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Showing posts from December, 2016

Radioactive Plume From Fukushima Makes Landfall on America’s West Coast

Seaborne cesium 134, the so-called “fingerprint of Fukushima,” has been detected on US shores for the first time researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) said this month. WHOI is a crowd-funded science seawater sampling project, that has been monitoring the radioactive plume making its way across the Pacific to America’s west coast, from the demolished Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in eastern Japan.  Read more.

North Carolina Republicans' "Power Grab" Gets Derailed

A North Carolina judge on Friday put a temporary block on a Republican-backed law that would have limited the power of Democratic Governor-elect Roy Cooper.
Cooper, set to take his oath just minutes into the new year, filed suit on Friday to block the law, which was passed two weeks ago as part of "unprecedented power grabs" by Republican lawmakers.  Read more.

Russia blames White House for reports of school closure

Russia is blaming the White House for what it says are fabricated reports of it closing a Moscow school chartered in part by the U.S. Embassy.
“U.S. officials ‘anonymously informed’ their media that Russia closed the Anglo-American School in Moscow as a retaliatory measure,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote...read more.

Trump Praises Putin for Rejecting In-Kind Response to Obama

President-elect Donald Trump praised Vladimir Putin as “very smart” after the Russian leader ruled out a tit-for-tat retaliation for the Obama administration’s expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats over cyberattacks aimed at interfering with the U.S. election.
“Great move on delay (by V. Putin) - I always knew he was very smart!” Trump wrote on Twitter Friday, hours after Putin said Russia won’t order U.S. diplomats out of the country in reaction to President Barack Obama’s action the day before.  Read more.

Buoyed by DAPL Fight, Canadian Chiefs Launch Legal Battle Against Enbridge Pipeline

Buoyed by the success of Indigenous resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), a coalition of Canadian First Nation chiefs have launched legal action against the Trudeau government for its recent approval of the Enbridge Line 3 expansion.
Derek Nepinak, grand chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, wrote on Facebook Wednesday that the group's legal team filed an appeal in federal court challenging the approval...read more.

DAPL war rages on: 'Water protectors' arrested as protests continue

The Dakota Access Pipeline may be on hold, but the battles over it are far from over. Diehard protesters continue to clash with local police while an out-of-state city shows its solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux’s opposition to the pipeline.
Following months of protests and fights to prevent construction of the Dakotas Access Pipeline (DAPL) on sacred Native American land and through Lake Oahe, the primary source of drinking water for the Standing Rock Sioux nation in North Dakota...read more.
What happens when we become the empire?
In an early scene of Rogue One, the new Star Wars spinoff, we follow the protagonists Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor to the desert moon of Jedha. Walking through the streets, looking for a contact, Cassian perceptively comments, “This town is ready to blow.” Moments later, his words prove prophetic when a group of radical, masked rebels plans a surprise attack on an imperial squadron.
As I watched the scene, my jaw dropped. A desert setting. A group of soldiers in uniform. A surprise attack by a radical group that strongly opposes the more powerful force. This is Star Wars, yes, but it could also describe American combat in the Middle East...read more.

Secretary of State Kerry says 2-state solution 'only way' for lasting peace between Israelis, Palestinians

Secretary of State John Kerry laid out the US proposal for a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, less than a month before the Trump administration takes office and at a low point in US-Israeli relations.
Kerry’s speech is widely seen as an attempt to set the Obama administration’s Middle East policy in stone before the January 20 changeover.  Read more.

European Councils Build Solidarity Cities at the Local Level

Nationalism, if it ever left us, is definitively back in vogue. With nationalist parties resurgent throughout Europe, more and more European nationals are vesting their political hopes in national governments. But for those new migrants without increasingly-coveted EU citizenship, the institutions most likely to come to their aid are not nation states, but local and city governments.  Read more.

More Doctors Demand Payment Upfront

If you've been to the doctor's office lately, chances are that you've spotted a sign saying "payment is due at the time of service." Or perhaps the receptionist has expectantly held out a hand for a credit card when checking you in.

When it's a $25 office visit copay, no big deal, right? But what if it's a $2,500 copay for a surgical procedure -- or a $1,000 deductible for an emergency room visit?  Read more.

George Michael was a defiant gay icon. His life must not be sanitised

More than 18 years ago, George Michael was famously outed for a “lewd act” in a Beverly Hills toilet – and promptly humiliated by institutionally homophobic newspapers. Some might have been consumed with shame and grovelled before a tabloid press that had assumed the position of hypocritical moralisers once occupied by the medieval church. Instead, Michael penned the biggest “fuck you” in musical history:  Read more.

Italy Needs New Monetary Policies to Reverse Six-Year Recession

Pope says Christmas 'hostage' to materialism, God in shadows

Pope Francis said on Saturday that Christmas had been "taken hostage" by dazzling materialism that puts God in the shadows and blinds many to the needs of the hungry, the migrants and the war weary.
Francis, leading the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics into Christmas for the fourth time since his election in 2013, said in his Christmas Eve homily that a world often obsessed with gifts, feasting and self-centeredness needed more humility.  Read more.

Despite Pressure From Trump, UN Votes to Demand End to Israeli Settlements

Despite unusual diplomatic maneuvering involving President-elect Donald Trump, Israel, and Egypt on Thursday, the United Nations Security Council passed a historic resolution on Friday demanding an end to Israeli settlements. The United States abstained, effectively allowing the measure to be approved.  Read more.

The Rockettes Have a Choice—Perform for Trump or Lose Their Jobs

Yesterday, the Radio City Rockettes became the third act confirmed for Donald Trump’s inauguration, joining America’s Got Talent runner-up Jackie Evancho and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on the star-studded lineup. According to reports, however, many of the dancers do not want to perform, but have been threatened with losing their jobs if they don’t.  Read more.

Maine Governor Tells Employers to Ignore Higher Minimum Wage

Maine’s Republican governor has told employers to ignore provisions of a popular voter-approved minimum wage hike—an announcement that pay advocates are calling “wage theft.”
Gov. Paul LePage announced last week the state Department of Labor “will not bring enforcement actions against any employer who fails to comply” with certain elements...read more.

As Trump Saber-Rattles, Most of World Vows to Push Total Nuke Ban in New Year

As U.S. President-elect Donald Trump continues to receive domestic and international rebuke for his comments on the subject, the General Assembly of the United Nations on Friday adopted a resolution which calls for negotiations to begin next year on an international treaty to completely ban the use of nuclear weapons.  Read more.

DOJ Bestows 'Early Christmas Present' to Financial Giant Deutsche Bank

German lender Deutsche Bank "got off easy" on Friday, having reached a $7.2 billion settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) over sales of mortgage-backed securities that fueled the financial crisis.
Of the $7.2 billion, just $3.1 billion is a cash penalty—the remaining $4.1 billion, economist Yves Smith explained at Naked Capitalism, is "promised 'consumer relief' as in 'stuff maybe we'll do in the future.'"  Read more.

California Agency Accused of Targeting Homeless People

Across the nation, plunging temperatures are making many Americans huddle under blankets with the heater on full blast. One group doesn't have that luxury, though: the homeless community.
For homeless people in the US, winter weather isn't just unenjoyable -- it can be deadly. Many must sleep in the rough due to lack of shelter space or other issues that keep them out in the extreme cold.  Read more.

Black Woman Reports White Man Choked Her 7 Year Old Son; Police Assault and Arrest Her Instead

ort Worth police officer has been placed on "restricted duty status" after a viral video emerged Wednesday showing the officer arresting a mother who called authorities to report that her 7-year-old son has been assaulted.
In a statement posted on Twitter on Thursday, police said the department's Internal Affairs Unit is investigating the incident, which led to the arrest of the mother, Jacqueline Craig, and her two daughters, according to video of the incident that was posted on Facebook.  Read more.

Majority of jobs added under Obama administration are temp, part time

President Barack Obama has termed his efforts to combat unemployment and slow economic growth a success. However, Princeton and Harvard economists found that the majority of new jobs were in contract or part-time positions.
Jobs that come with access to healthcare, vacation time, the occasional sick day and Social Security and Medicare taxes paid through employers have declined under Obama’s presidency. One-million fewer people are working steady jobs than they were at the beginning of the recession...read more.

Bill Ayers on Being a White Ally and the Future of Progressives

Should progressive whites forgo organizing among people of color and focus on organizing whites against racism?
The question is relevant given the overwhelming white support for Donald Trump, the extreme right-wing views of many in his proposed cabinet, and the rash of racial and religious hate crimes sparked by his election. Almost 900 such incidents were reported nationwide just 10 days after the election.  Read more.

Thousands of Snow Geese Perish After Landing in Acidic Superfund Lake

Every Halloween, birders gather at Montana’s Freezout Lake, about an hour’s drive from Great Falls. It’s an overwhelming spectacle: Up to 300,000 snow geese gather to rest after a night-long, nonstop flight of at least 400 miles from Alberta or Saskatchewan in Canada. After Freezout, there’s still about 1000 miles left before the  snow geese reach their destination, the Sacramento Wildlife Refuge in California.  Read more.

By Making Palestinian Villages Invisible, Google and Apple Maps Facilitate Their Demolition

With President-elect Donald Trump's announcement that he is nominating David Friedman to fill the post of US ambassador to Israel -- a person who has declared a two-state solution to be a "suicidal peace" with "radical Islamists" and who has accused American Jews who support such a measure of being no better than Nazis -- concern that further demolitions will follow under the Trump regime has added more urgency to ongoing efforts to save Palestinian villages from being demolished.  Read more.

Aleppo evacuation: Families wait in freezing cold as Obama denounces Syria 'horror'

Thousands of people were still waiting in the cold on the streets of Aleppo for evacuations to resume on Saturday afternoon, after the government said a news deal had been struck.
The Syrian government has said evacuations from Aleppo will resume, but the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said several hours later that there had been no progress on the ground in Aleppo.  Read more.

Jails in LA County Knowingly Expose Prisoners to Deadly Fungal Infection

For nearly three years, the LA No More Jails Coalition has been organizing against the construction of a new women's jail in the city of Lancaster, California, which sits at the northern edge of LA County -- home to the largest jail system in the country. The fight has been a long one, and organizers continue to work to ensure that public funds are diverted away from another jail, and instead invested toward alternatives -- diversion programs that would get people released and much needed resources like stable housing, health care and education.  Read more.

DR Congo forces kill 26 protesters against leader Joseph Kabila

Security forces shot dead at least 26 protesters who had gathered in the streets of Kinshasa and other cities of Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday to demand that President Joseph Kabila step down after his mandate expired overnight.
Scattered protests started on Tuesday, and opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi called on the Congolese people to peacefully resist Kabila, who has remained in power beyond his constitutional mandate with no election to pick a successor.  Read more.

Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor dies at age 99

Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, who parlayed beauty, diamond-studded glamor and nine marriages into a long celebrity career, died on Sunday. She was 99.
Edward Lozzi, who was a longtime publicist for Gabor, said the Hungarian-born actress passed away at her Los Angeles home after years of decline and illness. She would have turned 100 in February.  Read more.

There Shall Just Be People

Bantu Stephen Biko - South African writer, organizer, anti-apartheid activist and "Father of the Black Consciousness Movement" - would have turned 70 Sunday. Murdered in detention at age 30, he continues to be honored for his struggle for racial equality by a foundation created by his son, a Steve Biko Cultural Center in his hometown, an online archive, at least two biographies, and, for his birthday, a Google doodle. A former medical student and scholar of Frantz Fanon and Malcom X, Biko founded the  Black Consciousness movement in 1969...read more.

Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor dies at age 99

Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, who parlayed beauty, diamond-studded glamor and nine marriages into a long celebrity career, died on Sunday. She was 99.
Edward Lozzi, who was a longtime publicist for Gabor, said the Hungarian-born actress passed away at her Los Angeles home after years of decline and illness. She would have turned 100 in February.  Read more.

There Shall Just Be People

Bantu Stephen Biko - South African writer, organizer, anti-apartheid activist and "Father of the Black Consciousness Movement" - would have turned 70 Sunday. Murdered in detention at age 30, he continues to be honored for his struggle for racial equality by a foundation created by his son, a Steve Biko Cultural Center in his hometown, an online archive, at least two biographies, and, for his birthday, a Google doodle.  Read more.

Russian Ambassador Shot Dead in Turkey as Syria Roils Region

Russia’s ambassador was shot dead in the Turkish capital on Monday in an assassination apparently linked to Syria’s civil war, heightening tensions over a conflict that’s drawn in almost all the region’s main powers.
Andrey Karlov was shot in the back at an art exhibit in Ankara on Monday and died from his injuries, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry. “Don’t forget Aleppo,” the gunman shouted...read more.

Saddam Hussein Was Not 'Worth Removing From Power': Ex-CIA Agent

A former CIA analyst who personally interrogated Saddam Hussein said the U.S. "got it so wrong" on the invasion of Iraq and should have left the now-deceased leader in power.
In an excerpt from a memoir about his time with the agency, Debriefing the President: The Interrogation of Saddam Hussein, former analyst John Nixon—who was the first officer to question Hussein after his capture in December 2003—writes that the Ba'athist president was not "worth removing from power," and that the decision to do so needs to be viewed in the context of what came next: the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS).  Read more.

Corpus Christi had 3 reports of dirty water before ban

There were three reports of dirty water before the 300,000 residents of Corpus Christi were told not to drink the city's water due to a chemical leak at an asphalt plant, city officials said Saturday, adding that the city has not found evidence of water contamination.
Mayor Dan McQueen said he won't know until Sunday whether a ban on drinking, cooking or bathing with tap water will be lifted for the 113,000 citizens still under the restriction.  Read more.

It's 2016. Do You Know Where Your Bombs Are Falling?

The long national nightmare that was the 2016 presidential election is finally over. Now, we're facing a worse terror: the reality of a Trump presidency. Donald Trump has already promised to nominate a segregationist attorney general, a national security adviser who is a raging Islamophobe, a secretary of education who doesn't believe in public schools, and a secretary of defense whose sobriquet is "Mad Dog." How worried should we be that General James "Mad Dog" Mattis may well be the soberest among them?  Read more.

Federal court jurors find Dylann Roof guilty of all 33 counts in hate crime shootings at South Carolina church

Dylann Roof, the white supremacist charged with fatally shooting nine black members of a Bible study class in South Carolina, stood stiffly in a federal courtroom Thursday as the jury forewoman repeated eight words, over and over again:
“We find the defendant, Dylann Storm Roof, guilty."  Read more.

20 state attorneys general suing drug companies alleging conspiracy to raise prices

Local generic drug giant Mylan and five other drug makers are being sued by attorneys general in 20 states, including Pennsylvania, for allegedly conspiring to fix drug prices.
The antitrust lawsuit, filed today in federal court in Connecticut, alleges the drug companies’ actions reduced competition and led to artificially higher prices for consumers.  Read more.

Ohio Gov. Kasich Vetoes Heartbeat Bill, Signs 'Horrific' 20-Week Abortion Ban

Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) on Tuesday signed a 20-week abortion ban into law, ensuring that reproductive rights in the state remain under attack even as he vetoed the more controversial "heartbeat" bill that would have banned abortions as early as six weeks.
The new law, known as SB 127, bans abortions after 20 weeks and does not include exceptions for rape or incest.  Read more.

"Water Protectors" say a major oil spill in North Dakota "validates" their concerns

Opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline say a major oil spill in North Dakota "validates" their months-long struggle to stop pipeline construction near an important waterway.
The oil spill occurred just 150 miles outside the Dakota Access protest camps near Lake Oahe on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.  Read more.

ISIS recaptures Palmyra

ISIS recaptures Palmyra | ISIS forces have recaptured the ancient city of Palmyra. In recent months the group has been on retreat on all fronts, with both the Russian-backed regime forces and Kurdish and FSA rebels backed by US and coalition air support driving them back to Raqqa and Mosul. Palmyra, which was seized by ISIS in May 2015, was recaptured by regime forces in March, but has fallen again following a four-day battle.  Read more.

Federal judge blocks Pennsylvania recount request

The Green Party request to recount paper ballots from the presidential election in Pennsylvania and inspect electronic systems for signs of hacking has been denied by a federal judge.
US District Judge Paul Diamond dismissed Jill Stein’s lawsuit on Monday morning. It was part of a larger effort to challenge the voting results in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Republican candidate Donald Trump won a narrow victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton in all three to carry the Electoral College vote.  Read more.

Meet the Guy Corralling Billionaires to Fight Inequality

In 1986, at the age of 26, Chuck Collins, the great-grandson of meatpacking giant Oscar Mayer, gave away his trust fund. He was working on forming community land trusts for affordable housing and helping mobile-home residents pool their resources to buy their parks as cooperatives. Collins wanted to stand on the same economic ground as the people he was helping. So, much to the consternation of his parents, he gave away his fortune.  Read more.

Sears Transformed America. It Deserves to Die With Dignity.

Listening to a Sears earnings call in 2016 is like realizing that the twinkling light you're admiring in the night sky is from a star that died 50 years ago.
Sears Holdings Corp. lost $748 million last quarter amid falling sales, an even worse performance than the dismal losses of the period a year earlier. There is no obvious reason that the business might improve. And yet executives are still discussing how important its shopper loyalty program is...read more.

CIA "Concludes" Russia Meddled in US Election, Provides No Evidence

The CIA on Friday leaked a memo to the Washington Post "concluding" that Russia meddled in the U.S. election to help President-elect Donald Trump win—but any evidence supporting that finding remains secret.
Anonymous sources told the Post that "the CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system."  Read more.

Washington State Lauches Suit Against Monsanto for Toxic PCB Pollution

Washington on Thursday became the first U.S. state to file a lawsuit against Monsanto for damages related to the company's production of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
Monsanto was the only U.S. company to produce the toxic industrial chemicals from 1935 to 1979, when they were banned by the Toxic Substances Control Act.  Read more.

Trump launches war on unions

The war between Donald Trump and the nation’s labor unions is on.
Labor leaders, who spent almost $100 million campaigning against Trump, said after the election they’d give him a chance to deliver on his pro-worker agenda. But the cease-fire eroded in the last two days.  Read more.

Austrian Presidential Election Shows How United Front Politics Can Defeat the Far Right

Trump Is President Because White People’s Votes Count More in America

By any normal, democratic measure, Hillary Clinton should be the next president of the United States.
She didn’t just win the election by a little, she won it by more than 2.5 million votes (and her vote total is still rising). That’s not even a close contest.
If winning an election by millions of votes doesn’t make you the winner, what’s the point of even having an election?  Read more.

Major retailers being sued by Los Angeles for pricing scheme

The Los Angeles city attorney accused four big stores of using pricing schemes in a lawsuit expected to be filed on Thursday.
The lawsuit alleges JC Penney, Sears, Kohl's and Macy's engage in deceptive advertising by putting out a high "list price" or "regular price" on items that were never actually for sale at that original price.  Read more.

No mistrial for Dylann Roof after church shooting survivor calls him 'evil'

A federal judge on Thursday denied a mistrial for accused white South Carolina gunman Dylann Roof, who a day earlier was described as "evil" in testimony by a survivor of the deadly June 2015 attack on a historic black church.
Lawyers for Roof, 22, argued eyewitness Felicia Sanders had offered prejudicial and improper opinion about what penalty he should face.  Read more.

Pakistan mourns 47 killed in air crash, as investigators seek answers

Pakistan on Thursday mourned the 47 victims of its deadliest plane crash in four years, including a famed rock star-turned-Muslim evangelist, as officials sought to pinpoint the cause of the disaster.
Engine trouble was initially believed responsible, but many questions remain, stirring new worries about the safety record of money-losing state carrier Pakistani International Airlines.  Read more.

U.S. Planned to Go to War with Japan and Germany Before Pearl Harbor Attack

Washington Post Appends Editor’s Note to Russian Propaganda Story

A lengthy editor’s note appeared Wednesday atop Craig Timberg‘s November 24 Washington Post story claiming that a Russian propaganda campaign aided the spread of “fake news” in the 2016 presidential election. The note lays some interesting distance between the newspaper and the work its article draws from.  Read more.

Michigan Recount Halted as Judge 'Gives In' to Trump and State GOP

A federal judge on Wednesday effectively ended the ongoing presidential recount in Michigan by lifting the order he previously issued allowing it to move forward.
U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith halted the recount, which began on Monday amid legal challenges, on the grounds that the Green Party's Jill Stein and other plaintiffs "have not presented evidence of tampering or mistake. Instead, they present speculative claims going to the vulnerability of the voting machinery—but not actual injury."  Read more.

Who Voted for Wall Street?

During the campaign, Donald Trump said he wanted to fix our rigged economic system. And we can’t do that, he said, by counting on the people who rigged it in the first place.
He talked a big game about Wall Street and the big banks. He repeatedly called out Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street behemoth, by name in ads and speeches, characterizing the firm as controlling his rivals Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz.
So it should come with some shock, at least to Trump voters, that now President-elect Trump has chosen a consummate Wall Street insider, Steve Mnuchin, for treasury secretary.  Read more.

Sanders, Ellison, Glover lead 'Good Jobs Nation' rally in DC

Democrats are calling for pressure to be piled on President-elect Donald Trump to ensure he keeps his promises about good jobs for all Americans, after a report said that federal contractors cheat workers of $2.5 billion in wages a year.
Bernie Sanders, who sought the Democratic presidential nomination but lost to establishment candidate Hillary Clinton, headlined the “Good Jobs Nation” rally on Wednesday in Washington, DC. The Vermont senator vowed to continue fighting for a $15 hourly minimum wage and other planks of his program under a Trump presidency.  Read more.

Don’t be fooled into thinking Trump is being guided by anything other than his own random, autocratic whims

Last week, Trump made a deal with Carrier (and its parent, United Technologies) to keep 800 jobs in Indiana rather than sending them to Mexico. Indiana agreed to give Carrier $7 million in tax breaks, and Trump assured United Technologies that its $6 billion a year in military contracts would be secure.  Read more.

Carrier Union Leader on Trump's Jobs Claim: "I Almost Threw Up in My Mouth"

President-elect Donald Trump's smoke-and-mirrors speech last week to Carrier employees had their union leader "almost throwing up in his mouth."
As consumer advocate Ralph Nader wrote, "Trump made Carrier, a subsidiary of giant United Technology, his poster-child for showing how the U.S. is losing jobs under NAFTA."  Read more.

Oakland mayor announces grant to help artists

akland Mayor Libby Schaaf on Tuesday announced a $1.7 million philanthropic grant to create affordable spaces for the city’s artists —a move she saw as “especially important and prescient” in light of Friday’s warehouse fire that killed 36 people in the Fruitvale district.  Read more.