David Horsey: Maybe this explains it all. . .


From the editorial cartoonist of the Los Angeles Times:

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Philippine cops, vigilantes kill nearly 2,000


When he became president in June, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte [previously] gave free rein to police and vigilantes to kill anyone suspected of being a drug dealer, as well as others deemed outside the law.

He promised free pardons to anyone who pulled the trigger, and the results of his program of extrajudicial murder have been gruesome, with nearly 2,000 dead already, though presumably the actual figure is much high.

Lynching, in short, has become the law of the land.

From BBC News:

The head of the Philippines police has said more than 1,900 people have been killed during a crackdown on illegal drugs in the past seven weeks.

Ronald dela Rosa was speaking at a senate hearing into the sharp rise in deaths since Rodrigo Duterte became president.

He said police operations had killed about 750 people, but the other deaths were still being investigated.

Mr Duterte won the presidency with his hard-line policy to eradicate drugs.

He has previously urged citizens to shoot and kill drug dealers who resisted arrest, and reiterated that the killings of drug suspects were lawful if the police acted in self-defence.

Chart of the day: Gender, ethnic pay divides


From the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, average hourly pay figures for American workers:

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More from the Center:

At the bottom of the distribution, low-wage workers from different demographic backgrounds have relatively similar wages. Low-wage Latinas and African American women earn the least ($8.14 and $8.15 per hour, respectively), while low-wage white men earn the most ($10.00). This clustering of wages at the bottom is likely a result of current federal and state minimum wage policies, which legally mandate employees to be paid at least $7.25 per hour (or more, in many states).

For workers in the middle range of each demographic group, the gender gap is bigger. Median-wage Latinas and African American women are the lowest-wage recipients, earning $12.65 and $14.25 per hour, respectively. In contrast, white men earn the highest median wages, making $21.79. At the top, where the gap is largest, the lowest wages are $28.83 (Latinas) and $32.50 (African American women), while the highest wage is $50.54 (white men), a difference of more than $20.00. The spreading out at the top reflects discrimination across both gender and race.

He’s back. . .Sarkozy to run against Hollande


The loathsome former French president, defeated by the nearly equally loathsome socialist-in-name-only François Hollande four years ago, wants his old job back.

Sarkozy, the man who implemented purge of the county’s Roma and Sinti residents [gypsies in common parlance], has a good chance, given that Hollande has been unable to ease the country’s economic plight.

Hollande has proven equally eager to go to war as his predecessor, but without the zealous bombast Sarkozy brings to the table.

From France 24:

France’s former leader Nicolas Sarkozy announced on Monday that he is running again to become president in next year’s elections.

“I have decided to be a candidate for the 2017 presidential election. I felt I had the strength to lead this battle at a troubled time in our history,” Sarkozy wrote in an excerpt of his upcoming book “Everything for France” (“Tout pour la France”) posted on his social media accounts.

“The five years that come will be full of danger, but also of hope,” he added.

Sarkozy, 61, served as president from 2007 to 2012, when he lost re-election to the now deeply unpopular President François Hollande.

A hyperactive and divisive figure both loved and loathed among right-wing voters, Sarkozy did not say whether he would join his conservative Les Républicains party (formerly the UMP) primaries scheduled for November.

Quote of the day: Trump’s right; game’s rigged


But it’s rigged in favor of his own party, at least when it comes to the House of Representatives, the body that holds the purse strings of the national government.

Bill Moyers breaks it down:

Can Democrats retake the House of Representatives?

It’s not going to happen. Democratic House candidates will likely get many more votes than Republican ones – as they did in 2012, when Democrats received 1.4 million more votes nationwide, but Republicans maintained a 234-201 advantage. Indeed, Trump is more likely to rebound in swing states than Democrats are to capture the 30 congressional seats they need to pry the speaker’s gavel from Paul Ryan.

The reason why is simple, structural and too often absent from the conversation: It’s the radical GOP gerrymander imposed after the 2010 census on purplish states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and North Carolina – all of which are likely to go for Clinton, while also electing a bright-red Republican delegation to Congress. Even if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency in a landslide, there are simply not enough competitive districts remaining to give the Democrats any chance at winning the House.

For all of the misleading nonsense about “rigged elections” coming from the Trump camp this summer, we haven’t talked enough about the way our electoral map really was rigged by Republicans after the 2010 census. These tilted maps make it possible for the Republicans to govern with a supermajority in Ohio, North Carolina and Wisconsin – despite getting less votes overall. And they’ve created a firewall in the House of Representatives that’s built to withstand a Clinton landslide upward of 10 percent.

Democrats, however, prefer to raise false hopes — and raise money — by pretending the House is in play. The media, desperate for any suspenseful narrative, pretends that gerrymandering is politics as usual and that both sides do it — stubbornly refusing to understand how the brazen and technologically savvy 2011 remapping was different from any other in modern political history.

Headline of the day II: Killed for signing?


A screencap of the London Daily Mail homepage headline teaser for this story about an inexcusable  tragedy in North Carolina:

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Quote of the day: Opulance-shrouded corruption


Once again, the Bard of Avon nails it, the Time in King Lear, Act IV Scene VI:

Through tatter’d clothes small vices do appear;
Robes and furr’d gowns hide all. Plate sin with gold,
And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks:
Arm it in rags, a pigmy’s straw does pierce it.
None does offend, none, I say, none; I’ll able ’em:
Take that of me, my friend, who have the power
To seal the accuser’s lips. Get thee glass eyes;
And like a scurvy politician, seem
To see the things thou dost not.