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Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

You get what you pay for: US Military and Civilian Budgets

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In the US, people work to support the military, not themselves — that’s based on the relative distribution of tax dollars spent on the military vs. social services, the social safety net, and civilian services and infrastructure. Judd Legum writes in Popular Information:

A new report from Brown University’s Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs, shared exclusively with Popular Information, reveals how decades of enormous military spending have reshaped the federal government and the U.S. economy. Today, more than half of all discretionary spending is spent on defense, military personnel make up the majority of federal government employees, and private military contractors are a leading force in the U.S. economy. Meanwhile, “investments in infrastructure, healthcare, education, and emergency preparedness” have been crowded out.

The numbers are startling. There are about 3.5 million people who work for the federal government, including civilians and uniformed military personnel. 72% of all federal workers are “defense-related,” including Department of Defense civilians, uniformed military personnel, and the Department of Veterans Affairs staff. Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Human Services employs 4% of federal civilian workers. The State Department, tasked with using diplomacy to avert wars, employs 1%.

The Department of Defense has a budget of $849 billion in the current fiscal year, and more than half is funneled to military contractors. About 30% of this money goes to just five firms: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics, and Northrup Grummond. Billions are awarded without competitive bidding. In 2020, for example, only 10% of Lockheed Martin’s contracts were subject to competition. Despite the massive sums of money involved, “we know surprisingly little about how they spend these funds, what kinds of jobs and pay are supported, which sub-contractors are paid and how much.” All five companies spend in excess of $10 million annually lobbying the federal government.

Today, “military contracts are distributed to every congressional district and nearly every county in the U.S.” According to the report, this isn’t an accident. Military contractors understand that “spreading out contracts means buying and gaining political support.” The strategy produces “more constituents and more politicians fighting to win or maintain those contracts for the sake of jobs.”

But military spending comes at a cost. Since 2015, the U.S. has added more than $300 billion to its annual defense spending. That is equivalent to the annual cost of providing universal pre-K for 3 and 4-year-olds, 2 years of free community college for high school graduates, and health insurance for uninsured Americans — combined.

The situation described in the report is likely to worsen following the recent passage of a deal to raise the debt ceiling, which reduces most discretionary spending for two years while allowing defense spending to continue apace.

“U.S. taxpayers have gotten what they’ve paid for, which is an economy that is devoted to the military, both in terms of spending and in terms of jobs,” the author of the study, Dr. Heidi Peltier, concludes. The following is a transcript of Popular Information’s interview with Peltier, edited for length and clarity.

LEGUM: You describe in the report that, today, both the federal government and, to a certain extent, the economy overall, is dominated by military spending. When did this dynamic begin?

PELTIER: Until recently, [the defense budget] would go up during wartime and down during peacetime. And what we’re seeing in recent years is that it keeps going up even when we’re not at war. So with the exit from Afghanistan and the winding down of the Iraq war, we really should be seeing military spending going down. And yet we continue to see increased military budgets.  So that is something that I think has changed over the last 20 years in the post-9/11 era.

LEGUM: Many politicians and pundits argue that the United States is not spending enough on the military. One of the arguments that I see centers around purchasing power. The argument is that we spend more than the next 10 or 11 countries combined on our military, but that distorts reality because it’s much cheaper for the Chinese to pay for things. What would you say to that?

PELTIER: . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

8 June 2023 at 5:29 am

100 Years Ago, A Woman Told The World How Pointless Their Wars Were

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Jessica Wildfire writes at OK Doomer:

Is it necessary to feed the people of Europe… to get the wheat out of Russia? Then in heaven’s name, let us have warm water harbors in order to get that wheat out of Russia.

— Jane Addams, “The Revolt Against War,” 1915

More than a hundred years ago, an American woman traveled through war-torn Europe interviewing ordinary people about the first world war. She wasn’t just another journalist. She was a social worker and a nonprofit director. She didn’t take sides. She didn’t sell propaganda.

She just listened.

She learned a few things.

First, she figured out that every nation thinks they’re “fighting to preserve its own traditions and its own ideals from those who would come in and disturb and destroy those high traditions and those ideals.” Every nation believes they’re doing the right thing, even if they lie to justify it.

She also figured out that nobody really wants to fight. The soldiers sure as hell don’t want to be there. Only a tiny minority revels in the violence. Most of them are scared to death. They’re hiding their fear. They believe they have no choice but to fight. That’s what they’ve been told.

Finally, she figured out that countries don’t really fight over ideology. They don’t fight for democracy. They don’t fight over politics. They don’t fight over religion. Those aren’t the real reasons for wars.

They’re excuses.

This woman figured out that countries actually fight over resources. They want another country to share its ports, land, or raw materials. They feel excluded or threatened by each other. They struggle to meet the needs of their own people. So they either provoke a war, or they just invade. If these countries could sit down and discuss how to share their resources without letting their politics or religion get in the way, then the wars wouldn’t happen.

If nothing else, they wouldn’t last as long.

This woman became relatively famous for her humanitarian work and public speaking. But when she started talking about war, the press turned on her. They smeared her. They questioned her patriotism.

Organizations expelled her.

She became a pariah.

The world decided this woman was a moron just trying to cause trouble and make a name for herself. Instead, they decided it was a better idea to keep fighting. In the end, nobody really won that first war.

Nothing really changed.

Instead of giving up, this woman continued to serve humanity. She worked under the president, overseeing relief aid to “the women and children of enemy nations.” She published a book about it, Peace and Bread in a Time of War. About two decades later, the same conditions this woman talked about led to another, even more destructive war. This war centered around a genocide.

After the end of that war, the world finally came around to the idea that maybe nations should try to work together instead of constantly competing over resources and making threats. That idea worked for a little while, at least until rich countries decided to start building empires again.

Almost nobody remembers this woman, even though she won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931, just a couple of years before Hitler became chancellor of Germany. The committee seemed to realize the world was heading toward another war. Maybe they thought giving this woman an award would redeem her and get the nation’s leaders to listen. She died from cancer four years later.

She’s erased from most history textbooks now. Students never learn about her. At best, she’s a footnote—maybe a paragraph.

Instead, they learn that the assassination of some minor aristocrat catapulted Europe into war. They learn the excuses for the war, but not the reasons. Sometimes they learn the reasons for the second war, but mostly they learn that we beat some genocidal super villain.

If that’s what Americans have been learning for the last hundred years, it’s no wonder they can never see past their own excuses. They support one war after another, each time convinced they really are the good guys this time. They’re desperate to relive war stories that never even happened.

I often think about how different the world would look if . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

7 June 2023 at 7:37 pm

US in Throes of Unexceptional Imperial Decline

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William J. Astore writes at Consortium News:

All around the U.S. things are falling apart. Collectively, Americans are experiencing national and imperial decline. Can America save itself? Is the country, as presently constituted, even worth saving?

For me, that last question is radical indeed. From my early years, I believed deeply in the idea of America. I knew this country wasn’t perfect, of course, not even close. Long before the 1619 Project, I was aware of the “original sin” of slavery and how central it was to our history. I also knew about the genocide of Native Americans. (As a teenager, my favorite movie — and so it remains — was Little Big Man, which pulled no punches when it came to the white man and his insatiably murderous greed.)

Nevertheless, America still promised much, or so I believed in the 1970s and 1980s. Life here was simply better, hands down, than in places like the Soviet Union and Mao Zedong’s China. That’s why we had to “contain” communism — to keep them over there, so they could never invade our country and extinguish our lamp of liberty.

And that’s why I joined America’s Cold War military, serving in the Air Force from the presidency of Ronald Reagan to that of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. And believe me, it proved quite a ride. It taught this retired lieutenant colonel that the sky’s anything but the limit.

In the end, 20 years in the Air Force led me to turn away from empire, militarism and nationalism. I found myself seeking instead some antidote to the mainstream media’s celebrations of American exceptionalism and the exaggerated version of victory culture that went with it (long after victory itself was in short supply).

started writing against the empire and its disastrous wars and found likeminded people at TomDispatch — former imperial operatives turned incisive critics like Chalmers Johnson and Andrew Bacevich, along with sharp-eyed journalist Nick Turse and, of course, the irreplaceable Tom Engelhardt, the founder of those “tomgrams” meant to alert America and the world to the dangerous folly of repeated U.S. global military interventions.

But this isn’t a plug for TomDispatch. It’s a plug for Americans to free their minds as much as possible from the thoroughly militarized matrix that pervades America. That matrix drives imperialism, waste, war and global instability to the point where, in the context of the conflict in Ukraine, the risk of nuclear Armageddon could imaginably approach that of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

[Related: Lessons for Armistice Day 2022]

As wars — proxy or otherwise — continue, America’s global network of 750-odd military bases never seems to decline. Despite upcoming cuts to domestic spending, just about no one in Washington imagines Pentagon budgets doing anything but growing, even soaring toward the trillion-dollar level, with militarized programs accounting for 62 percent of federal discretionary spending in 2023.

An engorged Pentagon — its budget for 2024 is expected to rise to $886 billion in the bipartisan debt-ceiling deal reached by President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy — guarantees one thing: a speedier fall for the American empire. Chalmers Johnson predicted it; Andrew Bacevich analyzed it.

The biggest reason is simple enough: incessant, repetitive, disastrous . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

7 June 2023 at 7:12 pm

The error of “There Are Never Any Consequences” or “I Am Waiting and Waiting for Some Accountability” vis-à-vis various Trump/GOP crimes

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Many people observe something for a short while, then draw (aka “jump to”) a conclusion and stop looking — so they never correct their first impression.

This has been particularly evident as some watch the wheels of justice grind through various crimes committed by Trump and his followers, very much including the January 6 insurrection.

Terry Kanefield offers this corrective:


  • “Given what I’ve seen the past few years, I don’t expect anything to ever happen.”
  • Republicans commit crimes because there are never any consequences!”

Please keep reading this for why people are still saying this even after Trump was indicted in Manhattan for 38 felony counts.

Here is a partial list of the criminal consequences faced by people in Trump’s inner circle since 2017:

It’s almost as if the Republican Party glorifies lawbreaking.

In 2018, Michael Shearer, writing for The Washington Post observed that “convictions are no longer a disqualification for the Republicans” and “even time spent in prison can be turned into a positive talking point, demonstrating a candidate’s battle scars in a broader fight against what he perceives as liberal corruption.”

After his 2019 indictment, Roger Stone received a standing ovation at a 2020 “Women for Trump” event.

One person in the comments said this: . . .

Continue reading. There’s more.

Written by Leisureguy

7 June 2023 at 12:13 pm

Another Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Gang Member Admits The Department Has Plenty Of Gang Members

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In an earlier post, I wrote that police departments reflect and participate in the increasing authoritarian movement in the US, that police too often act as a hostile occupation force rather than guardians of our human and constitutional rights. In Techdirt, Tim Cushing provides additional evidence. He writes:

The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department doesn’t have a great track record. In addition to the usual stuff expected from law enforcement agencies (biased policing, zero accountability, civil rights abuses, excessive force deployment), the LASD has been home to deputy gangs pretty much since its inception.

Its recent string of elected sheriffs hasn’t done anything to eliminate this problem. Sheriff Lee Baca ended his career facing federal criminal charges. Sheriff Alex Villanueva ran as a reformer but was run out of office after spending his tenure intimidating critics, threatening to sue local politicians, and continuing to deny the department was home to deputy gangs.

Now, it’s up to new sheriff Robert Luna to clean up the department. To his credit, Luna has not denied the department houses gang members. On the other hand, he hasn’t done much with the information he’s been given, including a report from the civilian oversight board that provides plenty of evidence of gang activity within the force.

More evidence is being compiled, thanks to ongoing litigation involving the department. The lawsuit giving rise to the newest revelations was filed by Deputy Larry Waldie, who claims he was targeted and demoted after he pushed back against one deputy gang’s control of the Compton station. Testimony being delivered in this case continues to peel the layers of secrecy off the LASD’s gang problem.

When he stepped up to the witness stand last week, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Jaime Juarez told the court about his first inking party — the day he got his Compton station tattoo. The intimate gathering was at a home somewhere in Pomona, and most of the people there were strangers.

But he knew the man who invited him, and knew that man sported the same ink Juarez was about to get — a design commonly linked to a suspected deputy gang known as the Executioners.

On Thursday afternoon, while testifying in a civil trial, Juarez pushed up a pant leg to reveal that tattoo: a helmet-wearing skeleton gripping a rifle.

Deputy Juarez isn’t the only witness offering up damning testimony. Others are breaking the code of silence to expose the most problematic elements of an extremely problematic agency.

Some witnesses offered the names of everyone they’d seen with the so-called Executioners tattoo. One provided pictures of a detective bureau desk decorated with the group’s symbol in several places.

Of course, the LASD is arguing Waldie’s demotion had nothing to do with the intimidation and influence of deputy gangs. The department claims Waldie simply was not qualified enough to be promoted. And it also alleges — in a move that tacitly admits the department has a gang problem — that Waldie was a member of another deputy gang known as the Gladiators.

Former sheriff Alex Villanueva also offered his own testimony. As is par for his particular course, it was steeped in denial and buttressed by admissions he spent his time in office doing absolutely nothing about a problem he could never hope to credibly deny.

[Villanueva] denied there were ever gangs inside the Sheriff’s Department and said he enacted an anti-gang policy only to address the “negative campaign” by the Board of Supervisors. He went on to tell the court that he’d never seen the skeleton tattoo until a photograph of it was published with a news article, and that he’d never conducted a study to determine which tattoos existed within the department.

It’s pretty easy to pretend a problem doesn’t exist when you actively take steps to avoid learning anything about it. The self-proclaimed “reformer” left office after reforming nothing and shielding the worst of his employees from internal and external criticism. Under his so-called leadership, . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

5 June 2023 at 9:40 pm

Being poor in the US

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I mentioned a post by Jessica Wildfire yesterday, and it occurs to me that it might be behind a paywall. (I subscribe, so I don’t know where the paywall hits.) It was a particularly good post, well worth reading in its entirety, but if you can read it, I thought you should at least see the conclusion:

And so, here we are.

There has been a systemic assault on poor people for the last four decades. The entire point is to drag us all the way back to the 1920s, when Americans worked all the time and spent all their money on gadgets, only to wind up poor and then blamed for it by the very architects of their desire. They probably wouldn’t mind if we rebooted public whippings of the unemployed, too.

They’d bring it back just for fun.

There’s a point to all of this. If we’re going to make progress on any progressive agendas, we’ll have to remove the social stigma from poverty. We’ll have to stop blaming poor people for their problems and bulldozing their camps, as if that makes the problem go away. (Affluent liberals do it, too.) We’ll have to admit that corporations do invest an enormous amount of energy encouraging consumption and marketing junk to poor people, then act like blameless victims when they tank the economy. We have to make it clear that there’s no shame in not having enough money, that it’s not a personal moral failure.

We’re going up against four centuries of social programming.

It’s not going to be easy.

Today, poor people are gaslit from every possible angle. They’re told to buy more to help the economy. They’re told to save. They’re told to invest. They’re told to work harder. They’re told to get more rest. They’re told to ask for a raise with confidence. They’re yelled at when they ask for a raise. They’re told money won’t make them happy. They’re told money will make them happy. They’re told to go to college. They’re told they shouldn’t have gone to college. They’re told to take out loans. They’re berated for taking out loans. They’re told to try to get good jobs. They’re told they should settle for lousy jobs. Their bank charges them fines for not having enough money. Bankers tell them there’s too much money floating around, so they have to raise interest rates and trigger mass layoffs.

They’re told they work too hard.

They’re called lazy.

They’re forced to deliver packages during tornadoes. They’re locked inside freezers. They drop dead on warehouse floors. They’re told to step over each other’s corpses to meet delivery deadlines. They’re told to pee inside bottles. They’re denied air conditioning. Their corporate bosses tell them to get on food stamps to save the company money. Their corporate bosses try to get them kicked off food stamps. On top of all that, they’re told to be grateful.

They’re not poor.

Written by Leisureguy

5 June 2023 at 8:38 pm

CDC Report Recognizes Police-Perpetrated Killing as Major Cause of Violent Death

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I think it is time now for US citizens to formally recognize the police as an armed and aggressive hostile occupying force. There are doubtless good cops, but there are also a great many bad cops and police departments that protect them. Mike Ludwig reports in Truthout:

In a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), federal researchers acknowledge in detail that police-perpetrated killings are a major cause of violent death in the United States, and Black and Indigenous men are disproportionally killed by police compared to all other groups tracked in the data.

Experts say the analysis is a step forward for the CDC, but crucial data on people who died while in police custody or inside local jails is likely missing from the report. Reforms meant to address police violence have stalled across the country, and reckless police shootings and reports of lethal neglect continue to make headlines three years after George Floyd was murdered by police in Minneapolis, sparking a nationwide uprising.

About 71,000 violent deaths were recorded across the United States in 2020, according to the CDC’s National Violent Death Reporting System, which collects data from death certificates, police reports, coroners and health providers. While a majority of violent deaths were recorded as suicides (58 percent) and homicides (31 percent), the CDC’s most recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report examines police-perpetrated killings in further detail than the agency has in the past and calls for more research on glaring racial disparities.

About 961 of the violent deaths recorded in 2020 are classified by the CDC as “legal intervention deaths,” or deaths caused by “law enforcement and other persons” with legal authority to use lethal force. Experts say this is almost certainly an undercount that excludes many deaths in police custody, and the CDC notes that “legal intervention” is a technical term and does not imply that a police-perpetrated killing was legally justified.

The CDC data from 2020 aligns with independent analyses showing that police kill an average of 1,000 people each year. Mapping Police Violence reports that around 1,200 people were killed by police in 2022, the highest annual number of deaths recorded over the past decade. Most people died from gunshot wounds, and 1,079 people were shot and killed by police over the past 12 months, according to The Washington Post’s gun violence trackers.

Alarmingly, the CDC researchers report that  . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

5 June 2023 at 1:17 pm

Twitter Admits in Court Filing: Elon Musk Is Simply Wrong About Government Interference At Twitter

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That’s Elon B. Musk — “B” for “Bullshitter.” Mike Masnick has a lengthy article that lays out in detail how much of a bullshitter Mr. Musk is, to the degree that it’s clear that no one should believe anything that passes his lips. Musk is in much the same league as Trump. Or Alex Jones.

Written by Leisureguy

5 June 2023 at 1:10 pm

NYC Child Welfare Agency Says It Supports “Miranda Warning” Bill for Parents. But It’s Quietly Lobbying to Weaken It.

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Dishonesty, in the sense of making untrue statements under the guise of truth (lying, not to put too fine a point on it), is always bad but particularly dangerous when delivered by officials (who nevertheless seem to be prone to the practice). And I do get so tired of it.

Eli Hager reports a perfect example in ProPublica. In an ideal world. the head of New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services would be called into the Mayor’s office, dressed down soundly, and fired. The report begins:

The New York State Legislature could by the end of this week pass groundbreaking legislation requiring child protective services agents to read people their constitutional rights, just like the police have to do.

But New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services, despite publicly claiming to support the “family Miranda warning,” has in recent weeks quietly proposed gutting the measure, according to eight lawmakers, staffers and lobbyists involved in the negotiations.

The agency even lobbied for the removal of the word “rights” from the bill text.

And the state Senate’s Democratic majority leader, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, has repeatedly blocked the popular proposal (it has dozens of co-sponsors), throwing into question whether it will get a full vote before the legislative session ends on Friday.

Last fall, a ProPublica investigation found that ACS caseworkers — without a warrant — conduct full home searches of more than 50,000 households every year across New York City, disproportionately affecting Black or Hispanic and low-income families. Despite the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, these government officers rifle through families’ refrigerators and medicine cabinets and inspect children’s unclothed bodies without informed consent.

They conduct these warrantless searches even if the allegation of potential child neglect they are investigating has nothing to do with the condition of the home, such as a kid missing too many days of school. They also sometimes use manipulative tactics, including threatening child removal or calling the police, to get inside residences, according to dozens of interviews with caseworkers, families and attorneys.

The agency ultimately finds a safety situation requiring removal of a child from the home less than 4% of the time.

Lawmakers in Albany repeatedly cited ProPublica’s reporting this spring as they reintroduced legislation, which had failed in the past, creating a Miranda-style warning to be read aloud by child protective services agents like cops do on “Law & Order.” Caseworkers would have to notify parents of their right to deny entry to their home, to have a lawyer present, to be told what they’re being accused of, and to say no to releases of their family’s personal information and to drug or alcohol tests without a court order, while also specifying that anything they say can and will be used against them.

The bill had been gaining momentum in the Assembly, passing unanimously out of that chamber’s children and families committee as its chair, Andrew Hevesi, flanked by grassroots activists, asked, “When in life do you want Americans not to know their rights?”

He continued, “The only time you need them not to know their rights is when their rights are about to be violated.”

The proposed law would not create any new rights, but rather inform families with less education or ones without a lawyer of the rights they already have. It also would not affect the ability of caseworkers to enter a home without a warrant if a child is in danger or if there are other exigent circumstances.

But then ACS sent Senate leadership staff revisions to the legislation that would have removed mention of several of the rights, neutering the proposal to such an extent that advocates could no longer support it, many said in interviews.

Maddy Zimmerman, spokesperson for Democratic state Sen. Jabari Brisport, the bill’s lead sponsor in the Senate and chair of its children and families committee, said that accepting ACS’ version would have been the same as passing nothing at all. She and a half-dozen others who saw the agency’s suggestions said the edits included not only removing the word “rights” but also cutting the sections about informing parents that what they say can be used against them, that they don’t have to agree to body searches of their children without an order from a judge, and more.

Brisport said in interviews with ProPublica that he tried to put the bill, without the ACS changes, on his committee’s agenda — three times. But on each attempt, he said, Stewart-Cousins, the Senate’s majority leader and president pro tempore, removed it from consideration without telling him why. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

5 June 2023 at 9:30 am

How Parking Ruined Everything

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Dante Ramos reviews a very interesting book in the Atlantic:

When you’re driving around and around the same block and seething because there’s nowhere to put your car, any suggestion that the United States devotes too much acreage to parking might seem preposterous. But consider this: In a typical year, the country builds more three-car garages than one-bedroom apartments. Even the densest cities reserve a great deal of street space to store private vehicles. And local laws across the country require house and apartment builders to provide off-street parking, regardless of whether residents need it. Step back to assess the result, as the Slate staff writer Henry Grabar does in his lively new book, Paved Paradise: How Parking Explains the World, and it’s sobering: “More square footage is dedicated to parking each car than to housing each person.”

That Americans like driving is hardly news, but Grabar, who takes his title from a Joni Mitchell song, says he isn’t quibbling with cars; his complaint is about parking—or, more to the point, about everything we have sacrificed for it. All those 9-foot-by-18-foot rectangles of asphalt haven’t only damaged the environment or doomed once-cherished architectural styles; the demand for more parking has also impeded the crucial social goal of housing affordability. This misplaced priority has put the country in a bind. For decades, even as rents spiraled and climate change worsened, the ubiquity and banality of parking spaces discouraged anyone from noticing their social impact.

Parking was once the stuff of sweeping urban visions. In the decades before World War II, as car ownership surged in the U.S., drivers in downtown urban areas simply parked curbside—or double- or triple-parked—leaving streetcar operators and fellow drivers to navigate around their vacant vehicles. Local notables saw this obstacle course as one more threat to cities that were beginning to lose businesses and middle-class residents to the growing suburbs. The Vienna-born architect Victor Gruen, best known as the father of the shopping mall, came up with a solution: Preserve urban vitality by making more room for vehicle storage—a lot more room. In 1956, at the invitation of a top business leader in Fort Worth, Texas, he proposed a pedestrian-only downtown surrounded by a freeway loop and served by massive new parking garages. He wanted to shoehorn so many additional parking spaces into the urban core—60,000 in all—that visitors would never have to walk more than two and a half minutes back to their car.

In hindsight, his idea was bonkers. “Gruen was telling downtown Fort Worth to build more parking than downtown Los Angeles, a city seven times its size,” Grabar writes, and “in a city that, with its wide, cattle-friendly streets, was already an easy place to drive.” Yet at the time, not even Jane Jacobs—the now-sainted author of the urbanist bible The Death and Life of Great American Cities—appreciated the dangers lurking in plans like Gruen’s. Grabar notes that in a “fan letter” (her term) to Gruen, Jacobs gushed that the Fort Worth plan would bring back “downtowns for the people.”

It didn’t. Gruen’s proposal was never executed; Texas legislators rejected a necessary bill. Yet Gruen had validated the postwar belief that cities had a parking shortage they desperately needed to fix. The result was an asphalt kudzu that has strangled other parts of civic and economic life. Over the years, cities and towns have demolished grand old structures to make way for garages and surface parking. When you see vintage photos of most American downtowns, what’s striking is how densely built they once were—before the relentless pursuit of parking helped hollow them out.

As early as the 1920s and ’30s, some local governments had sought to cure their nascent parking problem by making private developers build off-street spaces. Architects adapted: In Los Angeles, Grabar explains, a distinctive apartment-building style called the dingbat—with eight or so units perched on poles over a common driveway—arose after 1934, when the city started requiring one parking space per new apartment. Those rules proliferated in the postwar years. They also became more demanding, and acquired a pseudoscientific precision: Detroit, for example, requires one off-street space per 400 square feet of a museum or an ice rink, one per 200 square feet of a bank or laundromat, and one per 100 square feet of a beauty shop. The rules vary from city to city, frequently in arbitrary ways, but they change the landscape everywhere. An off-street parking spot, plus the room necessary for a car to maneuver in and out of it, requires more than 300 square feet—which, by one estimate, is about two-thirds the size of a typical new studio apartment. On lively main streets that predate parking regulations, shops and restaurants abut one another, but today’s rules produce little islands of commerce surrounded by seas of blacktop.

[Michael Manville: How parking destroys cities]

The opportunity cost of building new spaces quickly became evident. When Los Angeles upped its parking requirement from one to 1.5 spaces for a two-bedroom apartment in 1964, Grabar notes, even the car-friendly dingbat building became infeasible. Off-street-parking mandates, it turns out, are easy to satisfy when suburban developers are building fast-food outlets, strip malls, and single-family homes on cheap open land; meanwhile, large downtown commercial and residential buildings can generate enough revenue to pay for expensive garages. But projects in between fall into what’s been described as the “Valley of High Parking Requirements”: The government-mandated number of spaces won’t fit on a standard surface lot, and structured parking would cost too much to build. This is how parking rules killed off the construction of rowhouses, triple-deckers, and other small apartment buildings. Grabar reports that in the past half century, the production of new buildings with two to four units dropped by more than 90 percent.

Many housing experts believe that . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

4 June 2023 at 7:44 pm

“The poison in Australia’s bloodstream”

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Australian racism is probably easier for Americans to see than America’s own.  Dave Milner writes in The Shot:

I carry with me the fuzzy cognitive dissonance of a white man educated in a settler colony, an old land with new rulers, an Imperial outpost trying to be better, more inclusive and kinder but refusing to go to therapy, refusing to listen, refusing to admit there might indeed be some unreconciled structural hurt surrounding a certain genocide-and-dispossession situation – Australia’s “wHaT rAcIsM?!” brigade only ever a dog-whistle away from the Culture War’s frontlines.

“I was booing Adam Goodes because he plays for Sydney”. “Stan Grant was being disrespectful to the monarchy [that sought to conquer and wipe out his people]”. “Yasmin can say what she wants about refugees, but not on Anzac Day, it’s disrespectful,” [passes out in the gutter after drinking since 5am]. “The fact you want race recognised in the Constitution means it’s YOU that is the racist.”

At school I was taught a mishmash of contradictory “truths” that I’ve spent my adult life slowly becoming aware of, questioning, and now seeking to unlearn. None of us love recognising when we have been deceived, when malicious half-truths have been planted and harvested in our souls over unexamined decades. But it happens to every single one of us. I was taught Captain Cook “discovered” Australia after a very long, very impressive boat ride; as a child I saw him as a man of adventure, a dashing explorer with an iconic vessel my pliable young mind routinely confused with the USS Enterprise. At the same time, I was told Aboriginal people were here before Cook’s “discovery”, possibly for tens of thousands of years even, a feat my formal education considered a lesser achievement than a very long boat ride.

I held both these histories together at the birth of my settler brain; a mind at odds with itself, wanting racism to vanish from the country but also falling into the supremacist trap of not seeing it when it’s smack, bang the fuck in front of my face.

Like how on a cold afternoon at the MCG when I, a pre-teen at this point, a guest in the toffy MCC stand, sat behind four well dressed and obnoxious young men, clearly private school boys destined for the Liberal Party or the riveting world of investment banking, as they calmly offered casually racist commentary of the footy match unfolding, and how hundreds of people within earshot didn’t say a fucking thing about it over the course of many hours. It’s easier, more comfortable, not to notice, to cling onto the privilege of pretending, and denial is a force powerful enough to bend reality, ya know?

Of course you know, you live here.

Whatever lesson I learnt that day it was embedded deeper when football commentator and television fish fondler Rex Hunt described Collingwood’s Leon Davis as being “as black as a dog…”, and again further when Eddie McGuire said Adam Goodes should play the role of King Kong in a theatre production on Collins St, presumably for a packed guffawing audience of white people. Hunt’s explanation at the time was a pure mask off moment. “Oh, I stuffed it up, I’ll have a rest, I knew it was going to happen.” Dafuq??? He “knew it was going to happen” because, in much of Australia, during much of my existence, it has been extremely normal for successful mainstream Australian people to talk like this, more often than not, without serious consequence, and with mesmerised complicity and silence from witnesses.

The fuzziest portion of my map of Australia’s past is what happened at the end of these very long, very impressive boat rides, after the landing in what is now Sydney chapter, but before the Hills Hoists, pavlovas and Phar Lap portions of the story. I was taught that the English brought civilisation and law, and alcohol and diseases with them, and that the locals just couldn’t handle their booze or smallpox. I was not taught that the First Fleet arrived with bayonets and rifles, not just to use on the convicts, and that the entire continent is – from the grasslands of Victoria to the Blue Mountains of NSW to the Dead Heart red centre to the jungles along our jagged Northern coast – stained with massacre after massacre of Indigenous peoples.

And because of the half-truths I learnt while growing up, despite now unequivocally knowing better, the formally educated portion of my settler brain still clings to the foggiest of notions of a relatively violence-free “discovery”. As good as colonisation can get, the fair dinkum Australian version of dispossession, mateship and stuff. Two cultures meeting on a beach one fateful day, having a bit of a chat, “So these are ‘Kangaroos’ are they? Fucken grouse,” maybe inventing beach cricket in the afternoon over a BBQ, and then mysteriously, for reasons still unclear, one of those two cultures just starts vanishing from the place. SpOoKy.

This fuzzy version of the past is the one that John Howard, former Prime Minister and Patron Saint of the Boomers, viciously fought for while in office. Howard, for all his faults, keenly understood the power of history. Who controls the past controls the future. A cudgel to decency, Howard, the Rat King, attacked the emerging “black armband” version of history that was becoming popular in Australian universities at the time. In it he saw a threat, and the defensive part of his whiteness that needed to take it personally ensured that the bullshit version of the story persists today.

The Australia Howard wanted to craft exists on  . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

4 June 2023 at 7:31 pm

Atlanta Police Arrest Organizers of Bail Fund for Cop City Protesters

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US states are increasingly becoming authoritarian. For example, Texas has decided the state can overturn municipal elections if it wants — and in the case of blue cities, such as Houston, it does want. And now Georgia is arresting people for posting bail (not a crime).

Natasha Lennard reports for The Intercept:

ON WEDNESDAY MORNING, a heavily armed Atlanta Police Department SWAT team raided a house in Atlanta and arrested three of its residents. Their crime? Organizing legal support and bail funds for protesters and activists who have faced indiscriminate arrest and overreaching charges in the struggle to stop the construction of a vast police training facility — dubbed Cop City — atop a forest in Atlanta.

In a joint operation with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, or GBI, Atlanta cops charged Marlon Scott Kautz, Adele Maclean, and Savannah Patterson — all board members of the Atlanta Solidarity Fund — with “money laundering” and “charity fraud.”

The arrests are an unprecedented attack on bail funds and legal support organizations, a long-standing facet of social justice movements, according to Lauren Regan, executive director of the Civil Liberties Defense Center.

“This is the first bail fund to be attacked in this way,” Regan, whose organization has worked to ensure legal support for people resisting Cop City, told me. “And there is absolutely not a scintilla of fact or evidence that anything illegal has ever transpired with regard to Atlanta fundraising for bail support.”

Continue reading. There’s more.

The US seems to have lost its way.

Written by Leisureguy

4 June 2023 at 5:11 pm

The Parentification of America

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Jessica Wildfire writes at OK Doomer:

It was kind of like being Cinderella, without the glass slipper.

Parentification happens when an adult places too much responsibility on a child. It’s a form of abuse. An adult might make them the primary caregiver of another family member. They might make them pay bills or get a job to supplement family income. They might confide in their child in ways they’re not prepared for. Meanwhile, the parent still tries to maintain the image of authority. The child might still have a curfew or a bedtime, even when they’re in charge of their mom’s medication, cooking dinner, or making sure their younger brother finishes their homework. Parentified children often deal with all the demands of adulthood, but none of the freedoms. As a parentified child, I know a little about that.

I’m not exaggerating when I say this:

We’re witnessing the parentification of America. We’re watching it play out on a national scale, as older affluent Americans shirk their responsibilities and fall back on childish logic to justify increasingly reckless, selfish, aggressive agendas. Teenagers are having to contemplate a sixth mass extinction happening in their lifetimes. Rather than help them develop the emotional tools to deal with that, most of the adults in their lives are telling them to pretend it’s not happening. They want them doing homework and chores, studying for tests, playing sports, filling out college applications, doing public service, and working jobs.

The perception is that young people are lazy or addicted to their phones. The reality is they’re doing more than ever. Among all the different articles out there on what teens and adolescents need, I almost never see this:

Give them a break.
Let them relax.
Let them sleep.
Listen to them.

Birthrates are declining. Rather than come up with sustainable solutions for managing America’s aging population, adults are telling young people, even 10-year-olds, they need to have more babies to keep the economy going. The far right in particular invoke innocence and purity as rationales for stripping rights away from everyone they dislike, while trying to give jobs to 14-year-olds to fill holes in the workforce, because America worked too many people to death during the pandemic. Meanwhile, they all try to present themselves as authorities, pushing pointless punitive laws for the supposed benefit of America’s youth, when they only seem designed to exploit everyone further.

Let’s look at what they’re doing to address the mental health crisis among young people. Have they . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

4 June 2023 at 11:42 am

Lessons from Washington State’s New Capital Gains Tax

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You’d think that, with Republicans so eager to reduce the deficit, they would endorse getting more tax revenue from those who can easily afford it. However, that’s not the case. One must recognize that Republicans almost always act in bad faith, and their hypocrisy runs deep.

Kamau Chege reports in The Urbanist:

Taxing the rich works like a charm.

Last week we learned that the capital gains tax — which was passed by the state legislature in 2021 to fund much-needed childcare and public education — will bring in nearly $601 million more in state revenue than previously projected in the biennium.

For decades, the wealthiest Washingtonians have gotten out of paying what they truly owe in state and local taxes. It’s worth taking a moment to reflect on this stride toward a more progressive tax system in our state, and the court case that almost rolled it back.

One of the first lessons is that our state’s richest residents are much, much richer than we understood — and they are continuing to get richer at a faster rate than previously assumed.

According to the Department of Revenue, just 1,200 tax returns and 2,500 extensions represent the households paying the new 7% capital gains tax on profits over $250,000 gained from selling stocks and bonds. And despite high interest rates and a stock market that contracted by 25% in 2022, these capital gains tax payers would have had to rake in billions more in passive profits from their stockpile of wealth last year.

Among that group of tax filers were a few individuals who filed a lawsuit in an attempt to roll back the new tax: but in early March, the State Supreme Court ruled that the lawsuit had no merit.

The landmark decision and the case put forward by the tax dodgers lends us our second lesson: the tired arguments used to defend the rich from paying their share of taxes should be put to rest.

The plaintiffs in that case essentially argued that their capital gains were their income, which they alone earned, and therefore should not be subject to the tax.

But working people know that private wealth is built on public infrastructure and public investments paid for by all of us — especially low-income folks who pay more than their share in taxes. The roads and the transportation system corporate executives use to get goods to market, the schools and universities that train their workers, and the regulation and safety systems they rely on build the wealth of the people who live and do business in our state.

When I studied accounting in college, I volunteered to help low-income families file their taxes. I sat down with bus drivers, hotel workers, and childcare providers and the rate that they had to pay in taxes astounded me. It was far more than their share, especially when the richest people in our state, like Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, have armies of accountants working to find tax loopholes and write-offs.

Those accountants don’t have to look too closely, because our tax system has been set up to benefit the very rich. Here in Washington State,

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

3 June 2023 at 6:54 pm

Propaganda rarely looks like this

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Caitlin Johnstone has an interesting column in Consortium News, in which the above video appears (along with three other very interesting videos). I think the video understates the role of good journalism —  for example, I have recently read of various legislation passed based on reporting in ProPublica and Judd Legum’s Popular Information. On the other hand, I certainly do not see much reporting on the basic flaws of capitalism — that decisions are made solely on how they affect profits, with clear examples of how that leads to danger to the public and the environment (by long trains, for example, or by not providing paid sick leave for food works — both of which have been reported but not the basic flaw in capitalism that led to those bad outcomes). Nor do journalists talk much about the damage from the ethos of “rugged individualism” and how we fare better with a cooperative community spirit — cf. barn-raising.

Nonetheless, the video is interesting — and this video has more on Chomsky’s ideas of manufacturing consent. When we talk about “manufactured consent,” that does not mean that everyone must conset — just enough people with enough power to determine the country’s direction. One might call it “manufactured effective consent,” with dissenters having no power to affect the decisions. For example, I did not consent to the US invasion of Iraq. In fact, I strongly opposed that invasion. But they did it anyway. James Fallows, who certainly has a greater voice than I, wrote a lengthy article in the Atlantic offer a strongly reasoned argument against the invasion.

But in the meantime, a coterie of newspapers, politicians, and influencers — including the NY Times, which was a big booster of the invasion — were beating the drums to go to war, and go to war we did, and killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people and also instituted systematic torture of suspects as US policy. No one has been held accountable for any of that.

Still, the overall thrust of Johstone’s column is worth your consideration. She writes:

People in the English-speaking world hear the word “propaganda” and might tend to think of something that’s done by the governments of foreign nations that are so totalitarian they won’t let people know what’s true or think for themselves.

Others might understand that propaganda is something that happens in their own nation, but think it only happens to other people in other political parties. If they think of themselves as left-leaning they see those to their right as propagandized by right wing media, and if they think of themselves as right-leaning they see those to their left as propagandized by left-wing media.

A few understand that propaganda is administered in their own nation by their own media, and understand that it’s administered across partisan lines, but they think of it in terms of really egregious examples such as weapons of mass destruction in Iraq or babies being taken from incubators in Kuwait.

In reality, all are inaccurate understandings of what propaganda is and how it works in Western society. Propaganda is administered in Western nations, by Western nations, across the political spectrum — and the really blatant and well-known examples of its existence make up only a small sliver of the propaganda in which our civilization is continuously marinating.

The most common articles of propaganda — and by far the most consequential — are not the glaring, memorable instances that live in infamy among the critically minded. They’re the mundane messages, distortions and lies-by-omission that people are fed day in and day out to normalize the status quo and lay the foundation for more propaganda to be administered in the future.

One of the forms this takes is the way the Western political/media class manipulates the Overton window of acceptable political opinion.

Have you ever noticed how when you look at any mainstream newspaper, broadcast or news website, you never see views from those who oppose the existence of the U.S.-centralized empire? Or those who want to close all foreign U.S. military bases? Or those who want to dismantle capitalism? Or those who want a thorough rollback of the creeping authoritarianism our civilization is being subjected to?

You might see some quibbling about different aspects of the empire, some debate over de-escalating against Russia in order to better escalate against China, but you won’t ever see anyone calling for the end of the empire and its abuses altogether.

That’s propaganda. It’s propaganda in multiple ways: it . . .

Continue reading.

One thing that would protect us against propaganda is to teach every citizen, starting at a young age, critical thinking skills. (Edward DeBono developed a good program that begins in first grade and goes through elementary school, and it has proven effective in many schools.) However, I don’t believe that will happen in the US. The US has no national curriculum and the many thousands of school districts have the power to decide many aspects of curriculum (even though states do try to impose some curricular standards. What kills the teaching of critical thinking skills to young children is that, when they learn those skills, they start to practice them, and many parents do not like that. The children begin to question things the parents do not want questioned, and often parental pressure will kill the program.

Written by Leisureguy

3 June 2023 at 6:35 pm

The Congressional-military-industrial complex costs too much for what it delivers

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Kevin Drum writes:

CNN has a remarkable story today about the vast difference in cost between warships built in the US and those built in Japan:

The country’s newest Maya-class destroyers are armed with 96 VLS cells that can fire both anti-ballistic and anti-submarine missiles, while the “quality of its sensors and systems stands at the very top end of the spectrum.”…Those 96 VLS cells put the Mayas on par with the newest of the US Arleigh Burkes, but there’s a crucial difference between them: The Arleigh Burkes cost $2.2 billion; the Mayas cost a billion dollars less.

….And it’s not just the Mayas. Take Japan’s Mogami-class frigates; speedy, stealthy 5,500-ton warships with 16 VLS cells that fire surface-to-air and anti-ship missiles. All done with a crew of 90 and a price tag of about $372 million each. By contrast, the first of the US Navy’s under development Constellation-class frigates are expected to cost three times as much and require twice as many crew.

These Japanese ships, along with others from South Korea, are designed to be very similar to American ships:

All these Japanese and South Korean vessels are designed to incorporate US technology, weapons, spy radars and the Aegis command and control system.

So why the vast difference in cost?

Cost overruns, endemic in US defense contracting, are not common in Japan, Schuster says, because — unlike the US — the country holds manufacturers to their estimates.

A Japanese shipbuilder’s bid is an absolute. If they finish it below expected cost, they make a larger profit. If they encounter delays and mistakes, the builder has to correct it at their own expense,” Schuster said.

That sounds . . . a little too easy. There has to be more to it than “we won’t pay a nickel more than you bid.” Requirements change, specs change, and timetables change. It’s hardly possible in the real world for a bid to stay frozen in the face of that.

And yet, . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

3 June 2023 at 3:08 pm

More signs of the decline of the US: Gov. Reynolds Signs ‘Worst Corruption Bill In Iowa History’

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Newshound Ellen reports in Crooks & Liars:

As of July 1, the state auditor will be unable to ask a court to order state agencies and officials under investigation to provide records. Instead, the governor and her cronies will get to decide what gets examined. Iowa Public Radio explains:

It requires a three-member arbitration board to decide if the agency should release the information. One member would be appointed by the governor, one by the agency that’s being investigated (whose director is appointed by the governor), and the third member would be appointed by the auditor.

Iowa Auditor Rob Sand called the law “the worst pro-corruption bill in Iowa history” because it is “akin to letting the defendant decide what evidence the judge and jury are allowed to see.”

Not only that, the law may jeopardize $12 billion in federal funding by preventing the state from complying with federal award requirements and/or requiring more frequent audits, increasing state costs.

In an interview with TPM, Sand said the genesis of the bill is that “in my first term we uncovered more waste, fraud, and abuse than any other state auditor ever had, a record amount.” Some people didn’t like that. That includes $21 million of misspent federal COVID relief funds Reynolds said she’d return in 2020 and, as seen in the video above, $450,000 in late 2021.

“And then, the other piece of it that makes it easy to get other members of the legislature to go along is . . .

Continue reading.

Also: video at the link.

Written by Leisureguy

3 June 2023 at 1:38 pm

Why it’s in the public interest to require businesses to provide paid sick leave: Sick Workers Tied to 40% of Food Poisoning Outbreaks, C.D.C. Says

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Amanda Holpuch reports in the NY Times (no paywall):

People who showed up to their restaurant jobs while sick were linked to 40 percent of food poisoning outbreaks with a known cause from 2017 to 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report released on Tuesday.

Paid sick leave and other policies that support sick workers could improve food safety outcomes, according to the report, which was based on a review of 800 food poisoning outbreaks, using data provided by 25 state and local health departments.

Of the 500 outbreaks where investigators identified at least one cause, 205 involved workers showing up sick, the report said. Other common causes included contaminated raw food items, in 88 cases, and cross-contamination of ingredients, in 68 cases.

In 555 of the outbreaks, investigators were able to determine what virus, bacterium, toxin, chemical or parasite was to blame. Most outbreaks were caused by salmonella or norovirus, the report said.

To combat these outbreaks, “comprehensive ill worker policies will likely be necessary,” the report said. It highlighted research that showed that expanded paid sick leave reduced how often food service workers showed up at work sick, and noted that paid sick leave regulations were associated with decreased rates of food-borne illness.

Daniel Schneider, a professor of social policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, said the report was “sobering,” and highlighted that the United States is the only wealthy country with no federal paid sick leave.

“Reports like this show the real urgency of it, not just because it’s in workers’ interests, although it is, but because it is in the public interest,” Professor Schneider said.

Of the 725 managers who were interviewed by state and local health departments, 665 said that their business required food workers to tell a supervisor if they were sick, and 620 said that sick employees were either restricted or blocked from working. Fewer than half of the managers — 316 — said their business provided paid sick leave to workers.

Professor Schneider is a director of . . .

Continue reading. (no paywall)

Congress should pass a law requiring businesses with more than (say) 12 employees to provide paid sick leave, just as a public health measure. That would be Congress doing governing, and such a law is the only way to keep the playing level in that respect. That is, without such a law, some businesses will seek a competitive advantage by not providing paid sick leave because capitalism has a single criterion for making a decision: will it increase profit?

Written by Leisureguy

3 June 2023 at 12:48 pm

The beginning of the end of work

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Kevin Drum posts:

It begins:

When ChatGPT came out last November, Olivia Lipkin, a 25-year-old copywriter in San Francisco, didn’t think too much about it….In April, she was let go without explanation, but when she found managers writing about how using ChatGPT was cheaper than paying a writer, the reason for her layoff seemed clear.

….For some workers, this impact is already here. Those that write marketing and social media content are in the first wave of people being replaced with tools like chatbots, which are seemingly able to produce plausible alternatives to their work.

This is not what people expected when AI first became a topic of conversation years ago. Everyone figured the first victims of job loss would be blue-collar workers doing repetitive tasks: data entry clerks, customer service reps, taxi drivers, retail workers, and so forth. Then in 2017 Google published a paper about how to make Large Language Models work better and within a few years the most common form of AI was suddenly white collar and non-repetitive.

Automation has been taking jobs for years, of course. In that sense there’s nothing unique about Lipkin’s experience. Most likely she’ll get another job, this time at a shop that needs writing skills above the bare minimum that ChatGPT can currently provide.

But there’s still a difference. In the past, . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

3 June 2023 at 12:18 pm

More than 800m Amazon trees felled in six years to meet beef demand

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Why is the Amazon rainforest being cut down? Profit. Why are more and more fossil fuels being extracted with new fields developed? Profit. Why is the earth becoming uninhabitable? That’s an unfortunate side effect, but look at how much profit was made.

Andrew Wasley, Elisângela Mendonça, Youssr Youssef, and Robert Soutar report in the Guardian:

More than 800m trees have been cut down in the Amazon rainforest in just six years to feed the world’s appetite for Brazilian beef, according to a new investigation, despite dire warnings about the forest’s importance in fighting the climate crisis.

A data-driven investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ), the Guardian, Repórter Brasil and Forbidden Stories shows systematic and vast forest loss linked to cattle farming.

The beef industry in Brazil has consistently pledged to avoid farms linked to deforestation. However, the data suggests that 1.7m hectares (4.2m acres) of the Amazon was destroyed near meat plants exporting beef around the world.

The investigation is part of Forbidden Stories’ Bruno and Dom project. It continues the work of Bruno Pereira, an Indigenous peoples expert, and Dom Phillips, a journalist who was a longtime contributor to the Guardian​​. The two men were killed in the Amazon last year.

Deforestation across Brazil soared between 2019 and 2022 under the then president, Jair Bolsonaro, with cattle ranching being the number one cause. The new administration of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has promised to curb the destruction.

Researchers at the AidEnvironment consultancy used satellite imagery, livestock movement records and other data to calculate estimated forest loss over six years, between 2017 and 2022 on thousands of ranches near more than 20 slaughterhouses. All the meat plants were owned by Brazil’s big three beef operators and exporters – JBS, Marfrig and Minerv​a.

To find the farms that were most likely to have supplied each slaughterhouse, the researchers looked at . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

2 June 2023 at 8:40 pm

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