Ever since Nestle applied for the permit to increase pumping at the White Pine Springs well (PW 101)in Evart for its bottling operation in Stanwood in 2016, Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation has been contesting this outrageous water grab. We have argued in public forums, educated across the state about the injustices this grab represents to the people and ecosystems of Michigan, and worked with organizations and citizens who submitted thousands of comments opposing the more than 200,000 gallons a day increase. Failure of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) to deny this increase has left two former trout streams badly damaged. We have had a few victories along the way, but without strict enforcement by EGLE, the damage will continue.Continue reading
Judge Annuls Gulf Of Mexico Oil Auction Over Climate Impact
A federal judge invalidated the results of an oil and gas lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday saying the Biden administration failed to properly account for the auction’s climate change impact.
The decision has cast uncertainty over the future of the U.S. federal offshore drilling program, which has been a big source of public revenue for decades but also drawn the ire of activists concerned about its impact on the environment and contribution to global warming.
The Gulf of Mexico accounts for 15% of existing U.S. oil production and 5% of dry natural gas output, according to the Energy Information Administration.
In the decision, Judge Rudolph Contreras of the United States District Court of the District of Columbia ruled to vacate the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s Lease Sale 257, which offered about 80 million offshore acres (37.4 million hectares) in the Gulf of Mexico in an auction last November.Continue reading
Trial Monitors Condemn Judges For Attacks On Donziger
This executive summary presents an overview of key findings of a international group of legal scholars and practitioners who conducted impartial monitoring of the case of United States v. Steven Donziger, No. 19-CR-561 (LAP); 11-CIV-691 (LAK). This summary sets a brief background, the principle findings of the monitoring group and the Panel’s recommendations. The summary contains no footnotes; references to relevant sections of the fully-footnoted report are provided.
The Panel has determined that the conduct of judges and prosecutors in Steven Donziger’s case has led to numerous and serious violations of his rights with respect to liberty, arbitrary detention and fair trials under international human rights law, in particular Articles 9 and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by the United States in 1992.Continue reading
Latest Data On Unionization Is A Wake-Up Call To Lawmakers
Workers essentially have two sources of potential power vis-à-vis their employers: a union or the implicit threat that they can quit and take another job. During the last year, employers have been forced to compete for workers in a way that has not happened since the end of the 1990s. Workers gained leverage because the American Rescue Plan Act has generated a strong recovery from the COVID-19 downturn with substantial demand for workers at the same time that millions of workers are out of the labor force due to health and safety concerns or pandemic-related care responsibilities. As a result of this increased leverage, workers have seen strong wage growth and have been able to quit jobs in record numbers and take jobs that are better for them.Continue reading
London Jury Acquits Three Extinction Rebellion Activists
Three Extinction Rebellion activists who disrupted a London train during rush hour were acquitted by a jury Friday.
The three defendants, who said they were motivated by their Christian faith, did not deny their actions. Instead, they argued that their protest was lawful under the Human Rights Act.
”When a jury hears the truth about the escalating climate crisis, with the depth and seriousness they won’t get from the government or the media, they understand the urgent need to act,” Extinction Rebellion’s Zoë Blackler said in a statement emailed to EcoWatch. “The real criminals here aren’t 3 committed Christians who are risking their liberty to sound the alarm on a threat of existential proportions. The real crime lies with a government failing to do what’s necessary to safeguard the future of the human race.”Continue reading
Judge Rules Thousands Of Disputed DAPL Documents Are Public Records
A state judge has ruled that thousands of documents related to security during the construction in North Dakota of the heavily protested Dakota Access Pipeline are public and subject to the state’s open records law.
The Friday ruling by South Central District Judge Cynthia Feland is a victory for The Intercept news organization, which sued in November 2020 to get access to the documents for investigative journalism on the topics of “environmental justice, the treatment of Indigenous peoples and workers, and government efforts to suppress First Amendment-protected activities.”Continue reading
After Largest Anti-Racist Uprising, Historic Trials Provide Important Lessons
In the summer of 2020, the people of the United States witnessed the largest anti-racist struggle in the country’s history after a video of the brutal murder of George Floyd by officer Derek Chauvin went viral. While Floyd’s murder was the catalyst, the first year of the pandemic was marked by increased police and vigilante violence. Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot in a botched “citizen’s arrest” by vigilantes and Breonna Taylor, who was shot dead while asleep by police, were among the most egregious cases.
In the year 2021, it was the turn of the US government, particularly its judicial system, to respond to the protests of 2020. Historic trials of the killers of unarmed Black people and protestors were set to answer an important question: how would the system respond to the outcry of millions against racist violence?Continue reading
Governor Reduces Sentence Of Truck Driver To 10 Years
Aguilera-Mederos, who was 23 years old at the time of the accident, was transporting lumber on Denver’s I-70 freeway when the brakes on his big rig truck failed on a downhill grade where he tried to hug the shoulder. His truck then slammed into stopped traffic that created an explosion and pileup.
Governor Polis and the state’s political establishment were forced to respond to mass economic and political pressure by a powerful movement of truck drivers, who mobilized widespread support for Aguilera-Mederos within the working class. Since the December 13 sentencing, drivers refused by the thousands to enter the state of Colorado and deliver goods and circulated the issue widely on social media.
Though little reported in the media, the powerful boycott shook the state’s economy to its core.Continue reading
Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos is a Cuban truck driver who was sentenced for 110 years in prison because of a vehicle accident on the I-70 in Denver in 2019. The brakes of the semi-truck failed and he crashed into traffic, causing a 28-car pile up, killing four people, and injuring several others. The accident occurred because the company Aguilar-Mederos worked for at the time did not properly maintain their equipment and permitted a driver to use a truck with faulty brakes.
“I ask God too many times why them and not me? Why did I survive that accident?” Aguilera-Mederos said to the court. “I am not a murderer. I am not a killer. When I look at my charges, we are talking about a murderer, which is not me.Continue reading
Prisoners Sue Prison System Following Targeted Raid Against Black People
California prisoner, Talib Williams, is bringing a class action lawsuit on his behalf as well as other Black incarcerated people who were targeted by a July 20, 2020 raid at Soledad, California’s Correctional Training Facility (CTF). The suit seeks a reprieve from the state-sponsored terror that is their norm. Injunctive and declaratory relief, among other remedies, are necessary to stop the violence, change CDCR policy, and compensate the prisoners for the degradation they have suffered.
The raid took place against the backdrop of nationwide Black-led uprisings that occurred after the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. It was part of a white supremacist backlash against the demands for justice for Black people across the country.Continue reading
Assange Loses, High Court Allows US Appeal; Quashes Assange’s Discharge
The High Court in London on Friday ruled in the U.S. appeal against a lower court decision not to extradite imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange by sending the case back to Magistrate’s Court with instructions to send the case to the secretary of state to decide on Assange’s extradition.
The matter is now in the hands of Dominic Raab, secretary of state for justice, unless Assange’s lawyers appeal the decision to the U.K. Supreme Court, which they have said they will do. If extradited, Assange faces up to 175 years in prison on charges under the Espionage Act and one count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. Assange is the first journalist to be charged with espionage for obtaining and publishing state secrets.Continue reading
Chris Hedges: American Satyricon
The trial of Ghislaine Maxwell which began this week in Manhattan will not hold to account the powerful and wealthy men who are also complicit in the sexual assaults of girls as young as twelve Maxwell allegedly procured for billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.
Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, hedge-fund billionaire Glenn Dubin, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, former Secretary of the Treasury and former president of Harvard Larry Summers, Stephen Pinker, Prince Andrew, Alan Dershowitz, billionaire Victoria’s Secret CEO Les Wexner, the J.P Morgan banker Jes Staley, former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barack, real estate mogul Mort Zuckerman, former Maine senator George Mitchell, Harvey Weinstein and many others who were at least present and most likely participated in Epstein’s perpetual Bacchanalia, are not in court.Continue reading
On Contact: Prison
The poet Dwayne Betts for a long time hid the fact that he had been incarcerated from the ages of 16 to 24 for a carjacking. Betts, a lawyer who was sworn into the Connecticut bar two years ago, is finishing up his PhD at Yale University, where he also earned his law degree. He currently works as a public defender. In his book ‘A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison,’ and in his poems, including his third book of poems ‘Felon,’ he grapples with the degradation, humiliation, and trauma of prison life. Betts, like Virgil in Dante’s ‘Inferno,’ leads his readers into the dark and frightening labyrinth of the American prison system, where, as he writes, “Black men go to become Lazarus.” Confronting evil has a cost.Continue reading
When Being White And Jewish Isn’t Enough
Jerusalem — “I need a cell for a Jew,” the Israeli cops driving the jeep called into the jail. I was the Jew they were referring to and the jail was the infamous “Muskobia,” in the heart of West Jerusalem. This was the end of a long and tiring day that began with a protest in the village of Nabi Saleh in Palestine. I was covered in sweat, tear gas, dust, and quite a bit of the disgusting skunk liquid that the Israeli army sprays on protestors.
It was a hot day and my arms were full of bruises, my elbow and wrists sprained from the soldiers twisting them during the arrest. But regardless of the fact that I was protesting with Palestinians, I was still a Jew and when I was sent to jail for the night the authorities needed to make sure I was in a cell for Jews.Continue reading
Why There Are So Few Whistleblowers
Adam Schiff’s new book, “Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could,” makes a strong case for the importance of whistleblowing, particularly in these fractured times. Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, argues that his committee is “uniquely dependent on whistleblowers” because of the “classified nature” of its work. Without whistleblowers, the congressional intelligence committees would be “almost completely reliant on the intelligence agencies to self-report,” according to Schiff. A whistleblower in the intelligence community cannot go to the press, so they must have “access to Congress” or the “whole system fails.”Continue reading