The End Stage of American Empire: Clinging Bitterly to Guns and Religion

Source: TomDispatch
By William J Astore

“All around us things are falling apart. Collectively, Americans are experiencing national and imperial decline. Can America save itself? Is this country, as presently constituted, even worth saving? For me, that last question is radical indeed. From my early years, I believed deeply in the idea of America. I knew this country wasn’t perfect, of course, not even close. Long before the 1619 Project, I was aware of the ‘original sin’ of slavery and how central it was to our history. I also knew about the genocide of Native Americans. (As a teenager, my favorite movie — and so it remains — was Little Big Man, which pulled no punches when it came to the white man and his insatiably murderous greed.) Nevertheless, America still promised much, or so I believed in the 1970s and 1980s.” (06/06/23)

Ford recalling 125k vehicles due to engine issues that could cause fires

Source: Fox News

“Ford is expanding and issuing a new recall for 125,000 sport utility vehicles and trucks because engine failures may cause a fire, the automaker announced Tuesday. The recall is an expansion from a July 2022 recall of 100,000 Escape, Corsair and Maverick trucks in the U.S. following 23 reported incidents of fire or smoke stemming from a suspected block or oil pan breach. Also on Tuesday, Ford confirmed reports of at least three vehicles that suffered fires after getting the 2022 recall repairs. Ford said the new recall fix is under development and will include various Escape and Lincoln Corsair SUVs and Maverick compact pickup trucks from the 2020 to 2023 model years with 2.5L hybrid or plug-in hybrid engines, according to a filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).” (06/06/23)


CA: Migrants in Sacramento receive food, housing as officials weigh charges against DeSantis and co-conspirators

Source: SFGate

“Religious groups worked Tuesday to feed and house South American migrants who were flown to Sacramento under allegedly false pretenses. Meanwhile, California officials were weighing whether Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his administration should face kidnapping or other charges for arranging the flights. About three dozen asylum-seekers, mostly from Colombia and Venezuela, arrived in the California capital on two charter flights after, according to officials, they were promised jobs by people purporting to work for Florida’s government. DeSantis and Florida lawmakers approved state funding to transport immigrants to other states, even if they never step foot in Florida, and carried out similar flights from Texas to Massachusetts last year. Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and faith-based groups that have been assisting the migrants said they come together to help the newcomers, who are staying at two undisclosed locations in Sacramento and have been given food, clothing and cellphones to contact their families.” (06/06/23)

Republicans Now Trying to Defund the Libraries

Source: In These Times
by Sonali Kolhatkar

“In early April, Missouri Republicans voted to cut all public funding for libraries as part of their state budget proposal. Leading the move was Cody Smith, a top Republican lawmaker and chair of the state’s budget committee, who made no attempt to hide the fact that he was retaliating against librarians because they dared to join the ACLU in suing the state over a Republican-led book ban. Smith said, ‘I don’t think we should subsidize the attempts to overturn laws that we also created,’ even though the ACLU is entirely funding the lawsuit. Indeed, Republicans forced Missouri’s librarians into suing their state in what appears to be yet another flashpoint in the GOP’s increasingly desperate culture wars.” (06/05/23)

China Places Country Dangerously Close To US Warship

Source: Caitlin Johnstone, Rogue Journalist
by Caitlin Johnstone

“The US military has released video footage of a Chinese navy ship cutting across the path of an American Destroyer in the Taiwan Strait over the weekend, reportedly forcing the US vessel to slow down to avoid a collision. … Now, I know what you’re thinking: what is a Chinese navy vessel doing in the Taiwan Strait, right where US and Canadian warships are peacefully conducting routine navigation exercises? Well I don’t know if this news will be as shocking to you as it is to me, but it turns out that China has somehow managed to place its country immediately adjacent to the Taiwan Strait, and is now only 100 miles from Taiwan itself.” (06/05/23)

The World Needs a Treaty Against the Use of Weaponized Drones

Source: Common Dreams
by Ann Wright

“Citizen activism to bring about changes in how brutal wars are conducted is extremely difficult, but not impossible. Citizens have successfully pushed through the United Nations General Assembly treaties to abolish nuclear weapons and to ban the use of landmines and cluster munitions. Of course, countries that want to continue to use these weapons will not follow the lead of the vast majority of countries in the world and sign those treaties. The United States and the other eight nuclear armed countries have refused to sign the treaty to abolish nuclear weapons. Likewise, the United States and 15 other countries, including Russia and China, have refused to sign the ban on the use of cluster bombs. The United States and 31 other countries, including Russia and China, have refused to sign the treaty on the ban on land mines.” (06/05/23)

ND: Burgum edges closer to Republican vanity campaign

Source: SFGate

“North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum took another step toward entering the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, posting a YouTube video on Monday touting his rise from a small town boy to a self-made software entrepreneur and a successful governor who has cut red tape and taxes. Although the video doesn’t mention it, Burgum has signed several new laws this year that restrict abortion rights and the rights of transgender people. One law bans schools and government agencies from requiring their employees to refer to transgender people by the pronouns they use. Another law — among the strictest in the nation — bans abortions throughout pregnancy with only slim exceptions up to six weeks’ gestation. Burgum is expected to announce his candidacy on Wednesday at a midday event in Fargo, two GOP operatives who had knowledge of Burgum’s plans told The Associated Press last month.” (06/05/23)

The Human Side of LGBTQ Pride and the Predicament It Causes for Loving Christians

Source: Town Hall
by Michael Brown

“There are Christians who avoid the culture wars because they are too toxic, fearing that any involvement will only turn LGBTQ-identified people away from the faith. ‘Let’s just love them like we love everyone else,’ they reason, ‘building relationships with them, not being offensive in our speech or conduct, and leading them to Jesus.’ There is much that is right in this approach. There are other Christians who say, ‘Our children are being indoctrinated and our most fundamental freedoms and rights undermined….’ There is much that is right in this approach, too.” [editor’s note: Despite the “Christianist” rhetoric, this raises some very valid points for discussion – SAT] (06/05/23)

New “augmented reality” headset Apple Vision Pro revealed

Source: BBC News [UK state media]

“Apple has unveiled a much-anticipated augmented reality headset, Apple Vision Pro, in its first major hardware launch for almost a decade. Apple CEO Tim Cook said the new headset ‘seamlessly blends the real world and the virtual world’. The tech firm also announced its latest iPhone operating system, as well as updates to MacBook Air. The headset will cost $3,499 (£2,849) and be available from early next year in the US. The announcement was made at a developer’s conference at Apple Park, the company’s headquarters, in Cupertino, California, which was also streamed live on its website and YouTube channel. Apple Vision Pro presents a visual change from other similar headsets on the market – and is more reminiscent of a pair of ski goggles than an virtual-reality headset. Apple used the phrase ‘augmented reality’ to describe what the new device does.” (06/05/23)

A Spending Cap in Name Only

Source: The American Prospect
by David Dayen

“Today was supposed to be the actual X-date, upon which the federal government would run out of money. Instead, Congress passed and the president signed the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA), suspending the debt ceiling for two years. So we’re using today to round out our series on this absurd few weeks in American politics. We hope to never again have to create a pop-up newsletter to cover the threat of a catastrophic deliberate default on the nation’s [sic] debt, but since this deal did nothing to extinguish that possibility, we will save the X-Date logo for 2025. We have discussed in detail what the FRA will mean for public policy …. But since the centerpiece of this deal is a spending cap, we’ll close X-Date by explaining how it is not likely to be a cap at all.” (06/05/23)