Quote for the day

With the arguable exception of George H.W. Bush, every Republican president since 1980 has pushed through tax cuts that disproportionately benefited the 1 percent while trying to defund and/or privatize key social programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act.

This agenda is, however, unpopular. Most voters believe that the rich should pay more, not less, in taxes, and want spending on social programs to rise, not fall.

So how do Republicans win elections? By appealing to racial animus. This is such an obvious fact of American political life that you have to be willfully blind not to see it.

Paul Krugman

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The end of permafrost

When I was a very young engineer, with a specialty in soil mechanics, I seriously considered going to Alaska to study permafrost because frozen ground behaves neither plastically nor elastically; it would be a rare and distinctive specialty. I decided against it because it meant I’d have to spend the rest of my life living where there is permafrost in order to work — meaning extremely cold climes. It’s a good thing I didn’t, I guess, because the permafrost is disappearing.

The thawing of the permafrost — along with other changes triggered by global warming — is reshaping this incredibly remote region sometimes called the Kingdom of Winter. It is one of the coldest inhabited places on earth, and huge; Yakutia, if independent, would be the world’s eighth largest country.

The loss of permafrost deforms the landscape itself, knocking down houses and barns. The migration patterns of animals hunted for centuries are shifting, and severe floods wreak havoc almost every spring.

The water, washing out already limited dirt roads and rolling corpses from their graves, threatens entire villages with permanent inundation. Waves chew away the less frozen Arctic coastline.

This is the consequence, of course, of dumping tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every day for a hundred years via carbon fuel consumption — global warming, no matter that the FOX News crowd believes otherwise.

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Tweet of the day

The Baptists ain’t gonna like this …

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Defense procurement by grudge

It appears that a primary criterion for Department of Defense procurement decisions affecting the safety of American troops is … Donald Trump’s grudges.

The White House has instructed newly installed Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper to reexamine the awarding of the military’s massive cloud-computing contract because of concerns that the deal would go to Amazon, officials close to the decision-making process said.

The 11th-hour Oval Office intervention comes just weeks before the winning bid was expected to be announced and has now left a major military priority up in the air, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the closed-door process freely.

[ … ]

Oracle has lobbied Trump aggressively on the matter, hoping to appeal to his animosity toward Amazon as well as former defense secretary Jim Mattis, who angered the president when he resigned last year over the administration’s foreign policy decisions. Oracle Executive Vice President Ken Glueck, who runs the company’s policy shop in Washington, said he created a colorful flow chart labeled “A Conspiracy To Create A Ten Year DoD Cloud Monopoly” that portrayed connections among Amazon executives, Mattis and officials from the Obama administration.

[ … ]

“I’m getting tremendous complaints about the contract with the Pentagon and with Amazon. … They’re saying it wasn’t competitively bid,” Trump said in a July 18 press gaggle. “Some of the greatest companies in the world are complaining about it, having to do with Amazon and the Department of Defense, and I will be asking them to look at it very closely to see what’s going on.”

Would Donald Trump force the American military to make-do with second-rate goods in order to settle a score? Sure; I don’t have the slightest difficulty imagining that. But why aren’t stringently, resolutely, pro-military Republicans — What has happened to you, Lindsey Graham? — marching on the White House with pitchforks?

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Squalid tweet of the day

It’s just as I keep telling y’all: Donald Trump is sewage, all the way down.

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