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The stakes are sky-high in Mitch McConnell’s latest gamble - The Washington Post
But McConnell didn’t blink. (This might be literally true. Kentucky’s longest-serving senator has the fixed gaze of a tortoise.) He refused to move on Garland’s nomination. The high court stumbled along in forced moderation, four liberals and four conservatives settling only those cases that didn’t inflame philosophical divisions. In November, to Washington’s amazement, Clinton lost the election and McConnell won his bet.

Tune out for a moment, if you can, President Trump’s tweets and trade wars. This turn of events may well be the most consequential outcome of 2016. If Clinton had done marginally better in a few Great Lakes states, liberals would now be a majority of the Supreme Court, with healthy prospects for widening the margin and rejuvenating their team.

McConnell’s gamble on stonewalling Garland may have been the key to Trump’s narrow victory. It made the stakes crystal clear for self-professed Christian conservatives who might otherwise have been loath to vote for a boorish former casino owner. However, blocking Garland merely secured the Supreme Court status quo. Instead of losing Scalia’s seat to a liberal, conservatives filled it with Justice Neil M. Gorsuch. That’s no small matter on such a narrowly divided court — but it set the stage for something bigger.
america  politics 
11 hours ago by corrales
Paul Gosar: Siblings savage congressman in attack advert - BBC News
Local paper the Arizona Republic calls it "brutal, but not unexpected". Mr Gosar made headlines after the violent neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, by suggesting it was planned by "the Left" to undermine Donald Trump. He then branded Democratic Party donor George Soros a Nazi collaborator in an interview with Vice News.

Horrified, seven of his siblings signed an open letter to the Kingman Daily Miner, stating: "It is extremely upsetting to have to call you out on this, Paul, but you've forced our hand with your deceit and anti-Semitic dog whistle."
america  politics  populism 
11 hours ago by corrales
Paul Craig Roberts -- The United States Is a Dead Man Walking
'...The American media has never done the job that the Founding Fathers gave it and protected with the First Amendment. But until the criminal Clinton regime, which permited 6 monopolies to concentrate in 6 hands 90% of the US media, truth could sometimes get out. But no more. The US media is incapable of reporting the most compelling events of our time which could result in the destruction of life on earth. Instead, the presstitutes save their jobs by reporting fake news that serves the interests of the ruling elite. -- Currently, Russia, Syria, and Iran are preparing to liberate the last Syrian province that is still in the hands of Washington’s proxy army—Al Qaeda, Al Nursa, and ISIS. Washington has sent US troops to be dispersed among the terrorists that Washington sent to overthrow Syria, thinking the American presence would deter the Russian/Syrian attack on Washington’s terrorists allies. Once again, Washington took advantage of Putin’s hesitancy to make the situation more difficult for him. -- Apparently, Washington has succeeded in delaying the final liberation of Syria from US-supported terrorists. However, the Russian military, if not the Russian government, understands that at this late stage in the game, Russia cannot back down without being inundated with massive provocations as the price of its rectitude. This is why there is an armada of Russian navy off the coast of Syria armed with Russia’s new hypersonic missiles against which the US has no defense whatsoever. If it comes to a conflict, it is the Russian government’s choice alone whether any US ship will still be afloat. -- The Russian military also has its newest aircraft, far superior to the American junk, armed with the hypersonic missiles. A Russian/ Washington showdown in Syria means a humiliating military defeat for Washington. -- This realization makes the Russian government hesitant to use its military power in Syria. The Russian government knows that Washington is insane, that the insane neoconservatives believe in US exceptionalism and indispensability and are committed to American unilateralism. The Russians are aware that Trump, although he intended to reduce tensions, has collapsed to the onslaught from the military/security complex and would be likely to “rescue America’s honor” by pushing the button. -- This, I think, could be the reason that the liberation of Idlib province has not begun. This part of Syria might be left in Washington hands as a way of avoiding the end of the world. -- ... The US media has no interest in the self-interest that the military/security complex has in Russiagate, because investigating this interest would distract from the media’s commitment to get Trump impeached as a Russian agent. -- The US media, indeed, the entirety of the Western media, has no interest in the dangerous conflict that the West has gratuitously orchestrated with Russia, because any such reporting would scare people to death and make them realize that the agendas promoted by the media threaten the life of the planet.'
history  america  empire  minitrue  minipax  war 
14 hours ago by adamcrowe
Brett Kavanaugh Is A Man The Right Can Get Behind
"...the skeleton key to understanding American conservatism is this: At bottom, it lacks absolutely any moral or ideological underpinning beyond the reactionary protection of moneyed white men—of their station, their wealth and power, and their egos. Its supposed ideas and abstractions are just a framework for spasmodic lashing-out against anything that can be interpreted as a threat to rich white dudes."
politics  america  commentary 
yesterday by inrgbwetrust
Mob misogyny is nothing new. I have the death threats to prove it. - The Washington Post
It’s not because we are inherently kinder or less combative. It’s because we are not fueled by a self-righteous male privilege that sees every challenge as a threat to that gender prerogative. It’s because we are not empowered by a pervasive culture that views women as objects and men as subjects.

I did get emails from women, some of them critical of my position but none of them threatening. Let’s be clear: Like mass shootings, this is something men, with very few exceptions, do to women and other men. This is one of the inconvenient facts I wanted to discuss. And this is what got some men so riled up.
dudeproblems  america 
yesterday by corrales
‘Kavanaugh will be on the U.S. Supreme Court’: McConnell just erased any doubt about Republicans' intentions to hear Ford out - The Washington Post
“Here’s what I want to tell you,” McConnell said Friday morning at a summit for social conservatives. “In the very near future, Judge Kavanaugh will be on the U.S. Supreme Court. So, my friends, keep the faith. Don’t get rattled by all this. We’re going to plow right through it and do our job.”
america  politics 
yesterday by corrales
Texas board votes to eliminate Hillary Clinton, Helen Keller from history curriculum | Education | Dallas News
World History (High School)

The work group had recommended these be removed.

Reinsert reference to "German invasions of Poland and the Soviet Union, the Holocaust, the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Normandy landings, and the dropping of the atomic bombs" from section on "the major causes and events of World War II." Remove "Japanese imperialism" from that list. 

Reinsert "Arab rejection of the State of Israel has led to ongoing conflict" in section on "the rise of independence movements in Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia and reasons for ongoing conflicts." 
Reinsert reference to "the Judeo-Christian legal tradition" in section on "the development of democratic-republican government from its beginnings." 
history  education  populism  america 
yesterday by corrales
Texas' twisted excuse for removing Helen Keller (opinion) - CNN
Keller -- an author and activist who transformed the way people thought about disability and education -- was an engaged member of her community and a catalyst for a cultural shift in understanding our humanity. The first deaf-blind person to earn a bachelor's degree, Keller fought not only for deaf and disabled people's access to education, but also for women's rights, worker's rights and peaceful resolutions to international conflict, overcoming numerous obstacles to give voice to the underrepresented. She was a world traveler, visiting 35 countries to discuss the rights of deaf people abroad. She wrote multiple books, was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. If Keller is not a good citizen, who is?
populism  america  history  politics 
yesterday by corrales
What is fascism? A Yale philosopher explains how it works - Vox
"...their task was to create an alternative mythical reality for Germans that was more exciting and purposeful than the humdrum reality of liberal democratic politics, and that’s why mass media was so essential the rise of Nazism."

The thing is, people willingly adopt the mythical past. Fascists are always telling a story about a glorious past that’s been lost, and they tap into this nostalgia. So when you fight back against fascism, you’ve got one hand tied behind your back, because the truth is messy and complex and the mythical story is always clear and compelling and entertaining. It’s hard to undercut that with facts.

"...he practices fascist politics. Now, that doesn’t mean his government is a fascist government. For one thing, I think it’s very difficult to say what a fascist government is."

"...For another thing, I think the current movement of leaders who use these techniques (Vladimir Putin in Russia, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey, Viktor Orbán in Hungary, to name a few) all seek to keep the trappings of democratic institutions, but their goal is to reorient them around their own cult of personality.

"Again, I wouldn’t claim — not yet, at least — that Trump is presiding over a fascist government, but he is very clearly using fascist techniques to excite his base and erode liberal democratic institutions, and that’s very troubling.
But the blame there is as much on the Republican Party as it is on Trump, because none of this would matter if they were willing to check Trump. So far, they’ve chosen loyalty to Trump over loyalty to rule of law."

In the book, you imply that there’s something inherently fascist about American politics, or at the very least that fascism has always been a latent force in America. Can you elaborate on that?

Jason Stanley
Well, the Ku Klux Klan deeply affected Adolf Hitler. He explicitly praised the 1924 Immigration Act, which severely limited the number of immigrants allowed to enter the US, as a useful model.

The 1920s and the 1930s was a very fascist time in the United States. You’ve got very patriarchal family values and a politics of resentment aimed at black Americans and other groups as internal threats, and this gets exported to Europe.

So we have a long history of genocide against native peoples and anti-black racism and anti-immigration hysteria, and at the same time there’s a strain of American exceptionalism, which manifests as a kind of mythological history and encourages Americans to think of their own country as a unique force for good.

This doesn’t make America a fascist country, but all of these ingredients are easily channeled into a fascist politics.

We should heed the warning of the poem on the side of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, which says, “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not Jewish. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.” At a certain point it’s too late.

We learned first from that poem who the targets are. The targets are leftists, minorities, labor unions, and anyone or any institution that isn’t glorified in the fascist narrative. And even if you’re not in any of those groups, you have to protect those who are, and you have to protect them from the very beginning. Simple acts of courage early on will save you impossible acts of courage later.

To be clear, this isn’t alarmist. We’re not on the brink of some fascist takeover. But there are reasons to be concerned, and we should always be on guard — that’s the lesson of history. Our weapons are our high ideals of liberty and equality, and we have to fight to keep those American ideals.

We’re fortunate enough to have liberty and equality baked into our founding ideals. We have a long history of people appealing to those ideals and saying, “We might disagree on a number of things but we agree that truth, liberty, equality are things we stand up for.” So whatever happens, we have to continually double down on those ideals — that’s what will save us.

******


Absolutely. America is exceptional in good ways as well.

We have an exceptional devotion to liberty and equality, as embodied in our struggle for civil rights and our fight against fascism in World War II. I’m corny about these things, and I believe America has had truly great moments and has made a lot of progress.

But, as you said, the fascist threat is always lurking, and we just have to be aware of it.
history  america  politics  world 
yesterday by corrales
FBI Flexes Independence From Trump Over Kavanaugh, Russia Fights - Bloomberg
The tension adds to an already fraught relationship between the president and the law enforcement agencies he oversees. Trump has repeatedly attacked Attorney General Jeff Sessions for failing to quash Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling in the 2016 elections, and he’s accused the Justice Department and FBI of targeting him and Republicans because of political bias.
america  trump 
2 days ago by corrales
The EU Is Looking Like Europe's Next Failed Empire - Bloomberg
All of this is bad news for the U.S., which benefits greatly in the international system from a Europe pulling together. A unified continent has the largest economy in the world, a highly capable military with the second-largest defense budget after our own, and a shared sense of the values that truly make nations great — democracy, liberty, personal freedoms, gender and racial equality. Americans will never have a better pool of partners.

Yet, despite some positive traction out of France under President Emmanuel Macron and the continuing influence of Chancellor Angela Merkel in Germany, the forces tugging at Europe seem to be growing. Russia, of course, is the principal beneficiary, and will do all that it can — in subtle and direct ways — to accelerate the process of decomposition.

What can the U.S. do to help avert the demise of the European Project?

First, based on a year of extensive travel throughout Europe, I can testify that there is still a hunger for U.S. engagement and leadership — but without overt preaching or obvious interference.
europe  russia  trends  politics  america 
2 days ago by corrales
American connectedness
Smart visualizations of Facebook friendship data, showing geographical connectedness in social relationships
america  maps  visualization  facebook 
2 days ago by nelson
Tradition vs Progress: The Art of the American Fire Helmet - Core77
Article summary: the shape of the American fire helmet is because everybody wants to look like a firefighter; by some method the Europeans have avoided falling into this particular ego trap; haha now they look like SAFETY DORKS

Core77 seems like an interesting site, need to learn more about it.
firefighting  safety  ppe  culture  history  america 
2 days ago by aaronbeekay

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