Probably deserves every technical award, lighting, music, choreography, camera – Emma Stone strong contender for Best Actress. The number above is a first class earworm.

But ultimately, things being the way they are, star struck lovers and their woes, dancing among the stars,  not quite doing it for me.

 

Yeah. It’s relevant. Because this is all about a War for Oil, isn’t it?

Yeah, and by this, I mean, THIS. All of it.

In a remarkable tour-de-force of malignant incompetence, the Trump administration has managed to erode US standing in the Middle East to new lows.

With this stroke, the US Republican Party closes the final abominable circuit of a cycle of Betrayal of the Iraqi people, that began in 2003.

CBS News:

BAGHDAD — Gen. Talib al Kenani commands the elite American-trained counter terrorist forces that have been leading the fight against ISIS for two years.

“I’m a four star general, and I’m banned from entering the U.S.?” he said.

His family was relocated to the U.S. for their safety, and he’d had plans to see them next week, until he was told not to bother.

“I have been fighting terrorism for 13 years and winning,” he said. “Now my kids are now asking if I’m a terrorist?”

CBS News met the general at his heavily fortified compound inside the Green Zone.

For the past decade, Kenani has been travelling to U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Florida for high-level meetings with the U.S. military leadership.

“There are many American troops here in Iraq,” he said. “After this ban how are we supposed to deal with each other?”

The general said he may try again to travel later this week, but he still doesn’t have any guarantee he won’t be turned around. He said the ban came as a shock, and no one in his circles had any idea it was coming.

If only someone had warned us.

Aljazeera:

Iraqi members of parliament have voted to call on the government to enact a reciprocal travel ban on US citizens, if Washington does not withdraw its decision to prohibit the entry of Iraqis.

The move is a response to US President Donald Trump’s executive order barring citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries – Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen – from entering the United States for at least 90 days.

The vote on Monday is not thought to be binding on the government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, whose government has made no official comment on the order.

The parliament called on the Baghdad administration to “respond in kind to the American decision in the event that the American side does not to withdraw its decision”, a parliamentary official who was present for the vote told AFP news agency, quoting text of the decision that was read at the session.

Not so much a post-Stewart Daily Show fan, but this synopsis of where we are is excruciatingly, and hilariously, well observed.

Trump’s pick for Education Secretary has been confirmed.

Parrot’s anti-science meme about “critical thinking”. Code word for creationists, others, who would have you believe fifth graders should “critically” evaluate the considered consensus of the National Academy of Science, and every professional science organization on the planet.

ProPublica:

At a confirmation hearing earlier this month, Betsy DeVos, President Trump’s pick for education secretary, responded to a question about whether she would promote “junk science” by saying she supports science teaching that “allows students to exercise critical thinking.”

This seemingly innocuous statement has raised alarms among science education advocates, and buoyed the hopes of conservative Christian groups that, if confirmed, DeVos may use her bully pulpit atop the U.S. Department of Education to undermine the teaching of evolution in public schools.

DeVos and her family have poured millions of dollars into groups that champion intelligent design, the doctrine that the complexity of biological life can best be explained by the existence of a creator rather than by Darwinian evolution. Within this movement, “critical thinking” has become a code phrase to justify teaching of intelligent design.

Candi Cushman, a policy analyst for the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family, described DeVos’ nomination as a positive development for communities that want to include intelligent design in their school curricula. Both the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation and Betsy DeVos’ mother’s foundation have donated to Focus on the Family, which has promoted intelligent design.

“Mrs. DeVos will work toward ensuring parents and educators have a powerful voice at the local level on multiple issues, including science curriculum,” wrote Cushman in an email. Read the rest of this entry »

Important to remember, as we wonder whether the World’s greatest Democracy will survive, is that all of this, All. of. This. – the denial of fact, fake news, the support for far right hatred, racism – all of this has been part and parcel of the climate denial movement from day one.

Desmogblog:

In July 1988, on page 11 of Sports Illustrated magazine, one story caught the eye of Fred Palmer.

Under the headline “The Foul, Hot Summer,” the article lamented that year’s scorching heat and drought.

We have only ourselves to blame for this midsummer’s nightmare. Burning fossil fuels has created many of these environmental ills,” the story read.

Palmer was worried. As the boss of Western Fuels Association (WFA), a co-op of coal power generators and haulers, this self-confessed “prairie populist” could see the writing on the wall for his industry.

There was a nationwide heatwave, and I remember it specifically because it ruined a vacation I was going to have on the eastern shore at Chesapeake Bay. The well waters all went dry,” he said.

If governments started to get serious about acting on climate change, then coal plants would be the first in line at the chopping block.

Just a few weeks earlier, Palmer had watched NASA climate scientist James Hansen deliver what was to become historic testimony before the U.S. Senate.

The greenhouse effect has been detected and it is changing our climate now,” said Hansen, in a speech that pushed the science of climate change into the public consciousness.

Now, even Sports Illustrated was delivering clear-eyed assessments on the science.

At the same time, America’s iconic Yellowstone National Park was on fire, in what would become the park’s worst recorded episode of wildfires.

At the time I don’t think people really understood the import of it. But I did understand the import of it. I engaged immediately,” Palmer told DeSmog.

And engage he did, helping to form one of the very first fossil fuel–funded campaigns that would directly target the science of climate change in order to influence the public’s understanding.

For more than 25 years, Palmer worked on government relations in the coal industry — first for Western Fuels Association and then Peabody Energy — before joining climate science denial group the Heartland Institute just a few weeks ago.

Now that long-running and relentless campaign of fossil fuel–funded misinformation which Palmer helped to kick-start has reached its zenith with the election of Donald Trump.

For the first time in 25 years, CO2 greenhouse gas emissions are not the driving consideration in energy development in the United States,” said Palmer.

That’s a transformational development and it took a Donald Trump to become president of the United States to put that on the table. I say God bless him.”

Below, longer report from the Heartland Climate denial Conference of 2012. It’s all there. Fake news, birtherism, fascism. The dark heart of science denial.

Read the rest of this entry »

Twitter has been lighting up all day with this video clip of Steve Bannon, who has now displaced the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and the Director of National Intelligence, on the National Security Council.  #StopPresidentBannon is trending.

Only Donald Trump’s tissue thin skin, snakelike predatory mind,  and brutish, wounded ego stands between this man and you.

The Hill:

Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice on Sunday blasted President Trump for his order making changes to the National Security Council (NSC).

“This is stone cold crazy. After a week of crazy,” the former Obama administration official tweeted.

“Who needs military advice or intell to make policy on ISIL, Syria, Afghanistan, DPRK?”

The president signed an executive action on Saturday that adds White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon to the NSC and removes the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stating they “shall attend where issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed.”
Rice shared a tweet that said: “Trump loves and trusts the military so much he just kicked them out of the National Security Council and put in a Nazi in their place.”
UPDATE: another snip is available. Have not yet found the uncut piece.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Author of the sensational number one bestseller.

Perhaps you’ve heard of it.