US Politics in Trump era Public date: 02.10.2020 20:59:01

15 May 2019

Fossil Fuel Subsidies Cost U.S. More than Defense Budget: IMF Report

The United States has spent more subsidizing fossil fuels in recent years than it has on defense spending, according to a new report from the International Monetary Fund. The IMF found that direct and indirect subsidies for coal, oil and gas in the U.S. reached $649 billion in 2015. Pentagon spending that same year was $599 billion.
The United States has spent more subsidizing fossil fuels in recent years than it has on defense spending, according to...
13 May 2019

‘We Don’t Know a Planet Like This’: CO2 Levels Hit 415 PPM for First Time in 3 Million+ Years

Atmospheric levels of carbon registered 415 parts per million over the weekend at one of the world's key measuring stations, a concentration level researchers say has not existed in more than 3 million years – before the dawn of human history.
Atmospheric levels of carbon registered 415 parts per million over the weekend at one of the world's key measuring...
9 May 2019

Only a third of world’s great rivers remain free flowing, analysis finds

Thriving wildlife in rivers is crucial to keeping water clean but freshwater habitats were found to be the hardest hit of all the ecosystems, with wildlife populations having plunged by an average of 83% since 1970 due to dams, overuse of water and pollution.
Thriving wildlife in rivers is crucial to keeping water clean but freshwater habitats were found to be the hardest hit...

Publisher: Vox

Author:

8 May 2019

Air pollution from every single power plant in the world, tracked

Tuesday brings a somewhat mind-blowing announcement in the world of power plants and pollution. In a nutshell: A nonprofit artificial intelligence firm called WattTime is going to use satellite imagery to precisely track the air pollution (including carbon emissions) coming out of every single power plant in the world, in real time. And it’s going to make the data public.
Tuesday brings a somewhat mind-blowing announcement in the world of power plants and pollution. In a nutshell: A...
7 May 2019

Human society under urgent threat from loss of Earth’s natural life

Human society is in jeopardy from the accelerating decline of the Earth’s natural life-support systems, the world’s leading scientists have warned, as they announced the results of the most thorough planetary health check ever undertaken.
Human society is in jeopardy from the accelerating decline of the Earth’s natural life-support systems, the world’s...

Publisher: NYTimes

Author:

6 May 2019

Humans Are Speeding Extinction and Altering the Natural World at an ‘Unprecedented’ Pace

Humans are transforming Earth’s natural landscapes so dramatically that as many as one million plant and animal species are now at risk of extinction, posing a dire threat to ecosystems that people all over the world depend on for their survival, a sweeping new United Nations assessment has concluded.
Humans are transforming Earth’s natural landscapes so dramatically that as many as one million plant and animal...
5 May 2019

A War Reporter Covers “The End of Ice” — And It Will Change the Way You Think About Climate Catastrophe

Describing the current state of the planet, Jamail likens it to someone in hospice care. The global mean temperature is already 1 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Not half a decade ago, leading climate scientist James Hansen warned that that one degree would usher in a crisis of sea level rise, melting Arctic ice, and extreme weather. He concluded that the goal of limiting global warming to only 2 degrees was “very dangerous.” Accelerated melting in the Arctic continues to surpass conservative predictions.
Describing the current state of the planet, Jamail likens it to someone in hospice care. The global mean temperature is...
4 May 2019

A Better Way To Think About This Month’s Jobs Numbers

The media hypes the latest jobs growth figure and the unemployment rate. Here’s the context you need to really understand those measures. Jobs numbers are calculated from a nationwide survey of about 150,000 businesses and government agencies. The other high-profile number that’s announced at the same time, the unemployment rate — referred to as “U-3” — comes from a different survey of about 60,000 households — and isn’t subject to monthly revisions.
The media hypes the latest jobs growth figure and the unemployment rate. Here’s the context you need to really...
2 May 2019

Institute for New Economic Thinking

James McGill Buchanan is a name you will rarely hear unless you’ve taken several classes in economics. And if the Tennessee-born Nobel laureate were alive today, it would suit him just fine that most well-informed journalists, liberal politicians, and even many economics students have little understanding of his work. The reason? Duke historian Nancy MacLean contends that his philosophy is so stark that even young libertarian acolytes are only introduced to it after they have accepted the relatively sunny perspective of Ayn Rand.
James McGill Buchanan is a name you will rarely hear unless you’ve taken several classes in economics. And if the...
30 Apr 2019

New Report Names Nearly 4,000 Companies Profiting Off of Private Prison Industry

"Today, more than half of the $80 billion spent annually on incarceration by government agencies is used to pay the thousands of vendors that serve the criminal legal system." A new report provides information on which corporations are profiting from the private prison industry. 
"Today, more than half of the $80 billion spent annually on incarceration by government agencies is used to pay the...
24 Apr 2019

Melting permafrost in Arctic will have $70tn climate impact – study

The release of methane and carbon dioxide from thawing permafrost will accelerate global warming and add up to $70tn (£54tn) to the world’s climate bill, according to the most advanced study yet of the economic consequences of a melting Arctic.
The release of methane and carbon dioxide from thawing permafrost will accelerate global warming and add up to $70tn...

Publisher: The Intercept

Author:

19 Apr 2019

Secret IDB Proposal Would Boost Venezuela Economy After Regime Change

The Inter-American Development Bank is quietly circulating an analysis that foresees an up to $48 billion infusion of capital into the Venezuelan economy should President Nicolás Maduro be removed from office. A pair of confidential documents, both called “Venezuela: Challenges and Opportunities,” outlines a four-year plan to open the country’s beleaguered economy to foreign corporations through privatization, structural reforms, and public-private partnerships.
The Inter-American Development Bank is quietly circulating an analysis that foresees an up to $48 billion infusion...

Publisher: Washington Post

Author:

18 Apr 2019

For Earth Day, 24 magazine covers about climate change

We know that the clock is ticking on climate change, yet the sheer volume of news can make it tough for even the most conscientious citizen to comprehend the full scale of the crisis. So for Earth Day, we created a different way to read about climate change: an all-cover issue of The Washington Post Magazine, with each cover illustrating an aspect of climate change that The Post wrote about in the past year or so. Scroll down to see the stories — and the covers we created to highlight them.
We know that the clock is ticking on climate change, yet the sheer volume of news can make it tough for even the most...

Publisher: Common Dreams

Author:

18 Apr 2019

Nearly 100,000 Pentagon Whistleblower Complaints Have Been Silenced

I don’t know if I’d have the nerve to be a whistleblower. I’d like to think I would.  But to blow the whistle on a huge organization with a lot of power, likely drawing that power to come crashing down on your head—that takes some serious spine-age. Yet thousands, even tens of thousands, of people have taken that step over the past five years.
I don’t know if I’d have the nerve to be a whistleblower. I’d like to think I would.  But to blow the whistle...
15 Apr 2019

Why the US Elected a Despot, and Why It’s Poised To Do It Again

There’s an emerging conventional wisdom that says the way for Democrats to win in 2020 is to move to the center and pick up some of those centrist votes. This is the perspective being pushed by the neoliberal establishment, the mainstream media, and the bulk of the paid political pundits. There are two things wrong with this.
There’s an emerging conventional wisdom that says the way for Democrats to win in 2020 is to move to the center and...

Publisher: ThinkProgress

Author:

6 Apr 2019

U.S. Air Force bases caught off guard by climate change

Greg Brudnicki, mayor of Panama City, Florida, has lived in the community for 55 years and said he has never seen a storm like Hurricane Michael. The cyclone barreled through the Florida panhandle in October, flattening beach neighborhoods and piling 20 years’ worth of debris on Panama City alone.
Greg Brudnicki, mayor of Panama City, Florida, has lived in the community for 55 years and said he has never seen a...

Publisher: NPR.org

Author:

29 Mar 2019

Air Force Needs Almost $5 Billion To Recover Bases From Hurricane, Flood Damage

The U.S. Air Force says it needs $4.9 billion in new funding over the next two and a half years to cover the costs of rebuilding two air bases hit by natural disasters. About one-third of Offutt Air Force Base, in eastern Nebraska, was underwater earlier this month as flooding hit large swaths of the Midwest. And Tyndall Air Force Base in the Florida Panhandle was hit hard by Hurricane Michael in October.
The U.S. Air Force says it needs $4.9 billion in new funding over the next two and a half years to cover the costs of...

Publisher: ABC News

Author:

26 Mar 2019

Big U-turn: Key melting Greenland glacier is growing again.

While this is "good news" on a temporary basis, this is bad news on the long term because it tells scientists that ocean temperature is a bigger player in glacier retreats and advances than previously thought, said NASA climate scientist Josh Willis, a study co-author. Over the decades the water has been and will be warming from man-made climate change, he said, noting that about 90 percent of the heat trapped by greenhouse gases goes into the oceans.
While this is "good news" on a temporary basis, this is bad news on the long term because it tells scientists that ocean...

Publisher: NYTimes

Author:

26 Mar 2019

No Roofs, No Roads, No Bread: Cyclone Causes Emergency in Southeastern Africa

At least three million people were affected by the devastation, said Antonio Guterres, the Secretary General of the United Nations. He called it “one of the worst weather-related catastrophes in the history of Africa,” and urged the international community to send relief and funds quickly. He called Cyclone Idai an “uncommonly fierce and prolonged storm” that is “yet another alarm bell about the dangers of climate change, especially in vulnerable, at-risk countries.”
At least three million people were affected by the devastation, said Antonio Guterres, the Secretary General of the...
21 Mar 2019

Why stopping wars is essential for stopping climate change

War is not often mentioned in mainstream discussions about the causes of climate change. The 1992 Kyoto Protocol indeed explicitly excluded greenhouse gas emissions from military action from its emissions targets. This automatic exclusion was removed in the 2015 Paris Agreement, but it is still not mandatory for signatory countries to track and reduce their military carbon emissions.
War is not often mentioned in mainstream discussions about the causes of climate change. The 1992 Kyoto Protocol indeed...
21 Mar 2019

Africa cities like Ghana and Mozambique running out of water

One of every three people in Africa is affected by water scarcity— the circumstance in which a region's available water supply isn't enough to meet demand. In nations like Ghana, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe, water shortages can raise people's risk of getting sick, since when water is in short supply, households often hoard the precious resource indoors, creating a breeding ground for disease-carrying mosquitoes.
One of every three people in Africa is affected by water scarcity— the circumstance in which a region's available...

Publisher: The Nation

Author:

20 Mar 2019

Elizabeth Warren Gets the Argument Against the Electoral College Exactly Right

As Warren explained, “You know come a general election, presidential candidates don’t come to places like Mississippi. They also don’t come to places like California and Massachusetts, because we’re not the battleground states. But my view is that every vote matters. And the way we can make that happen is that we can have national voting.”
As Warren explained, “You know come a general election, presidential candidates don’t come to places like...
20 Mar 2019

Social Democratic Nations Rank Happiest on Global Index (Again). US Ranking Falls (Again).

The social democracy of Finland was once again ranked number one on the United Nations' World Happiness Report, released on Wednesday, while the corporate-dominated United States fell one place to rank at 19th.  For the seventh year in a row, the UN's Sustainable Development Solutions Network released a report ranking 156 countries according to measures including income, freedom, trust in government, and social support.
The social democracy of Finland was once again ranked number one on the United Nations' World Happiness Report, released...

Publisher: NYTimes

Author:

19 Mar 2019

Flooding in the Midwest: Why the Water Is So High

A historic snowy winter is turning into record spring flooding across a wide area in the middle of the United States, as major rivers spill over their banks, break levees and inundate towns and farms. The governors of Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin have declared emergencies, and Iowa’s governor has issued a disaster proclamation. At least two people in Nebraska have died in the floodwaters, and two others are missing.
A historic snowy winter is turning into record spring flooding across a wide area in the middle of the United States, as...
16 Mar 2019

College Scandal Fallout & The Case Of Tanya McDowell

In 2011, McDowell, a homeless Bridgeport, CT mom, was arrested and charged with first-degree larceny for enrolling her then 5-year-old son Andrew in a school in neighboring Norwalk. McDowell at the time said she and her son were able to sleep at an apartment in Bridgeport at night, but during the day had to leave, and lived in her van or at shelters. McDowell also had prior drug charges.
In 2011, McDowell, a homeless Bridgeport, CT mom, was arrested and charged with first-degree larceny for enrolling her...
15 Mar 2019

Of Course College Admissions Rigged for the Rich. The Whole Economic System Is

The children of working stiffs learned a brutal lesson this week as federal prosecutors criminally charged rich people with buying admission to elite universities for their less-than-stellar children. The lesson is that no matter how hard you work, no matter how smart or talented you are, a dumb, lazy rich kid is going to beat you.
The children of working stiffs learned a brutal lesson this week as federal prosecutors criminally charged rich people...

Publisher: Salon

Author:

5 Mar 2019

Donald Trump’s CPAC speech was completely unhinged. Why didn’t media cover it that way?

On Saturday, Donald Trump was scheduled to give a speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). What the audience got, however, can hardly be described as a speech. Instead, Trump unleashed a two-hour-plus rant that sounded at times, more like the delusional ramblings of someone hopped up on drugs or suffering a mental breakdown than anything resembling a normal political speech.
On Saturday, Donald Trump was scheduled to give a speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC)....
3 Mar 2019

Saltwater intrusion: Rising seas are poisoning North Carolina’s farmland

The salty patches were small, at first — scattered spots where soybeans wouldn’t grow, where grass withered and died, exposing expanses of bare, brown earth. But lately those barren patches have grown. On dry days, the salt precipitates out of the mud and the crystals make the soil sparkle in the sunlight. And on a damp and chilly afternoon in January, the salt makes Dawson Pugh furrow his brow in dismay.
The salty patches were small, at first — scattered spots where soybeans wouldn’t grow, where grass withered and...
2 Mar 2019

Age of Surveillance Capitalism: “We Thought We Were Searching Google, But Google Was Searching Us”

Corporations have created a new kind of marketplace out of our private human experiences. That is the conclusion of an explosive new book that argues big tech platforms like Facebook and Google are elephant poachers, and our personal data is ivory tusks. Author Shoshana Zuboff writes in “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power”: “At its core, surveillance capitalism is parasitic and self-referential.
Corporations have created a new kind of marketplace out of our private human experiences. That is the conclusion of an...
1 Mar 2019

Labor Unions Are Skeptical of the Green New Deal, and They Want Activists to Hear Them Out

Recent polling has found strong bipartisan support for a Green New Deal, but unions, a key constituency, have been less than enthused by — and in some cases, downright hostile to — the ambitious proposal to tackle climate change.
Recent polling has found strong bipartisan support for a Green New Deal, but unions, a key constituency,...
22 Feb 2019

World’s food supply under ‘severe threat’ from loss of biodiversity

The world’s capacity to produce food is being undermined by humanity’s failure to protect biodiversity, according to the first UN study of the plants, animals and micro-organisms that help to put meals on our plates. The stark warning was issued by the Food and Agriculture Organisation after scientists found evidence the natural support systems that underpin the human diet are deteriorating around the world as farms, cities and factories gobble up land and pump out chemicals.
The world’s capacity to produce food is being undermined by humanity’s failure to protect biodiversity, according to...

Publisher: Vox

Author:

21 Feb 2019

Amazon federal taxes: how the company’s corporate tax bill was $0

Last and most significant to understanding the change in 2018 is the fact that companies can deduct the cost of stock-based compensation from their taxable earnings even though it doesn’t actually cost companies any money to hand out shares of their own stock to employees. What’s more, the way this cost is estimated is that the more your share price rises, the bigger the deduction for handing out shares. So precisely because Amazon’s profits surged, the price of the company’s shares went up a lot and the value of these deductions surged as well.
Last and most significant to understanding the change in 2018 is the fact that companies can deduct the cost of...
21 Feb 2019

Does the Walton family earn more in a minute than Walmart workers do in a year?

Walmart’s most recent quarterly dividend was 52 cents a share, or $2.08 a year. In other words, the Walton family earns $3,138,649,017.92 just in dividends a year, before adding in income from salaries, director’s fees and so forth. Yep, that’s more than $3.1 billion. We have no idea how many hours a week members of the Walton family work on business, but a standard workweek is 40 hours, or 2,080 hours a year. That works out to $1.51 million an hour — or more precisely, $25,149 a minute.
Walmart’s most recent quarterly dividend was 52 cents a share, or $2.08 a year. In other words, the Walton family...
16 Feb 2019

Amazon’s Pullout Shows Why We Need Left-Wing Politicians

New York's old Democratic order — in the vein of Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio — backed Amazon's move, while a new crop of social democrats bucked it. The plan’s thwarting offers a lesson in the possibility of forceful collective struggle against seemingly unbeatable Goliaths. It also proves the need for left-wing politicians and organizers to challenge and replace conservative, capitalist Democrats if we are to wrest control of neighborhoods, cities, and public resources away from corporate interests and towards the good of existing communities.
New York's old Democratic order — in the vein of Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio — backed Amazon's move, while a new...
16 Feb 2019

This Is How AIPAC Really Works

One thing that should be said about Representative Ilhan Omar’s tweet about the power of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (more commonly known as AIPAC, or the “Israel lobby”) is that the hysterical reaction to it proved her main point: The power of AIPAC over members of Congress is literally awesome, although not in a good way.
One thing that should be said about Representative Ilhan Omar’s tweet about the power of the American Israel Public...
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Publisher: NPR

Author:

15 Feb 2019

NPR misleads public in report on AIPAC vs Ilhan Omar

NPR’s ‘All Things Considered’ segment underreports AIPAC’s finances, uses only Israel partisans as commentators, minimizes power of AIPAC, ignores Palestinians, and fails to inform listeners of the full scope of the Israel lobby
NPR’s ‘All Things Considered’ segment underreports AIPAC’s finances, uses only Israel partisans as commentators,...

Publisher: BBC News

Author:

13 Feb 2019

Environment in multiple crises

The think-tank IPPR says human impacts have reached a critical stage and threaten to destabilise society and the global economy.Scientists warn of a potentially deadly combination of factors.These include climate change, mass loss of species, topsoil erosion, forest felling and acidifying oceans.
The think-tank IPPR says human impacts have reached a critical stage and threaten to destabilise society and the global...

Publisher: NYTimes

Author:

12 Feb 2019

The Tiny Swiss Company That Thinks It Can Help Stop Climate Change

It may now be that another gas — carbon dioxide (CO2) — can be removed from the air for commercial purposes, and that its removal could have a profound effect on the future of humanity. But it’s almost certainly too soon to say for sure.
It may now be that another gas — carbon dioxide (CO2) — can be removed from the air for commercial purposes, and...
11 Feb 2019

‘Mass Invasion’: Russian Islands in State of Emergency as Hotter Planet Drives Polar Bears to Hunger

As human activity continues to drive the climate crisis that is causing rapid ice loss at both poles and in other cold regions, destroying the habitats of animals who live there, Russian islands in the Novaya Zemlya archipelago have declared a state of emergency in response to a "mass invasion" of dozens of starving polar bears who have been "chasing people and entering residential buildings."
As human activity continues to drive the climate crisis that is causing rapid ice loss at both poles and in other cold...
11 Feb 2019

Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature’

The world’s insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to the first global scientific review. More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles. The total mass of insects is falling by a precipitous 2.5% a year, according to the best data available, suggesting they could vanish within a century.
The world’s insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s...

Publisher: NYTimes

Author:

7 Feb 2019

It’s Official: 2018 Was the Fourth-Warmest Year on Record

NASA scientists announced Wednesday that the Earth’s average surface temperature in 2018 was the fourth highest in nearly 140 years of record-keeping and a continuation of an unmistakable warming trend. “The five warmest years have, in fact, been the last five years,” said Gavin A. Schmidt, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the NASA group that conducted the analysis.
NASA scientists announced Wednesday that the Earth’s average surface temperature in 2018 was the fourth highest in...

Publisher: Politico

Author:

6 Feb 2019

Actually, it was Democrats who killed the 70 percent tax

THE DEMOCRATS OF today should consider what the Democrats of 1980 knew: The top marginal tax rate generates very little income for the federal government. At the time, the 70 percent rate didn’t kick in until $212,000, which in today’s dollars is over $600,000. Since this was a marginal rate, no one, not even the richest millionaire, paid 70 percent of their entire income in taxes; only the portion of their income above the threshold was taxed at the top rate. Most important, the rich had ways to shift their income to avoid taxes, because the top rate only applied to “unearned income” such as dividends. This meant that whether the goal was to reduce inequality or raise revenue, the top tax rate was not very effective.
THE DEMOCRATS OF today should consider what the Democrats of 1980 knew: The top marginal tax rate generates very little...
5 Feb 2019

A third of Himalayan ice cap doomed, finds report

At least a third of the huge ice fields in Asia’s towering mountain chain are doomed to melt due to climate change, according to a landmark report, with serious consequences for almost 2 billion people. Even if carbon emissions are dramatically and rapidly cut and succeed in limiting global warming to 1.5C, 36% of the glaciers along in the Hindu Kush and Himalaya range will have gone by 2100. If emissions are not cut, the loss soars to two-thirds, the report found.
At least a third of the huge ice fields in Asia’s towering mountain chain are doomed to melt due to climate change,...

Publisher: NYTimes

Author:

5 Feb 2019

Climate Change Could Leave Thousands of Lakes Ice-Free

In a study published last week in the journal Nature Climate Change, scientists for the first time quantified the effects of rising temperatures on ice cover across 1.4 million lakes in the Northern Hemisphere. They found that, from Wisconsin to Japan, thousands of lakes that used to freeze reliably every winter already see some years without ice, and that “an extensive loss of lake ice will occur within the next generation.”
In a study published last week in the journal Nature Climate Change, scientists for the first time quantified the...
2 Feb 2019

From Celebrated to Vilified, House’s Muslim Women Absorb Blows Over Israel

Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar were celebrated this month as symbols of diversity, the House’s first two Muslim women. But on Israel, they have exposed a Democratic Party divide. The tussle over Ms. Tlaib and Ms. Omar has exposed a growing generational divide within the Democratic Party, pitting an old guard of stalwart supporters of Israel against an ascendant wing of young liberals — including many young Jews — willing to accuse the Israeli government of human rights abuses and demanding movement toward a Palestinian state.
Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar were celebrated this month as symbols of diversity, the House’s first two Muslim women....
1 Feb 2019

Police Make 10 Million Arrests a Year, but That Doesn’t Mean They’re Solving Crimes

Someone is arrested in the United States every three seconds. While arrests are the first entryway into a criminal justice system most acknowledge is in dire need of reform, we know remarkably little about who is arrested, where, and why. Advocates and legislators have pushed in recent years for policy changes at various points of the justice process, from pretrial to sentencing, but arrests remain one of the largest and least scrutinized contributors to the country’s mass incarceration and policing crises.
Someone is arrested in the United States every three seconds. While arrests are the first entryway into a criminal...
25 Jan 2019

Elizabeth Warren Proposes Annual Wealth Tax on Ultra-Millionaires

Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign has rolled out a proposal for an annual tax on wealth, becoming the first major Democratic candidate to follow a recommendation outlined in Thomas Piketty’s blockbuster book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign has rolled out a proposal for an annual tax on wealth, becoming the...
24 Jan 2019

For Michelle Alexander’s critics, Palestinians don’t deserve civil rights

The uproar over Alexander’s essay came swiftly from Jewish establishment groups and figures. Some of them are worth reading in full, if only to witness the hysteria and chutzpah of telling a Black woman how to remember one of the most significant African-American leaders in history, or how to interpret her knowledge of injustice:
The uproar over Alexander’s essay came swiftly from Jewish establishment groups and figures. Some of them are worth...
22 Jan 2019

Greenland’s ice melting faster than scientists previously thought – study

Greenland is melting faster than scientists previously thought, with the pace of ice loss increasing four-fold since 2003, new research has found. Enormous glaciers in Greenland are depositing ever larger chunks of ice into the Atlantic ocean, where it melts. But scientists have found that the largest ice loss in the decade from 2003 actually occurred in the southwest region of the island, which is largely glacier-free.
Greenland is melting faster than scientists previously thought, with the pace of ice loss increasing four-fold since...
17 Jan 2019

The Climate Change Solution That Could Spark Global War

The year is 2069. World governments failed to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 — the deadline set in a 2018 United Nations report — setting off a chain of rapid warming. Megastorms and wildfires regularly kill hundreds and displace tens of thousands, and coastal cities are abandoning low-lying neighborhoods to the rising sea. Freshwater and food are in short supply as drought dries wellsprings and parches the Mekong Delta’s rice basket.
The year is 2069. World governments failed to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 — the deadline set in a 2018...

Publisher: Yale E360

Author:

17 Jan 2019

The West’s Great River Hits Its Limits: Will the Colorado Run Dry?

Most of the water in the Colorado comes from snow that falls in the Rockies and is slowly released, a natural reservoir that disperses its bounty gradually, over months. But since 2000, the Colorado River Basin has been locked in what experts say is a long-term drought exacerbated by climate change, the most severe drought in the last 1,250 years, tree ring data shows.
Most of the water in the Colorado comes from snow that falls in the Rockies and is slowly released, a natural reservoir...
15 Jan 2019

U.S. News Headlines on Israel-Palestine Show Systemic Bias

At the height of the 2014 war between the Israeli military and Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip, the New York Times ran an article headlined, “Israel Says That Hamas Uses Civilian Shields, Reviving Debate.” It was an apparent reference to the hundreds of Palestinian civilians who had been killed in Israeli attacks by that point in the war.
At the height of the 2014 war between the Israeli military and Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip, the New York...
13 Jan 2019

The War on Terror’s Total Cost: $5,900,000,000,000

By any reasonable estimate, the monetary and human costs of the U.S.-led war on terrorism has been considerable. To the political scientists at Brown University, the numbers have been astronomical. The Ivy League university’s Cost of War Project calculates that Washington will spend approximately $5.9 trillion between FY2001-FY2019.
By any reasonable estimate, the monetary and human costs of the U.S.-led war on terrorism has been considerable. To the...
7 Jan 2019

Taking stock of 2018’s money laundering scandals: When is enough enough?

If ever there was the need to showcase the extent to which there is an endemic problem surrounding money laundering at large banks, look no further than 2018. While the release of the Panama Papers in 2016 exposed the scale through which elites benefited from the offshore world, the number of bank scandals in 2018 helped us understand the extent to which some large financial institutions have acted as key enablers of illicit financial flows worldwide.
If ever there was the need to showcase the extent to which there is an endemic problem surrounding money laundering at...
5 Jan 2019

The $786 million question: Does Steve Schwarzman — or anyone — deserve to make that much?

Last year, Stephen Schwarzman took home $786.5 million from the Blackstone Group, a leading private-equity firm that he co-founded and has run for more than 30 years. The question is: Do they deserve such extraordinary sums?
Last year, Stephen Schwarzman took home $786.5 million from the Blackstone Group, a leading private-equity firm...
4 Jan 2019

Veteran NBC/MSNBC Journalist Blasts Network in Resignation

A veteran national security journalist with NBC News and MSNBC blasted the networks in a Monday email for becoming captive and subservient to the national security state, reflexively pro-war in the name of stopping President Donald Trump, and now the prime propaganda instrument of the War Machine’s promotion of militarism and imperialism.
A veteran national security journalist with NBC News and MSNBC blasted the networks in a Monday email for becoming...

Publisher: Alternet

Author:

3 Jan 2019

The GOP’s most successful scam is about to reboot itself

From the 1930s to the time Wanniski wrote his opus magnum in the Wall Street Journal, Democrats—who almost continuously controlled the House of Representatives where all taxing and spending must originate—kept high taxes on businesses and rich people to pay for things. This kept the national debt in decline, and kept working people happy (working-class wages were steadily going up, in fact faster than the wages of CEOs).
From the 1930s to the time Wanniski wrote his opus magnum in the Wall Street Journal, Democrats—who almost...

Increased Privatization of the VA Has Led to Longer Waits and Higher Costs for Taxpayers

For years, conservatives have assailed the United States Department of Veterans Affairs as a dysfunctional bureaucracy. They said private enterprise would mean better, easier-to-access health care for veterans. President Donald Trump embraced that position, enthusiastically moving to expand the private sector's role. Here's what has actually happened in the four years since the government began sending more veterans to private care: longer waits for appointments and, a new analysis of VA claims data by ProPublica and PolitiFact shows, higher costs for taxpayers.
For years, conservatives have assailed the United States Department of Veterans Affairs as a dysfunctional bureaucracy....
28 Dec 2018

Facebook’s Secret Censorship Manual Exposed as Platform Takes Down Video About Israel Terrorizing Palestinians

After the New York Times on Thursday published an exposé of Facebook's global censorship rulebook, journalist Rania Khalek called out the social media giant for taking down a video in which she explains how, "on top of being occupied, colonized territory, Palestine is Israel's personal laboratory for testing, refining, and showcasing methods and weapons of domination and control."
After the New York Times on Thursday published an exposé of Facebook's global censorship rulebook, journalist Rania...
21 Dec 2018

Risks of ‘domino effect’ of tipping points greater than thought, study says

Policymakers have severely underestimated the risks of ecological tipping points, according to a study that shows 45% of all potential environmental collapses are interrelated and could amplify one another. The authors said their paper, published in the journal Science, highlights how overstressed and overlapping natural systems are combining to throw up a growing number of unwelcome surprises.
Policymakers have severely underestimated the risks of ecological tipping points, according to a study that shows 45% of...

Publisher: World Economic Forum

Author:

21 Dec 2018

Shaping the Future of Environment and Natural Resource Security

The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. Incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 1971, and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the Forum is tied to no political, partisan or national interests.
The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by...

Publisher: Medium

Author:

20 Dec 2018

America’s Police State Is The Ruling Class’ Pre-Emptive Defense Against A Revolution

Under the Trump presidency, the instruments for state repression have been alarmingly expanded, and this conflict between the people and the government is soon going to make them be put into use. Trump, who’s endorsed by America’s largest police union, has been trying to turn the police against the people by publicly encouraging officers to use more violence. With the help of police unions, Trump has further militarized police by giving local departments more access to army equipment. The escalations of the drug war in the last two years have also grown the power of the police, and are an implied threat to anyone who tries to disrupt the system.
Under the Trump presidency, the instruments for state repression have been alarmingly expanded, and this conflict...

Publisher: Sludge

Author:

19 Dec 2018

Beto Got $430,000 From Individuals in Oil and Gas. Should We Care?

I have confirmed that according to the latest campaign finance report, which covers the period from Oct. 17 through Nov. 26, the O’Rourke campaign had not returned 29 “large donations” of over $200 from oil and gas executives, violating the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge O’Rourke signed.
I have confirmed that according to the latest campaign finance report, which covers the period from Oct. 17 through Nov....
18 Dec 2018

School Contractor in Texas Denied Work Over Pro-Israel Loyalty Oath

A children’s speech pathologist who has worked for the last nine years with developmentally disabled, autistic, and speech-impaired elementary school students in Austin, Texas, has been told that she can no longer work with the public school district, after she refused to sign an oath vowing that she “does not” and “will not” engage in a boycott of Israel or “otherwise tak[e] any action that is intended to inflict economic harm” on that foreign nation.
A children’s speech pathologist who has worked for the last nine years with developmentally disabled, autistic,...

Publisher: NYTimes

Author:

8 Dec 2018

The Planet Has Seen Sudden Warming Before. It Wiped Out Almost Everything.

Some 252 million years ago, Earth almost died. In the oceans, 96 percent of all species became extinct. It’s harder to determine how many terrestrial species vanished, but the loss was comparable. This mass extinction, at the end of the Permian Period, was the worst in the planet’s history, and it happened over a few thousand years at most — the blink of a geological eye.
Some 252 million years ago, Earth almost died. In the oceans, 96 percent of all species became extinct. It’s harder to...

Publisher: Ars Technica

Author:

6 Dec 2018

Why our rising oceans aren’t causing problems everywhere

The Earth's oceans are rising. It's an inevitable outcome when ice sitting on land melts and when oceans warm, which causes their volume to expand. But if you live at the coast, it may not be rising near you. Places like Miami and Newport News are experiencing floods at many high tides. Some places in Alaska, in contrast, are seeing the oceans edging away, as land seems to lift out of the sea (albeit incredibly gradually).
The Earth's oceans are rising. It's an inevitable outcome when ice sitting on land melts and when oceans warm, which...
29 Nov 2018

The broken life of Snowden’s guardian angels

For the longest time, we thought he was fighting a lonely battle. His incredible escape from Hong Kong in 2013 would never have succeeded without the help of some extraordinary accomplices. Robert Tibbo who had spearheaded the fight for Human Rights in this Chinese region was the mastermind behind the hide and seek scheme.
For the longest time, we thought he was fighting a lonely battle. His incredible escape from Hong Kong in 2013 would...

Publisher: The Nation

Author:

29 Nov 2018

The Pentagon’s Massive Accounting Fraud Exposed

On November 15, Ernst & Young and other private firms that were hired to audit the Pentagon announced that they could not complete the job. Congress had ordered an independent audit of the Department of Defense, the government’s largest discretionary cost center—the Pentagon receives 54 cents out of every dollar in federal appropriations—after the Pentagon failed for decades to audit itself. The firms concluded, however, that the DoD’s financial records were riddled with so many bookkeeping deficiencies, irregularities, and errors that a reliable audit was simply impossible.
On November 15, Ernst & Young and other private firms that were hired to audit the Pentagon announced that they...

Publisher: South Asia Journal

Author:

27 Nov 2018

Water crisis puts trade war into perspective for China

China’s trade war with the United States has tended to dominate the news agenda in the past year. But a bigger challenge for Beijing could be the threat of a water crisis which would submerge the world’s second-largest economy and wash away growth. Two reports by Greenpeace East Asia and Chinadialogue.net, an independent, non-profit organization, have highlighted the risks that President Xi Jinping’s administration faces because of climate change and homegrown pollution.
China’s trade war with the United States has tended to dominate the news agenda in the past year. But a bigger...
27 Nov 2018

Overdoses, bedsores, broken bones: What happened when a private-equity firm sought to care for society’s most vulnerable

To the state inspectors visiting the HCR Manor­Care nursing home here last year, the signs of neglect were conspicuous. A disabled man who had long, dirty fingernails told them he was tended to “once in a blue moon.” The bedside “call buttons” were so poorly staffed that some residents regularly soiled themselves while waiting for help to the bathroom. A woman dying of uterine cancer was left on a bedpan for so long that she bruised.
To the state inspectors visiting the HCR Manor­Care nursing home here last year, the signs of neglect were conspicuous....

Publisher: The Intercept

Author:

24 Nov 2018

Canary Mission’s Blacklist of Pro-Palestine Activists Is Taking a Toll

Activists blacklisted by Canary Mission say they've experienced anxiety, and now find themselves stepping back from pro-Palestine advocacy as a result.  Canary Mission’s growth coincides with the increasing strength of the Palestinian rights movement in the United States, and S.A. is one of more than 1,000 students, professors, and activists that the website has placed in its crosshairs.
Activists blacklisted by Canary Mission say they've experienced anxiety, and now find themselves stepping back from...
22 Nov 2018

Trump’s Amoral Saudi Statement Is a Pure Expression of Decades-Old “U.S. Values” and Foreign Policy Orthodoxies

Donald Trump on Tuesday issued a statement proclaiming that, notwithstanding the anger toward the Saudi Crown Prince over the gruesome murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, “the United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region.” To justify his decision, Trump cited the fact that “Saudi Arabia is the largest oil producing nation in the world” and claimed that “of the $450 billion [the Saudis plan to spend with U.S. companies], $110 billion will be spent on the purchase of military equipment from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and many other great U.S. defense contractors.”
Donald Trump on Tuesday issued a statement proclaiming that, notwithstanding the anger toward the Saudi Crown...
21 Nov 2018

America Needs to Reckon With the Death Toll of Post-9/11 Wars

Brown University’s Costs of War Project this month released a new estimate of the total death toll from the U.S. wars in three countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The numbers, while conservatively estimated, are staggering. Brown’s researchers estimate that at least 480,000 people have been directly killed by violence over the course of these conflicts, more than 244,000 of them civilians
Brown University’s Costs of War Project this month released a new estimate of the total death toll from the U.S. wars...
21 Nov 2018

Wisconsin no longer has democratic legislative elections thanks to the Supreme Court

Democrats romped through Wisconsin on Election Day, winning each of the five statewide offices on the ballot and winning the statewide popular vote in the state assembly by eight points. Nevertheless, Republicans won a 63 vote supermajority in the 99 seat Wisconsin assembly. Wisconsin, in other words, did not have a democratic election for the state assembly. Something resembling an election took place and voters cast their ballots in earnest, but the entire state assembly race was rigged.
Democrats romped through Wisconsin on Election Day, winning each of the five statewide offices on the ballot and winning...

Publisher: The Guardian

Author:

15 Nov 2018

Rigging the vote: how the American right is on the way to permanent minority rule

The American right is in the midst of a formidable project: installing permanent minority rule, guaranteeing control of the government even as the number of actual human beings who support their political program dwindles.
The American right is in the midst of a formidable project: installing permanent minority rule, guaranteeing control of...
14 Nov 2018

Secret CIA Document Shows Plan to Test Drugs on Prisoners

Thanks to an ACLU victory in federal court, we know much more about how CIA doctors violated the medical oath to “do no harm.” One of the most important lessons of the CIA’s torture program is the way it corrupted virtually every individual and institution associated with it. Over the years, we have learned how lawyers twisted the law and psychologists betrayed their ethical obligations in order to enable the brutal and unlawful torture of prisoners.
Thanks to an ACLU victory in federal court, we know much more about how CIA doctors violated the medical oath to “do...

Publisher: Truthdig

Author:

12 Nov 2018

Crucifying Julian Assange

Assange was once feted and courted by some of the largest media organizations in the world, including The New York Times and The Guardian, for the information he possessed. But once his trove of material documenting U.S. war crimes, much of it provided by Chelsea Manning, was published by these media outlets he was pushed aside and demonized.
Assange was once feted and courted by some of the largest media organizations in the world, including The New York Times...

Publisher: The Intercept

Author:

5 Nov 2018

Weapons Makers Rushing Donations to Rep. Adam Smith

Weapons makers are moving last-minute money to the Democratic congressman in line to chair the defense industry’s key House committee, as he is under assault from a fellow Democrat, who is attacking his pro-war record just ahead of a rare intra-party general election.
Weapons makers are moving last-minute money to the Democratic congressman in line to chair the defense industry’s key...

Publisher: Israel Palestinina News

Author:

31 Oct 2018

Midterm scoreboard reveals massive pro-Israel influence on Congressional candidates

A detailed scoreboard on candidates for the Senate and House of Representatives shows that 28 pro-Israel PACs and numerous pro-Israel individuals have given candidates millions of dollars in campaign contributions. The scoreboard presents 29 bills and resolutions that were introduced on behalf of Israel.. 20 passed into law or on-record statement, many by unanimous consent. The legislation has accrued a total of over 3,300 co-sponsors...
A detailed scoreboard on candidates for the Senate and House of Representatives shows that 28 pro-Israel PACs and...

Publisher: NYTimes

Author:

23 Oct 2018

Standing Ovation for Saudi Crown Prince Thrusts Conference Attendees Into Limelight

Bankers kept their name tags obscured behind ties. Many tried to keep a low profile and avoided talking to the news media. But those hoping to escape any tarnish from attending Saudi Arabia’s global investment conference in the wake of a dissident journalist’s killing were foiled when the crown prince himself, Mohammed bin Salman, appeared at the summit meeting and received a standing ovation.
Bankers kept their name tags obscured behind ties. Many tried to keep a low profile and avoided talking to the news...
22 Oct 2018

A 14-year-long oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico verges on becoming one of the worst in U.S. history

An oil spill that has been quietly leaking millions of barrels into the Gulf of Mexico has gone unplugged for so long that it now verges on becoming one of the worst offshore disasters in U.S. history. Between 300 and 700 barrels of oil per day have been spewing from a site 12 miles off the Louisiana coast since 2004, when an oil-production platform owned by Taylor Energy sank in a mudslide triggered by Hurricane Ivan.
An oil spill that has been quietly leaking millions of barrels into the Gulf of Mexico has gone unplugged for so long...

Publisher: Al Jazeera

Author:

16 Oct 2018

An American and an Arab journalist walk into a Saudi Consulate

The New York Times is the barometer of the health and sickness of the American society. So long as it keeps hasbara propaganda officers like Thomas Friedman on its columns the New York Times offers us a perfectly accurate measure of where this society is and where it is headed. It both reflects and manufactures the United States for us.
The New York Times is the barometer of the health and sickness of the American society. So long as it keeps hasbara...
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16 Oct 2018

The Washington Post, as it Shames Others, Continues to Pay and Publish Undisclosed Saudi Lobbyists and Other Regime Propagandists

In the wake of the disappearance and likely murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, some of the most fervent and righteous voices demanding that others sever their ties with the Saudi regime have, understandably, come from his colleagues at that paper.
In the wake of the disappearance and likely murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, some of the most...
16 Oct 2018

‘Hyperalarming’ study shows massive insect loss

Insects around the world are in a crisis, according to a small but growing number of long-term studies showing dramatic declines in invertebrate populations. A new report suggests that the problem is more widespread than scientists realized. Huge numbers of bugs have been lost in a pristine national forest in Puerto Rico, the study found, and the forest’s insect-eating animals have gone missing, too.
Insects around the world are in a crisis, according to a small but growing number of long-term studies showing dramatic...
6 Oct 2018

America has been a massive tax and secrecy haven for years. Are things getting better?

Two decades ago, few had any idea that the U.S. — thanks to both rigged tax structures and anonymous companies in states like Wyoming and Nevada — had already transformed into one of the world’s greatest tax and secrecy havens. While jurisdictions like the Cayman Islands and Switzerland grabbed headlines, the U.S. presented itself as the future of offshoring writ large.
Two decades ago, few had any idea that the U.S. — thanks to both rigged tax structures and anonymous companies in...

Publisher: Truthdig

Author:

4 Oct 2018

Benjamin Netanyahu Is No Friend to America

Benjamin Netanyahu is no stranger to the American spotlight. A career Israeli politician who attended school in the United States, he specializes in the kind of rhetoric that his American counterparts revel in—a kind of narcissism that’s more used car salesman than educator.
Benjamin Netanyahu is no stranger to the American spotlight. A career Israeli politician who attended school in the...
3 Oct 2018

I Just Visited Lula, the World’s Most Prominent Political Prisoner. A “Soft Coup” in Brazil’s Election Will Have Global Consequences.

Prisons are reminiscent of Tolstoy’s famous observation about unhappy families: Each “is unhappy in its own way,” though there are some common features — for prisons, the grim and stifling recognition that someone else has total authority over your life.
Prisons are reminiscent of Tolstoy’s famous observation about unhappy families: Each “is unhappy in its own...
27 Sep 2018

How the Koch brothers built the most powerful rightwing group you’ve never heard of

Americans for Prosperity is a little-known, billionaire-funded organization that has pushed US politics to the right. We are a group of Columbia and Harvard-based researchers who for the past five years have been investigating precisely how the Koch brothers work to influence US politics and the role played by AFP. In recent years, AFP has quietly pushed behind the scenes for many of the most important conservative victories across the nation, including the anti-union bills that passed in former union strongholds such as Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio.
Americans for Prosperity is a little-known, billionaire-funded organization that has pushed US politics to the right. We...
27 Sep 2018

Two Myths of the 2008 Meltdown

The 2008 financial crisis was not the result only of moral hazard; nor was it unforeseeable. While too-big-to-fail banks believed – rightly, it turned out – that they would be bailed out, consumers, rating agencies, and policymakers all bet on housing as well, destabilizing the system.
The 2008 financial crisis was not the result only of moral hazard; nor was it unforeseeable. While too-big-to-fail banks...
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