• "The debauchery of morals undermines the legitimacy of the state and thus of the entire power structure. As I recently noted in Following in Rome's Footsteps: Moral Decay, Rising Inequality (June 29, 2019), America's current path of moral decay is tracking Rome's collapse step for step."
    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-08-12/epstein-deep-state-civil-wars-first-high-profile-casualty
    "The debauchery of morals undermines the legitimacy of the state and thus of the entire power structure. As I recently noted in Following in Rome's Footsteps: Moral Decay, Rising Inequality (June 29, 2019), America's current path of moral decay is tracking Rome's collapse step for step." https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-08-12/epstein-deep-state-civil-wars-first-high-profile-casualty
    Epstein Is The Deep State Civil War's First High-Profile Casualty
    The "nationalist" faction within the Deep State is gaining ground, and now a fracture in the Neocon camp is threatening the Globalists..
    WWW.ZEROHEDGE.COM
    0 Comments 0 Shares
  • Tulsi Gabbard vs Google Goliath
    https://desultoryheroics.com/2019/07/31/tulsi-gabbard-vs-google-goliath/
    Posted By Luther Blissett By Rick Sterling: Dissident Voice 7/31/19

    Introduction

    The Tulsi Gabbard presidential campaign has filed a major law suit against Google. This article outlines the main points of the law suit and evidence the the social media giant Google has quietly acquired enormous influence on public perceptions and has been actively censoring alternative viewpoints.

    Tulsi Now vs Google

    Tulsi Now, Inc vs Google, LLC was filed on July 25 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The attorneys demand a jury trial and seek compensation and punitive damages of “no less than $50 million”. Major points and allegations in the 36 page complaint include:

    * Google has monopolistic control of online searches and related advertising.

    “Google creates, operates, and controls its platform and services, including but not limited to Google Search, Google Ads, and Gmail as a public forum or its functional equivalent by intentionally and openly dedicating its platform for public use and public benefit, inviting the public to utilize Google as a forum for free speech. Google serves as a state actor by performing an exclusively and traditionally public function by regulating free speech within a public forum and helping to run elections.” (p. 22)

    “Google has used its control over online political speech to silence Tulsi Gabbard, a candidate millions of Americans want to hear from. With this lawsuit, Tulsi seeks to stop Google from further intermeddling in the 2020 United States Presidential Election….. Google plays favorites, with no warning, no transparency – and no accountability (until now).” (p. 2)

    * At a critical moment Google undercut the Tulsi Gabbard campaign.

    “On June 28, 2019 – at the height of Gabbard’s popularity among internet researchers in the immediate hours after the debate ended, and in the thick of the critical post-debate period… Google suspended Tulsi’s Google Ads account without warning.” (p. 3)

    * Google has failed to provide a credible explanation.

    The Tulsi campaign quickly sought to restore the account but “In response, the Campaign got opacity and an inconsistent series of answers from Google… To this day, Google has not provided a straight answer – let alone a credible one – as to why Tulsi’s political speech was silence right when millions of people wanted to hear from her.” (p. 4)

    Google started by falsely claiming “problems with billing”. Later, as reported in the NY Times story a Google spokesperson claimed, “Google has automated systems that flag unusual activity on advertiser accounts – including large spending changes – to prevent fraud….In this case, ‘our system triggered a suspension.’ ”

    * Google has a corporate profit motive to oppose Tulsi Gabbard.

    “Google has sought to silence Tulsi Gabbard, a presidential candidate who has vocally called for greater regulation and oversight of (you guessed it) Google.” (p. 5)

    “During her career in Congress, Gabbard has moved to limit the powers of big tech companies like Google and has fought to keep the internet open and available to all. Gabbard has co-sponsored legislation that prohibits multi-tiered pricing agreements for the privileged few, and she has spoken in favor of reinstating and expanding net neutrality to apply to Internet firms like Google.” (p. 8)

    * Google’s Actions have caused significant harm to the Gabbard campaign and violate the U.S. and California constitutions and California business law.

    “Through its illegal actions targeting Tulsi Gabbard, Google has caused the Campaign significant harm, both monetary (including potentially millions of dollars in forgone donations) and nonmonetary (the ability to provide Tulsi’s important message with Americans looking to hear it).” (p. 6)

    “Google engages in a pattern and practice of intentional discrimination in the provision of its services, including discriminating and censoring the Campaign’s speech based not on the content of the censored speech but on the Campaign’s political identity and viewpoint.” (p. 27)

    * The public has an interest in this case.

    “Unless the court issues an appropriate injunction, Google’s illegal and unconstitutional behavior will continue, harming both the Campaign and the general public, which has an overwhelming interest in a fair, unmanipulated 2020 United States Election cycle. (p. 34)

    Google Explanation is Not Credible

    The Tulsi Gabbard Google Ads account was abruptly suspended at a crucial time. The question is why. Was it the result of “unusual activity” triggering an “automatic suspension” as claimed by Google? Or was it because someone at Google changed the software or otherwise intervened to undermine the Tulsi campaign?

    Google’s explanation of an “automatic suspension” from “unusual activity” is dubious.

    First, the timing does not make sense. The sudden rise in searches on “Tulsi Gabbard” began the day before the suspension. Gabbard participated in the first debate, on June 26. Her presence and performance sparked interest among many viewers.

    Next morning, June 27, media reported that, “Tulsi Gabbard was the most searched candidate on Google after the Democratic debate in Miami“. The second debate took place in the evening of June 27. With discussion of the Democratic candidates continuing, Tulsi Gabbard continued to attract much interest.

    Around 9:30 pm (ET) on June 27 the Google Ads account was suddenly suspended. If the cause was “unusual activity”, the “automatic trigger” should have occurred long before.

    Second, Google was fully aware of the “unusual activity”. In fact, Google was the source of the news reports on the morning of June 27. Reports said:

    According to Google Trends, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren was the most searched candidate heading into the debate… After the debate, Gabbard vaulted into first.

    Third, it is hard to believe that Google does not have any human or more sophisticated review before suspending a major Ads account on a politically intense night.

    It should have been obvious that the cause of increased interest in Gabbard was the nationally televised Democratic candidates debate and media coverage.

    Fourth, the changing explanation for the sudden suspension, starting with a false claim that there were “problems with billing”, raises questions about the integrity of Google’s response.

    Google Secretly Manipulates Public Opinion

    Unknown to most of the public, there is compelling evidence that Google has been secretly manipulating search results to steer public perception and election voting for years.

    Dr. Robert Epstein, former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today, has been studying and reporting on this for the past six years. Recently, on June 16, 2019 he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the Constitution. His testimony is titled “Why Google Poses a Serious Threat to Democracy, and How to End That Threat”.

    Epstein has published 15 books and over 300 scientific and mainstream media articles on artificial intelligence and related topics.

    “Since 2012, some of my research and writings have focused on Google LLC, specifically on the company’s power to suppress content – the censorship problem, if you will – as well as on the massive surveillance the company conducts, and also on the company’s unprecedented ability to manipulate the thoughts and behavior of more than 2.5 billion people worldwide.”

    As shown by Dr. Epstein, Google uses several techniques to manipulate public opinion. The results of an online search are biased. Search “suggestions” are skewed. Messages such as “Go Vote” are sent to some people but not to others.

    Epstein’s written testimony to Congress includes links to over sixty articles documenting his research published in sites ranging from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences to Huffington Post. Epstein’s testimony describes “disturbing findings” including:

    “In 2016, biased search results generated by Google’s search algorithm likely impacted undecided voters in a way that gave at least 2.6 million votes to Hillary Clinton”. (Epstein notes that he supported Clinton.)

    “On Election Day in 2018, the ‘Go Vote’ reminder Google displayed on its home page gave one political party between 800,000 and 4.6 million more votes than it gave the other party.”

    “My recent research demonstrates that Google’s ‘autocomplete’ search suggestions can turn a 50/50 split among undecided voters into a 90/10 split without people’s awareness.”

    “Google has likely been determining the outcomes of upwards of 25 percent of the national elections worldwide since at least 2015. This is because many races are very close and because Google’s persuasive technologies are very powerful.”

    Google is Censoring Alternative Media

    In August 2017 TruePublica reported their experience and predictions in an article titled “The Truth War is Being Lost to a Global Censorship Apparatus Called Google“. The article says:

    60 percent of people now get their news from search engines, not traditional human editors in the media. It is here where the new information war takes place – the algorithm. Google now takes 81.2 percent of all search engine market share globally…. Google has the ability to drive demand and set the narrative, create bias and swing opinion.

    In 2017, the World Socialist Web Site (wsws[dot]org) reported that:

    In April, under the guise of combating ‘fake news’, Google introduced new procedures that give extraordinary powers to unnamed ‘evaluators’ to demote web pages and websites. These procedures have been used to exclude the WSWS and other anti-war and oppositional sites. Over the past three months, traffic originating from Google to the WSWS has fallen by approximately 70%…. In key searches relevant to a wide range of topics the WSWS regularly covers – including the U.S. military operations and the threat of war, social conditions, inequality and even socialism – the number of search impressions …has fallen dramatically.

    In essence, Google has “de-ranked” and is screening searchers from seeing alternative and progressive websites such as truepublica, globalresearch, consortiumnews, commondreams, Wikileaks, truth-out and many more. WSWS reported numerous specific examples such as this one: “Searches for the term ‘Korean war’ produced 20,932 impressions in May. In July, searches using the same words produced zero WSWS impressions.”

    “The policy guiding these actions is made absolutely clear in the April 25, 2017 blog post by Google’s Vice President for Engineering, Ben Gomes, and the updated ‘Search Quality Rater Guidelines’ published at the same time. The post refers to the need to flag and demote ‘unexpected offensive results, hoaxes and conspiracy theories’ – broad and amorphous language used to exclude any oppositional content…. “The ‘lowest’ rating is also to be given to a website that ‘presents unsubstantiated conspiracy theories or hoaxes as if the information were factual.’”

    Tulsi Gabbard has not only called for much stricter regulations on high tech and social media giants. She has also challenged the Democratic Party and foreign policy establishment. In late February 2016 she resigned as vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee to support candidate Bernie Sanders against the establishment favorite, Hillary Clinton. Gabbard has issued sharp criticisms of US foreign policy. Recently she said:

    We hear a lot of politicians say the same argument that we’ve got to stay engaged in the world otherwise we’ll be isolationists as though the only way the United States can engage with other countries is by blowing them up or strangling them with economic sanctions by smashing them and trying to overthrow their governments. This is exactly what’s wrong with this whole premise and the whole view in which too many politicians, too many leaders in this country are viewing the United States role in the world.

    Conclusion

    Did Google take the next step from silently censoring websites the corporation does not like to undercutting a presidential candidate the corporation does not like?

    This is a David vs Goliath story. Google/Alphabet is the 37th largest corporation in the world with enormous political influence in Washington. Whether or not the law suit succeeds, it may serve the public interest by exposing Google’s immense monopolistic power and illustrate the need for much more regulation, transparency and accountability. It may also generate more interest in Gabbard’s message and campaign in the face of efforts to silence her.
    Tulsi Gabbard vs Google Goliath https://desultoryheroics.com/2019/07/31/tulsi-gabbard-vs-google-goliath/ Posted By Luther Blissett By Rick Sterling: Dissident Voice 7/31/19 Introduction The Tulsi Gabbard presidential campaign has filed a major law suit against Google. This article outlines the main points of the law suit and evidence the the social media giant Google has quietly acquired enormous influence on public perceptions and has been actively censoring alternative viewpoints. Tulsi Now vs Google Tulsi Now, Inc vs Google, LLC was filed on July 25 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The attorneys demand a jury trial and seek compensation and punitive damages of “no less than $50 million”. Major points and allegations in the 36 page complaint include: * Google has monopolistic control of online searches and related advertising. “Google creates, operates, and controls its platform and services, including but not limited to Google Search, Google Ads, and Gmail as a public forum or its functional equivalent by intentionally and openly dedicating its platform for public use and public benefit, inviting the public to utilize Google as a forum for free speech. Google serves as a state actor by performing an exclusively and traditionally public function by regulating free speech within a public forum and helping to run elections.” (p. 22) “Google has used its control over online political speech to silence Tulsi Gabbard, a candidate millions of Americans want to hear from. With this lawsuit, Tulsi seeks to stop Google from further intermeddling in the 2020 United States Presidential Election….. Google plays favorites, with no warning, no transparency – and no accountability (until now).” (p. 2) * At a critical moment Google undercut the Tulsi Gabbard campaign. “On June 28, 2019 – at the height of Gabbard’s popularity among internet researchers in the immediate hours after the debate ended, and in the thick of the critical post-debate period… Google suspended Tulsi’s Google Ads account without warning.” (p. 3) * Google has failed to provide a credible explanation. The Tulsi campaign quickly sought to restore the account but “In response, the Campaign got opacity and an inconsistent series of answers from Google… To this day, Google has not provided a straight answer – let alone a credible one – as to why Tulsi’s political speech was silence right when millions of people wanted to hear from her.” (p. 4) Google started by falsely claiming “problems with billing”. Later, as reported in the NY Times story a Google spokesperson claimed, “Google has automated systems that flag unusual activity on advertiser accounts – including large spending changes – to prevent fraud….In this case, ‘our system triggered a suspension.’ ” * Google has a corporate profit motive to oppose Tulsi Gabbard. “Google has sought to silence Tulsi Gabbard, a presidential candidate who has vocally called for greater regulation and oversight of (you guessed it) Google.” (p. 5) “During her career in Congress, Gabbard has moved to limit the powers of big tech companies like Google and has fought to keep the internet open and available to all. Gabbard has co-sponsored legislation that prohibits multi-tiered pricing agreements for the privileged few, and she has spoken in favor of reinstating and expanding net neutrality to apply to Internet firms like Google.” (p. 8) * Google’s Actions have caused significant harm to the Gabbard campaign and violate the U.S. and California constitutions and California business law. “Through its illegal actions targeting Tulsi Gabbard, Google has caused the Campaign significant harm, both monetary (including potentially millions of dollars in forgone donations) and nonmonetary (the ability to provide Tulsi’s important message with Americans looking to hear it).” (p. 6) “Google engages in a pattern and practice of intentional discrimination in the provision of its services, including discriminating and censoring the Campaign’s speech based not on the content of the censored speech but on the Campaign’s political identity and viewpoint.” (p. 27) * The public has an interest in this case. “Unless the court issues an appropriate injunction, Google’s illegal and unconstitutional behavior will continue, harming both the Campaign and the general public, which has an overwhelming interest in a fair, unmanipulated 2020 United States Election cycle. (p. 34) Google Explanation is Not Credible The Tulsi Gabbard Google Ads account was abruptly suspended at a crucial time. The question is why. Was it the result of “unusual activity” triggering an “automatic suspension” as claimed by Google? Or was it because someone at Google changed the software or otherwise intervened to undermine the Tulsi campaign? Google’s explanation of an “automatic suspension” from “unusual activity” is dubious. First, the timing does not make sense. The sudden rise in searches on “Tulsi Gabbard” began the day before the suspension. Gabbard participated in the first debate, on June 26. Her presence and performance sparked interest among many viewers. Next morning, June 27, media reported that, “Tulsi Gabbard was the most searched candidate on Google after the Democratic debate in Miami“. The second debate took place in the evening of June 27. With discussion of the Democratic candidates continuing, Tulsi Gabbard continued to attract much interest. Around 9:30 pm (ET) on June 27 the Google Ads account was suddenly suspended. If the cause was “unusual activity”, the “automatic trigger” should have occurred long before. Second, Google was fully aware of the “unusual activity”. In fact, Google was the source of the news reports on the morning of June 27. Reports said: According to Google Trends, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren was the most searched candidate heading into the debate… After the debate, Gabbard vaulted into first. Third, it is hard to believe that Google does not have any human or more sophisticated review before suspending a major Ads account on a politically intense night. It should have been obvious that the cause of increased interest in Gabbard was the nationally televised Democratic candidates debate and media coverage. Fourth, the changing explanation for the sudden suspension, starting with a false claim that there were “problems with billing”, raises questions about the integrity of Google’s response. Google Secretly Manipulates Public Opinion Unknown to most of the public, there is compelling evidence that Google has been secretly manipulating search results to steer public perception and election voting for years. Dr. Robert Epstein, former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today, has been studying and reporting on this for the past six years. Recently, on June 16, 2019 he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the Constitution. His testimony is titled “Why Google Poses a Serious Threat to Democracy, and How to End That Threat”. Epstein has published 15 books and over 300 scientific and mainstream media articles on artificial intelligence and related topics. “Since 2012, some of my research and writings have focused on Google LLC, specifically on the company’s power to suppress content – the censorship problem, if you will – as well as on the massive surveillance the company conducts, and also on the company’s unprecedented ability to manipulate the thoughts and behavior of more than 2.5 billion people worldwide.” As shown by Dr. Epstein, Google uses several techniques to manipulate public opinion. The results of an online search are biased. Search “suggestions” are skewed. Messages such as “Go Vote” are sent to some people but not to others. Epstein’s written testimony to Congress includes links to over sixty articles documenting his research published in sites ranging from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences to Huffington Post. Epstein’s testimony describes “disturbing findings” including: “In 2016, biased search results generated by Google’s search algorithm likely impacted undecided voters in a way that gave at least 2.6 million votes to Hillary Clinton”. (Epstein notes that he supported Clinton.) “On Election Day in 2018, the ‘Go Vote’ reminder Google displayed on its home page gave one political party between 800,000 and 4.6 million more votes than it gave the other party.” “My recent research demonstrates that Google’s ‘autocomplete’ search suggestions can turn a 50/50 split among undecided voters into a 90/10 split without people’s awareness.” “Google has likely been determining the outcomes of upwards of 25 percent of the national elections worldwide since at least 2015. This is because many races are very close and because Google’s persuasive technologies are very powerful.” Google is Censoring Alternative Media In August 2017 TruePublica reported their experience and predictions in an article titled “The Truth War is Being Lost to a Global Censorship Apparatus Called Google“. The article says: 60 percent of people now get their news from search engines, not traditional human editors in the media. It is here where the new information war takes place – the algorithm. Google now takes 81.2 percent of all search engine market share globally…. Google has the ability to drive demand and set the narrative, create bias and swing opinion. In 2017, the World Socialist Web Site (wsws[dot]org) reported that: In April, under the guise of combating ‘fake news’, Google introduced new procedures that give extraordinary powers to unnamed ‘evaluators’ to demote web pages and websites. These procedures have been used to exclude the WSWS and other anti-war and oppositional sites. Over the past three months, traffic originating from Google to the WSWS has fallen by approximately 70%…. In key searches relevant to a wide range of topics the WSWS regularly covers – including the U.S. military operations and the threat of war, social conditions, inequality and even socialism – the number of search impressions …has fallen dramatically. In essence, Google has “de-ranked” and is screening searchers from seeing alternative and progressive websites such as truepublica, globalresearch, consortiumnews, commondreams, Wikileaks, truth-out and many more. WSWS reported numerous specific examples such as this one: “Searches for the term ‘Korean war’ produced 20,932 impressions in May. In July, searches using the same words produced zero WSWS impressions.” “The policy guiding these actions is made absolutely clear in the April 25, 2017 blog post by Google’s Vice President for Engineering, Ben Gomes, and the updated ‘Search Quality Rater Guidelines’ published at the same time. The post refers to the need to flag and demote ‘unexpected offensive results, hoaxes and conspiracy theories’ – broad and amorphous language used to exclude any oppositional content…. “The ‘lowest’ rating is also to be given to a website that ‘presents unsubstantiated conspiracy theories or hoaxes as if the information were factual.’” Tulsi Gabbard has not only called for much stricter regulations on high tech and social media giants. She has also challenged the Democratic Party and foreign policy establishment. In late February 2016 she resigned as vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee to support candidate Bernie Sanders against the establishment favorite, Hillary Clinton. Gabbard has issued sharp criticisms of US foreign policy. Recently she said: We hear a lot of politicians say the same argument that we’ve got to stay engaged in the world otherwise we’ll be isolationists as though the only way the United States can engage with other countries is by blowing them up or strangling them with economic sanctions by smashing them and trying to overthrow their governments. This is exactly what’s wrong with this whole premise and the whole view in which too many politicians, too many leaders in this country are viewing the United States role in the world. Conclusion Did Google take the next step from silently censoring websites the corporation does not like to undercutting a presidential candidate the corporation does not like? This is a David vs Goliath story. Google/Alphabet is the 37th largest corporation in the world with enormous political influence in Washington. Whether or not the law suit succeeds, it may serve the public interest by exposing Google’s immense monopolistic power and illustrate the need for much more regulation, transparency and accountability. It may also generate more interest in Gabbard’s message and campaign in the face of efforts to silence her.
    1
    0 Comments 0 Shares
  • Nativism and primitivism are the following. Most people want something Bill Gates has, that being money. For example normal people fantasise that if only Bill Gates could spare even just one million dollars for them. Because everybody wants something something Bill Gates has therefore he wins, he is everything and he is important and therefore there is inequality between everybody and him, between wanters and wanted. However, people who practice nativism and primitivism, even though they are literally nothing more than a hundredaire, tenaire or even a oneaire, they consciously do not want or desire anything Bill Gates has, therefore, he does not win and therefore there is equality between practitioners of nativism and primitivism and Bill Gates. To reiterate, everybody down here on Earth wants something Bill Gates has, therefore he wins and he is important. Therefore imagine if everybody on the planet practiced nativism and primitivism and had no desire for anything Bill Gates has, he would not win, he would not be important and he would be normal. This is exactly what happens in the afterlife, because of the fact that we do not require food in heaven and therefore we do not require money, therefore, not a single one of us in heaven desires anything Bill Gates has, therefore he does not win, he is not important and he is very normal. This is what nativism and primitivism do that being we should do on Earth as in heaven. Amen.
    Nativism and primitivism are the following. Most people want something Bill Gates has, that being money. For example normal people fantasise that if only Bill Gates could spare even just one million dollars for them. Because everybody wants something something Bill Gates has therefore he wins, he is everything and he is important and therefore there is inequality between everybody and him, between wanters and wanted. However, people who practice nativism and primitivism, even though they are literally nothing more than a hundredaire, tenaire or even a oneaire, they consciously do not want or desire anything Bill Gates has, therefore, he does not win and therefore there is equality between practitioners of nativism and primitivism and Bill Gates. To reiterate, everybody down here on Earth wants something Bill Gates has, therefore he wins and he is important. Therefore imagine if everybody on the planet practiced nativism and primitivism and had no desire for anything Bill Gates has, he would not win, he would not be important and he would be normal. This is exactly what happens in the afterlife, because of the fact that we do not require food in heaven and therefore we do not require money, therefore, not a single one of us in heaven desires anything Bill Gates has, therefore he does not win, he is not important and he is very normal. This is what nativism and primitivism do that being we should do on Earth as in heaven. Amen.
    0 Comments 0 Shares
  • WARNING: The Upcoming Food Crisis Be Ready 2019 (Video)

    NIKOS HILADAKIS · 12 JUL. 2019

    WARNING: The Coming Food Crisis Be Ready 2019

    Overpopulation and Lack of Food

    Overpopulation is a somewhat relative concept. Of course it is associated with very large populations, but not always. Even a region with a large population does not necessarily have a problem of overpopulation, since it can support its inhabitants. On the other hand, if a place can not feed its inhabitants, there is a problem of overpopulation without necessarily having a huge number of people. So overpopulation has to do with the balance between a population and the availability of the goods necessary for their dignified living.

    The sudden population influx usually follows food shortages. The problem of hunger is of course related to food production, but not always. In fact, if there are now hungry areas in the world, this is partly due to the inequality that exists. Countries like the European have such a surplus of food to subsidize their farmers to bury them! At the same time elsewhere, they are hungry.

    The fact that they are hungry in some countries has to do even with the choices they made (or imposed on) their cultivations. Many have turned to non-eating crops such as coffee and cocoa. As long as these species sold there was no problem. But when global demand declined, they were left with tons of coffee and cocoa in their warehouses. And as they are not eaten, hungry hit the door. Some do not care about it. In neighboring Turkey, for example, they see the terrifying increase in the population as a force: We are many and that makes us strong, they say. This is true if one thinks of a nation with Stepa's logic, where as long as the earth has no end and limit, people do not. At the door of Europe, however, things are different.

    Many blame the religions for the excessive population growth of the Earth. Particularly certain doctrines of Christianity which, in fact, discourage birth control. The fact is that the same and even more conservative view is given by most - and more massive - religions of the East (eg, Hinduism). In the "Christian" countries, however, the birth rate is controlled. The problem lies with the East. Probably overpopulation is not a problem that religions create, though in Asia, they certainly reinforce it.

    Interestingly, the religions that prevail in areas where overpopulation has long been a problem, Eastern religions constitute or even impose vegetarianism. They are, of course, referring to metaphysical concerns about it. Whatever it is, it is a wise choice. Today we know that meat-based diet is an energy waste of natural resources. The only diet that can provide food for huge populations is vegetarian.

    Part of the problem is that there are no solutions that are not idealistic. They usually require a mood for co-operation, solidarity, ideals that are species in deficiency in human societies. There are also realistic solutions, but, realism is hard and its choice is easy only by those who are not directly affected. But there are also some "keys" that could lead to "magical" solutions.

    Continue here:

    https://terrapapers.com/yperlithysmos-ke-ellipsi-t...

    Decode the Agenda 2030

    Agenda 2030 - The Protocols of the New Order of Things

    UN agenda 2030, is a plan for the worldwide enslavement of humanity under the boot of the Corporate Eminent. The 193 UN member states reached agreement on the new development agenda for the next 15 years. The agreement refers to the eradication of poverty and hunger, the safeguarding of gender equality, the improvement of survival standards and the urgent need to take measures to combat climate change.

    State representatives agreed late on Sunday evening 03/08/2015 setting 17 goals with 169 specific targets on poverty "in all aspects and everywhere" to ensure quality education and adequate energy and protection environment. The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda will be voted by the UN shortly before the annual meeting of world leaders on Tuesday, September 3rd. Secretary General Ban Guy-Mun said the deal is "to secure peace and prosperity by focusing on cooperation with people and the environment"

    We translated and decoded 17 items on Agenda 2030.

    This document does not describe anything less than a global government buying every nation across the globe. The "goals" of this document are nothing more than code words for the company with the fascist tyrannical agenda that intends to imprison the civilized human beings of the cement cities, into a dilapidated cycle of poverty, poverty and starvation while enriching the world's most powerful global companies such as Monsanto and DuPont. All the articles we mention exist in terrapapers.com and are constantly on the go, looking for more complete information and not hiding behind your finger. It is absolutely clear the plans of the Herpetological Subordinates as well as what actions are needed on the part of man - no matter how he does - in order not to carry out these plans.

    Objective 1) The end of poverty in all its forms everywhere

    Translation: Put everyone in social welfare, food vouchers, housing subsidies and brochures that make them slaves obedient to the world government. Never allow people upward mobility to help themselves. Instead, it will be taught mass victimization and obedience to a government that provides a minimum monthly "allowance" for commodity money such as food and medicine. The tag will be called "eradication of poverty" and will ensure that human beings are fed as much as they can, crawl and work.

    At least two dozen microbiologists around the world have died violently in recent years. Surprisingly, some of them worked in the DNA sequence. The best known was Dr. David Kelly who died in July 2003. He was working for Mossad, Kelly orchestrated the apostasy of the Russian microbiologist Vladimir Pasechnik, who was working on a biological weapon capable of destroying one-third of the world's population . In October 2004, Dmtry Lvov, head of the Russian Institute of Virology, said that up to a billion people worldwide could die during the next pandemic.

    It seems that the human flock is going to be killed in a spectacular way. For whatever reason, dead microbiologists did not go along with the program. In essence, what the US is trying to achieve is to impose on the planet its own policies on the production, export and import of products that will have effect vis-à-vis the national laws of each country. Large multinationals will therefore be able to draw in the courts any other country on the planet in which they will operate, and which votes national laws contrary to their interests. Although this outlook is the most frightening of all, the benefits of the agreement do not stop there.

    Continue here:

    https://terrapapers.com/apododikopiisi-tis-atzenta...

    RECIPIENT GROUP OF CHILDREN
    www.nikosxeiladakis.gr

    http://nikosxeiladakis.gr/%cf%80%cf%81%ce%bf%ce%b5%ce%b9%ce%b4%ce%bf%cf%80%ce%bf%ce%b9%ce%b7%cf%83%ce%b7-%ce%b7-%ce%b5%cf%80%ce%b5%cf%81%cf%87%cf%8c%ce%bc%ce%b5%ce%bd%ce%b7-%ce%ba%cf%81%ce%af%cf%83%ce%b7-%cf%84%cf%81%ce%bf/
    WARNING: The Upcoming Food Crisis Be Ready 2019 (Video) NIKOS HILADAKIS · 12 JUL. 2019 WARNING: The Coming Food Crisis Be Ready 2019 Overpopulation and Lack of Food Overpopulation is a somewhat relative concept. Of course it is associated with very large populations, but not always. Even a region with a large population does not necessarily have a problem of overpopulation, since it can support its inhabitants. On the other hand, if a place can not feed its inhabitants, there is a problem of overpopulation without necessarily having a huge number of people. So overpopulation has to do with the balance between a population and the availability of the goods necessary for their dignified living. The sudden population influx usually follows food shortages. The problem of hunger is of course related to food production, but not always. In fact, if there are now hungry areas in the world, this is partly due to the inequality that exists. Countries like the European have such a surplus of food to subsidize their farmers to bury them! At the same time elsewhere, they are hungry. The fact that they are hungry in some countries has to do even with the choices they made (or imposed on) their cultivations. Many have turned to non-eating crops such as coffee and cocoa. As long as these species sold there was no problem. But when global demand declined, they were left with tons of coffee and cocoa in their warehouses. And as they are not eaten, hungry hit the door. Some do not care about it. In neighboring Turkey, for example, they see the terrifying increase in the population as a force: We are many and that makes us strong, they say. This is true if one thinks of a nation with Stepa's logic, where as long as the earth has no end and limit, people do not. At the door of Europe, however, things are different. Many blame the religions for the excessive population growth of the Earth. Particularly certain doctrines of Christianity which, in fact, discourage birth control. The fact is that the same and even more conservative view is given by most - and more massive - religions of the East (eg, Hinduism). In the "Christian" countries, however, the birth rate is controlled. The problem lies with the East. Probably overpopulation is not a problem that religions create, though in Asia, they certainly reinforce it. Interestingly, the religions that prevail in areas where overpopulation has long been a problem, Eastern religions constitute or even impose vegetarianism. They are, of course, referring to metaphysical concerns about it. Whatever it is, it is a wise choice. Today we know that meat-based diet is an energy waste of natural resources. The only diet that can provide food for huge populations is vegetarian. Part of the problem is that there are no solutions that are not idealistic. They usually require a mood for co-operation, solidarity, ideals that are species in deficiency in human societies. There are also realistic solutions, but, realism is hard and its choice is easy only by those who are not directly affected. But there are also some "keys" that could lead to "magical" solutions. Continue here: https://terrapapers.com/yperlithysmos-ke-ellipsi-t... Decode the Agenda 2030 Agenda 2030 - The Protocols of the New Order of Things UN agenda 2030, is a plan for the worldwide enslavement of humanity under the boot of the Corporate Eminent. The 193 UN member states reached agreement on the new development agenda for the next 15 years. The agreement refers to the eradication of poverty and hunger, the safeguarding of gender equality, the improvement of survival standards and the urgent need to take measures to combat climate change. State representatives agreed late on Sunday evening 03/08/2015 setting 17 goals with 169 specific targets on poverty "in all aspects and everywhere" to ensure quality education and adequate energy and protection environment. The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda will be voted by the UN shortly before the annual meeting of world leaders on Tuesday, September 3rd. Secretary General Ban Guy-Mun said the deal is "to secure peace and prosperity by focusing on cooperation with people and the environment" We translated and decoded 17 items on Agenda 2030. This document does not describe anything less than a global government buying every nation across the globe. The "goals" of this document are nothing more than code words for the company with the fascist tyrannical agenda that intends to imprison the civilized human beings of the cement cities, into a dilapidated cycle of poverty, poverty and starvation while enriching the world's most powerful global companies such as Monsanto and DuPont. All the articles we mention exist in terrapapers.com and are constantly on the go, looking for more complete information and not hiding behind your finger. It is absolutely clear the plans of the Herpetological Subordinates as well as what actions are needed on the part of man - no matter how he does - in order not to carry out these plans. Objective 1) The end of poverty in all its forms everywhere Translation: Put everyone in social welfare, food vouchers, housing subsidies and brochures that make them slaves obedient to the world government. Never allow people upward mobility to help themselves. Instead, it will be taught mass victimization and obedience to a government that provides a minimum monthly "allowance" for commodity money such as food and medicine. The tag will be called "eradication of poverty" and will ensure that human beings are fed as much as they can, crawl and work. At least two dozen microbiologists around the world have died violently in recent years. Surprisingly, some of them worked in the DNA sequence. The best known was Dr. David Kelly who died in July 2003. He was working for Mossad, Kelly orchestrated the apostasy of the Russian microbiologist Vladimir Pasechnik, who was working on a biological weapon capable of destroying one-third of the world's population . In October 2004, Dmtry Lvov, head of the Russian Institute of Virology, said that up to a billion people worldwide could die during the next pandemic. It seems that the human flock is going to be killed in a spectacular way. For whatever reason, dead microbiologists did not go along with the program. In essence, what the US is trying to achieve is to impose on the planet its own policies on the production, export and import of products that will have effect vis-à-vis the national laws of each country. Large multinationals will therefore be able to draw in the courts any other country on the planet in which they will operate, and which votes national laws contrary to their interests. Although this outlook is the most frightening of all, the benefits of the agreement do not stop there. Continue here: https://terrapapers.com/apododikopiisi-tis-atzenta... RECIPIENT GROUP OF CHILDREN www.nikosxeiladakis.gr http://nikosxeiladakis.gr/%cf%80%cf%81%ce%bf%ce%b5%ce%b9%ce%b4%ce%bf%cf%80%ce%bf%ce%b9%ce%b7%cf%83%ce%b7-%ce%b7-%ce%b5%cf%80%ce%b5%cf%81%cf%87%cf%8c%ce%bc%ce%b5%ce%bd%ce%b7-%ce%ba%cf%81%ce%af%cf%83%ce%b7-%cf%84%cf%81%ce%bf/
    0 Comments 0 Shares
  • Was inequality an invention of man himself or that of the gods?
    Was it predestined to be such or did we cause this upon ourselves?

    Temitope Oluwafemi spells what in his poem, visit via https://buff.ly/2xGFSu1

    #ArtHut #Poetry #PoorAndRich #Inequality #Poverty
    Was inequality an invention of man himself or that of the gods? Was it predestined to be such or did we cause this upon ourselves? Temitope Oluwafemi spells what in his poem, visit via https://buff.ly/2xGFSu1 #ArtHut #Poetry #PoorAndRich #Inequality #Poverty
    Arthut - INEQUALITY - Poetry by Temitope Oluwafemi
    We were born of the same womb. You were born with a silver spoon, But I was born with none. You live...
    BUFF.LY
    2
    0 Comments 8 Shares
  • CBO Report Shows Broad Benefits From $15 Federal Minimum Wage
    https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/07/08/cbo-report-shows-broad-benefits-15-federal-minimum-wage
    Heidi Shierholz

    People gather together to ask the McDonald’s corporation to raise workers wages to a $15 minimum wage as well as demanding the right to a union on May 23, 2019 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The nation wide protest at McDonald’s was held on the day of the company’s shareholder meeting. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

    On Monday afternoon, Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report assessing the economic impact of raising the minimum wage to $15 in 2025 in six steps (this is a similar policy to the Raise the Wage Act, which would increase the minimum wage to $15 in 2024). The key fact coming out of the report is that CBO finds that the benefits to low wage workers of a $15 minimum wage far exceed the costs.

    The report finds that a $15 minimum wage would increase the wages of millions of low wage workers, increase the average incomes of low and lower-middle-income families, reduce poverty, shift money from corporate profits to the wages of low-wage workers, and reduce inequality.

    In particular, CBO finds that $15 in 2025 could raise the wages of 27.3 million low-wage workers, would increase the income of families who earn below three times the poverty rate by $21.9 billion, and would reduce the number of people living in poverty by 1.3 million, nearly half of them age 0-18.

    CBO finds that the overwhelming share of low-wage workers would benefit from a $15 minimum wage and that as a group, low-wage workers would be unambiguously better off.

    While CBO’s bottom line is that the benefits to low-wage workers of a $15 minimum wage would outweigh the costs, CBO nevertheless substantially overstates the costs.

    CBO finds that the policy would lead to a decline in employment of 1.3 million—though in choosing the parameters that resulted in that conclusion it failed to appropriately weight the highest quality studies in the vast academic literature on this issue. As a result, policymakers must be skeptical of their assessment of the employment impact, given that other careful reviews of the minimum wage literature have shown that the average study finds small-to-no employment effects of minimum wage increases.

    It is not a stretch to say that a new consensus has emerged among economists that minimum wage increases have raised wages without substantial job loss (even the Cato institute acknowledges this “new conventional wisdom”).

    More and more, economists are recognizing that simple, dated models of the economy that always predict job loss when the minimum wage is increased are based on assumptions that have little bearing on the low-wage labor market (like the genuinely laughable assumption that in the absence of a meaningful minimum wage, low-wage employers still have no power to set wages below the full value of their workers’ “worth” to the firm).

    Well over 100 mainstream economists signed on to this letter in support of increasing the min wage to $15 in 2024. CBO’s assessment of the literature has simply not yet caught up.

    Finally, CBO egregiously relegates to an appendix any discussion of what an employment decline as a result of a $15 minimum wage would really mean on the ground.

    The crucial fact is that an employment decline as a result of a minimum wage increase doesn’t necessarily mean any worker is actually worse off. For a wide variety of reasons, a sizable share of low-wage workers routinely cycle in an out of employment; each quarter, more than 20 percent of the lowest-wage workers leave or start job.

    This means that even if employment does decline as CBO predicts, workers who work less can still come out ahead because they earn much more when they are working. Consider the case of someone who now works a full-time job at $7.25 an hour for ten months a year, but can only find work for eight months when the minimum wage is increased to $15.

    This worker experiences a strong negative employment impact of the minimum wage increase, but actually has substantially higher annual earnings. In other words, if you take CBO’s employment estimate at face value, it is important to keep in mind that the top-line number vastly overstates any adverse impact on the living standards of the low wage workers who experience the negative employment effects.

    It has been more than 10 years since congress raised the minimum wage—the longest stretch in history. This is a shameful benchmark, reducing the living standards of working families in this country and exacerbating poverty and inequality. Congress should immediately pass the Raise the Wage Act and give this country’s lowest wage workers a raise.
    CBO Report Shows Broad Benefits From $15 Federal Minimum Wage https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/07/08/cbo-report-shows-broad-benefits-15-federal-minimum-wage Heidi Shierholz People gather together to ask the McDonald’s corporation to raise workers wages to a $15 minimum wage as well as demanding the right to a union on May 23, 2019 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The nation wide protest at McDonald’s was held on the day of the company’s shareholder meeting. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images) On Monday afternoon, Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report assessing the economic impact of raising the minimum wage to $15 in 2025 in six steps (this is a similar policy to the Raise the Wage Act, which would increase the minimum wage to $15 in 2024). The key fact coming out of the report is that CBO finds that the benefits to low wage workers of a $15 minimum wage far exceed the costs. The report finds that a $15 minimum wage would increase the wages of millions of low wage workers, increase the average incomes of low and lower-middle-income families, reduce poverty, shift money from corporate profits to the wages of low-wage workers, and reduce inequality. In particular, CBO finds that $15 in 2025 could raise the wages of 27.3 million low-wage workers, would increase the income of families who earn below three times the poverty rate by $21.9 billion, and would reduce the number of people living in poverty by 1.3 million, nearly half of them age 0-18. CBO finds that the overwhelming share of low-wage workers would benefit from a $15 minimum wage and that as a group, low-wage workers would be unambiguously better off. While CBO’s bottom line is that the benefits to low-wage workers of a $15 minimum wage would outweigh the costs, CBO nevertheless substantially overstates the costs. CBO finds that the policy would lead to a decline in employment of 1.3 million—though in choosing the parameters that resulted in that conclusion it failed to appropriately weight the highest quality studies in the vast academic literature on this issue. As a result, policymakers must be skeptical of their assessment of the employment impact, given that other careful reviews of the minimum wage literature have shown that the average study finds small-to-no employment effects of minimum wage increases. It is not a stretch to say that a new consensus has emerged among economists that minimum wage increases have raised wages without substantial job loss (even the Cato institute acknowledges this “new conventional wisdom”). More and more, economists are recognizing that simple, dated models of the economy that always predict job loss when the minimum wage is increased are based on assumptions that have little bearing on the low-wage labor market (like the genuinely laughable assumption that in the absence of a meaningful minimum wage, low-wage employers still have no power to set wages below the full value of their workers’ “worth” to the firm). Well over 100 mainstream economists signed on to this letter in support of increasing the min wage to $15 in 2024. CBO’s assessment of the literature has simply not yet caught up. Finally, CBO egregiously relegates to an appendix any discussion of what an employment decline as a result of a $15 minimum wage would really mean on the ground. The crucial fact is that an employment decline as a result of a minimum wage increase doesn’t necessarily mean any worker is actually worse off. For a wide variety of reasons, a sizable share of low-wage workers routinely cycle in an out of employment; each quarter, more than 20 percent of the lowest-wage workers leave or start job. This means that even if employment does decline as CBO predicts, workers who work less can still come out ahead because they earn much more when they are working. Consider the case of someone who now works a full-time job at $7.25 an hour for ten months a year, but can only find work for eight months when the minimum wage is increased to $15. This worker experiences a strong negative employment impact of the minimum wage increase, but actually has substantially higher annual earnings. In other words, if you take CBO’s employment estimate at face value, it is important to keep in mind that the top-line number vastly overstates any adverse impact on the living standards of the low wage workers who experience the negative employment effects. It has been more than 10 years since congress raised the minimum wage—the longest stretch in history. This is a shameful benchmark, reducing the living standards of working families in this country and exacerbating poverty and inequality. Congress should immediately pass the Raise the Wage Act and give this country’s lowest wage workers a raise.
    CBO Report Shows Broad Benefits From $15 Federal Minimum Wage
    New analysis by the Congressional Budget Office finds that $15 in 2025 could raise the wages of 27.3 million low-wage workers and would increase the income of families who earn below three times the poverty rate by $21.9 billion.. On Monday afternoon, Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report assessing the economic impact of raising the minimum wage to $15 in 2025 in six steps (this is a similar policy to the Raise the Wage Act, which would increase the minimum wage to $15 in 2024). The key fact coming out of the report is that CBO finds that the benefits to low wage workers of a $15 minimum wage far exceed the costs.
    WWW.COMMONDREAMS.ORG
    1
    0 Comments 0 Shares
  • Bernie Sanders Calls Fact That Minimum Wage Worker Cannot Afford 2-Bedroom Apartment in Any U.S. State 'A National Disgrace'
    https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/06/18/bernie-sanders-calls-fact-minimum-wage-worker-cannot-afford-2-bedroom-apartment-any
    Julia Conley, staff writer

    For a decade, U.S. lawmakers have kept the federal minimum wage at a level which increasingly leaves workers unable to afford housing.

    That's according to a report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC). The group's 30th annual study of housing affordability found that a worker earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25—which is unchanged since 2009—cannot afford to rent a modest two-bedroom apartment in any state, metropolitan area, or county in the United States.

    The report, entitled "Out of Reach," details how a worker would need to maintain three full-time jobs involving 127 hours of work per week to afford such a housing situation, without spending more than 30 percent of his or her income on housing.

    "Our rental housing needs have worsened considerably over the past 30 years," wrote Diane Yentel, president and CEO of NLIHC, noting that housing assistance reaches fewer Americans than in 1989, when the group first compiled housing data.

    "Wage inequality has worsened between black and white workers at all wage levels, exacerbating the racial housing inequities that have long plagued the nation. Affordable rental housing for low-income people is significantly further out of reach now than in 1989, despite a massive increase in wealth for higher-income households."

    Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has worked alongside the national grassroots campaign Fight for $15 to push for a $15 minimum wage, called the report's findings "a national disgrace."

    According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) own data, Americans who pay more than 30 percent of their income on rent or a mortgage payment are considered "cost-burdened," and those who pay more than 50 percent of their compensation on housing are "severely cost-burdened."

    Yet while the federal government stipulates that households should pay no more than 30 percent on housing, another recent study by Harvard University found that lawmakers have allowed the number of cost-burdened families to rise rapidly over the past two decades.

    From 2001 to 2016, 3.6 million more households spent more than half their income on housing.

    "Despite clear and urgent needs, the Trump administration continues to starve communities of the resources needed to tackle this crisis. In the richest nation on earth, how is it that three out of every four families eligible for housing assistance are turned away?"

    Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.)"Seventy-one percent of extremely low-income renters are severely housing cost-burdened," reads the NLIHC's report, "which forces them to cut-back on other basic necessities like adequate food, healthcare, and transportation and also puts them at risk of housing instability."

    The NLIHC found that even if a minimum-wage earner with a family were to squeeze his or her household into a one-bedroom apartment, that housing arrangement would hardly be more affordable than a slightly larger home.

    The worker would need to work 103 hours per week to afford the apartment without paying more than 30 percent of his or her income.

    Corporations and lawmakers aligned with corporate interests have in recent years railed against proposals to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, which have gained momentum thanks to Fight for $15 and progressives in Congress including Sanders.

    Yet NLIHC's report found that even this modest proposal would still leave many workers unable to afford a rental apartment in many parts of the country.

    A worker would need to earn an average of $22.96 to rent a modest two-bedroom apartment in the U.S. and more than $18 to rent a one-bedroom apartment.

    Even in the most affordable states in the country, a minimum wage job leaves workers unable to rent a small apartment.

    In Arkansas, where the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $742, a renter would need to earn more than $14 per hour to afford it—putting those homes out of reach for workers who earn the state's minimum wage of $9.25.

    The report also noted that rents are too high and wages are too low even for workers who earn more than the minimum wage.

    "Nationally, the average renter's hourly wage is $17.57, which is $5.39 below the national two-bedroom Housing Wage and $1.08 below the national one-bedroom Housing Wage," the report reads.

    In her preface to the report, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) slammed the Trump administration for worsening the housing crisis through direct attacks on anti-segregation rules, subsidies for low-income Americans, and undocumented immigrants who live in public housing.

    "Despite clear and urgent needs, the Trump administration continues to starve communities of the resources needed to tackle this crisis," wrote Pressley.

    "In the richest nation on earth, how is it that three out of every four families eligible for housing assistance are turned away? This administration's callous attempts to rollback funding for affordable housing and homelessness assistance programs has left more than half a million people without shelter on any given night."

    In light of the Trump administration's neglect and exacerbation of housing access issues, Pressley called on Congress to pass legislation to invest in affordable housing, including the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, which would pour resources into the National Housing Trust Fund and give special consideration to areas affected by redlining in the 20th century.

    "This isn't just a devastating trend, but rather a national public health crisis," Pressley wrote.

    "So long as there is a national housing shortage, the American Dream remains largely deferred."
    Bernie Sanders Calls Fact That Minimum Wage Worker Cannot Afford 2-Bedroom Apartment in Any U.S. State 'A National Disgrace' https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/06/18/bernie-sanders-calls-fact-minimum-wage-worker-cannot-afford-2-bedroom-apartment-any Julia Conley, staff writer For a decade, U.S. lawmakers have kept the federal minimum wage at a level which increasingly leaves workers unable to afford housing. That's according to a report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC). The group's 30th annual study of housing affordability found that a worker earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25—which is unchanged since 2009—cannot afford to rent a modest two-bedroom apartment in any state, metropolitan area, or county in the United States. The report, entitled "Out of Reach," details how a worker would need to maintain three full-time jobs involving 127 hours of work per week to afford such a housing situation, without spending more than 30 percent of his or her income on housing. "Our rental housing needs have worsened considerably over the past 30 years," wrote Diane Yentel, president and CEO of NLIHC, noting that housing assistance reaches fewer Americans than in 1989, when the group first compiled housing data. "Wage inequality has worsened between black and white workers at all wage levels, exacerbating the racial housing inequities that have long plagued the nation. Affordable rental housing for low-income people is significantly further out of reach now than in 1989, despite a massive increase in wealth for higher-income households." Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has worked alongside the national grassroots campaign Fight for $15 to push for a $15 minimum wage, called the report's findings "a national disgrace." According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) own data, Americans who pay more than 30 percent of their income on rent or a mortgage payment are considered "cost-burdened," and those who pay more than 50 percent of their compensation on housing are "severely cost-burdened." Yet while the federal government stipulates that households should pay no more than 30 percent on housing, another recent study by Harvard University found that lawmakers have allowed the number of cost-burdened families to rise rapidly over the past two decades. From 2001 to 2016, 3.6 million more households spent more than half their income on housing. "Despite clear and urgent needs, the Trump administration continues to starve communities of the resources needed to tackle this crisis. In the richest nation on earth, how is it that three out of every four families eligible for housing assistance are turned away?" Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.)"Seventy-one percent of extremely low-income renters are severely housing cost-burdened," reads the NLIHC's report, "which forces them to cut-back on other basic necessities like adequate food, healthcare, and transportation and also puts them at risk of housing instability." The NLIHC found that even if a minimum-wage earner with a family were to squeeze his or her household into a one-bedroom apartment, that housing arrangement would hardly be more affordable than a slightly larger home. The worker would need to work 103 hours per week to afford the apartment without paying more than 30 percent of his or her income. Corporations and lawmakers aligned with corporate interests have in recent years railed against proposals to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, which have gained momentum thanks to Fight for $15 and progressives in Congress including Sanders. Yet NLIHC's report found that even this modest proposal would still leave many workers unable to afford a rental apartment in many parts of the country. A worker would need to earn an average of $22.96 to rent a modest two-bedroom apartment in the U.S. and more than $18 to rent a one-bedroom apartment. Even in the most affordable states in the country, a minimum wage job leaves workers unable to rent a small apartment. In Arkansas, where the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $742, a renter would need to earn more than $14 per hour to afford it—putting those homes out of reach for workers who earn the state's minimum wage of $9.25. The report also noted that rents are too high and wages are too low even for workers who earn more than the minimum wage. "Nationally, the average renter's hourly wage is $17.57, which is $5.39 below the national two-bedroom Housing Wage and $1.08 below the national one-bedroom Housing Wage," the report reads. In her preface to the report, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) slammed the Trump administration for worsening the housing crisis through direct attacks on anti-segregation rules, subsidies for low-income Americans, and undocumented immigrants who live in public housing. "Despite clear and urgent needs, the Trump administration continues to starve communities of the resources needed to tackle this crisis," wrote Pressley. "In the richest nation on earth, how is it that three out of every four families eligible for housing assistance are turned away? This administration's callous attempts to rollback funding for affordable housing and homelessness assistance programs has left more than half a million people without shelter on any given night." In light of the Trump administration's neglect and exacerbation of housing access issues, Pressley called on Congress to pass legislation to invest in affordable housing, including the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, which would pour resources into the National Housing Trust Fund and give special consideration to areas affected by redlining in the 20th century. "This isn't just a devastating trend, but rather a national public health crisis," Pressley wrote. "So long as there is a national housing shortage, the American Dream remains largely deferred."
    Bernie Sanders Calls Fact That Minimum Wage Worker Cannot Afford 2-Bedroom Apartment in Any U.S. State 'A National Disgrace'
    "So long as there is a national housing shortage," says Rep. Ayanna Pressley, "the American Dream remains largely deferred."
    WWW.COMMONDREAMS.ORG
    1
    0 Comments 0 Shares
  • https://thehill.com/opinion/finance/368687-income-inequality-isnt-as-bad-as-you-may-think
    https://thehill.com/opinion/finance/368687-income-inequality-isnt-as-bad-as-you-may-think
    Income inequality isn't as bad as you may think
    If we truly care about capturing household well-being, consumption may be a better measure of standards of living.
    THEHILL.COM
    0 Comments 0 Shares
  • BUILDING BABIES BRAINS
    Brazil’s audacious plan to fight poverty using neuroscience and parents’ love
    By Jenny AndersonJune 29, 2018

    Osmar Terra is a tall man with a deep voice and an easy laugh—one that disguises the scale of his ambition to transform Brazilian society. A federal representative for nearly two decades, he is the driving force behind the world’s biggest experiment to prove that teaching poor parents how to love and nurture their infants will dramatically influence what kind of adults they become, and give Brazil its best shot at changing its current trajectory of violence, inequality, and poverty.

    Terra, aged 68, first became obsessed with the question of how humans develop nearly 30 years ago. As a cardiologist in the 1990s, he would read endless research papers about the neuroscience of early childhood. When he entered politics, becoming mayor of Santa Rosa in Rio Grande do Sul in 1992, he continued to grapple with the question, even studying for a master’s degree in neuroscience. The science, he believed, should lead to smart policy. As a doctor and a manager, a mayor and a state health secretary, he was always trying to figure out how to to tackle poverty head-on. “In every single activity I always ask myself, ‘What is the public policy that can be more transformative?'” he says. “How can we most dramatically improve the quality of life for our citizens, their health, their education?”

    The answer to that question, he came to realize, lay in starting at the beginning, at pregnancy, and in the first few years of a child’s life.

    Decades of groundbreaking research shows that the love and sense of safety experienced by a baby directly impacts how the child’s brain is wired. Adversity—especially persistent, stress-triggering adversity like neglect and abuse—hampers that development, and can result in poorer health, educational attainment, and early death. While science underpins his mission, Terra’s palpable passion for the topic and his skill at politicking eventually led him to create Criança Feliz, a highly ambitious parent coaching program he helped launch in 2017 to try and reach four million pregnant women and children by 2020.

    Under Criança Feliz, an army of trained social workers—a sort of national baby corps—are dispatched to the poorest corners of Brazil. Traveling by boat—sometimes battling crocodiles and floods—by foot, by car, by truck and by bus, these social workers go to people’s homes to show them how to play, sing, and show affection to their infants and young children. They explain to parents why this matters: Emotional safety underpins cognitive growth. Intelligence is not fixed, but formed through experience.

    HANNAH YI
    Home visitor, Sissi Elisabeth Gimenes visits a family in Arujá
    Parent coaching, and specifically, home visiting, is not new. The most famous study, which took place in Jamaica in the 1970s, showed that well-trained home visitors supporting poor mothers with weekly visits for two years led to big improvements in children’s cognition, behavior, and future earnings. One group of infants in that program who received coaching in their earliest years earned 25% more than a control group more than 20 years later.

    But Brazil’s ambition is audacious. No city or country has ever attempted to reach so many people in such a short amount of time. (The largest program doing this now is probably in Peru, reaching about 100,000 families; Criança Feliz is already reaching 300,000.) “They are raising the bar for what is possible nationally,” says Jan Sanderson, the former deputy minister of children from Manitoba, Canada, who is an expert in home visiting and recently traveled to observe the program.

    Talking to lawmakers in Brazil can feel like wandering around a neuroscience convention.
    Just how Brazil—a massive country with endemic poverty and grating inequality—came to embrace parent coaching as the next frontier in combating poverty is a story of Terra’s political will, the strategic savvy of a few foundations, the pivotal role of a Harvard program, and the compassion of a growing group of unlikely allies, from communists to far-right wing politicians. Talking to lawmakers in Brazil can feel like wandering around a neuroscience convention: One senator from the south can’t stop talking about working memory, while a mayor from the northern town of Boa Vista in Roirama state is fixated on synapse connection. At least 68 senators and congresspeople, judges, and mayors have converted to the cause, becoming evangelical in their focus on early childhood development.

    “I believe that this is the solution, not only for Brazil, but for any country in the world in terms of security, public security, education, and health care,” says José Medeiros, a senator from the state of Mato Grosso who heads the parliamentary committee on early childhood development. “It’s a cheap solution.”

    Terra’s claims are more dramatic. “We will change the world, starting from the very beginning.”

    Those words are hardly surprising coming from the man whom Ely Harasawa, Criança Feliz’s director, calls the program’s “godfather.” But the devil, of course, is in the details—and in Terra and his allies’ ability to steer a course through some rather treacherous political terrain.

    HANNAH YI
    Criança Feliz in action
    On a hot day in May, Adriana Miranda, a 22-year-old accounting student, visits Gabriela Carolina Herrera Campero, also 22, who is 36 weeks pregnant with her third child. Campero arrived in Brazil less than a year ago from Venezuela, fleeing with her husband and two children from that country’s financial collapse and ensuing chaos. She lives in Boa Vista, a city in the north of Brazil where 10% of the population are estimated to be refugees.

    HANNAH YI
    Adriana Miranda visits Gabriela Carolina Herrera Campero, who fled Venezuela’s financial collapse with her family one year ago.
    The two women greet each other warmly and start chatting, in spite of the fact that Miranda is speaking in Portuguese and Campero in Spanish. They sit together on plastic chairs on a concrete patio as Miranda goes through a checklist of questions about the pregnancy. Has Campero been to her prenatal visits? (Yes.) How is she feeling? (Hot.) Is she drinking enough water? (Yes.) And walking? (When it’s not too hot.) Is she depressed or anxious? (No, but worried, yes.) Does she feel supported by her husband? (Yes.) How is she sleeping and what kinds of foods is she eating? (She’s not sleeping well because she always has to pee, and she is eating a lot of fruit.)

    Miranda moves on to talking with Campero about attachment—how to create a strong bond with a baby in utero, and also once the baby is born. Does she know that at five months, the baby can hear her and that her voice will provide comfort to the baby when it is born?

    “It’s important the baby feel the love we are transmitting. When he is in distress, he will know your voice and it will calm him,” says Miranda.

    JENNY ANDERSON
    The curriculum.
    It’s a topic they have discussed before. Campero is eager to show what she has learned about the baby. (A part of the program requires that visitors check for knowledge.) “It has five senses, and if I talk, he will know my voice,” she says. “The baby will develop more.” They discuss the importance of cuddling a baby and being patient.

    Having a baby in the best of circumstances can be challenging. As an impoverished refugee, in a new country, it can be utterly overwhelming.


    I ask Campero, in Spanish, whether the program has been helpful. After all, she already has two kids. Doesn’t she know what to expect? She starts to cry. “They have helped me emotionally,” she says. “She has taught me so many things I didn’t know.” For example, she didn’t know to read to a baby, or that her baby could hear her in utero. Her son used to hit her belly; he now sings songs to the baby because she explained to him what she learned from Miranda. “I feel supported,” she tells me.

    ”I raised my kids as if I were taking care of a plant,” Medeiros recalls.
    Many people, rich and poor alike, have no idea what infants are capable of. Psychologists and neuroscientists believe they are creative geniuses, able to process information in far more sophisticated ways than we ever knew. But for that genius to show itself, the baby needs to feel safe and loved and to have attention.

    Medeiros explains how he viewed parenting before he went to the Harvard program.

    ”I raised my kids as if I were taking care of a plant,” he recalls. “You give them food, you take care of them.” He says he did the best he could, but “I did not have all this information. If I had encouraged them, stimulated them more, I would have been able to contribute much more to their development.”

    He is hardly the exception. A 2012 nationally representative survey in Brazil asked mothers, 52% of whom were college educated, what things were most important for the development of their children up to three years of age. Only 19% mentioned playing and walking, 18% said receiving attention from adults, and 12% picked receiving affection. “So playing, talking to the child, attachment, it’s not important for more than 80% of the people who are interviewed,” says Harasawa, the director of Criança Feliz.

    Criança Feliz is part of Brazil’s welfare program for its poorest citizens, called Bolsa Familia. Started 15 years ago, the welfare program is rooted in a cash transfer system that makes payments contingent on kids getting vaccines and staying in school, and pregnant mothers getting prenatal care. Vaccination rates in Brazil exceed 95% and primary school enrollment is near universal. Originally derided, and still criticized by some in Brazil as a handout program for the poor, Bolsa Familia is nevertheless being replicated worldwide. But a powerful coterie of Brazil’s political leaders believe it’s not enough. Cash transfers alleviate the conditions of poverty, but do not change its trajectory.

    “You’re in their home, you can’t interfere. But you are there to change their mindset.”
    That’s where Criança Feliz comes in. The program is adapted from UNICEF and the World Health Organization’s Care for Child Development parent coaching program. Trained social workers visit pregnant women every month and new parents once a week for the first three years of a child’s life. Sessions last about an hour. The goal is to not to play with the baby or train the parent, but to help parents have a more loving relationship with their children. The program costs $20 per child per month. The ministry of social development allocated $100 million in 2017 and $200 million in 2018.


    Cesar Victoria, an epidemiology professor at the Federal University of Pelotas in Brazil, will conduct a three-year randomized control trial comparing kids in the program to kids who are not, on measures of cognition, attachment, and motor development. Caregivers will be evaluated to see what they have learned about stimulation and play.

    Criança Feliz neither pities poverty nor romanticizes it. It recognizes that low-income people often lack information about how to raise their children and offers that information up, allowing parents to do what they will with it. “It’s one thing to say ‘read to your baby twice a day,'” says Sanderson. “It’s another thing to say, ‘when your baby hears your voice, there are little sparks firing in his brain that are helping him get ready to learn.'”

    Of course, it’s a delicate balance between respecting the right of a family to raise their children the way they see fit and offering information and evidence that could help the child and the family. “You’re in their home, you can’t interfere,” says Teresa Surrita, mayor of Boa Vista. “But you are there to change their mindset.”

    Liticia Lopes da Silva 23, a home visitor from Arujá, outside Sao Paulo, says that the initial visits with families can be hard. “They don’t understand the importance of stimulation and they are resistant to the idea of playing with children,” she says. “They are raised a different way, their parents did not have this interaction with them.” The issue is not just that some mothers don’t play with their babies; some barely look at them. Others treat the visitors as nannies, leaving them to play with the child, thus thwarting the very purpose of the visit—the interaction between parent and child.

    “It’s amazing to see the families evolve.”
    But after a few weeks of watching a social worker sit on the floor, playing with the child, and talking with her about the baby’s development, the mothers sometimes join in. “It’s amazing to see the families evolve,” says one home visitor in Arujá. “Three to four months after, you see the difference [in how] the mother plays with the child. In a different way, the whole family gets involved. Fathers often get involved and many families start to ask the visitors to come more often, although the visitors cannot oblige.

    When a home visitor named Sissi Elisabeth Gimenes visits a family in Arujá, she brings a color wheel painted onto a piece of recycled cardboard, along with painted clothespins. She asks Agatha, age three, to put a brown clip on the brown color. Agatha doesn’t know her colors and gets very shy. Sissi encourages Agatha while chatting with her mother, Alda Ferreira, about how play benefits brain development. She quietly models how to use encouragement and praise, praising Agatha for finding white—”the color of clouds”—as the girl slowly gets more confident and gets off her mother’s lap to play.

    The activity is intentional. The clips hone Agatha’s fine motor skills as well as her cognitive ones; the interaction with her mother helps create the synaptic connections that allow her brain to grow and pave the way to more effective learning later on. Alda tells us her daughter knows many things that her older daughter did not at the same age.

    HANNAH YI
    Agatha, age 3.
    The process changes the social workers as well. One social worker, who has a three-year-old herself, says that as parents, we think we know everything. “But I knew nothing.” In Arujá, where the home visitors are all psychology students at the local university, working with the program as part-time interns, many admitted to being shocked at seeing the reality of what they’d been taught in the classroom. Poverty looks different off the page. “We are changing because we are out of the bubble,” said one. “Theory is very shallow.”

    As we leave Campero’s house, I ask Miranda what she thought of the visit. She too starts to cry. “Gabriella recognizes the program is making a difference in her life,” she says, embarrassed and surprised at her own emotions. Campero had told Miranda a few weeks earlier that she was worried because the baby was not moving. Miranda suggested that Campero try singing to the child in her womb; the baby started to move.

    The man who made it happen
    In 2003, as secretary of health in Rio Grande do Sul, Terra created Programa Primeira Infância Melhor (the Better Early Childhood Development Program, or PIM), a home visiting program based on Educa tu Hijo, a very successful case study from Cuba (pdf). Results have been mixed, but Terra saw the impact it had on families and communities. He set his sights on expanding the program nationally.

    One of the most persuasive arguments for the program, he knew, was the science. But he had to build votes for that science. In 2011, he started lobbying everyone he could to try and get financial backing from congress to fund a week-long course that he helped create at Harvard University’s Center for the Developing Child. He thought if lawmakers—who would be attracted to the prestige of a course at Harvard—could learn from the neuroscientists and physicians there, they might also become advocates for the policy.

    “Anybody in the corridor he sees, it’s a hug, it’s a tap on the chest, and then it’s early childhood development,” says Mary Young, director of the Center for Child Development at the China Development Research Foundation and an advisor to Criança Feliz. “He’s got the will and the skill.”

    “Anybody in the corridor he sees, it’s a hug, it’s a tap on the chest, and then it’s early childhood development. He’s got the will and the skill.”
    One convert, Michel Temer, who was vice president from 2011 and became president in 2016 when his boss was impeached, tapped Terra to be minister of social development. Soon after, Criança Feliz was born. But trying to get Terra to talk about legislation can be a challenge. What he wants to talk about are neurons, synapses, and working memory. Did I know that one million new neural connections are formed every second in the first few years of life? And that those neural connections are key to forming memories?

    “The number of connections depends on the stimuli of the environment,” he says. And the environment of poverty is relentlessly unkind to the stimuli available to children.

    HANNAH YI
    Osmar Terra’s enthusiasm is infectious.
    Attachment, he explains, is key—not just psychologically, but neurobiologically. “If a child feels emotionally safe and secure and attached they explore the world in a better way. The safer they feel, the safer their base, the faster they learn,” he says.

    The first 1,000 days
    Over the past 20 years, scientists have focused on the importance of the first 1,000 days of life. Brains build themselves, starting with basic connections and moving to more complex ones. Like a house, the better the foundation of basic connections, the more complex are the ones that can be built on top. In an infant’s earliest days, it’s not flashcards that create their brains, but relationships (pdf), via an interactive process that scientists call “serve and return.” When an infant or young child babbles, looks at an adult, or cries, and the adult responds with an affectionate gaze, words, or hugs, neural connections are created in the child’s brain that allow them to later develop critical tools like self-control and communication.

    “Children who experience profound neglect early in life, if you don’t reverse that by the age of two, the chance they will end up with poor development outcomes is high.”
    If kids do not experience stimulation and nurturing care, or if they face repeated neglect or abuse, the neural networks do not organize well. And that, says Charles Nelson, a pediatrics professor at Harvard Medical School, can affect the immune system, the cardiovascular system, the metabolic system, and even alter the physical structure of the brain. “Children who experience profound neglect early in life, if you don’t reverse that by the age of two, the chance they will end up with poor development outcomes is high,” he says. The strongest buffer to protect against that? A parent, or caring adult.

    The case for early childhood as policy was elevated by Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman. As founder of the Center for the Economics of Human Development at the University of Chicago, he demonstrated the economic case for why the best investment a policymaker can make is in the earliest years of childhood, because that’s when intervention has the highest payoffs.

    “The highest rate of return in early childhood development comes from investing as early as possible, from birth through age five, in disadvantaged families,” Heckman said in 2012. His work showed that every dollar invested in a child over those years delivers a 13% return on investment every year. “Starting at age three or four is too little too late, as it fails to recognize that skills beget skills in a complementary and dynamic way,” he said.

    More than 506 Brazilian legislators, judges, mayors, state politicians and prosecutors have attended the Harvard course that Terra helped set up. There, Jack Shonkoff, a pediatrician and professor, explains what infants need to thrive, what toxic stress does to a child and how to build resilience. The attendees are put in groups—maybe a state senator from one state with council members from municipalities in the same state—to spend the week on a project; in the next two-and-a-half months, they finish it with the help of a technical facilitator.

    “It’s a little facilitation and a little manipulation,” says Eduardo Queiroz, outgoing head of the Fundação Maria Cecília Souto Vidigal, a foundation which has played an integral role in supporting and shepherding Crianza Feliz. “We create a community.”

    It costs $8,800 to attend the program. Some pay their own way. Congress pays for lawmakers to go, and the Fundação Maria Cecília Souto Vidigal funds between 10 and 12 scholarships a year. The fellowship does not require the participants to do anything with their knowledge. But many have. Surrita, who is in her fifth term as mayor of Boa Vista, focused her early governing efforts on working with teens, tackling drugs and gangs as a way to help them. After her week at Harvard, she changed her approach, deciding to make Boa Vista the “early childhood development capital of Brazil.” Investing in young children, she argues, will mean not so many problems with teens:

    ”After taking this course Harvard on the ECD I realized how important it would be for us to work with the kids from pregnancy up to 6 years old that to develop them mentally and cognitively and that way I realized that it would be possible for us to improve the performance of the teenagers lives by working on them when their kids.”

    Obstacles and opportunities
    Criança Feliz faces two significant threats: the prospect of being shut down, and the challenges created by its own ambition.

    Although the Legal Framework for Early Childhood Development, passed in 2016, underpins Criança Feliz, it currently exists as a decree of the president. Of the last three presidents, one is in jail, one was impeached and the current one, Temer, faces criminal charges. With approval ratings of around 3%, Temer has decided not to run again, and the program’s supporters are worried that whoever wins the election will dismantle what the previous government has done (a common practice in Brazil). “We are concerned every day because the program is ongoing and we don’t know if the [next] president will support it,” says Ilnara Trajano, the state coordinator from Roirama state.

    “We are not trying to replace the family. We are trying to support it.”
    Mederios and Terra say the solution to avoiding political death is to create a law that will automatically fund Criança Feliz at the state level, rather than relying on presidential support. Terra, who exudes confidence and optimism, is sure such a law can be passed before the October date set for presidential elections. Others, including Harasawa, are not so sanguine. “We are in a race against time,” she says. She is working around the clock to build support one municipality at a time. She worries that not everyone thinks the government should play a role in parenting. “We are not trying to replace the family,” she says. “We are trying to support it.”

    Beyond its political future, the program itself faces a host of issues. In many places, there aren’t enough skilled workers to act as home visitors. There’s also the fraught logistics of getting around. In Careiro da Varzea, in Amazonas state, home visitors often travel five hours, by foot, to reach pregnant women and young children; they are tired when they arrive. In Arujá, seven home visitors share one car to visit 200 families, or 30 visits each, per week. Internet services can be terrible, and wild dogs often chase the social workers.

    The visitors are trained in a curriculum that tells them which materials to use, what to teach and when, and the research that underpins the guidance they give to mothers. But they need more training, and the curriculum does not always prepare them for the poverty and distress they see. Some mothers want to give up their babies; they did not want them in the first place. Many suffer from depression. The social workers are trained to support nurturing care, but they are not mental-health experts. Inevitably, turnover is high.

    In Careiro da Varzea, in Amazonas state, home visitors often travel five hours, by foot, to reach pregnant women and young children.
    The evidence for the value of home visiting at scale is at once highly compelling and frustratingly imprecise. Consider the case of Colombia: From 2009 to 2011, researchers there studied 1,419 children between the ages of 12 to 24 months to see whether coaching their mothers on interactions with their babies could help the children’s development. After 18 months, the researchers found a host of benefits. The children whose mothers had received coaching got smarter. Their language skills improved, and their home environments were judged to be more stimulating. But when researchers went back two years later, they found the children—now about five years old—had not maintained those benefits. “Two years after the intervention ended, we found no effects on children’s cognition, language, school readiness, executive functioning, or behavioral development,” the study reported. (Criança Feliz will run for a longer period of time, however.)

    Governments face notoriously hard choices about where to invest their money. “Early childhood development is a really valuable investment,” says Dave Evans, an economist at the World Bank. “But so is primary education and the quality of primary education, and if you spend a dollar in one place, it’s a dollar you aren’t spending in another place.”

    Samuel, Keith, and Giliane
    One of the virtues of a home visiting program, compared to say, building child-care centers, is that social workers can see what is happening inside a home: signs of domestic violence, other children in need, a mother’s depression, a father’s unemployment. They can help with kids like Samuel, who was born with cerebral palsy.

    At two-and-a-half years old, Samuel loves his ball, and shrieks with delight when he is presented with a truck. He can’t stop smiling at his mother, Giliane de Almedida Trindade Dorea. She and social worker Keith Mayara Ribeiro da Silva, gather around him to talk and play.

    “Where is the dog? Yes! That’s the dog. Very good Samuel!” says da Silva.

    The two encourage Samuel to try and stand up. He struggles. “Get up, use your legs,” says Dorea. “You are lazy. Be strong!”

    JENNY ANDERSON
    Samuel has made huge progress under the program.
    Samuel ignores the women’s requests. He wants to play. They shift gears. “Where is the ball?” da Silva asks. He grabs it and plays. “He’s very smart!” she says. She and Dorea are trying to get Samuel to use one hand, which cannot open, to play with the ball and then the truck. They work together for 15 minutes to find a way to get him to use his weak hand, but he just wants to play with his dominant hand.

    Dorea adores her son and plays with him patiently. But it has been hard, she says. When da Silva started to visit, Samuel could not sit up, he was quite shy and often cried. Da Silva has helped the family access the services and care that Samuel needs: a physiotherapist, an occupational therapist, an acupuncturist, and a doctor to check his hearing. These are services the government will provide, but finding them and organizing the appointments is time consuming and can be overwhelming.

    Dorea says Samuel has changed since Keith has been coming. “His interaction with people, he’s totally different. He was so shy.” In fact, she says the whole family has benefitted. Her older daughter also knows how to play with Samuel and loves to help. She appreciates the support. Raising a child with a disability is hard work. “The visitor is a like a friend who comes every week not just for fun but also to share my concerns,” she says. Her biggest complaint about the program? “It’s too short.”

    Will it survive?
    There is a maxim in investing that you have to survive short-run volatility to get to the long run—you can’t make money if you don’t have any. Criança Feliz faces the same problem. Child development takes time. It is not a jobs program or a construction project, which voters can see. The benefits can take years to show up, and politicians have never been known for their long-term thinking.

    Alberto Beltrame, the current minister of social development, is a believer. Start early and you shape character, transforming the child into a better young adult and, eventually, creating an improved workforce, he says. You reduce violence and crime. He agrees that Bolsa Familia alone is not enough. It does not promote autonomy, or break the cycle of poverty. What is needed is a two-pronged approach: In the short term, promote training, microcredit, and entrepreneurialism to create jobs. For the medium and long term, Criança Feliz.

    “We have a huge array of benefits that we are going to gain with this one program, and the cost is very, very low compared to others,” he says.

    In every home we visited, mothers said they loved the support, be it information, toys, or more often, company to share their challenges and triumphs. Priscila Soares da Silva has three children, including six-month-old Allyce, and another on the way. With Allyce, she says, she has changed her approach to parenting, setting time aside to play every day now. “You raise children your way,” she explains cooing over Allyce. “When you see there are other visions, you see the way you did it was not so right.” She is also refreshingly honest about something all parents know: We do it better when someone is watching. “There are things we know, but we are lazy. When she comes, we are better.”

    When I quietly ask her teenage daughter, who is lingering in the corner, what she thinks of the visits, she answers immediately: “She’s so much more patient,” she says of her mother. Her own takeaway: Parenting is hard, and she does not want to do it anytime soon. Priscila smiles at this, agreeing she started too soon, and noting the benefits of the program have extended beyond Allyce and the baby she will soon have. “The program got the family closer.”

    Evans, from the World Bank, is watching the program closely. “I see Criança Feliz as a big, bold, gamble about which I am optimistic,” he says. “But I think the measurement and the evaluation is crucial to see if it is a model that other countries want to echo.”

    If it survives the near term political turbulence, Beltrame says it can go way beyond the poor to benefit everyone. “We are trying to make the Brazilian people realize, independent from their level of income, that stimulating children from pregnancy through the first 1,000 days of life is important,” he says. Better young people equal healthier and better adults, who are more emotionally connected and can be better citizens.

    With Criança Feliz, Beltrame says, we have the “possibility of having a new destiny and future for each one of these children.”

    This reporting is part of a series supported by a grant from the Bernard van Leer Foundation. The foundation is also providing financial support to Criança Feliz. The author’s views are not necessarily those of the Bernard van Leer Foundation.

    https://qz.com/1298387/brazils-wildly-ambitious-incredibly-precarious-program-to-visit-every-poor-mother-and-change-their-childrens-destiny/
    BUILDING BABIES BRAINS Brazil’s audacious plan to fight poverty using neuroscience and parents’ love By Jenny AndersonJune 29, 2018 Osmar Terra is a tall man with a deep voice and an easy laugh—one that disguises the scale of his ambition to transform Brazilian society. A federal representative for nearly two decades, he is the driving force behind the world’s biggest experiment to prove that teaching poor parents how to love and nurture their infants will dramatically influence what kind of adults they become, and give Brazil its best shot at changing its current trajectory of violence, inequality, and poverty. Terra, aged 68, first became obsessed with the question of how humans develop nearly 30 years ago. As a cardiologist in the 1990s, he would read endless research papers about the neuroscience of early childhood. When he entered politics, becoming mayor of Santa Rosa in Rio Grande do Sul in 1992, he continued to grapple with the question, even studying for a master’s degree in neuroscience. The science, he believed, should lead to smart policy. As a doctor and a manager, a mayor and a state health secretary, he was always trying to figure out how to to tackle poverty head-on. “In every single activity I always ask myself, ‘What is the public policy that can be more transformative?'” he says. “How can we most dramatically improve the quality of life for our citizens, their health, their education?” The answer to that question, he came to realize, lay in starting at the beginning, at pregnancy, and in the first few years of a child’s life. Decades of groundbreaking research shows that the love and sense of safety experienced by a baby directly impacts how the child’s brain is wired. Adversity—especially persistent, stress-triggering adversity like neglect and abuse—hampers that development, and can result in poorer health, educational attainment, and early death. While science underpins his mission, Terra’s palpable passion for the topic and his skill at politicking eventually led him to create Criança Feliz, a highly ambitious parent coaching program he helped launch in 2017 to try and reach four million pregnant women and children by 2020. Under Criança Feliz, an army of trained social workers—a sort of national baby corps—are dispatched to the poorest corners of Brazil. Traveling by boat—sometimes battling crocodiles and floods—by foot, by car, by truck and by bus, these social workers go to people’s homes to show them how to play, sing, and show affection to their infants and young children. They explain to parents why this matters: Emotional safety underpins cognitive growth. Intelligence is not fixed, but formed through experience. HANNAH YI Home visitor, Sissi Elisabeth Gimenes visits a family in Arujá Parent coaching, and specifically, home visiting, is not new. The most famous study, which took place in Jamaica in the 1970s, showed that well-trained home visitors supporting poor mothers with weekly visits for two years led to big improvements in children’s cognition, behavior, and future earnings. One group of infants in that program who received coaching in their earliest years earned 25% more than a control group more than 20 years later. But Brazil’s ambition is audacious. No city or country has ever attempted to reach so many people in such a short amount of time. (The largest program doing this now is probably in Peru, reaching about 100,000 families; Criança Feliz is already reaching 300,000.) “They are raising the bar for what is possible nationally,” says Jan Sanderson, the former deputy minister of children from Manitoba, Canada, who is an expert in home visiting and recently traveled to observe the program. Talking to lawmakers in Brazil can feel like wandering around a neuroscience convention. Just how Brazil—a massive country with endemic poverty and grating inequality—came to embrace parent coaching as the next frontier in combating poverty is a story of Terra’s political will, the strategic savvy of a few foundations, the pivotal role of a Harvard program, and the compassion of a growing group of unlikely allies, from communists to far-right wing politicians. Talking to lawmakers in Brazil can feel like wandering around a neuroscience convention: One senator from the south can’t stop talking about working memory, while a mayor from the northern town of Boa Vista in Roirama state is fixated on synapse connection. At least 68 senators and congresspeople, judges, and mayors have converted to the cause, becoming evangelical in their focus on early childhood development. “I believe that this is the solution, not only for Brazil, but for any country in the world in terms of security, public security, education, and health care,” says José Medeiros, a senator from the state of Mato Grosso who heads the parliamentary committee on early childhood development. “It’s a cheap solution.” Terra’s claims are more dramatic. “We will change the world, starting from the very beginning.” Those words are hardly surprising coming from the man whom Ely Harasawa, Criança Feliz’s director, calls the program’s “godfather.” But the devil, of course, is in the details—and in Terra and his allies’ ability to steer a course through some rather treacherous political terrain. HANNAH YI Criança Feliz in action On a hot day in May, Adriana Miranda, a 22-year-old accounting student, visits Gabriela Carolina Herrera Campero, also 22, who is 36 weeks pregnant with her third child. Campero arrived in Brazil less than a year ago from Venezuela, fleeing with her husband and two children from that country’s financial collapse and ensuing chaos. She lives in Boa Vista, a city in the north of Brazil where 10% of the population are estimated to be refugees. HANNAH YI Adriana Miranda visits Gabriela Carolina Herrera Campero, who fled Venezuela’s financial collapse with her family one year ago. The two women greet each other warmly and start chatting, in spite of the fact that Miranda is speaking in Portuguese and Campero in Spanish. They sit together on plastic chairs on a concrete patio as Miranda goes through a checklist of questions about the pregnancy. Has Campero been to her prenatal visits? (Yes.) How is she feeling? (Hot.) Is she drinking enough water? (Yes.) And walking? (When it’s not too hot.) Is she depressed or anxious? (No, but worried, yes.) Does she feel supported by her husband? (Yes.) How is she sleeping and what kinds of foods is she eating? (She’s not sleeping well because she always has to pee, and she is eating a lot of fruit.) Miranda moves on to talking with Campero about attachment—how to create a strong bond with a baby in utero, and also once the baby is born. Does she know that at five months, the baby can hear her and that her voice will provide comfort to the baby when it is born? “It’s important the baby feel the love we are transmitting. When he is in distress, he will know your voice and it will calm him,” says Miranda. JENNY ANDERSON The curriculum. It’s a topic they have discussed before. Campero is eager to show what she has learned about the baby. (A part of the program requires that visitors check for knowledge.) “It has five senses, and if I talk, he will know my voice,” she says. “The baby will develop more.” They discuss the importance of cuddling a baby and being patient. Having a baby in the best of circumstances can be challenging. As an impoverished refugee, in a new country, it can be utterly overwhelming. I ask Campero, in Spanish, whether the program has been helpful. After all, she already has two kids. Doesn’t she know what to expect? She starts to cry. “They have helped me emotionally,” she says. “She has taught me so many things I didn’t know.” For example, she didn’t know to read to a baby, or that her baby could hear her in utero. Her son used to hit her belly; he now sings songs to the baby because she explained to him what she learned from Miranda. “I feel supported,” she tells me. ”I raised my kids as if I were taking care of a plant,” Medeiros recalls. Many people, rich and poor alike, have no idea what infants are capable of. Psychologists and neuroscientists believe they are creative geniuses, able to process information in far more sophisticated ways than we ever knew. But for that genius to show itself, the baby needs to feel safe and loved and to have attention. Medeiros explains how he viewed parenting before he went to the Harvard program. ”I raised my kids as if I were taking care of a plant,” he recalls. “You give them food, you take care of them.” He says he did the best he could, but “I did not have all this information. If I had encouraged them, stimulated them more, I would have been able to contribute much more to their development.” He is hardly the exception. A 2012 nationally representative survey in Brazil asked mothers, 52% of whom were college educated, what things were most important for the development of their children up to three years of age. Only 19% mentioned playing and walking, 18% said receiving attention from adults, and 12% picked receiving affection. “So playing, talking to the child, attachment, it’s not important for more than 80% of the people who are interviewed,” says Harasawa, the director of Criança Feliz. Criança Feliz is part of Brazil’s welfare program for its poorest citizens, called Bolsa Familia. Started 15 years ago, the welfare program is rooted in a cash transfer system that makes payments contingent on kids getting vaccines and staying in school, and pregnant mothers getting prenatal care. Vaccination rates in Brazil exceed 95% and primary school enrollment is near universal. Originally derided, and still criticized by some in Brazil as a handout program for the poor, Bolsa Familia is nevertheless being replicated worldwide. But a powerful coterie of Brazil’s political leaders believe it’s not enough. Cash transfers alleviate the conditions of poverty, but do not change its trajectory. “You’re in their home, you can’t interfere. But you are there to change their mindset.” That’s where Criança Feliz comes in. The program is adapted from UNICEF and the World Health Organization’s Care for Child Development parent coaching program. Trained social workers visit pregnant women every month and new parents once a week for the first three years of a child’s life. Sessions last about an hour. The goal is to not to play with the baby or train the parent, but to help parents have a more loving relationship with their children. The program costs $20 per child per month. The ministry of social development allocated $100 million in 2017 and $200 million in 2018. Cesar Victoria, an epidemiology professor at the Federal University of Pelotas in Brazil, will conduct a three-year randomized control trial comparing kids in the program to kids who are not, on measures of cognition, attachment, and motor development. Caregivers will be evaluated to see what they have learned about stimulation and play. Criança Feliz neither pities poverty nor romanticizes it. It recognizes that low-income people often lack information about how to raise their children and offers that information up, allowing parents to do what they will with it. “It’s one thing to say ‘read to your baby twice a day,'” says Sanderson. “It’s another thing to say, ‘when your baby hears your voice, there are little sparks firing in his brain that are helping him get ready to learn.'” Of course, it’s a delicate balance between respecting the right of a family to raise their children the way they see fit and offering information and evidence that could help the child and the family. “You’re in their home, you can’t interfere,” says Teresa Surrita, mayor of Boa Vista. “But you are there to change their mindset.” Liticia Lopes da Silva 23, a home visitor from Arujá, outside Sao Paulo, says that the initial visits with families can be hard. “They don’t understand the importance of stimulation and they are resistant to the idea of playing with children,” she says. “They are raised a different way, their parents did not have this interaction with them.” The issue is not just that some mothers don’t play with their babies; some barely look at them. Others treat the visitors as nannies, leaving them to play with the child, thus thwarting the very purpose of the visit—the interaction between parent and child. “It’s amazing to see the families evolve.” But after a few weeks of watching a social worker sit on the floor, playing with the child, and talking with her about the baby’s development, the mothers sometimes join in. “It’s amazing to see the families evolve,” says one home visitor in Arujá. “Three to four months after, you see the difference [in how] the mother plays with the child. In a different way, the whole family gets involved. Fathers often get involved and many families start to ask the visitors to come more often, although the visitors cannot oblige. When a home visitor named Sissi Elisabeth Gimenes visits a family in Arujá, she brings a color wheel painted onto a piece of recycled cardboard, along with painted clothespins. She asks Agatha, age three, to put a brown clip on the brown color. Agatha doesn’t know her colors and gets very shy. Sissi encourages Agatha while chatting with her mother, Alda Ferreira, about how play benefits brain development. She quietly models how to use encouragement and praise, praising Agatha for finding white—”the color of clouds”—as the girl slowly gets more confident and gets off her mother’s lap to play. The activity is intentional. The clips hone Agatha’s fine motor skills as well as her cognitive ones; the interaction with her mother helps create the synaptic connections that allow her brain to grow and pave the way to more effective learning later on. Alda tells us her daughter knows many things that her older daughter did not at the same age. HANNAH YI Agatha, age 3. The process changes the social workers as well. One social worker, who has a three-year-old herself, says that as parents, we think we know everything. “But I knew nothing.” In Arujá, where the home visitors are all psychology students at the local university, working with the program as part-time interns, many admitted to being shocked at seeing the reality of what they’d been taught in the classroom. Poverty looks different off the page. “We are changing because we are out of the bubble,” said one. “Theory is very shallow.” As we leave Campero’s house, I ask Miranda what she thought of the visit. She too starts to cry. “Gabriella recognizes the program is making a difference in her life,” she says, embarrassed and surprised at her own emotions. Campero had told Miranda a few weeks earlier that she was worried because the baby was not moving. Miranda suggested that Campero try singing to the child in her womb; the baby started to move. The man who made it happen In 2003, as secretary of health in Rio Grande do Sul, Terra created Programa Primeira Infância Melhor (the Better Early Childhood Development Program, or PIM), a home visiting program based on Educa tu Hijo, a very successful case study from Cuba (pdf). Results have been mixed, but Terra saw the impact it had on families and communities. He set his sights on expanding the program nationally. One of the most persuasive arguments for the program, he knew, was the science. But he had to build votes for that science. In 2011, he started lobbying everyone he could to try and get financial backing from congress to fund a week-long course that he helped create at Harvard University’s Center for the Developing Child. He thought if lawmakers—who would be attracted to the prestige of a course at Harvard—could learn from the neuroscientists and physicians there, they might also become advocates for the policy. “Anybody in the corridor he sees, it’s a hug, it’s a tap on the chest, and then it’s early childhood development,” says Mary Young, director of the Center for Child Development at the China Development Research Foundation and an advisor to Criança Feliz. “He’s got the will and the skill.” “Anybody in the corridor he sees, it’s a hug, it’s a tap on the chest, and then it’s early childhood development. He’s got the will and the skill.” One convert, Michel Temer, who was vice president from 2011 and became president in 2016 when his boss was impeached, tapped Terra to be minister of social development. Soon after, Criança Feliz was born. But trying to get Terra to talk about legislation can be a challenge. What he wants to talk about are neurons, synapses, and working memory. Did I know that one million new neural connections are formed every second in the first few years of life? And that those neural connections are key to forming memories? “The number of connections depends on the stimuli of the environment,” he says. And the environment of poverty is relentlessly unkind to the stimuli available to children. HANNAH YI Osmar Terra’s enthusiasm is infectious. Attachment, he explains, is key—not just psychologically, but neurobiologically. “If a child feels emotionally safe and secure and attached they explore the world in a better way. The safer they feel, the safer their base, the faster they learn,” he says. The first 1,000 days Over the past 20 years, scientists have focused on the importance of the first 1,000 days of life. Brains build themselves, starting with basic connections and moving to more complex ones. Like a house, the better the foundation of basic connections, the more complex are the ones that can be built on top. In an infant’s earliest days, it’s not flashcards that create their brains, but relationships (pdf), via an interactive process that scientists call “serve and return.” When an infant or young child babbles, looks at an adult, or cries, and the adult responds with an affectionate gaze, words, or hugs, neural connections are created in the child’s brain that allow them to later develop critical tools like self-control and communication. “Children who experience profound neglect early in life, if you don’t reverse that by the age of two, the chance they will end up with poor development outcomes is high.” If kids do not experience stimulation and nurturing care, or if they face repeated neglect or abuse, the neural networks do not organize well. And that, says Charles Nelson, a pediatrics professor at Harvard Medical School, can affect the immune system, the cardiovascular system, the metabolic system, and even alter the physical structure of the brain. “Children who experience profound neglect early in life, if you don’t reverse that by the age of two, the chance they will end up with poor development outcomes is high,” he says. The strongest buffer to protect against that? A parent, or caring adult. The case for early childhood as policy was elevated by Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman. As founder of the Center for the Economics of Human Development at the University of Chicago, he demonstrated the economic case for why the best investment a policymaker can make is in the earliest years of childhood, because that’s when intervention has the highest payoffs. “The highest rate of return in early childhood development comes from investing as early as possible, from birth through age five, in disadvantaged families,” Heckman said in 2012. His work showed that every dollar invested in a child over those years delivers a 13% return on investment every year. “Starting at age three or four is too little too late, as it fails to recognize that skills beget skills in a complementary and dynamic way,” he said. More than 506 Brazilian legislators, judges, mayors, state politicians and prosecutors have attended the Harvard course that Terra helped set up. There, Jack Shonkoff, a pediatrician and professor, explains what infants need to thrive, what toxic stress does to a child and how to build resilience. The attendees are put in groups—maybe a state senator from one state with council members from municipalities in the same state—to spend the week on a project; in the next two-and-a-half months, they finish it with the help of a technical facilitator. “It’s a little facilitation and a little manipulation,” says Eduardo Queiroz, outgoing head of the Fundação Maria Cecília Souto Vidigal, a foundation which has played an integral role in supporting and shepherding Crianza Feliz. “We create a community.” It costs $8,800 to attend the program. Some pay their own way. Congress pays for lawmakers to go, and the Fundação Maria Cecília Souto Vidigal funds between 10 and 12 scholarships a year. The fellowship does not require the participants to do anything with their knowledge. But many have. Surrita, who is in her fifth term as mayor of Boa Vista, focused her early governing efforts on working with teens, tackling drugs and gangs as a way to help them. After her week at Harvard, she changed her approach, deciding to make Boa Vista the “early childhood development capital of Brazil.” Investing in young children, she argues, will mean not so many problems with teens: ”After taking this course Harvard on the ECD I realized how important it would be for us to work with the kids from pregnancy up to 6 years old that to develop them mentally and cognitively and that way I realized that it would be possible for us to improve the performance of the teenagers lives by working on them when their kids.” Obstacles and opportunities Criança Feliz faces two significant threats: the prospect of being shut down, and the challenges created by its own ambition. Although the Legal Framework for Early Childhood Development, passed in 2016, underpins Criança Feliz, it currently exists as a decree of the president. Of the last three presidents, one is in jail, one was impeached and the current one, Temer, faces criminal charges. With approval ratings of around 3%, Temer has decided not to run again, and the program’s supporters are worried that whoever wins the election will dismantle what the previous government has done (a common practice in Brazil). “We are concerned every day because the program is ongoing and we don’t know if the [next] president will support it,” says Ilnara Trajano, the state coordinator from Roirama state. “We are not trying to replace the family. We are trying to support it.” Mederios and Terra say the solution to avoiding political death is to create a law that will automatically fund Criança Feliz at the state level, rather than relying on presidential support. Terra, who exudes confidence and optimism, is sure such a law can be passed before the October date set for presidential elections. Others, including Harasawa, are not so sanguine. “We are in a race against time,” she says. She is working around the clock to build support one municipality at a time. She worries that not everyone thinks the government should play a role in parenting. “We are not trying to replace the family,” she says. “We are trying to support it.” Beyond its political future, the program itself faces a host of issues. In many places, there aren’t enough skilled workers to act as home visitors. There’s also the fraught logistics of getting around. In Careiro da Varzea, in Amazonas state, home visitors often travel five hours, by foot, to reach pregnant women and young children; they are tired when they arrive. In Arujá, seven home visitors share one car to visit 200 families, or 30 visits each, per week. Internet services can be terrible, and wild dogs often chase the social workers. The visitors are trained in a curriculum that tells them which materials to use, what to teach and when, and the research that underpins the guidance they give to mothers. But they need more training, and the curriculum does not always prepare them for the poverty and distress they see. Some mothers want to give up their babies; they did not want them in the first place. Many suffer from depression. The social workers are trained to support nurturing care, but they are not mental-health experts. Inevitably, turnover is high. In Careiro da Varzea, in Amazonas state, home visitors often travel five hours, by foot, to reach pregnant women and young children. The evidence for the value of home visiting at scale is at once highly compelling and frustratingly imprecise. Consider the case of Colombia: From 2009 to 2011, researchers there studied 1,419 children between the ages of 12 to 24 months to see whether coaching their mothers on interactions with their babies could help the children’s development. After 18 months, the researchers found a host of benefits. The children whose mothers had received coaching got smarter. Their language skills improved, and their home environments were judged to be more stimulating. But when researchers went back two years later, they found the children—now about five years old—had not maintained those benefits. “Two years after the intervention ended, we found no effects on children’s cognition, language, school readiness, executive functioning, or behavioral development,” the study reported. (Criança Feliz will run for a longer period of time, however.) Governments face notoriously hard choices about where to invest their money. “Early childhood development is a really valuable investment,” says Dave Evans, an economist at the World Bank. “But so is primary education and the quality of primary education, and if you spend a dollar in one place, it’s a dollar you aren’t spending in another place.” Samuel, Keith, and Giliane One of the virtues of a home visiting program, compared to say, building child-care centers, is that social workers can see what is happening inside a home: signs of domestic violence, other children in need, a mother’s depression, a father’s unemployment. They can help with kids like Samuel, who was born with cerebral palsy. At two-and-a-half years old, Samuel loves his ball, and shrieks with delight when he is presented with a truck. He can’t stop smiling at his mother, Giliane de Almedida Trindade Dorea. She and social worker Keith Mayara Ribeiro da Silva, gather around him to talk and play. “Where is the dog? Yes! That’s the dog. Very good Samuel!” says da Silva. The two encourage Samuel to try and stand up. He struggles. “Get up, use your legs,” says Dorea. “You are lazy. Be strong!” JENNY ANDERSON Samuel has made huge progress under the program. Samuel ignores the women’s requests. He wants to play. They shift gears. “Where is the ball?” da Silva asks. He grabs it and plays. “He’s very smart!” she says. She and Dorea are trying to get Samuel to use one hand, which cannot open, to play with the ball and then the truck. They work together for 15 minutes to find a way to get him to use his weak hand, but he just wants to play with his dominant hand. Dorea adores her son and plays with him patiently. But it has been hard, she says. When da Silva started to visit, Samuel could not sit up, he was quite shy and often cried. Da Silva has helped the family access the services and care that Samuel needs: a physiotherapist, an occupational therapist, an acupuncturist, and a doctor to check his hearing. These are services the government will provide, but finding them and organizing the appointments is time consuming and can be overwhelming. Dorea says Samuel has changed since Keith has been coming. “His interaction with people, he’s totally different. He was so shy.” In fact, she says the whole family has benefitted. Her older daughter also knows how to play with Samuel and loves to help. She appreciates the support. Raising a child with a disability is hard work. “The visitor is a like a friend who comes every week not just for fun but also to share my concerns,” she says. Her biggest complaint about the program? “It’s too short.” Will it survive? There is a maxim in investing that you have to survive short-run volatility to get to the long run—you can’t make money if you don’t have any. Criança Feliz faces the same problem. Child development takes time. It is not a jobs program or a construction project, which voters can see. The benefits can take years to show up, and politicians have never been known for their long-term thinking. Alberto Beltrame, the current minister of social development, is a believer. Start early and you shape character, transforming the child into a better young adult and, eventually, creating an improved workforce, he says. You reduce violence and crime. He agrees that Bolsa Familia alone is not enough. It does not promote autonomy, or break the cycle of poverty. What is needed is a two-pronged approach: In the short term, promote training, microcredit, and entrepreneurialism to create jobs. For the medium and long term, Criança Feliz. “We have a huge array of benefits that we are going to gain with this one program, and the cost is very, very low compared to others,” he says. In every home we visited, mothers said they loved the support, be it information, toys, or more often, company to share their challenges and triumphs. Priscila Soares da Silva has three children, including six-month-old Allyce, and another on the way. With Allyce, she says, she has changed her approach to parenting, setting time aside to play every day now. “You raise children your way,” she explains cooing over Allyce. “When you see there are other visions, you see the way you did it was not so right.” She is also refreshingly honest about something all parents know: We do it better when someone is watching. “There are things we know, but we are lazy. When she comes, we are better.” When I quietly ask her teenage daughter, who is lingering in the corner, what she thinks of the visits, she answers immediately: “She’s so much more patient,” she says of her mother. Her own takeaway: Parenting is hard, and she does not want to do it anytime soon. Priscila smiles at this, agreeing she started too soon, and noting the benefits of the program have extended beyond Allyce and the baby she will soon have. “The program got the family closer.” Evans, from the World Bank, is watching the program closely. “I see Criança Feliz as a big, bold, gamble about which I am optimistic,” he says. “But I think the measurement and the evaluation is crucial to see if it is a model that other countries want to echo.” If it survives the near term political turbulence, Beltrame says it can go way beyond the poor to benefit everyone. “We are trying to make the Brazilian people realize, independent from their level of income, that stimulating children from pregnancy through the first 1,000 days of life is important,” he says. Better young people equal healthier and better adults, who are more emotionally connected and can be better citizens. With Criança Feliz, Beltrame says, we have the “possibility of having a new destiny and future for each one of these children.” This reporting is part of a series supported by a grant from the Bernard van Leer Foundation. The foundation is also providing financial support to Criança Feliz. The author’s views are not necessarily those of the Bernard van Leer Foundation. https://qz.com/1298387/brazils-wildly-ambitious-incredibly-precarious-program-to-visit-every-poor-mother-and-change-their-childrens-destiny/
    Brazil's audacious plan to fight poverty using neuroscience and parents' love
    Brazil has launched the world's biggest experiment to prove that how parents nurture their children will dramatically influence the adults they become.
    QZ.COM
    0 Comments 0 Shares

No results to show

No results to show

No results to show

No results to show

No results to show