“Democratic governance is in high demand, according to the 2021 edition of the annual Democracy Perception Index, a poll of more than 50,000 people in 53 nations. But it’s also perceived to be threatened—by economic inequality, by suppression of free speech, by big tech companies, by unfair or corrupted elections, and by the United States of America.
44 percent of the respondents are worried the United States threatens democracy in their home countries. By contrast, 38 percent said that about China and 28 percent about Russia. The U.S. was deemed the biggest threat of the three in free and unfree nations alike. It was the top pick in Europe and Latin America, and it nearly tied with China for this dishonor in Asia. Only a few African nations were polled, not enough for a regional average, but the U.S. was the most widely selected threat there, too.”
“Perhaps the United States is seen as a threat to other nations’ democracy because our government is often less an exemplar of liberty than a belligerent global meddler. Perhaps it’s because Washington has spent the past two decades invading and occupying large swaths of the Middle East and North Africa. Perhaps it’s because our leaders’ diplomacy is frequently ham-fisted, hubristic, and naïve. Perhaps it’s because Washington has literally overthrown democratic governments and has a unique—and risky—network of hundreds of military bases worldwide.”
“Steel prices are surging and American manufacturing is paying the price—literally, thanks in part to the ongoing consequences of former President Donald Trump’s tariffs, which President Joe Biden has not removed.”
“The Year: 1992
The Problem: Nude dancing is degrading to women and ruining the moral fabric of Alberta, Canada.
The Solution: Establish a one-meter buffer zone between patrons and dancers.
Sounds like total buzzkill! With puritanical intentions. What could possibly go wrong?
It turns out that dancers earn most of their money in the form of tips, and dollar bills don’t fly through the air very well. Thus, the measure designed to protect dancers from degrading treatment resulted in “the loonie toss”—a creepy ritual where naked women are pelted with Canadian one-dollar coins, which are known as loonies.
Way to make the ladies feel special, Alberta.”
“Ebrahim Raisi, a hardliner favored by Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, handily won Saturday’s Iranian presidential election, which saw historically low turnout. He’ll take over for the more moderate incumbent President Hassan Rouhani in August. That will obviously mean changes at home, but it should also affect the Tehran-Washington relationship.”
“Raisi’s victory, meanwhile, may actually help solidify the re-establishment of a nuclear pact between the U.S. and Iran, despite Raisi harboring more hostility toward Washington than his predecessor. Vaez and The New York Times contend Khamenei is pulling the strings here and will push Rouhani to finish negotiations in the next few weeks, understanding that getting the U.S. to lift oil sanctions is paramount to Iran’s economy bouncing back. But this way, the moderates will take the heat for “capitulating to the West and bear the brunt of popular anger inside Iran if sanctions relief doesn’t rescue the nation’s stricken economy,” the Times notes. And if the sanctions relief does bring about improvement? Well, then Raisi can take credit for the success.”
“Lou’s failure to send for his son was caused not by deadbeat-dad indifference but the vagaries of the viciously racist Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the only immigration law in American history to target a particular ethnicity by name. The Exclusion Act made it nearly impossible for Chinese workers to bring their wives and kids to America. Charles Chiu became eligible to emigrate to the United States only with his father’s death.
And the absence of his family had left terrible scars on Lou. In a letter to one of his American friends who had been drafted during World War II, Lou noted that the man’s kids were doing fine and added: “As you know, I always love children … It’s really too bad that I can’t have my kids with me, I’d be willing to give everything that I got and plus 20 years of my life to have them with me now.””
It is the celebration of the United States overcoming a great wrong, taking a step toward a more perfect union that recognizes that all people are created equal with unalienable Rights that include Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
“the Biden administration released a report, “Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful,” that outlines the ambitious goal of “conserving at least 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030.” The administration’s “30 by 30″ proposal is consonant with ongoing negotiations under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), a multilateral treaty which the U.S. has signed but not ratified. The treaty aims to preserve sites of particular importance for biodiversity through the implementation of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures. These measures would help cover at least 30 percent of land and sea areas, with at least 10 percent under strict protection.”
“Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) CEO Brian Yablonski observed that President Joe Biden’s earlier 30 by 30 executive order “references conserving 30 percent of our lands and waters, not protecting or preserving. The word conserve implies multiple and sustainable uses, not locking up land. This means managed and working lands should count.”
The 30 by 30 report does, at least rhetorically, endorse this view.”
“The report further observes that the administration’s 30 percent conservation and restoration goal will be advanced by “providing incentives for voluntary conservation practices,” as this “rewards ranchers and farmers for being good stewards of working lands, waters, and wildlife habitat.””
“The economy added 266,000 jobs in April according to today’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), while the unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 6.1 percent, from 6 percent.
These numbers are well below forecasts from economists who predicted that April would see the addition of around 1 million jobs, and the unemployment rate falling to 5.8 percent. The BLS report notes that we’re still far away from a pre-pandemic labor market, when the jobless rate sat at 3.5 percent.
Despite persistent levels of high joblessness, other metrics show signs of a labor market that’s increasingly tight.”
“job openings and the number of workers quitting their jobs were at record highs and that wages were growing at 2019 levels (when the country’s economy was booming).
Employers, meanwhile, find themselves in increasingly dire straits trying to find new workers.”
“what’s causing this weird mismatch between labor supply and demand?
Furman and Powell cite three possible explanations: continual health concerns about contracting COVID-19 at work encouraging some people to stay home, school closures keeping parents out of the workforce, and generous unemployment benefits.
The $300 weekly unemployment supplement provided as part of the March-passed American Rescue Plan pays some 42 percent of workers more than what they made at their old jobs, according to a University of Chicago analysis.
That $300 supplement will continue until September 2021. Today’s jobs report has business interests calling for ending it now.”
“The consensus among economists is that high unemployment benefits were not producing high unemployment rates earlier in the pandemic, when there were so few jobs available, health concerns were more acute, and there was greater uncertainty about when the economy would improve.
Workers who found themselves in that precarious situation would jump at any employment opportunity they could find, even if it paid less than unemployment benefits, the thinking went.
The situation today is much different.
Vaccinations and falling cases and deaths should ameliorate many of the health concerns people have about returning to work. A wealth of job opportunities also means people receiving unemployment benefits now won’t automatically take whatever work they can find. Instead, they can afford to hold out for higher wages or a job that’s a better fit for them.”
“As of February 19, 2021, there are at least 1,544 publicly reported cases of murder, rape, torture, kidnapping, and other violent assaults against asylum seekers and migrants forced to return to Mexico by the Trump Administration”
“These figures are likely only the tip of the iceberg, as the vast majority of the more than 68,000 individuals already returned to Mexico have not been interviewed by reporters or human rights researchers, let alone spoken to an attorney.”
“President Trump’s top policy priority was supposedly “border security.” But government data show that he failed to improve it. Border Patrol recorded 41 percent more successful illegal entries in fiscal year 2019 than in 2016 and was on pace for 47 percent more through four months of 2020. As he left office in January, reports indicate that the numbers have reached even greater heights.
Government officials and the media typically measure border security by the number of people “apprehended” (or arrested) by Border Patrol. But the main security concern for the agency are those it cannot interdict—who it calls “got‐aways”. Border Patrol released a horrifying video last year that fantasized about a “got‐away” evading capture and murdering someone in a dark alley.
Yet despite this supposed focus, the government records show that Border Patrol was observing more immigrants sneaking into the country than when President Trump took office. In fiscal year 2016, Border Patrol agents witnessed about 100,000 successful entries. By 2018, the number had risen to nearly 128,000. In 2019, it hit 150,000. Through four months of 2020, it was on pace to hit almost 156,000.”