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Showing posts from August 4, 2017

Today's Trumpery

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Indigenous People In B.C. Are 3 Times More Likely To Die Of Overdoses

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[Trauma and racism: the roots of crime, drug abuse and radicalization. Do you wonder why so little action is being taken? "We know that there are unspeakable experiences that young girls, young women, are having, that in poverty and with trauma they end up in lifestyles that put them at significant risk." Shannon McDonald, First Nations Health Authority. *RON*]
Canadian Press, Huffington Post, 3 August 2017
VANCOUVER — First Nations in British Columbia are three time more likely to die of illicit drug overdoses but data released Thursday are a year old and don't cover the period when deaths increased substantially provincewide.

Preliminary findings reveal 60 First Nations people fatally overdosed between January 2015 to July 2016 though the death toll is believed to be higher because the numbers exclude people who did not register as status Indians or those who are Inuit and Metis.

Dr. Shannon McDonald, deputy chief medical officer of…

Climate inaction will leave our kids a trillion dollar debt

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[Essentially the mother of all opportunity costs. Based upon findings from James Hansen et al, Young people’s burden: requirement of negative CO2 emissions, Earth System Dynamics. 2017. *RON*]
Prachi Patel, Anthropocene, 3 August 2017

Unless we drastically cut our carbon emissions, today’s young people will have to pay up to US$535 trillion to clean up the atmosphere, according to a new study. That’s how much it would cost them to remove carbon dioxide emissions from the air using negative emissions technologies to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

In 2015, 196 nations signed the Paris agreement to limit global warming to 2°C. But some experts believe even that won’t be enough to keep the climate from wreaking havoc. Hansen and his colleagues say that it would be better to bring carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere down from today’s 400 parts per million to a relatively safer 350 parts per million.

Reaching this goal won’t be possible j…

The balanced budget paradox

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[Good commentary on the differences between private debt and public debt and how the concept of the balanced budget has been spun by neoliberals. *RON*]
Lars Syll, Real World Economics Review Blog, 24 July 2017

The balanced budget paradox is probably one of the most devastating phenomena haunting our economies. The harder politicians — usually on the advise of establishment economists — try to achieve balanced budgets for the public sector, the less likely they are to succeed in their endeavour. And the more the citizens have to pay for the concomitant austerity policies these wrong-headed politicians and economists recommend as “the sole solution.”

One of the most effective ways of clearing up this most serious of all semantic confusions is to point out that private debt differs from national debt in being external. It is owed by one person to others. That is what makes it burdensome. Because it is interpersonal the proper analogy is not to natio…

Of Venezuela and Hypocrisy

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[Good bit of short commentary. Worth a look. *RON*]
Craig Murray blog, 3 Aug, 2017

Hugo Chavez’ revolutionary politics were founded on two very simple tenets:
People ought not to be starving in dreadful slums in the world’s most oil rich stateThe CIA ought not to control Venezuela Over the years, Chavez racked up real achievements in improving living standards for the poor and in providing health and education facilities. He was widely popular and both he and his successor, Nicolas Maduro, also racked up very genuine election victories. Maduro remains the democratically elected President.

But the dream went sour. In particular it fell foul of the tendency of centrally planned economies to fail to get the commodities people want onto shop shelves, and to the corruption that goes with centralisation. The latter was certainly not worse than the right wing corruption it replaced, but that does not diminish its existence.

Every revolution will always dis…

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

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[Excerpt from the latest book by a world expert in trends in affective disorders in adolescents. "Rates of teen depression and suicide have skyrocketed since 2011. It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades. Much of this deterioration can be traced to their phones….There is compelling evidence that the devices we’ve placed in young people’s hands are having profound effects on their lives—and making them seriously unhappy." See also: Your Smartphone Reduces Your Brainpower, Even If It's Just Sitting There. *RON*]
Jean M. Twenge, The Atlantic, September 2017 ISSUE One day last summer, around noon, I called Athena, a 13-year-old who lives in Houston, Texas. She answered her phone—she’s had an iPhone since she was 11—sounding as if she’d just woken up. We chatted about her favorite songs and TV shows, and I asked her what she likes to do with her friends. “We go to the m…