Remote working and online shopping could drive 14 million cars off US roads – permanently

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(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Sean Fleming, Senior Writer, Formative Content


  • In 2019, US motorists drove equivalent of 337 round trips from Earth to Pluto.
  • Lockdown meant a 64% drop in car usage, according to a KPMG report.
  • 14 million fewer cars may be needed if working and shopping trends continue.

As many as 14 million cars could disappear from American roads in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

That’s one of the findings of a KPMG report that estimates almost 40% of all jobs in the United States could be done from home, drastically reducing reliance on the private motor vehicle.

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The percentage of jobs that can be done remotely.
Image: KPMG

In 2019, US motorists collectively covered a distance equivalent to 337 round trips from Earth to Pluto – around 4.8 trillion kilometres. But as much of the country, and indeed the rest of the world, went into various forms of lockdown, there was a 64% drop in car usage, KPMG found. That decline refers specifically to something called vehicle miles travelled (VMT), an industry measure of cumulative car journeys.

If that trend continues, Americans will drive 435 billion fewer kilometres per year. That’s a drop of just over 9% […]

via Remote working and online shopping could drive 14 million cars off US roads – permanently — The European Sting – Critical News & Insights on European Politics, Economy, Foreign Affairs, Business & Technology – europeansting.com

How carbon-smart farming can feed us and fight climate change at the same time

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Credit: Unsplash

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum. Author: Poornima Parameswaran, Co-founder and VP of Science Technology and Innovation, Trace Genomics

  • Soil is one of the least understood and untapped defenses against climate change.
  • Soil is an efficient carbon sink.
  • Switching to carbon-smart farming will help us meet food demands and combat climate change.

Farmers are the stewards of our planet’s precious soil, one of the least understood and untapped defenses against climate change. Because of its massive potential to store carbon and foundational role in growing our food supply, soil makes farming a solution for both climate change and food security.

The threat to food security

Farming is capital-intensive and farmers are at the mercy of volatile global commodity markets, trade disputes, regulatory changes, weather, pests, and disease. Factor in climate change and you can include droughts, floods and temperature shifts.

We need to change how we grow our food because:

  • climate change will increasingly impact farm yields
  • how we farm can help mitigate climate change
  • helping our farmers unlock the full potential of soil will help them meet growing food demands while remaining profitable
  • restoring the carbon-holding potential of our soil combats climate change.

Soil and climate change

The last few years have been among the hottest on record. As of May 2020, the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2)​​​​​​​ in our atmosphere has been the highest it’s been in human history.

Studies show that soil removes about 25% of the world’s fossil-fuel emissions each year. This is done through carbon sequestration, a natural way of removing CO2 from the atmosphere through the soil with fewer impacts on land and water, less need for energy, and lower costs.

Soil can take in more CO2 from the atmosphere than it releases, making it a carbon sink. The carbon sink capacity of the world’s agricultural and degraded soils is 50 to 66% of what it has been historically. This means our soil can hold 42 to 78 gigatonnes more carbon. Increasing the amount of carbon in soil also makes it more productive for farmers.

soil climate change
Carbon can act as a natural ‘carbon sink’
Credit: Carbon Central, 2019
Soil is also a method for water retention and purification, and returns oxygen to the atmosphere through plants. A single tablespoon of soil contains billions of microorganisms. In other words, the soil is alive. If care for the soil on our farms it will greatly return the favour by providing us with the fibre, fuel and food we need, all while removing CO2 from the atmosphere.
Farming with attention to the soil
Carbon-smart farming: The amount of carbon sequestered in our soils can be increased by adopting the right management practices. Reducing tillage, planting cover crops and using organic matter amendments such as compost have been shown to increase the amount of carbon stored in the soil.
Soil carbon also performs double duty as a resource in ensuring food security. Farmers can harness the power of carbon stored as soil organic matter, which is the fraction of soil composed of anything that once lived, such as decomposed plant and animal matter. Soil organic matter makes farmland more productive, reduces erosion and improves soil structure, which improves the quality of groundwater and surface waters. All of this reduces the negative impact of climate change across the entire ecosystem […]
via How carbon-smart farming can feed us and fight climate change at the same time — The European Sting – Critical News & Insights on European Politics, Economy, Foreign Affairs, Business & Technology – europeansting.com

Joe Biden is a Trojan Horse: Inside is the Democrats’ New Right Wing Coalition

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Due Dissidence

by Russell Dobular

In spite of what you might have heard, Democrats aren’t stupid. Nor are they spineless, cowardly, incapable of messaging, or any of the other things offered as explanations for their decades-long failure to win most elections in most places, or to secure meaningful policy reforms for their voters. In the now famous words of Marco Rubio, spoken during his campaign-ending broken robot moment on the 2016 debate stage, “Lets dispel with this fiction that Barrack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing.”

Yes, he does.  And so does the rest of the Democratic Party.  If you understand the Democrats as a party whose first priority is to win elections and then serve their voters once in office, then you have to look for far-fetched explanations for their actions, which often appear to be completely at odds with those objectives. What party eager to win over the middle of the country would repeatedly vote to make a wealthy San Francisco doyenne like Nancy Pelosi their Speaker? She’s a walking advertisement for the image of Democrats as a party of out of touch elites, more concerned with arcane speech codes than labor laws. But if you understand the Democrats as a party primarily concerned with raking in big bucks from wealthy donors, while drawing enough superficial distinctions with their opponents to maintain their identity as a separate party, then everything they do is pretty frikkin’ brilliant. Like forcing Joe Biden on their voters.

Let’s be absolutely clear: Bernie Sanders would undoubtedly have been the party’s nominee this year without the interference of its leadership. A lot of ink has been spilled about the failings of Bernie 2020, and some of those points are valid, but let’s not forget that Sanders won the first three states in the primary calendar, all while facing unprecedented hostility from the corporate media and party elites, so clearly he did a lot of things right. No other candidate has ever won the first two states without going on to secure the nomination, much less all three.

But no other candidate so universally feared and loathed by the money people and the consultant class has ever gotten so close to the big prize. Close enough that they were willing to drop all pretense of neutrality and fairness to ensure on the eve of Super Tuesday that instead of facing a fractured field of milquetoast moderates, Sanders would be going mano a mano with only Joe Biden, a man who voters had completely rejected in humiliating fashion right up until South Carolina. Remember, this was before we understood exactly how bad the coronavirus was going to be, or how badly Trump and the GOP would botch their response. No modern Democrat has ever won without high youth voter turnout, and there’s no way they didn’t understand that crushing the candidate of young voters was going to suppress their vote. Nor has any modern Democrat ever won without a high share of the Latino vote, and yet they chose to publicly and openly conspire against the candidate who was the clear choice of Latino voters.

All this in order to run a notoriously thin-skinned politician in the obvious throes of cognitive decline against the world’s most infamous bully. Without coronavirus, Biden was a sure loser and there’s no way the party’s decision makers and strategists didn’t understand that. No, they aren’t that stupid. If you consider that the battle they’re fighting is only secondarily against the GOP, and primarily against the left wing of their own party […]

via Joe Biden is a Trojan Horse: Inside is the Democrats’ New Right Wing Coalition — Due Dissidence

Trump Thwarted in Sending Military to Quell Urban Protests

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esper

Notice that Trump didn’t get to deploy the military to quell the protests in early June and that Raytheon frontman Mark Esper is still in place. Essentially, the Deep State overruled Trump twice, first on sending out the military, and then on firing Esper. Clearly, this shows that Presidents are merely managers. It’s the Board of Directors who really calls the shots. Notice how frequently the media will report that Trump has changed his mind after “talking with advisors,” i.e. his bosses.

By Gordon Lubold

Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON—President Trump last week was on the brink of firing Defense Secretary Mark Esper over their differing views of domestic use of active-duty military, before advisers and allies on Capitol Hill talked him out of it, according to several officials.

The officials said Mr. Trump was furious with Mr. Esper for not supporting his inclination to use active-duty troops to quell protests in Washington, D.C., Minneapolis and elsewhere following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.

Mr. Trump consulted several advisers to ask their opinion of the disagreement, intent that day on removing Mr. Esper, his fourth defense secretary since taking office in January 2017, according to the officials. After talks with the advisers, who cautioned against the move, Mr. Trump set aside the plans to immediately fire Mr. Esper […]
via Trump Wanted to Fire Esper Over Troops Dispute

“We Will Coup Whoever We Want”: U.S. Empire’s Mask Slips Off

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How U.S. Imperialism Is Exploiting The World’s Growing Crises by Rainer Shea

Screenshot by Dandelion Salad via Flickr

by Rainer Shea
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Rainer Shea: Anti-Imperialist Journalist, July 27, 2020
July 28, 2020

Last week, when the billionaire neo-colonialist Elon Musk was confronted on Twitter about how his company is benefiting from the Washington-perpetrated coup in Bolivia, he replied with a statement that encapsulates the ugly nakedness of current U.S. imperialism: “We will coup whoever we want! Deal with it.” I have a feeling that when the world looks back on 2020, the time when the U.S. lashed out with such great violence when faced with its imperial decline, Musk’s declaration will be seen as the moment when the mask of the empire came off.

Since World War II, the U.S. has interfered in the elections of at least 85 countries and engaged in military warfare against at least 36 countries, with between 20 and 30 million people estimated to have been killed throughout this time by all of the U.S.’ foreign operations. The CIA’s covert operations alone have led to the deaths of at least half a dozen million people, according to the Association for Responsible Dissent. The report which showed that U.S. sanctions killed over 40,000 Venezuelans between 2017 and early 2019 gives a small hint of how many have been killed by Washington’s economic warfare. Built on the colonial genocide of indigenous peoples and Africans, the U.S. has been and continues to be a genocidal empire that’s comparable to Nazi Germany.

The fact that now is the moment when a U.S. oligarch like Musk feels the need to so openly boast about U.S. imperialism shows that as the U.S. struggles for continued hegemony, its genocidal nature is becoming more apparent. Essentially gone is the veneer of “humanitarianism” and “democracy” which the empire has used to cloak the nature of its actions. A representative of the Washington imperialists has stated that they’ll coup whoever they want, even if it leads to the creation of a dictatorial regime which enacts ethnic cleansing against Bolivia’s indigenous people […]

 

via “We Will Coup Whoever We Want”: U.S. Empire’s Mask Slips Off, by Rainer Shea

The CIA Democrats–Part one

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By Patrick Martin
7 March 2018

PART ONE | PART TWO | PART THREE

An extraordinary number of former intelligence and military operatives from the CIA, Pentagon, National Security Council and State Department are seeking nomination as Democratic candidates for Congress in the 2018 midterm elections. The potential influx of military-intelligence personnel into the legislature has no precedent in US political history.

If the Democrats capture a majority in the House of Representatives on November 6, as widely predicted, candidates drawn from the military-intelligence apparatus will comprise as many as half of the new Democratic members of Congress. They will hold the balance of power in the lower chamber of Congress.

Both push and pull are at work here. Democratic Party leaders are actively recruiting candidates with a military or intelligence background for competitive seats where there is the best chance of ousting an incumbent Republican or filling a vacancy, frequently clearing the field for a favored “star” recruit.

A case in point is Elissa Slotkin, a former CIA operative with three tours in Iraq, who worked as Iraq director for the National Security Council in the Obama White House and as a top aide to John Negroponte, the first director of national intelligence. After her deep involvement in US war crimes in Iraq, Slotkin moved to the Pentagon, where, as a principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, her areas of responsibility included drone warfare, “homeland defense” and cyber warfare.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has designated Slotkin as one of its top candidates, part of the so-called “Red to Blue” program targeting the most vulnerable Republican-held seats—in this case, the Eighth Congressional District of Michigan, which includes Lansing and Brighton. The House seat for the district is now held by two-term Republican Representative Mike Bishop.

The Democratic leaders are promoting CIA agents and Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. At the same time, such people are choosing the Democratic Party as their preferred political vehicle. There are far more former spies and soldiers seeking the nomination of the Democratic Party than of the Republican Party. There are so many that there is a subset of Democratic primary campaigns that, with a nod to Mad magazine, one might call “spy vs. spy.”

The 23rd Congressional District in Texas, which includes a vast swathe of the US-Mexico border along the Rio Grande, features a contest for the Democratic nomination between Gina Ortiz Jones, an Air Force intelligence officer in Iraq, who subsequently served as an adviser for US interventions in South Sudan and Libya, and Jay Hulings. The latter’s website describes him as a former national security aide on Capitol Hill and federal prosecutor, whose father and mother were both career undercover CIA agents. The incumbent Republican congressman, Will Hurd, is himself a former CIA agent, so any voter in that district will have his or her choice of intelligence agency loyalists in both the Democratic primary and the general election […]

 

via The CIA Democrats–Part one

Mothers’ Power in U.S. Protests Echoes a Global Tradition

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Credit…Mason Trinca for The New York Times

Amanda Taub

By

When mothers take to the streets — particularly those from privileged groups — governments take note. The “wall of moms” in Portland has taken up the cause against police violence.

Wearing matching shades of white or yellow, the women of the “Wall of Moms” in Portland, Ore., have become instant icons of the city’s protests, though the mothers nightly gatherings only began last Saturday and the city’s protests have been going on for more than a month.

They join a long line of mothers’ protests against state violence and what they view as authoritarianism around the world, including in South Africa, Sri Lanka, Argentina and Armenia, which have shown that mothers can be particularly effective advocates for a cause — but also that there is a catch.

History suggests that mothers’ power is most potent when they are able to wield their own respectability, and the protections it brings, as a political cudgel. But that is easiest for women who are already privileged: married, affluent, and members of the dominant racial or ethnic group.

Mothers who are less privileged often struggle to claim that power, even though they are often the ones who most urgently need it […]

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Credit…Gallo Images, via Shutterstock

via Mothers’ Power in U.S. Protests Echoes a Global Tradition ~ NYT — The Rōbert [Cholo] Report (pron: Rō’bear Re’por)

New Zealand: Chocolate fish, red herrings and billionaires

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Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement takes a look at New Zealand’s richest capitalist

The rich become that way because they work hard to provide the everyday things that our nation needs. So runs the story that underpins the economic system we live under. It’s something that is so taken for granted, it often goes uncommented upon. It seems as natural and obvious as sun in summer or chocolate fish tasting like chocolate rather than fish. Other times you will see the corporate media actively propagating this idea somewhere in the business section of your paper. By the way, that’s the bit you often skip over to get to the crossword at the back, in case you weren’t sure what that was. Overall, it feels like there’s not much to be said about it, right? Wrong.

The National Business Review (https://www.nbr.co.nz/) is one of the key information organs of those who run capitalism here. It’s worth reading now and then. It tells you what our masters think is important. The NBR publishes an annual list of the local richest individuals. At present the top person on that list is Graeme Hart, with a fortune of approximately $10 billion. However, the news of the moment is that he may be eclipsed by somebody called Peter Thiel. If you know who he is, that’s great, but chances are most of us don’t. Stop and think about that for a second. Here is nearly the richest individual on these islands and you probably don’t know his name, what exactly he does or what he looks like.

So who is Thiel? He was born in Germany but mostly grew up in the United States and was living in California when he first came to attention here. That’s because it was discovered in 2017 that he had been granted fast-tracked New Zealand citizenship in 2011 despite only having spent 12 days here! (https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11883554). The reason was not that he had escaped a war-torn country and desperately needed asylum, but simply he had put lots of money into some businesses here.

There are some aspects of his investment history that (if you wanted to be very generous), you could argue have been relatively benign and possibly even useful, such as PayPal. In other cases he got in on the groundfloor of things and did well for himself, such as an early stake in Facebook. On the other hand, there are some downright dodgy aspects to how he accumulated his wealth.

In 2004 Thiel co-founded an outfit called Palantir. This is a software company that could best be described as handmaidens to the totalitarian surveillance society. That’s because they work closely with an alphabet soup of nice organisations like the CIA, NSA, ICE and the FBI to mine huge amounts of online data from electronic surveillance. As for a connection to local spies, according to media sources here, the Security Intelligence Service (SIS) and Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) will neither confirm or deny if they are clients of Palantir. However, they have an office in Wellington and the GCSB have advertised for staff that know Palantir’s software […]
via Chocolate fish, red herrings and billionaires

Secret Police on the Streets of #PDX: Interview with a Member of Black Rose #Portland

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Enough is Enough

Portland. OR. Fifty days into the popular uprising sparked by the police murder of George Floyd and demonstrations in Portland, Oregon show little sign of abating. An interview.

Originally published by Black Rose Anarchist Federation.

In fact, Portland has now become a proving ground for the Trump administration to demonstrate its ‘law and order’ bona fides in the run up to the 2020 election.

Federal police, with little information available as to which agencies they specifically work for, have become more active in the repression of demonstrations in the city. A number of recent videos have captured this secret police force, members of which wear military fatigues, grabbing demonstrators off the street and shuttling them away in unmarked vehicles.

We caught up with a member of our Portland local to find out more about what’s been happening on the ground.

Black Rose / Rosa Negra (BRRN): Can you briefly describe the last few months of the uprising in Portland?

Black Rose Portland Local (PDX): Demonstrations have been happening daily in Portland, with activity including daytime gatherings that extend into night marches, oftentimes with multiple events happening on any given day. In the first few weeks, attendance numbers ranged in the thousands and in recent weeks numbers have dipped slightly, but remained consistently in the hundreds.

The demonstrations and marches have been organized by a variety of autonomous groups, including (but not limited to) new and existent BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) led groups, nameless affinity groups, the families of victims of Portland Police violence and murder, youth-led organizations and local striking sex workers. There have been 423 total people arrested since the uprising began, the vast majority of whom have been bailed out.

Some victories include: protestors set the Justice Center [building which includes courts and police precinct] on fire the first night. Nearly 50 days later, on the night of 7/18, the Portland Police Association (police “union” pig pen) was also set aflame. $15M has been cut from the city Police budget (the ask was $50k/year until total defunding); SRO’s pulled from Portland Public School District; Transit cops pulled from public transportation (though immediately replaced by Sheriffs). Strong abolitionist rhetoric has become popular among protestors, in local literature/resources being circulated, and in graffiti and posters going up around the city. A local nonprofit won a temporary legal ban against PPB using tear gas, though with the caveat that they can use it if officers “fear for their lives” or a demonstration is declared a riot.

Some defeats and struggles we’ve experienced include: Protestors choosing to kneel with cops early on, early liberal cooptation of certain aspects of the movement and the successful division of peaceful protestors and anarchists (though this has been pretty much turned around).

BRRN: In what ways has the pandemic altered how people are organizing and turning out?

PDX: Mutual aid seems to be a key aspect of resistance and protest; mutual aid projects that were initially started at the beginning of the pandemic were strengthened and revitalized by the uprisings in the response to the murder of George Floyd. There seems to be an increase in the number of street medics, supply vehicles, and the distribution of PPE and sanitizing equipment/supplies at protests.

Initially it had a major impact in re-configuring relationships in organizations and in people newly radicalized. People within existing organizations have had to reexamine what their role is in relating to their work while being overworked in jobs deemed essential, had to reevaluate workload while able to solely work from home, organizations and people have had to learn from disabled comrades as to how to make spaces more accessible, and new masses of people have plugged into existing structures that have varying degrees of capacity to accept the new influx of people.

The first protests began before Oregon began its reopening process, and Portland, OR is several steps behind the rest of the State on that reopening process. Large amounts of people being jobless and angry at pandemic conditions, plus protests being the only social space people can feel right about showing up in are likely contributing factors as to why there is still daily and nightly energy and presence.

Different pandemic vulnerability/comfort levels leading to more varied types of actions, in addition to mass actions: car caravans, bike rallies, small neighborhood protests of less than 10 people happening simultaneously […]

via Secret Police on the Streets of #PDX: Interview with a Member of Black Rose #Portland — Enough 14 –

Chicago Teens Transform Liquor Store Into Fresh Food Market

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A group of teenagers from Chicago are on a mission to address food insecurity in the city. According to Block Club Chicago, By the Hand Club for Kids recently launched a project to transform a liquor store on Chicago’s West Side into a pop-up fresh food market.

The concept for the market was created following a roundtable discussion hosted by By the Hand Club for Kids—a nonprofit centered on educating and empowering youth from underserved communities—about the unrest following the murder of George Floyd. The teenagers, many of whom hail from Chicago’s Austin community, expressed their frustration surrounding disparities that plague their neighborhood. One of the issues that were brought to the forefront of the conversation was the lack of accessibility to healthy and affordable food options. Determined to change the narrative and cultivate a project that would be beneficial for their community, they decided to turn a liquor store located at 423 N. Laramie Ave. into a market.

The teens joined forces with professional athletes Jason Heyward, Diamond DeShields, Jonathan Toews, Lucas Giolito, Mitch Trubisky and others to raise $500,000 to purchase the liquor store and start the transformation process. They’ve also partnered with the food and beverage incubator and production facility Hatchery Chicago to create an entrepreneurship program for the teens who will run the market and youngsters who want to pursue careers in the culinary industry.

“What I heard coming out of that was that students wanted to take all those raw and powerful emotions and turn them into something good and do something from a social justice standpoint,” By the Hand Club for Kids Executive Director Donnita Travis said in a statement, according to the news outlet. “This is a real entrepreneurship opportunity for them, but also an opportunity for them to bring food justice to our neighborhood.”

Projects like the one being led by By the Hand Club for Kids are needed as food deserts have been a pressing issue in Chicago. According to a study conducted by the University of Chicago, although there was an increase of supermarkets throughout the city, there remains a huge lack of accessibility to affordable healthy food options among African-American and socioeconomically disadvantaged residents […]

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via Chicago Teens Transform Liquor Store Into Fresh Food Market — NewsOne

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