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18-11-2017, 09:57 AM
RE: Everything Else - Global News Tracker
The Leonid meteor shower lights up the sky tonight. Here’s how to watch.
You can find them rising in the eastern sky overnight.

Updated by Brian Resnick - @B_resnick - brian@vox.com - Nov 18, 2017, 8:17am EST

[Image: GettyImages_680802657.0.jpg]Science Photo Library RM

When Earth passes through the trail of debris left behind by a comet, bits of that debris catch fire in our atmosphere and streak across the sky in a blazing 3,000-degree flash. Friday and Saturday night, you can watch this in action by catching the annual Leonid meteor shower, which will run through the weekend.

The new moon on Saturday means the skies will be at their darkest. So it will be the better night to see a dozen or so meteors an hour.

They’re called Leonids because they appear to emanate out of the constellation Leo (the lion), which you can find rising in the eastern sky Friday and Saturday night. The meteors might be best seen in the very late overnight hours until dawn, as they rise higher and higher in the sky.

The meteors should be visible the world over. But where exactly to look will depend on where you are in the world. Here’s the view from Washington, DC, at 1:25 am Saturday. They’ll be close to the horizon in the east. (Use a location-based sky map app like Sky Guide to figure out exactly when and where to look where you live.)

[Image: IMG_5939.PNG]Sky Guide

By 5 am, they’ll be nearly directly overhead.

The Leonids are the result of the Earth crossing the path of debris left behind by the comet Tempel-Tuttle, which orbits around the sun. These bits of debris are much, much too small to ever make it down to the surface of the Earth. When they hit our atmosphere traveling at 158,000 mph, they burn up instantly.

“Earth meets these meteors head-on because they are traveling through space in a direction opposite to that of our home planet,” Space.com’s Joe Rao explains. “As a result, they streak through our sky at ultraswift speeds. ... About half of them leave visible trains that, in the most extreme cases, can persist for many seconds.”

Once every 30 years or so, the Tempel-Tuttle debris creates an enormous “meteor storm” when the comet passes nearest to the Earth. In 1966, one of these storms resulted in thousands of meteors per hour, Space.com explains. The next one, in 1999, was a bit of a bust. The next big meteor storm from the Leonids is expected in the 2030s, but it may be diminished too, because Jupiter may deflect some of this debris away from the Earth, Space.com reported.

[Image: GettyImages_680802617.jpg]Science Photo Library RM

"Affliction comes to us, not to
make us sad but sober; not to make
us sorry but wise." -H.G. Wells
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18-11-2017, 02:50 PM
RE: Everything Else - Global News Tracker
Five Hundred Million Dollar Negative Yield Bond Issued
Ian Welsh Blog - 2017 NOVEMBER 17

No, central banks aren’t screwing the economy up with their purchases:

"Veolia (Paris:VIE) has issued a 500 million 3-year EUR bond (maturity November 2020) with a negative yield of -0.026 %, which is a first for a BBB issuer."

To be clear, central banks didn’t buy those bonds, investors did. But central bank purchases of government debt are a large part of what is causing this issue.

The ECB (European Central Bank) has been buying SEVEN times the issuance of government bonds. Seven times. Seven times.

They are straight up financing governments (which, done right, could be a good thing, but isn’t in this context).

The problem in the world today is the same as it was 15 years ago, before the financial collapse: There is too much money chasing not enough returns. Because there isn’t enough real growth, that money moves into bubbles and fraud, and destroys companies through leveraged buyouts and so on, but it also means that, if there isn’t enough fraud or predation going on, it sits and stagnates and does nothing worthwhile.

What the developed world actually needs is stuff to invest in, high marginal tax rates (higher on capital gains than on earned income), distributive policies to the bulk of the population to create wide-spread demand, and moderate inflation of about five percent a year to get people to actually invest in new businesses, not in financial speculation.

The problem with this solution set is that if it doesn’t also include effective regulation, it can have to environmentally devastating effects; for instance, because solar is not fully online, the above solution set could lead to oil price spikes.

Those problems, however, are not why this isn’t being done. This isn’t being done because current leadership does not believe in high taxes, wide distribution, or regulation. They are neoliberals, and 40 years of neoliberal disasters cannot convince them to engage anything other than neoliberalism, because neoliberalism has made them and their friends very very rich.

But the game is coming to an end. They want to tax the middle class and poor people, sparing the rich but they are now starting to tax the rich through the back door of negative interest rates. Meanwhile, the poor and middle class, especially the young ones, are losing patience and are willing to go either straight-up socialist or straight-up fascist (the Polish 50K rally).

This is going to get a lot uglier before it gets better.
There will be three choices for countries: Fascism, left-wing populism, or dystopic surveillance/police states.

Choose.

"Affliction comes to us, not to
make us sad but sober; not to make
us sorry but wise." -H.G. Wells
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18-11-2017, 06:27 PM
RE: Everything Else - Global News Tracker
'Half my lung cancer patients are non-smokers': toxic air crisis chokes Delhi
Pollution not just affecting peoples’ health but also India’s political leadership, with Modi appearing reluctant to head response
[Image: TELEMMGLPICT000146274496_trans_NvBQzQNjv...width=1240]Michael Safi in Delhi
The Guardian - Friday 10 November 2017 00.00 EST


As the air quality fell, first to severe, then to emergency levels this week, doctors at Sir Ganga Ram hospital knew they needed to start fast-tracking patients.

“They come in, they get a nebuliser, and they go,” says Arvind Kumar, a lung surgeon at the medical facility in north Delhi.

Doctors have declared a public health crisis in the city. Dust, industrial emissions and vehicle fumes have been sealed in by cool temperature and still winds.

At the same time, mass burning of crop waste across the north Indian hinterland has sent dense smoke billowing across one of the world’s most populated regions.

[Image: 9&width=2000&imageType=J...0062260000]The Indian capital has been engulfed in smog this week. Photograph: Harish Tyagi/EPA

The air has heavy metals and other carcinogens at levels more than 30 times World Health Organization limits, conditions likened by medics to smoking at least 50 cigarettes in a day.

More than 6,000 schools have been shut and the local government has ordered traffic to be rationed next week to alleviate the crisis.

At Sir Ganga Ram hospital, beds must be freed up fast. On one morning this week, 12 patients had already arrived complaining they could not breathe.

One of them, Neela Arora, said she felt her chest begin to strain on Tuesday, just as live pollution meters posted on billboards across Delhi were reaching the limits of what they could measure.

In these conditions, even healthy people feel their throats tighten. It is involuntary: the windpipe contracts to keep toxins out. “God has given us this natural reflex,” Kumar says.

A nebuliser is relaxing the muscles in Arora’s throat and chest; steroids will reduce the inflammation. Soon she will be able to take full breaths of the same air that is making her sick. “We’re trying to blunt the natural response of the body,” Kumar says.

The veteran doctor looks exhausted. His eyes will not stop burning, he says. Even the halls of his chest surgery department are hazy with toxic air.

For children and the elderly people especially, exposure over many hours can cause the muscles in the throat and chest to spasm, what doctors describe as “asthma-like symptoms”.

Neha Bhasin’s two-year-old daughter, Landini, has developed severe bronchitis and pneumonia. “My daughter was hospitalised two weeks back,” Bhasin says. “She hasn’t stepped out of the house since.”

The child takes several steroids and uses a nebuliser each day to ward off severe coughing fits. Seven air purifiers run full-blast in the family home.

“The paediatrician is asking us to leave the city,” Bhasin says. “I’m angry, I’m helpless. We are paying taxes and doing everything the government is asking – and getting nothing in return.”

[Image: 3500.jpg]The air pollution is causing ‘asthma-like symptoms’ among Delhi’s residents. Photograph: Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images

This may be the last Delhi winter they endure, she says. “We’ve been discussing moving out of the city within six months. It’s getting too much to handle.”

In the longer term, consistently poor quality air is altering the demographics of cancer in the city, Kumar says. Earlier in his career, he says about 90% of the lung cancer patients he saw were smokers. Most were men in their 50s or 60s.

“In the last two years, half my lung cancer patients have been non-smokers,” the surgeon says. “I am seeing a peak in people aged in their 40s, even people in their 30s. Our cancers are occurring earlier, more in non-smokers, and more in females.”

Indian state and central governments are impotent in the face of the crisis, says Aishwarya Sudhir, an environmental researcher. “There is a sense of hopelessness combined with helplessness.”

An action plan to curb the problem has been unevenly implemented. Diesel generators have been banned, a nearby coal-fired power station shut and fireworks have been temporarily outlawed by the Indian supreme court.

But the problem is not entirely of the city’s making. “The Nasa satellite imagery makes it clear the entire Indo-Gangetic belt is being affected,” Sudhir, the researcher, says.

Thirteen coal-fired power plants lie within a 185-mile (300km) radius of Delhi. The governments of Punjab and Haryana have failed to persuade their farmers to comply with a ban on burning crop waste.

“Depending on the direction of the wind, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana or Punjab are all contributing to the crisis in Delhi,” Sudhir says.

“Unless and until these places also have some way to curtail the local pollution being generated, there’s no way you can address Delhi’s air quality.”

The Punjab chief minister has so far declined to meet with his Delhi counterpart, asking instead for the central government to coordinate a response.

But the prime minister, Narendra Modi, seemingly unwilling to claim ownership of such a challenging issue, is yet to comment.

His environment minister, Harsh Vardhan, said on Thursday there was “no reason to panic”, adding: “Take precautions, try to stay indoors and don’t expose children to polluted air.”

With no prospect that air quality will improve next year, Kumar, the surgeon, fears Delhi residents will simply adjust. His wealthier patients are already investing in nebulisers for the home.

“People are getting used to it,” he says. “They’ll adjust, but at a high cost. Every year, weeks of exposure to these conditions will shorten their lives by several weeks.”

"Affliction comes to us, not to
make us sad but sober; not to make
us sorry but wise." -H.G. Wells
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18-11-2017, 09:43 PM
RE: Everything Else - Global News Tracker
WITH U.S. BACKING, UKRAINE PUSHES TO PRIVATIZE PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT

[Image: fossil-fuels-privatization-1510937705-ar...header.jpg]Photo: Steam rises from the Niederaussem coal-fired power plant operated by German utility RWE, which stands near open-pit coal mines that feed it with coal, on Nov. 13, 2017 near Bergheim, Germany. The COP 23 United Nations Climate Change Conference is taking place in Bonn, about 60 kilometers from the Niederaussem plant.

Kate Aronoff
The Intercept - November 17 2017, 2:57 p.m.


LIKE MOST DOCUMENTS that travel through U.N. channels, a recent proposal from Ukrainian diplomats is blanketed in jargon and buzzwords, promising to render things “integrated, holistic and balanced” and to promote “ambition.” But this proposal — brought by the Ukrainian negotiating team to this year’s U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties, COP23 — carries more substance than its language might suggest: giving the world’s biggest polluters an official say in how the Paris Agreement gets implemented.

“We have to stop forcing our corporations to do something, but making — I don’t like to say profitable — but, I like to say, make them think about environmental actives as serious business,” Taras Bebeshko, an adviser to Ukraine’s energy minister who presented the proposal on behalf of his delegation this month, told The Intercept.

Bebeshko acknowledged the role fossil fuel companies play in driving up global emissions, but he cautioned against painting them as “enemies of humankind” and was eager to have them on board in a governing role. “This concept is not aiming to replace the UNFCCC process,” he said of the Committee for Future plan. “It’s aiming to assist and make the ground … for a global agreement.”

He said he had spoken to representatives of the United States, who reacted positively to the proposal. Another Ukrainian official close to the issue told Climate Home that his country’s negotiating team has been in “permanent contact” with the United States.

The role of subnational and private actors has been debated in other contexts at COP23 as well. Business — including those who have lobbied actively against climate action — play a major role in the talks through trade associations, like the World Coal Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and they have for years attempted to shape international climate policymaking. Several pavilions in the conference’s exhibition space are sponsored by major corporations, including fossil fuel companies.

Jesse Bragg of Corporate Accountability International said that corporate involvement has shaped what kinds of policies are on the table. “There’s a huge focus on what the market can do and not a huge focus on what government can do,” he told The Intercept. “There’s a huge focus on voluntary commitments and almost none on mandatory regulation. And that’s because industry doesn’t want that.”

An unofficial delegation from the United States — led mainly by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and California Gov. Jerry Brown — convened state and federal lawmakers and private sector leaders from around the country in an igloo-shaped tent just opposite where official talks were taking place. Under the banner “We Are Still In,” major carbon-intensive companies, like Walmart and PG&E — America’s largest private utility — joined a self-styled resistance to the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, speaking on stage about their commitments to sustainability.

“The bulk of the decisions affecting carbon emissions in the U.S. – and in many other countries – are made by cities, states, businesses, and civil society,” Bloomberg said in an opening event for the tent, dubbed the U.S. Climate Action Center. “The role of the federal government is ideally to coordinate and support those efforts, but if Washington won’t lead, mayors, governors, CEOs, and civil society will.” He went on to attribute the success of the Paris Agreement to the fact that “non-state actors were recognized and taken into account for the first time,” calling that a “big step in the right direction.”

“We hope the U.N. will continue working on ways to incorporate non-state actors into the international process, in every country in the world,” Bloomberg concluded, encouraging UNFCCC administrators to create official venues for subnational actors’ participation.

Others were more skeptical. Asked what precedent such a move might set, Susan Bizian — who worked as the principal lawyer for the State Department for nearly 30 years — told The Intercept that such policy shift would be “totally precedent-setting. It’s an initiative that would go way beyond climate change, to the nature of international law and international agreements,” suggesting, too, that the change could bleed well outside the UNFCCC.

“Apart from the legal issues are policy issues,” Bizian said. “Are we opening a Pandora’s box? What’s good for an NGO or some group that cares about climate change then becomes open to any kind of group. A policy like that can’t be discriminatory.” If de facto emissions-cutting pledges can compensate for a lack of action at the federal level, she argued, it may be wiser to simply wait until the United States is able to rejoin rather than to rewrite international law.

“Be careful what you wish for,” Bizian said, referring to those pushing for private actors to be involved in the implementation process. “You could set something up and then say, ‘Why did we do that?’ It wasn’t necessary, because we got all that we needed through these more informal methods, and we created a monster.”

PRESENTED AT A backroom meeting here in Bonn, the measure proposes the creation of something called Committee for Future, a “Permanent Subsidiary Body” to — among other things — “enhance public and private sector participation” in the UNFCCC process. The committee would report to the CMA, the collection of states that are party to the Paris Agreement. And while all major actions in the UNFCCC have to be initiated by states, the committee would allow states to create Integrated Climate Partnerships, bodies comprised of clusters of states, subnational governments (states or cities, in the United States), or corporations with shared priorities. Those ICPs in turn would be empowered to oversee the Paris Agreement’s implementation and could also drive forward other policies independent of the UNFCCC process.

“There are several opportunities that have not been used yet in the process,” Bebeshko said. The idea behind the Committee for Future, he explained, is to create a level of decision-making between the official UNFCCC process and Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs, the individual emissions reductions plans that make up the Paris Agreement. “Unfortunately, the structure of UNFCCC is such that we have only country participation. But … several corporations have budgets that are much higher than some countries’ and the influence some corporations have over the global process is also comparable to most of the countries’”, he added. “So we have to involve them in the process as a partner.”

On this policy end, this year’s COP is relatively quiet. The negotiators’ task is essentially to work on a rulebook for how the Paris Agreement will be implemented, with the goal of agreeing on the rules by the time they meet for COP24 next year in Poland. Before then will be an intercessional in Bonn in May and potentially another in September. At next year’s conference, participants will make their first attempt at what’s known in UNFCCC parlance as a “global stocktake,” where nations check-in on and ideally ratchet up their emissions-cutting commitments. While the first full stocktake won’t happen until 2023, next year’s conference will be when countries chart their paths forward toward that date. The rulebook will be a central component and determine whether corporations will be an official part of the Paris Agreement’s implementation moving forward.

The Carbon Majors Report released earlier this year found that just 100 companies — many of them oil and gas companies — have been responsible for 71 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide since 1988. Another study from Oil Change International found that building any new fossil fuel infrastructure is incompatible with meeting the goals laid out in the Paris Agreement, and that several oilfields and mines should close their doors before extracting all of their available resources. Ukraine’s proposal amounts to “quite literally putting energy and fossil fuel corporations in the driver’s seat for global climate action,” said Corporate Accountability International’s Jesse Bragg, who said such a policy would create clear conflicts of interest.

Asked what power the ICPs might hold, Bebeshko responded that “it’s everything, actually” and talked specifically about the benefit he saw of allowing such groups to form and implement specific policy mechanisms — particularly those that might only be relevant to a few countries or corporations. “Other countries could take years to approve [a] mechanism,” he said. “So why not build up a treaty of countries, involving private entities who are actually doing that stuff, sit together, and agree how to make [the] mechanism?”

He sees it as a way to get things done faster on the international stage and account for the fact that “sometimes in finding … global compromise we are losing some national or subnational priorities.”

The move comes as the Ukrainian government is seeking to double-down on fossil fuel production. With Russia occupying Ukrainian coal country, the country as a whole is more dependent on fuel imports — in its government’s view, either natural gas from Russia or coal from the United States. U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross this summer traveled to the Eastern European country to ink a major deal to ship coal there, for use in the country’s state-owned electric utility, Centrenergo.

UKRAINE’S PROPOSAL TO the UNFCCC is one of many for how to implement Article 6.8 of the Paris Agreement, which outlines methods for countries to go about voluntarily meeting their NDCs. Though Article 6 states that private and subnational actors should play some role in bringing down emissions, it stops short of giving them a say in how the agreement itself is carried out; the Ukranian proposal would change that. And while it may not be the only idea on the table, Ukraine has some powerful allies. Among them are reportedly representatives from the Umbrella Group, comprised of the U.S., Japan, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, Norway, and New Zealand.

“So far it’s positive,” Bebeshko said of his conversations thus far with the group. He also noted that Ukraine has made “several preliminary contacts” with private sector groups.

Bebeshko also said that Ukraine has “had preliminary discussions with the Americans” in particular about the proposal, and that “the reaction that I got was positive. … Thinking globally, we have to think at the national and subnational level. I think that is very closely in line with the American policy now.” He was dismayed that the United States has decided to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, but he sees Committee for Future as a way that “they could take leadership on the subnational level,” including through American corporations.

The Committee for Future won’t be formally decided on until an intercessional meeting of the UNFCCC in Bonn next May, or potentially even later. Several details about the proposal need to be worked out before then. The goal now, Bebeshko said, was to have the language from his proposal integrated into the Paris rulebook by the time COP24 convenes in Poland next winter. That said, “nothing could stop us except or willingness or unwillingness to start these regional, integrated activities,” he added, “even before reaching the agreement within the UNFCCC.”

"Affliction comes to us, not to
make us sad but sober; not to make
us sorry but wise." -H.G. Wells
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18-11-2017, 09:48 PM
RE: Everything Else - Global News Tracker
ANTI-ABORTION GOP CONGRESS SHRUGS AS PROGRAM THAT HELPS NEW MOTHERS EXPIRES

[Image: early-moms-nurse-1510696724-article-header.jpg]
Photo: TeShawn Cabbil Hobson, left, a nurse with Easter Seals, visits with Jessica Scrivner, right, and her 4-week-old son Aiden at the Scrivner’s apartment in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on Thursday, April 4, 2013.

Aída Chávez
The Intercept - November 15 2017, 12:26 p.m.


BARNEY FRANK ONCE quipped that Republicans who call themselves pro-life “believe that life begins at conception and ends at birth.”

Nowhere would that punchline land harder than on the current Congress, composed of lawmakers who are at once pushing past the boundaries of Roe v. Wade, while undermining a range of policies that would make life slightly less difficult for expectant and new mothers.

The GOP tax reform proposal initially came after the adoption tax credit, while Congress has allowed the children’s health insurance program to expire and, now, is doing the same for a program that funds nurses and social workers to coach at-risk new moms, beginning during pregnancy and lasting until the child turns 2 years old.

The programs have lapsed as Republicans struggle to find ways to pay for them, even as they gallop toward an unpaid-for series of corporate tax cuts that could cost the government trillions in lost revenue.

The lapsed program that has received the least attention is also one of the most effective. The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program was launched as a pilot program by the Bush administration, which then signed it into law after it was implemented as legislation by a Democratic Congress in 2008. It is routinely held up as a model of evidence-based policymaking, because the law sets an outcome Congress wants, but leaves it to people on the ground to get there and prove that they got the result they promised.

It began largely as a program involving nurses or social workers, but has expanded to other paraprofessionals who have been able to ease a new mom into the daunting world of parenting.

The program expired at the end of September due to congressional inaction and battles over its funding. Though MIECHV is relatively small, it’s part of a package of programs meant to help vulnerable children and families, along with the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, which expired at the same time.

The House introduced a bill, H.R. 2824, to reauthorize MIECHV — pronounced “McVee” by wonks on the Hill — for five years, but the legislation also included a provision requiring states to match the federal funding dollar for dollar. In many states, that would simply end the program. House Republicans have since walked back some of that insistence on matching by allowing a plethora of options to count toward the state match, but depending on how it’s counted, anywhere between five and 38 states would no longer be able to fund their programs, as many red states with low tax rates and skimpy social spending would unable to make their match.

The Republican report on the program attempted to put it in the most optimistic light, focusing on how many could make the match, arguing that “more than a dozen states appear to exceed the FY 2022 match requirement today, and other states are likely to already meet or exceed this requirement.” Another way of putting it: Most states would not come up with matching funding, and the program would collapse.

Compounding the problem is a new strain of thinking in the post-Obamacare GOP, in which a sizable chunk of state legislators oppose all matching programs on principle, arguing that it amounts to federal coercion.

Karen Howard, vice president of Early Childhood policy at First Focus, a children’s advocacy organization, said organizations in the Home Visiting Coalition don’t support the state matching provision because they expect “states will curtail services and some states will not be able to make the match.”

The bipartisan Senate legislation, led by Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Bob Menendez, D-N.J., would reauthorize MIECHV for five years without the state match provision. But the Senate has been bogged down with larger, ideological fights, like the Affordable Care Act repeal attempts and now major tax reform, preventing action on smaller programs that receive wide bipartisan support.

The Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over the MIECHV program, in October released a discussion draft of extender programs that they would package and take to the Senate floor. The extender draft includes a two-year extension for MIECHV.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, chair of the Finance Committee, didn’t have any updates on the status of MIECHV legislation but did say the program is “something I’m interested in,” in a brief hallway interview with The Intercept.

“We obviously want this reauthorized for five years without a state match and for no less than level funding, which is $400 million per year,” Howard said. “We’re really urging Congress to get this really good, bipartisan-supported program that’s really working for children and families. It’s accountable, states like it. There’s a tribal program that’s very successful as well that’s part of MIECHV.”

Howard said the Home Visiting Coalition has been working for about 14 or 15 months to urge Congress to reauthorize funding.

“We have bipartisan support in Congress. … I can’t think of anyone who opposes this program because it’s accountable and it’s working,” she said. “States have embraced this program and have really implemented it, and the programs that they’re seeing on the ground are doing great work with children and families.”

The expiration of funding for the program means “states right now are continuing to deliver home visiting services to families,” Howard said, “but pretty soon we think that states will have to curtail services.”

“Most of the models make a multiyear commitment to families and the longer we go, into December and January, the more likely that programs will start to freeze enrollment, curtail services, and ultimately, if they don’t get their money, shut down their programs,” she said. “Those are the consequences in the simplest form.” Recruiting workers to the program also becomes a challenge as Congress allows it to lapse.

Home visiting has existed as an intervention program for decades. Typically, a visitor will come to the home of a pregnant mother during her pregnancy and, though there are various models, will often continue until the baby is a toddler. The visits are on a weekly, biweekly, and sometimes monthly basis.

The leap from being childless to becoming a parent is one of the greatest a person will take, and it’s often done in the dark. Home visitors provide a variety services to families, including screening children for developmental delays, providing guidance on topics like breastfeeding and safe sleep practices, and providing referrals to address postpartum depression, substance abuse, and family violence.

Data from state and nonprofit grantees found 98 percent of participants showed improvement in areas, like maternal and newborn health, crime, domestic violence, and family economic self-sufficiency.

“What we see is improvement in birth outcomes, early childhood health outcomes, improvements in parenting skills, reductions in child abuse and neglect, as well as preventable injuries, reductions in reliance on welfare, reductions in substance abuse, improvements in school readiness of the child, and improvements in parental economic
stability,” Howard said. “And those models and the services have been vetted through rigorous tests over many, many years.”

Parents and children who have received home visiting have seen improvements “lasting over 15 and 20 years.”

“As the child entered adolescence, they’ve seen reductions in criminal activity, improvements in health, improvements in family stability, improvements in parental income, as well as parents getting their GED and going on to higher education and more gainful employment,” she added.

The MIECHV program has provided almost 3.3 million home visits over the past five years, according to the Maternal and Child Health Bureau. In fiscal year 2016, around 74 percent of participating families had household incomes at or below the federal poverty line, and 22 percent of newly enrolled households included pregnant teens.

Many of the parents the visiting program serves are young teenage moms and other vulnerable parents, like mothers and fathers “who may have been in the child welfare system themselves, who may have really significant challenges from poverty to
substance abuse.”

"Affliction comes to us, not to
make us sad but sober; not to make
us sorry but wise." -H.G. Wells
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18-11-2017, 09:55 PM
RE: Everything Else - Global News Tracker
A New Supreme Court Case Could Cripple Public Employee Unions

Posted on November 18, 2017 in NakedCapitalism by Yves Smith

Yves here. As much as I support unions in theory, there is too often a difference between theory in practice. In this case, my beef is that many union leaderships regularly sell out their members. I am particularly disgusted with the conduct of the unions with respect to CalPERS, where they get know-nothing, potted plants on the board who rubber stamp staff’s self-serving initiatives. Even worse, the SEIU’s Terry Brennard and CSEA’s David Low were cited by CalPERS staff as key players in getting its non-secret, tamper-friendly election procedures passed.

So if this decision goes against public employee unions, IMHO their leaders’ habit of power-seeking at the expense of the rank and file is a big part of the antipathy towards unions in America and laid the groundwork for cases like these.

By Bobbi Murray, a freelance journalist based in Los Angeles. Originally published at Capital and Main

Wisconsin provided early examples of scorched-earth labor policies. California unions took note.


Should Mark Janus prevail in his Supreme Court case, public-sector employees in California and other states who now pay agency fees instead of union dues will be able to opt out of any payment at all—even though they can still benefit from collective bargaining contracts and turn to the union with grievances, enjoying a free ride that drains union resources.

The ruling would undermine the ability of public-sector unions—about half of U.S. organized labor—to set standards for wage and workplace conditions. The resulting financial pressure will hamper unions from taking lead roles in policy debates on such issues as health care. “The short-term [goal] is to reduce the ability to collect dues,” said Raphael Sonenshein, executive director of the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs. “The long-term aim is to weaken collective bargaining.”

Anti-union forces, often funded by corporate-backed foundations, have been on the attack for decades. One stunning victory was the 2011 passage of Wisconsin’s Act 10, that state’s “budget repair” bill. Republican Governor Scott Walker, long a vocal enemy of public-sector unions, introduced it to address a $3.6 billion budget shortfall.

Act 10 gutted public-sector union collective bargaining rights, leaving unions unable to negotiate wages—except raises attached to the cost-of-living—along with pensions, work conditions such as hours worked, sick leave and vacations. In other words, all the things that, for many, make it worth paying union dues.

The law also loosened restrictions on local governments’ hiring and wage policies, while allowing wage freezes and requiring higher employee health-care contributions.

Act 10 knee-capped labor as a political force in an historically union state — the first to recognize public-sector unions. By 2014 the once-robust Wisconsin State Employees Union had lost 60 percent of its members; its annual budget dropped from $6 million to $2 million. Then came the defections. In 2013 the nearly 6,000 prison guards staffing Wisconsin’s correctional facilities voted to leave WSEU for the newly-created Wisconsin Association for Correctional Law Enforcement, which cut dues from WSEU’s roughly $36 monthly rate to WACLE’s $18. WACLE now represents approximately 5,900 state security workers.

“The two major public-sector unions both lost about 80 percent of dues-paying members,” Joel Rogers, a University of Wisconsin, Madison professor of law and sociology, told Capital & Main. Rogers is also the founder of an organization called COWS, touted as “the national high-road strategy center” think tank. Shrunken union budgets hobbled the ability to operate effectively on policy issues and support labor-friendly candidates. “They are basically nowhere near what they were in terms of political forces,” Rogers said.

Employees whose livelihoods had taken a hit with budget cuts weren’t in a mood to pay dues to a union without collective bargaining power. So they quit—bleeding unions of funds.

“Which is what it was all about,” said Rogers.

Labor’s post-Act 10 relative absence from the Wisconsin policy arena, Rogers continued, has contributed to “an across the board assault on all public goods, starting with the K-12 system and the university—that was about 1.5 billion worth of cuts—environmental deregulation, the Department of Natural Resources stripped of powers and evacuated of scientists, endless stuff on deregulation [and] corporate liabilities have been reduced–increasing pressure to privatize public goods.”

Governor Walker, Rogers added, was backed by donors not widely known outside Wisconsin, but whose political footprint extends far beyond the state. They included Diane Hendricks, who made a fortune in the roofing-supply business. A backer of Scott Walker’s presidential PAC who donated $500,000 to defeat a union-backed recall effort against the governor, she is heard here in a YouTube clip asking Walker to turn Wisconsin into a red state; he replies that the first step is dealing with public-sector bargaining.

There was also Michael Grebe, a corporate attorney and former Marine, who chaired Walker’s gubernatorial and anti-recall campaigns. He recently retired as CEO of the Bradley Foundation, which from 2001 to 2009 donated nearly as much money to ultra-conservative causes as foundations backed by the Koch Brothers and the Scaife family combined. Efforts aimed at dismantling public infrastructure included: vouchers for private schools and cutbacks in public employee benefits and collective bargaining rights.

“We’re part of the right-wing movement,” Grebe told the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel. “I don’t think it’s conspiratorial.”

The Wisconsin labor organizations that are now managing to hold their ground are those that had cultivated a strong base before Act 10 and are adjusting strategies to reach their members and different constituencies.

Michael Rosen is a past president of American Federation of Teachers Local 212, which represents 1,400 faculty and professional staff. “Strong unions that were very active and had a mobilized membership were able to maintain [their] membership,” Rosen said.

Heather DuBois Bourenane of Wisconsin Public Education Network reflects on her organization’s efforts to organize at parent and teacher house meetings, to ramp up use of Facebook and other digital channels, to pack public state budget meetings and to launch postcard campaigns and write letters to news editors.

She was a mother with two kids in the school system holding down two part-time university teaching jobs and a third assistantship when Act 10 passed. She had marched against it and now has a sharpened sense of the need to be on guard. “We hope people look at us in Wisconsin and lift us up as lessons learned.”

The Golden State boasts the largest number of union members in the country at 2.6 million, with 53 percent represented by public-sector unions. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is one of the two largest; Service Employees International Union is another. Janus victorious would not be nearly as onerous for California as Act 10 was for Wisconsin, as Act 10 effectively extinguished public-sector collective bargaining. Still, Janus would provide a huge anti-labor win.

“Rough estimates are that within three years, 20 to 40 percent of union members would stop paying dues,” said Fred Ross, a veteran organizer with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1245, which represents 2,500 public-sector transit and power workers throughout California. Unions would have to operate with between 20 and 40 percent less revenue, he added.

Unions are the largest source of campaign contributions to Democratic Party legislators—many of whom support such union-backed measures as worker protections, the $15 hourly minimum wage and immigrant-rights protections, said Steve Barkan, a Los Angeles-area campaign consultant. Janus “tips the scales further toward corporate interests,” he said.

Public-sector unions were under attack in California before Janus. Labor activists like Ross have been organizing for months, some for years, to counter its potential effects. Ross’ local has developed a targeted strategy based on a volunteer organizing committee. Some 250 union member organizers are charged with building relationships with 10 other members to explain the union’s role in winning benefits and protecting rights—and signing them up as voluntary dues-paying members.

Unions for home-care workers — those paid from public funds to work in private homes caring for low-income infirm persons — got hit hard by the 2013 Harris v. Quinn decision that has similarities to the Janus case. The 5-4 Supreme Court ruling said home health-care workers didn’t have to support their unions financially.

“Harris is our Janus,” said Doug Moore, executive director of the United Domestic Workers Homecare Providers Union (UDW) and an AFSCME International Vice President. Before the Harris decision, “We had 68,000 [people] ” Moore said. “We lost 20,000 [fees-paying non-members] overnight” after the decision came down.

As the Harris decision approached, the union went into high-gear to connect with its base. Most of the millions of homecare workers in the U.S. are women of color; about one-quarter live below the poverty line and more than half need public assistance to get by.

The UDW created focus groups that discovered the home-care workers’ main concern was being able to obtain more hours for severely infirm clients like those with Alzheimer’s. Staff expanded existing efforts at In-Home Supportive Services worker orientation sessions in 21 counties around the state to make presentations. There were house visits, efforts to match Facebook profiles to email, a button on the website to sign up, going paperless and doing sign-ups via tablet—anything that would engage and listen to members, and convey the value of the union. There are now 72,000 dues-paying members — approaching double the UDW’s pre-Harris level.

The same story applied to SEIU Local 2015, which also represents public-sector home-care workers. Harris threatened Local 2015’s voluntary membership rates. The union began to look at ZIP codes—connecting homecare workers that live within blocks of one another but would never meet on the job. Facebook and Twitter helped. Membership increased by 48 percent, said Kim Evon, a Local 2015 vice-president. “Our demographic tends to be 70 percent women of color—and the average age is 55. We make a lot of assumptions that they are not plugged in but they are. Mail is that thing that piles up and gets stuck in the circulars from Vons.”

In a September organizing blitz, 16 different Southern California unions approached adjunct faculty at East Los Angeles College to join the California Federation of Teachers; meanwhile, SEIU 99, which organizes non-professional campus workers, informed child care providers of the benefits of belonging to a union. Private-sector janitors and security guards and other workers visited public-sector workers who are going to be impacted by Janus.

Alfonso Garcia was one of them. A union member since 1987, Garcia is currently an organizer for United Steelworkers Local 675, and has talked to part-time teachers, childcare providers and homecare workers in their homes to explain what a union does—about benefits, job security and meeting with management. “One voice, that’s just one person,” he said. “One thousand—that’s a better voice. The union gives us a voice.”

"Affliction comes to us, not to
make us sad but sober; not to make
us sorry but wise." -H.G. Wells
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18-11-2017, 10:06 PM
RE: Everything Else - Global News Tracker
The is an older article, but it is still a very relevant to an ongoing crisis:

The war in Yemen has led to the worst cholera outbreak in the world
“In just two months, cholera has spread to almost every [part] of this war-torn country.”

Updated by Rebecca Tan - @rebeccanaps - rebecca.tan@vox.com - Jul 21, 2017, 1:44pm EDT

[Image: YemenChild.jpg]A Yemeni child being treated for cholera. More than 1,300 have already died, a quarter of them children.

The cholera epidemic in Yemen has now become "the largest ever recorded in any country in a single year," British charity Oxfam reported on Friday.

There are more than 360,000 suspected cases and 5,000 more being added per day. 1,800 victims have already died, a quarter of them children. Hard as this may be to believe, these numbers will only continue to worsen in the coming months as Yemen struggles with its rainy season spanning July to September.

“In just two months, cholera has spread to almost every [part] of this war-torn country,” the United Nations said in statement last month. “We are now facing the worst cholera outbreak in the world.”

Yemen’s civil war erupted in 2014 when Iran-backed Houthi rebels ousted the country’s Saudi Arabia–backed central government. It has since evolved into a violent proxy war between the two regional powers that has killed more than 10,000 and pushed close to 3 million Yemenis out of their homes. Saudi Arabia has increased its involvement with US help, increasing ground troops and airstrikes: on June 24, the last day of the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, Saudi Arabia ordered over 50 airstrikes in just 24 hours. This came just days after a Saudi airstrike on a market in northern Yemen killed 25 Yemenis.

This brutal military campaign has destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure, causing the spread of easily preventable diseases like cholera. According to the UN, 14.5 million people — which is more than half the country — has already lost access to clean water and sanitation as a direct result of the war.

The fighting needs to stop for the outbreak to end
Cholera is caused by a bacterial infection of the intestine that leads to severe diarrhea and vomiting. In theory, it’s an easy disease to treat.

“The prompt administration of oral rehydration salts to replace lost fluids nearly always results in a cure,” writes the World Health Organization.

The problem is that in Yemen right now, even clean water is a luxury. Water and sanitation systems have been severely damaged in recent months as a direct result of the fighting, UNICEF spokesperson Najwa Mekki said in an interview.

In January of last year, a water desalination plant in the city of Mokha was destroyed by reported airstrikes from the Saudi-led coalition group. This cut off more than a million people in the nearby city of Taiz from their only source of clean water.

More recently, in April, the sewer system in the capital city of Sana’a stopped working, though it’s not clear if this was the direct result of military strikes. Ten days later, a cholera epidemic hit the city, according to the BBC.

In the absence of working water and sanitation systems, cholera is not just hard to treat — it’s deadly. The disease spreads through water, so once a central water source is contaminated, everyone who relies on it is likely to get the disease. It’s made worse during emergencies such as the Yemeni civil war where people are huddled in overcrowded refugee camps, sharing whatever scarce supply of water there is.

Once they contract the disease, many Yemenis die without the right medical care, some within hours. The health system in Yemen has nearly collapsed, said Mekki. Half of the country’s health care facilities, which include clinics and hospitals, are not functioning. Close to 15 million people have no access to health care.

Yemen’s youngest and most defenseless are suffering the worst. Children under the age of 5 have the highest incidence of cholera, and account for close to half of the fatalities. Hundreds of Yemeni children have already died from the disease, and this number is likely to climb with the 5,000 new cases of cholera being reported daily.

The conflict in Yemen has inflicted a particularly heavy toll on children, Mekki said. Apart from the cholera outbreak, more than 400,000 of the country’s children face malnutrition, and nearly 2 million have been taken out of school, an increasing number of whom are being recruited as child soldiers, reported Amnesty International.

Yemeni children have been living a nightmare for more than two years. Amazingly, and horrifyingly, it’s still getting worse.

"Affliction comes to us, not to
make us sad but sober; not to make
us sorry but wise." -H.G. Wells
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18-11-2017, 10:36 PM
RE: Everything Else - Global News Tracker
Chinua Achebe, African Literary Titan, Dies at 82
Chinua Achebe, Nigerian Writer, Dies at 82

[Image: 130322-chinua-achebe-obit-cheat_yyyhqc.jpg]Chinua Achebe in 2008 at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, where he was a professor at the time.
CRAIG RUTTLE / ASSOCIATED PRESS


By JONATHAN KANDELL in The New York Times
MARCH 22, 2013


QUOTE:
"Chinua Achebe, the Nigerian author and towering man of letters whose internationally acclaimed fiction helped to revive African literature and to rewrite the story of a continent that had long been told by Western voices, died on Thursday in Boston. He was 82.

His agent in London said he had died after a brief illness. Mr. Achebe had used a wheelchair since a car accident in Nigeria in 1990 left him paralyzed from the waist down.

Chinua Achebe (pronounced CHIN-you-ah Ah-CHAY-bay) caught the world’s attention with his first novel, “Things Fall Apart.” Published in 1958, when he was 28, the book would become a classic of world literature and required reading for students, selling more than 10 million copies in 45 languages.

The story, a brisk 215 pages, was inspired by the history of his own family, part of the Ibo nation of southeastern Nigeria, a people victimized by the racism of British colonial administrators and then by the brutality of military dictators from other Nigerian ethnic groups.

“Things Fall Apart” gave expression to Mr. Achebe’s first stirrings of anti-colonialism and a desire to use literature as a weapon against Western biases. As if to sharpen it with irony, he borrowed from the Western canon itself in using as its title a line from Yeats’s apocalyptic poem “The Second Coming.”

“In the end, I began to understand,” Mr. Achebe later wrote. “There is such a thing as absolute power over narrative. Those who secure this privilege for themselves can arrange stories about others pretty much where, and as, they like.”

Though Mr. Achebe spent his later decades teaching at American universities, most recently at Brown, his writings — novels, stories, poems, essays and memoirs — were almost invariably rooted in the countryside and cities of his native Nigeria. His most memorable fictional characters were buffeted and bewildered by the competing pulls of traditional African culture and invasive Western values.

“Things Fall Apart,” which is set in the late 19th century, tells the story of Okonkwo, who rises from poverty to become a wealthy farmer and Ibo village leader. British colonial rule throws his life into turmoil, and in the end, unable to adapt, he explodes in frustration, killing an African in the employ of the British and then committing suicide.

The acclaim for “Things Fall Apart” was not unanimous. Some British critics thought it idealized precolonial African culture at the expense of the former empire.

[Image: gettyimages-51349071.jpg]Mr. Achebe in 2002 with former South African President Nelson Mandela at the University of Cape Town.
AGENCE-FRANCE PRESSE PHOTO / ANNA ZIEMINSKI


“An offended and highly critical English reviewer in a London Sunday paper titled her piece cleverly, I must admit, ‘Hurray to Mere Anarchy!’ ” Mr. Achebe wrote in “Home and Exile,” a 2000 collection of autobiographical essays. Some critics found his early novels to be stronger on ideology than on narrative interest. But his stature grew, until he was considered a literary and political beacon, influencing generations of African writers as well as many in the West.

“It would be impossible to say how ‘Things Fall Apart’ influenced African writing,” the Princeton scholarKwame Anthony Appiah once wrote. “It would be like asking how Shakespeare influenced English writers or Pushkin influenced Russians.”

Mr. Appiah, a professor of philosophy, found an “intense moral energy” in Mr. Achebe’s work, adding that it “captures the sense of threat and loss that must have faced many Africans as empire invaded and disrupted their lives.”

Nadine Gordimer, the South African novelist and Nobel laureate, hailed Mr. Achebe in a review in The New York Times in 1988, calling him “a novelist who makes you laugh and then catch your breath in horror — a writer who has no illusions but is not disillusioned.”

Mr. Achebe’s political thinking evolved from blaming colonial rule for Africa’s woes to frank criticism of African rulers and the African citizens who tolerated their corruption and violence. Indeed, it was Nigeria’s civil war in the 1960s and then its military dictatorship in the 1980s and ‘90s that forced Mr. Achebe abroad.

In his writing and teaching Mr. Achebe sought to reclaim the continent from Western literature, which he felt had reduced it to an alien, barbaric and frightening land devoid of its own art and culture. He took particular exception to"Heart of Darkness,"the novel byJoseph Conrad, whom he thought “a thoroughgoing racist.”

Conrad relegated “Africa to the role of props for the breakup of one petty European mind,” Mr. Achebe argued in his essay “An Image of Africa.”

“I grew up among very eloquent elders,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press in 2008. “In the village, or even in the church, which my father made sure we attended, there were eloquent speakers.” That eloquence was not reflected in Western books about Africa, he said, but he understood the challenge in trying to rectify the portrayal.

“You know that it’s going to be a battle to turn it around, to say to people, ‘That’s not the way my people respond in this situation, by unintelligible grunts, and so on; they would speak,’ ” Mr. Achebe said. “And it is that speech that I knew I wanted to be written down.”"

"Affliction comes to us, not to
make us sad but sober; not to make
us sorry but wise." -H.G. Wells
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19-11-2017, 02:13 PM (This post was last modified: 19-11-2017 03:39 PM by Kaneda.)
RE: Everything Else - Global News Tracker
I don't always agree with this guy's politics (and often don't), but I really like his point of view on regarding the rule of law and actually living according to one's core values. He's also offers some good insight on the state of ideological Balkanization in this country and its possible root causes.

This article is pretty topical, written by a conservative who laments the corruption of high-ranking conservatives is this administration, and the blatant refusal of older conservative Christians to hold to account thepoliticians and media figures who represent them:

Republic Of Lies
By ROD DREHER • November 17, 2017, 2:00 PM

[Image: Screen-Shot-2017-11-17-at-12.51.06-PM-554x506.png]


Look at these polling results, via HuffPo:
[Image: 5a0ca45e1f00003b004a5ed5.png]

Only 18 percent of Trump voters think the allegations against Bill O’Reilly are credible, even though it was widely reported that Fox paid out $32 million to settle one woman’s claim against him, and ultimately fired him, even though he was a cash cow for the network.

And only six percent — six percent! — of Trump voters find allegations of sexual harassment against Trump credible, despite audio in which he bragged to Billy Bush about grabbing women’s genitals as a prelude to sexual congress. From the transcript:
Quote:Trump: Yeah, that’s her. With the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.

Bush: Whatever you want.

Trump: Grab ’em by the pu**y. You can do anything.

It’s one thing to say, “Yeah, he probably did it, but I support him anyway.” It’s quite another to deny that it happened, in spite of clear evidence.
(As a conservative, it pains me to observe that Hillary Clinton supporters are more clear-eyed about Bill Clinton and Harvey Weinstein. But there it is.)
A short while ago, on the recommendation of Washington Post book critic Carlos Lozada, who called it the year’s best book, I bought and downloaded Timothy Snyder’s short volume On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From The Twentieth Century.Snyder, a historian who specializes in Germany between the wars, writes about things people today should do to resist the kinds of tyrannies that came to be in the previous century.
No. 10 is “Believe in truth.” Snyder writes:
Quote: To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then on one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights.
He goes on:
You submit to tyranny when you renounce the difference between what you want to hear and what is actually the case. This renunciation of reality can feel natural and pleasant, but the result is your demise as an individual — and thus the collapse of any political system that depends upon individualism. … The first mode is the open hostility to verifiable reality, which takes the form of presenting inventions and lies as if they were facts.
Why are so many conservatives so eager to be lied to, to participate in lies, and to disbelieve the truth? Michael Gerson writes today about this administration’s avalanche of lies. Excerpts:
In all of this [the Russia investigation], there is a spectacular accumulation of lies. Lies on disclosure forms. Lies at confirmation hearings. Lies on Twitter. Lies in the White House briefing room. Lies to the FBI. Self-protective lies by the attorney general. Blocking and tackling lies by Vice President Pence. This is, with a few exceptions, a group of people for whom truth, political honor, ethics and integrity mean nothing.

More:
What does public life look like without the constraining internal force of character — without the firm ethical commitments often (though not exclusively) rooted in faith? It looks like a presidential campaign unable to determine right from wrong and loyalty from disloyalty. It looks like an administration engaged in a daily assault on truth and convinced that might makes right. It looks like the residual scum left from retreating political principle — the worship of money, power and self-promoted fame. The Trumpian trinity.
But also: Power without character looks like the environment for women at Fox News during the reigns of Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly — what former network host Andrea Tantaros called “a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult, steeped in intimidation, indecency and misogyny.” It looks like Breitbart News’s racial transgressiveness, providing permission and legitimacy to the alt-right. It looks like the cruelty and dehumanization practiced by Dinesh D’Souza, dismissing the tears and trauma of one Roy Moore accuser as a “performance.” And it looks like the Christian defense of Moore, which has ceased to be recognizably Christian.
This may be the greatest shame of a shameful time. What institution, of all institutions, should be providing the leaven of principle to political life? What institution is specifically called on to oppose the oppression of children, women and minorities, to engage the world with civility and kindness, to prepare its members for honorable service to the common good?

Read the whole thing. My conservatism is meaningfully different from Gerson’s — more Buchananite than Bushian — and so is my Christianity. But he’s right about this. The corruption of conservative religious believers by this Administration and by Conservatism, Inc. more generally is a catastrophe. I mean it: a catastrophe. The Millennial generation is already leaving the church in historically unprecedented numbers The reasons for doing that are complex, and some of them aren’t very good. But this kind of behavior by their elders is putting the boot in their butts as they’re already headed out the door. Besides, how can older conservative Christians speak credibly about the importance of maintaining Biblical sexual morality in the face of challenges from a more sexually permissive culture in general, and LGBT activists in particular, when we refuse to hold politicians and media figures we identify with accountable?
We can’t. Once that credibility is lost, we’ll never get it back, not with most of that generation.
Don’t come at me with “liberals do it too.” Of course many of them do. But that tu quoque excuse would get my children nowhere if they tried it. Anyway, Christians are supposed to believe in strong moral standards. Christians are supposed to believe that the truth will set us free. Apparently, that is not true for the American church.
I’m sure Gerson, who worked in the Bush White House, would disagree with me on this, but the church’s whorish relationship to Conservatism, Inc., didn’t start with Trump. Trump just expanded the bounds of the possible. He grabbed the church by the pu**y, thereby convincing it to melt in his arms.
There is going to be a terrible reckoning for us conservative Christians when all this is over. We will have brought the judgment onto ourselves.
Beyond the fate of the church, a democratic nation where people only believe the truth that suits their ideological preferences will not long remain a democratic nation. We know this from history.
We are an emotivist nation. Prepare for the worst

"Affliction comes to us, not to
make us sad but sober; not to make
us sorry but wise." -H.G. Wells
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19-11-2017, 07:54 PM
RE: Everything Else - Global News Tracker
Millennials say no to kids, population 'replacement level' turns negative
The Washington Examiner - Paul Bedard
Nov 15, 2017, 9:12 AM



America is in a “baby bust,” driven by millennials who are having kids at record low rates, according to a new report that warns America is no longer making enough babies to keep pace with deaths.

“The fertility rate decline is driven entirely by millennial mothers in their teens and twenties,” said the report. “Birth rates for all age groups of women under 30 fell to record lows in 2016,” it added.

[Image: baby%20graph.jpg]

The trend is also being seen among immigrant millennials, said the report. While immigrants have a record of producing more babies than the native population, the report found a huge shift. The group’s analysis said:

“Birth rates among the foreign born, including Millennials, have been higher than those of the U.S. born. But recent data shows that the foreign born rate is now falling significantly faster in all foreign born age groups than among the U.S. born. [The report] concludes that in matters of family size, immigrant millennials have embraced the ‘smaller is better’ ethos of their host nation.”

As a result, it said, “the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) has slipped below the 2.1 children per mother threshold regarded as the ‘replacement level.’”

The report explains the shift to smaller families is driven by the poor economy, broken American Dream, and job losses millennials witnessed growing up.

It said, “Millennials came of age during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Many saw their parents lose their jobs, their homes, and their dignity — and vowed they would not repeat those mistakes. As a result, life-cycle milestones so prized by their Baby Boomer parents — the first driver’s license, marriage, children, home-ownership — are postponed, or abandoned altogether, by millennials.”

"Affliction comes to us, not to
make us sad but sober; not to make
us sorry but wise." -H.G. Wells
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