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Showing posts from April 21, 2017

Today's Trumpery

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Pesticide maker tries to kill risk study

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[Dow gave a million dollars to pay for the Trump inauguration then, almost immediately, asked he Trump administration to squash this negative research. *RON*]

Associated Press, PBS News Hour, 20 April 2017

WASHINGTON — Dow Chemical is pushing the Trump administration to scrap the findings of federal scientists who point to a family of widely used pesticides as harmful to about 1,800 critically threatened or endangered species.

Lawyers representing Dow, whose CEO also heads a White House manufacturing working group, and two other makers of organophosphates sent letters last week to the heads of three Cabinet agencies. The companies asked them “to set aside” the results of government studies the companies contend are fundamentally flawed.

The letters, dated April 13, were obtained by The Associated Press.

Dow Chemical chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris is a close adviser to President Donald Trump. The company wrote a $1 million check to help underwrite T…

Giraffes must be listed as endangered, conservationists formally tell US

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[Damn. Five environmental groups point to 'trophy' hunting – largely by Americans who travel to Africa – among key threats to animals.
 *RON*]
Oliver Milman, The Guardian, 19 April 2017

Conservationists have lodged a formal request for the US government to list giraffes as endangered in a bid to prevent what they call the “silent extinction” of the world’s tallest land animal.

A legal petition filed by five environmental groups has demanded that the US Fish and Wildlife Service provide endangered species protections to the giraffe, which has suffered a precipitous decline in numbers in recent years.

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which listed giraffes as a threatened species in December, just 97,500 of the animals exist in sub-Saharan Africa today, a drop of almost 40% since 1985. There are now fewer giraffes than elephants in Africa.

Giraffes have suffered from loss of habitat, disease and illegal huntin…

The Myth of Liberal Policing

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[Police forces have always existed to protect the interests of landed capital. That's fine, at some level, but where is the proportional effort by society to address the root causes of crime, drug use and social disorder in general? Without such efforts policing is simply the strong arm of the class wars. *RON*]
Alex S. Vitale, The New Inquiry, 5 April 2017

For liberals, police reform is always a question of helping police sustain their legitimacy, despite their illegitimate roots

THERE has been a great deal of hand wringing about the effect of a Trump White House on the movement for police reform. Many had hoped that a Democratic administration would continue to use the Justice Department to press for reforms such as body cameras, community policing, officer diversity, and implicit bias and use of force training. These reforms represent the hallmarks of a liberal program to reestablishing legitimate policing.

Liberals think the police rightly …

America Commits Acts of Terrorism—Why Is That So Hard to Understand?

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[When America bombs, it's rational; when other countries do it, we cry terrorism. *RON*]
Vijay PrashadAlterNet, 19 April 2017

A few years ago, I asked a retired Iraqi Air Force officer what it felt like to be bombed periodically by the United States in the 1990s. Whenever US President Bill Clinton felt irritated, I joked, he seemed to bomb Iraq. The officer, a distinguished man with a long career serving a military whose political leadership he despised, smiled. He said with great lightness – ‘When our leadership said something threatening those words itself were taken to be terrorism; when the United States bombs, the world does not even blush.’

To me this is an intuitive statement.

I was thinking about it as I watched the parade in Pyongyang (North Korea) to celebrate the birth of Kim Il-sung. The imagery from North Korean television was grand – the vast Kim Il-sung Square packed with soldiers as the massive arsenal of North Korea was parad…

Syria put its jets under Russian protection, and the US risks all-out war if there's another strike

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[Stalemate? If US military killed any Russian military methinks the fat lady would commence to sing. *RON*]

Alex Lockie, Business Insider, 20 April 2017

After having as many as 24 of its planes destroyed in a salvo of 59 cruise missiles from US Navy ships in the Mediterranean Sea on April 7, Syria has repositioned its jets to bases protected by Russian missile defenses, according to CNN.

"The Syrian air force is not in good shape," Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon, according to CNN. "It's been worn down by years of combat plus some ... significant maintenance problems."

Still, combined with the dozens of planes from his Russian backers, Syrian President Bashar Assad has an asymmetrical air advantage over his adversaries — rebel groups that have little more than a few anti-aircraft missile launchers.

The move to bases near Russian missile defenses provides Syria with a clear deterrent against further…