August 2019

Trump’s command economy

David A. Graham writes: Fate sometimes has an acute sense of irony. This morning, the political donor and philanthropist David Koch died. Koch’s father was an early, prominent supporter of the limited-government, red-baiting John Birch Society. Koch ran for vice president as a Libertarian in 1980, but he and his brother Charles eventually shifted their focus to pushing the Republican Party in an aggressively small-government, low-regulation direction. They had remarkable

David Koch escaped the climate hell he helped create

Brian Kahn writes: David Koch is dead. The billionaire died this week at age 79 of causes yet unknown. While he certainly enjoyed the fruits of his labors to deregulate U.S. industry and reduce taxes on the super-wealthy like himself, he will never have to experience the consequences of his biggest achievement: putting the entire planet on the brink of crisis in the service of enriching himself and a few

The Amazon is burning because the world eats so much meat

CNN reports: While the wildfires raging in the Amazon rainforest may constitute an “international crisis,” they are hardly an accident. The vast majority of the fires have been set by loggers and ranchers to clear land for cattle. The practice is on the rise, encouraged by Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s populist pro-business president, who is backed by the country’s so-called “beef caucus.” While this may be business as usual for Brazil’s

Global leaders urged to divert Brazilian government from ‘suicide’ path as Amazonian rainforest burns

The Guardian reports: International pressure may be the only way to stop the Brazilian government from taking a “suicide” path in the Amazon, one of the country’s most respected scientists has said, as the world’s biggest rainforest continues to be ravaged by thousands of deliberate fires. The large number of conflagrations – set illegally to clear and prepare land for crops, cattle and property speculation – has prompted the state

Climate change may change the way ocean waves impact 50% of the world’s coastlines

By Mark Hemer, CSIRO; Ian Young, University of Melbourne; Joao Morim Nascimento, Griffith University, and Nobuhito Mori, Kyoto University The rise in sea levels is not the only way climate change will affect the coasts. Our research, published today in Nature Climate Change, found a warming planet will also alter ocean waves along more than 50% of the world’s coastlines. If the climate warms by more than 2℃ beyond pre-industrial

The information war of all against all

Peter Pomerantsev writes: “The powerlessness of our enemies is they are still trying to describe and fight us as if we were the old right-wing fringe groups that they faced decades before,” Martin Sellner, a figurehead of the European Identitarian Movement, told me, speaking from his flat in Vienna, Austria. “Our job as the avant-garde from the right is to show the people that the normality of tomorrow doesn’t have

Jewish Americans are not temporarily dislocated Israelis

Talia Lavin writes: The first recorded Jewish resident of North America arrived in 1585. His name was Joachim Gans, and he was a metallurgist from Prague, recruited by Sir Walter Raleigh to accompany would-be colonists to what would become Virginia. But the Roanoke colony was short-lived, and Gans soon departed, leaving behind a few lumps of copper and a goldsmith’s crucible for future archaeologists to discover. For centuries after Gans’s

Music: Lars Danielsson ft. Hussam Aliwat — ‘Taksim’


Fires in the Amazon, the planet at risk

Tierra Curry writes: In Brazil, the Amazon rainforest is now burning at a record rate. The greedy, short-sighted policies of Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro are jeopardizing indigenous peoples and countless plants and animals. Indeed, in the midst of a climate emergency, Bolsonaro’s policies to slash environmental protections and develop the Amazon for mining, ranching and farming jeopardize the future of life on Earth as we know it. North America

Bipartisan support for Israel is dead — and that’s a good thing

Peter Beinart writes: It’s become a ritual. Every time Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu do something that outrages Democrats, centrist commentators warn that they are committing a grave offense: They’re making Israel a partisan issue. The accusation has been nearly ubiquitous since the two leaders last week conspired to deny Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar’s request to visit the West Bank. “Trump and Netanyahu are…eroding the bipartisanship that is

What ‘victory’ looks like: A journey through shattered Syria

The New York Times reports: Picking our way around the ruins of the Damascus suburb of Douma, it took a little while to realize what was missing. There were women carrying groceries, old men droning by on motorbikes and skinny children heaving jugs of water home. But there were few young men. They had died in the war, been thrown in prison or scattered far beyond Syria’s borders. Now, it

The U.S. is nearing a deal with the Taliban. But another major threat looms in Afghanistan: ISIS

The Washington Post reports: The official government line here is that the Islamic State has been defeated. The local branch of the extremist Sunni militia, Afghan officials say, has been corralled into a mountainous area near the Pakistani border by Afghan and U.S. forces and can no longer control populated areas. They say it has been reduced to staging suicide attacks against “soft” targets, like the wedding party bombing here

Manufacturing woes grip swing states that flipped for Trump in 2016

Reuters reports: A slowdown in U.S. manufacturing is hitting jobs in states that flipped to Donald Trump in the 2016 election and that will be key to the Republican president’s re-election prospects in 2020. Trump is telling voters across the country that the economy is booming and jobs are growing. But the blow to factory employment is more pronounced in places like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin than in the rest

Behind the Facebook-fueled rise of The Epoch Times

NBC News reports: By the numbers, there is no bigger advocate of President Donald Trump on Facebook than The Epoch Times. The small New York-based nonprofit news outlet has spent more than $1.5 million on about 11,000 pro-Trump advertisements in the last six months, according to data from Facebook’s advertising archive — more than any organization outside of the Trump campaign itself, and more than most Democratic presidential candidates have

Living in space

  By Paul Woodward To see things clearly, we often need to break the patterns of habit. The Earth, physically and metaphorically — the ground of human experience — is the stationary foundation that forms the background of movement: our movement across its surface; the terra firma against which the oceans wash and above which birds fly; the horizon that the Sun rises above and then falls beneath. Intellectually, as

Music: Bugge Wesseltoft — ‘Existence’