Sunday, April 2, 2017

Your Sunday morning reading list

Robert Redford explains how 45 years after Watergate, the truth is again in danger.. Yes, that Robert Redford, the guy who starred in the film about the two reporters who investigated watergate, All the King’s Men. “There was a time during a period of national crisis when politicians from both sides of the aisle put partisan politics aside to uncover the truth. There was a time when Democrats and Republicans united to navigate a peaceful ending to a corrupt and criminal presidency. There was a time when members of Congress placed defending our democracy above party interests for the greater good. There was a time.” Redford asks: “Now is a different time. If we have another Watergate, will we navigate it as well?” Scriber doesn’t recall a Watergate version of House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes sucking up to Nixon’s White House.

AZBlueMeanie has another report that Public policy is failing to address the economic disruption from rapidly advancing technology. Lots of jobs were lost to automation during the last 25 years - 670,000 to industrial robots alone. The country was not prepared for the socioeconomic consequences of that shift. AZBlueMeanie: “Our elected leaders are not even addressing this complicated issue. They are either unaware, uninformed, or uninterested in addressing jobs affected by the Technology Revolution, and the economic disruption it has on society.”

Trump’s hands are not the only parts of his agenda that are small. Try the morality of redirecting funds for medical research, the environment, and diplomacy to building the so-called “beautiful wall.” Michael Gerson slams Trump’s agenda hard in This presidency is failing — and stunningly. “Republicans got an administration that is morally small. Trump’s proposed budget would require massive cuts in disease research, global development and agricultural programs — just as a famine gathers a hideous strength. The proposed budget practices random acts of gratuitous cruelty.” “It is now dawning on Republicans what they have done to themselves. They thought they could somehow get away with Trump. That he could be contained. That the adults could provide guidance. That the economy might come to the rescue. That the damage could be limited.” “Instead, they are seeing a downward spiral of incompetence and public contempt — a collapse that is yet to reach a floor. A presidency is failing. A party unable to govern is becoming unfit to govern.” But we will have that wasteful wall.

Speaking of that wasteful wall: check out Tim Steller’s column also in the Daily Star this morning, Senseless border fences stand in southwestern Arizona as US risks even bigger waste. “Last week, the administration asked Congress for $1 billion to pay for just 48 miles of new border barriers and 14 miles of replacement fencing. What they’re asking us to sacrifice to pay for these border fences is severe. The administration sent to Congress last week proposals for $18 billion in budget cuts to help pay for the wall. The sacrifices come in painful pieces like $1.2 billion cut from medical research, and $1.5 billion from community development block grants. That amounts to a 50 percent cut to the federal grant program that underwrites, among other services, $450,000 for home repairs for poor people in Pima County and programs for the homeless in Tucson.” Steller and his photographer visited the remote Tinajas Atlas Mountains in which “fences are easy to walk around. You just walk over a few rocks and pass by.” They were expecting to be stopped by the Border Patrol “But we drove out, past the senseless fences, alone. Nobody was around to stop us.” Scriber thinks there is a correlation: Small hands, small minds.

And don’t forget my post this morning on solar energy. “More worldwide generating capacity is now being added from clean sources than coal and natural gas combined, according to a December report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which closely tracks investment in renewables.” The rest of the world accurately sees the future of energy production on this planet and acts on that vision. The U. S. under Trump? Well … “President Trump ordered U.S. regulators this week to reverse Obama-era policies aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions, and he has promised to “bring back” the U.S. coal industry. But construction of coal-fired power plants dropped 62 percent over the past year worldwide, according to a survey by the Sierra Club and other activist groups. In China last year, the number of new permits for coal-fired plants fell by 85 percent.” Read my post for more on why Chile is a model for what to do. Bigly. The U. S. elects to spend it’s resources on senseless fences. Sickeningly.

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