Education is the foundation of political change. In this section we provide news and information from organizations and independent media outlets free of corporate and government propaganda. In particular, these groups focus on the fifteen core issues that define today’s national and global crises. We also provide some tools and resources for you to become part of the growing movement of citizens’ media.

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Recent Articles in Educate!

The Corruption Of The Law

Harlan Fiske Stone's conservatism was grounded in the belief that the law is designed to protect the weak from the powerful. (Mr. Fish)

By Chris Hedges for Truth Dig – ISLE AU HAUT, Maine—I drink coffee in the morning on a round, ornate oak table that once belonged to Harlan Fiske Stone, a U.S. Supreme Court justice from 1925 to 1946 and the chief justice for the last five of those years. Stone and his family spent their summers on this windswept, remote island six miles off the coast of Maine. Stone, a Republican and close friend of Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover, embodied a lost era in American politics. His brand of conservatism, grounded in the belief that the law is designed to protect the weak from the powerful, bears no resemblance to that of the self-proclaimed “strict constitutionalists” in the Federalist Society who have accumulated tremendous power in the judiciary. The Federalist Society, at the behest of President Trump, is in charge of vetting the 108 candidates for the federal judgeships that will be filled by the administration. The newest justice, Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch, comes out of the Federalist Society, as did Justices Clarence Thomas, John Roberts and Samuel Alito. The self-identified “liberals” in the judiciary, while progressive on social issues such as abortion and affirmative action, serve corporate power as assiduously as the right-wing ideologues of the Federalist Society.

As First NAFTA Round Opens In Secrecy, Digital Rights Groups Fear Another TPP

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By Jeremy Malcolm for EFF – The opening round of a series of negotiations over a proposed revised North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) began this week in Washington, D.C. between trade representatives from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Already it is clear that the office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has ignored our specific recommendations (to say nothing of USTR Robert Lighthizer’s personal promises) about making the negotiations more open and transparent. Once again, following the failed model of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the USTR will be keeping the negotiating texts secret, and in an actual regression from the TPP will be holding no public stakeholder events alongside the first round. This may or may not set a precedent for future rounds, that will rotate between the three countries every few weeks thereafter, with a scheduled end date of mid-2018. Although EFF has been keeping an open mind about the agreement until we have a better idea of what it will contain, the secrecy of its first negotiation round augurs poorly for what is to come. Already, the usual copyright lobbyists have descended upon the negotiations, sending a letter to the USTR this week which directly opposes the inclusion of a “fair use” copyright exception in the agreement, as EFF had suggested.

Trump’s New FERC Commissioner Rob Powelson Accepted Gifts From Energy Industry

Screen shot of Robert Powelson during his FERC nomination hearing. Credit: U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, public domain

By Itai Vardi for Desmog Blog – Robert Powelson, President Donald Trump’s newly appointed commissioner to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), received both gifts and reimbursements for travel, lodging, and hospitality from the energy and utility sectors in his previous position as a state regulator. He will now regulate those sectors at the federal level. Powelson, a Republican, began his tenure at FERC last week. Documents and emails recently uncovered by the Energy & Policy Institute, a watchdog monitoring attacks on renewable energy, indicate that he maintained a close relationship with industry groups as a member of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. In addition, earlier this year, Powelson said pipeline opponents are engaged in “jihad,” a statement which drew criticism from activists and further solidified his pro-industry image. NFL Game and Industry Conferences. DeSmog has found that according to Powelson’s financial interest disclosures at the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission, in September 2013 he accepted two tickets from NRG Energy to attend a football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and San Diego Chargers. Each ticket cost $105. Powelson attended the game with James Steffes, a senior vice president at NRG Energy, a large energy company operating numerous power generating stations throughout the U.S.

Net Neutrality Reduced To Mogul Vs. Mogul In Corporate Media’s Shallow Coverage

Comcast-owned MSNBC (7/14/17) explaining that net neutrality means “government just hasn’t caught up with technology yet.”

By John O’Day for FAIR – A common refrain in popular news media is that net neutrality is just too boring and esoteric for ordinary people to be interested in. “Oh my god that is the most boring thing I’ve ever seen,” John Oliver (HBO, 6/1/14) once exclaimed after showing his audience a short clip from a government hearing on the subject. “That is even boring by C-SPAN standards.” Net neutrality is the principle that internet data should be transmitted without discrimination. Absent net neutrality rules, internet service providers (ISPs) are free to act as gatekeepers, controlling which data users have access to and at what speed. Oliver proved himself wrong. His 2014 segment, which explained net neutrality and successfully implored the public to support the FCC’s proposed reclassification of ISPs as “common carriers” under the Telecommunications Act, so that they could be regulated as public utilities, has been viewed over 13 million times on YouTube. 3.7 million people sent comments to the FCC that year.

Author Of Antifa Handbook Defends Antifascist Violence

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By Ana Radelat for The CT Mirror – Washington – The death of Heather Heyer and the wounding of 19 others by a neo-Nazi at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., has become a recruiting call for a little-known group with an anarchist bent called the antifa. Antifa members fought with white supremacists in Charlottesville and attend many counter-demonstrations to white power rallies to shield protesters from neo-Nazi violence. But in doing so, the antifa, a contraction of the word “anti-fascist,” sometimes uses violent tactics of their own. The loose affiliation of radical activists has for years clashed with white supremacists and right-wing extremists. The presence of antifa members among the mostly peaceful counter-protesters in Charlottesville led President Donald Tump to compare the angry white supremacists – one of whom allegedly killed Heyer – to the counter protesters, saying there was violence “on both sides” and prompting a national furor. Connecticut GOP party chairman J.R. Romano has said the antifa is close to neo-Nazis, on a “scale of evil.” “All these neo-Nazis are assholes,” Romano said. “Where Trump missed the mark, and the only way I can explain this, in the grand scheme of things, this white supremacy Nazism, on a scale of evil, that’s a 10. But the antifa guys are like at an eight.”

Correcting Eva Golinger On Venezuela

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By Stansfield Smith for Dissident Voice. As the class struggle heated up in Venezuela this year, fueled by interventionist threats by the pro-US Organization of American States (OAS) bloc, many former supporters of the Bolivarian revolution have remained sitting on the fence. Fed up with these fair-weather friends and their critiques which recycle corporate news propaganda, some defenders of Venezuela such as Shamus Cooke, Greg Wilpert, Maria Paez Victor, have come with articles clarifying the stakes and calling the so-called “left” to account. Among the disaffected is Venezuelan-American lawyer Eva Golinger, the author of The Chávez Code: Cracking US Intervention in Venezuela and self-described friend and advisor to Hugo Chávez.

Disinformation Terrorism Against Venezuela

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By Armando B. Gines for New Dawn. World elites dominate the main international media almost completely through an intricate network of associations that conceal the participation of transnational empires such as banks, weapons industries, energy industries, and financial and investment entities. The New York Times, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, the Financial Times, El País—renowned newspapers and TV networks impose the views of their shareholders on current events, dictating the agenda for the millions that make up their audience. In other words, they lead the collective attention to focus on their preferred topics while they intentionally cast a cloak of silence over other issues, according to their economic interests. As US linguist George Lakoff revealed, we only talk about that which the hegemonic power wants us to talk about.

Trump’s ‘Military Option’ For Venezuela Provokes Russia Response

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By Brandon Turbeville for Activist Post. The United States has finally rattled its sabers loud enough against Venezuela that it has provoked a response from Russia. After imposing yet another round of sanctions upon an already economically embattled nation following a questionable Venezuelan move to reassemble the Western-backed opposition-dominated National Assembly, the U.S. is grandstanding yet again about “democracy,” “human rights,” and all the other things America tends to ignore except when it is able to use those concepts to justify foreign wars. Speaking at a New Jersey Golf Club where Trump had concluded a meeting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, the President reiterated the American hostility and aggression towards Venezuela and even openly stated that the United States is weighing a military option to enforce its own agenda of imperialism upon the country.

Neo-Nazis And The Rise Of Illiberal Democracy

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By Henry Giroux for TruthDig. While Trump finally gave way to overwhelming pressure on Monday and delivered a speech in which he asserted that “racism is evil” and described the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists as “repugnant,” by Tuesday he had already reverted to his initial assertion of “blame on both sides,” equating neo-Nazis with anti-racist counter-protesters (whom he labelled as the “alt-left”) and speaking of “very fine people” among the crowd of right-wing extremists who chanted racist and anti-Semitic slogans on Friday night. The authoritarian drama unfolding across the United States has many registers and includes state violence against immigrants, right-wing populist violence against mosques and synagogues, and attacks on Muslims, Black people and others who do not fit into the vile script of white nationalism. The violence in Charlottesville is but one register of a larger mirror of domestic terrorism and home-grown fascism that is growing in the United States.

Fukushima Plant Releasing 770,000 Tons Of Radioactive Water Into Ocean

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By Dahr Jamail for TruthOut. When Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant suffered a triple-core meltdown in March 2011 as the result of devastating earthquake, most people had no idea this was only the beginning of a nuclear disaster that has arguably become the single worst industrial accident in human history. Keeping the three core meltdowns cool has been an ongoing challenge that has yet to be met. As fresh water is pumped over the cores, it is then stored on site in massive tanks. The Tokyo Electric Power company (TEPCO), the operator of the plant, then has to figure out what to do with that water. Recently, TEPCO announced that it would dump 770,000 tons of radioactive tritium water into the Pacific Ocean.

Is Ryan Kelly’s Iconic Photograph An American ‘Guernica’

Ryan Kelly’s iconic photograph of the moment that James Fields’ car plowed into a crowd of protestors in Charlottesville, Virginia. Ryan M. Kelly/AP

By Jennifer Wenzel for The Conversation – On August 12, Charlottesville Daily Progress photographer Ryan M. Kelly captured the exact moment that Nazi sympathizer James Alex Fields, Jr. drove his Dodge Challenger into a crowd of counterprotesters, injuring 19 and killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. It’s probably the most enduring image to emerge from the weekend of “Unite the Right” rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia. At first glance, Kelly’s photograph is nearly impossible to make sense of visually or politically. Cars are not supposed to drive into pedestrians; fellow citizens are not supposed to kill each other over political differences. And there’s so much in the frame of the image – so many figures and forms crowded together, most only partially visible – that you can’t take it in all at once. Pablo Picasso’s 1937 iconic mural “Guernica” might teach us how to interpret this image more closely, and why it is important to do so. Like Kelly’s photograph, “Guernica” conveys a moment of terror through a jumble of forms and fragments that seem to make no sense. In April 1937, a different sort of “Unite the Right” moment took place in fascist Europe during the destruction of Guernica.

The Work Lives Of Uber Drivers: Worse Than You Think

In addition to showing solidarity with immigrants, people of color, and workers nationwide, the actions will also take on Uber, a central figure in critiques of the U.S. "gig economy." (Photo: Reuters)

By Katie Wells, Kafui Attoh, and Declan Cullen for Working Class Perspectives – To be an Uber driver is to work when you want. Or so Uber likes to say in recruitment materials, advertisements, and sponsored research papers: “Be your own boss.” “Earn money on your schedule.” “With Uber, you’re in charge.” The language of freedom, flexibility, and autonomy abounds, and can seem like a win for workers. But the reality of our research shows something very different. The price of flexibility in the gig economy is substantial. Last year we conducted 40 in-person interviews and online surveys with Uber drivers in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Our project—which creates one of the first independent, qualitative datasets about the rideshare industry—found that the economic realities of precarious work are a far cry from the rosy promises of the gig economy. In exchange for flexible schedules, Uber retains near total control over what really matters for drivers, namely the compensation and costs of work. Aman bought a Lincoln Town Car in 2012 after he been approved to drive for Uber Black, the brand-new private car service. As an Ethiopian immigrant in Washington, D.C., he had supported himself by driving a taxi so he already had the chauffeur license that was then required. In 5 or 6 hours of driving, he earned what would have taken him 8 hours in a taxi.

Trump And America’s Fascist Forefathers

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By Glen Ford for Black Agenda Report – Donald Trump was even more agitated and combative than usual at Tuesday’s press conference. How could he draw a line to separate the “neo-Nazis” and assorted “white supremacists” that had descended on Charlottesville, Virginia — one of whom used his car to crush the life out of a young woman — and the “very fine people” that favored keeping Robert E. Lee’s statue on its pedestal in (recently renamed) Emancipation Park? And, where would the racist-removal project end? The answer, as somebody once said, was blowing in the wind. “So this week, it is Robert E. Lee,” warned Trump . “I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?” There is nothing wrong with Trump’s logic. If the legacy of slavery is to be excised root and branch, then nothing less than the most profound social transformation is in order. Why stop with statues of long dead men? If you rightly condemn Washington and Jefferson as loathsome oppressors of humanity, you are then obligated to purge the nation and world of the poisoned fruit of their racist perversion. What these forefathers “brought forth on this continent” was “a new nation, conceived” NOT in liberty, nor was it dedicated to the proposition that all men were created equal.

From Charlottesville With Resolve + Indigenous Youth Paddle To Protect

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By Eleanor Goldfield for Occupy – This week on Act Out!, a special episode to discuss what happened last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia. Note: we will not show the video. Next, we take a look at an old decaying pipeline, a brand new one and the company that craves more land and water for the sake of black gold. We talk with two indigenous youth activists standing up to the company and taking to the water to raise awareness and build resistance: Stop Line 3 and Paddle to Protect. From tweets to marching in the streets, this is Act Out!

Court Lets Exxon Off Hook For Pipeline Spill In Arkansas Neighborhood

A break in Exxon's Pegasus Pipeline sent more than 200,000 gallons of heavy tar sands crude oil spilling into a neighborhood of Mayflower, Arkansas, in 2013. Credit: U.S. EPA

By Georgina Gustin for Inside Climate News – A federal appeals court has let ExxonMobil largely off the hook for a 2013 pipeline spill that deluged a neighborhood in Mayflower, Arkansas, with more than 200,000 gallons of heavy tar sands crude oil, sickening residents and forcing them from their homes. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday overturned federal findings of violations and the better part of a $2.6 million fine imposed on Exxon’s pipeline unit in 2015 by the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). The regulator had accused the company of failing to maintain the decades-old Pegasus Pipeline and to prioritize testing of a segment of older, high-risk pipe where a 22-foot gash eventually opened along a metal seam. Exxon challenged the violation and fine, arguing there was no proof its actions contributed to the spill and saying it had conducted adequate testing of the pipeline as required by law. The appeals court agreed, saying the company met its legal obligation when it “conducted a lengthy, repeated and in-depth analysis” of the pipeline and its risks.