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Class 0314wrp opt(Photo: weifly / Flickr)There have been three remarkable breakthroughs in the last month regarding the media's willingness to report and comment on the alarming process of the militarization of America's high schools.  For more than a generation the corporate media has imposed an apparent moratorium on in-depth reporting on deceptive, school-based DOD recruiting programs.

The Associated Press, after years of nudging, finally reported on the list of high school JROTC programs the NRA Foundation funds across the country. Although this information has been available to the public for a generation, it has never been reported by the mass media. The foundation's IRS Form 990 clearly associates the NRA with JROTC shooting programs in high schools across the country.

It's a shame the same news organizations still refuse to report on the role of the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) in managing high school firing ranges and marksmanship programs. The CMP is the privately-run, super-secret congressionally chartered small arms and ammunition dealer with assets exceeding $220 million. We're still waiting for the media behemoths to report on the
CMP's 990


secrettrumpSecret Service agents monitoring voting at Trump's discretion? It could happen. (liz west)

In the midst of a week of ongoing chaos and contention emanating from the White House, the gears of government continue to grind, and the president continues to push for outrageous new policies. This week, for instance, while Trump was playing ringmaster of the circus he has brought to Washington, DC, several media outlets reported that he supports the right to send Secret Service agents to select polling places during elections.

Because federal agents are not currently allowed in voting precincts (unless they are with a public official that they are protecting), this intimidating idea would require a change in law. Unfortunately, a bill has already passed the House of Representatives that would allow the Secret Service to patrol voters performing one of their most essential rights in a democracy.

The provision allowing the Secret Service presence is part of a funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security, which will come before the Senate in the near future. The step comes after Trump dissolved his Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity after just a few months, in all likelihood because it could not find examples of any massive voter fraud. However, he then turned the task of creating the illusion of widespread voter fraud over to the Department of Homeland Security.

DHS would be "assisted" by the king of the voter fraud myth, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Kobach specializes in voter suppression. He created Operation Interstate Crosscheck, a "caging list" of voters that has been used by a number of Republican secretaries of state to purge voters from the rolls, sweeping up thousands of people who have the right to vote.


Dow 0313wrp opt(Photo: Javier / Flickr)Language matters. For example, the way our society's leaders choose to comment on the health of America's economy can either make clear to us commoners what's going on — or obfuscate, hide and even lie about the reality we face.

Consider that the most common measurement that the media, politicians and corporations use to tell us whether our economy is zooming or sputtering is Wall Street's index of stock prices. The media literally spews out some number every hour indicating that the Dow Jones Average of stock prices is up, down or sluggish — as though everyone is waiting breathlessly for that news.

But wait — nearly all stock is owned by the richest 10 percent of Americans, so the Dow Jones Average says nothing about the economic condition of the 90 percent majority of Americans. For us — and for the true economic health of America as a whole — we need to know the Doug Jones Average. In plain language, the question leaders should ask every day is: How're Doug and Delores Jones doing?

As we've seen for years now, stock prices keep rising to record highs, while wages and living standards of the middle class and poor majority have been held down by the same corporate and political "leaders" telling us to keep our eye on the Dow. Indeed, they also play a dirty language trick on us when they issue the monthly report on the health of America's job market. Currently, they say, with the unemployment rate down to four percent, the job market is booming!


GunDesert 0313wrp opt(Photo: Stu Rapley / Flickr)I am old enough to recall the shooting of President Ronald Reagan in March, 1981. For those who weren't around at the time, here's a fact you should know:

President Reagan was accompanied by four armed men, all trained to respond to an attack on the Commander in Chief and dedicated to take a bullet for him if necessary. Reagan and his entourage were in the open air, on a Washington street. We can assume his security detail remained as alert as possible to any hint of danger. Yet a young man infatuated with a Hollywood movie star shot Reagan and two other men. He wanted to shoot the President as a token of his love for her. Which is as good a motive as any other armed madman has had.

Fortunately, all three victims survived, and Ronald Reagan went on to serve two full terms as President

Do you suppose Donald Trump knows about this?


Melt 0312wrp optAn Arctic "melt pond." (Photo: NASA / Flickr)A chilling research paper warning about the fate of humanity has received 4,500 additional signatures and endorsements from scientists since it was first released last year.

The paper—"World Scientists' Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice"—was published in November 2017 in the journal Bioscience and quickly received the largest-ever formal support by scientists for a journal article with roughly 15,000 signatories from 184 countries.

Today, the article has collected 20,000 expert endorsements and/or co-signatories, and more are encouraged to add their names.

The "Warning" became one of the most widely discussed research papers in the world. It currently ranks 6th out of 9 million papers on the Altmetric scale, which tracks attention to research. It has also inspired pleas from political leaders from Israel to Canada.


Bullet 0312wrp(Photo: Paul L Dineen / Flickr)Early this February, the Republican-controlled Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed new federal budget legislation that increased U.S. military spending by $165 billion over the next two years.  Remarkably, though, a Gallup public opinion poll, conducted only days before, found that only 33 percent of Americans favored increasing U.S. military spending, while 65 percent opposed it, either backing reductions (34 percent) or maintenance of the status quo (31 percent).

What is even more remarkable for a nation where military spending has grown substantially over the decades, is that, during the past 49 years that Gallup has asked Americans their opinions on U.S. military spending, in only one year (1981) did a majority of Americans (in that case, 51 percent) favor increasing it.  During the other years, clear and sometimes very substantial majorities opposed spending more on the military.

Friday, 09 March 2018 06:41

Don't Play Chicken With Water


Cup 0309wrp opt(Photo: Gioconda Beekman / Flickr)The severe drought in Cape Town, South Africa, renewed interest in the growing global water crisis, one that affects billions of people a year and is now encroaching upon some major cities like Beijing, Cairo, Moscow and London. Demand for water is exceeding supply, and supply is down not just because we like to drink, cook and shower, but because climate change is drinking up the supply, and we've polluted a great deal of what's left.

The reaction should be deafening considering the statistics: about 3 billion people have limited or no access to water. There are about 2,000 children a day -- 800,000 children each year -- dying as a consequence of water shortages. Public, private and grassroots organizations are trying to balance demand and supply through new irrigation techniques, toilet-to-tap purification, do-it-yourself purification, changing of personal habits and more.

The race is on to solve this problem by 2030, when the world is estimated to have only 60 percent of the water it needs. Funding and human concern remain underwhelming, though.


africanelephantAfrican elephants. (Ronnie Macdonald)

On March 1, Donald Trump's Interior Department lifted the ban on importing big-hunting elephant kill trophies to the United States. Trump, in the past, claimed he was not a fan of safaris and the killing of large animals in Africa for sport. However, as he's done on a large number of policies, Trump has changed his mind.

Maybe he did so because safari hunting is a rich man's sport. Maybe it was a family matter. After all, a 2017 Guardian article states that "Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump are prolific big-game hunters and during the 2016 campaign, images re-emerged of the pair on a 2011 hunting trip posing with animals they had killed on safari, including an elephant, a buffalo and a leopard."

The Trump male heirs are passionate braggarts about shooting down sought-after prey in Africa, including animals that potentially face extinction.


Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

kidsclimateKids take on Trump for enabling climate change. (Photo: Environmental Illness Network)

A federal court rejected the Trump administration's attempt to shut down a landmark lawsuit initiated by 21 young plaintiffs suing the government for its creation of climate danger.

The three-judge panel with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco denied the White House's writ of mandamus petition filed in June, a rarely used legal maneuver that would have dismissed Juliana v. United States.

In the unanimous decision Wednesday, Chief Judge Sidney R. Thomas called the petition a "drastic and extraordinary remedy reserved for really extraordinary causes" and the Trump administration's motion did not satisfy that standard.

"The issues that the defendants raise on mandamus are better addressed through the ordinary course of litigation," Thomas wrote, thus allowing the case to move forward.


Franklin 0307wrp optRev. Franklin Graham. (Photo: Matt Johnson / Flickr)

CBS News painted the picture: "The preacher and the president, seated side-by-side Wednesday in the lit-for-television Capitol Rotunda, leaned a few inches closer. The Rev. Franklin Graham whispered something to President Trump, who listened as he kept his eyes on the pine casket at the center of the room."

Whatever you might think about the legacy of the late Reverend Billy Graham – his laying in state in the Capitol Rotunda -- know this: His son Franklin is a Trump loving, LGBTQ condemning, Planned Parenthood denouncing, Obama bashing, Putin worshipping Islamophobe, that yearns to be the next inhabitant of his father's unofficial title of "America's Pastor." If anyone personifies the yearnings of white conservative evangelicals, who voted 80% for Trump, it is Franklin Graham. Over the past decade, Graham, who is president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, has been creeping closer and closer to occupying the space of some of the most notable all-time Christian Right purveyors of hate.

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