By Matthew Green LONDON (Reuters) - The science is in: the endless pursuit of economic growth is devouring the foundations of life on Earth, and no country – rich or poor – can expect to escape dire consequences if things go on as they are. So how might the world change course? Though still confined to the fringes, a globally dispersed but tight-knit coalition of economists, grass-roots organizers, business leaders and politicians, along with some investors, have begun to sketch out an answer. The vision: a new relationship between the state, local communities and nature aligned behind a more holistic notion of progress than gross domestic product (GDP), the established yardstick for economies as different as those of the United States and Mozambique. "No country on Earth is doing what is required to make sure we get toward an economic system capable of confronting the twin challenges of ecological collapse and climate change," said Laurie Laybourn-Langton, an associate fellow at London's Institute for Public Policy Research and lead author of a new report on environmental breakdown titled This Is A Crisis. "There are, though, a number of ideas and small-scale projects being done that arguably – if scaled up – could deal with the problem," he said. One of those gaining traction was measuring progress in other terms than GDP, which, in essence, measures the market value of a country's goods and services. More broadly, Laybourn-Langton, 30, and other champions of 'new economics' argue that it is time to acknowledge that the state must play the central role in marshalling a response to looming systemic environmental shocks. But rather than harking back to the nationalization and executive wage caps of 1970s left-wing politics, they think governments should support communities to create new, participatory forms of economic activity that can tackle social inequality while also restoring planetary health. Candidates include: locally-run clean energy projects, worker-owned cooperatives, many kinds of progressive businesses, and regenerative agriculture or rewilding practices that could grow exponentially in a favorable policy environment. New economic indicators could also be developed through democratic consultations to measure advances in fairness, health or sustainability, building on examples such as the Genuine Progress Indicator, an early attempt to devise a more rounded alternative to GDP. https://twitter.com/Reuters/status/1126137328630681600 CHALLENGING THE STATUS QUO While many businesses and local groups are pursuing variants of these initiatives, the philosophy is most visible in the Green New Deal. Proposed by U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is backed by the youth-led Sunrise Movement, it aims to marry social justice with the renewable energy and climate agenda. Orthodox economists from across the U.S. political spectrum have countered that the existing system simply needs a tweak in the form of a carbon tax and rebate system to cut emissions, while Republicans and some investors have subjected the Green New Deal to a barrage of criticism. "It is a 70-, 80-, 90-trillion dollar ... socialist takeover of energy," Jonathan Hoenig of the Capitalist Pig hedge fund told Fox Business in March. "It really is socialism writ large." Nevertheless, two monumental, multi-year scientific studies have found that the corporate-led assault on the web of life is accelerating so fast that it is too late for mere tinkering. In October, the U.N.-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that only a profound economic transformation would allow the world to curb carbon emissions quickly enough to limit global warming. On Monday, a parallel 130-nation scientific study said industrial society has pushed a million species to the brink of extinction. Plants and animals are vanishing tens to hundreds of times faster than during the past 10 million years, the 145 expert authors found. Eduardo Brondizio, an anthropologist who co-chaired the report said it was time to abandon a growth-at-all-costs mindset: "'Business as usual' has to end." "PANIC IN THEIR EYES" Among the questions dividing the 'new economists' is whether the risk of catastrophic climate change is now so acute that economic growth should be suspended altogether in order to cut greenhouse gas emissions fast. Some still see room for sustainable 'green growth', but others want governments to oversee sharp reductions in consumption now, to avoid what they fear would be a descent into a 21st-century Dark Age. While nobody disputes the challenge of rewiring the world economy, an upsurge in climate activism, including a global school strike movement and an international civil disobedience campaign by Extinction Rebellion, is sparking new conversations. “The confluence of panic in the eyes of young people with hard science is opening up the debate in the mainstream like it hasn’t before," said Katherine Trebeck, an Australian political scientist who co-founded the Wellbeing Economy Alliance, a network of academics, businesses and social movements. Trebeck's new co-authored book, The Economics of Arrival, cites dozens of innovations in places from Scotland to Costa Rica and Denmark, Portugal and Alaska. While the investment opportunities in such projects largely remain trivial, some major funds do see the need for change. "We face a form of capitalism that has hardened its focus to short-term profit maximization with little or no apparent interest in social good," Jeremy Grantham, co-founder of global investment manager GMO, wrote last August. "We’re racing to protect not just our portfolios, not just our grandchildren, but our species. So get to it." (Reporting by Matthew Green; Editing by Kevin Liffey)
- Yahoo News
U.S. Rep. Denver Riggleman, R-Va., told the Yahoo News "Skullduggery" podcast that President Trump's supporters claiming voter fraud share a lot in common with the people searching for Bigfoot.
- Yahoo News
Rep. Ilhan Omar proposed the legislation in April but concerns about an impending wave of evictions has continued to grow.
The prominent pro-democracy supporter's detention comes a day after several activists were jailed.
- Associated Press
The leader of a pro-gun group that stages armed protests against police violence has been charged with pointing a rifle at federal officers while in Kentucky for a demonstration. John F. Johnson, who calls himself “Grandmaster Jay,” is facing a federal charge of assaulting task force officers. A complaint filed in federal court in Louisville said Johnson pointed a rifle, which had a flashlight mounted to it, at officers who were on a roof in downtown Louisville on Sept. 4.
- The Telegraph
Murderers and rapists could be barred from claiming asylum as part of Priti Patel's crackdown on immigration
Murderers and rapists to be prevented from claiming asylum, says Priti Patel, after the Jamaican deportation flight row. In an interview with The Telegraph, the Home Secretary said it was “completely wrong” that convicted killers and rapists released from jail should be able to exploit the asylum system to remain in the UK. She also indicated that asylum will be “streamlined” to prevent migrants making multiple claims that can be lodged and heard hours or even minutes before their removal. It will be part of a major reform of Britain’s “completely broken” asylum system, which is due to be unveiled in the new year. Her comments came after a murderer, two rapists and two would-be killers were among 23 criminals who escaped deportation to Jamaica early on Wednesday morning after lodging 11th hour appeals including claims for asylum. One was removed from the flight just minutes before the flight after a judge granted a stay.
- The Daily Beast
Earlier this week, Project Veritas released the first of what it promised would be many shocking revelations from CNN’s internal editorial meetings, which founder James O’Keefe appears to have infiltrated and recorded over the course of several weeks.First, the right-wing group tried to make hay out of the fact that one high-level CNN staffer considered Fox News host Tucker Carlson to be racist—while simultaneously misidentifying the staffer in question. Their latest bombshell? CNN President Jeff Zucker thinks Rudy Giuliani is “crazy.”According to Project Veritas’ website, O’Keefe believes it will be “virtually impossible for the American public to take CNN’s reporting seriously after listening to these tapes.” And yet, once again, nothing that Zucker has said should surprise anyone who has been paying attention to Giuliani, especially in the weeks since Trump lost the presidential election to Joe Biden.“There is a term for what Rudy Giuliani is suspected of being, which is ‘useful idiot,’” a voice identified as Zucker’s can be heard saying in a tape made just a couple of days after the man formerly known as “America’s mayor” started pushing material supposedly obtained from Hunter Biden’s laptop.He goes on to call Giuliani’s efforts to undermine the election a “really important story,” adding, “It gets tied to the Hunter Biden email disinformation campaign. That’s the way we do this, because it’s all tied and part-and-parcel of one. I know Washington is working on putting that all together.”In a more recent call, when another staff member suggests that the “real craziness is the client,” referring to President Trump, “not the lawyers,” the voice ID’d as Zucker agrees before saying, “I think you raise a good point about not just pawning it off on the crazy legal team, but the client is the one who is directing the crazy legal team.”Other comments from Zucker that seem to have outraged Project Veritas concern the baseless allegations of pedophilia against Biden that circulated online, especially among QAnon Facebook groups, in the run-up to the election.“The president of the United States has just retweeted a post accusing Joe Biden of being a pedophile to his 86 million followers which is just beyond,” he says on another tape. “You know it also is just unacceptable that the president of the United States is trafficking in this and doing it.”Once again, an exposé intended to make Zucker and CNN look bad has only revealed that they are simply adhering to reality.Project Veritas’ CNN Sting Uncovers Explosive News That Tucker Carlson Is RacistRead more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- Associated Press
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has named Tina Flournoy, a veteran Democratic strategist and aide to the Clintons, as her chief of staff, the transition team announced Thursday. Flournoy's appointment as Harris' top staffer adds to a team of advisers led by Black women. Harris, who is of Jamaican and Indian heritage, is the nation's first female vice president.
A bilateral trade deal between Taiwan and the United States would reinforce U.S. support for the democratic island in the face of "unrelenting intimidation" from China, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said on Friday. Taiwan, claimed by China as its own territory, has long angled for a trade deal with its most important diplomatic and military backer, and in August Tsai announced a relaxation on imports of U.S. pork and beef, removing a stumbling block.
He is the first to be arrested under a controversial anti-conversion law passed last month.
- The Week
President-elect Joe Biden has settled on a team to lead the U.S. through its biggest ongoing crisis, two people familiar with the decision tell Politico.Jeff Zients, who headed the National Economic Council under former President Barack Obama and is co-chair of Biden's transition team, will reportedly be named the White House's COVID-19 coordinator. Vivek Murthy, the surgeon general under Obama, will reportedly return to his role with more responsibilities, and Biden's coronavirus advisory board co-chair Marcella Nunez-Smith will get a special role focused on health disparities.Zients "isn't a health care guru, and he's the first to say that," one source close to Biden told Politico. But his managerial experience is seen as an asset as the U.S. prepares to roll out a vaccine and combat the coronavirus-induced economic crisis — "he's essentially playing that role with the transition now," the source said. Zients will reportedly be paired with health experts including Murthy, who has already been a part of Biden's coronavirus plans. Nunez-Smith, a Yale University associate professor of medicine, will meanwhile help address how COVID-19 and other health care issues disproportionately affect people of color.The left wing of the Democratic party isn't expected to be thrilled with Zients' selection, The New York Times reports. Progressive groups such as Revolving Door Project and Justice Democrats have already pointed out his corporate record, and the fact that an anesthesia company managed under the investment firm Zients ran had poor reviews. Under Obama, "his role was essentially to be a management consultant for the executive branch: cutting costs, finding efficiencies and looking at things like a businessman," Revolving Door said in a document about Zients' background.More stories from theweek.com What Trump is doing isn't politics. It's something much worse. 5 absurdly funny cartoons about Trump's desperate fraud claims The Donald goes down to Georgia
- Architectural Digest
From a private island to a tiny Vermont tree houseOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- Yahoo News Video
One of President-elect Joe Biden’s first acts after being sworn in on Jan. 20 will be to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, a non-binding pact signed by nearly 200 nations which, at President Trump’s direction, the U.S. exited on Nov. 4.
- Associated Press
A council of Kentucky prosecutors said Friday it does not have the legal authority to appoint another special prosecutor in the police shooting of Breonna Taylor, despite a plea from Taylor's mother. Tamika Palmer had petitioned the Kentucky Prosecutors Advisory Council in October for a new special prosecutor to investigate police actions in her daughter’s death. In September, a grand jury declined to indict any Louisville police officers on charges connected to Taylor's shooting death during a warrant search.
- The Independent
The right-leaning Wall Street Journal’s editorial board has warned that the loss of two Republican-held senate seats in Georgia – two races that will determine the power balance in Congress – will cost Donald Trump his legacy, as he continues to mount a specious legal battle to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. “If Republicans lose those seats, President Trump will be the main reason, and the main casualty will be his legacy,” the editorial board wrote on 3 December. The newspaper’s editorial board criticised the president’s baseless attempts to undermine election results and warned that his attacks on other members of the GOP who have condemned his remarks and spurious lawsuits are “causing a split in the party” benefitting Democrats.
Philippine police on Friday threatened to cane people who violate social distancing protocols as the Southeast Asian nation fights the spread of the coronavirus during the festive season. The Philippines celebrates one of the world's longest Christmas seasons, starting as early as September, and crowds have started to flock to sprawling malls and shopping centres despite the pandemic. Police general Cesar Binag, commander of the coronavirus task force, told a news conference that police and soldiers would patrol in public areas in the capital Manila, the hotspot of COVID-19 cases, carrying 1 meter rattan sticks to measure distancing.
- Associated Press
The European Union’s aviation safety agency has extended a ban imposed on Pakistan's state-run airline this year barring it from flying to Europe after a plane crash that killed 97 people in the port city of Karachi, a spokesman said Friday. At the time — and while the probe into the May 22 Airbus A320 crash was still underway — authorities acknowledged that nearly a third of Pakistani pilots, 260 out of 860, had cheated on their pilot’s exams. Pakistan International Airlines subsequently grounded 150 of its pilots while a probe by the country’s Civil Aviation Authority into the other pilots is still ongoing.
- The Week
President-elect Joe Biden said when it comes to the Department of Justice, he is "not going to be telling them what they have to do and don't have to do."Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris were interviewed by CNN's Jake Tapper on Thursday, and the discussion turned to reports that President Trump is contemplating preemptively pardoning his adult children, son-in-law Jared Kushner, and personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Biden said this "concerns me in terms of what kind of precedent it sets and how the rest of the world looks [at] us as a nation of laws and justice."Biden promised that he is "not going to be saying, 'Go prosecute A, B, or C,' I'm not going to be telling them. That's not the role, it's not my Justice Department, it's the people's Justice Department. So the persons or person I pick to run that department are going to be people who are going to have the independent capacity to decide who gets prosecuted, who doesn't."Harris, who once served as California's attorney general, added that the administration will assume that "any decision coming out of the Justice Department ... should be based on the law, it should not be influence by politics, period."More stories from theweek.com What Trump is doing isn't politics. It's something much worse. 5 absurdly funny cartoons about Trump's desperate fraud claims The Donald goes down to Georgia
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Thursday he would not replace his outgoing chief-of-staff Alfonso Romo and will close down his office in order to save money. Lopez Obrador said on Wednesday that Romo, a longtime ally and millionaire entrepreneur known for his outreach to business groups, would step down after two years in the job. The leftist president said Romo would continue to act as a go-between for the government and the private sector, a role that has often been strained over Lopez Obrador's skepticism about private sector involvement in areas such as energy.
- Business Insider
Attorney for Jared Kushner and a Trump fundraiser investigated by DOJ in alleged bribery-for-pardon scheme
The New York Times reported that a lawyer for President Trump's son-in-law was investigated by the Justice Department this summer.
- Associated Press
Israeli police said Friday they arrested a Jewish man after he poured out a “flammable liquid” inside a church near Jerusalem’s Old City, in what they described as a “criminal” incident. The police did not provide further details about the motive, but past attacks on churches in the Holy Land have been blamed on Jewish extremists. Friday’s incident took place at the Church of All Nations, a Catholic church built on the traditional site of the Garden of Gethsemane, where Christians believe Jesus was betrayed by Judas, one of his followers, and arrested by the Romans before being crucified.