Policy, Practice & Analysis Today's posts in bigger type––>. Prior 2/3-days posts in small 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 $1.6 Trillion/yr on bloated health care spending as compared with the 2011 OECD per capita average, which becomes extra overhead on everything U.S. workers make—resulting in offshoring manufacturing and jobs.Let's adopt more efficient practices instead of cutting Medicare and Medicaid coverage as part of some "Grand Bargain"
The writer Lester Brown has gained a reputation for anticipating global trends. Now as Brown, 80, enters retirement, he fears the world may be on the verge of a greater hunger than he has ever seen in his professional lifetime.
For the first time, he said tens of millions of poor people in countries like Nigeria, India, Pakistan and Peru could afford to eat only five days a week. Most of the world was exhausting its ground water because of overpumping. Yields were flatlining in Japan. And in northern and western China, and the Sahel region of Africa – an area already wracked by insurgency and conflict – people were running out of land to grow food. Millions of acres of were turning into wasteland because of over-farming and over-grazing.
Republicans vow to continue fight after president rejects legislation to approve pipeline from Canadian tar sands to refineries along Gulf coast
“Climate change is real, it is caused by human activity and it is already causing devastating problems. Our job now is to aggressively transform our energy system away from fossil fuels into energy efficiency and sustainable energy,” senator Bernie Sanders said.
The veto is likely to prove a sign of things to come. The new Republican-controlled Senate is seeking to embarrass Democrats by sending the president further legislation to which they know he is implacably opposed, such as measures to block his immigration reforms or repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act.
Could more automated driving – and driver training – shrink greenhouse-gas emissions, fuel costs and even highway fatalities?
The Obama administration's first ever fuel-efficiency rules for Class 8 trucks, the heaviest vehicles on the road, are driving a market for new technologies, such as driverless trucks, speed-limiting engines and what’s called “automated manual” transmission, that could help make trucking more fuel-efficient.
SOURCE: Public Broadcasting System & ABC News | Ref.
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OUR PROBLEM: “ONLY THE WEALTHY MATTER.”They bribe/pay politicians & lobbyists to cut regulations & taxes, then play innocent to ruining government and life itself.Their political party is Republican. But now—after the Citizen's United Ruling—Democrats are becoming whores too.OUR GOAL: “MAKE GOVERNMENT REPRESENT THE PUBLIC'S BEST INTERESTS, FOREMOST.”
Elizabeth Warren has decided on a new crusade: Taking on President Barack Obama's ambitious trade agenda.
The Massachusetts senator, a powerful icon of the progressive movement, told me this week that she believes the Trans-Pacific Partnership, as currently drafted, could give multinational corporations a way around U.S. regulations they don't like and the ability to win judgments funded by U.S. taxpayers in an unaccountable international arbitration forum.
"This deal would give protections to international corporations that are not available to United States environmental and labor groups," Warren said. "Multinational corporations are increasingly realizing this is an opportunity to gut U.S. regulations they don't like."
Duke of Cambridge’s visit to China next month will be a diplomatic walk on eggshells. The elephant in the room is a domestic ivory ban as soon as possible – but he knows we can’t point fingers, we can only cross them
Leonard Nimoy's Spock represented the aspirational, utopian thinking that Americans are still desperate to see accomplished in their lifetimes—and in their cities.
Leonard Nimoy, the actor behind the half-Vulcan, half-human explorer, died this morning at 83. His great contribution to the culture has loomed large as a force for peace and rationality for almost 50 years
The Israeli prime minister seems willing to undermine his country's relations with the U.S. in order to save his career.
Netanyahu is engaging in behavior that is without precedent: He is apparently so desperate to stay in office that he has let the Republicans weaponize his country in their struggle against a Democratic president they despise. Boehner seeks to do damage to Obama, and he has turned Netanyahu into an ally in this cause. It's not entirely clear here who is being played.
World leaders decided in Copenhagen that global warming should be limited to 2 degrees Celsius. Achieving that target, though, would take nothing less than a miracle. With another round of climate negotiations approaching, it is becoming increasingly clear that mankind has failed to address its most daunting problem.
Alexander Jung, Horand Knaup, Samiha Shafy and Bernhard Zand | Der Spiegel
Can we still stop global warming? Only if we radically change our capitalist system, argues author Naomi Klein. In an interview with SPIEGEL, she explains why the time has come to abandon small steps for a radical new approach.
....The reason Gov. Dayton was able to radically transform Minnesota's economy into one of the best in the nation is simple arithmetic. Raising taxes on those who can afford to pay more will turn a deficit into a surplus. Raising the minimum wage will increase the median income. And in a state where education is a budget priority and economic growth is one of the highest in the nation, it only makes sense that more businesses would stay.
It's official -- trickle-down economics is bunk. Minnesota has proven it once and for all. If you believe otherwise, you are wrong.
Some Muslim leaders don't view the Islamic State quite like Obama does.
Whether ISIS’s deeds are labeled “violent extremism” or “Islamized terrorism,” the conversations in Washington and Mecca had at least one thing in common: They deepened the debate over whether ISIS and its fellow travelers are “Islamic,” and whether the answer matters in the first place. That debate is not just academic. It has real consequences for how the Islamic State’s opponents mount their counteroffensive.
Exclusive: As the Obama administration is rushing to complete a nuclear agreement with Iran and reduce regional tensions, the Israeli media is reporting on a deal with Saudi Arabia to let Israeli warplanes transit Saudi airspace en route to bombing Iran
Hailed as a housing solution for slums and a rapid response to disaster-stricken communities, 3D-printed architecture holds a lot of promise. But what problems lie behind its production, and can we realistically expect our cities to be printed?
Until recently such talk was largely theoretical. Then in March 2014, the little-known Chinese company Winsun announced it had 3D-printed 10 £3,200 concrete houses in a day. When, in January of this year, it unveiled that 3D-printed 1,100-square-metre villa – and a five-storey apartment building – it raised the question of whether the technology was about to become commercially viable.
Actor says he and his wife refuse to pay ‘a penny more’ until tax evaders found among Swiss banking arm’s clients go to prison
“I want to stop paying tax, until everyone pays tax,” Wise told the Evening Standard. “I have actively loved paying tax, because I am a profound fucking socialist and I believe we are all in it together. But I am disgusted with HMRC. I am disgusted with HSBC. And I’m not paying a penny more until those evil bastards go to prison.”
PROBLEMS: Political Judges and States Attorneys resulting in: No enforcement of anti-trust laws; Under-prosecuting White-collar Crimes; Over-prosecuting crime by the poor & non-white; Prisons for Profit; Political 'Criminals'
In 2003, Congress passed legislation to eliminate sexual assaults against inmates. One young man’s story shows how elusive that goal remains.
....It was around this time that the letters started sliding under his cell door. John would get a lot of letters from other prisoners over the next few months, and while they weren’t always explicit, some certainly were. “You are one sexy nigger,” one read. “You need a white man to show you how to act ... When the opportunity comes I want to sneak in your house and hit that.” Another letter said he had a “fan club.”
A major shift in criminal justice is coming, but will it be enough?
The Coalition for Public Safety, a new alliance of political groups and think tanks, is the latest signal that opposition to mass incarceration has gone mainstream. The organization unites left-leaning organizations like the ACLU and Center for American Progress with conservative and libertarian organizations like FreedomWorks, Americans for Tax Reform, and Right on Crime. Koch Industries is opening its checkbook for the venture; the ACLU received a $50 million grant from George Soros’ Open Society Foundation in December to cut national incarceration rates.
On Thursday, the FCC votes on whether to accept tough new rules to regulate the internet. Republicans aren’t happy – and they’re aiming to win back the debate [As with healthcare, they support monopoly and price-fixing]
Human Rights Watch said it used satellite imagery, witness statements and video and photographic evidence to identify at least 450 locations in rebel-held towns and villages in Daraa, and more than 1,000 in Aleppo, where the regime used large air-dropped munitions including the so-called barrel bombs and other conventional explosives.
“For a year, the security council has done nothing to stop Bashar al-Assad’s murderous air bombing campaign on rebel-held areas, which has terrorised, killed, and displaced civilians,” said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East and North Africa director for HRW. “Amid talk of a possible temporary cessation of strikes on Aleppo, the question is whether Russia and China will finally allow the UN security council to impose sanctions to stop barrel bombs.”
The soaring cost of college — a 1,225 percent increase since 1978, nearly twice the rate of the rise in health care costs — is such a problem for most families that politicians across the ideological spectrum are actually taking notice.
When TV anchors are as lionised as Bill O’Reilly, it’s no surprise they fabricate their own creation myths
Whereas in Britain journalists are generally viewed as occupying a place on the food chain somewhere between bottom-feeders and cockroaches, in America there remains, still, a certain idealisation of journalists, protected by a gilded halo hammered out by sentimental memories of Edward R Murrow and Walter Cronkite.