News

House Speaker Paul Ryan will not run for re-election

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 17:04

House Speaker Paul Ryan will not run for re-election | 11 April 2018 | House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Deep State-Wis., announced Wednesday that he is not seeking re-election in November -- a move that ends a nearly two decade career in Congress and comes as the GOP girds for a tough fight to keep control of the House this year. Ryan said in a press conference after meeting with House lawmakers that his primary motivation was so he could spend more time with his wife and children, who he said he did not want to remember him as a "weekend Dad." The move ignites the race to potentially succeed Ryan should Republicans hold the House in November. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and GOP Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif are both mentioned as possibilities.

Categories: News

Rural Co-ops and a Path to Broadband Access

Grassroots Economic Survival - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 16:37
Link: Rural Co-ops and a Path to Broadband Access

Electric cooperatives were so successful in electrifying rural America that in 1949, the REA was authorized to fund cooperatives for telephone services. Or, as we would call the service today, “telecommunications.”

And it’s on that peg that leaders of the Central Virginia Electric Cooperative (CVEC), based in the Nelson County community of Arrington, believe they’ve found a way to address the biggest challenge facing rural America in 2018: the unavailability of access to broadband internet services.

We have argued many times that broadband access is as critical an issue for rural America today as electrification was 80 years ago. Broadband access, with speeds surpassing 100 Mbps and more, is rarely given a second thought in a city like Lynchburg or Danville. But in surrounding counties, thousands of residents can only dream of such access.

That’s why the CVEC board of directors recently voted to form a subsidiary to do what its own predecessor did in 1937 with electricity: constructing broadband on-ramps for members in its 14-county service area.

Read the rest at The News & Advance

 

Go to the GEO front page

Categories: News

B(A)D NEWS – Angry voices from around the world – Episode 10 (03/2018)

Anarchist News - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 15:29

via A-Radio Network

This is episode number 10 of “B(A)D NEWS – Angry voices from around the world”, a news program from the international network of anarchist and antiauthoritarian radios, consisting of short news segments from different parts of the world.

Content:

– Words from A-Radio Berlin about repression and torture of anarchists and antifascists in Russia

– From Athens Radiozones of Subversive Expression have updates from Greece covering resistance on the streets and in prisons

The Final Straw from Asheville in the United States bring us an interview with a participant in the recent 12 day teacher’s strike in West Virginia

105fm, on the island of Lesvos, come with news from around the North Aegean including resistance to repression against refugees

Dissident Island Radio in London tell us about an ongoing hunger strike at an immigration detention centre and the opening of a squat for homeless people in central London

Radio Fragmata from Athens have news about fascist attacks on Squats in Piraeus and Athens as well as solidarity actions with a comrade currently on hunger strike in prison

Sprinkled throughout we have musical interludes featuring tunes from underground UK artists

 

(Overall duration 01:09:04)

Tags: b(a)d newspodcastcategory: Projects
Categories: News

A CALL FOR INTERGALACTIC SOLIDARITY ACTIONS EVERYWHERE

Anarchist News - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 15:22

TO END THE DESTRUCTION OF THE ZAD OF NOTRE DAME DES LANDES

from https://zadforever.blog/2018/04/11/a-call-for-intergalactic-solidarity-a...

We are writing with the smell of tear gas rising from our fingers. The springtime symphony of birdsong is punctuated by the explosive echo of concussion grenades. Our eyes are watering, less from the gas than the sadness; because our friends’ homes, barns and organic farms are being destroyed. Bulldozers, supported by 2500 riot police, armored vehicles, helicopters and drones, are rampaging through these forests, pastures and wetlands to crush the future we are building here on the to the zad (The zone à defendre).
We are calling on you to take solidarity actions everywhere, it could be holding demos at your local french embassy or consulate, or taking actions against any suitable symbol (corporate or otherwise) of France ! And if you are not too far away, bring your disobedient bodies to join us on the zone. If the French government evicts the zad, it will be like evicting hope.
For fifty years, this unique chequerboard landscape was the site of a relentless struggle against yet another climate wrecking infrastructure – a new airport for the nearby city of Nantes. Farmers and villagers, activists and naturalists, squatters and trade unionists wove an unbreakable ecology of struggle together and three months ago on the 17th of January, the French government announced that the airport project would be abandoned. But this incredible victory, won through a diversity of creative tactics from petitions to direct action, legal challenges to sabotage, had a dark shadow. In the same breath that declared the abandonment, came the announcement that the people occupying these 4000 acres of liberated territory, the 300 of us living and farming in 80 different collectives, would be evicted because we dared not just to be against the airport, but its WORLD as well.
Since that victorious day, the battle has transformed itself and is now no longer about a destructive infrastructure project, but about sharing the territory we inhabit. We stoped this place from being covered in concrete and so it is up to us to take care of its future. The movement therefore maintains that we should have the right to manage the land as a commons (see its declaration The Six Points for the Zad because there will never be an Airport). Today this is the struggle of the zad (zone to defend) of Notre Dame Des Landes.
The zad was launched in 2009 after a letter (distributed during the first french climate camp here) written by locals inviting people to occupy the zone and squat the abandoned farmhouses. Now the zone has become one of Europe’s largest laboratory of commoning. With its bakeries, pirate radio station, tractor repair workshop, brewery, anarchitectural cabins, banqueting hall, medicinal herb gardens, a rap studio, dairy, vegetable plots, weekly newspaper, flour mill, library and even a surrealist lighthouse. It has become a concrete experiment in taking back control of everyday life.
In 2012 the French state’s attempt to evict the zone to build the airport was fiercely resisted, despite numerous demolitions 40,000 people turned up to rebuild and the government withdrew. The police have not set foot on the zad since, that is, until Monday morning, when at 3am the gendarmes pierced into the zone.
On day one they destroyed some of the most beautiful cabins and barns, but yesterday we stopped the cops from getting to the Vraies Rouge, which happens to be where one of our negotiators with the government lives. Destroying the house of those that agreed to sit at the table with you was a strategic mistake. The fabulous zad press team used this as the media hook and today we are winning the battle of the story. If enough people get to the zone over the next days we could win the battle on the territory as well. We need rebel everything, from cooks to medics, fighters to witnesses. We doubt this rural revolt will be finished before the weekend, when we are also calling people to come and rebuild en mass.
Already solidarity demonstrations have taken place in over 100 cities across France, whilst the town halls of several towns were occupied. Zapatistas demonstrated in Chiapas Mexico, there were actions in Brussels, Spain, Lebanon, London, Poland, Palestine and New York and the underground carpark of the french embassy in Munich was sabotaged. They will never be able to evict our solidarity.
Post your reports on twitter @zad_nddl #zad #nddl and to our solidarity action email soutienzad@riseup.net for more info in english see www.zadforever.blog and watch this video to see what is being destroyed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqrtUkBmv8s

Tags: ZADFranceactionsolidaritycategory: International
Categories: News

The Appelistes playing the filth to the filth

Anarchist News - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 15:06

From the News of Opposition http://dialectical-delinquents.com/news-of-opposition-5/2018-2/april-2018/

France, Loire-Atlantique: clashes as about 2,500 riot cops etc. attack the 250 squatters resisting eviction of Notre-Dame-De-Landes ZAD; burning barricades and stones v. teargas and sound grenades (videos) https://www.letemps.ch/monde/affrontements-marge-levacuation-zad-notreda...

More here https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/943538/france-police-nantes-notre-d... and here http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-43697593, in English.

However, it’s not just the official state cops that have been attacking those who don’t want to negotiate with the state. On March 20th, 5 masked people, armed with baseball bats and teargas sprays, raided a squat on the ZAD. This squat opposed the divide-and-rule compromise with the state, which involved legalising some people’s land and houses, but not others. These scum beat up people at the squat and then kidnapped the most outspoken opponent of the compromise, tied up his hands and legs, blindfolded him and gagged him with duct tape. They put him in the boot of their car and drove off. Later, they beat him again, broke one of his legs and arms, finally abandoning him in the night next to a psychiatric hospital. The most vociferous defenders of the compromise in the assemblies there have been the Invisible Committee, the “Appelistes”. They’ve done this kind of thing before, though less brutal (gagged and bound a guy who’d burnt out a tractor, bundled him into a carboot and left him in the middle of the woods). So most people are 99.99% sure that it was the “invisible committee” who’d done this red-fascist shit. They’ve always sat on the fence, playing revolutionary anarchists to the revolutionary anarchists, reformists to the reformists, leninists to the leninists. In this instance they were playing the filth to the filth. And not the kind of “playing” that’s fun. See here https://www.non-fides.fr/?Vivre-le-pouvoir-repandre-les-barbouzeries-Cec... in French.

Tags: la zadFrancecategory: International
Categories: News

Paris, France – Against all forms of power (27/03/2018)

Anarchist News - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 15:02

via act for freedom now

Rue des Ternes, Paris, night of 27th March. Diplomat’s car set on fire.

We oppose all States and all forms of nationalism, even the ‘oppressed ones’ because they will always be ready to become oppressors. The Turkish (and jihadist) aggression against Afrin is horrible, but this won’t get us marching behind Kurdish nationalist flags (including municipalist-libertarian banners). To nationalism, the collective, all parties (including imaginary, informal or classist ones), we oppose direct action, individual or in small groups.

A thought to the anarchists imprisoned by all the States.

Solidarity with the comrades on trial in Italy following Operation Scripta Manent and with the comrades of the CCF in Greece.
A thought to Cristal and the other person, recently sent to jail following the eviction of the Lejuc wood [in Bure, where people opposing a proposal to bury nuclear waste were chased out by the Gendarmerie on 22nd February]. And we are not forgetting Krème: keep strong, friend!

Friends of… Ernest Coeurderoy

Translated from Italian by act for freedom now

Tags: Franceproperty destructioncategory: Actions
Categories: News

Madrid, Spain – Estate agency under attack in the Vallekas neighbourhood

Anarchist News - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 14:40

via act for freedom now

In the night between 27th and 28th February the windows of an estate agency were smashed with hammers on Via Monte Igueldo. A message written in paint was left, reading: ‘war on capitalist speculation’.

The action should be seen within the current context of urban transformation in the neighbourhood of Vallekas carried out by capitalism and the State. Video surveillance, building speculation, police controls, racism, persecution of occupations… all behind the media campaign against ‘drug smugglers’ used as a Trojan horse to legitimize the changes in the neighbourhood that the market and the State consider convenient.

An attack on an estate agency needs no justification. We only hope that the practice of signals and attack on the interests of speculators, businessmen and the State will spread.

Neither mafia nor police!

For anarchy!

Tags: spaingentrificationproperty destruction
Categories: News

The Eviction of #ZAD #NDDL Day 2: #ZADResist! – France

Anarchist News - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 14:13

via Act for Freedom Now, find the liveblog at the source here

We are a bit late today, but now we will continue our Live Blog of the ZAD evicion. At 03:22am yesterday morning the cops arrived at the D281 at Ardillières and Bois Rignoux. The evction of the ZAD occupation started. Today the cops continued with the eviction at 04:02am If you want to contribute to our live blog; You can send your pictures, videos, reports and analysis. Go to our submit page: here. Click at the refresh button of your browser to get the latest information. You will find the updates at the bottom of the page.

Published and more news here: by Enough is Enough.

Tags: la zadFrance
Categories: News

Margaret Killjoy’s Danielle Cain books are razor-sharp anarchist urban fantasies

Anarchist News - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 13:41

via The Verge

“Sometimes, you just have to get a knife in your hands and make it clear which way the stabby end is pointing.”

So begins Margaret Killjoy’s novella The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion, the first of a pair of books that introduces a fantastic world of magic in America’s decrepit heartland, featuring a band of genderqueer, anarchist demon hunters. The two books are short, sharp, get straight to the point, and present a fantastic world that can be consumed in a single sitting.

Some spoilers ahead for the two books.

In The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion, Danielle Cain is hitchhiking to the abandoned town of Freedom, Iowa, the last place her friend Clay lived before he killed himself in a hotel room. She’s trying to piece together his story and why he ended his life, and discovers that the town has been transformed into an anarchist commune, one that’s home to a particularly nasty demon in the form of a red, three-antlered deer named Uliksi.

There, Danielle falls in with a group of like-minded punk anarchists — Brynn, Thursday, and Doomsday — and they watch as the creature brutally kills a man named Anchor. She discovers that Anchor and her friend Clay had a hand in resurrecting the demon, and that its violent behavior is the product of a schism within the supposedly utopian community that’s risen up in the town.

In the second book, The Barrow Will Send What It May, Danielle, Brynn, Thursday, and Doomsday are on the run after the events of the first book, and they find themselves in another lost town: Pendleton, Montana, now the home of an occult anarchist library. They’re picked up by a woman who claims to have been brought back from the dead, and discover that a necromancer has resurrected several others, as well — with potential, world-shattering consequences.

Both of these books are extremely quick reads: I picked up The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion expecting to read a chapter or two before bed, and ended up finishing it in a single sitting; the same was true the next morning for The Barrow Will Send What It May. Killjoy describes herself as an anarchist who’s spent a considerable time on the road, and that experience shows as she sketches out a world that’s crackling with vivid detail.

Fantasy novels that imagine magic in a realistic setting are plentiful nowadays: there’s Melissa F. Olson’s Nightshades novellas with a modern twist on the vampire, Lev Grossman’s hidden world of magic users in his meta Magicians trilogy, and Mishell Baker’s fantastic Arcadia Project trilogy, which brings fairyland into the modern world. But where those books invent hidden spaces for their sorcerers, Killjoy’s world pushes magic to the edges of society, seen and used only by tiny communities living as far to the edge of mainstream society as possible. Stories about hidden pockets of magic in forgotten American towns feel a bit more convincing.

What makes these books so much fun to read is their setting in the middle of the American heartland: towns hollowed out by the Great Recession and lost opportunities, their former residents fleeing for major population areas. Killjoy’s characters are hitchhikers, anarchists, and squatters, looking for a place to settle and live with the freedom that they desire. In these dead spaces, they bring new life — collective gardens and kitchens and occultist libraries. Killjoy populates these communities with a cast of diverse, full-fledged characters. Danielle is an anxious, driven wanderer; Thursday is something of a hacker and is tickled at the idea of being a demon hunter; Doomsday has a shady, violent past and just wants to keep her head to the ground; and Brynn is an energetic, optimistic calming presence in their little band.

The magic they encounter and wield is equally as exciting. Killjoy depicts it as energy that isn’t subtle, and which has real, heavy consequences. People brought back from the dead increase the chances of an apocalypse, while raising protector spirit demons with the best of intentions might very well backfire on you. Although magic is dangerous, Killjoy goes out of her way to point out one very astute point: it isn’t good or bad, but the decisions made by its wielder are equally powerful. The people who raised the three-antler demon deer in Iowa did so to protect their community from a power-hungry demagogue, while the necromancer deeply missed his wife, but in both cases, their underlying motivations for playing with incredible magical power was something that they deeply come to regret.

These two novellas are excellent examples of the work their publisher, Tor.com, has been releasing in this format: short, snappy adventures that warrant more detail than a short-story format might be able to provide, yet probably wouldn’t be as interesting as discrete full-length novels. Instead, each novella works perfectly as a self-contained installment to a larger, overarching story. (Martha Wells’ first Murderbot novella All Systems Red is a great example of this, as well).

In this amount of space, Killjoy packs in just the right amount of detail. Her characters are intrinsically human: sharp, flawed, and well-rounded. The world around them feels raw and well-lived, but we never overstay our welcome into it. Both The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion and The Barrow Will Send What It May tell lean but rich stories that sketch out the opening salvos of an impressive urban fantasy world where magic and its wielders live and die in the cracks of society.

Tags: magpieliteratureMSMcategory: Essays
Categories: News

Woman Who Hates Endangered Species Act Will Be in Charge of Wildlife Policy

Truth Out - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 13:23
If you're a fan of real journalism, now's the time to strengthen Truthout's mission. Help us keep publishing stories that expose government and corporate wrongdoing: Make a donation right now!

As if endangered species didn't have enough to worry about, they're about to have a vocal opponent of animals and conservation overseeing their protection in the White House. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has named Susan Combs to serve as the acting assistant secretary of fish, wildlife and parks.

To fully understand why Combs is such a terrible pick, take a look at her history as a comptroller in Texas. In that role, she routinely went up against the US Fish and Wildlife Service when they tried to enforce portions of the Endangered Species Act in her state. She also successfully fought to keep the golden-cheeked warbler and the dune sagebrush lizard from being included on the endangered list.

Combs made it her business to protect the oil industry and other corporations from the supposed drag of having to make adjustments to preserve vulnerable species. She opposed pretty much every creature considered for endangered designation on economic grounds.

Perhaps most infamously, Combs once labeled animals included on the official endangered list as "incoming Scud missiles." How her mind managed to decide that animals in need of conservation efforts are equivalent to deadly weapons is completely perplexing.

You're kidding yourself if you think this nomination is some kind of accident. It's both deliberate and telling for Zinke to put a known opponent of the Endangered Species Act in charge of wildlife policy.

Granted, Combs cannot dismantle the Endangered Species Act -- that kind of thing would require legislation by Congress. However, from this secretary position, should we have the discretion to enforce the rules, thereby allowing companies to flout the rules without repercussions. Furthermore, the policies she would promote are almost certainly not going to benefit the wildlife she's charged with protecting.

Interestingly, this role is not the first for which the Trump administration has nominated Combs. Last summer, she was named the assistant secretary for policy, management and budget for the Interior Department, but the Senate has yet to confirm her for a number of reasons, not the least of which was vehement opposition from conservation organizations.

Evidently, when a women hates endangered species that much, you just have to make sure she gets a job somewhere in your administration!

The Interior Department says it is still hoping to have her fill the original role, but it wants her to take on this other job in the meantime. Although this second position also requires Senate confirmation, due to technical rules, she can serve it in an acting capacity until Senate puts it in a vote, meaning to prevent her from wreaking havoc in this job she's unsuited for, the Senate will have to not just vote no, but do so quickly.

Take Action

Let's make sure that happens. The Senate obviously has some reservations about Combs in the first place, so let's encourage them to reject her nomination via this Care2 petition. Animals in this country deserve better than to have a longstanding opponent of the Endangered Species Act put in control of their welfare.

Categories: News

Yanga/Los Angeles: A Decentralized Direct Action May Day

Anarchist News - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 11:02

For many years now, May Day in Los Angeles has been a liberal/non-profit reformist spectacle. This is a public call to commit to a direct-action oriented march. No more bullshit.

For many years now we’ve allowed the politicians, non-profits, liberals, co-opters, and authoritarians make a show of our day, May Day. For too long we’ve hidden away, choosing not to counter the liberals, and what has happened? The liberals have taken control. They take our names, our slogans, our energy as antiauthoritarian people, as indigenous people, as people of color, as queers, as trouble-makers, and pacify it into a Hollywood image. Fuck that. No more bullshit.

We are anticapitalist.

Many of us in Los Angeles have lost our families to state violence, suffered under the cruelty of choosing between a meal or making rent. There are groups who take our memory of resistance and organize our communities through a non-profit lens while claiming to be autonomous collectives and groups. Comrades, it is time to disrupt this pattern. It is time we pull our resources together and fight back. Let us counter the segregation of Los Angeles and build the collective culture of resistance. It is time to reclaim the radical militant roots of Yangna.

Our Vision

We are calling for a May Day of a diversity of tactics. We call on groups to come together, plan, and counter the liberal march planned for May Day. If you are interested in connecting with us, please send an email to contraautoridad@protonmail.com so that we can reclaim the energy the non-profits/liberals have taken from us.

Tags: #Los Angeles#may day#international workers day#non profits#liberals#direct action#Anarchismcategory: Actions
Categories: News

How Shell Greenwashed its Image as Internal Documents Warned of Fossil Fuels' Contribution to Climate Change

deSmog - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 09:52
Shell clean air advert

Shell knew about the relationship between burning fossil fuels and climate change as early as the 1980s. So what did the company decide to do about it? Stop burning fossil fuels?

No. It changed its advertising strategy.

A tranche of documents uncovered last week by Jelmer Mommers of De Correspondent published on Climate Files, a project of the Climate Investigations Center, revealed that Shell knew about the danger its products posed to the climate decades ago. The company has continued to double-down on fossil fuel investment since the turn of the century despite this knowledge.

But in the wake of a bribery scandal in Nigeria that resulted in two dozen employees being fired, the company was concerned enough about its dirty image to work out a new PR strategy.

Tags: #ShellKnewRoyal Dutch Shell
Categories: News

Eurocontrol warns airlines of possible missile strikes into Syria

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 07:24

Eurocontrol warns airlines of possible missile strikes into Syria --Air-to-ground and/or cruise missile threat-agency -- Exercise caution over eastern Mediterranean in next 72 hrs --Regulators told airlines to avoid Syrian airspace | 11 April 2018 | Pan-European air traffic control agency Eurocontrol on Tuesday warned airlines to exercise caution in the eastern Mediterranean due to the possible launch of air strikes into Syria in next 72 hours. Eurocontrol said that air-to-ground and/or cruise missiles could be used within that period and there was a possibility of intermittent disruption of radio navigation equipment. U.S. President Donald Trump and Western allies are discussing possible military action [against Syria].

Categories: News

Duma defense chief says Russia may respond with military force to US strike on Syria

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 05:43

Duma defense chief says Russia may respond with military force to US strike on Syria | 10 April 2018 | The head of the Duma defense committee and former commander of Russian airborne troops has said Moscow would take all measures, including military ones, in response to a possible US strike on government forces in Syria. "The double standard policy has overstepped all possible boundaries. At this point, the [pro-Putin parliamentary majority] United Russia party must responsibly state that we are going to take all political and diplomatic measures, and also military measures if such need arises," Vladimir Shamanov said on Tuesday before the State Duma plenary session. "Not a single unlawful action will be left without response," he added.

Categories: News

US Navy destroyer is now off Syrian coast with 60 Tomahawk missiles

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 04:00

US Navy destroyer is now off Syrian coast with 60 Tomahawk missiles | 10 April 2018 | A U.S. Navy destroyer, the USS Donald Cook, is now situated off the coast of Syria with 60 Tomahawk cruise missiles on board, CNN Turk has reported. The news comes just one day after Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said he won't "rule out anything right now" when it comes to launching airstrikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in response to the suspected chemical weapons attacks on civilians over the weekend. A Navy source confirmed to the Washington Examiner that the guided-missile destroyer completed a port call in Cyprus and "got underway in the eastern Mediterranean within range of Syria Monday." The Pentagon said the move was planned in advance.

Categories: News

Woman Who Hates Endangered Species Act Will Be in Charge of Wildlife Policy

Truth Out - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 04:00
If you're a fan of real journalism, now's the time to strengthen Truthout's mission. Help us keep publishing stories that expose government and corporate wrongdoing: Make a donation right now!

As if endangered species didn't have enough to worry about, they're about to have a vocal opponent of animals and conservation overseeing their protection in the White House. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has named Susan Combs to serve as the acting assistant secretary of fish, wildlife and parks.

To fully understand why Combs is such a terrible pick, take a look at her history as a comptroller in Texas. In that role, she routinely went up against the US Fish and Wildlife Service when they tried to enforce portions of the Endangered Species Act in her state. She also successfully fought to keep the golden-cheeked warbler and the dune sagebrush lizard from being included on the endangered list.

Combs made it her business to protect the oil industry and other corporations from the supposed drag of having to make adjustments to preserve vulnerable species. She opposed pretty much every creature considered for endangered designation on economic grounds.

Perhaps most infamously, Combs once labeled animals included on the official endangered list as "incoming Scud missiles." How her mind managed to decide that animals in need of conservation efforts are equivalent to deadly weapons is completely perplexing.

You're kidding yourself if you think this nomination is some kind of accident. It's both deliberate and telling for Zinke to put a known opponent of the Endangered Species Act in charge of wildlife policy.

Granted, Combs cannot dismantle the Endangered Species Act -- that kind of thing would require legislation by Congress. However, from this secretary position, should we have the discretion to enforce the rules, thereby allowing companies to flout the rules without repercussions. Furthermore, the policies she would promote are almost certainly not going to benefit the wildlife she's charged with protecting.

Interestingly, this role is not the first for which the Trump administration has nominated Combs. Last summer, she was named the assistant secretary for policy, management and budget for the Interior Department, but the Senate has yet to confirm her for a number of reasons, not the least of which was vehement opposition from conservation organizations.

Evidently, when a women hates endangered species that much, you just have to make sure she gets a job somewhere in your administration!

The Interior Department says it is still hoping to have her fill the original role, but it wants her to take on this other job in the meantime. Although this second position also requires Senate confirmation, due to technical rules, she can serve it in an acting capacity until Senate puts it in a vote, meaning to prevent her from wreaking havoc in this job she's unsuited for, the Senate will have to not just vote no, but do so quickly.

Take Action

Let's make sure that happens. The Senate obviously has some reservations about Combs in the first place, so let's encourage them to reject her nomination via this Care2 petition. Animals in this country deserve better than to have a longstanding opponent of the Endangered Species Act put in control of their welfare.

Categories: News

Trump's Scandal-Plagued Labor Board Soon Back to Full Strength

Truth Out - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 04:00
Thirty seconds: That's how long it takes to support the independent journalism at Truthout. We're counting on you. Click here to chip in!

Republicans look set this week to fill the vacancy on President Trump's embattled National Labor Relations Board.

The Senate on Tuesday voted 50-47 to limit debate on John Ring, the nominee to fill the seat previously held by former NLRB chair Phil Miscimarra.

Ring is currently a partner with Morgan Lewis & Bockius, a union-busting management side law firm, based in Philadelphia. Some of his recent major clients include Amazon, Marriott, Xerox, and Google, according to financial disclosures.

Miscimarra stepped down in December, after quickly ushering through a series of rulings, with Republicans set to temporarily lose their Board majority upon his retirement.

One of those decisions -- a reversal of an Obama-era expansion of corporate liability for franchise practices -- was lambasted in February by the NLRB Inspector General.

The comptroller found that Republican Board member Bill Emanuel should have recused himself, citing a major conflict of interest. Emanuel's former law firm, Littler Mendelson, had argued against the Obama administration’s ruling on joint employment.

The Inspector General also said Miscimarra improperly used the underlying case, Hy-Brand, to overturn the Obama-era standard set in Browning-Ferris.

"[T]here is no material discussion of the Hy-Brand matter in the part of the decision that overrules Browning-Ferris," said IG David Berry.

The report caused the Board to vacate Hy-Brand, in a move that has led to finger-pointing and recriminations among Republicans.

During his confirmation hearing, Ring said that the December vote put a "cloud over the NLRB." Last week, in a legal motion, however, NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb urged the Board to reconsider its reversal of Hy-Brand.

In recent weeks, Robb has also moved quickly to seek judicial approval of a settlement, in a case involving McDonald's workers, based on Browning-Ferris.

Hundreds of workers for the fast food giant say they were harassed and punished for joining the Fight For 15 movement to increase the federal minimum wage. Their lawyers are asking for the settlement to be thrown out. Last week, an administrative law judge heard arguments in litigation over the deal.

Categories: News

Betsy DeVos Tries to Pit Kids Against Striking Teachers: It's Just Another Right-Wing Scam

Truth Out - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 04:00

Teachers are holding massive walkouts in Oklahoma and threatening to do so in Kentucky, right on the heels of a similar labor protest movement in West Virginia. Educators are fed up in many red states. Republicans, unsurprisingly, oppose this surge of worker activism and have landed on a familiar strategy and talking point: Pitting striking teachers against their students.

 Win McNamee / Getty Images)Education Secretary Betsy DeVos speaks at the National Parent-Teacher Association's 2018 Legislative Conference March 13, 2018, in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo: Win McNamee / Getty Images)

Teachers are holding massive walkouts in Oklahoma and threatening to do so in Kentucky, right on the heels of a similar labor protest movement in West Virginia. Educators are fed up in many red states that slashed taxes and budgets following the Great Recession and failed to raise new revenues in response to the economic recovery. Republicans, unsurprisingly, oppose this surge of worker activism and have landed on a familiar strategy and talking point: Pitting striking teachers against their students.

"I think about the kids," Education Secretary Betsy DeVos told the Dallas Morning News when asked about the Oklahoma walkout. "I think we need to stay focused on what's right for kids. And I hope that adults would keep adult disagreements and disputes in a separate place, and serve the students that are there to be served."

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican, tried a similar tactic, suggesting that real teachers "want to teach their children" and that the teachers union was somehow opposed to that goal.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, another Republican, has characterized the teachers as greedy and childish, saying their behavior is like that of "a teenager wanting a better car."

"That's a very classic talking point," said Jon Shelton, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and the author of "Teacher Strike! Public Education and the Making of a New American Political Order." "That's wrong, of course. Teachers by and large go into it because it's a calling. They do this because they care about kids and want what's best for them."

"Kids don't benefit from teachers who are overworked and tired because they have to work multiple jobs to make ends meet," said Joseph Slater, a professor at University of Toledo College of Law who specializes in labor law. "Nor do kids benefit from good teachers leaving their school district, their state or the teaching profession altogether because of poor wages, hours and conditions."

Right off the bat, it should be noted that teacher strikes do not meaningfully impact student performance. Harris Zwerling of the Pennsylvania State Education Association researched the impact of teacher strikes in the state and found no "statistical relationship between the incidence of teacher strikes and their duration and district level student performance."

Accusing the teachers of neglecting the students is a particularly hard sell when it comes to the Oklahoma walkouts. The state has already offered the teachers a $6,000-a-year raise, and while that falls short of the $10,000 the teachers are asking for, it's likely that teachers would settle at that price if all they wanted was fatter paychecks. But the Oklahoma protests have continued into their second week because the teachers want more  -- for their students. Specifically, teachers are demanding $200 million to restore education funding that's been cut.

David DuVall, executive director of the Oklahoma Education Association, explained to the Oklahoman that "class size limits, librarians, those kinds of things, still exist in law, but there is a moratorium on those being required because of a lack of funding."

"But with additional funding, that moratorium would come off and we can restore those vital positions to our schools," he added.

Despite efforts from Republican politicians to confuse the issue, the Oklahoma teachers have made clear that these protests are meant to benefit students as much as teachers. Textbooks are battered and falling apart, and are often decades old. Teachers claim they haven't been able to turn on lights in hallways and have been forced to keep classroom thermostats at 57 degrees, forcing kids to wear coats to school.

In some districts, class time has been cut back to four days a week to save money. DeVos claims to want kids back in school, but seems completely uninterested in this particular problem, which could be solved by increasing education budgets.

It's no surprise that so much of what teachers are demanding is for the students, Shelton explained. "The reality is the conditions under which teachers teach are the same under which students learn," he said. "Teacher unionization has, by far, been a net benefit to schools in this country."

For decades, teacher organizing has led to increases in education spending, smaller classroom sizes and less teacher turnover. In 2011, Wisconsin passed Act 10, a law designed to undermine the collective bargaining rights of teachers. Subsequent research from David Madland and Alex Rowell of the Center for American Progress demonstrated that the change in law led to an immediate decline in teacher quality in the state, as more teachers quit their jobs and the pool of teachers became much less experienced overall.

Gender likely plays a major role in how undervalued public school teachers are. The latest statistics show that 76 percent of teachers are women, and when women "do things collectively to get a better deal for themselves, they're seen as acting selfishly," Shelton argued, noting that the gender of the strikers likely contributes to their "infantilization" by politicians. 

"If police officers or firefighters were asking for something similar, there's no way they would be called spoiled teenagers," he added. 

Evidence for this comes from Wisconsin, where police and fire departments -- male-dominated agencies  --  were exempted from Act 10 restrictions on collective bargaining rights, while public employees in more female-dominated sectors, especially teachers, were not. In Ohio, legislators pushed a law that would have curtailed labor organizing rights for all government workers, including police and firefighters, and that effort eventually failed. The contrast between these Midwestern states suggests that male-dominated professions are seen as untouchable while women are expected to get by on less.

"Teachers are the ones who are constantly asked to sacrifice," Shelton noted. And as the evidence makes clear, when teachers are forced to sacrifice, the quality of children's education suffers as well.

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Categories: News

Justice for Decynthia Clements: Demanding Safety, Not Police Bullets, for Black Women in Distress

Truth Out - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 04:00

Activists display signs during the #March4BlackGirls on October 17, 2015, in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo: Sarah-Ji)Activists display signs during the #March4BlackGirls on October 17, 2015, in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo: Sarah-Ji)

On April 11, the eve of the one-month anniversary of the police shooting of Decynthia Clements in Chicago, activists are coming together to mourn her death and call for justice in her name. Shot by police as she stepped out of her burning car, Decynthia was yet another victim of our collective failure to respond to people in distress in ways that don't involve armed police.

Activists display signs during the #March4BlackGirls on October 17, 2015, in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo: Sarah-Ji)Activists display signs during the #March4BlackGirls on October 17, 2015, in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo: Sarah-Ji)

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A young unarmed Black man is shot in his grandmother's backyard by police who assume he is armed and up to no good. This is the story of police violence we are most familiar with, and around which we build our analysis of police violence. This is the story that drives protesters into the streets and galvanizes movements.

34-year-old Black mother is shot as she steps out of a burning car by police who are supposedly there to help her. This scenario -- the recent police killing of Decynthia Clements -- is also part of the story of police violence, and is also emblematic of broader patterns. But, chances are, you haven't heard about it. Like many instances of police violence against Black women, it remains invisible because it doesn't fit into the "standard" narrative. Yet this, too, is a story that should spark collective outrage and inform our demands for justice.

The Death of Decynthia Clements

Police first came into contact with Decynthia Clements in the suburbs of Chicago when they found her parked on a dead-end street. She was committing no crime and posed a danger to no one. When the police approached, she drove away. The officers decided not to pursue her -- nor did they really have any reason to, although they claim she ran a stop sign. They later found her car parked on the shoulder of Interstate 90. Somehow, she had lost two tires in the intervening time, and her car showed signs of damage.

Over fifty-seven percent of killings of Black women occur when they are unarmed.

When officers first approached her by the side of the highway, it was clear that Decynthia was in distress. They claim they saw a butcher knife and a screwdriver in the car -- both common household items, both read as weapons in the hands of a Black woman in crisis. One officer said he saw a white powder on her hand, and assumed it was crack cocaine -- as opposed to, say, talcum powder or any number of other substances that might look similar, automatically reading a Black woman as a drug user. The officers retreated and began to negotiate with Decynthia about getting out of the car. During this time, they accessed a report that she had told a therapist that she had been suicidal and experienced hallucinations.

But instead of calling for experienced medical professionals, officers continued to respond to a Black woman who had committed no crime and posed no danger to anyone (other than perhaps herself) with orders to get out of her car, and threats of arrest -- again, it is not clear for what. After she moved her car forward a few feet a few times, officers eventually blocked her in with two police vehicles.

After about an hour, Decynthia told police she would get out of her car after she smoked a cigarette. Video footage released by the department shows officers discussing what to do when she did -- including using rubber bullets or a TASER if necessary. And then, as she stepped out, gagging from the smoke of a fire that had broken out inside the vehicle, before she had taken more than a step or two, the lead officer on the scene shot her in the head within seconds, killing her, reading her hasty exit from a burning car as a deadly threat.

A Broader Pattern of Police Shooting Black Women in Distress

Decynthia -- like Saheed Vassell, who was killed by Brooklyn police last week, and like up to half of people killed by police -- was (or was perceived to be) in a mental health crisis at the time she was shot. She became one of the many Black women whom police officers were called to assist but ended up killing insteadDeborah DannerKiwi HerringCharleena LylesAura RosserTanisha AndersonMichelle CusseauxEleanor Bumpurs.... The list is long and painful.

All are victims of our collective failure to imagine, invest in and insist on responses to people in distress that don't involve armed police officers.

More often than any other demographic, Black women are falsely perceived as a threat that must be met with deadly force by police officers.

Decynthia also fell prey to perceptions of Black women as inherently threatening. According to a recent study, 57.2 percent of killings of Black women occur when they are unarmed, making Black women "the only race-gender group to have a majority of its members unarmed when killed." Researchers concluded that their "results imply that black women are racialized in ways ... that put them at a greater relative risk of [fatal police encounters] when unarmed."

In other words, more often than any other demographic, Black women are falsely perceived as a threat that must be met with deadly force by police officers.

This explains how an officer (who knew the right thing to do was to use non-lethal force if necessary) instead instantly shot with intent to kill a Black woman who was stumbling out of a burning car. The police shot Decynthia as she was advancing in the only direction possible when opening a car door -- toward the back of the car, away from the smoke, where the officers who were calling for her to come out were standing. Deeply entrenched notions of Black women as "deranged," animalistic and deadly -- developed to justify their brutal treatment during slavery and beyond -- likely drove the officers' perceptions of threat. Such perceptions have proven fatal for countless Black women like Decynthia, including Kayla MooreBettie JonesMargaret Mitchell and LaTanya Haggerty. Again, the list is long and heartbreaking.

"It was like murder," Charles Clements, Decynthia's father said after watching the video of her killing. "Somebody coming at you is one thing, but she fell out that car and they start shooting her, that's terrible, just awful. The car was burning, obviously she was gasping for air, and when she managed to get the door open, she just fell to the ground and then the shots started going."

Mourning and Demanding Justice

Activists stand near signs at the #SayHerName Finsbury Park Vigil on June 21, 2017, in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo: Sarah-Ji)Activists stand near signs at the #SayHerName Finsbury Park Vigil on June 21, 2017, in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo: Sarah-Ji)

Holly Clements, Decynthia's sister-in-law, describes her as "a good mom" who reached out to everybody and had "numerous nieces and nephews that she always picked up and did things with," adding, "it's just a really sad moment for the family that we've lost somebody who has such a big heart."

Decynthia Clements's family -- including her 19-year-old son in college -- are now left to grieve their mother, daughter, sister and cousin, and to await the outcome of investigations by the Illinois State Police, the Cook County State's Attorney's Office and the Elgin Police Department, which employs Lt. Christian Jansen, the officer who shot Decynthia, and who is now on paid administrative leave.

Black women's deaths at the hands of police require us to look at how we value Black women's lives -- both when they are alive and not receiving the care and help they need, as well as after they have been killed by police.

Some commentators are trying to justify Jansen's actions, and mainstream news coverage leads with his commendations and dismisses the prior record of complaints against him regarding racial discrimination and the use of excessive force. While these elements of Decynthia's story are familiar, they have not been the subject of much national discussion -- despite daily protests led by Decynthia's family and community outside the Elgin police department until the department released video footage of the events leading to her death.

Now that the footage has been made public, Decynthia's family and attorneys say they will wait for the outcome of the investigations and legal process. Members of the Elgin community have called for the creation of a civilian oversight agency to investigate cases like Decynthia's, citing distrust of the investigation being conducted by the Illinois State Police.

"People are going to see for themselves," Decynthia's brother Chevelle says. "Now this is not just an angry family demanding justice, but this will be a community as a whole that will see exactly what happened, what shouldn't have happened."

An Uphill Legal Battle

The Supreme Court's recent decision in Hughes v. Kisela does not bode well for the possibilities for justice in Decynthia's case. Seven justices -- with the exception of Sonia Sotomayor, who penned a scathing dissent, joined by Ruth Bader Ginsberg -- essentially endorsed a Tucson, Arizona, officer's 2010 shooting of a woman who was standing in her own yard holding a kitchen knife while speaking to her roommate, who stood six feet away. Hiding behind the ever-expanding doctrine of "qualified immunity" -- which essentially says that even if an officer violated someone's constitutional rights, they can't be held liable for it if the right wasn't clearly established at the time -- the majority found that the officer could not reasonably have known that shooting the woman under these circumstances would violate her constitutional rights.

Nor does a recent court decision dismissing the case brought by the family of Kayla Moore, a Black trans woman and beloved aunt, sister and daughter. Moore suffocated to death after police who were called to her home to assist her in the midst of a mental health crisis instead tackled her face-down against a futon and piled on top of her. As her sister Maria Moore -- a fierce advocate for justice for Kayla and for improved responses to people in mental health crisis -- described in a recent radio interview, "instead of trained mental health professionals, she got police.... Trans people are already seen as nonconforming, already seen as a troublemaker.... They came at Kayla like she had killed someone.... What was Kayla's crime?" The court hearing the family's case nevertheless dismissed claims of excessive force and dismissed claims that the Berkeley Police Department is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act for failing to reasonably accommodate the needs of people in mental health crises. The family plans to appeal the decision, and Moore declares, "It's not over. We are going to take this where it needs to go, and that's the Supreme Court."

The more complex circumstances of many Black women's deaths at the hands of police -- during an eviction, when opening the door to let police into a home to assist a neighbor, during a domestic violence call, following a call about transphobic and homophobic neighbors, or following a call for help from a friend or family member seeking support for a loved one -- require us to step back and examine how they came into contact with the officers who killed them in the first place, and how things might have gone differently had they received the support they deserved instead of a police response. They require us to look at how we value Black women's lives -- both when they are alive and not receiving the care and help they need, as well as after they have been killed by police.

Their stories, which might be complicated and take more than Twitter's character limit to tell, bring into sharp relief the reality that there is no safety for Black women, whether they are sitting in their own cars or standing in their own backyards. There is no safety in police responses to calls for assistance for people in crisis, and no justice in the courts for Black women.

As Maria Moore put it, "If you want something as simple as mental health services or just help, you're bringing in militarized police. And their thing is not about helping you, it's about controlling you.... They don't want to hear you, they just want to silence you."

We owe it to the memories of Decynthia Clements, Kayla Moore and so many more Black women to tell their stories of police violence and to protest the injustices done to them and their families. It is our duty to demand accountability for the officers who killed them, to challenge the dehumanizing narratives about Black women that drove the killings, and to demand responses to people in mental health crisis that involve care and compassion, not policing and punishment.

Decynthia Clements. Let's say her name and make sure her story, too, shapes the solutions we seek to the plague of police violence against Black lives.

Note: Members of the Chicago community will come together on Wednesday, April 11, the eve of the one-month anniversary of Decynthia Clements's death, for a vigil at 6 pm at the north side of the DuSable Bridge (400 N. Michigan) to mourn her death, uplift her memory and demand justice in her name.

Categories: News

ACLU: Facebook Has to Do Much More to Stop Housing and Job Discrimination on Platform

Truth Out - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 04:00

As Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified to lawmakers Tuesday about the massive privacy scandal enveloping the platform, Facebook has also been slapped with a new lawsuit by fair housing groups who accuse Facebook of allowing employers and housing brokers to discriminate in their targeted advertising. The lawsuit says some of Facebook's advertisers do not show job and housing listings to African Americans and women. For more, we speak with Neema Singh Guliani, legislative counsel for surveillance and privacy at the American Civil Liberties Union.

Please check back later for full transcript.

Categories: News

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