Category Archives: Politics

“Though 72 hours is the longest a minor can be legally confined in such a facility, some had been there almost a month”

The Atlantic: What a Pediatrician Saw Inside a Border Patrol Warehouse. “Dolly Lucio Sevier evaluated dozens of sick children at a facility in South Texas. She found evidence of infection, malnutrition, and psychological trauma.”

“But when Sevier asked the 38 children she examined that day about sanitation, they all said they weren’t allowed to wash their hands or brush their teeth. This was “tantamount to intentionally causing the spread of disease,” she later wrote in a medical declaration about the visit, the document that the lawyers filed in federal court and also shared with me. (Asked for comment on this story, a Customs and Border Protection official wrote in an email that the agency aims to “provide the best care possible to those in our custody, especially children.” The agency’s “short-term holding facilities were not designed to hold vulnerable populations,” the official added, “and we urgently need additional humanitarian funding to manage this crisis.”)

As agents brought in the children she requested, Sevier said, the smell of sweat and soiled clothing filled the room. They had not been allowed to bathe or change since crossing the Rio Grande and turning themselves over to officials. Sevier found that about two-thirds of the kids she examined had symptoms of respiratory infection. The guards wore surgical masks, but the detainees breathed the air unfiltered. As the children filed in, Sevier said she found evidence of sleep deprivation, dehydration, and malnutrition too.”

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“Trump is not simply a serial liar; he is attempting to murder the very idea of truth”

The Atlantic: Trump’s Sinister Assault on Truth. “The president appears committed to destroying the very idea of facts.” By Peter Wehner, contributing editor at The Atlantic and senior fellow at EPPC.

“Trump is not simply a serial liar; he is attempting to murder the very idea of truth, which is even worse. “The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda,” according to the Russian dissident and former world chess champion Garry Kasparov. “It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth.”
[…]
Destroy the foundation of factual truth, and lies will be normalized. This is what the Czech dissident (and later president) Václav Havel described in the late 1970s when he wrote about his fellow citizens making their own inner peace with a regime built on hypocrisy and falsehoods. They were “living within the lie.” In such a situation life becomes farcical, demoralizing, a theater of the absurd. It is soul-destroying.

The United States is still quite a long way from the situation Havel found himself in. But to keep it that way—to keep civic vandalism from spreading—we all have a role to play, including calling out lies, including the lies of Trump, in every way we can.

The most obvious thing Americans can do is to vote for men and women who prize integrity and are, in the main, truth-tellers. It doesn’t seem too much to ask that we not vote for those who are chronically dishonest and corrupt. Americans can also end their financial support for parties that are aiding and abetting compulsive liars.

(Emphasis mine.)

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The crisis escalates…

The Guardian: Scientists shocked by Arctic permafrost thawing 70 years sooner than predicted. “Ice blocks frozen solid for thousands of years destabilized – ‘The climate is now warmer than at any time in last 5,000 years’.”

“Diving through a lucky break in the clouds, Romanovsky and his colleagues said they were confronted with a landscape that was unrecognisable from the pristine Arctic terrain they had encountered during initial visits a decade or so earlier.

The vista had dissolved into an undulating sea of hummocks – waist-high depressions and ponds known as thermokarst. Vegetation, once sparse, had begun to flourish in the shelter provided from the constant wind.

Torn between professional excitement and foreboding, Romanovsky said the scene had reminded him of the aftermath of a bombardment.

“It’s a canary in the coalmine,” said Louise Farquharson, a postdoctoral researcher and co-author of the study. “It’s very likely that this phenomenon is affecting a much more extensive region and that’s what we’re going to look at next.“”

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“I’ll just keep talking to people — I like talking to people.”

The New York Times Magazine: Elizabeth Warren Is Completely Serious. “About income inequality. About corporate power. About corrupt politics. And about being America’s next president.”

“Warren, like everyone in the race, has yet to prove that she has the political skills and broad-enough support to become president. But a parallel from another country suggests that perhaps bearing down on policy is the best strategy against right-wing populism. Luigi Zingales, the University of Chicago economist, comes from Italy, and he feared Trump’s rise back in 2011, having watched the ascension of Silvio Berlusconi, the corrupt billionaire tycoon who was elected prime minister of Italy in the 2000s as a right-wing populist. After Trump’s victory in 2016, Zingales pointed out in a New York Times Op-Ed that the two candidates who defeated Berlusconi treated him as “an ordinary opponent,” focusing on policy issues rather than his character. “The Democratic Party should learn this lesson,” Zingales wrote. He now thinks that Warren is positioned to mount that kind of challenge. “I think so,” he said, “if she does not fall for his provocations.””

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