News

As US-Backed War in Yemen Raged, UAE Hired US Mercenaries to Kill Yemeni Leaders

Truth Out - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 15:53

A shocking new investigation has revealed that the United Arab Emirates hired U.S. mercenaries to carry out assassinations of political and clerical leaders in Yemen. The former elite U.S. special operations fighters were paid to take part in missions to kill those deemed to be “terrorists” by the UAE. The UAE worked with the U.S. company Spear Operations Group, founded by an Israeli-American man named Abraham Golan, who told BuzzFeed, “There was a targeted assassination program in Yemen. I was running it.” The group’s first target in Yemen was a local leader of al-Islah, a political party whose members include Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakel Karman. We speak with journalist Aram Roston of BuzzFeed News, who broke the story. His new piece is titled “A Middle East Monarchy Hired American Ex-Soldiers To Kill Its Political Enemies. This Could Be The Future Of War.”

Please check back later for full transcript.

The post As US-Backed War in Yemen Raged, UAE Hired US Mercenaries to Kill Yemeni Leaders appeared first on Truthout.

Categories: News

Georgia’s First Black Gubernatorial Nominee Faces Massive Voter Suppression

Truth Out - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 15:52

With the midterm elections just three weeks away, voting rights advocates are accusing Republican officials in several states of orchestrating a campaign of voter suppression targeting people of color. In Georgia, the Democratic candidate for governor, Stacey Abrams, is calling on her Republican opponent, Brian Kemp, to step down as secretary of state for placing 53,000 voter applications on hold. Seventy percent of the applicants are African-American. Abrams has accused Kemp of using the state’s “exact match” system to disenfranchise voters. With exact match, even a minor discrepancy in a voter’s registration and their official ID could bar them from casting a ballot. We speak with Carol Anderson, chair of the Department of African American Studies at Emory University in Atlanta. She is author of the new book One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy.

Transcript

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: With the midterm elections just three weeks away, voting rights advocates are accusing Republican officials in several states of orchestrating a campaign of voter suppression targeting people of color. In Georgia, the Democratic candidate for governor, Stacey Abrams, who could become the first black woman governor in the country, is calling on her Republican opponent, Brian Kemp, to step down as secretary of state for placing 53,000 voter applications on hold, 70 percent of them African-American. Stacey Abrams, along with several civil rights groups, have accused Kemp of using the state’s “exact match” system to disenfranchise voters. With exact match, even a minor discrepancy in a voter’s registration and their official ID could bar them from casting a ballot. This is Stacey Abrams speaking to CNN on Sunday.

STACEY ABRAMS: You have 53,000 people who are being forced to go through unnecessary hurdles to prove their bona fides. But the second is that you have 159 counties, thousands of volunteer and paid poll workers, who are going to be asked to substantially verify that these IDs are sufficient, and the challenge is this is a subjective standard. … Voting should not be a question of trust on the part of voters, whether they can trust the system. And right now he is eroding the public trust in the system, because 53,000 people have been told, “You may be able to vote; you may not. It’s up to you to prove it.” … I would say that we have known since 2016 that the “exact match” system has a disproportionate effect on people of color and on women. He was sued for this exact problem. He was forced to restore 33,000 illegally canceled registrations. And he turned around and got the state Legislature to pass a law to allow him to make the same mistake again.

AMY GOODMAN: In other news from Georgia, election officials in Gwinnett County outside Atlanta have rejected far more absentee ballots than any other county in the state, with nearly one out of 10 mail-in ballots thrown out. The move has alarmed voting rights groups, who note more than 60 percent of Gwinnett County’s residents are Latino, black or Asian.

For more on voter suppression in Georgia, we’re joined by Carol Anderson, chair of the African American Studies Department at Emory University in Atlanta, author of the new book One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy. Her previous books include White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide, which won the 2017 National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism.

Welcome back to Democracy Now!, Professor Anderson. So, talk about this latest controversy. People are already voting in Georgia right now. What’s at stake? Well, the Democratic candidate, Stacey Abrams, could be the first African-American woman governor in U.S. history. Talk about what Brian Kemp, the secretary of state, Republican candidate running against her, has done with these 53,000 voter forms.

CAROL ANDERSON: And so, he has—what they say is—put it in pending status, so that they’re basically suspended. They’re in a kind of election limbo, where they haven’t been automatically put on the voter registration rolls. And exact match is exactly as pernicious and malicious as Stacey Abrams has said, as the courts have said, because what it does is it looks at minor things. So, if you’ve got a hyphen in your name when you filled out your voter registration card, but, say, your driver’s license doesn’t have the hyphen there—Garcia-Marquez with a hyphen, Garcia Marquez without the hyphen—then that registration is kicked out and is put in this kind of limbo status. And because things like a hyphen or an accent mark or a “Y” instead of an “I”—those kinds of things immediately begin to go after the names for African Americans, for Hispanics and for Asians. This is why you’re seeing that kind of disproportionate elimination of these registration cards. It’s as pernicious as Kris Kobach’s Crosscheck.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And this whole issue of having one of the candidates for the seat also be in charge of overseeing the election process, could you talk about that, as well?

CAROL ANDERSON: Yes. And so, imagine this: You’re playing a game where you’re trying to win, but you’re also the referee, and so you get to choose when a foul has been called. Anybody would look at that and say, “Wait a minute. That game is skewed.” And that’s what’s happening here. Integrity would require Brian Kemp to recuse himself, to step down as secretary of state in this kind of high-profile election. Instead, he has not.

And so we see things going on, like prior to this we had the trying to shut down the polling places in majority African-American counties or counties that had sizable black populations, so like in Randolph County, where one of Kemp’s allies tried to—you know, recommended that seven of nine polling stations shut down before the general election. I mean, that kind of interference, that kind of skewed decision-making, is what Stacey Abrams is talking about when she says that it is calling into question the legitimacy of the election. It is calling into question the legitimacy of our electoral processes. And so, as secretary of state, that is the bedrock foundation of his role, is to ensure the integrity of the election process. Kemp sitting on top of this one undermines that.

AMY GOODMAN: Brian Kemp, the secretary state and the Republican candidate for governor, tweeted Sunday, “My opponent is unapologetically extreme. She’s banking on illegal immigrants to secure victory for her at the ballot box.” Professor Anderson?

CAROL ANDERSON: Yes. And so, that is—Kemp is so much like Kris Kobach out of Kansas. You know, Kobach has been riding that lie of noncitizens voting en masse, skewing the elections in Kansas, and only he can block them. And by raising the flag of “illegal” immigrants, it is playing to a racist trope that’s in the body politic that these immigrants are going to somehow steal our elections. But he cannot point to—the same way that Kris Kobach could not point to all of these illegal immigrants. It is a fiction. It is a lie. It is a myth that is being used to stir up fear and to justify the kind of unwarranted voter suppression techniques that these secretaries of state, like Brian Kemp and Kris Kobach, are using.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I’d like to go back to this whole issue of the closing of polling places. Most people really don’t pay attention to what happens in polling places other than theirs. And could you talk about the impact on voter turnout of sudden either closings of voting places or shifting of voting places from one location to another just before an election?

CAROL ANDERSON: Oh, absolutely. So, one of the things to pay attention to is that after the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act with the Shelby County v. Holder decision in 2013, by the time we got to the 2016 election, states that had been under preclearance—and that is where because of their history of racial discrimination at the polls, they had to have all of their voting rights—voting changes approved by the Department of Justice—after the voting rights was gutted, 868 polling places were shut down by the time we got to the 2016 election. Brian Kemp has been responsible for 214 of those polling places being shut down.

What the research shows is that for every tenth of a mile that a polling place is removed from the African-American community, black voter turnout goes down by 0.5 percent. So the more you move these polling places, the further and further, the more and more you’re able to depress the black voter turnout. So we had an instance in Sparta where, under the guise of being fiscally responsible, they were going to consolidate the polling stations. Well, when they consolidated the polling stations, the one for the black community—and I can say the black community because we do have residential segregation in the United States—so, for the one in the black community, that one was moved 17 miles away.

Now, think about that for trying to vote. And what we also know is that many in the African-American community do not have private cars. They don’t have personal transportation, so they have to rely upon public transportation. So when you move a polling place further and further away from the black community, by that very moment, that very instance is designed to depress the black voter turnout.

AMY GOODMAN: In June, Democracy Now! spoke with Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate for governor in Georgia.

STACEY ABRAMS: Secretary Kemp has unfortunately built a very strong record of voter suppression. And, yes, he and I have—we’ve conflicted a number of times. And I think I’m very—well, I don’t think, I know—I’m very proud of our record of beating him, of forcing him to restore the canceled registrations of thousands, of compelling his office to do the right thing when it comes to voter registration. But also, I think it’s a challenging conversation to have, both with Secretary Kemp and with Lieutenant Governor Cagle, because rather than focusing on how we move the state forward, they have both focused, unfortunately, on this quieter form of bigotry, of how they want to harm communities and hold us back

AMY GOODMAN: So, that’s Stacey Abrams speaking on Democracy Now! about her opponent, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp and Georgia Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle. I also wanted to turn to the Republican Senator David Perdue of Georgia, who was captured on video Saturday as he snatched a cellphone out of the hands of a constituent who asked about Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp, who Perdue was stumping for. Senator Perdue was on the campus of Georgia Tech in Atlanta when a student tried to ask him about his endorsement.

STUDENT: Hey, so, how can you endorse a candidate that’s going to—

SEN. DAVID PURDUE: No, I’m not doing that. I’m not doing it.

STUDENT: You stole my property. You stole my property. Give me my phone back, Senator. Give me my—

SEN. DAVID PURDUE: All right, you wanted a picture? You wanted a picture? I’m going to give it to you.

AMY GOODMAN: Senator Perdue returned the phone after the student demanded it back. On Sunday, Perdue’s office called the incident a misunderstanding, saying the senator thought the student wanted to take a selfie with him. Professor Anderson, if you could comment on this? And as we wrap up this discussion about Georgia, who is voting right now? I mean, in some states, there’s no voting taking place, but what’s happening in Georgia?

CAROL ANDERSON: So, first, on Senator Perdue. You know, remember, Senator Perdue is the one who opened one of those Christian breakfasts by praying for Obama’s death, by saying, you know, “May your life be ended short—” You know, quoting a psalms. And, you know, “May your wife be left a widow and your children homeless and beggards.” So, this is Senator David Perdue.

And Stacey Abrams is actually right that the language that we’re getting from Brian Kemp and Casey Cagle has been the language of fear, has been the language of stoking racial animosity, racial anxiety and bigotry. And so, they’re selling fear as their component for why they should be in office.

And so, what we’re seeing right now is that we have early voting going on. And I’m not sure how brisk it has been yet, but I know that the grassroots organizations have been very active in getting people registered to vote, getting people out to vote. And because Stacey Abrams has a message of hope, has a message of how do we build Georgia for all of us, that is in fact stoking the fear on the side of the Republicans, because the demographics are changing so much in Georgia that the vote for African Americans, Asians and Latinos has to be stuffed down, because the message that Brian Kemp and the Republicans are bringing aren’t messages that resonate with that population, because those populations are in fact targeted by their message.

AMY GOODMAN: Carol Anderson, chair of the African American Studies Department at Emory University, author of, well, most recently, One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy. We’ll be back with her and other guests in a moment.

The post Georgia’s First Black Gubernatorial Nominee Faces Massive Voter Suppression appeared first on Truthout.

Categories: News

How FairCoin Became a Lifeline for Activists

Grassroots Economic Survival - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 15:45
Link: How a Left-for-Dead, $0.22 Crypto Asset Became a Lifeline for Activists

"Aside from the blockchain, which is the same technology, the rest, why it is there, the people who use it, the past and the future of it, is totally the opposite," Sporos said.

Created in 2014, faircoin didn't originate from its current community. Rather, the cryptocurrency was discovered online by anti-capitalist activist Enric Duran, having been abandoned by its original creator (who allegedly created it as a pump-and-dump scheme).

"Faircoin was just another coin somebody made," Sporos told CoinDesk. "Some friends found this abandoned project, they liked the name, they bought the coins from here and there with their money, they acquired 50 million out of 52 million."

Read the rest at coindesk

 

Go to the GEO front page

Categories: News

A Collection of Solidarity Actions From Greece With the US Prison Strike

Anarchist News - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 15:36

The following are translated solidarity events and actions with the US Prison Strike that originally appeared on the Greek anarchist website athens.indymedia.org.
Cover image: Greek prisoners place up banner in solidarity with Prison Strike in the US.

June 28th: Solidarity Event and Presentation for the USA Prison Strike

Report:

On June 28th, a solidarity event was held at a squatted gym in Exarchia, Athens, Greece. The event featured a presentation by anonymous members of the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement (RAM) regarding the upcoming prison strike on August 21st across the USA.

The event focused on explaining the strike itself, it’s origins and motivations, the overall American system of repression and oppression, and historical and current examples of resistance against it. A discussion was held, and information on the strike, American political prisoners, and writing from the Free Alabama movement was printed and given away for free.

Fliers were also passed out and an announcement was made for American Anarchist political prisoner Eric McDavid, as it was his international day of solidarity. Following the event and discussion, a solidarity bar was held to benefit a local fund for the aid of Anarchist political prisoners in Greece. Unfortunately shortly after the event the squat was demolished by the police as an on-going effort to destroy Anarchist projects and spaces in the center of Athens. This was the last event held. Multiple demonstrations and actions were carried out in repose to the demolition of the building, and the squat movement of Athens will continue to resist.

August 21st, 2018: Attack on the Ford HQ in Athens

Communique:

In the early morning hours of August 21st (the first day of the USA prison strike) we attacked and broke the front side windows of the Ford HQ in Athens, Greece (39 Akakion, Maroussi).

After the American civil war of the 19th century, the state, through the 13th amendment, passed a law which allowed for the continuation of forced and unpaid labor inside American prisons. Due to the above condition and to the general situation prevailing in US prisons, on September 9th, 2016) on the anniversary of the Attica prison uprising), one of the largest prison labor strikes in US history took place.

On August 21st this year, the strike was re-ignited after a prison riot in South Carolina over awful living conditions resulted in 7 inmates dying.

However, August 21st 1831 is also a day in history where slaves and abolitionists such as Nat Turner engaged in a revolt in Virginia against bastard slave-owners and the army.

Henry Ford was a bigot, anti-Semite, and notorious fascist sympathizer. He also helped to lay the groundwork for the modern industrial assembly line, placing efficiency and profit over the well being of workers.

Our struggle is for the total destruction of all prisons, and any society that institutes them!

While we are struggling against encroachment and repression, it is also crucial not to fall into traps of recuperation by democratic regimes or the authoritarian left. Let us not possess a struggle that looks to relax the repression of prisoners or reform prisons, but to generalize conflict in the prospect of the total destruction of all prisons.

It is up to us to not accept defeat or compromise, and dare to pose these desires as a long-term and feasible prospect.

A prospect that will open the way for Anarchy. Where solidarity will replace “all against all”. Where freedom of one will be a precondition for the freedom of another.

We fight for the formation of a revolutionary Anarchist movement that will be able to do all of the above.

Prison does not eliminate problems,only destroys human lives, and instills fear at the base of all human activity.

Attack! Attack! Attack! Until the last wall is broken.

-Anarchists

August 30th, 2018: Banner Hung in Solidarity with imprisoned Anarchists and striking prisoners across the world in Korinthos, Greece

Communique:

“No one can be completely free if we are not all free.”

On Thursday, August 30th, 2018, we hung a banner at the city entrance of Korinthos (southwest of Athens). We hung this banner in solidarity with the US #prisonstrike, and for all imprisoned Anarchists across the world.

Our solidarity extends to the imprisoned enemies of the state and capitalism. Our solidarity for our Anarchist comrades behind bars and those who share our disgust for the prison system is an indispensable element of our movement for social revolution and Anarchy. Our solidarity extends beyond any prison wall, and our struggle in the streets and in the night is emboldened by our rage for the repression conducted by our enemy: the state.

The banner read:

“Solidarity to all Anarchist prisoners around the world, and solidarity with striking prisoners in the U.S.A”

–Anarchist Collectivε Sirens

September 4th, 2018: Attack on McDonald’s HQ in Greece in Solidarity with the US Prison Strike!

Communique:

On September 4th, 2018, we attacked the headquarters of McDonalds (59 Alekou Panagouli, Aghia Paraskevi, Athens), smashing the front windows of the building.

This action was done in solidarity with the on-going prison strike happening across the United States. As of August 21st, prisoners have been resisting the modern slavery, inherent racism, and everyday life torturous conditions of imprisonment in the USA.

We have chosen to attack McDonald’s because it is one of the many companies that directly benefit from the exploitation and forced labor of American prisoners. It is one of many companies that profit from prison slavery and torture in the USA. Those going on strike face the wrath (solitary confinement, increased sentences, beatings, etc.) of those who maintain this prison system. Whether it is the guards, the judges, or the wardens, they prefer to degrade, rape, and torture inmates then tolerate even a moment of resistance to their modern day slave plantations.

This strike is a demonstration against the war that is waged on the poor, excluded, and exploited by the ruling class through the prison system. The prisons are merely a modern extension of the historical massacres of native people that helped to build what is now known as America. It is the continuation of the enslavement and ruthless persecution of blacks who were historically abducted from Africa in order to build what is now known as America. They are the choice given to us if we question our conditions or act to change them without the approval of the state. The white man’s law and order and the forced labor protected by the 13th amendment has helped to continue the traditions of eurocentric colonialism and capitalist exploitation that define America.

We extend our solidarity with this courageous strike declared by American prisoners, and see it in the same light of resistance conducted by slaves and abolitionists in the 19th century; attacking slave plantations across the southern USA.

The state will deceive and claim slavery was abolished in 1865, but those courageous prisoners going on strike across the USA will certainly have a different story to tell. Slavery continues inside the American prisons, and the plantation of exploitation, massacre, and torture that is at the roots of American society extends across it’s bloodied soil, and around the world.

We live in a world where there are more billionaires and slaves then ever before. Woman and children are kidnapped and trafficked everyday, tortured in unspeakable ways by those who share the same mindset of those who run America’s prisons and so called justice. Debt labor, wage slavery, and a constantly growing and malnourished global proletariat must realize that we share a common struggle against the scum who benefit from our suffering.

Slavery is not only an American phenomenon it is inherent to every nation-state. We challenge every facet of power and domination. From the states to Greece, and across this entire beautiful earth. We seek the elimination and destruction of patriarchy, racism, speciesism, and exploitation. We wish to destroy the foundation of this slavery that is being resisted during this prison strike: the state and capitalism.

Those who accept the toughest blows of power will not abandon themselves to their fate. Let us not let despair and defeat ever deter our passion for freedom and our contempt for domination.

As strong as they seem, walls can always be broken, and thrones toppled.

For a life of struggle. For Anarchy and universal liberation.
In solidarity with the US #prisonstrike.

For a world in the ruins of their prisons.

-Sakko and Vazzetι Attack Cell

August and September 2018: Ongoing Spray Paint Campaign Across Athens

Communique:

As of August 21st (the anniversary of the Nat Turner uprising in Virginia, 1831), American prisoners have gone on strike against unpaid labor used to benefit corporations, and the heinous conditions they face everyday,

In American society, slavery remains institutionalized (through the 13th Amendment of 1865), rationalized as judicial punishment.

Through August and September we have spray painted throughout the urban web of Athens, Greece, slogans of solidarity with the striking prisoners, as well as statements for the destruction of all prisons and capitalist exploitation.

From Athens to America, Fire to the Prisons!

-Anarchists

Tags: internationalGreecesolidaritycategory: Prisoners
Categories: News

Flint Legionnaires’ Disease Survivors Speak Out: “Every Day Is a Challenge”

Truth Out - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 15:22

Jassmine McBride’s mother calls her “a miracle.”

The 30-year-old woman is among the 90 or so residents of Flint, Michigan, who survived Legionnaires’ disease, a potentially deadly lung infection. And while the news focused mainly on the ones who died, families like the McBrides now feel lost and forgotten.

Forgotten is how many residents said they feel four-and-a-half years after Flint’s lead-tainted water crisis began, and six months after Republican Gov. Rick Snyder declared the water safe and stopped distributing free bottled water to people who have no trust in their government.

“It hurts. It really does hurt that you have people with that much power not even seem like they care,” Jassmine said last week about politicians who claim all is fine in Flint. “You can still smell the water. It’s still affecting people. We still bathe or brush our teeth with bottled water. It’s just hard, it really is, to have none of those people come around and say they are sorry.”

She sat in a chair on the porch, a blanket tucked around her. She’s tired all the time. She has lesions on her face and neck, tubes coming out of her, and she can barely walk without crutches. She wonders if she will ever lead a normal life.

How Did It Happen?

Jassmine was 26 when she was diagnosed in August 2014 with Legionnaires’ disease, a potentially fatal type of pneumonia. This was at the height of the water crisis in the “Vehicle City,” once the prosperous birthplace of General Motors, but which has struggled with poverty and pollution since GM left. The Snyder administration hushed up the public health crisis for months while lead-tainted water slowly poisoned the city’s 100,000 residents, who are largely poor or Black.

The city was under state control in April 2014 when Snyder’s administration switched the water source from Lake Huron to the highly corrosive Flint River, while failing to add anti-corrosive agents to treat the water in order to save about $2 million a year. Poor corrosion control allowed lead to leach from older pipes, and a lack of chlorine disinfectant and high levels of iron increased the likelihood of legionella bacteria growth, Michigan Radio reported.

In 2014 and 2015, Genesee County saw the largest outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in at least a decade. After reports of high lead levels and public outcry, Snyder switched Flint’s water source back to Detroit’s in October 2015.

Jassmine has diabetes and went for a checkup at the McLaren Flint Hospital, where they found her iron and oxygen levels low. They admitted her in August 2014, but her health rapidly deteriorated.

“I was in Lansing when they called me from the hospital and said, ‘We don’t have time, do we have permission to resuscitate her?’” her mother Jacqueline McBride, 49, told reporters last week in Flint.

Jassmine almost died. She said she doesn’t recall much from that time, “being on life support and all,” but said she was shocked when she regained consciousness in October and found she had been hospitalized for more than two months. “I never even heard of Legionnaires.’ ‘What’s that?’ I said.”

Legionella and Denials

Legionnaires’ disease is a severe form of pneumonia caused by a waterborne bacteria called Legionella pneumophila. The bacteria exists naturally in freshwater systems but becomes a problem when it is can grow and multiply. Warm water with depleted levels of disinfectant foster that growth, and people get sick by inhaling mist or vapor from contaminated water systems. That’s how the McBrides thinks Jassmine contracted it.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has repeatedly blamed McLaren, saying that most of the reported legionella cases originated in the hospital. Officials from the hospital group slammed that report, calling it erroneous and an effort by the state to shift blame for the water crisis, Michigan Radio reported.

The disease is on the rise in the United States, and the Flint outbreak is the third largest outbreak in US history, with at least 87 people infected and 12 dead over two years, Science magazine reported.

A February report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences estimated that 80 percent of Legionnaires’ cases during the outbreak can be attributed to the change in Flint’s water supply — a claim that the state health department has disputed.

It’s still unclear how many people actually contracted Legionnaires’ disease at the time, since the symptoms mirror pneumonia. Reports indicate a dramatic increase in pneumonia deaths in Genesee County since the 2014 switch. A recent Frontline investigation suggests that some of the 119 deaths from pneumonia during the time the city relied on Flint River water should likely be attributed to Legionnaires’ disease.

Michael Moore’s documentary on the water crisis claims county officials were told to falsify blood lead test results, and records indicates the county failed to connect 85 percent of lead-poisoned children with follow-up care, according to MLive.

“A Scary Transition”

Once a happy, active woman who loved shrimp and potatoes, sang in church, and enjoyed dancing, Jassmine became bedridden. She spent two months sedated in the intensive care unit as doctors tried to control the infection. She started physical therapy in October 2014 and was in-and-out of the hospital until December, learning how to do basic things like eat and walk with tubes coming out of her.

“You don’t really think about those things until you lose them. It was a real challenge to learn to breathe on your own and do dialysis, which wipes you out,” Jassmine said. “Even with the breathing machine, I felt I couldn’t breathe. I was afraid to lie down. It was a scary transition.”

She used to drink gallons of water a day before she fell ill. Because of water retention and bloating issues, she was forced to cut down to two bottles a day. Dialysis gets rid of excess fluid and waste in the body, but it is nowhere near as effective as healthy kidneys. In the later stages of chronic kidney disease, normal amounts of fluid can build up in the body and become dangerous. Going over the recommended fluid allowance can cause swelling, increase blood pressure, and make breathing difficult.

Jassmine broke her ankle and said it never healed right; it still hurts to walk. “Every day is a challenge,” she said.

Four years later, every day is still a challenge for the mother and daughter who live in a small yellow house in Flint’s blighted north side, which is dotted with overgrown yards and abandoned homes. Like countless others in Flint, they struggle to pay their high water bills and escalating medical bills.

Jassmine uses crutches but struggles to walk more than a few yards, and uses an oxygen tank because her lungs were permanently damaged. She requires dialysis three times a week, a process that she described as long and exhausting. She cannot attend college but is trying to take online classes.

Her mother said she never gave up hope, not even when doctors warned that Jassmine might not make it. She know her daughter was lucky to come home — after all, she said, 12 of the Flint residents who contracted Legionnaires’ did not.

Where Is Justice?

More than a dozen state and city officials face criminal charges for failing to alert the public about the risks of legionella until well after the outbreak had subsided.

Among them is Nick Lyon, the former Michigan health director, who is being tried for involuntary manslaughter in connection with the Legionnaires’ deaths and denies criminal wrongdoing.

To add insult to injury, the state’s top medical officer, Dr. Eden Wells, was just awarded the highest individual honor given by the local public health community in Michigan despite facing involuntary manslaughter and other charges related to the Flint water crisis.

The state continues to fail Flint residents, many of whom say they have no trust in government. Snyder not only stopped the free bottled water distribution in April but allowed Swiss conglomerate Nestlé to nearly double the amount of water it pumps from a spring in the north of the state to 400 gallons per minute for a paltry annual fee of $200. Nestlé is continuing to provide free bottles of water to Flint residents until December.

Meanwhile, the Genesee County Health Department now has the authority to investigate and address the legionella cases in Flint. Pamela Pugh, who has been serving in the new position of chief public health advisor for the past two years, told Rewire.News that it has been a challenge; she has been barred from attending some state meetings.

“Mayor [Karen] Weaver and the administration recognizes that our residents still live with the devastation of what has happened and fear of the unknown impacts. There is no safe level of lead to consume and very little information on the impact of the biological pathogens they were exposed to, so those that were exposed, are left wondering what this means for themselves and their children,” she said in an email.

The mayor agrees there is work to be done, although the quality of water has improved since she declared a public health emergency in December 2015. The city continues to replace affected lead pipes, and Weaver continues to call for bottled water availability and properly installed filters in Flint homes.

“Mayor Weaver maintains that Flint residents did not cause the man-made water disaster, therefore adequate resources should continue being provided until the problem is fixed and all the lead and galvanized pipes have been replaced and interior plumbing and fixtures are replaced,” Pugh said.

The city is continuing to work to address Flint’s decades-old water concerns and improve communications with residents, she added.

The US Conference of Mayors meets in Flint on Friday to discuss ways to combat the water crisis, according to news reports. Tech billionaire Elon Musk has announced a $480,350 donation to pay for ultraviolet filtration systems in all 12 Flint school buildings and the district’s administration building by January 2019.

Meanwhile, the McBrides remain strong in their faith and are determined to beat the odds. They don’t wish anyone ill, but they are amazed that no one from Flint or the state has ever reached out to help them. (When asked why the McBride family has not heard from the city, Pugh said it’s “highly likely” that the city has not been given access to the McBrides’ information. Snyder’s office did not respond for comment.) What’s hardest for Jassmine are the continued denials of wrongdoing on TV, even as 15 city and state officials face trials.

Snyder’s term is up this year, and Flint residents said they don’t have much faith in the two longtime state government officials vying for his seat: Democrat Gretchen Whitmer of Lansing and the Republican state Attorney General Bill Schuette.

Both have talked about the importance of providing safe water to Flint, but residents there are fed up with promises and lies. Flint residents also worry about new water problems they have heard about, including PFAS contamination in the Flint River, which was discovered before 2014 but covered up by the state, as MLive reported.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of manmade chemicals that don’t break down and can lead to adverse human health effects, according to the EPA.

But the Flint water crisis continues to be a talking point for politicians vying for power. Whitmer says she has a plan to invest $3 billion in a Rebuild Michigan Bank to expedite the replacement of lead pipes across the state, and she wants to restore bottled water for Flint residents. Schuette did not respond to emails seeking comment. Some residents claim he was among the officials who ignored the water crisis and has a history of ignoring complaints from the people of Flint.

Asked whether they plan to vote in November, the McBrides responded with an emphatic “Yes.”

The post Flint Legionnaires’ Disease Survivors Speak Out: “Every Day Is a Challenge” appeared first on Truthout.

Categories: News

Energy Transfer Partners’ Security Team Sinks Water Protectors’ Boats

Truth Out - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 15:16

Monday morning, an Energy Transfer Partners security team sank two boats carrying approximately 15 water protectors and members of the media at a Bayou Bridge Pipeline construction site.

A press release from the L’eau Est La Vie Camp of water protectors about the incident stated that the security boat “passed by at an aggressive speed” and “intentionally” caused a large wake that “swamped and eventually sunk the boats” carrying media and water protectors.

While people could have easily drowned in the incident, they luckily managed to swim to shore, where they were assisted by a local fisherman.

The water protectors and media members who were with them, including a documentary film crew, were legally observing the Bayou Bridge Pipeline construction site (which is being challenged in court), where ETP was preparing to horizontally drill underneath a waterway.

ETP hired the mercenary company TigerSwan to attack water protectors at Standing Rock. ETP’s henchmen there used water cannons, mace, attack dogs, rubber bullets and concussion grenades, and held water protectors in dog kennel cages.

ETP’s actions in the Atchafalaya River Basin, as well as inaction by state officials in Louisiana, continue to be criticized by water protectors and their supporters, who cite illegal operations, and harsh and sometimes life-threatening actions being taken by ETP to protect its commercial interests.

Truthout previously reported how water protectors at the Bayou Bridge Pipeline site have been charged with felonies.

The pipeline is seen by most locals as illegal because ETP, using the method of expropriation, a legal tactic very similar to eminent domain, has claimed the pipeline is in the “public’s interest.” Eminent domain is when a government (or its agent) can expropriate private property for public use, usually (but not always) with a payment of compensation.

The 163-mile-long Bayou Bridge Pipeline crosses southern Louisiana, from Lake Charles, near the Texas border, all the way east to St. James, on the banks of the Mississippi River.

The Bayou Bridge pipeline is the end of a vast pipeline network carrying crude oil that will transport Bakken oil from North Dakota to the Gulf Coast, most likely for export.

Truthout previously reported on ETP’s Trans-Pecos pipeline, which is being used to transport natural gas from fracking into Mexico, where it is transported to the coast, then on to Asia, where it fetches a higher price.

ETP, like the rest of the fossil fuel industry and the politicians who represent them, advertises that oil and gas exploitation in the US is for domestic use.

The post Energy Transfer Partners’ Security Team Sinks Water Protectors’ Boats appeared first on Truthout.

Categories: News

Harvest Co-op Markets is Closing

Grassroots Economic Survival - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 15:11
Link: Harvest Co-op Markets is closing both of its remaining stores

A major loss for the co-op community was revealed Wednesday night, as the Jamaica Plain News reported that both Harvest Co-op Markets locations will be closing in seven to 14 days.

The news comes on the heels of the National Co+op Grocers (NCG) deciding not to submit a proposal that would assume the co-op’s liabilities and assets.

According to Paige Clark, who has been the Jamaica Plain store manager since July 2017, Harvest’s staff all found out Wednesday. Around 50 people between the two locations — the other in Cambridge’s Central Square — are expected to lose their jobs.

Read the rest at Boston.com

 

Go to the GEO front page

Categories: News

Trump Complains Saudi Crown Prince Is Deemed “Guilty Until Proven Innocent”

Truth Out - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 14:25

As a new flurry of evidence from the Turkish government established direct ties between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and those who allegedly carried out the gruesome murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, US President Donald Trump continued “groveling” at the feet of the murderous kingdom Tuesday night by claiming that the Saudis have been deemed “guilty until proven innocent” just like newly confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was credibly accused of sexual assault.

“I think we have to find out what happened first,” Trump told the Associated Press in an interview just hours after Al Jazeera reported more “shocking” details of Khashoggi’s torture and assassination inside Saudi Arabia’s Turkish embassy. “Here we go again with, you know, you’re guilty until proven innocent. I don’t like that. We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh and he was innocent all the way as far as I’m concerned.”

Completely ignoring the rapidly growing body of evidence implicating the Saudis in Khashoggi’s murder, Trump went on to say that King Salaman “just sounded to me like he felt like he did not do it.”

“I spoke to the crown prince, so you have that. He said he and his father knew nothing about it. And that was very important,” Trump continued. “And I spoke to him with [Secretary of State] Mike Pompeo there. And the crown prince. I spoke to the king yesterday, the crown prince, today wanting to know what was going on, what was happening, and he said very strongly that he and his father knew nothing about it.”

Responding to Trump’s invocation of the “Kavanaugh defense” on behalf of the Saudi regime — which came shortly after the president dutifully echoed the kingdom’s denials on Twitter — Jeet Heer of the New Republicquipped that “Trump is right in thinking that Brett Kavanaugh and Mohammed bin Salman are likely equally innocent.”

Despite Trump’s best efforts to run interference for the Saudis, evidence directly implicating the kingdom’s leadership in the torture and killing of Khashoggi two weeks ago in Istanbul continued to emerge Tuesday night, when the New York Times” confirmed independently that at least nine of 15 suspects identified by Turkish authorities worked for the Saudi security services, military or other government ministries.”

“One of the suspects identified by Turkey in the disappearance of the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi was a frequent companion of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — seen disembarking from airplanes with him in Paris and Madrid and photographed standing guard during his visits this year to Houston, Boston, and the United Nations,” the Times reported. “Three others are linked by witnesses and other records to the Saudi crown prince’s security detail.”

In its report, the Times published photographs of diplomat Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb and others allegedly involved in Khashoggi’s murder.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow featured the photos from the Times report in a segment Tuesday night:

“There is not a doubt in my mind that US intelligence knows exactly what the Saudis did to Jamal Khashoggi,” Ploughshares Fund president Joe Cirincione wrote on Twitter in response to the Times report. “Trump is covering for MbS, lying consistently and repeatedly about his involvement. Pompeo’s smile-filled meetings are a disgrace.”

The post Trump Complains Saudi Crown Prince Is Deemed “Guilty Until Proven Innocent” appeared first on Truthout.

Categories: News

In Unusual Move, Republican Party Begins to Pull Money From Incumbent Races

Truth Out - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 14:20

It’s less than a month until the midterm elections and major Republican campaign funders are performing financial triage on certain congressional races.

Two major sources of conservative support, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and the Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF), have started to pull advertising funding for Republican candidates who seem to have a slim chance of winning their competitive races.

“This is crunch time, obviously,” said Dr. Steven Billet, a professor at American University who specializes in campaign finance. “If it looks like someone is not going to pull through, they basically throw in the towel and start pulling money and use it in other races where it may be more likely to produce a winner.”

Democrats are currently forecasted to take the majority in the House of Representatives, while Republicans are expected to maintain control of the Senate, according to recent polling from FiveThirtyEight.

While this is a normal practice as election day nears, it signals that Republican groups are scrambling to move funds to districts where their dollars will count more — even though many of the abandoned campaigns are in Republican-leaning districts.

“It’s highly unusual for the party to pull money from an incumbent,” Billet said. “Incumbents generally have a better advantage in subsequent elections, but this is one where they may not. That makes it doubly unusual for them to be pulling money from these races.”

Meanwhile, Democratic funding has yet to abandon any races in Democrat-leaning districts. Democratic candidates have been polling well and raising lots of money, Billet said.

CLF, a super PAC backed by major Republican donors, is spending far more this election cycle than the NRCC. CLF is relatively new to conservative political funding. When it formed in 2012, it only spent money on a handful of races.

So far this cycle, CLF spent $87 million on 51 races, averaging $1.7 million spent per race. Meanwhile, the NRCC spent $47.4 million on 33 races.

This is dramatically different from the groups’ spending just two years ago. The NRCC more than doubled CLF in 2016, doling out $39.7 million to CLF’s $14.3 million.

On the other side, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has spent nearly the same amount as the NRCC. So far, DCCC spent $60.4 million on 53 races, which is more than what the committee spent in 2016.

“People are making tough decisions now when resources are extra tight,” Billet said. “They have to do it now to make sure that the money they shift around has an impact. [Republicans] are really concerned, maybe close to desperate to hang on to the majority in the House.”

The NRCC and CLF did not respond to requests to comment.

How do the parties and their funders decide when to jump ship? They not only look at polling numbers, but also demographic groups to understand how they’ll likely perform, Billet said.

Republicans are cutting ties in districts with soon-to-be empty seats. In Arizona’s 2nd District, Lea Marquez Peterson is running to fill the seat formerly held by Rep. Martha McSally, who is running for Sen. Jeff Flake’s Senate spot. The NRCC reportedly cut a string of TV ads for Marquez Peterson on Wednesday.

Seth Grossman is running for the vacant seat in New Jersey’s 2nd District, but he has received no support from the NRCC and CLF. Grossman lost the NRCC’s endorsement after sharing racist social media posts earlier this year.

There are a number of incumbents who sit in Republican-leaning districts in suburban areas. The NRCC and CLF pulled ads for Reps. Kevin Yoder (Kan. 3), Michael Bishop (Mich. 8) and Michael Coffman (Colo. 6), all of whom represent traditionally Republican suburbs.

Since 2016, many suburban Republican voters started supporting Democratic candidates, which is one reason Republican funders are taking away support for these districts, Billet said.

In a Kansas City suburb, Yoder faces Sharice Davids, a Democrat rising star who is an ex-MMA fighter and would be the first lesbian Native American in Congress. While the NRCC canceled a $1.2 million ad buy for Yoder, CLF has reportedly not given up on him.

CLF spent $2.5 million so far on Yoder’s behalf and has another $750,000 worth of ads slated for the final weeks before the election.

In Michigan, CLF canceled a $2.1 million ad buy for Bishop’s re-election. Bishop’s opponent, Elissa Slotkin, continues to receive significant support from major Democratic funders.

Bishop easily won his re-election in 2016, and his Detroit suburb district voted heavily in favor of both Trump in 2016 and Mitt Romney four years earlier.

CLF also cancelled ads in Colorado for Coffman, where the super PAC set aside $1 million in advertisements. Coffman is running against Democrat Jason Crow.

Republicans have started to lose hope for Rep. Barbara Comstock of Virginia’s 10th District, who is considered one of the most vulnerable House Republicans this election cycle. However, the NRCC claimed they still intended to spend millions on her re-election, according to the New York Times.

Rep. Rod Blum, in Iowa’s 1st District, didn’t have much support in the first place for his re-election, and major funders have yet to buy TV ads for the incumbent, according to an analysis by the Des Moines Register.

Blum, also facing an ethics investigation, is being significantly outspent by major Democratic funders as they pour money into Abby Finkenauer’s campaign, the Democratic challenger.

In some of California’s reddest districts, CLF passed over ad buys for threatened incumbents Mimi Walters (Calif. 45) and Dana Rohrabacher (Calif. 48).

The super PAC pledged to spend $12 million on TV ads for Southern California House candidates, including an additional $5 million on ads for Los Angeles broadcast stations. Walters and Rohrabacher will not receive any of that money, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Walters is running against Democrat Katie Porter, and Harley Rouda is the Democratic nominee challenging Rohrabacher.

California’s 49th District seat is open, and Republican candidate Diane Harkey has received little support from the NRCC and CLF. Mike Levin is the Democratic candidate.

Some of the abandoned candidates are running in newly-redrawn Pennsylvania districts, which were reconfigured earlier this year after the state’s Supreme Court determined the district map to be unconstitutional.

Rep. Keith Rothfus is another vulnerable House Republican up for re-election. The NRCC canceled September ad buys for the candidate, but they didn’t cut a series of October ad purchases.

In the newly-redistricted state, Rothfus, who formerly represented Pennsylvania’s 12th District, is running against Democratic incumbent Rep. Conor Lamb, from Pennsylvania’s old 18th District. The two are vying for the new 17th District seat.

Two other Pennsylvania candidates are without support in two newly redrawn districts: Pearl Kim in Pennsylvania’s new 5th District and Greg McCauley in the state’s new 6th District.

In Pennsylvania’s 7th District, The NRCC originally had a $1.5 million ad buy for Marty Nothstein slated for October, but the committee has since pulled the funding. Northstein is facing allegations of sexual misconduct and was placed on unpaid leave from his job as director of a cycling center. Nothstein is running against Democrat Susan Wild.

Last week, he filed a lawsuit against the cycling center and the northeastern Pennsylvania newspaper, The Morning Call, which reported on the sexual misconduct investigation. Northstein has strongly denied the allegations, and he claims they are an orchestrated political hit job between his former workplace and the Call.

The post In Unusual Move, Republican Party Begins to Pull Money From Incumbent Races appeared first on Truthout.

Categories: News

Update On Anarchist Prisoner Eric King In the SHU

Anarchist News - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 14:20

via IT'S GOING DOWN

Update on anarchist prisoner Eric King, recently moved to the SHU.

A quick update since Eric is still in the Specialized Housing Unit (SHU, segregation) and it is unknown how long he will be there. He still hasn’t received a write-up nor has he been brought up on charges, but is facing a precarious situation. Eric also has some new rules regarding mail. All paper has to be plain white or regular lined notebook paper. Envelopes have to be straight white or manila if sending something larger. Eric is also unable to receive cards.

As folx know Eric has been through a lot of trauma recently and really could use support through mail and always always books. He was pretty badly hurt, he misses his family and really needs the community right now. Eric is so grateful for all the support, letters, and books he has received so far. We in the support crew are so appreciative of people showing our friend the love!

Please keep Eric in your mind and heart, these are hard times and our friend will need a ton of solidarity and help in the coming months.

You can find his Amazon wish-list here: http://a.co/gUbDsYs

Eric King # 27090045
USP LEAVENWORTH
P.O. BOX 1000
LEAVENWORTH, KS 66048

As always, until all are free –

EK Support Crew

Tags: Eric Kinganarchist prisonercategory: Prisoners
Categories: News

Prince of Fraud

Truth Out - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 14:10

The post Prince of Fraud appeared first on Truthout.

Categories: News

Technology Access Gap Leaves Millions of Students Struggling to Keep Up

Truth Out - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 13:46

Twenty-one-year-old Mirka Mendez, a petroleum engineering student at the University of Texas-Austin (UT), has a deep understanding of the US’s technology gap. Without easy access to the internet while in high school, she often had to leave home at 4 a.m. and sit on a bench outside her school so that she could use the building’s hotspots to do research, study or write papers before the opening bell.

“There was no internet where I was staying,” explained Mendez, who left Ciudad Juarez, Mexico — alone — in 2012. She was 15 and planned to live with relatives who had agreed to let her stay with them for $300 a month. It was her dream, she says, to study in the United States. Almost immediately, however, she realized that the arrangement was fraught. “Sometimes I walked to the public library three miles away,” she told Truthout. “I would stay until it closed and then walk back home.”

Despite the personal and academic difficulties she faced, Mendez always completed assignments and graduated high school in 2015 with a 3.7 GPA. Since arriving at UT, things have improved, she said. Nonetheless, she concedes that students in straits similar to hers often fall through the cracks and leave high school without a diploma, let alone enrolling in college.

Students Are Set Back Without In-Home Internet Access

A 2017 survey of more than 400,000 K-12 students, teachers, librarians and school administrators conducted by Project Tomorrow, a California nonprofit dedicated to educational equity, found that lack of in-home internet access is an enormous problem for students in all 50 states. This has been corroborated by researchers at Pew Research who discovered that 17.5 percent of school children in grades 6 to 12 have ongoing difficulties completing school work due to a lack of internet access.

The situation is especially bad in rural school districts. Some allow students to come to school early and stay late, and some have installed Wi-Fi on school buses. Despite this, more than a quarter of respondents told interviewers that they spend part of each day doing homework in coffee shops or fast food restaurants.

Academic difficulties are clearly compounded by the fact that broadband access is now essential for all students. This is not new. The Federal Communication Commission’s Broadband Task Force sounded the alarm almost a decade ago, in 2009, when they found that approximately 70 percent of teachers assigned homework that required internet use, whether to submit assignments, utilize bulletin boards, take practice quizzes, share documents for group projects, do research, check grades, or communicate with teachers or peers.

Needless to say, not having access to in-home, high-speed internet puts 5 million US households with school-aged children at a huge disadvantage. Worse, this completely ignores the fact that, even in homes with internet service, numerous family members may have to share one device.

Julie Evans, the CEO of Project Tomorrow, is focused on promoting the equitable distribution of technology and, simultaneously, making sure that teachers are equipped to use this technology in the classroom. “Educational equity is an important social justice issue,” she says. At the same time, she is aware that in-home internet access is just one piece of a far more complex array of concerns impacting how students are educated and supported in their learning.

“There are innumerable issues that have to do with how we use resources within schools,” Evans continues. Parents, she says, are often driven crazy by how much tech use varies from class to class, teacher to teacher. “Some teachers show students virtual experiments, Skype or Facetime with professionals, or have students create a blog. Other teachers don’t incorporate technology into their teaching at all, as if they don’t recognize its importance. This means that apart from in-home access, students are not being introduced to technology in an even way,” Evans says.

She believes that aspiring teachers must be prepared to use technological tools regardless of whether they’re teaching algebra, European history, physics or something else. That said, she admits that there are no one-size-fits-all strategies for making this happen.

Multiple Strategies Utilized

In the rural Southern Columbia School district in Pennsylvania, between 22 and 23 percent of the district’s 1,400 students receive free or reduced-cost meals, meaning that they come from families with incomes between $32,630 and $46,435 for a household of four. “Some students are impoverished and do not have access to broadband,” Paul Caputo, superintendent of the district, says. “Plus, in more rural areas, cell access is troublesome. Service is spotty and there are pockets where there is no service at all. On the plus side, these areas are fewer and fewer, but some still exist.”

District schools, he explains, are now fully wired, and thanks to various federal grants, have been able to “shift how we teach to include technology.”

In addition, Caputo told Truthout that not only are schools being kept open for expanded morning, evening and weekend hours, but every student in grades 7 to 12 has also been issued a computer. This technology was paid for by the sale of the district’s bus fleet several years back. “We realized we could not sustain our own transportation system so we sold our buses for $460,000 and earmarked $250,000 for tech implementation. We bought laptops which have been issued to more than 600 students.” The laptops are turned in at the end of each year, or if a student moves away, and the district currently outsources bus service for the students who need it.

Utilizing SmartBuses

The much larger Merced Union High School District in California’s San Joaquin Valley — with more than 10,000 students, 64 percent of whom are eligible for free or reduced-cost meals — did something different. After recognizing that many students spend an hour or more on the bus traveling to and from school, they equipped the buses with Wi-Fi so that assignments might be completed in transit. The use of Wi-Fi equipped SmartBuses has spread, and they are presently in use in numerous districts throughout the country.

Still, the more than 1.3 million public school students who are homeless, and the more than 400,000 living in foster care often face monumental hurdles in getting schoolwork done in a timely and thorough manner.

Barbara Duffield, executive director of SchoolHouse Connection, a Washington, DC-based advocacy group that addresses the educational needs of homeless youth, outlined the deficits.

“Most are focused on the needs of adults, not kids, and some require you to be out of the building during the day. The current federal push is to get single adults into permanent or supportive housing…. These policies typically do not take children’s academic needs into account,” Duffield told Truthout. “This is a glaring example of federal failure, since we know that the lack of computer and internet access contributes to the high dropout rates of poor and homeless kids. I’ve seen kids get discouraged when they are belittled by a teacher for not turning in work on time. They’re also typically embarrassed to disclose that they are homeless.”

Emotional Toll Is Enormous

Ed Vere, an Urban Studies major at Wheaton College, remembers this discomfort well. Vere came to the US from the Philippines in 2012, at age 14. After family members told him that he could no longer stay in their Illinois home, he lived with a variety of people and spent several years couch-hopping. “I told my teachers that I did not have access to the internet at home and, if I knew I’d be late with an assignment, would ask if I could turn it in after the due date. Some were gracious, but others said I should have planned ahead or not procrastinated. It made me feel really depressed and suicidal,” he recalls.

Vere now lives on the Wheaton campus and, like Mirka Mendez, says being in college has given his life needed stability. “I even have fast Wi-Fi in my bedroom,” he says. Looking back, though, he believes that his high school teachers should have been better attuned to his despair. “I excelled in school because I channeled all of my energy and emotions there. I appeared fine because my grades were not red flags to my teachers, counselors or coaches. However, mental health is invisible, and mine was falling apart. The red flags were subtle. Saying I did not have Wi-Fi was the only warning I could muster.”

Bobbie Jones, homeless liaison and grant administrator of the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District in Harris County, Texas, never wants another student to go through what Vere experienced. This is why her district has opted to use Title 1 money — a grant allocated through legislation authorized by 2001’s No Child Left Behind Act — to provide the District’s 450 homeless students with laptops and hotspots, a wireless local area network that will provide them with an internet connection and private network access from any location. Although the program is still in the planning stages, Jones expects it to roll out in January 2019. “Many homeless students have difficulty completing homework, and it is not always possible for them to stay late at school,” says Jones. “There are real gaps in academic achievement for homeless students, and we hope this will lead to improved grades and better achievement overall.”

Money, of course, is paramount, and although most school districts now have internet in school buildings, they continue to scrounge for funds to provide laptops, iPads and hotspots to students, or expand access in other ways. Several for-profit groups — Kajeet is among the best known — have jumped into the fray, and while corporate and foundation money is sometimes available to schools or school districts, it does not come close to meeting the need.

That’s where the federal government comes in — or should come in. Not surprisingly, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has not uttered a word about technological inequality since assuming the Department of Education helm in the winter of 2017. For its part, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has several programs that provide assistance to both individuals and districts. According to Mark Wigfield, deputy director of the FCC Office of Media Relations, the E-Rate program has, since 1997, provided money to public schools and libraries to connect to the internet and upgrade services as needed. The amount allocated is tied to poverty rates in a particular area; last year $3.3 billion was expended. E-Rate is administered by the Universal Service Fund; its revenue is raised by a consumer tax on telephone service.

Although smaller, the LifeLine Program provides a $9.25 per month subsidy toward the phone or internet service of more than 13 million low-income people. According to Mother Jones, LifeLine is on the chopping block, but, to date, no pronouncements have been made about the FCC’s intentions.

The stakes of this — as well as of the larger effort to make sure that every student has 24/7 internet access — are enormous, and growing. Harvard Professor of Education Chris Dede, in the introduction to Closing the Homework Gap by Daniel J.W. Neal, lays it out clearly and succinctly:

If equivalent broadband access outside of school is not addressed, then teachers are hampered in using powerful forms of digital learning. Either they must privilege some students at the expense of others, or they must forego effective, technology-based instructional strategies that could help all students. The fundamental issue is whether we limit learning to the school place and the school day, or instead make learning life-wide.

The post Technology Access Gap Leaves Millions of Students Struggling to Keep Up appeared first on Truthout.

Categories: News

Want to Join a Forum with Selco & Daisy?

The Organic Prepper - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 12:06

Hey, everyone! I have the coolest announcement ever.

Selco and I decided that what the world needed was a new forum. We’re talking about a full-on “back-to-the-90s-no-social-media” forums here. So … Read the rest

The post Want to Join a Forum with Selco & Daisy? appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Categories: News

3 TOTALLY FAKE Foods in Just About Everybody’s Kitchen

The Organic Prepper - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 11:22

Americans are eating fake foods. It’s sad but true that many American staples are fraudulent. Going to the grocery store and searching for whole, nutritious foods is like running a … Read the rest

The post 3 TOTALLY FAKE Foods in Just About Everybody’s Kitchen appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Categories: News

Supreme Court agrees to hear case that could determine whether Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies can censor their users

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 05:42

Supreme Court agrees to hear case that could determine whether Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies can censor their users | 16 Oct 2018 | The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that could determine whether users can challenge social media companies on free speech grounds. The case, Manhattan Community Access Corp. v. Halleck, No. 17-702, centers on whether a private operator of a public access television network is considered a state actor, which can be sued for First Amendment violations. The case could have broader implications for social media and other media outlets. In particular, a broad ruling from the high court could open the country's largest technology companies up to First Amendment lawsuits.

Categories: News

Honduran ex-lawmaker who helped arrange massive migrant caravan to US is detained

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 05:28

Honduran ex-lawmaker who helped arrange massive migrant caravan to US is detained | 16 Oct 2018 | A former Honduran lawmaker traveling with a caravan of migrants heading toward the U.S.-Mexico border was detained by authorities in Guatemala on Tuesday as President Trump threatened to arrest anyone entering the country illegally.
Ex-legislator Bartolo Fuentes, who is said to have organized the march, was detained by Guatemalan authorities after failing to register with migration officials upon entering the country...An official with the country’s migration agency said that Fuentes was to be taken to a migrant shelter and then deported.

Categories: News

Trump warns Central American countries he'll withhold funds over immigrant caravan

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 05:19

Trump warns Central American countries he'll withhold funds over immigrant caravan | 16 Oct 2018 | President Trump in a tweet on Tuesday warned Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador that he intends to withhold funds if the "caravan" of Honduran migrants reaches the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump earlier in the day had threatened to cut off aid for Honduras over the caravan. "We have today informed the countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador that if they allow their citizens, or others, to journey through their borders and up to the United States, with the intention of entering our country illegally, all payments made to them will STOP (END)!" Trump tweeted on Tuesday evening. "Anybody entering the United States illegally will be arrested and detained, prior to being sent back to their country!" he added in another post.

Categories: News

Anarchy Radio 10-16-2018

Anarchist News - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 03:52

LISTEN HERE: http://archive.org/details/AnarchyRadio10162018

Against Art and Culture, by Liam Dee. "Twilight of the Evening Lands" read by JZ.
BAGR #6 underway. Insidious moves by alt-Right. Frightful weather: price of beer to
double. Global insect crisis. Resistance news, two calls.

Tags: jzKarlcategory: Projects
Categories: News

Update On Anarchist Prisoner Eric King In the SHU

It's Goin Down - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 00:41

The post Update On Anarchist Prisoner Eric King In the SHU appeared first on It's Going Down.

Update on anarchist prisoner Eric King, recently moved to the SHU.

A quick update since Eric is still in the Specialized Housing Unit (SHU, segregation) and it is unknown how long he will be there. He still hasn’t received a write-up nor has he been brought up on charges, but is facing a precarious situation. Eric also has some new rules regarding mail.  All paper has to be plain white or regular lined notebook paper. Envelopes have to be straight white or manila if sending something larger. Eric is also unable to receive cards.

As folx know Eric has been through a lot of trauma recently and really could use support through mail and always always books. He was pretty badly hurt, he misses his family and really needs the community right now. Eric is so grateful for all the support, letters, and books he has received so far. We in the support crew are so appreciative of people showing our friend the love!

Please keep Eric in your mind and heart, these are hard times and our friend will need a ton of solidarity and help in the coming months.

You can find his Amazon wish-list here: http://a.co/gUbDsYs

Eric King # 27090045
USP LEAVENWORTH
P.O. BOX 1000
LEAVENWORTH, KS  66048

As always, until all are free –

EK Support Crew

Categories: News

Organizing Tech: Insights into the Tech World’s Sudden Rebellion

It's Goin Down - Tue, 10/16/2018 - 23:58

The post Organizing Tech: Insights into the Tech World’s Sudden Rebellion appeared first on It's Going Down.

A look into the emergence of labor struggles coming from within the tech sector.

by X389552

In early April of this year, Google workers went public with a petition against an artificial intelligence project they’d learned was slated to be used in military drones. Over 4,000 workers had already signed onto the letter that begins, “We believe that Google should not be in the business of war,” and ends with the demand that the company cancel the contract with the Pentagon.

Worker organizers reported to the media that at least 13 of their fellow employees had quit their jobs in protest. Google placated, justified, minimized — and eventually gave in, announcing two months later that they wouldn’t renew the contract.

Soon after, as ICE’s policy of family separations became big news, workers at Microsoft published their own letter demanding that the company cancel its $19 million contract with the agency:

“As the people who build the technologies that Microsoft profits from, we refuse to be complicit. We are part of a growing movement, comprised of many across the industry who recognize the grave responsibility that those creating powerful technology have to ensure what they build is used for good, and not for harm.”

Just days later, Amazon workers followed suit with their own petition against Palantir, a surveillance contractor that hosts ICE’s database of immigrants on Amazon’s servers, and Amazon’s recently exposed practice of marketing and selling their facial recognition tool to police departments:

“Technology like ours is playing an increasingly critical role across many sectors of society. What is clear to us is that our development and sales practices have yet to acknowledge the obligation that comes with this. Focusing solely on shareholder value is a race to the bottom, and one that we will not participate in.

“We refuse to build the platform that powers ICE, and we refuse to contribute to tools that violate human rights.”

This movement has been reported by the mainstream media and tech press as worker “dissent,” “activism,” and “an uprising.” It can and should also be understood as the the next wave of worker organizing in an industry where business unions have long failed to gain traction.

Tech workers have tried to join bureaucratic unions several times before. A minority branch of Communications Workers of America (CWA) at IBM at one time had 400 dues paying members in the US but shut down in 2016 after almost two decades. WashTech, which formed in 1998 to organize Microsoft contractors with CWA, never reached a critical mass and is now primarily a protectionist advocacy organization that fights offshoring of tech work. Most recently, when software workers at startup Lanetix won a nearly unanimous card check to join CWA in January, the company suddenly “laid off” their entire 14-person department. The workers’ NLRB complaint is still ongoing.

Software engineers who make six figures straight out of an undergraduate degree might seem too content to organize. But concerns about punishingly long work hours, the two-tiered system of salaried employees and contractors, surveillance and lack of autonomy in the workplace, identity-based harassment and discrimination, and capricious discipline are rampant. Many other tech workers I talk to want to work somewhere that prioritizes people over profits, where they can work for the social good rather than the bottom line. These new campaigns are the first stirrings of their realization that finding a “better” job at a “better” company can’t bring them that. Only organizing with their coworkers can.

A persistent problem in organizing tech workplaces is the muddying of the line between the working class and the employing class. Line managers typically have authority over only 5 to 10 workers and most spend time as rank-and-file workers before graduating to management. The class background shared by CEOs and their workers makes it easier for workers to see themselves not as an oppressed proletariat but temporarily embarrassed founders (apologies to Steinbeck).

So why have police and military contracting agitated workers when so many other concerns have not? It is because those issues finally make clear the gulf between what corporations say and what they do, and seeing that gulf sets workers on the path to understanding that appealing to their management’s personal ethics doesn’t get results. Neither do external advocacy campaigns like the ACLU’s petition against Amazon’s facial recognition. Workers have power at the point of production, and some small groups of tech workers have extraordinary structural power in their workplaces. All we need is organization and the will to take militant action.

It’s too early to know what the future holds for worker organizing in the tech industry. But workers fighting together to get a demand met is a potentially transformative experience for the workers involved. Technology doesn’t spring like Athena fully formed from the head of capital into the workplaces where it surveils, intensifies, and automates work. It’s built by people who are workers themselves. What could we win if Uber programmers stand with drivers, if Amazon programmers stand with warehouse workers?

Originally published in issue 3 of the Seattle Worker.

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