Last updated: Friday, August 16, 2019, 11:06 AM
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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 health care spending compared to the average of 2017 per capita costs of comparable, yet profit-controlled advanced countries. Let's end price gouging and adopt profit-control practices too. To the point, 2017 US out-of-control per capita health care spending was $5322 more per person than in France, the highest rated system based on patient outcomes.
Fracking Boom in US and Canada Largely to Blame for 'Massive' Rise of Global Methane Levels: Study [Will there be mass-murder criminal charges? Will Trump-appointed judges allow any criminal or civil-cases be fairly adjudicated?]
While the rise of methane in the Earth's atmosphere over the past decade has been "globally significant," quick action to end fracking would have a rapid, positive impact on the environment
Julia Conley, staff writer | Common Dreams
  • Last year, 40% of US honeybee colonies died or disappeared – the most severe bee decline ever recorded during the winter season.
  • Bee populations worldwide have been shrinking for years. Earth is at risk of losing all its insects in 100 years.
  • Without bees, crops worldwide would suffer, making nuts, fruits, and vegetable more expensive and difficult to produce.
  • Scientists still haven’t figured out exactly what’s killing the bees, but potential causes fall into four categories: pathogens, pests, stress, and pesticides.
  • When the majority of a colony’s worker bees disappear and leave behind the queen, baby bees, and lots of food, that’s called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). The mysterious phenomenon has caused enormous bee losses since at least 2006.
The rain in Spain: how an ancient Arabic technique saves Alicante from floods [With rainfall now more erratic and intense, communities should consider such preparation]
To protect itself from destructive flooding, the city has built a park designed to store and recycle rainwater
Stephen Burgen in Alicante | The Guardian
Steve Hanley  | CleanTechnica
Guest Contributor  | CleanTechnica
Saurabh | CleanTechnica
Climate breakdown could be rapid and unpredictable. We can no longer tinker around the edges and hope minor changes will avert collapse

....The problem is political. A fascinating analysis by the social science professor Kevin MacKay contends that oligarchy has been a more fundamental cause of the collapse of civilisations than social complexity or energy demand. Control by oligarchs, he argues, thwarts rational decision-making, because the short-term interests of the elite are radically different to the long-term interests of society. This explains why past civilisations have collapsed “despite possessing the cultural and technological know-how needed to resolve their crises”. Economic elites, which benefit from social dysfunction, block the necessary solutions.

The oligarchic control of wealth, politics, media and public discourse explains the comprehensive institutional failure now pushing us towards disaster. Think of Donald Trump and his cabinet of multi-millionaires; the influence of the Koch brothers in funding rightwing organisations; the Murdoch empire and its massive contribution to climate science denial; or the oil and motor companies whose lobbying prevents a faster shift to new technologies.

It is not just governments that have failed to respond, though they have failed spectacularly. Public sector broadcasters have systematically shut down environmental coverage, while allowing the opaquely funded lobbyists that masquerade as thinktanks to shape public discourse and deny what we face. Academics, afraid to upset their funders and colleagues, have bitten their lips....

George Monbiot | The Guardian
“Kochland” Examines the Koch Brothers’ Early, Crucial Role in Climate-Change Denial [For their gravestones, what best summarizes the vast death of life across the globe these two brothers have wrought?]
A new book reveals that Charles Koch, along with his brother David, played an earlier and more central role in climate-change denial than was previously understood.
Jane Mayer | The New Yorker
‘Furthest north lightning strikes in Alaska forecaster memory’ hit as high temperatures and widespread fires plague region
Edward Helmore | The Guardian
Jose Pontes | CleanTechnica
Nicolas Zart | CleanTechnica
The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report shows that agriculture is responsible for 37 percent of greenhouse gas emissions
Kristin Ohlson | Common Dreams
"It's the Environmental Protection Agency, not the pesticide protection agency."
Andrea Germanos, staff writer | Common Dreams
About 450 overseas pests have been introduced to US forests, a climate crisis resource, due to international trade and travel
Oliver Milman | The Guardian
Governments could become indifferent to climate disaster victims, expert warns [Especially those with sociopathic rulers, like Trump and Bolsonaro]
The indifference of US politicians to the devastation of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria was horrifying, says David Wallace-Wells
Oliver Milman | The Guardian
Heavy rain and landslides force hundreds of thousands of people to take shelter in relief camps.
It will take effect in 2020 to give businesses time to change their production lines
Jeremy Shepherd | Mexico News Daily
The indifference of US politicians to the devastation of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria was horrifying, says David Wallace-Wells
Australian Associated Press | The Guardian

The fact that cable news pundits, anchors, and reporters rushed to vehemently defend corporate media against Sanders' comments is illustrative of the dynamic. It makes you wonder where career self-interest ends and sincere delusion begins.
Norman Solomon | Common Dreams
Guess who said it: Tucker Carlson or a far-right shooter [How have Fox News and similar excretory news sources become such profitable engines of hate? They foment fear of people different than ‘you’ as the problem, and sell evisceration of ‘them’ as the solution. It’s all neatly packaged to make ‘you’ feel safer.]
The Fox New host’s nightly diatribes are making the US an ever more terrifying place for immigrants and people of color
Nathan Robinson | The Guardian
"Trump and the billionaires in his administration—after giving away over $1 trillion in tax cuts to mainly the rich and large corporations—are now trying to strip nutrition assistance from more than three million people."
Jake Johnson, staff writer | Common Dreams
Bad journalists are howled at
BOB SOMERBY in The DailyHowler | EVERY DAY

Arts & Education Events:
This is a fight for life!
If current and prospective world leaders do not fathom the threat to continuation of all life on Earth, they must be denied authority as soon as possible.
"Corporate greed is eviscerating the working class."

As even some of the wealthiest Americans have begun to call for major reforms to the U.S. economic system to narrow the wealth gap, a new study released Wednesday revealed that over the past four decades, salaries for the top executives in the U.S. have gone up by more than 1,000 percent.

CEOs at the 350 largest companies now take home salaries that are 278 times higher than those of the average worker, according to the new Economic Policy Institute (EPI) analysis.

With an average compensation of $17.2 million per year, report co-author Lawrence Mishel said Wednesday, today's CEOs would barely notice a change in their quality of life if their salaries were slashed.

"You could cut CEO pay in half and the economy would not be any different," Mishel, a distinguished fellow at EPI, told The Guardian.

EPI's findings about CEO compensation were denounced as "obscene" by critics of the current economic system, under which 40 percent of American workers struggle to find $400 in their budget to cover an emergency expense while the heads of powerful companies are given huge tax breaks on top of their salaries....

Julia Conley, staff writer | Common Dreams
Something urgent needs to be done to give America’s workers more say in our politics so that their voices are not dwarfed by billionaires, writes Steve Greenhouse

....In the 2015–16 election cycle, business outspent unions 16-to-1 –$3.4bn to $213m – according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Each year all of the nation’s unions spend about $48m on lobbying in Washington, while corporate America spends more than $2.5bn – more than 50 times as much. This has made many in Congress far more attentive to corporations than to workers, thus the rush to cut corporate taxes, but the failure to increase the minimum wage....

Steven Greenhouse | The Guardian
American Taxpayers Forced to Pay For Don Jr.’s Sheep Hunting Vacation to Canada [Visit webpage to see the latest stone sheep he's 'proudly' killed.]
ANDREA JEFFERSON  | Political Flare
"You either stand with family farmers, ranchers, Tribal Nations, and environmentalists—or you stand with fossil fuel corporations."

....The three-point NoKXL pledge, featured on Bold Nebraska's website, states:

  • If elected, I pledge to take executive action on Day One to stop any construction on the Keystone XL pipeline—no matter what—and revoke the existing presidential permits issued unilaterally by President Trump for the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, sending both projects back to relevant federal agencies to undergo legitimate environmental review and Tribal consultations.
  • I pledge to direct all federal agencies (State Dept., FERC, Army Corps) to submit these two projects, as well as all new pipeline and energy infrastructure projects to a true climate test, and reject permits for any project that would exacerbate our climate crisis.
  • I pledge to protect the property rights of farmers and ranchers from eminent domain abuse, and to honor the treaties the U.S. government has signed with sovereign Tribal Nations....
Jessica Corbett, staff writer | Common Dreams
"President Trump's attempt to gut our nation's Clean Power Plan is foolish. It's also unlawful."
Jessica Corbett, staff writer | Common Dreams

Court decision on fate of Grace 1, which was seized by UK Royal Marines, due on Thursday
Dan Sabbagh, Patrick Wintour and agencies | The Guardian
The Museum Is the Refugee’s Home [Think about it: refugees—excluding bad criminal types—are naturally the best new citizens because they'll fight like hell for a better life.]
Without exiles and émigrés there is no modern culture. A new show in Washington maps a century of art and displacement.
Jason Farago | The New York Times
Hundreds of demonstrators stage new rally a day after shutdown at key transport hub
Lily Kuo in Beijing and agencies | The Guardian
Boris Johnson’s Brexit strategy is imperilling centuries of common purpose. It can’t be allowed to succeed
Gordon Brown | The Guardian
Editor's note: Michael D'Antonio is the author of the book "Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success" and co-author with Peter Eisner of "The Shadow President: The Truth About Mike Pence." The opinions expressed in this commentary are the author's. View more opinion articles on CNN.

(CNN)—In 1981, Donald Trump revealed his view on life when he told People magazine, "Man is the most vicious of all animals, and life is a series of battles ending in victory or defeat. You can't just let people make a sucker of you." Trump, who shared similar sentiments as recently as last November, holds a dim view of humanity -- and this is reflected in both his compulsive effort to create conflicts and his brutish politics. It also seems to be spreading, at home and abroad, like a virus that generates fevers of fear and hatred.

At home, Trumpism and white nationalism cast immigrants and people of color as enemies. Trump's 2020 re-election campaign is already echoing the themes of his 2016 run, which included false and inflammatory claims about immigrants and crime. No reasonable person can doubt that his rhetoric, including his recognition of "very fine people" among neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, has contributed to a sharp rise in hate crimes.

And it's not just what Trump says, but how he says it. Denunciations of white supremacy are offered by a robotic teleprompter president who spoke after the deadly Charlottesville protests and in response to last week's mass shooting. ("It gets very boring when you do the teleprompter deal," he has said.) Hatred for people of color comes with animated political rally glee. At a recent rally in Florida he heard someone shout that immigrants should be shot and responded with a sly smile and a joke. "It's only in the Panhandle you can get away with that statement. Only in the Panhandle."

Internationally, Trump's penchant for hostility and aggression seems to be setting a template for other leaders, many of whom operate without the constraints of American-style checks and balances. And while Trump is not solely responsible for the actions of strongmen and other leaders around the world, many appear to be following his lead. Among them are:...

Michael D'Antonio | CNN

Virtual Nations could replace nation-states, allowing everyone to be agents for a better world
Marc Cherbonnier | The Baltimore Chronicle | Ref.
Congress just passed a budget that blows the doors off the deficit and Pentagon budget levels. So where are the presidential candidates?

The Democrats running for president are busy stumping their way through the country. But despite all the issues they’re purporting to address, we’ve heard very little about how to manage our national debt, and whether the continued use of our current military force is sustainable. These are two “elephants in the room” that are being ignored. Shouldn’t they be discussed and debated?

President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi banged out a two-year budget deal last month that includes $738 billion in Pentagon spending for Fiscal Year 2020, more than half of the entire budget. It was cleared by the House, and the Senate approved it on August 1.

Even before the deal was announced, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a fiscal watchdog, said it had the potential to be “the worst budget agreement in our nation’s history,” and could add as much as $2 trillion to the deficit over the next decade.

The U.S. national debt was more than $7 trillion in 2004. In the years since, it has roughly tripled, and much of that growth is due to our continued military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan....

DAVID NELSON | The American Conservative [Not to be confused with today's Republican Party]
The Chinese have proven the effectiveness of their public banking system in supporting their industries and their workers. Rather than seeing it as an existential threat, we could thank them for test-driving the model and take a spin in it ourselves.
Ellen Brown | Common Dreams
You’re lucky if your company pension set-up includes ethical funds that don’t invest in coal extraction or oil drilling
Patrick Collinson | The Guardian

Turkey to annex northern Syria with US blessing [This unfairly favors Turkey—a dubious Russia-friendly ally—by allowing it to steal the Kurdish homeland it will expand and quicken the slow-motion genocide against the Kurdish people. What logic supports doing this to America's best ally for the last 16 years? How much was Trump bribed to support this?]
Ankara outmaneuvers Washington, weeks after crisis in relations over purchase of Russian S-400 missile system

"Wide-ranging unilateral sanctions can end up denying people's fundamental human rights, including their economic rights as well as the rights to food and health."
Jake Johnson, staff writer | Common Dreams

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