By Staff of the Associated Press - FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A giant array of solar panels near the famed sandstone buttes of Monument Valley has begun producing electricity for the Navajo Nation at a time when the tribe is bracing for the loss of hundreds of jobs from the impending closure of a nearby coal-fired power plant. The Kayenta Solar Facility is the first utility-scale solar project on the Navajo Nation, producing enough electricity to power about 13,000 Navajo homes. The plant comes at a time when the area’s energy landscape is shifting. The coal-fired Navajo Generating Station near Page is set to close in December 2019, leaving a site that both tribal and private entities say has potential for renewable energy development. The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, which owns the solar plant, said the project advances clean energy on the reservation long known for fossil fuel development, the Arizona Daily Sun reported. Walter Haase, general manager of the tribal utility, said the plant proves to investors, developers and tribal communities that renewable energy projects are possible on the reservation.
By Ralph Nader of The Nader Page - Hovering Hurricane Harvey, loaded and reloading with trillions of gallons of water raining down on the greater Houston region—ironically the hub of the petroleum refining industry—is an unfolding, off the charts tragedy for millions of people. Many of those most affected are minorities and low-income families with no homes, health care or jobs to look forward to once the waters recede. Will this tragedy teach us the lessons that so many politicians and impulsive voters have been denying for so long? The first lesson is that America must come home: we must end the Empire of Militarism and of playing the role of policeman of the planet. Both of these habitual roles are backfiring and depleting trillions of taxpayer dollars that could be better used toward rebuilding our country’s infrastructure, strengthening our catastrophe-response networks and preparing for the coming megastorms like Hurricane Harvey. A projected trillion dollars being spent by Obama, and now Trump, just to upgrade nuclear weapons will only spur another arms race with Russia and China. This money could be more productively spent protecting Americans from immediate threats, such as natural disasters from man-made climate change.
By Chye-Ching Huang for CBPP - President Trump is set to speak in Missouri today where he will reportedly continue to tout his tax plan’s benefits for the middle class even though it would actually concentrate its tax cuts at the top — and could even hurt low- and middle-income families. Over the last two years, the President has released several different tax plans that would deliver trillions of dollars in tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans and corporations but do little to help working families. Yet, he’s consistently promised to help the middle class: in his inaugural address, for example, he said that “every decision” on taxes will “be made to benefit American workers and American families.” In fact, if President Trump’s proposed tax cuts are paid for through the types of spending cuts he has proposed in his budget, low- and middle-income Americans would clearly end up far worse off.
By Glenn Greenwald for The Intercept - TERRORIST ATTACKS, and the emotions they spawn, almost always prompt calls for fundamental legal rights to be curtailed in the name of preventing future attacks. The formula by now is routine: The victims of the horrific violence are held up as proof that there must be restrictions on advocating whatever ideology motivated the killer to act. In 2006, after a series of attacks carried out by Muslims, Republican Newt Gingrich called for “a serious debate about the First Amendment” so that “those who would fight outside the rules of law, those who would use weapons of mass destruction, and those who would target civilians are, in fact, subject to a totally different set of rules.” Of Islamic radicals, the former U.S. speaker of the House argued that they do not believe in the Constitution or free speech, and the U.S. should thus “use every technology we can find to break up their capacity to use the Internet, to break up their capacity to use free speech, and to go after people who want to kill us to stop them from recruiting people.” In an essay defending his remarks, Gingrich argued that “free speech should not be an acceptable cover for people who are planning to kill other people who have inalienable rights of their own,” adding that “the fact is not all speech is permitted under the Constitution.”
By Robert Parry for Consortium News - On Tuesday, for instance, the Times published a front-page article designed to advance the Russia-gate narrative, stating: “A business associate of President Trump promised in 2015 to engineer a real estate deal with the aid of the president of Russia, Vladimir V. Putin, that he said would help Mr. Trump win the presidency.” Wow, that sounds pretty devastating! The Times is finally tying together the loose and scattered threads of the Russia-influencing-the-U.S.-election story. Here you have a supposed business deal in which Putin was to help Trump both make money and get elected. That is surely how a casual reader or a Russia-gate true believer would read it – and was meant to read it. But the lede is misleading. The reality, as you would find out if you read further into the story, is that the boast from Felix Sater that somehow the construction of a Trump Tower in Moscow would demonstrate Trump’s international business prowess and thus help his election was meaningless. What the incident really shows is that the Trump organization had little or no pull in Russia as Putin’s government apparently didn’t lift a finger to salvage this stillborn building project.
By Jeff St. John for GTM - Florida is set to get a lot more solar power and grid batteries -- in exchange for losing a future nuclear power plant. On Tuesday, Duke Energy Florida filed a revised settlement that lays out a four-year, nearly $6 billion investment into 700 megawatts of solar PV, 50 megawatts of energy storage, 500 electric-vehicle chargers, and smart meters and grid modernization across the state. In exchange, Duke will be allowed to shut down its Levy Nuclear Project -- one of many planned nuclear power plant projects being canceled in the wake of the Westinghouse bankruptcy and broader industry disruption. And, in a turnaround from last week’s request for an 8.3 percent rate hike, the new plan would keep rates in line with inflation over the next four years. Duke Energy Florida, which owns about 8,800 megawatts of generation capacity and serves approximately 1.8 million customers, will instead absorb more than $150 million in closing costs, and pass the rest on to customers to the tune of $2.50 per megawatt-hour. It will also reduce customer costs by $2.53 per megawatt-hour by spreading the costs for under-recovered fuel over two years rather than one.
By Tyler Norris for NC Policy Watch - My home state was once a model for progress. For half a century, North Carolina was a beacon of moderation in the South, an outlier dubbed the “Dixie Dynamo” as early as the 1960’s for its farsighted reforms and public investments. The state had its share of problems, especially around the pernicious legacy of Jim Crow, but many of its trend lines were positive and generated an infectious optimism. I remember that optimism. Even in Appalachia, my father could start a successful small business, and the public schools offered a quality education. In high school, I was given the opportunity to attend the North Carolina School of Science and Math, founded as the first public school of its kind in the early 1980’s and used as a model for 18 other schools nationally. Opportunities were expanding, barriers to mobility were dropping, and the state’s future looked bright. Today, North Carolina is different. The numbers speak for themselves: the share of workers living in poverty is up from one-in-four in 2000 to every one-in-three today, according to the NC Justice Center – the second highest share of any state. Middle-wage jobs have hollowed outand median income has plunged since 2007.
By Joseph Thomas for NEO - The threat of cyberterrorism has competed for centre stage in American politics with fears of “Russian hackers” disrupting everything from elections to electrical grids. And yet as US policymakers wield threats of cyberterrorism to promote a long and growing list of countermeasures and pretexts for expanding its conflict with Moscow, it is simultaneously promoting very real cyberterrorism globally. Worst of all, it does so under the guise of “activism.” The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace recently published a paper titled, “Growing Cyber Activism in Thailand.” In it, readers may have expected a detailed description of how independent local activists were using information technology to inform the public, communicate with policymakers and organise themselves more efficiently. Instead, readers would find a list of US-funded fronts posing as “nongovernmental organisations” (NGOs) engaged in subversion, including attacks carried out against Thai government websites aimed at crippling them, the dumping of private information of ordinary citizens online and coercing policymakers into adopting their foreign-funded and directed agenda.
By H. Patricia Hynes for Truth Dig - What the world will look like in 15 years depends also on our commitment to reduce substantially greenhouse gas emissions and achieve 50 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2030, so that her world remains habitable. However, we cannot get to a sustainable world without the full realization of girls’ and women’s rights, for women are responsible for providing food, fuel and water for billions of people in much of Africa and Asia, where natural resources are growing scarce or rapidly degrading. Yet many of these women lack the right to own land or to access credit and technical training to assure the sustainability of their countries’ natural resources. We will not get there in 15 years without women’s equality in decision-making because women in governance positions sign on to international treaties that take action against climate change more than their male counterparts. Further, there is abundant evidence that women care more about the environment than men and handle risk—economic, environmental and personal—more wisely than men.
By Adam Garrie for The Duran - While some pundits continue to downplay the increasingly strong partnership between Russia and China, the reality is that as Russia’s economy continues to grow and as China’s geo-political pronouncements continue to become more wide reaching, the world is witnessing the final stage of a new geo-political alignment that has been many years in the making. China and Russia are now, not only on the same side of many global issues but they are speaking in a singular voice with a similarly loud volume. Three areas where this has manifested itself include of Venezuela, Afghanistan and North Korea. In each of these cases, both Russia and China are saying almost identical things at the same time and are doing so forcefully. By contrast, during the early stages of the Syrian conflict which started in 2011, while China was always supportive of the Syrian government in its battle against terrorists, Russia took a lead in the conflict both in respect of diplomatic announcements and after 2015, in respect of military assistance to the Syrian government.
By Evan Greer for Fight For The Future - Today digital rights organization Fight for the Future unveiled 3 more crowdfunded billboards targeting Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Bob Latta, and Greg Walden, members of Congress who have publicly supported the FCC’s efforts to gut net neutrality protections that keep the web free from censorship, throttling, and extra fees. The three new billboards are the latest in an ongoing campaign focused on lawmakers who oppose Internet freedom. Earlier this month the group launched an initial round of net neutrality billboards targeting six different lawmakers in states across the country. The move comes just hours before the FCC’s final deadline for public input on their controversial plan to repeal net neutrality. With lawmakers still in their home districts, the billboards - paid for by hundreds of small donations - appear in three different states.
By Jeff Abbott for Towards Freedom - On August 8, one hundred Q’eqchi Maya families from the Department of Alta Verapaz arrived to the historic center of Guatemala City, the nation’s capital, to establish a permanent presence in an encampment near the Presidential Palace. They have announced that they will remain there until the administration fulfills the agreement between the campesino communities and the government established in April 2015 to end agrarian conflicts within the department. “We are here in front of the National Palace because of the failure of the state to comply with the accords that came after many dialogues with state officials on the land conflicts in Alta Verapaz,” said Carlos Choc, a member of a Q’eqchi community within the Municipality of Coban, Alta Verapaz, and a representative from the Comité Campesino de Altiplano(CCDA), the organization that coordinated the occupation. “To this date, we do not have a response that is the benefit of the Q’eqchi communities,” Choc told Toward Freedom. “Because of this, our Q’eqchi communities have risen up to demand that [President Jimmy Morales] comply and give us a favorable response. We do not want any more dialogues on the conflict over land.” Black plastic tarps hang from ropes tied to the Guatemalan National Palace, creating a series of makeshift tents that have become the home for these families.
By Mark Huffman for Consumer Affairs - Net Neutrality can be something of a complex subject, but another poll shows consumers not only understand what it is, they want to keep it. In short, Net Neutrality holds that internet service providers (ISP) have to treat all web content the same. That means they can't charge extra to sites that use more bandwidth, and they can't favor the content of one site over another. Some ISPs have protested, saying they've spent millions of dollars building out their networks and should be allowed to manage them as they see fit. In the latter years of the Obama Administration, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established Net Neutrality as policy, over the protests of some ISPs.
By Karl Bode for Tech Dirt - With its quest to gut net neutrality, privacy and other consumer broadband protections, the FCC is rushing face first toward stripping meaningful oversight of some of the least-liked -- and least competitive -- companies in America. The FCC's plan, based on flimsy to no data and in stark contrast to the will of the public, involves gutting most FCC oversight of broadband providers, then shoveling any remaining authority to an FTC we've noted is ill-suited, under-funded, and legally ill-equipped for the job. That's a real problem for a sector that's actually getting less competitive than ever in many markets. Giant ISPs and their armies of policy allies often try to frame the effort as a noble quest for deregulation, often insisting they're somehow "restoring internet freedom" in a bare-knuckled attempt to pander to partisan constituents. But by any sane measure the FCC's quest is little more than a massive gift to despised duopolies like Comcast -- at what might be the worst possible time for a severely dysfunctional industry. But there are signs that even many traditional big ISP allies think Ajit Pai's plan is absurdly extreme.
By Barbara Nimri Aziz for Counter Punch - I’m talking about Syria here. Knowing that I write this at my peril, I continue. Not as a defense, but as an argument, one from a different and, I believe, a worthy perspective. Because some acknowledgement must be made– especially by those who are aware of the terrible might of US power and Washington’s determination to destroy Syria at any cost–of that small, ancient nation’s astonishing ability to resist. Just as those who applaud Palestinians’ resolute pursuit of statehood; just as those who now regard Viet Nam with admiration for its emergence as a self-reliant, noble nation. Syria’s current struggle against multiple assaults is not over by any means. It remains in a highly vulnerable state. Its people are scattered across the globe, its highly educated citizens lost to other nations ready to exploit their skills. Refugees in camps and those suffering at home are uncertain of anything at all. Syria’s military has lost tens of thousands of mortally wounded men. (And what about the injured?) Its youths flee conscription. Syria’s once strong economy is crippled and barely recognizable. Its social institutions are overwhelmed, and its cultural riches, including contemporary theater and television, are shrunken or destroyed.