By German Lopez for Vox - On November 22, 2014, Tamir Rice was throwing snowballs and playing with a toy pellet gun in a Cleveland park when a police car rolled into the snowy field. Within two seconds of getting out of his squad car, officer Timothy Loehmann shot and killed the 12-year-old. Two and a half years later, the Cleveland police department fired Loehmann, Mike Hayes reported for BuzzFeed on Tuesday. But the termination is not solely due to the shooting, but rather as a result of Loehmann “providing false information” when he applied to the department several years ago. Loehmann could still appeal the firing through his union. Meanwhile, the officer who drove Loehmann to Rice, Frank Garmback, is suspended for 10 days and will get additional training. Last year, the city of Cleveland announced it would pay the Rice family $6 million in a lawsuit settlement over the shooting. Before that, former Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty announced that there would be no criminal charges filed against the officers involved — arguing that while there was miscommunication between a 911 dispatcher and the officers, there wasn’t enough evidence to suggest that the cops had cleared the very high bar for criminal charges in police shooting cases.
By Matthew Watkins, Alexi Ura And Julian Aguilar for The Texas Tribune - The normally ceremonial last day of the legislative session briefly descended into chaos on Monday, as proceedings in the House were disrupted by large protests and at least one Republican lawmaker called immigration authorities on the protesters. State Rep. Matt Rinaldi, R-Irving, said he called U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement while hundreds of people dressed in red T-shirts unfurled banners and chanted in opposition to the state’s new sanctuary cities law. His action enraged Hispanic legislators nearby, leading to a tussle in which each side accused the other of threats and violence. In a statement, Rinaldi said state Rep. Poncho Nevárez, D-Eagle Pass, "threatened my life on the House floor," and that Rinaldi is currently under the protection of the Department of Public Safety as a result. The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsors. Become one. “I was pushed, jostled and someone threatened to kill me,” Rinaldi said. “It was basically just bullying.” Nevárez said in an interview with the Tribune that he put his hands on Rinaldi and told him to take his argument outside the House chamber. "But was I going to shoot the guy? No," he said.
By James Cogan for WSWS - Mattis implied these “tactics” included the extra-judicial execution of wounded or captured people suspected of being ISIS militants—a flagrant war crime under international law. The former marine general, who directed the murderous US military assaults against Iraqi insurgents in the city of Fallujah in 2004, told CBS: “Our intention is that the foreign fighters do not survive to return home to North Africa, to Europe, to America, to Asia, to Africa. We’re not going to allow them to do so.” The current focus of the US-directed war on ISIS is the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, which once had a population of over 1.6 million. After months of relentless air strikes and bloody street-to-street fighting, the Iraqi government claims that the remaining ISIS fighters are trapped in the compact and densely-populated suburbs of Mosul’s west, known as the “Old City.” What is left of the ISIS leadership is believed to be holed up in the 900-year old Great Mosque of al-Nuri, where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed a “caliphate” three years ago. In October 2016, a massive force of Iraqi troops, Kurdish peshmerga militias and Shiite militias began the offensive to retake Mosul.
By Anna Hirtenstein for Bloomberg - “The reason we are interested in something like this is that it has potential to reduce the cost of offshore wind in the future,” said Geert van de Wouw, managing director of Shell Technology Ventures BV. “Fundamentally, looking at the science, flying the kite at high altitudes so there’s lots of wind, and the cost of materials is quite a lot lower than a normal offshore wind turbine.” Alternatives to traditional wind turbines are in the works at multiple start-ups, some backed by corporations in energy and tech such as Alphabet Inc. German utility EON has also invested in a test site in Ireland for dronesthat are designed to fly at high altitudes and generate energy. The kites work by sending aloft a wing to fly in a circular looping path much like the tip of a wind turbine blade. The machines harness aerodynamic lift from the wind exerted against the tether linked to the ground. Tension in that tether causes the line to rapidly spool out from a drum, which is connected to a generator. Kite Power Systems will start testing its machines in July or August at a site in Scotland. Offshore wind farms could someday be repowered with the technology, according to David Ainsworth, interim chief executive officer.
By Griselda Vagnoni and John Irish for Independent - “The entire discussion about climate was very difficult, if not to say very dissatisfying,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said. “There are no indications whether the United States will stay in the Paris Agreement or not.” Climate action groups were quick to condemn Mr Trump’s actions. Roberto Barbieri, Executive Director of Oxfam Italy, said: “President Trump, more than anyone else, has assumed the role of spoiler-in-chief - blocking agreement on many of these key concerns that affect millions of the world’s poorest people. “It is courageous that six of the G7 countries stood up to him and reaffirmed their commitment to deliver on the climate deal made in 2015,” he added. Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) said that Mr Trump “waffling” on the issue of whether to stay in or leave the accord was deeply damaging. “President Trump’s ‘climate inaction plan’ is a threat to every American’s health and future prosperity,” he said.
By Staff of Education Alchemy - I was invited by Kevin Zeese to contribute something to Popular Resistance a while back, to contribute a call for an action in response to current education reform policies, including but not limited to, any piece of fecal detritus spewed by Betsy Devos and company. I struggled to formulate a response to that request mostly because my feelings were two-fold: 1) I couldn’t generate any ideas not already being developed by others (i.e. call your state legislator, sign XYZ petition, speak up at PTA meetings etc etc…) and 2) I wasn’t sure where I stood in relationship to ESSA. Generally speaking, I am opposed to supporting ESSA because of the devil in the details (the ways in which it is opening the flood gates for private interests in the form of vouchers, charters and online providers). And yet, as Trump and the clown car call for the dismantling of the US Department of Education and eliminating federal mandates, I am instinctively opposed to that too- much in the way one might instinctively oppose having a nail driven into their eye (the way I feel about anything attached to Trump’s name or policies).
By Christina Clamp for Grassroots Economic Organizing - Cuba has been of interest to me for many years. I lived in Guatemala and Costa Rica from September, 1974 to December, 1975. During that time, Guatemala was experiencing a low level civil war. As Americans, we were not threatened by what was happening in the countryside. Still we were aware of the violence that was occurring at the time. Costa Rica in contrast was “bucolic” by comparison. My undergraduate senior research paper was on the overthrow of the Ubico dictatorship in Guatemala. Through that research, I learned much about the recent political reality. People in the course of oral history interviews about the past, would at times share stories of the death squads roaming the country in search of dissidents and the armed guerrillas. Cuba represented a place that had successfully freed itself from corrupt old style dictators (caudillos) and a place with a clear commitment to universal healthcare and education. I did not expect that we were visiting a “workers' paradise.” But I had expected that there would be a broad based commitment to basic needs. What we found on this trip was a work in progress.
By Staff of PR Newswire - DALLAS, May 30, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- ExxonMobil and Chevron will host simultaneous annual meetings on Wednesday, May 31 in Dallas and Midland, TX respectively, and face shareholders who want the oil giants to start dealing with the realities of life in a carbon-constrained world. At Chevron (proposal #8), a first-time resolution filed jointly by Arjuna Capital and As You Sow, with co-filer Baldwin Brothers Inc., asks for a detailed report assessing how the company can respond to climate change and the resultant transition to a low-carbon economy. The proposal asks Chevron to evaluate the feasibility of altering the company's energy mix, separating or selling its highest carbon-risk assets, divisions, and subsidiaries, and/or buying or merging with companies with outstanding assets or technologies in low carbon or renewable energy.
By Paul Horn for Inside Climate News - Renewable energy jobs are growing around the globe as prices fall and interest in clean power rises. Worldwide, 9.8 million people are now employed in the renewable energy industry, including 3 million in the booming photovoltaic solar sector, up 12 percent from just a year ago, a new study shows. The United States has seen explosive growth in renewable energy jobs over the past three years, led by solar jobs (up 82 percent) and wind jobs (up 100 percent), according to new numbers released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Each year, IRENA counts employment in renewable energy by technology and country, including in energy generation, related construction, manufacturing of renewable energy equipment and maintenance. The numbers tell the story. In 2016, solar was creating U.S. jobs at 17 times the rate of the national economy, rising to more than 260,000 jobs in the U.S. solar industry today. In the U.S. wind industry, now with over 100,000 jobs, a new wind turbine went up every 2.4 hours this past quarter. One driver of this rush to build out solar and wind capacity over the past few years was the expected expiration of key federal tax credits, which were ultimately renewed but with a phase-out over time for wind and solar.
By Kenneth Surin for Counter Punch - To state the obvious: two weeks can be a long time in western electoral politics. The Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn has been gaining steadily in the opinion polls, despite a massive media campaign to undermine him, extending from the BBC and the supposedly “liberal” Guardian to the UK’s famously ghastly tabloids. When Theresa May called the election, Labour was 20 or more points behind the Conservatives, but this figure was down to as little as 5 points in some polls conducted before the Manchester bombing atrocity occurred. The policies put forward in Labour’s manifesto are popular (especially when they are not identified as Labour’s!), Corbyn has been an effective campaigner, but Labour has also been aided by a woefully inept Tory campaign. The Tory spin doctors and election strategists somehow convinced themselves that the largely untried Theresa May was their trump card, so much so that only her name (accompanied by the vacuous slogan “strong and stable”), and not her party affiliation, featured on their election propaganda. While the hunch behind this decision of the election strategists was probably the marketing of May as a Thatcher Mark II, she has been a disaster so far.
By Mary Mann for The Village Green - About half the students in a group of South Orange Middle School 8th graders touring the Capitol in D.C. this past week refused a photo with House Speaker Paul Ryan, according to students on the field trip. (Some SOMS students on the trip were still en route to the Capitol on buses.) Elissa Malespina, a school librarian who is also the parent of a SOMS eighth grader, reported that her son was among the students who declined to pose with Ryan for a photo. “I am so proud of my son,” Malespina wrote on Facebook. The kids gave reasoned opinions for their choice — and said they were not fueled by partisanship. “I think that taking the picture represents that you agree with the same political views and I don’t agree with his political views so I chose not to be in it,” said Wendy Weeks, an 8th grade SOMS student. “I can’t take a picture with someone who supports a budget that would destroy public education and would leave 23 million people without healthcare,” said 8th grade SOMS student Matthew Malespina. “I didn’t want to be in [the picture] because he believes in most of what Trump believes in,” said another SOMS 8th grader, Louisa Maynard-Parisi.
By Alisa Barba and Leigh Paterson for Inside Energy - An Anadarko oil tank battery exploded in flames on Thursday afternoon, killing one worker and injuring three more, just 3.5 miles from the site of a deadly home explosion in Firestone, Colo., that killed two last month. “We felt like a shaking and the dishes shook. I asked my son and he said, ‘Mommy I think it’s thunder.’ Then we walked out to our breezeway and saw smoke,” Tiffany Kampmann, a Firestone resident said of the oil tank explosion. On the same day, state officials confirmed that two pockets of methane gas were discovered in the Oak Meadows community, in Firestone. Todd Hartman, spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Natural Resources (DNR) noted that the elevated readings on the left side of the image below were likely related to the existence of a tank battery and so not necessarily abnormal. The second pocket of gas was located underneath Oak Meadows Boulevard. According to the DNR, a preliminary investigation indicates that a flowline heading towards that road may have been cut when a sewer was installed there.
By Staff of Other 98 “Never have we seen so many veterans wanting to translate the skills to serve frontline communities fighting back against Trump’s destructive platform,” said Matt Howard, a Marine Corps veteran who deployed twice to Iraq. Howard is the Co-Director of Iraq Veterans Against the War, a grassroots organization of post-9/11 active duty service members and veterans. IVAW was originally formed in 2004 as a space for vets to speak out against, and rectify their involvement in, the unpopular and unjust wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the 13 years since IVAW formed, the group has covered a lot of ground, organizing around reparations for Iraq, health care for returning service members, and against the redeployment of vets living with PTSD. Increasingly, IVAW is expanding on what it means to be “anti-war,” by focusing on the root cause of war—militarism—and turning their sights to related symptoms of militarism, including militarized police, Islamophobia, and even climate change. Most recently, IVAW was making headlines for another “deployment:” heading to Standing Rock to support Indigenous water protectors facing violent police repression as they tried to stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Thousands of vets showed up, “because we were called,” Howard notes.
By Timothy Karr for Bill & Moyers - Under its Trump-annointed chairman, Ajit Pai, the Federal Communications Commission decided last Thursday to revisit its net neutrality ruling. The agency has reopened a docket for public comments on Pai’s proposal to undermine the safeguards needed to protect people from having their internet service providers block, throttle or de-prioritize the online content they want to see. The last time the agency did this, in 2014 and 2015, it unleashed a torrent of public comments in support of the idea that the open internet should have basic protections under the law. Four million people voiced their concerns via the agency’s beleaguered website. The vast majority of these comments supported meaningful net neutrality protections. That’s just what the FCC put in place: It responded to the public outcry and reclassified ISPs like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act. The 2015 decision was a stunning victory for the public interest. Millions of net neutrality supporters faced down a mighty phone and cable lobby, which had spent hundreds of millions of dollars over a decade to dismantle the one principle that makes the internet a tremendous engine for equal opportunity, democratic access, free speech and economic innovation.
By Sam Pizzigati for Inequality.org - The assembled scribes, noting the hundreds of billions in cuts for the poor and the vulnerable in the new budget plan, wanted to know if Mulvaney considered his budget compassionate. Mulvaney promptly set about defining “compassion” — in his own terms. We have too many people out there, he told reporters, “who don’t want to work.” “We don’t have enough money,” he then added, “to take care of people who don’t need help.” “We’re no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs or the number of people on those programs,” Mulvaney rolled on, “but by the number of people we help get off of those programs.” And getting folks off “those programs,” the budget chief insisted, would be an act of true compassion. “That,” insisted the White House budget chief, “is how you can help people take charge of their own lives again.” No, countered Massachusetts congressman Jim McGovern, that would be “a lousy and rotten thing to do to poor people.”