BIGGEST PROBLEM: IT’S TIME TO SEE CLEARLY AND ACT, SO OUR CHILDREN WON'T SEE ALL BEAUTIFUL LIFE DIE. SOLUTION: Make greedy sociopaths HELP life on earth. Allow tax-free income (supplemented as morally necessary) and wealth up to reasonable levels, then tax excess @ up to a 90% tax-rate to fund life remediation.
Aggregated News & Analyses
Today’s posts in bigger type.
Prior 2-3 days in smaller type.
Health Care & Environment
PROBLEMS: Corporate influence enables life-threatening pollution & highest-profit health care.
Obama's ACA didn't fix this:
The U.S. wastes $1.8 Trillion per year on totalfor-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"
....Halfway measures are politically attractive but economically unworkable. The $11,559 per capita that the United States spends on health care could provide high-quality care for all or it can continue to fund a vast health-managerial apparatus—it cannot do both.
Having a purposeful life protects against cognitive decline in older adults, and the associations varied by age and race/ethnicity, but not by sex. Potential ways to increase purpose in life are discussed in a clinical context.
GiyeonKimPh.D., HyunShin Ph.D., Monica A.Scicolone M.A. and PatriciaParmelee Ph.D | Science Direct
Toyota Motor Corp aims to get half of its global sales from electrified vehicles by 2025, five years ahead of schedule, and will tap Chinese battery makers to meet the accelerated global shift to electricity-powered cars.
The Trump/DeVos vision of American education? Unshackle the rich and let them turn a profit at the expense of working-class students
....When the rules go through, they will deliver on DeVos’ dream of deregulating higher education, increasingly leaving the system to private operators with little oversight. A billionaire who has championed publicly-funded, privately-run charter schools and vouchers that would starve public schools of funds so students can attend private or religious schools, DeVos is a natural fit for a president who disdains the public sector (unless it’s underwriting his family’s real estate empire). ...
"The top one percent owns nearly $30 trillion of assets while the bottom half owns less than nothing."
CEO and founder of Amazon Jeff Bezos participates in a discussion during a Milestone Celebration dinner September 13, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Adding to the mountain of statistical evidence showing the severity of U.S. inequality, an analysis published Friday found that the top one percent of Americans gained $21 trillion in wealth since 1989 while the bottom 50 percent lost $900 billion.
"We have the worst inequality in this country since the 1920s." —Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.)
Matt Bruenig, founder of the left-wing think tank People's Policy Project, broke down the Federal Reserve's newly released "Distributive Financial Accounts" data series and found that, overall, "the top one percent owns nearly $30 trillion of assets while the bottom half owns less than nothing, meaning they have more debts than they have assets." ...
From Slab City to the Gran Plaza, residents ”eke by” in the shadows of California agribusiness.
....“Twenty percent are below the federal poverty level, and the numbers, we are sure, are probably double that if you include lack of access to health care and so on. Because so many are undocumented. There’s a lot of fear, especially now,” says Maribel Nunez of California Partnership, a statewide anti-poverty coalition. Median household income in the county is under $45,000—compared to a statewide average of over $71,000; the median income for an individual in Imperial Valley, where most people in the county live and work, is a mere $17,000.....
Sick of war and war profiteering, this Congressman shows what happens when lawmakers actually do their jobs.
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) (Instagram/Office of Ro Khanna)
In a Congress dominated by dysfunction and partisan bickering, Congressman Ro Khanna may have found a model for success. In a resounding victory for what congressional oversight can achieve, the California Democrat recently got defense contractor TransDigm to refund $16.1 million in egregious price-gouging overcharges.
Lately, the deeply unpopular Congress has focused much of its attention on ineffectual investigations into Donald Trump. Yet not so long ago, it wielded its powerful investigative tools to force accountability from industry and government alike. Congressman Khanna’s recent success illustrates that it’s still possible for the legislative branch to do so—should it choose to.
The TransDigm refund wasn’t accomplished through legislation. Instead, the defense contractor voluntarily returned the money because a member of Congress started asking questions.
“I had been in Congress for a few months, and I came across initial reporting from Capitol Forum about TransDigm and their business model, and the report suggested they were buying up small manufacturers supplying DoD and then jacking up the prices by 500 or 5,000 percent,” Congressman Ro Khanna said in an interview with TAC.
Homophobic and transphobic hate crimes, including stalking, harassment and violent assault, have more than doubled in England and Wales over five years, a Guardian analysis has shown.
The rate of LGBT hate crime per capita rose by 144% between 2013-14 and 2017-18. In the most recent year of data, police recorded 11,600 crimes, more than doubling from 4,600 during this period.
Transphobic attacks have soared in recent years, trebling from 550 reports to 1,650 over the period examined. Almost half (46%) of these crimes in 2017-2018 were violent offences, ranging from common assault to grievous bodily harm.
“When this happened, we were really angry,” says Melania Geymonat, 28. “And we decided to tell the story, because this situation needs to change, and maybe this helps a little. For me, it was a moral obligation. Like, this needs to stop. This was a terrible episode, and maybe [if] we say something, we can contribute to something bigger.” ...
Mansa Musa, the king of Mali, approached by a Berber on camelback; detail from The Catalan Atlas, attributed to the Majorcan mapmaker Abraham Cresques, 1375
It may remain a little-known fact, but Africa has never lacked civilizations, nor has it ever been as cut off from world events as it has been routinely portrayed. Some remarkable new books make this case in scholarly but accessible terms, and they admirably complicate our understanding of Africa’s past and present.
Opponents say it would fatally undermine Hong Kong’s economy and way of life by allowing both residents and visitors to be sent to China for trial in opaque courts controlled by the Communist party....
But for policies to be effective we must keep in mind how US actions affect the debate within China, where there is vigorous struggle over the country’s future
....The people of Hong Kong still have a certain ability to express their opinions, at least for now. But beyond the baseline repression in a system that does not have simple rights like the freedom of speech and assembly, the CCP in mainland China is becoming even more oppressive: today there are more than a million Uighurs imprisoned in an attempt to extinguish their ethnic identities; the CCP is setting up a surveillance state that pulls a page from George Orwell’s 1984 dystopia; and daily restrictions on civil society and citizens are becoming harsher and more widespread.
We often paint China’s government as a monolith run by the dictator Xi Jinping, but the reality is far more complex. Xi contends with forces inside the government and the sentiments of the people, even if those aren’t expressed through democratic means. The CCP’s top goal is to maintain power, and it lives in a constant state of fear about its legitimacy – and rightly so.
The US must deal with the government of China and the challenges it presents, from intellectual property theft to maritime aggression. But for policies to be effective we must keep in mind how US actions affect the debate within China, where there is a vigorous struggle over the future of the country.
Take the current US-China trade war, for instance. Depending on who one asks, the US goal is to get China to make specific economic concessions, change China’s entire economic policy, force companies to leave China, or just to “win” – or all of the above. In the process, the trade war is hurting American workers as well as ordinary Chinese citizens, and adding fuel to the CCP’s anti-US propaganda. One recent New York Times report noted that, in China, “Commentators have drawn comparisons between the current trade dispute and China’s humiliation at the hands of foreign powers during the colonial era.”
We need specific US policies to deal with specific challenges emanating from China – for instance, a tailored approach to deal with trade and a maritime deterrence strategy in concert with allies. Most importantly we need to be strong at home, growing the US economy and improving our democracy. But the talk of a cold war with China is counterproductive, enabling policies at home that could be racist or impinge on the freedom of Americans.
Rhetoric about being “tough” on China doesn’t always seem to equate with actually standing with the people of China. If we want to truly support the people of Hong Kong and those imprisoned in Xinjiang, the United States must speak out, raise the issues at the highest levels, and pursue targeted responses like sanctions on companies and individuals involved in the repression. And the US must continue to support Hong Kong’s autonomy rather than threaten its special status, as the Trump administration has done...
In decades to come we must rethink our agriculture, our love of consumption and our short-termist priorities. It won’t be easy
....The climate crisis differs from a war because it does not have an end – or not in the same way. And while there is an enemy, in the hugely powerful fossil fuel industry and the politicians who are its backers, this is a much harder foe to identify than a foreign power. As for the Green New Deal, there is a risk that it can be made to sound too much like a leftwing utopia.
It is extremely difficult to see a safe way through the next few decades that does not involve a drastic reorientation of global priorities, towards wildlife and away from consumption. Meeting the UK’s 2050 net-zero target, for example, will require planting almost 3bn trees. We can expect air quality to improve as we shift to electric cars. Some people are already discovering a new relationship with food. If the world is to come together as we need it to, human values will have to assert themselves over the forces of capital....
United States PROBLEMS: Corporate and billionaire money—especially after the Citizens United ruling—corrupts political parties and governments to the public's detriment. [12:36 ‘Unbreaking America’ video]
Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole.
International & Futurism PROBLEMS: Capitalists, Islamists, Fascists and Mafias cause immorality, barbarity & war. SOLUTIONS: UN, InterPol and International Criminal Court must be fully enabled. FYI: All people are mixed-race
What does it mean to be genetically Jewish?[Doing a mental dance with archanery: could a significant number of Russians and Palestinians be intentionally included or excluded as genetically Jewish? And why would Israel do this?]
DNA tests have been used in Israel to verify a person’s Jewishness. This brings a bigger question: what does it mean to be genetically Jewish? And can you prove religious identity scientifically?
The only way to avoid bringing the barbarism of apartheid into the 21st century is by firmly shifting away from the two-state solution and instead linking Israel’s inevitable annexation of the Occupied West Bank to Israeli citizenship for occupied Palestinians
Justice Matters PROBLEMS: Political Judges and States Attorneys, too little enforcement of anti-trust laws and white-collar crimes, over-prosecution of the poor. OPED: Commute death sentences and allow assisted suicide.