Daily Archives: January 14, 2020

World’s Largest Asset Manager BlackRock To Build Around Sustainability In Investments : NPR


NPR’s Ari Shapiro talks with Larry Fink — CEO of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager — about his plan to put climate sustainability at the center of the company’s investment strategy.


The world’s largest asset manager is putting climate change at the center of its investment strategy. BlackRock oversees almost $7 trillion in investments. The founder and CEO, Larry Fink, made the announcement in his annual letters to clients and chief executives of the world’s largest companies. He said BlackRock will exit investments that present a high sustainability-related risk. He also said the company would launch new investment products that screen for fossil fuels.

I asked Larry Fink about his message to investors who might say, that’s all well and good, but you’re not maximizing my profits.

LARRY FINK: Well, in the United States, BlackRock as a fiduciary has to live under that mandate. That is – the ERISA rules in the United States that the No. 1 responsibility is to maximize return. This is one of the reasons why the United States is actually behind many places in the world that places sustainability much more prominent. We have also made a statement that we believe a sustainable portfolio will outperform or, indeed, will maximize your profits over a long period of time.

….(read more).

Study: 2019 Was Hottest Year for World’s Oceans on Record

Jan 14, 2020

2019 was the hottest year for the world’s oceans on record. That’s according to a new study published in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences. The Earth’s surface temperature also recorded its second-hottest year on record last year, as the climate crisis leads to the warming of the Earth’s oceans and atmosphere.

Cheng, L., Abraham, J., Zhu, J. et al. Record-Setting Ocean Warmth Continued in 2019. Adv. Atmos. Sci. 37, 137–142 (2020) doi: 10.1007/s00376-020-9283-7

France to Send More Troops to West Africa Amid Rising Violence in Sahel

Jan 14, 2020

France says it will send about 200 additional troops to West Africa, even as many protesters in Mali and other West African nations are calling on France to withdraw the more than 4,000 troops it has stationed in the former French colonies. West African leaders are warning of increasing violence in the Sahel region. This is Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré.

President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré: “2019 was a difficult year for the Sahel in general and for the Lake Chad region, insofar that I would say that the increase of attacks in the Sahel, the human and material destruction that we are suffering and the unprecedented humanitarian crisis we are experiencing in this zone has made us react and it shows us that we have to enter a more advanced stage regarding the coordination of our operations.”

The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism (American Empire Project): Andrew J. Bacevich


“Andrew Bacevich speaks truth to power, no matter who’s in power, which may be why those of both the left and right listen to him.”―Bill Moyers

An immediate New York Times bestseller, The Limits of Power offers an unparalleled examination of the profound triple crisis facing America: an economy in disarray that can no longer be fixed by relying on expansion abroad; a government transformed by an imperial presidency into a democracy in name only; and an engagement in endless wars that has severely undermined the body politic.

Writing with knowledge born of experience, conservative historian and former military officer Andrew J. Bacevich argues that if the nation is to solve its predicament, it will need the revival of a distinctly American approach: the neglected tradition of realism. In contrast to the multiple illusions that have governed American policy since 1945, he calls for respect for power and its limits; aversion to claims of exceptionalism; skepticism of easy solutions, especially those involving force; and a conviction that Americans must live within their means. Only a return to such principles, Bacevich eloquently argues, can provide common ground for fixing America’s urgent problems before the damage becomes irreparable.

See related discussion of wider and more pervasive forms of “exceptionalism” at the base of our human predicament:


The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory: Andrew J. Bacevich


A thought-provoking and penetrating account of the post-Cold war follies and delusions that culminated in the age of Donald Trump from the bestselling author of The Limits of Power.

When the Cold War ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Washington establishment felt it had prevailed in a world-historical struggle. Our side had won, a verdict that was both decisive and irreversible. For the world’s “indispensable nation,” its “sole superpower,” the future looked very bright. History, having brought the United States to the very summit of power and prestige, had validated American-style liberal democratic capitalism as universally applicable.

In the decades to come, Americans would put that claim to the test. They would embrace the promise of globalization as a source of unprecedented wealth while embarking on wide-ranging military campaigns to suppress disorder and enforce American values abroad, confident in the ability of U.S. forces to defeat any foe. Meanwhile, they placed all their bets on the White House to deliver on the promise of their Cold War triumph: unequaled prosperity, lasting peace, and absolute freedom.

In The Age of Illusions, bestselling author Andrew Bacevich takes us from that moment of seemingly ultimate victory to the age of Trump, telling an epic tale of folly and delusion. Writing with his usual eloquence and vast knowledge, he explains how, within a quarter of a century, the United States ended up with gaping inequality, permanent war, moral confusion, and an increasingly angry and alienated population, as well, of course, as the strangest president in American history.

Tacky’s Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War: Vincent Brown

A gripping account of the largest slave revolt in the eighteenth-century British Atlantic world, an uprising that laid bare the interconnectedness of Europe, Africa, and America, shook the foundations of empire, and reshaped ideas of race and popular belonging.

In the second half of the eighteenth century, as European imperial conflicts extended the domain of capitalist agriculture, warring African factions fed their captives to the transatlantic slave trade while masters struggled continuously to keep their restive slaves under the yoke. In this contentious atmosphere, a movement of enslaved West Africans in Jamaica (then called Coromantees) organized to throw off that yoke by violence. Their uprising―which became known as Tacky’s Revolt―featured a style of fighting increasingly familiar today: scattered militias opposing great powers, with fighters hard to distinguish from noncombatants.

It was also part of a more extended borderless conflict that spread from Africa to the Americas and across the island. Even after it was put down, the insurgency rumbled throughout the British Empire at a time when slavery seemed the dependable bedrock of its dominion. That certitude would never be the same, nor would the views of black lives, which came to inspire both more fear and more sympathy than before.

Tracing the roots, routes, and reverberations of this event across disparate parts of the Atlantic world, Vincent Brown offers us a superb geopolitical thriller. Tacky’s Revolt expands our understanding of the relationship between European, African, and American history, as it speaks to our understanding of wars of terror today.

See related “Book Event”



Charles Sumner’s Haitian Medal – State Library of Massachusetts




The reverse side:


Public access QR codes:

QR-Sumner-Medal1754 French Map of Caribbean – Jacques-Nicholas Bellin:


Domingue – [Haiti] – Bellin, c. 1758


Jamaica – S. Bellin, 1758





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