Curious about Everything

Category: United States of America (USA) (Page 1 of 8)

Systematic partisan lying and misinformation has done enormous damage to liberal democracies

Malcolm Turnbull, The Guardian »

Of all the endorsements, none was more significant than that of James Clapper, the former US director of national intelligence, who said Fox News was “a megaphone for conspiracies and falsehoods”.

We have to face the uncomfortable fact that the systematic partisan lying and misinformation from the media, both mainstream and social – what Clapper calls the “truth deficit” – has done enormous damage to liberal democracies, and none more so than the US itself. Thanks to this relentless diet of lies, a quarter of all Americans and 56% of Republicans believe Trump is the true president today.

Biden is leading a more traditional and rational administration. The friends and allies Trump had outraged around the world are breathing a sigh of relief. The US has rejoined the Paris agreement on climate change and Biden is seeking to lead the world with deeper, faster cuts to emissions.

But the same forces that amplified and enabled Trump are still at work in the US and here in Australia. In April the Murdoch press bullied the New South Wales government into reversing its decision to appoint me chairman of a committee to advise on the transition to a net zero emission economy. My “crime” was to not support the continued, unconstrained expansion of open-cut coalmining in the Hunter Valley. In the crazed, rightwing media echo chamber so influential with many Liberal and National party members, the primary qualification to advise on net zero emissions is, apparently, unqualified support for coalmining.

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Malcolm Turnbull is a former prime minister of Australia.

ISPs collect and sell a horrifying amount of sensitive consumers data

A new US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report states Internet Service Providers promise not to sell personal user data, but they allow it to be used, transferred, and monetized by others.

Karl Bode, Vice »

The new FTC report studied the privacy practices of six unnamed broadband ISPs and their advertising arms, and found that the companies routinely collect an ocean of consumer location, browsing, and behavioral data. They then share this data with dodgy middlemen via elaborate business arrangements that often aren’t adequately disclosed to broadband consumers.

“Even though several of the ISPs promise not to sell consumers personal data, they allow it to be used, transferred, and monetized by others and hide disclosures about such practices in fine print of their privacy policies,” the FTC report said.

The FTC also found that while many ISPs provide consumers tools allowing them to opt out of granular data collection, those tools are cumbersome to use—when they work at all.

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CBS News investigates ‘The Hippie Temptation’ (1967)

In this video CBS correspondent Harry Reasoner reports on the nature of LSD, whose users “may see a wild complexity of images, hear a multiplicity of sounds. This is called taking an acid trip.”

Sherilyn Connelly writes the originally broadcast on August 22, 1967 as the inaugural edition of the short-lived CBS News series “Who, What, Where, When, Why.”

“The hippies present a strange problem,” says Reasoner. “Our society has produced them. There they are, in rapidly increasing numbers. And yet there seem to be very few definite ideas behind the superficial glitter of their dress and behavior.” In search of the core of the hippie ideology, which seems outwardly to involve “standing apart from society by means of mutual help and love.”

Washington issue reports warning that climate change threatens global security

The White House, the U.S. intelligence community and the Pentagon warn that climate change will exacerbate long-standing threats to global security.

Canada, the British, many European countries, and indeed the USA have all come to the same conclusion decades ago. They have also made contingency plans and conducted military exercises based on those conclusions.

So, while this is not new or news, the timing of these reports, just ahead of COP26, is a good PR move for the US war machine.

Shane Harris and Michael Birnbaum, Washington Post »

Together, the reports show a deepening concern within the U.S. security establishment that the shifts unleashed by climate change can reshape U.S. strategic interests, offer new opportunities to rivals such as China, and increase instability in nuclear states such as North Korea and Pakistan.

The reports emerge as world leaders prepare to gather in Glasgow next month for crucial U.N. climate talks. And the assessments suggest that the Biden administration is preparing to take on the national security consequences of global warming after four years of inaction under President Donald Trump. During his presidency, climate-related security assessments were routinely suppressed because they did not match his administration’s skeptical stance toward climate science.

The Pentagon report in particular marks a shift in how the U.S. military establishment is incorporating climate issues into its security strategy, analysts said. Until now, when the Defense Department has considered climate change, it has tended to focus on how floods and extreme heat can affect military readiness rather than the broader geopolitical consequences of a warming world. Now it is worried that climate change could lead to state failure.

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Also » France 24

In 2020 Amazon shipped more parcels in U.S. than FedEx

Erica Pandey, Axios »

Why it matters: Logistics is a $1.5 trillion business — and it has long been controlled by a handful of key players, like FedEx, UPS and the U.S. Postal Service. Now Amazon is poised to conquer it.

What’s happening: Amazon has 21% of the U.S. shipping market — right behind UPS (24%) and ahead of FedEx (16%). The USPS remains dominant with 38%, and all other shippers account for just 1% of the market, according to Pitney Bowes, which tracks the global shipping and e-commerce industry.

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Testing shows an unprecedented decline in both reading and math skills in the United States

Kevin Mahnken, The 74 Million »

Thirteen-year-olds saw unprecedented declines in both reading and math between 2012 and 2020, according to scores released this morning from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Consistent with several years of previous data, the results point to a clear and widening cleavage between America’s highest- and lowest-performing students and raise urgent questions about how to reverse prolonged academic stagnation.

The scores offer more discouraging evidence from NAEP, often referred to as “the Nation’s Report Card.” Various iterations of the exam, each tracking different subjects and age groups over several years, have now shown flat or falling numbers.

“It’s really a matter for national concern, this high percentage of students who are not reaching even what I think we’d consider the lowest levels of proficiency,” said George Bohrnstedt, a senior vice president and institute fellow at the American Institutes for Research.

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The average price of a Chevrolet is up 23.3% from September 2020 in the United States

Matt St-Pierre, Motor Illustrated »

Once upon a time, Chevrolet was meant to cater to budget-conscious buyers. Out of all of GM’s multiple brands, it offered some of the most affordable vehicles, not only from the automotive giant but on the market. This is no longer the case as the average transaction price has now surpassed $50,000.

This morning USD$50,000 is equal to $61,787.50 Canadian Dollars.

Due to supply chain issues, you’ll notice that dealer lots are mostly empty these days. Manufacturers are not offering incentives to sell vehicles, they don’t need to as the demand has outstripped available supply. And due to low volumes, dealerships are marking up the price and not negotiating. They are trying to squeeze out every bit of profit possible from their limited amount of inventory.

In recent months, two different Ford dealers refused to sell me a new vehicle unless I financed it through them. Dealers receive a kickback from the finance company and this is another way to squeeze out every available dollar out of the customer. Another thing they do is add low cost / high-priced accessories the customer didn’t ask for or want in an effort to jack up the sale price and increase their profit margin. It feels like soon they might offer to deliver the vehicle to your house so when you’re not looking they can go through your chesterfield looking for loose change.

The need for dealerships is limited now that customers can order vehicles online, with the accessories they want, directly from the manufacturer. This needs to be accelerated as dealers have become a barrier to new vehicle sales. A couple of months ago, I was ready to dump my Toyota and purchase a new Ford. My first ever. Even as I was being forced to finance the purchase. However, dealers didn’t want to order the configuration I desire, one that is available on the manufacture’s site. They are allotted a limited number and want to maximize their margins with those. So, I still drive the Toyota.

Also » GM Authority / The Drive

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