Last updated: Wednesday, January 23, 2019, 4:17 PM
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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 $1.6 Trillion/yr on bloated total health care spending compared with the 2016 OECD per capita average of 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"
2016 US total per capita health care spending was $9892 – $5292 more per person than in France
Human activity has created a new era yet climate change can be stopped, says naturalist

....Speaking at the start of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, the 92-year-old naturalist and broadcaster warned that human activity has taken the world into a new era, threatening to undermine civilisation.

“I am quite literally from another age,” Attenborough told an audience of business leaders, politicians and other delegates. “I was born during the Holocene – the 12,000 [year] period of climatic stability that allowed humans to settle, farm, and create civilisations.” That led to trade in ideas and goods, and made us the “globally connected species we are today”.

That stability allowed businesses to grow, nations to co-operate and people to share ideas, Attenborough explained, before warning sombrely: “In the space of my lifetime, all that has changed....

Graeme Wearden | The Guardian
The pace of ice loss has increased four-fold since 2003 as enormous glaciers are depositing ever larger chunks of ice into the Atlantic ocean, where it melts, causing sea levels to rise

....“We knew we had one big problem with increasing rates of ice discharge by some large outlet glaciers,” said Michael Bevis, lead author of the paper and a professor of geodynamics at Ohio State University. “But now we recognize a second serious problem: increasingly, large amounts of ice mass are going to leave as meltwater, as rivers that flow into the sea.”

The research provides fresh evidence of the dangers posed to vulnerable coastal places as diverse as Miami, Shanghai, Bangladesh and various Pacific islands as climate change shrinks the world’s land-based ice.

“The only thing we can do is adapt and mitigate further global warming – it’s too late for there to be no effect,” Bevis said. “This is going to cause additional sea level rise. We are watching the ice sheet hit a tipping point.

“We’re going to see faster and faster sea level rise for the foreseeable future. Once you hit that tipping point, the only question is: How severe does it get?”...

Oliver Milman | The Guardian
A tech revolution – and an abundance of wind and waves – mean that the people of Orkney now produce more electricity than they can use
Robin McKie | The Guardian
"This protest shows that the desire for a different agricultural policy is now undeniable."
Andrea Germanos, staff writer | Common Dreams
Health care creates a tenth of US greenhouse gas emissions.
Julia Belluz and Umair Irfan | Vox
Many Americans would welcome some traits of the island’s free, universal health care system.
Nicholas Kristof | New York Times
Could a Green New Deal Save Civilization? [Intelligent government is desperately needed]
To fully and systematically address the climate/energy crisis, the plan will have to be far broader in scope than what is currently being proposed. And while we need to mobilize society as a whole with a World War II-level of effort, the reality is that there's never been a challenge like this before
Richard Heinberg | Common Dreams
"Sleepwalking? Nah," remarked Naomi Klein, decrying the "Davos Class" policies of global deregulation, privatization, unending consumption, and growth-worship. "Pretty sure your eyes were wide open."
Jessica Corbett, staff writer | Common Dreams
"Just a reminder that behind each day's controversies, the biggest story is constantly playing out."
Julia Conley, staff writer | Common Dreams
‘Planetary health diet’ would prevent millions of deaths a year and avoid climate change
Damian Carrington | The Guardian
Immediate fossil fuel phaseout could arrest climate change – study [Intelligent government is desperately needed]
Scientists say it may still technically be possible to limit warming to 1.5C if drastic action is taken now
Damian Carrington | The Guardian
Rising temperatures can be charted back to the late 1950s, and the last five years were the five hottest on record
John Abraham | The Guardian
Scientist Brad Lister returned to Puerto Rican rainforest after 35 years to find 98% of ground insects had vanished
Damian Carrington | The Guardian
Environmentalists attack rules that fail to ban funding oil projects linked to tar sands
Kalyeena Makortoff | The Guardian
A trend of planting wildflowers on solar sites could maintain habitat for disappearing bees and butterflies
Jodi Helmer | Scientific American
Tuna fishery gains first MSC gold standard after nation’s huge push to boost stocks, protect livelihoods and ban foreign vessels
Hannah Summers | The Guardian
There are still people talking up coal and talking down renewable energy but we have installed more solar panels and wind turbines than ever before
Nicky Ison | The Guardian
The variable nature of wind and solar power means storing energy is a huge part of the fight to mitigate climate change
Adam Vaughan and Samuel Gibbs | The Guardian
Former talk radio host Charlie Sykes on the crisis of conservative media.
Sean Illing | Vox
Bad journalists are howled at
BOB SOMERBY in The DailyHowler | EVERY DAY
The DeVos and the Defrauded [Corruption is now banal...]
The Education Department under Trump is making for-profit businesses happy
Christopher Brauchli | Common Dreams
When charter schools pull funding from a public school, it damages the school’s ability to educate the students who remain
Jeff Bryant | Common Dreams
Arts & Education Events:
In a viral video, teens appear to be shouting, “Build that wall, build that wall.”
Amanda Sakuma | Vox
"If giving water to someone dying of thirst is illegal, what humanity is left in the law of this country?"
Jessica Corbett, staff writer | Common Dreams
Low turnout in some demographics, says New York Democrat, is "not because communities are apathetic, it's because they don't see you fighting for them."
Jake Johnson, staff writer | Common Dreams
Jonathan Chait | NY Mag Intelligencer
Since taking office, Trump has made 7,645 ‘false or misleading claims’. In the month of October he said 1,200 things that were false or misleading, according to Fact Checker database
Adam Gabbatt | The Guardian
An eye-opening list of the shutdown's impacts
Sue Sturgis | Common Dreams
Martin Luther King was no prophet of unity. He was a radical [He was—and We must be—passionate and pro-active for improving moral conduct in society!]
King was a champion of the poor and oppressed. If we want to truly honor his legacy, we’ll struggle to finish his work
Bhaskar Sunkara | The Guardian
Who is more dangerous: El Chapo or Carlos Slim? [Like Drug Gangs, Mafias harm and kill the public too—but slowly and quietly like leeches]
While attention focuses on a mafia boss on trial in Brooklyn, the billionaire heads a power elite preserving inequality in Mexico

....López Obrador’s Morena party ... won control of both houses of the Mexican Congress and of many state governorships, giving him enormous power. Yet he faces tremendous opposition as well, especially from the political and economic elite, which he calls “la mafia del poder” – the power mafia – and whose grip, he believes, must be broken if the system is to be reformed.

While every lurid revelation of the Guzmán trial has been breathlessly noted, the power of this mafia has gone largely unremarked. The group is dominated by a dozen or so oligarchs and their families, who have a lock on such key economic sectors as telecommunications, media, mining and banking. Repeated forecasts of rapid development for Mexico have come to naught due to the suffocating hold that this small circle of super-connected individuals continues to have over its economy; by eliminating competition, they can keep prices high and profits surging.

At the center of the power elite is Carlos Slim. His estimated net worth of about $60bn places him seventh on Forbes’s international rich list

At the center of the power elite is Carlos Slim. His estimated net worth of about $60bn places him seventh on Forbes’s international rich list. This one man’s wealth is equivalent to more than 5% of Mexico’s GDP. The core of his empire is América Móvil, Latin America’s largest mobile phone company; its longtime domination of Mexico’s telecommunications industry has kept the nation’s phone rates among the highest in the world, costing the economy an estimated $25bn a year.

Slim also owns nearly 17% of the New York Times, making him its largest shareholder. Like other American news organizations, the Times rarely writes about him and the ways in which he and other Mexican oligarchs have used their power to stymie the tax policies, public investments and income transfers needed to enable more Mexicans to enjoy the type of comfortable middle-class life depicted in Roma, the recent acclaimed film set in Mexico City in the early 1970s.....

Michael Massing | The Guardian
Labor would allocate $1bn from Clean Energy Finance Corporation and invest up to $90m from Arena
Lisa Cox | The Guardian

Virtual Nations could replace nation-states, enabling everyone to be agents for a better world
Marc Cherbonnier | The Baltimore Chronicle | Ref.
"Merkley deserves a ton of credit for his leadership here. This is good, honest, careful work in response to cynicism, cruelty, and lies."
Jessica Corbett, staff writer | Common Dreams
When the president is proud to close government and proud to slash taxes for the rich, American workers get shafted
Robert Reich | The Guardian
With our political system in lockdown and our natural world under global threat, we need to look—as some have argued for decades—"beyond capitalism"

....Neoliberalism—whereby politicians first and foremost serve corporate interests (with crumbs hopefully “trickling down” to the masses)—went into high gear 40 years ago. It was called “Thatcherism” in the UK and “Reaganomics” in the US. And neoliberalism has been the driving economic ideology ever since, with wealth and income flowing unrelentingly upward even after “the opposition” took power. In the US, we had corporate-friendly “New Democrat” Bill Clinton (NAFTA, Wall Street deregulation, welfare “reform,” mass incarceration); in the UK, they had Tony Blair and “New Labour” (so pro-corporate that Rupert Murdoch endorsed him).

Unlike past governing crises, today’s are not mere factional fights among elites, with the masses watching from the sidelines. Nowadays, the governing factions have to answer to voting blocs that are increasingly angry, intransigent and demanding. All this makes gridlock even more stubborn.

Since naked service to corporate elites and “trickle-down” promises don’t sell anymore to an insecure middle class, right-wing leaders like Trump (and Europeans being cultivated by Steve Bannon) are now “populist” and “anti-elites”—openly tapping into racism while scapegoating immigrants for society’s problems. Instead of “the magic of the free market,” they sell the magic of steel slats....

Jeff Cohen | Common Dreams
Charity calls for 1% wealth tax, saying it would raise enough to educate every child not in school
Larry Elliott | The Guardian
Trump's economy is great for billionaires, not for working people [chock-full of pesky facts that government and media ignore and distort]
Instead of giving tax breaks to billionaires and large corporations, we must demand that they pay their fair share
Bernie Sanders | The Guardian

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