President Trump Is Driving the End of the GOP | US News


Week after dramatic week, it’s becoming increasingly clear that, under President Donald Trump, the Republican Party as Americans came to know it for 40 years is vanishing.

Trump is redefining conservatism in his own erratic image, and most Republican members of Congress are going along with him even though the long-time pillars of their belief system are crumbling.

Trump is not a true conservative. He is taking some pages from the right’s agenda but abandoning others, and GOP stalwarts are in a stew over it. Yet there is no Republican rebellion and precious little pushback.

Source: President Trump Is Driving the End of the GOP | The Report | US News

Tom Steyer: The Billionaire Who Could | US News


Tom Steyer, the former hedge fund manager turned progressive environmental activist worth an estimated $1.6 billion, was Robert Rubin’s protege at Goldman Sachs before becoming one of the Democratic Party’s most generous donors and hosting Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton at his San Francisco home that sits on a cliff overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge.

But this self-made investing titan who has immersed himself in the uppermost echelons of power has begun honing an outsider’s pitch: admonishing Washington’s obsession with itself, embracing a post-ideological approach and positing that those “closest to the people” will yield the most success in 2018.

Source: Tom Steyer: The Billionaire Who Could | The Report | US News

House GOP pushes hardline immigration plan as Senate deals fail | TheHill


House GOP leaders are forging ahead with their own hardline immigration bill, as the Senate threw in the towel Thursday on legislation to protect hundreds of thousands of young, undocumented immigrants from deportation.

Source: House GOP pushes hardline immigration plan as Senate deals fail | TheHill

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For South Korea’s military to thrive, it needs to get off the US dole | TheHill


South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in is trying to find the thin line between conciliating the North and satisfying America. Neither is easy; doing both is well-nigh impossible. But the key to success lies in following up on a pledge made by President Moon late last year.

In speaking to the Republic of Korea’s (ROK) National Assembly, he advocated that Seoul “retain overwhelming military superiority” against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in order to respond “to provocations by North Korea.”

Source: For South Korea’s military to thrive, it needs to get off the US dole | TheHill

A new military order? Defense spends by China, Russia, India on the rise | Times of India


While China, Russia and India have been increasing their defense spends, spends by the US and UK have seen a decline. Despite that the US continues to be an undisputed military giant. Its defense expenditure in 2015 was a massive $1.68 trillion, about 36 per cent of the total global military spending that year.

Source: A new military order? Defence spends by China, Russia, India on the rise – Times of India

Trump’s Infrastructure Plan Will Lead to More Harm: We Need Broad-Based Public Investment


I think the structure of the plan is what we expected to see. It is only $200 billion in federal funding, as opposed to the headline claims of either $1.5 trillion or $1 trillion that the administration had been claiming.

Of that, $100 billion goes to this sort of grant program that kicks the funding decisions to states and localities. They are required to come up with 80 percent of the funding and the federal government only provides 20 percent.

There is $50 billion for rural projects. All of it comes back to what appears to be their belief that state and local governments need to spend even more on funding our infrastructure.

Then, there are quite a lot of boilerplate claims about leveraging the private sector.

Source: Trump’s Infrastructure Plan Will Lead to More Harm: We Need Broad-Based Public Investment

For the Love of Liberation: Let’s Stop Belittling Others and Start Organizing


The road to better insights, which many of us are still actively traveling on, is often marked by people who take the time to help us learn and grow, and who don’t belittle others simply because they’re not as informed.

During difficult times like these we’re living in, there will always be people who are prone to behave in desperate ways. Some are ready, willing and able to quickly betray themselves and/or others for anything that even just slightly appears to resemble relief or security.

They may be capable of committing themselves to the same political missteps that helped lead us all to this despicable moment we’re in.

Actual progress and change can die and do die at the hands of an overzealous optimism that relies on the same to give us anything new.

Source: For the Love of Liberation: Let’s Stop Belittling Others and Start Organizing

The perils of going digital with an imperfect design

[India]


.. digitization is actively being looked upon as a solution to numerous challenges. However, it is often forgotten that digitization is merely a mode for delivery of solutions and not the solution itself.

While digitization of a process may help in enhancing the outreach, its design process must establish clear objectives and an inclusive and good planning.

.. The agricultural lard records available online are not free of errors; also these cannot be used for legal purposes (as the website itself claims). In short, the government assumes no responsibility for the land records, they have facilitated on their websites.

In fact, the entire process has become even more cumbersome than before, thanks to the entry of another layer of authentication, the tehsildar.

Source: The perils of going digital with an imperfect design

Don’t Be Complacent About Italy’s Elections | Bloomberg


The trouble is, the elections seem unlikely to help. Italian politics consists of three main groups: the center-left, led by Matteo Renzi; the center-right, headed by Silvio Berlusconi; and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, led by Luigi Di Maio.

According to recent polls, none will be able to form a government. The expected result is either a wobbly “grand coalition” or a prolonged stalemate, leading in due course to new elections.

This time will be different. Italy’s public debt stands at a towering 132 percent of gross domestic product, and the policies needed to put it on a sustainable downward track are nowhere in sight.

Source: Don’t Be Complacent About Italy’s Elections – Bloomberg

Global Debt Crisis II Cometh


The ducks are beginning to line up for yet another global debt crisis. US mortgage rates are hinting at another crash, student debt crises loom in both the US and UK, consumer and corporate debt is at record levels and global debt to GDP ratio is higher than it was during the financial crisis.

When you look at the figures you realize there is an air of inevitability of what is around the corner. If the last week has taught us anything, it is that markets are unprepared for the fallout that is destined to come after a decade of easy monetary policies.

Global debt is more than three times the size of the global economy, the highest it has ever been.

Source: Global Debt Crisis II Cometh