Poverty around your next corner?
Liberal Opinion Week, 2/13 — Welcome to America, where half the nation lives right on the razor’s edge. A shocking new report out of the Corporation for Enterprise Development finds that 44 percent of Americans are just one financial shock away from complete ruin. Nearly half the nation doesn’t have enough savings to keep them out of poverty for more than 3 months should they suffer a job loss, an accident, a sickness or other financial shock.
US does toxic work in Mexico
NYT, 2/9 — United States companies are sending…lead batteries to recycling plants in Mexico that do not meet American environmental standards according to an environmental agency created under the North American Free Trade Agreement, putting Mexican communities at risk….
Since 2008, new United States’ limits on lead pollution have made domestic recycling complicated and costly. That has helped propel the recycling trade to Mexico, both legally and illegally .…
Soil collected by the [NY] Times in a school playground near a recycling plant outside Mexico City was found to have lead levels five times those allowed in the United States.
Lead poisoning causes high blood pressure, kidney damage and abdominal pain in adults and serious developmental delays and behavioral problems in young children….
Suicide spike reflects GI’s shame
GW, 2/8 — In 2012….more of America’s serving soldiers died at their own hands than in pursuit of the ‘enemy’….
[William] Busby’s story….was in many ways the archetype of the American soldier…..He came under attack several times, and in one incident incurred a blow to the head that caused traumatic brain injury. His body was so peppered with shrapnel that whenever he walked through an airport security screen he would set off the alarm. The mental costs were high, too. Each time he came back from Afghanistan, he seemed a little more on edge, a little more withdrawn.
Nights were the worst. He had bad dreams and….told his mother, “You would hate me if you knew what I’ve done out there…”
Hundreds of service members…have been grappling with suicidal thoughts….Colleagues in military psychiatry have developed the concept of “moral injury” to help understand the current wave of self-harm. [They] define that as “damage to your deeply-held beliefs about right and wrong. It might be caused by something that you do or fail to do….”
Contrary to assumptions, it is not the fear and the terror that service members endure in the battlefield that inflict most psychological damage…but shame and guilt related to the moral injuries….as the guilt that follows the knowledge that a military action has led to the death of civilians, particularly women and children….
But experts say the crisis could last for at least a decade beyond the end of war….
Clinton leads olé for Burma junta
GW, 2/8 — [Myanmar/Burma is] a country ruled by a military-backed government that came to power in rigged elections. Its army is committing war crimes against ethnic minorities. International aid to tens of thousands of people displaced by attacks by its army is blocked by the government, and hundreds of political prisoners are in jail.
Last week Hillary Clinton cited Burma as one of her successes during her term as secretary of state….But the speed with which the international community moved to relax sanctions…and heap praise on every small reform came as a shock to those of…Burma who thought the international community was on [their] side.
Shh! Sales tax robs workers
NYT, 1/25 — WASHINGTON — Republican governors are moving aggressively to cut personal and corporate income taxes, including proposals that would increase reliance on state sales tazes….
In Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal is pushing to repeal the state’s personal and corporate income taxes and make up the lost revenue through higher sales taxes. Gov. Dave Heineman of Nebraska is calling for much the same thing in his state….
The approach would lead to cutbacks in education, health care and other vital services while shifting relatively more of the tax burden on those who can least afford it.
“These aren’t pro-growth policies — they’re shell games that reward the wealthiest Americans at the expense of everyone else.”