Seasons Greetings | Fotolia.com


Seasons Greetings!

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California becomes heart of anti-Trump resistance | TheHill


California’s political leaders are gearing up to lead progressive resistance to President-elect Donald Trump.

The Golden State, where Democrat Hillary Clinton beat Trump by more than 4 million votes, is a center of political power for the left.

It’s the home of Silicon Valley and Hollywood, two industries that tilt to the left. By itself, the state makes up 13 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product.

Source: California becomes heart of anti-Trump resistance | TheHill

How Social Isolation Is Killing Us | The New York Times


Social isolation is a growing epidemic — one that’s increasingly recognized as having dire physical, mental and emotional consequences. Since the 1980s, the percentage of American adults who say they’re lonely has doubled from 20 percent to 40 percent.

About one-third of Americans older than 65 now live alone, and half of those over 85 do. People in poorer health — especially those with mood disorders like anxiety and depression — are more likely to feel lonely.

Those without a college education are the least likely to have someone they can talk to about important personal matters.

Source: How Social Isolation Is Killing Us – The New York Times

How the Obama Coalition Crumbled, Leaving an Opening for Trump | The New York Times


The notion that Mr. Trump could win over so many people who voted for Mr. Obama and who still approved of his performance is hard to understand for people with ideologically consistent views on a traditional liberal-conservative spectrum. Mr. Trump, if anything, was Mr. Obama’s opposite.

But the two had the same winning pitch to white working-class voters.

Mr. Obama and his campaign team portrayed Mr. Romney as a plutocrat who dismantled companies and outsourced jobs. The implication was that he would leave middle-class jobs prey to globalization and corporations.

In retrospect, the scale of the Democratic collapse in coal country was a harbinger of just how far the Democrats would fall in their old strongholds once they forfeited the mantle of working-class interests.

Source: How the Obama Coalition Crumbled, Leaving an Opening for Trump – The New York Times

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European Banks Risk Becoming Irrelevant | Bloomberg View


International bond underwriting is where the biggest U.S. and European banks compete for the right to raise capital for the world’s biggest borrowers.

This year, the total borrowed has reached almost $4 trillion. What has become clear is that European banks are ceding this business to the United States.

And the consequences will be felt in other areas of their businesses ..

Source: European Banks Risk Becoming Irrelevant – Bloomberg View

Dutch flower and plant exports set to reach a record €5.7bn this year | DutchNews.nl


The export of Dutch flowers and plants is expected to rise to a record €5.7bn in 2016, sector organisation VGB said on Tuesday evening. This is an increase of 3% over 2015 and is based on developments through end-November, the Telegraaf reported.

Germany remains the top export market and registered 7% growth to €1.5bn through the end of November.

Source: Dutch flower and plant exports set to reach a record €5.7bn this year – DutchNews.nl

UN Security Council Seats Taken by Arms Exporters


Anna Macdonald, Director of Control Arms, says that Security Council members have special responsibilities in the maintenance of international peace and security, and this extends also to their particular responsibilities as arms exporters.

“We would obviously cite the UN Article 5: promote maintenance of peace with the least diversion for armament,” she said.

“We would argue that the 1.3 trillion that’s currently allocated to military expenditure is not in keeping with the spirit or letter of the UN charter,” she added, noting that this is significantly more than it would cost to eradicate extreme poverty.

Source: UN Security Council Seats Taken by Arms Exporters

By Making Palestinian Villages Invisible, Google and Apple Maps Facilitate Their Demolition


Maps can be essential testaments to human presence, history and culture.  They are also highly politicized — shaped by the mapmaker’s own political vision, which informs the contours, dimensions, spaces and status of any item, or even its existence.

In our hi-tech world, where we are so reliant on digital media to locate ourselves in our surroundings, images appear and disappear with a keystroke. And this is dangerous.

Only recently the West Bank and Gaza suddenly “disappeared” from Google maps. Google insisted this was simply the result of a “bug.”

But what is going on in the case of the destruction of these villages is quite different, because it is calculated.

In October 2016 a group of Palestinians working with the Rebuilding Alliance of Burlingame, California, delivered letters to the Silicon Valley headquarters of Google and Apple, requesting that they both update their maps with data that had been missing …

Source: By Making Palestinian Villages Invisible, Google and Apple Maps Facilitate Their Demolition

The Inevitable Rise of Trumplandia: Market Ideology Ate Our Democracy | Medium

Founded as a revolt against monarchy, the Founding Fathers used the rhetoric of freedom as a veneer for a few privileged men truly wanting the doors to exploitation, not closed, but opened just a tad wider so they could cozy in.

The newly founded free country allowed by law the enslavement of humans and the relegation of women to second-class citizenship.

“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” was post-truth.

The ugliest paradox of all is that in our lust for consumerism we have allowed market ideology to eat our democracy, and as the metaphor requires, the excrement has really hit the fan this time.

Source: The Inevitable Rise of Trumplandia: Market Ideology Ate Our Democracy – Medium

US Military Returns Land to Japan, but Okinawa Isn’t Celebrating


According to a US Forces Japan spokesman, the US will hand over 9,909 acres (just over 4,000 hectares) of rugged double-canopy sub-tropical jungle, part of the Yanbaru Forest in Okinawa’s sparsely populated north. The result will be a 17 percent reduction of land controlled exclusively by the US military.

University of Connecticut history professor Alexis Dudden, who specializes in the modern history of Korea and Japan, says the land return, far from being a boon for Okinawa, is in fact a “bait and switch” that will only engender more anti-American sentiment. Okinawans, Dudden says, see US bases targets, not shields.

“What’s to celebrate?” she asks.

Source: US Military Returns Land to Japan, but Okinawa Isn’t Celebrating