Last updated: Wednesday, September 18, 2019, 8:52 AM
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.
"We can either seize the opportunity to transform our food and land use systems or frankly, sleepwalk our way into an ecological and human disaster."
The ways humanity produces and consumes food cause up to 30 percent of planet-warming emissions, generate widespread malnutrition, and perpetuate poverty and inequality—but a new report released Monday claims that 10 global transformations over the next decade could help the international community tackle the climate crisis and feed over nine billion people.
"This is the closest to a win-win we will get, reaping huge social, economic, and environmental benefits." —Jeremy Oppenheim, FOLU principal
"The term 'food and land use systems' covers every factor in the ways land is used and food is produced, stored, packed, processed, traded, distributed, marketed, consumed, and disposed of," the report explains. "It embraces the social, political, economic, and environmental systems that influence and are influenced by those activities."...
....If every acre of farmland were returned to a soil carbon level of just 3%, one trillion tons of carbon dioxide would be removed from the atmosphere and stored in the soil, making the size of the potential solution agriculture presents equivalent to the size of the problem we face....Regenerative farming practices include cover cropping, rotational cropping, reduced or no tillage, reduced chemical and fertilizer application, and livestock integration.
A lot of the conversation around mental health focuses on mental illness, but mental wellbeing doesn’t just mean the absence of symptoms. Here are some practical, evidence-based ways to foster mental wellbeing.
"It is cruel and outrageous that GM has cut off the healthcare benefits from their employees in a blatant attempt to force the union into submission," said Sen. Bernie Sanders.
United Auto Workers (UAW) members walk the picket line at the General Motors Flint Assembly Plant after the UAW declared a national strike against GM at midnight on September 16, 2019 in Flint, Michigan. (Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
In a move critics said exposes both the particular cruelty of General Motors executives and the systemic inhumanity of the American healthcare system, GM on Tuesday stopped covering health insurance premiums for the nearly 50,000 auto workers striking for fair wages and decent benefits.
The move shifts healthcare costs to the United Auto Workers (UAW), which will be forced to reach into its strike fund to pay the bills. As HuffPostreported, UAW negotiators on Monday sought to confirm with GM that workers' benefits would be covered through the end of the month. Hours later, GM said the benefits have been terminated.
"A note to anyone who wants to use union members as a wedge to oppose Medicare for All: UAW has one of the best plans in the country, but management can still use it to hold workers hostage. M4A puts power back in our hands." —Sara Nelson, Association of Flight Attendants
"GM's decision to yank healthcare coverage away from their dedicated employees with no warning is heartless and unconscionable," said Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). "GM's actions could put people's lives at risk, from the factory worker who needs treatment for their asthma to the child who relies on their parents' insurance for chemotherapy."
"The UAW workers on the strike lines are showing immense bravery in the face of intimidation," added Henry.
The auto workers' nationwide strike, described as the largest in more than a decade, began just before midnight on Sunday after negotiations between UAW and GM broke down, with union leaders and members accusing management of proposing insulting wage increases and paltry benefits.
As the New York Timesreported, GM is pushing for "employees to pay a greater portion of their healthcare costs" even as the company rakes in record-level profits and massive gains from the GOP tax bill.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, said in a statement Tuesday night that GM's decision to stop healthcare payments "is the type of corporate greed that the American people are sick and tired of."...
It’s been two years since Amazon acquired Whole Foods, putting a corporate banner over a mission-based company. In that time, there’s been very little in the way of good news for employees, and with reports that Amazon will no longer pay for health-care benefits for about 1,900 of its employees, the downward trend continues.
Business Insiderreports that starting on January 1, 2020, employees will have to work a minimum of 30 hours per week to qualify for health-insurance coverage. Previously, that number was 20 hours per week. In a statement to BI, a company spokesperson said the change was made “to better meet the needs of our business and create a more equitable and efficient scheduling model.”...
Employment in the industry is projected to grow, but women – particularly women of color – are being left behind
In the US, nine out of 10 home care workers are women and 25% are African American. Photograph: jacoblund/Getty Images/iStockphoto
....The job is physically strenuous and ranks high on the list for work-related accidents. It is also emotionally taxing. Deborah O’Bryant, a home health aide for the past 12 years, remembers one of her hardest experiences was caring for a cancer patient: “I had to take her to radiation every day. She could not speak. I learned how to read lips.”
And yet many of these workers fail to earn a living wage. According to government data, healthcare support occupations such as home health aides had a median annual wage of $24,060 in May 2018, lower than the median annual wage for all occupations in the economy.
According to a report by Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI), a not-for-profit organization based in New York City that works to improve long-term services and support for elders and individuals with disabilities, in 2017, one in five home care workers lived below the federal poverty line and over half relied on some form of public assistance [bad link].
Caitlin Connolly, an expert at the National Employment Law Project (NELP) sees a direct link between low wages in the care giving sector and the legacy of slavery. African American women who didn’t work the fields had to provide unpaid household care for white families. Even after emancipation those former slaves and their descendants were kept out of good-paying industries and denied the protections given to other workers. “Up until 2015, home care workers did not have the right to a federal minimum wage,” she says. Care workers were even excluded from the protections provided by the landmark Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to accommodate southern segregationists.
And despite the demands of an ageing US population and the tight labor market, wages for women across the United States remain lower than men’s. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, female home health aides and registered nurses earn 92% of their male counterparts’ wages.
Able to earn more elsewhere, it appears men are ditching healthcare. Nora Higgins, a nurse practitioner who teaches at nursing school has witnessed how men have been dropping out of her classes since she started teaching back in 2001. “Out of a class of 90 there used to be 12 to 15 [men]. Now there are only a handful,” she says.
Across all occupations, female full-time employees earn 80 cents for every dollar that a man earns. And the gap is far worse for women of color. On average black women in the US are paid 38% less than white men....
While bribing your child’s way into an elite college is pretty bad, it pales in comparison with the millions of dollars in bribes paid every hour in America at the federal and state level so billionaires and big corporations can get the laws they want.
"Global greenhouse gas emissions need to decline today rather than tomorrow, and global CO2 emissions should be brought to net zero."
Amazon forest area is burned in rural Novo Progresso north of Brazil on Thursday, August 28, 2019. (Photo: Gustavo Basso/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
New climate models unveiled by French researchers Tuesday showed Earth's average temperature could rise a "terrifying" 6.5-7.0°C above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century if dramatic action is not immediately taken to slash carbon emissions.
The findings, presented at a press conference in Paris, suggest the planet may be warming significantly faster than scientists previously believed as the world's major economies continue to burn fossil fuels at unsustainable rates....
The climate crisis isn’t the only reason to kick fossil fuels – the prospect of a war to protect Saudi crude reminds us of that
'See you on the street!' Greta Thunberg urges all to join Friday's climate strike – video
e are sadly accustomed by now to the idea that our reliance on oil and gas causes random but predictable outbreaks of flood, firestorm and drought. The weekend’s news from the Gulf is a grim reminder that depending on oil leads inevitably to war too.
Depending on how far back you want to stand, the possibility of war with Iran stems from a calculated decision by Tehran or its Houthi allies to use drones and missiles on Saudi installations, or on the infantile rage that drove President Trump to tear up a meticulously worked out and globally sponsored accord with Iran and to wreck its economy. But in either case, if you really take in the whole picture, the image is rendered in crude, black tones: were it not for oil, none of this would be happening.
Were it not for oil, the Middle East would not be awash in expensive weapons; its political passions would matter no more to the world than those of any other corner of our Earth. Were it not for oil, we would not be beholden to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – indeed, we might be able to bring ourselves to forthrightly condemn its savagery. Were it not for oil, we would never have involved ourselves in a ruinous war with Iraq, destabilising an entire region. (I remember the biting slogan on a sign from an early protest against the war with Saddam Hussein: “How did our oil end up under their sand?”)...
Dyslexia may explain a lot about the twisted behavior of the president.
President Donald Trump brandishes a graphic during an Oval Office briefing on the status of Hurricane Dorian in Washington, D.C. on September 4, 2019. (Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
While dyslexia has been mentioned now and then as one of the reasons Donald Trump is so ignorant of what it takes to govern in a free society, I want to explore it as foundational to his inability to learn and grow while in office—and also as a way to link disparate troubling elements in his makeup.
So what follows is the informed speculation of a former classroom teacher.
Considering Trump’s well-documented aversion to reading and his difficulty with complex sentence structures when he talks without a script, my hunch is that he has mild to moderate dyslexia, a neurobiological condition that makes it difficult to learn to read and can also affect sentence formation and vocabulary. When he was young it may not have been adequately diagnosed and treated.
"I am suggesting that Trump’s lifelong experience with dyslexia, instead of increasing his capacity for compassion, has instead combined with problematic elements in his personality, including a penchant for revenge that was apparent even when he was a young adult."
Because trying to read was frustrating, as time went on he read as little as possible. Because he experienced humiliation and shame in the early grades when he saw other children acquiring information with ease from books, I believe he came to resent those children who were academically successful, who loved school, and drew the teacher’s praise. His own natural curiosity about the world waned.
Trump has left himself no way to enjoy learning and to benefit from knowledge. As he grew older, he neither had the patience to laboriously read even moderately difficult material. Nor could he enjoy listening to people who knew a lot more about specific realms of knowledge than he did. That felt like school, which he hated. Reporting indicates he still can’t tolerate policy briefings of more than a few minutes.
How does Trump’s difficulty in reading relate to his penchant for uttering falsehoods? I think he began faking when he was six or seven and couldn't keep up with the other children his age who had learned their letters and were starting to read sentences and little stories. He wanted to be "great" so he made things up. Faking got baked into his personality. He couldn’t stop now, not for anything.
The list of problems getting buried by money is nearly endless. Gun control; health care; a living wage; the high cost of education; endless war; each is rooted in the power of the oligarch’s coup, and each is a function of money in politics. But only two candidates – Sanders and Warren -- address this issue head on in the debates, and to hear the media, the pundits’ and the Party’s post mortem, both are “extreme” and the guy who’s debating whether the lifeboat needs a patch is “reasonable” and the best bet for winning the election.
Medicare for All doesn’t just provide everyone with the care they need, free of charge. It’s also a potent anti-poverty program, reducing poverty by over 20 percent and increasing poor people’s incomes by 29 percent.
Everyone is clear on exactly where Bernie Sanders stands on Medicare for All. But despite the release of her health care plan this week and embrace of the phrase “Medicare for All,” Elizabeth Warren’s precise health care proposal remains murky.
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
The goal of this fortification around Europe and the Anglosphere is all too clear: Convince people to stay where they are, no matter how miserable it is, no matter how deadly.
....The climate science will no longer be denied; what will be denied is the idea that the nations that are the largest historical emitters of carbon owe anything to the black and brown people impacted by that pollution. This will be denied based on the only rationale possible: that those non-white and non-Christian people are lesser than, are the other, are dangerous invaders.
In much of Europe and the Anglosphere, this hardening is already well under way. The European Union, Australia, and the United States have all embraced immigration policies that are variations on “prevention through deterrence.” The brutal logic is to treat migrants with so much callousness and cruelty that desperate people will be deterred from seeking safety by crossing borders....
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.
The New York Attorney General's Office has allegedly uncovered $1 billion in wire transfers by the Sackler family, which owns Purdue Pharma, which could suggest attempts to hide its wealth as it faces litigation over its role in the opioid crisis.