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"
....The human genetic code is written in molecules known as nucleotides, represented by the letters A, C, G and T. The new technique works by studying ‘spelling mistakes’ or mutations in DNA which occur because factors such as ultraviolet light, alcohol of tobacco smoke, such an A becomes a G. ...
The 3D-printing technology is already being used to construct entire houses in just 24 hours, but using the tech to create a human heart was proving difficult. Well, not anymore, say the scientists who have fabricated the world's first human heart with blood vessels.
A party that no longer believes in American values.
....The truth is that the G.O.P. faced its decisive test in 2016, when almost everyone in the Republican establishment lined up behind a man fully known to be a would-be authoritarian who was unfit morally, temperamentally and intellectually for high office.
In their chilling book “How Democracies Die,” Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt call this “the great Republican abdication.” The party’s willingness to back behavior it would have called treasonous if a Democrat did it is just more of the same.
Levitsky and Ziblatt say that when mainstream politicians abdicate responsibility in the face of a leader who threatens democracy, it’s usually for one of two reasons. Either they have the misguided belief that he can be controlled, or they’re willing to go along because his agenda overlaps with theirs — that is, they believe that he’ll give them what they want.
At this point it’s hard to imagine that anyone still believes that Trump can be controlled. But he is delivering on the Republican establishment’s agenda — certainly far more than any Democrat would.
The key point is that Republicans are committed to a policy agenda that is deeply unpopular. By large margins, the American public believes that corporations and the wealthy don’t pay their fair share in taxes. By even larger margins, the public opposes cuts to safety-net programs like Medicaid. Yet as far as I can tell, every G.O.P. budget proposal over the past decade has combined big tax cuts for the rich with savage cuts in Medicaid.
If the Republican agenda is so unpopular, how does the party win elections? Partly by lying about its policies. But mainly the G.O.P.’s political achievements depend on identity politics — white identity politics. Exploiting racial resentment to capture white working-class voters, while pursuing policies that benefit only the wealthy, has been the core of the party’s political strategy for decades. That’s why, in an increasingly diverse country, Republican support has stayed overwhelmingly white.
In a fundamental sense, Trumpism is the culmination of that strategy. Commentators keep calling Trump a “populist,” but the only way in which he actually caters to working-class white voters is by appealing to their racial animus. He may be successful in doing so partly because it’s the only thing about his political persona that’s sincere: All indications are that he really is a racist....
Ray Dalio. ‘The last time the 1% felt so under pressure was probably back in the 1930s as the US came to terms with the Great Depression.’ Photograph: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
....The last time the 1% felt so under pressure was probably back in the 1930s as the US came to terms with the Great Depression, said Geisst. But back then the super rich did not criticize capitalism. “If you called someone a communist or a socialist at that time, that was fighting words because of the atmosphere with the Soviets,” he said.
Even after the crash, “capitalism” didn’t need defending.
Now the political debate has shifted, said Geisst. “I think they realize that Bernie Sanders has a lot more support than a lot of people think,” he said. Sanders and fellow Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren “could give them a really bad time” with their plans for higher taxes and greater regulation, he said. “These people are famous for hedging their bets, and this is another way of doing it.”
Steve Glickman, a senior economic adviser in the Obama administration and now founder of Develop, a company seeking to attract investment to low-income areas called “opportunity zones”, said the very wealthy understand there has been a societal change that challenges the way they have done business.
“An increasing chunk of the country has been left behind and that can’t be ignored any more,” he said. “The rise of populism, not just in the US but also in many other markets like Europe, is dramatically affecting the business model they have taken for granted. We are turning the table on what was close to 90 years of agreed upon bipartisan policy goals around trade and immigration.”
How sincere the 1% are about helping the 99% rather than themselves may be up for debate but it is pretty clear that the billionaires do believe there is a crisis.
Now, Dalio worries generations of children are being left behind. “Today, the wealth of the top 1% of the population is more than that of the bottom 90% of the population combined, which is the same sort of wealth gap that existed during the 1935-40 period (a period that brought in an era of great internal and external conflicts for most countries),” he wrote before going on to dissect how this gap hits poor people’s health, education and opportunities.
As Dalio points out:
Forty per cent of all Americans would struggle to raise $400 in the event of an emergency.
The childhood poverty rate in the US is now 17.5% and has not meaningfully improved for decades.
The US scores lower than virtually all developed countries other than Italy and Greece on educational attainment.
The US incarceration rate is nearly five times the average of other developed countries and three times that of emerging countries.
For those in the bottom 60%, premature deaths are up by about 20% since 2000.
“The last time that this configuration of influences existed was in the late 1930s when there were great conflicts and economic and political systems were overturned,” wrote Dalio. You know things are bad when billionaires reach for Hitler analogies....
Read the full text of the speech Greta Thunberg gave to MPs at the Houses of Parliament
Greta Thunberg told a packed room that her future and the futures of her fellow children had been 'sold'.
....Did you hear what I just said? Is my English OK? Is the microphone on? Because I’m beginning to wonder.
....But perhaps the most dangerous misconception about the climate crisis is that we have to “lower” our emissions. Because that is far from enough. Our emissions have to stop if we are to stay below 1.5-2C of warming. The “lowering of emissions” is of course necessary but it is only the beginning of a fast process that must lead to a stop within a couple of decades, or less. And by “stop” I mean net zero – and then quickly on to negative figures. That rules out most of today’s politics.
The fact that we are speaking of “lowering” instead of “stopping” emissions is perhaps the greatest force behind the continuing business as usual. The UK’s active current support of new exploitation of fossil fuels – for example, the UK shale gas fracking industry, the expansion of its North Sea oil and gas fields, the expansion of airports as well as the planning permission for a brand new coal mine – is beyond absurd.
This ongoing irresponsible behaviour will no doubt be remembered in history as one of the greatest failures of humankind....
The young environmental activist has shown that being different is a gift. But too many people with autism still face cruel treatment
‘She admitted her passion was partly down to viewing the world in stark terms.’ Greta Thunberg addressing a climate protest in Rome, April 2019. Photograph: Stefano Montesi/Corbis/Getty Images
....Thunberg’s parents say their daughter, once painfully introverted, was always a bit different to other children. Four years ago, she was diagnosed with Asperger’s, on the autism spectrum, which helps explain her remorseless focus on the core issue of climate change after overcoming depression. “Being different is a gift,” she told Nick Robinson when interviewed on Radio 4’s Today programme. “It makes me see things from outside the box. I don’t easily fall for lies, I can see through things. If I would’ve been like everyone else, I wouldn’t have started this school strike for instance.”
She admitted her passion was partly down to viewing the world in stark terms. The result of her simplistic approach, fuelled by her condition, is that she has presented this issue with more clarity and competence than almost any adult activist or politician in recent years. And there is something rather beautiful in hearing this teenager demonstrate by her actions how society is stronger when it embraces difference – a message that seems so pertinent to our troubled age. Indeed, this aspect of her stance as a now-public figure on the autism spectrum is arguably as important as her bold stand on climate change, given many prevailing attitudes....
The U.S. war on Afghanistan, which has been ongoing since 2001, has produced an unknown death count with unknown numbers of war crimes
Thanks to the withdrawal of the International Criminal Court, this crime—and hundreds of others—will neither be properly documented nor will there be justice for the victims and survivors. (Photo: Sgt. Daniel P. Shook/ Afghanistan Media Operations Center/ DVIDSHUB/cc/flickr)
The Mueller report reveals: three years of news coverage was insane conspiracy theory (Untitledgate preface)
Note to readers: call this a two-part preface to Untitledgate. Chapter One, coming soon, is about the origins of the investigation, but I thought it made sense to go through the Mueller report now that’s out. Some conclusions follow.
Cotton farmers in M.P. are getting higher yields at lower input costs
Blooming with health Farmer Dasrath Patil (above) says going organic helped him save on costly pesticides Nitin Jugran Bahuguna
....“As advised, I prepared one acre of land by applying chemical-free fertilisers,” says Dasrath. “I have learned how to make organic manure and pesticides using locally available material.” He was taught how to make vermicompost by mixing cow dung, along with earthworms, in the soil and vegetable waste. He also learned how to make bio-friendly manure. He applied the manure evenly on his land a day before sowing his cotton saplings, and again, 30 days after the sowing. “Earlier, I used harmful chemical pesticides for spraying. I would indiscriminately use the sprays, not realising that frequent spraying was not good for the plants.” Using this new method, the farmer was able to save considerably on costly chemical pesticides and sprays and his profits — though small — were one hundred per cent as his input costs were negligible. “I harvested three quintals of cotton using the organic method and sold the same for 5,000 rupees per quintal,” he claims....
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]
"I'm calling for something truly transformational?," said the Massachusetts senator.
Elizabeth Warren wants to cancel part or all student loan debt for 95 percent of Americans and make public college free for everyone—the latest, and perhaps most ambitious, policy proposal for the 2020 Democratic contender.
Warren announced the policy in a Medium post Monday morning.
The Massachusetts Democrat told readers that her own past as a waitress who was able to attend public college due to the school's low cost is now unattainable for most Americans.
But Warren aims to change that.
"The first step in addressing this crisis is to deal head-on with the outstanding debt that is weighing down millions of families and should never have been required in the first place," wrote Warren. "That's why I'm calling for something truly transformational?—?the cancellation of up to $50,000 in student loan debt for 42 million Americans."
....But let’s be real. Trump will not be removed by impeachment. No president has been. With a Republican Senate controlled by the most irresponsible political hack ever to be majority leader, the chances are nil.
Which means Trump will have to be removed the old-fashioned way – by voters in an election 19 months away.
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 UK has to date reduced emissions by 40 per cent since 1990. In 2018, as overall UK emissions dropped 3 per cent, it was revealed that carbon dioxide levels were at the lowest levels since the Victorian era. This drop-off has been driven in large part by the decline of the coal sector and the dramatic growth of renewables, particularly offshore wind.
....Progressive capitalism is based on a new social contract between voters and elected officials, between workers and corporations, between rich and poor, and between those with jobs and those who are un- or underemployed.
Part of this new social contract is an expanded public option for many programs now provided by private entities or not at all....
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.