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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,622

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Dumbass nation: Our biggest national security problem is America's "vast and militant ignorance"

Dumbass nation: Our biggest national security problem is America's "vast and militant ignorance"
Millions of Americans embrace vapid lies and conspiracy theories — and the proudly moronic leader who spreads them


(Salon) With apologies to Paul Simon, and despite all of the information available to the mortal man, there are still millions of Americans who currently believe they're gliding down the highway when in fact they're slip slidin' away.

As President Biden prepares to travel to Europe to meet with the Pope and our NATO allies next week, there remains a huge national security problem for him to grapple with, one that hasn't been addressed in any meaningful fashion for many years.

It is the root cause of our problems with China. It's why some people don't want to get vaccinated. It's why some people still gleefully follow Donald Trump. It explains why Congress can't get together in a bipartisan fashion to deal with infrastructure, health care and gun control. It's why we have problems understanding climate change. It explains voter suppression. It's why "critical race theory" has become controversial, why elements of our population on the left and right are at war with each other and why some believe the earth is flat and the Holocaust didn't occur. It's why some of us believe we're still the "No. 1" nation in the world when — other than having the largest military — we clearly lag behind other major nations in many critical factors. More than anything else it explains why we fail.

The United States is a nation of militantly ignorant people, arrogant in their beliefs, unable to change their minds and unwilling to try. We lack education.

And the lack of education in this country is such a problem that national security adviser Jake Sullivan described it this week as a critical issue for our national security. "I do consider it a national security problem," he told me during a White House briefing on Tuesday. "In fact, it's Dr. [Jill] Biden who has repeatedly said — and the president frequently quotes her — that any country that out-educates the United States will outcompete the United States, and that is a fundamental national security issue." ...........(more)


Florida man jumps off bridge into river after fleeing traffic stop

A Florida sheriff’s office said a suspect fleeing a traffic stop made a dramatic, though unsuccessful, escape attempt when he jumped from the Edison Bridge in Fort Myers, into the Caloosahatchee River below.

Video released by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office shows the suspect, Bryan Gray, crashing what police said was a stolen van before diving off the bridge. ...........(more)


Another a**hole-interrupted flight

A Delta flight was diverted to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport late Monday afternoon due to an "onboard customer disturbance," the airline says.

Delta flight 365 took off Monday from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and was supposed to land at Los Angeles International Airport before the incident.

One passenger tweeted a photo of police in the aisle with the caption: “unfriendly skies.” ...............(more)


What if the truth about Jan. 6 is revealed -- and the American people just don't care?

What if the truth about Jan. 6 is revealed — and the American people just don't care?
Republicans have thoroughly rewritten the history of Jan. 6 — are the media and public too exhausted to resist?


(Salon) Reality is being rewritten before our eyes. Some Americans can see this, and understand it. The results include an inescapable feeling of dread and doom. The frustration mounts because as a group those who see the truth and are ready to speak it do not yet have the full vocabulary required to make sense of it all.

Too many other Americans appear not to care about the blatant effort by the Republican fascists and others to rewrite reality. They are indifferent or tired, or just so hyper-focused on their own lives that nihilism and surrender are preferable to confrontation and engagement. Others are either incapable or unwilling, or remain in a profound state of denial.

This is not a claim about some grand secret conspiracy. It's an observation about how people function in a society caught in an interregnum, that time of in-betweenness when the old is giving way to something new (and potentially something horrible), when truth and reality are being dismembered by fascists and their fellow travelers. It all feels like a confusing slow blur.

For those of us who do care and who choose to see the truth, what do we do when the final form, the entire ugliness behind America's crisis of democracy, is finally revealed?

On Jan. 6, Donald Trump and his cabal attempted a coup to overthrow American democracy. As part of that coup plot, Trump's followers launched a lethal terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol. These events were publicly announced by Trump, his spokespeople, allies and followers. America's political elites, including too many among the news media, chose to ignore these warnings or somehow convince themselves that it was all "hyperbole." ..........(more)


Roe Is as Good as Gone. It's Time for a New Strategy.

By Kathryn Kolbert and Julie F. Kay
Ms. Kolbert, the co-founder of the Center for Reproductive Rights, argued Planned Parenthood v. Casey before the Supreme Court in 1992. Ms. Kay is a human rights lawyer who argued against Ireland’s ban on abortion before the European Court of Human Rights.

(NYT) For the first time in a generation, the Supreme Court appears likely to overturn Roe v. Wade. The end of Roe need not herald the end of an era of reproductive freedom. It may instead launch a new strategy that protects the fundamental human right to decide whether to have children and raise them in safety and dignity.

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Monday in two separate cases challenging the new Texas law effectively banning abortion. The more direct nationwide threat to Roe, however, comes in December in a case challenging a Mississippi law that would ban most abortions after 15 weeks.

To fully grasp what is at stake now, it’s worth looking back. In 1992, one of us, Ms. Kolbert, argued on behalf of Pennsylvania abortion providers in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which challenged abortion restrictions including a waiting period requirement, biased mandatory counseling, parental and spousal notification requirements and other obstacles to care. At the time many court watchers believed Roe was doomed. Justice Clarence Thomas had just joined the court, and at least four other justices appeared likely to vote to overturn the ruling.


“Save Roe” has been the rallying cry of abortion-rights groups for nearly 50 years. But we need to stop banging our heads against the Supreme Court’s marble walls. While the situation is dire, we do have the potential today to realign American politics and develop a new strategy that not only preserves but expands reproductive freedoms.

First, we must think and talk about this issue differently. While our opponents talk about protecting religious beliefs or the “pre-born,” we must highlight the rights of women themselves, and point out that enabling them to choose whether, when and with whom they have children is central to gender equality and essential to the ability to control one’s own life. .............(more)


Build Back Better bill contains nearly $20 billion for better transit and high-speed rail

On Oct. 28, the White House announced a deal had been reached for President Joe Biden’s economic plan. The Build Back Better framework was put to into legislative text and released by the House of Representatives as H.R. 5376.

The five-year bill is the part of the president’s agenda, which also includes the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. While the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act tackles infrastructures, the Build Back Better legislation takes on social programs and includes efforts to combat climate change.

The Build Back Better Act includes $9.75 billion through September 2026 in grants to improve access to affordable housing and enhance mobility options for low-income individuals and residents of disadvantaged communities. Among the eligible projects outlined in the bill text are new fixed guideway capital project construction; construction of bus rapid transit (BRT) routes that use zero-emissions vehicles; high-frequency service using zero-emission vehicles; acquisition of zero-emission vehicles or related infrastructure; expanding an area of service or the frequency of service including fare-free or reduced fare service; and renovation or construction of facilities related to service in disadvantaged communities among others.

Additionally, the bill includes $150 million in grants to reduce barriers to zero-emission bus deployment in disadvantaged communities and rural areas. ...........(more)


Right-wing media and the pandemic: A toxic feedback loop that nurtured fascism

Right-wing media and the pandemic: A toxic feedback loop that nurtured fascism
American ignorance and paranoia were already there. Then Trump, Fox News and the virus exploited them to the max



America's fascist brew contains many ingredients. There is the white supremacy, gangster capitalism, consumerism, extreme wealth and income inequality, anti-intellectualism, a news media that cares more about "balance" than the truth, a societal crisis of existential meaning and value, anti-rationality, collective narcissism, a culture that rewards and fetishizes violence and cruelty, sexism and misogyny, widespread corruption, a broken commons, a bloated and dying empire, a corporate oligarchy, paralyzed and dysfunctional political and social institutions, the surveillance society, general loneliness, nihilism and despair. Nearly everyone in American society knows that something is fundamentally wrong, even if we lack the language to explain it.

America's fascist brew was already highly unstable, and then even more dangerous accelerants were added to the drum of political napalm: Donald Trump and his movement, the right-wing propaganda machine, "Christian" nationalism and other right-wing religious extremism, a Republican death cult with its attack on reality and truth, white anxiety about "demographic change" and, not least of all, the coronavirus pandemic.

New research by Dan Romer and Kathleen Hall Jamieson, featured in the December 2021 edition of the journal Social Science & Medicine, offers further insights into the combustible relationship between the right-wing propaganda and the "news" media, the spread of conspiracy theories and the coronavirus pandemic. As the site PsyPost summarizes, the research found "that conservative media in the United States is particularly appealing to people who are prone to conspiratorial thinking. The use of conservative media, in turn, is associated with increasing belief in COVID-19 conspiracies and reduced willingness to engage in behaviors to prevent the spread of the virus."

Romer, who is research director at the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, explained: "We have found that belief in conspiracies about the pandemic is related to lower levels of social distancing and personal hygiene behaviors recommended by the CDC, as well as mask wearing, and intentions to vaccinate. Given the importance of these behaviors to ending the pandemic, we are interested in understanding the factors that encourage these conspiracies."


The American people feel understandably exhausted by the Age of Trump, when the many crises besieging the country have come to seem insurmountable. That outcome is at least partly by design: Right-wing elites and other anti-democratic forces — especially the gangster capitalists at the top of the economic pyramid — have spent decades destroying the commons and undermining social democracy. Widespread despair is an excellent way to weaken public resolve and grease the downward slope into dystopia. ..........(more)


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