Usher’s News & Analysis for July 1, 2020

About 40 homes burned to the ground this weekend, as a fast-moving brush fire ravaged a community near the Mexico border.

Deadly Brush Fire Destroys Dozens of California Homes

Lauer’s presentation also homed in on the risks of the TPP, quoting a committee hearing from the Department of Homeland Security & Government Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which noted in November 2019:8

“Thousand Talent Plan members sign legally binding contracts with Chinese institutions, like universities and research institutions. The contracts can incentivize members to lie on [US] grant applications, set up ‘shadow labs’ in China … and, in some cases, transfer U.S. scientists’ hard-earned intellectual capital.

Some of the contracts also contain nondisclosure provisions and require the Chinese government’s permission to terminate the agreement … These provisions are in stark contrast to the U.S. research community’s basic norms, values, and principles.”9

In December 2019, Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) in Grand Rapids, Michigan, agreed to pay a $5.5 million settlement amid allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by submitting federal grant applications to NIH that failed to disclose Chinese government grants received by two VARI researchers.

Hidden Funds Lead to Massive Layoffs at Health Department

A good look at the Recovery Fund’s makeup, seen against the backdrop of huge new austerity, dispels any hope that the unremitting class war against Europe’s many is about to subside. Instead, what becomes obvious is that the EU is, yet again, investing in solidarity among oligarchies — North and South, East and West.

Solidarity amongst Europe’s oligarchs will never empower Europe’s majority. It will only intensify the omnipresent class war that short-changes almost all Europeans and pushes a majority of them into despair.

Europe’s Recovery Fund: An instrument of class war against weaker Europeans everywhere

First Street Foundation, a nonprofit agency, is making accurate climate change-adjusted flood scores available for every property in the U.S. today. There are government-produced maps showing 8.7 million homes and properties at significant flood risk—and it turns out those may have underestimated the amount of real estate at risk by 67%.

Government-Produced Flood Maps May Have Underestimated Properties at Risk

… failing to adopt reasonable safety procedures, such as frequent cleaning or limiting the number of customers in a store, could give the insurer grounds to reconsider whether to pay a claim or renew the policy, and in some circumstances, might even be grounds for cancellation ….

Maine Reminds Reopening Businesses to Comply with Insurance Contract Terms

Applying their method generated some surprising results. As wildfires become more frequent due to climate change, the researchers found, the increasing amounts of smoke may harm Americans nearly as much as rising temperatures. …

The researchers attribute the increasing health risks from fires to a century of poor forest management, which has caused brush to pile up and gives today’s fires plenty of ready fuel. They also blame rising heat and subsequent drying of plant matter due to climate change, and an influx of people moving into high fire risk areas.

… The federal government currently exempts some states from including smoke from wildfires in their tallies of PM2.5 pollution. Whether that should change constitutes a “key policy question” lawmakers have yet to face.

Wildfires Are Taking an Unexpectedly Huge Toll on America’s Lungs

Agreed at the very least:

Mining companies should be required to buy private insurance for tailings dams and their board of directors should be held legally responsible for any disasters, a coalition of 140 environmental groups said in a report published on Tuesday.

The Earthworks-led report recommends that new tailings dams be banned near inhabited areas; make dam inspection data easily available; and make safety, not cost, the main factor in a dam’s construction.

Environmental Groups Propose Tailings Dam Safety Standards

This next linked article is obviously written to get you to hate the Black Lives Matter Movement. It singles out the written desires of some activists and paints those as core to the BLM Movement. However, many who count themselves part of the Movement don’t subscribe to all of those written desires.

Regardless, I agree with many, many more of those desires than not.

Explainer: What does ‘Black Lives Matter’ believe?

You can’t know about why the economy changed so radically in the 1970’s without knowing about the impacts of the Vietnam War, Watergate, slow-moving regulations, Yuppies, and OPEC. The war and Watergate tore the nation. People were literally tired of it all. Regulations hadn’t been kept current, and that led to all regulations being pegged as evil, which they certainly were not. As the greedy took over, the Hippie era died out and materialism went through the roof. OPEC also slammed the US by slashing the oil supply. It was long before the current fracking mania (that will peter out sooner than later by the way).

Matt Stoller: How we MUST reclaim economic power from federal reserve, technocrats

Research Director at the American Economic Liberties Project Matt Stoller shares his perspective on what economic issues matter most to voters.

Here’s Rand Paul lauding “libertarianism” (anarcho-capitalism) while asking why children can’t be allowed to go back to school. He’s more right than wrong about the dangers for children in the aggregate, but that hardly proves anarcho-capitalism is the highest and best path for our nation. Democracy is better than the capitalist market. He doesn’t think so.

Rand Paul GOES OFF on Dr. Fauci