On April 29, We March for the Future

We’ll either save or doom the planet during the Trump administration. Don’t sit the Peoples Climate Mobilization out.

by Bill McKibben

 

It is hard to avoid hyperbole when you talk about global warming. It is, after all, the biggest thing humans have ever done, and by a very large margin. In the past year, we’ve decimated the Great Barrier Reef, which is the largest living structure on Earth. In the drought-stricken territories around the Sahara, we’ve helped kick off what The New York Times called “one of the biggest humanitarian disasters since World War II.” We’ve melted ice at the poles at a record pace, because our emissions trap extra heat from the sun that’s equivalent to 400,000 Hiroshima-size explosions a day. Which is why, just maybe, you should come to Washington, DC, on April 29 for a series of big climate protests that will mark the 100th day of Trumptime. Maybe the biggest thing ever is worth a day.Read More »

The Next Generation of Democratic Socialists Has Started Winning Local Elections

Campaigning for economic and social justice, they are winning municipal races in states like Illinois and Georgia

Dylan Parker

Dylan Parker, a 28-year-old diesel mechanic and DSA member who was recently elected to the city council of Rock Island, Illinois. (Neighbors for Dylan Parker)

The Nation | 20 April, 2017

Democratic socialists have advised presidents and cabinet members; they have been elected as members of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives, and as state legislators, judges, sheriffs and school board members. But their primary service has been at the municipal level, as mayors and city council members — leading not just big cities such as Milwaukee but mid-sized cities like Reading, Pennsylvania, and small towns like Girard, Kansas.Read More »

The Return of Commercial Prison Labour

by Christoph Scherrer and Anil Shah

Prisons are seldom mentioned under the rubric of labour market institutions such as temporary work contracts or collective bargaining agreements. Yet, prisons not only employ labour but also cast a shadow on the labour force in or out of work. The early labour movement considered the then prevalent use of prison labour for commercial purposes as unfair competition. By the 1930s, the US labour movement was strong enough to have work for commercial purposes prohibited in prisons. In the decades following, the number of prisoners decreased to a historic minimum. But with cutbacks in the welfare state, the prison population exploded from about 200 000 in 1975 to 2 300 000 in 2013 (Scherrer and Shah, 2017: 37) and prison labour for commercial purposes became legal again. Today, about 15% of the inmates in federal and state prisons perform work for companies such as Boeing, Starbucks and Victoria’s Secret. Migrants detained for violating immigration laws are one of the fastest growing segments of prison labour. Under the Trump administration, their numbers are most likely to increase.

 

Using the example of the US, we will discuss drivers of the return of commercial prison labour.

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Two-Thirds of Americans are losing sleep over their financial woes

A Journal of People report

A CreditCards.com survey finds:

Two out of three Americans lose sleep at night thinking about their finances. Some 65% of those polled say they toss and turn in bed thanks to money worries, up from 62% the last two years and 56% from before the Financial Crisis 10 years ago.

The most common concern was the cost of health care and insurance, which kept 38% of participants awake into the night. Only 29% reported being worried about health care a year ago. The health care situation surrounding Obamacare and its Republican replacement seems have played a large role in shaping this unease.Read More »

Dow Chemical asks Trump officials to ignore pesticide reports

A Journal of People report

Dow Chemical asked three high-ranking Trump administration officials to ignore government scientists’ studies on the environmental risks posed by a major class of pesticides, said an Associated Press report.

The AP had seen the letters that Dow sent to the Secretaries of Commerce and the Interior Wilbur Ross and Ryan Zinke, respectively, and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt – a noted opponent of environmental regulations and climate change skeptic who has already moved to scrap Obama-era restrictions on certain pesticides.

Last month, Pruitt reversed his own agency’s proposal to ban chlorpyrifos, which has been linked to brain damage in children exposed to the pest-killer.Read More »

The seven men who will decide US role in Paris climate deal

Donald Trump’s most powerful advisors are set to debate whether the US stays in the UN climate pact. Here’s what we know about their positions

by Karl Mathiesen

Climate Home | April 18, 2017

US president Donald Trump signs orders to green-light the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines in January in front of key advisors Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon (6th and 7th from right) (Photo: Office of the President of the United States)

On Tuesday seven White House powerbrokers will sit down to discuss the US’ ongoing participation in the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

President Donald Trump has criticised the agreement – and the US policies developed to implement it – for targeting the US fossil fuel industry and harming US workers.

The accord, which was agreed by 194 countries and has already been ratified by 143 (including the US), caps global warming at below 2C.Read More »

Chemical weapons attack in Syria was staged, claims MIT expert

A Journal of People report

 

A leading weapons academic has claimed that the Khan Sheikhoun nerve agent attack in Syria was staged, raising questions about who was responsible.

An International Business Times report said:

“Theodore Postol, a professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), issued a series of three reports in response to the White House’s finding that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad perpetrated the attack on 4 April.

“He concluded that the US government’s report does not provide any ‘concrete’ evidence that Assad was responsible, adding it was more likely that the attack was perpetrated by players on the ground.Read More »

Sanders and Perez to Launch Nationwide ‘Come Together & Fight Back’ Tour

by Nadia Prupis, staff writer

Common Dreams | 17 April, 2017

“Regardless of where they live or their political affiliations, most people understand that it is absurd for Republicans in Congress to support huge tax breaks for billionaires while pushing for cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid,” Sanders and Perez said Monday. (Photo: Lorrie Shaull/flickr/cc)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair Tom Perez will kick off a multi-state tour in Maine on Monday, where they are expected to outline the progressive plan to strengthen the party, bolster grassroots activism, and resist President Donald Trump.

“At a time of massive income and wealth inequality and a shrinking middle class, we need a government which represents all Americans, not just Wall Street, multi-national corporations, and the top 1 percent,” Sanders and Perez said in a joint statement.

The circuit is officially named the “Come Together and Fight Back” tour.

Read More »

Russia-Baiting Pushed Trump to Attack Syria—and Increases the Risk of Nuclear Annihilation

by

Information Clearing House | 11 April, 2017

Russia-Baiting Pushed Trump to Attack Syria—and Increases the Risk of Nuclear Annihilation
The anti-Russia bandwagon has gained so much momentum that a national frenzy is boosting the odds of unfathomable catastrophe.

Vast efforts to portray Donald Trump as Vladimir Putin’s flunky have given Trump huge incentives to prove otherwise. Last Thursday, he began the process in a big way by ordering a missile attack on Russia’s close ally Syria. In the aftermath of the attack, the cheerleading from U.S. mass media was close to unanimous, and the assault won lots of praise on Capitol Hill. Finally, the protracted and fervent depictions of Trump as a Kremlin tool were getting some tangible results.Read More »

Protests Nationwide Denounce Syria Strikes as US Threatens ‘To Do More’

by Andrea Germanos, staff writer

Common Dreams | 08 April, 2017

Demonstrators take part in a 2015 “Don’t Bomb Syria” event in London. (Photo: Alisdare Hickson/flickr/cc)

Protests took place in cities across the United States and beyond on Friday to denounce President Donald Trump’s missile strikes on Syria.

The strikes on a Syrian air base—launched without congressional approval or U.N. authorization—were said to be in retaliation for Tuesday’s chemical weapons attack against Syrian civilians, though there has not yet been an independent investigation showing that the chemical attack was, as the U.S. claims, ordered by President Bashar al-Assad.Read More »