Defense companies’ boom is ‘indication of corruption’ – author


The defense industry and weapons sales have seen a major boom in the United States, totaling over $47 billion in sales during fiscal year 2015, but the topic seems to be missing from the 2016 presidential campaigns and mainstream media. David Swanson, author of War is a Lie, talks with RT’s Manila Chan about why so many are refusing to acknowledge the importance of the topic.

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US Judge Embraces EEOC Equating of Sexual Orientation, Sex Discrimination

ARTHUR S. LEONARD | Gay City News | November 12, 2015

At last, a federal district judge has expressly relied on the July 15 ruling from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that sexual orientation discrimination claims can be brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

US District Judge Myron H. Thompson of the Middle District of Alabama, ruling on October 29, rejected the recommendation of a federal magistrate judge that a sexual orientation discrimination complaint under Title VII be dismissed on jurisdictional grounds. Thompson determined that the EEOC was correct when it ruled that sexual orientation discrimination is a form of sex discrimination under Title VII.

Unfortunately, that conclusion did no good for the plaintiff, Roger Isaacs, because the court found that his factual allegations included neither direct nor indirect evidence of discriminatory intent in his firing or his treatment by his employer.

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88,400 LGBT Workers in Louisiana Are Vulnerable to Ongoing Employment Discrimination

88,400 LGBT Workers in Louisiana Are Vulnerable to Ongoing Employment Discrimination

Adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s non-discrimination laws would protect thousands of workers and would not be costly to enforce.

Approximately 88,400 LGBT workers in Louisiana are not explicitly protected from discrimination under state laws. Discrimination against LGBT employees has been documented in surveys, media reports and complaints to community-based organizations. Many corporate employers and public opinion in Louisiana support protections for LGBT people in the workplace.

If sexual orientation and gender identity were added to existing statewide non-discrimination laws, 41 more complaints would be filed in Louisiana each year. The cost of enforcing those complaints would most likely be negligible, and would not require additional court or administrative staff.

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Williams Institute Scholars Provide Legal Analyses to Obama Administration Regarding Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination in Healthcare

Yesterday, Williams Institute scholars—joined by over 40 professors of law, public policy, and public health—submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that provides the agency with detailed legal analyses in support of protections against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in healthcare.

Currently, HHS is in the process of issuing regulations implementing the principal non-discrimination provision of the Affordable Care Act, which does not explicitly prohibit sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination in healthcare. However, the statute prohibits sex discrimination.

The 31-page letter—authored by Adam P. Romero, our Senior Counsel and Arnold D. Kassoy Scholar of Law—concludes that sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination are forms of sex discrimination. The letter also recommends that HHS require healthcare providers to collect data relevant to LGBT people, and limit religious exemptions to those already provided elsewhere in federal law.

Read the Letter

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The Culture of Knowledge: Constructing “Expertise” in Legal Debates on Marriage and Kinship for Same-Sex Couples in the United States and France

UCLA sociology doctoral candidate Michael Stambolis-Ruhstorfer discusses how and why American and French lawmakers and judges use specific kinds of “experts” when debating marriage for same-sex couples.

Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015
12:00-1:30 p.m.
10383 Bunche Hall, UCLA

The TPP: A Time Bomb That Could Blow Up a Free Internet

(Marcelo Graciolli / CC BY 2.0)

Truthdig | November 9, 2015

The copyright provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership could curtail Internet users’ basic access to information and right of self-expression on the Web, criminalizing common online activities and enforcing widespread Internet censorship, writes digital rights campaigner Evan Greer at The Guardian.

Greer continues:

To fully grasp the impending trainwreck here, it’s important to understand that copyright laws have a profound effect on what internet users can see and do online. The US regime of copyright enforcement has been repeatedly co-opted by special interests to censor legitimate content from the web. Copyright laws have been used to attack LGBTQ websites, censor investigative journalism and scrub homemade videos from the net just because of the music in the background.

Many of the scariest scenes in the TPP script take place in the intellectual property chapter. This section exports the most draconian aspects of the United States’ broken copyright system and forces them onto the rest of the world, without requiring “fair use” provisions that are necessary to protect free speech.

One provision demands that TPP member countries enforce copyright terms 70 years after the death of the creator. This will keep an immeasurable amount of information, art and creativity locked away from the public domain for decades longer than necessary, and allow for governments and corporations to abuse copyright laws and censor content at will, since so much of what’s online will be subject to copyright for decades.

TPP even prescribes a mechanism for that censorship to occur. A section that can best be described as “Zombie-Sopa”, due to its similarity to the failed Stop Online Piracy Act, would require internet service providers (ISPs) to play “copyright cops” and create systems for hastily taking down internet content upon a copyright holder’s request, even without a court order.

Read more here.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.




Morocco to build world’s largest concentrated solar power plant

The project's construction was officially launched by Morocco's King Mohammed VI in 2013.



Milena Veselinovic | CNN | November 3, 2015


(CNN)It may be famous for its meandering medinas and the scenic Atlas Mountains, but Morocco might soon make its name as a solar superpower.

The north-western African nation is building the world’s biggest concentrated solar power plant, which will supply electricity to 1.1 million Moroccans by 2018, according to the World Bank.

The plant is being constructed in a 30 square kilometer area outside the city of Ouarzazate, on the fringe of the Sahara desert, famous as the filming location of Hollywood blockbusters like “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Gladiator,” and the TV series “Game of Thrones.”

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Sanders, Trump lead charge against TPP


RT America | October 5, 2015

Presidential candidates Bernie Sanders (D) and Donald Trump (R) have joined in the criticism of President Barack Obama’s 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, which was finally successfully agreed upon by the US and its partners in the Pacific. Egor Piskunov has more details on the deal from New York.

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If more people knew what was in TPP deal, they’d be outraged – labor advocate


RT America | October 5, 2015

President Barack Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership, better known as TPP, is attracting more scrutiny from labor and trade advocates who are concerned about the agreement’s text, which was hammered out mostly in secret. Manila Chan speaks with Adam Weissman from Trade Justice New York about outstanding questions regarding the deal.

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TPP could hurt consumers and medical research – Thom Hartmann


RT America | October 5, 2015

While proponents of the recently agreed upon Trans-Pacific Partnership say it will benefit consumers in the Pacific Rim, critics like The Big Picture’s Thom Hartmann say the trade deal will have more of a negative impact across the board. He talks to Manila Chan about what we know so far.

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Why Debates Over the Fed’s Interest Rate Miss the Point

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen speaks during a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 16, 2015. (Photo: Stephen Crowley / The New York Times)

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen speaks during a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 16, 2015. (Photo: Stephen Crowley / The New York Times)


Richard D. Wolff | Truthout | October 3, 2015

Sometimes public debates focus on important social issues; at other times, debates distract from them. Disputes over whether the Federal Reserve System should raise interest rates illustrate that second sort. Yes, “serious people” take strong positions for or against interest rate hikes. They sharply question one another’s motives to spice up what passes for mainstream media economic news. But it is not the debate we could and should have, not even close.

Both sides of that debate celebrate capitalism. They differ only on how best to have government serve the reproduction of capitalism: by leaving it alone, by intervening intensely or somewhere in between. These days they hassle over raising, lowering or leaving interest rates unchanged. The possibility that capitalism – rather than the Fed or interest rates – might be the problem troubles none of these folks. It does not occur to them. Nor is that surprising given the monotonous mantra of academic economics departments and the journalists and politicians trained by them. The orthodox economics professoriate treats capitalism as so wonderful and “optimal” (among their favorite words) that questioning it brings only the momentary scowl of a teacher/priest dismayed by a student’s/acolyte’s failure to grasp essential, universal, absolute truth.

Yet capitalism is a system of stunning and endlessly recurring instability (named everything from “adjustments” to “disturbances” to “cycles” to “crises” depending on perspective). Recurring economic downturns have plagued the last 250 years of first European and then global history. Before and after John Maynard Keynes, efforts to prevent or overcome that instability while retaining capitalism have all failed. That is why we are now in the badly lingering grip of the latest “crash” in 2008.

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DuPont plant accused of poisoning West Virginia community has not yet paid compensation dues


RT America | September 30, 2015

A study shows that the DuPont chemical plant in West Virginia harmed its residents via the presence of the chemical C8, linked to cancer and high cholesterol. Although residents have reached a settlement with the company, they have not yet received compensation in full. Boom Bust’s Bianca Facchinei has the latest.

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