TSA: the fact that our secret surveillance program hasn't caught anyone means it's working

Late last month, the Boston Globe published a blockbuster scoop revealing the existence of "Quiet Skies," a secret TSA program that sent Air Marshals out to shadow travelers who were not on any watchlist and had committed to crime, on flimsy pretenses like "This person once visited Turkey." Read the rest

America's big cities are increasingly home to people living in their cars

In King County (which encompasses Seattle), the number of people living in their cars surged by 46% in the past year; and other big cities are catching up: LA, San Francisco, Portland, etc. Read the rest

Canadian border guards have secret access to a US "anti-terror" database of 680,000 names

Canadian border guards' terminals give them secret access to Tuscan, a database maintained by US spy agencies of suspected terrorists; the database has some 680,000 names in it and if you match one of those names, Canadian border and immigration officials are empowered to "detain, interrogate, arrest and deny entry" to you. Read the rest

As thousands of children are torn from their parents, Trump's popularity rating hits an all-time high

In case you thought that kidnapping babies would awaken the moral consciences of Trump supporters, be told: Trump's approval rating hit its all-time peak on Monday, with 45% of Americans saying he is doing a good job. The administration is said to be planning even harsher measures before the midterms, including indefinite incarceration of kidnapped children. (via Naked Capitalism) Read the rest

Stephen Colbert explains Jesus' position on ripping children from their parents to Jeff Sessions

Jeff Sessions says that the Bible commands him to cruelly separate thousands of children from their parents, but Colbert -- a devout Catholic -- begs to differ. (Thanks, Rutherford B Hayes!) Read the rest

GDP vs human thriving: a "healthy" economy means debt-haunted people, desperately searching for housing

GDP and stock market performance are the two metrics that economists (and politicians) use to measure the health of a nation's economy, and by those metrics, Trump is doing a hell of a job. Read the rest

Which American cities have lowest herd immunity due to anti-vaxxers?

Parents of Seattle, Spokane, Portland, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Provo, Houston, Fort Worth, Austin, Plano, Detroit, Troy, Warren, Kansas City and Pittsburgh: beware. Read the rest

Private equity bosses took $200m out of Toys R Us and crashed the company, lifetime employees got $0 in severance

Private equity's favorite shell game is to take over profitable businesses, sell off their assets, con banks into loaning them hundreds of millions of dollars, cash out in the form of bonuses and dividends, then let the businesses fail and default on their debts. Read the rest

America is the world's first poor rich country

Americans' median income is $60,000 -- but the average American couldn't stump up $500 to bail themselves out of an emergency, and a third of Americans can't afford food, shelter and healthcare. Read the rest

Stagnant wages + soaring cost of living + massive cuts to services = collapsing US birth-rate

The US birth-rate continued to plummet last year, with births falling in nearly all groups, and a one-year dropoff in overall fertility not seen since 2010; the US fertility rate is at its lowest level in recorded history. Read the rest

America's new aristocracy: the 9.9% and their delusion of hereditary meritocracy

It's true that the 1% have accumulated a massive share of America's national wealth; but just as significant is the cohort of professionals -- "well-behaved, flannel-suited crowd of lawyers, doctors, dentists, mid-level investment bankers, M.B.A.s with opaque job titles, and assorted other professionals" -- who style themselves as the "meritocratic middle class" but who actually represent the top decile of American wealth, with net worths from $1.2m to $10m. Read the rest

To understand the future sainthood of Donald J Trump, just look at George W Bush

George W Bush spent a decade as the record-holder for the worst US president in modern history: a stupid man who weaponized a lie to start a pointless war that rages to this day, the "Heck of a Job, Brownie" president, the "You forgot Poland" president, the "Freedom Fries" president, the torture president, the mass surveillance president, the climate denier, the chimp-faced coked up draft dodger who was a modern hereditary princeling -- probably not even much fun to have a beer with. Read the rest

Bombing makes great propaganda, but not for the side that's doing the bombing

Josh Quiggin argues persuasively that the easiest way to seem "presidential" is to drop bombs on someone else, and reminds us that Americans only recognize bombing people as "cowardly and evil" when the people being bombed are Americans. Read the rest

Zuckerberg: Facebook will not stop spying on Americans to comply with EU privacy law

The imminent implementation of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been hailed as a victory for global privacy advocates; since the regulation severely limits the collection of data on Europeans -- even when they're communicating with non-Europeans -- services like Facebook would risk running afoul of the GDPR if they collected data on anyone in a way that violated EU rules, and since the penalties for violating the GDPR are incredibly draconian, the benefits of such surveillance would surely be outweighed by the risk of getting it wrong. Read the rest

Even insured Americans flock to Mexico for low-cost, high-quality health-care

American health care is so screwed up, so horribly distorted by the insurance companies' abusive practices, that millions of Americans (even those with insurance) fly to Mexico every year to get state-of-the-art medical care -- and a resort vacation in the bargain -- rather than face the US system, and save money by doing so. Read the rest

John Oliver on America's immigration courts, where families are torn apart and young children represent themselves

John Oliver is in very good form in this 18-minute explainer on America's ghastly immigration courts, where "we try death penalty cases like it was traffic court," forcing refugee claimants (even children as young as three years old) to represent themselves in deportation proceedings where their very lives are at stake. Read the rest

Austin bombings: literal American carnage meets with Trumpian indifference

Remember when Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to make Americans safe, and promised an end to "American carnage" at his inauguration? Yeah, neither does he. Read the rest

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