Aggregated News & Opinion
Today’s posts in bigger type.
Prior 2-3 days in smaller type.
Obama's ACA didn't fix this:
The group argued that building the pipeline would save North Carolinians money by bringing more natural gas into the non-drilling state, characterizing that as an "energy justice" issue.
"Decisions taken at the ongoing climate conference will determine whether our ocean continues to sustain a rich variety of life, or whether habitable, oxygen-rich marine areas are increasingly, progressively, and irrevocably lost."
The Union Carbide factory explosion remains the world’s worst industrial accident – but as its dreadful legacy becomes increasingly apparent, victims are still waiting for justice
Aerial footage captured a 'firenado' forming on Saturday in the Bundamba suburb of Ipswich, Queensland, as a huge fire rapidly advanced across dry grassland, threatening homes. Queensland state authorities have issued an emergency warning as the east coast of Australia works to tackle more than 100 bushfires
Sharks, tuna, marlin and other large fish at risk from spread of ‘dead zones’, say scientists
One of southern Africa’s biggest tourist attractions has seen an unprecedented decline this dry season, fuelling climate change fears
Africa emits less than 4% of global CO2 but struggles to provide electricity to half its population. Energy infrastructure built today could have massive impacts on future emissions and living standards.
Asthma and heart attacks fall rapidly and babies born healthier, review finds
Campaigners say regulations are overlooking the health impacts of these tiny toxic materials
Students don’t want to live in a world of climate catastrophe, social inequality and funding crises. We want to change it
Michigan’s second-highest court rules in favor of township in case that could damage company’s effort to privatize water
Findings confirm reliability of projections of temperature changes over last 50 years
Systems make use of local heating and cooling sources, from wood waste to geothermal to garbage
Tim Radford / Climate News Network | truthdig
Climate-fueled disasters have forced about 20 million people a year to leave their homes in the past decade — equivalent to one every two seconds — according to a new report from Oxfam.
Sir David Attenborough has told this programme he believes that climate change will mean that the latest generation of young children are likely to see civil unrest, mass migration and a lack of choice in the food they eat.
Johnson blustered his way to the top with lies and bravado, but the decline of expertise and knowledge stretches much further
App equips players with skills to identify misinformation in real world and online
Bad journalists are howled at
If world leaders do not fathom the threat to all life on Earth, they must be removed from office ASAP—dead or alive.
— Today's Posts —
Directive is likely to be a blow to US multinational companies like HP, Dell and Microsoft
Chinese president Xi Jinping has ordered that all foreign hardware be removed from government offices and agencies. Photograph: Pool/Getty Images
Students rack up debt for worthless diplomas – debt they default on at twice the rate of their peers at traditional colleges
‘The US secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, continues to refuse debt forgiveness for thousands of students ripped off by predatory for-profit colleges.’ Photograph: Pablo Martínez Monsiváis/Associated Press
For a clear picture of how damaged the US postsecondary education system is, one need only look at the money-printing mill that is the for-profit college. I should know: I spent 10 years “teaching” at one of the most notorious cash-grab colleges in the country. There, I saw profoundly underprepared students racking up far more debt than their “traditional” peers – debt they would default on at more than twice the rate of those peers, landing the costs of these wayward scholars directly on the shoulders of taxpayers.
This week, the US Department of Education accidentally showed just how badly the problem of for-profit college debt is intertwined with predatory loan collection: in a court filing, the Department of Education jacked up its estimate of its own illegal debt collection from 16,000 former students at bankrupt Corinthian College to nearly three times that amount. All while the secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, who was held in contempt of court for the department’s actions, continued to refuse debt forgiveness for thousands of students ripped off by for-profit colleges.
From 1995 to 2015, enrollment at for-profit colleges went up more than 460% – more than 14 times that of traditional institutions. Meanwhile, students at for-profit colleges – mostly low-income, minority or first-generation college students – face challenges that severely compromise their ability to stay in school: my students suffered from homelessness, mental illness, abuse and bank accounts so low they couldn’t afford subway passes.
Those challenges didn’t matter to recruiters: skipped the SAT or ACT? No problem! As long as you had a pulse and a GED you were in. Once those students got to class we professors – whose yearly fire-at-will contracts made us particularly vulnerable to any kind of student complaint – were told to “work it out”....
New report says greenhouse gas emissions equal carbon footprint of a quarter of passenger cars in Europe
File picture from 2005 of one of MSC’s container ships. An NGO calculates the shipping operator has joined coal plants and Ryanair in the EU’s list of top 10 carbon emitters. Photograph: Jose Jordan/AFP/Getty Images
Australian Energy Market Commission says prices will begin to fall next year and by 2022 will be $97 a year lower
Calls for the energy charter treaty (ECT) to be scrapped to stop fossil fuel firms using it to take governments to court
The European green new deal is set to be unveiled on Wednesday by Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European commission. Photograph: AP
....“As soon as people hear about this obscure pact undermining the public interest and the fight against climate change, they will be outraged. Either the EU and member states fundamentally revise it, or pull out,” he said.
Friends of the Earth Europe is one of 260 civil society organisations and trade unions that have warned the ECT is incompatible with climate action because it contains measures to protect energy investments even where they contradict climate goals.
The environmental groups say the treaty is being used by large fossil fuel companies to to take national governments to court over decisions to phase out dirty energy....
Can high taxes be good for business? You bet.
Oodi, Helsinki’s new central library, was built with broader civic goals in mind. It offers access to 3D printers and other high tech equipment, expansive public space, as well as traditional library services.
....After the war, worker unions gained strength, bringing back socialist sympathies as the country entered a more industrial and international era. This is when Finnish history took an unexpected turn.
Finnish employers had become painfully aware of the threats socialism continued to pose to capitalism. They also found themselves under increasing pressure from politicians representing the needs of workers. Wanting to avoid further conflicts, and to protect their private property and new industries, Finnish capitalists changed tactics. Instead of exploiting workers and trying to keep them down, after World War II, Finland’s capitalists cooperated with government to map out long-term strategies and discussed these plans with unions to get workers onboard.
More astonishingly, Finnish capitalists also realized that it would be in their own long-term interests to accept steep progressive tax hikes. The taxes would help pay for new government programs to keep workers healthy and productive — and this would build a more beneficial labor market. These programs became the universal taxpayer-funded services of Finland today, including public health care, public day care and education, paid parental leaves, unemployment insurance and the like.
If these moves by Finnish capitalists sound hard to imagine, it’s because people in the United States have been peddled a myth that universal government programs like these can’t coexist with profitable private-sector businesses and robust economic growth. As if to reinforce the impossibility of such synergies, last fall the Trump administration released a peculiar report arguing that “socialism” had negatively affected Nordic living standards.
However, a 2006 study by the Finnish researchers Markus Jantti, Juho Saari and Juhana Vartiainen demonstrates the opposite. First, throughout the 20th century Finland remained — and remains to this day — a country and an economy committed to markets, private businesses and capitalism.
Even more intriguing, these scholars demonstrate that Finland’s capitalist growth and dynamism have been helped, not hurt, by the nation’s commitment to providing generous and universal public services that support basic human well-being. These services have buffered and absorbed the risks and dislocations caused by capitalist innovation....
By Anu Partanen and Trevor Corson | Photographs by Mustafah Abdulaziz | The New York Times
Former transport minister is country’s youngest leader ever and third female PM
Sanna Marin, 34, has been selected to be the new prime minister of Finland. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Finland will have the world’s youngest serving prime minister later this week when Sanna Marin, 34, is sworn in by parliament at the head of a coalition whose four other parties are all led by women, three of them in their thirties....
Conservatives, Greens, Labour, Lib Dems and SNP tackle the biggest climate and environmental issues
All parties except the Conservatives, have expressed support for the thousands of young people striking for climate action Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA
While “traditional” Democrats scramble to find the right message, Andrew Yang is scoring with the blunt truth
The president’s behavior at the Nato summit in London was as appalling as it was typical. Our next commander-in-chief will have important work to do
The president knows how the system works: the rich give money and get what they want in return. His defeat is imperative
The state – which leads the way as US output of oil and gas is forecast to rise 25% in the next decade – is intensifying its production pipeline by pipeline
Donald Trump said on Friday that he had directed the Environmental Protection Agency to look at opening up water standards. During a small business roundtable at the White House, Trump said water pressure was an issue, citing faucets and sinks, showers, and even toilets. ‘People are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times as opposed to once. They end up using more water. So EPA is looking at that very strongly, at my suggestion,’ Trump said
"All you can do is what the kids are doing, and protest and do everything you can."
BY SARAH LADISLAW AND LACHLAN CAREY, OPINION CONTRIBUTORS
| The Hill
Australia Climate Roundtable says climate goals require ‘deep global emissions reductions’
Firm ‘squeezing maximum potential’ from clean energy sources to help UK hit net zero
When we lost our baby boy, I saw the NHS at its best. The Conservatives can’t be trusted with it
Rail and air transport as well as schools and policing hit by walkouts over pension changes
Vessel left the Gambia last week and had been carrying at least 150 people
Killers lurk in the shadows as Haiti chaos takes a sinister turn
[Democratic government has not worked and damage has metastasized horribly. It is time for the UN to facilitate a period of professional government services to enact OECD best-practice systems. (A similar effort is needed in many American cities too long ignored.)
Mired in poverty, corruption and violent unrest, Haiti faces a fresh problem in the form of paid gunmen out to settle scores
People are better off to the extent that they live under democratic socialism.
....Conclusion: Bread and Roses
The current hearing will examine allegations that US troops and intelligence operatives tortured, raped and abused Afghan prisoners between 2003 and 2004.
IDEA updated 11/18/2019: Those who think nation-states are not increasingly corrupt will not understand why change (below) is needed. [Ref.: The world is waking up to this!]
Instead of Plutocratic-Controlled Politicians owning and controlling 'their' people in "their" Nation-State, why can't people everywhere contract with UN-certified virtual nation agencies to perform fiduciary nation-level functions instead—including managing escrow for Social Security and Medicare, and smart funding of your priority governance and charities. If this were possible and replaced nations states, then it would end international wars and immigration problems, as citizens of every virtual nation would likely be scattered worldwide. Local city, county and state governments can continue largely unchanged. But at the national virtual nation level, Democracy would be professional-only and not be political. Your only vote, per se, would be to renew or change which virtual nation agency you contract with and changing priorities for governance and charities. And if changing agency your escrow accounts would be transferred.