News

Here is what #ShellKnew about Climate Change in the 1980s

deSmog - Thu, 04/05/2018 - 06:15
AttachmentSize Image icon rise in sea temp.JPG9.71 KB Image icon acidification of sea.JPG9.79 KB Image icon Agriculture.JPG8.79 KB

Shell knew climate change was going to be big, was going to be bad, and that its products were responsible all the way back in the 1980s, a tranche of new documents reveal.

Documents unearthed by Jelmer Mommers of De Correspondent, published today on Climate Files, a project of the Climate Investigations Center, show intense interest in climate change internally at Shell.

Tags: Royal Dutch Shell#ShellKnew
Categories: News

Sean Swain Launches Hunger Strike, Calls Needed in Support

It's Goin Down - Thu, 04/05/2018 - 05:53

The post Sean Swain Launches Hunger Strike, Calls Needed in Support appeared first on It's Going Down.

Long-time anarchist prisoner, radio commentator, and author Sean Swain has launched a hunger strike and calls of support are needed. For more information on Sean, go here.

From Friends of Sean:

We have not heard from Sean in a week and have received word via a proxy that he is 6 days into a hunger strike.

We have also heard that Sean is facing repression of various kinds, such as false conduct reports, unnecessary/unexplained cell changes, and limitation of his communications.

Although as of yet these issues are unconfirmed, we would like to request that supporters take a moment to call Warren Correctional and inquire about Sean’s status and raise concerns about how he’s being treated right now.

Warren Correctional Institution:

(513) 932-3388 press 7 to be connected to the Warden’s office.

Categories: News

Trump signs order to send National Guard troops to the US-Mexico border

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Thu, 04/05/2018 - 05:08

Trump signs order to send National Guard troops to the US-Mexico border | 04 April 2018 | President Donald Trump signed a proclamation to deploy National Guard troops along the US-Mexico border. "Unfortunately, time and time again, Congress has failed to act," Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said, referring to lawmakers' refusal to provide Trump's requested funding for his long-promised border wall and adjust certain immigration laws. "We're taking whatever actions we can as an executive branch," she added. Previous administrations have also deployed the National Guard.

Categories: News

New Internal Shell Oil Climate Documents Revealed

deSmog - Thu, 04/05/2018 - 05:04

By the Climate Investigations Center

Newly unearthed internal documents from Shell Oil Company provide new insights into what they knew about climate change and when they knew it.

Documents unearthed by Jelmer Mommers of De Correspondent are being published today on Climate Files, a project of the Climate Investigations Center.  These documents date back to 1988 and show intense interest in climate change internally at Shell.

A “CONFIDENTIAL” 1988 document titled, “The Greenhouse Effect”, details Shell’s extensive knowledge of climate change impacts and implications. It also reveals an internal Shell climate science program dating back to 1981, well before the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was founded.

The document includes this concise note of precaution,

“However, by the time the global warming becomes detectable it could be too late to take effective countermeasures to reduce the effects or even to stabilize the situation.” (Link)

Tags: Shell Oil Company#ShellKnewclimate liabilityDe Correspondent
Categories: News

Minnesota joins lawsuit against new census citizenship question

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Thu, 04/05/2018 - 04:18

Minnesota joins lawsuit against new census citizenship question | 04 April 2018 | Minnesota is suing the federal government over a single question on the 2020 census - a question it argues could skew its population count and cost it everything from a seat in Congress to its share of federal funding. The state, along with 16 other states, six cities, and the District of Columbia filed suit in federal court Tuesday, arguing that the U.S. Commerce Department's plan to ask about respondents' citizenship status is unconstitutional and could drive down response rates.

Categories: News

How the Wireless Industry Convinced the Public Cellphones Are Safe and Cherry-Picked Research on Risks

Truth Out - Thu, 04/05/2018 - 04:00

Ninety-five out of every 100 American adults owns a cellphone today. And worldwide, three out of four adults now have cellphone access. The wireless industry is one of the fastest-growing on Earth, raking in annual sales of $440 billion in 2016. But are cellphones safe? A new investigation by The Nation suggests that's a question that cellphone giants prefer you don't ask. We speak with Mark Hertsgaard, The Nation's environment correspondent and investigative editor. His report, co-authored with Mark Dowie, is headlined "How Big Wireless Made Us Think That Cell Phones Are Safe."

Please check back later for full transcript.

Categories: News

Caravan of Central American Migrants Holds a Mirror to Cruel US Immigration Policy and Imperialism

Truth Out - Thu, 04/05/2018 - 04:00

Despite efforts by Mexican immigration authorities to disband a caravan of Central American migrants, hundreds are still bound for the US-Mexico border. This comes after an early-morning tweet from President Trump that said the caravan "is largely broken up thanks to the strong immigration laws of Mexico and their willingness to use them so as not to cause a giant scene." The group People Without Borders, or Pueblo Sin Fronteras, has organized the caravan since 2010 to draw attention to the right to seek asylum and refuge. This year its members are disproportionately from Honduras, which remains in political upheaval after US-backed right-wing President Juan Orlando Hernández was inaugurated for a second term despite allegations of widespread voting fraud in November. We get an update from Arturo Vizcarra, a volunteer with People Without Borders. He just returned from the caravan.

Please check back later for full transcript.

Categories: News

The Dolls of Militarism: From War Hawks to Chickenhawks

Truth Out - Thu, 04/05/2018 - 04:00

 Cheriss May / NurPhoto via Getty Images)Donald Trump holds a joint press conference with Baltic Heads of State in the East Room of the White House on April 3, 2018, in Washington, DC. (Photo: Cheriss May / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Sometimes I get sick of saying it, but just when you thought it couldn't get any worse…

Donald Trump's continual cabinet reshuffling -- otherwise the stuff of reality-TV drama -- has become genuinely frightening. Like so many Russian matryoshki or nesting dolls, the president has been removing one war hawk after another, only to reveal yet more extreme versions of the same creature. And rumor has it that such personnel moves have yet to reach their end point.

In just the last few weeks, President Trump has fired his secretary of state and national security adviser, while nominating two fanatical replacements: CIA Director Mike Pompeo and former UN Ambassador John Bolton. The "old" team, Rex Tillerson and Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, were flawed choices from the start, but Pompeo and Bolton seem like an instant formula for a war -- or two or three of them. (And keep in mind that we're already actively fighting at least seven wars across the Greater Middle East and Africa.)

Tillerson gutted the State Department and, had he stuck around, might have gone down as one of the worst secretaries of state ever to walk the halls of Foggy Bottom. Still, the former ExxonMobil CEO does seem to have tried to restrain Trump's more extreme positions on the Paris climate accords and the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal. In addition, as his infamous "moron" comment suggests, he evidently wasn't cowed by our bully-in-chief.

Lieutenant General McMaster was no prince either. He helped craft a National Defense Strategy that all but declared a new Cold War on Russia and China. He was also to the right of reasonable on Iran and North Korea. Nevertheless, he is an intelligent man with genuine academic bona fides. I've met the guy and, even though we disagree on almost everything, he's certainly preferable to a zealot like Bolton. McMaster thinks critically and wasn't always reflexively pro-war. However, Trump, a man who likes his information in tiny doses (and preferably on Fox News), reportedly found H.R.'s detailed briefings insufferable. And McMaster's recent suggestion that Russia played an "incontrovertible" role in the 2016 US election evidently didn't help him one bit either.

Think about it for a second. An embattled, scandal-ridden administration suddenly fires two hawkish, though tenuously mainstream, foreign policy advisers and replaces them with off-the-grid warmongers. Connect those dots and it gets scary, fast. In fact, the situation is starting to resemble a Hollywood-style, Wag-the-Dog, drum-up-a-war-to-distract-the-populace scenario.

With whom? Given the proclivities of Pompeo and Bolton, the obvious candidate is Iran. After all, as their records suggest, both the incoming secretary of state and the national security adviser suffer from acute cases of Iran hysteria and have been beating the Islamic Republic war drum for years now. So look for Trump and his two new subordinates to strike a less than substantial deal with nuclear North Korea (to show their cuddly diplomatic side) and then pivot toward tearing up the Iran nuclear deal in May and heading for military action against non-nuclear -- and so more vulnerable -- nuclear-pact-adhering Iran.

Count on this, at least: it's going to be one hell of a ride for America's already overstretched military men and women -- and one hell of a cash bonanza for an already flush military-industrial complex.

The Bolton Problem

No question about it: John Bolton is a nightmare. If he worked for Iran or any other Muslim state, we'd label him a fundamentalist extremist. But he's ours and his religion of choice has long been chauvinist interventionism, so instead he tends to get the lifeless (and perhaps not even accurate) label "neoconservative."

How bad is he? Well, we'd all undoubtedly be far better served if Michael Bolton were national security adviser and just sang "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" throughout his term in office.

The national security adviser holds an incredibly influential position and doesn't even require Senate confirmation hearings. Need proof? The establishment's favorite statesman-cum-war criminal Henry Kissinger started out in that position for President Richard Nixon. The thought of Bolton's voice being the final one Trump hears (and he's well-known to be prone to whatever last catches his attention) before making decisions about war and peace should chill us all.

How dangerous is Bolton, who came to Trump, like so many others, via his position as a commentator at Fox News? Back in 2005, he couldn't even pass muster among Republicans in Senate confirmation hearings to become President George W. Bush's ambassador to the United Nations. Dubya had to slip him in with a recess appointment (a decision even he came to regret). But give Bolton credit, at least, for consistency. He's been wrong about every significant foreign policy move since 9/11. Of course, he was hardly alone in that in Washington politics, but he does stand out for his unapologetic regime-change enthusiasm. He's repeatedly called for preventive war with North Korea. He's long called for regime change in Iran by force of arms and, back in distant 2017, even placed a time stamp on that event (the end of 2018)!

He still insists that the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which shattered that country and the entire region, was justified, a fact that ought in itself to have disqualified him in the eyes of a president who, on the campaign trail, repeatedly called that war "dumb."

A man who hasn't learned from or even accepted the failure of regime change in Iraq is now to take the helm coordinating US military policy for the future. If Iraq didn't constitute a mistake, then what would? It's hard to imagine. If preventive war -- not exactly street legal in international law -- is A-okay, why not, say, regime change in Syria (another country the president recently claimed he wanted to get out of) and risk war with Turkey, Iran, and Russia as well? Or how about directly taking on Iran, an event that could make the invasion of Iraq look like the "cakewalk" it was billed as back in early 2003? There are plenty of nasty regimes out there and you can bet on one thing: Bolton will advise the president to use his $716 billion military for more than just parades.

The Pompeo Problem

In 1986, Mike Pompeo was the class valedictorian at West Point and he then spent some time in the pre-9/11 Army. You might think that, all these years later, he would have at least a hint or two about the real-life costs of unwinnable, unnecessary wars in the Greater Middle East. Still, he's clearly on the war-with-Iran train. He's even bragged that it would only take 2,000 air sorties to wipe out Iran's nuclear capabilities. The million-dollar question that should follow evidently doesn't even occur to him: What then? A ground invasion? An indefinite blockade and/or no fly zone? How would Israel respond? What about Russia? Would Shia militias turn on American troops elsewhere in the region?

If James Mattis keeps his job (an open question these days for the man who has confided to ever-ready-to-leak colleagues that he doubts he can even work with John Bolton), Pompeo could become the nation's first top diplomat in memory to be more hawkish than the secretary of defense, himself a former four-star general. Foggy Bottom could then be renamed War Department 2.0.

Pompeo is a staunch Islamophobe and has even received an award from the extremist anti-Muslim hate group ACT for America. The presumptive secretary of state possesses the anti-Islamic, Christian zealotry of Vice President Mike Pence combined with the bombast of Trump and the (dangerous) intellect of the purported "adults" in (or now leaving) the "room," Mattis and McMaster.

No less unsettling: Pompeo's actions at his last job as CIA director. While there, for example, he fought to release documents that were designed to intimate alleged collusion between Iran and al-Qaeda. Forget all you know about the Middle East in these last years; forget that Osama bin Laden and Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei were on opposite sides of an ongoing, regional sectarian war; forget that Iran is actively fighting al-Qaeda-linked groups in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq. Pay attention to Pompeo, a man ready to insist that Iran equals al-Qaeda and so is, in fact, the sort of 9/11-associated culprit to which Congress meant to apply its 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force.

In other words, while at the CIA, Pompeo continued to peddle an updated version of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld playbook that sold their invasion of choice -- in that case, falsely linking Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda -- to an uninformed citizenry. Or to put it another way, Pompeo and Bolton are on the same page, both ready to replay an old script one more time.

If John Bolton is still a true believer when it comes to the doctrine of crusading regime change, then Mike Pompeo is exactly the diplomat-in-chief to sell it to an intellectually unengaged president, a largely AWOL Congress, and a distracted public. All the pieces will soon be in place for the next disaster.

From Hawkish Generals to Chickenhawks

So what's really going on here? Two disturbing trends seem to be at work: the move from rule by general to rule by civilian chickenhawk and the end of dissent (or even debate) within Trump's inner circle.

The president's initial record of appointing not one but three of "his" generals to run the national security team and the White House was itself a threat to the republic and its time-honored tradition of civilian primacy over the military. Those three flag officers -- McMaster, Mattis, and retired general John Kelly -- already inhabited their own echo chamber when it came to America's wars. All of them were still wedded to the myth of the Iraq surge to "victory" of 2007-2008. According to this fable (still widely accepted in military circles), the US military could've/would've/should've won in Iraq after General David Petraeus's famed "surge" there, if only feckless Barack Obama had left the troops in Iraq just a bit longer (by which they meant, as in South Korea after 1953, for more or less ever).

In addition, appointing highly decorated veterans in an era in which all things military are adulated in this country had its own potential for squelching dissent. Witness Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders taunting a reporter that it would be "highly inappropriate" to question White House Chief of Staff John Kelly because he had once been a four-star Marine general. Still, Mattis and McMaster are at least intelligent, somewhat principled men who haven't always toed the Trump line or kissed the proverbial ring. (McMaster had been bucking authority inside the Army for three decades, even writing a book arguing that the joint chiefs should have stood up to President Lyndon Johnson in the Vietnam War years.)

The president's new appointees, civilians though they are, will out-hawk the generals any day of the week. Bolton, in particular, had made a name as a Fox News commentator calling for war with North Korea and Iran in the sort of language one doesn't -- in my experience -- even hear in the military ranks. So, big picture, the national security state seems now to be moving from one threat to democracy, a politicized military, to another: the frenzied chickenhawkery of even more extreme civilians.

What President Trump seems to value most is sycophantic loyalty not to the nation but to himself, a quality that's the most essential aspect of any cult of personality. Which means one thing: outright dissent of any real sort inside the administration is a thing of the past (an autocratic mood that could, sooner or later, spread to the larger society). What did McMaster and Tillerson ultimately have in common? Simply put, both attempted to restrain Trump's more extreme impulses and neither truly clicked with the president on a personal level. Big mistake. What this president wants above all else isn't critical thinking or informed debate on crucial issues but total allegiance.

The defining characteristics of this White House are nepotism and sycophancy. John Bolton is never going to temper Trump's most bellicose instincts and Pompeo is already a Trump sycophant. When defending Pompeo's appointment, Trump's two main arguments were that he was a West Point graduate and that they are "always on the same wavelength." It's been widely reported that the two men have hit it off on a personal and professional level, as Pompeo personally delivered daily oral CIA intel briefs in the Oval Office (since Trump loathes reading). Pompeo grasped just how to get what he wanted in such a situation: stay in the boss's good graces. Mind-melding with the president is the path to promotion in this administration.

As America enters the second spring of the Trump era, it's creeping ever closer to yet more war. McMaster and Mattis may have written the National Defense Strategy that over-hyped the threats on this planet, but Bolton and Pompeo will have the opportunity to address these inflated threats in the worst way possible: by force of arms.

Trump finally has the minions he wants: devoted and fervently militaristic.

And while the public remains focused on the man's outlandish shenanigans, his team will be cooking up something far worse: a new war to put all the others to shame.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense, or the US government.

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Categories: News

The Unbelievable Trump

Truth Out - Thu, 04/05/2018 - 04:00
Categories: News

US Schools Disproportionately Punish Black Students, GAO Report Confirms

Truth Out - Thu, 04/05/2018 - 04:00
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Heavy-handed racialized punishment starts at an early age, the Government Accountability Office confirmed on Wednesday.

The federal watchdog released a report finding that Black students are over-represented among severely reprimanded elementary, middle and high school students.

While Black children and teenagers make up 15.5 percent of all public school students, they're disproportionately represented among the number of students who have received out-of-school suspensions (38.7 percent), school-related arrests (34.9 percent), and expulsions (30.1 percent).

And while boys are over-represented among students who receive major punishments, Black girls were reprimanded in US schools at almost twice the rate of White boys (10 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively).

"Regardless of the level of school poverty, Black students, boys, and students with disabilities were suspended from school at disproportionately higher rates than their peers," GAO said.

The comptroller also noted that both the trends and overall discipline rates get worse, as poverty increases.

The report also noted that Black students are even more likely to be punished at charter schools than their conventional counterparts.

"That is, although they represented about 29 percent of all students in charter schools," GAO explained, "Black students accounted for more than 60 percent of the students suspended from charter schools (about 32 percentage points higher than their representation in those schools)."

Public charter schools are often touted as a salve by those who accuse conventional public schools of failing marginalized populations.

Though the report was careful to stress that its findings don't "establish whether unlawful discrimination has occurred," it did cite previous research on a legal form of discrimination: implicit bias.

"For example, one study found that Black girls were disproportionately disciplined for subjective interpretations of behaviors, such as disobedience and disruptive behavior," GAO said.

The watchdog  also cited another study that used "eye-tracking technology" to show "teachers gazed longer at Black boys than other children when asked to look for challenging behavior based on video clips."

Categories: News

To Defend "Must-Run" Commentaries, Sinclair Forces Stations to Use Commentary by Former Trump Aide

Truth Out - Thu, 04/05/2018 - 04:00

 Kena Betancur / AFP / Getty Images)Then Trump campaign senior advisor Boris Epshteyn leaves Trump Tower in New York City, on November 14, 2016. (Photo: Kena Betancur / AFP / Getty Images)

Facing a flood of external criticism and internal dissent over its efforts to force news anchors to recite scripts bashing the media, Sinclair Broadcast Group doubled down on Wednesday by feeding its news stations yet another must-run clip in which the company's chief political analyst and former Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn defends Sinclair's attempts to inject right-wing commentary into local news segments.

"In terms of my analysis playing during your local news, as you see, my segments are very clearly marked as commentary," Epshteyn notes in a new segment that was internally titled "MEDIA BASHING OF THE SINCLAIR BROADCASTING GROUP."

"Here's the bottom line: I am proud to be the chief political analyst at Sinclair," Epshteyn adds. "My goal with every segment is to tell you facts which you may not already know, and then my take on those facts. I am thrilled to keep sharing the truth and my perspective with you, day in and day out."

Watch:

Contrary to Epshteyn's claim that he and Sinclair are always quick to draw a distinction between news coverage and analysis, his segments have not always been accompanied by a "commentary" label.

Matt Pearce of the Los Angeles Times -- who first reported on the segment Wednesday -- highlighted one mash-up of Epshteyn clips in which he offers his take on "tax reform," North Korea, and the debt ceiling.

The word "commentary" is notably absent from the segment's logo.

Sinclair's latest must-run segment comes amid growing outrage over its efforts to impose right-wing ideology on local news coverage that reaches tens of millions of Americans by forcing local anchors to read what have been characterized as propaganda scripts.

Due to threats of retaliation from the company and the massive costs of quitting, many Sinclair employees have either remained silent or expressed their outrage to media outlets anonymously.

As Common Dreams reported on Wednesday, Justin Simmons -- a producer at a Sinclair-owned station in Nebraska -- resigned as a result of the right-wing media giant's practices, saying, "I didn't go into news to give people biased information."

"Resigning seemed like the least I could do," he added. "I wish there was more."

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Categories: News

Right-Wing Feedback Loop: How Trump and the GOP Are Radicalizing Each Other

Truth Out - Thu, 04/05/2018 - 04:00

 Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images)House Speaker Paul Ryan greets Donald Trump as he arrives on stage to speak at the National Republican Congressional Committee March Dinner at the National Building Museum on March 20, 2018, in Washington, DC. (Photo: Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images)

As horrifying as Trump's policies may be, it's important to keep in mind that they are fully in line with conventional conservatism in the US. The real danger is not that Trump has broken away from the Republican Party, but that he is the very embodiment of a party unleashed from any pretext of a belief in democracy or pluralism.

 Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images)House Speaker Paul Ryan greets Donald Trump as he arrives on stage to speak at the National Republican Congressional Committee March Dinner at the National Building Museum on March 20, 2018, in Washington, DC. (Photo: Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images)

The following article could only be published thanks to support from our readers. To fund more stories like it, make a donation to Truthout by clicking here!

On April 9, John Bolton will become Donald Trump's new national security advisor, signaling the arrival of perhaps the most dangerous phase yet of the Trump administration. In Bolton, an unrepentant advocate for carrying out wars of aggression, Trump will have his Henry Kissinger, and the world will be less safe for it.

Most importantly, Bolton's appointment should put to rest any misguided hopes regarding the future of the Trump administration: It is sure to become more extreme, more chaotic, and more reflexively violent both domestically and abroad. In short, there is a very good chance that the first year of the Trump administration will be seen, in retrospect, as a relatively calm one, and that the worst is yet to come.

One month after Bolton's first day, he and Trump will be faced with the decision either to certify Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal or, as Trump promised during the campaign, to rip it up. Both Republicans and Democrats in Congress expect the Iran deal not to survive the May deadline. Also in May, Trump is scheduled to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to discuss a range of issues including denuclearization of Kim's regime and potential lessening of US military activity in the region.

Bolton, for his part, recently advocated for a first-strike bombing of North Korea and has long pushed for the United States to bomb Iran and force regime change there. In one recent meeting, he told members of the Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK), a cult pushing for regime change in Iran, that they would be in power by  2019.

The key dynamic at play is not Trump "radicalizing" the GOP, but rather a feedback loop of mutual radicalization in search of the farthest right position possible.

The dangers Bolton poses cannot be overstated, but it's important not to overlook what his appointment signals about the even greater dangers of Trump himself. By all accounts, he is embracing a government-of-one-by-fiat practice of leadership, and appears freer to indulge his whims, bigotries and conspiratorial fantasies. "Fourteen months into the job, Trump is increasingly defiant and singularly directing his administration with the same rapid and brutal style he honed leading his real estate and branding empire," The Washington Post reported on Saturday.

Trump's newfound freedom -- he is alternately described as "unhinged" or "unleashed" -- is often framed as a challenge to establishment Republicans. Is he dragging them down to his level? Will his extreme policies forever taint the party with accusations of overt, rather than covert, racism, sexism and xenophobia? In truth, however, Trump has governed as a traditional conservative. At the Conservative Political Action Conference, Ted Cruz and Ben Shapiro both acknowledged that they had no substantive disagreements with Trump as a president.

In many crucial areas, congressional Republicans, especially the hardliners in the Freedom Caucus, are to the right of Trump: immigrationhealth care and gun control, just to name a few. Time after time, Trump seemed willing to accept some level of compromise that the Freedom Caucus simply wouldn't. Even more notably, Mitt Romney, who through the alchemy of conventional wisdom has rebranded himself as a moderate, recently said he was to the right of Trump on immigration. Romney's stance won't surprise anyone who remembers his 2012 lobbying for "self-deportation" -- that is, making life so miserable for immigrants that they choose to leave the United States.

The key dynamic at play, then, is not Trump "radicalizing" the GOP, but rather a feedback loop of mutual radicalization in search of the farthest right position possible. That's why there's nothing contradictory in saying that Trump's policies are horrifying and that he's basically governing as a conventional conservative. That is an indictment of conservatism, not a softening of a critique of Trump.

In attempting to predict how far Trump will go and how bad things will get, many people have asked whether or not it's correct to call him a fascist. The more appropriate question to ask is: How do hard right regimes evolve and mature, and what are the warning signs for worst-case scenarios? Robert Paxton tackles this in his book, The Anatomy of Fascism. In his formulation, fascist -- or potentially fascist -- regimes have two options as they develop: to radicalize, or to revert to a traditional authoritarian rule. "Fascist regimes could not settle down into a comfortable enjoyment of power," Paxton writes. "The charismatic leader had made dramatic promises: to unify, purify, and energize his community; to save it from the flabbiness of bourgeois materialism, the confusion and corruption of democratic politics, and the contamination of alien people and cultures."

It is the dynamism of fascism, the grotesque thrill of violence and of fulfilling what the charismatic leader calls history's great plan, that gives the fascist regime its horrifying and distinctive power. Fascists "could not survive without that headlong, inebriating rush forward," writes Paxton. "Without an ever-mounting spiral of daring challenges, fascist regimes risked decaying into something resembling a tepid authoritarianism." The need to keep raising the stakes makes fascism inherently self-destructive, as its unthinking brutality ultimately consumes itself -- but not before unleashing its terror on the world.

The only way to break the feedback loop of right-wing radicalization is to create incentives for Republicans to fear general elections more than primary challenges from their right.

It's clear that Trump has chosen radicalization over normalization, and applying these historical lessons to this president offers some clues as to what to expect from the rest of his term. Trump's power, like that of a fascist leader, comes from a base that is in constant need of fuel for its anger and resentment, not from traditional conservative power structures like the military, organized religion or finance. Those institutions support Trump, clearly, but his political power is best illustrated by his never-ending campaign rallies, where he is typically at his most hateful. This dynamic is also evident in Trump's use of Twitter to provoke his base and appeal its members' most bigoted desires, and has further manifested in the evolution of Fox News to a full-on embrace of white nationalism in Tucker Carlson's primetime slot.

It is impossible to predict how exactly the remaining years of the Trump presidency will play out, of course. But Capitol Hill watchers suspect that there will not be any new major legislation this year. If that's true, and Trump's momentum stalls, there is a real danger he will focus his restlessness and need for chaos on foreign policy, where the president has nearly unfettered power, thanks to decades of executive authority consolidation at the hands of both parties. Trump's desire to show dominance through foreign policy becomes even more horrifying with Bolton at his side.

The only way to break the feedback loop of right-wing radicalization is to create incentives for Republicans to fear general elections more than primary challenges from their right. There are a few ways that could happen. The Supreme Court could rule partisan gerrymandering unconstitutional, thereby radically changing districts and creating a dynamic in which "safe" GOP-held seats could reasonably be lost to a Democrat. In addition to that, a massive blue wave in 2020 could put Democrats in control of redistricting following the 2020 census. The other way to combat GOP radicalization is to implement universal voter registration programs, same-day registration, re-enfranchisement for formerly and currently incarcerated people, and other initiatives to expand the vote.

The real danger is not that Trump is unleashed from his party -- it's that he is the very embodiment of a party unleashed from any pretext of a belief in a democratic pluralistic society. That won't change when Trump leaves the scene, and while he's still in power, he will only get more dangerous.

Categories: News

As Antarctic Melting Accelerates, Worst-Case Scenarios May Come True

Truth Out - Thu, 04/05/2018 - 04:00

A new study shows dramatic changes in some major Antarctic glaciers as the ice is being melted from below by unusually warm ocean water. The rate of melting is far more rapid than previously thought and scientists now fear that their worst-case sea level rise projections may come true in the near future.

 NASA HQ Photo)(Photo: NASA HQ Photo)

Some of the world's most profound melting of glaciers is happening in the Antarctic; and is invisible from above.

According to a study recently published in the journal Nature Geoscience, the underwater melting of Antarctic glaciers is now occurring at a rate that is doubling every 20 years. This means that melting in the ice continent of Antarctica could soon outpace that occurring across Greenland, which would make Antarctica the single largest source of sea level rise.

The new study was the first complete underwater mapping of Antarctica, by far the world's largest body of ice.

The study shows that warming ocean waters have caused the base of the ice near the ocean floor around the south pole to shrink by 1,463 kilometers from 2010 to 2016. This development will likely force worst-case projections of sea level rise to be revised upwards.

The water is melting the glacier ice away from the seafloor, which was acting as a sort of plug.

The current worst-case scenario outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is just over 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) of sea level rise by 2100.

The new data, however, confirms a study from nearly five years ago, in which 90 sea level rise experts were surveyed and confirmed that sea level rise this century will exceed IPCC projections.

To see more stories like this, visit "Planet or Profit?"

Meanwhile, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's worst-case scenario is 2.5 meters (8.5 feet) by the same year. This worst-case scenario does not factor in the new data from the recent Antarctica study.

Glaciers Coming Unplugged

The study, based on an analysis of satellite data, found dramatic changes happening across eight of the major glaciers in Antarctica due to the warmer ocean water underneath them.

The water is melting the glacier ice away from the seafloor, which was acting as a sort of plug, keeping the ice attached to the bedrock. The study showed that the ice, which has been receding by nearly 200 meters per year, is causing the land-based ice to speed up its shift toward the sea, hence increasing sea level rise projections.

The study also warned that this phenomenon suggests a widespread pattern of rapidly increasing melting all the way around Antarctica.

A 2017 study by Cornell University showed that rising seas could result in two billion refugees by 2100.

"We're seeing this all across the ice sheet," University of Leeds climate researcher Hannes Konrad, lead author of the analysis, told Inside Climate News. "As the grounding line of the ice shelves moves back, the inland glaciers accelerate and raise global sea level."

The rate of retreat of Antarctica's eight major glaciers has now accelerated to five times the historical average, according to the study.

Sea level rise projections of more than three meters are currently being openly discussed.

2017 study by Cornell University showed that rising seas could result in two billion refugees by 2100. That is one-fifth of the total projected global population of humans, which would be 11 billion by then. Moreover, that data is based on the current, lower sea level rise projections; predictions may well increase in the near future.

Categories: News

ICE Will No Longer Release Pregnant Immigrants From Detention

Truth Out - Thu, 04/05/2018 - 04:00

Once again President Donald Trump has taken a swing at undocumented immigrants living in the United States. This time he announced that Immigration and Customs Enforcement will no longer automatically release detained pregnant women.

The new policy for automatic deportation or indefinite detention would reverse previous guidelines to release pregnant people unless they pose a security threat.

Huffington Post reports:

Philip Miller, deputy executive associate director for ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations, told reporters on Thursday that many pregnant women encountered by immigration enforcement are already subject to mandatory detention by law, particularly if they were apprehended at the border and are not deemed eligible to move forward with any claims for relief.

Others may be subject to mandatory detention because they committed certain crimes within the US Since the policy went into effect in December, ICE has detained a total of 506 pregnant women, according to ICE, though the agency did not say how many of those women were later deported or released into the US He said that on March 20, the last date for which ICE has the data, there were 35 pregnant women in detention, all of them subject to mandatory detention.

This new rule is a dramatic change from the previous administration, which mandated "presumptive release." According to Pacific Standard:

Under the Obama administration, ICE officers were urged to release pregnant women "absent extraordinary circumstances," under which detention might be necessary. But an internal memo sent by ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan states that custody decisions for pregnant women should now be made on a case-by-case basis. The new directive states that, "absent extraordinary circumstances," pregnant women in their third trimester will still be released.

Pregnant people placed in federal detention centers are often offered inadequate prenatal care, limited access to health care services and poor food and living conditions -- all of which could harm maternal and fetal health. Some centers report pregnant people being forced to wait in lines in 100ºF heat just to obtain prenatal vitamins. And rates of miscarriage are far higher for detainees than the rest of the pregnant population.

Michelle Brané, director of the Migrant Rights and Justice Program at Women's Refugee Commission, told CNN that the organization condemns this new policy:

The Women's Refugee Commission has long documented the dangerous and unhealthy detention conditions that are especially dangerous and inappropriate for pregnant women. Many women are pregnant as a result of rape and violence that they experienced either on the journey to the US or that may be part of an asylum claim. Detention is especially traumatic for pregnant women and even more so for victims of rape and gender-based violence.

NARAL Pro-Choice America noted the administration's hypocrisy in fighting so furiously for abortion restrictions while putting pregnant people into centers that are likely to harm them and the babies they are carrying.

NARAL Pro-Choice America Vice President for Strategic Communications and Research Adrienne Kimmell explained:

This policy will undoubtedly further jeopardize and health of pregnant women in the ICE's custody, who are already likely facing difficult conditions and need access to health care the most. While the Trump-Pence administration brags about its 'pro-life' credentials, it does not blink an eye when it comes to the lives of our most vulnerable populations.

The American Civil Liberties Union called the new change an assault on a vulnerable population. ACLU senior staff counsel Victoria Lopez said via email statement:

This new policy further exposes the cruelty of Trump's detention and deportation force by endangering the lives of pregnant immigrant women. It removes critical protections for this vulnerable population and eliminates key reporting requirements for oversight of a detention system that needs more, not less, transparency and accountability.

Meanwhile, conservatives lauded the reversal, claiming that the change will make it less likely for undocumented people to birth children in the US and give those babies automatic citizenship. But the so-called "anchor baby" issue is largely myth.

As the Washington Post explained in 2015:

For illegal immigrant parents, being the parent of a US citizen child almost never forms the core of a successful defense in an immigration court. In short, if the undocumented parent of a US-born child is caught in the United States, he or she legally faces the very same risk of deportation as any other immigrant.

The only thing that a so-called anchor baby can do to assist either of their undocumented parents involves such a long game that it's not a practical immigration strategy, said Greg Chen, an immigration law expert and director of The American Immigration Lawyers Association, a trade group that also advocates for immigrant-friendly reforms. That long game is this: If and when a US citizen reaches the age of 21, he or she can then apply for a parent to obtain a visa and green card and eventually enter the United States legally."

The process would require so many steps and take so long that it would be virtually useless as a means of obtaining permanent citizenship.

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Categories: News

Tennessee Students Continue Their Fight Against a Discriminatory Voter ID Law

Truth Out - Thu, 04/05/2018 - 04:00
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"Why is it that a handgun carry permit can be used when casting a ballot, but a student ID card cannot?"

Tanya Torres, president of the student government at Fisk University, a historically black school in Nashville, Tennessee, asked that question last week in an impromptu press conference outside the office of state Rep. Tim Wirgau, the Republican chair of the Committee on Local Government.

Just minutes before the press conference began, Wirgau refused to allow Torres and about two dozen other students from Fisk and Tennessee State University (TSU), another historically black school in Nashville, to testify in support of House Bill 2457. Introduced by Democratic Reps. G.A. Hardaway and Sara Kyle, the proposal would have amended the state's voter ID law to include student IDs as an acceptable form of voter ID. The committee voted down the bill without hearing from those who would be most impacted by its passage. 

After the vote, the students erupted in chants of "No justice, no peace!" and were escorted out of the committee room. Undaunted, they gathered outside Wirgau's office and continued to argue their case. 

Torres contrasted the state's lax gun laws with its strict voting laws and challenged the unsubstantiated claim that student IDs are more easily replicated and thus susceptible to fraud. A former legislative intern, Torres noted that she was able to use her intern ID -- which is no more secure than a student ID -- to vote. She observed that 70 percent of the students at Fisk are from out of state and thus face barriers in accessing IDs acceptable under Tennessee law. She also pointed out that Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Virginia allow student IDs to be used for voting. 

This is not the first time students from Tennessee's historically black schools have taken on their state's voter ID law, which was passed in 2011 and is one of the strictest in the country. Inspired by North Carolina's Moral Movement, they have been fighting to have student IDs added to the list of acceptable voter IDs since 2014.

That fight has taken them not only to the legislature but to the courthouse. On the 50th anniversary of the historic Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March in 2015, nine students from Fisk and TSU -- collectively known as the Nashville Student Organizing Committee  --  filed a federal voting rights lawsuit against Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett. Citing the 14th and 26th amendments to the US Constitution, the lawsuit claimed the voter ID law intentionally discriminates against students by barring them from using their school IDs even though the nearly identical employee IDs used by college and university faculty are acceptable. 

Though the student activists did not win their lawsuit, they have seen similar voter ID laws struck down in states including North Carolina in recent years, helping to bolster their claim that Tennessee's law is discriminatory. They're considering further litigation.

The students understand the racial dynamics that they are up against. Voter ID laws have been shown to have a disparate impact on minority voters, who are more likely to be poor and less likely to have access to transportation and other resources necessary to acquire an acceptable form of ID. Whereas many white Americans simply use their license as identification without a second thought, minorities are less likely to possess them, while many students rely on public transportation. 

Though the measure did not pass, the students say their struggle is not over. They plan to educate their fellow students about the bill's opponents, all of whom are up for reelection this year.

"If our votes were not powerful, they would not be trying to stop us," said Fisk student Justin Jones, one of the plaintiffs in the 2015 lawsuit. 

Categories: News

Britain behaving like 'mafia state' in Skripal case - OSCE ex-VP Willy Wimmer

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Thu, 04/05/2018 - 03:56

Britain behaving like 'mafia state' in Skripal case - OSCE ex-VP Willy Wimmer | 04 April 2018 | The UK is exploiting European solidarity and behaving like a 'mafia state' by pushing forward warmongering accusations and excluding Russia from the Skripal poisoning probe, the former vice-president of OSCE assembly told RT. Britain's behavior in the Skripal poisoning scandal is "a major danger to international peace," believes Willy Wimmer, who held the vp position with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) assembly from 1994 to 2000, and who had previously served as state secretary to Germany's defense minister. "I think we would call this state a mafia state because it is against all European and international rules and regulations how the British government has behaved in a criminal case with regard to another country," Wimmer told RT.

Categories: News

End of the Line #14: Two Trees

It's Goin Down - Thu, 04/05/2018 - 03:42

The post End of the Line #14: Two Trees appeared first on It's Going Down.

Anti-pipeline podcast End of the Line speaks to people living in the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) about its impact on their lives and about why they support the ongoing tree sits.

Through wind storms, snow storms, two court hearings, and a temporary restraining order, the support for the tree sitters at Peters Mountain Stand has only grown. Have they sparked something beyond just protecting these two trees?

Categories: News

Seattle Solidarity Network Stops Landlord Evicting Family for Having a Baby

It's Goin Down - Thu, 04/05/2018 - 03:02

The post Seattle Solidarity Network Stops Landlord Evicting Family for Having a Baby appeared first on It's Going Down.

Seattle Solidarity Network, an autonomous, radical, and anti-capitalist organization which uses direct action to fight for the interests of workers and tenants, reports here on a recent fight against a landlord.

In March 2018 SeaSol helped a family defeat an attempt by their landlords to evict them for having a second child. The property management company had established a clear pattern of targeting the family, and had denied a request to move to a larger unit only days before on false claims of damage to their unit.

The family had moved to their current residence in Seatac, Washington in early 2016 while the wife was visibly pregnant with their second child. Throughout their two year tenancy, they had a nearly spotless tenancy record marred only by seemingly targeted warnings later in the period, one for simply hanging a rug out to try a single time on the balcony. During this time the landlord knew fully that they were technically over the unit occupancy limit of two per-bedroom plus one, and in fact had known since move-in.

Several months prior to their eviction notice the family applied for a two-bedroom unit, both to come within the occupancy limit and to simply have more space for their family. When the site manager inspected the unit the family were told it was fine, and they even offered to pay for the minor wear-and-tear. They were therefore surprised when the notice arrived that they had failed the transfer inspection, citing damage that wasn’t real, and even more surprised when they were informed they would be evicted for having too many occupants, something the landlord had known and accepted for two years.

The family then heard of SeaSol and expressed an eagerness to fight back. Due to the short timeframe we were working with and the risk of fighting your landlord as a single tenant, we decided on an unorthodox strategy for the fight. We sent letters to the property manager and the building owners asking them to reconsider the decision and come to the table, with the intention of pursuing a several-months long punishment fight were the family to be evicted. Perhaps motivated by SeaSol’s long record of fighting with workers and tenants, the property manager rescinded the eviction a mere two days after sending the emails and a day after the family had received notice for their now-canceled move-out inspection.

We are thrilled that the family will be able to continue their tenancy. Over the course of the fight, though, a number of further issues have come to light. Stay tuned for more!

Categories: News

Tree Sitters in West Virginia Aren’t Leaving; They’re Expanding

It's Goin Down - Thu, 04/05/2018 - 01:31

The post Tree Sitters in West Virginia Aren’t Leaving; They’re Expanding appeared first on It's Going Down.

In the past several days in West Virginia, actions on Peter’s Mountain have continued against the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). On April 2nd, a new tree-sit was also launched in an orchard. As news is coming out at a rapid pace, we’ve created a roundup of recent actions and videos from Appalachians Against Pipelines and Farmland Against Pipelines.

It’s now been one week since the monopod tree-sit was erected on a mountain road, in an attempt to stop pipeline construction. This move itself came about a month after an earlier tree-sit was made public. As the tree sits continue, residents in the surrounding area, many of which are in the middle of legal battles with MVP to keep their homes, began to rally in support of the resistance and also send up supplies.

In response, police have set up a “free speech” area far away from the monopod in an attempt to cut off supplies and support, but have so far been unsuccessful in stopping the tree sit and people from mobilizing in solidarity.

Today, tree sitters gave an update on the campaign and the monopod:

Good morning and hello from the pole sitter on Peter’s Mountain – IT’S BEEN A WEEK! Sometimes even I find it hard to believe.

In that time, I’ve gotten repeated visits from multiple varieties of cops, reporters, MVP employees, and – by far most importantly – by well over a hundred amazing supporters from so-called Virginia and West Virginia, all resolutely opposed to this pipeline. Many of you brought much-needed gear and supplies, many of you hiked around two miles after the ridiculous forest service road closure. Your energy and enthusiasm makes staying up here worthwhile.

For over two years, MVP has been trying to silence, suppress and ignore those who do not want to see their water poisoned or the land they love attacked. In the last months, many grew understandably disheartened as state officials refused to heed their calls, federal authorities granted permission after permission, and MVP began cutting trees. Now I’m hearing time and time again about how direct action on this mountain is inspiring those people and giving them hope again. I know that people are already taking concrete action – I just heard yesterday about the folks autonomously taking to the trees to defend against pipeline construction in Roanoke County.

Who knows what could come next? With people enraged by this pipeline and open to new possibilities of resistance, I’m excited to see what could emerge. I think this should frighten MVP more than any specific work stoppage – that hundreds of people living along the route are opposing the pipeline, are frustrated by a legal system rigged in favor of extractive industry, and are gaining hope and energy in this new stage of the battle. No one is going to stop this for us. Together we can stop it ourselves.

I thought I had shared enough photos of cops and workers staring at me for a while, so the image below this post is of my view looking up towards Peter’s Mountain, past the anchor lines running down to that side of the road. Sadly this phone camera does it little justice.

Forest Service Law Enforcement does continue to maintain a 24 hour presence at the blockade, including pulling up to the gate and shining their headlights at the monopod overnight, and telling ground support not to send food or water. Fortunately supporters have continued to be able to set up camp right by the blockade – please come visit if you like, and message the page if you want directions or info on what supplies we could use!

In another big development, on April 2nd, it was announced that another tree sit had been launched, this time, occupied by a 61 year-old woman identified as “Red,” who sat atop a tree in an orchard. This new tree sit shows the degree in which locals are supporting pipeline resistance, and are also beginning to take part in the broader campaign. Social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook named Farmlands Against Pipelines have been also been launched, and are promoting and following the ongoing orchard tree sit.

A report read:

Today at 1PM EST Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC attempted to survey a family orchard in Bent Mountain of Roanoke County, Virginia slated to be devastated by the proposed 42-inch fracked gas pipeline. The surveyors discovered a 61 year old woman identified as “Red,” in a platform attached to two trees 30 feet in the air.

“I’m doing this because I love this mountain. I don’t want to see it violated like this. I want this land to go to my children.” Red said when asked why she had taken this stand in the trees. “I’ll probably be up here for a while.”

After discovering Red, MVP surveyors contacted Roanoke County Police, who drove by the property but did not confront her.

Red and her family will need support to continue resisting the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Red could lose her job to stay in the trees and is looking for financial support to pay her bills as well as fund materials like food and gear to sustain resistance. To make a donation, please visit: https://actionnetwork.org/fund…/farmlands-fighting-pipelines.

If you aren’t able to give financially, please consider reaching out to FarmlandsFightingPipelines@protonmail.com or reach out to Farmlands Fighting Pipelines on Facebook.

Red’s tree sit was launched as tree sitters marked five weeks of being up in the trees:

Today marks FIVE WEEKS of the tree sits on Peters Mountain, and FIVE DAYS of the monopod blockade in Giles County. Here’s a great video sent to us by a local supporter who had a deer follow him up to the monopod over the weekend. And some thoughts from that supporter on the monopod blockade. If you’d like to join him in a hike to the gate this week, send us a message and we’ll put you in touch!

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Deer walking to monopod 4/1/18

Today marks FIVE WEEKS of the tree sits on Peters Mountain, and FIVE DAYS of the monopod blockade in Giles County. Here's a great video sent to us by a local supporter who had a deer follow him up to the monopod over the weekend. And some thoughts from that supporter on the monopod blockade. If you'd like to join him in a hike to the gate this week, send us a message and we'll put you in touch!"As a life long citizen of Giles Co. and a farmer who depends on clean water for my family & livestock, our right to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness… it is a real possibility that what we love & have worked hard for is in jeopardy. Saying that, I have been blessed to be given the opportunity of fellowship with some of the most unbelievable people I have ever met. The real stories of fracking fields they have shared, where young children keep nose bleeds & the elderly have unknown illnesses… I am heartbroken. The actions of these out of staters are our neighbors from the other side of Peter's Mt. who are trying to protect WVa. families & farmers' livelihoods, and clean drinkable water for the generation. I have witnessed 2 false arrests, I was forced to leave public land that we helped make the payments on, threatened with incarceration with no respect. I have also seen these young people offer coffee & food to our Forest Service Law Enforcement, whom I highly respect! I am so proud of the movement that these young people have started & are willing to stand up & sacrifice their lives for, for my family & those who fear authority, and the elderly. I've seen no one else willing to take a stand against the destruction that I see every time I go to town. I challenge you all to join me on a hike to the gate & spend some time with some of America's finest people I don't even know. I'll be making the journey again at 7am tomorrow! On Sunday, because the public Pocahontas Road was closed the Local Pastor (E.K) was unable to fulfill His Sacred Office to these wonderful folks!!! They are my shield… I am their sword.."bit.ly/supportmvpresistance

Posted by Appalachians Against Pipelines on Monday, April 2, 2018

In the face of growing support among the local population, Mountain Valley Pipeline or MVP officials have attempted to scare supporters with increased repression:

Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC has seen the fire of resistance in our communities, and they are doing their best to put it out.

On Friday, before the closure of Pocahontas Rd, MVP had police arrest one of our supporters in an attempt to intimidate us. At MVP’s insistence, the supporter was arrested and charged with driving recklessly into the parking lot at the monopod gate, despite multiple witness statements saying that no such incident had occurred.

We won’t let MVP’s intimidation dampen our spirits! The supporter was quickly released from jail and has a court hearing in a few days.

Let’s show MVP their petty tactics won’t get to us—come on down (or up) and give us a visit! We would love to see y’alls faces at the tree sits and the monopod (which is still welcoming supporters despite the woodsy hike to get there). Message us if you need directions!

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We Won't Back Down! No Free Speech Zones!

After the first rally at the gate, the state attempted to enforce "Free Speech Zones." Since then, supporters of the Peter's Mountain Blockade have stayed strong and refused to comply. WE SEE YOU! In this video, footage of protesters from the Forest Service gate is narrated by a tree sitter. The sitter explains "A long history of civil disobedience, of intentionally breaking unjust rules and laws proceeds us. Courageous people fighting for a new world has often meant edging up against all that enforces the world as it already exists."

Posted by Appalachians Against Pipelines on Sunday, April 1, 2018

The forest service also began a strategy of shinning a light up on tree sitters at night in an attempt to keep them from being able to sleep:

US Forest Service shone a spotlight on the monopod blockade since 8:30 pm, though well before midnight they had switched to only shining their headlights, after trying to mount the spotlight on multiple vehicles and apparently having issues with it burning out. The Forest Service maintained at least two trucks by the gate and one at the start of the road closure all night long.

At 7 am it seems the night shift was supposed to be replaced by MVP security, but thus far this Sunday there has been no sign of any MVP employees. At around 9:30 am one USFS truck left, and one remains in the road near the gate. Supporters are still barred from entering the road itself, but have been able to continue camping in the woods nearby. Anyone willing to make the hike is still more than welcome to visit!

Despite this, people remain in high spirits. On March 31st, people celebrated a victory, in that the time allowed for pipeline personnel to log trees had passed:

Thanks to everyone who came out today to celebrate MVP’s tree clearing deadline (tonight at midnight!) and support our tree & monopod sitters. We had visitors all day, and the sits report “an energy in the air of folks believing we can win.”

Pictured here are some supporters at the gate yesterday (before USFS closed Pocahontas Rd to foot and vehicle traffic other than MVP), and some notes sent up to the monopod from some of our younger supporters.

Want to show support but can’t make it out? Help us buy the supplies we need to keep resisting! bit.ly/supportmvpresistance

Also around the same time, at the end of the month of March, pipeline resistors released a video and a campaign update, remarking on how far the campaign had come, and where things needed to go from there. Check out the text below, which is also read aloud in the following video:

Here we are. Surpassing many expectations, we have effectively held our front past the deadline for tree clearing. And in the meantime, even more ground has been gained. Territory that was condemned for the life-collapsing interests of MVP, has been reappropriated as a site for life-affirming struggle. 

As I speak, a cool breeze rustles branches and a bird chirps above me in a tree that would not exist if MVP had their way. Not only is this tree alive but I have been made more alive through the process of our radical coexistence– our co-becoming. 

On this day, there is certainly a victory worth celebrating. But nothing is worse than the victory that one does not know what to do with. So we invite you again to think through where we go from here with us. 

Let’s start with what we know:

We have revealed that Peters Mountain has a particular significance to MVP. Elsewhere, pipeline companies have commonly avoided confrontation with sites of resistance, while they build everywhere else instead. But here, immediate offensive tactics have been attempted against us in order to end our stand. Fortunately they have failed and after a month of delayed construction, we’re still f****** here.

Another thing we know is that MVPs twin, the ACP, a proposed pipeline 100 miles north, was just denied an extension for tree clearing from FERC. We can’t say with certainty what this means for our context but it doesn’t bode well for MVP. And in this time of delay, we have also seen new sites of resistance sprout up along the ACP route. 

Since January, MVPs financial position is worsening. The patient company EQT’s stock has been dropping over the last six months. In February, MVP had to put up $32 million dollars liquid cash in VA alone (we can only imagine the favors MVP called in to make that possible for a company with no employees and no money in the bank). EQTs president and CEO resigned two weeks ago; a board room fight has led to the company splitting.

Finally, we know that despite regulations prohibiting tree clearing, pipeline companies have illegally cut trees anyways. Often they preemptively account for the cost of these violations in their budget.

Alright, let’s talk about what we don’t know.

We don’t know to what extent MVP is prepared to bear the consequences of illegal tree clearing. Will they advance in the tree cutting as planned, or will they just focus on constructing sites where cleaning is already done or unneeded?

We also don’t know the extent of consequences that could result from their negligence. Will the DEQ or DEP step in to enforce beyond a fine? Would they impose a stoppage of work? We’ve found that the DEQ or DEP doesn’t typically act in accordance with the interest of the people until they are pushed to do so. 

Finally, we don’t know who or what other factors might arise to intensify the consequences of restricted tree clearing. Of course, we all have some ability to determine this one.

On that note: one more thing that we’ve learned since this all started. The only thing that has rerouted the unceasing path towards construction is the motion of people into forms that are recreating the world that the pipeline project is moving through. Little did MVP know, they would be operating in hostile territory. 

In fact, they couldn’t have known. Because in the places where there power is maintained– the courts, the government agencies, the legislative bodies– formalities have closed in on and sought to eliminate any space for an alternative to the existence of this pipeline.

Now it is the absolutely alternative essence of the people’s action that is closing in on the possibility of this pipeline, while also opening the realm of possibility for our own movement. Alternative because we are not interested in the current Order of things. Alternative because the very fact of our continued existence totally undermines all that preserves that Order. 

And so we are not limited to “good behavior” in the expression of our existence– in the expression of our humanity. As we continue to act, ruptures will form in a process designed to legitimize fossil-fuel infrastructure without interruption. 

So from what we have learned, if we want this tree clearing deadline to have any actual significance, we will have to make it so. We have been, and will be, the actualizing force. 

Wherever you are, find us; we are keeping a look out for you. 

Onward in our experimentation. 
Onward in our resistance.

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Thoughts from the Sit on the Tree Clearing Deadline

We made it to the 31st tree clearing deadline and the Peters Mountain Stand is still here — what does that mean and where do we go from here?(audio on)Here we are. Surpassing many expectations, we have effectively held our front past the deadline for tree clearing. And in the meantime, even more ground has been gained. Territory that was condemned for the life-collapsing interests of MVP, has been reappropriated as a site for life-affirming struggle. As I speak, a cool breeze rustles branches and a bird chirps above me in a tree that would not exist if MVP had their way. Not only is this tree alive but I have been made more alive through the process of our radical coexistencce– our co-becoming. On this day, there is certainly a victory worth celebrating. But nothing is worse than the victory that one does not know what to do with. So we invite you again to think through where we go from here with us. Let's start with what we know:We have revealed that Peters Mountain has a particular significance to MVP. Elsewhere, pipeline companies have commonly avoided confrontation with sites of resistance, while they build everywhere else instead. But here, immediate offensive tactics have been attempted against us in order to end our stand. Fortunately they have failed and after a month of delayed construction, we're still f****** here.Another thing we know is that MVPs twin, the ACP, a proposed pipeline 100 miles north, was just denied an extension for tree clearing from FERC. We can't say with certainty what this means for our context but it doesn't bode well for MVP. And in this time of delay, we have also seen new sites of resistance sprout up along the ACP route. Since January, MVPs financial position is worsening. The patient company EQT's stock has been dropping over the last six months. In February, MVP had to put up $32 million dollars liquid cash in VA alone (we can only imagine the favors MVP called in to make that possible for a company with no employees and no money in the bank). EQTs president and CEO resigned two weeks ago; a board room fight has led to the company splitting.Finally, we know that despite regulations prohibiting tree clearing, pipeline companies have illegally cut trees anyways. Often they preemptively account for the cost of these violations in their budget.Alright, let's talk about what we don't know. We don't know to what extent MVP is prepared to bear the consequences of illegal tree clearing. Will they advance in the tree cutting as planned, or will they just focus on constructing sites where cleaning is already done or unneeded?We also don't know the extent of consequences that could result from their negligence. Will the DEQ or DEP step in to enforce beyond a fine? Would they impose a stoppage of work? We've found that the DEQ or DEP doesn't typically act in accordance with the interest of the people until they are pushed to do so. Finally, we don't know who or what other factors might arise to intensify the consequences of restricted tree clearing. Of course, we all have some ability to determine this one.On that note: one more thing that we've learned since this all started. The only thing that has rerouted the unceasing path towards construction is the motion of people into forms that are recreating the world that the pipeline project is moving through. Little did MVP know, they would be operating in hostile territory. In fact, they couldn't have known. Because in the places where there power is maintained– the courts, the government agencies, the legislative bodies– formalities have closed in on and sought to eliminate any space for an alternative to the existence of this pipeline. Now it is the absolutely alternative essence of the people's action that is closing in on the possibility of this pipeline, while also opening the realm of possibility for our own movement. Alternative because we are not interested in the current Order of things. Alternative because the very fact of our continued existence totally undermines all that preserves that Order. And so we are not limited to "good behavior" in the expression of our existence– in the expression of our humanity. As we continue to act, ruptures will form in a process designed to legitimize fossil-fuel infrastructure without interruption. So from what we have learned, if we want this tree clearing deadline to have any actual significance, we will have to make it so. We have been, and will be, the actualizing force. Wherever you are, find us; we are keeping a look out for you. Onward in our experimentation. Onward in our resistance.bit.ly/supportmvpresistance

Posted by Appalachians Against Pipelines on Saturday, March 31, 2018

Keep up with the Appalachian pipeline resistance by following Three Sisters Camp, Appalachians Against the Pipelines, and Farmland Against the Pipelines.

Categories: News

Coast Salish Territories: Indigenous Land Defenders Denounce Criminalization at Burnaby Mountain

It's Goin Down - Wed, 04/04/2018 - 23:52

The post Coast Salish Territories: Indigenous Land Defenders Denounce Criminalization at Burnaby Mountain appeared first on It's Going Down.

As resistance to a Kinder Morgan pipeline continues in so-called British Columbia, indigenous land defender SunTree Johnson Larue has been arrested and is in need of solidarity. The following press release discusses the current situation. For ongoing updates, follow Camp Cloud.

For the past six days, Secwepemc land defender SUNTREE JOHNSON LARUE has been in police custody after an undercover police ambush at Burnaby Mountain. The RCMP targeted Suntree with a coordinated and forceful attack as he was walking near the gates of the Kinder Morgan tank farm in Burnaby.

Suntree recently traveled to Burnaby to stand with Coast Salish peoples to defend their collective Indigenous rights and title. Over half the length of the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline threatens to cross through SunTree’s own unceded Secwepemc territory in the interior.

“We as Indigenous peoples are on the frontlines of fighting for our homelands and lifeways in the face of corporate-colonial threats like the Kinder Morgan pipeline. But whenever we exercise our inherent rights, we are subject to criminalization and human rights violations,” says KANAHUS MANUEL of the Secwepemc Women’s Warrior Society and Tiny House Warriors. “Canada is abusing its power by using police and courts to try to silence us. We cannot accept the systematic and illegal criminalization of Indigenous land defenders for exercising our internationally-protected Indigenous Rights and Title.”

According to GRAND CHIEF STEWART PHILIP, “With our voice, in the courts, or the streets, on the water, or the land, whatever it takes, we will stop Kinder Morgan. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s approval of this reckless Kinder Morgan tar sands pipeline project denies inherent Indigenous Title and Rights and violates the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. On Saturday April 7 at 11 am I will be leading a march and getting arrested at the gates of Kinder Morgan. As an Indigenous person, I am affirming my personal and collective right and commitment to the land and the water.”

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Free suntree

Posted by Camp Cloud at KM Surveillance Post on Friday, March 30, 2018

CRYSTAL SMITH, a young Indigenous teacher, recounts her violent arrest at Burnaby Mountain:“The day after my graduation ceremony, I went up to Burnaby Mountain with my mother and two children. Several people including myself stood in front a truck. The police approached us but several people asserted their Indigenous rights and we sang the Women’s Warrior Song. I left the front of the truck and was standing on the side when two police officers approached me. I asserted my inherent rights as a Tsimshian and Haisla woman. Within seconds I heard my mother, who was being physically harmed by the police, and my son who had just left my arms. I struggled as I watched my kids who were scared and I tried to get to them, but the police forced me into a stretcher. What was clear to me that day was how the police were so much more violent in their treatment of Indigenous bodies.”

Continues MANUEL, “This is not the first time Canada has violated our inherent Indigenous laws and jurisdiction and criminalized us for upholding our responsibilities. We survived through Potlatch Laws for over twenty years when our people faced jail for practicing our potlaches. Now we are being arrested for defending our inherent and constitutionally-protected rights to land, water, and culture.”

Free SunTree
Warrior #FreeSunTree pic.twitter.com/izF07aSHMZ

— Tia Chicome (@bluemazatl) March 31, 2018

All along the Kinder Morgan pipeline route from the interior to the coast, Indigenous nations do not consent to the Kinder Morgan pipeline project. Coast Salish spiritual leaders recently raised a traditional Watch House near the Kinder Morgan pipeline route.

Says WILL GEORGE, Watch house guardian and Tsleil Waututh member, “Our spiritual leaders and elders guided the vision of our Watch-house to watch over and protect our lands. We are sending a clear message to Kinder Morgan and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that this pipeline will not be built. We will remain here and we will protect the lands we have lived on since time immemorial. We are people of the inlet and these waters flow through us. Our teachings will guide the way to a better future.”

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