Child Labor on the Rise During COVID-19 Pandemic

The global coronavirus pandemic is rapidly changing the progress made in recent years to end child labor. Because of the various shutdowns, school closures, and high death rates in some communities, children are finding themselves in forced labor situations.

Kids are working on construction crews, sifting garbage, and even forced into prostitution. Not only does this action potentially harm their mental or physical health, but it also jeopardizes their future schooling opportunities.

Families in need of income, especially in the developing world, are enlisting their children to get extra cash. Most of these jobs are illegal, and many are highly dangerous. Children as young as 8 have been forced into this work.

Over 1.6 Billion Children Have Been Displaced

COVID-19 closed schools all over the world. Nearly two billion kids found themselves out of the classroom for the entire year. For those who were lucky enough to continue with online or in-person instruction, the modifications created milestone setbacks.

As the world gets a grip on the coronavirus in 2021, an estimated 24 million children may never return to school. This rate is extraordinarily high in the developing world because families often grow dependent on whatever little income they generated.

Why are kids being asked to do so much? COVID-19 disproportionally affects older adults with severe cases.

Although it can be potentially deadly to anyone, the hospitalization rate in the United States for kids 17 and under is 14.5 per 100,000 people. For those in the 30-39-year age demographic, its 121.4 per 100,000.

Hospitalization rates continues to rise by another 100 cases per 100,000 people for every ten years of age.

How Do We Stop Child Labor Increases?

During the 2010s, the world proved that it could move in a positive direction when working to end child labor.

Community awareness, social mobilization, and empowerment to create change are all ways to stop this process.

We must also render aid whenever possible. Agricultural losses, unemployment, and restrictions make it challenging for families to find income.

Together, we can be a voice that restores the gains we’ve made. Kids deserve a childhood, but, more importantly, they need the chance to attend school and pursue their dreams.

A Post-Election Retrospective: 2020 in Review

Presidents must live up to their promises. At the very least, they should create reality instead of fiction.

When President Obama said that if you wanted to keep your doctor with the Affordable Care Act, then you could – it turned into a key moment for his administration when that result wasn’t always possible.

President Trump said the same thing about COVID-19 tests early in the pandemic. That also turned out to be a false statement.

The United States has had a challenging year in 2020. Although the Biden-Harris ticket collected the most votes in election history for a single ticket, Trump holds the second-most after the election. That means the country remains divided on several crucial issues.

Consistency Is the Problem for Conservatives

The difference in the 2020 election involved consistency. People may not have liked Biden and Harris, but independents and moderates voted for them because their actions are more predictable than Trump’s promises.

With conservative evangelical Christians leading the charge for modern Republicans, the spotlight on individual beliefs and perspectives is much brighter.

Abortion is a primary concern for this demographic. Although the voting bloc campaigns against Planned Parenthood, the group actively seeks allies like Israel, the UK, and Australia that provide the same services without equal condemnation.

Everyone is entitled to hold whatever perspective they want on any subject they prefer. That’s the beautiful part about freedom! When inconsistency creates hesitation, it becomes a problem that expands beyond the subject itself.

Does Joe Biden Hold a Mandate for Governing?

If Trump called his 304-227 electoral college defeat of Hillary Clinton a “landslide,” it looks like he suffered the same feat at the hands of Biden.

What is notable about the 2020 election is the popular vote difference. Biden carried over ten million more votes than Clinton, which is a feat that Trump also achieved.

When we look back at past elections, the electorate has been relatively stable since 2008, with about the same percentage of people voting for Democrats and Republicans. George W. Bush won a majority of the votes in 2004, which was the first time since 1988.

Time will tell if Biden-Harris can hold up to their promises. If they do not, we can expect a rigorous challenge from Republicans in 2024 – and it might be Donald Trump leading the way.

Near-Record Turnout the Story of the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election

The Trump vs. Biden 2020 U.S. Presidential election brought out the highest number of voters ever seen in the United States. Over 150 million people participated in the event by voting early, using mail-in ballots, or visiting their local polling place on Election Day.

That created a voter turnout percentage that reached nearly 70%. That figure is the highest rating in 120 years.

Although all of that participation is good news, it is still remarkable to think that these records got set while about one in every three eligible voters decided not to participate. Some of them may have stayed home because of COVID-19, but it might also be due to not wanting either major political candidate in office.

Almost 74% of Eligible Voters Cast Ballots in 1900

The 1900 U.S. Presidential election still carries the record for the highest percentage of eligible voters participating. The contest pitted the incumbent William McKinley against William Jennings Bryan.

It was the first election since Ulysses S. Grant where the incumbent President won the election.

What is notable about this election is that it had numerous third-party tickets running, with Bryan at the head of four different nominations.

About 14.5 million people voted in the 1900 election, with Teddy Roosevelt bringing in numerous votes for the Republicans.

As with the 2020 election, the primary driver of the vote was a polarized split regarding how to progress toward the future. With McKinley’s assassination in 1901, it would end up falling on Roosevelt to carry the banner.

What Drove People to the Polls in 2020?

The central issues of the 2020 election included how COVID-19 was handled by the government, civil unrest after the death of George Floyd, Ruth Bader Ginsburg passing away, and the Republican about-face on nominating Supreme Court justices after blocking Merrick Garland four years before.

Having Kamala Harris on the Democratic ticket helped to bring back some moderate and independent voters that had gone to Trump in the 2016 election.

Will the next election provide a similar turnout? It is possible, especially if people become dissatisfied with the performance from Biden and Harris.

Will the World Contain COVID-19 in 2021?

The world has spent the better part of a year attempting to gain control of the COVID-19 virus. At the same time, China has managed to get things under control, New Zealand has been remarkably free of the coronavirus, and Australia dropped below 100 new cases per day since September 2020.

Taiwan is another success story.  After an initial spike in early March 2020, the country hasn’t had ten new cases reported on a single day.

On the other end of the spectrum, the United States reported over 142,000 cases on November 11, 2020.

What lessons could the U.S. learn to help the world contain COVID-19?

New Zealand Went Over 100 Days Without a Local Transmission

Although New Zealand is a small island country with several rural areas, it is the home of about five million people. In August 2020, the country had about 25 active COVID-19 cases after going an entire month without having any.

What changes did New Zealand make to stop the spread of the new coronavirus?

1. The government enacted a pandemic plan.

New Zealand initiated their influenza pandemic plan in February before COVID-19 started spreading globally. This step prepared hospitals for the new patients that would potentially arrive.

2. Border-control policies were immediately started.

New Zealand’s first COVID-19 case was reported on February 26. The government thought the disease would be more like influenza, but it quickly shifted gears once it was discovered to be more like SARS. The nation went into a nationwide lockdown on March 26. Another two weeks at a slightly lower level essentially stopped the viral tracks for good.

3. Empathic leadership brought people together.

In the United States, the leadership approach from states and the federal government created an “us vs. them” environment with the general public. New Zealand (and the other countries that successfully eradicated COVID-19) brought people together. It became a unified approach to defeat the virus.

4. The general population remained consistent.

You won’t find arguments about wearing masks or taking safety precautions in New Zealand as you will in the United States. Even with the fall surge in 2020, everyone stayed consistent with their activities. That’s why the island nation’s biggest number since the lockdowns is 25 new cases, experienced on October 21.

COVID-19 spreads when people stop being vigilant. Taking care of yourself with products from brands like Sunwarrior and Results RNA can give your immune system the boost it needs. The world can contain this virus, but it will take a global effort to make it happen – even with vaccines available.

Coronavirus Scams Targeting Families

Whenever something terrible happens in our world, the con artists come out in droves to take advantage of that fact.

The scams they create often target the most vulnerable people in our communities. Older adults are usually the primary mark because they have money available and want to protect their interests.

What Coronavirus Scams Are Out There Today?

Home Testing Kits

Scammers sent texts or make calls offering to send testing kits to gather credit card or bank account information. Some try to make it seem as if they are affiliated with Medicare or Medicaid.

Fake Treatments

Some con artists try to take advantage of the hope people have for a cure. They’ll peddle fake vaccines, medication, or devices that prevent or treat COVID-19. The idea is that a shortage may happen in the future, making now the best time to invest.

Stimulus Scams

When the federal government issued stimulus funds to most Americans, that legislation included grants and low-interest loans. Scammers have contacted families to ask about this money to verify its deposit by requesting bank account verification.

Charity Scams

Some scammers pretend to be a charitable organization to peddle the care and compassion that people have for those in need. Before donating to any COVID-19 relief effort, please verify that organization’s credentials. You can also route your funds through known charities to avoid this problem altogether.

Insurance Scams

A few scammers call older adults to offer low-cost life insurance policies or healthcare addendums to protect against COVID-19. They’ll often talk about how free testing kits are part of the package. 

You’ll find lots of robocalls hitting cell phones right now that pose as an official contact with the Social Security Administration. These messages say that individual benefits will decrease or stop because of COVID-19 unless a payment or personal information gets sent. The reality of these scams is that they try to be believable, but the lies are transparent if you know where to look.

Facebook Bans All QAnon Groups

Facebook banned about one-third of QAnon groups for promoting violence in August. In October, the social media platform took the next step by classifying the movement’s theories as dangerous.

That started the process of removing every group page and Instagram account that promoted themselves as representatives.

In response, some groups have started using coded language to avoid algorithmic detection. They often refer to themselves as Cue instead of Q, working to integrate themselves into other groups outside their initial infrastructure spectrum.

Is QAnon a Conservative Movement?

Although the QAnon is said to be run by a Trump Administration insider, the group leans toward conservatism without being an outright proponent of the Republican Party.

The theory’s core is that Trump is leading a crackdown on a pedophilia ring that includes Hollywood elitists and Democratic officials.

One of the most recent releases from QAnon suggested that Trump faked his COVID-19 diagnosis to engage in secret arrests.

Trump has praised the group as being patriots, with at least a dozen GOP candidates supporting it. 

What You Need to Know About QAnon

QAnon stared at 4chan, which was known as a place to create and spread memes. It has become a larger social media platform for people to connect through this thought thread.

It formed in 2017 with cryptic clues posted on 4chan and 8chan under the nickname Q.

Outside of the pedophilia emphasis, the rest of the story is open to interpretation. The posts are more like riddles than actual fact, with enthusiasts filling the gaps by creating their own content on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. 

The goal with many of its followers is to connect the various incidents throughout history to one deep state problem.

All conspiracies have a particular hint of truth about them. What is critical with this movement or any other is that actual facts get verified. When all that is offered is opinion or assumption, the published concerns should be taken with a grain of salt.

How Severe Was the 2020 Hurricane Season?

Tropical Storm Eta formed in the central Caribbean on Halloween Day. That made it the 28th named storm of the year, making the 2020 season tied with 2005 for the most in a single season.

This year is the first time that Eta is used for naming a storm. There were 27 named systems in 2005, with another unnamed one added to the figures after a post-season analysis of the year by the National Hurricane Season.

It’s not just the number that matters with the 2020 hurricane season, which isn’t officially over at the time of this writing. It is the number of storms that made landfall.

The United States experienced 11 tropical systems coming ashore during 2020, with six hurricanes part of the mix. That ties or beats the records for land-based activity, with Louisiana getting five of them: Cristobal, Marco, Laura, Delta, and Zeta.

How to Prepare for a Hurricane

When people say that they will ride out a hurricane, that means they’re staying home while the storm blows through their community.

If it is a category 1 storm, that might be a feasible approach. When a category 5 hurricane is headed your way, an evacuation plan might be necessary.

These steps can help you prepare for those circumstances if you live along the eastern or southern U.S. coast.

  • Sign up for local warnings and alerts. You’ll need an evacuation plan to follow if you must leave your home.
  • Stock up on emergency supplies, including food, water, medication, and supplements. Order your items from Natural Ophthalmics right away.
  • Secure enough supplies for your pets. Use the items from Pet Wellbeing to supplement their needs to ensure good health throughout the ordeal.
  • Lockdown the exterior of your home. Any potted plants, patio furniture, bicycles, and outdoor decorations need to come inside. If an item must stay outdoors, wrap them in blankets or burlap for protection.
  • Move items to higher ground when possible. Store important documents in waterproof containers. You’ll want to identify a shelter room for your home and avoid any unprotected doors or windows.

Hurricanes and tropical storms can create devastating damage. If you live in an affected area, please look at insurance options and other protections to reduce the risk of long-term financial harm.

What Led Rio Tinto Mining Company to Blow Up a 46,000-Year-Old Aboriginal Site?

Rio Tinto Mining Company was pursuing iron ore in Western Australia in May 2020. Their work took them into areas of human habitation that date back several millennia.

The company went through two rock shelters in Juukan Gorge, in the Pilbara region. It wasn’t illegal, as the company had obtained permission to mine there in 2013. Even when relics, human hair, and faunal remains were found a year after the permit issuance, the mining activities were still authorized.

Protesters descended on the company immediately. Critics say that Rio Tinto knew the site’s importance before blasting for iron, but they chose to ignore it. The business had even hired lawyers to manage potential injunctions.

Rio Tinto Shook Up Their Management Immediately

The fallout from the destruction of the Aboriginal site was immediate. The company’s CEO and Executive Director agreed to depart after negotiating an exit from the company. The head of corporate relations and the person in charge of the iron ore division resigned from their posts.

As the company apologized for the actions taken, three executives got stripped of their performance bonuses. Rio Tinto’s internal review found that although the blasting was legal, it fell short of the standards that the business expected of its inner guidance.

It should be noted that these steps weren’t taken until several significant stakeholders expressed concern about C-Suite accountability.

The National Native Title Council announced that they appreciated the leadership changes happening at Rio Tinto, but he also stressed that more work was necessary. The mining company was already considered one of the best in the industry for its standards, so what would stop someone else from pursuing the same tactic?

With Rio Tinto refusing to carry out independent reviews of the decision-making process, concern exists that other indigenous sites could lose their priceless artifacts.

The goal is to prevent history from getting destroyed in the future. If we are to be successful, each country must create regulations and enforceable laws to ensure a company can’t change its standards in the pursuit of profit.

Why Bob Woodward Withheld Trump Tapes Until He Published His Book

The audiotapes that Bob Woodward produced from his Trump interviews were stunning. Not only did the President know how dangerous COVID-19 was in February, but he also chose to downplay the risks.

With this information presented to Woodward, why didn’t he come forward with the interview tapes? Doesn’t he have a journalistic ethic to demonstrate what he’s learned to help others?

The issue here is more about Donald Trump. Woodward had to verify everything he was told since the President is cavalier with the truth. It took about three months for the publisher to realize that everything being discussed was authentic.

That means Woodward and his publisher knew about Trump’s bait-and-switch since May. Why didn’t they release the book at that time?

Long-Form Reporting Takes More Time to Develop

Although the criticism of Woodward making money by withholding the Trump tapes is valid, it is also a reflection of the format.

It takes time to edit, format, and publish a book. It’s like a long-term version of a newspaper.

Publishers make money from newspapers because people buy them to read what is happening in the world. Woodward’s book is no different from that.

If anything, Woodward’s delay ensured that each reader could see the most accurate story possible. It’s a book-length investigative journalism piece that exposes the turmoil, lies, and deceit from the Trump Administration.

That means the onus for the choices fall on Simon & Schuster, Woodward’s publisher. Deciding to hold the story until the election season makes the narrative more political. It enhances the profit motive while putting innocent lives at risk because of the misinformation in the news cycle.

There’s no doubt that the books sell. Woodward almost sold a million copies of his last Trump narrative. Most are in the 200,000 range. That’s good money in an era when everyone can access information online.

Woodward needed to verify his information. He fact-checked everything. Although the criticism for holding the story is valid, he also followed the industry’s standard practices.

What Happens If People Don’t Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?

When we look back on 2020, the year will be one that many will want to forget. We’ve had murder hornets, zombie hurricanes, asteroid threats, and COVID-19 to manage.

Although scientists are working furiously to produce a COVID-19 vaccine to help life achieve some normalcy, many people have concerns about getting this shot.

You can take products from Now Foods and Douglas Labs to support your general health, but it is not a coronavirus cure. What happens if no one gets the vaccine because of safety concerns?

State Governments Can Mandate Vaccine Use

Although the United States is the “home of the free,” the government has some remarkable power to compel a choice.

The Supreme Court ruled in 1905 that Massachusetts could fine people who refused to get a smallpox vaccine. That ruling set the standard for vaccination requirements to attend public schools.

The courts have consistently found that when a medical necessity exists, the government can mandate a choice.

That doesn’t mean you’re forced to take a COVID-19 vaccine. You’d still have the right to refuse. If you decide to follow that journey, it could result in fines, jail time, and a lack of economic access.

States can limit access to services, employment, and education if people decide not to get vaccinated.

Congress Could Enact a Federal Requirement

Congress has the authority to legislate. If these elected officials decided that a vaccine mandate was necessary, it would likely be in the form of a tax penalty.

That means people might need to navigate federal and state requirements to manage their vaccination preferences.

States would still need to offer exemptions. You could expect individuals with legitimate medical risks, such as pregnancy or allergies, to avoid taking a COVID-19 vaccine. You won’t find philosophical or religious exemptions available since those aren’t part of the Free Exercise Clause in the First Amendment.

Some employers could even require vaccinations and fire employees who refuse them unless a legitimate medical concern is claimable.

We won’t get to this point until a vaccine is widely available for everyone to use. Until then, wear a mask, wash your hands, and stay safe out there.