If you are feeling a little too good about the world, the journalist Edward Luce’s The Retreat of Western Liberalism will jolt you back to pessimism in a hurry. In just 200 pages, he surveys economics, history, electoral politics, and international relations to paint a vision of the planet that’s as worrying as it is realistic.
To hear him tell it, globalization and mechanization has lifted up millions of people in the developing world out of poverty, but it’s also harmed the fortunes of the Western middle class, or what used to be the middle class. Even as major cities prospered, towns and rural areas suffered from declining wages and lost jobs. Social cohesion began breaking down, drug addiction rates rose, and anger at the elites who were seemingly letting this happen grew and hardened. Center-left parties largely abandoned populist economic policies in favor of identity politics, which only helped sour the working classes toward them. That’s how, according to Luce, America got Donald Trump, the UK got Brexit, and so many far-right figures have come to prominence in Europe.
In this Democracy Now! special, we spend the hour with the world-renowned linguist and political dissident Noam Chomsky. In a public conversation we had in April, we talked about climate change, nuclear weapons, North Korea, Iran, the war in Syria and the Trump administration’s threat to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and his new book, “Requiem for the American Dream: The 10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth & Power.”Democracy Now
FIVE CIVILIANS INCLUDING a child were killed and another five were wounded in the latest U.S. Navy SEAL raid in Yemen, according to eyewitness accounts gathered by The Intercept.
The raid by U.S. commandos in the hamlet of al Adhlan, in the Yemeni province of Mareb on May 23, also destroyed at least four homes. Navy SEALs, with air support from more than half a dozen attack helicopters and aircraft, were locked in a firefight with Yemeni tribesmen for over an hour, according to local residents.
Details from five eyewitnesses in the village conflict with statements made by the Department of Defense and U.S. Central Command, which have not acknowledged that civilians were harmed. Official military reports claimed seven militants from the Yemen-based Al Qaeda branch, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, were killed “through a combination of small arms fire and precision airstrikes.” Two commandos were also reportedly lightly wounded in the gunfight. Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis told reporters on May 23 there were “no credible indications of civilian casualties.”
Yet village residents gave a list of 10 names of civilians killed and wounded during the raid. Fifteen-year-old Abdullah Saeed Salem al Adhal was shot dead as he fled from his home with women and children. Another child, 12-year-old Othman Mohammed Saleh al Adhal, was injured but survived.
An additional seven men who were guests in one house in the village were also killed, according to a senior figure in al Adhlan whose name is being withheld for fear of reprisals from AQAP. He was not able to identify the guests but they appear to account for the seven Al Qaeda militants Central Command claimed were killed.
In normal times, the Republican disarray in Washington would have people talking about a Democratic sweep at the midterms in 2018. You saw it with George W Bush’s second midterm election in 2006, where a Republican party riven with corruption and weighed down with the Iraq albatross was decisively defeated by a Democratic party on the ascendancy.
But these are not normal times. And in a Democratic party that is seeing their centrist and incoherent governing philosophy being ground into powder, the last thing that they seem ready for is taking power.
One more example of this occurred last week in Broward County, Florida. There, a group of party progressives gathered to hear Sally Boynton Brown, the newly-minted president – a position akin to the executive director position in other state parties – of the state party discuss the Florida Democratic party’s future with them. It, um, did not go well:
“This is not going to be popular, but this is my belief of the time and place we’re in now: I believe that we’re in a place where it’s very hard to get voters excited about ‘issues,’ the type of voters that are not voting.”
Coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef last year was even worse than expected, while the full impact of the most recent event is yet to be determined.
Queensland government officials say aerial and in-water surveys taken throughout 2016 had confirmed an escalating impact from north to south.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority chairman, Russell Reichelt, said the reef had experienced significant and widespread damage over the past two years.
“The amount of coral that died from bleaching in 2016 is up from our original estimates and … it’s expected we’ll also see an overall further coral cover decline by the end of 2017,” he said in a statement on Monday.