10 Ways That Trump’s New NAFTA Threatens People And The Planet

Trump meets with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto at the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, in July 2017. Trump is pushing to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement among their countries and Canada. Photo via NPR.

By William Waren for Friends of the Earth – During his campaign for president, Donald Trump demonized the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), calling it “the worst trade deal” and making false assurances that he would rework NAFTA, and other trade deals, to protect the American people. As the process to renegotiate NAFTA begins, Trump’s rhetoric and actions strongly suggest that he plans to step up his war on the planet. Trump’s NAFTA “re-do” is highly likely to reflect many elements of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and specifically, the portions of the TPP that would undercut environmental regulations. The Administration’s statement on July 17 of its NAFTA negotiating objectives reinforces concerns that Trump plans to use a new NAFTA to hamstring effective environmental regulation across the board and accelerate global warming. When we compare the evils of Trump’s new trade deal against reality of our current economy, the American people should be extremely concerned about the future of our environment. As trade renegotiations begin in Washington, D.C., on August 16, we compiled a list of ten ways this process endangers our environment.

The Story Of Charlottesville Was Written In Blood In The Ukraine

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By Ajamu Baraka for Black Agenda Report – What is the character of racist right-wing politics today? Is it the crazed white supremacist who plows into an anti-fascist demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, or can it also be the assurance by Lindsay Graham that an attack against North Korea would result in thousands of lives lost…. but those lives will be “over there”? What about the recent unanimous resolution by both Houses of Congress in support of Israel and criticism of the United Nations for its alleged anti-Israeli bias? Would that qualify as racist and right-wing, since it appears that the ongoing suffering of the Palestinians is of no concern? And what about the vote by the U.S. House of Representatives to go even beyond the obscene proposal of the Trump administration to increase the military budget by $54 billion dollars and instead add a whopping $74 billion to the Pentagon budget? What I find interesting about the current discussion around what many are referring to as the emboldening of the radical white supremacist right is how easy it is to mobilize opposition against the crude and overt white supremacists we saw in Charlottesville. So easy, in fact, that it’s really a distraction from the more difficult and dangerous work that needs to be done to confront the real right-wing power brokers.

Crumbling Pipes, Tainted Water Plague Black Communities

Troy Lowe, 4, sleeps under the arm of his father, Tory Lowe, in Milwaukee. Troy tested positive for lead poisoning after ingesting the tap water in their home. (Michael M. Santiago/News21)

By William Taylor Potter, Brandon Kitchin and Alexis Reese for Troubled Water – CAMPTI, La. – Deep in the winding mass of crumbling back streets in Campti, Leroy Hayes sets a glass of water from his faucet in a patch of sunlight on the railing of his porch and watches specks of sediment float to the top. Hayes said the town’s water system has been bad for years, with water often coming out brown and smelling like bleach. The family uses bottled water for drinking and cooking and often has to drive to the city of Natchitoches, 11 miles away, to wash their clothes. The Campti water leaves their clothes with a yellowish tint. “Don’t nobody drink that mess,” Hayes said. Like many poor African-American communities, Campti’s poverty is a significant impediment to making crucial improvements to the town’s infrastructure – including its old water system. Hayes is a lifelong resident of the town, where according to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than half of the predominantly African-American population lives in poverty. Campti’s median household income is only $15,428.

White House Warned About White Supremacist Violence 3 Months Ago

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By Patrick Martin for World Socialist Web Site. The rampage through Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend by hundreds of neo-Nazis did not come as a surprise to the Trump White House. On the contrary, both the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reported the mounting threat of violence by white supremacist groups more than three months ago. According to a document obtained and made public by Foreign Policymagazine on its web site Monday, the FBI and DHS issued a joint warning that white supremacists had already carried out more violent attacks than any other US-based groups over the past 16 years and “likely will continue to pose a threat of lethal violence over the next year.”

The 16 Year War In Afghanistan – Headlines Tell The Story

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By Staff of The Nader Page – Since 2001 the US has been at War in Afghanistan – the longest war in US history. Headlines concisely tell the story of this cruel boomeranging quagmire of human violence and misery. Below are some newspaper headlines from 2010 to the present to show that a militarized foreign policy without Congress exercising its Constitutional duties and steadfast public engagement will drift on, costing our soldiers’ lives and limbs, nearly three-quarters of a trillion taxpayer dollars, hundreds of thousands of Afghani lives and millions of refugees, with no end in sight. Here we go – year by year: 2010. Setbacks in Afghanistan Aggravate Fissures Over Obama Administration’s Review Strategy, Magnifying Differences. US Money Financing Afghan Warlords for Convoy Protection, Report Says. Afghan Base Tests US Exit Plans. In Bank Scandal, Kabul Struggles to Recover Missing Money. Afghanistan Halts Taliban Peace Initiative. US Slows Troop Pullout in Afghanistan

Daily Stormer Falsely Claims Anonymous Took Over Its Website

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By Andrew Griffin for Independent – The ‘Anonymous’ hack on the Daily Stormer might actually be a hoax pulled by the notorious Nazi website. That’s according to one of the biggest Anonymous Twitter accounts, which suggests that the group doesn’t actually have anything to do with the hack and it could be fake. Instead, the Nazi website might have staged the hack because its website was about to be taken down anyway, it suggested. The far-right site was told by host GoDaddy that it would be kicked off within 24 hours – and given that it is unlikely any other hosting service would allow it to be a customer, it’s probable the site will disappear. Early in the morning of 14 August, a post appeared on the Daily Stormer website that said it had been taken over by Anonymous and would be shut down in 24 hours, which led multiple news sites including The Independent to report the hack claim. Because Anonymous is a loosely-affiliated organisation, it is possible for anyone to claim allegiance with the group and conduct operations in its name. But Your Anon News, one of the biggest Anonymous accounts, said that it didn’t think the hack had been done by any established member. “We have no confirmation that ‘Anonymous’ is involved yet,” it wrote on Twitter. “Looks more like a [Daily Stormer] stunt. Wonder if they are having issues finding a new host.”

How War Pollutes The Potomac River

From http://worldbeyondwar.org/war-pollutes-potomac-river/

By David Swanson and Pat Elder for World Beyond War – The Pentagon’s impact on the river on whose bank it sits is not simply the diffuse impact of global warming and rising oceans contributed to by the U.S. military’s massive oil consumption. The U.S. military also directly poisons the Potomac River in more ways than almost anyone would imagine. Let’s take a cruise down the Potomac from its source in the mountains of West Virginia to its mouth at the Chesapeake Bay. The journey down this mighty waterway details six EPA Superfund sites created by the Pentagon’s reckless disregard for the fragile ecosystem of the Potomac River watershed. The U.S. Navy’s Allegany Ballistics Laboratory in Rocket Center, West Virginia, 130 miles north of Washington, is a critical source of contamination in the Potomac River. The on-site disposal of explosive metals and solvent wastes contaminates soil and groundwater with hazardous chemicals. The groundwater and soil along the river are laced with explosives, dioxins, volatile organic compounds, acids, laboratory and industrial wastes, bottom sludge from solvent recovery, metal plating pretreatment sludge, paints, and thinners. The site also has a beryllium landfill. An active burning area is still used for waste disposal, sprinkling chemical dust over the river. It’s not good.

The Corruption Of Mike Pence And The Privatization Of Infrastructure

Gov. Mike Pence (R) signing Indiana’s “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” while surrounded by anti-LGBT activists. CREDIT: TWITTER/MICAH CLARK

By David Sirota for IB Times – In 2015, then-Gov. Mike Pence made the controversial decision to keep the Indiana Toll Road under the control of a consortium of private corporations, which was represented by a local lobbying firm that had funneled large donations to Pence’s gubernatorial campaign. This year, the same lobby firm signed up to press the Donald Trump administration on behalf of IFM Investors — the same foreign company that Pence originally approved to run the toll road consortium. In fact, documents reviewed by International Business Times show the lobbying firm that bankrolled Pence has been in direct contact with the vice president on federal infrastructure policy. The firm has lobbied Pence on behalf of Melbourne-based IFM as Pence has explicitly extolled IFM in his work spearheading a White House plan to privatize roads, bridges and airports. That trillion-dollar initiative, which Trump is scheduled to promote on Tuesday and which could enrich foreign investors, comes as Trump has said he is focused on “putting America first.” In response to IBT’s questions, White House spokesperson Natalie Strom said in a written statement that Trump “has made it clear that his priority is investment in American infrastructure” and that White House staff “welcome foreign companies who recognize that under President Trump, building American infrastructure is a good investment.”

We Mustn’t Back Another Us-Led Regime Change In Latin America

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro
AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos

By Chris Williamson for Portside – THE silly season is well and truly in full swing with Britain’s big media obsessing about Venezuela and using it as another proxy war against Jeremy Corbyn. The Tories have been fanning the flames and a handful of New Labour diehards have jumped onto the bandwagon to demand that the Labour leader condemn Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Jeremy is on record supporting the Bolivarian revolution that started with the election of Hugo Chavez in 1998. The Chavez administration secured colossal improvements in living standards in the intervening years up to his untimely death on March 5 2013. Oil revenues were used as a solidarity tool to address the hideous inequality that afflicted the country after years of neoliberal fundamentalism. This saw a massive investment programme in healthcare, housing and free education, enabling poor Venezuelans to access decent housing, healthcare, medicines and subsidised food for those in need. It also resulted in large numbers of jobs being created in the public sector, giving people the dignity of work in secure employment. Consequently, poverty was slashed, infant mortality was substantially reduced and, according to Unesco, Venezuela eliminated illiteracy in 2005. This spending on education empowered people and facilitated grassroots political participation.

A Businessman Makes The Case For A Single-Payer Health Care System

(Image: Health care via Shutterstock)

By Richard Master for PNHP – With all due respect to President Trump, he is wrong about the single-payer model of health insurance. Single payer — centralized public financing of a continued privately operated health system — will not “bankrupt the United States.” In fact, the opposite is true. Single payer is the only internationally proven strategy to transition the U.S. out of its current crisis of runaway health care costs to economic sustainability, where overall system cost growth is consistent with overall economic growth and inflation. At one-sixth of our economy and over 25 percent of the federal budget, health care will continue to be a focus in Congress until real progress is made and the angst of the American people about the system is resolved. It is clear to most Americans that runaway health care costs translate into flat wages and also a deterioration of real disposable income that drags down our 70 percent consumer-driven economy. But recent efforts in Congress to confront the crisis have been misguided. Congress has focused on cost shifting — moving the burden of our health system away from the federal government to the states and also to employers and to working families across the country, who will pay higher private insurance premiums to cover the expected cost of increased uncompensated care as the system absorbs the loss of Medicaid funds.

The Practical Libertarian’s Case For Single Payer Healthcare

(Image: Health care costs via Shutterstock)

By Camilo Gomez for Counter Punch – This year, there have been serious discussions about healthcare policy in America. The Republicans’ attempt to repeal Obamacare generated much backlash. The images of disability activists protesting in Congress circulated the world. For many foreigners, it’s a surprise that the richest country in the world doesn’t have any form of universal healthcare. In fact, many of the activists’ goals were not to preserve Obamacare, but support Medicare for all––or single payer. In America, organizations like Physicians for a National Health Programsupport single payer–a tax-funded healthcare system administered by the state that covers health care for all residents. It is logical that this policy is backed mostly by progressives, on the basis of their belief that healthcare is a human right. Not all Democratic politicians support single payer, but the support for it among the Democratic base is putting those who oppose it in a difficult position. Republicans in office are opposed to single payer, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t conservatives arguing for it, too. About 40 percent of Trump supporters back single payer and is worth acknowledging that some Republicans attitudes on the issue are shifting.

The Korean Missile Crisis Vs. The Cuban Missile Crisis

A submarine missile is paraded across Kim Il Sung Square during a military parade in Pyongyang, North Korea, in April to celebrate the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il Sung, the country's founder and grandfather of current ruler Kim Jong Un. (Wong Maye-E / AP)

By Paul Street for Truth DIg – One of the more irritating claims made by members of the John F. Kennedy cult holds that JFK heroically saved humanity from annihilation during the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962. In one sense, the claim is true. During the crisis, the president overrode many people in his inner National Security Council “ExComm” circle who favored responding to the Soviet Union’s placement of missiles in Cuba in ways that might well have ignited World War III. But Kennedy sparked the crisis in the first place, and his macho posturing during the hair-raising, 13-day showdown might have sparked global nuclear catastrophe if not for Soviet sanity. The faceoff never would have occurred without young President Kennedy’s aggressive arms escalation, his disregard (inherited from President Eisenhower) for Soviet disarmament offers, and his wish to strangle the great socialist revolution and national independence movement led by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara in Cuba. Kennedy’s determination to look strong was a critical part of why the nearly disastrous missile crisis happened. This was JFK’s key political imperative in the wake of his Bay of Pigs humiliation the previous year, when a poorly planned U.S.-led invasion meant to overthrow the Cuban revolution failed ignominiously.

Murphy Oil May Be The Last Workers’ Rights Case

Workers’ strike in Milwaukee in January of 2014. (Photo: Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association/flickr/cc)

By Celine McNicholas for Portside – Yesterday, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) filed its brief in NLRB v.Murphy Oil, which will be argued in the Supreme Court in October. The case will determine whether mandatory arbitration agreements with individual workers that prevent them from pursuing work-related claims collectively are prohibited by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The brief makes clear what is at stake for workers if the Supreme Court were to rule against the NLRB in this matter. The NLRA guarantees workers the right to stand together for “mutual aid and protection” when seeking to improve their wages and working conditions. Employer interference with this right is prohibited. However, increasingly, employers are requiring workers to sign arbitration agreements that force them to waive their rights to collective actions, and handle workplace disputes as individuals. In practice, that means that even if many workers faced the same type of dispute at work, each individual employee must hire their own lawyer, and must resolve their disputes out of court, behind closed doors, with only their employer and a private arbitrator.

Half A Million People Infected As Yemen Cholera Epidemic Continues To Spread

A Yemeni child stands outside the family house which was destroyed several months ago in an air-strike by the Saudi-led coalition at a slum in the capital Sanaa MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images

By Staff of Oxfam – “Yemen’s catastrophic cholera crisis is rewriting the miserable history of this disease. Our common humanity tells us that this massive crisis demands a massive response. “This is no accidental disaster – it is a manmade disaster driven by national and international politics. All those fighting and backing this war need to stop fueling the madness and instead come to the peace table for the sake of civilian families in Yemen. Too many people have died, too many have lost everything they owned, too many have seen their futures put on hold. “In backing this war with billions of dollars of arms sales and military support the U.S. and the U.K. are complicit in the suffering of millions of people in Yemen.”

When Washington Decides Democracy Is Dangerous: Stoking Opposition In Venezuela And Syria

A Venezuelan protester holds a poster that reads in Spanish “Against Imperialist aggression, respect Venezuela” during a protest outside the National Assembly in Caracas Venezuela. (AP/Howard Yanes)

By Ramiro S. Fúnez for Mint Press News – QUITO (Analysis)– If you’ve been following international news in recent years, you know that two countries, in particular, have served as punching bags for establishment pundits: Venezuela and Syria. Sure, other countries on mainstream media’s target list — including Russia, China, Cuba, Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) — have also been persistently bombarded with hit pieces. But then these sovereign nations have alwaysbeen under attack since declaring their independence from Washington’s imperialist grip. What distinguishes recent corporate news attacks against Venezuela and Syria from media treatment of the countries mentioned above, however, is the role of their respective Western-backed opposition “movements.” Claiming to fight for “democracy” and “freedom,” protesters from both countries have participated in violent actions aimed at overthrowing their democratically-elected governments — Venezuela since 2014 and Syria since 2011. This hasn’t been the case, at least in recent years, in Russia, China, Cuba, Iran and the DPRK. In Venezuela, right-wing opposition groups have attempted to topple the socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro and the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela. They hope to follow the path of Brazil and Argentina, where social programs for the poor have been slashed and neoliberal austerity reigns.