Friday, April 14, 2017

Day 84: A game of chicken

Tensions with North Korea are worse than I've ever seen them. North Korea is apparently preparing to have a nuclear weapon test, and the US has threatened to launch a preemptive strike if it looks like this will happen. Reports estimate that the nuclear weapon test is scheduled for Saturday morning, if not sooner. The rhetoric has become quite inflamed, and I hope that the weekend remains uneventful.

In other news:
  • Trump had a very flippety-floppety day yesterday, including reversing positions on the Import-Export Bank, and the chairwoman of the federal reserve (beyond what I reported yesterday).
  • Trump has threatened to sabotage Obamacare by stopping cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments to insurance companies. These are essentially subsidies to insurance companies to help keep insurance premiums down. I read an estimate that stopping the payments would force premiums to increase by 20-25%. So, Trump is basically threatening to hold people's health insurance hostage.
  • The head of the CIA has claimed that Wikileaks is a hostile intelligence agency, abetted by Russia. Of course, 6 months ago, he was praising them for releasing hacked emails from the DNC...
  • Trump signed the bill to allow states to restrict funding to Planned Parenthood. This is really bad news for people who rely on Planned Parenthood, and not just for abortion services, but for the entire gamut of services that PP offers.
  • A damning report from the Guardian about intelligence regarding collusion between Trump's inner circle and Russia stretching back to 2015, with evidence gathered by at least 5 other countries. The article quotes: “They now have specific concrete and corroborative evidence of collusion.” Well, share it already, so we can have a do-over of the election, thanks!
  • And finally, the US has dropped their largest non-nuclear bomb in Afghanistan. There has been a lot of dick-comparing from the administration regarding this ordnance. As a scientist, the fact that such a bomb even exists sickens me, as scientists were responsible for building it in the first place. Note that the blast radius of this particular bomb is about a mile, making it an incredibly indiscriminate killer.
This last item in particular highlights that we should be spending money on education and aid, rather than bombs that just recruit more terrorists.

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