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The EPA official who bragged about covering up Roundup cancer causing effects.

Rangitikei Enviromental Health Watch

The Environmental Protection Agency official who was in charge of evaluating the cancer risk of Monsanto Co.’s Roundup allegedly bragged to a company executive that he deserved a medal if he could kill another agency’s investigation into the herbicide’s key chemical.

The boast was made during an April 2015 phone conversation, according to farmers and others who say they’ve been sickened by the weed killer. After leaving his job as a manager in the EPA’s pesticide division last year, Jess Rowland has become a central figure in more than 20 lawsuits in the U.S. accusing the company of failing to warn consumers and regulators of the risk that its glyphosate-based herbicide can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“If I can kill this I should get a medal,” Rowland told a Monsanto regulatory affairs manager who recounted the conversation in an email to his colleagues, according to a court filing made public Tuesday…

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The death penalty seems to be slowly but surely on its way out in the US, the only big democracy in the West that still permits it, as Americans increasingly voice their opposition. Its demise could now be coming even quicker, thanks in part to a growing group of the very officials responsible for seeking executions.

In recent elections, local district attorney races have suddenly become more competitive, fueled by an influx of outside cash. In several US counties, election of reform-minded prosecutors skeptical or downright opposed to capital punishment represents a payoff on a bet made by George Soros, the liberal billionaire investor.

Soros identified local US prosecutorial elections as a crucial way to instigate criminal-justice reform. The US has been repeatedly criticized by international human rights organizations and the United Nations for use of the death penalty and for its ballooning mass incarceration. The Hungarian-born Soros, who has donated millions to support democracy and free expression in Eastern Europe and around the world, spent nearly $10 million in local law enforcement races in 10 states, backing the winners in most.

“The single most important determinant of whether a death sentence is going to be returned in a given case has nothing to do with how bad the murder is—it has to do with who the prosecutor is,” said Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center of Washington, DC, a research group.

In 2016, there were fewer new death sentences than at any other time since the 1970s, when capital punishment was reinstated in the US. The number of executions was the lowest it has been in more than two decades. Much of the move away from capital punishment has been inspired by the increasing ranks of US voters who oppose executions. But it also faces an obstacle: other elected officials—outside of the prosecutor ranks—who are eager to be seen as tough on crime, especially in particularly high-profile, politically charged cases.

Showdown down south

That dynamic is under the spotlight in Florida, where Aramis Ayala, newly elected prosecutor for Orange and Osceola counties in Florida, said March 16 she won’t ever seek the death penalty, provoking outrage from other law enforcement leaders. She said capital punishment is not an effective deterrent, is too costly, and does not provide true justice for victims’ families. Her decision means she will not call for the execution of Markeith Loyd, accused of murdering his pregnant ex-girlfriend and killing a police officer who tried to arrest him.

Orlando police chief John Mina said he was “furious” with the decision, and the state’s prosecutors’ association emphasized that other Florida prosecutors would continue to seek the death penalty. More dramatically, Florida governor Rick Scott took her off the case and appointed a special prosecutor to take charge of Loyd’s case. Ayala filed a motion challenging Scott’s authority to remove her. . .

via The unlikely movement that could finally kill the death penalty in the US — Quartz

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This coalition of farmworkers, cooks, servers and food manufacturers will join janitors, airports workers, and others in Los Angeles based union SEIU-USWW to stand up against immigrant raids, the violation of indigenous people’s rights, attacks on worker’s rights, the racist justice system, violence against trans people, Trump’s “Muslim ban”, and environmental destruction.

Enough is Enough!

USA: The Food Chain Workers Alliance in conjunction with the Service Employees International Union United Service Workers West have announced plans for a day of no work, school, or shopping on May 1st, International Workers Day.  

maydaygenstrike

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The “mystery” behind the long list of assassinated rebel leaders in Donbass might now be solved.

Two Ukrainian soldiers have been captured with weapons and bomb-making materials by Lugansk authorities.

The two soldiers, both allegedly part of Ukraine’s Special Forces, confessed to assassinating the rebel commander Oleg Anashchenko last month.

Partial list of prominent rebel leaders who have been assassinated:

  • May 23, 2015: Luhansk rebel leader Aleksey Mozgovoy is assassinated in East Ukraine (his car was ambushed).
  • October 16, 2016: Donetsk rebel leader Arsen Pavlov, aka “Motorola”, is assassinated by a bomb.
  • February 8, 2017: Donetsk rebel leader Mikhail Tolstykh, aka “Givi”, is assassinated by some sort of explosive projectile or bomb.

 

 

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Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II applauds the move by the Netherlands-based ING, a global financial institution based in Amsterdam with $120 million of DAPL debt. ING is the first bank to offload DAPL debt.

Hwaairfan's Blog

Standing Rock Applauds Netherlands-based Bank’s Move to Offload DAPL Debt*

A major bank financing the Dakota Access Pipeline has announced on Monday it has sold off its share of loan debt for the controversial pipeline.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II applauded the move by the Netherlands-based ING, a global financial institution based in Amsterdam with $120 million of DAPL debt. ING is the first bank to offload DAPL debt.

In a meeting on 10 February, ING shared its willingness to either continue trying to positively influence the course of the project, or to distance itself by selling its stake in the loan. In the meeting we indicated we would appreciate ING selling its loan in the project, after which ING continued its sale process. ING has now signed an agreement to sell the loan.

“We are heartened that ING has made the conscience decision to remove itself…

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blockade

 

Two hundred of us blocked all the entrances to the New Zealand Petroleum Conference for five hours yesterday.

Some great video footage at the Greenpeace website below.

Source: The People’s Climate Rally – 21st – 23rd March 2017

Walden and Civil Disobedience

By Henry David Thoreau

Penguin Classics (1983)

Introduction and Endnotes by Michael Meyer

Book Review

Self-described as a “mystic, transcendalist,* and natural philosopher to boot,” Thoreau published Civil Disobedience in 1849 and Walden in 1854. Both are works of social criticism. Surprisingly most of his critiques of mid-19th century American society ae still applicable to 21st century post industrial capitalism.

In Civil Disobedience, for example, he maintains that a “standing government” is as dangerous to true democracy as a “standing army.” He is particular critical of slavery and the war against Mexico (opposed by the majority of his contempories), which he describes as “the work of a few individuals using the standing government as their tool.”

He also asserts that voting is not enough when men of conscience oppose the “wickedness” government carries out in their name. He argues that people are obliged to transgress unjust laws “rather than waiting until we persuade the majority to amend them.” He adds that  [jail] “is the only house in a slave state that a free man can abide with honor.”

In July 1846 Thoreau was arrested for failing to pay his poll tax, owing to his refusal to recognize the authority of a government “which buys and sells men, women and children at the door of the senate house.” He only spent one night in jail, after an acquaintance “interfered” and paid his tax for him.

I was unaware, prior to reading Walden, that Thoreau also popularized the concept of voluntary poverty. The philosophy he elaborates in describing his two years in the woods at Walden Pond is highly critical of the upper middle class society he was born into. He observes that a “laboring man has no time for true integrity – no time for anything but to be a machine.”

He views his time at Walden Pond – where he built his own cabin and furniture and grew most of his food – as an experiment to help him reduce his life to the absolute basic necessities and the most expedient way of procuring.

He asserts the wealthy classes spend so much time cluttering their lives with useless luxuries that they lose their ability to think clearly about what they really believe him. He also decries the lack of freedom associated with the accumulation of material wealth: “Luxury enervates and destroys nations which have accumulated dross but can’t get rid of it . . . [they] have forged their own golden or silver fetters.”

He’s also high critical of what he describes as the “factory system” – which is “not meant to ensure mankind is well and honestly clad but for corporations to get enriched.”


*Transcendentalism was a philosophical movement that developed in the late 1820s and 1830s in the eastern region of the United States. The movement was a reaction to and protest against the general state of intellectualism and spirituality in American society.