurs, however, the American penchant for war will stretch on toward infinity. No doubt Saudi and Israeli leaders will cheer, Europeans who remember their Great War will scratch their heads in wonder, and the Chinese will laugh themselves silly. Meanwhile, issues of genuinely strategic importance — climate change offers one obvious example — will continue to be treated like an afterthought.
RTFA. The military-industrial complex President Eisenhower warned of – lives better than a top-shelf Wall Street hedge fund manager. Politicians roll over easy-peasy – rotund from pockets stuffed with their share of the proceeds.
❝ It sounds completely improbable: The Utah Legislature recently adopted a resolution that moves the state from denial of global climate change to the recognition that finding a solution is crucial.
An obvious question is how this flip-flop occurred in a legislature with a Republican super-majority of 83 percent, in a state that produces more than 90 percent of its electricity from fossil fuels. Students at Logan High School can tell you the answer: For nearly two years, they have been working to make the Legislature budge. They educated themselves about the science of climate change and formed alliances with other students and business leaders throughout the state.
❝ Most of all, the teenagers never stopped. They simply refused to give up.
Kudos to the students who embraced science, their constitutional right to speak out, their courage in the face of vested interests rooted in 19th Century profiteering.