Last updated: Saturday, March 23, 2019, 5:06 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 $1.8 Trillion per year on total for-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"
2017 US total per capita health care spending was $10,224 – $5322 more per person than in France, which is the highest rated system.
"This will have ripple effects throughout the entire nation"

Food justice advocates heaped praise on Boston Monday after the city's legislative body unanimously passed an ordinance that boosts the local economy and environment as well as workers, animal welfare, and healthful eating.

"With this passage, Boston has loosened the stranglehold that corporations have over our food system, especially in schools," said Alexa Kaczmarski, senior organizer at Corporate Accountability, following the vote on the Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP).

"This will have ripple effects throughout the entire nation," she added.

The GFPP, sponsored by Boston City Councilor At-Large Michelle Wu, affects public food purchasers, the largest of which is the Boston Public Schools, which has a $18 million food budget.

As noted in (pdf) the ordinance, the purchasers will follow a set of standards in order to....

Andrea Germanos, staff writer | Common Dreams
Craig Bennett, CEO of Friends of the Earth, says rich countries must act to make disasters such as the cyclone that hit Mozambique less likely. Meteorologist Bernadette Woods Placky describes how Climate Matters is helping to end the ‘TV news desert’ around global warming. Plus letters from Caroline Evans and Daniel Scharf
Letters | The Guardian
A panel to promote an alternative explanation for climate change would be disastrous. Yet that’s what White House officials want

Americans should not be fooled by the Stalinist tactics being used by the White House to try to discredit the findings of mainstream climate science.

The Trump administration has already purged information about climate change from government websites, gagged federal experts and attempted to end funding for climate change programmes.

Now a group of hardcore climate change deniers and contrarians linked to the administration is organising a petition in support of a new panel being set up by the National Security Council to promote an alternative official explanation for climate change....

Michael Mann and Bob Ward | The Guardian
Images show marine biologist removing 88lb worth of plastic bags from stomach of whale that died in Philippines of ‘gastric shock’
  • Warning: this article includes graphic images some readers may find disturbing
Erin Durkin | The Guardian
  • Strawberries, spinach and kale among most pesticide-heavy
  • Conventionally farmed kale could contain up to 18 pesticides
Emily Holden | The Guardian
"The bottom line is clear: to the degree that the fossil fuel industry is weakened by some combination of technological change and furious activism, the chances for serious change increase."
Bill McKibben | Common Dreams
Exclusive: Environment Agency chief calls for use to be cut by a third
Damian Carrington | The Guardian
Australia’s largest export customer for thermal coal is scrapping plans to build power plants
Ben Smee and Daniel Hurst | The Guardian
Our oceans broke heat records in 2018 and the consequences are catastrophic [Meanwhile, "conservatives" like Trump just make shit up...]
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
Traffic pollution is putting our children at risk. We meet campaigners – many of them concerned mothers – fighting back
Tim Smedley | The Guardian
Revealed: Interior department official says he is ‘thrilled’ by Trump’s ‘knack for keeping the attention of the media and public focused somewhere else’
Jimmy Tobias | The Guardian
The children on climate strike are right: their lives should not be sacrificed to satisfy our greed
George Monbiot | The Guardian
Rural America is ready for some sort of a New Deal, preferably green [Due to our ignorantly anti-science, capitalism-obsessed government, we have an out-of-control catastrophe]
Here in farming country we have the opportunity to rethink our approach to renewable energy and food production
Art Cullen | The Guardian
Joshua S Hill | CleanTechnica
For more than two years, scientists have been working to figure out the underlying cause of this so-called “unusual mortality event.”
JASON NARK | National Geographic
Millions of possible scenarios were analyzed, and only a few are acceptable, the scientists said.
STEPHEN LEAHY | National Geographic

David Atkins | The Washington Monthly
Journalists and attorneys are partnering together in a new amended lawsuit filed by Pen America arguing Trump is violating the first amendment
Wajahat Ali | The Guardian
Bad journalists are howled at
BOB SOMERBY in The DailyHowler | EVERY DAY

Arts & Education Events:
Democratic candidate says other issues matter, but America cannot afford to have another leader who does not have climate change as their top priority
Josh Wood | The Guardian
As investigators close in, the president invokes the support of the military, police and vigilantes. This is a perilous moment
Robert Reich | The Guardian
O’Rourke wants to be everything to everyone. To take a look back at his career, that’s an invitation he’s extended to the fossil fuel industry
Kate Aronoff | The Guardian

In a rebuke of the Trump administration’s ‘energy-first’ agenda, a judge rules greenhouse gas emissions must be considered
Cassidy Randall | The Guardian
"The Constitution can't operate as the supreme law of our nation if it's consistently subverted."
Julia Conley, staff writer | Common Dreams

"The attacks appear to have violated international humanitarian law."

Amnesty International issued its findings on the African war Tuesday evening in a report titled The Hidden US War in Somalia (pdf).

The U.S. has been covertly engaging in conflicts in Somalia for decades, but in April 2017, the Donald Trump administration upped airstrikes and attacks targeted at the rebel group Al-Shabaab.

The human rights advocacy group studied five of more than 100 strikes on Somalia over the past two years and found that 14 civilians were killed in the attacks. Eight others were injured, the report says.

"These five incidents were carried out with Reaper drones and manned aircraft in Lower Shabelle," Amnesty said in a press release, "a region largely under Al-Shabaab control outside the Somali capital Mogadishu."

The U.S. military denied to Amnesty that any civilians have been killed as a result of American operations in Somalia.

However, Amnesty's report claims its methodology is sound and that the evidence is overwhelming.

Eoin Higgins, staff writer | Common Dreams

Bans on assault rifles and military-style semi-automatics introduced as well as a buyback scheme
Kate Lyons | The Guardian
Within 25 years the country faces a devastating water shortage. Nationalisation can turn the tide
Sondhya Gupta | The Guardian
*Unless Israel is to blame.

The people of the Gaza Strip are protesting again, and soldiers are shooting again, and civilians are being victimized again. Only this time you may have missed the story, because these protests barely rated a buried paragraph in most Western news accounts.

That’s odd: Some media outlets are prepared to devote months of journalistic effort in order to trace the trajectory of a single bullet that accidentally kills a Palestinian — provided the bullet is Israeli.

The difference this time is that the shots are being fired by Hamas, the militant Islamist group that has ruled Gaza since 2007, when it usurped power from its rivals in the Fatah movement in a quick and dirty civil war. Since then, no genuine elections have been held, and no dissent brooked.

The current round of demonstrations, which began last week, comes in reaction to years of Hamas’s economic mismanagement, price hikes and recent tax increases. This is not for lack of funds on Hamas’s part: Since 2012, the group has taken in over a billion dollars from Qatar alone to pay the costs of fuel, humanitarian aid and civil-servant salaries.

Where that money goes is another question....

....And so Gazans are making their despair known. Hundreds took to the streets last week, only to be shot at, clubbed and arrested by Hamas security forces.

“The crackdown on freedom of expression and the use of torture in gaza has reached alarming new levels,” noted saleh higazi of amnesty....

Bret Stephens | The New York Times
More than 50 percent of Americans said they support hiking taxes on the wealthy to support those in poverty, the OECD study found
Jake Johnson, staff writer | Common Dreams
Behind the urgency of climate action is the understanding that everything is connected; behind white supremacy is an ideology of separation
Rebecca Solnit | The Guardian
To be the happiest country, having the top economic growth isn’t necessarily the answer. Are you listening, U.S.?
Tess Riley | Huffington Post
Valuing human rights also means applying the same standards to our friends and our enemies
Ilhan Omar | Common Dreams

Virtual Nations could replace nation-states, enabling everyone to be agents for a better world
Marc Cherbonnier | The Baltimore Chronicle | Ref.
"The massive scale at which global banks continue to pump billions of dollars into fossil fuels is flatly incompatible with a livable future."

A coalition of environmental groups called out 33 global banks for collectively giving at least $1.9 trillion to fossil fuel companies since world leaders adopted the Paris climate agreement in December of 2015.

...."This report is a red alert," declared RAN climate and energy researcher Alison Kirsch. "The massive scale at which global banks continue to pump billions of dollars into fossil fuels is flatly incompatible with a livable future."

"If banks don't rapidly phase out their support for dirty energy, planetary collapse from man-made climate change is not just probable," Kirsch warned. "It is imminent."

According to the report, the top four funders of coal, oil, and gas companies from 2016 to 2018 were all U.S. banks: JPMorgan Chase ($195.66 billion), Wells Fargo ($151.6 billion), Citi ($129.49 billion), and Bank of America ($106.69 billion).

Other major offenders included RBC ($100.54 billion), TD ($74.15 billion), and Scotiabank ($69.57 billion) of Canada; Barclays ($85.18 billion) of the United Kingdom; and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group ($80.04 billion) and Mizuho ($67.71 billion) of Japan.

Jessica Corbett, staff writer | Common Dreams
  • G-7 presidency aims for an overhaul to increase fairness
  • Public anger about inequality has grown since financial crisis

France is sounding an alarm for the world’s advanced economies: capitalism is tearing them apart.

President Emmanuel Macron and his Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire are using France’s presidency of the Group of Seven to argue that the system fuels inequality, destroys the planet and is ineffective at delivering goals in the public interest. The country has already experienced some of the fallout firsthand in the Yellow Vest movement that erupted late last year.

They’re pushing a reinvention that includes minimum global taxes and higher levies on tech giants like Amazon and Facebook. There are echoes of that in the self-proclaimed democratic socialists in the U.S. and firebrand Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who last week said “capitalism is irredeemable.”

“If we don’t invent a new capitalism, absurd economic solutions will win over and sweep us straight into recession,’’ Le Maire said in an interview late last month.

William Horobin | Bloomberg
Author Malcolm Harris on why millennials need a revolution.

“If Millennials are different, it’s not because we’re more or less evolved than our parents or grandparents, it’s because they’ve changed the world in ways that have produced people like us.”

That’s how Malcolm Harris, an editor at the online magazine the New Inquiry, begins his book Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials. It’s a smart, contrarian look at the social and economic problems plaguing millennials — defined as people born between 1980 and 2000.

But it’s not a typical defense of millennials. Harris, who is a millennial (as am I), makes no attempt to undercut the complaints of baby boomers — namely, that millennials are anxious, spoiled, and narcissistic.

Instead, he asks: What made millennials the way they are? Why are they so burned out? Why are they having fewer kids? Why are they getting married later? Why are they obsessed with efficiency and technology?

And his answer, in so many words, is the economy. Millennials, he argues, are bearing the brunt of the economic damage wrought by late-20th-century capitalism. All these insecurities — and the material conditions that produced them — have thrown millennials into a state of perpetual panic. If “generations are characterized by crises,” as Harris argues, then ours is the crisis of extreme capitalism....

Sean Illing | Vox

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