But first: Paul Manafort.  The Atlantic cover story everyone’s reading.

. . .When it comes to serving the interests of the world’s autocrats, he’s been a great innovator. His indictment in October after investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller alleges money laundering, false statements, and other acts of personal corruption. (He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.) But . . . his personal corruption is less significant, ultimately, than his lifetime role as a corrupter of the American system. That he would be accused of helping a foreign power subvert American democracy is a fitting coda to his life’s story. . . .

Riveting.  Don’t miss this one.


From the Guardian:  Rotting cabins, closed trails . . .

At Zion national park, a popular trail has been closed since 2010. At the Grand Canyon, a rusting pipeline that supplies drinking water to the busiest part of the park breaks at least a half-dozen times a year. At Voyageurs, a historic cabin collapsed.

The National Park Service is the protector of some of America’s greatest environmental and cultural treasures. Yet a huge funding shortfall means that the strain of America’s passion for its parks is showing. Trails are crumbling and buildings are rotting. In all there is an $11bn backlog of maintenance work that repair crews have been unable to perform, a number that has mostly increased every year in the past decade. . . .


Our infrastructure crumbles while Republicans cut taxes on the rich — and on real estate developers.


The flu is a killer — but the agencies charged with mitigating its effects are under attack by the Trump Administration.

. . . In its 2017 budget, the Trump administration proposed a $1.2 billion cut — a full 17 percent — to the CDC, the agency on the front lines of the national response to the flu outbreak. If Trump had his way, the agency would have faced an enormous shortfall just as the crisis began.

Former CDC Director Tom Frieden, who worked under the Obama administration, sounded the alarms on the proposed cuts. He described them as “unsafe at any level of enactment,” adding that the Trump proposal “would increase illness, death, risks to Americans, and health care costs.” . . .


Given the choice between funding the Centers for Disease Control and cutting taxes for the top 1%, Republicans make the choice they always do.

 

 

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