News

Justice Department 'Looking Into' Hillary Clinton's Emails

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 02:05

Justice Department 'Looking Into' Hillary Clinton's Emails | 04 Jan 2018 | Justice Department officials are taking a fresh look at Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she served as secretary of State, The Daily Beast has learned. An ally of Attorney General Jeff Sessions who is familiar with the thinking at the Justice Department’s Washington headquarters described it as an effort to gather new details on how Clinton and her aides handled classified material. Officials' questions include how much classified information was sent over Clinton's server; who put that information into an unclassified environment, and how; and which investigators knew about these matters and when. The Sessions ally also said officials have questions about immunity agreements that Clinton aides may have made.

Categories: News

Error451: #07 (Borders & Devices)

Anarchist News - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 23:35

Download This Episode

This week on error451, the occasionally-weekly tech podcast from an anarchist perspective brought to you by The Final Straw Radio, Bursts and William Budington chat about devices crossing the U.S. border. Now, neither of us are lawyers and situations change according to laws, precedence and actual practice with border security, so consider these better practice suggestions. We talk about full disk encryption, cloud solutions, planning a trip, if some devices are more secure than others and safer-practices if you've lost control of your device.

William B suggests the Security Self-Defense series from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (which employs William) as a great, free resource for getting prepared for travel and other situations and keeping up on current developments in tech.

Tags: surveillance self-defensepodcast#Error451borderstechnologycategory: Projects
Categories: News

Concerned Citizens in Cancer Alley Vow to Ramp up Battle Against Industrial Pollution in 2018

deSmog - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 22:09
Robert Taylor next to an EPA air monitor

This past year in Louisiana’s St. John the Baptist Parish, a small group of residents began organizing their community to compel the state to protect them against an invisible menace: the air they breathe. Their parish, the Louisiana equivalent of a county, is situated in what’s known as Cancer Alley, an industrial corridor between Baton Rouge and New Orleans that hosts more than 100 petrochemical factories.

At the helm of the battle is the Concerned Citizens of St. John, a diverse group of parish residents pushing back against the area’s historically bad — and worsening — industrial pollution. “One thing we all have in common is a desire for clean air,” the group’s founder, Robert Taylor, told me. Next year, the burgeoning group plans to get political and broaden its reach by banding together with similar groups in the region.

Tags: environmental justicecancer alleyLouisianaConcerned Citizens of St. John
Categories: News

How donations will support ICIJ in 2018

Global Muckracker - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 18:39

The support of ICIJ donors will help make us stronger, and more powerful in 2018.

On Giving Tuesday, November 28 last year, ICIJ announced a goal to raise at least $100,000 before the end of 2017.

While we weren’t sure what response we’d get, we knew there was a significant amount of support and attention because of the release of our latest cross-border investigation the Paradise Papers. We wanted to use that moment to highlight the importance of our journalism and how donations that make that work possible.

We also were grateful to be part of the News Match 2017 campaign. From October 1 to December 31, the funders behind News Match – Democracy Fund, Knight Foundation, and MacArthur Foundation – committed to matching donations we received, dollar-for-dollar, up to$28,000.

Thanks to your support, we raised more than $190,000 from individual donors since the release of the Paradise Papers in November. That’s in addition to the $28,000 we expect to receive from the News Match campaign.

That’s an incredible testament to the generosity of our global community of readers, followers, and supporters who share our values and believe in our mission.

To all of you, we are so grateful for the support.

Related articles

But now, we get back to work.

Here’s what your donations mean for us in 2018: better, stronger, more powerful investigative reporting that changes the world.

Our reporters and editors are pitching ideas, researching leads, and working together right now on our next global investigation.

Our staff are planning trips to visit our members and partners in all corners of the globe – so we can learn from them and build better relationships with reporters.

Our data team is taking stock of our technology and tools, figuring out how we can innovate and improve for future projects. We’re working on ways we can more effectively and efficiently train journalists on security protocols, data analysis, and reporting and research techniques. And, of course, we’re working on releasing more information to our Offshore Leaks Database.

All of this makes for a stronger ICIJ in 2018. And when ICIJ is strong, so is our investigative reporting.

We now know what can happen when a team of global reporters collaborate together on massive investigative stories. We can bring down governments, spark investigations, force public resignations. Together, we generate an incredible amount of impact.

And it’s all thanks to you.

The post How donations will support ICIJ in 2018 appeared first on ICIJ.

Categories: News

Lawmaker say electric cooperatives could fill broadband gaps

Grassroots Economic Survival - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 17:19
Link: Lawmaker say electric cooperatives could fill broadband gaps

ATLANTA — A north Georgia lawmaker says he thinks electric cooperatives could be a key player in filling the broadband coverage gaps in the state’s underserved rural communities. 

But Sen. Steve Gooch, R-Dahlonega, said he doesn’t expect everyone under the Gold Dome to be quite so enthused by a plan to turn loose cooperatives to offer broadband. Gooch said he expects existing providers, in particular, to push back on the proposal. 

“It’s going to be a fight,” Gooch said in a recent interview. “I don’t think it’s going to be easy. But again, nothing down there ever is. With anything this important, there’s going to be people who are against it because of self-motives and financial reasons.

“And I’m fine with that. I love to debate, and in fact, I challenge all the providers to come in and get involved and help us perfect the bill,” he added. 

Gooch pitched a measure earlier this year that would grant the state’s 41 not-for-profit electric membership corporations, which serve about 2 million customers, the authority to offer broadband service in some of the state’s most sparsely populated places.

Read the rest at the Thomasville Times-Enterprise

 

Go to the GEO front page

Categories: News

Multi-stakeholder Cooperatives and Consumer Co-ops

Grassroots Economic Survival - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 16:29
Link: Multi-stakeholder Cooperatives and Consumer Co-ops

Multi-stakeholder cooperative governance may not be familiar to many in the U.S. consumer co-op movement, but it is widely seen as an appropriate and progressive model of governance for cooperatives of all kinds. More importantly, it is a way to foster the kind of member engagement that many see as crucial if cooperatives are to survive and thrive in the modern world.

Multi-stakeholder cooperatives offer a membership role to two or more groups of key stakeholders who are engaged with the cooperative in different ways. Common membership categories include workers, consumers, producers, and community supporters—but also may include suppliers, distributors, or volunteers, depending on the situation. 

In the new publication from the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA), Co-operative Governance Fit to Build Resilience in the Face of Complexity, several international governance experts cite multi-stakeholder boards as a natural fit for organizations committed to the practice of economic democracy. “Consumer loyalty…is fragile,” note authors Sonja Novkovic and Karen Miner in their introductory chapter to the ICA publication, “and often tenuous in the face of many alternative options of where to buy a product or a service.”

Read the rest at Cooperative Grocer Network

 

Go to the GEO front page

Categories: News

Review: Left of the Left: My Memories of Sam Dolgoff By Anatole Dolgoff

Anarchist News - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 16:27

via infoshop

via Rebel Worker

The advent of the Trump Administration in the US has witnessed more waves of attacks on civil liberties, more intense police repression, more tax cuts favouring the rich, the beefing up of the military and a range of other onslaughts. Employers have been encouraged to intensify their war path against workers on the job. Whilst an important base of support of the Trump electoral campaign has been demoralised workers in the “rust belt” hard hit by de-industrialisation. Lately Trump has even been whipping up support from ultra right wing forces by his provocative tweets. The union bureaucracy associated with the AFL-CIO-CIA has typically announced its willingness to “work” with the Trump administration.

The syndicalist movement and the so called anarchist milieu is currently in a poor state, unable to tackle the increased tempo of the employer offensive associated with the Trump presidency. According to a major article in the Summer edition 2017 of “Industrial Worker” paper of the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) a major tendency in the organisation is associated with the oppression mongering and enthusiasm for identity politics which is such a feature of the middle class leftist subculture. Interwoven with this tendency is the influence of much Stalinist legacy informed “navel gazing” associated with “safe spaces policies” featuring in many IWW locals and the so called “anarchist” milieu. This tendency in the IWW, however is being confronted by an industrial organising approach.

A major contribution to this unwholesome influence of the former tendency must be seen in regard to the IWW’s resurgence in the 1960s stemming from a major influx of radical students and workers with high levels of autonomy in their jobs associated with the education and the university milieu. Constituting a significant base of its membership. As a result, the resurgent IWW lacked the core of highly experienced militants which played such a dynamic role in its formation and expansion in the early 20th century.

“Incremental Shop” Versus “Strategic” Organising

The contemporary IWW pursues all manner of organising drives in diverse sectors Whilst for many years has engaged in a sort of incremental organising of mainly small shops oriented toward winning contracts which have had no-strike clauses. Where there has been success in this approach, the result has been a situation similar to shops organised by some sections of the corporate unions with a largely passive membership. Effectively in these shops the IWW had become a micro democratic version of the corporate unions. (1)

Whilst another focus by Wobblies and some in the so called “anarchist” milieu has been “solidarity networks”. Where relatively small groups of workers are assisted with grievances. A role performed by the corporate unions on occasion, which in no way raises the morale of workers on a large scale and plays into the role of activoid super heroes and pseudo social workers. It fits neatly into middle class leftist oppression mongering and guilt tripping, providing excuses for social occasions and has nothing to do with serious syndicalist industrial organising. Again this activity is very much in the orbit of corporate unionism. The corporate unions are effectively having their normal work fanned out to leftist activoids, who do it for free.

In sharp contrast, key militants of the IWW in its early days, displayed an excellent grasp of strategic organising and the associated deployment of limited personnel and resources in key sectors. Success in this organising would facilitate the winning of major victories in the class struggle raising the morale of workers across industries, slowing the tempo of the employer offensive and turning the tide in the class struggle. Facilitating strike waves and the emergence of transitional steps toward mass syndicalist industrial unionism. This orientation is illustrated with the IWW’s organising drives in the Philadelphia maritime sector up until the mid 20’s and the Detroit auto industry in 1937. This memoir of Sam Dolgoff throws important light on this and other organising issues which are critical to a resurgent mass syndicalist union movement.

This memoir by Sam Dolgoff’s son, Anatole sheds light on his father’s many years of militancy in the IWW and various socialist and anarchist groups. After initially being involved in the Socialist Party, he was expelled as he was critical of the careerism of its middle class and student members and statism. Dolgoff went on to be involved in a range of anarchist and syndicalist groups.

In the early to mid 1920’s he joined the syndicalist IWW. The author shows he became drawn into its strategic organising and associated major organising controversies in the organisation. Dolgoff played an important role in the IWW organising drive amongst soft coal miners in South Illinois in the 1920’s which resulted in the Progressive Mine Workers Union (PMWU) becoming closely associated with the IWW. Dolgoff played a very effective role as a soap boxer helping defeat the well funded and resourced Communist Party United Mine Workers Union attempt to make inroads in the base of the PMWU.

“Taft-Hartley” Pledges

A major organising controversy in the IWW involving Dolgoff discussed in the book which touched on the question of strategic organising versus a simplistic incremental growth in non strategic sectors was associated with the loss of the Cleveland Metal Shops in the mid 1950’s. A major contributing factor to a devastating IWW split in the mid 1950’s. It is discussed in a quote from an analysis by Jeff Stein. It involves the issue of whether IWW shops should sign the anti-radical Taft-Hartley Act pledges. Dolgoff and others opposed the signing of these pledges due to the obvious contradicting of the IWW’s revolutionary aims. According to Stein this stance propelled this huge chunk of the remaining membership and industrial base of the organisation to leave.

However, the Cleveland shops were all drawn into fixed term contracts in breach of the IWW constitution. These IWW shops were also effectively marginalised, as they were surrounded by the AFL-CIO business union covered shops cemented in placed by a vast web of contracts. Consequently the IWW had ceased to be an expanding movement based on direct action on the job and inspiring workers in diverse sectors to follow suit in strike waves. The IWW in Cleveland had effectively become a micro democratic version of the business unions and had effectively left the syndicalist fold. Whilst the original breakthrough in the Cleveland shops stemmed from a spin-off of an unsuccessful strategic organising drive in Detroit auto in 1937.

Sam Dolgoff is most notable in the history of US syndicalism and anarchism in the 20th Century apart from his soap boxing and organising activity on behalf of the IWW, his authorship and editorship of a series of important books and pamphlets on aspects of anarchism and syndicalism, is his involvement in a range of different anarchist groups and publications with mostly an anarcho-syndicalist orientation from the 1920’s to the 1990’s. The most notable being the Vanguard Group 1932 to 1939 with its paper “Vanguard” and the Libertarian League (mid 1950’s to mid 1960’s) with its publication “Views and Comments”.

“The Vanguard Group”

“Vanguard” was one of the most outstanding on the international plane of anarchist publications. Dolgoff mainly focused on labour issues with his regular “On the Class War Front” column. It was in sharp contrast to today’s exotic identity politics and oppression mongering obsessed (2) leftist rags. The key figure in Vanguard who wrote under the pen name SENEX was Mark Schmidt. The author shows how despite being extremely opposed to the murderous policies of the early Bolshevik regime in Russia following the October 1917 Coup, he became drawn into the Stalinist orbit and copied their paranoid conspiratorial ways. Contributed by the panorama of international expanding Stalinism and the rise of Fascism in those years. The author shows these factors together with controversy over whether to support the Allied war effort against the Axis in WWII contributed to the demise of the group and paper. Another factor the author misses is the demoralisation of the international anarchist and syndicalist movements associated with the defeat of the Spanish Revolution of 1936-39.

“The Libertarian League”

In regard to the Libertarian League the author discusses some of the major activities of the group which included solidarity for overseas anarchist and syndicalist militants facing state repression and exposing the authoritarian nature of the Castro Regime in Cuba. The author outlines many of the interesting speakers who featured at the regular forums of the group. However due to various factors beyond the group’s control it was unable to break out of being a small circle. The author fails to mention that it was finally dissolved by Dolgoff and his closest collaborators due to an influx of drugs and violence obsessed elements.

In Dolgoff’s final years of militancy, the author shows he became involved in the Libertarian Labor Review, now Anarcho-Syndicalist Review group. Its origins being amongst a group of young militants in the IWW involved in the Rank-and-File Organising Committee. They were influenced by Dolgoff’s ideas on industrial strategy favouring the IWW linking up with wildcat and grass roots workplace insurgencies. It opposed the IWW focusing on incremental organising of shops based on winning contracts based on the Cleveland metal shops experience of the 1930’s-50′ and NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) recognition for shop bargaining coverage.

In conclusion, the book provides plenty of food for thought about what serious syndicalist organising should look like and important organising controversies in the US which are also relevant to other countries in certain aspects. Whilst providing plenty of gritty and graphic portraits of US radicals in the 20th Century. However, the book is marred by the author’s over indulgence with some aspects of Dolgoff s private life.

Mark McGuire

Notes:

1. See Discussion on Libcom.org of the US IWW and contracts.
2. See “Fellow Worker: The Life of Fred Thompson” Edited and Compiled by David Roediger Published by Charles H. Kerr. For a discussion of IWW organising in the Detroit Auto Industry in the 1930’s.

* Paper of the Anarcho-Syndicalist Network
Vol.35 No.3 (210) Dec.2017 – Jan.2018 www.rebelworker.org

Tags: Sam Dolgoffrebel workerIWWcategory: Essays
Categories: News

Solidarity and the Gig Economy

Grassroots Economic Survival - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 16:20
Link: Solidarity and the Gig Economy

It seems almost quaint to talk about class and solidarity and things like that in the 21st century. After all, workers have spent most of the past three decades learning how to compete for work, in much the same way that companies compete for business. A whole new industry has developed around improving job interview techniques. Curriculum Vitae have become personal branding exercises. Employment agencies serve as mass filtration systems. Sites like oDesk, Elance, Clickworker, TaskRabbit, Hello Alfred, Handy, Upwork, Freelancer.com and Amazon’s Mechanical Turk operate as international auction houses for work. This is an environment which can only offer a declining role for organizations such as unions, which have been traditionally defined as “free associations of employees”. In many countries, this industrial role is codified into law — unions cannot legally operate within the gig economy!

The results are already becoming clear, especially in wealthier nations where workplace relationships changed the fastest. Nowadays, the union movement has become a battleground not an army.² After more than thirty years of neo-liberalism, we have only just managed to turn a rout into a retreat. Now a new storm is gathering. The current transition to an online platform economy will massively undermine unionism in every respect, creating a whole new generation of membership decline and internal disputes.

Anyone who has read Paul Mason’s “Post-Capitalism” will have sensed that there is a way forward. Unfortunately (and understandably!) Mason does not talk much about unions. However, we can look to writers and activists like Janelle Orsi to join the dots. Orsi has argued for a transition from investor-owned to producer and customer-owned platforms (more). Such a shift is clearly in the wider social interest but, of course, that does not mean it will happen. If and wherever it doesn’t, Orsi argues, we should begin to set up our own co-operative versions of these platforms (more). In the parlance of industrial unionism, labor should be preparing to enter into direct competition with capital.

Pie-in-the-sky? Absolutely not. After all, who has built these new platforms? It is not the directors or the investors. In taking up a challenge such as this, working people would also have some natural advantages. Firstly, by far the majority of consumers are workers. By and large we are the market; both the buyer and the seller. All profits from co-operative enterprises are returned to members, or reinvested for them, rather than being taken out of the system – another huge business advantage. Along the way, the co-op’s members would also act as guarantors for a minimum hourly rate, thus attracting other workers away from the “race-to-the-bottom” that is already evident in other platforms. And in many countries workers’ platforms (eg “T-corporations” in the USA) are exempt from tax. Solidarity makes extremely good business sense!

Read the rest at the New Unionism Network Blog

 

Go to the GEO front page

Categories: News

Tony Blair denies tipping off Trump to claim that GCHQ may have spied on him at the behest of Obama

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 15:25

Tony Blair denies tipping off Trump to claim that GCHQ may have spied on him at the behest of Obama | 04 Jan 2018 | Tony Blair today furiously denied claims he warned Donald Trump's aides that British agents may have spied on them during the election at the behest of Obama administration. An explosive new book alleges that the former prime minister passed on the gossip during a visit to the White House last February as he was angling for a job as the US President's Middle East envoy. During the meeting with Mr Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and a senior aide, Mr Blair is reported to have shared a rumour that GCHQ spies were monitoring the communications of Trump campaign staff and perhaps the future president himself. But Mr Blair angrily denied the claims, made in a book by US journalist Michael Wolff, dismissing them as 'absurd' and a 'complete fabrication'.

Categories: News

States and Cities Took on Secret Election Spending in 2017

Truth Out - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 15:11
Ready to challenge injustice and spark real change? So are we. Support Truthout's mission today by making a tax-deductible donation.

Congress has spent much of the year imagining more ways to hide the true funders of already murkily financed political advertising, even though the vast majority of their constituents -- across the political spectrum --  oppose dark money. That’s left the fight for transparency up to states and cities. And officials across the country have stepped up. Taken together, their efforts have formed a remarkable campaign to increase accountability from coast to coast.

In late November, a bipartisan group of Idaho lawmakers drafted a bill that would require spenders in local and state races to reveal more layers of funding and make public disclosures more frequently. If passed into law, the measure would require election advertisers to name their five biggest funders. If a funder were itself an organization that received contributions, that funder would have to disclose its top ten donors if it gave more than $1,000 in the crucial 15 days before an election. This multilayered disclosure would help reduce "gray money" -- money that is routed through tiers of groups to conceal its true origin and dodge oversight.

One Republican legislator lamented that, without reform, mailboxes and radio broadcasts in Idaho would be "brimming with ads paid for by a single deep-pocketed donor," displacing the kind of politics where candidates engage voters directly.

Like Idaho, more and more states and cities are moving to crack down on secret spending in elections -- which has surged in the wake of Citizens United and related court decisions -- while federal regulators remain mired in dysfunction. Without transparency, voters lack the information to fully evaluate political messages, and special interests can influence crucial electoral battles without public accountability. The stakes can be particularly high in state and local politics, because candidate elections and ballot referenda often determine policy outcomes with specific economic consequences.

This year, for instance, a pharmaceutical trade association poured nearly $60 million into a successful ad campaign in Ohio to defeat a ballot measure to cap drug prices. The group sent its money through a network of dark money groups, so that voters could not see who really stood to benefit from the messaging.

In September, California significantly boosted its already-tough transparency laws by passing the California DISCLOSE Act. Among other features, the law requires purchasers of more than $50,000 in print, television, radio, or online advertising to name their top sponsors in the ads themselves. To combat gray money, political action committees must reveal their original funders, not just the latest contributors in chains of many.

At the same time, the Denver City Council unanimously approved a new disclosure measure in the wake of costly past elections for mayor, City Council, and other city offices. The law mandates that independent spenders file public reports within two days of spending more than $1,000 on a campaign, disclosing anyone who gave more than $25 to the effort.

In New Mexico, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver pushed through stronger campaign finance disclosure rules that took effect in October. Perhaps most consequential, nonprofits, super PACs, and other organizations that spend significant amounts on political ads will now, using dedicated accounts for this spending, have to disclose anyone who contributed more than $200.

Some state action to counter dark money has taken the form of enforcement. The Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) imposed its steepest-ever penalty in September  -- $425,000 -- against a nonprofit that had failed to register as a PAC and thus avoided disclosure requirements, even though it engaged in political activity to influence votes on a ballot question concerning charter schools. That battle drew the largest barrage of campaign spending for a ballot question in state history. In requiring the nonprofit to register as a PAC and reveal its donors, the OCPF judged the group by its actions rather than by its technical label.

More plans to combat secret spending are brewing in other states. In Washington, the state House of Representatives passed a proposed law in March to treat nonprofit groups that spend in elections as a type of political committee subject to the same transparency requirements. Lawmakers next year are expected to resume consideration of this proposal along with a related measure in the state Senate that has bipartisan support. The Spokane City Council recently passed a bill mirroring these efforts at the local level.

In Arizona, some advocates are proposing a state constitutional amendment to require the disclosure of the "original source" of funds given to any group spending $10,000 or more to influence an election. Independent spenders themselves would have to trace the money given to them, uncover intermediary layers, and register the names and addresses of anyone giving more than $5,100.

If 2017 is any indication of what’s to come, 2018 promises to be a tougher year for deceptive political advertising in the states. This past year has shown us that though the federal government has been stagnant on reform, states can and should take the lead.

Categories: News

Plastic Production Could Increase by 40 Percent Over the Next Decade

Truth Out - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 15:10
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The people have spoken, and the people are pretty clear: They'd like to see less plastic in the world, from product packaging to food storage containers to components of toys. Yet, the oil industry is investing heavily in the development of new plastic production facilities, in a move that will increase global plastic production 40 percent over the next decade. What gives?

Because most plastics are produced with petroleum byproducts, the plastic business is a great way for companies like Exxon to diversify their production. Plastics manufacturing companies, meanwhile, can cut costs and continue to supply cheap plastic by owning fossil fuel companies  -- quite the symbiotic relationship.

And there's another problem: Prices for raw petroleum products are falling, thanks to the explosion of the shale gas industry in the United States. Making more fossil fuels available at extremely low prices creates a pressure to use them, which is exactly what the industry wants. Over the years, these companies have replaced perfectly functional renewable products with plastics, locking in a market for a product we didn't need in the first place.

At the same time that many regions are working to crack down on plastic usage with efforts like plastic bag bans, requirements for biodegradable takeout containers and mandates for plastic reduction at government agencies, the industry is pumping out more and more plastic.

That's not just bad at the end of plastic's lifecycle, when it gets tossed in a landfill or sent to a recycling facility in an attempt to get another round of use at it. It's also bad at every step of the supply chain, where pollution ranges from the oil field to the factory to the fossil fuels used to transport plastics to their end destinations.

In essence, the oil industry wants to profit from the glut of cheap fuel it's created, so it's attempting to generate a market for more plastics -- even though we already produce more plastic every year than the combined weight of humanity on Earth.

Scientists are already warning that our plastic production and usage is unsustainable, so what kind of environmental crisis will result from ramping up production even more?

We already know that it can take hundreds of years for plastics to break down, so the introduction of innovative new plastics is not exactly heartening news. When plastics do break down, that doesn't resolve the problem. In the ocean -- where a lot of plastic ends up -- plastic products turn into small pieces of material that animals can ingest, and as the material degrades even further, it releases harmful chemical compounds.

The plastics industry knows this is a problem, but while they greenwash their annual reports, they're still pumping out plastic at a steadily increasing rate, and fighting regulatory attempts aimed at cutting down on waste generation. For them, encouraging sustainability is counter to their business model. After all, doing so would be an admission that plastics are dangerously unhealthy, and we should invest in eliminating them.

But some companies are exploring biodegradable alternatives. Numerous researchers are on the case, using a variety of products as feedstock for plastics that will break down in the right conditions. That said, it's important to note that they won't break down anywhere  --  just try composting a cup made from corn plastic at home. The growth of such products indicates that it's possible to move away from plastic, and consumers are clearly interested in these alternatives.

So what can you do about our collective reliance on plastic? In addition to reducing plastic products you bring into your own home, you can reach out to local officials to ask them about ordinances to reduce or eliminate the uses of some plastics in your community. At work, you can push for biodegradeable and renewable alternatives to plastics. You can also encourage your federal elected officials to implement better regulations on the oil and gas industry, as well as more environmental protections to limit the exploitation of natural resources.

In addition to preserving nature for future generations, you'll help offset the availability of cheap oil and gas, pushing companies to rethink their business models.

Categories: News

The Dow Jones industrial average tops 25,000 for first time, continuing its history-making rise

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 15:05

The Dow Jones industrial average tops 25,000 for first time, continuing its history-making rise | 04 Jan 2018 | The closely watched Dow Jones industrial average topped 25,000 points for the first time Thursday, continuing a run that lifted stocks by more than 20 percent in 2017. The bellwether gauge crossed the historic milestone shortly after the start of the day's trading...The Dow passed the 20,000 threshold days after Trump took office then kept climbing, posting 71 record highs last year. It passed 24,000 on Nov. 30, making the latest 1,000-point run one of the fastest in its history.

Categories: News

Black Seed 6 Call for papers

Anarchist News - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 14:37

http://blackseed.anarchyplanet.org

The sixth issue of Black Seed Journal will continue an effort to challenge and expand the meanings of both Green and Anarchy. As editors and contributors, we not only wish to reject notions of the state and capitalism, but seek perspectives that are earth-focused, unexpected or inhuman.
One of the concepts we would question is the anthropomorphism of the natural world as “Mother Earth,” and environmentalism as a paternalistic urge to protect the earth― to prevent humanity from “raping the earth.”
The vision of nature as gentle nurturer is predicated on the same conception of the earth that the Conquistadors held when they came to the New World, to rip into the Virgin Mary’s flesh and freely take from her. Seeing the earth as merely fertile and passive denies the true power of the Mother. Like a toddler who defiantly casts his blocks on the floor, we at once valorize and mourn the mess we have made, when actually we are small, fragile things amid the vastness of cosmic forces.
However, there are other visions of the Mother— visions that acknowledge that the ability to create life is inseparable from the ability to inflict pain and death. Kali, Medea, Ixchel, Tiamat, Spider Woman, and countless other Mother Goddesses throughout the indigenous world show us visions far more nuanced, brutal and rich. The Mother is beauty, but also terror. She is love, as well as annihilation. She gives and takes, not as her brood requires, but as her mysteries dictate.
The binary of the Fearsome Sky God and Sweet Mother Earth is a historical fallacy. If we seek to speak of the earth, let it not be in language perverted and twisted by narrow-minded gender ideals, but in language that rejoices in the cruel glory of the natural world.
The theme for Issue 6 is the wrathful Mother, violent maternity, or the blood-drenched Queen. It will have a print run of at least 5,000 but possibly 10,000 as well as be published online (eventually). We are open to all written forms. Please email blackseed@anarchyplanet.org with inquiries or submissions. You can snail mail us c/o Little Black Cart PO Box 3920 Berkeley CA 94703.

Tags: call for submissionsindigeneityblack seedgreen anarchycategory: Projects
Categories: News

Florida sees snow for first time in 29 years

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 08:30

Florida sees snow for first time in 29 years | 04 Jan 2018 | Florida has seen its first snowfall in three decades as a rare winter storm hit the southeast of the US on Wednesday. The weather office in the sunshine state's capital Tallahassee measured 0.25cm (0.1ins) of snow on its roof, marking the first time it had experienced the white stuff since 1989. Five to eight centimetres (2-3ins) of snow were expected in northeast Florida, where there have been warnings of icy roads, power cuts and freezing temperatures.

Categories: News

Congressional investigators find irregularities in FBI's handling of Clinton email case

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 08:15

Congressional investigators find irregularities in FBI's handling of Clinton email case | 02 Jan 2018 | Republicans on key congressional committees say they have uncovered new irregularities and contradictions inside the FBI's probe of Hillary Clinton's email server. For the first time, investigators say they have secured written evidence that the FBI believed there was evidence that some laws were broken when the former secretary of State and her top aides transmitted classified information through her insecure private email server, lawmakers and investigators told The Hill. That evidence includes passages in FBI documents stating the "sheer volume" of classified information that flowed through Clinton’s insecure emails was proof of criminality as well as an admission of false statements by one key witness in the case, the investigators said.

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Trump lawyer sends cease-and-desist letter to Bannon - report

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 08:06

Trump lawyer sends cease-and-desist letter to Bannon - report | 03 Jan 2018 | President Trump's lawyers sent a cease-and-desist letter to former White House chief strategist Stephe Bannon Wednesday ordering him to refrain from making "disparaging statement" about Trump and his family, according to a new report. ABC News reports the letter, from Trump attorney Charles Harder, accuses Bannon of breaching a non-disclosure agreement signed as part of working on Trump's campaign. Harder later said in a statement to ABC that the law firm "represents President Donald J. Trump and Donald J. Trump for President Inc." and issued legal notice to Bannon over his statements in Michael Wolff’s new book, "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House."

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FBI thought Clinton broke the law, drafted acquittal despite ongoing investigation - report

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 07:51

FBI thought Clinton broke the law, drafted acquittal despite ongoing investigation - report | 04 Jan 2018 | The FBI believed Hillary Clinton and her aides broke the law by using an insecure server to email classified data, yet drafted an exonerating statement even before the probe was over, according to several Republican senators. The unnamed Republicans on key congressional committees looking into the Clinton probe have uncovered passages in FBI documents stating that large amount of classified data that passed through Clinton's private emails was proof of criminality, The Hill reported. By doing so, the lawmakers have confirmed and expanded on earlier reports in the US media.

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VA Is For Grand Jury Resistors: A New Year of Repression and Resistance

It's Goin Down - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 06:07

The post VA Is For Grand Jury Resistors: A New Year of Repression and Resistance appeared first on It's Going Down.

Today a group of people against the grand jury in Charlottesville blocked off the road where Heather Heyer was killed with a banner. What follows is their statement. For more info on fighting grand juries, go here.

A new year has arrived, and with it, the culmination of all the years before. Charlottesville, the history of white supremacy and the apathy of liberal capitalism that grips this city like fists around a broken neck was made readily apparent in 2017, with what so many have entitled: The Summer of Hate.

But this year is over, and as our relief might start festering, we must not forget that the next will be filled with just as much struggle, if not more. As you might know, a federal grand jury has begun to issue subpoenas, forcing victims of the horrific attack on August 12th to appear before the grand jury and testify on behalf of the state. On first appearance, this might seem beneficial, allowing a federal institution of the repressive state apparatus investigative power over the events of the summer, but as the state has oppressed low-income people of color and those in the fight for liberation in the past, the grand jury is another instance of this oppression.

JUST IN: Protesters briefly blocked #HeatherHeyer Way in #Charlottesville this afternoon with a banner chained to street posts urging people to "Resist" a federal grand jury that's reportedly investigating the Aug. 12 car attack. pic.twitter.com/korqXKM961

— Matt Talhelm (@MattTalhelm) January 3, 2018

The process surrounding federal grand juries are about as undemocratic and unjust as one could fathom: there is no presiding judge, no opportunity for testifiers to obtain substantive legal council during the proceedings, and the prosecution leads the press. The State uses federal grand juries to determine indictments, but at the end of the day, this is a way for the State to expand its authority and further its monopoly on violence. These functions of the State are always and capitalist social hierarchy, and must be restricted at all times.

There are those in Charlottesville who have bravely chosen to resist this exultation of repressive power, and we stand in solidarity with them. This is a call for all residents of Charlottesville to stand as well, to fight along those in the struggle for justice and liberation. If you receive a federal subpoena, don’t be silent. Contact local community organizations like SolidarityCville and other groups involved in the fight for social justice.

The new year has begun, and with it the continuation of our life-long struggle. In the immortal words of Gramsci, “the old world is dying, and a new one struggles to be born; now is a time of monsters.” The crisis of our times is just beginning; we are at the forefront of history and now is not the time for idle passivity. For the freedom of the working class, of people of color, of women, of trans people, of queer people to be fully realized, we must find in ourselves the passive, apathetic element of ourselves, and destroy it. There are those currently fighting, and we have the responsibility of fighting alongside them in whatever way we can. This past year has been filled with horror, but don’t mourn: fight back!

With Love and Solidarity

Categories: News

North and South Korean Leaders Agree to Direct Negotiations as Trump Provokes Kim Jong-un on Twitter

Truth Out - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 05:00

President Trump tweets that his "nuclear button" is "much bigger & more powerful" than North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's. Meanwhile, North and South Korea have opened lines of communication, saying they are open to direct negotiations. We speak with Bruce Cumings, professor of history at the University of Chicago, author of North Korea: Another Country.

Please check back later for full transcript.

Categories: News

Norway Halts Weapons Sales in Yemen War, Citing Humanitarian Crisis, as US and Britain Continue Supply

Truth Out - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 05:00

Norway's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Wednesday the country will stop supplying weapons and ammunition to the United Arab Emirates, citing "great concern" over the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. The UAE is part of the Saudi-led coalition that has been carrying out airstrikes in Yemen for nearly three years. Meanwhile, the US and Britain continue to supply the Saudis with billions of dollars' worth of weapons. The US also provides logistical military support to Saudi Arabia. The Saudi air campaign has killed more than 10,000 civilians in Yemen and displaced more than 3 million. More than 80 percent of Yemenis now lack food, fuel, water and access to healthcare. We speak with journalist Iona Craig, who was based in Sana'a from 2010 to 2015 as the Yemen correspondent for The Times of London. She was awarded the 2016 Orwell Prize for her reporting on Yemen.

TRANSCRIPT

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I'm Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: We turn now to Yemen. On Wednesday, Norway's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the country will stop supplying weapons and ammunition to the United Arab Emirates, citing great concern over the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. The UAE is part of the Saudi-led coalition that has been carrying out airstrikes in Yemen for nearly three years. In 2016, Norway sold nearly $10 million worth of weapons to the UAE. Meanwhile, the US and Britain continue to supply the Saudis with billions of dollars' worth of weapons. The US also provides logistical military support to Saudi Arabia. The Saudi air campaign has killed more than 10,000 civilians in Yemen, which is the Arab world's poorest country, and displaced more than 3 million.

AMY GOODMAN: In December, Doctors Without Borders said it suspected an outbreak of diphtheria in the country for the first time since 1982, with 28 deaths reported since August. Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross says the number of suspected cholera cases in Yemen has reached 1 million, making it the worst cholera epidemic on record. And the United Nations is warning over 8 million people are a step away from famine. More than 80 percent of Yemenis now lack food, fuel, water and access to healthcare.

Well, recently Nermeen Shaikh and I sat down with the journalist Iona Craig, who was based in Sana'a from 2010 to '15 as the Yemen correspondent for The Times of London, awarded the 2016 Orwell Prize for her reporting on Yemen. I started by asking her what the world needs to know about the crisis in Yemen.

IONA CRAIG: I think it's really how man-made the humanitarian crisis is, the Saudi coalition's policy of not just blockading the country and restricting food imports -- and Yemen imports 90 percent of its food in peace time -- but it's also the bombing campaign, that I mentioned in that report for The Guardian, that has been used to systematically target Yemenis' ability to grow their own food or supply food for themselves. So, there is a clear pattern of a strategy to bomb farmland, to target the areas where farmers are trying to grow food, and, again, as well, targeting fishermen, where people have become increasingly reliant on, you know, fish and fishermen's supplies to feed themselves. And so, in that report, I spoke to fishermen on the Red Sea coast in Hudaydah, the head of the fishermen's union, and to farmers. And there has also been academic research done on the data of the airstrike campaign since 2015 that does show a pattern of the Saudi coalition apparently targeting Yemen's food supplies, its own farmers and fishermen, in order to prevent them from being able to provide food for themselves, in addition to this blockade. So this is what is so largely responsible for the humanitarian crisis that we're seeing now, with more than 8 million people facing famine, with hundreds of thousands of children now starving to death. And this has been a policy of the Saudi coalition, which is, of course, backed by Western nations, including the US And so, they are complicit in that. And it's mass starvation of 27 million people.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, let's go to a first-person account by a young woman living in Sana'a, the capital of Yemen. The 26-year-old goes by the pseudonym "Salma" to protect her identity, for fear for her safety. She spoke to PRI, The World, last week.

SALMA: We're just staying inside our houses, because you don't know if the airstrike's going to come or, like, Houthi is going to hit. It's like it's safer for you and your family to stay close to your house. Since 2011, we have this kind of ugly experience of lockdown in our houses for days and days. But this one is different. This one, it's like most of the people, they're just like -- they are sad. Really sad. Even myself. I have like -- since I was student, I have issues like with the old regime and, you know, the troubles in education and everything. But when Ali Saleh's got killed, I cried. Most of the people really cried, men and women. They feel like, you know, this man has been our leader for almost -- over 35 years. I am 26. I was born, and he's still -- like, you know, he was the president, until I finished the school, and he's still the president. We always look up to him, and he's our father, for my generation. But now, the thing that I noticed, and it's -- I don't know -- hurt me inside, for real, it's like people -- like, I don't know -- they lost hope. Ali Abdullah Saleh's death breaks every single one in the country, because they think there is no protection anymore.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: So that's a young woman who goes by the name "Salma," a 26-year-old, speaking from Sana'a, the capital of Yemen, speaking, of course, about former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh. So, Iona, could you respond to what she said, in particular that his death, Saleh's death, "breaks every single one in the country, because they think there is no protection anymore"?

IONA CRAIG: I think everybody in Yemen, even those who hated Ali Abdullah Saleh, were shocked when he died, that it had happened at all, but also the way in which he died. I'm not sure everybody would hold that same voice. There are people, particularly in southern Yemen, who were very pleased to see Ali Abdullah Saleh go.

But I think everybody now -- there is mass uncertainty of what happens next. That's everybody's question, is: What happens now that Ali Abdullah Saleh is dead? And his political party appears to be crumbling, those who were still loyal to him, as well. And I think, particularly in Sana'a, people, over the last 10 days, are incredibly scared.

Trying to communicate with people there is very difficult. After Saleh's death, the Houthis cracked down on the internet. It's not possible to access social media -- Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp -- without a VPN. And so, people's ability to communicate with the outside world has been silenced. And even when you do -- when you are able to communicate with people, they're very scared. They don't want to talk about politics. They don't want to tell you about what's going on, because they fear that there will be reprisals and that the Houthis are going to be cracking down on anybody who shows still loyalty to Ali Abdullah Saleh.

And there has been a lot of talk of detentions in Sana'a over the last 10 days, since Saleh died, but it's unclear how many people have effectively disappeared into the prisons in Sana'a and how bad that crackdown is, because getting information out of Sana'a is so difficult because of the restrictions the Houthis have placed on internet access over the last 10 days. So, yes, people there are incredibly, incredibly scared and, you know, sort of holding their breath, really, of what's going to happen next in Yemen, after Saleh's death.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Iona, could you talk about, speaking of the Houthis, the fact that now the Trump administration says that they're going to share proof that Iran is arming the Houthi rebels? What are the implications of that? And why is the Trump administration making this claim now?

IONA CRAIG: Yeah, I think the most important of that is why. Why is the White House going to be showing this evidence? Why is Saudi Arabia not showing that evidence, or even the Yemeni government showing that evidence? And I think the concern is about the answer to that question. Is this going to be -- is this rhetoric and this narrative going to be used as some form of pretext for more US involvement in the war in Yemen to support any ground operations by the Saudi-led coalition?

There have been movements, since Saleh's death, on the Red Sea coast towards Hudaydah. A grand operation against Hudaydah port had been talked about for more than a year, but under the previous US administration, they had advised the Saudi-led coalition against that. And so, the concern is that this kind of rhetoric coming out of the White House may be used as some form of way to support the coalition in any upcoming ground offensive and to increase the US involvement in the war in Yemen.

And, of course, that then brings the prospect of escalation, because it's highly likely, if that did happen, that Iran would retaliate. They may not retaliate in Yemen. They could retaliate in Syria or Iran. And that, of course, brings the prospect of an almost proxy conflict then between the US and Iran.

So it's incredibly dangerous. And I think the timing of it now is also -- you know, it's dangerous for Yemen, in the sense that the aid agencies have warned, for a long time now, about the dangers of pushing militarily on Hudaydah, because they rely so heavily on the port to bring in aid to Yemenis at the moment, but the consequences could be far-reaching, you know, beyond the borders of Yemen and for the rest of the region, if this is going to be now used as some form of narrative for more US involvement in targeting the Houthis in Yemen, who Saudi Arabia, of course, see very much as a proxy for Iran.

It certainly seems to be that the Houthis have increased their capabilities on the weapons side. The Yemeni arsenal didn't contain ballistic missiles that could reach as far as Riyadh before the war. And all the indications are that they've received training and maybe military parts, as well, that have been shipped into or smuggled into Yemen in order for them to be able to modify the ballistic missiles that they did have, in order to fire them into Riyadh and, as they claim, as well, the Houthis have claimed, to fire towards the UAE, as well.

AMY GOODMAN: Iona Craig --

IONA CRAIG: So, yes, this kind of talk, it really points towards escalation, which could be incredibly dangerous for the region as a whole.

AMY GOODMAN: We only have 30 seconds, and Jared Kushner recently went, again, meeting with his dear friend in Saudi Arabia, Mohammad bin Salman. Thomas Friedman hailed him as a visionary, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. His role in what's happening here, and what you feel the US should be doing right now?

IONA CRAIG: I think the problem is now, it's with the US cozying up more to Saudi Arabia, being very much on side with the Saudi coalition, whilst being more hostile towards Iran, really means that the -- getting some kind of dialogue going on the war on Yemen to bring an end to the conflict is less and less likely. And actually, US actions at the moment are pointing towards a sort of never-ending conflict. Trying to find an end to the conflict becomes more difficult, and the US is actually making it more difficult by this kind of relationship, very close relationship, with Saudi Arabia, whilst being much more aggressive in their rhetoric towards Iran.

And that has a direct consequence on the civilian population now, who are literally starving to death in Yemen. And the US policies at the moment and their activities are making that worse for Yemenis on the ground, and will do, if they can't get to the point of some form of political discussion or a ceasefire to at least bring a halt to hostilities in some way. And so, yes, the US is actually making the situation worse in Yemen rather than better.

AMY GOODMAN: And the effect of cholera? How many people have cholera? And how is that affected by the Saudi -- US-backed Saudi bombing of Yemen?

IONA CRAIG: Well, the issue with cholera, actually, the numbers were improving, although they're expected to reach a million by the end of this year, with more than 2,000 people now having died from the disease. The bombing of the infrastructure, of water supplies, has had an impact on that -- on hospitals, the blockading of medical supplies, bringing them into the country, the blockading of water purification into the country. The aid agencies have been bringing in supplies for that. That all has an impact on the ability to help the cholera situation in Yemen.

But now you're seeing outbreak of more disease. We're hearing in the last few days about diphtheria in Yemen, which hadn't been recorded for decades in the country. And this is all because less than 50 percent of the country's medical facilities are now operating. And those that are operating, under massive strain, they can't get the supplies that they need. And the aid agencies can't bring in the help that they need to for those kind of situations.

So, yes, it's not just hunger. It's disease. And I think that's not just going to be restricted to cholera now, whilst the hospitals and medical centers in Yemen struggle to cope with, basically, the situation that they're in because of the conflict, because of the hospitals that have been bombed, because of medical facilities that have been put out of action because of the war. The healthcare system is basically collapsing in Yemen at the moment. And there's no way to rectify that if aid agencies can't get help in to them at the moment.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Iona, could you also explain, I mean, as far as this bombing campaign goes, who are the principal countries -- I mean, the US and the UK -- who are supplying arms to Saudi Arabia, and why there isn't more pressure on them, given the situation in Yemen, to cease all sales, or at least to limit them?

IONA CRAIG: Right. I mean, obviously, the primary weapon sales are coming -- or weapon arms sales are coming from the US to Saudi Arabia. Britain is also involved. Other European countries are also involved. Canada is also involved. I think it's very lucrative business for the US and the UK And particularly in the UK, as well, it's not just weapon sales, it's other investments from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries who are part of the coalition, particularly in the Brexit era, when the British government is going to be looking beyond Europe now for, you know, more investment in the country. So, it's about maintaining relationships that have a financial interest, ultimately.

And this has gone on despite clear evidence of violations of international humanitarian law that I've seen on the ground in Yemen, and that -- the evidence has been collected by human rights organizations. And that doesn't look like it's going to stop anytime soon. There have been ongoing calls, both in the US and the UK, for suspensions of weapon sales. There was a partial suspension of precision-guided weapons in the US a year ago, but that has since been lifted, and they are now selling precision-guided weapons back to the Saudis again. So, there are no indications that either government, the US or the UK, is going to change that policy anytime soon.

But it is a point of leverage, and they could use that in order to push for dialogue in this war. But it's not being used, and, obviously, the consequences of that are devastating for Yemenis.

AMY GOODMAN: And what does the Trump family gain by this very close relationship with Saudi Arabia? Not to diminish the Obama administration and the number of times he went to Saudi Arabia and what he had done. But clearly, you know, the first foreign trip President Trump took was too Saudi Arabia. Jared Kushner has been there a number of times, his closeness with the crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman. What do the Trumps gain?

IONA CRAIG: Again, this is a lot of -- you know, based on financial interests and economic interests. And this is the really disheartening thing about it, because that's at the expense of millions of Yemenis who are literally starving to death, that the interests of those people and the lives of those people is being -- is being seen as inferior to the economic interests of the US and the financial interests of the Trump administration.

So, yeah, it brings a lot of questions about just the moral compass, really, of societies and our governments, really, the US and the UK, in this, about the direction that this takes, because we are all now well aware of the humanitarian situation in Yemen right now and how many millions of people are suffering the situation of famine on the ground and the likely numbers of people who are going to starve to death, but yet our governments are still willing to hold very close relationships with Saudi Arabia and, for financial interests, maintain that relationship, at the cost of many hundreds of thousands of lives in Yemen.

AMY GOODMAN: Award-winning journalist Iona Craig has reported from Yemen for years, was the correspondent for The Times of London. This is Democracy Now! To see Part 1 of our discussion, you can go to democracynow.org.

When we come back, Columbia University has one, Hunter College has one, Rutgers University, New York University -- they all have Students for Justice in Palestine groups on campus. So why did Fordham say no? Stay with us.

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