News Articles for October 31, 2021

Afghanistan, Climate Change, corporate, Corruption, covid 19, economy, education, employment, Environment, Ethiopia, Global Warming, imperialism, julian assange, labor, medicine, Mexico, Politics, pollution, protest, racism, strike, Uncategorized, vaccine, virus

The first day of the US appeal of the Julian Assange extradition case saw grown adults arguing in a court of law that the US government could guarantee that it would not treat the WikiLeaks founder as cruelly as it treats its other prisoners.

I wish I was kidding.

In their write-up on Wednesday’s proceedings, The Dissenter’s Kevin Gosztola and Mohamed Elmaazi report that the prosecution argued that “the High Court should accept the appeal on the basis that the U.S. government offered ‘assurances’ that Assange won’t be subjected to Special Administrative Measures (SAMs) or incarcerated in ADX Florence, a super-maximum prison in Colorado.” READ MORE - LISTEN

For the past two days, I have been watching the extradition hearing for Julian Assange via video link from London. The United States is appealing a lower court ruling that denied the US request to extradite Assange not, unfortunately, because in the eyes of the court he is innocent of a crime, but because, as Judge Vanessa Baraitser in January concluded, Assange’s precarious psychological state would deteriorate given the “harsh conditions” of the inhumane US prison system, “causing him to commit suicide.” The United States has charged Assange with 17 counts under the Espionage Act and one count of trying to hack into a government computer, charges that could see him imprisoned for 175 years.

Assange, with long white hair, appeared on screen the first day from the video conference room in HM Prison Belmarsh. He was wearing a white shirt with an untied tie around his neck. READ MORE

"Virtually no one responsible for alleged U.S. war crimes committed in the course of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars has been held accountable... and yet a publisher who exposed such crimes is potentially facing a lifetime in jail."
Press freedom defenders on Wednesday intensified demands for the release of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange as the United Kingdom's High Court began its consideration of the U.S. government's attempt to extradite the journalist and prosecute him under the Espionage Act.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) was among the groups warning that allowing the U.S. to pursue charges against Assange—and potentially imprison him for the rest of his life—would "have severe and long-lasting implications for journalism and press freedom around the world" in addition to harming Assange's mental and physical health. READ MORE

The US appeal of a British court ruling on the Assange extradition case has concluded, and the judges will probably not have a decision ready until at least January—a full year after the extradition was denied by a lower court. Assange, despite being convicted of no crime, will have remained in Belmarsh Prison the entire time.

During that time the judges will be weighing arguments they’d heard about the cruel nature of the US prison system, which formed a major part of the reasoning behind Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s rejection of the US extradition request. They’ll be considering the draconian policy of Special Administrative Measures, whose victims are cut off from human contact and from the outside world. They’ll be considering the brutality of the supermax ADX facility in Florence, Colorado whose inmates are kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, and where Assange could easily wind up imprisoned despite the prosecution’s flimsy assurances. READ MORE

As official government data is emerging in Europe and the USA on the alarming numbers of deaths and permanent paralysis as well as other severe side effects from the experimental mRNA vaccines, it is becoming clear that we are being asked to be human guinea pigs in an experiment that could alter the human gene structure and far worse. While mainstream media ignores alarming data including death of countless healthy young victims, the politics of the corona vaccine is being advanced by Washington and Brussels along with WHO and the Vaccine Cartel with all the compassion of a mafia “offer you can’t refuse.”

The alarming EMA Report

On May 8 the European Medicines Agency (EMA) an agency of the European Union (EU) in charge of the evaluation and supervision of medical products, using the data base EudraVigilance which collects reports of suspected side effects of medicines including vaccines, published a report that barely warranted mention in major mainstream media. READ MORE

Which system changes are "on track," meaning transformation is "occurring at or above the pace required to achieve" global climate goals? According to a new report: None.

A new global assessment out Thursday has found that across the vast number of key systems in human society—including energy, manufacturing, transportation, agricultural, and finance—not a single one is transforming fast enough to mitigate the "code red" warnings that scientists and experts have issued on the planetary climate emergency.

The new report—titled "State of Climate Action 2021"—assessed whether the world is "doing enough" to achieve the climate goals of the 2015 Paris agreement by translating "the transformations required to keep global temperature rise to 1.5ºC into 40 indicators of progress" based on goals set for achieving meaningful changes by 2030 and 2050, such as phasing out coal, halting deforestation, and ramping up both public and private funding to halt the crisis. READ MORE

"This is the equivalent of an earthquake around the country for those who care deeply about the climate issue."

As U.S. President Joe Biden prepares for a consequential United Nations climate summit in Scotland, the Supreme Court on Friday provoked widespread alarm by agreeing to review the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to limit planet-heating pollution.

"The Supreme Court could destroy the planet. Pass it on," tweeted Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) in response to the decision.

Republican-led states and coal companies asked the justices to weigh in after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in January struck down the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule issued under former President Donald Trump. READ MORE

Doctors and medical experts say private equity firms and profiteering corporations are putting American lives at risk and compromising the practice of medicine.

The emergency room. You go there for help when you’re really in trouble or have no place else to turn. But who decides what happens to you there? If you think the answer is “doctors,” think again. Large corporations are increasingly taking over these centers of life and death, and they are focused far less on your health than squeezing as much profit from your situation as possible.

That’s why a growing chorus of physicians, advocates, and patients is sounding the alarm on what they say is a corporate-fueled catastrophe in the making. The pandemic, they warn, has amplified problems rampant in a healthcare system managed not for the benefit of human lives but for the corporations and elite executives who control it. This path, they warn, is both unsustainable and dangerous.

Ground zero for the newest form of greed-driven medicine is hospital emergency rooms. READ MORE

The two progressives joined striking hospital workers on the picket line at Mercy Hospital after the early voting rally.
A line outside Town Ballroom in Buffalo, New York on Saturday stretched all the way down a city block and around the corner as residents arrived for an early voting rally hosted by Democratic candidate for mayor India Walton, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and other progressive leaders.
Early voting began at noon in the city's mayoral race, which has gained national attention following the victory of Walton, a democratic socialist, in the June primary.
Ocasio-Cortez urged supporters in the crowded theater to commit to text-banking, phone-banking, and bringing other voters to the polls with them, saying that victories like Walton's are what helps to make the passage of bold policy proposals possible at the national level. READ MORE

Today, As You Sow released its second edition of Pesticides in the Pantry: Transparency & Risk in Food Supply Chains, a report examining the growing risk to food manufacturers posed by the use of synthetic pesticides in agricultural supply chains. The report reviews the risks of farm systems dependent on high levels of toxic pesticides, provides benchmarks for improved management practices and transparency, and ranks food manufacturers on their actions to reduce the growing risk of pesticide use.

The report scores 17 major U.S. food manufacturers on their performance on 28 indicators designed to measure how effectively companies are reducing pesticide risk and improving agricultural resiliency.

Several companies made new commitments to reduce pesticide risk, representing improvement compared to 2019. Out of a total possible score of 27 points: General Mills (16 points), Lamb Weston (15), Del Monte (14), and PepsiCo (14) scored the highest. Post and B&G Foods scored the lowest (0 points each) followed by J.M. Smucker (1 point).  READ MORE

It’s no secret that Big Money disliked the tax hikes in Biden’s Build Back Better (BBB) bill. Indeed, the rich pretty much killed them. And Biden hasn’t countered them by arranging for the Federal Reserve to pump money into his programs for working people, because, after all, the Fed only gives money to people who are already loaded. Or, as human rights activist Ajamu Baraka recently tweeted: “The rulers pump 120 billion a month into the hands of capitalists through the Federal Reserve. So they can fund anything they want by creating the money to pay for it.”

U.S. billionaires pretty much have the run of Congress and the White House. Just to make that clear, corporate lobbyist heavy hitters from the Chamber of Commerce, Pfizer, ExxonMobil and the Business Roundtable brazenly and intensely assaulted BBB tax raises, which would have brought their taxes up to a mere 28 percent from 21 percent. READ MORE

I first remember hearing about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1990. It was during a conversation with a Postal Union steward in Washington state. We were probably at a tavern in Olympia drinking pints of Rainier. Soon, I began to hear about this potential treaty in many other venues. Not being particularly knowledgeable about the nuances of international trade, I started finding out as much as I could about this potential compact between the capitalist classes of Canada, Mexico, and the United States. The more I read and talked with people about it, the more it became clear that, should this agreement go into effect, the working people of these three nations were in even greater trouble than they already were.

Over the course of the next two years, unions in all three countries organized opposition to NAFTA. By the time Bill Clinton was elected president in November 1992, most people had at least heard of the agreement. READ MORE

As the new government led by Prime-Minister Ahmed Abiy takes office for their second term, the West’s relentless propaganda campaign against Ethiopia continues. Since the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) attacked the Ethiopian State on 4 November 2020 (the day after President Biden was elected coincidentally), the US and allies, factions within UN agencies and human rights organizations have worked to undermine and discredit the democratically elected government.

Aided by mainstream western media – The Economist, BBC, The Guardian, New York Times, Al Jazeera, Facebook (who, according to former employer now whistleblower, Frances Haugen, is “fanning ethnic violence in Ethiopia”) and others – they have spread misinformation and lies about the situation inside Ethiopia. False accusations that Abiy’s government is deliberately “starving its own people”, “blocking humanitarian aid” from reaching displaced groups and carrying out atrocities in the region are widespread on such platforms. READ MORE

A spectre is haunting US progressivism–the spectre of anti-intellectualism. While once leftist politics was defined by the unification of academic theory and mass movement–the essence of praxis–it increasingly looks devoid of the intellectual structure that traditionally defined the left. The movement is now everything, the strategy and goals are nothing.

Historian Richard Hofstadter’s Anti-Intellectualism in US Life is often seen as an indictment of conservatism and reactionary politics. Anti-intellectualism is for Hofstadter a “resentment and suspicion of the life of the mind.” It is a conservative politics based on fear, nativism, emotion, and simply a repudiation of science, facts, and knowing. It is a dismissal of intellectuals as snobbish, elitist, and out of touch with ordinary US citizens. The Adlai Stevensons of the world are depicted as pointy-headed intellectuals. Vice-president Spiro Agnew once labeled them as an “effete corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals.” READ MORE

Hollie Sili, an emergency room technician at Kaiser Permanente’s Honolulu hospital, can’t afford what she makes now, much less what the health care network wants to pay her. After 21 years with Kaiser, she is working two jobs—36 hours a week at the hospital, plus another 30 hours at a local pharmacy—to help support four children on an island where a gallon of milk can go for more than $7. Now Kaiser is pushing a contract that would amount to a significant pay cut for the workers like Sili who’ve kept it profitable during the pandemic.

Sili, a member of Unite Here Local 5, is one of more than 36,000 Kaiser workers who have voted by overwhelming margins in recent weeks to authorize strikes if the nonprofit health care network does not back down from the two-tier wage system it is proposing. READ MORE

Twice in the last year, a Walmart employee has quit via intercom. Last month in Louisiana, Beth McGrath took to the speaker to announce “Beth from electronics” was going to “quit” because the company treats some employees “like shit.” This came almost exactly a year after Shana Blackwell—a night stocker in Texas—announced to her whole Walmart that she “fucking quit” her job because the “company treats their employees like shit.” There’s no need for a third exact copy—intercom, Walmart, “like shit”—to notice a pattern: People are rejecting bad working conditions and quitting at rates we haven’t seen in decades.

One report found that this year, 1 in 4 workers quit their jobs. In August 2021 alone, around 4.3 million people quit—that is 2.9 percent of the total US workforce. There have never been that many in a single month since 2000, when the Labor Department began tracking quitters. READ MORE

Workers in the United States are reaching a boiling point with their bosses due to the impact of the pandemic and the failure of the government to provide adequate assistance to the majority proletarian population.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began during the early months of 2020, over 20 million people lost their jobs as factories, schools, public sector institutions and service-oriented businesses closed across the country.

Reports indicate that in excess of 200,000 small and medium-sized enterprises were forced to end operations permanently. People out of work with youth at home had to seek online education programs for students which in many cases were not feasible as a result of the lack of available internet connectivity and teachers. READ MORE

The people locked up in one for-profit immigration detention center are in line for one hell of a raise.

For years, the GEO Group, one of the nation’s largest private prison companies, has been able to keep labor costs low in its Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers by relying on the people it locks up to do the work. Rather than hiring employees from the surrounding community to cook, clean, and perform maintenance, it enlists detainees for these essential tasks, compensating laborers in its “voluntary work program” with around $1 per day—or, as some detainees have alleged, the promise of extra food. After years of legal challenges to this system, a federal jury decided Wednesday that the company must pay the state’s minimum wage—$13.69 per hour—to the detainees working inside one of its for-profit immigration detention centers. READ MORE

When politicians, scientists, and activists from 196 nations convene in Glasgow for the United Nations’ 26th annual climate summit, they’ll nosh on “‘plant-forward’ seasonal food sourced overwhelmingly from the U.K., with a focus on ingredients produced using environmentally friendly practices,” Bloomberg reports. What won’t be on the table at COP26, as the confab is known: a plan for cutting greenhouse gas emissions from food production, or for preparing the globe’s farms for the accelerating shocks of a fast-warming climate.

Hailed by its organizers as the “world’s best last chance to get runaway climate change under control,” COP26 is the place where the world’s nations come together to deliver their plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions. It will devote not a single day of its 10-day schedule to food and agriculture, a sector that accounts nearly a quarter of emissions worldwide.  READ MORE

When ecological genomicist Christian Voolstra started work on corals in Saudi Arabia in 2009, one of the biggest bonuses to his job was scuba diving on the gorgeous reefs. Things have changed. “I was just back in September and I was shocked,” says Voolstra, now at the University of Konstanz in Germany. “There’s a lot of rubble. The fish are missing. The colors are missing.”

It’s a sad but now familiar story. Earlier this month, the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network released the first-ever report collating global statistics on corals, documenting the status of reefs across 12,000 sites in 73 countries over 40 years. Overall, they report, the world has lost 14 percent of its corals from 2009 to 2018—that’s about 11,700 square kilometers of coral wiped out. READ MORE

A handful of mega corporations — private investment companies — dominate every aspect of our lives; everything we eat, drink, wear or use in one way or another. These investment firms are so enormous, they control the money flow worldwide

While there appear to be hundreds of competing brands on the market, like Russian nesting dolls, larger parent companies own multiple smaller brands. In reality, all packaged food brands, for example, are owned by a dozen or so larger parent companies

These parent companies, in turn, are owned by shareholders, and the largest shareholders are the same in all of them: Vanguard and Blackrock

No matter what industry you look at, the top shareholders, and therefore decision makers, are the same: Vanguard, Blackrock, State Street and/or Berkshire Hathaway. In virtually every major company, you find these names among the top 10 institutional investors READ MORE

“You see them on the street. You watch them on TV. You might even vote for one this fall. You think they’re people just like you. You’re wrong. Dead wrong.” — They Live

We are living in an age of mayhem, madness and monsters.

Monsters with human faces walk among us. Many of them work for the U.S. government.

What we are dealing with today is an authoritarian beast that has outgrown its chains and will not be restrained.

Through its acts of power grabs, brutality, meanness, inhumanity, immorality, greed, corruption, debauchery and tyranny, the government has become almost indistinguishable from the evil it claims to be fighting, whether that evil takes the form of terrorism, torture, disease, drug trafficking, sex trafficking, murder, violence, theft, pornography, scientific experimentations or some other diabolical means of inflicting pain, suffering and servitude on humanity. READ MORE

This blog by Carey Gillam is updated regularly with news and tips about the lawsuits involving Monsanto’s glyphosate-based Roundup weed killer products. See our Monsanto Papers pages for discovery documents. Please consider donating here to support our investigationREAD MORE

Penny Aucoin, her husband Carl Dee George, their son Gideon and their daughter Skyler have had their lives devastated by the fracking industry.

There was no oil and gas infrastructure where they lived when they moved to Carlsbad, New Mexico. But six years ago, during a massive expansion of drilling across the Permian Basin that spans West Texas and southeastern New Mexico — one of the most prolific oil and gas basins in the United States — the drilling began.

It was so loud they had to provide hearing protection for Skyler. Then when the flaring commenced, dead birds began literally falling out of the sky right next to their home, and one of their chickens died. READ MORE

The United States is at war with itself, and education is one of its more recent casualties. The institutions crucial for creating informed, engaged and critical citizens are under siege. One consequence is that the language of democracy is disappearing along with the institutions and formative cultures that make it possible.

The signs are everywhere. Jim Crow politics are back with a vengeance. Both during and in the aftermath of the Trump presidency, the Republican Party has dropped any pretense to democracy in its affirmation of authoritarian politics and its embrace of white supremacy. This has been evident in their weaponizing of identity, support for a range of discriminatory policies of exclusion, the construction of a wall that has become a resurgent symbol of nativism, and under the Trump regime the internment of children separated from their undocumented parents at the southern border. READ MORE

The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001 was criminal. It was criminal because of the immense force used to demolish Afghanistan’s physical infrastructure and to break open its social bonds.

On October 11, 2001, journalist Anatol Lieven interviewed the Afghan leader Abdul Haq in Peshawar, Pakistan. Haq, who led part of the resistance against the Taliban, was getting ready to return to Afghanistan under the cover of the U.S. aerial bombardments. He was, however, not pleased with the way the United States had decided to prosecute the war. “Military action by itself in the present circumstances is only making things more difficult—especially if this war goes on a long time and many civilians are killed,” Abdul Haq told Lieven. The war would go on for 20 years, and at least 71,344 civilians would lose their lives during this period.

Abdul Haq told Lieven that “the best thing would be for the U.S. to work for a united political solution involving all the Afghan groups. Otherwise, there will be an encouragement of deep divisions between different groups, backed by different countries and badly affecting the whole region.” These are prescient words, but Haq knew no one was listening to him. “Probably,” he told Lieven, “the U.S. has already made up its mind what to do, and any recommendations by me will be too late.” READ MORE

While the world, for very good reasons, is relying on medical research in order to save the lives of millions, the “powers to be” are hardly listening to what climate science is saying about the existential threat to billions posed by global heating.

Since 1751 the world has emitted over 1.5 trillion tonnes of CO₂. The atmospheric level of CO₂ was 413.2 parts per million (ppm) in 2020, growing at peak rates of 2.5-3.0 ppm/year, representing the greatest acceleration since the dinosaur mass extinction of 66 million years ago.

“The last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO₂ was 3-5 million years ago, when the temperature was 2-3°C warmer and sea level was 10-20 meters higher than now”, Prof. Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization said in a news release. READ MORE

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