The most disturbing thing you’ll read today

Think things are bad now?  Be glad you didn’t live in the ancient Chimú empire (in modern-day Peru) where archaeologists have now uncovered 140 bodies of children ritually sacrificed (hearts cut out!).  Ugh/wow!  Fascinating story in National Geographic:

Evidence for the largest single incident of mass child sacrifice in the Americas— and likely in world history—has been discovered on Peru’s northern coast, archaeologists tell National Geographic.

More than 140 children and 200 young llamas appear to have been ritually sacrificed in an event that took place some 550 years ago on a wind-swept bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, in the shadow of what was then the sprawling capital of the Chimú Empire…

While incidents of human sacrifice among the AztecMaya, and Inca have been recorded in colonial-era Spanish chronicles and documented in modern scientific excavations, the discovery of a large-scale child sacrifice event in the little-known pre-Columbian Chimú civilization is unprecedented in the Americas—if not in the entire world…

The skeletal remains of both children and animals show evidence of cuts to the sternum as well as rib dislocations, which suggest that the victims’ chests were cut open and pulled apart, perhaps to facilitate the removal of the heart.

The remains of three adults—a man and two women—were found in close proximity of the children and animals. Signs of blunt-force trauma to the head and a lack of grave goods with the adult bodies lead researchers to suspect that they may have played a role in the sacrifice event and were dispatched shortly thereafter.

The 140 sacrificed children ranged in age from about five to 14, with the majority between the ages of eight and 12; most were buried facing west, out to the sea. The llamas were less than 18 months old and generally interred facing east, toward the high peaks of the Andes…

Verano emphasizes that such clear-cut evidence for deliberate, singular mass sacrificial events such as those evidenced at Las Llamas, however, is extremely rare to find in archaeological contexts.

Analysis of the remains from Las Llamas shows that both children and llamas were killed with consistent, efficient, transverse cuts across the sternum. A lack of hesitant (“false start”) cuts indicates that they were made by one or more trained hands.

“It is ritual killing, and it’s very systematic,” Verano says.

Plenty of disturbing photos at the article, too, though I’ll let you click through if you want to see those.

How Republicans will win the 2018 midterms thanks to their tax cuts

Or not.  Loved this from Reuters:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Right after Republicans in the U.S. Senate passed their income tax overhaul in December, delivering tax cuts to businesses and most American taxpayers, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell was buoyant.

Surrounded by jubilant fellow Republicans, he told reporters, “If we can’t sell this to the American people, we ought to go into another line of work.”

Four months later, McConnell’s attempt at levity could prove prophetic.

The most vulnerable Republican incumbents in the tightest congressional races in the November elections are talking less and less about the tax cuts on Twitter and Facebook, on their campaign and congressional websites and in digital ads, the vital tools of a modern election campaign, a Reuters analysis of their online utterances shows.

All told, the number of tax messages has fallen by 44 percent since January. For several congressmen in tough reelection fights, Steve Knight in California, Jason Lewis in Minnesota, and Don Bacon in Nebraska, messaging is down much more – as much as 72 percent…

Right after the tax law passed, lawmakers piggybacked on a surge of corporate announcements of tax-cut fueled bonuses to employees, wage hikes and job creation plans to tout the benefits of the bill to voters.

As those corporate announcements trailed off in March and April, so did Republican politicians’ messages about tax relief, the Reuters review found. With the exception of a flurry of news releases on or around April 17, when federal tax returns were due, few incumbents kept up the pace. The Reuters review did not capture candidates’ email, direct mail or private conversations with donors or voters or stump speeches.

Most of the 13 Republican incumbents in the most competitive reelection bids, and their aides, declined to answer Reuters’ questions on why they were communicating less online about the tax cuts. But a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted from March 14 to 29 found that just 3 percent of American adults were aware of receiving a material benefit from the Republican legislation…

Democrats, meanwhile, are attacking the new tax law as a boon for corporations and the wealthy that will add $1.5 trillion to the federal debt over the next decade.

They received some unexpected help from Republican Senator Marco Rubio last week. Rubio, who is not facing re-election this cycle, told the Economist magazine that benefits are going to corporations instead of employees.

“They bought back shares, a few gave out bonuses; there’s no evidence whatsoever that the money’s been massively poured back into the American worker,” he said.

Republicans had drunk so much of their own Kool-Aid that they convinced themselves this massive give-away to the rich with a few temporary sops to the middle class would be the key to their triumph in 2018 and distract people from the horror show of the Trump presidency.  Unsurprisingly, not so much.

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