The Environmental Protection Agency skirted some of its usual procedures and ethics rules when it overhauled key agency advisory boards.

Associated Press

GAO: EPA skirted procedures in overhaul of science boards

Ellen Knickmeyer, Associated Press       July 15, 2019

These Solar Panels Make Water from Sunlight and Air!

Video – World Economic Forum

July 8, 2019

Backed by Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos.

📕 Read more:

These solar panels make drinking water from sunlight and air

Backed by Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos. 📕 Read more:

Posted by Video – World Economic Forum on Monday, July 8, 2019

Climate Crisis Is Pushing Central Americans Out of Their Homes Toward the U.S.

Democracy Now

How the Climate Crisis Is Pushing Central Americans Out of Their Homes Toward the U.S.

July 10, 2019


As the U.S. continues to crack down on migrants seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border, we look at one of the under-reported driving factors leading people to flee their home countries: the climate crisis. John Carlos Frey, author of “Sand and Blood: America’s Stealth War on the Mexico Border,” spent time with Central American climate refugees traveling in a caravan toward the United States. He says, “If this drought continues, we’re looking at all-out famine from Central America. …That’s one of the major reasons why they’re coming. … The government doesn’t even acknowledge the fact that there is a climate crisis in Central America.”

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González. John Carlos Frey is with us for the hour discussing his new book, Sand and Blood: America’s Stealth War on the Mexico Border. We’re going to turn now to an underreported force driving people to the border: climate change. This is a clip from John Carlos Frey’s project that he did with the Weather Channel on the climate migration crisis, where he asks several Hondurans about what’s happening to them, why they joined a migrant caravan.

JOHN CARLOS FREY: I find a lot of people who worked on farms and say that they fled because of the drought.

PEDRO CASTILLO: [translated] Listen, the drought was really bad. Really bad drought. The corn cobs were really small.

JOHN CARLOS FREY: Among the farmworkers who joined the caravan in Honduras was Pedro Castillo.

PEDRO CASTILLO: [translated] We always plant so we can have food to eat—rice, beans and corn. Many people, that’s how we survive. A lot of us survive on less than $1 a day.

JOHN CARLOS FREY: [translated] With all due respect, I just want to say, that is a life of poverty. Am I right?

PEDRO CASTILLO: [translated] That is the reality of the Honduran people. We have been absorbed by poverty. And not because—and not because we’re lazy. With Mother Nature, there’s nothing you can do. With the drought, there’s nothing you can do.

JOHN CARLOS FREY: Perhaps the one thing you can do is flee. That’s what Fabiola Diaz and Carlos Salinas are doing. They and their kids are traveling together, even though they didn’t know each other before. They’re not a couple, but they seem like a family. Fabiola and her 2-year-old son Yeltsin come from a Honduran town called Santa Bárbara.

[translated] What type of work do they do there?

FABIOLA DIAZ: [translated] There, I do farm labor. Beans, corn—it’s what’s mostly grown there. Right now, in the year we’re in, the harvest didn’t work out for anyone.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s John Carlos Frey interviewing people, part of the migrant caravan, in Mexico City, headed to the United States. He did this project for the Weather Channel on the climate migration crisis. Would you call these refugees “climate refugees”?

JOHN CARLOS FREY: A hundred percent. There is no other way to refer to them. These are people who have farmed their land for millennia. We’re talking about the region where the Mayans are. So, corn and beans have been grown there for hundreds of years. All of a sudden, the rains come, the crops start to grow, and then they dry up. The rains don’t continue. This has been going on for five years. In some places that I visited in Guatemala, they have 100% crop failure. They’ve been able to harvest absolutely nothing. And most of these communities are based on the agricultural economy. If the crops don’t come in, there is no other job. Everything in the town relies on the harvest.

So, I’ve spoken to people who were living on one tortilla a day. They’ve tried everything. They’ve tried to sell their farm equipment, their farm animals, their land, to stay in country. They look for jobs in the major cities close by, and they still haven’t been able to find work.

The United Nations has placed 2.1 million people from the region—they’ve labeled them as food-insecure. That is the first step right before famine. We are looking at—if this drought continues, we are looking at all-out famine from Central America. And from what I’ve found when I was interviewing these people in the caravan, that’s one of the major reasons why they’re coming. And we’re not reporting on that at all. The government doesn’t even acknowledge the fact that there is a climate crisis in Central America.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Let’s go to another clip from the series that you produced with the Weather Channel on the climate migration crisis. This begins with an attorney who’s working with migrants in a caravan traveling through Mexico to the U.S. border.

ATENAS BURROLA: This is not an invasion. This is a drop in the bucket of what comes to the border every month, every week.

JOHN CARLOS FREY: Atenas Burrola is an attorney from North Carolina who’s part of a group that’s come to Mexico to advise the migrants on U.S. asylum law.

I’m following the story of a young woman who is fleeing because of poverty and hunger. She’s living on a meal a day. Does she qualify for asylum, if that’s the only reason that she’s fleeing?

ATENAS BURROLA: If that is the only reason that she’s fleeing, unfortunately, in the United States, she is not going to qualify for asylum.

JOHN CARLOS FREY: Is she not fleeing for her life? Is she not possibly in danger of her life if she doesn’t get food?

ATENAS BURROLA: She probably is, but the way that the U.S. asylum law is written is that it is for people who are fleeing persecution, not economic insecurity.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: That was your interview with attorney Atenas Burrola. Talk about that.

JOHN CARLOS FREY: I was asking her—this woman can’t feed her child. She’s in fear for her life. She herself was emaciated. Her child was thin. She couldn’t put any food on the table. A woman, by herself, 25 years old, with a 2-year-old, is making this journey from Honduras to the United States. And I was asking the attorney, “What rights does she have when she gets to the U.S.-Mexico border?” She has none. She cannot claim asylum. Our asylum laws do not allow for someone who is a victim of poverty or hunger to come into the United States.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: So, what do you see as the way forward here? Because, clearly, there is still a significant portion of the American population that is rallying to President Trump’s continued insistence on closing the border, and yet more and more people are continuing to come. The president is talking now about mass raids again, threatening mass raids again. Where do you see the country moving?

JOHN CARLOS FREY: I don’t see it getting any better. I don’t want to be a pessimist, but this is the worst I’ve ever seen it, and I’ve been reporting on these issues for a long time. You have a president of the United States who is vilifying these people to the point where it’s OK that they die, to the point where it’s OK that we incarcerate children and we treat them inhumanely. That is OK by our federal government. I don’t see anyone in his party speaking out against these actions or advocating on behalf of migrant children. Children, we’re not advocating for. So this is a serious problem. As long as we have the leader of our country advocating for more of the same, I think we’re going to see more of the same. And it’s very hard for Congress to break through.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Will it take possible unrest in the immigrant and Latino community, at levels we haven’t seen since the immigration protests of 2006, before something will change?

JOHN CARLOS FREY: We’re starting to see it, and we’re starting to see Democratic candidates start to advocate on behalf of these individuals. So, that has become part of the platform. I’ve never seen a presidential candidate say publicly that he would—that he would advocate on behalf of healthcare—


JOHN CARLOS FREY: —for the undocumented. That was a shock to me, that if we get a new healthcare system in this country, that undocumented immigrants would qualify.

AMY GOODMAN: And every single candidate raised their hand, Democratic presidential primary.

JOHN CARLOS FREY: So, I think he’s pushing the candidates in that corner.

AMY GOODMAN: When we last talked to you, you talked about how hundreds of migrants were feared dead in mass graves at the Barry Goldwater bombing range in Arizona. Are there any updates on this?

JOHN CARLOS FREY: There are no updates. The federal government has closed off this region from humanitarian assistance. There is a stretch of land in Arizona that migrants cross through to get to a road. It’s about 30 miles of a bombing range, that Border Patrol agents don’t touch, that human rights people, advocates, humanitarians don’t touch. And we have had 911 calls from this region. We know that people have died there, and we know that people need water there. And the government has forbidden. Year after year, there are petitions to at least put out some form of humanitarian assistance, and we haven’t. I am convinced there are mass graves. There are hundreds of bodies that have been left unrecovered. We’ve been trying for a long time to get in to document that, but we’re not allowed.

AMY GOODMAN: Which brings us to the title of your book, Sand and Blood. Why?

JOHN CARLOS FREY: This is a region of the United States that I think that most people don’t know, a region of desert and mountain, the most inhospitable terrain in the United States. This is the path that we’ve allowed migrants to cross. We’ve seen these gruesome pictures of a father with his child drowned in the Rio Grande, stories of people dying in the deserts, the mass graves. We have a casualty list now. That is the result of a war. If we have thousands upon thousands of people who have died as a result of a policy that has not changed, that feels like war to me. I don’t think there’s a road in New York City, if there is a mass toll of death caused by the traffic light or the bad curve on the street, that it wouldn’t be repaired immediately for safety. We have not changed policy in almost 30 years. And we have a death toll that doesn’t seem to even permeate the members of Congress and the administration.

AMY GOODMAN: What should the presidential candidates be asked?

JOHN CARLOS FREY: They should be asked if they believe that a migrant life is equal to a U.S. citizen’s life. And if so, then you’re going to have to treat them as such.

AMY GOODMAN: We want to thank you very much for joining us, John Carlos Frey, five-time Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter, PBS NewsHour special correspondent. His book is just out. It’s called Sand and Blood: America’s Stealth War on the Mexico Border. To hear our discussion in Spanish, you can go also to our website at, to Democracy Now! en Español.

This is Democracy Now! Democracy Now! is currently accepting applications for year-long, paid video production fellowships here in our New York studio. Learn more at I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González. Thanks so much for joining us.

Honeybees hit by Trump budget cuts!

CNN posted an episode of CNN Replay.

July 9, 2019

Honeybees are getting hit by the Trump administration, as the US Department of Agriculture suspended data collection for its annual Honey Bee Colonies report — a critical tool for understanding the plummeting honeybee population — citing cost cuts.

Honeybees hit by Trump budget cuts

Honeybees are getting hit by the Trump administration, as the US Department of Agriculture suspended data collection for its annual Honey Bee Colonies report — a critical tool for understanding the plummeting honeybee population — citing cost cuts.

Posted by CNN on Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Every Mississippi Beach Is Closed Due to Toxic Algae

Every Mississippi Beach Is Closed Due to Toxic Algae

By Jordan Davidson       July 8, 2019

CrackerClips / iStock / Getty Images Plus
If you’re looking to cool off in the waters of Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, think again.

A toxic algal bloom has made the waters dangerous to humans and their pets. The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality has shut down swimming at all of its beaches due to a blue-green harmful algal bloom, according to CNN.

Toxic algae are dangerous to touch and poisonous when swallowed. It can cause rashes, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, the state agency warned.

While the sand on the beaches is still open, the state’s DEQ said beachgoers should avoid water contact or consumption of anything from the waters “until further notice,” as CNN reported. The agency also advised anyone exposed to the water to wash with soap and water and to not eat fish or any other seafood taken from affected areas.

The blooms are not technically algae, but cyanobacteria — aquatic and photosynthetic bacteria. Many things, including changes in water temperature and fertilizer run-off, can trigger its bloom. Once the conditions are right for the cyanobacteria to spawn rapidly, they produce harmful toxins, as The Week reported.

“I had a feeling it was going this way. Water always flows west to east,” Pascagoula resident Bill Kenan told Biloxi ABC affiliate WLOX. “It just keeps going and going and going. I don’t know if it’s ever going to get better. I hope it does.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that the climate crisis and increases in nutrient levels of bodies of water due to fertilizer run-off are potentially causing harmful algal blooms to occur more often and in areas not previously affected, ABC News reported. Warmer waters with a marked increase in surface temperature or a change in sea currents are particularly susceptible to the bloom. A harmful algal bloom can look like foam, scum or mats on the surface of water and can be different colors, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This bloom was triggered in part by the opening of the Bonnet Carre spillway in Louisiana, which introduced an excessive amount of freshwater to the coastline, according to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger.

The spillway was opened to offset a rising Mississippi River that experienced massive swelling after an especially wet winter that caused flooding in along the river’s coastlines.

The spillway is expected to close mid-July after the river’s waters recede. Experts believe its closure will prompt the algae bloom to dissipate. “Once they close the structure, conditions will start to change pretty quickly,” said John Lopez, of Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, a conservation organization that monitors water conditions throughout the Gulf Coast region, as reported by CBS New Orleans.

That prognosis will offer little relief to residents and tourists along the Mississippi Gulf Coast where temperatures will hover in the mid-90’s all week.

Trump’s USDA Suspends Honeybee Survey

EcoWatch – Bees

Trump’s USDA Suspends Honeybee Survey

Olivia Rosane              July 08, 2019

U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service entomologist Dr. Jeff Pettis examines a bee colony in California. Smith Collection / Gado / Getty Images.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) annual honeybee count has fallen victim to budget cuts, CNN reported Saturday.

The suspension of the Honey Bee Colonies report is at least the third bee-related data set to be halted or reduced under the Trump administration, and comes three weeks after Trump’s U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved the emergency use of bee-killing pesticide sulfoxaflor on 13.9 million acres. It also comes as the population of bees, which help pollinate a third of edible crops, has been declining since 2006.

“This is yet another example of the Trump administration systematically undermining federal research on food safety, farm productivity and the public interest writ large,” Union of Concerned Scientists economist Rebecca Boehm told CNN.

The survey began in 2015 and tracks the number of honeybees in each state by quarter. The most recent report, scheduled to be released in August, will only include data taken from January 2018 to April 2019, the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service said in a statement released July 1.

“The decision to suspend data collection was not made lightly but was necessary given available fiscal and program resources,” the statement said.

A USDA spokesperson told CNN the suspension was “temporary” but did not say how long it might last.

The loss of the data set comes at a crucial time for honeybees. A University of Maryland-led study released in June found that U.S. beekeepers lost 38 percent of their colonies last winter, the greatest winter loss since the university’s research began in 2006, The Washington Post reported.

“We don’t seem to be making particularly great progress to reduce overall losses,” Geoffrey Williams, survey co-author and assistant professor of entomology at Auburn University, told The Washington Post.

The survey, organized by the University of Maryland-led Bee Informed Partnership, is the second major colony survey after the USDA count. However, the USDA survey is considered more accurate because it has access to a list of all registered beekeepers in the country, CNN reported.

Mace Vaughan, co-director of the Pollinator Conservation Program at Xerces Society, told CNN the loss of the USDA study meant there was “no redundancy” in the study of bee decline.

“We need some sort of thermometer to be able to determine, at a big scale, are we actually helping to turn around hive loses, to turn around pollinator declines,” Vaughan said. “Understanding what’s going on with honeybees is incredibly important to having a sense of what’s impacting pollinators in general.”

Honeybees have suffered from something called colony collapse disorder since 2006, as The Washington Post explained, when bees began to abandon otherwise healthy colonies.

The Obama administration introduced policies to protect pollinators, but the Trump administration has moved to reverse them, CNN reported. Under Trump, the USDA has also suspended or scaled back two other bee-related surveys: The Cost of Pollination survey, which studied how farmers paid for honeybees, was halted, and the Honey survey has stopped collecting data on honey production from operations with less than five colonies.

Honeybees hit by Donald Trump budget cuts – CNNPolitics ›
USDA suspends honeybee colony research as colony loss spikes … ›
Minnesota Will Pay Residents to Create Bee Friendly Lawns … ›
Trump EPA OKs ‘Emergency’ Use of Bee-Killing Pesticide on 13.9 … ›

The President’s Latest Rant About Wildfires Is Mind-Numbingly Stupid


The President’s Latest Rant About Wildfires Is Mind-Numbingly Stupid

What an embarrassing end for our species.

By Jack Holmes          July 9, 2019

President Trump Departs White House For New JerseyGETTY IMAGES

It’s important to remember that, as the climate crisis deepens and we begin to feel some of its most disastrous effects—more powerful stormsraging wildfiresmassive floodssearing drought—we’ve seen fit to elect as president a guy who knows nothing about anything and cares less. Donald Trump, American president, has a primal sense of what motivates people, of how to identify their weaknesses, and of how the media functions. But he knows absolutely nothing about any actual field of study, and he is not by any account a “reader.” His operating principle is to start with a conclusion about the world, then find a way to justify it. If that means repeating some nonsense over and over again until enough people believe it, then so be it.

Exhibit Z came to us yesterday in an appearance at the White House, when the world’s most powerful man got going about wildfires. “You don’t have to have any forest fires,” you see, but nobody knew about forest management before he came along and told them, you know, and forest management means “cleaning” the forests, which are dirty, unlike in other countries—”forest nations”—where they do the forest management and they don’t have the wildfires. Not like California, anyway, whose governor he talked to and told about the forest management, which the governor had never heard of about a year ago, and then he mocked the idea, but now he agrees with President Smokey. Also, many tremendous things are happening and a lot of people are looking at it.

Aaron Rupar: Trump’s rant during his big environmental speech about how “cleaning” forests is the solution to wildfires and about how nobody had heard of “forest management” before he started talking about it is like an Idiocracy outtake.

This is so unbelievably dumb and insane, and it is a measure of how much we’ve lost touch with reality as a nation that we scarcely even comment on it anymore. The president is ranting about cleaning the forests and how there could be zero wildfires, as if wildfires are not a natural part of forest ecosystems that have spun out of control, perhaps because the human race has thrown things off-balance by pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere for more than a century.

More to the point, the president did not somehow invent forest management. It has its own page on the U.S. Forest Service website. He just made this up and kept saying it, and will keep saying it until he thinks people believe it. (Meanwhile, the “forest nation” whose leader he referenced talking to is likely Finland, whose citizens roundly mocked the president last time he trotted this out.) As a true bullshitter, he convinces himself it’s all true along the way.

This is, after all, a guy who just got caught retweeting a meme featuring a fake quote Ronald Reagan supposedly (read: never) said about him. You’d think you would be able to remember whether or not a former president said something about you, but observable reality is not at all relevant to Donald Trump. Will people believe it? Will it make them like me, and think I’m smart and strong? Say it.


What’s most shocking, however, is his ability to convince anyone of anything when everything he says is peppered with nonsense like many people are saying and we’re looking at all kinds of things. These monumentally stupid filler sentences are absolutely littered through his diction and would earn the ire of a seventh-grade teacher overseeing a student speech contest. Yet we all seem to have decided that this is not, in fact, completely fucking insane. Sort of like how we learned that, as a federal prosecutor, the president’s now-Secretary of Labor gave a sweetheart deal to an accused child sex trafficker whom the president admitted he was friendly with, and everybody kind of threw up their hands. That’s just how it goes! What a grotesque and embarrassing decline this era has become for our species.

Jack Holmes is the Politics Editor at, where he writes daily and edits the Politics Blog with Charles P Pierce.

Four Pigs and An Escalator

More From Clay Jones

Four Pigs and An Escalator


As federal prosecutors in New York were bringing new charges against billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein, liberals were pointing out his connections to Donald Trump, excluding those with former president Bill Clinton. Conservatives were doing the same thing, except pointing out Epstein’s connections to Clinton and not those with Trump. The thing is, this is not a partisan issue. It’s an issue of rich men protecting other rich men.

One of the fine ladies who proofreads my cartoons told me, “It’s about being above the law and hurting the weak with impunity. If you’re rich enough, the laws don’t apply.” What happens to women, and in this case, underage girls doesn’t take precedence when the accused is a billionaire in the Men’s Club.

Epstein chummed around for decades with celebrities, such as Britain’s Prince Andrew and Bill Cosby, which doesn’t help his case. For decades, his penchant for young women was well known in his social circle. Bill Clinton, whom you may have heard has had his own sordid past with women, was a friend of Epstein’s. Clinton claims he never knew of Epstein’s behavior and only flew on his private jet four times. Flight records show that the number is actually over two dozen times.

His connections to Trump are less clear, but they were friends. One of Epstein’s accusers said in court documents that she was recruited to give Epstein massages while she was working at Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump’s private golf resort in Florida. Epstein has been photographed with Trump at the resort. The resort is really popular with Chinese spies and pedophiles.

In 2002, Trump told New York Magazine that Epstein was a “terrific guy” whom he had known for 15 years. He said, “He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”

Now, Trump says they were never friends despite calling him “terrific,” “fun to be around,” and a guy he’s known for 15 years. Trump also knew him well enough to know he likes beautiful women as much as he does and that many of them are on the “younger side.” That younger side is where the problems come in.

Epstein is a registered sex offender thanks to a plea deal he struck in Florida, but it’s that plea deal which is his other connection to Donald Trump.

Trump’s Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta was the lead federal prosecutor against Epstein. Thanks to meticulous reporting by The Miami Herald (because journalism is more important today than ever), we now know that Acosta was personally involved in striking a deal that saved Epstein from a trial and federal charges where he could have faced life in prison. Instead, Acosta gave him a deal where Epstein served 13 months in county jail instead of prison, and he was allowed to be picked up six days a week by his personal driver and go to work for up to 12 hours a day. Basically, for 13 months, he was forced to spend the night in jail, but not to actually have to live there.

Hundreds of underage girls were brought to Epstein by his recruiters in his sex ring to give what they were told were massages. Prosecutors did not inform the victims of the plea deal until after a judge approved it, even though federal law requires victims to be informed of major developments involving their complaints. Maybe Acosta didn’t believe a plea deal was a major development.

Last year, the Herald uncovered that Acosta was meeting personally with one of Epstein’s lawyers, who was also a former colleague of Acosta’s. You would think there would be a recusal there because of a conflict of interest.

According to a thank-you note from one of Epstein’s lawyers to Acosta, they were assured by Acosta that none of the identified individuals, potential witnesses, or potential civil claimants would be contacted over the deal. Acosta’s office also agreed to help shield the deal from public scrutiny. The lead prosecutor wrote to Epstein’s lawyers at the time, “I can file the charge in district court in Miami which will hopefully cut the press coverage significantly. Do you want to check that out?”

Do you want to check that out? They were seeking approval from the pedophile’s lawyer on how to file the charges. Now, that lead prosecutor is the nation’s Labor Secretary. This morning, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and the Senates Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called for Acosta to either step down or be removed.

Donald Trump isn’t just friends with pedophiles, sex offenders, and your run-of-the-mill slimy bastards. He’s friends with people who help those slimy bastards cover their slime, which is good for Trump because he’s a degenerate himself. This is a man who’s talked about dating his daughter, has bragged about grabbing women “by the pussy,” has boasted about barging into teenage girls’ dressing rooms, and has been caught coming down an escalator commenting on a child, “I’m going to be dating her in ten years.”

Now, federal prosecutors in New York are charging Epstein for sex trafficking of minors. Hopefully, the same office will be able to go after Trump someday and they will have many options of charges because the only difference between Trump and Epstein is that Epstein got caught.

Trump found it amusing that Epstein likes them on the “younger side,” because that’s how he likes them too.

Be Complicit

What kind of person would want to be part of something that disparages, slanders, and disrespects Dear Leader and his sycophantic followers? Hopefully, you. 
Making a contribution supports my work and keeps the cartoons, columns, and videos coming. My income is from newspapers that subscribe to my work and small contributors. George Soros hasn’t sent me a million dollar check in weeks. Making a contribution of any amount, or buying a print for $40.00, makes you part of this specific resistance, and a member of Team Claytoonz (we’re still working on the name). You are complicit, an accomplice, and in cahoots (and whatever gangster terms we can think of) with this political satire pointing out that the stupid emperor has no clothes. Contributions can be made through PayPal, checks, and wads of cash exchanged in back alleys.
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US Women’s team crowned world champion after 2-0 win over the Netherlands


Competing in its first World Cup final, few gave the Dutch hope. The reigning European champion it may be, but it had not yet come up against the best team in the world, the dominant force of its generation.
The Netherlands held on for over an hour but two goals within eight minutes sealed the underdog’s fate. In a tournament where she has transcended her sport, Megan Rapinoe coolly drilled home a penalty before a Rose Lavelle thunderbolt made sure of a second successive title for the US.
All dynasties eventually fall apart, but the US’ reign has yet no true challenger.
This is the World Cup where it became apparent that the USWNT is being rapidly pursued by those European countries whose men’s national teams have long since been a force.
Leading the chase is the Netherlands, European champion and a finalist in just its second World Cup, which is part of a pack, but all challengers have been vanquished.
Thailand, Chile, Sweden, Spain, France, England and now the Netherlands have all swept aside by a team which is now unbeaten in 17 World Cup matches.


Stars: What would a WWC win mean for USWNT?

The Netherlands soaked up the pressure in the first half. There were white shirts coming at them from every direction, directing crosses from wide, from deep, attempting cute through-balls to catch the World Cup novices off their guard.
Those in orange needed to summon up the concentration levels of a chess grand master, but that’s what it’s like facing a team with a relentless desire to win. They are always in motion; keeping possession, positioning themselves high up the pitch, never resting. Opponents are left to backpedal, to organize and resist when under intense stress.
And then there is the crowd raising the decibels; moving towards the edge of their seats in anticipation of that killer through ball, roaring at every shot that seems to be flying towards goal, making it impossible to forget that this is a match like no other. Grand masters, at least, have the privilege of focusing in silence.
In such circumstances the pulse quickens, the mind whirs. The grandest of sporting stages are always as much a mental battle as physical.

Women's World Cup: Megan Rapinoe 1-on-1

That the Netherlands held firm, until the hour mark at least, was admirable. It is the only team in this tournament which the USWNT has been unable to breach within the opening 12 minutes.
Much of the credit will be heaped on the acrobatic Dutch goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal. First, she saved a Julie Ertz volley, then the woodwork assisted her gather of the first of two Alex Morgan attempts. It was pure instinct which saw her deny Morgan for the second time before the break.
Had the Netherlands been able to maintain its composure in the final third then history may have been pointing to this match as the one where the emerging forces unseated the traditional powerhouse.
Had Alyssa Naeher not sprinted off her line at the sight of Lineth Beerensteyn charging towards goal the Netherlands could have gone ahead. It was a moment which highlighted the US defense’s occasional vulnerability to be cut open with a clever pass.
When French referee Stephanie Frappart opted to bring VAR into play, showing Stefanie van der Gragt to have felled Alex Morgan, it was almost certain that the penalty would be awarded.
Rapinoe stepped up to score her sixth goal of the tournament and celebrated with her arms outstretched in a pose which has become iconic during a tournament where the forward has gone on to transcend her sport.
Her teammates engulfed her near the corner flag, with even the substitutes sprinting half the length of the pitch to join the celebrations. Given the doggedness of Dutch resistance the relief of the US team was tangible.
It was only after going 1-0 down that the Netherlands attack, its most potent weapon, seemed to feel at ease in its surroundings, but teams who fall behind to the USWNT rarely recover.
And so it proved as Lavelle, a midfielder whose ability to attack at pace from midfield has been a highlight of these last four weeks, lazered a shot into the bottom corner.
Were it not for Van Veenendaal the score could have been higher. The 29-year-old stopped Morgan, Tobin Heath and Crystal Dunn from making it three.

There is no ‘right’ v ‘left’: it is Trump and the oligarchs against the rest

The Guardian

There is no ‘right’ v ‘left’: it is Trump and the oligarchs against the rest

The president is the puppet master so Americans of all persuasions must look behind him, to where the real danger lies

Robert Reich         July 7, 2019

Donald Trump makes two fists while making a public appearance.
Donald Trump makes two fists while making a public appearance. Photograph: Craig J Orosz/AP


I keep hearing that the Democratic party has moved “left” and that Democratic candidates may be “too far left”.

But in an era of unprecedented concentration of wealth and political power at the top, I can’t help wondering what it means to be “left”.

A half-century ago, when America had a large and growing middle class, those on the “left” sought stronger social safety nets and more public investment in schools, roads and research. Those on the “right” sought greater reliance on the free market.

But as wealth and power have concentrated at the top, everyone else – whether on the old right or the old left – has become dis-empowered and less secure.

Safety nets have unraveled, public investments have waned and the free market has been taken over by crony capitalism and corporate welfare cheats. Washington and state capitals are overwhelmed by money coming from the super rich, Wall Street and big corporations.

So why do we continue to hear and use the same old “right” and “left” labels?

I suspect it’s because the emerging oligarchy feels safer if Americans are split along the old political battle lines. That way, Americans won’t notice they’re being shafted.

In reality, the biggest divide in America today runs between oligarchy and democracy. When oligarchs fill the coffers of political candidates, they neuter democracy.

The oligarchs know politicians won’t bite the hands that feed them. So as long as they control the money, they can be confident there will be no meaningful response to stagnant pay, climate change, military bloat or the soaring costs of health insurance, pharmaceuticals, college and housing.

There will be no substantial tax increases on the wealthy. There will be no antitrust enforcement to puncture the power of giant corporations. There will be no meaningful regulation of Wall Street’s addiction to gambling with other peoples’ money. There will be no end to corporate subsides. CEO pay will continue to skyrocket. Wall Street hedge fund and private equity managers will continue to make off like bandits.

So long as the oligarchy divides Americans – split off people of color from working-class whites, stoke racial resentments, describe human beings as illegal aliens, launch wars on crime and immigrants, stoke fears of communists and socialists – it doesn’t have to worry that a majority will stop them from looting the nation.

Divide-and-conquer allows the oligarchy free rein. It makes the rest of us puppets, fighting each other on a made-up stage.

Trump is the puppet master.

He has been at it for years, long before he ran for president. He knows how to pit native-born Americans against immigrants, the working class against the poor, whites against blacks and Latinos.

He is well-versed in getting evangelicals and secularists steamed up about abortion, equal marriage rights, out-of-wedlock births, access to contraception, transgender bathrooms.

He knows how to stir up fears of brown-skinned people from “shitholes” streaming across the border to murder and rape, and stoke anger about black athletes who don’t stand for the national anthem.

He’s a master at fueling anxieties about so-called communists, socialists and the left taking over America.

He can make the white working class believe they’ve been losing good jobs and wages because of a cabal of Democrats, “deep state” bureaucrats and Hillary Clinton.

From the start, Trump’s deal with the oligarchy has been simple: he’ll stoke tribalism so most Americans won’t see CEOs getting exorbitant pay while they’re slicing the pay of average workers, so most Americans won’t pay attention to Wall Street demanding short-term results over long-term jobs, won’t notice a boardroom culture that tolerates financial conflicts of interest, insider trading and the outright bribery of public officials through unlimited campaign “donations”.

The only way to overcome the oligarchy and Trump’s divide-and-conquer strategy is for the rest of us to join together and win America back.

That means creating a multi-racial, multi-ethnic coalition of working-class, poor and middle-class Americans who will fight for democracy and oppose oligarchy.

White, black and Latino; union and non-union; evangelical and secular; immigrant and native-born – all focused on ending big money in politics, stopping corporate welfare and crony capitalism, busting up monopolies and stopping voter suppression.

This agenda is neither “right” nor “left”. It is the bedrock for everything else America must do.