U.S., Japan Sign Limited Deal on Farming, Digital Trade Deals   

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U.S., Japan Sign Limited Deal on Farming, Digital Trade Deals(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. and Japan signed a limited trade deal intended to boost markets for American farmers and give Tokyo assurances, for now, that President Donald Trump won’t impose tariffs on auto imports.The accords on agriculture and digital trade cover about $55 billion worth of commerce between the world’s largest- and third-biggest economies, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said at a ceremony in the Oval Office alongside Trump.The accord is a “game changer for our farmers” and ranchers, Trump said at the event.The goal is for the accord to take effect Jan. 1.Trump, who faces re-election next year, was eager to make a deal with Japan to appease U.S. farmers who have been largely shut out of the Chinese market as a result of his trade war with Beijing. American agricultural producers, also reeling from bad weather and low commodity prices, are a core component of Trump’s political base.Under the deal, Japan will lower or reduce tariffs on some $7.2 billion of American-grown farming products, including beef and pork.Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s priority was to win a pledge that the U.S. won’t slap tariffs on Japanese automobile exports, a sector valued at about $50 billion a year and a cornerstone of the country’s economy.Read more: Click here for the most recent research from Bloomberg EconomicsThe written text of the deal doesn’t explicitly cover auto tariffs, but Abe has said he received assurances that Japan would be spared from them.The proposed pact won’t lower the barriers protecting Japan’s rice farmers -- a powerful group supporting Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party. This could help the prime minster smooth the deal’s course through parliament, where it must be ratified before coming into effect.The U.S. has said this agreement -- which was signed in principle on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly last month -- is just the first phase of a broader agreement.To contact the reporters on this story: Justin Sink in Washington at jsink1@bloomberg.net;Jennifer A. Dlouhy in Washington at jdlouhy1@bloomberg.net;Brendan Murray in London at brmurray@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Margaret Collins at mcollins45@bloomberg.net, Sarah McGregor, Robert JamesonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



          

America’s illustrator: Norman Rockwell exhibit – with paintings, posters and magazine covers – opens at the MAC   

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“I was showing the America I knew and observed to others who might not have noticed.” – Norman Rockwell

Mention the name “Norman Rockwell,” and different thoughts bubble up for different people.

The gawky New England artist charmed millions of Americans for nearly 50 years as the Saturday Evening Post’s most beloved cover illustrator and chronicler of small-town life. At the same time, many critics snubbed Rockwell as too cliché, sentimental or homogenous to be taken seriously.

“Norman Rockwell is arguably America’s most famous artist ever,” said Wes Jessup, executive director of the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, where a new exhibition, “Norman Rockwell’s America,” opened this weekend. “Who was more famous? Warhol? No. Warhol was actually a big collector of Rockwell.”

Rockwell was born in New York City in 1894 and died in 1978 in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, at age 84. He lived and worked during some of the most impactful movements in modern art history such as impressionism, cubism, surrealism and abstract expressionism.

But he forged his own way as an illustrator. He once said, “Some people have been kind enough to call me a fine artist. I’ve always called myself an illustrator.”

“I’m 50, and when I was in college, Rockwell was considered retrograde. He was overlooked,” Jessup said. “So I think there is a rediscovery coming from my generation and younger people.”

Last month, singer/songwriter Lana Del Rey released her new album, provocatively titled “Norman (expletive) Rockwell.” The moniker suggests that maybe everything in America is not quite so perfect after all.

There is even a term bolstering Rockwell’s lasting impact on popular culture: “Rockwellian.” It can refer to anything quaint, idealistic or sentimental such as a “Rockwellian childhood” or a “Rockwellian holiday celebration.”

‘Vivid and affectionate portraits’

No matter where one places Rockwell in the canon, his depictions of everyday life made him the most widely circulated and universally beloved American artist of the 20th century. Rockwell’s “vivid and affectionate portraits of our country” garnered him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

The MAC exhibition will use Rockwell’s singular art and enduring vision of a hopeful America to chronicle the nation’s history and examine what constitutes the American spirit. “Norman Rockwell America” is a show of 22 oil paintings, seven charcoal or graphite studies, original posters and all 323 Post magazine covers spanning six decades. It’s the first solo exhibition of Rockwell’s paintings and covers to visit the Inland Northwest.

The exhibition is arranged in chronological order, making the stages of his career recognizable and his images more poignant. The original works give viewers the chance to observe Rockwell’s superb craftsmanship and attention to detail, characteristics sometimes overlooked in the more widely seen reproductions.

In a masterful style almost photograph-like, and in hyper-real detail, Rockwell painted everyday people in ordinary situations. His goal was to tell a story, in a single picture, armed only with a paintbrush.

He lived through two World Wars, the Great Depression, Korean War and Vietnam. But the stories he told most often were relentlessly optimistic, depicting a simpler world, one worth fighting for.

In Rockwell’s paintings, the nation’s rich tapestry is united by holiday rituals, faith and family life. Rockwell’s America is a place where honest, hard-working people endeavor to live rather than a world in which they really live. As Peter Schjedahl wrote in the New Yorker, “He didn’t illustrate Middle America. He invented Middle America.”

For example, readers of the Post delighted in Rockwell’s paintings of humorous childhood escapades. The iconic images include the illustration of the little boys running while yanking on their clothes after sneaking a dip in the local waterhole, the little girl with a black eye sitting outside the principal’s office with a huge grin spread on her face, and the young runaway chatting with a cop at the soda fountain counter with his bundle of clothes tied to a stick in full view under his barstool.

There are lots of intergenerational interactions, too: a grandfather picking up a bat to hit a few balls with the little ones, the daughter watching mom put on makeup at her vanity table and the parents putting their kids to bed. In 1955, Post readers voted the 1951 Thanksgiving issue their all-time favorite cover. The illustration depicts a woman and a young boy saying grace in a crowded restaurant as they are observed by other people at their table.

‘Extraordinary in the ordinary’

“He found the extraordinary in the ordinary moments because when you get to the truth of life, I think what we really remember is how beautiful it was to have a cup of tea with that person,” said Rockwell’s granddaughter Abigail Rockwell, who conducted a phone interview from her home back East.

“Yes, you will remember the Taj Mahal after you visit, but don’t we really go back to the small moments and think, ‘Oh God, I miss having tea with that person?’”

One of the paintings hanging in the MAC exhibit is titled “The Party After the Party.” Rockwell lovingly created an intimate scene in which a granddaughter kneels on the parlor floor in front of her grandmother’s chair. The pair holds hands as the young woman, still clad in her finery, tells Grandma all that happened at the party.

“Yes, I just got chills!” said Abigail Rockwell, now the de facto historian of the family. “That is a really sweet and memorable moment. That is part of the Edison Mazda series (of advertisements Rockwell illustrated) in the 1920s. I’ve always thought it’s some of his best work.”

Abigail Rockwell, who also is a successful jazz singer, will travel to Spokane to give a talk at the MAC on Nov. 7 at 5:30 p.m. and lead a private tour. Tickets are $25. She also will sign copies of the recently re-released autobiography by her grandfather, “My Adventures as an Illustrator: The Definitive Edition.” Abigail Rockwell has spent much of the last several years researching and updating the book. Her goal was to bust false myths and preserve her grandfather’s legacy.

One of the biggest misconceptions she said that she finds is that her “Pop,” as she calls him, painted only white America. However, a look at some of Rockwell’s most iconic works belies that notion.

In 1961, the artist painted “The Golden Rule,” showing people of different religious faiths and ethnic backgrounds worshipping together. However, Rockwell himself once recalled being directed to paint out a black person from a group picture in the Post. The policy at the time only allowed the portrayal of African Americans in service jobs next to white people.

After leaving the Post in 1963, Rockwell appeared eager to refocus his efforts on supporting the Civil Rights movement. In 1964, he produced his iconic painting “The Problem We All Live With.” It depicts Ruby Bridges, a 6-year-old African American girl, on her way to an all-white public school during the New Orleans desegregation crisis. Due to threatened violence, she is being escorted by federal marshals. On the wall behind her are scrawled a racial slur and the letters “KKK.”

‘Ruining his legacy’

“Pop had the bravery to put those words on the wall,” Abigail said. “People don’t realize how controversial it was for him to do that. I saw the angry letters castigating him for ‘ruining his legacy.’ ”

One of Rockwell’s proudest moments, according to his granddaughter, was when he received a lifetime membership card to the NAACP. More than 30 years later, his portrait of Bridges was installed in the hall outside the Oval Office at the White House for several months during the Obama administration. Reproductions of this and more of Rockwell’s Civil Rights era paintings will be on display at the MAC as part of the current exhibition.

Another project Rockwell undertook after leaving the Post was a commission to paint a portrait of Abraham Lincoln for Spokane’s Lincoln First Federal Savings and Loan. The bank’s CEO, the late Spokane resident Donald P. Lindsay, had the idea to hire America’s most famous artist.

“My dad thought it was no big deal to write Norman Rockwell and just ask him to do it,” recalled Lindsay’s eldest daughter, Karen Warrick. “And it worked.”

For $4,000, Rockwell agreed to produce the 7-foot piece, taller even than Lincoln himself. Finished in 1965, the portrait depicts the 16th president as a young man on the farm dressed in work clothes holding an ax in one hand and a book in the other. “Lincoln the Railsplitter” was used to market the Spokane bank and all the branches throughout the state. Jar openers, golf balls, calendars and stationery all bore Rockwell’s Lincoln image.

The original painting hung for two decades in the Lincoln First Federal Bank lobby located in what is now the Lincoln building at Riverside and Lincoln. After the bank changed hands, the piece later made its way to the private collection of former presidential candidate H. Ross Perot. It was eventually sold at auction to the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio, in 2006 for $1.6 million.

The MAC has gathered letters, photos, bank memorabilia and a reproduction of “Lincoln the Railsplitter” to include in the exhibition. “It’s exciting that one of the most famous paintings of Abraham Lincoln that was ever done was done by one of America’s most famous artists and that it originated right here in Spokane,” Jessup said.

Warrick said that she hopes the Rockwell exhibit accomplishes what the artist himself wanted: to rekindle the American spirit. “I just hope that a lot of people are reassured that we care for one another in this country, that we are all the things that Rockwell brings out in his paintings,” Warrick said. “You wrap that around the integrity of a Lincoln and maybe young people will be inspired and think: ‘Is that what we used to look like in this country?’ ”


          

Trump, Ecuadorian Protests, Climate Emergency & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos September 29 - October 6   

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This week's list of articles, news items, opinion pieces and videos that I see as a must if you are looking for a roundup that should be of interest to The Left Chapter readers.

This list covers the week of September 29 - October 6.


For those interested in news and developments in the Canadian election this will be covered in a separate weekly roundup the fourth of which this past Friday was: Scheer's Very Bad Week, PPC At It Again and more -- The Left Chapter Canadian Election Round-up Week Four

1) Riots at Greek refugee camp on Lesbos after fatal fire

Helena Smith, The Guardian

Greek authorities are scrambling to deal with unrest at a heavily overcrowded migrant camp on Lesbos after a fire there left at least one person dead.

2) Quebec should apologize for systemic discrimination in treatment of Indigenous people, Viens report says

Benjamin Shingler, Kamila Hinkson · CBC News 

The Quebec government should apologize to First Nations and Inuit for the harm they have endured as a result of provincial laws, policies and practices, says the author of a damning report into the treatment of Indigenous people.

3) Misogyny, male rage and the words men use to describe Greta Thunberg

Camilla Nelson & Meg Vertigan, The Conversation 

Greta Thunberg obviously scares some men silly. The bullying of the teenager by conservative middle-aged men has taken on a grim, almost hysterical edge. And some of them are reaching deep into the misogynist’s playbook to divert focus from her message.

4) 'Based in hatred': violence against women standing in Colombia's elections

Julia Zulver, The Guardian 

The body of mayoral candidate Karina García was found shot and incinerated in her car in the Cauca department of southern Colombia, on 1 September.

5) How a brief socialist takeover in North Dakota gave residents a public bank

Will Peischel, Vox

There’s a legislative fight brewing in California. Supporters are pushing a public banking law that could redefine the state’s financial landscape, while detractors call it a government intrusion. Both would benefit to look at an unusual source — North Dakota — where a similar policy has been in place for a century.

6) The judge's bizarre remarks in the Ezekiel Stephan case signal a miscarriage of justice

Juliet Guichon, Ian Mitchell and Pauline Alakija · CBC News

In deciding that Collet and David Stephan were not guilty of failing to provide the necessaries of life in the 2012 death of their son, Ezekiel, Justice Terry Clackson ​​​​​​issued a written decision that, in our view, improperly focused on the medical examiner's accent, and not on the medical evidence. Such focus is suspect, and could be evidence of racism.


7) The Phony Liberalism of Bill Maher

Alan MacLeod, Truthdig 

Ultimately, Maher has built up an impressive following and continues to espouse snarky elitist hot takes weekly for HBO, earning an estimated $10 million per year doing so. Call him a racist, a bigot or an astute businessman; just don’t call him a liberal.

8) We were told capitalism had won. But now workers can take back control

Grace Blakeley, The Guardian 

Class politics is reemerging in response to the huge inequality caused by the 2008 crash. And it’s time to take on the City.

9) Capitalism’s triumph: Labor rights violated in every country on Earth

Systemic Disorder 

In what country are labor rights fully respected? The sad answer is: none.

10) New Video May Signal Dangerous Change For Neo-Nazi Terror Cell

Mack Lamoureux and Ben Makuch, Vice

A neo-Nazi terror group under investigation by the FBI has released a propaganda video that one expert is calling “incredibly significant” and “essentially a declaration of war.” This comes after the group has already been linked to five murders, and was named in an FBI investigation involving an alleged bomber in Las Vegas who stockpiled explosives and firearms for a planned attack on the city's Jewish and LGBTQ communities.

11) Protesters rally outside North York industrial bakery in wake of death of temp worker

Sara Mojtehedzadeh, The Toronto Star

It was a protest underpinned by a simple question: how many vigils are necessary?

12) SACRAMENTO AMAZON WORKERS ARE PROTESTING AFTER WOMAN WAS ALLEGEDLY FIRED FOR SPENDING EXTRA HOUR WITH DYING MOTHER-IN-LAW

Melissa Lemieux, Newsweek 

Amazon workers at the company's Sacramento, California delivery location united to present a petition to their supervisor September 30 to protest the company's off-time policy, according to The Verge.

13) The Fake Nazi Death Camp: Wikipedia’s Longest Hoax, Exposed

Omer Benjakob, Haaretz 

For over 15 years, false claims that thousands of Poles were gassed to death in Warsaw were presented as fact. Haaretz reveals they are just the tip of an iceberg of a widespread Holocaust distortion operation by Polish nationalists.


14) European Parliament launches anti-communist crusade

Steve Sweeney, People's World

Communists and left organizations have hit out at a reactionary “ahistorical” motion passed by the European Parliament last month which equates communism with “the monster of fascism.”

15) Communist Party of Ukraine addresses open letter to the Ukrainian and Russian peoples

Ben Chacko, The Morning Star 

UKRAINE’S Communist Party published an open letter to the peoples of Ukraine and Russia today, warning against the rise of fascism and of bids by the ruling elites in each country to turn their populations against one another.

16) Irregular votes, panicked moves, kiosks

Drew Anderson, CBC News

It was fall of 2017. Jason Kenney, former prime minister Stephen Harper's chief lieutenant, and Brian Jean, who had led Alberta's recently dissolved Wildrose Party, were vying to lead the newly created United Conservative Party. On the second day of the three-day leadership vote, a panicked call came from Kenney's campaign in Calgary ordering his team in Edmonton to shut down a voting kiosk they had set up in an empty storefront in a strip mall.

17) Press and OAS’s Differential Treatment to Venezuela vs. Crisis in Peru and Ecuador?

 Orinoco Tribune

So far, neither the OAS nor the government of the US president, Donald Trump, have ruled against the violation of Ecuadorian human rights or the confrontation of powers in Peru.

18) Ecuador arrests taxi, union leaders as strike over end of fuel subsidies spills into 2nd day

The Associated Press

Ecuadoran authorities dispatched military vehicles to ferry civilian passengers Friday and arrested several transport union leaders in efforts to halt a strike that shut down taxi, bus and other services in response to a sudden rise in fuel prices.

19) Correa: No One Voted For The IMF Or The Increase In Fuel Price

Telesur 

The former Ecuadorean president warned that Lenin Moreno "is scared to death for his betrayal to the movement (Revolucion Ciudadana) and the people", because he has taken measures diametrically opposed to his own and to the programmatic proposals that led him to the government.

20) Ecuador Assembly Calls for President's Removal, Early Polls

Telesur 

Former members of Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno’s own party, Alianza PAIS, have announced they are demanding early presidential and congressional elections due to the executive’s “non-compliance of functions.”

21) Ecuador's Transport Workers Strike, Take to Streets to Reject Pro-IMF Neoliberal Reforms

Telesur

Ecuador woke up this Thursday with a total stoppage of activities as a result of a nationwide strike announced by transport workers and taxi drivers to protest against the "Paquetazo", a package of austerity policies which President Lenin Moreno announced Tuesday in order to comply with suggestions presented by the International Monetary Fund (IMF9 in return for billions of dollars in loans.

22) Thousands of Indigenous Farmers Head Towards Ecuador's Capital

Telesur

Ecuador’s indigenous and union organizations kept protests going on Saturday and promised not to let-up in their push to overturn President Lenin Moreno’s austerity measures, which have convulsed this South American country for three days on a row.

23) Peru: 'Interim President' Araoz Quits, Vizcarra Still in Power

Telesur

Peruvian Interim President Mercedes Araoz announced her resignation Tuesday night as Vice President of the country and as head of state, a designation conferred by Congress Monday night.

24) Peruvian Left Backs Dissolution of Congress: Interview

Telesur

Progressive media outlet Nodal interviewed leftist congresswoman Indira Huilca from the New Peru Movement Party this week. During the interview, they discussed Peru’s political crisis and what the left sees as the solution to the never-ending corruption scandals that have engulfed the country. Huilca stated stated that Congress has lost legitimacy and is only trying to impede the rooting out of corruption that they represent, but that a genuine solution will involve going much further than Vizcarra is proposing, and will require confronting the corporate interests fueling corruption.

25) Egypt’s Harsh Crackdown Quashes Protest Movement

Vivian Yee and Nada Rashwan, The New York Times

A group of teenagers arrested on their way to buy new school clothes. An illiterate shoeshiner picked up from the street. Eight people stopped while they were eating from a street food cart. And a 28-year-old financial auditor, who was walking to his car after dinner when police officers ordered him to stop.

26) Haiti on Brink of Revolution to Overthrow US-Backed Regime

AMW

Revolutionaries destroyed police headquarters, attacked residences of government officials, and burned a jail and courts to the ground in different parts of Haiti on Friday.

27) Bolivia Launches Reforestation Plan for Areas Affected by Fires

Telesur 

Bolivia’s government has launched ‘Plan Paradise’ to reforest areas of the Chiquitania, Santa Cruz, that was affected by forest fires. The plan will bring together experts with governmental authorities to calculate the best ways of reforesting burnt areas.

28) Cuba Manages Fuel Shortage With Venezuelan, Russian Cooperation

Telesur 


During the first week of October, a fleet of oil tankers from Venezuela arrived in Cuba to help President Miguel Diaz-Canel to alleviate fuel shortages generated by the U.S. economic and financial blockade.

29) Fearful of Lula’s Exoneration, His Once-Fanatical Prosecutors Request His Release From Prison. But Lula Refuses.

Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept 

Lula’s accusers are desperately trying to get him out of prison, while he insists on staying there until he’s fully exonerated.

30) At Least 42 Dead After Days Of Violent Protests In Iraq

Scott Neuman, NPR

Iraqi security forces fired live rounds to disperse crowds of protesters in Baghdad on Friday, as the death toll from days of anti-government unrest has reached at least 42, according to officials.

31) Bolivia to Introduce First Domestically-Made Electric Vehicle

Telesur

President Evo Morales officially presented on Tuesday the first electric car to be manufactured in Bolivia, produced by state owned company YLB. Morales presented the vehicle at the official opening of a new lithium technology center in Potosi.

32) Fighting Calls for Impeachment, Trump Intensifies Anti-Semitic Rhetoric. We Cannot Ignore It.

Mehdi Hasan, The Intercept

“PRIME DIRECTIVE: Always Blame the Jews for Everything.”

33) Trump Bars Immigrants Who Cannot Pay For Health Care

Richard Gonzales, NPR

President Trump signed a proclamation late Friday barring legal immigrants who cannot prove they will have health care coverage or the means to pay for it within 30 days of their arrival to the United States.

34) Shoot Them in the Legs, Trump Suggested: Inside His Border War

Michael D. Shear and Julie Hirschfeld Davis, The New York Times

The Oval Office meeting this past March began, as so many had, with President Trump fuming about migrants. But this time he had a solution. As White House advisers listened astonished, he ordered them to shut down the entire 2,000-mile border with Mexico — by noon the next day.

35) Advocates Say President Trump's Immigration Policy Is 'A Tool Of Cruelty'

Joel Rose, NPR

Immigrant advocates asked a federal appeals court on Tuesday to block the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), a key part of President Trump's immigration policy. The policy forces asylum seekers to wait for their immigration court hearings in Mexico.

36) Supreme Court Revisits Abortion With Louisiana Case

Nina Totenberg, NPR

The U.S. Supreme Court has jumped headlong back into the abortion wars. The court said Friday that it will hear arguments in a case from Louisiana that is nearly identical to a Texas case decided by the court three years ago.

37) Palestinian Tortured by Israel's Shin Bet in Critical Condition

Telesur

44-year-old Palestinian Samir Arbeed was admitted to a hospital in Jerusalem after been interrogated and tortured by Israel’s Shin Bet - domestic intelligence service - who is accusing him to be the mastermind behind an alleged attack in an illegal West Bank settlement.

38) Anti-Palestinianism is the modern day McCarthyism

Asa Winstanley, Middle East Monitor 

As regular readers of this column will know, the McCarthyite atmosphere in Britain against supporters of Palestinian rights is getting worse. That is down in part to the Labour Party leadership’s acquiescence to the smear campaign to portray the party as anti-Semitic. The Labour National Executive Committee’s acceptance of the bogus IHRA “working definition” of anti-Semitism last year gave the document undeserved acceptance and currency; it deliberately conflates anti-Semitism with criticism of Israel for being the racist state that it so evidently is.

39) It’s Still Netanyahu’s Israel

Douglas Greenwald, Jacobin

Over the past decade, Benjamin Netanyahu has remade Israeli politics in his own image. Though his career now hangs by a thread, his legacy of far-right pandering and cold-blooded “management” of Palestinian oppression will live on.

40) After US Senator Asks Public to 'Imagine' CIA Interfering in Foreign Elections, Historians Are Like... Uhhh

Eoin Higgins, Common Dreams

Comments from Sen. Mark Warner responding to reports that Attorney General Bill Barr asked a number of world governments for help in refuting the investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 U.S. election were met with ridicule Friday as observers mocked the suggestion that the CIA would never do such a thing.

41) Cook's arrival was a disaster for Māori. Britain's half-hearted apology isn't good enough

Tina Ngata, The Guardian

As we mark 250 years since the arrival of Captain Cook in New Zealand, we are still seeing crimes against indigenous peoples and their territories.

42) Workers Are Falling Ill, Even Dying, After Making Kitchen Countertops

Nell Greenfieldboyce, NPR

Artificial stone used to make kitchen and bathroom countertops has been linked to cases of death and irreversible lung injury in workers who cut, grind and polish this increasingly popular material.

43) Irrigation For Farming Could Leave Many Of The World's Streams And Rivers Dry

Dan Charles, NPR

Something odd is happening to streams and rivers on the high plains of Kansas and Colorado. Some have disappeared.

44) My Community Is Warming Three Times Faster Than the Rest of the World

 Paul Josie; as told to Jackie Hong, VICE

Canada’s North is warming three times faster than the global average. Nowhere is this more acutely felt than in places such as Old Crow, the northernmost community in Yukon and home to the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation. Earlier this year, Vuntut Gwitchin became among the first Indigenous communities to declare a climate emergency. Last week, Whitehorse, Yukon's capital, also declared a climate emergency.

45) 'Things are getting unstable': global heating and the rise of rockfalls in Swiss Alps

Denise Hruby, The Guardian 

As Switzerland’s glaciers melt, dangerous rockfalls become more likely and towns are forced to live under an existential threat.

See also: Canadian Climate Strikes, Climate Emergency, Labour Resolutions & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos September 22 - 29
          

   

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Do medical X-rays give you cancer?

It would be very surprising if they did. They have been in use for about a century so one would think that any adverse effects would have been noticed long ago. Yet the article below says they do cause cancer -- in South Korea.

But the article is inconclusive. WHO were the people who had many X-rays?  Probably the poor as the poor are always shown to have worse health.  So the greater incidence of cancer among X-ray recipients was entirely as expected -- as a normal correlate of poverty.

There is so much crap in epidemiological research.  Inconclusive articles like this are a big pain to me as I repeatedly feel obliged to point out the obvious flaws in them


Association of Exposure to Diagnostic Low-Dose Ionizing Radiation With Risk of Cancer Among Youths in South Korea

Jae-Young Hong et al.

Abstract

Importance:  Diagnostic low-dose ionizing radiation has great medical benefits; however, its increasing use has raised concerns about possible cancer risks.

Objective:  To examine the risk of cancer after diagnostic low-dose radiation exposure.

Design, Setting, and Participants  This population-based cohort study included youths aged 0 to 19 years at baseline from South Korean National Health Insurance System claim records from January 1, 2006, to December 31, 2015. Exposure to diagnostic low-dose ionizing radiation was classified as any that occurred on or after the entry date, when the participant was aged 0 to 19 years, on or before the exit date, and at least 2 years before any cancer diagnosis. Cancer diagnoses were based on International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision codes. Data were analyzed from March 2018 to September 2018.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  The primary analysis assessed the incidence rate ratios (IRRs) for exposed vs nonexposed individuals using the number of person-years as an offset.

Results:  The cohort included a total of 12 068 821 individuals (6 339 782 [52.5%] boys). There were 2 309 841 individuals (19.1%) aged 0 to 4 years, 2 951 679 individuals (24.5%) aged 5 to 9 years, 3 489 709 individuals (28.9%) aged 10 to 14 years, and 3 317 593 individuals (27.5%) aged 15 to 19 years. Of these, 1 275 829 individuals (10.6%) were exposed to diagnostic low-dose ionizing radiation between 2006 and 2015, and 10 792 992 individuals (89.4%) were not exposed. By December 31, 2015, 21 912 cancers were recorded. Among individuals who had been exposed, 1444 individuals (0.1%) received a cancer diagnosis. The overall cancer incidence was greater among exposed individuals than among nonexposed individuals after adjusting for age and sex (IRR, 1.64 [95% CI, 1.56-1.73]; P < .001). Among individuals who had undergone computed tomography scans in particular, the overall cancer incidence was greater among exposed individuals than among nonexposed individuals after adjusting for age and sex (IRR, 1.54 [95% CI, 1.45-1.63]; P < .001). The incidence of cancer increased significantly for many types of lymphoid, hematopoietic, and solid cancers after exposure to diagnostic low-dose ionizing radiation. Among lymphoid and hematopoietic cancers, incidence of cancer increased the most for other myeloid leukemias (IRR, 2.14 [95% CI, 1.86-2.46]) and myelodysplasia (IRR, 2.48 [95% CI, 1.77-3.47]). Among solid cancers, incidence of cancer increased the most for breast (IRR, 2.32 [95% CI, 1.35-3.99]) and thyroid (IRR, 2.19 [95% CI, 1.97-2.20]) cancers.

Conclusions and Relevance:  This study found an association of increased incidence of cancer with exposure to diagnostic low-dose ionizing radiation in a large cohort. Given this risk, diagnostic low-dose ionizing radiation should be limited to situations in which there is a definite clinical indication.

JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(9):e1910584. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.10584

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A new map by a Houston-based nonprofit shows clear disparities in life expectancy on either side of a line along Interstate 35 in Travis County, with those in the west living often more than a decade longer than in areas in the east.

In case anybody accuses me of unsubstantiated generalizations, I am reproducing here one of the thousands of articles that show the poor to have worse health.  The discussion below is about Austin, Texas and some of the disparities reported are extreme


The map, released Monday by the Episcopal Health Foundation, relied on six years of mortality data from the National Center for Health Statistics and drills down to the neighborhood-level by looking at census tracts. It found huge differences in life expectancy in neighborhoods sometimes only a few miles apart.

In the Rosewood area in East Austin, near East 12th Street and Pleasant Valley Road, for example, a person can expect to live to about 72, the map shows. About 5 miles away near Enfield Road in West Austin — on the other side of I-35 — life expectancy is 83, or 11 years longer.

Poverty levels and demographics also vary widely in the two areas.

Rosewood is largely black and Hispanic, with nearly 50% of residents living below the federal poverty line. The West Austin neighborhood is 88% white, with only 10% considered in poverty.

The area with the shortest life expectancy in Travis County is in Oak Hill near Sunset Valley, where people can expect to live to age 68. Just about a mile to the west is the area with the longest life expectancy, near Barton Creek Boulevard and Southwest Parkway, where a person can expect to live to age 88, or 20 years longer.

The median life expectancy in Texas is 77.8 years.

Austin Public Health has found similar disparities in health outcomes between eastern and western Travis County. The department said it regularly uses its own data to decide where to target its efforts, often on the east side. Cassandra DeLeon, assistant director for disease prevention, said this includes providing job training, education campaigns and access to healthy food.

SOURCE 

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Another lie from Pocohontas

This is typical psychopathic behavior.  She tells lies to suit the moment with no thought of it coming back to bite her later on

U.S. presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is coming under scrutiny after resurfaced video from 2008 appears to contradict a claim she is now making on her campaign trail.

The Democratic hopeful, 70, told a town hall audience in Nevada on Wednesday that she lost her job teaching special needs students in the early 1970s because she was 'visibly pregnant'.

'By the end of the first year, I was visibly pregnant, and the principal did what principals did in those days - wish me luck and hire someone else for the job,' she told the crowd in Carson City.

However, a YouTube clip posted in January 2008 shows Warren giving a different explanation as to why she left that school.

In the video, she tells interviewer Harry Kreisler that her undergraduate degree was in speech pathology and audiology, and, as such, she didn't have the necessary educational requirements to continue on at the school.

According to her Wikipedia page, Warren was teaching at the school on an 'emergency certificate' and was required to return to graduate school to take extra courses in education.

Several viewers of the 2008 clip have left comments beneath the video wondering why there are now apparent discrepancies between her two stories.

'She needs to explain why she is now saying "principal did what principals do" and they fired her. Beyond her other fabrications, is this really someone we want for president?' one asked.

SOURCE 

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Trump shows what government is

Since the Democratic Party leadership and the mainstream mass media went into apoplectic disbelief that Trump won the presidential election in November 2016, they have been in a deep state of denial and determination.

Their denial is because they still cannot believe that someone like Trump could have been elected president of the United States. And they have been determined to reverse the outcome of the election, since “really” he was not the winner; after all, Hillary Clinton had more of the popular vote, while Trump “only” had won the electoral college majority. Besides, if not for those hacking Russian meddlers, the minds of American voters would not have been twisted in the wrong direction. History has to be undone in the name of “social justice” and democracy.

Mueller’s Failure Overcome by a Whistleblower’s Claim
The Mueller Report failed to provide the legal leverage to move forward with impeachment. There had not been demonstrable collusion between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin’s government to influence the 2016 presidential election; and the Russian hacking and attempted social media manipulation could not be shown to have affected the outcome of the election. The Democrats had pinned so much hope on Robert Mueller, and, damn it, he let them down.

But, now, a whistleblower’s accusations seemed to give them the smoking gun the Democrats had been hoping for in their political dreams. Oh no! An American president attempted to influence a foreign government to investigate possible political corruption connecting the son of Trump’s leading potential Democratic Party rival for the presidency in the 2020 election. Hunter Biden may have been earning $50,000 a month as a board member of a Ukrainian energy company due to the influence of his father, Joe, while his father was vice president of the United States.

Plus, Trump seemed to use congressionally funded military aid to Ukraine as a “carrot” to get the Ukrainian government to dig up and provide the dirt to bolster “The Donald’s” chances for re-election in November 2020. Oh, the horror! Donald Trump may have used the office of the presidency to influence a foreign government with taxpayers’ money to gain a political advantage for himself.

The Nature of Politics: Power, Plunder, and Privilege for Some
Let us remember the nature of politics: it is the use of government power for plunder and privilege so some may gain at the expense of others in society through regulation or redistribution. It does not matter whether an absolute monarch, a totalitarian state, or a functioning democracy does this. It is the reason why those who are concerned with liberty and prosperity have insisted that governments always must be restrained and restricted to a limited and narrow set of functions and responsibilities for the protection of individual freedom, without becoming its destroyer.

If Donald Trump has one redeeming quality, it is his refreshing honesty. He rarely hides behind the rarified rhetoric of altruist promise-making typically heard in political discourse. He tells you who he is and what he wants. He knows where American businesses should invest to make what he considers “America great again,” and they better or there will be consequences. He knows which are the “bad” nations and trading partners, and he is going to teach them a lesson through either trade sanctions or import tariffs to get them to give Trump what he wants. And he will punish other countries that don’t go along with his executive ordering dictates and demands, because America comes first and he knows what America both needs and wants.

Like many other successful demagogues of the past, Donald Trump knows how to play to an audience. The words, the phrases, the short and repeated slogans and name callings that stick in the minds of those enticed by his assurances that all their problems will go away, if only he is in charge to set it all right. Anyone who does not agree with and fawn over his every word and deed is an enemy — an enemy of him and therefore to America. (See my article “The U.S. Revives the Personal State.”)

Modern Democratic Politics Is Trading Votes for Favors
But what has Donald Trump done — even if it is found to be technically against the law — that has not been done by politicians of both major political parties over the decades in both domestic policy and foreign affairs? Which politician does not offer a quid pro quo to voters that if they will only cast their ballot for him come Election Day, he will use taxpayers’ money to give them an unending stream of government-funded programs, subsidies, protections, and privileges?

That is the nature of the political arena of exchange in modern democratic society. Government is not primarily a protector of people’s individual rights; it is a huge and intricate tax-funded pumping machine that transfers wealth and income from certain groups and sectors of the society to others through a complex and interconnected network of federal, state, and municipal bureaucracies. Any freedoms preserved or any freedoms extended are the secondary effects of a political system operating with purposes in mind having little or nothing to do, per se, with human liberty anymore.

In foreign affairs, every U.S. administration in modern times, from Franklin Roosevelt’s to Donald Trump’s, has used political, military, and financial promises and pressures to get foreign governments to do what the president of that time wanted and considered “good for America” and the world. Whether or not some previous occupant of the Oval Office was as transparent as President Trump in making plain how self-serving it is, it was always considered good for the political future of that earlier chief executive, either for winning reelection into the Oval Office or influencing what would be his hoped-for legacy and “place in history.” (See my article “A Call for ‘Do-Nothing’ Presidents Without Legacies.”)

U.S. tax dollars have been used to support or overthrow foreign governments; tax-funded dollars have been used to arm dictators considered “friendly” to America, who often used that military aid to brutalize their own people; those tax dollars have been applied to influence elections and public opinion in other lands considered to be part of America’s “national interest.”

Mafia Bosses and Politicians Both Try to Eliminate Opposition
It often seems as if politicians think and act like a mafia boss. The godfather rarely says directly, “Get rid of ‘Vito the Knife’ tonight.” He says things more indirectly, like, “You know, life would be so much easier if only Vito stopped bothering me.” And his mafia lieutenants know exactly what he wants, just in case the FBI is bugging his office. Trump basically just says to the Ukrainian president, “Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, seem to have been part of Ukraine’s corruption problems. Why don’t you look into it and share any information you get with some representatives of mine? By the way, the U.S. has been a really good diplomatic and financial friend of the Ukraine compared to those misguided and financially stingy Europeans.”

Trump has simply personalized it more than most other former presidents before him, who tended to couch it in the rhetoric of the “common good,” the “general welfare,” and the “safety of the free world.” It is an inevitable part of any American foreign interventionist policy, just as its counterpart in domestic interventionist policies. Interventionism is the politics of regulation and redistribution. Virtually nothing that government touches in a world of interventionism fails to benefit some at others’ expense, given that all interventions inescapably divert the course of social and economic events from the patterns they would have followed if left free from government interference.

You want to eliminate Trump-like actions and policies? There is, ultimately, only one means and method to do so: End the interventionist-welfare state. Restore and relegate government to the limited and narrow protection of each individual’s right to his life, liberty, and honestly acquired property. Then there is nothing for government to sell and supply to Peter at Paul’s expense. But that is not the politics that either Democrats or Republicans want, as reflected in their campaign promises and policy deeds. Thus, the political circus will continue, regardless of who wins the White House or the congressional elections in 2020.

SOURCE 

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here

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