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Wednesday, Sep 30th

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On Labor Day, remember this: Trump's America works only for the rich

Robert Reich

On Labor Day weekend, eight weeks before one of the most consequential elections in American history, it’s useful to consider the inequalities of income and wealth that fueled Donald Trump’s victory four years ago – and which are now wider than ever.

No other developed nation has nearly the inequities found in the US, even though all have been exposed to the same forces of globalization and technological change. Jeff Bezos’s net worth recently reached $200bn and Elon Musk’s $100bn, even as 30 million Americans reported their households didn’t have enough food. America’s richest 1% now own half the value of the US stock market, and the richest 10% own 92%.

American capitalism is off the rails.

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The Bombs of August : In Remembrance of Hiroshima and Nagasaki


Hirosihma, 1945When the bombs were dropped I was very happy. The war would be over now, they said, and I was very happy. The boys would be coming home very soon they said, and I was very happy. We showed ‘em, they said, and I was very happy. They told us that the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had been destroyed, and I was very happy. But in August of 1945 I was only ten years old, and I was very, very happy.

The crew of the B-29 was so young and heroic, and in the photo they also looked very happy.  For some reason, I clearly remember the name of the pilot, Paul Tibbets. Of course I remember the name of the plane, the Enola Gay.  And oh yes, I remember the name of the bomb.  It was called Little Boy. That made me smile.

I was so proud to be an American that day because we had done something so remarkable. They said we were the first. We were Americans. We were powerful.  But they didn’t say that Little Boy had killed 66,000 people with its huge fireball that fateful day in August. They didn’t say that Hiroshima was not a military target, but a city filled with men and women and children and animals who had no idea they were about to die so horribly.  When you’re ten, they don’t always tell you everything.

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Thomas Friedman: Trump’s Wag-the-Dog War

Trump's Wag the Dog War

Some presidents, when they get into trouble before an election, try to “wag the dog” by starting a war abroad. Donald Trump seems ready to wag the dog by starting a war at home. Be afraid — he just might get his wish.

How did we get here? Well, when historians summarize the Trump team’s approach to dealing with the coronavirus, it will take only a few paragraphs:

“They talked as if they were locking down like China. They acted as if they were going for herd immunity like Sweden. They prepared for neither. And they claimed to be superior to both. In the end, they got the worst of all worlds — uncontrolled viral spread and an unemployment catastrophe.

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Trump must be removed. So must his congressional enablers.

Trump must be removedThis unraveling presidency began with the Crybaby-in-Chief banging his spoon on his highchair tray to protest a photograph — a photograph — showing that his inauguration crowd the day before had been smaller than the one four years previous. Since then, this weak person’s idea of a strong person, this chest-pounding advertisement of his own gnawing insecurities, this low-rent Lear raging on his Twitter-heath has proven that the phrase malignant buffoon is not an oxymoron.

Presidents, exploiting modern communications technologies and abetted today by journalists preening as the “resistance” — like members of the French Resistance 1940-1944, minus the bravery — can set the tone of American society, which is regrettably soft wax on which presidents leave their marks. The president’s provocations — his coarsening of public discourse that lowers the threshold for acting out by people as mentally crippled as he — do not excuse the violent few. They must be punished. He must be removed.

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NYT Must Read: Who Killed the Knapp Family?

Who killed the Knapp family?Chaos reigned daily on the No. 6 school bus, with working-class boys and girls flirting and gossiping and dreaming, brimming with mischief, bravado and optimism. Nick rode it every day in the 1970s with neighbors here in rural Oregon, neighbors like Farlan, Zealan, Rogena, Nathan and Keylan Knapp.

They were bright, rambunctious, upwardly mobile youngsters whose father had a good job installing pipes. The Knapps were thrilled to have just bought their own home, and everyone oohed and aahed when Farlan received a Ford Mustang for his 16th birthday.

Yet today about one-quarter of the children on that No. 6 bus are dead, mostly from drugs, suicide, alcohol or reckless accidents. Of the five Knapp kids who had once been so cheery, Farlan died of liver failure from drink and drugs, Zealan burned to death in a house fire while passed out drunk, Rogena died from hepatitis linked to drug use and Nathan blew himself up cooking meth. Keylan survived partly because he spent 13 years in a state penitentiary.

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Bob Alexander: Night Stalkers

Night StalkerThis is how Mrs. Dudley, the caretaker’s wife in Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, warns the new tenants that they’ll be on their own in if anything goes awry at Hill House.

So there won’t be anyone around if you need help. We couldn’t even hear you, in the night. No one could. No one lives any nearer than the town. No one else will come any nearer than that. In the night. In the dark,”

And that’s when nightmares come for us. When we’re asleep and defenseless and alone - in the night - in the dark, or as Stephen King wrote, “When the moon is down and the hour is none.”

I know a lot about nightmares. I suppose we all do, but rarely do we talk about them. They’re just dreams after all. They’re not real. They’re not the stuff of small talk among friends over beers at a bar or sipping lattes at a Starbucks. If you tell anyone a dream you’ve had that ends with, “and when I looked back ... its eyes were full of blood,” the conversation will stop dead. Guaranteed.

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Bob Alexander: AUTOPSY

Ronald Reagan in The KillersOne of my favorite movies is director Don Siegel’s 1964 remake of The Killers. It was supposed to be one of the first “Made for TV” movies but someone at Universal thought it was too violent so it was released theatrically.

Siegel directed two movies, The Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), and Dirty Harry (1971), that are on my List of The 100 Best Movies Ever Made. And then there’s ... The Killers. As a friend of mine said, “Don Siegel was one of those directors who could make good pieces of a movie, but had a hard time making a complete movie." And The Killers is a very good example of that. It’s almost good. Too bad, because the cast is incredible: Lee Marvin, John Cassavetes, Angie Dickinson, Clu Gulager, and … in the last theatrical role of his 27-year long career … and the first time he ever played a bad guy … Ronald Reagan.

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