Signing Polluter-Friendly TPP Trade Deal Is Gambling Away Our Future


TPP protesters. (photo: Robert Galbraith/Reuters)
TPP protesters. (photo: Robert Galbraith/Reuters)

 

Michael Brune | EcoWatch | Reader Supported News | February 4, 2016

t a convention center and casino in Auckland, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, setting the clock ticking for President Obama to send the deeply flawed deal to Congress for approval.

For years, the Sierra Club has reported on and campaigned against the TPP’s threats to our air, water, climate, families and communities.

The U.S. Trade Representative is gambling away our jobs, our clean air and water, and our future by pushing the polluter-friendly Trans-Pacific Partnership, so it only makes sense that it was signed in a casino and convention center. Signing the TPP is Russian roulette for our economy and our climate.

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New Safe Harbor Data “Deal” May Be More Politicking Than Surveillance Reform


EU and American flag. (photo: AP)
EU and American flag. (photo: AP)

 

Jenna McLaughlin | The Intercept | Reader Supported News | February 4, 2016

obbyists, government officials, and technology executives celebrated news from Strasbourg on Tuesday morning that the European Commission and the United States had reached an agreement to reinstate the free flow of massive amounts of data between companies in the United States and the European Union, safeguarding users’ privacy at a new level.

But while some cheered the new agreement, dubbed the “Privacy Shield,” and thanked negotiators for providing “certainty” to businesspeople who deal in big data, many were quite a bit more skeptical of its success and said they would reserve final judgment until the agreement is formally spelled out on paper, which could take weeks or months.

The Article 29 Working Party — a data protection authority set up the European Parliament — said on Wednesday morning that it was pleased an agreement had been reached, but expressed concerns about the commitment of the United States — especially regarding the scope of its surveillance activities and relevant legal remedies available to all people. The party said it would not formally weigh in until the text of the agreement surfaces, and assigned a new deadline to release it: the end of February.

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Des Moines Register Calls for Audit of Sanders-Clinton Result in Iowa


Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders. (photo: Getty)
Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders. (photo: Getty)

 

Ben Kamisar | The Hill | Reader Supported News | February 4, 2016

he Des Moines Register is calling for a “complete audit” of the Iowa Democratic caucuses in light of concerns by Bernie Sanders about the razor-thin margin.

“Once again the world is laughing at Iowa. Late-night comedians and social media mavens are having a field day with jokes about missing caucusgoers and coin flips,” the Register’s editorial board writes Wednesday night.

“That’s fine. We can take ribbing over our quirky process. But what we can’t stomach is even the whiff of impropriety or error,” it wrote.

Hillary Clinton edged out Sanders by just 0.2 percentage points, a margin the Register notes would trigger recounts in other states. Sanders’ campaign has said it is working with its Iowa staff to confirm those results, which the party certified early Tuesday morning.

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Elizabeth Warren Defends Bernie Sanders From Goldman Sachs Criticism


Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., defended Vermont independent Senator Bernie Sanders from criticism by Goldman Sachs on Wednesday. Pictured: Warren listens during a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on July 29, 2015 in Washington, D.C. (photo: Astrid Riecken/Getty)
Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., defended Vermont independent Senator Bernie Sanders from criticism by Goldman Sachs on Wednesday. Pictured: Warren listens during a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on July 29, 2015 in Washington, D.C. (photo: Astrid Riecken/Getty)

 

David Sirota and Andrew Perez | International Business Times | Reader Supported News | February 4, 2016

lizabeth Warren entered the intensifying battle for the Democratic presidential nomination, defending Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders from a new attack by the head of Goldman Sachs — a Wall Street behemoth whose executives have delivered hundreds of thousands of dollars to Hillary Clinton, her presidential campaign and her family’s foundation.

In an interview with International Business Times hours before Wednesday night’s Democratic town hall in New Hampshire, the Massachusetts senator — whose endorsement is coveted by both Democratic candidates — slammed Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein for asserting earlier in the day that Sanders’ criticism of Wall Street had created a dangerous environment in America.

“He thinks it’s fine to prosecute small business owners, it’s fine to go hard after individuals who have no real resources, but don’t criticize companies like Goldman Sachs and their very, very important CEO — that’s what he’s really saying,” Warren told IBT.

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Top school scraps century-old uniform code to accommodate transgender pupils


news.com.au | Herald Sun | January 27, 2016


A top British school is sbidding farewell to its 170-year-old uniform policy.

 

A TOP independent school in Britain has become the first in the country to scrap its uniform policy to accommodate transgender students.

Brighton College in East Sussex, a school for boys and girls aged 11-18 with around 1,000 pupils, now gives all students the option of wearing a skirt and blouse or trousers and shirt, regardless of gender.

The school said it was “reacting to a changing society which recognises that some children have gender dysphoria and do not wish to lose their emotional gender identities at school”.

Landowners Under Siege in the Big Bend


The Big Bend region of Texas. (photo: Jerry Lara/San Antonio Express-News)
The Big Bend region of Texas. (photo: Jerry Lara/San Antonio Express-News

 

Amy Hardberger | My San Antonio | Reader Supported News | January 25, 2016

t is safe to say that property rights are sacred in Texas. We inherited our love of the land from past generations who toiled to make the harsh landscape bloom. Nowhere is this truer than in the Big Bend region of Texas.

In 2012, the Texas Attorney General’s Office issued a Landowner’s Bill of Rights specifying all the protections each of us has against government interference, including the taking of property under eminent domain. One of the requirements for land condemnation is that it be for a public use. This is to ensure that the burden placed on a few will benefit the larger community; however, the mechanisms for balancing private property rights against the public good are now being exploited by profit-driven companies.

The so-called TransPecos pipeline proposed by Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, or ETP, calls for a 125-foot-wide trench to be cleared across approximately 143 miles of private property in some of the most pristine country in Texas. A channel also will be tunneled beneath the Rio Grande River.

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North Carolina’s Voter ID Law Heads to Trial


A voter shows his identification at the polls. (photo: Rogelio V. Solis/AP)
A voter shows his identification at the polls. (photo: Rogelio V. Solis/AP)

 

Colleen Jenkins | Reuters | Reader Supported News | January 25, 2016

pponents of a law requiring North Carolina voters to show certain forms of photo identification at the polls will ask a federal judge on Monday to strike it down on the grounds that it makes casting a ballot harder for minorities.

The trial is the first of several voting rights battles that will play out across the country ahead of the November presidential election.

The case tests a key piece of broad voting restrictions passed after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that North Carolina and other states with a history of discrimination no longer needed federal approval for voting law changes affecting minorities.

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Rick Snyder Is Done. He’s Toast.


Michigan governor Rick Snyder. (photo: Carlos Osorio/AP)
Michigan governor Rick Snyder. (photo: Carlos Osorio/AP)

 

Charles Pierce | Esquire | Reader Supported News | January 25, 2016

Rick Snyder is done. He’s toast.

 

t’s really time for Governor Rick Snyder to go. It’s impossible to imagine him continuing to do his job if the e-mails yet to come about the poisoning of the city of Flint reflect as badly on his administration as today’s batch do. Therein we find negligence, incompetence, buck-passing ,and ass-covering in the extreme. It’s plain that political considerations were paramount when the news of what had happened in Flint first reached Lansing.

In the e-mails, Muchmore wrote that U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint Township, was “engaged in his normal press hound routine” after the congressman issued a press release noting he’d asked the EPA to help the state deal with the crisis. Muchmore added that then-mayor Dayne Walling “went out on a CYA effort due to the election.” They also show doubts about returning Flint to the Detroit system and even questioning if the reports of higher lead levels are accurate. “They can’t reconnect to DWSD even if they wanted to as they sold the connector line,” Muchmore wrote Sept. 26. “And, especially with the new rate increases in Detroit, their citizens would be less able to pay than they already are.  Now we have the anti everything group turning to the lead content which is a concern for everyone, but DEQ and DHHS and EPA can’t find evidence of a major change per Geralyn’s memo below.”

Later, of course, under the expanded emergency-manager law that was a pet project of Snyder’s from the time he was inaugurated, Mayor Walling was replaced by an “emergency manager”—the city has had four of them since Snyder expanded the law—under whom the switch from the DWSD to the Flint River was completed. By the time the crisis was brewing underground, the elected local officials of the city of Flint had virtually no power at all. It’s hard to imagine that this crisis would have come to the point to which it has come if the people responsible for it actually had to face the voters. At the very least, Snyder may have to have a chat with Congress about the whole thing.

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Beyond Flint: Poor Blacks, Latinos Endure Oversized Burden of America’s Industrial Waste and Hazards


Justin Roberson (left), age 6, and Mychal Adams, age 1, wait on a stack of bottled water at a rally where the Rev. Jesse Jackson was speaking about about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, Jan. 17, 2016. (photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
Justin Roberson (left), age 6, and Mychal Adams, age 1, wait on a stack of bottled water at a rally where the Rev. Jesse Jackson was speaking about about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, Jan. 17, 2016. (photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

 

Aaron Morrison | International Business Times | Reader Supported News | January 25, 2016

lizer Lee Cruz will occasionally look out at English Station — the shuttered and corroding coal power plant sitting on an eight-acre island in the middle of Mill River — and marvel at its architecture. From Fair Haven, a neighborhood just east of the river comprising largely minority and working-poor people, Cruz and his neighbors can see the tops of four of the facility’s smokestacks that stopped billowing in 1992.

“The way the bricks are laid — little blocks of cement with a circle and a lightning bolt — it was a power plant that was built to the glory of God,” he says, describing what he can see from the riverbanks. But that awe is fleeting for Cruz, an environmental activist who last year fought a plan that would have reopened the plant .

English Station, though dormant for more than two decades, still casts a large shadow. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has condemned it as a brownfield site whose grounds are tainted with polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, a contaminant that causes cancer. The energy company that once owned the facility sold it to another company, and a disagreement over who is responsible for the site’s neglect has delayed cleanup.

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Media Silent as US-Backed Saudi Forces Starve Half Million Yemeni Children


A woman brings her child to a hospital in Yemen to be treated for severe acute malnutrition. (photo: Mint Press News)
A woman brings her child to a hospital in Yemen to be treated for severe acute malnutrition. (photo: Mint Press News)

 

Mint Press News | Reader Supported News | January 25, 2016

The United Nations warned that 8,000 children could suffer from severe malnutrition in 2016. And that’s just in one southern Yemeni city.

 

hile the media was flooded with images of the starving children of Syria, the thousands of children suffering from Saudi Arabia’s U.S.-backed onslaught on Yemen made far fewer headlines.

The mainstream media was eager to report on the struggle for survival in Madaya. The mountain town near Syria’s southwestern border was once known as a popular resort destination in the Middle East, but its population is now reportedly being starved under a siege by the Syrian army.

However, the actual situation is far more complex. The U.S.-supported, so-called “moderate” rebels including the Nusra Front, the Syrian branch of al-Qaida, had first laid siege to the cities of Kefraya and Fua, leading to a retaliatory siege on Madaya by the Assad government. Those same rebel groups were also, in turn, responsible for allowing the starvation in Madaya to continue by occupying the city and keeping humanitarian aid out of reach of the populace as a strategic tactic. Additionally, many images used in media reports on Madaya turned out to be fake or misleading.

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