Is this Epicurean?

Heartlessness is now official US policy The Trump administration is deporting thousands of legal immigrants to countries “they barely know”. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement authority (ICE) can find any refugee “deportable” if they’ve a crime on their record – even selling marijuana – and that covers about 120,000 immigrants who came here as refugees. …

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Flying and vapor trails

According to a new study, a huge amount of atmospheric warming is caused by the cloud-like vapor trails – or “contrails” – that planes leave in their wake when flying at high altitude. These are created when vaporised water condenses or freezes around sooty exhaust particles to create cirrus-type clouds. These can persist for hours, …

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Child protection

Back in September the US government announced new detention rules that would radically scale back the protections for child migrants in America. Under the existing Flores agreement, undocumented children must be held in the “least restrictive settings” and released as soon as possible, ideally within 20 days. The agreement also entitles lawyers to monitor their …

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The Federal deficit

The federal deficit for fiscal 2019 reached close to $1 trillion ($984 billion) for the first time since 2012, according to final Treasury Department figures released Friday.  This is more than $200 billion, or 20 percent, higher than last year. The deficit has only surpassed $1 trillion four times in the nation’s history, recently  during the four-year …

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How can you spend £217 million on lobbying?

The five biggest oil and gas companies – BP, Shell, Chevron, ExxonMobil and Total – and their industry groups have spent at least €251m (£217m) lobbying the EU over climate policies since 2010. Researchers say the figure represents the tip of the iceberg, as in some years companies made no declarations of spending in the …

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Statistic of the week

The world’s biggest employer is the US Department of Defence, with 3.2 million people on its payroll. The People’s Liberation Army of China has 2.3 million and Walmart 2.1 million. Fourth equal are the British National Health service and McDonald’s, with 1.7 million each.  (The Times,  20 July 2019) 3.2 million people working for the armed …

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Are American policemen adequately trained?

From the National Review: US police have got a bad rap lately, but is it any wonder? Too often, they seem to get away with murder, literally. In recent years we’ve seen “the sad spectacle of a mistrial after a cop shot an unarmed, running man in the back”; the acquittal of the Minnesota officer …

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Why a single politician is responsible for Brexit

No British government report has had such a disastrous impact on this country as the one produced by transport minister Richard Beeching in 1963, recommending drastically reducing the rail network.  On the basis of its fatally flawed premise – that “the car was the future and rail the past” – hundreds of stations and thousands …

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There are other things in life than money and growth

Epicureans believe that there are aspects of a good life other than economic growth, money and productivity, but they are under-valued or barely noticed by politicians in Washington.  The system, once much admired (especially by the author!) has been distorted and rendered decadent in a system of revolving doors, involving corrupt politicians and lobbyists and vastly …

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The use of farm subsidies

Just 1% of the $700bn-a-year subsidies given to American farmers is being used to benefit the environment, according to a report by the Food and Land Use Coalition(FOLU).  Instead, most of it goes to promoting high-emission cattle production, forest destruction and pollution from the overuse of fertiliser. The report rejects the idea that subsidies are …

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Proof of residence for EU citizens in the UK

To The Guardian I have just read Brandon Lewis’s article (“The Home Office’s message to EU citizens living here: we want you to stay”) in respect of the need for us EU citizens living in the UK to apply for settled status, mainly to prove to the authorities that we have lived permanently in the …

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Getting your priorities wrong

Some US state motor vehicle bureaus have found an unacceptable new way of raising revenue.  They are selling the information given to the government to get a driver’s license —  your birthdate to your address etc — to third parties, including bail bond companies and private investigators. We have a better idea for states looking …

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Is Oxbridge entrenching privilege? Or is inverse snobbery as big a problem?

From The Times, London “How can we improve Britain’s “stagnant” levels of social mobility? Labour activists would like to abolish private schools, and that would surely help. But a better way to disrupt “elite self-perpetuation” would be to target Oxford and Cambridge. If we stopped those bastions of “inherited prestige and wealth” from teaching undergraduates, …

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The Bahamas and Donald Trump

The acting chief of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Mark Morgan, has offered new assurances to Bahamian survivors of Hurricane Dorian that they will be allowed entry into the United States, less than a day after dozens of evacuees were forced off a ship bound for Florida because they didn’t possess visas. “We will accept anyone …

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Voting machines: in the age of Trump can they be trusted?

A report by the New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice examined the number of aging or outdated voting equipment used throughout the country and found that during the 2018 midterm elections, 34 percent of local election jurisdictions were using voting machines that were at least a decade old as their primary form of voting. …

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Borrowing like there is no tomorrow

The US federal government will rack up $12.2 trillion in deficits through 2029, according to a new projection from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), an $809 billion increase from its last projection in May. CBO, Congress’s official budgeting scorekeeper, said that the deficits would average 4.7 percent of GDP through the next decade, a …

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