Monthly Archives: August 2017

Ignoring Threat of Rising Seas, Trump Eliminates Flood Risk Standards

“Silly Trump wants to use tax dollars to build on floodplains as sea level rises. Damp!”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-15-2017

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday that reportedly revoked Obama-era provisions requiring strict standards to reduce flood risks for federally-funded infrastructure projects. (Photo: maxstrz/flickr/cc)

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that reportedly eliminates flood-risk standards for federally funded public infrastructure projects—in a purported effort to expedite the approval process for projects such as highways and bridges, as part of his $1 trillion infrastructure plan that’s been criticized for its reliance on private developers.

Although details of Trump’s order were not immediately made public, at a press conference this afternoon, the president called U.S. infrastructure a “massive self-inflicted wound on our country,” and said there would no longer be “one job-killing delay after another.” Continue reading

Share

The People will only take so much – and we have reached that point

Written by Carol Benedict

White supremacists beating Deandre Harris in a Charlottesville parking ramp. Photo: Zach Roberts/Nation of Change

Across this country, we are witnessing the general population respond to the Charlottesville tragedy. Never since the Civil War have we seen such a divisive point. Even the Viet Nam era protests were more civilized than this, notwithstanding the killings at Kent State that to this day have never been served justice.

But what we are not talking about is scarier and even more detrimental to our way of life and what it says about Americans overall. What we are witnessing is the degeneration of a once proud society, now brought to its knees by what would have been considered just one year ago as preposterous and impossible.

In 1945, at the end of WWII, the world recoiled when the death of Benito Mussolini was reported in April. By 1956, civilization took to tearing down of the statues of dictators and rulers who were later judged to be on the wrong side of humanity, beginning with Stalin’s statue in Budapest. Saddam Hussein’s statue met the same fate in 2003 in the town of Firdos, Iraq. It followed with similar actions in other countries; Iran, Egypt, Ukraine and Poland, to name a few.

When Hussein’s statue was pulled down to a screaming throng of angry citizenry, many Americans looked on in horror, grateful nothing like THAT could ever happen in America. We were, after all, a nation of law and order, respect and civilized discourse.

In 2008, the world congratulated America for finally elevating itself to a seemingly post-racial society. Since that time, we have seen eight years of political obstruction referred to as “governance” in Washington DC, championed by Mitch McConnell , who proudly stated that the number one goal for the GOP was to obstruct any policy put forth by the Obama Administration.

In 2016, America responded to that recognition by our international friends and allies through electing a recognized businessman and self-elevated media celebrity with absolutely no political prowess or experience, to lead a country as if it were a corporate enterprise and all that matters is the bottom line profit margin at the end of the day. Along the way, he has collected the most incompetent cabinet that represents what Americans refer to as “the good ole’ boys” of white Caucasian men making the decisions for all of the country.

We now must ask ourselves, “What have we become? What will we accept as a society? Where do we turn when our own President praises the actions of racist bigots while promoting divisiveness through despicable stances on the first amendment protections for freedom of religion and freedom of the press?”

When it takes a ground-swelling effort from the veterans of this nation to protect the family of the victim killed in Charlottesville, we have said we will not take this any more.

Perhaps what we really need to say is, “The People will only take so much, and we have reached that point.”

About the Author:
Carol Benedict is an indépendent researcher and human rights activist. She is also an independent Journalist and a professional member of the US Press Association.

Share

Atomic Scientists: North Korea’s Nuclear Missile Claims Are a Hoax

By James Holbrooks Published 8-14-2017 by The Anti-Media

Photo: YouTube

 

President Donald Trump continued his blustery North Korea rhetoric on Friday, tweeting that the U.S. military was “locked and loaded” and later telling reporters that Kim Jong-un had better not make any “overt threats” against the United States.

“This man will not get away with what he is doing,” Trump told reporters from his golf club in New Jersey, adding that if Kim makes a move against the U.S. or its allies “he will truly regret it and he will regret it fast.” Continue reading

Share

What the Google gender ‘manifesto’ really says about Silicon Valley

File 20170809 32154 xnrsxk

Oh the terrible irony. Photo by Mar Hicks

Marie Hicks, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Five years ago, Silicon Valley was rocked by a wave of “brogrammer” bad behavior, when overfunded, highly entitled, mostly white and male startup founders did things that were juvenile, out of line and just plain stupid. Most of these activities – such as putting pornography into PowerPoint slides – revolved around the explicit or implied devaluation and harassment of women and the assumption that heterosexual men’s privilege could or should define the workplace. The recent “memo” scandal out of Google shows how far we have yet to go.

It may be that more established and successful companies don’t make job applicants deal with “bikini shots” and “gangbang interviews.” But even the tech giants foster an environment where heteronormativity and male privilege is so rampant that an engineer could feel comfortable writing and distributing a screed that effectively harassed all of his women co-workers en masse.

This is a pity, because tech companies say they want to change this culture. This summer, I gave a talk at Google UK about my work as a historian of technology and gender. I thought my talk might help change people’s minds about women in computing, and might even help women and nonbinary folks working at Google now. Still, the irony was strong: I was visiting a multibillion-dollar tech company to talk about how women are undervalued in tech, for free. Continue reading

Share

Police Stood By As Mayhem Mounted in Charlottesville

by A.C. Thompson and Robert Faturechi, ProPublica, and Karim Hajj, special to ProPublica, Aug. 12, 2017, 11 p.m.

Photo: Billy Baldwin/Twitter

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – There was nothing haphazard about the violence that erupted today in this bucolic town in Virginia’s heartland. At about 10 a.m. today, at one of countless such confrontations, an angry mob of white supremacists formed a battle line across from a group of counter-protesters, many of them older and gray-haired, who had gathered near a church parking lot. On command from their leader, the young men charged and pummeled their ideological foes with abandon. One woman was hurled to the pavement, and the blood from her bruised head was instantly visible.

Standing nearby, an assortment of Virginia State Police troopers and Charlottesville police wearing protective gear watched silently from behind an array of metal barricades – and did nothing.

It was a scene that played out over and over in Charlottesville as law enforcement confronted the largest public gathering of white supremacists in decades. We walked the streets beginning in the early morning hours and repeatedly witnessed instances in which authorities took a largely laissez faire approach, allowing white supremacists and counter-protesters to physically battle.

Officials in Charlottesville had publicly promised to maintain control of the “Unite the Right” rally, which is the latest in a series of chaotic and bloody racist rallies that have roiled this college town, a place deeply proud of its links to Thomas Jefferson and the origins of American Democracy.

But the white supremacists who flooded into the city’s Emancipation Park – a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee sits in the center of the park – had spent months openly planning for war. The Daily Stormer, a popular neo-Nazi website, encouraged rally attendees to bring shields, pepper spray, and fascist flags and flagpoles. A prominent racist podcast told its listeners to come carrying guns. “Bring whatever you need, that you feel you need for your self defense. Do what you need to do for security of your own person,” said Mike “Enoch” Peinovich on The Right Stuff podcast.

And the white supremacists who showed up in Charlottesville did indeed come prepared for violence. Many wore helmets and carried clubs, medieval-looking round wooden shields, and rectangular plexiglass shields, similar to those used by riot police.

Clad in a black, Nazi-style helmet, Matthew Heimbach told ProPublica, “We’re defending our heritage.” Heimbach, who heads the Traditionalist Workers Party, a self-declared fascist group, said he was willing to die for his cause and would do whatever it took to defend himself. He was surrounded by a brigade of white supremacists, including members of the League of the South and the National Socialist Movement.

By the time Heimbach and his contingent arrived in downtown Charlottesville shortly before 11 a.m., what had started hours earlier with some shoving and a few punches had evolved into a series of wild melees as people attacked one another with fists, feet, and the improvised weapons they’d brought with them to the park. White supremacists and anti-racists began blasting each other with thick orange streams of pepper spray.

The police did little to stop the bloodshed. Several times, a group of assault-rifle-toting militia members from New York State, wearing body armor and desert camo, played a more active role in breaking up fights.

Shortly before noon, authorities shut down the rally and the related demonstrations and marched the white supremacists out of the park and into the streets.

Charlottesville Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy defended the police tactics. “I’m not in the business of throwing our police department under the bus, because they’re doing the best job they can, ” said Bellamy. “I don’t think the police officers were just twiddling their thumbs.”

The skirmishes culminated in what appears to have been an act of domestic terrorism, with a driver ramming his car into a crowd of anti-racist activists on a busy downtown street, killing one and injuring 19 according to the latest information from city officials. Charlottesville authorities tonight reported that a 20-year-old Ohio man had been arrested and had been charged with murder.

Two state police officers also died in a helicopter crash.

At a brief press conference this evening, Virginia officials declined to answer questions about the police response, but said they were not taken surprise by the violence or the number of protesters. “This could have been a much worse day,” said Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, “We planned for a long time for today’s incidents.”

Charlottesville police Chief Al Thomas said at least 35 people had been injured – many of them from violent encounters between white supremacists and the counter-protesters. He said nobody had been wounded due to confrontations between police and the public.

In the weeks leading up to the protest, city and state officials put together a detailed plan for the rally, mobilizing 1,000 first responders, including 300 state police troopers and members of the National Guard. Judging from how events unfolded today, it appears that the strategy was to avoid direct confrontations with the protesters.

Miriam Krinsky, a former federal prosecutor who has worked on police reform efforts in Los Angeles, said it was too early to assess the law enforcement response in Charlottesville.

But she said a strategy of disengagement generally works to embolden unruly crowds.

“If things start to escalate and there’s no response, it can very quickly get out of control,” she said. “Individuals can and will get hurt.”

But an overly forceful response, she said, can also make the situation worse. Krinsky said attempts to seize weapons might have led to more clashes between police and protesters. “Trying to take things away from people is unlikely to be a calming influence,” she told ProPublica.

A good strategy, she said, is to make clashes less likely by separating the two sides physically, with officers forming a barrier between them. “Create a human barrier so the flash points are reduced as quickly as possible,” she said.

A.C. Thompson and Karim Hajj reported from Charlottesville, Va. Robert Faturechi reported from New York.

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.

Share

Corporations Complain Their Taxes So High, But New Study Busts That Myth

Minimum-wage workers can’t afford to rent a one-bedroom apartment, but the GOP thinks it’s massive corporations that need an income boost

By ake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-11-2017

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, corporate profits are “near all-time highs.” Wages for most workers, meanwhile, have been stagnant for decades. (Photo: Jason Hargrove/Flickr/cc)

Corporate profits are up. Wages remain low. And, as always, the richest are angling for ever-lower tax rates.

Only 0.1 percent of full-time workers earning the minimum wage can afford to rent a one-bedroom apartment in any state in the U.S., but judging by their tax agenda, the Republican Party and President Donald Trump appear to feel it is massive corporations and billionaires—not American workers—who need an income boost. Continue reading

Share

New Documents Prove Mainstream Pro-Monsanto Article Was Actually Written by Monsanto

By .  Published 8-10-2017 by The Anti-Media

 

According to documents recently released amid a lawsuit against Monsanto regarding the safety of glyphosate, a widely used herbicide, a prominent academic from Stanford University allowed the agrochemical giant to pen an op-ed in his name. It was subsequently published in Forbes magazine.

Henry I. Miller, a Robert Wesson Fellow in Scientific Philosophy and Public Policy at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, has long been an ally of large agricultural companies, as well as the tobacco industry. Continue reading

Share

Canada Builds Border Camp for Asylum Seekers Fleeing US

Hundreds of Haitians, fearful of deportation under President Donald Trump, have crossed the border to seek refugee status in Quebec

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-9-2017

Thousands of asylum seekers have fled the U.S. for Quebec, Canada, in recent months because of U.S. President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant statements and policies. (Photo: Morgan/Flickr/cc)

Canada’s military has troops assembling heated tents that will be capable of temporarily housing up to 500 asylum seekers who continue crossing into the country where it borders New York State.

“Around 250 asylum seekers are arriving each day in Montreal, the largest city in Canada’s mainly French-speaking province of Quebec,” Reuters reported on Wednesday. A spokesperson for the Canada Border Services Agency told CBC-Radio Canada there are currently 700 people waiting to be processed, and although the wait time is two or three days, the asylum seekers do not have access to beds. Continue reading

Share

Blackwater Founder’s ‘Disturbing’ Plan to Privatize Afghan War Gains Ground

“There’s a bad record of contractors and human rights abuses.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. published 8-8-2017

Despite the fact that private contractors have a long record of abuse and deadly criminality, Prince believes that they should have a stronger presence in Afghanistan. (Photo: Melissa Golden/Redux)

As President Donald Trump vents his frustration with the United States’ “losing” strategy in Afghanistan, the “notorious mercenary” and Blackwater founder Erik Prince has seized the moment to offer his favored alternative: privatize the war.

According to a report by Katrina Manson of the Financial Times on Monday, Prince has drafted a proposal—dated August 2017—that would hand the longest war in American history over to a private “band of experienced sergeants,” who would fight alongside U.S.-trained Afghan forces.

Prince, Manson writes, “proposes a two-year plan for fewer than 5,000 global guns for hire and under 100 aircraft, bringing the total cost of the U.S. effort to turn round a failing war to less than $10 billion a year.” Continue reading

Share

Why on Earth Is Trump Attacking Nation’s Nursing Home Population?

Proposed rule called “disturbing” new direction for federal agency which “should be protecting patients, not making it easier for facilities to harm them and cover it up.”

By Common Dreams. Published 8-7-2017

An elderly resident using a walker passes a golden retriever April 28, 2000 in the New Mark Care Center in Kansas City, MO. (Photo by Don Ipock/Liaison)

“Why does Trump hate grandmothers?”

So asked Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) on Sunday as he decried a proposal from the administration that would prevent abused or mistreated seniors in nursing homes from getting their day in court, jeopardizing their health and safety.

Lieu’s concern and outrage over the effort is shared with fellow lawmakers as well as patient and consumer advocacy groups like Public Citizen, who said the effort to roll back protections from some of society’s most vulnerable people is just part of “a disturbing trend of the Trump administration attempting to reverse critical protections against forced arbitration,” which prevents individuals or groups of people from filing lawsuits or seeking damages for fraud, abuse, neglect, medical malpractice and other forms of wrongdoing. Continue reading

Share