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Offline knarf

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Beto O'Rourke raised massive $6.1 million his first day in the 2020 race
« Reply #12135 on: March 18, 2019, 06:38:45 AM »
Beto O'Rourke raised $6.1 million in the first 24 hours of his presidential campaign, his campaign said Monday, in what amounts to the largest announced first-day haul of any 2020 Democratic contender to date.
The former Texas congressman raised $6,136,763 in online donations from all 50 states in the first day, his campaign said. That tops the $5.9 million one-day total Sen. Bernie Sanders announced after he launched his campaign. The closest other 2020 Democratic candidate to publicize their first-day fundraising total was California Sen. Kamala Harris at $1.5 million.
The first-day total shows O'Rourke has the potential to recreate the record-smashing fundraising prowess he exhibited during his 2018 US Senate campaign. A more complete picture of what candidates have raised — and how much they spent, particularly on social media advertisements, to raise that money — will come in April, when reports covering the first fundraising quarter are due.

"In just 24 hours, Americans across this country came together to prove that it is possible to run a true grassroots campaign for president -- a campaign by all of us for all of us that answers not to the PACs, corporations, and special interests but to the people," O'Rourke said in a statement announcing the total.
O'Rourke's haul came after he launched his campaign with a video and several campaign stops Thursday in Iowa.



He began the campaign with big promises, telling reporters in Keokuk, Iowa, that he planned to "run the largest grassroots campaign this country has ever seen."
But until now, there had been little proof of O'Rourke's ability to carry out that plan. His refusal to release first-day fundraising totals over the weekend had raised doubts that O'Rourke had met fundraising expectations around his campaign launch. He remained coy about his fundraising for days.
"I can't right now," he said Friday in Washington, Iowa.
A reporter responded that O'Rourke could share his fundraising totals if he wanted to.
"You're right," he responded. "I choose not to."
Still, a sign that his campaign had began with a massive fundraising haul came Saturday night when O'Rourke -- who is playing catch-up in hiring staffers as one of the last major Democratic candidates to launch -- told reporters in Dubuque, Iowa, that he would support his campaign unionizing, as Sanders had, and hoped to pay the highest wages and benefits of any presidential contender.
Last year, O'Rourke shattered Senate campaign fundraising records and raised $80 million in his bid to oust Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. His closer-than-expected loss propelled talk of a presidential bid.
He did so with a pledge not to accept money from political action committees, which O'Rourke carried over to his presidential campaign. The approach is unusual -- many other Democratic presidential contenders have sworn off money from corporate PACs, but accept money from those friendlier to Democratic interests, like labor unions. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has also sworn off all PAC money.
O'Rourke emphasized that pledge in a first-day fundraising email.
"Our campaign will be funded by We the People — that is how we'll be able to reach and listen to voters in all 50 states. No PACs. No corporations. No lobbyists or special interests. It'll be ALL people," an email to supporters signed "Team Beto" said.
"If we have a strong showing on our first day, people will see it as a sign that this campaign is off to a good start. That will encourage even more people to join us," O'Rourke said in another fundraising email on the first day.

O'Rourke has also quickly returned to a habit that made him a viral hit in Texas: He is livestreaming most events on Facebook, drawing an audience of thousands to watch him campaign in real time.
O'Rourke began his campaign with a series of smaller events in coffee shops across eastern Iowa, and then in Wisconsin. A small group is operating in El Paso, where he is headquartering his campaign. O'Rourke has not yet hired a campaign manager, though he is in talks with veteran Democratic strategist Jen O'Malley Dillon, who was former President Barack Obama's deputy campaign manager in 2012 and would be seen as a major coup, a source familiar with their discussions said.

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/03/18/politics/beto-orourke-first-day-fundraising-record/
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LIVE STREAM: Deer Park chemical plant fire rages, engulfs 8 tanks
« Reply #12136 on: March 18, 2019, 06:47:29 AM »
DEER PARK, Texas - Firefighters have been using foam to try and control a fire that started Sunday morning at a plant in Deer Park that continued to burn steadily overnight and has now spread to six other tanks, bringing the total to eight.

The tank fire at Intercontinental Tank Company Deer Park was reported as "uncontrolled."

"As of 5:30 a.m. Monday, the City of Deer Park has received confirmation that no air quality readings conducted in response to the Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC) incident have exceeded action levels," city officials said in a statement. "In light of this information, the city has made the decision to lift the shelter-in-place order and to re-open State Highway 225 with the public. Portions of Independence Parkway will remain closed until further notice."

A public information officer for ITC Deer Park said the fire was reported just before 10:30 a.m. The facility is located on Independence Parkway, just north of Highway 225.

1 of 18 photos :



Officials said about 30 employees were working at the time of the fire and all have been accounted for. There were no injuries reported.

Officials are working to contain the fire, but the spokeswoman said the chemical burning is called petroleum naphtha, which is a colorless liquid with the odor of gasoline. The hazard level of this chemical can cause significant irritation.

Another chemical that was being stored in the tanks is called Toluene, which is used to make nail police remover, glues and paint thinner.

The City of Deer Park issued an update, saying:

Emergency responders continue to work on controlling the fire using foam and are working to prevent the fire from spreading further. Although the risk of explosion is minimal, we continue to take precautions to further reduce this possibility. Air monitoring continues and as of this update, low levels of particulate matter have been detected. A single volatile organic compound detection has been found 6 miles southwest of the facility. These readings are currently well below hazardous levels.

La Porte OEM said it closed Highway 225 in both directions from Beltway 8 to Independence Parkway, but it has since reopened.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott released a statement:

“The State of Texas and the Texas Department of Emergency Management are closely monitoring the fire at the Intercontinental Terminal in Deer Park and are in close consultation with local officials.

"The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, in coordination with Harris County, is monitoring the air quality. I have ordered that all state resources be made available to local and industry officials and urge residents to continue heeding the warnings of local officials.”

ITC Deer Park's website says it "has provided safe and reliable terminal services to the petrochemical industry for over four decades" and operates two terminals in Houston.

The Deer Park terminal currently has "3.1 million barrels (2.2 million cbm) of capacity in 242 tanks.  It stores all kinds of petrochemical liquids and gases, as well as fuel oil, bunker oil and distillates.  The terminal has five ship docks and ten barge docks, rail and truck access, as well as multiple pipeline connections."

https://www.click2houston.com/news/fire-reported-inside-itc-deer-park-facility-day-after-exxon-plant-fire
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Offline knarf

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California Threatens the Seal of Confession
« Reply #12137 on: March 18, 2019, 06:53:09 AM »
On February 20, California Democratic State Senator Jerry Hill, whose affluent, liberal-leaning district encompasses the San Francisco Peninsula and portions of Silicon Valley, introduced a bill to abolish legal protection for the Catholic Church’s sacramental seal of confession, at least as regards confessions of child abuse.

Specifically, the bill would remove an exemption for “penitential communications” in an existing state law that designates more than forty categories of professionals—clergy, physicians, teachers, counselors, social workers, and the like—as “mandated reporters” who face criminal penalties if they fail to report sexual and other mistreatment of children that they learn about in their professional capacities. Currently, the law carves out a narrow exception for information obtained during the Catholic sacrament of Penance and other religions’ similar penitential rituals, which bind clergy to secrecy. If the California legislature enacts Hill’s bill, that exception would disappear—and Catholic priests, bound by canon law not to disclose the contents of a confession, could face criminal prosecution and imprisonment for refusing to comply. “The law should apply equally to all professionals who have been designated as mandated reporters of these crimes—with no exceptions, period. The exemption for clergy only protects the abuser and places children at further risk,” Hill said in a statement accompanying the proposed measure, SB-360.

The Catholic doctrine of the seal of confession dates back to the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215, which mandated that Catholics confess their grave sins to a priest via the sacrament of Penance. The latest formulation of the church’s Code of Canon Law states: “The sacramental seal is inviolable; therefore it is absolutely forbidden for a confessor to betray in any way a penitent in words or in any manner and for any reason.” The penalty for any priest who divulges anything heard in confession—or even a penitent’s identity—is automatic excommunication. Eastern Orthodox churches do not have such an explicit rule, but they do have the same expectation of absolute secrecy surrounding sacramental confession. Since the Middle Ages it has not been unusual for priests to risk—and occasionally endure—martyrdom from secular authorities rather than break the seal, as did several priests executed by militant secularists during Mexico’s Cristero uprising of the 1920s and the Spanish Civil War a decade later. Alfred Hitchcock’s 1953 film, I Confess, involves a priest who risks conviction for a murder he did not commit after the true murderer confesses the crime to him and he is bound not to reveal it.

Interestingly, although America is historically Protestant, it has also historically recognized the binding power of the Catholic seal of sacramental confession. All fifty states and the District of Columbia have “privileges” built into their evidence codes that protect disclosures between penitents and priests, as well as other kinds of confidential communications with clergy whose faith forbids disclosure. But times have changed. Our age is so secular that most people cannot understand why a priest hearing confessions should enjoy any more protection than, say, a psychiatrist hearing confidences in a counseling session. The seal of confession may sound to them like an irrelevant medieval holdover.

Furthermore, for nearly three decades the Catholic Church has been embroiled in scandals involving widespread sexual abuse of minors by members of its own clergy—abuse that was often ignored or covered up by the Church’s own hierarchy. To many non-Catholics—conservatives as well as liberals—the Church simply lacks the moral standing to argue for any exemption to a law that is designed to deal with the exact evil in which many Catholic priests participated before the scandals broke. Even to some Catholics now, the seal of confession simply means that “sexual abusers go unreported to civil and church authorities, and potential additional victims are endangered,” as James E. Connell wrote for the National Catholic Reporter in November 2018.

After a wave of news reports in 2002 about priestly sexual abuse in Boston and its environs, the state of Massachusetts abruptly overhauled its existing mandatory-reporting laws, which did not include clergy at the time, to extend the reporting requirements to them. About a dozen other states in a similar position followed suit. Right now, nearly all states have mandatory-reporting laws respecting child abuse, but they are a hodgepodge on the issue of a priest-penitent privilege. Some states, such as California, protect penitential communications, while others, including Connecticut and Texas, have specifically eliminated the privilege, as SB-360 would do. Still other states maintain the privilege, but subject to conditions.

Lawsuits that might clarify those statutes via judicial rulings are almost vanishingly infrequent, since there usually is no practical way to find out whether priests have failed to comply with them. One rare case involved a 2009 civil lawsuit against the Diocese of Baton Rouge by parents of a 14-year-old girl who, they alleged, had told a priest in the confessional that an older parishioner had molested her. The priest not only failed to report the crime, but told her to “sweep it under the floor.” The priest refused to testify, and the suit dragged on for years. In 2016 the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled that sacramental confessions were protected under the state’s mandatory-reporting law but sent the case back to the trial court to determine whether the girl had actually been making a confession or merely seeking help. It was not until February 2018 that a trial judge dismissed the suit after deciding that a secular court had no jurisdiction to rule on points of Catholic doctrine and discipline.

That was a victory for religious freedom—but only in Louisiana. California, by contrast, is notorious for open hostility to Catholicism from many of its elected officials and for being dominated by ultra-liberal Democrats. California’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra, has spearheaded litigation to force the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic religious order, to pay for contraceptives for its employees in violation of Catholic moral teaching—even after the U.S. Supreme Court shielded the Sisters from such requirements in 2016. A new wave of allegations in 2018 of past coverups of clerical sexual abuse has likely not helped the Catholic Church win friends in California.

In 2018 several Australian states and territories passed laws that require priests to break the seal of confession to report cases of sexual abuse of minors. Several Australian priests have openly vowed to defy the laws and risk jail if they must, citing the inviolable nature of their duty of secrecy under a law they regard as more binding than any secular statute. If SB-360 becomes the law in California—and if Catholicism-hostile law enforcers decide to trap priests in their confessional boxes—we could well see another round of, if not martyrs, men willing to risk all for their faith.

https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2019/03/california-threatens-the-seal-of-confession
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Offline Eddie

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Re: LIVE STREAM: Deer Park chemical plant fire rages, engulfs 8 tanks
« Reply #12138 on: March 18, 2019, 09:03:41 AM »
DEER PARK, Texas - Firefighters have been using foam to try and control a fire that started Sunday morning at a plant in Deer Park that continued to burn steadily overnight and has now spread to six other tanks, bringing the total to eight.

The tank fire at Intercontinental Tank Company Deer Park was reported as "uncontrolled."

"As of 5:30 a.m. Monday, the City of Deer Park has received confirmation that no air quality readings conducted in response to the Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC) incident have exceeded action levels," city officials said in a statement. "In light of this information, the city has made the decision to lift the shelter-in-place order and to re-open State Highway 225 with the public. Portions of Independence Parkway will remain closed until further notice."

A public information officer for ITC Deer Park said the fire was reported just before 10:30 a.m. The facility is located on Independence Parkway, just north of Highway 225.

1 of 18 photos :



Officials said about 30 employees were working at the time of the fire and all have been accounted for. There were no injuries reported.

Officials are working to contain the fire, but the spokeswoman said the chemical burning is called petroleum naphtha, which is a colorless liquid with the odor of gasoline. The hazard level of this chemical can cause significant irritation.

Another chemical that was being stored in the tanks is called Toluene, which is used to make nail police remover, glues and paint thinner.

The City of Deer Park issued an update, saying:

Emergency responders continue to work on controlling the fire using foam and are working to prevent the fire from spreading further. Although the risk of explosion is minimal, we continue to take precautions to further reduce this possibility. Air monitoring continues and as of this update, low levels of particulate matter have been detected. A single volatile organic compound detection has been found 6 miles southwest of the facility. These readings are currently well below hazardous levels.

La Porte OEM said it closed Highway 225 in both directions from Beltway 8 to Independence Parkway, but it has since reopened.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott released a statement:

“The State of Texas and the Texas Department of Emergency Management are closely monitoring the fire at the Intercontinental Terminal in Deer Park and are in close consultation with local officials.

"The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, in coordination with Harris County, is monitoring the air quality. I have ordered that all state resources be made available to local and industry officials and urge residents to continue heeding the warnings of local officials.”

ITC Deer Park's website says it "has provided safe and reliable terminal services to the petrochemical industry for over four decades" and operates two terminals in Houston.

The Deer Park terminal currently has "3.1 million barrels (2.2 million cbm) of capacity in 242 tanks.  It stores all kinds of petrochemical liquids and gases, as well as fuel oil, bunker oil and distillates.  The terminal has five ship docks and ten barge docks, rail and truck access, as well as multiple pipeline connections."

https://www.click2houston.com/news/fire-reported-inside-itc-deer-park-facility-day-after-exxon-plant-fire


Deer Park....there's an oxymoron. No deer. Not many parks. My wife grew up in the adjacent  community of Pasadena. Couple of old neighborhoods on the ship channel where all  the children are above average have an above average risk for cancer and houses stand in the shade of million gallon storage tanks.

I remember riding around that neighborhood alone one dark night right before Christmas  in the late 80's looking for a particular place where they sold great tamales...I got lost, but somehow finally found the place....I was scared shitless. Not a great neighborhood, even back then. Literally it is the Land of Mordor.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline knarf

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Africa Is Running Out of Water
« Reply #12139 on: March 18, 2019, 05:39:58 PM »
As water supplies in Ghana’s capital grew increasingly erratic, Beatrice Kabuki stopped customers from using her grocery store’s bathrooms and installed a plastic storage tank at her home.

“The taps flow once a week and usually at night, so we stay awake to fetch what we can store,” Kabuki, 35, said in an interview in Accra. “We mostly augment by buying water from tankers.”

Cities and towns in several other African nations including Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Ivory Coast have been plagued by similar water shortages in recent months, manifestations of a global supply squeeze brought on by drought, population growth, urbanization and insufficient investment in dams and other infrastructure.

Water use has risen about 1 percent a year since the 1980s and more than 2 billion people now live in countries experiencing high water stress, the United Nations said in its World Water Development Report released in Geneva on Tuesday. It projects demand will grow as much as 30 percent by 2050.

“Stress levels will continue to increase as demand for water grows and the effects of climate change intensify,” the UN said in the report.

The scourge is set to become exponentially worse in Africa -- the UN expects the population of the world’s poorest continent to almost double to 2.5 billion by 2050, and that 59 percent will reside in urban areas by then, up from 43 percent now. A massive increase in agricultural production will be required to feed everyone, compounding the pressures caused by surging household demand for water.
Financing Gap

A study published by the African Development Bank last year found the continent needs to spend at least $130 billion to address an infrastructure backlog, including as much as $66 billion on providing universal access to water and sanitation, but faces a financing gap of $68 billion to $108 billion.

Large up-front investments, short-term political considerations and government-borrowing constraints impede infrastructure construction, with the problem particularly acute in Africa, according to the Global Infrastructure Hub, which was set up by the Group of 20 developed nations to promote development. The benefits the projects deliver to society at large may also outstrip the returns operators earn on them, a likely deterrent to private investment, it said.



Crumbling infrastructure has compounded the effect of a crippling drought in cash-strapped Zimbabwe, resulting in water rationing in its two largest cities, Harare and Bulawayo. In Maputo, Mozambique’s capital, supply has been cut off on alternating days since January after dam levels fell to less than a quarter of their capacity.

Taps in Cape Town, South Africa’s tourist mecca, came close to running dry last year before good winter rains brought respite from the region’s worst drought on record. The nightmare of running out of water became a reality last year in Bouake, Ivory Coast’s second-largest city, when rains failed. The government was forced to use tankers to truck in emergency supplies, while thousands of people temporarily relocated.

Water shortages in Accra, which mostly gets regular rainfall, are mainly attributed to its inadequate and poorly maintained pipes, pumping stations and purification plants. About 4.9 million people live in the city and its surrounds, including the port city of Tema.
Two-Year Outage

Joyce Ayitey, 42, who sells plastic cups, tissues and sweets from a wooden stall in front of the home she shares with her husband and three daughters in Diabolo in the eastern part of city, has experienced the extremity of the problem. When her taps ran dry more than two years ago, the water utility company blamed road builders who destroyed its main pipelines and said the outage would be addressed within weeks, but nothing was done.

“We don’t have the money to buy bulk water from tankers so we walk almost every day to buy water and carry it on our heads for use,” she said. “The water fetching is so tiring. We we always wish for rain so we can harvest every drop for storage. It gives us such huge respite.’’

Ghana Water Co., the state-owned utility, is aware that some Accra neighborhoods have erratic water supply or are struggling with low pressure, but faces an uphill battle to tackle the problems because new neighborhoods are being developed faster than it can provide the infrastructure, spokesman Stanley Martey said by phone.

Kabuki, the storekeeper, can no longer stomach being unable to flush her toilets when her stockpiled water runs out and has run out of patience with the authorities.

“You want to know how frustrating it is?” she asked. “It is very unpleasant and dehumanizing for me as a woman. I am actually planning to relocate to a house with a guaranteed water supply.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-18/at-hedge-fund-that-owns-trump-secrets-clashes-and-odd-bond-math
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Offline knarf

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Activists are in our schools and they're numbing Generation E to socialism
« Reply #12140 on: March 19, 2019, 06:51:12 AM »
What do carbon, ice and an egg all have in common? They're all connected to recent stories involving "Generation E" - the Entitlement Generation.

We received a lot of emails last week after our coverage of the international student climate change rallies, and many of you were wondering how these kids were permitted to just blow off school, shut down entire city streets, and inconvenience other students who actually want to do this thing called study.

Well, the answer: Because the activists could.

Was it easier hanging out with your friends and emoting about saving the planet and chanting really badly than studying, let's say, the Federalist papers or doing your physics lab? Well, come on, that's an easy answer, especially when schools excuse the absences, teachers themselves are encouraging the protests or the overwhelmingly left-wing and college admissions undoubtedly count activism as a legitimate extracurricular activity.

And naturally, members of Generation E believe they should get into the best colleges, even if they do not have the best grades or the best course. And they develop, by the way, this warped view of their own self-importance because Mommy and Daddy raised them to believe that they were special, really special. Special in every extra special way.

Come on, these are parents who hung their kids soccer participation medals on the bulletin board in the kitchen. They helped them write their term papers, they help them do their science projects. How else would an 8-year-old kid know how to design his own homework app. And as a college admissions fraud story revealed, these are the types of parents who even commit crimes to guarantee their kids have doors open for them.

I think it's important to ask this: What's the end result here? Well, many of these young people -- and it's not just the wealthy kids -- grow up to be demanding entitled adults, and even ingrates. And at a time when American students are falling behind in science and math and reading, more and more kids at the same time here are indulged and even encouraged to become political activists before they've even earned their first paycheck.

According to one assessment out of 71 countries, the U.S. was 38th place in math and 24th science. But forget about mastering things like math or science or life skills, such as manners or self-reliance, or speaking and writing ability. And why bother with all that, when society celebrates you for being a punk with a political point of view.

Case in point: At the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, grad students are now demanding that the school remove ICE and border patrol job listings from their career services platform. Why? Because the university should not "allow racist and abusive organization like this to recruit students."

My friends, it's not just on American shores. Take this example from Australia. A 17-year old cracked an egg on the head of a right-wing politician. The politician stupidly took a swipe or swing at the kid and the video of the incident went viral. Well, that's when the praise from celebs starts coming in.

Actor Armie Hammer said in an interview, "I love that guy. I hope he inspires copycats. Everyone should be like Egg Boy. Everyone."

Egg boy should get together with Pajama Boy. It'll be fun. All right, think about the Covington Catholic kid, Nick Sandmann. He just stood still and the elites like Armie Hammer and others accused that kid of being a racist and a provocateur.

But in the Australia case, they take the kids side because the politician, he assaulted albeit with an egg, was himself far right. So if the target is someone not telling the social justice line, it's okay to assault him, even have copycats.

And if it's gotten worse though than this because now, the activists are even feeding on their own. When Chelsea Clinton showed up at NYU to pay her respects after that horrific slaughter in New Zealand, a member of Generation E didn't thank her. She confronted her.

Well, the young woman's shirt said it all: "College for All." It never ends, right? Well, Generation E activists have their own set of demands -  free college, free health care, a guaranteed standard of living and a free pass if they're living in the country illegally.

    Activists are in our schools and they're aggressively propagandizing, Hollywood, and even churches, do as well and what they're selling is a political world view that numbs the young to socialism. That's the endgame.



And by the way, it's not just that. They also would require that you accept their views on everything from climate change to immigration to economic policy because they're entitled. And the old-timers like Nancy Pelosi are actually trying to co-op the energy of Generation E, -- the activist generation, the entitled generation -- by signing them up to vote early.

Republicans should take heed of these trends and movements and offer a better alternative for the next generation. These are smart kids. Republicans must offer a future where they don't have to wait on the government to give them what they can earn for themselves and where they'll feel better about it -- and they'll feel better about themselves.

Activists, though, are in our schools and they're aggressively propagandizing, Hollywood, and even churches, do as well and what they're selling is a political world view that numbs the young to socialism. That's the endgame.

It's an exercise in wealth confiscation that will leave us less free, less prosperous and less tied to that age-old American value that hard work makes the man. Oh, well, though, if you feel offended that I just said "man," then you are an honorary member of Generation E.

You're entitled to your opinion, but I'm not entitled or required to celebrate it.

https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/laura-ingraham-activists-are-in-our-schools-and-their-numbing-generation-e-to-socialism
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Offline knarf

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Is there something wrong with contemporary capitalism?
« Reply #12141 on: March 19, 2019, 07:04:57 AM »


Rather suddenly, capitalism is visibly sick. The virus of socialism has reemerged and is infecting the young once more. Wiser heads, who respect capitalism’s past achievements, want to save it, and have been proposing diagnoses and remedies. But their proposals sometimes overlap with those who would tear the system down, making nonsense of traditional left-right distinctions.

Fortunately, Raghuram G. Rajan, a former governor of the Reserve Bank of India who teaches at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, brings his unparalleled knowledge and experience to bear on the problem. In his new book,The Third Pillar: How Markets and the State Leave Community Behind, he arguesthat the cancer afflicting contemporary capitalism is the failure neither of “Leviathan” (the state) nor of “Behemoth” (the market), but of community, which no longer serves as a check against either monster. Rajan thus prescribes an “inclusive localism” to rebuild communities that can furnish people with self-respect, status, and meaning.

Rajan’s book, like Oxford University economist Paul Collier’s The Future of Capitalism, is part of a rapidly growing genre of critiques by capitalism’s friends. Rajan is a proponent of capitalism who has accepted that it no longer works in the interest of the social good, and must be brought back under control.

The Third Pillar offers deep historical context to explain the current moment, but it is most successful when it retraces developments after World War II to explain why everything started unraveling around 1970. Until then, the world had been busy recovering and rebuilding, and economic growth had received an added boost from the adoption of frontier technologies through replacement investment.

But trend growth has decelerated since 1970, accounting for many of our current difficulties. Through it all, governments have had no idea how to address the slowdown, other than to promise a restoration of the lost postwar paradise. In most cases, that has meant additional borrowing. And in Europe, elites have pursued continental unification with the great aim of stopping recurrent episodes of carnage. Yet in their rush to secure the obvious benefits of integration, they forgot to bring their citizens along. They have since learned that after hubris comes nemesis.

The success of social democracy in the postwar era weakened the market’s power to act as a moderating influence on the state. According to Rajan, these weakened actors, in both Europe and America, were in no position to deal with the revolution in information and communication technology (ICT) that they were about to face, leaving ordinary people to face the threats on their own. Rather than helping their workers manage the disruption, corporations made it worse by using their employees’ vulnerability to enrich their shareholders and managers.

And how they enriched themselves! With median household incomes largely stagnant and a growing share of wealth accruing to the rich, capitalism became manifestly unfair, losing its popular support. To manage its opponents, Behemoth called on Leviathan for protection, not understanding that a right-wing populist Leviathan eats Behemoth in the end.

Two points of Rajan’s story need to be emphasized. First, declining growth is a key, albeit low-frequency, cause of today’s social and economic distress. Second, the unfortunate consequences of the ICT revolution are not inherent properties of technological change. Rather, as Rajan notes, they reflect a “failure of the state and markets to modulate markets.” Though Rajan does not emphasize it, this second point gives us cause for hope. It means that ICT need not doom us to a jobless future; enlightened policymaking still has a role to play.

Rajan’s account of corporate misbehavior is very well told, and it is all the more effective coming from a professor at a prominent business school. From the start, the near-absolutist doctrine of shareholder primacy has served to protect managers at the expense of employees, and its malign effects have been exacerbated by the practice of paying managers in stock.

In The Future of Capitalism, Collier gives a parallel account from Britain, telling the story of the most admired British company of his (and my) childhood, Imperial Chemical Industries. Growing up, we all hoped someday to work at ICI, whose mission was “to be the finest chemical company in the world.” But in the 1990s, ICI amended its primary objective by embracing shareholder value. And in Collier’s telling, that single change destroyed the company.

What of community? The United States once led the world in public education, providing local schools where children of all talents and economic backgrounds learned together. And when elementary education became insufficient, communities started providing access to secondary school for all.

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/03/what-s-wrong-with-contemporary-capitalism/
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Offline knarf

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What Does Beto O’Rourke Believe?
« Reply #12142 on: March 19, 2019, 07:09:15 AM »


There has been a debate, both in the run-up to and since last week’s launch of Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign, about his ideology and policy positions. It has two dimensions. First, people are asking whether O’Rourke actually stands for much of anything — or if his candidacy is just about his perceived charisma and electability. And second, they are asking whether he is a true liberal/progressive — or if he should be classified as a moderate (compared with the other 2020 candidates) or as a more centrist Democrat (based on his voting record in Congress).

I’m not sure how to define O’Rourke’s policy views in one word, and I’m not sure how important that is anyway. But from his 2018 Senate candidacy in Texas to his presidential campaign launch, O’Rourke has taken positions on many major issues, and some of those stances are decidedly left-wing, particularly on cultural issues. O’Rourke may not be an Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez-style “Super-Progressive,” but he has plenty of positions that Republicans would aggressively attack in a general election.1

Those stances from O’Rourke include:

    Supporting the abolition of for-profit and private prisons.
    Supporting a ban on so-called assault weapons.
    Supporting the elimination of bail sentences that require people to pay money to be released from jail ahead of trial.
    Criticizing not only Trump’s border wall, but also some of the existing barriers on the U.S.-Mexico border and the increase in border security spending over the last decade. (“Yes, absolutely, I’d take the wall down,” he said in February, referring to the border fencing in the El Paso region.)
    Supporting the impeachment of President Trump (O’Rourke took this stance during his Senate campaign. I doubt that he will push this issue during his presidential run, but it was somewhat surprising that he adopted it last year. Other Democrats, like 2020 hopeful Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, didn’t take this stance even as they were running in more liberal states than Texas.).
    Supporting a proposal to allow anyone who wants to enroll in a Medicare-like insurance plan the option to do so.
    Supporting an increase of the minimum wage to $15 per hour.
    Supporting marijuana legalization.
    Opposing the death penalty.
    Supporting NFL players kneeling during the national anthem in protest of racism.
    Describing himself as benefiting from “white privilege.”

This isn’t an exhaustive list or a representative sample of issues, obviously. And O’Rourke is taking some more centrist policy positions — for example, his refusal to embrace putting all Americans in a single-payer health care system puts him to the right of Bernie Sanders. O’Rourke has been somewhat cautious about the Green New Deal too, although last week he said he hadn’t “seen anything better” in terms of environmental policy ideas.

O’Rourke has also adopted some bipartisan rhetorical flourishes, emphasizing that he wants politics to be less divisive and more focused on finding common ground. And no one should ignore his fairly centrist political history. He wasn’t known as a liberal firebrand and often eschewed liberal positions during his political rise in Texas. In Congress, his voting record put him to the right of the average House Democrat in 2017-18. He was a member of the New Democrat Coalition, a more centrist wing of the party.

But as I have written before, the policy promises that a candidate makes during his or her campaign are usually a better predictor of future stances than votes or positions taken well before the campaign. So O’Rourke’s more recent liberalism is important. And many of his current stances, the ones highlighted above, are decidedly not centrist.

To cherry-pick a few: Public opinion is divided on the NFL player protests, with nearly universal opposition among Republicans to kneeling. And just 17 percent of Republicans and 39 percent of Americans overall oppose the death penalty for people convicted of murder, according to a Pew Research Center poll from last year. That position doesn’t even unify Democrats, with 59 percent against the death penalty and 35 percent in favor. A 2018 Gallup poll showed similar results. Lots of white Americans think they are the ones facing discrimination, so I doubt that they will relate to O’Rourke’s white privilege comments.

I might classify O’Rourke as fairly liberal on issues around culture and identity and left-leaning but maybe not particularly liberal — compared with, say, Sanders or Elizabeth Warren — on economic issues. (Cory Booker and Kamala Harris probably fall in this camp with O’Rourke.) Part of what’s confusing in assessing O’Rourke’s ideology is that the results are different depending on what benchmark you choose. Is he liberal compared with previous Democratic presidential candidates? Yes. Is he liberal compared with the activists dominating the discourse in the party now? No.

O’Rourke’s current positioning may seem fairly politically safe in a general election (and hence not particularly progressive), but I’m not so sure that’s true. O’Rourke’s liberalism on questions of culture and race might help him woo college-educated white voters and minorities, but it might also be fodder for Trump in appealing to GOP voters, many of whom are wary of an America growing more racially diverse. Part of Trump’s success in 2016, scholars have found, was getting white voters thinking about and defending their whiteness. O’Rourke is planning a campaign that will highlight his heavily Latino hometown of El Paso and will emphasize the close ties between El Paso and neighboring Ciudad Juárez, Mexico — the kind of multiculturalism that Trump has been attacking for years. Indeed, Republicans are already attacking him on immigration. In a tweet on Monday, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said that the Texan is “one of the most extreme Democrats running,” noting his opposition to some existing border barriers.

And it’s not just O’Rourke’s pro-immigration and pro-Latino stands that would likely be heavily contested in a general election. Ted Cruz, whom O’Rourke unsuccessfully challenged in the Texas Senate race last year, highlighted O’Rourke’s defense of NFL player protests during the 2018 campaign, suggesting that the Republican thought the issue would help him more than it would help O’Rourke. And we haven’t seen a recent presidential candidate have to defend opposition to the death penalty (neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton ran for president as death penalty opponents). But O’Rourke seems to have left himself little wiggle room by saying that his stance is based on “moral grounds.”

Overall, I’m not sure how primary voters — or general election voters, if he gets that far — will perceive O’Rourke. He has a mix of traits and positions that could result in perceptions of him as fairly moderate (white, male, not supportive of single-payer health care) and traits and positions that could come off as liberal (pro-immigrant, pro-pot, anti-death penalty). “How liberal is Beto?” will likely remain a question throughout the campaign, particularly if he surges in the polls and his ideology and policy views become more relevant.

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/what-does-beto-orourke-believe/
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What the College Scandal Says About America’s Elite
« Reply #12143 on: March 19, 2019, 07:51:35 AM »
It needs to keep pace with the country’s demographics.

The U.S. college-admissions scandal — in which rich people paid bribes to get their kids accepted — strikes at the heart of cherished American ideals of fairness and meritocracy. But it also reflects a deeper problem: the blocked transition to a new, more diverse elite.

Although the alleged bribery happened at some of the world’s most prestigious institutions — including the University of California, Yale University and my own alma mater, Stanford — by itself it doesn’t prove that meritocracy is a complete sham. It involved only a small percent of elite school spots, which are themselves only a small fraction of the higher education system. Also, people have been charged with crimes. This will discourage similar tricks in the future, and will reduce the prestige of the institutions involved. From now on, employers looking over the resume of a Yale or Stanford graduate might wonder whether they got admitted because of real skill or rich parents.

But outright bribery is just the tip of the iceberg. Far more extensive and entrenched is the legacy admissions system, which is perfectly above-board and legal. Harvard University, for example, is one-third legacies. And the admissions process itself is just one link in a long chain of factors that give rich kids privileged access to college: exclusive schools, test prep, tutors, expensive consultants.

When the rich hoard the top spots in the university system, students from low-income and disadvantaged minority backgrounds suffer. In a pair of papers, economists Stacey Dale and Alan Krueger found that admittance to an elite university tended to benefit black and Hispanic households, and households with lower educational backgrounds, much more than other kids. In other words, all those tutors and donations and bribes are earning rich kids only a modest return in terms of future earnings, while shutting out poor and minority kids for whom a spot at Yale could easily make the difference between success and failure in life.

These “dream hoarders,” as Brookings researcher Richard Reeves calls them, are pernicious in other ways that are hard to measure. Perhaps most important, they have racially ossified the American elite. The children of rich Americans are mostly white, since their parents and grandparents got rich when the country was mostly white (and when structural racism kept black people, by far the biggest minority at the time, out of the elite). But the young up-and-coming talent of America is mostly not white.

As Harvard Business School economist William Kerr documents, the U.S. has benefited massively in recent decades from substantial flows of high-skilled immigration. Most of that influx has come from Asia and Africa. But smart kids with parents from the Philippines, India or Nigeria don’t tend to have the money and connections to buy their way into top colleges. The barriers are even higher for kids of working-class immigrants, many of whom hail from Mexico and other Latin American countries. They don’t just lack connections and money: Their parents and community members typically lack the education and experience needed to point them in the direction of Harvard, much less help them get in. For black Americans living in poor segregated neighborhoods, the challenges are often even steeper.

Tons of talent is going undiscovered in the U.S., while the elite is overpopulated with rich, well-connected mediocrities. That would be bad enough in any society. But because it comes at a time when America’s racial composition is rapidly changing, it looks even more starkly unfair. Just as Jewish Americans were shut out of the elite for decades after they arrived en masse on American shores, nonwhite Americans are being shut out today.

Exclusion is bound to produce frustration among the country’s young strivers. Social media is already full of small signs of this anger. Even the lawsuit alleging anti-Asian discrimination at Harvard is not really about affirmative action (as some claim), but about the unfair advantages being monopolized by a rich white elite. If left unaddressed, this mismatch between an ossified, wealthy, mostly-white old guard and a population of frustrated, young, largely poor non-white achievers will keep festering, much to the detriment of the nation.

The solution is to encourage a changing of the guard. Eliminate legacy admissions at colleges, and try harder to discover talented students in poor and disadvantaged communities. Companies can help by casting a wider net in their hiring and recruiting, paying less attention to Ivy League names on resumes, and going out of their way to look for talent among people who come from different demographics than the existing executives. At the government level, more equal funding for public schools would also help a lot.

The country is changing, and the elite must change with it.

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-03-13/college-admissions-scandal-top-ceos-didn-t-go-to-elite-schools

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Redacted Tonight: Systemic Racism is a myth
« Reply #12144 on: March 20, 2019, 04:29:51 AM »
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/WiuOtfHij8Q&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/WiuOtfHij8Q&fs=1</a>
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Christian Charity Gave Over $50 Million to Hate Groups, Report Reveals
« Reply #12145 on: March 20, 2019, 04:52:03 AM »
 The National Christian Foundation is America’s eighth largest public charity, but it doesn’t build houses, educate children, feed the hungry, or provide other goods or services one might commonly associate with a charity. It’s also not a household name like the Red Cross, but that doesn’t prevent it from having vast influence. According to a new investigation from Sludge, the far-right, evangelical NCF “has donated $56.1 million on behalf of its clients to 23 nonprofits identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as hate groups.”

These nonprofits include multiple anti-LGBT, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant hate groups. In fact, as reporter Alex Kotch points out, Inside Philanthropy has said that NCF “is probably the single biggest source of money fueling the pro-life and anti-LGBT movements over the past 15 years.”

In addition to not being a direct service charity, the NCF is also not a conventional foundation that a wealthy donor uses as a vehicle to grow and then give away their money to multiple other charities over time. Instead, it’s a donor-advised fund, offering its Christian donors “expert guidance and creative giving solutions,” Kotch writes.

Helaine Olen, writing in The Atlantic, calls these donor-advised funds a “waiting room for charitable donations,” in which anyone, not only the wealthy, can place money into the fund, let it grow, and then have it distribute the money gradually to organizations of the donor’s choice.

According to Kotch, these funds allow their clients “immediate tax breaks on donations.”

They also give individual donors who pay into the fund anonymity. While Sludge was able to use publicly available tax findings to determine which organizations NCF funded, the names of the fund’s donors stay hidden.

The biggest recipient of NCF funds, according to Sludge’s investigation, is Alliance Defending Freedom, a network of lawyers, who, Kotch writes, “have supported criminalizing homosexuality, sterilizing transgender people, and claimed that gay men are pedophiles.”

Kotch continues:

Alliance Defending Freedom took in $49.2 million from NCF from 2015-17. ADF received $46.3 million in contributions and grants during the 2016 fiscal year (from July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016). It got $16.8 million from NCF in the calendar year of 2015, meaning that, if these years were aligned, NCF’s donations would have represented over one-third of ADF’s annual contributions.


The Family Research Council, which the Southern Poverty Law Center says “often makes false claims about the LGBT community based on discredited research and junk science,” including linking homosexuality to pedophilia, is another frequent beneficiary of NCF funds. Sludge found it received $5.3 million from 2015 to 2017.

While anti-LGBT organizations are the primary recipients of NCF’s funds, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant organizations also benefit:

Anti-Muslim groups ACT for America ($98,000), American Freedom Law Center ($40,000), David Horowitz Freedom Center ($40,000), and Virginia Christian Alliance ($3,600) have received thousands from NCF since mid-2014, and anti-immigrant nonprofits American Border Patrol ($100) and The Remembrance Project ($2,500) also got NCF funding.


Donor-advised funds, in general, are not required to have policies addressing hate groups. As Kotch explains, “these giant funds absolve themselves of any responsibility, saying that as long as the Internal Revenue Service has granted 501(c)(3) status to an organization, it’s fair game.”

At least one expert Sludge spoke to believes funds like NCF are funding hate groups intentionally, and could, if they chose, deny a client’s request to fund them.

Aaron Dorfman, president and CEO of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, told Sludge, “With the dramatic escalation of violence and intimidation by white nationalists and right-wing extremists, it’s way past due for sponsors of donor-advised funds to cut off any dollars flowing to hate groups.” And, he continued, “they have every right to exercise discretion by refusing a donor’s request to fund a hate group.”

NCF did not respond to Sludge’s requests for comment. Read the entire article here.

The post Christian Charity Gave Over $50 Million to Hate Groups, Report Reveals appeared first on Truthdig: Expert Reporting, Current News, Provocative Columnists.

https://flipboard.com/topic/liberal/christian-charity-gave-over-%2450-million-to-hate-groups-report-reveals/a-Z8FRQZDASyC27DwvgtD6wQ%3Aa%3A16820675-0d35c21539%2Ftruthdig.com
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BC - 123-year-old temperature record broken by warm weather
« Reply #12146 on: March 20, 2019, 04:56:06 AM »
 A record set in the late 1800s was broken when the mercury rose to a temperature about 10 degrees warmer than average on Monday.

Environment Canada published its weather summary Monday evening showing that the Chilliwack record was broken.

 The warmest March 18 on record in the Fraser Valley city was set back in 1896. But 123 years later, the record was beaten by 2.8 degrees with a high of 22.8 C.

Temperature records were broken or tied in 26 regions monitored by Environment Canada Monday.

Other than Chilliwack, the oldest record noted in the weather summary was the Masset area, where a temperature of 15 C tied with the record set in 1900.

Also among the oldest records to fall was Esquimalt's, where a high of 18.3 C beat the record from 1914.

The warmest temperature of those that broke records Monday was in Squamish, where the high reached 23.5. The previous record of 18 C was set in 1996.

An Environment Canada meteorologist suggests records may be broken throughout the week, with some cities expected to see temperatures upwards of 10 degrees above normal.

"This is quite an exceptional little heat spell," Matt MacDonald told CTV News.

He added that with no chance of snow in the long-range forecast, he thinks it's "safe to say winter is over."

And on Tuesday, his prediction proved right with initial reports suggesting 36 records had fallen. The oldest was in the Victoria Harbour area where a record set in 1878 was broken by a high of 19.2 C.

In the Lower Mainland, more recent records were broken in Abbotsford, Agassiz, Chilliwack, Hope, Pitt Meadows, Vancouver and White Rock.

The first day of spring is Wednesday.

https://bc.ctvnews.ca/123-year-old-temperature-record-broken-by-warm-weather-1.4342795
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Amnesty Int'l says U.S. strikes in Somalia kill large numbers of civilians
« Reply #12147 on: March 20, 2019, 05:02:00 AM »
The US military rejected Amnesty's report. It says it has killed 800 militants in air strikes in Somalia over that period, but has not wounded or killed a single civilian.

NAIROBI, March 20 - The US military may be guilty of war crimes for killing large numbers of civilians in a sharply stepped-up campaign of air strikes in Somalia over the past two years, Amnesty International said.

The rights group said it had been able to document 14 civilians killed in investigations of just five air strikes, a tiny fraction of at least 110 such strikes that the US military says it has launched since June, 2017.



The US military rejected Amnesty's report. It says it has killed 800 militants in air strikes in Somalia over that period, but has not wounded or killed a single civilian.



"We currently assesses no civilian casualties have occurred as a result of any US Africa Command air strikes," the US military's Africa command AFRICOM said in en emailed response to Reuters.



Brian Castner, Amnesty International's Senior Crisis Advisor on Arms and Military Operations, said the civilian death toll in the small number of air strikes the rights group was able to investigate suggested that the "shroud of secrecy surrounding the US role in Somalia's war is actually a smokescreen for impunity."



"Members of the US government forces who planned and carried out the air strikes may have committed violations of international humanitarian law, including unlawful killings, which could amount to war crimes," Amnesty's report said.



Somalia, one of the poorest countries in the world, has been in a state of civil war and profound insecurity since 1991. In recent years, the US military has been supporting a U.N.-backed government in Mogadishu fighting against an insurgency by the Al Shabaab Islamist militant group.

In March 2017, President Donald Trump gave the military greater authority to carry out strikes and raids in Somalia, including without waiting for militants to attack US allies.



In a statement, AFRICOM, said: "We have processes in place to ensure the safety and protection of the local population remains a top priority. These procedures, combined with precision strike capabilities, safeguard civilians and infrastructure."



A US air strike this week killed four people -- an employee of mobile phone company Hormuud Telecoms and three unidentified passengers -- a relative of one of the victims told Reuters on Tuesday.



AFRICOM said it had killed three militants in an air strike on Monday, adding it was aware of reports alleging civilian casualties and would review the information about the incident.



Amnesty's report investigated five air strikes in Lower Shabelle region. It concluded that 14 civilians had died and eight were injured.



Al Shabaab was pushed out of the capital Mogadishu in 2011, but retains a strong presence in parts of southern and central Somalia. The militants said US attacks inflict damage on local residents and encourage relatives of victims to join them.

"US strikes target farmers and pastoralists many times in many places of Somalia. People and their farms and animals perish. Their houses get burnt," Abdiasis Abu Musab, an Al Shabaab spokesman, told Reuters on Tuesday.

https://www.jpost.com/International/Amnesty-Intl-says-US-strikes-in-Somalia-kill-large-numbers-of-civilians-584021
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The Southern Poverty ‘anti-hate’ racket
« Reply #12148 on: March 20, 2019, 05:14:42 AM »
The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated itself an organization hostile to women and people of color.

It fired its co-founder Morris Dees for unexplained reasons and removed his bio from its Web site at the same time it pledged to train its management in “racial equity, ­inclusion and results.”

Simultaneous with the cashiering of Dees after nearly 50 years at the SPLC, roughly two dozen ­employees wrote a letter warning that “allegations of mistreatment, sexual harassment, gender discrimination and racism threaten the moral authority of this organization and our integrity along with it.”

The missive is touching in its ­assumption that the SPLC still has moral authority or integrity. The scandal is, nonetheless, a remarkable comeuppance for an organization that has weaponized political correctness for its own money-grubbing.

Over the decades, the SPLC basically made the American philosopher Eric Hoffer’s famous line about organizational degeneracy its strategic plan: “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business and eventually degenerates into a racket.”

Originally founded as a civil-rights group in 1971 and gaining fame for its campaign to bankrupt the Ku Klux Klan, the SPLC shifted to a catch-all “anti-hate” group that widened its definition of bigotry to encompass more and more people as the Klan faded as a threat.

It used the complicity or credulousness of the media in repeating its designations to punish its ideological enemies and engage in prodigious fundraising. It raised $50 million a year and built an endowment of more than $300 million.

Imagine a left-wing outfit with the same shoddy standards as Sen. Joe McCarthy but with a better business sense.

Clear-eyed, fair-minded people on the left have long recognized the SPLC as a fundraising tool masquerading as a civil-rights group, but its absurd overreach has in recent years earned skeptical coverage from the likes of The ­Atlantic and PBS.

The SPLC never sees honest disagreement over contentious issues if it can see “hate” instead. It named the Family Research Council and the Alliance Defending Freedom hate groups for opposing gay marriage. It designated perfectly respectable restrictionist ­immigration groups like the Center for Immigration Studies for the offense of favoring less immigration. It labeled the American ­Enterprise Institute scholar Christina Hoff Sommers as complicit in “male supremacy.”

The SPLC pretends not to be able to tell the difference between Charles Murray, one of the country’s foremost intellectuals, and the likes of the white nationalists who marched on Charlottesville.

Usually, being named by the SPLC means having the designation routinely noted by the press, whatever its merits, but occasionally there’s recourse.

True to form, the SPLC somehow deemed Maajid Nawaz and his Quilliam Foundation — devoted to pushing back against radical Islam — anti-Muslim, even though Nawaz is himself a Muslim. He sued for defamation.

The SPLC steadily climbed down. First, it withdrew the “Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists” that included him, then settled for $3.375 million. “We would like,” the SPLC said, “to extend our sincerest apologies to Mr. Nawaz, Quilliam, and our readers for the error.”

The error? This makes it sound like the SPLC misspelled his name rather than going out of its way to include him in a research report meant to put a blot on his reputation forevermore.

There’s a lot of talk of the need for more civility in our public life. Any journalist who believes this should shun the SPLC. Its business model is based on an elaborate form of name-calling. It lumps ­together people who have legitimate, good-faith opinions the SPLC finds uncongenial with hideous racists, using revulsion with the latter to discredit the former. This is a poisonous form of public argument.

Not to mention that many of the groups the SPLC smears have never had their employees complain about a hostile workplace culture. If the SPLC is going to engage in a period of self-reflection, it should think about what it’s become — and recoil in shame.

https://nypost.com/2019/03/19/the-southern-poverty-anti-hate-racket/
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The acquisition of Rupert Murdoch’s film and TV studio business will boost Disney as it enters the TV streaming market

Disney has closed its $71bn (£54bn) acquisition of Rupert Murdoch’s entertainment business in a deal that unites franchises including Cinderella, The Simpsons and Star Wars under one corporate roof to create a media behemoth of unprecedented scale.

The Walt Disney Company closed its acquisition of 21st Century Fox shortly after midnight New York time on Wednesday.

As part of the deal, Disney will absorb the Fox film and TV studios, the FX networks, National Geographic and the Indian TV giant Star India in a huge boost to its content.

It plans to launch its new streaming service Disney Plus later this year as it challenges Netflix for future audience share.

Before the takeover, Disney already boasted a fearsome catalogue of content, including its classic cartoons, Star Wars and many of the Marvel characters.

After purchasing Fox, it will be able to add the likes of X-Men and Deadpool to its portfolio and take on Netflix and Amazon.

The deal also helps Disney further control TV shows and movies from start to finish – from creating the programmes to distributing them though television channels, cinemas, streaming services and other ways people watch entertainment. Disney would get valuable data on customers and their entertainment-viewing habits, which it can then use to sell advertising.

In a statement, Robert Iger, the chairman and chief executive officer of the Walt Disney Company, hailed the move.

“This is an extraordinary and historic moment for us – one that will create significant long-term value for our company and our shareholders.

“Combining Disney’s and 21st Century Fox’s wealth of creative content and proven talent creates the pre-eminent global entertainment company, well-positioned to lead in an incredibly dynamic and transformative era.”

The move instantly cut the number of major Hollywood studios, ending the era of the “Big Six”. Warner Bros, Universal, Sony Pictures and Paramount Pictures now make up a Big Five with Disney.

It also cast major doubt over the jobs of potentially thousands of workers, with experts predicting as many as 4,000 positions could be cut.

Murdoch, the billionaire former owner of executive co-chairman of 21st Century Fox, wrote a letter to employees two days before the takeover was finalised, thanking them for their work.

Some of Fox’s other properties, including its news and sports businesses, have been spun off into the newly formed Fox Corporation.

Disney also doubled its 30% stake in streaming service Hulu, making it by far the biggest stakeholder.

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/mar/20/disney-seals-71bn-deal-for-21st-century-fox-as-it-prepares-to-take-on-netflix?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other
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