A clear, quiet early morning here on California’s northern coast, and compared to the remarkable heat-wave blasting the eastern part of the country this week, the weather around these local parts is near-envious.
The environment can change quick, though, as I was outside a minute ago on a smoke break and it’s getting a bit foggy, shading the stars and turning a chill — if one doesn’t like the weather here, just wait a few minutes.
Across the US, the GOP should be either happy or mortified — Mitt Romney has made it near-official with a win yesterday in the Republican primary in Texas, where he gathered-up more delegates than the 1,144 necessary for the GOP nomination.
And Mitt displayed his immoral, elastic quality in clinching tight to such ignorant assholes like Don Trump, telling reporters this past weekend: â€œI need to get 50.1 percent or more, and Iâ€™m appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people.â€
No matter the reality — winning trumps ethics.
Let’s not get into The Don’s bullshit, way-too early.
In reality,two other news stories startled me a bit this morning into truly knowing the US I was taught about in sixth grade nearly 50 years no longer exists, or was a sham from the beginning — either way, this country is in a f*cking mess.
Both stories illustrate the downfall of whatever the US pretended for more than 200 years.
One received plenty of press, the other didn’t.
The other first.
In a new report out yesterday from the Office of Research at the United Nations Childrenâ€™s Fund (UNICEF) found the US is at the bottom of the list for high rates of child poverty, and this for so-called ‘advanced countries — only Romania is worse than those associated with the Great American Dream.
UNICEF conducted the study based on two aspects, the first defines a child as â€œdeprivedâ€ if he or she lacks two or more of a list of 14 basic items, such as three meals a day, a quiet place to do homework, educational books at home, or an Internet connection.
The second, looks at relative poverty, examining the percentage of children living below their national â€œpoverty lineâ€ â€“ defined as 50 per cent of median disposable household income.
Via Think Progress:
The top five positions in the league table are occupied by Iceland, Finland, Cyprus, the Netherlands and Norway (with Slovenia and Denmark close behind).
All of these countries have relative child poverty rates below 7 percent.
Another eight countries including two of the largest — Germany and France — have rates between 7 percent and 10 percent.
A third group, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, post rates of between 10 percent and 15 percent.
A further six, including populous Italy and Spain, show rates of between 15 percent and 20 percent.
In only two countries are more than 20 percent of children living in relative poverty â€” Romania and the United States.
And the oddness of economics in the UN research — from UPI: Governmental policy can have a significant impact on the lives of children. For example, Denmark and Sweden had lower rates of child deprivation than Belgium or Germany, yet all four countries have roughly similar levels of economic development and per capita income, the report said.
According to the Brookings Institute this month, nearly 20 percent of Americaâ€™s children, and 13 percent of all Americans, live in poverty — this from the reputed-to-be the greatest country in all of world history.
And Romney has a clear aim at poverty — he blubbered last February: Iâ€™m not concerned with the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, Iâ€™ll fix it…My campaign â€” you can choose where to focus. You can focus on the rich, thatâ€™s not my focus. You can focus on the very poor, thatâ€™s not my focus.
The focus is winning the White House — nothing else seems to matter.
And the second story is the widening war on so-called terror and the easy killing of foreign peoples.
The New York Times published a detailed story yesterday on President Obama’s “Kill List” in regards to those drone strikes now being used all over the world.
It is the strangest of bureaucratic rituals: Every week or so, more than 100 members of the governmentâ€™s sprawling national security apparatus gather, by secure video teleconference, to pore over terrorist suspectsâ€™ biographies and recommend to the president who should be the next to die.
This secret â€œnominationsâ€ process is an invention of the Obama administration, a grim debating society that vets the PowerPoint slides bearing the names, aliases and life stories of suspected members of Al Qaedaâ€™s branch in Yemen or its allies in Somaliaâ€™s Shabab militia.
“It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent,” the Times reports. “Counterterrorism officials insist this approach is one of simple logic: people in an area of known terrorist activity, or found with a top Qaeda operative, are probably up to no good.”
â€œThis program rests on the personal legitimacy of the president, and thatâ€™s not sustainable,â€ Mr. Hayden said.
â€œI have lived the life of someone taking action on the basis of secret O.L.C. memos, and it ainâ€™t a good life. Democracies do not make war on the basis of legal memos locked in a D.O.J. safe.â€
Chris Floyd adds:
In other words, this portrait of an American president signing off — week after week after week after week — on the extrajudicial murder of people all over the world is presented as something completely uncontroversial.
Indeed, the main thrust of the story is not the fact that human beings — including many women, children and men who have no connection whatsoever to “terrorism,” alleged or otherwise — are being regularly killed by the United States government; no, the main focus is how this program illustrates Barack Obama’s “evolving” style of leadership during the course of his presidency.
That’s what’s really important.
The murders — the eviscerated bodies, the children with their skulls bashed in, the pregnant women burned alive in their own homes — are just background.
Read the whole NYT article, then read the various reactions around the InterWebs — the US is a sham, and it’s a shame.