Last updated: Sunday, January 19, 2020 (We need geniuses to fight huge and rapidly growing problems NOW.)
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 & Opinion
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.
Louisiana issues permits for proposed complex that would double area's toxic emissions[RIVALING NAZI FINAL-SOLUTION PLANNING AND EXECUTION: How did Republican-controlled local, state and federal governments and 'environmental protection agencies' approve plans to kill predominantly black and poor families in this region of Louisiana—in insidiously slow and cruel ways—to make plastic? Plastic that is itself polluting the planet (killing sea-life in particular), which should be totally illegal to manufacture and use.]
The $9.4bn facility, owned by Formosa Plastics, would consist of 14 separate plastic plants in St James parish, known as Cancer Alley
Andrew Yang breaks down the biggest challenges he'd take on as president, including the climate crisis, crumbling infrastructure, and how AI and automation will fundamentally change the global economy.
"Biden not only pushed to cut Social Security—he is on tape proudly bragging about it on multiple occasions," said Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir in response to accusations by the former vice president.
Democratic presidential candidate, former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Iowa State Educators Association (ISEA) forum at the Sheraton West Des Moines Hotel on January 18, 2020 in West Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
While the Senate mulls his fate, the president plans to speak to world economic leaders every bit as impeachable as him
‘Trump plans to speak at Davos, by the way. He’ll probably boast about the stock market, bully and lie, as usual.’ Photograph: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images
As the Senate debates Donald Trump’s future, chief executives, financiers and politicians will descend on Davos in the Swiss Alps for their annual self-congratulatory defense of global capitalism.
The events are not unrelated. Trump is charged with abusing his power. Capitalism’s global elite is under assault for abusing its power as well: fueling inequality, fostering corruption and doing squat about climate change.
Chief executives of the largest global corporations are raking in more money and at a larger multiple of their workers’ pay than at any time in history. The world’s leading financiers are pocketing even more. The 26 richest people on Earth now own as much as the 3.8 billion who form the poorer half of the planet’s population.
Concentrated wealth on this scale invites corruption. Across the world, big money is buying off politicians to procure favors that further enlarge the wealth of those at the top, while siphoning off resources from everyone else.
Corruption makes it impossible to fight stagnant wages, climate change or any other problem facing the vast majority of the world’s population that would require some sacrifice by the rich.
Popular anger is boiling over against elites seen as irredeemably greedy, corrupt and indifferent
Popular anger is boiling over against elites seen as irredeemably greedy, corrupt and indifferent to the plight of most people struggling to get by. The anger has fueled uprisings in Chile, Spain, Ecuador, Lebanon, Egypt and Bolivia; environmental protests in the UK, Germany, Austria, France and New Zealand; and xenophobic politics in the US, the UK, Brazil and Hungary.
Trump’s support comes largely from America’s working class whose wages haven’t risen in decades, whose jobs are less secure than ever and whose political voice has been drowned out by big money.
Although Trump has given corporations and Wall Street everything they’ve wanted and nothing has trickled down to his supporters, he has convinced those supporters he’s on their side by channeling their rage on to foreigners, immigrants, minorities and “deep state” bureaucrats....
The Chief Justice serves for life shielded from partisan pressures. As a way to dispel combustible suspicions of bias, life tenure makes him the optimal choice for presiding over—and setting the rules for—the trial.
....Trump’s impeachment articles have two counts: First, abuse of power by manipulating foreign policy for personal gain, and second, obstruction of Congress by wholesale stonewalling. House Republicans essentially used the second count to negate the first. By seizing on tiny gaps in the evidentiary record — gaps that existed because Trump refused to release any testimony or documents — they denied Trump had withheld a meeting and military aid from Ukraine in order to force investigations.
Since then, evidence, some pried loose by lawsuits, has dismantled those defenses. A batch of emails released in late December showed the Office of Management and Budget ordered a freeze on aid almost immediately after Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s president. Then, in January, another tranche of emails found the Defense Department raising concerns about the freeze’s legality. Weeks later, the Government Accountability Office deemed the freeze illegal, making moot the defense that Trump hadn’t technically violated laws. Also this month, former national-security adviser John Bolton, who had refused to testify before the House, announced his willingness to testify in a Senate trial.
The most explosive revelations came from a trove of documents turned over by Lev Parnas, a small-time hustler who was recruited by Rudy Giuliani to help run Trump’s extortion scheme. Parnas’s documents — thousands of pages of texts, WhatsApp messages, notes, and letters — widen the scope of suspected misconduct in Ukraine. They show him explicitly discussing firing the U.S. ambassador, Marie Yovanovitch, in return for then Ukrainian prosecutor general Yuriy Lutsenko’s supplying dirt on Biden, whom Lutsenko describes frankly and revealingly as “your opponent.”...
If you've ever wanted to understand what neoliberalism is, this is the series for you.
Neoliberalism is an economic ideology that exists within the framework of capitalism. Over four decades ago, neoliberalism become the dominant economic paradigm of global society. In this video series, we'll trace the history of neoliberalism, starting with a survey of neoliberal philosophy and research, a historical reconstruction of the movement pushing for neoliberal policy solutions, witnessing the damage that neoliberalism did to its first victims in the developing world, and then charting neoliberalism's infiltration of the political systems of the United States and the United Kingdom. Learn how neoliberalism is generating crises for humanity at an unprecedented rate.
Sept. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Naomi Klein, author of "This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate," discusses climate change and the economics of the energy industry with Pimm Fox on "Taking Stock." (Source: Bloomberg)
European intervention now can preserve the peace process, despite the efforts of Israel and Trump
Israel’s strategy of avoiding any role for the international community aims to prevent an independent state of Palestine on the 1967 border. European recognition of this state is not only a European responsibility but a concrete way to move towards a just and lasting peace.
We are under no false expectations: the recognition of Palestine by itself is not going to end Israel’s occupation, yet it’s a crucial step that honours Palestine’s right to self-determination. It’s a step that advances the prospects of a meaningful peace process based on international law and UN resolutions, and reaffirms the relevance of the fundamental principles of the international community.
Striking opera musicians wave to the crowd after performing outside the Palais Garnier opera house. Photograph: Thibault Camus/AP
....The protests [are] the latest of the weekly demonstrations held every Saturday by the gilet jaunes (yellow vest) movement since November 2018, and which have been boosted by those opposed to the pension reforms.
“We’re suffocating with this government who wants to put us on our knees,” said Annie Moukam, a 58-year-old teacher among the protesters. “It’s out of the question that he (Macron) touches our pensions. We have worked all our lives to be able to leave with a dignified retirement,” she added.
Macron’s reforms aim to forge a single pensions system from the country’s 42 separate regimes. The various systems currently in place offer early retirement and other benefits to some public-sector workers as well as lawyers, physical therapists and even Paris Opera employees.
Critics say the reforms will in effect force millions of people to work longer for a smaller pension.
The transport unions have joined forces with the yellow vests, who accuse Macron of ruling on behalf of an urban elite while ignoring people in the provinces and the countryside, many of whom struggle to make ends meet....
How bad can the climate crisis get if Trump wins again?[LIFE, worldwide, is dying at ever faster speed. We have to effectively silence irrational government and corporate leaders, and give leadership to the very best people. And, obviously, Democracy is not very good at picking the best people to lead (hint hint).]
US greenhouse gas emissions are up since 2017 and Trump’s administration has ripped up curbs on climate polluters
The Unequal Burden of Urban Lead[Let's get the lead out! Governments need public works projects—employing the able unemployed—to actively eradicate lead found in housing as a major objective of urban renewal projects. It cannot be left to financially-stressed homeowners to detect and remedy themselves. Then we'll have (even more) minorities working in jobs-for-the-brilliant, like at the Apple Store Genius Bar]
Decades after federal regulations banned the use of the deadly metal in paint, gasoline, and plumbing, the effects of lead continue to be felt across America’s cities.
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
Iraq's prime minister, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, has told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the US should begin preparing for a troop withdrawal from the country, the Associated Press reported Friday.
He asked the US to "send delegates to Iraq to prepare a mechanism to carry out the parliament's resolution regarding the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq," a statement from his office said.
Iraq's parliament recently passed a nonbinding resolution calling for the end of foreign military operations in Iraq in response to the US drone strike in Iraq that killed the top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani.
Economics & Corrupting-Capitalism PROBLEMS: Tariff & tax policies, banking/financial deregulation, monopoly/racketeering & antitrust dis-enforcement all help the Very Rich while harming The Public. [26:55 video ‘This Is Neoliberalism’]
Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn at the first PMQs of 2020 and Johnson’s meeting with the new European commission president, Ursula von der Leyen
High Crimes vs. Human Rights 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.
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 crises, as citizens of every virtual nation would be scattered worldwide—as before nation-states. 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 would be to renew with same nation agency or change to another nation agency (which transfers escrows), and/or change priorities for governance and charities.