Graphic Representation: Today’s TrumpToons™


We begin with the Chicago Tribune and an alt-reality:

Scott Stantis: Truth bites Trump

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From the San Diego Union Tribune, an adversarial relationship resolved:

Steve Breen: Reporters and President Trump

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While the Kansas City Star strings him along:

Lee Judge: The hidden hand?

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From the Sacramento Bee, an alt-reality conflict closer to home:

Jack Ohman: It’s a Defcon 3 alert. . .

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And the Philadelphia Daily News, searching for a replacement:

Signe Wilkinson: No, I meant a trained seal

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From one of the nation’s finest syndicated cartoonists, buyer’s remorse:

Jeff Danziger: GOP Misses Nixon

The Salt Lake Tribune tackles a state Republican leader who called for an end to any legal protections for women’s pay equality:

Pat Bagley: Women’s Alternative World

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While the Washington Post heads to the O.R. as Trump’s allies commence surgery:

Tom Toles: Look out, Obamacare. Here comes the GOP, ready or not.

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Finally, from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a notable departure:

Mike Luckovich: Extended leave

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Headline of the day II: All the President’s Men


From the Independent:

The man who brought down Nixon says Trump is even ‘more treacherous’

  • Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein has attacked Donald Trump’s “lying” and said his attacks on the media are more treacherous than those of Richard Nixon, the president he helped bring down.
  • Bernstein, whose reporting with Bob Woodward and Ben Bradlee helped exposed the Watergate scandal of the 1970s, has told his 26,000 twitter followers: “The most dangerous ‘enemy of the people’ is presidential lying – always.  Attacks on the press by Donald Trump [are] more treacherous than Nixon’s.”
  • Apparently questioning Trump’s mental stability, Bernstein added: “Real news (not fake) is that Donald Trump is trying to make conduct of the press the issue instead of egregious (and unhinged) conduct of POTUS [President of the United States].”

Austerity bites: Greeks sink deeper into poverty


Poverty rate changes in the European Union, 2008-2015. From Reuters.

Poverty rate changes in the European Union, 2008-2015. From Reuters.

When the greed and unprosecuted crimes of Wall Street banksters and their allies in London brought the world to the brink of financial ruin nine years ago, it was the world’s poorer nation who paid — and are continuing to pay — the highest price.

Greece isn’t the only nation in the eurozone to see a poverty increase since the start of the Great Recession, but it’s the only one to see a near-tripling of the number of its citizens in poverty, a direction result of the austerity regime implemented by the austerity regime forced on Europe’s nations with the highest debt levels.

As part of that austerity, the Troika of the Euroippean Central Bank, the European Commission, and the Washington-based International Monetary Fund have mandated massive layoffs of public workers, pay and pension cuts, and the higher costs associated with the privatization and sell off of public transit and power systems.

The Troika has been holding off on its latest bailout loan, demanding yet more austerity measures. But when it comes, most of the money will go right back to lenders on Wall Street, London, and Germany.

More from Reuters:

[R]egardless of who is to blame for the collapse in living standards, poverty figures from the EU statistics agency are startling.

Greece isn’t the poorest member of the EU; poverty rates are higher in Bulgaria and Romania. But Greece isn’t far behind in third place, with Eurostat data showing 22.2 percent of the population were “severely materially deprived” in 2015.

And whereas the figures have dropped sharply in the post-communist Balkan states — by almost a third in Romania’s case — the Greek rate has almost doubled since 2008, the year the global crisis erupted. Overall, the EU level fell from 8.5 percent to 8.1 percent over the period.

>snip<

International organizations, including the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, have urged the government to prioritize tackling poverty and inequality.

Unemployment has slipped from a peak of 28 percent of the workforce to 23 percent but the rate remains the highest in the EU. Since the crisis began, the economy has shrunk by a quarter and thousands of businesses have closed for good.

>snip<

Better living standards seem as far away as ever. Over 75 percent of households suffered a significant income reduction last year, a survey by business confederation GSEVEE and Marc pollsters found. A third had at least one unemployed member and 40 percent said they had to cut back on food spending.

And with the latest round of austerity now in negotiation, things can only get worse.

Remember that, just as in the U.S., the employment numbers don’t reflect totals paid in salaries and benefits.

With rising costs for healthcare, transportation, and other necessities, coupled with pay cuts, living standards have been drastically reduced even for those who are working.

But, hey, a banskster’s gotta make a living, right?

Map of the day: Where the world’s poorest live


From DevelopmentEducation.ie, the five countries housing the largest share of the 1.2 billion of our brothers and sisters living in extreme poverty:

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Note: We darkened the map considerably because the type for China was a yellow so pale as to be illegible. And why is it that graphics designers have switched from primary colors to pale pastels? We’ve had to darken an increasing number of charts, graphs, and maps because of a typographical madness sacrificing legibility for fashion.

Chart of the day: World’s most congested cities


From the traffic analysis firm INRIX, confirmation that traffic in esnl‘s new ‘burb really is the world’s worst, with the average driver spending two-and-a-half work weeks mired in jams and slowdowns [click on the image to enlarge]:

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Headline of the day: CPAC’s Alt-right fright


First he gets driven off the Berkeley campus, and now this.

From the London Daily Mail:

Alt-Right darling Milo Yiannopoulos is BANNED from the CPAC conference after video surfaced which appeared to show him defending pedophilia

  • Milo Yiannopoulos was told his invite to the conference has been rescinded 
  • Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, said he was banned because of the ‘offensive’ video 
  • The firebrand discussed ‘coming of age’ relationships in an online debate
  • The controversial commentator star claimed teenagers could ‘discover who they are’ by having a gay relationship with an older man
  • However, he strongly denied he was defending pedophilia during the debate 
  • He later wrote on Facebook that he was a victim of child abuse himself  
  • He later suggested some conservatives were trying to undermine his position

UODATE: Also from the Daily Mail:

Milo Yiannopoulos LOSES his $250k book deal amid outrage at pedophilia comments as Breitbart workers threaten to quit if he isn’t sacked

  • Milo Yiannopoulos lost his $250,000 book deal with Simon & Schuster Monday
  • On Facebook he wrote: ‘I’ve gone through worse. This will not defeat me’ 

Record El Niño devastates Pacific Coast beaches


Following up on the previous post, a look at another aspect of climate change.

Record waves generated by El Niño have devastated beaches all along the Pacific coast, and as a new study [open access] concludes, “climate change projections suggest a possible increase in the frequency of extreme El Niño and La Niña events,” meaning this year’s disaster could be just the beginning of worse to come.

More from the U.S. Geological Survey:

In a new study, U.S. Geological Survey scientists and their colleagues document how the 2015-16 winter featured one of the most powerful El Niño climate events of the last 145 years.

Investigating 29 beaches along the U.S West Coast from Washington to southern California, researchers found that winter beach erosion was 76 percent above normal, by far the highest ever recorded, and most beaches in California eroded beyond historical extremes. If severe El Niño events such as this one become more common in the future as studies suggest, this coastal region, home to more than 25 million people, will become increasingly vulnerable to coastal hazards, independently of projected sea level rise.

The authors assessed seasonal changes on 29 beaches along approximately 2000 kilometers (1243 miles) of the U.S. West Coast. Surveying the beaches included making 3-D surface maps and cross-shore profiles using aerial lidar (light detection and ranging), GPS topographic surveys, and direct measurements of sand levels, combined with wave and water level data at each beach, collectively spanning 1997-2016. Winter beach erosion or the removal and loss of sand from the beach is a normal seasonal process, but the extent of erosion can be more severe during El Niño events than in other years.

“Wave conditions and coastal response were unprecedented for many locations during the winter of 2015-16. The winter wave energy equaled or exceeded measured historical maximums along the U.S. West Coast, corresponding to extreme beach erosion across the region,” said USGS geologist and lead author of the report, Patrick Barnard.

The 2015-16 El Niño was one of the three strongest events ever recorded, along with El Niño winters of 1982-83 and 1997-98. While most beaches in California eroded beyond historical extremes, some beaches fared better. “The condition of the beach before the winter of 2015 strongly influenced the severity of erosion and the ability of the beach to recover afterward through natural replenishment processes,” said UC Santa Barbara marine ecologist and co-author David Hubbard.

Rivers still supply the primary source of sand to California beaches, despite long-term reductions in the 20th century due to extensive dam construction. But as California is in the midst of a major drought, the resulting lower river flows equated to even less sand being carried to the coast to help sustain beaches.

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