During This Economic Crisis, Capitalism’s Three Point Political Program: 1. Austerity, 2. Scapegoating Blacks, Minorities, and ‘Illegal Immigrants’ for Unemployment, and 3. The Iron Heel.
Democracy?: As the Capitalist Robber Barons Steal from the 99% — Only the 1% Voted For Austerity — The 99% Should Decide On Austerity — Not Just The Who Profit From Austerity! Under Austerity, All of the World Will Eventually Be Pauperized, Humbled, and Desecrated Like Greece and Puerto Rico
This paper assesses whether ExxonMobil Corporation has in the past misled the general public about climate change. We present an empirical document-by-document textual content analysis and comparison of 187 climate change communications from ExxonMobil, including peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed publications, internal company documents, and paid, editorial-style advertisements (‘advertorials’) in The New York Times. We examine whether these communications sent consistent messages about the state of climate science and its implications—specifically, we compare their positions on climate change as real, human-caused, serious, and solvable. In all four cases, we find that as documents become more publicly accessible, they increasingly communicate doubt. This discrepancy is most pronounced between advertorials and all other documents. For example, accounting for expressions of reasonable doubt, 83% of peer-reviewed papers and 80% of internal documents acknowledge that climate change is real and human-caused, yet only 12% of advertorials do so, with 81% instead expressing doubt. We conclude that ExxonMobil contributed to advancing climate science—by way of its scientists’ academic publications—but promoted doubt about it in advertorials. Given this discrepancy, we conclude that ExxonMobil misled the public. Our content analysis also examines ExxonMobil’s discussion of the risks of stranded fossil fuel assets. We find the topic discussed and sometimes quantified in 24 documents of various types, but absent from advertorials. Finally, based on the available documents, we outline ExxonMobil’s strategic approach to climate change research and communication, which helps to contextualize our findings. — Assessing ExxonMobil’s climate change communications (1977–2014)
I have spent the past two weeks visiting the United States, at the invitation of the federal government, to look at whether the persistence of extreme poverty in America undermines the enjoyment of human rights by its citizens. In my travels through California, Alabama, Georgia, Puerto Rico, West Virginia, and Washington DC I have spoken with dozens of experts and civil society groups, met with senior state and federal government officials and talked with many people who are homeless or living in deep poverty. I am grateful to the Trump Administration for facilitating my visit and for its continuing cooperation with the UN Human Rights Council’s accountability mechanisms that apply to all states.
My visit coincides with a dramatic change of direction in US policies relating to inequality and extreme poverty. The proposed tax reform package stakes out America’s bid to become the most unequal society in the world, and will greatly increase the already high levels of wealth and income inequality between the richest 1% and the poorest 50% of Americans. The dramatic cuts in welfare, foreshadowed by the President and Speaker Ryan, and already beginning to be implemented by the administration, will essentially shred crucial dimensions of a safety net that is already full of holes. It is against this background that my report is presented.
The United States is one of the world’s richest, most powerful and technologically innovative countries; but neither its wealth nor its power nor its technology is being harnessed to address the situation in which 40 million people continue to live in poverty.
I have seen and heard a lot over the past two weeks. I met with many people barely surviving on Skid Row in Los Angeles, I witnessed a San Francisco police officer telling a group of homeless people to move on but having no answer when asked where they could move to, I heard how thousands of poor people get minor infraction notices which seem to be intentionally designed to quickly explode into unpayable debt, incarceration, and the replenishment of municipal coffers, I saw sewage filled yards in states where governments don’t consider sanitation facilities to be their responsibility, I saw people who had lost all of their teeth because adult dental care is not covered by the vast majority of programs available to the very poor, I heard about soaring death rates and family and community destruction wrought by prescription and other drug addiction, and I met with people in the South of Puerto Rico living next to a mountain of completely unprotected coal ash which rains down upon them bringing illness, disability and death.
Of course, that is not the whole story. I also saw much that is positive. I met with State and especially municipal officials who are determined to improve social protection for the poorest 20% of their communities, I saw an energized civil society in many places, I visited a Catholic Church in San Francisco (St Boniface – the Gubbio Project) that opens its pews to the homeless every day between services, I saw extraordinary resilience and community solidarity in Puerto Rico, I toured an amazing community health initiative in Charleston (West Virginia) that serves 21,000 patients with free medical, dental, pharmaceutical and other services, overseen by local volunteer physicians, dentists and others (WV Health Right), and indigenous communities presenting at a US-Human Rights Network conference in Atlanta lauded Alaska’s advanced health care system for indigenous peoples, designed with direct participation of the target group.
American exceptionalism was a constant theme in my conversations. But instead of realizing its founders’ admirable commitments, today’s United States has proved itself to be exceptional in far more problematic ways that are shockingly at odds with its immense wealth and its founding commitment to human rights. As a result, contrasts between private wealth and public squalor abound.
In talking with people in the different states and territories I was frequently asked how the US compares with other states. While such comparisons are not always perfect, a cross-section of statistical comparisons provides a relatively clear picture of the contrast between the wealth, innovative capacity, and work ethic of the US, and the social and other outcomes that have been attained.
By most indicators, the US is one of the world’s wealthiest countries. It spends more on national defense than China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, United Kingdom, India, France, and Japan combined.
US health care expenditures per capita are double the OECD average and much higher than in all other countries. But there are many fewer doctors and hospital beds per person than the OECD average.
US infant mortality rates in 2013 were the highest in the developed world.
Americans can expect to live shorter and sicker lives, compared to people living in any other rich democracy, and the “health gap” between the U.S. and its peer countries continues to grow.
S. inequality levels are far higher than those in most European countries
Neglected tropical diseases, including Zika, are increasingly common in the USA. It has been estimated that 12 million Americans live with a neglected parasitic infection. A 2017 report documents the prevalence of hookworm in Lowndes County, Alabama.
The US has the highest prevalence of obesity in the developed world.
In terms of access to water and sanitation the US ranks 36th in the world.
America has the highest incarceration rate in the world, ahead of Turkmenistan, El Salvador, Cuba, Thailand and the Russian Federation. Its rate is nearly 5 times the OECD average.
The youth poverty rate in the United States is the highest across the OECD with one quarter of youth living in poverty compared to less than 14% across the OECD.
The Stanford Center on Inequality and Poverty ranks the most well-off countries in terms of labor markets, poverty, safety net, wealth inequality, and economic mobility. The US comes in last of the top 10 most well-off countries, and 18th amongst the top 21.
In the OECD the US ranks 35th out of 37 in terms of poverty and inequality.
According to the World Income Inequality Database, the US has the highest Gini rate (measuring inequality) of all Western Countries
The Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality characterizes the US as “a clear and constant outlier in the child poverty league.” US child poverty rates are the highest amongst the six richest countries – Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden and Norway.
About 55.7% of the U.S. voting-age population cast ballots in the 2016 presidential election. In the OECD, the U.S. placed 28th in voter turnout, compared with an OECD average of 75%. Registered voters represent a much smaller share of potential voters in the U.S. than just about any other OECD country. Only about 64% of the U.S. voting-age population (and 70% of voting-age citizens) was registered in 2016, compared with 91% in Canada (2015) and the UK (2016), 96% in Sweden (2014), and nearly 99% in Japan (2014). . . .
The human rights dimension III. Who are ‘the poor’? IV. The current extent of poverty in the US V. Problems with existing policies 3. Shortcomings in basic social protection VI. Principal current governmental responses
J20 Defendants Await Verdict in First Test of Government Attempt to Criminalize Protest Group as a WholeIt’s been a bleak year for the 194 protesters, medics, and journalists facing multiple felony charges stemming from their arrest surrounding Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration on January 20, 2017. Vilified by much of the mainstream press and largely ignored by the liberal “Resistance” movement, the J20 defendants — as they’re collectively known — have huddled around each other and their tight network of supporters. On Friday, a jury began deliberations in the first J20 trial, of six defendants, on a raft of counts; a verdict could come as soon as Monday. Last Wednesday, however, there was a rare glimmer of hope: Before closing arguments, Judge Lynn Leibovitz of the D.C. Superior Court threw out the “inciting a riot” charge, a felony with a maximum ten year sentence. By Sam Adler-Bell
Analysis Shows More Than Half of Total Trump-GOP Tax Plan Benefits Go to Richest 5% In order to pay for massive cuts for wealthy and permanent tax giveaway to corporations, rates on low- and middle-income families will increase significantly in 2027. Who benefits? Probably not you. By Jon Queally Trump’s tax bill has nothing to do with economics. — It’s brute-force politics The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 has nothing to do with economics. It is pure politics. Economists struggling to understand the unwieldy legislation are like biochemists attempting to explain contemporary ballet. Nobody seriously believes that the bill will boost growth. Everybody knows that it will massively increase the deficit; the only argument is whether it will be by $1.5tn, or just $1tn. The legislation has been drafted at breakneck pace, with few opportunities for costings or analysis: a recipe for errors. Senator Elizabeth Warren joked that she spent more time choosing her new refrigerator than the Senate managed for tax reform. But for Republican lawmakers, the bill hits some very sweet political spots. Corporations? Check. The wealthy? Check. Obamacare haters? Check? When the deficit balloons, as it must, Republicans will then use that to justify cutting spending, especially on pensions and healthcare. Their cynicism is breathtaking. Their ruthlessness is impressive. Wait for the new Alabama senator, Doug Jones, to take his seat before voting? Are you kidding? There will be no waiting. This is brute force politics. By Richard Reeves
Pesticide Suicide Pesticide suicide refers to toxic chemicals mucking up the health of animals, plants and insects. This worldwide causatum may be totally out of control or maybe not; nobody knows for sure. Therein lies the scary part. However, what is known is not encouraging: “Industrial toxins are now routinely found in new-born babies, in mother’s milk, in the food chain, in domestic drinking water worldwide… Humans emit more than 250 billion tonnes of chemical substances a year, in a toxic avalanche that is harming people and life everywhere on the planet.” (Source: Scientist Categorize Earth as a Toxic Planet, Phys Org, February 7th 2017) For obvious reasons, it is not at all comforting to hear Earth referred to as a “toxic planet.” Indeed, it would be insulting, if not true. by Robert Hunziker
Deferred maintenance is the practice of postponing maintenance activities such as repairs on both real property (i.e. infrastructure) and personal property (i.e. machinery) in order to save costs, meet budget funding levels, or realign available budget monies. The failure to perform needed repairs could lead to asset deterioration and ultimately asset impairment. Generally, a policy of continued deferred maintenance may result in higher costs, asset failure, and in some cases, health and safety implications. — WikiLeaks
After the Wage-Price freeze in 1972, it became the Industrial Policy and the Governmental Policy to cut labor and infrastructure costs through deferred maintenance policy.
One other recent example of deferred maintenance policy is the California Wildfires and PG%E deffered maintenance in clearing tree branches, around powerlines.