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October 2013

Appeals Court Allows Stop And Frisk; Removes Judge

A U.S. appeals court froze court-ordered reforms to the New York City Police Department's controversial stop-and-frisk program and removed the judge who found the police tactic unconstitutional because she "ran afoul" of the judicial code of conduct. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling was at least a temporary victory for Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the NYPD, who have argued that stopping, questioning and frisking suspicious people has led to a steep decline in crime rates. The three-judge panel said its ruling should have no impact on the merits of the case, but was a rebuke of Scheindlin, who became a hero of civil rights and civil liberties groups when, in August, she struck down parts of stop-and-frisk. The court's removal of U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin from the case was an exceedingly rare action and an indication of how displeased the judges were with her.

Canada, Aboriginal Tension Erupting Over Resource Development, Study Suggests

“Canada is a developed country and it is having an implosion of the sort that we’ve only seen in the developing countries,” said Rebecca Adamson, president and co-founder of First Peoples’ Worldwide, the group that conducted the study. “We’ve always seen this erupt when a government refuses to be clear in upholding indigenous land tenure.” The Indigenous Rights Risk Report studied 52 U.S. resource companies and 370 projects around the world, including 16 companies and 76 projects active in Canada. The aim of the survey is to assess how likely it is that conflict with indigenous communities could result in costly shutdowns.

Will Dick Cheney be Arrested For War Crimes in Canada?

The international group, Lawyers Against War, has urged Canadian authorities to arrest former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney for war crimes when he arrives at the Toronto Global Forum this week, Huffington Post reported. The anti-war group wrote a letter to the Attorney General John Gerretsen and Police Chief Bill Blair saying it was their duty to arrest Cheney, “as a person suspected on reasonable grounds of authorizing, counseling, aiding, abetting and failing to prevent torture.”

What Do Occupy Protestors Think of Pepper Spray Cop Being Awarded $38,000?

There are three things I can tell you about it. One—he’s legally entitled to it; it’s an insurance payment. Two—the fact that he’s getting it is a tremendous injustice. Three—not only did he get the payout of $38,000, but after committing those horrendous acts that were obviously over the line, he got eight months of paid administrative leave while they investigated it, and he got to keep his retirement and other benefits. Giving these payouts to police officers is a message that says, "No matter what you do or whose rights you trample, you're part of a big family of police and we take care of our own."

In Hollywood, WikiLeaks is a Whole Lot Less Interesting Than in Real Life

For viewers actually interested in the history and politics of WikiLeaks, it’s impossible to see these characters and their interpersonal dramas as anything but a distraction from the real events. Part of the film’s obsession with these one-note character tropes may stem from its questionable source material. The script was adapted from two books — one by the real Daniel Domscheit-Berg entitled Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website, and another by two Guardian journalists entitled Wikileaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy.

Stories of the Disappeared: The World Court of Women Against Poverty

"Poverty is the new normal" according to former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, speaking in Philadelphia in October 2013 in her role as juror for the World Court of Women on Poverty in the United States. Stein leads the "Green Shadow Cabinet," which aims to provide an "alternative voice to the dysfunctional government in Washington DC." Her participation in the court aimed to inform her administration's understanding of how the economy and our nation's social policies are affecting people and communities.

Should Drone Warfare be Banned? with Medea Benjamin, Naureen Shah and David Swanson

We spoke with Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK and author of Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control. Medea has been

How Idle No More Became A Movement

“We were idle,” says Sylvia McAdam, “and we all decided we weren’t going to be idle anymore.” McAdam was chatting with Nina Wilson, Sheelah McLean and Jessica Gordon on Facebook last fall when they came to that decision. The impetus? Bill C-45, the 457- page federal omnibus budget bill that changes rules about, among other things, the leasing of reserve lands by First Nations communities, environmental assessment processes and the protection of waterways. That day, the four Saskatchewan women decided they’d had enough. Soon, with the help of others, they’d created the Idle No More Facebook page and Twitter hashtag. “Something amazing is happening,” McAdam says. “People are going back to their communities and saying, ‘I’m idle no more.’”

Obamacare: The Biggest Insurance Scam in History

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also called "Obamacare," may be the biggest insurance scam in history. The industries that profit from our current health care system wrote the legislation, heavily influenced the regulations and have received waivers exempting them from provisions in the law. This has all been done to protect and enhance their profits. In the meantime, the health care crisis continues. Fewer people, even those with health insurance, can afford the health care they need because of out-of-pocket costs. The ACA continues that trend by pushing skimpy health plans with low coverage and restricted networks. This is what happens in a market-based system of health care. People get only the amount of health care they can afford, rather than what they need.

The Most Important Labor Strike in the World Is Happening Right Now

Millions of workers across Indonesia are joining a national strike this week to press for a higher minimum wage and universal health coverage. This is actually a big deal for Americans, not that any of us are paying a lick of attention. Why does a giant strike in Indonesia matter? Because the United States stands to benefit from the rise of a global middle class that can buy high-end American goods and services, and we also stand to benefit as the cost of labor rises in developing countries, making American workers more competitive.

Snowden Lands Website Support Job In Russia

Edward Snowden has found a website maintenance job in Russia, his lawyer said Thursday. Snowden, who was granted temporary asylum in Russia this summer, will start work November 1 in maintaining one of Russia’s largest websites, Anatoly Kucherena said. Kucherena refused to reveal the name of Snowden’s new workplace “for security reasons.” Technology news website speculated that Snowden may have joined social networking site, Russia’s equivalent of Facebook. The website, an affiliate of RIA Novosti, said other major Russian online companies, including Yandex and, had categorically denied they had hired Snowden. VKontakte spokesman Georgy Lobushkin said he could not comment on the issue, but would not rule out his company had recruited Snowden.

New ‘Stealth’ Destroyer Being Built in Maine Moved Into The Water

The new Zumwalt class "stealth" destroyer being built by General Dynamics at Bath Iron Works (BIW) in Maine was moved to dry dock and then into the Kennebec River over the weekend. Coming out of dry dock at BIW does not mean the ship is ready to put to sea. BIW will keep finishing their work on the ship before installing a considerable arsenal of weapons, including two Advanced Gun Systems (AGS), which can fire rocket powered, computer-guided shells that can destroy targets 63 miles away. That's three times farther than ordinary destroyer guns can fire. In addition cruise missiles (the weapons that were first to be fired from destroyers to start Bush's "shock and awe" in 2003) will be installed.

North Dakota Had 300 Oil Spills In Two Years Without Telling Public

North Dakota, the nation's Number 2 oil producer behind Texas, recorded nearly 300 oil pipeline spills in less than two years, state documents show. None was reported to the public, officials said. According to records obtained by the Associated Press, the pipeline spills, many of them small, are among some 750 "oil field incidents" that have occurred since January 2012 without public notification. "That's news to us," said Don Morrison, director of the Dakota Resource Council, an environmental-minded landowner group with more than 700 members in North Dakota. Dennis Fewless, director of water quality for the state Health Department, said regulators are reviewing the state's policies for when to publicly report such incidents after a massive spill was discovered last month in northwestern north Dakota by a wheat farmer. State and company officials kept it quiet for 11 days — and only said something after the AP asked about it.

Oakland Police Give Surveillance Footage of Protest to Activst’s Employer, Gets Him Fired

It appears as if the police used surveillance camera footage paired with records in private and public databases to identify the activist and find out where he works. The police then allegedly called his employer and notified them that, while the activist said he had been sick, he was really out at a protest confronting the police. He was subsequently fired. The protest the activist attended was a rally in opposition to Oakland’s hosting of regional, DHS-funded ‘Urban Shield’ exercises. These are paramilitary style disaster response trainings that occur nationwide thanks to funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Thousands of law enforcement officials participated in Oakland’s Urban Shield operation this year.

Brown University Tells Student Activists, We Can’t Live Without Coal

"Although the social harm is clear, this harm is moderated by the fact that coal is currently necessary for the functioning of the global economy. Coal is the source of approximately 40 percent of the world’s electricity, and it provides needed energy for millions of people throughout the world. In many regions, there are serious technological impediments to transitioning away from coal. In addition, coal is used in the production of other products, such as cement and steel, which are central to the economies of both developed and developing countries."
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