"Watergate is now 40, 50 years behind us. Have we learned nothing in the last half-century? Have we learned nothing at all? We are right back to where we were a half-century ago, and we may even be in a worse place because this time that argument may succeed. That is the normalisation of lawlessness."
"This year saw the highest number of mass killings on record, database records show, with 41 incidents claiming 211 lives in 2019 even as the overall US homicide rated dropped."
"According to the database complied by the Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University, 33 of the incidents, defined as when four or more people are killed excluding the perpetrator, involved firearms."
"The 41 mass killings were the most in a single year since the database began tracking such events back in 2006. Other research going back to the 1970s shows no other year with as many mass killings. The second-most was 38 in 2006."
"The belief that Russia is on our side in the war against secularism and sexual decadence is shared by a host of American Christian leaders, as well as their colleagues on the European far right. Among them, for example, are the movers and shakers behind the World Congress of Families, an American evangelical and anti-gay-rights organization that Buchanan has explicitly praised. One of the WCF’s former leaders, Larry Jacobs, once declared that 'the Russians might be the Christian saviors of the world'. The WCF even has a Russian branch, which is run by Alexey Komov, a man in turn linked to Konstantin Malofeev, a Russian oligarch who has hosted far-right meetings all across Europe. At the WCF’s most recent meeting, in Verona, senior Russian priests mingled with leaders of the Italian far right, the Austrian far right, and their comrades from the American heartland."
"The US economy is becoming increasingly harmed by ever less competition, with fewer and fewer companies dominating sector after sector – from airlines to mobile phones. Market power is the most important concept in economics, he says. When firms dominate a sector, they invest and innovate less, they peg or raise prices, and they make super-normal profits by just existing (what economists call “economic rent”). So it is that mobile phone bills in the US are on average $100 a month, twice that of France and Germany, with the same story in broadband. Profits per passenger airline mile in the US are twice those in Europe. US healthcare is impossibly expensive, with drug companies fixing prices twice as high or even higher than those in Europe; health spending is 18% of GDP. Google, Amazon and Facebook have been allowed to become supermonopolies, buying up smaller challengers with no obstruction."
"This monopolising process gums up everything. Investment in the US has been falling for 20 years. Because prices stay high, wages buy less, so workers’ lifestyles, unless they borrow, get squeezed in real terms while those at the top get paid ever more with impunity. Inequality escalates to unsupportable levels. Even life expectancy is now falling across the US."
"But why has this happened now? Philippon has a deadly answer. A US political campaign costs 50 times more than one in Europe in terms of money spent for every vote cast. But this doesn’t just distort the political process. It is the chief cause of the US economic crisis."
"U.S. workers are failing to improve the skills needed to succeed in an increasingly global economy, according to a government agency report released Friday."
"The National Center for Education Statistics asked 3,300 respondents ages 16-to-65 to read simple passages and solve basic math problems. What the researchers found is that literacy, numeracy and digital problem-solving ability in the U.S. have stagnated over the past few years."
"Some 19% of the test-takers ranked at the lowest of three levels for literacy and 24% lacked basic digital problem-solving abilities."
"Meanwhile, a shocking 29% performed at the lowest level for numeracy, the same as findings from the previous study conducted in 2012-2014. Almost one in three couldn’t correctly answer 'how much gas is in a 24-gallon tank if the gas gauge reads three-quarters full'."
"Attorney General William P. Barr made a bit of news Monday when he said he was 'appalled' that Jeffrey Epstein managed to kill himself while in federal custody. As he should have been, although it's also appalling that the conditions at the Manhattan jail where Epstein died are seen as nigh unto torture by civilized countries. But some other words coming out Barr's mouth-hole Monday haven't gotten nearly as much attention. Barr gave a speech to the national convention of the Fraternal Order of Police in New Orleans where he explained some very simple facts about how the Trump administration sees law enforcement: It's all about a war to impose order on evil people who keep thinking they have rights. It was an impressive display of support for Tuff Guy policing, if you're impressed by a bit of casual fascism."
"A mural of the Statue of Liberty, handcuffed and slammed on the hood of a police cruiser, is drawing attention in downtown Las Vegas, a day after a top Trump administration official in charge of immigration suggested the statue’s famous inscription be amended to include a test of means."
"Under the pseudonym Recycled Propaganda, artist and British immigrant Izaac Zevalking painted the image on a wall late last month, before citizenship and immigration services director Ken Cuccinelli – jokingly – suggested amending Emma Lazarus’s sonnet inscribed on the statue to read: 'Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge'."
It has been a long-running debate on exactly where the different regions of the United States start and end. To address the issue, author Colin Woodward made a map showing that the United States can be divided into 11 distinct sub-nations. Woodard mapped out the regions in his 2012 book " American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America." [......