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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 75,491

Journal Archives

The second most dangerous man in America

The second most dangerous man in America
By Jeffrey C. Billman

(Detroit Metro Times) Maggie Haberman tweeted something the other day that I found remarkable. Promoting a story on President Trump's attacks about voting by mail, The New York Times White House correspondent wrote that Trump was "accelerating his attacks on the integrity of the elections" because he was "unable to stop (Joe) Biden's rise or modulate his own behavior."

Even facing humiliation in November, the president can't control himself or stop tilting at conspiratorial windmills. He's a cokehead on a bender, in other words, or a toddler who needs a nap, only he has the federal government at his disposal and no compunction about using it to his own ends.

So we can agree, then, that Donald Trump is the most dangerous man in America (and if you believe his niece, the world.) But barring a dramatic reversal, he'll leave office in six months with few meaningful victories beyond the ideologues he's appointed to the bench.

In the long run, the second most dangerous man in America might leave a more damaging legacy.

Since his appointment last year, Attorney General William Barr has enabled and encouraged Trump's autocratic fetishes, laying the groundwork for a vast expansion of executive power that answers to neither court nor Congress, aided by a Department of Justice that has forsaken any shred of independence to brazenly function as a White House consigliere. ...............(more)


The Toxic Legacy of 60 Years of Abundant Oil

The Toxic Legacy of 60 Years of Abundant Oil
It’s one of the most polluted spots on Earth, and prospects of a turnaround only get worse as Covid-19 guts a global industry.

By Dulue Mbachu
Photographs and video by George Osodi

July 1, 2020, 12:00 AM

(Bloomberg) Bank supervisor Johnson Banigo avoids wearing light-colored shirts to his job because they’re ruined by the dark soot that falls from the heavens.

Banigo, 34, lives and works in Port Harcourt, the center of Nigeria’s petroleum industry where the evening sky literally glows with gas flares. Half a century of oil spills has left a 27,000 square-mile region of swamps, creeks and mangrove forests in southeastern Nigeria one of the most polluted places on earth. Life expectancy is just 41 years.

“Sometimes I worry about the cumulative effect living in this city has on one’s health,” he said. “It’s not only the pollution, one has to worry about the heavy traffic, the high cost of living and then serious insecurity. Robberies and gunfights are frequent as various armed groups spill over into the city from the surrounding creeks.”

Oil’s importance is fading fast, but the desperate situation in Port Harcourt is unlikely to improve any time soon for one simple reason: money. In the past decade, crude has gone from providing about 80% of all Nigerian state revenue to about 50% last year. This year, with the global economy hit by the coronavirus adding to existing trends as the world shifts away from fossil fuels, the government projects an 80% decline in oil income.

That creates a bitter reality for residents at the center of Africa’s biggest petroleum industry: they’ll have little help cleaning up pollution that’s deprived entire communities in the Niger River delta of their fishing and farming livelihoods. ............(more)


Could Dayton's Black voters turn Ohio blue?

Could Dayton’s Black voters turn Ohio blue?
The mobilization of Black Daytonians could prove significant to the upcoming elections, as this battleground state becomes competitive again electorally

(Guardian UK) Cars are a more common sight than people on Dayton’s West 3rd St , a major boulevard known as the heart of the Black community in this Ohio city.

Once a bustling commercial corridor, West 3rd has become synonymous with empty buildings and urban neglect over the years, as local businesses have closed down and the neighborhood’s fortunes have waxed and waned.

Named after three of Dayton’s most famous sons, the Wright Brothers and Black poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, the Wright-Dunbar neighborhood has struggled with segregation and decline.

However, the recent opening of Chanta Winston’s store may have sparked a flicker of hope here, at a time when Black Americans have been disproportionately impacted by Covid-19 and protests have roiled the country after the killing of George Floyd in late May.


Across Dayton, people have been protesting against systemic racism and injustice, and nowhere are these realities more evident or more stark than in Wright-Dunbar. The Great Miami River bisects the post-industrial city from north to south and marks a cultural divide between Black and white Dayton. Mobilizing Black Daytonians like Winston who are passionate about uplifting their communities could help turn Montgomery county blue, a crucial swing county that narrowly went for Donald Trump in 2016 after decades as a Democratic stronghold. .............(more)


'Chasing the virus': How India's largest slum beat back a pandemic

‘Chasing the virus’: How India’s largest slum beat back a pandemic

When coronavirus claimed its first victim in India's largest slum in April, many feared the disease would turn its narrow, congested streets into a graveyard, with social distancing or contact tracing all but impossible.

But three months on, Mumbai's Dharavi offers a rare glimmer of hope with new infections shrinking, thanks to an aggressive strategy that focused on "chasing the virus, instead of waiting for disaster", according to city official Kiran Dighavkar.

The sprawling slum has long been a byword for the financial capital's bitter income disparities—with Dharavi's estimated one million people scraping a living as factory workers or maids and chauffeurs to Mumbai's well-heeled residents.

With a dozen people typically sleeping in a single room, and hundreds using the same public toilet, authorities realised early that standard practices would be of little use. .........(more)


In addition to all the craziness in the U.S. and the world right now, it's really f'in hot.....

..... the Detroit area forecast calls for seven consecutive days above 90°.

Classic moments in right-wing idiocy .... the poetry of Donald Rumsfeld

Our current situation makes you almost nostalgic for warmongers.

Bullshit Barbie claimed 45 is "the most informed person on earth" during her presser.....

..... after which she burst into flames.

Bison gored a woman multiple times after she tried taking a picture with it in Yellowstone

(MarketWatch) The summer of social distancing calls for keeping 6 feet apart from folks outside of your household — but wild animals should be given much more space.

A California woman was gored multiple times by a bison at Yellowstone National Park last week after she came within 10 feet of it several times to take its picture.

The park directs visitors to stay at least 100 yards (300 feet, or 91 meters) away from bears and wolves, and 25 yards (75 feet, or 23 meters) away from all other animals.

The incident happened at the 72-year-old woman’s campsite on June 25. She suffered “multiple goring wounds,” according to a press release from the park, and was flown by helicopter to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center. ............(more)


Who Will Get Hit When Collateralized Loan Obligations (CLOs) Blow Up?

Who Will Get Hit When Collateralized Loan Obligations (CLOs) Blow Up? Banks or Unsuspecting “Market Participants”?
by Wolf Richter • Jun 29, 2020 •

Answers emerge from the murky business of CLOs.
By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

There has been quite some hoopla surrounding Collateralized Loan obligations (CLOs) because the underlying leveraged loans – junk-rated loans often used by private equity firms to fund leveraged buyouts (LBO) and other high-risk endeavors such as special dividends – are now starting to come apart. There are approximately $700 billion in US-issued CLOs outstanding.

US banks hold $99 billion of these CLOs, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. The rest are held by various institutional investors, such as insurance companies, pension funds, mutual funds, hedge funds, private equity firms, and the like. They’re also held by entities overseas, including certain banks in Japan that have gorged on these US CLOs. But that’s their problem.

One third of the CLOs in the US banking system are held by just one bank: JPMorgan Chase; and 80% of the CLOs in the US banking system are held by just three banks. But at each of these three gigantic banks, CLOs account for only 1.2% to 1.3% of total assets (total asset amounts per Federal Reserve Q1 2020):

• JPMorgan Chase: $34.0 billion in CLOs = 1.3% of its $2.69 trillion in assets.
• Wells Fargo: $24.6 billion in CLOs = 1.2% of its $1.76 trillion in assets.
• Citigroup: $21.4 billion in CLOs = 1.3% of its $1.63 trillion in assets.

In 11th position down the list is the second largest bank in the US, Bank of America, with just $807 million in CLOs, accounting for barely over 0% of its $2.03 trillion in assets. .......(more)


Truth-Telling Leads to Racial Healing, Studies of Other Countries Show

from YES! Magazine:

Truth-Telling Leads to Racial Healing, Studies of Other Countries Show


JUN 29, 2020

As the U.S. prepares to celebrate another year of its independence, the country is paying renewed attention to the founders, and how their legacy of slavery is linked to systemic racism.

Calls for reform to policing across the nation can help to directly reduce police violence against civilians but don’t address the centuries-old underlying problems in American society. Our research indicates that the country is not likely to escape its historic cycles of violence and racial oppression without addressing this painful and troubled history.

Sparked by the killing of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police, protests have emerged across the United States demanding police and criminal justice reform. Reform efforts abound—including Minneapolis city councilors declaring they will dismantle the police department, school districts cutting ties with local police, and states banning the police use of chokeholds.

Those efforts can make meaningful differences in individuals’ lives, but they do not address the systemic injustices perpetrated throughout the nation’s history. Our research into how war-torn and fractured nations find peace, justice, and societal reconciliation offers one possible approach. Truth commissions and reparations programs can effectively involve all perspectives in a conflict in a national-level discussion about longstanding political and economic grievances. In other countries, those efforts have led to sustainable and lasting peace in divided societies.

How do truth commissions work?

Truth commissions are investigations into past wrongdoings by a group of authorities, such as community or church leaders, historians, or human rights experts. The truth commissions are designed in varied ways, but their missions are the same. These investigations include the voices of those who experienced the wrongdoings as well as those alleged to have done harm. ...........(more)


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