Corporate consulting firm McKinsey & Company spent three years attempting to reduce violence at the jail complex on Rikers Island in New York. In April 2017 the firm claimed violence had dropped 50%—but this false result is cherry-picked from the prison’s most compliant inmates in the rigged “Restart” program. Jailhouse violence, including between inmates and guards, had in truth risen 50%. ProPublica reports on McKinsey from an investigation that acquired interviews and extensive documents. The New York City Council voted to close Rikers in October after New York City paid McKinsey $27.5 million for consultation and data analysis Rikers barely used.
The bipartisan 2020 National Defense Authorization Act will grant the Pentagon a budget of $738 billion—a $22 billion increase. Over 35 progressive advocacy groups, including Win Without War and MoveOn, have condemned the NDAA, calling it “obscene” and a “gift to Donald Trump.” The coalition believes the excessive NDA funds are preventing spending on education, healthcare, and climate. Bipartisan House and Senate negotiations stripped almost every progressive provision. Common Dreams reports House voting on the measure is expected as early as Wednesday. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are the only 2020 Democratic presidential candidates to stand against the NDAA.
After House Democrats formally called for President Trump’s removal from office, student contributors offer perspectives to The Nation. A Tennessee student speaks on Trump’s election tampering, noting that voting suppression runs rampant in the south regardless of his international interference. Another fears the impeachment comes too late, timing being critical to address carbon emissions. A Syracuse journalism student worries impeachment media coverage fuels Trump’s ego. The student points out what policies and relationships the next president—if, in this flood of Democratic candidates, Trump doesn’t win—will have to improve and repair.
Truthdig comments on Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden and Michael Bloomberg, three 2020 Democratic presidential candidates whose platforms sit atop big spenders’ donations and who align with corporate power structures. Buttigieg and Biden both have about 40 billionaire donors. Contributions exceeding $200 comprise over half of the two candidates’ donations. Buttigieg supports PAYGO, which limits progressive options, and Biden’s record has proliferated repugnancies. Bloomberg runs an astronomical ad campaign. The “BBB” approach is in contrast to Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, whose low-dollar donations come from grassroots campaigns. Warren has six billionaire donors and Sanders’s campaign returned the single donation a billionaire’s spouse sent.
The Washington Post and Wall Street Journal, owned by U.S. oligarchs Jeff Bezos and Rupert Murdoch, have been disparaging wealth taxes that frontrunning Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren advocate. Fair takes a comprehensive look at these papers’ coverage. The Post proposed lighter taxes for the rich and advocated for “private wealth,” though neither Democratic candidate spoke of abolishing it. The Journal was yet more direct, lauding billionaires’ role in the U.S. and distorting projected tax numbers to garner sympathy for the ultra-rich. From 1989 to 2019, the disparity of wealth between the top 1% and bottom 50% has increased by over $21 trillion, partly because investments of the wealthy are taxed less than workers’ paychecks.
Margaret Kimberly of Black Agenda Report responds to Attorney General William Barr’s threat to withdraw police protection from black communities lacking “support and respect” for law enforcement. But police departments themselves demonstrate the necessity of their abolishment with imposed arrest quotas for black and Hispanic people; 90% of people arrested in the past two years for fare beating New York City transits were black or Latino. A few days after Barr’s statement police fired into rush hour traffic at two burglars, killing them and two bystanders. When Barr or others threaten removing police “protection” from communities, communities should express that this is the goal.
Consulting firm Cambridge Analytica used data from 78 million Facebook profiles for voting propaganda favoring Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential race. An academic researcher who had legitimate access to the data had sold it to the firm, breaking Facebook’s rules. To combat this, Facebook and Twitter have announced projects addressing disinformation and “conversational health,” but researchers have found no results outside of press releases. Columbia Journalism Review reports Twitter-funded researchers dropped a project when they couldn’t agree with the company on how to access required data; Facebook had similar shortcomings. The companies have made it nearly impossible for researchers to get necessary data but grant access to companies that profit from the platforms.
The rate of Greenland’s ice sheet’s melting surpassed scientists’ expectations, possibly in the worst-case scenario. EcoWatch covers a study by NASA and the European Space Agency based on 26 years of satellite data, finding that an average of 25 billion tons of ice have melted per year. The continued acceleration of melting will raise the global sea level five inches by 2100, causing extreme flood risk.
The fossil fuel industry, media moguls and others ignore evidence of climate change; Consortium News discusses five such pillars of climate change denial. Science denial asserts that the facts aren’t settled, but as more people believe the truth, deniers shift to economic denial: contrary to data, that the climate crisis is too expensive to fix. Humanitarian denial suggests climate change is good for us, despite unprecedented heatwaves killing thousands. Political denial posits that the U.S. can’t act because other countries aren’t— but not all countries are equally responsible. Crisis deniers warn against rapid change, wanting to maintain the power of wealth.
1. ‘They want to do business with us so badly’: Trump hails Johnson victory as he eyes up ‘massive’ UK-US trade deal (The Independent)