Thursday, March 23, 2017
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
From: "John H
It was just announced this week that the Broadway musical, Hamilton, the Musical, will be coming to Pittsburgh soon – and I assume to much of the rest of the nation. This musical has become perhaps the most popular musical ever to play on Broadway and is a must see for everyone who is anyone in politics and business. However, as the attached article states, it is also a powerful piece of propaganda which substantially misrepresents both Hamilton himself, his policies and his impact upon the nascent nation. The musical has been adopted by the Democratic Party elite as their defining and confirming ideal – and this is not without merit as the article demonstrates. But it is important that people who are about to attend this show understand what Alexander Hamilton actually stood for and just how this relates very closely to what is transpiring in the country and the world today. Much of it represents the very heart and soul of neoliberalism and financialization now impoverishing people around the world, while making the financial wizards of Wall Street modern day kings and queens. I have added the bold emphasis in the article.
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Monday, March 20, 2017
From: John H
For those of us who are prone to giving up hope in this era of despicable political creatures running roughshod over the American landscape, there is a small bit of hope in the recognition that most Americans recognize the corrupt political landscape for what it is. More importantly, the youth of the nation seem to be motivated for the first time in decades to join in the battle for a better life for all. The Bernie Sanders Town Hall in West Virginia is but one telling example, but a great one, indicating that given the right direction the American people will rise up to change the system. Unfortunately this direction will not be found within the leadership of either major political party. Read the attached articles and see what is happening.
From: John H
The article below recounts a sad but all too common story these days – a story tied to desperation and despair in many, particularly rural and depressed urban, areas of the nation. If anyone saw the Bernie Sanders' Town Hall in West Virginia on March 5th, you will recall the attorney talking about the three drug companies listed in the article distributing 4,194,000 opiate pills to Kermit, WV, a town of only 400 people. This overreach of corporate greed and moral depravity is beyond unconscionable – it is, or should be, criminal.
naked capitalismMarch 19, 2017 | By Sarah Anderson, who directs the Global Economy project at the Institute for Policy Studies and is the author of the new report Off the Deep End: The Wall Street Bonus Pool and Low-Wage Workers. Originally published at Alternet.Lambert here: I have no quarrel with going after Big Pharma CEOs (sadly, well after the fact). I do quarrel with medicalizing "deaths from despair," which the focus on treatment does, and erasing workplace and community issues (which the story hook of "sport-related injuries" does). I mean, this is a story about the Teamsters, and are there no truckers in pain, at home if not on the road? That said, it's good to see some action from a union, since either news of the problem hasn't reached the Acela Corridor (Amtrak's New York to Washington service), or they don't want to hear about it._______________________Travis Bornstein never told his friends about his son Tyler's drug problem. He was too embarrassed.Then, on September 28, 2014, Tyler's body was found in a vacant lot in Akron, Ohio. The 23-year-old had become addicted to opioid pain killers after several sports-related injuries and surgeries. Unable to afford long-term treatment, he ultimately turned to a cheaper drug — the heroin that killed him."Now I have no choice but to speak out," the elder Bornstein, president of Teamsters Local 24 in Akron, told a crowd of thousands at the union's convention in 2016. As he shared the unvarnished tale of how a middle-class, star athlete wound up in that vacant lot, Bornstein lit a fire under the 1.4-million-member organization.The Teamsters pledged $1.4 million for a nonprofit organization the Bornstein family set up to expand treatment for addicts in Ohio. They're also going after the drug industry CEOs who've been profiting off a national opioid problem of epidemic proportions.According to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids (including prescription drugs and heroin) has quadrupled since 1999. In 2015, opioid deaths in the United States hit a record-breaking 33,000.The labor union is targeting the three largest U.S. prescription drug wholesalers — McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen — for flooding hard-hit areas with the highly addictive pills.Between 2008 and 2012, for example, these companies shipped 780 million hydrocodone and oxycodone opioid doses to West Virginia — 433 for every man, woman, and child in the state. During that time period, 1,728 people in the state overdosed on the painkillers.The companies deny any wrongdoing, pointing the finger instead at corrupt doctors and pharmacists who sell pills directly to addicts and dealers. But as West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin recently told the Charleston Gazette-Mail, "Obviously, they had to know, with a state this size, and that many pills coming in, that something wasn't right."The Teamsters are using their clout as pension fund investors to demand that drug wholesalers take responsibility for their role in the epidemic, conduct full investigations of their distribution practices, and hold CEOs accountable.At AmerisourceBergen, for example, CEO Steven Collis hasn't coughed up a penny of the tens of millions of dollars he pocketed as the firm was reaping opioid windfalls — even though the company has paid $16 million to settle a West Virginia case over their negligence.The Teamsters are demanding that some of the CEO's pay be "clawed back," in the same way that Wells Fargo executives involved in last year's bogus account scandal had to forfeit some of their compensation.They've made similar demands on McKesson, where CEO John Hammergren's compensation has amounted to an astounding $368 million over the past five years.Part of the problem with accountability at McKesson, according to the Teamsters, is the fact that Hammergren serves as both CEO and chairman of the company. The union is filing a shareholder resolution urging the board to appoint an independent chair.Meanwhile, Travis Bornstein is continuing to speak out, telling his son Tyler's tragic story to students, policymakers, and others as he works to expand the availability of drug treatment for communities ravaged by the opioid crisis.Since Tyler's death, he's learned that opioid addiction isn't a moral failure, but rather a disease, like cancer or diabetes. "Now my son is my hero for everything he was able to accomplish with such a gut-wrenching disease," Bornstein said. "I was the fool."
Friday, March 17, 2017
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Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Dear Fellow Swim Coaches:
Monday, March 13, 2017
From: "Sy Snyder" <email@example.com>
Date: Mar 13, 2017 8:56 PM
Subject: Breaking: State Dept Extends Petition Challenge Deadline
PoliticsPA Breaking News
Good evening politicos, hope you are hunkered down for the storm.
Candidates will have to sweat for a little bit longer.
In light of the incoming weather, Gov. Tom Wolf this evening signed an executive order pushing back Tuesday's 5pm deadline for challenges to nominating petitions.
"Tuesday's potentially severe snowstorm has caused the closure of the Capitol Complex in Harrisburg, PA, including the Department of State's Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation, and is likely to cause the closure of courts and county election offices across the commonwealth," his office wrote Monday evening.
Read the full story here.
From: John O'Sullivan <John@changingthegameproject.com>
Friday, March 10, 2017
The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine
Arctic Permafrost defrosting And the Age of War and Revolution
2017 March 10 | Ian Welsh
For well over a decade I have written that we are past the point of no return on climate change. My reasoning was that hothouse gasses already in the atmosphere or which were for sure going to enter the atmosphere given our lack of action, were enough to trigger massive carbon and methane releases.
We've seen that methane, which accounts for only 14 percent of emissions worldwide, traps up to 100 times more heat than carbon dioxide over a 5-year period. This means that even though carbon dioxide molecules outnumber methane 5 to 1, this comparatively smaller amount of methane is still 19 times greater a problem for climate change over a 5 year period, and 4 times greater over a 100 year period.
It is even more potent in the short run. Meanwhile, the arctic circle was about 30 degrees warmer this year than normal, and permafrost is un-perma-ing.
Huge slabs of Arctic permafrost in northwest Canada are slumping and disintegrating, sending large amounts of carbon-rich mud and silt into streams and rivers. A new study that analyzed nearly a half-million square miles in northwest Canada found that this permafrost decay is affecting 52,000 square miles of that vast stretch of earth—an expanse the size of Alabama…
…Similar large-scale landscape changes are evident across the Arctic including in Alaska, Siberia and Scandinavia
There is no way we are avoiding near worst case scenarios for climate change without aggressive geo-engineering (completely unproven, and requires political willpower). We will see temperature increases in some parts of the world which are currently highly populated make those places uninhabitable outside of air conditioning. We will see changes in rainfall patterns which will cause large areas which are currently agricultural powerhouses to fail; an effect which will be compounded by the fact that we have vastly drained and polluted our groundwater in prime agricultural areas.
Later on we will see vast rises in the ocean level. Virtually every city sitting on the seashore today will be gone in a hundred years, some a lot sooner.
This stuff is baked into the cake. It is essentially unavoidable. It has been effectively, politically, unavoidable for quite some time now.
Do not expect political, economic and social arrangements you favor to survive this. The waves of refugees will be magnitudes larger than those currently shaking the Middle East and Europe. There will be water wars; people will not sit still while they are dying, they will fight. Some of those wars will involve, at the least, the use of tactical nukes.
Capitalism, Democracy, the Chinese Communist Party, etc. … any system and group of people who can reasonably be blamed for this, will likely be on the block. When hundreds of millions to billions start dying, they will not go easy into that long dark night, no, they and those they leave behind will look for people and ideologies and organizations to blame, and they will find them in plenty, because everyone and everything in power has failed to prevent an entirely foreseeable and largely preventable disaster.
Our failure will not be considered acceptable to those who pay the bill, and our "capitalism" and "democracy" and "corporations" and "free trade" and everything else you can think of will be on the block, liable for destruction.
This is coming on faster than many expected. Added to ecosphere collapse, the current cyclical capitalist sclerosis, and vast arsenals, it is going to be immensely damaging.
If you aren't old, or sick, you're going to suffer some of this. If you're young, you're going to suffer a lot of this, assuming you aren't an early casualty.
So it is. So it shall be. We were warned, we chose not to act, because corporations needed profits or something.
So be it.