By Rob Hunter for The Guardian, The US supreme court announced on Monday that it will decide on the legality of Donald Trump’s travel ban. It also partially stayed injunctions against the ban, meaning that the administration can impose 90-day bans on people traveling from six Muslim-majority countries (unless they have a “bona fide relationship” with someone in the US), and that it can bar refugees from entering the US for up to 120 days. It’s likely that the court will eventually uphold all or part of the ban as an appropriate exercise of the president’s powers. Only mass confrontational politics can prevent that from happening, or undo it if it does happen. It was direct action, not legal argument, that stopped the administration from implementing the travel ban in its entirety earlier this year. The original ban quickly faced stiff protest in January. Rapid mass mobilization, combined with the organizing skills of activists and immigration advocates, produced the thrilling spectacle of large-scale direct action in some of the most heavily policed spaces in the country: airports. Federal judges responded to the pressure by issuing orders blocking removals under the ban, and later preventing enforcement of the ban’s provisions. Injunctions were also later issued against a revised ban that was reworded to be less transparently Islamophobic.
By Staff of ACLU - BALTIMORE AND SALISBURY, MD - In a coordinated effort to take on "gag orders" that silence victims of police abuse as a condition of resolving their cases, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Maryland today filed two separate lawsuits challenging the practice as an unconstitutional violation of free speech and illegal under Maryland's public transparency law. The cases were brought on behalf of a woman who was improperly denied half of her settlement award after responding to comments online about her experience of being brutalized by Baltimore police, as well as the Baltimore Brew and the Real News Network, two news organizations denied their First Amendment and statutory rights to obtain newsworthy public information from victims of police abuses. "If your voice held no power, they would not try to silence you. Use your power. Speak up!" said Ashley Overbey, ACLU client in the Baltimore lawsuit. "I am not the first nor will I be the last to be mistreated by police and silenced by my city, but my hope is that through my story and fight, no one else will have to endure what so many of us already have."
By Robert Parry for Consortium News - Although the historical record is still incomplete on Watergate and Iran-Contra, the available evidence indicates that both scandals originated in schemes by Republicans to draw foreign leaders into plots to undermine sitting Democratic presidents and thus pave the way for the elections of Richard Nixon in 1968 and Ronald Reagan in 1980. As for Russia-gate, even if you accept that the Russian government hacked into Democratic emails and publicized them via WikiLeaks, there is still no evidence that Donald Trump or his campaign colluded with the Kremlin to do so. By contrast, in the origins of Watergate and Iran-Contra, it appears the Nixon and Reagan campaigns, respectively, were the instigators of schemes to enlist foreign governments in blocking a Vietnam peace deal in 1968 and negotiations to free 52 American hostages in Iran in 1980. Though Watergate is associated directly with the 1972 campaign – when Nixon’s team of burglars was caught inside the Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate building – Nixon’s formation of that team, known as the Plumbers, was driven by his fear that he could be exposed for sabotaging President Lyndon Johnson’s Vietnam peace talks in 1968 in order to secure the White House that year.
By Nathan Donley for Center for Biological Diversity - SACRAMENTO, Calif.— The state of California announced today that as of July 7 it will list glyphosate, the main ingredient in the pesticide Roundup and the most common pesticide in the world, as a known human carcinogen under the state’s Proposition 65. Today’s decision by the California Environmental Protection Agency was prompted by the World Health Organization’s finding that glyphosate is a “probable” human carcinogen. The WHO’s cancer research agency is widely considered to be the gold standard for research on cancer. “California’s decision makes it the national leader in protecting people from cancer-causing pesticides,” said Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity and a former cancer researcher. “The U.S. EPA now needs to step up and acknowledge that the world’s most transparent and science-based assessment has linked glyphosate to cancer.” The state was cleared to move forward with its decision earlier this year to list glyphosate after a court denied Monsanto’s efforts to postpone the listing pending the outcome of the pesticide company’s legal challenge of the decision. Glyphosate is the most widely used pesticide in the United States as well as the world, and is the most widely used pesticide in California, as measured by area of treated land.
By Erick Huerta for SCOPE - Throughout its history, the fossil fuel industry has played a major role in the development of the City of Los Angeles. The massive oil fields and high production rates have branded L.A. as the largest urban oil field in the country. While the development of these fields didn’t pose a problem to the city’s 50,000 residents in the 1890’s━in 2017, more than 580,000 residents live within a quarter mile of a drilling site. Due to over-development and a history of poor, often racialized, land use decisions, many drilling sites are located in communities with a higher percentage of residents of color, and high rates of poverty, unemployment, and linguistic isolation. South Los Angeles is one of these communities. While residents may be unaware that they live above oil reserves deep underground, the direct health impacts on surrounding residents is clear. Local residents report high rates of heart disease and respiratory illness, such as asthma, conditions that are exacerbated by air pollutants produced by oil drilling and extraction. SCOPE Organizer, Tracey Beltran meets with residents that live near active drilling sites and talks with them about the negative health impacts they and their families are seeing. Beltran has also been working with them to develop their leadership skills and to better understand and speak about the impacts of urban oil drilling in their community.
By Georgina Gustin for Inside Climate News - When news spread that Republic Services planned to dump trainloads of toxic coal ash in a local landfill, citizens, led by the local newspaper, fought—and won. JESUP, Georgia—Peggy Riggins remembers standing against the wall of a windowless meeting room on a January day last year. Dozens of people sat in folding chairs, others crowded the aisles and more packed the hallway outside, tilting their heads to hear. The Wayne County commissioners were unaccustomed to a big audience. But over the previous weeks, the local newspaper had uncovered plans by an out-of-town waste hauler to expand a rail line leading to the community's landfill. County residents were getting more and more concerned with each story. This new rail spur would enable the company—later found to be Republic Services, a $9-billion firm based in Phoenix whose biggest shareholder is Microsoft's Bill Gates—to haul 10,000 tons of toxic coal ash through the county's swampy forestlands and into the dump every day. Riggins, like a lot of her neighbors, had never thought much about the Broadhurst Environmental Landfill, as it is formally known, and had barely heard of coal ash. But as the news unfolded, Wayne County learned that it could become one of the biggest coal ash dumping grounds in the South, thanks to a loophole in federal regulations.
By Paul Roberts for Leafly - Markets, like ecosystems, respond to massive disruption with a wave of experimentation and adaptation—and that’s certainly been the story in California’s cannabis sector. Ever since legalization upended the decades-old status quo, players have scrambled to develop new business strategies to exploit the chaos—or simply survive it. By coordinating harvests and pooling crops, co-op members can deliver the bulk shipments that wholesalers increasingly demand. Some, like Jai Malloy, have scaled up. Others, like Sam Edwards in Sonoma, have moved to the other end of the scale continuum with a “craft” strategy. Yet the reality is that many existing cannabis farmers lack the resources or expertise to carry off either of these strategies—or, at least, carry it off all on their own. For many of these growers, the solution has been a strategy that borrows from both large- and small-scale producers—the cannabis co-operative. A case in point is Emerald Grown, a forty-member co-operative located in the town of Laytonville, in the Emerald Triangle’s Mendocino County. Founded three years ago by farmers Amber and Casey O’Neill, the co-operative follows a strategy of adaptive mimicry: using collective action to achieve the scale efficiencies of larger operators. By sharing seeds, expertise, and other resources, for example, co-op members can significantly boost their individual yields.
By Chuck Collins for Other WOrds - There's actually trillions that could be used to fix our roads and schools. The wealthy just don't want you to know where it is. If you find yourself traveling this summer, take a closer look at America’s deteriorating infrastructure — our crumbling roads, sidewalks, public parks, and train and bus stations. Government officials will tell us “there’s no money” to repair or properly maintain our tired infrastructure. Nor do we want to raise taxes, they say. But what if billions of dollars in tax revenue have gone missing? New research suggests that the super-rich are hiding their money at alarming rates. A study by economists Annette Alstadsaeter, Niels Johannesen, and Gabriel Zucman reports that households with wealth over $40 million evade 25 to 30 percent of personal income and wealth taxes. These stunning numbers have two troubling implications. First, we’re missing billions in taxes each year. That’s partly why our roads and transit systems are falling apart. Second, wealth inequality may be even worse than we thought. Economic surveys estimate that roughly 85 percent of income and wealth gains in the last decade have gone to the wealthiest one-tenth of the top 1 percent.
By Alyssa Aquino for Other Words - Collectively, America’s student borrowers owe $1.7 trillion. On average, each graduating senior this year is beginning their life around $37,000 in the hole. That looks like a lot, but when you’re living with student debt, you look at that number and don’t even flinch. The debt is so normal it’s like an inside joke for pretty much everyone in my generation. Except we’re the punch line. I graduated class of 2015 from a private, liberal arts college — a “most selective” one, U.S. News and World Report assures me. It was also an expensive degree, Sallie Mae reminds me. Monthly. Yes, I chose to go to a private, expensive college. There was a calculus there, and one part of it was “I liked the feeling of it.” I know, this type of sentimental idealism is a privilege. It’s no surprise I came out with the equally sentimental notion that I wanted to do non-profit work — which makes it that much harder to pay those loan bills. It’s baffling to my Filipino parents. They didn’t cross the ocean and consign themselves to discrimination and demeaning jobs because they liked the “feel of it” — or even on the promise that their lives would be better. They did it on the promise that my life would be better. And that I wouldn’t owe anyone anything.
By Pat Elder for Popular Resistance. The Pentagon is attempting to recruit somewhere around 227,000 troops this year, and they’re having one hell of a time finding them, even while they enjoy unprecedented physical access to kids in our high schools and equally unprecedented exposure to their minds through popular culture. In 2010 there were 30.7 million Americans between the ages of 18 and 24. 227,000 works out to .73% of prime recruiting age. The revolution we engender must course through the schools. We can no longer afford to cede our neighborhood schools to the corporatists and the militarists. Wars start in our high schools, and this is where we can help to put an end to them. Wars start in our high schools, and this is where we can help to put an end to them.
By the Intermountain West Uranium Summit. ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico -- Intermountain West Uranium Summit participants are inviting affinity groups everywhere to take part on July 15-16 in our first Cross-Border AntiNuclear Action (CBAN), commemorating the anniversary of the largest radioactive accident in U.S. history and the explosion of the first atomic bomb. Members are holding events in our locales to raise awareness that the entire nuclear industry, from cradle to grave, is one deadly chain. Beginning with extraction of uranium, proceeding to refinement of yellow cake, through transportation on public routes, operation of nuclear power plants, and weapons manufacture, to waste disposal issues, the nuclear process releases lethal radiation to air, land and water. It history is fraught with accidents, illness and threats to life on earth. It must stop before it kills more humans and other living things.
By Margaret Flowers for Health Over Profit. We thought that Senator Sanders was on track to introduce and advocate for a national improved Medicare for All bill, but Tuesday he stated publicly at a Planned Parenthood rally that his priorities are to first defeat the Republican health plan, then to improve the Affordable Care Act with a public option or allowing people to buy-in to Medicare, and then we can work for single payer.
By Melinda Tuhus for Beyond Extreme Energy. Faced with the growing scourge of pipeline expansion nationwide, 180 groups -- including Sierra Club, Food & Water Watch, Green America, the Center for Biological Diversity, and community-level organizations -- are calling for the full Senate to vote “no” on President Trump’s nominees to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The coalition of organizations is opposing the nominations of Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson because both nominees would increase FERC’s bias towards the fossil fuel industry and further marginalize communities that oppose pipelines and other fossil fuel infrastructure that damage people’s homes, livelihoods and communities. Natural gas pipelines and infrastructure represent a clear danger to communities nationwide, and in just the past two years, explosions at transmission pipelines have caused 12 deaths and 10 injuries, as well as extensive property damage. In addition, the construction process puts communities at risk. Recently, the Rover pipeline, under construction and approved by FERC, resulted in two million gallons of drilling fluids leaking into Ohio wetlands.
By Leslie Kaufman for Inside Climate News. California - In an important real-world test of whether electric vehicles could play a bigger role in backing up the green power grid of the future, a group of San Francisco-area drivers showed that they were willing and even eager to adjust their charging times for the right financial incentives. The small but sophisticated pilot test that took place over 18 months. During that time, BMW asked owners of its electric cars if they would be willing to delay recharging them by an hour on the company's cue. An app notified the owners when a delay was coming, and they could opt out if they needed to charge at that time. "Eighteen months later, I can unequivocally state that participation was transparent, hassle-free and mind-numbingly dull to the point that I mostly forgot about it," one participant, John Higham, wrote in a first person account of his experience for Inside EVs.
By Leonard Peltier for Counter Punch - Well, here we are, another year, another memorial. After 42-years this does not get any easier. It seems as if you get lost for words. At times I feel as if it has all been for nothing, but I know that’s just weakness speaking. The struggle is never for nothing. So many of our children, grandchildren and in my case now, great-grandchildren, depend on us to try and save our lands, our Nations, our culture, religion and our People. But the young people should know many of us are growing old and soon it will be our time to leave this world. The next generation has to step into our shoes and become leaders. As they say, they will have to step up to the plate and be a strong hitter of the ball. These are words that I have repeated many times over the years. To see the younger Sisters and Brothers who are doing just that is an enormous relief from the stress that stems from feeling we may have lost the Battle for Survival as a Nation of Peoples. From in here all I can see is a lot of areas where we are losing ground. Like the young drinking, drugging and gang banging – KILLING our own kids on our Rez. Streets with these drive by shootings, “How cowardly is that!” Then there are so many children who are living in this world of oppression. They take their own lives because they believe it is their only way out.