Last updated: Monday, April 22, 2019, 7:20 AM
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Aggregated News & Analyses
Today’s posts in bigger type.
Prior 2-3 days in smaller type.
Obama's ACA didn't fix this:
The U.S. wastes $1.8 Trillion per year on total for-profit health care spending compared with 2017 per capita average of comparable not for-profit advanced countries, which becomes extra cost overhead on U.S. exports—resulting in offshoring manufacturing and jobs. Let's end price gouging and adopt efficient practices instead of cutting Medicare and Medicaid coverage as part of some "Grand Bargain"
2017 US total per capita health care spending was $10,224 – $5322 more per person than in France, which is the highest rated system.
"This beautiful film helps us imagine a different version of ourselves, and a future in which we decided to come together in the face of crisis, rather than surrender and fall apart."
Eoin Higgins, staff writer | Common Dreams
Nation known for its natural beauty is under pressure with extinctions, polluted rivers and blighted lakes

....Environment Aotearoa is the first major environmental report in four years, and was compiled using data from Statistics New Zealand and the environment ministry.

It presents a sobering summary of a country that is starkly different from the pristine landscape promoted in the “Pure New Zealand” marketing campaign that lures millions of tourists every year.

Eleanor Ainge Roy | The Guardian
Nitrous oxide is nearly 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide
Jessica Corbett, staff writer | Common Dreams
The Fox town hall audience cheered when moderator Bret Baier polled support for transitioning to a single-payer system
Jake Johnson, staff writer | Common Dreams

....The human genetic code is written in molecules known as nucleotides, represented by the letters A, C, G and T. The new technique works by studying ‘spelling mistakes’ or mutations in DNA which occur because factors such as ultraviolet light, alcohol of tobacco smoke, such an A becomes a G. ...

Sarah Knapton | The Telegraph
The 3D-printing technology is already being used to construct entire houses in just 24 hours, but using the tech to create a human heart was proving difficult. Well, not anymore, say the scientists who have fabricated the world's first human heart with blood vessels.
I'm an American but had my baby in Sweden. Let me tell you, universal healthcare — and a parent forward culture — is all it's cracked up to be.
Anonymous | Fatherly
With dozens of events next week, many hope arrival of climate punks who’ve swept the UK will be a watershed moment
Oliver Milman | The Guardian
"We can change it all if we want it all, and we do."
Andrea Germanos, staff writer | Common Dreams
Extinction Rebellion claims that when just 3.5 % of the population demands change, governments will cave to the pressure
Diana Stuart | Common Dreams
"America's farmers, ranchers, fishers, and workers who feed the nation must be at the center of this policy agenda, not on the sidelines."
Jessica Corbett, staff writer | Common Dreams
Glaciers and arctic ice are vanishing. Time to get radical before it's too late [Willfully ignorant "conservatives" and corporately-bribed liberals diddle self-obsessively while life on earth dies]
No one should be annoyed when schoolkids start leaving class en masse or surprised that Green New Deal advocates call for dramatic overhaul of American society. We should be grateful
Bill McKibben | The Guardian
Desalination is often dismissed as being expensive and polluting. But advances in tech are putting it back on the agenda
Fiona Harvey | The Guardian
With demand set to rise across the world, Australia is set to become a global primary producer of hydrogen
Royce Kurmelovs | The Guardian
Decision coincides with visit to enclosure by French marine expert Jean-Michel Cousteau
Reuters | The Guardian
New report warns that two-thirds of glaciers in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region, which feed 10 major river systems across Asia, could melt by 2100

....The Hindu Kush Himalayan region extends for 3,500km across eight nations. It is the earth’s de facto Third Pole, considering the immense amount of ice it holds. The area is an absolutely critical water source for about 250 million mountain dwellers across Asia, as well as the staggering 1.65 billion people living in the river valleys below....


Assange’s charges have been called “the criminalization of journalism.”
Peter D'Abrosca | Big League Politics
Bad journalists are howled at
BOB SOMERBY in The DailyHowler | EVERY DAY

Arts & Education Events:
Special counsel says evidence obtained about the president threw up ‘difficult issues’
Luke Harding | The Guardian
US judiciary committee chair Jerry Nadler has said the special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation report outlines 'disturbing evidence' that Donald Trump engaged in obstruction of justice. Nadler also accused US attorney general William Barr of undermining his own department in order to protect the president. He said it was 'disingenuous and misleading' of Barr to say Trump is 'clear of wrongdoing'.

Barr is scheduled to testify before the committee on 2 May and Nadler has requested Mueller testify before the committee as well because 'we can’t believe what Barr tells us'

Source: Reuters | The Guardian
A breakdown of the massive, 448-page document
Sanders said her claim that countless members of the FBI opposed former director James Comey was ‘not founded on anything’
Lois Beckett | The Guardian
Exclusive: Gérard Araud compares regime to court of Louis XIV and warns UK over post-Brexit trade

The outgoing French ambassador to the US has compared the Trump administration to the court of King Louis XIV, filled with courtiers trying to interpret the caprices of a “whimsical, unpredictable, uninformed” leader.

Gérard Araud, who retires on Friday after a 37-year career that included some of the top jobs in French diplomacy, said Donald Trump’s unpredictability and his single-minded transactional interpretation of US interests was leaving the administration isolated on the world stage.

“When they say ‘America first’, it’s America alone,” Araud said in an interview with the Guardian. “Basically, this president and this administration don’t have allies, don’t have friends. It’s really [about] bilateral relationships on the basis of the balance of power and the defence of narrow American interest.”...

Julian Borger | The Guardian
Trump keeps issuing orders, and staffers keep ignoring them because they’re illegal or unwise. It’s an unsustainable situation—but it shows no sign of abating.
David A. Graham | The Atlantic
The American Civil Liberties Union is calling the actions a ‘kidnapping’ and a flagrant violation of the law
Sam Levin | The Guardian
"Bill Barr continues to act like the president's lawyer, not the people's lawyer."
Jake Johnson, staff writer | Common Dreams
"That is exactly the kind of leadership we need if we hope to stop the worst impacts of climate change."
Jake Johnson, staff writer | Common Dreams

If we really want to make a difference this Earth Day, we have to confront the problem of climate change at its source.

....If we really want to make a difference, we have to confront the problem at its source and euthanize the fossil fuel industry.

"Simply put, the business model of the fossil fuel industry is incompatible with a habitable planet."

....Turning off the fossil fuel taps overnight would trigger economic chaos. But a managed decline of the industry can ensure that fossil fuel workers aren’t left out in the cold. The Green New Deal resolution proposed by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat of New York, and Senator Ed Markey, a Democrat of Massachusetts, calls for investing in those communities that will be hardest hit, helping workers transition into well-paid work in new sectors, and diversifying regional economies to thrive in a sustainable 21st century.

Researchers at the Next System Project have proposed bringing the fossil fuel industry under public ownership by buying up 51 percent of its shares, then ending the hunt for new reserves and scaling down production. Political will for that could take time to build....

Kate Aronoff | Common Dreams
The first daughter is visiting Ethiopia and Ivory Coast to promote women’s rights – yet she stays silent while her father’s administration stifles female empowerment

....You can’t separate women’s economic empowerment from women’s reproductive rights. But the Trump administration is doing just that. It has expanded a federal directive known as the “global gag rule”, meaning that NGOs that perform or promote abortions anywhere are refused all US government health funding, including for family planning, HIV, primary care, nutrition, and malaria. Numerous gender-equality advocates have pointed out that this policy is a significant impediment to the W-GDP’s goal of assisting women economically. Ivanka, of course, doesn’t seem bothered. Why focus on depressing details when you can retweet cute videos of yourself at a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony instead?...

Arwa Mahdawi | The Guardian
This is a crucial chance to show politicians how we feel now about leaving Europe. The turnout must be huge

In just five weeks’ time, Britain will have a referendum on Brexit. This will take the form of elections to the European parliament, but in reality this will be a pre-referendum, or, if you like your neologisms ugly, a preferendum. So there is now one simple task: to maximise the vote for parties that support a confirmatory referendum on Brexit, giving the British people a democratic choice between accepting the negotiated Brexit deal and remaining in the EU....

Timothy Garton Ash | The Guardian
Research by author reveals corporations and aristocrats are the biggest landowners

....Jon Trickett, Labour MP and shadow minister for the Cabinet Office, hailed the significance of the findings and called for a full debate on the issue, adding: “The dramatic concentration of land ownership is an inescapable reminder that ours is a country for the few and not the many.

“It’s simply not right that aristocrats, whose families have owned the same areas of land for centuries, and large corporations exercise more influence over local neighbourhoods – in both urban and rural areas – than the people who live there.

Rob Evans | The Guardian

Virtual Nations could replace nation-states, enabling everyone to be agents for a better world
Marc Cherbonnier | The Baltimore Chronicle | Ref.
The Pentagon’s Bottomless Money Pit [Until the Pentagon can pass audits, use its allocated budget to fight causes of global warming]
When the Defense Department flunked its first-ever fiscal review, one of our government’s greatest mysteries was exposed: Where does the DoD’s $700 billion annual budget go?

....Both Sanders and Grassley have been tilting at the Pentagon windmill for decades now, from opposite ends of the political spectrum. For Grassley, there is a sense of exhaustion.

Asked how much progress has been made toward creating a workable accounting system at the Pentagon, he says, “At my level, I would have to say zero.” He pauses. “Based on the track record, it seems like they don’t want to fix it.”

All this history sums up the conundrum. A Republican waste-hawk like Grassley laments the inability/unwillingness of the Pentagon to implement a modern, corporate-style, unified accounting system, and is convinced there will never be a clean audit until one is developed.

Meanwhile, a progressive like Sanders, who is anxious to dial back Pentagon spending as part of a general rethink of our national priorities, laments the inability/unwillingness of Congress to take the real steps needed to enforce compliance. The system of campaign contributions that keeps key committees captive probably locks this problem in place, until there’s reform on that end.

MATT TAIBBI | RollingStone
Banks now create most of our money supply and need to be made public utilities, following the stellar precedent of the Bank of North Dakota, which makes below-market loans for local communities and businesses while turning a profit for the state.
Ellen Brown | Common Dreams
Financial sector warned it risks losses from extreme weather and its stakes in polluting firms
Richard Partington | The Guardian
Through ecosocialism, we can fight climate change and extreme inequality at the same time
Thea N. Riofrancos | Common Dreams

The report contains considerable evidence that President Trump attempted to obstruct justice, and it dismisses some of the possible defenses for his efforts to influence the Russia investigation.
John Cassidy | The New Yorker

Congress urged to "pull out the stops to confront this president who thinks starving millions of Yemenis is a price worth paying for high arms industry profits."
Jake Johnson, staff writer | Common Dreams

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