BIGGEST PROBLEM: IT’S TIME TO SEE CLEARLY AND ACT, SO OUR CHILDREN WON'T SEE ALL BEAUTIFUL LIFE DIE. SOLUTION: Make greedy sociopaths HELP life on earth. Allow tax-free income (supplemented as morally necessary) and wealth up to reasonable levels, then tax excess @ up to a 90% tax-rate to fund life remediation.
Aggregated News & Analyses
Today’s posts in bigger type.
Prior 2-3 days in smaller 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 $1.8 Trillion per year on totalfor-profit health care spending compared with 2017 per capita average of comparable not for-profit 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"
....Halfway measures are politically attractive but economically unworkable. The $11,559 per capita that the United States spends on health care could provide high-quality care for all or it can continue to fund a vast health-managerial apparatus—it cannot do both.
Having a purposeful life protects against cognitive decline in older adults, and the associations varied by age and race/ethnicity, but not by sex. Potential ways to increase purpose in life are discussed in a clinical context.
GiyeonKimPh.D., HyunShin Ph.D., Monica A.Scicolone M.A. and PatriciaParmelee Ph.D | Science Direct
News Media Matters
PROBLEM: Pro-corporate reporting leads to cord-cutting.
The Trump/DeVos vision of American education? Unshackle the rich and let them turn a profit at the expense of working-class students
....When the rules go through, they will deliver on DeVos’ dream of deregulating higher education, increasingly leaving the system to private operators with little oversight. A billionaire who has championed publicly-funded, privately-run charter schools and vouchers that would starve public schools of funds so students can attend private or religious schools, DeVos is a natural fit for a president who disdains the public sector (unless it’s underwriting his family’s real estate empire). ...
....Climate change is our Yalta, a potential turning point in world history. A new American Century requires the administration to understand that the climate's challenges also present transforming opportunities.
First, the United States can aggressively strive to own the next generation in technology. For instance, Silicon Valley is witnessing breakthroughs in launching the next “green” revolution. A great example is Impossible Foods out of California which is developing plant-based meats that have the texture, taste and experience of real meat. Add dramatic changes in meat production with advances in the power, water and agriculture nexus, and we can envision a new eco-friendly agricultural revolution. Small-holder farmers with access to off-grid, renewable power, water desalination and treatment will have the resilience to better cope with climate stress. Finally, the United States could be the leader in new financial technologies that mitigate climate's impact — including through peer-to-peer currency exchange, new insurance instruments and climate impact bonds.
Second, the administration can consider the history of prior power competitions. Like the U.S.-USSR Cold War, or the 19th century's "Great Game" between the Russian and British empires in Central Asia, great powers consistently deployed economic, political and social capital abroad in concert with military strength. Today, our competitors are on the move while America is in retreat. China's "Belt and Road Initiative" is developing infrastructure in frontier markets with the aim of creating trade and connectivity favorable to Beijing; Russia has challenged or overtaken U.S. leadership in Syria, aiding dictator Bashar Al Assad and foreclosing U.S. interests in the heart of the Middle East. In Djibouti, America, China, Russia, France and the Gulf States are in a race for ports and military bases in the Horn of Africa. While the rest of the world is preparing for the next round of competition, the Trump administration is seeking to reduce its international aid and projecting near disdain for historic alliances and post-WW II multilateral institutions established in the U.S. image.
Third, the United States has other attractive tools that President Trump could use to blunt climate change. The administration is quick to impose tariffs — but it may make environmental and political sense to impose "green" tariffs on "dirty" producer nations, as a tax to access large, "clean" markets and protect possibly more-expensive clean manufacturing. Further, the United States is likely to remain attractive to global talent and capital; a merit-based immigration system could favor environmental science and technology talent. We should open our doors to leading thinkers, scientists, entrepreneurs and investors in new green markets....
Washington (CNN)Former late night host and 9/11 first responders advocate Jon Stewart said Sunday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has never been compassionate in his congressional dealings when it comes to passing health care packages for first responders.
"In terms of getting the 9/11 bills passed, Mitch McConnell has been the white whale of this since 2010," Stewart said on "Fox News Sunday." "This has never been dealt with compassionately by Sen. McConnell." Stewart appeared to reference the character Capt. Ahab's inability to capture the notoriously hard-to-catch albino whale in Herman Melville's novel "Moby Dick."
"He has always held out until the last minute, and only then after intense lobbying and public shaming has he even deigned to move on it," he said.
Greg O’Connell acquired his first Red Hook building in 1967 for $22,000.
A waterfront building stands on Van Brunt Street in Red Hook, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Photographer: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg
....O’Connell saw opportunity in the abandoned Civil War-era warehouses in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty and wasn’t intimidated by the lawlessness and drug use. He acquired properties for next to nothing—“Nobody wanted them,” he said—and now owns about 1.3 million square feet of buildings and another 385,000 square feet of undeveloped land in Brooklyn, mostly in Red Hook. O’Connell, 77, said he doesn’t track the value of his holdings, but Bloomberg estimates they’re worth at least $400 million.
His success in helping to revive one of New York’s grittiest neighborhoods has also created new challenges for the area, as well as for the one-time narcotics cop. While O’Connell attempts to balance the scales by subsidizing some rents, many residents are being priced out of an area that was briefly an affordable enclave in an increasingly expensive city....
A depressing picture of global power generation has coal still firmly on top. And in a vicious cycle, the very heatwaves and winter freezes high carbon emissions cause seem to be increasing them
The world’s largest sovereign wealth fund is preparing to leave fossil fuels behind. Last week, Norway’s parliament confirmed by unanimous vote that its $1tn sovereign wealth fund would dump $13bn of fossil fuel investments – and start investing billions in renewables.
The move is designed to protect Norway’s state-owned investment fund from the decline in fossil fuels that will be vital if full-blown climate catastrophe is to be averted.
DRIVING THE NEWS: Last week, ExxonMobil and Saudi Arabia-based SABIC got final approval to build in Texas what will be one of the world’s largest facilities processing ethane — the single largest type of feedstock in North America for petrochemicals used in plastics.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ahead of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s Islamic Summit in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on June 1, 2019. Photo: Amr Nabil/AP
IN 2011, as Arab Spring protests swept across the Middle East, demonstrations also kicked off in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province. Members of the kingdom’s repressed Shiite minority took to the streets, calling for equal rights and a fairer distribution of oil revenues. The protesters included a group of around 30 kids on bicycles. As a video released last week by CNN shows, those children were led by a smiling 10-year-old in flip-flops named Murtaja Qureiris.
“The people demand human rights!” the young boy can be seen shouting through a megaphone.
Here’s the problem: Demanding human rights in Saudi Arabia lands you in prison. Even if you’re a kid.
Three years later, in September 2014, 13-year-old Murtaja was arrested while on his way to neighboring Bahrain with his family.
“At the time,” reports CNN, “he was considered by lawyers and activists to be the youngest known political prisoner in Saudi Arabia.
Over the past four years, say human rights groups, this teenager has been subjected to torture and intimidation, as well as a spell in solitary confinement. He has been denied access to a lawyer while interrogators try to get him to confess to the trumped-up charges against him. These include “participating in anti-government protests, attending the funeral of his brother Ali Qureiris who was killed in a protest in 2011, joining a ‘terrorist organization,’ throwing Molotov cocktails at a police station, and firing at security forces,” according to Amnesty International.
Last week, we learned that Saudi prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for 18-year-old Murtaja, who is being tried in an anti-terror court. CNN reports that the prosecutors want to “impose the harshest form of the death penalty, which may include crucifixion or dismemberment after execution.”
'The question now is whether placing the equivalent of land mines in a foreign power network is the right way to deter Russia'
The New York Times is reporting that the United States is cyber attacking Russia's electric power grid and other targets—and that President Donald Trump is being kept out of the loop.
"The American strategy has shifted more toward offense, officials say, with the placement of potentially crippling malware inside the Russian system at a depth and with an aggressiveness that had never been tried before."
Trump has not been briefed on the operation because of “the possibility that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials.”
The U.S. defeat in Vietnam caused a cataclysmic shift in its strategy of warfare, which today has morphed into hybrid warfare. To avoid another embarrassing defeat, the United States would need to win over hearts and minds. Blowing people to bits would not be enough. This strategy combines “conventional” warfare—namely military force—with “unconventional” warfare—such as covert campaigns to destabilize the economy of targeted nations; misinformation campaigns that spread fake news and pave the way for intervention; and violent attacks taking the form of targeted assassinations, road blockades, and the incitement of violence.
The result of these hybrid wars is seen clearly today as a series of right-wing governments sweeps across Latin America. Venezuela, however—which borders both Jair Bolsonaro’s Brazil and Iv?n Duque’s Colombia—has remained a sharp thorn in the side of U.S. imperialism and, consequently, at the center of U.S.-led hybrid wars. It is the domino that will not fall.
The unconventional war waged against Venezuela and its neighbors is a war that seeks to win over the hearts and minds of the people, convincing them to voluntarily (and often enthusiastically) align with the interests of global capital at their own expense....
United States PROBLEMS: Corporate and billionaire money—especially after the Citizens United ruling—corrupts political parties and governments to the public's detriment. [12:36 ‘Unbreaking America’ video]
Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole.
International & Futurism PROBLEMS: Capitalists, Islamists, Fascists and Mafias cause immorality, barbarity & war. SOLUTIONS: UN, InterPol and International Criminal Court must be fully enabled. FYI: All people are mixed-race
It may remain a little-known fact, but Africa has never lacked civilizations, nor has it ever been as cut off from world events as it has been routinely portrayed. Some remarkable new books make this case in scholarly but accessible terms, and they admirably complicate our understanding of Africa’s past and present.
What does it mean to be genetically Jewish?[Doing a mental dance with archanery: could a significant number of Russians and Palestinians be intentionally included or excluded as genetically Jewish? And why would Israel do this?]
DNA tests have been used in Israel to verify a person’s Jewishness. This brings a bigger question: what does it mean to be genetically Jewish? And can you prove religious identity scientifically?
"The top one percent owns nearly $30 trillion of assets while the bottom half owns less than nothing."
Adding to the mountain of statistical evidence showing the severity of U.S. inequality, an analysis published Friday found that the top one percent of Americans gained $21 trillion in wealth since 1989 while the bottom 50 percent lost $900 billion.
"We have the worst inequality in this country since the 1920s." —Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.)
Matt Bruenig, founder of the left-wing think tank People's Policy Project, broke down the Federal Reserve's newly released "Distributive Financial Accounts" data series and found that, overall, "the top one percent owns nearly $30 trillion of assets while the bottom half owns less than nothing, meaning they have more debts than they have assets." ...
High Crimes Offenses worthy of impeachment or International Criminal Court prosecution
Justice Matters PROBLEMS: Political Judges and States Attorneys, too little enforcement of anti-trust laws and white-collar crimes, over-prosecution of the poor. OPED: Commute death sentences and allow assisted suicide.