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Daily Digest 2/5 - The Increasing Likelihood Of Nuclear War, The Making of a Chaos State

Monday, February 5, 2018, 11:28 AM


The Increasing Likelihood Of Nuclear War Should Straighten Out All Our Priorities (Time2Help)

Cohen explains how the political pressures placed on Trump by the ongoing fact-free allegation that he is a Kremlin puppet makes it far more difficult for him to negotiate on these multiple fronts agilely, thus making it much more likely that Trump will choose to advance when he should retreat, hold his ground when he should back down, and generally be locked into patterns of aggression and forward movement rather than the back-and-forth finesse required for safe cold war negotiations with a nuclear superpower.

The War in Yemen and the Making of a Chaos State (tmn)

Two-thirds of Yemenis were already what the UN called “food insecure” before the Houthis advanced south, but in the nearly three years since then, Yemen and the wider Middle East have plunged into dangerous instability. Never known as an international tourist draw, the country has recently made headlines for outbreaks of cholera and diphtheria—and ballistic missiles that travel hundreds of miles toward the Saudi capital of Riyadh. With the war on isis slowing down in Syria and Iraq, Yemen is now the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Arizona County Colludes with Bank to Take Family’s Home (boomer41)

The local branch of National Bank of Arizona (NBAZ) that purportedly financed both properties provided varying payoff balances with multiple account numbers from different banking entities. When he asked his local banker of 7 years to explain the discrepancies she directed him to contact the banks’ corporate offices. The bank never responded to his questions. Instead a company named Cenlar FSB responded on the home loan stating they were not aware who funded the loan. There has never been a response to this day regarding his land loan or an explanation of why both NBAZ and a bank he had never heard of, California Bank and Trust were both seeking payment, the balances due were different as were the account numbers.

It's The (Democracy-Poisoning) Golden Age Of Free Speech (jdargis)

And sure, it is a golden age of free speech—if you can believe your lying eyes. Is that footage you’re watching real? Was it really filmed where and when it says it was? Is it being shared by alt-right trolls or a swarm of Russian bots? Was it maybe even generated with the help of artificial intelligence? (Yes, there are systems that can create increasingly convincing fake videos.)

How Wobbly Is Our Democracy? (Jen H.)

>Could it happen here? It already has. During the 1850s, polarization over slavery undermined America’s democratic norms. Southern Democrats viewed the antislavery position of the emerging Republican Party as an existential threat. They assailed Republicans as “traitors to the Constitution” and vowed to “never permit this federal government to pass into the traitorous hands of the Black Republican Party.”

Norm erosion alters the zone of acceptable political behavior. Partisan violence pervaded Congress. Joanne Freeman, a historian at Yale, counted more than 100 incidents of violence (including fistfights, canings and the pulling of knives and pistols) on the floor of Congress between 1830 and 1860. Before long, the republic would be broken — and Americans would be killing one another in the hundreds of thousands.

The Death of Clothing (tmn)

But that’s not the whole story. The apparel industry seems to have no solution to the dwindling dollars Americans devote to their closets. Many upstarts promising to revolutionize the industry drift away with barely a whimper. Who needs fashion these days when you can express yourself through social media? Why buy that pricey new dress when you could fund a weekend getaway instead?

The U.S. Oil Boom Is Attracting Canadian Drillers (Michael K.)

Western Canadian Select (WCS) is currently trailing WTI prices by a discount of more than $30 a barrel. That’s a very wide gap, and even PM Trudeau seems to be aware of it because at a recent town hall meeting in Edmonton, he said that Canadian crude needs new markets and therefore needs the Trans Mountain expansion to reach the coast of British Columbia. Yet there was no cheer at the meeting. Opposition to the project, to all pipeline projects in Canada, is riding the high wave of saving the planet, oblivious to questions like where the more than 100,000 people now working in oil and gas in Alberta alone are going to go and what is going to replace the industry’s contribution to the provincial and federal GDP.

Was your seafood caught with slave labor? New tool tries to help retailers. (jdargis)

The new Seafood Watch database, which took two years to design, assigns slavery risk ratings to specific fisheries. It was developed in collaboration with Liberty Asia and the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership. Like Seafood Watch’s color-coded ratings, the Seafood Slavery Risk Tool aims to keep ratings simple by using specific criteria that determine if a fishery will earn a critical, high, moderate, or low risk rating.

Gold & Silver

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