Last updated: Monday, November 19, 2018, 9:34 AM
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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
With wildfires, heat waves, and rising sea levels, large tracts of the earth are at risk of becoming uninhabitable. But the fossil-fuel industry continues its assault on the facts.
Bill McKibben | The New Yorker
Air pollution levels ‘forcing families to move out of cities’ [like from desertification, lack of drinkable water and rising oceans, there will also be pollution-caused immigration until humans fix things]
As diesel emission fears mount, a growing number of parents now consider clean air the main factor when choosing a school
Jamie Doward | The Guardian
Policies of China, Russia and Canada threaten 5C climate change, study finds [Climate catastrophe and widespread species extinction are increasingly likely without worldwide organization, funding and commitment to winning THE WAR AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING.]
Ranking of countries’ goals shows even EU on course for more than double safe level of warming
Jonathan Watts | The Guardian
How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]
After Sri Lanka passed bans on lethal varieties of pesticide, suicides fell by half.

About 800,000 people die by suicide every year, according to the World Health Organization, and at least 110,000 of them die by suicide using a means that American readers might find surprising: pesticide ingestion. ...

Dylan Matthews | Vox

....Scotland’s last coal-fired power station was destroyed in a controlled explosion last week.

JUAN COLE | Informed Comment
The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]
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. ...

George Monbiot | The Guardian
EPA to start writing rule requiring new trucks produce less nitrogen oxide, one of its first moves to regulate industry
Emily Holden | The Guardian
Fossil fuel companies including Chevron and ExxonMobil ‘knowingly caused harm’ by contributing to warming, group says
Erin McCormick | The Guardian
Decades after it became part of the fabric of our lives, a worldwide revolt against plastic is under way.
Stephen Buranyi | The Guardian
"Nancy Pelosi is bringing a squirt gun to a wildfire."

....As The Intercept reported:

Ocasio-Cortez's decision to join the protesters and march on her own House leader sets a tone of urgency and combativeness that is rare on Capitol Hill. Walking into the Cannon House Office Building, she told The Intercept something new had to be tried. "The way things are done has not been getting results. We have to try new methods," she said.

...."We don't need more investigation," declared the Justice Democrats. "We need specific plans matching the urgency and scale mandated by the U.N.'s IPCC report on catastrophic climate change."

"Nancy Pelosi is bringing a squirt gun to a wildfire," concluded the Sunrise Movement. The protest comes as firefighters are battling historic fires in California—the state Pelosi represents....

Jessica Corbett, staff writer | Common Dreams
At first I kept an open mind about Trump’s interior secretary. But it soon became clear he put the oil, gas and mining industry above our mission
Joel Clement | The Guardian
Australia singled out for possible hydrogen boom, but also forecast to increase coal production
Lisa Cox and Katharine Murphy | The Guardian
Forget ‘solutions’ such as smog towers, air-filtering buses and pollution-eating paints. We need to prevent the air pollution in the first place
Gary Fuller | The Guardian
Dr Leana Wen, who takes over as president of the US’s biggest reproductive healthcare institution this week, says she plans to expand services despite attacks
Jessica Glenza | The Guardian
Trump’s interior secretary has been remaking the agency charged with protecting public lands as an ally of big energy
Jimmy Tobias | The Guardian
Bad journalists are 'hounded'
BOB SOMERBY in The DailyHowler | EVERY DAY
Arts & Education Events:

"That is the boldness voters want," California congressman declared. "We need to shake up Congress & give the millennial generation a chance to lead. They have the most at stake re climate change."
Jon Queally, staff writer | Common Dreams
Trump says Pelosi deserves speakership, offers Republican votes [An affirmation of Pelosi's unsuitability]
Trump is wading into a speakership battle that is causing headaches for the Democratic Party
Rachel Withers | Vox
Chuck Schumer, Feckless Hack [Neoliberal Democrats must go!]
The man is incompetent, has abysmal politics, and as we were reminded in a huge New York Times investigation into Facebook, is extremely corrupt.
Ryan Cooper / The Week | Common Dreams
What the State of the VA Tells Us About Trump’s War on Welfare [Privatizing often results in outright fraud and higher costs by private prisons, privatized health insurance and health care, privatized public schools and online "colleges" like Trump University]
Sarah Jones | NY Mag. Intelligencer
"This is a very bad idea, House Democrats. It makes no sense whatsoever to give Republicans veto power over progressive legislation."
Jake Johnson, staff writer | Common Dreams
Most weeks, New York Magazine writer-at-large Frank Rich speaks with contributor Alex Carp about the biggest stories in politics and culture. Today, Trump’s tantrums, the Times’ revelations about Facebook, and the First Lady’s campaign to get a West Wing staffer fired.
Frank Rich | NY Mag. Intelligencer
A week after voters sent more than two dozen Medicare-for-All advocates to the House, second-ranking Democrat in the House has a less than inspiring plan
Julia Conley, staff writer | Common Dreams
The possibility that Brexit and the Trump campaign relied on some of the same advisers to further far-right nationalist campaigns has set off alarm bells on both sides of the Atlantic.
Jane Mayer | The New Yorker
President Macron and other member states fear Britain could gain advantage over them by undercutting EU environment laws
Daniel Boffey | The Guardian
Thousands gather to block London bridges in climate rebellion [We're losing WWIII because the enemy is invisible while we're like frogs slowly cooking. We aren't informed enough to be alarmed, but must get organized and motivated to fight back. We need a War Plan to ruthlessly pursue the fight of our lives!]
Protesters plan to close five main bridges across Thames over extinction crisis
Matthew Taylor and Damien Gayle | The Guardian
Michelle Kosinski | CNN
Washington Post says Mohammad bin Salman’s brother, the Saudi ambassador to the US, advised journalist to attend Istanbul consulate
Guardian staff and Reuters | The Guardian

Virtual Nations could replace nation-states, enabling everyone to be agents for a better world
Marc Cherbonnier | The Baltimore Chronicle | Ref.
The suffering grows and no end is in sight. This is turning out to be our crime too
Editorial | The Guardian
In 2017 the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America gave $2.5 million to America First Policies Inc. — a major dark money group supporting President Donald Trump’s political and economic agenda.

The major dark money group supporting President Donald Trump’s political and economic agenda raked in millions of dollars directly from the pharmaceutical industry’s main lobbying group — at the same time Trump backed off his position on a major drug issue and promoted a tax plan that was a windfall for the industry.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America gave $2.5 million to America First Policies in 2017, according to IRS documents. America First Policies was formed by former Trump advisers in 2017 and proudly touts itself as a pro-Trump organization. The PhRMA money represented more than 10 percent of America First Policies’ revenues in 2017, according to the group’s own IRS filings.

The IRS documents were obtained by MapLight, a nonpartisan group that tracks the influence of money in politics.

While campaigning for president, Trump pledged to take action to generally reduce drug prices and to allow Medicare to negotiate lower prices for prescription medications. He then appointed a former pharmaceutical executive to run the Department of Health and Human Services, and slammed the Medicare negotiation concept after a meeting with pharmaceutical executives.

“I’ll oppose anything that makes it harder for smaller, younger companies to take the risk of bringing their product to a vibrantly competitive market,” Trump said. “That includes price-fixing by the biggest dog in the market, Medicare.”

While Trump has moved to allow limited negotiation in some parts of Medicare, he has rejected the larger policy he campaigned on, leaving it out of his prescription drug proposal released earlier this year.

Trump also passed a tax cut that benefited the pharmaceutical industry, but that has not corresponded with a drop in prescription drug prices. America First Policies launched an ad campaign to promote those tax cuts, and spent the end of the 2018 campaign promoting them. PhRMA also gave $1.5 million to the American Action Network, which aired an ad campaign in support of the tax-cut legislation.

David Sirota | CAPITAL & MAIN
Amazon’s HQ2 Will Get a Tax Break Designed to Help the Poor [a Republican program that directly helps participating wealthy companies—but only helps workers if and when 'trickle-down' occurs.]
A provision in Trump’s tax cut means we’re all helping pay Jeff Bezos’s tab.
Nathan M. Jensen | Washington Monthly
Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it. [George W. Bush made a similar immoral decision for the same oily reasons after 9-11, protecting Saudi defense contracts while facilitating the slaughter of poorer Arab "terrorists" in the region.]
“This was both the least they could have done and the most we should have expected,” an expert said.
Alex Ward | Vox

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