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Until recently, China and India have been cast as obstacles, at the very least reluctant conscripts, in the battle against climate change. That reputation looks very much out-of-date now that both countries have greatly accelerated their investments in cost-effective renewable energy sources — and reduced their reliance on fossil fuels. It’s America — Donald Trump’s America — that now looks like the laggard.
According to research released last week at a United Nations climate meeting in Germany, China and India should easily exceed the targets they set for themselves in the 2015 Paris Agreement signed by more than 190 countries. China’s emissions of carbon dioxide appear to have peaked more than 10 years sooner than its government had said they would. And India is now expected to obtain 40 percent of its electricity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2022, eight years ahead of schedule.
Every one of the Paris signatories will have to reduce emissions to ward off the worst consequences of global warming — devastating droughts, melting glaciers and unstoppable sea level rise. But the tangible progress by the world’s number one producer of greenhouse gases (China) and its number three (India) are astonishing nonetheless, and worth celebrating.
There is also a lesson here for the United States. Piece by piece, agency by agency, the Trump administration seems determined to destroy or undermine every initiative on which President Obama based his pledge in Paris to substantially reduce America’s greenhouse gases: his plan to close old, coal-fired power plants, his proposals to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas wells, his mandates for more fuel-efficient vehicles. The excuse given in every case is that these rules would cost jobs and damage the economy — the same bogus argument once used by Vice President Dick Cheney to persuade President George W. Bush to renege on his campaign promise to combat global warming.
China and India are finding that doing right by the planet need not carry a big economic cost and can actually be beneficial. By investing heavily in solar and wind, they and others like Germany have helped drive down the cost of those technologies to a point where, in many places, renewable sources can generate electricity more cheaply than dirtier sources of energy like coal. In a recent auction in India, developers of solar farms offered to sell electricity to the grid for 2.44 rupees per kilowatt-hour (or 3.79 cents). That is about 50 percent less than what solar farms bid a year earlier and about 24 percent less than the average price for energy generated by coal-fired power plants.
The shift from fossil fuels has thus been much faster and more pronounced than most experts expected. China has reduced coal use for three years in a row and recently scrapped plans to build more than 100 coal power plants. Indian officials have estimated that country might no longer need to build new coal plants beyond those that are already under construction. One other heartening fact: Electric vehicle sales in China jumped 70 percent last year, thanks in large part to generous government incentives. India is much further behind in this area, but the country’s minister of power said last month that all cars sold in the country should be electric by 2030.
What does it say about the Trump administration that the president was fooled by a dumb, long-debunked climate myth?
As Politico reported, Trump’s deputy national security advisor K.T. McFarland gave him a fake 1970s Time magazine cover warning of a coming ice age. The Photoshopped magazine cover circulated around the internet several years ago, but was debunked in 2013. Four years later, McFarland put the fake document in President Trump’s hands, and he reportedly “quickly got lathered up about the media’s hypocrisy ... Staff chased down the truth and intervened before Trump tweeted or talked publicly about it.”
Organizations representing most of the health care industry — along with attorneys general from 15 states and the District of Columbia — took desperate steps Friday in a last-ditch attempt to keep President Trump from blowing up the Affordable Care Act.
Exposure to nitrogen dioxide and airborne particles affects sleep efficiency, says medical professor
New legislation streamlines the more than two dozen requirements previously needed to launch facilities, which offer supervision and sterileequipment
....“Solid evidence shows that, when properly set up and maintained, supervised consumption sites save lives, and they do it without increasing drug use or crime in the neighbourhood,” Jane Philpott, Canada’s health minister, told parliament this week.
The law builds on Canada’s previous success in this field. In 2003, health authorities in Vancouver launched Insite– the first supervised injection facility in North America – to address an epidemic of HIV and hepatitis C in the city’s Downtown Eastside neighbourhood.
By 2015, Insite had logged more than 3 million visits and had safely treated nearly 5,000 overdoses – without one death. It had earned accolades around the world for the critical role it plays in saving lives and preventing the transmission of HIV and hepatitis C, while research suggested those who visited the clinic were more likely to pursue detox programs.
But the program clashed with the then-federal Conservative government and their tough-on-crime approach. After losing a bid at the Supreme Court to close Insite, the Conservatives hit back withlegislation – described by one health authority as “unduly onerous”– aimed at muddying the process of opening safe injection sites.
Kanai First Nation, one of Canada’s largest, takes action to keepout drugs such as fentanyl as community grapples with overdoses: ‘This is about saving lives’
One of Canada’s largest First Nations communities has passed a bylaw forbidding non-members from entering the reserve without a permit, in hopes of gaining control overa street drug that has ravaged the community.
The past few years have seen fentanyl – an opioid 50 times stronger than heroin – tighten its grip on the reserve, said Rick Tailfeathers, a spokesperson for the Kainai First Nation located in southern Alberta. “We’ve lost a lot of people in the past two years. And it’s totally preventable.”
Home to some 13,000 people, the First Nation declared a state of emergency in March 2015. Distraught leaders said 20 people had died and another 60 overdoses had been treated in the six months prior.
Police on the reserve sprung into action, launching a tip line to report traffickers and forming a special unit aimed at curbing the sale of the pills. Two years later, the drug continues its hold on some in the community, said Tailfeathers. “It’sall over Vancouver, Alberta, but somehow it got to our reserve first.”
In April of 2016 – one year after fentanyl-linked drugs began to take a deadly toll on the Kainai First Nation – the province of British Colombia echoed the First Nation’s concern, declaring the opioid crisis to be a public health emergency. Across the province, the number of overdoses had soared from 80 in 1990 to 922 in2016.
'Having a strong economy does not guarantee good healthcare'
Americans are dying at a shockingly high rate from preventable causes, found a first-of-its-kind global health study published late Thursday.
The new research demonstrates that despite the fact that the U.S. has the largesteconomy in the world, healthcare for many of its residents is woefully inadequate. The U.S. was tied with Estonia and Montenegro, far below other wealthy nations such as Norway, Canada, and Australia, in the study's ranking of 195 countries.
"America's ranking is an embarrassment, especially considering the U.S. spends more than $9,000 per person on healthcare annually, more than any other country," said Dr. Christopher Murray, senior author of the study and director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. "Anyone with a stake in the current healthcare debate, including elected officials at the federal, state, and local levels, should take a look at where the U.S. is falling short."
Progressives have long pointed out that the U.S. is one of the only wealthy nationsnot to provide some form of government-mandated healthcare, exacerbating inequality in health care outcomes.
The study published in the Lancet created a Healthcare Access and Quality(HAQ) Index, "a summary measure based on 32 causes, that in the presence of high-quality healthcare, should not result in death," the researchers wrote.
"Using deaths that could be avoided as a measure of the quality of a health system is not new but what makes this study so important is its scope, drawing on the vast dataresources assembled by the Global Burden of Disease team to go beyond earlier work in rich countries to cover the entire world in great detail, as well as the development of ameans to assess what a country should be able to achieve," said Professor Martin McKee ofthe London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, who participated in the study.
Energy Transfer Partners’ Rover Pipeline construction spill mucks up Ohio wetlands
Ohioans are experiencing a little taste of Standing Rock, right at home. Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the Texas company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) project in North Dakota, has spilled about two million of gallons of drilling materials in two separate accidents into two of Ohio’s few remaining wetlands in a rush to complete its Rover natural gas pipeline.
The accidents occurred on April 13 and 14 as workers employed the same drilling technique used to bore beneath the Missouri River to place pipeline for the DAPL. According to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the spill covered about 500,000square feet and was caused by pressure during drilling. Incidents such as these are whatfuel pipeline resistance, as environmentalists and tribal members pointed out.
“Energy Transfer Partners has dumped millions of gallons of amilkshake-like substance into pristine wetlands,” said Jenn Miller, director of the Sierra Club of Ohio. “This will have massive impacts on the plant, fish and amphibian species there.”
One-third of Ohio’s endangered species rely on wetlands for habitat and survival, Miller said.
No seeds were lost but the ability of the rock vault to provide fail safe protection against all disasters is now threatened by climate change
....It was designed as an impregnable deep-freeze to protect the world’s mostprecious seeds from any global disaster and ensure humanity’s food supply forever. But the Global Seed Vault, buried in a mountain deep inside the Arctic circle, has been breached after global warming produced extraordinary temperatures over the winter,sending meltwater gushing into the entrance tunnel.
The vault is on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen and contains almost a millionpackets of seeds, each a variety of an important food crop. When it was opened in 2008,the deep permafrost through which the vault was sunk was expected to provide“failsafe”protection against “the challenge of natural or man-made disasters”.
But soaring temperatures in the Arctic at the end of the world’s hottest ever recorded year led to melting and heavy rain, when light snow should have been falling. “It was not in our plans to think that the permafrost would not be there and that it would experience extreme weather like that,” said Hege Njaa Aschim, from the Norwegian government, which owns the vault.
China has for the first time extracted gas from an ice-like substanceunder the South China Sea considered key to future global energy supply.
Chinese authorities have described the success as a major breakthrough.
Methane hydrates, also called "flammable ice", hold vast reserves of natural gas.
Many countries including the US and Japan are working on how to tap those reserves, but mining and extracting are extremely difficult.
Ships belch out most of their sulphurous toxins far from land, but they could still be responsible for 60,000 deaths each year
Recent innovations in hydrogen generation, storage, transport and usecould transform it into the ultimate source of clean energy
....Researchers, Eicke Latz at the University of Bonn and colleagues, followed up onthe parents’ hypothesis and found that in mice, cyclodextrin indeed blocked plaque formation, melted away plaques that had already formed in arteries, reduced atherosclerosis-associated inflammation, and revved up cholesterol metabolism—even in rodents fed cholesterol-rich diets.
Though it won't 'cure' Alzheimer's, tests show compound, similar to that found in energy drinks, clears amyloid beta plaques, whichbuild up in the brain in early stages of Alzheimer’s
Green buildings and better infrastructure would notonly spur economic growth but also cut carbon emissions equal to India’s annualoutput
A growing body of evidence suggests pollution can do a number on thebrain. The July/AugustMother Jones cover story chronicled the research connectingneurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's to the dirtyair we breathe; studies have found that pollution may also age the brain prematurely. And according to new research from the University of Texas-El Paso, pollution's damage to the brain may start even sooner than was previously thought: Fourth and fifth graders exposed toexhaust emissions, researchers found, don't do as well in school as their peers whobreathe cleaner air.
Though Canada's system is the second most expensive in the world percapita, it would save America $1.3 Trillion/yr and cover everyone
Lesley Stahl discovers the shock and anxiety of a cancer diagnosis can be followed by a second jolt: the astronomical price of cancer drugs[All the other OECD countries negotiate much lower drug &medical procedure costs]
Unprofessional journalists are 'roasted'.
Millions of people stand to lose Medicaid access, alongside cuts to welfare and food stamps, under a proposed budget that still has numerous hurdles to jump
The president’s proposed budget, to be released Tuesday, is a wish list to fund the Trump agenda. Photograph: Pool/Getty Images
EPA plan to focus on hazardous areas that pollute air and water, often near low-income communities and minorities, was dashed by president’s budget proposal
Trump’s budget proposal would reduce funding for clean-ups by nearly a third, while the budget for enforcing Superfund remedies with businesses would be slashed by almost 40%. Photograph: Robert F. Bukaty/AP
Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt’s vow to shift the agency back towards the “vital” work of dealing with toxic sites that pollute air and water has been dashed by a White House budget plan that would slash funding for the clean-ups.
Donald Trump’s 2018 budget plan proposes severe cuts to clean-up programs targeting some of the most toxic sites in the US, which are invariably situated near low-income communities and minorities, despite a push by the EPA to prioritize these hazardous areas.
This month, Pruitt issued a directive that instructed the agency to quicken its response to polluted areas known as Superfund sites, where industrial activity or toxic accidents have tainted the air, water or soils.
In an internal memo, Pruitt said he will take oversight of Superfund remedial efforts, promising that the clean-ups will be “restored to their rightful place at the center of the agency’s core mission”. There are more than 1,700 Superfund sites such as shuttered factories, quarries and landfills in the US, with a disproportionate number situated beside communities of color.
But Trump’s budget proposal, set to be fully unveiled on Tuesday, would reduce funding for those clean-ups by nearly a third, while the budget for enforcing Superfund remedies with businesses would be slashed by almost 40%. The EPA budget documents were obtained and released by the National Association of Clean Air Agencies.
The Military Pumps Out Staggering Quantities of Toxic Waste, Water and Air Pollution and Radiation
The Washington Post noted Monday, the U.S. military is the single largest consumer of fuel in the world and the third largest polluter of U.S. waterways.
We use a highly-polluting form of nuclear power so the U.S. military can make bombs. U.S. military considerations also drive nuclear policy in Japan (that didn’t turn out very well) and other countries.
The government has been covering up nuclear accidents for more than 50 years.
Above-ground nuclear tests – which caused numerous cancers to the “downwinders” – were covered up by the American government for decades. See this, this, this, this, this and this.
At least 33,480 U.S. nuclear weapons workers who have received compensation for health damage are now dead.
And the country’s main storage site for nuclear waste from military production may be in real trouble.
The Pentagon is also one of the largest greenhouse gas emitters in the world ... and yet has a blanket exemption from all greenhouse gas treaties.
The defense department also uses open-air burn pits which send a parade of horribles into the air.
Sealife is not exempt. Military sonar kills whales and dolphins.
And the military has long been a flagrant user of chemical weapons and depleted uranium ... which can trash ecosystems and human health.
Rally for Rob Quist turns into Sanders campaign revival as national party eyes race for congressional seat amid narrowing of Republican Greg Gianforte’s lead
Democratic congressional candidate Rob Quist and Bernie Sanders greet supporters in Butte, Montana. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Rob Quist, the Democratic candidate in the special election in Montana, is passionate about public lands and protecting the Affordable Care Act. But when it comes to the Republican president whose national approval rating is under 40%, he doesn’t have anything to say.
At a raucous Sunday morning rally at Montana State University, both the special guest, Bernie Sanders, and Quist, a folk singer turned first-time candidate in the race to fill the House of Representatives seat left open by interior secretary Ryan Zinke, avoided mention of Donald Trump. Only once, in passing, was the president named, as Sanders made a simple attack on the Republican party.
It was a calculated effort in a state that has a Democratic governor and a Democratic senator but that Trump won by more than 20 points in November.
Polling in the race gives the advantage to Republican Greg Gianforte, who has recently hitched his wagon to Trump, although his lead has narrowed in recent weeks.
Experts say the ‘alt-right’ have stormed mainstream consciousness by using ‘humor’ and ambiguity as tactics to wrong-foot their opponents
Pepe, a symbol used by the ‘alt right’, in character as Donald Trump. Photograph: Twitter
Earlier this month, hundreds of “alt-right” protesters occupied the rotunda at Boston Common in the name of free speech. The protest included far-right grouplets old and new – from the Oath Keepers to the Proud Boys. But there were no swastikas or shaved heads in sight.
Instead, the protest imagery was dominated by ostensibly comedic images, mostly cribbed from forums and social media. It looked a little like an animated version of a favorite “alt-right” message board, 4chan.
At least one attendee was dressed as the cartoon frog, Pepe (a character co-opted by the movement against the wishes of its creator). Others carried the flag of “Kekistan”, the imaginary country created 4chan members. Kyle Chapman, the man who became the “based stick man” meme after attacking anti-fascists armed with a gas mask and a Captain America shield, also addressed the crowd. The same crowd later confronted a counter anti-fascist protest in the street.
Until recently, it would have been hard to imagine the combination of street violence meeting internet memes. But experts say that the “alt-right” have stormed mainstream consciousness by weaponizing irony, and by using humour and ambiguity as tactics to wrong-foot their opponents.
Last week, the Data & Society Institute released a report on the online disinformation and manipulation that is increasingly shaping US politics. The report focused on the way in which far-right actors “spread white supremacist thought, Islamophobia, and misogyny through irony and knowledge of internet culture”.
One the report’s authors, Dr Alice Marwick, says that fascist tropes first merged with irony in the murkier corners of the internet before being adopted by the “alt-right” as a tool. For the new far-right movement, “irony has a strategic function. It allows people to disclaim a real commitment to far-right ideas while still espousing them.”
Marwick says that from the early 2000s, on message boards like 4chan, calculatedly offensive language and imagery have been used to “provoke strong reactions in outsiders”. Calling all users “fags”, or creating memes using gross racial stereotypes, “serves a gate-keeping function, in that it keeps people out of these spaces, many of which are very easy to access”.
Leaked documents show site struggles with with mammoth task of policing content ranging from nudity to sex abuse
Facebook had to assess nearly 54,000 potential cases of revenge pornography and “sextortion” on the site in a single month, according to a leaked document.
Figures shared with staff reveal that in January Facebook had to disable more than 14,000 accounts related to these types of sexual abuse – and 33 of the cases reviewed involved children.
The company relies on users to report most abusive content, meaning the real scale of the problem could be much greater.
But the Guardian has been told that moderators find Facebook’s policies on sexual content the hardest to follow. “Sexual policy is the one where moderators make most mistakes,” said a source. “It is very complex.”
Facebook admitted this was a high priority area and that it was using “image-matching” software to stop explicit content getting on to the site. It also acknowledged it was difficult to draw a line between acceptable and unacceptable sexual content.
....the Facebook Files set out various issues facing the service when it comes to sexual content.
They explain that the social media site allows “moderate displays of sexuality, open-mouthed kissing, clothed simulated sex and pixelated sexual activity” involving adults. The documents and flowcharts then set out what is permitted on Facebook in detailed sub-categories called “arousal”, “handy-work”, “mouth work”, “penetration”, “fetish” and “groping”.
The use of sexualised language is also addressed. Facebook decides whether to allow or ban remarks based on the level of detail they contain.
One Facebook document, titled Sexual Activity, explains it is permitted for someone to say: “I’m gonna fuck you.” But if the post adds any extra detail – for instance, where this might happen or how – it should be deleted if reported.
According to this 65-slide manual, other general phrases allowed on Facebook include: “I’m gonna eat that pussy”; and “Hello ladies, wanna suck my cock?”
Greater Manchester police have confirmed children among the victims of the attack carried out by a man with an explosive device
At least 22 people, including children, have been killed and 59 injured in a suicide bombing at a crowded pop concert in Manchester, the most deadly attack in Britain in a decade.
The horror unfolded at about 10.30pm on Monday at the end of a concert by the American singer Ariana Grande, whose music is popular with children and teenagers.
The attack, which took place in the foyer area of the arena, left hundreds of people fleeing in terror, with young people at the concert separated from their parents in the chaos. It left carnage inside the concert venue, with medics describing treating wounds consistent with shrapnel injury.
Britain’s prime minister, Theresa May, said: “We are working to establish the full details of what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack. All our thoughts are with the victims and the families of those who have been affected.”
The attack came less than three weeks before Britain’s general election on 8 June . In response, all parties have suspended campaigning. Flags outside Downing Street flew at half mast.
The PM chaired an emergency meeting of the government’s crisis committee, Cobra, on Tuesday morning.
....Mohammed, an Egyptian journalist, [hereafter referred to as first-name only] is an emblematic case. Historically, he was a moderate practising Muslim. Though he prayed five times a day, he never asked any of his colleagues to join him in prayer or insist that women wear a headscarf.
In January 2011, like thousands of people in downtown Cairo, he participated in the Tahrir Square uprising against then-president Hosni Mubarak, who had ruled Egypt since 1981. The transitional period that followed Mubarak’s ouster was frustrating, but Mohammed never sanctioned the use of violence to achieve political goals.
Even after the military intervention against president Mohamed Morsi, who was elected in July 2013 as the the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, Mohammed maintained his non-violent approach.
The coup was a setback, he reasoned, and he opposed it. But democratic transition was still his goal.
Mohammed’s discourse shifted after he was injured while covering a Muslim Brotherhood protest of the military intervention in October 2013. He had always wanted to change society. But the violence he experienced on the streets and his time in the hospital led Mohammed to rethink how to do it.
He began to speak about the duty of every human being to face oppression, including with force, and reading Salafi jihadist literature. Several weeks later, he travelled to Syria to join an Islamic fundamentalist group. In July 2014, within months of getting to Syria, he was killed in combat.
Mohammed’s story is typical. The specific paths of other Egyptian jihadists may have been different but the common factor most share is that they went looking for jihadi ideas to bolster their violent aims, and not the other way around.
....Young people such as Mohammed who wish to join the jihadi movement will never consult al-Azhar scholars because they consider them a mouthpiece of the regime. Whether moderate or conservative, al-Azhar’s discourse falls on many deaf ears.
Our study shows that these two venues – private classes and the internet – are where the majority of angry youth find Salafi jihadist ideas. Prison offers a third pathway, when non-violent activists jailed for a Facebook post, for instance, are put in the same cell as hardened extremists.
With no other religious forces to counterbalance it, this parallel – often online – religious network is a breeding ground for radicals. Even the Muslim Brotherhood, which in the 1980s and 1990s resisted jihadi ideas, is now seeing members who’ve lost hope in peaceful political change attracted to Salafi extremism.
Afghan parents in desperate poverty often rely on sending children to work, but a school run on donations offers young people an alternative to a life of toil
In a large house in southern Kabul, Abdul Baqi Samandar has built simple classrooms and workshops for street children. Photograph: Sune Engel Rasmussen for the Guardian
Kabul, one of the world’s fastest growing cities, is in the throes of a rapacious urbanisation. The majority of residents live in slum-like squalor. For the parents of Omid and Haroon – as for thousands of others in the Afghan capital – relying on their children was a means to cope with poverty.
Unlike many of their peers in the streets, however, Omid and Haroon have been given a second chance at childhood. At a large house in the south of the city, they now study during the day with dozens of other children, practising martial arts and learning life skills such as cooking and wood carving in several classrooms and workshops.
In one room, a row of girls sit at wooden looms, weaving rugs. The sound of girls practising the alphabet emanates from the room next door. In the underground gym, boys and girls do martial arts together. Every day about 150 children come to the school, says founder Abdul Baqi Samandar, who employs 25 teachers.
It might not sound like a hard sell, but Samandar says he often finds it difficult to convince parents to let him give their children free food and schooling to keep them off the street.
“I tell them, ‘Your kid has the right to study. Why must your kid stay in the street for one piece of bread?’” Samandar says.
Samandar says he receives no funding from the government or foreign NGOs. Instead, his school runs on donations from friends abroad – he lived for many years in Germany – and from local patrons, such as print shops, which donate discarded paper.
Iran's president fires back at Trump's funding 'terrorists' accusation, saying Americans don't know the region.
President Hassan Rouhani attends a news conference in Tehran on Monday [TIMA via Reuters]
Government reforms do not reach children worst affected by conflict and poverty, says Unicef report, calling for an end to blocks on aid deliveries
Unicef urges the Myanmar government to help the country’s 2.2 million children affected by violence and conflict. Photograph: Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters
Despite reform and reconciliation efforts undertaken by the one-year-old government headed by Aung San Suu Kyi, children affected by widespread fighting and poverty are not reaping the benefits, Unicef added.
“This alert is an opportunity to make more visible the situation of children who are not benefiting fully from the ongoing reforms in the country,” said Bertrand Bainvel, Unicef’s representative to Myanmar.
There are disparities across the country, especially for families stuck in war zones and unable to reach health centres, said Bainvel, adding that untreated diseases among newborns, such as pneumonia, are among the big killers.
The child mortality rate is estimated at about 50 per 1,000 live births in Myanmar, Bainvel said. In the UK, the rate is four per 1,000.
Many of us know we need to rethink economics, but Kate Raworth actually did it. Envisioning the economy as a doughnut, two boundaries become clear. If we fall into the doughnut’s middle hole, human needs fail to be met. If we drop off of the outer edge, life is unsustainable.
You should be weary of people who seek to get the “first lick” on a young impressionable brain. Paul Samuelson knew that by writing a successful economics textbook, he could influence how students frame the economy, and thus the world. From the 50’s to the 70’s, his textbook was the most widely used in introductory economics courses. Today, that role has been given to Gregory Mankiw’s “Macroeconomics” (see the Open Syllabus Project). Both view the economy in the same narrow way, with the same simple pictures that don’t seem useful today. Raworth’s Doughnut Economics breaches the pattern and envisions a new economics, for a new generation with clearly defined challenges and scant tools to solve them.
For so many years, the principle goal of economics, and thus the economy, has been GDP growth. Growth for whom or through what means wasn’t nearly as important as just ensuring there was in fact growth. Raworth emphasizes the importance of framing, and if you ask an economist what picture they foresee for GDP, they often describe an upward exponential function.
Thankfully, many young students that I’ve met recognize that infinite growth is unsustainable. Hopefully, their generation can popularize a GDP graph in the shape of a sideways S, respecting the upper bound to growth we have to live within. Enter Raworth’s doughnut. In Raworth’s framework, the outside of the doughnut reflects an upper bound we can not pass based on environmental limits of our planet. The inside of the doughnut reflects a social foundation we can not let crack, the necessities for humanity to thrive.
The goal should no longer be just growth, but ensuring we take care of our social foundation and respecting our environmental ceiling. Raworth calls this balanced space in the middle the safe and just space for humanity, and that’s the goal we should direct ourselves toward. We can not ignore who growth is leaving behind, or what damage this growth is doing to our planet. These bounds are the crucial factor for Kate’s “doughnut.” They can move us beyond a narrow single measure called GDP, to looking at all the interconnected measures that are so important for our livelihood.
More than one in three Indiana households cannot afford the basics of housing, food, health care and transportation, despite working 40 or more hours a week.
Poverty is such a challenge; a citizen working two or three jobs just to put food on the table doesn’t have much time or energy left over for civic engagement and the exercise of the franchise. In my state of Indiana, and an increasing number of other states, that’s a lot of people.
In 2014, the United Ways of Indiana took a hard look at “ALICE” families. ALICE is an acronym—the letters stand for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. ALICE families are households with income above the federal poverty level, but below what it actually costs to live.
The report was eye-opening.
- More than one in three Hoosier households cannot afford the basics of housing, food, health care and transportation, despite working 40 or more hours a week.
- In Indiana, 37% of households live below the Alice threshold, with some 14% below the poverty level and another 23% above poverty but below the cost of living.
- These families and individuals have jobs, and most do not qualify for social services or support.
While we're mesmerized by Trump, shady groups are pushing corporate-friendly legislation in statehouses all over the country.
It’s easy to become mesmerized by The Donald Show in this year’s political circus.
But a lot of the real action is in the outer rings, where the Koch brothers, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and their corporate cohorts have laid siege to our state governments.
It’s no coincidence that such a large flock of corporatists and right-wing ideologues now roost in state offices, nor that they keep pushing exactly the same anti-people rhetoric and tactics. Nor is their lockstep embrace of identical corporation-enthroning proposals the result of small minds thinking alike.
More than a firefight here or an ambush there, the Koch-ALEC cabal have launched a massive, coordinated maneuver to conquer the countryside.
If you doubt that the strategy has gone local, consider this fact: Even though the Kochs didn’t back a presidential campaign last year — they said they were concentrating on only half a dozen Senate races — they deployed 1,600 paid political staffers into 38 states to drive elections and policy campaigns.
We have to confront and defeat the Kochheads in our states.
This is why we must pay attention: Donald Trump isn’t the only — or even the biggest — danger to our democratic republic. As Arn Pearson, general counsel of Center for Media Democracy, warns: “There are a lot of different parts of the Koch machine pulling on this oar. From their think tanks up through their elected officials, they’re pushing on it. Hard.”
You might think this is madness, but madness — spurred by plutocratic greed — is the new American political reality. Just being progressive won’t stop it. We have to confront and defeat the Kochheads in our states.
Rolling back the effects of the continuing decades-long attack on America’s ideal of the common good will take some work. To get started, check out Center for Media Democracy at www.prwatch.org/cmd.
State Democrats’ three-day convention had a raucous start Friday, as liberal activists booed and heckled Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez after marching from the state Capitol to promote a universal heath care program.
The leader of the nurses’ union that opposed Perez’s recent election hadjust warned California Democrats that they would put up primary election challengers against lawmakers if they don’t support a bill to create public-funded, universal healthcare.
“They cannot be in denial anymore that this is a movement that can primary them,” RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of the California Nurses Association, told hundreds of nurses and health care advocates gathered for a rally at the Capitol.
“Vote them out,” the crowd chanted back, referring to Democrats in theLegislature wavering on whether to support their cause.
....The showdown over health care exposed deep rifts within the party that may havescabbed over, but have not healed, since last year’s primary fight between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, a favorite of the nurses union, which also backed Perez’s opponent in the chair’s race, Rep. Keith Ellison.
Sanders has called for a national single-payer system, and earlier this month called on Californians to adopt the model at a speech in Los Angeles.
DeMoro argued the Republican health care bill that passed the House has generated anger and fear among people from across the political spectrum, and many have turned their attention to the issue of health care because they fear losing coverage. Law makers have expressed skepticism over its projected steep cost.
“There’s been a seismic shift because of Donald Trump,” she said in an interview.
El Cenizo is battling a ‘show me your papers’ law that banssanctuary cities and empowers police officers to ask the immigration status of anyonethey detain
When Texas passed a law this month banning so-called sanctuary cities and empowering police officers to ask the immigration status of anyone they detain, protests rippled throughthe state’s major cities. Politicians and activists vowed legal action.
The first place to sue was not liberal Austin, the hub of the fightback, but tiny ElCenizo, a city of 3,800 that nestles along a bend in the Rio Grande and faces Mexico tothe north, west and south.
Here, where 99% of residents are Hispanic and 15% to 20% are undocumented, a“safe haven” ordinance has been in place since 1999, forbidding local authorities from making immigration inquiries. When the new state law goes into effect in September, the failure of Texas officials to cooperate with immigration authorities will become a criminal offence also punishable byfines.
The lawsuit argues that the Texas bill, known as SB4, unconstitutionally inserts the state into the federal government’s job of immigration enforcement. SB4 is the mosthard-line immigration law passed by a state since Arizona introduced SB 1070, a ruledubbed “show me your papers” by detractors that has largely been neutered bylitigation from civil rights groups.
While the Republican governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, claims SB4 promotes law and orderand keeping dangerous criminals off the streets, it was opposed by sheriffs and police chiefs in the state’s major cities, who worry that it will erode community trustand discourage the reporting of crimes. Critics of the law also worry that giving individual officers the option to pose immigration questions invites racial profiling and will turn routine traffic stops into preludes to deportation.
El Cenizo is now back in the national news, 18 years after a flurry of attention when it decided to make life easier for most of its residents by holding city meetings inSpanish, generating criticism from conservative groups who felt that not using English was unAmerican.
The timing is unfortunate for the 33-year-old mayor, Raul Reyes. In the week of 8 May,when the suit was filed, he was studying for his finals for a master’s degree in public administration. He also runs two businesses; being mayor pays only $100 a month.
Leaked policies guiding moderators on what content to allow are likely to fuel debate about social media giant’s ethics
Facebook’s secret rules and guidelines for deciding what its 2 billion users can post on the site are revealed for the first time in a Guardian investigation that will fuel the global debate about the role and ethics of the social media giant.
The Guardian has seen more than 100 internal training manuals, spreadsheets and flowcharts that give unprecedented insight into the blueprints Facebook has used to moderate issues such as violence, hate speech, terrorism, pornography, racism and self-harm.
There are even guidelines on match-fixing and cannibalism.
The Facebook Files give the first view of the codes and rules formulated by the site, which is under huge political pressure in Europe and the US.
They illustrate difficulties faced by executives scrabbling to react to new challenges such as “revenge porn” – and the challenges for moderators, who say they are overwhelmed by the volume of work, which means they often have “just 10 seconds” to make a decision.
“Facebook cannot keep control of its content,” said one source. “It has grown too big, too quickly.”
Many moderators are said to have concerns about the inconsistency and peculiar nature of some of the policies. Those on sexual content, for example, are said to be the most complex and confusing.
....A report by British MPs published on 1 May said “the biggest and richest social media companies are shamefully far from taking sufficient action to tackle illegal or dangerous content, to implement proper community standards or to keep their users safe”.
Sarah T Roberts, an expert on content moderation, said: “It’s one thing when you’re a small online community with a group of people who share principles and values, but when you have a large percentage of the world’s population and say ‘share yourself’, you are going to be in quite a muddle.
“Then when you monetise that practice you are entering a disaster situation.”
Zakir Musa, a highly influential commander, distances himself from 70-year-old separatist movement and aligns himself with ideals of al-Qaida
Norwegian Refugee Council report reveals extent of the hidden crisis that forced 31 million people – one every second – to flee within their countries last year
Country has seen nearly a million incomers from South Sudan alone
The Saudis will be appalled that a (comparatively) reasonable Iranianhas won a (comparatively) free election that almost none of the 50 dictators gathering to meet Trump in Riyadh would ever dare to hold
The Italian is one of the finest chefs in the world. But his greatest achievement is Food for Soul, his project to feed the poor and cut food waste, now about to open in London
Exclusive: Medicare levy increase, freezing of family tax benefits and student loan repayments ‘particularly harsh for women’
Ageing population, labour shortages and low productivity mean UK needsnet inward migration of 200,000 a year, says think tank
Britain’s food production depends on seasonal migrant labour fromthe EU. What will happen to those workers after Brexit? And how will it change the industry?
Venezuelans take to the streets, furious about shortages, rocketing inflation and human rights crackdowns, demanding President Maduro hold elections
How can we best avoid dangers of “bad change of government results” from coup d'état, wars, economic crises, elections, etc.: do away with physical nation-states.
Virtual Nations might best be visualized by imagining different colored spice sprinkled upon the earth, the color of each tiny dot representing a person/family designating which virtual nation they are contracting with for administration of citizen services this year. If one switches virtual nation, his/her escrow for Social Security and Medicare must be transfered to their new virtual nation. This obviates the need for national-level politics.
Student loan defaults are a bonanza for the debt collection industry.
The federal government has, in recent years, paid debt collectors close to $1 billion annually to help distressed borrowers climb out of default and scrounge up regular monthly payments. New government figures suggest much of that money may have been wasted.
Nearly half of defaulted student-loan borrowers who worked with debt collectors to return to good standing on their loans defaulted again within three years, according to an analysis by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. For their work, debt collectors receive up to $1,710 in payment from the U.S. Department of Education each time a borrower makes good on soured debt through a process known as rehabilitation. They keep those funds even if borrowers subsequently default again, contracts show. The department has earmarked more than $4.2 billion for payments to its debt collectors since the start of the 2013 fiscal year, federal spending data show.
The Mediterranean republic of Malta operates a tax system where companies pay the lowest tax on profits in the EU - only five per cent.
Over the last three months, journalistic network European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) dug into over 150,000 documents that show how international companies take advantage of this system, using Malta as a pirate base for tax avoidance in the EU.
Although benefiting from the advantages of EU membership, Malta also welcomes large companies and wealthy private clients looking to dodge taxes in their home countries.
This has made Malta a target for firms linked to the Italian mafia, Russian loansharks and the highest echelons of the Turkish elite.
This damages the budgets of other EU countries, and reveals a weakness in the union, which allows member states sovereign rights over their taxation.
The research was undertaken by the EIC, which has brought together 12 media and over 40 journalists in 16 countries.
This is how the scheme works:...
How to Hide$400 Million [("Ideal," thinks Trump.) Tax-shelters have evolved into a distributed, international system of deregulation loopholes enabling vast worldwide corruption]
When a wealthy businessman set out to divorce his wife, their fortune vanished. The quest to find it would reveal the depths of an offshore financial system bigger than the U.S. economy.
The Financial Times headline is uncharacteristically dramatic: America’s Middle Class Meltdown: core shrinks to half of US homes.
Robert Mueller, who was recently appointed as a special counsel to investigate Russian interference in the Presidential election, has the authority to clear up the picture. Mueller was given an expansive brief to investigate any links between “anyone associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump” and the Russian government as well as, basically, anything fishy he might turn up along the way. It seems reasonable to expect that the investigation will take a careful look at Trump’s business history. During the campaign and over the several years before it, Trump had businessdeals with several figures who are close to the Kremlin. To discover if there was collusion in 2015 and 2016, an investigator would surely want to better understand these earlier business relationships.
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