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BeckyDem's Journal
BeckyDem's Journal
July 10, 2023

Catastrophic climate 'doom loops' could start in just 15 years, new study warns

By Ben Turner published 2 days ago

Climate "tipping points," such as the loss of the Amazon rainforest or the collapse of the Greenland ice sheet, could come within a human lifetime, scientists have said.

Earth's ecosystems may be careering toward collapse much sooner than scientists thought, a new study of our planet's warming climate has warned.

According to the research, more than a fifth of the world's potentially catastrophic tipping points — such as the melting of the Arctic permafrost, the collapse of the Greenland ice sheet and the sudden transformation of the Amazon rainforest into savanna — could occur as soon as 2038.

In climatology, a "tipping point" is the threshold beyond which a localized climate system, or "tipping element," irreversibly changes. For instance, if the Greenland ice sheet were to collapse, it would also reduce snowfall in the northern part of the island, making large parts of the sheet irretrievable.

Why we must nationalize Big Oil

Instead, it has used its influence and cash to sustain billions of dollars in annual taxpayer subsidies (nearly $6 trillion for fossil fuels in 2020) and cut-rate permits to extract oil and gas from public lands. For years, these practices suppressed the ability of clean substitutes like solar and wind energy to compete. More recently, the industry has opposed carbon pricing, which would correct market signals by better reflecting the actual social and environmental costs of carbon fuels.

July 8, 2023

House Approps Republicans Attack Women, Minorities In Annual Spending Bill

JUly 5. 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Appropriations Republicans have loaded up the majority-drafted annual spending bills with dozens of poison pill policy riders that attack women, people of color, immigrants, and LGBTQ+ Americans – opening a new front in their escalating culture war. The Clean Budget Coalition, which is tracking the poison pills added to federal spending bills, has repeatedly called on Congress to remove all of these harmful measures. They include:

Fourteen new poison pills targeting abortion rights, contraception, and women’s health. This is in addition to the Hyde Amendment barring federal funding for abortion and six other Hyde-like legacy poison pills that have been carried over from past budget cycles;
Seven new poison pills that block diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility efforts;
Four new poison pills that attack immigrants detained by ICE;
Two new poison pills that ban funding for drag queens;
Two new poison pills that ban pride flags at covered facilities;
Six new poison pills that ban Critical Race Theory;
Five new poison pills that prohibit gender-affirming health care; and
Three new poison pills that require continued federal funding for contractors and other organizations that discriminate against or oppose same-sex marriages.

“Why are MAGA Republicans attacking drag queens in the federal budget? Why are they even mentioning Critical Race Theory? Why are they blocking contraception and gender-affirming health care? The answer is simple: to appease their increasingly radical authoritarian base,” said Lisa Gilbert, executive vice president of Public Citizen and co-chair of the Clean Budget Coalition. “Instead of drafting spending bills that ensure people are safe, healthy, and housed, Republicans are attempting to use them to criminalize peoples’ identities. They’re trying to roll back more than 60 years of progress toward freedom and equality for everyone.”

July 8, 2023

( Fighting racism ) Hotel worker denies woman service after she called him the N-word


( Love the phrase: "It's above me now." LOL )

( I understand Twitter has made it harder to see their content without membership...my apologies. )

July 8, 2023

US Intel executive 'actively responsible' for driving anti-LGBTQ+ agenda in Africa, say campaigners

Greg Slater is co-founder with his wife Sharon of Family Watch International, a US group accused of financing propaganda about sexual and gender diversity

Caroline Kimeu in Nairobi
Fri 7 Jul 2023 02.00 EDT

A group of human rights organisations in Africa renewed their calls this week for the American multinational Intel Corporation to dismiss a senior employee over his alleged involvement in fanning the growing anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment in several countries, including Kenya and Uganda.

In a change.org petition, supported by more than a dozen organisations, the rights groups claim that Greg Slater, Intel’s vice-president of global regulatory affairs, has been “actively responsible for exporting, financing, and spreading hate, homophobia” on the continent for decades, through the American conservative organisation, Family Watch International.

The activists accuse Family Watch International, which is run by Slater’s wife, Sharon, of lobbying high-ranking African leaders and lawmakers to block LGBTQ rights – allegations that have dogged the Slaters for years. The organisation is described as a “hate group” by the US civil rights group Southern Poverty Law Center.


( Pathetic the hatred spread. )

July 7, 2023

The Most Baffling Argument a Supreme Court Justice Has Ever Made

An opinion from Justice Clarence Thomas exposed the limits of originalism.

By Adam Serwer

Midway through his concurrence with the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down affirmative action, Justice Clarence Thomas deploys one of the most absurd and baffling arguments ever put to paper by a justice.

In order to argue that the Framers of the Fourteenth Amendment did not intend to authorize racially specific efforts to alleviate inequality, Thomas finds himself forced to explain the existence of the Freedmen’s Bureau, which was reauthorized in 1866 by the same Congress that approved the Fourteenth Amendment. To square this circle, Thomas insists that the term freedmen was a “formally race-neutral category” and a “decidedly underinclusive proxy for race.”

The 1866 Freedmen’s Bureau Act then expanded upon the prior year’s law, authorizing the Bureau to care for all loyal refugees and freedmen … Importantly, however, the Acts applied to freedmen (and refugees), a formally race-neutral category, not blacks writ large. And, because “not all blacks in the United States were former slaves,” “‘freedman’” was a decidedly underinclusive proxy for race.

If “freedmen” were a “formally race-neutral category,” then the Fourteenth Amendment does not authorize race-conscious efforts to remedy racial discrimination, and affirmative action cannot be constitutional. As an originalist, Thomas is supposed to interpret the Fourteenth Amendment as it was understood at the time it was written. He is attempting to reconcile his philosophy of judicial interpretation with what the history actually says; the other originalist justices do not really try, perhaps aware of the awkwardness of doing so. The problem, though, is that Thomas’s interpretation is obviously incorrect. His efforts at reconciliation ultimately illustrate the extent to which “originalism” is merely a process of exploiting history to justify conservative policy preferences, and not a neutral philosophical framework.


( Despicable man on numerous levels. )

July 7, 2023

Economics v. the Earth: New Book Explores the History of a Tense Relationship

By Lynn Parramore


Excerpt: ‘We are truly the first generation to feel the real effects of climate change,” said New York Governor Kathy Hochul. Big Apple inhabitants, already getting used to fretting about destructive hurricanes stoked by warmer oceans, now add out-of-control forest fires burning hundreds of miles north to their list of climate anxieties. It’s getting harder to ignore the possibility that if their children lived to the year 2100, they might see actually New York City lost to rising seas, along with Mumbai, Shanghai, and Miami.

Canadian fires sent a smoke signal: the path of Western capitalism, which runs right through Wall Street, could end in a climate apocalypse.

In their new book, Scarcity: A History from the Origins of Capitalism to the Climate Crisis, historians Fredrik Albritton Jonsson and Carl Wennerlind warn that capitalist societies will have to overhaul the way we interact with the planet in order to avoid unthinkable consequences. They trace the key economic concept of scarcity as it developed over five hundred years of European thought, showing how a particular interpretation helped bring us to the trouble we’re facing.

Excerpt: Consider the views of art critic and political economist John Ruskin, who advocated the regulation of economic development for the protection of the environment and public health. Jonsson and Wennerlind note that during the 1870s, Ruskin began to notice sinister effects of industrial capitalism in the smoke-filled skies of his country home in England’s Lake District. Unlike most of his contemporaries, he saw the potentially global reach and catastrophic dimensions of what was billowing out of factories Romantic William Blake had earlier dubbed the “dark Satanic mills.” In a series of published letters addressed to British workers, Fors Clavigera, Ruskin warned: “You can vitiate the air by your manner of life… You might easily vitiate it so as to bring such a pestilence on the globe as would end all of you.”

Talk about prescient.


July 7, 2023

Iraq Opens Investigation Into Kidnapping of Israeli Citizen Elizabeth Tsurkov

A dual Russian-Israeli citizen, Tsurkov went missing after traveling to Iraq for research purposes on behalf of Princeton University. Israel is holding Iraq responsible for her wellbeing, though it's unclear how much influence they have over the militia who hold her

Liza Rozovsky Amir Tibon
Jul 7, 2023 12:04 pm IDT

Excerpt: Tsurkov is an expert on Syria and the Middle East. She entered Iraq using her Russian passport – which she has done on numerous occasions to enter Iraq and other countries that have no diplomatic relations with Israel – as part of her work for her doctorate and academic research at Princeton University.

Excerpt: The group that abducted Tsurkov, Kata’ib Hezbollah, is an Iraqi paramilitary organization backed by Iran with an estimated 7,000 members. According to its official page, the organization was inspired by the Lebanese militant group and has been known to receive training from them as well.

The United States is also likely to put some pressure on the Iraqi government, although it’s unclear whether Baghdad can influence the pro-Iranian militia holding Tsurkov captive. The U.S. and European states have held diplomatic talks with Iran about unofficial prisoner exchanges in recent months, and Tsurkov could become a pawn in such a deal.


( Fingers crossed and all that she gets home safe. If you have ever known young people who do this kind of research their work generally benefits all of us. )

July 6, 2023

POLITICS & HISTORY: Women Against Women's Suffrage

The fight for women’s suffrage is often depicted as pitting women against men. But some women made it their life’s mission to campaign against it.

By: Livia Gershon July 6, 2023

Read a typical textbook account of the US women’s suffrage fight, and you might come away with the impression of a battle of the sexes. But, historian Joe C. Miller argues that that’s a serious distortion. In fact, not only was the campaign to give women the vote taken up by plenty of men, but there was widespread opposition to the cause among women.

Miller notes that suffragists frequently opposed referendums in which women would have the opportunity to vote on the issue, tacitly acknowledging that their cause would be unlikely to prevail. For example, in 1871, Susan B. Anthony said that women’s “condition of servitude” meant that they shouldn’t be polled in a proposed Washington State vote. Even at the time of the Nineteenth Amendment’s ratification in 1920, suffragist Carrie Chapman Catt wrote in a letter that only about a third of women supported suffrage, another third was opposed, and the rest didn’t care either way. (This wasn’t the message Catt sent to the public, though. Publicly, she claimed that most women wanted the vote.)

Some “antis” also warned that if women became more like men in their public roles it would threaten their existing “special privileges.”
And it wasn’t just apolitical or conservative women who opposed suffrage. “Antis,” as they were sometimes known, included leaders in women’s education as well as prominent professional figures such as journalist Ida Tarbell. Among the most active was Josephine Dodge, an advocate for child care for working mothers. In 1911, Dodge and some allies formed the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage. The all-female organization peaked at about 500,000 members in 1919.

Why did women oppose suffrage? For some, Miller writes, it was part of a larger hostility to the expansion of the franchise to constituencies they saw as ignorant or liable to sell their votes, such as immigrants and Black Americans.


( I posted this primarily due to my total revulsion for Moms for Liberty. History is a tool for learning, let's hope we can minimize the damage from hatred and ignorance..evidently always ongoing. )

July 6, 2023

Hillary Clinton @HillaryClinton: I still feel strongly that the Supreme Court

I still feel strongly that the Supreme Court needs to stand on the side of the American people, not on the side of corporations and the wealthy.

America Has a Supreme Court Problem
Hillary Clinton tried warning us. Now, what do you do with a rogue Court?

JULY 5, 2023
July 6, 2023

Asset Management Firms Are Gaining Power Over Housing, Hospitals, Water and More

Brett Christophers explains how asset managers like BlackRock and Blackstone have come to “own the world.”

By Derek Seidman , TRUTHOUT
Published July 5, 2023

Asset managers oversee tens of trillions of dollars-worth of investments in assets across the world. The most well-known asset management firms are the “Big Three” of BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street Global Advisors, whose business model largely rests on so-called “passive” index funds whose stock investments make these firms the top shareholders of thousands of corporations.

But it’s not just financial instruments like stocks and bonds that asset managers hold. They are increasingly the direct owners of the “real” assets that shape our livelihoods. From housing to hospitals and water networks to wind farms, asset management firms with names like Blackstone, Brookfield and Macquarie are gobbling up the basic stuff we all depend on to exist. And with their goal of extracting big profits as ruthlessly and quickly as possible, this new “asset manager society” does not bode well for humanity.

This is the topic of Brett Christophers’s powerful new book, Our Lives in Their Portfolios: Why Asset Managers Own the World, published by Verso press. Christophers pulls back the curtain on a notoriously opaque industry and demystifies asset managers, clearly and thoroughly surveying what they are, the forces that propel them to mercilessly extract profit, and what all of this means for our collective future.

Christophers is a professor in the department of social and economic geography at Uppsala University in Sweden.


Excerpt: As investment became less individual, more institutional and global, asset managers and banks took votes. They use votes, but make no investment. They can govern companies, but bear no economic risk. They bear no costs from unemployment, or dwindling retirement savings.

( What a world. )

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